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Posts Tagged ‘cheese’

Hello folks! Just a quick announcement before getting on with this post. Food Magazine‘s 2013 Reader Awards are accepting nominations for your favourite West Country food producers, shops, chefs, cafes and restaurants and, for the first time, bloggers. If you have any favourites that you think deserve some recognition you can vote for them here. And if you’ve enjoyed reading this little blog I would be over the moon if you nominated it. #awkward! Thank you!

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At this time of year where late summer drifts into early autumn and warm, sunny afternoons are punctuated by misty mornings and a slight chill in the air I find myself feeling very happy and content with my lot. I’m looking forward to snuggly winter which will bring a family wedding, my birthday and, hopefully, a finished kitchen. But I’m jumping ahead; there’s so much to enjoy in these harvest months. The squirrels I can see from the window are busy scampering about preparing for winter. Veggie boxes are brimming with goodies and the hedgerows are laden with hazelnuts, sloes and blackberries which I need to hurry up and pick before the Devil spits on them on the 29th!

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When I lived in Italy I shared a flat with my good friend from university and two lovely Italians. Over the year there was a lot of cultural exchange as the Italians introduced us to the best of their country: gelato, good coffee, piadine; and the Brits tried to dispel the myth that our food is terrible. We baked hearty cottage pies and stuffed our suitcases with crumpets, cheddar, Marmite and all the necessary items for a proper cream tea. For her birthday our Sicilian flatmate wanted a taste of home and decided to make arancini, deep-fried rice croquettes, a speciality from her home island that often feature at special occasions. She called her mother to get the family recipe and then we gathered round our dining table for the afternoon while she patiently taught us the correct method to make them. (more…)

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Horray! It looks as though we’re through the ‘hungry gap’ where the last of the winter vegetables are running low and the first of the spring veggies are not quite ready. If you subscribe to a veggie box or community agriculture scheme the hungry gap can play havoc with your menu plan: unexpected frosts can spoil crops, supplies can run out early and you end up with the occasional unexpected substitution. Last week was one such occasion when I had made planned to make pumpkin falafels and ended up with a cauliflower. Granted, it was a lovely cauli but I struggled to come up with an interesting idea for dinner that went beyond the standard cheese pairing. (more…)

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Well this probably should have been a Christmas post but with all the hustle and bustle and manic cooking I somehow forgot to take any photos of this great side dish. Not to worry though, I wanted an excuse to make it again, so I did. Butternut squash is, as you can probably tell by looking at my recipe index, one of my favourite vegetables. It can do no wrong and works in all manner of recipes soup, salad, pizza, tagines… So often it is the star of the show but it is also happy to sit alongside other dishes as part of your supper spread. It is especially good served with roasted meats (pork and chicken in particular) or brasied casseroles, cooked long and low, which should always be paired with some kind of mash to transport you into comfort-food nirvana.

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This is a cracking little recipe from the one and only David Lebovitz. A chef renowned for his sweet dishes, he’s also a dab hand at making simple, savoury ingredients shine. I frequently whip up a jar of feta marinated in olive oil, fresh herbs and chillis to consume over the course of the next few days in salads, on bread or, my current favourite, over baked sweet potatoes. At this time of year you can give it as a gift or keep it on hand for an impromptu nibble when friends come knocking.

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This weekend I publicly confirmed, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that I am a vegetable obsessive: in the middle of a relaxing countryside walk I bolted for a mobile farm shop. Not that I really mind; even though I enjoy a good steak or tender, slow-cooked lamb, I could quite happily go vegetarian most of the time. To me, the range of flavours and textures in veggies is something to get excited about. Unfortunately there are still some things I struggle with and, up until very recently, fennel was one. I have successfully overcome taste aversions by constantly having a little taste; I once went from hating rocket to craving it in under a week. And the same thing has just happened with fennel. Little by little I started to enjoy subtle hints of fennel seeds then one day I tasted a fennel and spinach gratin and was instantly smitten. I’ve not been able to get it out of my head ever since. On the back of this success there’s still hope for mushrooms and aubergine! (more…)

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