COURGETTES…….there are so many to pick and use!!

Don’t know what to do with courgettes? I think courgettes are boring just chopped and boiled, you need to add flavour to get the best out of them. I must be picking More »

Mussels in Cider

        I posted this recipe last year and as it was so popular, I’m re-posting it today. Mussels are in season now.  They are great value between £3-£4 a More »

Red Leaf and Green Herb Salad….doesn’t have to be boring!

  A fresh green salad is a perfect summer lunch or supper dish. Especially if you’re luckily enough to be able to go a pick all the leaves from your garden or More »

Spiced Orange & Honey Cake

  This cake is light and moist.  It will keep for 3-4 days in a cake tin. Ingredients: 125g butter. 100g honey  100g sugar 2tbs marmalade. 250g s/r flour. 2tsp mixed spice. More »

Easy Peasy Pastry……go on have a go!

Are you like me, scared to make pastry? Please don’t be scared! I totally understand how that feels.  You think, all that effort for a possible disaster, so why bother?! I thought More »

 

COURGETTES…….there are so many to pick and use!!

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Don’t know what to do with courgettes?

I think courgettes are boring just chopped and boiled, you need to add flavour to get the best out of them.

I must be picking 6-8 courgettes a day at the moment, with the current sunshine followed by heavy rain showers the courgettes are growing like crazy.

I’ve prepared courgette and potato soup a few times in the last 2 weeks and although I love it, I need to do something different.  The last 2 dishes I made at the weekend with the latest picked courgettes were really tasty too.  I thought I’d post this to encourage you to try these dishes and you all know me by now, I only do quick and easy!

1.   Prepare some sliced courgettes, as many as you want to use to fill a baking dish.  Layer some slice shallots and garlic,  tomato passatta or a tin of chopped tomatoes.  Season with salt and pepper, drizzle with some olive oil.  Bake in a med hot oven for 40-50mins until soft and bubbling.

imageThis dish is delicious served with some roast chicken or pork.

2.    Cut a red pepper in half, remove seeds and white pulp. Rub the pepper with olive oil inside and out. Chop up some courgettes into small diced pieces, along with shallot and garlic, enough to fill each pepper half.  Put the chopped veg into a bowl and mix with 2 table spoons olive oil and 1 table spoon balsamic vinegar.  Season with salt and pepper, add a pinch of chilli if you like a little heat.  Fill each pepper half and bake in a medium oven for 30-35mins.  The pepper should be nice and soft but still hold its shape.

 

This is a lovely sweet/soar vegetable dish which goes well with fish or meat.  It would also make a nice veggie dish with melted cheese on the top.

 

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I think I might need to get cooking some more courgettes tomorrow, the next lot are ready to pick!

 

 

 

Mussels in Cider

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I posted this recipe last year and as it was so popular, I’m re-posting it today. Mussels are in season now.  They are great value between £3-£4 a kilo and make a delicious summer supper.  It is also great dish to serve as a starter to your shellfish loving guests.  Trust me, they are so easy to cook!

 

Fresh mussels

 

Fresh Mussels in Cider is quick and easy.

Ingredients: 2-4 servings.

Mussels approx 1-2 kg, 1 shallot chopped finely, glass of Cider, fresh chopped parsley.

Clean the mussels and rinse in cold water.

Heat a casserole pan. Add cider and chopped shallot.

As soon as the cider bubbles, add the mussels and put the lid on.

Leave for 2 minutes. The mussels are cooked as soon as they open. Drain the cooked mussels into a serving dish. Put the cider juices back into the pan, add 2 table spoons of crème fraiche or double cream and bring to the boil. Add fresh chopped parsley.

Serve, pour the sauce over the mussels.

Enjoy the mussels and creamy sauce with fresh crusty bread.

Very simple and very delicious…………….

Red Leaf and Green Herb Salad….doesn’t have to be boring!

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A fresh green salad is a perfect summer lunch or supper dish. Especially if you’re luckily enough to be able to go a pick all the leaves from your garden or allotment.

Use any fresh red or green salad leaves and add a mix of  fresh herbs. Finish off by adding your own favourite cheese, fish, olives, or whatever takes your fancy.

We are more and more aware of eating a healthy diet and this salad really is a healthy option.  Full of  vitamins and minerals with a good portion of roughage. You’ll definitely feel a lot lighter the following day, and this will increase your energy levels!

Basil

My choice of leaves and herbs is a mixture of whatever is ready for picking and today I used;  red oak leaf lettuce, a few baby radish, basil, rocket, chives, mint, coriander, dill and marjoram.  The more you mix it up the better.

Make this salad if you like an explosion of flavours and add a few of your favourites on top to satisfy your hunger.  You’ll enjoy it so much you’ll be eating it two or three times a week.

I finished my salad with a topping of green olives, sweet pickles, Parmesan ribbons and a homemade olive oil, honey and lemon dressing.

Salad doesn’t have to be boring!

Garden June 3

 

 

 

 

Spiced Orange & Honey Cake

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This cake is light and moist.  It will keep for 3-4 days in a cake tin.

Ingredients:

125g butter. 100g honey  100g sugar 2tbs marmalade.

250g s/r flour. 2tsp mixed spice. 1tsp ground ginger  1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda

150ml milk. 2 beaten eggs

Put the butter, honey, sugar and marmalade into a pan and warm gently until melted.

Stir in all dry ingredients.  Add milk and eggs.  Mix until smooth.

Grease and line a loaf tin.   Pour in mixture, it will look very wet, don’t panic it should look that way.

Bake in pre-heated oven 180c/350f/Gas 4 – for 40-45 mins.  Test with a skewer, it will come out clean when cooked.

It should be well risen and a golden colour.

Leave to cool in the tin for 10mins.

Warm a table spoon marmalade, 1tbs sugar with 100ml water, reduce a little.  Use to glaze the top of the cake.

Enjoy this cake with a great cup of tea or a fresh filter coffee!

 

Easy Peasy Pastry……go on have a go!

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Are you like me, scared to make pastry?

Please don’t be scared!

I totally understand how that feels.  You think, all that effort for a possible disaster, so why bother?!

I thought exactly that many times, until I found this perfect easy recipe and it works every time.

 

 

Time: 5 minutes to mix together by hand, 30 mins to chill it (very important to chill it) before rolling it out and using it.

Plus – A tip to keep the rolling out easy, place the pastry between cling film. You’ll wonder why you’ve never done it that way before.

While it’s chilling, you can make whatever filling you fancy. It is very versitle and perfect to use for pies, tarts, pasties, desserts or like me Empanadas with a spicy beef mince filling.

This is a light crumbly, short crust style pastry. The French call it Brisée.

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Easy Pastry:  Makes about 450g

250g plain flour

150g butter – cubed and slightly soft

pinch salt for savoury

pinch of caster sugar for sweet

1 whole egg

1 tbsp cold milk

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Place the flour on your work top or a large board.  Make a well in the middle.  Add the cubed butter, pinch of salt or sugar.

Now break the whole egg on top.  Use you finger tips to slowly break the butter down and draw the flour, egg together. Add a little milk to help bind it all together.  It will begin to hold together.  With the palm of your hand begin to work the dough and push it together and turn it around 2 or 3 times, until it becomes smooth. Roll it into a ball.

Wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for about 30mins.

Now prepare your filling and use it to make a pie, pasties or tart (blind bake tart base for 10-15 mins).

 

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I am confident you’ll find this pastry not only easy to make but, you’ll be surprised how light the texture is and how delicious it tastes.

It won’t be the last time you make it!

It would be great to know what you think??

 

 

Spring has arrived…..

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It doesn’t matter where you are, you know when Spring has arrived.  New lambs are springing up everywhere, along with new spring blubs putting on a colourful display.  The temperature is rising and daylight hours linger a little more each day.  We are all feeling better for the extra colours and warmth.

One of the nicest ways to enjoy this new fresh Spring air, is to share it.  There is nothing better than being able to enjoy a meal outside.  There is something rejuvenating  when you are able to sit in the sunshine for the first time and have a meal, especially with great food and good company.

We were able to do exactly that, this week.  Knowing the weather would be good, we planned a visit to a great local market to gather all we needed for a simple lunch.

image                                           Seafood, salad, bread, cheese and wine!

Scallopes, oysters and king prawns served with a salad garnish and fresh crusty bread.  We enjoyed the seafood with a chilled Pouilly Fumé, followed by a little cheese. The perfect holiday lunch, enjoyed outside in the first of the Spring sunshine.

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The the new lambs are enjoying the Spring sunshine as much as we are!

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Cake aux Olives…. a delicious savoury cake to serve with drinks.

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A savoury cake is not something we eat very often, and many of you will never have tried one. Most of us are more used to eating savoury scones, breads and biscuits.

This cake is very traditional in France and, it is normally served as a snack with a glass of wine. It is a savoury delight, very easy to make, with all the ingredients mixed together in the same bowl.

This recipe was given to me by a French friend. The first time I tried it I loved it. It was served in slices with drinks, before dinner. A perfect savoury snack to serve to guests instead of a starter.

I hope you enjoy this cake as much as I do!

Cake aux Olives
Easy to make savoury cake. Delicious served with drinks.
Servings Prep Time
8-10 10min
Cook Time
45min
Servings Prep Time
8-10 10min
Cook Time
45min
Cake aux Olives
Easy to make savoury cake. Delicious served with drinks.
Servings Prep Time
8-10 10min
Cook Time
45min
Servings Prep Time
8-10 10min
Cook Time
45min
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Now: Mix the eggs, oil and milk. Add all the other ingredients to the liquid mixture and mix together, until everything it is blended.
  2. Prepare a small loaf tin with baking paper in the botton and butter the sides. The mixture will be quite runny, don't worry this is how it should be. Pour into the prepared loaf tin.
  3. Cook in a med oven; 160c / 300f / gas 2 - Cook 45 mins.
  4. It is cooked when it is a golden colour and firm to the touch.
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Parmesan Crisps

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Parmesan Crisps
Parmesan Crisps are a deliciously unusual snack . They are also one of the quickest to make, with just one ingredient!
Servings
9
Cook Time
3-4 mins
Servings
9
Cook Time
3-4 mins
Parmesan Crisps
Parmesan Crisps are a deliciously unusual snack . They are also one of the quickest to make, with just one ingredient!
Servings
9
Cook Time
3-4 mins
Servings
9
Cook Time
3-4 mins
Ingredients
Servings:
Instructions
  1. Simply grate some Parmesan cheese using a ring to help keep the gated cheese in place.
  2. n a medium oven, bake for 3-4 mins until the cheese bubbles.
  3. Place the crisps on a wire rack to cool.
Recipe Notes

Serve with a chilled glass of wine.

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Hot Wine……….A perfect winter warmer

Hot Wine

HOT WINE.

I recommend you try this simple winter drink.  Hot wine is delicious and warming on a winter evening.  It’s a drink I offer anyone that pops in and my kitchen smells of the wonderful warming spices.  As soon as you come in through the front door the aroma makes you think of Christmas!

 

Hot Wine

 

 

 

For Hot Wine you need:

1 bottle red wine

1 sachet wine spices (allspice, cloves, cinnamon)

3 tbs brown sugar

2 slices of orange

2 slices of lemon

Heat all the above in a large saucepan.  Bring to a slow boil, simmer for 5 mins.

Serve in heat proof glasses.

It’s that simple and tastes delicious.  I think you will be making more than one batch of this hot wine once your friends have tasted it.  They will definitely want seconds!

 

 

Tomato Tart

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imageAugust 25th…

How lucky we were to have a nice Bank Holiday weekend.  A BBQ on Saturday evening was not the wash-out we had all been dreading.  The sun shone until later than expected and, we all ended up sat around an improvised camp fire.  It was the perfect way to keep any late evening shivers at bay.

When I have visitors I try to be organised.  It doesn’t always go to plan, especially when a little wine tasting is involved.  I do however keep things  simple.  A freshly made Tomato Tart is the perfect quick starter or appetiser.  It can be on your table in 25 minutes straight from the oven or, prepare it in advance and serve when you fancy it.

Hot or cold it is delicious and tastes of sunshine!

You will need:

1 x sheet puff pastry

3-4 fresh tomatoes

1-2 cloves garlic crushed

large bunch fresh basil leaves chopped

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Roll out puff pastry and place it on baking paper and a baking tray. Mark the pastry with a knife line, 1cm in from the edges all the way around.  Do not cut right through the pastry, it just needs an indent.  The helps the edge to puff up and gives the tart a nice finish.

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Mix the crushed garlic and chopped basil leaves with a little oil.  Spread this mixture over the pastry, keeping inside the knife line.  Slice the tomatoes and arrange neatly on top of the basil.  Season the top with a little salt and pepper and a drizzle of olive oil.

 

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Bake for 20 mins, med oven 170-180C until golden brown with crisp puff pastry edges.

I like to serve this tart on a board, so guests can help themselves.