Saturday, 28 January 2012
And then I sat and picked up Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's 'The River Cottage Year' with a coffee at some point in my day and started to read my way through the first few months of the year...January was quite up, buoyant and somewhat positive given that most people in the northern hemisphere find it the toughest month of the year...maybe it has something to do with the fact that his birthday is smack bang in the middle of the month when most people are hitting a real low with Christmas all over and the credit card bills coming in....
So enlightened he talked about eating seasonally...kale, cabbage, endive, carrots, game birds and the like...then as you head on into Feb it all starts to go downhill...he calls it 'the coldest and most depressing and soul destroying month of the year' and March does not fear much better except that March has the added addition of 'HOPE'....as the days get a little warmer and a little longer one can see the light at the end of the long winter tunnel...summer lays ahead with all of the glorious fresh, sunshine dependent foods that this promises...cherries, raspberries, strawberries and sun ripened tomatoes, aubergines and fresh basil!
So I, in my usual optimistic way, take these warmer temperatures to mean that all of this is a lot closer than usual but Hugh's harsh reality check has made me realise we have still got a few 'months' to go!!!
You can read more about Hugh and his mates at The River Cottage on this link.
In order to not take this to much to heart and inspired by finding Geoff's gift of a jar of sweet ginger in my cupboard I decided to make a Sticky Really Gingery Ginger Cake...a firm family favourite that keeps in the tin forever and is just fab with a cuppa on a chilly January afternoon....
STICKY REALLY GINGERY GINGER CAKE
250 g flour
1 tsp of baking powder
2 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
pinch of fine salt
200 g golden syrup
2 tbsp of syrup from the jar of stem ginger
125 gm butter
3 lumps of preserved stem ginger chopped into small peices
3 tbsp of sultanas
125 gm of Muscovado sugar
240 ml of milk
Preheat the oven to 180 and line a 20 cm tin with 2 layers of baking paper.
Posted by Glenis at 13:23
Tuesday, 17 January 2012
To reassure my family and friends that my husband is not ill treating me and my family by torturing us with freezing cold breezes I attach the finished windows...yeah to neigh in 5 days!! Great progress!
And now we are all seeing a little more of each other!
Salmon en Croute for 2...
2 skinless salmon steaks
ready rolled or homemade flaky pastry [one large square should do it]
2 or 3 tablespoons of pesto
3 or 4 cherry tomatoes
Preheat the oven to 200 deg
1. Roll the pastry out into 2 rectangles 2.5 times as wide as the salmon steaks and 4 cm longer.
2. Spread pesto onto the pastry leaving a 3 or 4 cm strip around the edge of the pastry.
3. Place the salmon steak in the centre of the pastry.
4. Slice the tomatoes and place them on top of the salmon slightly overlapping them. Season with a little salt and freshly ground pepper and sprinkle with fresh herbs if you fancy.
5. Cut the lemon into 6 wedges lengthwise and squeeze one of the wedges over each salmon steak.
6. Using a pastry brush brush the edges of the pastry with water and then wrap the pastry around the salmon and make it look pretty tucking in the ends and making sure the tops are overlapped firmly.
7. Place the wrapped fish onto a piece of baking paper on a flat tray.
8. Using a large knife make diagonal slashes every 3 or 4 cm vertically along the length of the fish.
9. Brush with egg or milk and sprinkle with sesame or poppy seeds.
10. Bake in the oven for 15 - 20 mins until pastry is a toasty brown and puffy!
11. While you are waiting make a simple side salad to serve...rocket, avocado and red pepper worked well!
11. Transfer your salmon parcels to your plate and serve whole or cut it into thick slices and serve slightly overlapped...with a wedge of lemon to the side...and tuck in and enjoy!
Posted by Glenis at 10:23
Monday, 16 January 2012
link to a recipe with excellent instructions and a bit more history from one of my favourite food blogs and cookbook 'Chocolate and Zucchini' by Clotilde Dusoulier.
Le gâteau des Rois, by Jean-Baptiste Greuze, 1774 (Musée Fabre)
Further Information for those interested!
" Tradition holds that the cake is “to draw the kings” to the Epiphany. A figurine, la fève, which can represent anything from a car to a cartoon character, is hidden in the cake and the person who finds the trinket in their slice becomes king for the day and will have to offer the next cake. Originally, la fève was literally a broad bean (fève), but it was replaced in 1870 by a variety of figurines out of porcelain or—more recently—plastic. These figurines have become popular collectibles and can often be bought separately. Individual bakeries may offer a specialized line of fèves depicting diverse themes from great works of art to classic movie stars and popular cartoon characters. The cakes are usually sold in special bags, some of which can be used to heat the cake in a microwave without ruining the crispness of the cake. A paper crown is included with the cake to crown the "king" who finds the fève in their piece of cake. To ensure a random distribution of the cake shares, it is traditional for the youngest person to place themselves under the table and name the recipient of the share which is indicated by the person in charge of the service." as quoted from Wikipedia
On the wine front we started with a magnum of Olivier and Annemarie's own champagne 'L.Huot Fils' we then, forever the Ambassador's for our home country, served some NZ wines for our French guests to sample...the classic Malborough Cloudy Bay Savignon Blanc went down a treat and there was an extended rave for the Central Otago Pinot Noir 'Grasshopper Rock'....a rare wine internationally but it is available direct from the vineyard or from 'Naked Wines' in the U.K....
Posted by Glenis at 04:41