Sunday, 29 May 2011

lemon pepper fennel with raw broccoli salad

hey everyone! hope your day is going brilliantly so far :)

today i want to tell you the wonders of fennel! i actually have never really been a big fan of liqorice flavour, but fennel somehow is wonderful, especially when roasted...

and fennel is just so beautiful, isn't it?

quarter the fennel lengthways and roast in a foil wrap with some lemon rind, pepper, salt and olive oil - enjoy!

serve with a raw broccoli salad (marinated in olive oil, with tomato, spinach and gherkin) - i also love the texture of the cooked fennel, it's kind of soft yet with a little bite.

do you like fennel? how do you like to cook or serve it?

currently loving: city life eats lunchboxes - i actually cannot get enough of them!!

Thursday, 26 May 2011

raspberry granola parfait and roasted herb pollack

i've recently learnt something very important - that sometimes it's ok to let someone else do the cooking! i'm a little bit of a control freak in the kitchen, and the best way of dealing with that is to get other people to make a meal...

my mum makes an awesome yogurt, granola and raspberry breakfast - my favorite sort of food...

my brother is a secret chef actually - he has the cunning ability to take any fish i give him and make it taste wonderful - though i'm not sure what his secret is, because he won't ever tell me...

it was served with rocket, roasted cauliflower and red pepper and summer squash (which oddly enough, didn't end up in this photograph, but is in the one above? - it was really yummy anyway!)

the other thing about letting other people cook, is that i can take some time to relax, chill out and catch up on reading or crafting or tea drinking. it's lovely to be served something that you haven't made, and to be fed delicious food by family and friends. i am so grateful to everyone that cooks for me, it shows so much love and respect :)

currently loving: these beds (especially the second one!) from moon to moon

Monday, 23 May 2011

barbecued fish and strawberry gateau

recently, my friend lizzie had her birthday, and she came round to our house with a load of people from church to celebrate! it was such a pleasure to cook for her special day, and lots of fun making her birthday cake.

we had perfect barbecue weather, and my brother tended the barbecue like a real champion. on it, we had a sardines and herbed aubergine, and then of course, sausages, burgers and chicken (the usual) - all served up with a massive, very colorful salad, and coleslaw. everyone seemed to enjoy themselves, and lizzie was a very happy birthday girl :)

the birthday girl with her strawberry gateau!

barbecued herb aubergine and sardines with salad - an epic summer meal.

the boys by the barbecue - of course...

the sardines a-cooking.

i hope you are all well and having the best day!

currently loving: america's next top model finale!

Friday, 20 May 2011

courgette bacon wraps and roasted rhubarb

as you read this i'm probably sat in a car driving down the west coast of france! yippee for scheduled posting :) 

i'll be tweeting and twitpic-ing this week when i'm on holiday, to test out the usefulness of the iphone wifi whilst abroad in preparation for australia, and obviously to give you guys a sneak peek of what i'm eating (i can't wait to go to the supermarche!!) and doing (we're going to puy du fou - i'm so excited!), before i get back and share it with you all...

so, before i show you all my latest tasty treats, i wanted to give you the recipe for coconut porridge, that i posted about on wednesday. it passed the yummy test to get into my new cookbook, but as wonderful blog readers, you get to see it before it's in print! here goes...

coconut porridge - serves 2

2/3 cup milk
1/4 cup dessicated coconut
1 tsp vanilla
2 Tbsp ground almonds
1 Tbsp ground golden flaxseeds
pinch salt
  1. heat the milk in a small saucepan until warm.
  2. stir in the coconut, vanilla, almonds and flaxseeds.
  3. heat until creamy and thick.
  4. serve warm with a sprinkle of dried cranberries, almonds and a spoonful of pear puree

i hope you like it - let me know what you think!

now onto my latest eats:

♥ homegrown purple sprouting broccoli with celery and tomato salad and courgette bacon wraps - simple and satisfying. especially wonderful eaten out in the summerhouse on a nice sunny day!

♥ blueberries and cream. yummy, yummy, yummy.

♥ prawns, homegrown asparagus, macaroni bake and celery tomato salad (and lots of mayonnaise - i'm addicted!)

♥ roasted homegrown rhubarb with a little honey and homemade yogurt

that's a lot of homegrown and homemade, huh? one year ago i never would have dreamed that our new allotment would feed us so well, or that i'd love gardening and growing as much as i do :) or that i'd ever be persuaded to make my own yogurt after some serious easiyo disasters.

currently watching: catch up tv - glee and being erica in particular - love those shows.

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

coconut porridge and european food love

hi everyone! i hope you are well and happy :)

i am still as busy as ever - cooking non-stop in preparation for my first cookbook (woop woop!) and just generally preparing for france shortly and australia next month. isn't it funny how life is such a roller coaster, with long quiet periods and very busy ones in between? i'm thankful for the combination, because if life were like quiet or busy all the time i think i'd go a little crazy.

anyway, cooking is a refuge, and i'm grateful that i can find peace and joy in the kitchen. so in between writing about creating a perfect clafoutis, calling insurance companies and taking ebay parcels to the post office, i'm happy to indulge in a little quiet time mixing new ingredients and flavours into something yummy and satisfying...

so onto my latest eats:

coconut porridge -a happy new favorite. very low in carbs, yet high in fibre and good fats! topped with a few cranberries and some honey, this was scrumptious.

lunch out with my friend Sammy in Waitrose, where i tucked into a goat's cheese and edamame bean salad with watercress. it was pretty yummy actually, and the little dressing was very good. more than anything, it was nice to be out and catching up with a lovely friend :)

then off to another friend's for lunch the following day, where she kindly prepared me a tasty tuna avocado salad - it's such a pleasure when other people are happy to cook for me. emily was delighted to come up with a recipe that she wouldn't normally eat, but that tasted really delicious... and she tucked into a salad bowl just as full!

new holland publishers kindly sent me a copy of the food lover's guide to europe by cara frost-sharratt to review...

it's a really neat little idea of a book actually - with tips on local foods, restaurants, lifestyle, markets, food related tours and museums, and of course, recipes! next time i'm taking a city break i'll probably be picking it up to see what the foodie suggestions are.

the pictures are gorgeous, and it would be a great book for anyone thinking of coming to europe, as it does give a really good sense of what europe is like, and how important the food is to each culture.

i've not cooked any of the recipes yet, but they are really more of an addition to the book, rather than it's main focus, which is a shame. but from reading through i've learnt all about the artichoke festival in iria, the pork specialities in the restaurant majore in sicily and falmouth oyster festival - where else would i find out about those?

it's also handily got the time zone, currency, telephone code, capital and spoken languages listed with each country. and some countries have their regions separated also, so you can find slightly more detailed info.

overall, the book was not quite what i expected, but it is very useful nonetheless, especially when planning future foodie trips around europe! i might even be inspired to go somewhere new - salzburg and bucharest are currently climbing the charts...

because this book was sent for me to review, the wonderful company are offering a discount code * to my readers (how nice!) - so if you want to take advantage, all you have to do is enter the discount code Apples at the checkout on the New Holland website, and you'll get 25% off the regular book price, plus free P&P!

* this discount code is eligible until 30th September 2011, to all UK residents, and cannot be used in conjunction with any other offer.

currently listening to: 's wonderful by joao gilberto

Saturday, 14 May 2011

swede fries and pear nutmeg compote

hey everyone! hope all is well with you 

i've had a busy few days, and what with blogger's little upset day yesterday, i'm only just getting round to posting. i've been eating breakfast for every meal for the last week - in preparation for the publication of my first cookbook... oooh, excitement!! and i'm headed off for a pre-oz holiday in france for 10 days next week. woop woop. 

plus, i've been posting every day this week over on my juvenile diabetes blog as part of diabetes blog week. it's been a really fun experience, and i've learnt loads from other bloggers, as well as being able to share some of what i've learnt about living with the big D.

anyway, now onto my latest eats...

swede fries are sort of an obsession of mine at the moment - they taste amazing, and they're texture is just like the best thing EVER. with a little swedish mustard, chopped salad and red onion courgettes i'm a happy girl :)

pear nutmeg compote with a little homemade granola, and bacon with mushroom scramble. and a cup of green tea with lemon. love love love.

currently watching: eurovision... it's sort of a tradition for our family to watch it together, and so we always have a laugh and enjoy writing on our scorecards (cheesy, but awesome fun!)

ps. i'm so jealous of laura's recent trip to nyc - i hope i get to go back there next year... new york city is such a seriously amazing place!

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

a nice rice dream

ok, well i didn't actually dream about rice. but i might from now on. why? because rice milk has entered into my life. and i'm sure that all my dreams about rice from now on will be absolutely wonderful...

now, less of the weird. the lovely people at rice dream contacted me to ask if i'd review their product - and the email literally came the afternoon after i'd read a post all about how to make your own brown rice milk at home. so i figured that i sort of had to...

and i must admit to a LARGE amount of skepticism on my part. milk from rice, seriously? i can kind of get almond milk, soy milk and even oat milk, but surely rice doesn't have enough milkiness in it to make something satisfying? 

turns out, of course, that i was wrong. whilst it's certainly not the creamiest 'milk', it does taste really good. and i would happily put it on my cereal or in my porridge or use it in my baking any time.

rice milk makes a beautiful milkshake mixed in equal parts with frozen berries and topped with fresh mint

the original + calcium is a great alternative to dairy milk - although i'm never so keen on having to add in vitamins and minerals, i'd rather get them from some other wholefood. though for you vegans and lactose or dairy free people out there, i think rice milk is a better option than soy... it tastes better, and is much more gentle on your systems.

rice porridge with rice milk and pineapple - actually turned out to be really good! i will be making this again, with a few adjustments, before i share the recipe with you. suffice to say, it won't be a chore to make this and eat it again and again til i get it just perfect!

one day soon i quite fancy making my own rice milk and comparing the two. i figure it's probably got to be one of the cheapest 'milks' to make at home, and certainly the instructions in the previously mentioned post make it sound really easy to do as well. so, watch this space.

do you like rice milk? or have you ever tried it? what are your favorite rice milk recipes?

currently listening to: grenade by bruno mars

ps. i'm loving being part of diabetes blog week over at my juvenile diabetes blog - go and check it out to find out more about the awesome online diabetic community!

Monday, 9 May 2011

homemade sauerkraut with dill and caraway

i officially love sauerkraut. my love for it has been growing over the past few weeks, since i started my first batch of homemade. and i am now addicted.

sauerkraut is simply just pickled cabbage. but there's a variety of ways you can make it, and a bunch of recipes that i went through in order to find 'the one' - so in a mo i'll let you all in on my sauerkraut making secrets...

my first wonderful jar of homemade raw sauerkraut

but first, a little info about why on earth you would ever bother to make sauerkraut:
1. it's delicious. i've never really had sauerkraut, and so i wasn't sure if i'd like it. fermented cabbage sounds gross, but with some dill and caraway (the traditional blend) and a few weeks in the fridge, it is almost addictive. 
2. it's convenient. it's the perfect thing to keep in your pantry or fridge and use when you've run out of fresh veg. it's a great accompaniment to anything.
3. its cheap. seriously, i can buy one whole cabbage for 50-80p, and then all i need is salt. that's then enough for a whole jar of sauerkraut!
4. it's got anti-cancer isothiocyanate and sulphuraphane - these are preventative substances thought to prevent cancer growth. and they are just naturally living in this raw cultured cabbage amazingness.
5. it's loaded with vitamin c - sailors used to take it with them on long journeys to prevent scurvy.
6. it's good for your gut - the lactic acid in the sauerkraut helps create an awesome inner ecosystem and helps keep your digestion full of the right acids so it can do it's job properly. if you're having digestive issues, then this should clear things up.
7. it's fun to make - i thought the process would be quite monotonous, but it turned out to be just like a school science experiment, checking each day for progress of bubbles and water levels and colour change!
8. there are so many different varities. think kimchitsukemonosuan caiatchara...

i've mostly eaten it alongside salads, even though it's a traditional accompaniment to sausages.

so how do you do it?

 - start by finely slicing a cabbage (red or white), keeping one or two of the outside leaves for later
 - then for every cabbage you chop, add in 1 tbsp good sea salt (don't ruin it with bad salt!)
 - in a very large bowl start scrunching the cabbage together with your hands. feel free to add some dill and caraway seeds or other veggies at this point. taste it whilst raw to see if you like the flavouring... adjust to suit.
 - keep scrunching and pounding for 10 minutes until there is a good quantity of liquid at the bottom of the bowl
 - pack the wilted cabbage tightly into a glass jar, placing one or two of the saved leaves on top to protect it.
 - push the mix down until juice covers the top of it, then place a glass jar filled with water on top to weight it down (depending on the jar you use, you could put a plate on top, then a weight)
 - cover with a tea towel and elastic band to hold in place, and leave in a room of about 18-21c (not in full sun) for 4-5 days at the least. check every day to make sure that the liquid is above the cabbage. top up with distilled water if necessary. 
 - leave the cabbage to ferment as long as you prefer. the longer you leave it the tangier it will taste... i left mine 7 days and then placed it in the fridge. 3 weeks later, on my last mouthful, it tasted perfect!

check out this article for more ideas on the benefits of raw fermented sauerkraut! and ideas on what other things to add into your pickling jar. or see this video of how to make a simple raw sauerkraut...

i hope you join in on the sauerkraut fun! any questions, please ask...

currently reading: the primal blueprint by mark sisson - still very informative and interesting!

Thursday, 5 May 2011

raw garlic mushrooms and elaborate lunches

so, life has become a bit hectic since i passed the '7 weeks til Australia' line - suddenly i realised there's a LOT to do before i jet off for warmer shores... oh well, at least i realise now rather than in the week before.

so, i'm applying for my international driver's licence, selling loads of clothes on ebay, shredding unwanted paperwork, organising medical supplies, deciding on which technology to take with me, getting unfinished craft projects completed, and filling out my tax return. 6 months is a long time to have unfinished business lying around - and i want to have everything prepared just in case.

so, lunches have been a welcome retreat from the business of all that's going on. thus, they have become quite elaborate...

dill egg mayonnaise, sliced avocado, garlic mushrooms, pickled herring and colourful chopped salad with radish, tomatoes and cucumber. very delicious, especially with all the extensive chopping and dicing that went into it!

raw garlic mushrooms are really delicious and easy to make - simply chop up some mushroom and mix with olive oil and finely chopped garlic. let it sit for a few hours until the mushrooms darken and look cooked... serve alongside your favorite salad or on top of some buttered toast. yum.

and we had little visitor yesterday too - my cute niece, Juliet. she was born back in february, and is now a very sweet tempered 3 month old with the prettiest smile and longest legs ever!

i am officially the proudest and most excited auntie ever! i get to buy her pretty dresses and tiny socks. and i can't wait for a few years time when she can come round to my house for waffles and sleepovers. and then a few years later when we can watch Friends and eat sophisticated salads and paint our toenails together. oh the joy of little babies :)

currently watching: episodes of america's next top model on youtube - it's nearly the series finale, and i can't wait to see who will win (i want it to be hannah)!

Monday, 2 May 2011

homegrown asparagus with butter

this is just a simple post to tell you all about the wonders of homegrown asparagus!

it's perhaps the easiest thing to grow - it's perennial so you only have to plant it once, and it doesn't really require much watering.

we planted ours last year (10 crowns) at the allotment, and this year we've been able to harvest about 12 spears, before leaving them another year to fully mature. hopefully next year all our patient waiting will result in lots more delicious asparagus!

the spears are freshly cut at an angle just under the soil level, and then washed to remove any dirt...

then quickly boiled in water for about 8 minutes until tender and served with some butter and pepper - deliciousness!

oddly my mum doesn't really like supermarket asparagus but adores homegrown. it tastes different, with a deeper & richer flavour - and has a crisper texture too. 

it's one of my favorite treats of spring! so clean and fresh and perfect.

currently listening to: fall into place by apartment