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Venison stew and balls of wool

28 Feb

Comfort=wool+ stew20150228-200554.jpg Today’s haul from Little Woollie: 14 balls of Drops Big Delight for a cardigan (see above) and a pile of jolly coloured Jarol Heritage DK, which I swear by.



Polenta and venison stew with chestnuts from Knole and venison from Allens butchers in Mayfair.



Trying to decide what’s on the menu for our popup cafe at next weekend’s Vintage Social. Thinking soups, pulled pork rolls, quiche, maybe pizza, alongside the usual biccies, cakes and bread.

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Come to Vintage Social Saturday 8th November

10 Oct

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You can’t possibly eat Santa’s face

6 Dec

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Number 2 has just reached a certain state of maturity (age 4) at which this occurs to him…. “I can’t eat the face!” We reply “But it’s just a gingerbread man. You always eat it all up.” But Secondo cannot be persuaded. He has turned on a dime from bloodthirsty thug on a testosterone high into sensitive soul. Waitrose’s seasonally themed gingerbread range are always a source of pleasure in our house. But this is the first time they’ve sparked a philosophical debate.

Not to provoke jealousy, honestly

22 Jul

But Cafe Paradiso, Cork city, is as good as ever. Here was Saturday’s menu:

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For the record, we had…
Black kale ravioli
Honey cardamom aubergine
Pea & ricotta stuffed squash flowers
Maple cider glazed oyster mushrooms with courgette fritters
Gooseberry tart
Chocolate mousse with cherries
With a bottle of Gavi di gavi

Vintage breakfast encore

5 Jul

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We had such a good experience of our last Vintage Breakfast that we are doing it again… See you on Sunday 14th July. (If you missed last time have a taste of what it was like… Will be much better at taking photos – eg of lovely ladies sporting our vintage scarves – this time.)

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Rebujito, or Why you’re growing mint

17 Jun

Is your mint properly confined or rampaging free through your borders? If the latter, then not only could you take to fresh mint tea infusions or create mint apple and red onion relish or a minty pesto… You could also make yourself a rebujito. I was converted at Morito in Exmouth market. A good slug of fino sherry, san pellegrino lemonade (very lemony, good and bitter), a fist of mashed up mint and more than a few cubes of ice. When the warm weather makes it here this is what you will want to be drinking. Like all cocktails it tastes even better if someone makes it for you. Xxx

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Chive pesto

17 Jun

Our chive plant after a haircut….

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Added… olive oil, garlic, lemon juice, toasted nuts (I used peanuts), salt, pepper… To make a lot of chive pesto. Tastes good on its own on toasted sourdough or I reckon could be good with barbequed anything..

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Cafe Paradiso, Cork

11 Nov

Cork city is home to one of the finest vegetarian restaurants in the world: Cafe Paradiso. We have been going for many years. It only gets better. Yesterday lunch comprised… Blackened aubergines with pomegranate, aioli; Battered celeriac with aioli dip and spinach and apple salad; Chilli tofu in a coconut broth with mushrooms and scallions; Blue cheese cakes on portabello mushroom with flageolet beans; Caramelised spiced pear with apple sorbet and peanut crumble and caramel. All with portuguese red from the renowned Port producer, Niepoort. We long to return.

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Happy Halloween. Is that quince cheese for the chop?

31 Oct

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Is it Happy? Happy Halloween can’t be right.
Quince cheese. Little friend C and her crew dropped round yesterday after the park and gave us quinces. So here we are 24 hours later with a quince cheese about to be brutally halved. Apparently it now needs 4 to 6 weeks to mature. Can’t see our half making it to December. The bits we scraped from the pan were really very good. Why isn’t everyone hacking up quince?

Recipe: Peel and core quince. Weigh the quince flesh and pour out the same weight of sugar for later. Simmer peelings in just enough water to cover for an hour then push the pulp through a sieve. Add this to a heavy pan containing the quince flesh chopped up, a good squeeze of lemon and cover with just enough water. Simmer this for an hour. Then add the sugar and cook really slowly for an hour or even two until you can scrape a wooden spoon across the bottom of the pan and the two halves separate for seconds before sliding back together again. Line a tupperware with greaseproof smeared with a tiny amount of oil. Slide the quince cheese into the tupperware to a depth of 3-4cm and cool then chill overnight in the fridge. In the morning the cheese should be set and can be turned out onto fresh paper then wrapped up in greaseproof then newspaper to be aged for 4-6 weeks in the fridge before eating with cheese or cooked meat…

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What the quinces look like before cooking – they are meant to start out quite hard and green!

Run run as fast as you can

4 Oct

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And so begins an epic quest to perfect the gingerbread man. I am seeking high and low on the cook book shelves in the kitchen, scouring the foodiest food blogs, tracking down the ideal combination of ingredients to make manifest the gingerbread archetype. The platonic can’t catch me I’m the gingerbread man must be super gingery, pliable, chewy, not too sweet and not too ascetically unsugary, dark and rich and melt in the mouth.
Alongside I need to nail the technique to render the gingerbread man’s face and buttons.

Experiment 1
Recipe: Hummingbird cookbook
Adjustments made to recipe: Reduced cooking time to 8-9mins with a fan oven and made the biscuits slightly thicker than recommended 4mm. Doubled the quantity of ginger.
Results: 3/10 appearance 6/10 texture 7/10 flavour
Comments: The icing recipe was way too stiff to create any features but was a great glue for smarties. The biccies resembled the much loved Ikea ginger thins with a continental dark sugar quite grown-up taste. Great with coffee. Kids hoovered them.