Friday, 13 December 2013

Hendricks

It's official, I have become the worst kind of blogger; making the sporadic promises or more to come and failing to deliver. I must try harder, I must take more photos and I must write down the things we do and the memories we make. Come on, better effort required. 

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Tagliatelle



I do love cooking with a flourish and attempting slightly more extravagant or difficult things, but sometimes I like to just keep it simple. This is always why I love cooking with good food..you know that the ingredients will take care of packing the dish full of flavour while you meander along the straight-forward path. In this case I was relying on fresh tagliatelle, fresh courgette, delicious chilli infused olive oils and wonderfully mature Parmigiano Reggiano to deliver the punch of flavour in this very easy, very simple dish. 


The preparation is minimal (unless you want to make your own pasta...on a day off, I would have done!) and starts with finely slicing the courgette. Leave this to 'marinade' in a a healthy glug of chilli infused olive oil with a good grinding of salt and pepper. When you're ready to go, bring a pan of water to the boil and heat up a large frying pan for the courgette. Cook until the raw-bite has just gone and remove from the heat. Toss the tagliatelle in the boiling water and cook to your liking before draining and adding to the courgette-pan. Thoroughly combine the two components and make sure no tidbits of flavour are left behind. Plate up (in a warm bowl) and finish with a drizzle of chilli olive oil, twist of salt and pepper and a sprinkle of Parmigiano Reggiano. So simple, yet so delicious.


And if you really want to make a meal of it, pair with a crisp, dry and ice-cold white wine. Lately, I've been leaning towards the English grape Bacchus...perfect for our climate (particularly in East Anglia) it really is a special variety. I was lucky enough to get a sample bottle of Bacchus from the lovely people over at Dedham Vale Vineyard. Wonderfully balanced, this wine has a fantastic level of dryness finished off with a fruity tingle that lingers on the tongue. Beautiful. 


Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Lamb

We've had a lovely but long final day off work, so forgive this post for being a bit brief...but a start's a start when it comes to getting back into the blogging game!


I've long been promised a roast dinner from the better half and, after what feels like months of waiting, I was finally treated to the elusive dinner last night. We opted for leg of lamb with classic pairings of rosemary, garlic and boulangere potatoes.


We fancied some kind of veggie side with it; something out of the ordinary (boiled carrots anyone? No) but that wouldn't take too long to prepare. We had some freshly picked courgettes from the family garden so paired them with some classic lamby-greeky flavours and came up with...


Feta and Mint Roasted Courgettes

3 courgettes (1 large, 2 small for these quantities)
A handful of granary or wholemeal breadcrumbs
A handful of fresh mint
100g feta
Salt and pepper
A good glug of rosemary infused olive oil

Slice the courgettes in half, sprinkle with salt and lay open side down on a clean tea towel (this will help drain some of the water to help them keep shape and integrity when baking)

Finely chop the mint and combine with the breadcrumbs, feta, seasoning and oil.

Fill the courgette halves with the stuffing and place in a baking tray, covering the top with foil.

I baked these for 30 minutes covered and 15 minutes uncovered. If you had smaller courgettes, knock 15 covered minutes off and if you have all large courgettes keep it at the collective 45 minutes.


Overall, a very tasty dinner with a great balance of flavours. I really want to try a roast rack of lamb dish and slow-cooked shoulder served with Greek flatbreads, tabbouleh and tzatziki. Yum!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Asparagus



I do love asparagus, especially when it's fresh, young and tender, so I was very excited when we finally got the first lot of English (and even better, local) asparagus in. This will be a fairly similar post to the previous one, but I don't care seeing as it's so bloody delicious!

When I got my hands on the asparagus I knew I wanted to have it with something simple enough to let its flavour shine through, while being robust enough to make a meal out of it...of course, protein was required and duck eggs were the immediately obvious choice! Unfortunately, I am possibly the worlds worst poached egg cook...I'm not sure what it is, but I can ever get that beautifully round and plump finish that looks nice atop some green veg. So, I naughtily treated myself to the fantastic little book 'Leon: Breakfast and Brunch' which comes with a perfect poached egg recipe to help me. Which, of course, was a fib I told myself to allow a cook book slip through my 'trying-to-save' net.


Considering the recent flurry of PSB/duck egg combos, I thought that something a bit different was needed for the asparagus. A quick delve into the back of my mind and the answer was 'griddled'.

First off, snap the woody ends of the asparagus off and blanch the spears in boiling water for a few minutes before dropping into ice water. Pat them dry and drizzle with olive oil. While the griddle heats up, put a pan of water on to boil and crack the eggs into individual ramekins.



When the griddle pan is hot, drop the asparagus in and spread it out so that every piece is touching the surface. After a couple of minutes, or until bearing light charred marks, turn it over and it's time to put the eggs in. The Leon method calls for salt and white wine vinegar in the water and just dropping the eggs in one at a time when it's on a rolling boil. I did get some fantastically perfectly cooked yolks, however the whites did go somewhat stray again. Never mind, I'm sure the OH won't mind if I have to practice some more! Cook the eggs for 2-3 minutes for lovely runny yolks and by then the asparagus should be just about lovely.

Finally, the dish just needs to come together...asparagus on the bottom, eggs on the top with a drizzle of olive oil, grind of salt and pepper and a smattering of Parmesan, if desired. Serve with a glass of crisp, chilled white wine and follow with some home-made rhubarb fool. Fresh, simple and delicious.








Saturday, 23 February 2013

Duck



Well, it has yet again been a long time coming...but this time, i am determined! Also, the fact that i've somewhat taken over my work's blogger has made me feel like a neglectful mother for my own blogspot.com.

I have got a lot lined up that i want to go over from the past two years (although it will probably be quite brief seeing as i'll be stirring my substandard memory) and there's a lot of foodie/generally exciting stuff going with how life is moving now, so updates should be fairly easy. For now, i'll just leave it with a rather delicious dinner i recently had...simple, quick and fantastic!

Poached duck egg, purple sprouting brocolli, parmesan and prosciutto

Ingredients:
Duck Eggs
Purple Sprouting Brocolli
Prosciutto Di Parma
Parmesan
Olive Oil
Balsamic Vinegar
Salt and Pepper to finish

Firstly, quantities for this recipe really are dependent on how hungry you're feeling! As a general rule of thumb per person, one duck egg, five or six sprouts of broccoli and a couple of slices of parma ham should suffice.

Cooking of the poached egg and the PSB will be pretty much at the same time, so get your plates and cutlery out ready.

Bring a pan of water to the boil and then steam the broccoli until just tender. Poach the duck egg for 3-4 minutes or until cooked to your liking. Tear the prosciutto and shave the parmesan over the PSB before placing the poached duck egg on top. Finish with a drizzle of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a twist of black pepper and salt. Enjoy!