Sunday, 31 May 2015

beetroot three ways...

Digging over the vegetable patch in preparation for planting we unearthed a few beetroot from last year's crop and plans to cook these burgundy brutes were made.

First of all washed, peeled and grated.  Fortunately I'd just bought a machine to grate the beetroot after my food processor passed away last year.  Even with a machine to do the hard work the kitchen looked very colourful by the time I'd finished.
Beetroot Soup (Tomato Borscht) 
from New Covent Garden Soup Company's 'Soup & Beyond'.

  25g(1oz) butter
 1 small onion finely chopped
 1 garlic clove crushed
  225g (8oz) raw, grated beetroot
  1 tsp ground cumin
  1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  225g (8oz) ripe tomatoes skinned 
  & chopped (or use tinned)
  275ml (1/2 pint) tomato juice
  1 tbsp tomato puree
   570ml (1 pint) vegetable stock
  1 tbsp soy sauce.
1..Melt butter and cook the onion, garlic and beetroot gently in a covered saucepan for 10 minutes.
2.  Add spices, tomatoes, tomato juice and stock - bring to the boil then lower to a simmer for 15 minutes.
3.  Add the soy sauce and add salt and pepper if needed.
4..Cool then puree/blend.
5.  Serve hot or chilled, topped with greek yogurt and chives.

Beetroot & Poppy Seed Loaf Cake - from Diana Henry's 'a change of appetite'
  3 large eggs

  225g ( 8oz) soft light brown sugar
  100ml (3 1/2 fl oz hazelnut oil
  200ml (7fl oz) olive oil
  1/2 tsp vanilla extract
 150g (5 1/2oz) regular wholemeal flour)
  50g (1 3/4oz) wholemeal spelt flour
  pinch of salt
 3/4 tsp baking powder
  3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  finely grated zest of an orange
  2 tbsp poppy seeds
  2 tbsp chopped hazelnuts
  225g (8oz) raw, peeled and grated beetroot

Oven temp: 180 deg C, 350 deg F, Gas 4.  Baking tins:  two 22 x11 x 6cm lined loaf tins.

1.  Beat the eggs and sugar using an electric whisk until pale and light.
2.  Stir in the oils, vanilla and whisk on the lowest speed.
3.  Mix in the flours, salt, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and orange zest.
4. Stir in the poppy seeds, hazelnuts and beetroot.
5.  Pour into prepared tins and bake for 40 minutes.
6.  Reduce heat to 170 deg C, 340 deg F, Gas 3 1/2 and cook for a further 20 minutes or until a    skewer comes out clean.
Cool in tin for 10 minutes.
7.  Top with icing made from icing sugar and orange juice and a sprinkling of poppy seeds.

Although the batter is bright fuschia the cake bakes to a 'normal' colour and I think that anyone unsuspecting would be hard pressed to identify beetroot as a key ingredient.  This is a beautifully moist cake.

Prickly Green Beetroot Salad 
(which contains nothing prickly or green - see the reason for the name at the end).

   2 large raw beetroot, peeled and grated
   1 large onion finely chopped
   110g (4oz) sultanas
   2 tbsp sunflower oil
   1/2 tsp dried basil
   salt & pepper
   juice of 1 lemon
  This couldn't be simpler - mix all the ingredients together in a large bowl.

The recipe found in Sarah Brown's 'Vegetarian Kitchen' comes from the actress Kate O'Mara and the salad is named after the village where Kate lived.

This book is from the 80's when fresh basil was unheard of (certainly where I lived) but I'm sure you could use fresh rather than dried basil.  However, I continue to use dried as I think the salad will last a little longer in the fridge - whereas fresh basil might go slimy.

Friday, 29 May 2015

national BBQ week

FIrst BBQ of the year - in the drizzle...
everything cooked to perfection...
and rounded off with beautifully toasted marshmallows!

lake district wanderings...

Messing about on boats on Lake Windermere.
In the grounds on Brantwood, John Ruskin's Lake District home
-scupltpures on the Zig Zaggy path (representing Dante's journey)
More lovely food...
And snow on the way home!
Sunshine is delicious, rain is refreshing, 
wind braces us up, snow is exhilarating;
there is really no such thing as bad weather,
only different kinds of good weather.
                                     John Ruskin

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

lake district food...The Rybeck Hotel...

A visit to The Ryebeck Hotel in Bowness on Windermere the Lake District with friends recently where a very lovely foodie time was had by all (the photographs don't do the food the justice it deserves)...

Monday, 25 May 2015

spot the mistake...

I had this on my wall for a year when my mum asked me about the mistake.  Have you spotted it?

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

minsteracres house tour

May's first Bank Holiday Monday saw an open house at Minsteracres Retreat Centrea beautiful Grade II listed building set in a 110 acre estate in Northumberland.
A house tour of the main building orginally built by the Silvertop family allowed a view of the glorious decorations that have been retained by the present occupants, a Passionist Monastery and Retreat Centre. 
The adjoining church is no less glorious in it's decor as seen in these angels adorning the ceiling looking down on the congregation.

Sunday, 10 May 2015

thai food

A present for my birthday was a voucher for a Thai cookery session at Saraphee Thai Catering at The Rising Sun Farm in Wallsend.  And what a lovely afternoon we had there (although the venue was a little tricky to find). 
A warm welcome awaited us from Sirinan, who guided us and the other students through the ingredients, cooking methods and background to two Thai dishes before providing a third pre-made dish to try.

The ingredients for the 'Noodle Dishes' were set out waiting for us to begin.
The first dish prepared was 'Khao Soi' (pronounced Cow Soy to my ears),  a deliciously aromatic yellow curry combining coconut milk, spices, chicken and soft noodles topped with crispy noodles, pickled cabbage, shallots and chilli favourite dish of the day. It was soon polished off.
Next came 'Lat Na' another chicken and noodle dish combining dark soy, oyster sauce and bean curd paste to create a milder colourful dish through the addition of broccoli and carrots.
Our final dish was 'Gung Ob Woon Sen', a dish of baked glass noodles  with soy sauce and shrimps.  Sirinan had decided that we were all keen on spicy food so was pretty generous with the black pepper...phew, it was pretty hot!
It was a great afternoon with lots of fun and laughter and delicious food.  Some new skills were learned and top tips were generously shared.  One top tip being that cheap robust red wine pares really well with spicy Thai food and the copious amounts drunk that afternoon definitely backed up that view.

Special mention must go to Sirinan's three children (and husband) who were there all afternoon and made sure that dirty dishes were cleared away and drinks were topped up.