26 Jul 2015
Soooo in the mood for mussels, I am very lucky that I live with one foot in the countryside and one foot on the beach and this morning after a lovely family wonder down the seafront smelling the gorgeous salty sea air we were all in the mood for mussels, with great rock pools and wave cut platforms all along the miles of beach we have we are able to forage our mussels.
When it comes to cooking this gorgeous shellfish, some of us, (most my family) love them cooked in the traditional way and then their is me who loves them traditional ish! with lashings of double cream, we all agree on a side bowl of French skinny frites and hunks of fresh warm bread that you can dunk dunk and dunk in that gorgeous mussel stock white wine sauce.
Prep Time 10 minutes / Cooking Time 5-7 minutes
2 kg fresh live mussels
2 tbsp butter
2 glugs olive oil
1 large onion diced
2 cloves garlic finely diced
1 small handful parsley finely chopped
Ground black pepper
1 bottle good quality dry white wine
500ml double cream
Hunks of fresh warm crusty bread or french skinny frites, (fries).
First fill you sink with cold water and plonk in all the mussels, leave to soak for few minutes then remove, any beards, do this by pulling at any wiry strings until they come away from the shells, these wiry strings are what help the mussel stay attached to rocks.
In two deep pans with lids, divide the butter, oil, diced onion and garlic, gently pan fry until translucence, approx six minutes, crank up the heat to hot and add the mussels half in each pan, toss the mussels in the onions and pop on the lid to create a steam bath. Leave for one minute, then add half a bottle of wine to each pan and pop the lid back on, leave on a high heat and steam the mussels for 3-4 minutes until all the mussels have opened, holding the lid on the pan shake to stir the mussels.
At this point if you are in the traditional Moules Mariniere camp sprinkle with salt, pepper and parsley and serve in all thier glorious white wine juices. If like me you want the same gorgeous mussels in that white wine stock but with a decadently ramped up double cream richness, then at this point add your double cream, around 250ml per pan will do it, then finish as the traditional with some salt, pepper and parsley.
Serve immediately in deep bowls with hunks of fresh warm crusty bread or even better thin French frites, dunk away, dunk away!
Great good for you food that is so gorgeous you won't even realise you are missing that thing you think you can't live without...bread! Creamy coconut madras chicken stuffed into a rainbow chard leaf burrito wrap with spinach and kale, accompanied with a raw beetroot and hot chilli pepper slaw.
If you want to turn this vegetarian which I often do omit the meat giving you a lovely creamy coconut madras kale and spinach and stuff the slaw in the burrito too.
Prep time 10 minutes / Cooking time 5 minutes
1 tbsp coconut oil
2 tsp madras curry paste
2 chicken thighs skin off diced
300ml creamy coconut milk
2 spring onions sliced
1 red chilli diced
1 clove of garlic grated
1" turmeric grated or 1/4 tsp ground
2 generous handfuls of chopped kale
2 generous handfuls of torn spinach
2 large rainbow chard leaves or bok choi
1 beetroot peeled and grated
1/2 red pepper finely diced
1 red chilli finely diced
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
I like to prep all my ingredients first and place the rainbow chard burrito wraps on my plates ready to stuff. Heat a pan and add the coconut oil sear the chicken, add the garlic, turmeric, chilli and spring onion and cook for a minute then add the madras curry paste and coconut milk, bring to a simmer, add the kale and spinach and reduce the coconut milk until you have a medium thick sauce, take of the heat. Meanwhile toss all the slaw ingredients together and place a portion on your plates.
To wrap the burrito place the madras filling in the centre of each leaf reserving a little of the sauce for serving over the finished burrito, then to wrap, bring the top and bottom of the leaf over the filling then repeat with the left and right sides and on the last wrap roll the burrito over so that the seam side is face down, this will keep your burrito firmly wrapped, you can also pick this burrito up and eat as a street walker. Pour over the remaining sauce in a diagonal across the wrapped burrito.
This is a great feel good tastes great love your body lunch, eating this makes me feel so fresh and clean and that I am loving my body back for all I put it through! For me I am even more satisfied that everything on my plate comes from my garden as this makes me feel more self sufficient and a bit of a mini eco warrior lowering a little of my carbon footprint and giving a bit back
Prep Time 10 mins
9 whole mixed lettuce leaves
3 kale leaves
3 beetroot chard leaves
1/2 cup of raw fresh peas
2 spring onions sliced
1 beetroot peeled and grated
1 chilli finely chopped
3 tsp sweet chilli jelly (optional)
First bring a deep pan of water to a rolling simmer add the two eggs and set the timer for six minutes, when the cooking time is up, and this is important drain the hot water out and fill with running cold water as fast and safely as you can, this will stop the eggs cooking and give you a set white with glorious soft slightly runny yolks.
Place the three largest lettuce leaves on your plate and layer on the other two leaves and kale then top with the rest of the ingredients, finish off with a drizzle of sweet chilli jelly if you want.
These are also great as a base for topping with spicy piri piri chicken or some Asian spiced ground pork or anything you fancy.
24 Jul 2015
Quick and easy creamy spicy guacamole with hidden fragrant bursts of fresh vibrant pomegranate and lime with a lovely fiery kick from the jalapenos elevates this dip to the next level, one of my favourite dips to share with great friends and family.
Prep time 10 minutes
(Generous dip for 2 people)
1 large ripe avocado mashed
1 lime juiced
1 small bunch coriander finely chopped
2 fresh jalapenos finely chopped
1/4 red pepper finely chopped
1/2 pomegranate seeds and juice
1 spring onion finely chopped
1 pinch of sea salt
1 pinch of fresh ground black pepper
This is really just an assemble of ingredients, in a large bowl place the avocado and mash to your desired consistency, I like a almost smooth avocado because the rest of the ingredients add back the texture.
Next add all the other ingredients and randomly stir in, taste and adjust the seasoning if needed using the lime juice, salt and pepper, serve with a bowl of corn chips and great company.
If presentation is required I will reserve a few thinly slices of jalapenos and spring onion and keep back a pinch of coriander to sprinkle over the finished dip.
16 Jul 2015
This has taken me a while to make, the fact that it is just Vodka and herbs had me a little concerned about gargling that early in the morning with an alcohol & water solution! Then I payed some attention to my regular mouthwash, (so obvious!!!) and realised there is no difference in the make up apart from the natural ingredients in the mouthwash I was making and the artificial chemicals in the store brought bright blue or lavender mouthwash I have always used. I have now made my first batch and am very impressed with the results so far and have found this mouthwash has better cleaning properties with a much softer taste.
Prep time 5 minutes / Infusing time 2 weeks
200ml premium brand vodka
50ml boiled hot water
1 tsp dried ground cloves
2 tbsp dried peppermint leaf
1 tbsp dried rosemary
2 tbsp dried plantain leaf
15 drops of peppermint oil
Put all the ingredients except the vodka in a ball mason jar pour over the hot boiled water, this should just cover the herbs, pour in the vodka and screw on the lid, place somewhere dark for two weeks, turning periodically. After the two weeks strain the tincture through a fine cheese cloth and store in a glass bottle.
Keep a small glass next to the mouthwash, pour 5 ml, one teaspoon of mouthwash into your glass and top up with a mouthful of water and swish, swoosh and gargle away for thirty or so seconds.
What Do These Ingredients Do For Your oral Health
These are natural cleansing herbs that offer healing properties to your teeth and gums by naturally killing germs, alkalising your mouth while also cleansing and freshening.
A old traditional ingredient used in oral health, cloves have natural antiseptic, antibacterial and antiviral properties. Clove oil will smooth toothache or minor cavities until healed by your dentist.
This adds a traditional flavour and was originally used because of its antibacterial properties and is cooling to your mouth.
This is antibacterial and anti microbial and again traditionally used in healing wounds for its ability to speed the healing process.
A cooling herb, also antibacterial with a cooling property that is soothing to your gums.
12 Jul 2015
I love the beginning of every season and find that towards the end of each season I start to get excited at the prospects of the beginning of the next season, it is a wonderful ongoing perpetual circle of sort of hard work, growth, production and Mother Nature's giving and giving back to Mother Nature.
Right now I am at the beginning of summer and just getting a hint of what this season is going to produce and bring, the summer season for me is the start of the bounty to come from all of springs hard work, a bounty of beautiful free homegrown foods, today just a few strawberries are ready along with a few raspberries, blueberries, black currents and rhubarb perfect for scattering on your breakfast, making jam and pie fillings or making individual tarts.
Prep time 15 mins / Cooking time 15 mins
(makes extra, keep in freezer for next time)
350g plain flour
small pinch of salt
2 beaten eggs
150g softened butter
100g icing sugar
60 raspberries plus
30 raspberries for the decoration
100g caster sugar
First make the sweet pastry, place the flour on your worktop and create a well in the centre, place the butter in the well and add the sugar on top, using a pecking pinching action, gently incorporate the sugar in to the butter, then add the beaten egg into this mix and incorporate into the butter mix, once incorporated flick the mixture into the flour and slowly incorporate, bring together and form a smooth ball, wrap in parchment paper and place in the fridge for one hour to chill. Pre heat your oven to 180 degrees.
Meanwhile, place your 60 raspberries in a saucepan with the sugar a gently heat through until soft and syrupy then turn up the heat and bring to a simmer to reduce the raspberries until thick enough so that you can draw a line through the saucepan and see the bottom of the pan for a split second, take off the heat and leave to cool.
Flour your worktop and roll out the sweet pastry, line your tart tins with the pastry, line the pastry with a piece of baking paper and fill the tart case with baking beans or rice and blind bake for ten minutes, then remove the baking beans and baking paper and pop back in the oven for a further three minutes, remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly.
Fill your tart cases with the raspberry jam and top with the reserved whole raspberries and enjoy.
5 Jul 2015
Fresh and zesty corn tostada salad loaded with rich and creamy avocado, sweet caramelised butternut squash, peppered with grated cheese and seasoned pomegranate molasses tossed tomatoes, a gorgeous crunch of fresh zesty sweet flavours in every mouthful.
Prep time 15 mins / Roasting time 30 mins
1 baked corn tostada disk
1 handful of mixed lettuce, spinach and rocket leaves
1 jalapeno sliced
6 baby plum tomatoes, halved
1 spring onion sliced
1 cup of diced butternut squash
1/4 cup of shredded cheddar
1/2 avocado diced
1 tbsp coconut oil
1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp coriander
sea salt and black pepper
Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees, toss the diced butternut squash in the coconut oil and season with salt and black pepper, place in a roasting tin a roast in the oven for 30 minutes, turning once half way through.
Drizzle the pomegranate molasses over the plum tomatoes, then layer all the ingredients on your corn disk and finish off with a scattering of the caramelised butternut squash and enjoy.
There is something very comforting about cooking with an open flame, whether it is in a wood fired oven or around a fire pit it fills me with great satisfaction even if I set fire to the meat! It must stir some redundant Cave Woman gene somewhere deep inside of me! Slow wood fired cooking adds a great depth of flavour you can not achieve any other way and has given us some of the best tasting cave man cooked dinners.
Prep time 10 minutes / Cooking time 3 hrs partially attended
(Serves 3-4 Adults)
For The Lamb
1 lrg whole shoulder or 2 halves of grass feed lamb
8 carrots peeled
1 onion skin on quartered
1 leek rough chopped
2 stick celery halved
1 whole bulb garlic halved
2 stems of rosemary
4 pints of water
1 tbsp red current jelly
1 large pinch of sea salt and black pepper
The Stock Gravy
300 ml Madeira or port
1 tbsp soft butter & 2 tbsp flour mixed together
(this is to thicken the stock gravy)
Steamed vegetables: peas, cabbage, carrots
8 floury potatoes & beef dripping for gorgeous roast potatoes
Fire up your wood oven at least 1-2hrs before you are ready to cook. I like to have white glowing embers that only need a couple of logs periodically thrown on so that I can roughly control the temperature between 250 - 300 degrees Celsius.
This is a lovely simple one pan cook, place the lamb shoulders in a deep roasting tin, throw in the carrots, onion, celery, garlic and leeks, sprinkle the salt and pepper over the skin of the shoulders, slide the roasting pan in to the wood fired oven for a couple of minutes to crisp up the skin, turning the roasting tin once to keep the browning of the skin even.
Remove from the wood oven and add the rosemary and bay leaves along with the water, you want enough water to almost fully cover the lamb. Cover the roasting pan with baking paper and then with tin foil,
Place in your wood fired oven for 2-3 hours,turning the roasting pan every 20-30 minutes and occasionally adding another log to the fire to keep the heat around 250-300 degrees.
After two hours of wood fired cooking, start cooking your roast potatoes and 40 minutes later start cooking the vegetables that your are going to serve with this.
When the lamb is ready around 3 hrs, drain off one litre of the gorgeous cooking liquid into a deep saucepan, add 300 ml of Madeira or port and bring to a rolling simmer, reduce by half, add the butter and flour mix and whisk until incorporated and thickened, add another knob of butter for a rich and glossy finished texture.