Friday, 10 August 2012

Pretty Perfume

“Who looks outside, dreams;
Who looks inside wakes.”
C. G. Jung

I’m going away for a few weeks on summer holiday! I'm looking forward to taking my baby son for his first splash in the sea, watching my older son sail. I will try my hand at painting, read a few books, jog each morning, enjoy yoga on the pier, meditate, stroke "Rusty" the cat, watch period drama's and chat away the hours, there will be lots of wholesome cooking too.

I won’t be writing my blog for a few weeks, so before I go, I wanted to share a special seasonal summer fruits recipe. This recipe is like a warm hug for the taste buds. Summer is full of little fruity gems, bursting with flavour, natural goodness, sweetness and fragrant perfume. The fruity scents and spices make this recipe irresistible. When you smell the wafting perfume, you may be very glad indeed that you tried this out. The freshness is like a sea view, both cleansing and healing...
A stones throw from where we stay

Feel free to choose your favourite fruits, though perhaps first time round, follow the recipe. I’m using a selection of my favourite summer fruits, including cherries; they are a good source of vitamin A and potassium, peaches, plump and lustrous skin will be yours for the taking - food like this nourishes on so many levels. Gorgeous figs promote a good nights sleep, so this would finish off a special meal beautifully.

The kitchen is quiet, the sky brightest blue, baby is sleeping and the kettle gently whistling. Breakfast time, one of summertime’s sweetest sojourns, watching the sunrise is a special joy and I’m reminded that each day brings new possibilities and promise.

I’m quietly considering, like a lion bathing in the shade, this is the stuff that dreams are made of… 

Wishing you all the most wonderful rest of summer, full of laughter and reflective insight!


Roasted Summer Fruits

Peach, 1 stoned and cut into wedges
Nectarine, 1 stoned and cut into wedges
Cherries, 12 stoned and halved
Figs, 4 trimmed and quartered
Black pepper, a small pinch
Grape juice, 4 tbsp
Sweet freedom/ maple syrup, 4 tbsp
Cinnamon stick, 1
Vanilla pod, halved and seeds scraped
PRE-HEAT oven to 180C/ gas 4.
SCATTER fruit, cinnamon stick and vanilla pod over a lined baking tray.
WHISK together the grape juice, sweet freedom, vanilla seeds and black pepper in a small bowl.
DRIZZLE over the fruit.
BAKE for 25 minutes.
SERVE warm or cold and most of all enjoy.

Friday, 3 August 2012

The Olympic Fergie Burgy

Golden burgers...
Homemade burgers, with blue cheese, red onions, parsley, smooth Dijon and Italian robust tomatoes make this post's recipe so utterly apt, delicious and timely. Last week I went to an Olympic party at our friends, “The Fergies,” everyone brought a dish to represent the different countries involved in the Olympics. I brought along a Chinese offering with some fortune cookies!

Our hosts shared some deliciously inspired burgers, filled with all the colours of the Olympic rings! As is the way with great food experiences, I’ve been inspired to create my own version of these beauties. Thank you, lovely Fergie family!

Now, my eldest son is a burger connoisseur. I’ve asked him to explain what makes a good burger, we've made quite a few of these patties and with a fondness for Byron, and notes duly taken, we made these delights. There is something very special about cooking in the company of someone you love. I love the care my son takes as he cooks. Who'd have thought making burgers could be beautiful, it is!
Hattie's lovely heart tri-colore shaped salad!
Burgers are by there very natures are a meat lover’s meandering to magnificence. They fall into two categories, tired/ forgettable and transcendental/ taste bud bloomers!
Theses Olympic Fergie Burgies are transcendental with opulent blooming buds! I’m sharing with you a few tips from the secret garden of beautiful burgers. There is a small collection of all-important things to consider before making your burgers/ burgies! 
Cooking takes time, one of our most precious commodities and if you’re going to invest some of yours into burger making, it’s worth giving a thought or two!
The meat needs a marbling of fat (fat gives meaty flavour) select your favourite cut, if beef, I steer towards sirloin or chuck steak, if lamb or pork, perhaps choose the shoulder cuts. Whatever you choose, make sure the meat is of good quality; it makes the world of difference. The burger is the star of this dish, the gold medal if you like, so source from a butcher who cares. Ask you butcher to grind it roughly; alternatively an already minced version will do nicely. When mixing the meat with other ingredients, handle gentle and take care not to over mix or press to firmly. Tender loving care is the key.

The bun must be toasted, this prevents the sometimes-soggy offering than an untoasted bun may bring. Think toasty and any sauces and added extras will be cushioned well, leaving the mouth watering and the taste buds celebrating.

Season well with salt and pepper, add a touch of fragrant outdoors, think lush green fields, throw in some finely chopped parsley, a squidge of garlic paste and any other particular favourites. My son loves to add some ketchup to the mix, be creative, though sparing.
The cheese is like the butter to jam, the honey to milk, it is essential in the burger steaks, so with this recipe I’m going all out with a blue offering. My Dad’s favourite cheese was Cashel blue, I couldn’t find any, so have opted for a lovely Cornish variety. Lush places often boast the most delicious of foods, and the Cornish countryside is in parts breath taking.
The London skyline on the night of the opening ceremony
The magic extras are tomatoes with plump flesh and flavour; pickles are a must for me, the sharpness/ acidity, balances the meatiness deliciously and offers a pleasant contrast. Now is a great time of year to pat some patties and celebrate the Olympics with a TV supper. I'm a stickler for eating at the table, though as the Olympics come once every four years and right now they're down the road, a more relaxed approach is happily here.

I hope you enjoy these Olympic Fergie Burgies and that your summer is blossoming pinkly and prettily.

The Olympic Fergie Burgie

Beef mince, 500g
Dijon mustard, 1 tbsp
Garlic, 1 clove crushed to a paste
Egg, 1
Water, 1 tbsp
Blue cheese, 175g crumbled
Flat leaf Parsley, 1 tbsp finely chopped
Worcester sauce, a dash
Buns, I love ciabatta, (CHOOSE YOUR FAVOURITE)
Tomato, 1 sliced
Avocado, 1 sliced
Baby gem lettuce, a few leaves
Mayonnaise/ Ketchup, Barbecue, again choose your favourite
GENTLY mix burger ingredients together in a large bowl.
SEASON generously.
SHAPE into six patties.
PLACE on a plate and cover with cling film.
REFRIGERATE for an hour or until hunger strikes!
GRILL under a high heat for five minutes on each side, turning once,
SERVE with your favourite additions; sauce and a few crispy fries wont go amiss either.
ENJOY and savour!