Monday, May 28, 2012

Recipe: Wild Garlic Butter

I know this is the most simple recipe i've put up on here, but i can't believe up until this year i had never thought of using wild garlic like this! It's actually so much easier to make than normal garlic butter (when you have to bother peeling and dicing dozens of garlic cloves and all that) and i think it's actually much tastier. It also means I can enjoy wild garlic throughout the year, as of course the butter freezes very easily and then lasts for ages. Although the way me and Nick are getting through this stuff it probably isnt going to last us all that long! My favourite ways to use this butter (as mentioned in the recipe) is to make homemade cheesy garlic bread, or to melt it over steamed cabbage/broccoli peas as a side dish. I garnished this dish with some wild garlic flowers but of course this is just for visual effect.

Wild Garlic Butter (makes 825g flavoured butter)

750g salted butter
100g/ 50 wild garlic leaves
25g chopped fresh parsley
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Soften the butter (on the counter or in the microwave). Chop up the wild garlic leaves as fine as you can. Mix into the softened butter and season to taste. This butter can be used immediately (for garlic bread, for cooking with, to have over steaks, or to toss into steamed green vegetables) or can be frozen.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Competition: Delia Online's "Super Soup" Competition

Hey guys. So i've got another competition to add to my achievments! As part of Christian Aid's Super Soup lunch campaign (which involved people round the U.K making soup and then selling soup to raise money for charity), Delia online asked it's members for their favourite soup recipes. I submitted mine (and my mums!) Minestra recipe, and this recipe as well as four others were chosen to be the winners! I won a new Morphy Richards Slow Cooker and Hand Blender.
I particularly like the hand blender, as although I already have a blender at home, I do not have a food processor- so having the little attachment that comes with it means that i can now make my own breadcrumbs/ curry pastes/pestos very easily, which I couldn't do before. So i'd like to say thanks to Morphy Richards, Delia Online, and of course Christian Aid.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Recipe: Spicy Radish Salsa

Phew- this recipe is just a little bit spicy!! I suppose the heat of the dish completely depends on what type of chilli you use, but i just used a normal red chilli that you get in packs from the supermarket and the dish ended up rather pokey! This recipe is nice though as you get the cooling elements from the radish (which are in season not btw)and cucumber, the sweetness from the apple, and then the spiciness from the red chilli. This is nice to have with tortilla chips, chilli, or on the side of any type of mexican dish really.

Spicy Radish Salsa

12 large radishes, diced
60g peeled diced and seeded cucumber
60g peeled and diced apple
1 red chilli, finely diced
Juice from ¼ a lemon
1 tbsp freshly chopped mint
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste

1. Mix all the ingredients together in a mixing bowl, season to taste, and serve!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Recipe: Braised Lentils with chorizo and purple sprouting broccoli

Made this quick little dish up the other day, purple sprouting broccoli of course being in season at the moment. I suppose it's rather later than normal to be using wild garlic, but because of the ghastly weather we've been having in spring/early summer, generally everything has been rather late this year. You can of course, if you want an even quicker supper, use 2 tins of cooked lentils, and only 100ml of stock- but i think you get a better flavour from using dried lentils in this dish. I have served this with some steamed buttered jersey royals- yum!

Braised lentils with chorizo and purple sprouting broccoli (serves 2)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
4 wild garlic leaves, finely chopped
½ white onion, finely diced
100g chorizo, diced
150g green lentils
600ml low sodium (or weak) vegetable stock
100g purple sprouting broccoli, diced
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Sautee the onion, chorizo and wild garlic in the olive oil and butter, in a deep frying pan, for 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the lentils and stock, and simmer for 20 minutes, stirring often (adding a little more stock if the lentils get too dry).
2. Add the purple sprouting broccoli and cooking for a further 6 minutes. Season to taste and serve!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Recipe: Cajun Pork Casserole

Can't believe this recipe -it's epic, I actually fooled my brother into eating swede, as well as apple! Its flavourful, healthy, filling, and pretty darn cheap to make too. I served this with macaroni (as we didnt have any bread or rice in the house) and that actually works really well as a side dish.

Cajun Pork Casserole (serves 4)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 white onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
450g diced pork (leg or shoulder)
2 carrots, peeled and diced
200g diced swede
1 apple, peeled and diced
1 tin tomatoes
1 tin kidney beans in chilli sauce
1 tsp paprika
300ml vegetable stock
1 tsp bisto gravy granules
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. In a casserole, sauté the onion, garlic and pork in the olive oil for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add all the other ingredients and bring to the boil.
2. Put a lid on the casserole, and put in the oven for half an hour. Remove, stir it, and return to the oven for a further 30 minutes. Season to taste and serve!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Competition: WWF's Earth Hour Recipe Competition

Hey guys. First of all I thought I would mention how excited I am with how well this blog is going. 36 followers, over 300 posts, and the website getting over 200 hits a day quite regularly! Fabulous- and i just know it will continue to grow from strength to strength. Now guys do you remember over a couple of months ago I mentioned my Butternut squash and goats cheese salad had been shortlisted for WWF's recipe competition? Well, in the end i came in second place(the guy with the ruddy fish recipe won it in the end), but this did not mean i left empty-handed...
WWF sent me a medium Riverford Fruit and Veg box (which was loaaaded with lovely stuff- all the sorts of fruit and veg that we like and cook regularly with so that was great) and bottle of organic prosecco (which admittedly me, nick and one of our friends drank when we were already quite drunk, but we thought this was lush too). So i suppose i would just like to say thank you WWF for shortlisting my recipe and for my runner's up prize. Am i still sore about the fish recipe winning this competition? Um, yes. I think it's ridiculous. Maybe next i'll go and submit a tuna recipe into a dolphin conservation website, ooh or maybe submit a honey recipe to the Vegan website. Same thing as this competition really. Never mind ey?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Recipe: Butterbean Korma

Hey guys, phew, what a relief- i've got all my assignments completed for my first year of university! Yay! To be fair i've still got my exams in a couple of weeks, but I can't really prepare for them very much, so the worst of it is all over now. I'll be able to post up scrummy recipes a bit more often i hope! Another recipe with butterbeans you will notice- i've realised as a student that beans (of any variety- from baked to kidney beans, lol!) are such a cheap food, and really filling, so theyr'e always on my shopping list. Heres a delicious curry, that won't break the bank! Serve with basmati rice and fluffy naan breads to mop of the sauce.

Butterbean Korma (serves 4)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 knob of butter
1 red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
Large handful fresh coriander, chopped
2 generous tbsp mild curry paste
400g diced ripe tomatoes
2 tins butter beans, drained and rinsed
1 tin coconut milk
300ml vegetable stock
1 tbsp ground almonds
Salt pepper and sugar to taste

1. In a large pan sauté the red onion, garlic and coriander in the oil and butter, for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the curry paste and cook for a further minute. Add the tomatoes and cook for a further two minutes.
2. Add all the other ingredients, and cook on a high heat, stirring often, for about 25 minutes, or until the sauce has become fairly thick. Serve with some extra fresh coriander on top.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Recipe: Chorizo and Potato Enchiladas

This is a delicious comforting mexican dish that i served me and my brother the other night whilst i popped over to watch Game of Thrones. OMG i love this series, so much so that i pop on a bus to my parents house just to watch it (because we don't have Sky at my new house- lame!). Of course I always end up cooking dinner whenever i head over to my parents house, so at least i'm doing something over there when I visit other than just watching loads of TV. The tomato sauce i used for these Enchiladas was a pre-prepared Jamie Oliver tomato and chilli sauce, which was very spicy but worked very well, but you can of course use whatever type of tomato sauce you and your family prefer. Oh, and also, if you end up with any chorizo/potato mixture leftover, its great fried up as a brunch the next day with a fried egg!

Chorizo and Potato Enchiladas (serves 4)

800g potatoes, peeled and diced finely
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red onion, diced finely
2 garlic cloves, crushed
160g chorizo, diced finely
1 tsp dried thyme
Salt and pepper to taste
8 large tortilla wraps
1.2kg jar tomato sauce (a spicy tomato sauce if possible)
200g cheddar

1. Boil the potatoes in salted water for 5 minutes, drain, and set aside. Preheat the oven to 200C.
2. In a large sautéing pan, fry the onion, garlic and chorizo in the olive oil for 10 minutes. Add the blanched potato, and fry for a further 10 minutes, stirring often. Once the potatoes are soft and browned, season this mixture to taste, and set aside to cool.
3. Stuff the potato chorizo mixture into the tortilla wraps (there may be some extra mix left). Lay the stuffed tortillas into baking dishes, pour tomato sauce on top of them, cover with cheese and bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Serve!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Recipe: Butterbean and Vegetable Casserole

Sorry I haven't been posting much this month, but to be honest this is to be expected. I have 1 last assignment to do, but it looks really hard and i've got to hand it in on thursday/friday! And then in a couple of weeks I have exams too, i feel really frazzled. Been working myself really hard lately, which means my diet's gone out the window. When im busy i just cant be healthy, and i just cant concentrate properly when i'm hungry. This is a nice dish i cooked for mum last time i went over to Weston, you can of course just use 1 white onion or 1 red onion, but that's just what i had in the house at the time. I served this with sweetcorn and crusty bread, which worked very well.

Butterbean and Veg Casserole (serves 3)

2 tbsp olive oil
1 knob of butter
½ red onion, diced
½ white onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 large potato, peeled and diced
1 tin chopped tomatoes
400ml vegetable stock
Handful chopped parsley
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp sugar
1 tin butterbeans, drained and rinsed
100g baby spinach
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Preheat the Oven to 200C. In a casserole pan, sauté the onion, garlic and carrots in the olive oil and butter, for 10 minutes, covered, stirring occasionally. Add all other ingredients except the spinach, bring to the boil, and cook for 5 minutes uncovered, stirring often.
2. Add the spinach and cook for 2 more minutes. Put a lid on this and put in the oven for 45 minutes. Season to taste and serve!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Recipe: British Turkey and Peppadew Stuffed Marrow

Hey guys! So I've created this recipe in order to promote British Turkey's, and Peppadew's "I Love British Turkey" Recipe Competition! I love turkey, and as I have been learning a lot about nutrition this year, I know that it is lower in fat than chicken, and an excellent source of protein, B vitamins, Iron and calcium. Also, using turkey mince is a great way of saving on food costs, it's such a versatile ingredient and can stretch a long way. Peppadew peppers are also DELICIOUS! Me and my boyfriend always have a jar of the Hot whole and sweet piquante peppers in the fridge, which we usually have on salads or in sandwiches, but i thought i would have a go at cooking with them this time. This is a delicious recipe, using marrow which is I think a very underestimated, but delicious ingredient when prepared right.

British Turkey and Peppadew Stuffed Marrow(serves 4)

Olive Oil
1 marrow
4 spring onions, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, crushed
500g turkey mince
100g Peppadew Hot whole sweet Piquante peppers, finely diced
½ tsp mixed herbs
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
40g fine breadcrumbs
20g finely grated parmesan

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Slice the marrow in half length ways, and scoop out the pulp. Score with a knife in a criss-cross pattern, drizzle with olive oil, season liberally with salt and pepper, and roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
2. In a large frying pan, fry the spring onions and garlic in 1 tbsp of olive oil, for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the turkey and fry for a further 5 minutes. Add the Peppadew peppers, mixed herbs and lemon zest, and cook for a final three minutes, stirring often.
3. Remove the marrow from the oven. Season the turkey mixture to taste, and then liberally stuff into the marrow halves. Top with the breadcrumbs and parmesan, and bake in the oven for 15 minutes, or until the parmesan has begun to brown.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Review: My Trip to Gidleigh Park!

This is one of the best prizes I’ve won so far, and me and Nick had the best time ever! This was just a strike of luck really; I won a prize draw held by and Tickler cheese, the grand prize of which included:

• Nights stay and dinner at a 5* hotel (there was a choice of about five hotels but we chose Gidleigh as it was the closest one/ the nicest sounding restaurant)
• Meal at their restaurant (in Gidleigh’s case this was a 2 Michelin starred restaurant!)
• A luxury picnic hamper, with champagne, to enjoy on the grounds of the hotel. Also a cheeseboard/knife set with a big chunk of Tickler cheese.
• Complimentary breakfast in the morning.

I mean, how amazing is that!? I was utterly shocked, I couldn’t believe it. So In the morning, we began our 2 hour drive to Chagworth, Devon (which is where Gidleigh is located)- on the way (OK I know this is chavvy but it was actually sooo nice!) we stopped at a Little Chef, and upon Nick’s recommendation I ordered their “Olympic Breakfast”. OK, all right, it was big- but I’ve seen bigger! Really hit the spot though(This pic is Nick's- I had one without eggs with extra potatoes/tomatoes), y’know I thought it was so stupid when they got Heston Blumenthal in to try and change Little Chef and make it posher, that’s such a stupid idea- it is what it is, a nice basic place to stop for a filling bite to eat. Nuff said.
So we continued our drive to Gidleigh….and it started to rain. To be fair Nick’s iPhone said there was a 99% chance of it “raining bucketloads” on the day, but I was still silently hoping. Got a call from Tickler as well, with a little screw-up I guess- they had forgotten to deliver the hamper to Gidleigh Park for our arrival, like I had arranged months ago! Slightly annoyed I guess, but they got Gidleigh to make us up a hamper themselves for our arrival, and then I got the Tickler hamper a couple of days after coming back home, so it worked out all right in the end. It was so funny, when we got parked up at the hotel I was like “Nick…..we definitely have the most rubbish car in this car park” which was so true! To be fair it wasn’t Lamborghinis left right and centre, but I still thought it was funny.

We were received very cordially from the hotel, and taken to our room, which was really really nice. I noticed a little sign in the wardrobe that said Gidleigh had upgraded us from another room, which was super nice of them. The hotel is quite small really- there are only about 25 rooms I believe? Even the cheaper ones though were £450 a night though- mental! There was complimentary Madeira in the room (nice touch- and so delicious!) which we helped ourselves to.
Soon enough we heard a knock on the door “Room Service!” and our hamper arrived. To be honest, I was already excited by the room service thing- I have ALWAYS wanted to order room service from a hotel but my parents have never let me because of the price, so that was pretty awesome. The hamper was basic, but pleasant- some sandwiches, some VERY nice cold cut meats, coffee, wine, fruit and salad.
We had such a nice room, with a cool balcony with a beautiful view- but as soon as I got out on to the balcony it started to hail! Seriously I’m not even joking, here is photographic proof- fricking hail in mid-April!!!
After the weather got a little better (but to be fair the weather was acting so weirdly the whole day, hailing one minute, then really warm and sunny the next, and then raining heavily again) we decided to have a little walk around the grounds and check the place out. It’s a very beautiful place, I even loved the chef’s garden- just like its sister hotel, The Priory (in Bath), it has got a fab veg and herb garden, to use fresh local ingredients in their dishes.
I kinda wish the weather had been a bit warmer, because then we might have seen a few more of the nice spring flowers that normally would have been out by now, but there were still plenty of pretty flowers along the way, these being a few of them.
We stumbled across their adorable mini-golf course; I was so annoyed that I hadn’t bought any suitable shoes! I so would have had a little game of golf if I wasn’t in my heels (even though I am actually so rubbish at golf, I still really really enjoy it).
Gorgeous woodland walk though, and a nice little nature trail as well- but we turned back soon after getting onto the trail because it started to rain loads and the water levels were definitely rising, making the trail (which was all over little streams and slippery rocks) a little dangerous. Once we got refreshed back at the hotel, and got dressed for dinner we figured it was time for *Gin and tonic o clock* and we knew we’d soon be ready for our appetisers soon after that! Now this is when things start to get interesting, and a little bit delicious….

First of all we got given the menus and wine list by a woman who explained both of these documents to us. Gidleigh basically has the best wine list in the south west- over 1100 different varieties of wines, with over 30,000 bottles kept in their cellar. Had a look through this and noticed there were bottles of champers selling for£2,500 a bottle! Jesus, some people have more money than sense! To be fair if I won the lottery I might get a bottle of it, but for no other reason than that. This wasn’t part of our prize I guess, but we decided that since we would probably never get the chance to eat at a two Michelin star restaurant again, and that the rest of the meal was being paid for, that we would get a nice bottle of wine. We spoke to the sommelier who came next, and we told him (as we had decided on our main course by then) that we would go for a red, we told him our price range (£60ish), he asked us whether we wanted a rich earthy red or a lighter one (we wanted lighter) and he suggested the most beautiful French burgundy, with a pinot noir grape, for £55, that ended up going perfectly with our meal choices. What a talented young man, to know such a huge wine list so well, and to be able to match it so perfectly to the flavours in the menu- I heard that in some hotels the sommelier can get paid more than the manager of the hotel, which I’m not actually surprised about!

The menu was simple, with about 5 choices for starter, 5 choices for main and 4 choices for dessert. Had a few issues with the menu though if I’m totally honest. First of all, not a vegetarian choice in sight- not on starters or the mains. And unlike many Michelin starred restaurants currently, they did not have a set gourmet vegetarian menu either, so I find this particularly unfair and snobby of them. I may not be vegetarian but I feel strongly about offering vegetarians decent food, and not having the lazy French attitude that vegetarian food is not as tasty nor as gourmet as meat or fish dishes. I also felt that the menu was a little drowned in fish and seafood too. On the starters, and the mains, 3/5 of the choices involved fish or seafood, giving me only 2 choices in each section to choose for really. And with the starters, there wasn’t anything that really made me think WOW that sounds amazing, I’m definitely choosing that. There was a foie gras option (which I know it’s controversial, but I love it) but it was served with “3 types of rhubarb”, which sounds a bit gross to me. So for starter I chose the Quail egg and onion confit tartlet, with roasted quail, mushrooms, roasted shallots, broad beans and a game jus. For main It was a close choice between a nice sounding rose veal dish, and the lamb- but I had to go for the lamb dish- Roast rump of Dartmoor lamb with a herb crust, served with Boulanger potatoes (with a layer of slow cooker shoulder in-between the potatoes) , confit fennel, pea puree, and a tapenade jus. We figured we would choose dessert later, when we fancied it.
Once the menus were taken away, the amuse bouches were served to us in the lounge- from the left langoustine bisque, smoked aubergine mousse with red pepper and basil, and duck confit with orange. I tasted the langoustine bisque, as it did smell delicious (as lobster always does) but my taste buds fail me again- with the sip I take, I think, WOW, this is delicious, but then as soon as I’ve swallowed it all I can taste is fish and then the after taste disgusts me. I’ve always had that with lobster and crab- I know they are delicious, and meaty too, but I just can’t get over the fishy aftertaste. The other amuse bouche were absolutely gorgeous though. We got taken to the main dining hall, where we were poured our wine and given a pre-appetiser “compliments of the chef”…….and I didn’t like it!!!
I can’t believe I sent back a plate of food, in a 2 Michelin starred restaurant- how many people in the world have dared do that! Lol! It’s because when it arrived it was obvious I was not going to like it- Nick accepted it, but I was like no, I can’t eat this. It was made of salmon mousse, with two types of caviar, croutes, crème fraiche and little mini balls of apple. Beautiful isn’t it? Nick enjoyed it anyway. When I said I cant eat this, I don’t like fish or seafood, they all started apologising loads, being really sorry, as if it was a mistake they had made or something- I was just thinking, guys it not your fault I don’t happen to like fish! Lol!

Anyway, the chefs quickly whipped me up something else (didn’t get a pic of it, to be fair with every course Nick was sneakily trying to take photos of the dishes without anyone noticing, because it was such a posh place we didn’t want to be too obvious with taking photos) which was a soft goats cheese terrine, with micro greens, honeyed walnuts, apple, and a sweet dressing/sauce of some sort. This was amazing, delicious, and beautiful. See- Michelin starred restaurants shouldn’t be so frickin “ashamed” of serving veggie options!

Next comes the most embarrassing part- OMG I SPILT SOME OF THIS WINE!!! It wasn’t my fault really, and it was only a teensy little bit (because the waiters only pour you a small amount into the glasses, at regular intervals) but still I swear it was the most embarrassing moment of my life. It’s because they served the wine in stupidly massive glasses (like three time the size of a normal large glass we would have at home. I understand this is the norm for red wines, so it lets them breathe more) and Nick was fussing over me telling me I was eating my bread wrong, which is why I ended up knocking it over. I kinda hate how he made this meal uncomfortable for me I guess…..

I realise however amazing this meal was, I don’t think I like Michelin dining. I’ve got a good enough palette, and I know how they make these dishes, what ingredients they use, but I felt so uncomfortable in that restaurant. It wasn’t the staff’s fault, they were all super friendly (and all French interestingly enough) but it was the whole feeling that everything I was doing was “wrong”. That I wasn’t sitting right, not talking right, not eating right, not drinking right. And I shouldn’t feel like this, because fuck it, I’m the guest, I’m the person they need to impress, and “theoretically” I am the one paying for it all, so why should I feel like I should behave abnormally just for them? Anyway, rant over, the starter was AMAZING! Best part of the meal I think, even though I can’t stand egg yolks, lol. They were only little though, the onion confit underneath the eggs were amazing and the quail was so beautiful. This was my favourite course.
Fairly soon after that our main course arrived, which of course was gorgeous and stunning as well. Presentation-wise it was really interesting, because our plates were put down, and then a waitress came over with the tapenade jus and poured it from a gravy boat for us, which I thought was a funny way of doing it- perhaps the sauce separates too quickly from when it’s taken from the pass, which is why they do it at the table? Everything tasted really rich and beautiful, could’ve had my lamb rarer than this definitely, but it was still very pleasant.
Me and Nick then looked at the dessert menu- Nick was kinda tempted by the cheese board, which we had seen coming out for other customers- as a whole trolley, where you would tell the waitress what you want from the trolley and she would silver serve it to you with whatever accompaniments you wanted. None of the cheeses looked like my cuppa tea really so I went for the passion fruit mousse, with pineapple confit, mango sorbet, freeze dried pineapple and coconut foam. Nick went for the “Trio of Chocolate”- Dark chocolate mousse, milk chocolate and hazelnut parfait in a chocolate teardrop (in fact I knew a chef that did a 24 hour shift at a restaurant ONLY making chocolate tear drops for a food festival- mad! Lol!), and white chocolate ice cream. My dessert was gorgeous, fresh and zingy, whilst Nick’s dessert and very rich, sweet and smooth. The chocolate and hazelnut parfait was amazing!
Was so funny, when the main waiter came back he said to Nick “and did you let Madame try any of your chocolate sir?”- I think most women choose this dessert I think!! I asked him a question at the table actually, because he seemed really friendly, talking to all the other dinner guests, I asked him whether Michael Caines (the head chef there- who is SO amazing and inspiring, he’s a 2 Michelin star chef/ celebrity chef, but he only has one arm!) actually spends much time chef-ing in the restaurant (because I know once a lot of chefs get onto TV, they spend much less time in their restaurants that made them famous in the first place) and the waiter said that yes, he always spends 4 days a week in restaurant, which I think he is impressive, considering how much else he does on tv/ gourmet food events/festivals/ cookery classes as well. Nice to see a “celebrity” chef that hasn’t lost his catering roots *cough* Gordon Ramsey *cough* Jamie Oliver *cough cough*.
So we were asked if we would like any coffee or after dinner drinks, Nick said no and I asked for a coffee, and we practically both got given ANOTHER dessert! We got given loads of delicious homemade chocolates, generous petit fours, and I had some beautiful coffee with them. Was so stuffed after the meal (which I was surprised about as I thought it being Michelin that there would be very small portions but I thought they were very generous actually) and to finish the luxury night all off, I had a big bubble bath in the amazing double sized bath in our hotel room, with a glass of the complimentary madeira….ahh! How the other half live ey??
In the morning we had our complimentary breakfast, which was really pleasant actually- cold cereals and cold cut meats and hams, delicious croissants, as we had some cooked breakfast as well (I don’t know who their meat supplier is but the sausages were stunning). When they served us the hot food they asked us “any sauces Madame, sir?” and there was a pause and I was like awkwardly “…..ketchup?” and he came over and silver served us “red sauce” (what you’re supposed to call it in posh circles I guess??). We thought we would do something else with the day, instead of just driving back- we were going to visit this “Castle Drogo” which we had seen loads of signs for on our way there, but we couldn’t find it, so we decided to go and see Exeter Cathedral instead. OMG what a beautiful cathedral, but (and I apologise if any of my followers are from here, but it’s just my opinion from being there for a day) Exeter is such a shithole!!! Literally! We had a rip-off terrible lunch there; it was really hard to find any nice looking restaurants anyway because they were all either tea shops, pubs (that served “freezer food”- not proper pub grub) or places like KFC/MacDonald’s. All the people looked really chavvy and most of the buildings did too. What a ghastly place. Shall never go to Exeter again, unless dragged by force! Gorgeous Cathedral though, so it is worth a visit for that, but bring a packed lunch or something, lol!
Had such a wonderful time at Gidleigh Park, and got a gorgeous hamper and some Tickler cheese, and a cheeseboard + knife set when I got home, so I would really like to say thank you to Tickler- for giving me and my boyfriend a well-deserved, amazing luxury break to two really hard working people that needed it.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Recipe: Thai Dahl

Bit of a fusion dish really- lots of earthy indian flavours and ingredients, but cooked with a tin of coconut milk added as well, giving the dish a distict thai/malaysian flavour. Mum said if Thai restaurants served more dishes like this then she would prefer it much more as a cuisine! I say 30 minutes in stage 2, but basically it's ready as soon as it's the thickness that you prefer it. I served this with steamed basmati rice and salad on the side of the bowl.

Thai Dahl (serves 3)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1 red onion, diced
1 red chilli, finely chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
Large handful fresh coriander, chopped
1 tsp mustard or nigella seeds
2 tsp garam masala
1 tsp lemon juice
250g red lentils
1 litre vegetable stock
1 tin coconut milk
2 large ripe tomatoes, diced
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste

1. Sautee the onion, garlic, chilli and coriander for 10 minutes, stirring often. Add the mustard seeds and garam masala and cook for a further 2 minutes.
2. Add all other ingredients, and cook on a low heat, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring often. Season to taste, and serve with a little extra fresh coriander on the top for garnish.