Friday, 24 December 2010

Silent Night

"Silent night, Holy Night! All is calm, all is bright." A wonderful time of year, full of joy, laughter, families, abundant love, and a time where calm is present perpetually. Though amidst this calm the very purest sense of pressure is also swirling with an almighty grip on some, if that is so, go gently now. As the sun begins her journey to another year a new Dawn will come, nothing stays the same.
Meanwhile Christmas beckons, and I’d like to send my hugest heartfelt hugs and love to anyone who may be struggling with the heightened pressures and emotions that come but once a year, in the kitchen and anywhere in life. Christmas brings both beauty and poignancy in equal measure, annual celebrations mark the changing face of time and everything is magnified. Each aspect of our lives shapes into the kaleidoscope that is our reality, brighter and more brilliant than at any other time, and things not going to plan become illuminated like the first ray of light after a storm. 
The burning hues of sadness, tinge our hearts, and become unbearably painful for some. What makes it a special time of year? It's a time when we hope to be surrounded by those we love most dearly and this may not always be possible. Christmas transports us to vivid childhood memories and the bold colours of innocence may open wounds with spear like intensity.

This year my beloved Dad passed away and two friends. The bittersweet poignancy of Christmas carries a different note that is hard to comprehend, few things comfort, though love and music, family and friends, in no uncertain terms do. Also the treasured memories that are irreplaceable will forever live on and warm my heart.

It is difficult for us, who are left behind; though it is with pure faith and love that I trust we will all meet again one day in a peaceful and better place. For anyone who has experienced loss, they will understand the longing for the sound and comfort of the voices no-longer present, the laughter that now whistles in the wind, that catches us off guard in moments of beauty. I always share a special tip in my posts; this one is as simple as it is pure.

Special tip – Be thankful for those we love, now and forever, they will always be in our hearts.

This recipe is especially for anyone who may be missing someone right now. I’ll call it, The Recipe of Life. Please share it with anyone who needs some TLC at Christmas time.

With All my love,

Wishing you a peaceful Christmas,

Love,

Sinead xxx

The Recipe of life

Ingredients

Trust, an epic handful
Love, 1 gallon, though this has a never ending flow
Sympathy, use sparingly – we all need to feel
Patience, one level tbsp
Serenity, an endless pour
Truth, only the essence will do
Forgiveness, for ourselves and all
Light to balance the dark
Acceptance, as much as you can afford
Hope, enough to fill the deepest bowl
Faith, in total abundance

MIX an inspired amount of total trust with love.
POUR a few drops of sympathy taking care not to overpower the blend; flavours and feelings need space to breath.
HEAT gently over a low flame, this time of year can be very chilly.
SPRINKLE over some patience and plenty of serenity.
ADD truth and forgiveness with unending light.
FOLD in acceptance and hope, take care here, these don’t always come easily.
STIR everything slowly together and with a steady hand, breathe deeply.
TRUST that the right flavours will develop with enough understanding and thought.
SHARE abundantly and remember friendship is the present we give and receive everyday.
LIGHT a candle on top and thank God for all the loved ones in our lives and cherish the memories of those who are no longer with us, may they rest in peace.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Angels and Strangers

Falling slowly from the sky,
A white feather passed me by.
Moments later I breathed a sigh,
My heart at peace, no need for why?

Winged petal
Do you know that feeling when you share eye contact with a stranger and somewhere deep inside there is a recognition and understanding that soars higher than words, as if you already knew this person? I love these moments and welcome them. 

Chance meetings are like the familiar chorus in a favourite song, they are very much familiar in a totally unfamiliar way, each new verse pushes us forward and then the tide of life washes us back, renewed each time! Like favourite smells, they spark excitement and vivid associations deepen. Christmas time is full of some such moments, its as though our senses are heightened and perhaps our hearts more open at this time of year.

I have a few favourite Christmas songs , this one brings me to happiness every time. Often we share a love/ hate relationship with classics. The infamous Brussel Sprout for instance. Gorgeously green and bursting with nutrients, it's a true case of love or loathe.  These green pearls are related to the cabbage family and contain vitamin A , C, potassium, calcium with a very high amount of protein. So with that in mind I’ve created the ultimate Vegetarian Christmas Supper. Supremely delicious and absolutely scrumptious, it will leave the Carnivorous kind hankering for some, because even though this dish is most definitely vegetarian it has the look and taste of a totally hearty and fulfilling meal. You'll feel luscously light and comfortable after this Angel Sprout Supper, the joy of quiet and stillness aid digestion, so why not indulge yourself with a great book.
I love Sprouts!

I love to read a good book on Christmas day, "Angels in my Hair" by Lorna Byrne makes for heartfelt Christmas reading. I found this book by chance;-))? Quiet, I mean shhhhhh, softly quiet . . . . . allows our mind time to process the ever changing events in our lives. And whether it’s found in your kitchen while gently chopping, stirring, or snuggled up in your favourite armchair reading, may your peace and QUIET be ever blissful and bring calming clarity so that lost connections may flourish and happy memories be rekindled. However you find serenity, remember an Angel is always close by;-) If in doubt read, "Angels in my Hair" !!
Special Tip – Go green in your kitchen. Buy some plants for your kitchen windowsill, they will refresh and cleanse the air, soak up carbon dioxide and pollutatants all the while. Creating calm in the heart of your home.

I have been nominated for a little blog award and would love your support, please click on this link and support Feeling Food. Thank you✩♡✩
Love, FFXX
Angels Sprout Supper

Ingredients

Red onion 1, peeled and roughly chopped
Purple sprouting broccoli 400g, stalks trimmed and cut into two inch pieces
Chestnut mushrooms 250g, cut in half
Brussels sprouts 300g
Garlic cloves 3, crushed
Wholegrain mustard 1 tbsp
Soured cream 300 ml
Eggs 4 whisked
Parmesan 50 grated
Filo pastry 1 packet
Olive oil 70ml

PRE-HEAT oven to 180’ gas 4.
HEAT one tbsp of oil in a large frying pan.
ADD red onion, broccoli, chestnut mushrooms, Brussels sprouts and garlic cloves.
COOK for ten minutes stirring frequently.
MIX wholegrain mustard, soured cream, eggs and Parmesan in a separate bowl, seasoning well.
POUR into pan and mix vegetables and liquid well.
BRUSH oil over (8in x 10in) 20cm x 28cm baking tray.
LAYER one sheet of filo on top and brush with oil all over.
REPEAT layering process with 5/6 more sheets, depending on how many are in the pack, you’ll want half the pack for the topping.
SPREAD vegetable mix evenly over the filo.
LAYER remaining filo on top repeating the brushing with oil process.
TRIM any excess filo around the edges.
LIGHTLY cut the pie diagonal across both ways, resembling the Union Jack flag.
BAKE for 45 minutes until lovely and golden.
SERVE with some cranberry sauce for a truly Christmassy delight.
LOVE sprouts, your body does;-))

Friday, 10 December 2010

Golden Wrap

Golden glitter wraps darkest night,
Christmas splendour makes hearts feel light.
Cherish the days, savour the sights,
Thank goodness for friends and family delights.
Sing, be merry, and always bright!

My bedroom floor was awash with golden glitter last night, a pretty sight, though totally accidental. As I wrapped some presents, I used the glitteriest wrap I’ve ever seen, glittery yes, and stubbornly unwrappable too. Happy I chose it of course, though because it seemed to repel sellotape, I used red ribbons instead, which worked a treat. I guess some things, like people, are different and often forcing the same formalities just isn’t going to work, and why should it?
A lovely alternative?! ;-D
I love cooking and I know many people who do also. That you’re reading this suggests maybe you do too, I hope so. Even so, if not, it doesn’t really matter, what counts is being open to new experiences. This Christmas I’m doing things differently, and while some traditions are cherished, I welcome new ones and cherish change. For in change I find “Festivities” that I never conceived before. New ideas are a wonderful gift and the generosity of feelings this time of year is sometimes overwhelming.

Pies, perfect for sharing
I love simplicity and have come up with the simplest of seasonal Festive Feeling Fish Pies. If you’re not a fish fan, use chicken breasts instead, it is a wonderful warming meal, and will be loved by all. Celeriac is a total delight and happy alternative to the usual potato topping of most fish pies. This recipe is for a the delightfully different readers, whatever that means, and of course everyone, however different we may seem there are some things we all share!

Celeriac feels light on the palette and holds a softly smooth fresh taste that compliments both fish and chicken beautifully. Naturally high in vitamin C & K, phosphorous and potassium, you’ll be humming a merry tune after eating, you’re body will be thanking you for this formidably festive fuel.

Mash, mash, mash
Special tip – Let go of the “Perfect Pie” complex. Yes, it could have done with more seasoning; yes it may be overly crispy. None of this truly matters, what counts, is that you’ve enjoyed the process and with each repetition of any recipe your confidence will grow a thousand fold.

Wishing you a Happy weekend, and may it be packed with the brightness found in nature and carrots!
Gorgeous colour

Love,

FFX

Festive Feeling Fish Pies
So warming and delicious
Serves 6

Celeriac 2 peeled and roughly cubed
Celery sticks 4, grated
Carrot, 1 large grated
Courgette 1 grated
Strong cheddar cheese 100g grated
Fish, a mix of salmon, cod and haddock fillets, skinned and cut into chunks
Flat leaf parsley 1 small bunch
Butter 25g
Dijon mustard 1 tsp
White pepper 1 tsp
Parmesan 50g


PRE-HEAT oven to gas 4, 180’.
COOK  celeriac in a saucepan with enough water to cover, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes.
MIX celery, carrot, courgette, cheddar cheese, fish and flat leaf parsley in a large bowl.
SEASON well.
MASH celeriac when cooked.
MIX into the mash, butter, white pepper, Dijon mustard and parmesan.
MASH mash, mash!
SPOON fish mixture into heatproof clay pots, or one appropriate sized heatproof dish
I prefer to use individual pots, they look prettier and feel more special.
SPOON over celeriac mash and smooth with the back of spoon.
SPRINKLE over some cheddar cheese on top for a gorgeous golden topping
PLACE pots on a baking tray and bake for 25 minutes.
SERVE with another of your favourite vegetables for a fantastic Festive feeling.
ENJOY!

Tuesday, 7 December 2010

Calm in December

Where would you like to go this December, to Destination Christmas calm perhaps? I’m checking in often this coming month. For in the hurry, hurry, rush, rush haste, to get things right, moments are missed and time, like that snag in your tights runs away, though the never ending ladder of lists sometimes seem relentless, a place called calm is closer than you may think!
A drop in the Ocean! Anish Kapoor brings beauty to London

I would cross an ocean to find you,
I would sail a thousand seas to be with you.
I would dive into your most perilous place to know you.
Oh lovely Octopus, your eight legs dance the merriest tune on my taste buds!


I have some lovely news to share, in October’s OMG Ottelenghi post there was a competition – the prize, Yotam’s latest cookbook “Plenty” and a recipe dedicated to the winning entry. My Ode to Octopus is a clue; guess what features in this recipe? When I read the winning entry below my mouth watered, in a way that only seafood can conjure.




“So my favourite food is without doubt the wonderful and bizarre looking fruit of the sea, the OCTOPUS!!
Simply lightly boiled, drizzled with olive oil, seasoned with salt n pep’s and a gentle sprinkling of paprika, gives an absolute taste sensation!!! Every mouthful, a heavenly chewy, juicy, pleasurable experience. What more could you ask for?”

What more indeed? Thank you to the Lovely Angie Monaghan, this recipe is for you and all the other Octopus lovers’ out there, if you’ve yet to try this sweet mild flavoured wonder now’s a good time. The generous ocean waves rock our taste buds as a treasure chest of seafood swims towards our nets, our appetites can’t help but celebrate, and today’s treasure is of course Octopus. Seafood is so good for us, bursting with zinc and essential fatty acids; it brings beauty and light feelings to our bodies. This Octopus dish makes an impressive starter or light lunch for a memorable occasion.

Special tip - Feasts aren’t about quantity, instead share a selection of delicacies and special foods that you may not often eat, to make for an unforgettable feast. Think oysters, think octopus, think caviar, think smoked salmon, ooh the oceans booty is purest beauty!

I hope your December is dreamy and calm in abundance and on the subject of Christmas presents, here’s one of the best any of us can give, words from another beauty;

“Oh, I love hugging. I wish I were an octopus, so I could hug 8 people at a time!” ~ Drew Barrymore

Hugs,

FFX

Oceans 8

Scrumptious!
Serves 6 as a starter, 4 for a light lunch

Ask your fishmonger to de-eye! Unless you have ambitions to be on I'm a Celebrity!
Octopus 2, cleaned and de-eyed! Roughly 1.2 kg
Celery 2 stalks roughly chopped
Carrot 1 roughly chopped
Shallots 4, halved, no need to skin
Sea salt
Potatoes 7 medium
Lemon 1 juiced
Extra-virgin olive oil, a generous drizzle
Flat leaf parsley 1 small bunch

PLACE octopus, celery, carrots, shallots and a generous sprinkle of salt into a pot.
POUR over 2 litres of water and bring to the boil.
SIMMER for 1 hour.
BOIL potatoes for 20 minutes in a separate pan.
DRAIN and allow to cool, before peeling and slicing into chunks.
SPOON the octopus into the sink and rinse well, peeling of the outer skin, which comes away very easily.
CHOP octopus into cubes.
MIX potatoes, octopus, lemon juice, olive oil and flat leaf parsley together.
SERVE warm on warmed plates.
SWIMMINGLY sensational!

Friday, 3 December 2010

To Risotto and beyond

Pearls of Aborio transform,
Stirred.
Like shifting sands,
Soaked with stock.
Twirled by hands and
Simmered simply.
Mmmm,
Spooned gently, energy giving
And cooked with love. . . . .

Ah risotto. The Italians,  patriots of romance, fine food and beauty, bring a dish - chameleon like in essence. Risotto’s many guises are too many to count,  from porcini mushrooms to truffle unctuousness, to simply Parmesan then pretty peppers, and the choice and combinations are endless, much like their sumptuous ice creams! Yum!

Christmas is soon upon us. A chance meeting got me thinking, hold that thought, is anything chance? The words shared can be summarised in three, “WAIT,” – “BE PATIENT.”
Now we're not talking life-changing decisions here. We’re talking when to put up the Christmas tree. When is the right time? Well, it’s going to be different for us all, if you have children then Christmas comes early, if not?

 I have a request, compare Christmas preparations to a special Sunday roast, where you’re favourite people will be present, the best presents! Imagine you’re roasting a joint in the oven, if you start to early you’re left with dry meat, to late and stress slinks her slippery grip tightly around your temples. We definitely don’t want that. I guess trust that the right time will become clear.

One question I’m often asked, what to do with Turkey leftovers? Traditionally sandwiches are the obvious solution – though cold and often dry, despite copious amounts of mayo, sandwiches are hard to make with love! Risotto however, woohoo, there’s a delight!

Creamiliciously good, paired with sweet, sweet corn, and a bejeweled bowl of beauty awaits, all golden and white, totally festive and unbelievably simple to make. No stock cube required either!


Special tip – Smile while you stir your risotto! I promise it will taste better while also setting off an emotional chain reaction of positivity. This blog isn’t called Feeling Food for nothing!! ;-))

Sending you warm weekend hugs.

FFX

TURKEY FESTIVE GOLDEN RISOTTO

SERVES 6

Cooked Turkey meet, 300g shredded
Corncobs 4
Onion 1 finely chopped
Olive oil 2 tbsp
Spring onions 1 bunch finely chopped
Arborio rice 400g
White wine vinegar 2 tbsp
Flat leaf parsley 1 bunch roughly chopped
Celery salt 1 tsp (this is a magical ingredient)
Butter, 25g
Black pepper, a generous scratch
Parmesan, freshly grated 3 tbsp

Try slicing husks in a pot to avoid flying kernels!
CAREFULLY slice husks away from the cob.
POUR 2 litres of water into a large pot, along with cobs and onions, leave the kernels to one side.
BRING to boiling point then simmer for 20 minutes.
NOW add husks and season generously, simmer for a further five minutes.
STRAIN broth, reserving the stock. I place another pot in the sink with a colander over the top, keep the kernels and strained onions to use later .
TAKE care it’s very hot.
HEAT a large pan for a minute and pour in olive oil.
STIR in onion and fry briefly, before adding vinegar.
POUR in the rice and give a good stir.
LADLE one spoon of the stock into the rice and stir until absorbed.
REPEAT this process, smiling all the while!
MANY happy thoughts later, 20 minutes to be exact, add the cooked turkey, corn kernels, parsley, butter, celery salt, pepper and Parmesan.
MOMENTS later having given a few more special stirs to heat everything through, serve lovingly and enjoy the special times to come.
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