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For lunch today we had a delicious and quick meal – potato and chorizo hash with spring greens and a fried egg. It’s a great storecupboard or leftovers meal, we used up some leftover cold new potatoes and a chorizo sausage we had in the fridge (they keep for ages).
Heat up a pan nice and hot, slice up the chorizo into smallish piece and fry until they start to brown. Slice the cold new potatoes and add them to the pan, stirring carefully over a medium heat.
Season with some ground black pepper and cook until the potatoes start to go golden and crisp.
Finely shred a couple of handfuls of spring greens and add to the pan and stir in. Add a little dash of sherry vinegar and some salt (not too much, the chorizo is quite salty).
In a separate pan fry your eggs. When they’re ready pop the potato and chorizo hash onto a plate and top with a fried egg.
Sorry no pictures – maybe when I get a new camera I’ll make it again and take some snaps.
I’m almost embarrassed to admit that I’m 26 and I’ve only just got an ipod. Not that I’ve needed one up until this point, but we are hoping to use it for music at our wedding in May.
I didn’t think they were that exciting…until I discovered the wealth of food related podcasts available to download for free! I have been busy listening to Nigel Slater talking about the different seasons and the foods he likes to eat and how, and Shelia Dillon’s Food Programme on ‘the sandwich’.
Fascinating stuff! Looking forward to listening to them in the car when stuck in traffic coming home from work.
Image: Izzy Burton Photography
Truly I am. What has it been…a week since I last posted? And it’s not for lack of eating nice things or doing nice things. This week we have eaten … ugh, I forget without photos to document it!
We have eaten far too much Dunham Massey ice cream with homemade chocolate sauce that I do remember - but along with pizza making we leave chocolate sauce making to Mr Rigg. My attempt resulted in a near disaster!
Tonight we are making Jamie’s lasagne - the sauce part is busy bubbling away in the oven with the fragrant scent of cinnamon filling the house. This lasagne has a mixture of beef and pork mince, roasted butternut squash and flecks of crispy pancetta.
Image: Jamie Oliver
We’ve also made slow cooked chilli con carne with leftovers for lunches – delicious with wraps, sour cream and grated cheese. This one is worth a post sometime soon when I’ve reinstated a camera into our lives.
I’ve bought locally grown quinces to make quince jelly after trying some on crumpets at work – yum! Tomorrow night we have friends over for dinner and are planning a Moroccan chicken tagine with couscous - another Jamie recipe.
Image: Radish NYC
My week has also included a two-day headache (ugh!), an exciting time in the life of my website, lots of log fires, happiness that Mr Robin is back and singing in my garden, and a visit to the dentist (I’ve had a numb cheek and face all afternoon). Hoping for a less painful week next week.
Image: made by OOTS
So following on from yesterday’s post about my much shortened trip to London, I went to the National Trust Fine Farm Produce Awards on Thursday evening. The awards are given to National Trust farms, orchards or gardens who produce products of the very highest standards – environmental, welfare, and taste.
There were incredible displays of the winning produce and products – cider and apple juice from Barrington Court Estate, golden beetroot from Wimpole Walled Garden, late season honey from Lyveden New Bield, golden hot chilli sauce from Gringley Gringo…
We sipped delicious drinks all of which were made from the awards winning products – Apple Bellini’s, incredible apple cocktails some with mint some with cinnamon, cider, ale and beer. The Apple Bellini (exquisite fresh apple juice with champagne) is one for my wedding drinks list next year I think!
We ate delicious canapes til we could eat no longer – tiny beef pies, mini hamburgers, spoonfuls of golden beetroot and garlic risotto, bite-sized tarts with blue cheese and chutney, rice pudding with honey, and miniature scones with cream and rhubarb jam.
The producers were recognised with a short film and speech from the National Trust and judges, and this year’s Overall Winner – rhubarb jam from Brockhampton Estate – was awarded their prize.
I watched Richard McGeown (the Executive Head Chef from Couch’s in Polperro, Cornwall) give a demonstration on how to cook the perfect steak. He had been giving cooking demonstrations throughout the evening, and as I watched I snacked on my first ever piece of hogget lamb.
Tips I picked up on how to cook the perfect steak?
- Make sure the pan is really hot (if you have asbestos fingers like Richard test it with your fingers…!!).
- Only add a tiny drop of oil to the pan before adding your steak.
- Season with salt but not black pepper at this point – it will burn and taste bitter.
- Cook for about 15-20 seconds on each side to seal.
- Season with black pepper then finish off in a hot oven (220°C) for about 6 1/2 minutes if you like it rare, 7 minutes for medium rare.
The evening was finished off with more networking and nibbling on delicious canapes, before heading off with a goodie bag…
…included was a bag of flour from Clyston Mill, a small bottle of the incredibly fiery Gringley Gringo gold hot chilli sauce, some of the new National Trust ‘Lancashire lemon curd’ biscuits, apple chutney from the Killerton Estate, and a treasured jar of the award winning rhubarb jam.
Friday morning breakfast: a soft chewy slice of Kaiserbrot from Barbakan, spread with goat’s butter and Brockhampton Estate rhubarb jam. Yum.
Last night I was in London for the National Trust Fine Farm Produce Awards 2010. I had planned my trains to give me an hour wandering the streets of Soho visiting a couple of food places I’d sussed out. To cut a long story short I missed my train so spent my hour sat at Warrington Station feeling sorry for myself and wishing I was in London.
This is me bored not walking round London…
Gutted. Anyway, I had just enough time on my way through Soho from the tube to stop in at the Nordic Bakery. As a former resident – if only for 8 months – of Vancouver an opportunity to gorge myself on cinnamon buns wasn’t to be missed.
How I miss this time of year in Canada when cream cheese frosted sticky sweet cinnamon buns come into their own. Gooey, sticky, chewy, sweet, sugary, fragrant, spicy…all of those and more describe the cinnamon buns I found (and lived off) whilst I was studying in Vancouver.
Vancouver style cinnamon buns…
Image: via TravelPod
Back to last night’s story, I found the Nordic Bakery on Golden Square in Soho. The counter was filled with savouries – thin slices of rye bread topped with smoked salmon, cheese and dill pickles, and something I else I can’t remember. Then there were the sweets – blueberry buns, oatmeal cookies, tosca cake and…cinnamon buns.
They weren’t quite as I had imagined – basing my vision on those that I ate in Canada. Rather than a swirl somewhat resembling a Chelsea bun, the cinnamon buns at the Nordic Bakery are a somewhere between a croissant and pain au chocolat shape. Incredibly sticky and utterly delicious looking.
I bought two cinnamon buns and two blueberry buns, which were boxed up and treasured carefully across Soho, through a night of awards, on the tube, on a train, and all the way home to my little house in Cheshire. And they made it not too squished.
We ate them for lunch (!!) today warmed a little in the oven. They were scrumptious, heavily spiced and fragrant with cinnamon and sticky (did I mention they sticky…?) with sugar.
More tomorrow on the Fine Farm Produce Awards.
Still lacking a decent camera so have found some great images of the Nordic Bakery online just as I remember it – check out LondonEats’ review.
Thanks to the little sis for making me aware of this…
Isn’t that what us country folk call it? Anyway…I’m off to London tomorrow afternoon to the National Trust’s Fine Farm Produce Awards – an event that celebrates the best of the best of National Trust tenant farm produce.
I’m also hoping to visit a couple of interesting foodie places I’ve found online in Soho. Hopefully I can bring back some interesting tales and photos if the camera/camera phone are behaving!
Image: Izzy Burton Photography
Last night’s dinner was something I dreamt up and I’m so delighted with the results I had to share it with you. The amounts are largely guessed as I do a lot of “made-up” cooking by looking and tasting, rather than measuring. I’m sure – should you wish to make it yourself – that you will be able make it your own and just as yummy.
I couldn’t resist using lots of chives – my plants are full and healthy at the moment and are treating us to another display of pretty purple flowers.
Warning – these photos are taken with my camera that is broken…the screen is broken but it turns out it still takes pictures…I just can’t see what I’m photographing – as a result my photos are not very well composed or focused!
Baked potatoes with honey roast smoked salmon, cream cheese, wholegrain mustard and chives
2 large baking potatoes
approx 135g hot smoked roast salmon
200g cream cheese
couple of generous spoonfuls of wholegrain mustard
bunch of chives
splash of milk
purple chive flowers (optional)
First of all bake your potatoes – my favourite way to cook baked potatoes is to rub them with olive oil and sprinkle with sea salt before baking them on skewers – the end result is gorgeous slightly chewy and crispy skins.
In a bowl, mix together the cream cheese with a splash of milk to loosen it. Stir in the wholegrain mustard and snip in lots of chives. Leave some chives to decorate at the end.
Season with salt and pepper to taste and mix well. Finally, gently stir through about two thirds of the flaked salmon - don’t overmix as you don’t want the salmon to break down to mush.
When your potatoes are baked, remove from the oven and cut them in half. Scoop out all the hot potato into a mixing bowl and pop the empty skins onto plates.
Mix most of the cream cheese mixture into the hot potato – leave a little if you want to dollop on top at the end.
Once the potato is mixed into the cream cheese mixture, spoon it into the potato skins. Dollop on the remaining cream cheese mixture and top with the remaining flakes of salmon.
Snip over some chives and top with chive flowers – just pull the tiny purple flowers away from the green bit. Eat with a crisp green salad (we’re loving red-tinged Little Gem lettuces and Lambs Lettuce at the moment) – I squeezed over a little lemon and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.
Today I drove the many miles southward to Hanbury Hall - a National Trust property near Droitwich, just south of Birmingham. I went to interview the Head Gardener for the sustainable food bulletin I edit as part of my volunteer role for the National Trust.
Hanbury Hall is possibly one of the prettiest Trust properties I’ve ever visited. The formal gardens are immaculate and full of colour – lots of orange and purple.
The house is very similar to my local Dunham Massey, but a little bit fancier and with more detail.
They have an Orangery and a Mushroom House (where mushrooms were grown for the Vernon family back in the 1860′s), and a large orchard full of ancient apple varieties.
But I was there to see the Walled Vegetable Garden. Down the end of long walkway, surrounded by high Yew hedges (very Alice in Wonderland!) are two old wooden gates set into a high red-bricked wall.
Inside was an idyllic scene of a beautiful working kitchen garden. There were chickens picking happily at the grass, neat row of vegetables – cabbages, Rainbow chard and lettuces to name but a few, bee hives and polytunnels (one bursting with a stunning display of colourful pumpkins and squashes). Sorry – I didn’t take any pictures inside the garden!
Hanbury Hall’s vegetable garden not only supplies the tea rooms with a bounty of fresh produce, eggs and honey throughout the year, but visitors can buy vegetables direct from the garden – simply ask a gardener for a celeriac, and they will go and pull one up for you right before your eyes, or maybe you’re after ruby red forced rhubarb – they can pick that for you while you watch.
How cool is that?!
After having a tour of the kitchen garden and doing my interview, I said goodbye to Neil, the Head Gardener and went for lunch in the tearoom.
In the tearoom you are greeted by a counter full of cakes (like most National Trust tearooms), but here at Hanbury they are quite different – perhaps you are tempted by a slice of their rich and moist Chocolate Beetroot Cake (I certainly was!), or their Parsnip and Caraway Seed Cake, maybe it’s their Honey Cake or my favourite a Victoria Sponge?
What’s special about these cakes is they feature vegetables and ingredients from the Walled Garden – beetroot, parsnip, caraway seeds, honey, eggs, and homemade jam (made with their own fruits, of course). I was also told their made courgette cake and even potato cake! All sweet.
In addition to my slice of Chocolate Beetroot Cake (which I didn’t eat first, I promise!), I had a bowl of vegetable soup with vegetables from the kitchen garden, and an apple and blackcurrant juice from a local producer in Worcestershire. The cake defeated me – I couldn’t manage the last mouthful – shameful, I know!
What a lovely visit and a delicious lunch, and a big thanks to the friendly staff at Hanbury Hall.
If you’d like to visit Hanbury Hall you can find more details here:
*Photos taken with camera phone – not looking too bad!
Last night we had the first fire of the season in our wood burning stove. It was such a treat to bring the logs in and curl up on the sofa by the fire.
We also made a delicious dinner from one of my favourite recipe books (it must seem like I have a lot of favourites!) - the Complete Traditional Recipe Book from the National Trust.
It was a Hobbler’s Seafood Pie – a so simple fish pie with rich creamy sauce and mash potato topping. Many of you readers will know that my camera’s broken, so I have included a photo of what it looks like in the recipe book – ours wasn’t far off!
Here’s my version with a couple of tweaks to the original recipe…
Hobbler’s Seafood Pie
Feeds 2 with enough leftovers for a light lunch
6 oz white fish (we used Coley)
2 oz prawns
1 tbsp chopped parsley
1 oz butter
1 oz plain flour
150ml fish stock
salt and pepper
freshly grated nutmeg
mashed potato to cover (add grated cheese for added luxury!)
*Note: use the best fish stock you can – obviously the best would be homemade, but we used ready-made fish stock from Waitrose (not the stuff in the fridge, but in the cooking ingredients section) and it made a great rich tasting sauce.
Put your potatoes onto boil – once tender drain, mash and add some grated cheddar.
Preheat your oven to 180°C.
Into your pie dish, cut the fish into largeish chunks. Scatter over the prawns and parsley.
Now make your white sauce: heat the milk and fish stock until warm. In a separate pan melt the butter, then stir in the flour. Cook for about 3 minutes stirring all the time. Stir in the warm milk mixture a little at a time, stirring all the while. Beat your sauce and bring to the boil – I read that the harder you beat your sauce the smoother it will be.
Once your sauce has come to the boil, turn it down and cook it a little longer whilst beating it. Turn off the heat, season with salt and pepper to taste, and grate in some nutmeg.
Pour the sauce over your fish and prawns, then top with the mashed potato – fluff up with a fork and cook in the oven for about 30 minutes until golden on top.