Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Risotto ai topinambur

I got some weird looking potatoes in my Abel & Cole vege box this week - turns out they were Jerusalem artichokes! So having never cooked one before, I turned to my Silver Spoon cookbook and found a Jerusalem artichoke risotto recipe. 

I don't mean to brag... but I cook a mean risotto. My mum once told me that she never orders risotto at a restaurant, cause mine is always better! Ok I'm now officially bragging. 

I hadn't followed a risotto recipe in years, and this one differed slightly. You cook the onion in plenty of butter, then add the sliced artichokes, and some stock. You let the artichokes cook in the stock and when cooked, you mash them. Then you add the rice to soak up the liquid - and keep adding stock as per usual. Slightly different, but still worked really well.

Best part is, L ate it without complaining (he's not a risotto fan... neither is my Dad - they both call it 'mushy rice'!) so all in all, I'd consider this a win.

The risotto master at work

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Trance did entice marinate

I'm so lazy that I've handed this blog post over to my baby sister! Here's her... Surfing the Silver Spoon:

Marinated sea bream

I should start by saying something cool like, "As an avid reader of the 'Surfing the Silver Spoon' blog... but because it's my sisters blog, that goes without saying. But actually, I do love her blog and I'm always fascinated at the different recipes that she pulls out of that giant cook book. I was keen but slightly worried to give it a go myself because I know there are some weird and wonderful things in there that could either scare me, or open my eyes to something new and interesting. And so when J asked me if I'd do a guest blog post for her I jumped at the chance. 

We used the 'You pick three, I pick one' approach which is a theory I use when my husband and I can't make a decision on something. The first one she picked was lobster but luckily this one was disregarded because I'm not sure if you can get lobsters at my local Asda. My three choices were chicory with Prague ham and b├ęchamel sauce; strawberry ice cream; or marinated sea bream. The ice cream one caught my eye first but you need an ice cream maker so this one was out. The chicory recipe sounded yum and I could go in search of the ingredients in the posher supermarkets around London but that required more effort and another recipe from the silver spoon for the b├ęchamel sauce so it all seemed a bit too hard for this lazy cook. Besides, the fish one looked easy enough and I could buy everything locally. By locally, I mean at the giant supermarket two minutes from my apartment. Finding truly 'local' produce in my neighbourhood is a) not something I want to experience or b) not something that is actually an option.

So sea bream it was or 'Trance did entice marinate' to use the exotic name.

It seems I may have failed at the first hurdle. I was so proud of my local supermarket for stocking sea bass and I bought two fillets for Thursday night - silver spoon night. And then I got home and realised I needed sea bream, not sea bass. Oh well, it's got the word 'sea' in it. That still counts right?

Step one was marinating the fish overnight in a garlic, lemon and herb marinade. Finely chop garlic (I used extra cause I'm a bit of a garlic freak and put it in everything) fresh thyme, mint, dried oregano, the juice of three lemons and good quality olive oil. The recipe called for fresh parsley but I reeeeeeally don't like parsley (I know J finds this really weird but I just hate it!) so I left it out. I marinated my fish overnight but it says three hours will do.

Step two, well... cook the fish, that was it. That's what I loved about this recipe, it was SO easy and simple! I served the fish with turmeric and sesame sweet potato wedges, garlic aioli and steamed purple broccoli and asparagus. Simple and very delicious. The fish was lovely and citrusy and I could really taste the thyme which I loved. I think B may have found the fish a little too plain but I think that might be because he was already a bit miffed I'd made sweet potato wedges and not 'proper' wedges so wasn't in love with dinner at all.

From left: Ingredients including sea bream... or bass and the finished fish - yum

All in all, I loved making something I wouldn't normally make (I never marinate my fish) and it was almost a new experience having to follow a recipe for such a simple but delicious dish. I have to apologise about my photos, they're definitely not as pretty as J's usual pics but I have horrible rental apartment plates and ugly black benchtops (plus a hideous glass coffee table) which doesn't make for very beautiful picture. Oh, and it wasn't the prettiest of dishes to make either. I'm almost a bit relieved there wasn't a picture in the book to go off because I'm certain it wouldn't have looked like mine! Thanks for having me J and I hope you'll have me back again soon! You can find me at http://lifelovetravelfood.blogspot.co.uk in case you're wondering! x

Wednesday, 29 January 2014

Agnello all 'Arabia

Ok... so it's been a while! New year... new blog post and new blog resolutions - so let's see how I get on! Let's start things off with Arabian lamb - Agnello all 'Arabia. Wow what a fab recipe. It was full of flavour and so easy to knock up with ingredients from your pantry. The best recipes always are I say!

After browning everything off, I added the stock and put it in the oven - then promptly forgot about it for about 2 hours. When I finally remembered it... the onions were slightly caramelised but this was NOT a problem! It was awesome. I served it with steamed broccoli and buttered carrots. A perfect winter warmer.

From left: my messy prep; and the finished lamb.

"These are a few of my favourite things"
  • Find similar measuring cups, which look like little dishes, from Anthropologie. I broke one the other day and cried.
  • My tile (just seen) is from Tiger - now open on Tottenham Court Road which is a bit exciting for all of you who don't live in the sticks!
  • My tagine (which I didn't cook it in - but you could) I picked up in Morocco an age ago. It's great but too small. So that means I must take a trip back for another one... don't you think?
  • I cooked the lamb in my most amazing slow cooker (not pictured) I just used the pot part cause this goes on the stove AND into the oven.

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Fichi alle spezie

I am still being very boring food-wise. My naturopath has me on a wheat, dairy, sugar AND fructose free diet at the moment. So needless to say, I've not been cooking much from the Silver Spoon at the moment - apologies! But today, bank holiday weekend, I thought it was time to end the drought - even if I can't eat any of it!

So combining my post with my other blog Hither Green Havoc because my figs are home grown! Not exactly intentional, they just grew without any help from me...

Spiced figs. Simple and sweet.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

Sorbetto al kiwi

I'm on a wheat and dairy-free diet at the moment... and weekends are the hardest for me. With friends coming round and trips to our local foodie markets I am having to be really creative with what I'm eating and cooking. I wasn't planning on doing a blog post, but as I was having a cooking-spree this Saturday I thought I'd take a peek inside the Silver Spoon. I happened to get kiwi fruits in my Abel and Cole box this week that hadn't been eaten, so when I spotted a recipe for kiwi sorbet a blog post was born.

Simple, almost healthy ingredients!
Making a mess

Pureeing the fruit

Kiwi brick

Summer sun calls for sorbet

The recipe calls for an icecream maker, which I don't have. I seemed to remember old recipes stating that if you didn't have one, to whisk your mixture with a fork a few times while it was freezing. I did this... but it didn't exactly work! The sorbet, whilst really yummy, is rock solid. So to scoop it out, I softened it a little, then scraped it out and as I was scraping, shaped it into scoop shapes!

I'm off to have a bowl now!

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Marmellata d'arance

My dear Nanna G made the best apricot jam ever. She would get a new jar out specially for us three city girls when we came to visit the farm - and there wasn't much left after we were done! So I've been making jam. I've done a few batches now, so thought I was ready to branch out and try orange marmalade.

I'm not a marmalade fan... but my baby sister, D, LOVES marmalade - even though she thinks it makes you old (read her hilarious blog post here). It was slightly different from making jam, you don't add any water cause the oranges are juicy enough.

So here goes...

Peeling all the oranges... and I only did half quantity!

All sliced and ready to cook

Not sure my peel was 'finely sliced' but I gave it a good go!


After sterilizing, I was ready to put the marmalade into jars

Looking good

The finished prouduct

I delivered a jar to D - so perhaps she could give a verdict below in the comments?

And when apricot season comes around, I will do a comparison between Nanna G's jam... and the Silver Spoon's version... anyone know when apricot season is in the UK? Let me know!

"These are a few of my favourite things"
  • My gorgeous kitsch tray is a souvenir from our last snowboarding trip to Chamonix, where we found the cutest restaurant/cafe/bar called The Kitsch Inn when I asked if I could buy the tray our breakfast was served on, they sent us to Bungalow Graphics 
  • Wooden chopping board is from Habitat and they have a really similar one here 
  • Floral tea towel is from H&M a few years ago - but they have gorgeous styles all the time
And finally, thanks to D for all her jar collecting!

Salsa olandese

Yesterday was our 10 year wedding anniversary... so I wanted to cook L his favourite ever breakfast, eggs benedict. Then I thought I really need to do a blog post, so thought I'd make my hollandaise sauce (instead of buying it from M&S!)
I was very slack with these pics, so apologies! But also it's not a really exciting recipe (but never fear... I've got another post to come!)

This recipe uses butter instead of oil - I'm sure I've cooked hollandaise before, so the butter threw me a bit. But it's super easy and I think it doesn't split as easily as the oil version does. Lemon is added at the end to zest it up a bit (I also added salt). It's sooooo creamy and rich, and was gorgeous with the salty ham and fresh eggs.

whisking in little cubes of butter

Bottled ready to reheat for later

With muffins, eggs and fresh ham from our local butcher
Verdict: awesome! But pity the bubbly we had with breakfast (hey, it was a special occasion!) wasn't up to scratch! 

Find me on twitter @jeni_willis and also find my butcher on there too @ManorMeats