“The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” ― Julia Child

Tuesday, October 23, 2012


Remember when I asked you to Name This Food?

Tough one, I suppose, because this is not the form in which one usually sees it. It more often looks like this:


It is Quinoa!

Quinoa is a species of goosefoot (Chenopodium),a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a member of the true grass family. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beets, spinach, and tumbleweeds.

So what can we make with it?

Funny you should ask.

Some good ideas here - http://www.the-gluten-free-chef.com/quinoa-recipes.html

OK, so what's our new Name This Food! food?

Name it!

Monday, October 22, 2012

New Stuff

It's been a while, I suppose, or at lest it's been long enough to make me think maybe I should check in with a digest (if you'll pardon the pun) of recently consumed comestibles and potables.

I am not normally a regular vodka drinker, but this affordable British Vodka from Pure Star is pretty decent, nicer certainly than Smirnoff, and reasonable in price at under £20. What I have done recently is to come up with a little cocktail of my own. Start with a few ice cubes in a rocks glass. Pour in one part Pure Star Vodka...

..and one part of this Five Valleys  Lemon & Mint Cordial, then top off with tonic water. Nice.  This cordial is also useful in cooking - the other day I made an apple pie. I put some demerara sugar in a pan on a low heat, and slowly let it melt and caramelise. Then I added the apples and some mixed spice, and a glug of this cordial and let it simmer a few mins before transferring to the pie dish. I think it worked nicely and gave an otherwise boring pie an interesting twist.
A limited edition cider from Magner's - Spiced Apple and Rhubarb. Nice tart twist ad suitably spicy enough to be a Halloween brew par excellence.

Speaking of All Hallows Eve, this dark mild with a citrus note is truly wonderful. Available in Marston's Inns.

Rekorderlig is a Swedish cider company - who knew?  There are two main varieties. A pear one, and this little beauty - a strawberry/lime concoction.

KFC's latest attempt at making a new sandwich is basically a Fillet Tower burger with a zingy sauce and a giant tortilla chip inserted near the top, so nothing really new, but pretty good all the same.

See the chip? Under the lettuce?
A friend of ours recently went to Turkey and brought us back some Turkish Delight.

Generously swathed in coconut.

The problem I have with Turkish Delight is that there are two types of it - there's the soft gelatinous type that usually comes dusted with icing sugar and tastes of rosewater or lemon. This is the kind I like. The other kind is more chewy and nougat-like and contains nuts and other things, like the kind you see above. I'll eat it, but it's not as good as the gelatinous rosy kind.
The other week my Sis and I went to purchase some locally grown fruit and veg for an activity we were going to do at Harvest Festival about Food Miles. We went to Gibbet Oak Farm, a local farm shop. It's kind of weird going to Gibbet Oak for Sis and I because when we were little our grandparents lived and worked there so we spent some considerable time at the farm. Now when we go there, it not only looks a lot smaller than we remember but it's a little bittersweet. The farm shop is housed in what used to be the shed where the apples were graded and packed.

Cox's Orange Pippins, to give them their full name.

Bramleys, I think.

Kentish Mayde pies have been mentioned before on these pages, and they are terrific.

Locally grown chillies. 

These two apples were sitting over by the till and were easily as big as my  fists.

The final purchases - apples and plums from Tenterden, mixed salad from Appledore  and runner beans from West Malling.

We placed them on a table next to apples from South Africa, runner beans from Kenya and plums from Spain, then asked people to guess where these items were grown. We didn't use the salad - it had gotten a bit soggy by that point.

Kooshti Sante!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Don't Waste Food (Supermarkets)

Do you know the difference between a ‘best before’ and ‘display until’ date? If not, the likelihood is you're throwing away a lot of food unnecessarily.

’Use-by’ dates mean chuck food away after this date, as otherwise it’s a health risk. ‘Best before’ dates mean food is usually still OK to eat after this date, so don’t waste money by throwing perfectly edible produce away.

  • The use-by date: Bin it! Use-by means just that. Eating nosh beyond that date is risky, even if it looks and smells fine. Typical foods include diary, milk, fish and eggs.
  • The best before date: Still edible after the date. Best before labels usually have nothing to do with safety, they're just the manufacturer's view of when they're at optimum quality. This is usually longer lasting foods such as frozen meals, tins, sugar, pasta and cereals.You can eat after the best before. Use taste and sight - the only downside's the food may lose some flavour and texture.
  • Display-until and sell-by: Instructions for shops' staff, not for you. These dates are instructions for shop staff to tell them when they should take a product off the shelves. Check the ‘use by’ and ‘best before’ dates instead.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Quinoa, Cheddar & Zucchini Bake: Adapted

 Laura saw this recipe via Facebook the other day, on the page of The Fountain Avenue Kitchen. She asked me to make it and so I did. Here's the original recipe: http://fountainavenuekitchen.com/quinoa-cheddar-and-zucchini-bake/

However, I adapted it. I skipped the milk part from the recipe, figuring that the liquid content of the courgettes (zucchini) would be enough. It was. I also didn't use straight quinoa, I used a Waitrose blend of quinoa and bulgar wheat. To the quinoa mix (which I toasted with olive oil before adding any liquid) I threw in some baby spinach I had left.

I just blended the eggs, zucchini, mixed dried herbs, cheese, salt and pepper together.

Added that mix to the red onion. The recipe calls for 1/4 cup minced onion but I say, onions rule! So I used a whole medium red onion, diced.

Added a whole chopped orange bell pepper to the quinoa and spinach.

Mixed the whole shebang together in my baking dish, and topped with the sliced zucchini I had reserved.

Added the rest of the cheese to that.

Baked about 40 mins at 180 C.

Mmmmm mmmm! Good stuff!

Kooshti sante!

Best Pizza Dough Recipe Ever



Fab pizza dough you can freeze for up to 3 months!


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