Saturday, June 26, 2010

Warming Up

Despite some cloud in the sky the weather is getting warmer - and warmer! It was a year ago today that I left Leeds to come and stay in a hotel in Morecambe (the Elms at Bare - sadly now closed). Beloved and our firstborn moved our belongings out of our Leeds home the following Tuesday, and my first step into our new home was made on Wednesday July 1st (after a lot of furniture had been arranged to make it look more familiar). The weather was just about the same as it is now - maybe even more sweltering, for I had to ask for a fan to be placed in my hotel room as it was too hot to sleep at night.

Was very pleased this morning to hear from Cheesepare again. Thought we had lost you CP. Am pleased you still find this blog readable. Not sure if Steve could move 'wot has been writ' over to another site if some of it is still missing. Maybe I could run two sites, and start repeating myself over again on the newer one, omitting the boring stuff.

Perhaps also because I am familiar with what I write about (whether or not it is accurate, although I try to be), that I find my words boring. Been there, done that, heared it all before sort of thing. But have been writing for so long now that early work (missing but saved in 'documents') could well be brought back to life.
Anyway, my intention is to start learning how to take photos (well at least can do that) and get them on to the comp. (can just about do that, but not always cut and paste), and then get them onto my blog site (not had much success so far). Gill (slightly computer literate), our daughter (she can put up pictures and certainly send them via email), and our firstborn (he knows how), will hopefully be able to teach me over the next week (or so) so will be photographing our party dishes and eventually you will get to see them.

Pleased to hear the home-made beer is successful Kathryn, if it works out cheaper than pub or supermarket prices, then it will probably continuing being made, maybe different types. Mild, bitter, lager or home-made 'own-brand'. The latter is worth aiming for. Nothing like improving on the manufacturers. Food, drink or otherwise.
Pleased also that you are now having more garden to play with. This is a very good time of year to get cut price plants, and if well watered before (and after) planting they should romp happily away. Water itself is now becoming a problem in our region, and when I watered some pots yesterday and noticed water running out of the holes beneath, realised that each should be stood in a bowl or tray to catch the escaping water. Have taken to standing the smaller containers in a bucket containing about two inches of water, and letting them soak up as much as they need, then keep replacing the pots, one by one until they are all well moistened. Then stand them in the shade for the rest of the day. This really seems to avoid losing excess water by drainage and evaporation.

We can also conserve water by mulching the soil once we have produce planted directly into the ground. This can be old carpet, black plastic, bark chippings, gravel etc... just make sure there is a hole large enough round the stem for the plant to grow through. Unsightly but useful is another trick - push the open top half of an empty lemonade bottle (bottom cut off) into the soil close to a plant, then fill this with water instead of watering the soil in the normal way, this gets the water close to the roots. A 'trickle' watering could be done by leaving the cap on the bottle, and either making a hole in this, or just sticking the point of a knife into the plastic a few times around the neck so the water slowly drips through.

A recently read tip is to keep a bucket in the shower, to collect any water that flows past our bodies. If the bucket is big enough, maybe we could stand in it as we shower!!! If having a bath, just don't pull out the plug, instead scoop up water into buckets and use this to water the plants.

It is said that this 'grey water' is safe to use for watering plants, but for those who wish to clean it slightly could fill a garden sieve with fine sand and pour the water through this into yet another bucket. Just make sure we have plenty of buckets seems to be the order of the day. We have several buckets, but sadly none have handles. So Beloved has the job of lifting them when full of water.

The programme you mentioned on food grown abroad for supermarkets SweeterRita was a repeat (did mention it the first time it was on and wrote quite a bit about it the following day -so no need for me to say it all over again), but for those who missed the programme, worth taking a look - it is probably on iPlayer.

Ignoring the economics (cheaper to buy some produce from the supermarket than that nationally/locally grown), there is still, as you say, nothing to beat the taste of produce that is home-grown, picked and eaten within a very few hours. No other way can we eat food that is so fresh. So always worth going back to the good old days when everyone seemed to have a veggie patch/kitchen garden.

There was no free herb booklet with our July 'Kitchen Garden' mag. It was not in a wrapper, so maybe Beloved got a rogue copy. However - serendipity being what it is - yesterday - when clearing up - found a small paperback bought years ago, on every culinary herb worth growing, so sat and read that from cover to cover.
Still feel that parsley, sage, rosemary, thyme, mint, chives and bay are the only 'basic' herbs that I would use regularly, with marjoram and basil also growing on my windowsill 'just in case they are needed'. Dill is 'interesting' but rarely used, coriander we haven't yet got a taste for, and tarragon is one still not tried.
In Leeds grew lovage, lemon balm, Sweet Cicely, angelica and borage in the garden as well as the above, but these were used more for 'floral' decoration than herbal use, although they were used from time to time as culinary herbs. Lovage is particularly good as it makes a tall and striking plant, with a strong flavour of celery, so can be used for flavouring in stocks and soups instead of the 'real' thing.

A year ago, what with 'down-sizing' and the feeling this was our last nesting place, my ill health and the misery of moving, really did wonder if it was worth planting anything at all for would I live long enough to see it mature? Not that I had a death wish, it was more the fact of moving that made me feel my days were coming to an end. The fact that our children feel we ARE old, didn't really help. Because (to us) we are not old - and when they reach our age, they will feel the same. In my youth, people the age they are now (in their fifties) were considered old, very old, so its all relative.

Other than problems with my leg, certainly feel a lot more chipper these last couple of months (obviously due to weight loss), so am hoping I can last a couple more years - even more if the gods allow. When young, think we will live forever. Now 'old' there seems a mad rush to fit in as much as possible in the time left. Including keeping chickens!

Just have to edit in something here. Towards the end of the last para the word 'old'there' had not had a space left between the two words, so the spellcheck highlighted this and came up with several alternative words, the first being 'elderberry'. This has reminded me that yesterday noticed all the elderflowers were open on the bushes and so time now to make elderflower champagne, elderflower syrup, and the flower heads themselves can be dipped in batter to be fried and eaten. Elderflowers can also be dried or frozen, to use later in the year.
A reminder that when making the 'champagne' to always release the pressure in the bottles after the first two weeks. It will keep building up, so keep checking and release as necessary - otherwise bottles will explode or the caps blow off, or plastic bottles may split. Always hold the top of the bottle away from you (preferably over a sink) so that now injury or damage is caused. Depending upon the weather, the natural yeast in the elderflowers can be quite strong, so allow for this.

Today is 'erect the futon' day (it comes in a kit so that will be Beloved's job although he may want me to hold things for him). Myself will plant out the remaining tomato plants in containers outside (found another large polystyrene box that will do for some). We have two unused growbags, so enough compost. Containers will be checked to see if they need watering. Have to say the later planted ones - where water holding and plant food granules were add to the compost- certainly need watering less often.

Am pleased that the trailing lobelia (very small plug plants when bought) are now beginning to grow fast and hang over the sides of the containers/baskets, and are now in full flower. Bought as blue ones, they seem to have a few white and purple ones included, so happy with that. One hanging basket (we have four - as yet not hung) was overfilled with Busy Lizzies, so is bursting with bloom, and this fits exactly into the top of an empty 'terracotta' (plastic) container, so will probably leave it like that - at knee level instead of hanging.
The other baskets will be hung at the end of the week, so they won't need watering for a couple or so days. Have bought a couple of 'thingys' from Lakeland that will lower the baskets to make it easier for them to be watered, so no need to ask Beloved to lift them down for me.

Surprisingly my face is still slightly swollen. Maybe it is the geraniums that are causing the allergy for having to touch them each day (don't HAVE to - could wear gloves but need to find out the cause), when watering and moving around might be the reason my face has not gone down. Although - having said that -just enough swelling left to make me look younger(or so I like to think) as any lines are now 'botoxed' out. Shouldn't really grumble, should I?

Yesterday B took me out for a meal. We intended to go to a local restaurant in Bare, but when we got there it was shut - their hours now being 9.00am (early breakfast!) to 5.00pm. Maybe they opened later at the weekend, didn't check that.
When we first came to visit Morecambe, we did eat an evening meal at this restaurant and it was very good. Yesterday we ended up at the Hest Bank Inn/Hotel/pub where the meals are always good. Well, normally. Perhaps yesterday I was too critical, but my large field mushroom starter came with a goat's cheese, herbs and garlic topping which tasted distinctly rancid. B tasted some and said it was the goat's cheese, and probably this was the reason, as it seemed to improve the more I ate. Did not like to show my ignorance by complaining, for it probably WAS the type of cheese used. As this morning I have had no adverse effects, am assuming there was nothing wrong.
Beloved's starter was a prawn cocktail, more unusually served in a half pint old-fashioned dimple-type beer mug. The bottom half filled with shredded lettuce, the top half filled and piled up with prawns. Lots of prawns. A marie-rose sauce served in a little (very little) dish at the side. Looked different at least, but meant that B was left with a lot of lettuce which he didn't really need, want (or eat).

Considering the sole idea was to go out and eat fish and chips, Beloved decided his main course would be Beef and Ale Pie - with chips. Hardly a 'pie' for the casseroled meat was served in a shallow plate with a square of puff pastry plonked on top, the chips served separately in a bowl. Also served alongside was a dish of mushy (or crushed!) peas.

Myself made the mistake of ordering the 'lock keepers platter', mainly because it contained no carbohydrate other bread (which I didn't eat). Desperate for some battered fish and chips, my will power was strong last evening, so made a different choice, Nothing at all wrong with the meal, there was just too much of it, even for my large appetite (or is my stomach shrinking). And just HATE to leave any food on my plate, mainly because it has been paid for.

Served on a board, my meal consisted of were three large thick slices of home-cooked ham, a pork pie,a large wedge of Cheddar cheese, a sliced apple, a good sized bowl of salad (mixed leaves, tomatoes, red peppersetc), a bowl of coleslaw (carrot, cabbage and red onion), and a tray of pickles and chutneys (Branston pickle, sliced cooked beetroot, piccalilli - and also pickled onions). Tucked between the food was also a large thick slice of good artisan white bread and a pack of butter. Am sure there was something else as well - but in the end left one slice of ham, a quarter of the pork pie, half the pickles, half the salad, half the coleslaw, two-thirds of the cheese, and the bread and butter. Pity I didn't ask for a doggy bag. Don't know how much it all cost, don't even care as B was paying.

Felt really 'pogged' when I got home, and felt I'd eaten enough to last me all of today. Certainly the thought of food wouldn't enter my mind at the moment. All I am regretting is that I didn't weaken and have the fish and chips after all, for people at a table nearby had this and it looked GORGEOUS.

The restaurant is at the side of the canal, and many boats were moored there. Suggested to Beloved that it might not be a bad idea to buy a narrow boat, or cabin cruiser 'to widen our horizons'. He actually thought it might not be a bad idea, especially as a cabin cruiser could go along the canal to Glasson Dock and then out to the river and the sea. Must work on him re this - although for myself would prefer a narrow boat as an 'escape hole' where I could go 'to get away from it all', and this would also make a good 'second bedroom' for visitors, and/or holiday home for friends.
Perhaps I will win the lottery (sorry - called Lotto now) and then afford to buy myself a 'houseboat'. But am I too old, and is it too late? You wouldn't believe how frustrating getting old is turning out to be. All the things we can now do (or like to believe we can), and not enough time left to do it.

Another disadvantage about growing old is the noticeable difference when we get into the sun and begin to tan. Once upon a time I had smooth arms with an even tan and this looked good. Now the sun is drying my skin so longer smooth, and my arms - now tanned - are more 'mottled' with darker brown spots, and even lighter ones, due presumably to old-age pigmentation. Remember my Dad's arms looking exactly the same, so in a strange but good way find my own arms constantly remind me of him. Which is nice.

Yet I keep being told about people who are in their nineties and still got their marbles, and so there is a possibility of a further ten years of useful life left to me before I begin to feel really old - and maybe another ten living in an old people's home before I pop my clogs. Or maybe not. If you had been standing at the side of me you would have seen me sit back and give a heartfelt sigh, thinking of what might, or might not be.

No good thinking about the future, might as well get on with the present. "Live for the day" is what is often said, and probably best I start thinking along these lines. Not of course with food - this always requires advance thinking/planning/purchasing/making if only to make our money go further.

The morning began cloudy, but now - nearly 9.00am, the sky is clearing and the sun is out. Another warm day, much of it am hoping to spend in the garden, getting browner and more freckled (in my case 'speckled'). Between times, moving indoors and doing more clearing up.
At least have a trolley in here now laden with party food (of the bottled and packet types (olives and pickles, cheese biscuits and tortilla chips) and a butler's tray filled with party bowls and platters (just so I don't have to waste time getting them out nearer the day).

As said to Beloved the other day, when it comes to entertaining (buffet or dining) 90% of the work is in the advance planning an preparation, the actual cooking on the day taking relatively very little time at all. Have had enough years of practice doing buffets, so this one is a doddle. Despite me going on about it all the time.

It's just that we haven't entertained at home for YEARS so really looking forward to this one. If it goes well, this this is just the start. More barbies later in the year (Indian summer), and certainly a charity dinner party in October (the JST are asking members to host these, asking guests to pay £10 a head for their charity). Almost certainly we will be throwing a New Year's Party (we had many of these in Leeds). Hopefully smaller (free) dinner parties in between. Once I have the bit between my teeth, who knows where the entertaining will stop.

But today starts here, and the more I do the less to do later. Gill arrives tomorrow before lunch, so any last minute clearances she can help with (being very familiar with my clutter).
Hope to hear from more of you before my final posting tomorrow, then a week's 'rest' from writing (with me writing is the most restful thing I can do - so who knows, I might need to come back and have a chat with you just to relax). Until tomorrow - enjoy your day.

Friday, June 25, 2010

More then One Viewpoint

Always on the lookout for new ideas, and this is one I have been seeking - a sausage free Scotch Egg. Many people don't eat pork products, and as many vegetarians do eat eggs, then this could prove a useful recipe. Ideally, 'hard-boil' the eggs for a shorter time than usual (see method) as they are cooked on in the oven.

Scotch Eggs with a Twist: makes 6
6 eggs
2 tblsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
9 oz (250g) grated carrots
1 - 2 tblsp mild (Korma) curry paste or to taste
7 oz (200g) brown breadcrumbs, preferably granary
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper
roasted cashew nuts, finely chopped
Boil the eggs for five minutes, then cool rapidly in iced water. Shell carefully.
Heat the oil in a frying pan and fry the onion for five minutes, then add the carrots and cook for a further 10 minutes until soft. Stir in the curry paste and fry for a further 2 minutes. Remove from heat, then stir in the breadcrumbs and - when the mixture is cool - beat in the egg. Add seasoning to taste.
Divide the mixture into six, and flatten each with wet hands. Dust the eggs with flour, then wrap the veggie mixture around each egg, making sure it is sealed. Roll in roasted and finely chopped cashew nuts and chill until ready to cook. Bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for 20 minutes. Serve warm or cold. If warm, allow the eggs to cool for five minutes before serving.

Whether sitting in front of the TV watching the World Cup, or taking a packed lunch to work, this seems to be the time to think about providing something interesting for the men to munch on. Here are some suggestions for sandwiches. All sandwiches made with fillings given below can be frozen for up to 2 months.
To make a good sandwich, use day-old bread and spread softened butter (or spread of your choice) right up to the edges and add seasoning. Fill then top with a well-buttered slice of bread. Stack and then wrap in cling-film. Keep chilled for the evening (or next day to take to lunch) or freeze. Frozen sarnies taken in the lunchbox will keep other foods (salads/drinks) cool, and will have thawed out by lunchtime.

potted tongue:
4 oz (100g) chopped tongue pounded with 2 oz (50g) butter. Add a pinch of nutmeg (opt).

blue cheese and walnut:
blend 4 oz (100g) blue cheese with 1 oz (25g) each of butter and chopped walnuts.

liver sausage and gherkins:
mash 4 oz (100g) liver sausage with 2 drained and finely chopped gherkins.

cream cheese and prawns:
chop 2 oz (50g) cooked prawns and blend with 4 oz (100g) cream cheese.

cream cheese and olives:
as above but omit prawns and stir 1 oz (25g) sliced stuffed olives into the cream cheese.

beef and horseradish:
slices of roast beef spread thinly with horseradish sauce.

sardine and capers:
drain and mash a can of sardines, and stir in 1 tsp capers.

scrambled egg and mushroom:
scramble 4 eggs and stir in 2 oz chopped raw mushrooms.

scrambled egg and smoked salmon:
as above but omit mushrooms and fold in 2 oz (50g) diced smoked salmon.

salmon and anchovy:
drain and flake a can of salmon, and season with anchovy essence to taste.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Better Late then Never

Summer days cry out for interesting dishes that can be made ahead of time, and this 'salmon loaf' is one of those perfect dishes worth making to serve when entertaining, but equally good sliced to take to picnics. Even better, it is made with canned salmon - this often being 'on offer', and so worth keeping a couple or so cans in store for a recipe such as this.
If serving warm with the cucumber sauce (recipe below), either use two-thirds of a large lemon for the loaf, and one-third for the sauce, or use a whole (smaller) lemon for the loaf, and half a small lemon for the sauce. The remaining half of the lemon can be sliced and used as garnish.

Citrus Salmon Loaf: serves 4 - 6
4 oz (100g) fresh white breadcrumbs
5 fl oz (150ml) milk
2 egg, beaten
3 oz (75g) celery, chopped
1 x 400g (14oz) can salmon, drained and flaked
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
salt and pepper
Put the breadcrumbs into a bowl and stir in the milk and eggs. Leave to stand for 15 minutes, then gently fold in the flaked salmon, chopped celery, and lemon zest and juice. Season to taste.
When evenly blended, pour into a buttered 1 lb (450g) loaf tin and bake for 1 hour at 180C, 350F, gas 4 or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Leave the loaf in the tin to cool slightly (if eating warm) or cool for longer (if eating cold).
Serve in slices, warm or cold, with cucumber sauce (see below).

cucumber sauce:
1 cucumber, peeled, seeds removed, and chopped
cold water
1 oz (25g) butter
zest and juice of half a lemon
1 egg yolk
1 tsp plain flour
Put the prepared cucumber into a pan and add enough cold water to cover. Bring gently to the boil, then simmer for for a few minutes until tender. Remove the cucumber with a slotted spoon and place on kitchen paper to drain. Set aside.
Pour the cooking liquid into a measuring jug and add enough water to make up to half a pint (300ml).
Melt the butter in a small saucepan, stir in the flour and cook/stir for 1 minute, then gradually add the measured cooking liquid/water , and keep stirring until the mixture thickens, then stir in the lemon rind and the cooked cucumber.
Put the egg yolk into a cup, break it up with a fork, and stir in a little of the 'cucumber sauce', then pour this back into the remaining sauce in the pan and heat gently (but do not boil) until the sauce has thicken slightly more. Add seasoning to taste.
To serve, pour this over, or at the side of the sliced salmon loaf.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Never mind the quality, feel the pleasure!

Two cost-cutting recipes to start off today's batch. The first is a breakfast 'granola' - slightly coarser than the bought muesli, but cheap enough if you have the makings in your larder. The second is a double whammy - two different dishes from the one recipe.

Granola: makes 8 servings
9 oz (250g) porridge or rolled oats
3 tblsp each: flaked almonds and sunflower seeds
2 tbslp each: sesame seeds and pumpkin seeds
3 tblsp sunflower oil
4 tblsp runny honey
5 oz (150g) mixed dried fruit
Put the oats, almonds and seeds in a bowl. Mix the oil and honey together, then pour this over the oats and seeds and mix well together.
Spread out onto a baking sheet, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes at 150C, 300F, Gas 2. Stirring once or twice so that the granola is evenly baked and the edges are not browning faster than the centre.
Leave to cool, then mix in the dried fruit.
Store in an airtight container, and use within a couple or so weeks. Serve with yogurt or milk and fresh fruit.

As a really good 'credit-crunch-lunch', this next dish will also give second helpings as a dip for supper. The ingredients are always to hand in my kitchen, so am hoping they will be in yours also. If not, why not? This recipe makes four portions: 2 lunches and 2 suppers.

Chickpea, Beetroot Salad and Feta Salad and Dip:
4 oz (100g) couscous
5 oz (150ml) boiling water
1 x 250g vacuum pack cooked beetroot (diced)
1 x 400g can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1 x 200g pack feta cheese, diced
1 handful fresh mint, chopped
juice of 1 lime
2 tsp olive oil
1 finger length piece of cucumber, coarsely grated
Put the couscous into a large bowl and pour over the boiling water. Cover and leave to stand until the liquid has been absorbed. Leave to cool before fluffing up with a fork.
In another bowl put the beetroot, chickpeas, mint, feta, oil and lime juice, and mix lightly together, then chill until ready to serve.
Take half the beetroot mixture, and stir into the couscous, adding all the grated cucumber, then serve as a lunch dish.
Put the rest of the beetroot mixture into a blender or food processor and blitz until just smooth. Eat this as a dip with vegetable crudites, breadsticks, tortilla chips or what you will.

Although not a fan of soya beans - there are people who enjoy eating them, and as these beans are about the only vegetable protein that contains all the amino acids, certainly are a superfood if we are trying to avoid eating meat. Here are a couple of dishes that make the most of the soya bean.

Soya Bean Tzatziki:
Blend defrosted soya beans with Greek yogurt and a squeeze of lemon juice. Fold in grated cucumber, finely chopped fresh mint leaves, and add seasoning to taste. Serve with toasted pitta bread.

Soya Bean Risotto:
This dish can either be cooked from scratch, or use cooked 2 minute microwave rice (which can also be cooked in a pan).
Fry onion and bacon in olive oil, then add rice, oregano, parsley, white wine and stock (amount accordig to the rice used). Stir frequently, Once the rice is cooked through, add defrosted soya beans, a knob of butter, and plenty of grated Parmesan cheese.

Final suggestions today are mainly to use as garnishes, but most effective and it has to be said food does look more appetising when it looks 'good enough to eat'. The ideas given below makes the use of the parts of some produce that we might have in the garden (or bought) that is normally not used.

vine leaves:
blanch fresh vine leaves for a minute in boiling water, then pat dry on a kitchen towel (or used preserved vine leaves). Place on a serving platter under soft cheeses, or half wrap the cheese in the leave.

spring onions:
trim away the root end, then slice the green part into very thin strips. Leave in the fridge in a bowl of iced water for an hour, until curled. Drain on kitchen paper and use as a garnish for fish, Chinese stir-fried, or salads.

pea pods:
save a couple or so pea pods after shelling. Fill the pods with softened butter (either left plain or with added finely chopped mint leaves). Alternatively fill the pods with tiny round balls of butter to resemble peas. Chill until needed, then add to a bowl of hot cooked peas when ready to serve.

chilli flowers:
the perfect garnish for spicy dishes. Using a pair of scissors, make long snips down from the tops of pointed red or green chilli peppers. Gently ease the points away from the centre and remove any seeds.
Leave in iced water for a couple or so hours to encourage the points/petals to curl back, then drain on kitchen paper and arrange over the chosen dish.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Leftovers and Oddments

During the summer we don't always feel like cooking from scratch, so today am offering recipes that make use of ingredients such as left-over cooked rice, or using an easy-cook grain such as Bulgar or cous-cous (these grains need soaking rather than 'cooking').
Just remember that left-over cooked rice should be cooled rapidly and then either frozen or kept in the fridge and used the following day.

The first recipe makes little rice pancakes that can be eaten hot with or without a dipping sauce. Also good to use as a 'scoop' (used in the much the same way as naan or pitta bread) when eating a soft vegetable mixture such as salsa, or hummous etc.
Rice Tortitas: serves 4
2 tblsp olive oil
4 oz (100g) cooked long-grain rice
1 potato, grated
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tblsp chopped fresh parsley
3 large eggs, beaten
half tsp paprika pepper
salt and pepper
Put one tblsp of the oil in a large frying pan and stir-fry the potato, shallot, garlic for a couple of minutes, then stir in the rice and cook over high heat for 3 minutes until golden, then tip into a bowl and stir in the parsley, paprika and eggs, adding salt and pepper to taste. Mix together thoroughly.
Heat the remaining tblsp of oil in the frying pan, then drop in large tablespoons of the mixture leaving plenty of room for these to spread. Cook the pancakes for a couple of minutes on each side. Drain on kitchen paper and keep hot while the rest of the mixture is being cooked. Best served hot.

This next dish is of Mediterranean origin and although the recipe uses Bulgar wheat, this could also be made with couscous, or cooked rice could be used. Served with a good dollop of Greek yogurt and some melted butter, this makes a substantial lunch or supper dish
Cooked Grains with Dates and Nuts: serves 4 - 6
12 oz (350g) bulgar wheat, rinsed and drained
boiling water
1 oz (25g) butter
2 carrots, cut into matchsticks
3 oz (75g) blanched almonds
2 tblsp pine nuts
2 tblsp shelled pistachio nuts, chopped
6 oz (175g) soft dried dates, roughly chopped
1 - 2 tblsp water (opt)
handful fresh coriander, chopped
2 tblsp butter, melted (opt)
Put the bulgar wheat into a bowl, and pour over boiling water to cover by 1" (2.5cm) . Give it one stir, then cover and leave to stand for 25 minutes - by which time all the water should have been absorbed and the bulgar doubled in volume.
Meanwhile, melt HALF the butter in a heavy frying pan and fry the carrots for about 10 minutes, or until they are tender and golden. Add the nuts and continue frying for a further minute or until they begin to colour.
Stir in the dates, adding the water only if the dates are on the dry side, then tip in the bulgar and toss or stir everything together. When well combined, turn off the heat, cover the pan with a clean cloth and then a lid - leaving the contents of the pan to steam for a further 5 - 10 minutes.
When ready to serve, stir the coriander through the mixture, and drizzle over the melted butter (if using). Serve with a bowl of Greek yogurt.

If we cook our own ham, grow our own spuds and mixed salad leaves, have some green beans in the freezer and a couple of hard-boiled eggs in the fridge - this recipe is hard to beat. Even those who have less time to be self-sufficient could use canned new potatoes or - as an alternative to the potatoes - use canned mixed beans that have been drained and rinsed. If you prefer, use canned Spam or corned beef instead of ham. An ideal dish to serve up when unexpected guests arrive on your doorstep.
Ham and Potato Salad: serves 4
8 oz (225g) small new potatoes
2 oz (50g) green string beans, cut into chunks
handful young spinach or mixed salad leaves
2 spring onions sliced, or 1 shallot, finely shopped
2 - 4 hard-boiled eggs, quartered
2 oz (50g) cooked ham, cut into strips
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper
salad dressing (see recipe below)
Cook the potatoes in salted boiling water for approx 15 minutes, or until tender. Drain and set aside.
Cook the green beans according to packet instructions, then drain.
Put the spinach/salad leaves in a bowl and add the potatoes, green beans and onions. Toss together. Pile into a serving dish, arranging the egg wedges and ham strip on top. Drizzle with lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper.
Make the hot dressing (see below) and pour this immediately over the salad and serve at once.

nutty salad dressing:
4 tblsp olive oil
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground cumin
2 oz (50g) walnuts, chopped (or shelled hazelnuts)
Put all the ingredients into a frying pan and cook until the nuts have turned golden. While still hot, pour this over the salad above, and serve immediately.

Final recipe today is a fruit fool with a difference. Keep chocolate in your storecupboard and make this when you have bananas that you wish to use up. Even the custard could be the 'instant' variety, that comes in a can.This dessert is easy to make and once made can be kept in the fridge overnight and served the following day. Methinks Beloved will enjoy this one, especially if finely chopped crystallised ginger is also folded in.

Choconana Fool: serves 4
4 oz (100g) quality dark chocolate
half pint custard
2 bananas
Break up the chocolate and put it in a bowl, and either melt in the microwave (2 minutes on High) or stand the bowl over a pan of simmering water and leave until melted. Stir to make sure all the larger pieces have melted.
Fold the melted chocolate lightly into the custard, giving a ripple effect, then peel and slice the bananas and gently fold these into the chocolate mixture. Spoon into serving glasses. Best chilled for at least half an hour before serving.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Times Past

A fruit crumble that can be made with dried fruits alone, but include fresh pears or apples if you have any that need using up. If you have no ginger biscuits, add a little more oats or flour and add 1 - 2 oz sugar.

Storecupboard Crumble: serves 4
2 oz (50g) no-soak apricot, halved or quartered
2 oz (50g) dates, pitted and chopped
2 oz (50g) dried figs, chopped
half tsp ground cinnamon
5 fl oz (150ml) apple or orange juice
half tsp mixed spice
5 oz (150g) porridge oats
2 oz (50g) wholemeal flour
2 oz (50g) ginger biscuits, crushed
2 oz (50g) butter or quality margarine, melted
Put the dried fruits, fruit juice and spices into a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for several minutes until the fruit is tender and the liquid reduced by a third. Place into 4 individual serving dishes or one larger serving dish.
Mix the oats, flour, crushed biscuits and melted fats together and when well combined, spoon this on top of the fruit mixture. Bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for approx 15 minutes or until the crumble topping is golden brown.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Start the Week

Some years back used to make a layered vegetable pie that could be beaten hot, warm, and even cold. This went down very well in demonstrations, as a way to show how to use up left-over vegetables in the fridge. The aim being to line a cake tin with shortcrust pastry, and inside add layers of part or wholly cooked vegetables of different colours - white (potatoes or parsnips), orange (carrots or butternut squash), and green (spinach or watercress). Finally one (or two) eggs were beaten with a little milk or cream and poured over the veggies to fill any gaps. The top could be left open (like a deep quiche) with a few sliced tomatoes to give added colour, or could have a pastry lid to turn into in a vegetarian version of 'pork pie'.
Here is a similar recipe that uses few ingredients (although you could add others) and worth perhaps making for our own party, especially as it can be prepared ahead, to be baked the following day. If I choose to do this, might make it in a long narrow tin that I have, so that it can easily be cut into slices.

Deep Vegetable and Cheese Pie: serves at least 6.
1lb 6oz (600g) large (maincrop) potatoes
3 oz (75g) butter
salt and pepper
1 lb (450g) leeks or mild onions, thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tblsp fresh thyme leaves
1 x 500g pack puff pastry
7 oz (200g) Stilton cheese, crumbled
1 egg yolk blended with 1 tblsp water
Peel the potatoes, cut into chunks and boil in salted water until tender, then drain. Leave in the colander to dry off slightly then put into a bowl with one ounce of the butter, salt and pepper to taste, and mash until smooth. Set aside to cool.
Meanwhile, melt the remaining 2 oz butter in a frying pan and cook the leeks or onions for about 10 minutes, or until softened, stirring in the thyme and garlic a couple of minutes before the end. Transfer to a bowl and also set aside to cool.
Take the block of pastry and remove one third. On a floured surface, roll the remainder into a circle large enough to line a loose-bottomed 8" (20cm) deep cake tin, leaving at least an inch overhang around the rim.
Once the tin has been lined, spoon in the mashed potato, smoothing the surface, but without pressing it down too firmly. Top this with the crumbled cheese, and finally spoon over the cooked leeks/onions.
Roll out the reserved pastry to a circle to fit the top of the cake tin. Place this over the leeks and brush the top with the egg/water mixture. Fold the overlapping pastry over to seal the lid, and brush this also with the egg. Use any trimmings to decorate the top of the lid (opt), brushing these also with the egg.
Cut a few slits in the top of the pie to allow steam to escape, then bake for approx 45 minutes or until the pastry has risen and is golden brown.
Note: this pie can be prepared ready to bake up to a day in advance. Keep chilled, then add a little extra cooking time to allow for this.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

All in the Family

Myself like to cook all potatoes in their skins, but prefer to cook small potatoes whole rather than cut them in half or quarters (although do this sometimes), so here is a recipe that makes use of the larger small potatoes, cooking them in their 'jackets', and serving them as 24 individual canapes (or 3 each as a starter).
Baby Bakers with Smoked Fish: makes 24
12 even sized small potatoes (about the size of a golf ball)
4 fl oz creme fraiche
1 large egg, separated
1 - 2 tblsp chopped fresh chives
salt and pepper
135g pack smoked fish (salmon, trout or mackerel)
paprika pepper
Wash the potatoes and lightly prick each all over. Place on a baking tray and bake at 200C, 400F, gas 6 for 40 minutes, then remove from oven and allow to cool for 15 minutes before slicing in half.
Using a teaspoon, carefully scoop the flesh from the potato skins into a bowl, leaving a thin layer attached to the skin.
To the potato flesh add the cream fraiche, egg yolk, and chives, and beat together. Whisk the egg white to soft peaks and then gently fold this into the potato mixture. Pile this back into the potato skins and return to the oven to bake for a further 20 minutes.
Serve hot topped with a few flakes of chosen smoked fish and a sprinkling of paprika.
Variation: If you prefer, instead of creme fraiche and chives, use a herb flavoured cream cheese, or a crumbled blue cheese, or even Brie, then continue with the recipe but topping the filled skins with grated cheese before the final cooking. Serve as-is omitting the fish.

As the butternut squash was half used a couple of days ago, will probably use this to make a Thai vegetarian curry - to which I will probably add some large cooked (thawed) prawns from the freezer. Here below is my vegetarian version - the easiest way to estimate the water needed is to use the coconut milk can as a measure and half fill. Add more water towards the end of the cooking if you feel it is necessary.
Thai Squash and Coconut Curry: serves 2 (V)
1 tblsp Thai red or green curry paste (or more to taste)
half a large butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
1 red bell pepper, deseeded and cut into chunks
1 x 400ml can coconut milk
200ml water
salt and pepper
handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Heat a large dry frying pan, and then add the curry paste and fry for 1 minute, then add the squash and peppers and stir into the paste. Pour in the coconut milk and water, bring to a simmer and cook for 16 to 20 minutes or until the squash is very tender, and the sauce thickened. Add seasoning to taste and serve with the coriander sprinkled on top. Good eaten with rice, naan bread, couscous etc.

If using half a butternut, then this next recipe could use the remainder. Although not a million miles away from the recipe above when it comes to ingredients, the flavour is entirely different.
Roasted Butternut Pasta: serves 2
half a large butter nut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
2 red onions. cut into wedges
2 cloves garlic, skins left on
2 tblsp olive oil
6 oz (175g) pasta penne
3 tblsp creme fraiche
salt and pepper
grated Parmesan (opt)
Put the prepared squash and onion in a roasting pan, with the garlic, then drizzle over the olive oil. Toss everything together until all coated with the oil, then roast for 35 minutes at 200C, 400F, gas 6 until everything is beginning to be browned at the edges.
Meanwhile cook the pasta according to pack instructions. When cooked, drain but reserve a tablespoon of the cooking water putting this back into the saucepan. Stir in the creme fraiche, adding seasoning to taste, and the flesh squeezed from the roasted garlic cloves - making a garlic flavoured cheese sauce. then pour the lot over the cooked roasted vegetables and stir/toss lightly together.
Serve hot with a sprinkling of Parmesan.

One thing leads to another, so yet a further recipe to make use of butternut squash. This time a salad dish that can be eaten warm or cold - and ideal for a packed lunch. Similar ingredients to some of those in the above two recipes - but again ending up as a completely different dish.
The butternut is one of a large family of squashes - we are perhaps more familiar with the pumpkin - but almost all can be substituted one for the other in various savoury dishes, although the butternut is perhaps the sweetest.
Roasted Butternut and Beetroot Salad: serves 4
1 lb (450g) approx cooked beetroot. cut into chunks
1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into chunks
1 red onion, cut into wedges
2 tblsp olive oil
3 tblsp pumpkin seeds
5 fl oz (150ml) natural or Greek yogurt
1 tblsp mayonnaise
half tsp caster or icing sugar
salt and pepper
4 oz (100g) feta cheese, cubed
watercress or mixed salad leaves
Place the chunks of squash and onion wedges into a small roasting tin and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss until coated with the oil, then roast at 200C, 400F, gas 6 for 35 - 45 minutes or until the vegetables are tender, turning a couple of times so they do not brown unevenly. Scatter over the pumpkin seeds and roast for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly whilst preparing the yogurt sauce.
Blend the yogurt with the mayonnaise, sugar and seasoning to taste.
To serve: place a handful of watercress/salad leaves on a plate, and arrange the roasted vegetables, beetroot chunks and feta cheese on top ( a variety of colours that needs arranging carefully to show them off to advantage), then offer the yogurt sauce to be spooned over.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

Very Berry Nice

Here is a recipe for Strawberry Curd - this does not keep as long as jam, but like home-made lemon and other curds - will keep well in the fridge for several weeks.
Strawberry Curd:
8 oz (225g) ripe strawberries, hulled
4 large eggs
zest and juice of 2 lemons
9 oz (250g) caster sugar
4 oz (100g) butter (pref unsalted)
Puree the strawberries, then push them through a sieve - this standing over a large bowl - to remove the seeds.
Beat the eggs and strain these into the bowl of strawberry puree, then add the rest of the ingredients.
Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water (but not touching the water) and continually stir the mixture until it thickens (this could take up to half an hour).
Pour into warm, sterilised jars, cover with a clean tea towel and leave to cool. Cover in the usual way with a circle of waxed paper, then place on lids and store in the fridge for up to 2 months.

Strawberries do not freeze well as a complete fruit as they collapse when thawed, but can be pureed (push through a fine sieve if you wish to remove the seeds) and this frozen for future use. Did once read an article where it was said strawberries could be sliced then laid on a wire rack (cake airer) and dried off in a low oven (probably overnight) and then could be stored for later use. Perhaps the dried strawberries could be ground up to add to cakes or sprinkle over ice-cream.
They might even be able to be sliced and placed between two sheets of kitchen paper and dried off in a microwave oven. If you have plenty of strawberries Donna, it might be worth experimenting and see if the above works. If you do, and have any success, please let us know.

As to using fresh strawberries - other than as - is (with cream of course), these can be used in many dishes, but again normally as a puree (or 'squashed'). One of the most popular dishes is Eton Mess, this being just a mixture of coarsely crushed meringues, lightly whipped cream and quartered strawberries all folded together just prior to serving (do it too early and the meringues will soften).

Using my 'soft-scoop' ice-cream recipe, the pureed strawberries can be folded into this and frozen to give a gorgeous strawberry flavour. The recipe below is virtually the same thing but a three-flavoured version adapted from one seen recently in a cookery magazine. Because this is not a true ice-cream (containing no custard) this is often called 'semi-freddo' and useful in that it can be taken to the table and sliced to serve. If you wish to make this less rich, use half thick Greek yogurt and half double cream.
When folding any two mixtures together, they fold more easily if the density is the same with each. So try to whip cream to the point where it can be easily folded into something, in other words not as thick as if wishing to pipe the cream.
It is often said that over-whipped cream then becomes useless for mixing into anything, but pouring over a little single cream and then gently whisking this in will slacken the cream down again to folding point.

Neapolitan Layered 'Soft-scoop': serves 6 - 8 (F)
3 egg whites
6 oz (175g) granulated sugar
3 tblsp water
1 x 600ml tub double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
6 oz (175g) ripe strawberries, hulled
1 tblsp icing sugar
3 oz (75g) dark chocolate, melted
Put the sugar and water into a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved, then bring to a fast boil. Boil for 3 minutes (by which time it should have come to soft ball stage). Meanwhile whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks, then - while still beating - very slowly pour the hot sugar syrup into the whites until it has all been whisked in. Continue beating until the mixture is really thick, then stand the bowl in cold water to help cool the mixture down. Another name for this is Italian Meringue.
Whip the cream with the vanilla extract, then fold this into the beaten whites. Divide this into three.
Mash or puree the strawberries with the icing sugar and fold this into one third of the 'meringue', fold the melted chocolate into another third, and leave the last plain.
Line a 2 lb loaf tin with cling film, and spoon the strawberry cream into the base levelling the surface. Top with with the plain mixture, and finally add the chocolate mixture. Cover with clingfilm and freeze overnight (or it can be frozen for several day). To serve, turn out onto a platter, remove clingfilm and allow to soften slightly for 10 minutes before slicing.

A favourite summer dessert consists of nothing more than sliced strawberries set in strawberry jelly (basic packet jelly) but the jelly made up with Babycham not water. First melt the jelly in a small amount of very hot water (easiest done in a microwave), then cool the jelly and then gently mix in enough Babycham to make up a pint. Pour this over a bowl of sliced and chilled strawberries and allow to set. Remarkably the bubbles stay held in the jelly, so each mouthful becomes quite an experience to eat.

Another suggestion is to buy a packet of cheesecake mix and make it up as per directions on the pack. After the biscuit base has been made, I like to beat in a tub of Philly-type low-fat cream cheese when making up the cheesecake mixture, then fold in some strawberry puree and also some chopped strawberries. Pour this over the biscuit base and leave to set in the fridge. Serve with sliced strawberries on the top.

A final thought - for really yummy nibbles, take large ripe but firm strawberries - still with the green stalks attached, and holding each by the stalk dip into melted chocolate so that it comes halfway up the fruit. Place stalk side down on a wire cake airer and when the chocolate has set place each in a paper case (mini muffin or sweet cases are ideal) and serve. Best made as soon as possible to serving, but they will keep for an hour or two.

Saturday, June 05, 2010

The Eternal Triangle

Having a pack of filo (aka phyllo) pastry in our fridge, this weekend am planning to use it to make assorted 'samosas', then freezing them. These are triangular shaped pastry parcels that can contain a variety of fillings (almost an endless variety) although the true samosa is normally spicy and eaten with a curry.
There are two ways of cooking filo pastry triangles- either baked in the oven, or fried in deep or shallow oil. The fillings are normally cooked prior to assembly, so it is only the pastry that is cooked long enough to turn it golden and crisp and heat the filling through.
Most samosas can be frozen before being baked (but make sure they are labelled - both when freezing and when cooked and served - as all fillings will be hidden by the pastry and end up looking exactly the same), and many can be cooked from frozen, then eaten hot, warm, or at room temperature.

Here is an alternative to the spicy or fruit filled 'triangles'. Instead of buying ricotta cheese, we could make our own by draining Greek yogurt (home-made of course) through muslin for several hours.
Cheese Triangles: makes 24
5 oz (150g) feta cheese, crumbled
5 oz (150g) ricotta cheese
1 egg, beaten
pinch freshly ground nutmeg
freshly ground black pepper to taste
12 sheets filo pastry
4 oz (100g) butter, melted
Mix the feta cheese, ricotta, egg, nutmeg and pepper together until well combined.
While making the triangles, keep the unused filo pastry covered with a sheet of cling film and then a damp cloth to prevent it drying out.
Place one sheet of pastry on a pastry board and brush it with some melted butter. Place a second sheet on top and brush this also with butter. Cut into four strips lengthways.
Place 2 tsp of the cheese mixture at the right-hand corner of one pastry strip, then take the left-hand corner and fold it over the filling to the edge of the pastry to form a triangle shape. Brush remainder of the pastry strip with butter and continue folding the triangle up and across the length of the strip - keeping the triangle shape (practice the folding process with a piece of newspaper before starting to make the triangles).
Brush the triangle 'packets' with butter and repeat until all the pastry has been used up, and give a final brushing of butter over the surface if these will be baked (no need for this if intending to fry).
At this point the triangles can be frozen. Store in a container with a sheet of baking parchment between each layer. No need to thaw - these can be cooked from frozen.
To cook: place on baking sheets and bake at 180C, 350F, gas 4 for 15 minutes until golden brown. These can also be deep fried until golden. If shallow frying, turn after the underside has turned golden.

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Indoors Outdoors Eating

One thing I haven't made for years is the Cornish Pasty. Having come across a vegetarian pasty, think it might be a good idea to make some of these for the party, as they can be prepared and frozen, then thawed and cooked on the day to eat hot, warm or at room temperature, indoors or out.
The pastry in the original recipe is shortcrust to which a teaspoon of ground turmeric had been added to the flour before mixing. This gives the pastry a lovely golden colour, but the idea of adding flavour to pastry is always a good one. Try adding lemon zest to pastry when cooked fish or chicken, or a pinch of dried herbs when making a meat pie. Even a little dry mustard added to the flour will give that extra zing to pastry used for a savoury dish.

Although this recipe is for a vegetable pasty, it does contain cheese - but this could be vegetarian cheese. The pasty is called 'golden' as this is the main colour of the ingredients, but feel free to substitute others according to season - you could make a 'green' pasty (broad beans, peas, broccoli, courgettes etc), or a 'red' pasty (red bell peppers, tomatoes, beetroot, aubergine... Different vegetables can be used according to the season. Same goes for herbs.
Golden Vegetable Pasties: makes 4 (V)
14 oz short-crust pastry (for flavoured see above)
1 small yellow bell pepper, deseeded and diced
1 small carrot, diced
7 oz (200g) butternut squash, diced
1 shallot, diced
2 oz (50g) Red Leicester (or other orange coloured) cheese
4 oz (100g) canned sweetcorn, drained
1 - 2 tblsp chopped fresh coriander leaves
half tsp rock or sea salt
(beaten egg for brushing)
Put the prepared yellow pepper, carrot and squash into a pan with just enough hot water to cover. Simmer for 5 minutes, then drain well and put into a bowl. Grate the cheese and add this to bowl with shallot, sweetcorn, coriander and salt, then stir to combine.
Cut the pastry into four blocks and roll each into an oval about the thickness of a £1 coin. Place the filling mixture on one of the long sides/half of the pastry ovals, leaving the edge clear. Dampen the edge and fold the pastry over and crimp with the fingers (or fork) to seal (they can be frozen at this point). Either prick the top with a fork or make a couple of slashes. Brush with beaten egg and bake for 25 minutes at 200C, 400F, gas 6 until golden and cooked throughout.
To freeze: Once the pasties are made ready to cook, they can be open-frozen on a tray, then bagged up and kept frozen for up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge, then bake as above.

When we think of salads, often it is just lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes that spring to mind. Nothing wrong with those, but when entertaining or eating al fresco, we hope to offer something a little bit different. This next recipe is worth trying as although it is meant to be served warm, the leftovers taste just as good when chilled - so a salad that can be prepared and cooked in advance if you so wish.
Instead of the green beans, use another green vegetable: broccoli, asparagus, green bell pepper, sugar snap peas. Chop to the same size as the other vegetables.
Warm Summer Salad: serves 4 - 6
half pint measure desiccated coconut
half pint Greek yogurt
half tsp salt
half tsp curry powder (or curry paste)
1 tsp ground turmeric
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut into large dice
2 courgettes, cut into large dice
2 large carrots, cut into large dice
5 oz (125g) green beans, chopped into small pieces
zest and juice of 1 small lemon
Put the coconut, yogurt, salt, curry powder, and turmeric into a bowl, mix lightly together, cover and leave to stand for 15 minutes to allow flavours to develop.
Steam or microwave the vegetables until just tender, then fold them into the coconut marinade. Return to the heat to warm through (but this must not boil). Remove from heat, stir in the lemon zest and juice and serve.

Certainly most of us just love to eat ice-cream on a hot sunny day, but whether our diets allow it is another matter. But never despair for here is a frozen yogurt that eats as good as any cream-based ice-'cream', and despite the rather lengthy beating it needs (if you have a mixer on a stand then you can walk away and forget it), it really is worth making. Add flavourings/essences if you prefer, or use a fruit flavoured yogurt.
Note - as the original recipe uses a cup measurement (1 cup = 8 fl oz), the sugar and milk powder needs to be 'measured' and not weighed.
Yogurt Ice-'cream': serves 4 - 6
4 fl oz (125ml) water
two and a half teaspoons gelatine
8 fl oz (225ml) natural or Greek yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 fl oz measure sugar
4 fl oz measure skimmed milk powder
Put the water into a saucepan and sprinkle the gelatine over the surface. Leave to stand for 5 minutes, by which time the gelatine should have begun to swell up. Put the pan over a low heat, and stir/heat until the gelatine has completely dissolved, but make sure the liquid does not boil. Remove from heat and leave to cool down (but not set).
Put the yogurt, vanilla extract, sugar and milk powder into a bowl and pour over the gelatine mix. Stir until well combined, then pour into shallow tray, cover with kitchen foil, and freeze until the mixture is almost (but not quite) solid.
Using a spatula, scrape the frozen mixture into the bowl of an electric beater, and beat at high speed until the mixture had doubled in volume and has become glossy. Depending upon the machine this can take up to 20 minutes.
If wishing to add any extra flavouring (or fruit puree), this can be swirled into the mixture before putting into a container. Freeze for several hours before serving.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

A Taste of Things to Come.

No true recipe today, but certainly a worthwhile suggestion. Having seen a photo of wedges of the deep-red watermelon on a plate mixed with slices of grilled halloumi and cooked string beans - all given a lemon and oil dressing. It occurred to me that slices of the watermelon looked very much like spiced meat, and if cut thinly into large enough slices, the watermelon could be folded into 'cornets' and salads (with or without cooked meats) could be stuffed inside. When chilled, watermelon become delightfully crisp, so if served straight from the fridge, could make a refreshing nibble on a hot day.