Tuesday, 27 January 2015

A Year in Pictures



Well, blimey I've been wittering away, in this spot, for the last 12 months!  And it's been fun. I'm not really sure how or why it all began but I'm glad it did!

I've been really suprised and excited about how many of you have popped by to take a look and thank you for all your lovely comments and support...

So to celebrate the fact that I got here - without running out of ideas, recipe's, steam etc..... I thought I would compile some photo montages for each of the last 12 months.......


So to begin - last January

 January


Febuary......

 Feb



March .....

 March


April......

 April


May.....

 May


June......

 June


July......

 July



August......

 August



September......
 September


October.....

 October


November.......

 November



December.......

 December

So there you have it!

                                   A Year in pictures.

                                                                            Wow

I hope you've enjoyed it as much as I have and thanks again to all of you who've stopped by.

So now onto another year of pictures, food, family, food and, as you've probably guessed, more food.....

Love
Lizx







Monday, 26 January 2015

A Simple Fresh Tomato Sauce for Pasta


A really simple supper dish to start the week off.

So, if you have had a busy weekend and leaped straight back into a hectic Monday, this is the dish for you. It's fresh, healthy, satisfying and, as I've already pointed out, it's  easy, easy, EASY.......

I made this last week on one of my 'home alone night's' - basically raiding the fridge and seeing what I can come up with. I often make this basic tomato sauce/paste - it's excellent for spreading on a pizza base, or mixing in to a dish that needs a tomato base such as a stew, rice dish or, as in this case, pasta.

Here's the basic sauce recipe - serves 2

1 lb of fresh tomatoes - peeled and roughly chopped (or 1 tin chopped tomatoes)
1 large onion - any colour I used red
2 cloves garlic - peeled & crushed
good handful chopped parsley
olive oil
salt & freshly ground black pepper

for my pasta supper I added...

a small handful feta chunks (as much or as little as you want)
a few rocket leaves or any other small salad leaf will do
a good tablespoon of small back olives - pitted (I used couchillo olives - I just like the size and       flavour of them for this type of dish)


Roughly chop the tomatoes, onion and parsley.

Heat some olive oil in a heavy based pan and then cook the onions until they start to soften. Then added the  tomatoes and cook, for just a few minutes, until they to start to soften as well - you don't want to break them to a mush your just heating them to help release some of their sweetness. Now pop them into a food processor along with the parsley and garlic...... and give it a good whizz.....


Your looking for this consistency........I like my sauce to have a good garlicky bite but if you want a little less, add it to the pan when you add your tomatoes to help take the edge off the flavour.


Turn your tomato paste/sauce into a bowl and add a little salt and some freshly ground black pepper.
And there you have it a simple sauce to do with as you wish.......

For my pasta supper I cooked up a portion of dry spaghetti ......


When the pasta was cooked I added a good dollop of my sauce and added the olives. I also added a slug more of olive oil and gave it all a gentle mix through to distributed the sauce so it coated all the pasta.



Now simple turn into a warm bowl and add your feta, rocket and may be a few more olives and serve...

As I said, a very simple supper. If you don't have these ingredients, as fresh to hand, then a tin of chopped tomatoes and some dried italian herbs (oregano, marjoram, or even a little dried thyme or rosemary) along with an onion and garlic will do the job just as well for a simple store cupboard sauce. You also don't have to use feta - parmesan shards, or even grated cheddar will produce a tasty simple, and cheap meal!

Hope you have a good start to your week
Love Lizx





Friday, 23 January 2015

Calamari served with Red Chilli Jam and Rocket


I have a habit - I'm not sure it's a bad one - but I do know it's an annoying one for anybody else with me! I hear them sighing when I head off to indulge, leaving them hanging around whilst I'm doing it!

What is it..........................................well, I'll tell you................

I like to read the menus outside restaurants  - I usually have no intention of going in but I just like to see what there doing and flavour combinations etc.....

See nothing embarrassing, illegal or bad................ just frustrating for my companions....

Well, anyway, last week when I was in Truro one menu board had 'Squid with Chilli Jam' as a starter and I thought - that would work well with calamari - so when we got home we made it for supper.

And it worked - really tasty and the hot spiciness cut through the fried batter.

First off Andrew made up his beer batter whilst I defrosted the squid. We often have prepared squid in the freezer. It defrosts quickly and can make up a very easy supper dish. I usually buy the squid whole and then cut it into rings - freezing in 'one portion' size bags so I can take out as many as I need....

When defrosted, the squid rings were dried, dipped in batter and then quickly fried in very hot oil...

FYI - I always use rapeseed oil for this type of frying - it heats to a higher temperature, has a pleasant neutral taste and is also a healthy oil being low in saturated fat.


Drain off any excess fat, sprinkle on some sea salt crystals and serve.....

With some chilli jam and a simple rocket salad it was not only a tasty treat but very visual as well.


The chilli jam we had was from a jar I had for Christmas but you can make your own - it's easy - all you need is some chillies (obviously) some sugar and a bit of vinegar - you will also need some pectin to help it set, so either buy jam sugar (which contains pectin) or add some cooking apples to do the job.


For 1kg of sugar you will need 200g red chillies (de-seeded and finely chopped- do this in a mixer if you want to avoid burning hands, eyes, skin etc.....) 400ml of cider vinegar and 2 large cooking apples, if your not using jam sugar. Pop the sugar, chilli's & vinegar in a pan along with the two whole apples - that you have stabbed with a knife a few time, bring it all to a ro1ling boil for about fifteen minutes, check for setting point - by dabbing a drop of the jam onto a cold plate if it starts to set your there - if not continue to boil, checking every few minutes. Remove the apples, pour into sterilised jars, label and if your chilli strips float to the top of the jar turn it over before setting to redistribute them!

And enjoy it with cold meats, cheese, calamari, sausages and chips.........anything really except probably ice-cream or any dessert for that matter but hey, it's up to you.........

Have a great weekend

Lizx