Saturday, 31 July 2010

Pesto Cheeseburgers

My parents are here for the weekend, and we're having a nice relaxed evening with burgers and a couple of bottles of white wine. I lightly toasted some seeded baps, then spread the insides with pesto. I grilled 4 steak mince burgers, then topped with mature cheddar for the last few minutes in the grill. I served them in the bap with salad and thinly sliced red onion, with fries on the side. Mmmm sometimes there's nothing like getting stuck into a big fat burger!!

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Yey cucumber!!

Pathetic as it is, I can't tell you how excited I was when I checked our veggie patch yesterday and saw a short, fat cucumber hiding underneath the leaves. I actually squealed. Luckily, I wasn't disappointed-it tastes delicious. When you try a cucumber like this,then compare it to a supermarket one, you realise what a cucumber should taste like, rather than just water.

Sunday, 25 July 2010

More Irish Delights

So we're home from our holiday in Ireland. We had such a chilled time, but it went too quicky. On Friday we did some walking, hung out at Nora's, picked blackcurrants from her garden and made jam. Oh, and more cake and cups of tea around the table.

On Saturday we took a drive to the island of Achill-the largest island off the coast of Ireland. It's a stunning and dramatic place, even on a rather grey day. At the top of one of the mountains we had a bowl of soup with soda bread, and I had an Irish coffee. On the way home, we stopped in a small town that had a lovely restaurant attached to the local butcher's, where we had local black pudding and some County Mayo organic lamp chops in a rosemary gravy.
Yesterday, on our last night, we had a salmon that Martin had caught in the river that morning. Talk about fresh! Toby was fascinated, and even watched Martin gut the fish. Nora roasted it in the oven for about 40 minutes, and served it with some garlic roast potatoes and green beans. I mixed some lemon juice and black pepper into some mayonnaise to serve alongside. It was delicious...the most salmon-y tasting salmon if you know what I mean!

Anyway we had a lovely stay and can't wait to go back to Ireland next springtime. Thank you to Nora and Martin for being such good hosts xxx

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Hello from Ireland

Giant swiss roll from the bakery

We arrived in Ireland yesterday, to a quite unwelcoming sight of heavy rain and winds. Of course, we had a lovely warm welcome when we got to Tim's Auntie Nora's house, and had endless cups of tea around the kitchen table. Nora had bought in all of Tim's favourite Irish foods.

Happily, the weather was gorgeous today, and we awoke to sun streaming through the window and a beautiful view of the Irish hills. We visited a nearby town, Ballina, for some shopping and lunch at a very old school cafe called Padraic's serving salmon from the nearby River Moy.
We spent the afternoon in Nora's garden,visiting the nearby donkeys and having tea and cake.
By the way I've fixed the link on my previous post, so if you have nothing better to do you can watch my (seriously) cringey youtube clip!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Wannabe celebrity chef

Well well blog followers, I'm either brave, stupid or incredibly optimistic! I've applied to a "This Morning" competition, looking for a homecook to become their new celebrity chef! Anyway I'm sure there will be thousand of applicants and I probably won't get it (no, wait, positive thinking!). But I needed to test this link out to check that it worked, so you lucky things get to have a cheeky preview. Unless, of course, the link didn't work! haha. x

Monday, 19 July 2010

Big Daddy Chilli Con Carne

I made this chilli con carne last night. Was going to find a recipe but thought, hey, I'm sure I can knock up a chilli without someone telling me how to do it! I hate to sound smug, but it was delicious. Here's my rough guide-quite fitting for a rough and ready kind of meal. This serves 4, or 2 if you freeze half.
500g organic beef mince
1 large red onion
frozen chopped mixed peppers
tin of kidney beans
tin of chopped tomatoes
beef stock
chilli powder,chilli flakes,cayenne,paprika and cinnamon powder
cocoa powder
salt and pepper

1. Gently sweat the onion in 1 tbsp olive oil, in a large heavy based saucepan, for a few minutes. Add 1 tsp of the chilli flakes, chilli powder and paprika, and 1/2 tsp of the cayenne and cinnamon. Cook for another minute.
2. Add a couple of handfuls of the peppers, and stir to combine it all. Add the beef mince and cook, stirring, for a couple of minutes until the beef is starting to brown but not completely.
3. Crumble in the stock cube, pour in the tin of tomatoes, fill the tin with water and pour this in. Turn the heat up to boiling, then turn down to a simmer.
4. IF YOU DARE-add 1/2 tsp cocoa powder. This will seem like the most unusual thing you've ever done in your kitchen, but it adds a lovely darkness and depth of flavour to the dish.
5. Leave to simmer for 30-40 minutes. Don't abandon it though, check on it now and then to give it a stir, a taste and a dash more water if it appears too dry. Meanwhile, cook your rice. We had brown rice with ours, which takes 30 minutes to cook.

Ladle into big comforting bowls, curl up with it on your lap, and savour every spicy mouthful.

Sunday, 18 July 2010

Neston Park Farm Shop

This afternoon we visited Neston Park Farm Shop in Wiltshire. It's a lovely way to spend a couple of hours. We started by seeing the cows and chickens, and feeding the pigs. Then we took a Nature Trail through an "enchanted forest" which Toby loved.

Then came the best part! The farm shop, deli and cafe were filled with so many tempting goodies. I could have spent a fortune in there! There was also a bakery selling bread from Bertinet Kitchen. This is what you wish food shopping was like all the time.

We finished with a snack. Toby and I had some lovely shortbread, and pear juice made purely from 2 organic pears. Tim had the biggest but most delicious scotch egg I've ever seen! Next time we're going to come here for a Sunday roast, made with beef reared on the basically you can sit and watch the cows whose relatives you're eating. Now that's organic!

Saturday, 17 July 2010

Mango Smoothies

My friend Sophie is finally back in Bath, after spending the last year travelling around Australia, New Zealand and South East Asia. We made these mango smoothies (using diced mango, strawberry yoghurt, and orange juice), and she told me all about her adventures. To say I was jealous is would be putting it mildly! I'm so itching to travel. Anyway she loved it so much, she's moving to Australia in a few weeks. We must meet up some more before she goes...

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Zoe's Birthday!

Yesterday was my friend Zoe's birthday. We went to The Market for lunch- it's the BEST place for a burger in Bath (closely followed by Schwartz, of course)...

In the evening, Zoe and Skye came round and we drank bubbly, danced to Missy Elliott and made these chocolate cupcakes (which ended up looking more like muffins!) from Rachael Allen's
"Bake" cookbook.
We took them into town-with Skye in charge of holding them in the taxi-and sang Happy Birthday with only 10 minutes to spare before her birthday was over. Love you Zoe xx


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