the joy of socks

Firstly I should tell you this is one of those non-food posts which pop up every now and then on my blog.  I follow (and love) the blog En Brogue written by fashion editor Hannah Rochell.  If you haven’t gathered by the title, it’s all about shoes.  Flat ones.  And she’s written a book about them too.  I always read with envy as I too love shoes and more often than not these days can be found wearing my ‘flatties’.  I do own heels but they don’t come out of their boxes very much.  The reason I’m telling you all this is because this week she’s written a post about socks, which I also happen to love.  (In fact, I was going to write about my Christmas socks but the time came and went and it doesn’t feel quite right now it’s March!)

I’m going to sidestep a little and tell you I’m reading a book called The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying by Marie Kondo because sadly I’m not one of the tidiest of people on the planet but I’d like to be. Loads of very useful information in the book including a section about how to store socks.  No turning them inside out in a pair.  Folding is the thing to do.  Mmmmm.  I suspect this might entail ironing them.  This might be a step too far but I’m always open to new ideas.  So when Hannah’s most recent post dropped into my mailbox I thought there might just be something to this sock folding lark.  Fast forward to today …

Wow!

Wow!

I am truly impressed.  Not only can I see all my socks at a glance, I no longer have  to wade through a double layer of them – real timesaver when I’m trying to co-ordinate myself in the morning!  I took the opportunity to have a bit of a clear out too.  I confess I haven’t quite finished Marie Kondo’s book (hence the untidy sock drawer) but fully intend will try to follow her method to ensure I become a much tidier person.  And just so you know, I didn’t have to iron them.  Phew!

 

 

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a Nopi favourite

I have a copy of the Nopi cookbook by Yotam Ottolenghi and Ramael Scully which has been read cover to cover but until today, I hadn’t actually made anything from it.  I know, naughty me!  Well, I managed to get some burrata (think mozzarella but more creamy!) and it is the season for blood oranges so I thought I’d try ‘burrata with blood orange, coriander seeds and lavender oil’.

This is a very simple dish really but it is the combination of flavours that just lifts it to another realm.  I feel sure that Nopi must be supplied with smaller balls of burrata than the one I purchased, because mine was far too much for one! Even a greedy one like me!  The oranges are sliced horizontally rather than segmented and placed on the plate with the burrata.  The dressing – made from olive oil, honey, garlic, corianders seeds and salt – is then drizzled over the cheese.  Scatter some basil over the top and you’re done.  It looks beautiful!

I’m sure you’ve noticed something missing in my version … yep, the lavender.  I’m afraid I didn’t have any and not sure how keen I am to eat it as I’m not keen on lavender scented body products.  That said, now I’ve tasted the dish, I might give it a whirl next time.  I left the burrito whole for the photo but when I cut into it to save some for lunch tomorrow, it oozed its creamy middle all over the plate!  I don’t know how but I did still manage to restrain myself and just eat half!  I can understand why customers go to Nopi just for this!

roll on tomorrow for the leftovers ...

roll on tomorrow for the leftovers …

 

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padrón peppers

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A couple of weeks ago in the guardian’s Saturday Magazine, Yotam Ottolenghi gave us a recipe using padrón peppers.  I have eaten these in Tenerife but not cooked like this!  Fast forward a week or so to when I was looking for inspiration … Continue reading

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coffee anyone?

I love coffee.  Coffee chocolates, coffee ice cream and up there at the top is, of course, my morning coffee.  Heaven help you if you encounter me before I’ve had it.  You have been warned!  Only joking.  Well, maybe not …… 😄!

Last week I came across recipes for coffee cake in three different locations on the same day  and thought someone must be trying to tell me something.  I decided to make the one baked by Kath over at The Ordinary Cook.  She weighs her eggs (in the shells) which is something new to me, then weighs the flour, butter and sugar to the same weight.  Clever!  My eggs weighed quite a bit more than Kath’s so I used two 23cm sandwich tins (9 inch for those who don’t work in metric).  I was also rushing a bit as I had a pile of ironing to do so I opted for the all-in-one method for mixing.  (Actually, I put everything in the mixing bowl then read the method – oops!).  I baked them at 150°C in my fan oven (which runs quite hot) for 25-30 mins and they looked pretty good when they came out of the oven.  The cakes are sandwiched together with a lovely coffee buttercream which isn’t too sweet and, if you have any left, spread it over the top.  Thanks Kath – it’s very good – just the thing for a cold and miserable day.  Or any day come to think of it.  Who needs an excuse!

delicious!

delicious!

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Happy 2016

fresh and tasty

fresh and tasty

The second day of the new year already!  I really did mean to post this yesterday but didn’t quite get around to it.  No I wasn’t partying, nor did I have a hangover.  This year I was trying to get myself ready to face the year – you know, gather my thoughts, make resolutions (haha!) and generally get the house tidy after Christmas.

My first meal of the year (yesterday lunch) was delicious.  The recipe I found in the donna hay magazine (oct/nov 2015) Issue 83 – corn, kale and coriander fritters with crispy bacon.  I’ve actually made it a couple of times now as it really is so good.  Fritter batter made with greek yoghurt (0% fat for me), flour and eggs then sweetcorn, kale, fresh coriander and chilli stirred in along with some salt and pepper.  I couldn’t get all the kale stirred into the batter so I served it on the side with some sweet tomato and chilli chutney.  It even sounds healthy!  I’ve had it with and without bacon and my  preference would be for without, but that’s just me. This is my kind of food.

I hope all my meals are going to be as tasty as this one!  Happy New Year!

 

 

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manãna, manãna

I’m afraid to say that the words ‘manãna, manãna’ seem to have featured rather a lot in my life lately.  I know that while I have been resting my sore foot I should have been writing heaps but I just kept putting it off. And now here we are in November!  My foot is almost back to normal thankfully but wasn’t helped by my accidentally running on it at about week 9 of recovery.  How does one run accidentally?  Ah well, engrossed in my book on the train, I suddenly realised I was at my stop and, completely forgetting I had a sore foot (no crutches, no boot), ran to the door.  Oops.  Silly me.  Hence my rather delayed recovery.

Today I decided to try a new soup – a recipe from Elly Pear which I tore out of an InStyle magazine recently. Elly Pear (real name Elly Curshen) of the Pear Cafe in Bristol is InStyle’s food writer.  I didn’t make this butternut and cannellini bean soup for any Halloween celebrations, I just made it because the recipe sounded really good.  And it was!  There was smoked salt, sweet smoked paprika, bay, chilli and cumin to spice it up.  And it did!  I had a whole dried chipotle chilli which I blitzed in the spice grinder to get flakes.  Mmmm.  Powder more like.  Suffice to say it was fairly hot!  I added some extra squash and this reduced the heat.  I served it with some Greek yoghurt (0% fat) and some toasted pumpkin seeds as I didn’t want (or need) the calories of mascarpone!

delicious 'warming' soup for a chilly autumn day

delicious ‘warming’ soup for a chilly autumn day

I confess I noticed on the outside of the chilli pack it said hot, hot, hot.  I should have been paying attention!  Mmm.  I do believe chilli raises the metabolism.  Yes!  Every cloud etc, etc.

 

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mes vacances

No prizes for guessing where I’ve been on holiday this year but it really was the holiday with a difference ….

then ... and now

then … and now

Unfortunately I slipped walking down a very steep hill on the second day of our holiday in the south of France and broke a bone in my foot!!  My 5th metatarsal to be precise.  It was a very relaxing holiday for me but I’m afraid I can’t quite say the same for Graeme as he had to do the shopping, the cooking, the dishes and make sure I had everything I needed.  You know – water, sunscreen, book, sunglasses, phone … and the list goes on!  Let me tell you using crutches is not easy – only essential journeys were undertaken.  And whilst I was unable to swim in our lovely pool I was able to lounge about and enjoy the sunshine which was fantastic. Now I’m home the cast is off and I have the very sexy black boot which you see here (I feel sure it will be the “it” boot this season!).   I’m also able to get around without the crutches which makes a huge difference.  It’s not until you do something like this that you realise just how incapacitating it is.

I can’t remember the last time I went so long without cooking and so I really enjoyed making the simplest tomato sauce for pasta this week.  Back in the swing just as my our first courgettes are ready to pick.

round squash - perfect for stuffing

round squash – perfect for stuffing

These round yellow squash are a new variety for us – I thought they’d be good stuffed so hopefully they’ll be big enough soon.  Tonight we’re having regular green courgettes and I know they’re going to be delicious not to mention seasonal and very, very local.

 

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