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I could live off meals like this at the moment: tasty, simple and stuffed full of vegetables. This was a leftovers meal, the pan-fried summer vegetables I’d made the day before, cooking sliced onion, peppers, and courgettes in olive oil before adding a couple of chopped plum tomatoes from a tin (not the juice).
The potatoes had also been boiled up the day previously, and these I crisped up in the frying pan – something my mom used to do a lot when I was growing up. All popped on a plate with a dressed salad (a creamy quince and cider dressing bought from Bath Farmer’s Market) and a big dollop of herby cream cheese.
I am so happy to be back in my little blog home – it has been far too long and I have missed sharing my food adventures.
Since getting engaged back in September 2009, we have been steadily planning and preparing for our wedding. As the date drew nearer – 21st May 2011 – I have just had little time to do much else (whilst juggling it along with my job and my website).
Here’s a picture of some of the cakes our family and friends made for our wedding – the big white one in the middle so beautiful decorated was made by my Granny!
To save me rambling on for too long, I’m going to do some bullets of what’s been going on in our lives for the past few months I’ve been missing from here, and then aim to follow with a nice post and recipe for a fab barbecue we had over the weekend:
- Most importantly – we got married! On 21st May 2011, I married Mr Rigg in my home village in Gloucestershire – we had a beautiful, rustic country wedding, with a party in my parent’s garden, lots of local cider and perry, AMAZING food (lots of it local) and just an all round fab day. If you’re at all interested, photos and details will follow on my website.
- We honeymooned in an incredible Canopy & Star’s hideaway for a week and took Buddy with us (more details and hopefully a couple of foodie posts on this to follow).
- Sadly, Mr Rigg’s lovely Granny who was always so interested in what we were doing passed away.
- After spending an exorbitant amount of time and effort getting our allotment covered in manure and getting rid of all the weeds over the winter…we have neglected it and it is now overrun with weeds – we are totally and utterly the worst looking allotment – gutted.
- Although we haven’t got a lot growing (and the radishes all matured as we headed south for our wedding), we have got a couple of healthy pea plants, some small beetroot seedlings, potatoes growing (only just!) and quite a few courgette, squash and pumpkin plants.
I am just so happy to ‘be back’ and can’t wait to get growing and cooking some decent food – and to share it all! I’ll leave you with a picture of my overgrown garden…
On Sunday we entered a couple of items into our local produce show. Sadly I overcooked my lemon drizzle cake and it came in a miserable fourth…gutted. My marmalade didn’t even come anything – I won’t be trying that Country Living recipe again.
Thankfully we got three 2nd place awards – for our giant yellow courgette, a pretty arrangement of hedgerow berries, and a plate of fruit scones. The recipe for my scone’s comes from my colleague and friend Jane – who makes the best scones ever. No question.
My version of Jane’s fruit scones had a ‘lovely appearance’ but I lost marks because I didn’t tidy up the edges (i.e. pull off the currants that were sticking out…) and they needed a pinch of salt. Hmm. I’m not sure I can be doing with winning 1st prize if I’m required to carefully tidy up the edge of my scones, and besides, I like rustic food.
Mr Rigg is nurturing a monster in our garden…
I’m not doing very well at keeping up with … well … updating! There’s so much I want to share and yet I must find more time! And so many promised posts and recipes … I haven’t even finished off my food memories of Italy (part 1 and 2), and that was last September!
Note to self: must try harder.
On a jollier note, we had a scrumptious and so SO simple tea of roasted summer vegetables. This is my idea of cooking, of eating, of tasting. And what a Nigel Slater way to eat dinner – just a plate of roasted vegetables and some hunks of good bread to mop up the juices.
In my pan of delicious roasted vegetables were the following: baby orange peppers, red pepper, yellow cherry tomatoes, red baby plum tomatoes and homegrown yellow courgette. All cut into similar sized chunks, drizzled with good olive oil and roasted.
The added extra that make this dish really simple were liberal dollops of sundried tomato paste, hunks of buffalo mozzarella, finely chopped garlic, a sprinkling of dried herbs, and some good old fashioned seasoning (salt and pepper).
I also whizzed up lots of fresh basil, extra virgin olive oil, and a good handful of grated Parmesan which was drizzled over everything towards the end of the cooking, and extra served fresh.
You can’t get better than that!
This week I am taking a few days off from work and have left Mr Rigg and our menagerie of animals behind in Cheshire. I am visiting my family in the Cotswolds and trying not to get too hot in this almost unbearable humidity.
My mom’s garden is full of bee’s swarming over her lavender hedges, whilst everything else is looking a little thirsty. We’ve done a bit of shopping, sat for a while to chat and drink coffee and strawberry lemonade (delicious) in Made By Bob, took Alfie the family deerhound for a walk in search of a little owl that is nesting in an old tree (sadly we didn’t see it), and ate a scrummy courgette risotto.
Tonight we are planning a summer vegetable pasta dish, using vegetables from my mom’s allotment – the last of the broad beans, French beans and an assortment of courgettes. All mixed together with a health glug of good olive oil and lots of garlic.
We also rescued a rather forlorn butterfly from the village church, who was covered in cobwebs. We freed him from the dust and webs and set him on a bunch of purple wisteria flowers – he happily tucked into the nectar and I took a few snaps.
Will be back towards the end of the week no doubt with a full round up of making clotted cream ice cream, homemade scones, strawberry jam and other bits and pieces! But for now, I’m enjoying not being tied to the laptop.
Our allotment is beginning to take shape – finally it looks like an allotment. That might sound funny, but it’s true. Until the other week it wasn’t much more than a strip of motorway verge. All overgrown and unloved.
Now it has a small lawn (currently suffering under the baking sun) for us to sit and eat lunch on, a herb garden (thyme in full flower), potatoes about to flower, sunflowers, courgette and pumkin plants, slender sweetcorn plants, and the beginnings of bark pathways. It is so exciting!
As a child courgettes were one of the vegetables I loathed. I remember them cut in thick slices and cooked until slightly soft and mushy. They were gross.
Now I have a much better relationship with courgettes, I have found ways in which to eat and cook them which have made me fall in love with them. Courgettes are starting to ripen and I picked up a couple from Little Heath Farm that had been grown by a local lady with a large garden. There was a perfectly formed round yellow courgette which I couldn’t resist, and chose a couple of green ones as well. With some delicious French chevre cheese in the fridge along with a pack of Parma ham, a simple egg dinner was dreamt up – a frittata (fantastic as a store cupboard meal for those evenings when you can’t think what else to cook) with courgette, goat’s cheese and shreds of salty ham.
I’ve got another lovely courgette dish that I’ll post soon – semi-dried courgette and chilli pasta.
Here’s how to make it…
Soften half an onion in a little butter and oil. Next, grate up your courgettes and pop them into the pan.
There’s quite a bit of water in the courgettes, so let it cook out and then continue to saute the courgette until all the liquid has disappeared – a beautiful smell will start to waft up and fill your nostrils. Then you know it’s ready.
Whisk up a couple of eggs (I used four for two of us) and season well with ground pepper and salt…
Pour the beaten eggs into the pan with the courgette and onion mixture. Crumble over the goat’s cheese…
Finally shred over the Parma ham and bung in the oven for about 15 minutes until cooked.
I find the frittata is best left for 10-15 minutes before eating, more of the flavours come through than when it’s piping hot.
Now here’s the recipe for anyone who fancies making it for themselves.
Courgette, goat’s cheese and Parma ham frittata
Feeds two hungry people
1/2 onion, diced
2 courgettes (1 green, 1 yellow)
1/2 slice of goat’s cheese
a couple of slices of Parma ham, torn into pieces
*Please note, ideally you need a pan with a metal handle that can go into the oven – if you don’t, you will need to pop it under the grill rather than in the oven.
Preheat the oven to about 200°C.
In a pan, heat a little butter and olive oil and saute the chopped onion until soft.
Grate the courgettes and add to the softened onion. Cook the courgettes – water will come out of them, so just keep cooking them gently until it all disappears and it starts to smell nice.
Beat the egg and season well with salt and pepper. Tip the egg into the pan with the courgettes and onion and keep on a medium heat while you crumble over the goat’s cheese and add the torn Parma ham.
Turn off the heat and bung the pan into the oven for about 15 minutes until nicely golden on top and cooked through.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool a little (about 10-15 minutes). Cut into wedges and serve on its own or with a garden fresh green salad.