Tag Archives: Cooking

Dancing In The Middle Of The Room

On the Threshold of Eternity

On the Threshold of Eternity (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Brothers (The Black Keys album)

Brothers (The Black Keys album) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In the past ten years I have been firmly behind the door when it comes to good music.  In the middle of a bad depressive illness anything that provoked an emotional response was definitely most unwelcome and music was a huge factor.

Recently, however, as life has become enjoyable and I have acquired an iphone, I have been attempting to make up for lost time (and spending a fortune in the process).  My latest ‘find’ is The Black Keys, who are just so sublime I can’t begin to tell you.  I have just downloaded ‘Brothers’ which is one of the best albums I’ve ever heard.  I was disappointed to find out online that I missed their UK tour dates because I would have lived on bread and butter for three weeks to go and see them.

Another recent discovery is the Alabama Shakes who are equally fantastic – I was dancing in the kitchen the other night, whilst cooking myself a rather nice supper – steak, rocket and watercress salad, wine – and I realised that life is sometimes rather grand and,  in thinking that,  it is now a definite given that I am recovered, if somewhat broke.  Music, as well as steak, is the food of love.

 

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Giorgio Locatelli – `Made In Italy: Food And Stories’

Cover of "Made in Italy: Food and Stories...

Cover of Made in Italy: Food and Stories

This is a beautiful book, and exactly how a cookery book should be written.  It’s not just a collection of recipes and photographs of the results, but a whole story of where the chef grew up and who influenced him.  It documents the food he ate as a child and discovered as he grew up,  anecdotes of his family and adventures he’s been on, and how he became successful.

The photographs also help to tell the stories – it’s genuinely a pleasure to read and the recipes are fabulous,divided into seven sections:  Antipasti;  Zuppa;  Risotto;  Pasta;  Pesce;  Carne;  Dolci.

None of them are impossibly difficult, and the ones I have tried have produced meals that I could eat over and over again.  If I could reproduce one of the photos here I would – my all time favourite is a photograph of  pieces of focaccia classica on a wooden board – simple but beautiful and will, like all the others, encourage you to make it just so that you can taste how beautiful it looks!

If you are in the mood for buying a new cookery book, or asking for one for a present, I highly recommend this – you won’t regret it.

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Stunningly Simple Smoked Salmon with Tomato, Beetroot and Watercress Salad

Smoked salmon, watercress, crème fraîche, hors...

Image via Wikipedia

Just had an amazing lunch made for me by my cousin Joe.  It was perfect, and would do just as well for a light supper.  The preparation and cooking is so easy, and hardly time consuming.  Here’s what to do –

Ingredients (to serve 2)

Smoked salmon fillets, 1 per person.

2 medium sized tomatoes

2 beetroot, cooked, peeled

1 bag of watercress, washed.

For the dressing

Small pot of créme fraîche

2-3 teaspoons of horseradish sauce

To Make

Lightly grease a large piece of aluminium foil, (dull side).  Place salmon fillets on it, dot with butter, and fold foil into a parcel, tightly sealing edges and allowing a little space inside for air to circulate.  Place in a preheated oven at 200°C and bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare salad.  Divide watercress between two dinner plates/shallow bowls.  Slice tomatoes and beetroot and place on top.  Make the dressing by mixing together half a small pot of créme fraîche with 2-3 teaspoons of horseradish sauce, (or to taste).

When the salmon is done, place on top of the salad and spoon as much of the dressing over as you would like.

Enjoy!  This would be lovely with a bottle of chilled white wine.

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One Of My All-Time Favourite Soups

Fresh herbs, fresh spices and vegetables sold ...
Image via Wikipedia

This soup recipe is absolutely gorgeous – its actually made with coconut milk, Thai spices and cauliflower, but I’ve found that if I actually say to people, “try this cauliflower soup, it’s gorgeous”, I don’t actually get past the word ‘cauliflower’ before people are pulling faces!  So, if you do like cauliflower,and you’re a fan of Thai food then try this out – I absolutely promise that you won’t be disappointed.

Cauliflower photographed in Woolworths store i...

Image via Wikipedia

I should mention at this point that I’m going to give you the long winded version, which involves making the stock before any thing else.  It’s a good way to start;  if you don’t want to make the soup straight away then you can refrigerate the stock, and the flavours will intensify upon standing which makes the final result even more sublime than usual.  So, here we go…

THAI CAULIFLOWER AND COCONUT SOUP

 

Stock Ingredients

1.5 litres vegetable stock

2-3 lemon grass stalks, crushed

grated rind of 1 lime

3 garlic cloves, crushed

5-6 slices of galangal, or 2-3 tsps galangal paste

8 coriander roots, crushed

Other Ingredients

3 mixed chillis, (whichever preferred), seeds removed, sliced

1 large cauliflower, broken up into small florets

400ml tin of coconut milk

2tbsps Nam Pla (Thai fish sauce)

1-2 tbsps fresh lime juice

Chopped coriander to garnish

Make up the stock, using cubes, or pre-made.  Add all the other stock ingredients, bring to a rolling boil, then turn heat right down and simmer, lid on, for 30-35 mins.  After the stock has been simmering for around 15 minutes, slice up the scallions/ spring onions,the mixed chillis, and the cauliflower.  Heat the oil in a large pan, and add the onions and the chillis.  Fry gently for a couple of minutes, then add the cauliflower and fry on a slightly higher heat until slightly browned.  Strain the stock and add just the liquid to the pan.  then add the coconut milk, bring to the boil and turn heat right down to a simmer.  Add then 1-2 tsps of Thai fish sauce and continue to simmer, with the lid on, for 30 minutes.  If you like your soup smooth, then take off the heat and whizz with a hand blender, or in batches in a food blender till smooth.  Then, add lime juice, to taste, a sprinkling of chopped coriander leaves, and serve.  Just too luscious for words…..

 

 

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