Friday, September 28, 2012

Holiday Souvenirs

A lot of families when they come back from a holiday abroad bring back little trinkets like fridge magnets, sombreros, t-shirts, snow globes etc. etc...

      My family bring back FOOD!!!

My dad travels around Europe (in particular Spain and Italy) a lot for his work so when he has some spare time he soaks up local culture and cuisine (one of the many great traits I have got from him) and then brings back the lovely things he's discovered.

Olive oils, fruits, vegetables, breads, cured meats, cheeses..pretty much anything you can think of my dad has managed to bring them back in his suitcase!

Recently he got me some gorgeous deep green Spanish olive oils and stunning yellow peaches! A week later he brought me back sweet Italian tomatoes, amazing pasta, Sicilian lemons and Piadine, a very traditional flat bread from Emilia Romagna.

When I go abroad I do the exact same (I've got Isaac into it too!), collecting olive oils,  jars of honey and anything else we can manage. I adore traveling, not just for seeing wonderful new places but also for learning about exciting new dishes or cuisines.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Bread Porn!!!

Yes… you read correctly, Bread Porn! Haha

My love for making bread is still ongoing. Every time I make a new loaf and take pictures I mean to write a post for it but then a make another and another and before I know it I've got behind. 
So today I've decided just to post a load of pictures of recent loafs I've made. From plain loafs to seeded soda bread to a poppy seed plait, I've loved making every one (and eating them even more!)

A simple white loaf

Seeded wholegrain Soda Bread

Olive oil, Rosemary & Sea Salt Burger Buns

Stuffed Flatbreads

Caramelised Onion & Thyme Focaccia 

  Poppy Seed Plait Bread

And a caught off guard home baker!

                      I'm sure I'll be posting similar bread porn posts in the future so keep an eye out!!!

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Saturday Breakfast in Bed

So guys, it's official..I have the most amazing other half in the world!
As soon as I wake up this morning Isaac slipped off into the kitchen and prepared a beautiful breakfast in bed for me!

A delicious soft and fragrant Spanish peach, a kiwi cut in half and served in a egg cup (like you had when you were little), natural yogurt with seeds and forest honey and a delicious cup of coffee, all served on a cute little tray given to me by my grandmother.

And just when I thought my wonderful breakfast was finished he brought me a speckled purple smoothie with berries, banana, passion fruit and yogurt.

It was just the perfect way to start a Saturday, tucked up in bed with delicious food prepared by the one you love and watching saturday morning cookery programs!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Middle Eastern Food Magic!

Along with Italian and Asian, I adore Middle Eastern food.
There is nothing complicated or faffy, just simple ingredients cooked and prepared to perfection. I first discovered real Middle Eastern food when I traveled to Jordan with my family a few years ago (It's an amazing place, if you ever get the chance to go I completely recommend it!) and fell in love with the beauty of the country and of course their cuisine! We would normally only order mezze and pick our way through an array of delicious and colourful dishes.

Like many of the best cuisines in the world their food would be described as "peasant food", using easily livable and inexpensive ingredients. Some of my favourite mezze dishes from our time there have to be mujaddara (a lentil, onion and rice dish), moutabel (like babba ghanoush), foul (a crushed broad bean dip) and of course hummus and falafel...YUM!

Recently for dinner I craved some of these flavours and decided that a Middle Eastern feast for dinner was in order..yey!

One of the most important parts of any Middle Eastern meal is bread..flat bread! However I'd seen the week previously a recipe by Nigel Slater about aubergine stuffed flat breads and there was just no way I could resist! They did take a good bit longer than usual flat breads to make however they were 100% worth it! I love how the aubergine burst out a little from the sides!

To go with our flat breads I made tabbouleh made with parsley from our garden, beautiful Spanish tomatoes (brought home by my father) and organic bulgar wheat. Stuffed inside the cavity with the soft cooked aubergine, it worked out a treat!

We also had a delicious warm chickpea and quinoa salad (forgot to take a picture..woops!), with lots of cumin, coriander and lemon juice. Barely a morsel was left and we spent the rest of the evening vegged out on the couch with fresh mint tea from the garden to ease our full bellies.

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Friday, September 7, 2012

Pesto Perfection!

I love pesto (who doesn't?), using heavy peppery and vibrant green basil leaves, it takes minutes to make, keeps well in the fridge and transforms any dish you add it to into an emerald delight!

At home we never bought pesto, my mum would make big batches of it and store it in jars, using it almost daily after that and adding it to everything! My mum would stick to the traditional Ligurian recipe of pesto: basil leaves, garlic cloves, Parmigiano-Reggiano, olive oil and pine nuts.

My own recipe may not follow that of Ligurians, but I think it is just as tasty! As I don't eat cheese I leave it out, but what I think totally makes up for that is along with the basil, garlic, pine nuts and olive oil, I add more leaves (rocket works amazingly well, as does spinach) and sunflower seeds. They add a creaminess to the pesto as well as making it more nutritious. Give it a go! I promise you'll love it!

Of course what is the best way of eating pesto (other than with a chunk of crispy bread)? Pasta!
Sometimes I just have it by itself coated around long strands of fettucce or linguine, but it's also really nice to dry-fry in a pan green beans and/or courgette and mix it into the gleaming green pasta and sauce.

Buon appetito!

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