29 July 2007

Dunnottar Castle

















Today we fled from wedding plans and any housework that needed done and headed up the coast to Stonehaven.

We took the coastal path from the harbour up to Dunnottar Castle. It is a precarious walk along the cliffs, with a sheer drop to the side of you, as you climb along the narrow track, but well worth it for the stunning views!

The weather held while we walked to the castle, but we lucked out on the way back and got soaked to the skin. We really should buy Kagools! I know they aren't the height of fashion, but they would have come in handy today! It was actually rather scary walking back through the wind and heavy rain, I thought I was a goner a few times. Converse boots really don't have good grip!

Note to self: Buy some suitable walking gear!




































We had a picnic in the grounds of the castle. Baguettes spread with pesto and filled with mozzarella, tomato, avocado and basil leaves, with a good grinding of black pepper! I wasn't all that organised and forgot to bring water, so I had to drink some of Graham's Pepsi Max. I am not a big fan of fizzy juice, yuck!



We arrived back in the market place, soaked through and chilly. So off to the pub for a pint of cider for me and pepsi for Graham. Guess who was driving?

The day was ended with a bag of chips, eaten on the beach, before we made our weary way home!

28 July 2007

Wedding Chaos





I have
lost a week
somewhere!






Searching for a wedding dress, and having Graham choose his kilt. Most of our holiday was given up to it. But we are getting there! I have selected a dress and Graham has been measured up for his kilt. Unfortunately, we have only been at home in time for bed each night, so I apologise for the lack of posts!












I had a good time, last night with one of my bridesmaids, who is trying to organise me. She and her daughter did some mind-mapping before I go there! So I am being organised swiftly and I certainly do need it.


Now here's the rub! I am stuck on what to do for favours, I don't want to go down the almonds in a net bag route!



Can anyone give me any ideas for something different to give to our friends and family?
I want to give small gifts to the men and women in the wedding group!

24 July 2007

Blueberry Frozen Yogurt


I ordered a copy of The Perfect Scoop from the library. But, I think I'll have to buy a copy! It is excellent! David Lebovitz, sure does know his ice cream and sorbet and frozen yogurt and granita and sherbet and toppings.......!



Blueberry Frozen Yogurt

1/2 cups / 360g plain whole-milk yogurt
3/4 cup / 150g sugar
3 cups / 340g blueberries, fresh or frozen
1 teaspoon kirsch (optional)
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice


In a blender or food processor, blend together the yogurt, sugar and blueberries. Press the mixture through a strainer to remove the seeds. Stir in the kirsch and lemon juice and chill for 1 hour.

Freeze in your ice cream maker according to manufacturers instructions.

Oh boy, this was good! It really brought out the flavour of the blueberries. It had a good tang and wasn't too sweet, as some frozen yogurts can be!

There were just about enough blueberries left to make the frozen yogurt, after I had finished popping them like sweeties! I didn't bother to strain the mixture, because I actually like the seeds. I like seeds in raspberry jam too, they give a little bite!



I wish blueberry season would last forever!


And I have to tell you, now I have bought American cup measuring spoons, I just don't want to go back to metric! It is so much easier to measure with cups, than dragging out the scales, everytime I make something!

23 July 2007

A Skinny Fritatta



I have gone for something simple tonight! Eggs it is. Well, 4 to be precise! Enough for the 2 of us tonight and some lunch tomorrow.

I stir fried red onion, red pepper and courgette in a little oil. I added 4 eggs, whisked up with 1 tablespoon of pesto and some freshly ground salt and pepper and poured it over the veg. I let it cook until set and then cut it into slices, served with salad leaves drizzled with a mustard, balsamic vinegar and olive oil dressing. Mmmh! Oh and me being me, I sliced some mozzarella on top, for some melting gooeyness!

If I am honest, I should have let the dish cool down before serving it. I never really like quiche hot, so I should have remembered that. I still enjoyed it, but I will remember for next time! Graham wasn't estatic, as he is not an eggy person. He did finish his serving, but declined it for lunch tomorrow.

Oh well, maybe just one egg for me next time! And maybe I should go skinny and leave out the mozzarella and egg yolks next time. I do have a wedding coming up!

20 July 2007

Strawberry & Rhubarb Crumble



I got a batch of rhubarb from my parent's kind neighbour. I resisted the temptation of cooking it and eating it plain and I do love a crumble, so the decision was made.

As I have told you before, Graham hates rhubarb, well, he professes to! However, I had great success with the rhubarb goo, which I tricked him into eating, by adding strawberries. I thought the same tactic might work with crumble. I wasn't too mean, I told him what was in it this time!

It was a success, he loved it! Although he did approach it with caution, he is such a baby!

Strawberry & Rhubarb Crumble

Crumble:

200g/5oz plain flour, sieved pinch of salt
100g/2 1/2oz porridge oats
175g/6oz demerara sugar
200g/7oz unsalted butter, cubed at room temperature
1 handful raisins
Knob of butter for greasing

Fruit Base:

450g/1 lb strawberries, halved
450g/1 lb rhubarb, cut into chunks
50g/5oz demerara sugar



Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Mix the flour, porridge oats and sugar in a large bowl. Add the butter and rub between your fingers until it is the texture of breadcrumbs. Stir in the raisins.

Place the fruit in another bowl and mix with the sugar.

Butter a large ovenproof dish. Pour in the fruit and top with the crumble mixture.

Bake for 40 mins until the crumble mixture is starting to brown and the fruit mixture is bubbling!


I mixed porridge oats into the basic crumble mix for a crunchier finish (a good tip from Graham's dad). I added the raisins on a whim, but didn't add enough of them.

When the crumble is cold, it turns into a moist fruit flapjack! I actually preferred it cold, it really brought out the flavour of the fruit and it didn't have to fight for dominance with ice cream or custard!

16 July 2007

Pear Sorbet


I got around to making pear sorbet!

The first batch of pears were long gone and good they were too! So, off to the shops for more! But really, this recipe is so simple, 4 ripe pears, 300 ml water, 130 g sugar, 1 tsp fresh lemon juice. You just cut the pears into small chunks and cook them in about half the water until softened and then blitz everything in a blender! Pop it into the ice cream maker and hey presto, 15 minutes later, there sits some truly scrumptious pear sorbet! And what a great way to bring out the taste of pear! It would be a good palate cleanser between courses!

I am now converted to David Lebovitz, what a great man he is! Thanks for the introduction Anne!

I wish my photo could convey the taste to you!

15 July 2007

Bruschetta & Wine





I whipped up another batch of Pea Pesto. I decided not to have it on pasta this time. I made up a plate of bruschetta instead.

I rubbed the toasted bread with garlic, in the time honoured tradition and topped it with pea pesto, mozzarella, baby plum tomatoes and basil. Divine and it got a big thumbs up from Graham!

I opened up a bottle of Honeywood Sauvignon Blanc,
to accompany it.

























It's a white, with a clean, sharp taste, very sharp! I suppose some would call it crisp. I call it very sharp!

I did enjoy it with the bruschetta. Unfortunately, it was raining, so I didn't enjoy it in the garden. I think this is a combination that should be enjoyed outside on a terrace, in the sun!

Disclosure: I was not sent this wine to review, I bought it myself.

14 July 2007

Rockin' Girl Blogger!






I have been nominated for an award by Hellojed over at It Had Better Be Good Blog. I am honoured to accept and I get a nifty little pink button! I am now a Rockin' Girl Blogger.

How great is that?

So now I am going to nominate some bloggers who inspire me, for the Rockin' Girl Blogger Awards!

I would like to give an award to 3 of my favourite bloggers, who have become my friends! (hope they don't deny it!)

1 WineDeb at Deb's Key West Wine & Gardening. She held out a hand of friendship to a new blogger! And it doesn't hurt that she does a lovely blog on wines, I love wine! She also has a really cute cat, who loves to lounge!

2 Lisa at Lisa's Kitchen. I always look forward to finding out about her day and really enjoy her tasty blog entries! She is leading me gently into spices, especially chili!

3 Val at More than Burnt Toast, who always gives me a longing to visit Canada! There are such beautiful photos on her blog! I always look forward to a bit of chat too!

13 July 2007

Strawberry Fool



I feel very inspired by desserts on other people's blogs!

Johanna made a gorgeous chocolate cake for her niece's birthday! She iced it into a a fairytale crown, with sweeties in place of jewels! It looked fabulous! What a treat to have on your birthday!

Joanna made some pretend fudge! Condensed milk and dark, dark chocolate. How sinful!

There was also the pear sorbet over at Anne's blog! She got the idea from 'The Perfect Scoop' by David Lebovitz. This is a book that so many people rave about, so I have ordered a copy!

I added these into my everly increasing recipe book and the first time I had a guest over for dinner , I thought, "ok, time to buy some pears!". So I had my pears at the ready and the rest of the meal planned. I had a little time to spare, so of I went around my favourite blogs and there it was!

Strawberry Fool!

And it looked heavenly! My menu was changed at the 11th hour, so I could make some strawberry fool with rhubarb goo! Check it out over at Vanessa's blog, What Geeks Eat. The rhubarb goo was lovely! I added some strawberries to it and rhubarb-hating-Graham, suddenly loved it! Of course, I was sneaky and didn't tell him what it was until later on, when he pronounced it delicious!

p.s. chocolate cake, pretend fudge and pear sorbet, coming soon!

10 July 2007

Summer is Here! (well hopefully)






































And I am indulging in my greatest pleasure. A glass of rose, a warm evening and a good book!

This one is for Winedeb, who is always so inspiring, with her enthusiasm of wine!




































When the sun is out I always turn to one of my two favourite rose wines. Blossom Hill White Zinandel or J P Chenet Cinsault Grenache Rose. I dithered at the rose shelf, in fact I dithered about going into the supermarket! I was worried, that if I went in, the sun might disappear, while I shopped! It has happened before!

Anyway, I decided on a J P Chenet Cinsault Grenache Rose, 2005. And I was not disappointed! It was very soft on the palate, with a taste of strawberries, just right for daydreaming in the sun!. I thought I had better do a little research. I cringe at that very phrase! I have just finished my studies! I submitted my final piece at 10.23pm on Sunday and it was scary! But YEAH!!!! IT IS OVER!!!!!! I can have a life again!

I digress, the wine originates from a winery in Lantiras in France, it is famous because of the curved bottle, which was designed in the year 1991. Do you know, I have never noticed the curve neck! In my rush to pour myself a glass and get outside, while there is still sun, I just didn't notice it at all, nope, nothing is coming back to me! It is however, just what you want on a warm day! Delicious!


Look! It does have a bit of a squinty neck!

Try some!

Disclosure: I wasn't sent this for review, I bought it myself.

08 July 2007

Penne with Tomato and Chilli Sauce


I had a lovely treat last night!

I was busy studying, doing that final push, to get all the work finished and submitted this weekend! I was feeling pretty exhausted and hungry, when some glorious smells started drifting up from the kitchen! "Mmmm, I thought, smells like tomato and chilli sauce!", And it was! Graham was downstaris cooking his key dish!  

What a star!


Graham's Tomato and Chilli Sauce

2 onions, one finely chopped, one roughly sliced
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 red chilli,(seeds left in) finely chopped
1 400g/14oz tin chopped tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp hp brown sauce or worcestershire sauce
1 handful freshly torn basil
Salt & pepper to taste
Freshly grated parmesan


Cook the onion, garlic and chilli, in the olive oil, until the onion has softened. Add the tin of tomatoes and sauce and cook down for 20 minutes. Season to taste and add the basil at the last minute. Serve with freshly cooked pasta and grated parmesan.

Serves 3-4




Thanks for that Graham! 

It was delicious! 

05 July 2007

a small meme

Hellojed, over at It Had Better Be Good blog, tagged me for a meme. I wasn't sure, as I had done one so recently and I didn't want to bore everyone ridged! But how could I say no to such a gracious request! I will keep it short, I promise.

'8 Things' Meme (about my day)

1 I read my book for a while before I got out of bed this morning. I am re-reading Sabriel by Garth Nix, It was hard to put down!

2 I went into a music shop today and bought an assortment of guitar picks for a gift (I don't think they know about my blog, so I am safe to tell!).

3 Graham and I went to the registrars office today to pick up a form of non-impediment. Yes, we are getting married!

4 We had Tomato, Mozzarella and Avocado Salad for lunch. I drizzled it with a little balsamic, olive oil and wholegrain mustard dressing. It was yum!

5 I spent the rest of the day studying! What a waste of a day off!

6 It is raining cats & dogs here, luckily not my cats, they are inside, warm and cosy!

7 It is 9 o'clock at night and we haven't eaten yet! A symptom of my studying and then blogging!

8 The baked potatoes are nearly ready and there is a pot of cottge cheese with chives in the fridge, so we are saved!

I would like to tag Johanna , Wendy , Valli, Vanessa, Dana & Kay, Little Miss Moi, Pia and Maya, so I can find out all about their day! There we go! That's my 8 and I still left lots of lovely people out!

Check the rules out over at Hellojed's meme!

03 July 2007

Pea Pesto





























Or should I say, Petit Pois Pesto! I bought a bag of baby petit pois and pulverised them! Seems cruel!


Pea Pesto

225g/8oz frozen peas
I large handful fresh basil
2 tbsp grated parmesan
1 tbsp cashew nuts
1 tbsp soft cream cheese
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & freshly ground black pepper

Basically just blitz it all in a food processor and voila, the most volumptous green sauce! The baby peas were so sweet! This has definitely taken the lead as my favourite pesto!

01 July 2007

The Beet Goes On





































The Beat Goes On is the brilliant name for the Soup of the Month by the New Convent Garden Food Company. It is a beetroot and smoked white onion soup.

They always come up with great ideas. It is worth giving them a try and then creating your own version of the soup! Although, this is made somewhat easier if you pick up one of their recipe books!




The ingredients in The Beet Goes On are: water, beetroot, parsnips, onions, leeks, double cream, butter, smoked white onions, salt and cracked black pepper.

With a list of ingredients like that, you just know it is going to be good!

I really liked the smoky flavour of this soup, but it killed the soup as far as Graham was concerned! He gave it a thumbs down! Oh, well, it looks like it will be beetroot soup for one next time!

When I re-create this soup, I will add roasted red peppers to it. They will give it a sweetness, that Graham will probably prefer!

Disclosure: I was not sent this product to review. I bought it myself.

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