Friday, 24 June 2011

Tagliatelle with Pesto and Pan Fried Scallops

Dinner last night was quick, simple, yet delicious. And if you think scallops are too extravagant for a weeknight, I urge you to start buying your fish and seafood from Morrisons (if you live in the UK, obviously). I know this sounds like a real housewifey tip, or that they're sponsoring me, but honestly their fish section is really reasonable and great quality. I think my packet of scallops was about £3, and there was some leftover for another meal. Can't really argue with that.

Monday, 20 June 2011

Birthday Boy

I can't believe this little Wonderboy turned 4 today. The years have just flown by. And besides, saying "I have a 4 year old " makes me feel pretty old! Yesterday we had a party at my parents' house with relatives. Party games were played, sweets were won and traded, presents were torn open...

...and a ridiculous amount of cake was consumed.

(including these extremely easy to make brownies. I'll share the recipe with you when I'm not so exhausted)

Today, we had a small gathering back at home and he was even more spoilt. He deserves it though. This boy will never realise how much he means to me. Happy birthday xxx

Sunday, 12 June 2011


Had a great Sunday despite the considerably wet weather. This morning we met friends at the Love Food "Festival" (I use the term loosely) in Bath, which was full of local produce including cider, cheeses, breads, cakes and even wild boar salami. Apparently there's somewhere half an hour away with over 100 boar running around. Who knew?

There was also a crazy selection of herbs, and I learnt that you can get Pineapple Sage which does actually smell of pineapple (though I'm not sure what recipe would call for this..) and about 12 different types of thyme.

But by far the busiest stall was this dude selling his homemade jamaican fayre. We sampled some authentic jerk chicken with rice and peas, saltfish fritters and ginger beer. Spicy but really good stuff.

Toby was kept entertained by decorating cupcakes...and then eating all the other cakes we were tempted into buying.

My favourite thing about Sunday, is that it's the only day where it's perfectly acceptable to change back into your pyjamas at 4 in the afternoon, crack open a cider (or insert tipple of choice), and snuggle up with a film. In particular, a rainy Sunday just feels wrong without a bit of meat roasting away in the oven, so later on Toby and I tucked into some succulent roast pork..

I think that's enough food for today...maybe I'll be posting a few more salads this week!

Hope you've all had a great weekend and not let the rain dampen your spirits.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Mackerel and Fennel Nicoise

If you don't think a salad can be sexy, give this one a try! I assembled the usual nicoise ingredients: new potatoes, softly boiled eggs, green beans, red onion, capers and olives. But to jazz things up I added some thinly sliced fennel, watercress, and a small pan fried mackerel each instead of tuna. Not a bad idea, as it turned out. You could use flaked smoked mackerel, which would also make this a great lunch dish.

I also made a simple salad dressing with 1 tbsp dijon mustard, the juice of 1 lemon, about 1 tsp white wine vinegar, and some seasoning. Hence the jam jar in the last pic, in case you were wondering.

A bit of crusty bread with oil and vinegar, some red wine...what more could you ask of your dinner?

Give salad a chance!

Monday, 6 June 2011

Chorizo, Chickpea and Sweet Potato Hash

Here's what I rustled up tonight. I suggest you do the same when you need a quick dinner, and some chorizo in the fridge that you haven't quite decided what to do with (that happens to me a lot..)

Really this would probably serve two, with perhaps some nice crusty bread on the side, but it's Monday and I decided instead to eat the whole lot, in front of a movie, with all the lights off. Does that sound weird? It sounded weird when I read it back. Secret chorizo bingeing in the dark..

Anyway, should you want to emulate this behaviour here's what you need to do:

Cut 1 small sweet potato into cubes. Boil on the hob for 8 minutes until softened. Meanwhile roughly chop half an onion (red would be nice if you have it) and 1 garlic clove. Remove the papery skin from some chorizo sausage (about a finger's length) and 'crumble' the meat in your fingers, so that you have some nice scruffy chunks of chorizo.
Heat 1tbsp olive oil in a small frying pan, and fry the onion and chorizo for about 5 minutes. Add a grinding of dried chilli flakes.
Drain the sweet potato, and add it to the frying pan, along with 1/2 tin drained tinned chickpeas and a small handful of curly kale. Chard or spinach would also work well.

Mix it all together, then leave to cook for 5 minutes so it starts to go nice and crispy.
Pre-heat the grill.
Crack a couple of eggs on top of the mixture, then pop under the grill for a few minutes until the whites have set but the yolks are still runny.

Dig in. Or share it. Whatever.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Asparagus and Gruyere Tart

Hurray for asparagus season! Every year I try to make the most of when these beauties are in cheap, plentiful supply. Here's a quick little supper i made tonight that really does them justice.

Simply roll out a sheet of ready-made puff pastry (or make your own if you prefer). Spread on some dijon mustard- 1-2 tbsp depending on how much mustard you can handle. Grate over some gruyere cheese (I'd say a good handful). Top with trimmed asparagus spears and a bit more cheese for good measure, drizzle with a good olive oil, season liberally with salt and pepper, and bake in a hot oven for about 20 minutes until the pastry is puffed and golden, and the cheese pleasingly melted.

This will serve two generously, one very genersouly indeed, or else I'm sure the other half will make a fine lunch tomorrow.

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Birthday Gal

Yesterday this little beach babe turned 23...

...and unfortunately I had to work, but the girls gave me some wonderful presents and a card which made me a tad emotional.! Also, I'd managed to find time to open my other presents over a birthday breakfast with Wonderboy. Rather spookily (or just because I am predictable) my brother sent me the two cookbooks that were top of my Amazon wishlist:

(Blogger has flipped this photo for some annoying reason)

Really liking the look of Nigel Slater's 'Appetite'. I know it's lame but my plans for this evening involve a bath, some nice herbal tea, and an early night snuggling up in bed with Nigel. Surely as good a hangover cure as any?

Which leads nicely to last night, whereupon I discovered a new favourite cocktail at Sub13 -the 'Hedgerow Martini', a delicious combination of gin, blackberry liqeur, lemon juice and elderflower. Then we headed to La Perla, a new tapas bar in Bath, which is completely underground so has a very warm and intimate atmosphere.

So what about the food? Ahhmmazing. And I used to work in a tapas restaurant so I'm quite particular! My highlights were the perfectly crisp patatas bravas, the succulent king prawns cooked in garlic and white wine, the salty whitebait, and the brie and glazed chorizo on toast. Mouth-watering stuff! All served by charming waitresses, and within sight of the open kitchen so you can see your food being prepared.

Though perhaps the best part was that with five of us eating, and a few bottles of wine, the bill was only £95. Definitely be going here again!


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