Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Heading to the Emerald Isle

I will be away for the next few weeks, foraging in West Cork. We have no land line or Internet connection, so with my green notebook in hand I shall be collecting lots of local recipes and taking many photo’s to share with you on my return. The Leprechauns have got some very special recipes up their sleeves, I'm told!!!

Thank you for signing up to my blog and I wish you all a fantastic summer, I hope there is much eating al fresco and lots of happy times for you in August.

Here's an Irish blessing for you -

May the road rise up to meet you,
May the wind be always at your back,
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
The rain fall soft upon your fields and,
Until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.



Monday, 2 August 2010

Feeling Good About Fish

A leafy London street, lined with Victorian buildings hosts a fish wonder I’d never tried, until now. On Friday, instead of me eating fish, they ate me. Hundreds of little fish, known as Garra Rufa sampling my tootsies, endlessly hungry it seemed. The venue, Aqua Sheko, was a soothing hubbub of fish joy, the relaxing ambiance was a delight. Calm brings calm, and the kind lady who welcomed us had a warmth that is unmistakeable in busy London.

I’ve often said, the way we treat ourselves says a lot about our state of mind, and our capacity for self-love. I’ve read countless times; that how we see others is similar to holding a mirror up to ourselves. The more I reflect on this, the clearer it becomes, literally. We all know eating fish is good for us, who’d of thought them eating us would be too!

Cooking for me is a pure experience, no fuss is necessary, unless invited and the results are simple, rewarding and tasty, hopefully.

I love to look at fish. 

 I love to eat fish.

I sometimes dream of fish.

I love that eating fish is healthy and have now discovered that I am happy for them to eat me too! However, no sharks are welcome.

Salty sea air builds great appetites. On a recent trip to Devon we went sailing on a friends boat, I saw this boat below and thought how homely it looked. This new recipe has a delicious cooking aroma, and chorizo fans will have a field day, I serve it with char-grilled courgettes and artichokes, it would work well with fennel too. Welcome home the lovely sailors in your life with this simple fish dinner. Ahoy me hearties!  

Happy Haddock with chorizo
haddock loins, 2                                  
lemon, 1
olive oil, 1 tablespoons
chorizo sausage, 70g roughly chopped on a diagonal                                                                                     
red onion 1 small chopped                                                                                                                     
capers, rinsed 1 tbsp                                                                                                                                        
knob of butter 25g                                                                                                                                    
flat leaf parsley, 1 small bunch                                                                                                                              
HEAT oil in a pan and cook chorizo, red onion and capers for a few minutes.
ADD a generous scratch of black pepper and knob of butter.
SEAR the loins for 3 minutes on either side in the same pan, leave to rest for a couple of minutes.
SQUEEZE over lemon juice.
SERVE haddock topped with the capers and chorizo on a bed of Machengo mash.
SCATTER over flat leaf parsley. 

Saffron Machengo mash

The humble spud is given a golden glow, blushing with flavour.

Maris pipers,
6 medium peeled and cut in quarters
crème fraiche, 100ml
saffron ½ tsp
Machengo cheese, 100g grated                                                                                                                                  
knob of butter 25g

BOIL Maris pipers for 15 minutes in salty water.
GENTLY heat crème fraiche to simmering point.
GRIND saffron in pestle and mortar and stir in creme fraiche.
MASH potatoes and spoon in the luscious golden creamy saffron sunshine.
SPRINKLE over cheese and add knob of butter.
MASH once again and keep warm until ready to serve.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

The Willling Rhubarb

An affable guest in the summer garden, her crimson red stalks spear from the ground like a triumphant gladiator, beckoning morning glory in the form of the most majestic breakfast muffins. Sweet floating smells in the morning make for a most pleasant waking call, and these muffins will have you hankering for breakfast rather than sleeping in.

Summer breakfasts welcome lightness and freshness to our days, these muffins certainly do. Some flavours call for questions about roots, rhubarb renders us senseless. Who’d know it’s originally from China? To those in the rhubarb know, AKA Da-Huang. I’m a great believer in respecting the mystery of flavours, though I do like to know that what I’m eating is good for me, as I’m sure you do too.

Without over egging the muffins, baked rhubarb is reportedly anti-cancerous, as it contains polyphenols, it has been hinted that these may fight the growth of cancer cells. Spear shaped for a reason perhaps?

Growing up with Groucho Marx, a favourite of my Dads, made for happy times. He had a good take on life, “Well, art is art, isn’t it? Still, on the other hand, water is water! And east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now, uh, you tell me what you know.”

The key to eating well, feeling well and being well is beautiful balance. Feeling hungry isn’t the same as being hungry, confusing? Next time you crave something, eat something healthy. Our bodies, when treated well are totally magnificent, if rhubarb is medicinal, great, if these muffins are to your liking better still! If something is both these things, AMAZING! Enjoy and share with people you love. Healthy food makes for fuller experiences, our fuel is quintessential to quality of life.

Wishing you a very Happy monday!



Light brown self-raising flour 300g
Mixed spice 1 tsp
Sweet freedom 100ml
buttermilk 200ml
ginger 1tsp finely chopped
butter 125g melted
egg 1
mint leaves 10 finely chopped
vanilla extract 1 tsp
fresh rhubarb 180g cut into 1 cm chunks

HEAT the oven to 180’/ Gas 4.

SIFT flour and mixed spice into a large bowl.

WHISK buttermilk, ginger, butter, egg, sweet freedom and vanilla extract together in a jug.

MAKE a well in the centre of dry ingredients.

POUR in buttermilk mixture and fold in rhubarb and mint until everything is combined, 18 strokes should do.

PLACE 12 muffin cases in muffin tin and fill with cake mixture.

BAKE for 30 minutes, check with a cocktail stick, it should come out clean when pressed into the centre of a muffin.

TRANSFER to a wire rack to cool, these are best served warm, with a dollop of Greek yogurt.

HANDY TIP - For quick and fuss free ginger, try The Gourmet Garden brand. It keeps well in the fridge and spices up many things.