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Posts Tagged ‘vegetables’

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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Last week my mum and I went on a last-minute city break to Avignon where we indulged in sunshine, shopping and lots and lots of beautiful food. Since coming back I’ve been on a Provençal cooking kick having been overloaded with inspiration on our mini holiday. Just wandering around the wonderful indoor market is enough to make you want to sell up and move to France: the stalls were overflowing with all manner of heirloom tomatoes; tiny, round green and yellow courgettes; plump purple- and white-flecked aubergines; strings of garlic; fat bundles of fresh herbs and about 20 types of onion. The delis had big bowls of ratatouille to take home and reheat alongside stuffed tomatoes, rabbit stew, individual egg and vegetable flans and roasted meats. Hams and whole salamis hung above mountains of olives and the boulanger oppostie sold crunchy, fresh sourdough bread, fougasse studded with nuts and apple tart by the slice. Other displays contained jewel-like candied fruits, macarons and iced, almond-shaped Calissons from nearby Aix. (more…)

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I love cooking vegetables on the barbeque and, even though I’m an omnivore, I’m quite happy to stick to vegetarian options when we get the grill out. The tendency (for me at least) is to make the most of the occasion and overeat so vegetable based options seem the way to go since they are usually a bit lighter than a slab of meat. I also love throwing halloumi on the BBQ, it’s texture transforms from tough to soft and  pleasently chewy and it’s salty flavour goes so well with charred veggies. It’s worth tracking down good halloumi made with sheep or goat’s cheese which has a much better flavour and texture than the stuff made with cow’s milk but, should you stuggle to find any, the marinating step makes even the mass-produced cheese taste good.

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Whilst sounding like a simple meal to prepare, roast chicken can often turn out to be more of a challenge than first thought. It can be hard to achieve a perfectly cooked balance of moist, tender white meat and properly cooked thigh despite the countless methods and recipes there are floating around the ether. Butter under the skin, lemons in the cavity and bacon bandages are all helpful and add lots of flavour but a sure-fire way to keep your bird juicy is to pot roast it in a pool of flavoursome ingredients. While the chicken wallows in a nice warm bath it soaks up the flavour of any seasonings and vegetables you add and it’s bath water turns into fragrant stock, perfect for a good gravy or soup. (more…)

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Party season is almost upon us and I’ve been busy trialling recipes for the Christmas crowds. My first party is this weekend but, I think fortunately, I’m not playing host just yet. It’s going to be one of those wonderfully out of character parties where you get to see a totally new side of your friends. On Saturday I’m going to feast on dustbin lid-sized pizza, garlic bread and chocolate fudge cake with my running group which mainly consists of a bunch of fairly health-conscious ladies. I think we’re going to give the restaurant a run for their money in terms of how much we can eat!

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