Monday, 4 March 2013

Warm Grilled Goats Cheese and Chorizo Salad

Ok, I will confess that this is not the healthiest salad in the world but it is super tasty and a nice warming dish for the colder nights. To make a real hearty meal out of it you can swap the salad leaves for puy lentils. It is really easy to make and can be ready, on your plate and munched down in about 20 mins.

Ingredients - per person

100g slices of goats cheese, rind on
100g cooking chorizo sausage
10 cherry tomatoes
A few cloves of garlic, crushed, skin on
Large handful of rocket or watercress
A drizzle of honey
Pinch of chopped rosemary

Chop up your chorizo, I used unearthed spicy cooking chorizo which is delicious. Make sure it is cooking chorizo rather than cured as that will simply go hard and chewy. Toss on a baking tray or in a foil parcel with the garlic and cherry toms. Put in the oven at about 170 degrees.



Now take the goats cheese, drizzle with some clear honey, season and sprinkle with rosemary. About 10 mins after the chorizo has gone in the oven, put in the cheese on some baking parchment.

Meanwhile add your salad leaves to a bowl and drizzle with some balsamic or a squeeze of lemon juice.

5 mins after the cheese has been added to the oven, take the chorizo and tomatoes out and add to the salad, discarding the garlic. Use the beautiful red juices from the chorizo rather than olive oil. Blast the cheese for 1-2 mins in the grill for a lovely golden effect then place on top of the salad. Serve warm with some crusty bread and a nice chilled glass of Chardonnay. Hey presto!

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

TOP 5 FOODIE FINDS - NOVEMBER

 

1 – Truckle Cheddar


 

I bought this at the Edinburgh Farmer’s Market on Saturday from Jimmy’s farm. (He also had a very nice sheep’s milk cheese aptly called ‘See Ewe Jimmy’, he he!) This cheese is delicious, strong but not overpowering. Fab with some chutney or chilli jam. They used to serve it on the cheese plate many years ago when I was working as a waitress at the fantastic Ubiquitous Chip in Glasgow but you don’t see it too often. I am going to have to go back to the market this weekend to get some more!

 

 

2 – M & S Seasonal Range

 

Sometimes after a hard day’s work in this cold, dark, winter weather a bit of cheating is a must! M&S have some really good new products in just now. My favourite find so far, Leek and Bacon Mash –AMAZING! Hearty stodge. It’s not just mash, it’s M&S mash, yum!

 

 

3 – Pillars of Hercules Organic Farm Shop and Café

 

This place is a wee bit out the way but if you are passing through the nearby area, Falkland in Fife , it is well worth a bit of a detour. My friend Caz took me here when I was staying with her for the weekend and it is a great find. A lovely eco-friendly, quirky, spot in the courtyside. The timber clad farm shop and café has a range of reasonably priced organic seasonal produce on sale from the farm.  There is a relaxed vibe and it is fun just to browse. On a sunny day there is a lovely decking area to sit outside. The farm also has a ‘pick your own herb’ garden which is a great idea and really good for people like me who don’t have a garden of their own!

 
 
 
4 – Nigellissima

 

Oh Nigella, every cookbook you write gets better and better.  As soon as I bought this I poured a large vino and read it from cover to cover! It has some beautiful Italian recipes, some really easy and simple to make. I am still ploughing through the book but so far one of my favourites is ‘pasta risotto with peas and pancetta ‘. It is made with orzo pasta which is delicious and really easy to cook. You can have yourself an easy quickie risotto in 10 mins with these little pasta nuggets. Loved the TV show too, naughty as ever! Am also SUPER excited to go and see Nigella at her book signing in Glasgow later this month, hope I can get a pic!

 

 

5 -  My Chinese Rice Bowls

I bought these gorgeous rice bowls and spoons when I was in Kuala Lumpur earlier this year. I have finally found a space for them and I just love them. I haven’t used them too much yet as I am scared of them getting broken after getting them half way across the world in one piece! I am going to have friends round to try out some Malaysian dishes I learnt how to cook at a course I took when I was there. You might not be able to get these ones here but look out for bowls like this in oriental shops.  They are so pretty!

 

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

REVIEW

 CUP TEA LOUNGE, GLASGOW




This city centre venue is the second branch of 'Cup' to appear on the Glasgow scene, with the first opening 2 years ago in the west end. This branch however is trying to do something a bit different by expanding out to the evening crowd opening late for cocktails, fizz and desserts.


Situated in a corner building on Renfrew Street the interior of Cup is certainly impressive. Filled with mirrors, chandeliers, candles and impressive displays of fresh lillies, it has an air of opulence and indulgence. Perfect for a girly treat.

Desserts, and a variety of cupcakes are served all day, with afternoon tea and a lunch/snack menu served up until 6. There is a large selection of teas, over 35 to choose from and your tea is served with a little timer to get the brewing time just right! There is also a creative and very reasonably priced cocktail menu and a wine list. Cup will also facilitate packages for hen parties, birthdays and baby showers and other events. Staff were very friendly, helpful and happy to answer any questions.

The desserts are inventive and clever and fall into 5 categories - fruit, chocolate, tea and coffee, classics re-worked and classics. There is a sense of Heston Blummethal about the recipes, for example try the 'a tea, a cake and a biscuit' which consists of a set elderflower and blackcurrant tea custard, a caramel cake, rose shortbread and chai ice cream. For something with a fruitier flavour you could opt for 'Rhubarb and Vanilla Sushi' which is made up of chilled vanilla rice pudding, rhubarb puree, wasabi caviar and lime sorbet.

Desserts can be taste matched with cocktails falling into corresponding categories and again the drinks go from classics to unusual. Whilst my friend enjoyed an espresso martini, I sampled an apple and ginger mojito. Both were delicious. Other options were the chocolate based 'millionaires shortbread' or a glass of earl grey fizz.




There are a selection of cupcakes, all of which look fantastic. They are presented beautifully with edible glitter, different decorations and served with dainty silver forks. The cupcakes however were the one downfall of our visit, and for a place such as Cup, this is not a minor issue. Whilst the cakes looked beautiful, all which we sampled were very dry and missing that spongy, light goodness. The icing was far too sweet and we couldn't finish them.

The cupcakes were a real disappointment and defintely need some serious attention. As one of my companions pointed out, if the name 'cup' is derived from their cupcakes, it would be most unfortunate if their cocktails became the star of the show. A change in name to a shortened version of 'Cocktail' wouldn't necessarily have the same ring to it!

However the concept of Cup is different and daring. It is definitely designed for girls although men are of course allowed! It offers a little bit of luxury in a quirky way and is the sort of place that you will leave talking about and telling your friends to visit. All in all definately worth a visit but stick to the cocktails and desserts.


Monday, 20 August 2012

Five Foodie Finds

 

Check out the top 5 fun foodie finds I have come across this week!


1. The Cottonrake Bakery, Hyndland, Glasgow
Amazing cakes, puds and tarts. I love the window display and the carrot cake I had was awesome. They also made their own gourmet sausage rolls which I didn't try but looked really yummy.




2. Red Leicster with Scotch Bonnet Chilli
Oh my god, after discovering Cornish Cruncher with Chilli at M&S I thought I had found the ultimate spicy cheese but this is even better, and it is HOT HOT HOT! Yum. I found it at the deli counter is Waitrose, you have to try it!



3. Exploring China - A Culinary Adventure
This show on BBC2 is awesome. I want to be friends with Ken Holm and Ching-He Huang, they look like they are having so much fun on their foodie journey! I love Asian food and have travelled quite a bit in South East Asia but I have never been to China. Definately want to go on day! Check this out on iplayer if you missed it.




4. Comedy Hot Sauce
He he, these Hot Sauces from the wonderful Lupe Pintos on Leven Street made me giggle. I took the picture to send to my friend Jen who loves condiments and spice.



5. Charbonnel et Walker Choccies
How cute are these handbags and heel chocs! I met up with my school friend Gillian this last week and she gave me these as a very sweet gift. She got them in Harvey Nicks which has a fantastic food department but you can also get them from John Lewis, House of Fraser or online at http://www.charbonnel.co.uk/



Sunday, 19 August 2012

TWO BOWLS OF SOUPER GREEN SOUP


I love making soups,  it is probably the first thing I ever learned to cook. Both my Nana and my mum make a brilliant bowl of soup so I had good teachers. Soup is something that anyone can cook, it is so easy but you can make so many varieties and let’s face it nothing else feels quite so comforting as a good bowl of soup! Plus if you make a big batch of soup you can freeze portions to use later. My friend at work and I share an office and take turns to bring in soup  most days. Is a very cheap and tasty lunch! She makes a mean tomato and chorizo soup, I must get the recipe…..


Anyway I have feeling a tad run down at the moment so I thought on this rainy Sunday afternoon I would make some healthy, hearty and very green soup.  I decided on a slight twist on the good old favourite pea and ham and also a batch of superfood watercress. Both peas and watercress are bursting with vitamins and various other things that are good for you. Apparently Elizabeth Hurley swears by the watercress soup diet and she looks pretty damn good!

So here are the recipes and a few pics, give them a try!

Pea and Pancetta Soup with a Moroccan Twist



Ingredients

1 large potato, cubed
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
1kg of frozen peas
150g of chopped pancetta
½ glass of white wine
1.25 litre chicken/veg stock
1 level teaspoon of paprika
1 level teaspoon of cumin
Olive oil





1.       Heat large pan and add the pancetta. You don’t need oil as the fat from the pancetta will do its own thing. Cook for a couple of mins.
     2.       Add onion/garlic/potato and wine and heat for 3-4 minutes.

3.       Add stock and spices and simmer for approx 10 mins

4.       Add peas and cook for a further 4-5 mins, seasoning as necessary.

5.       Take off the heat and blend the soup.

6.       Serve in a warm bowl with a few crispy pieces of pancetta to decorate and a drizzle of olive oil.





Watercress Super Soup





Ingredients

Butter
1 large potato, cubed
1 medium onion, diced
2 cloves garlic
150g of watercress
The white of  1 large leek
1.25 litres of chicken/veg stock
A splash of milk
Crème fraiche

1.       Melt a good sized knob of butter in a pan.

2.       Add potatoes/leek/onion and garlic to pan and sweat with lid on for approx 6-7 mins

3.       Roughly chop watercress, in particular any thick stalks

4.       Add stock and watercress to pan. Also add a splash of milk

5.       Leave to simmer for about 10 minutes. Check seasoning.

6.       Take off heat and blend.

7.       Serve in a warm bowl with a blob of crème fraiche

Sunday, 5 August 2012

Welcome to my blog!

Welcome foodie fans,

Julia Child once said “The only time to eat diet food is while you're waiting for the steak to cook.”

I love that statement as I, like many of my friends, am obsessed with food and am firmly of the view that good food should be enjoyed and savoured. So I have decided to join the blogging community and the many other foodies talking about all things delicious! I love food whether it is cooking for friends at home, eating out, trying weird and wonderful dishes from a street stall abroad, going to markets, reading about it, just  about it! I love it all. On my blog I intend to share my food stories, recipes, tips, reviews and anything else that may come along. Please get involved!

I also love taking photographs of food, my mobile phone is full of them! I find that when you take that visual snapshot of a special dish so that you can go back, remember not only the taste sensations but also where you were, who with, the excitement of finding something devine. I think I have embarrassed friends at times by angling plates and snapping away in a restaurant! I have however discovered more and more people that have the same obsessive habit! Food Porn!!! Now, if I ever see other people slyly taking pictures of their plate, I always smile knowingly. So on my blog there will be lots of foodie photos to feast your eyes on! Hope you enjoy! xxx


Monday, 16 July 2012

Tapas for Two


I was recently on holiday in Southern Spain with my best friend Caz. We sampled some lovely local tapas on the seafront in Fuengirola at a great little reastuarant called 'La Marmita'. The dishes were delicious and very fresh, but most of all beautifully presented. Perhaps not the most rustic or authentic tapas in Spain but very pretty. Loved the charcoal slabs being used for presentation. Yum Yum, check out some of the pics.


Roasted peppers stuffed with salty paprika crab.




Delicious strips of fillet


Creamy mushroom and 3 cheese tart




Summer gazpacho with chorizo