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Saturday, March 26, 2011

Last Days of Summer

Last days of summer and dreadful weather, I was looking forward to seeing the “super moon” rise out of the sea in front of us, but it was overcast all last weekend, and today I got soaked dashing between open homes.

So much produce around at the moment, I just managed to use the of last years tomatoes as I stared freezing this years. I blanch them in hot water, remove skins and throw them into pottles or bags and freeze.
A niece has a tree laden with beautiful red plums and a huge row of runner beans, neighbours have, pears, apples, blackcurrants, and rhubarb, all these I have swapped for tomatoes, of which the Pootle has grown an amazing amount of.

bowls march 11 002
My favourite Satsuma [ or any large red plums] recipe is; halve and remove pip, place cut side down in a Pyrex dish, pour over enough blackcurrant syrup [traded for tomatoes], to just cover bottom of dish, place in slow oven and roast for about 25 mins stirring a couple of times.
This seems to release the flavour and sweetness of the plums and you won’t need to add any sugar, with plain yoghurt for breakfast they are heaven.

I received a James Martin cookbook “ my kitchen”  for Christmas and have tried a few, these two being my favourites at the moment.

MULLED SPICED PLUMS [James serves there with a custard tart.] I find this recipe to spicy for breakfast but wonderful in a trifle or just with custard and cream.

                                          bowls march 11 003

Dozen large dark plums [stones removed]
4tbsp caster sugar
50gm butter
110 ml red wine or [black currant juice if you are a wowser]
1 cinnamon stick
½ tsp freshly grated nutmeg
2 cloves
1 bay leaf
2 star anise

Melt sugar and butter in hot fry pan, when bubbling, add plums, wine and spices.
Simmer for 10 mins until juice reduced to a syrup.

46 Old Head Street 004  46 Old Head Street 012

This is the nicest way I have ever had rhubarb.

Place in Pot
8 thin or 4 fat rhubarb stalks cut into half inch pieces
2.5 cm or 1 inch piece of root ginger peeled and smashed with hammer or such
2 tbsp caster sugar [double if sweet tooth[
50mls white wine
Place over med heat,stir till sugar melted, simmer without boiling about 5mins or until soft.
Discard ginger and cool.

Place in bottom of 4 glass serving glasses, top with, plain yogurt, or ice-cream, or custard, or cream, or mascarpone and sprinkle chopped preserved ginger over as garnish.

Last night a friend rang and said we are having a big tournament for bowls on Sunday and have you down for a dozen muffins.
HELP- I have hardly ever made a muffin in my life.
This morning I thought I better practice and started with one that seemed healthy and yummy made with grated pumpkin, result is in the bin, flat and tasting terribly like a vegetable.

baking 004

 Next I made these Gingerbread muffins after a Google search for the ultimate muffin.

baking 006               baking 008

Makes 12 large muffins [ correct]
1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 ¼ teaspoons cinnamon
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon cloves
½ cup butter, at room temperature
½ cup firmly packed brown sugar (light or dark)
2 large eggs
2/3 cup molasses (light or dark) i used half molasses and half treacle
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
2/3 cup walnuts or pecans, chopped
2/3 cup raisins

Preheat your oven to 180c Grease and flour your muffin tin, or use paper or foil liners. [I spray these with spray on oil].
Sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, ginger, cinnamon, allspice and cloves.
In a bowl beat together the butter and brown sugar until smooth and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each one.
Then beat in the molasses.
Add the dry ingredients in two increments alternating with the buttermilk and vanilla.  Beat until smooth.
Fold in the nuts and raisins.
Fill the muffin tin with a large spoon.  \
Bake for around 20 minutes until the centre of the muffin feels firm and springs back when you touch it.

PEA and FETA SALAD [ripped from book in Doctors rooms]
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1 cup or more of cooked peas [fresh or frozen]
100gms of crumbled feta
1/2cup of small mint leaves
A coup[le of handfuls of watercress or small spinach leaves
1 orange [optional] peeled sliced into slivers
Remove tough stems from greens and place in nice dish, add rest of ingredients and toss.
Dressing- mix together and drizzle over salad
2 tbsp oil
1 tbsp orange juice [or lemon]
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 tsp brown sugar
This is just as nice with out the orange, If I am taking it out somewhere and it’s not being eaten for a while I leave the peas frozen.

I took this salad to wine club on Friday night, I used small silver beat leaves chopped, was nice. Would go very well with a lamb tagine, you could replace the quinoa with brown rice.

from epicurious
bowls march 11 009

3/4 cups quinoa rinsed, drained
2 cups (packed) baby spinach leaves
1can garbanzo beans (chickpeas), rinsed, drained
3/4 cups cubed unpeeled cucumber
1½ cups baby tomatoes, halved
½ cup (packed) fresh mint leaves
3/4 cup coarsely crumbled feta cheese
1/8 cup wine vinegar
11/4 teaspoons smoked paprika
1/4 cup olive oil
Place quinoa in large saucepan; add enough salted water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to boil. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer until quinoa is tender,about 12 minutes.
Drain and chill until cool.
Meanwhile, combine spinach leaves, garbanzos, cubed cucumber, halved tomatoes, mint leaves, and half of feta cheese in extra-large bowl.
Add cooled quinoa and toss gently to blend.

Whisk vinegar and smoked paprika in small bowl. Gradually whisk in oil. Season dressing with salt and pepper.
Pour dressing over salad; toss to coat. Season generously with salt and pepper. Sprinkle remaining feta over.

I have just listed this delightful trio of cottages one very close to the beach, you can find them by going to and searching for Karitane. They are the darlingist cottages to come on the market for ages.

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