Gosh its been a long old summer! Its still 24 degrees here in the South of France but soon I will be returning to the UK where it is damp, chilly and a little foggy apparently! (Hahaha ;) )
On my return I will be starting a new venture, a little company called Free Range Kitchen. Through this, you lovely people can actually have me come to your house (!) and cook you dinner. Or help you cook something you’ve been wanting to learn, or even just fill up your fridge or freezer with yummy delightful dinners!
Autumn in a cake
On that note, I have been testing out lots of new recipes for my sample menus and this is just one of the many puddings that will be on offer during the Autumn.
The Captain on the boat I’m on came into the galley the other day and said I needed to rename my blog ‘Masa Yummy’ because basically while I’m here I’m documenting all the delicious food I’m cooking for the owner and the crew.
Good Ship Masa Yummy
Our season is in full swing now and we even had some very special guests on board last week that I couldn’t possibly tell you about (yet!) but who were super exciting to cook for because one of them was FAMOUS!
I can however tell you what they ate….
Brown Sugar Salmon
A large fillet of salmon
Dressing: 100ml soy sauce, 100ml water, 25ml sesame oil, 25ml olive (or rapeseed) oil, 25ml red wine vinegar (or rice wine vinegar if you have it), 2 tbsp honey, 100g brown sugar, 1 tsp chili flakes (more if you like it spicey) – shake all the ingredients together in a jar until the sugar is dissolved. Taste it as you go, it should be sweet and salty
Gimme a little sugar…
Marinade the salmon in the dressing for 2 hours before cooking, tuperware is excellent for this. If you have a large fillet that needs to be portioned out, do it before cooking with a sharp knife as it is much easier. Reserve the marinade and place the salmon on to a baking tray and place in the oven at 180 C. For a whole, 500g fillet bake for 20 mins, less time is needed if the fillets are smaller so keep an eye on it. You want a little browning around the edges where the sugar in the marinade is caramelising. Put the rest of the marinade in a saucepan and boil it until its reduced to a thick sauce. Pour over the salmon once just before serving with potatoes, green beans and a leafy green salad.
This sauce is also delicious over salad, once its reduced down, as a dressing. Particularly with bean and lentil based salads that can take a bit of oomphy flavour.
I cook when I’m bored. I know, I know, I do it for a job but that doesn’t stop me getting in the galley and making something just for me when I get the chance. Not that anyone seems to mind…usually I end up producing my famous Stuff Your Face chocolate brownies, named such because they were gone within minutes…and I mean minutes of coming out the oven the first time.
What do you do when you’re bored?
Yesterday I made a lemon drizzle loaf. I used to make this a lot as it works well with gluten free flour, as my mum is coeliac it was my go to tea cake for when she visited. Its been a while though (France is a little bit too far for a cuppa apparently…) so I had a quick look for recipes and for once I actually tried to follow it instead of tweaking it – didn’t work. The mix came up too thick so I ended up modifying it anyway. So here’s my recipe for a lemon drizzle cake that will knock your visitors little socks off next time you have guests for tea.
Lemon Drizzle Loaf
Loaf tin 26x10cm (greased and lined), two lemons, 120g butter, 120g caster/light brown sugar, 2 eggs, 50 ml milk, 220g plain flour, 2 1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
Syrup: Half a cup lemon juice (add a bit of water if your lemons aren’t too juicy), 1/4 honey, 1/4 sugar
Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly, folding in plenty of air. Mix in the milk, making sure everything is well combined. Grate the zest from the two lemons and stir into the mix, juice both the lemons but only add HALF to the mixture (reserve the rest to make the drizzling syrup later). Fold in the flour and bicarbonate soda. Empty into the lined loaf tin and bake at 180 C for 35 – 40 minutes, until the top is golden and a skewer comes out clean. While its cooking, make the syrup. Mix the lemon juice, honey and sugar together in a small saucepan and heat until the edges start to go a little brown and the sugar is completely dissolved. Once cooked, use the skewer to poke loads of holes in the top. Pour the syrup over the top, a little at a time making sure it all soaks into the holes. I’ve topped mine with some toasted almonds I had lying around from lunch and then added another couple of spoons of honey for good measure.
Enjoy with a nice cup of tea as an afternoon pick me up :)
Recently there was a boat show in Antibes. There was free wine. Enough said.
Too hot? Too spicey?!
Needless to say, I was good and made dinner for the crew before going out and sampling a little of all the free wine (for research purposes obviously). I made these enchiladas and boy were the crew, the staff from the wine stand, and the various friends tagging along pleased that dinner was ready and waiting before we hit the town. Mexican comfort food at its best; spicey, cheesy and oh so incredibly moreish.
Gosh its been awhile!
J’adore, Je t’aime
Since Easter I have been back on board the boat I was cooking on last year and boy is it good to be back in the galley. I’ve had starving boys to feed everyday and I’m loving it!
This weekend is the first that the owner has been down to stay since last year and I am pleased to say the food is going well. Coming back to something familiar has made the world of difference to my cooking, and just six months of pootling about in my own kitchen is beginning to show.
The first boat recipe I’m going to share is a remarkably simple, simply delicious salad. Now I’m sure if you’ve been following my boaty adventures on here you’ll understand how I came to be friends with salad last year. I am continually amazed that I now serve more salad than probably any other meal….
This particular recipe is a side salad, perfect for serving with a pasta dish or perhaps as an accompaniment to fish on a sunny summer’s evening (hahaha, I’m in the sunny South of France again…).
Zucchini Ribbon Salad
Courgette (or Zucchini), rocket and baby spinach leaves, pine nuts, olive oil, salt and pepper, Parmesan
Using a peeler, thinly slice the zucchini. Griddle the slices until char lines form, this will give the zucchini a lovely nutty flavour. Toss slices in olive oil and then mix well with salad leaves. Drizzle with more olive oil, sprinkle over some Parmesan shaving and then top with toasted pine nuts.
Super easy, super simple, super flavour.
Spring is springing vivaciously, verdantly, vividly.
I love Spring, almost as much as I love Autumn; its all about the edges of things for me. The edge of Winter as it graciously gives way to the bounding, lively greenness of Spring. Those crisp mornings where you can smell the life around you shaking off the frost and stretching towards the sun.
As I have rather a lot of time on my hands at the moment I have taken to rambling about the countryside with the dog, searching (as I do any time I go for a wander to be honest) for edible treats along the way. Much of what I’m hoping to find falls into the ‘Spring Greens’ category, things like Wild Garlic, Three-cornered Leeks, Dandelions and new growth Nettles.
Trug Full of Love
It has been aaaaagggess since I last wrote a post but due to some fairly big upheavals I haven’t had much time to write recently!
I am back in the UK for a spell, so am enjoying a little spring time weather. Spring calls for a mixture of culinary delights as the temperatures can vary so much, with super sunny days like today, mixed up with grey days that crop up to remind you its England…and its cold.
At the moment I am also kitchenless, as Mum’s kitchen has been taken out ready for a replacement…in four weeks time. Crock pot it is then!
Crock Pot Chicken
Whole chicken (size it right for your crock pot/slow cooker), carrot, leek, mushrooms, green beans, half a glass white wine (optional), seasoning.
Slice up the vegetables and place in the bottom of the crock pot. Put the chicken on top. Stuff a few slices of leek in the cavity of the chicken then pour the wine in. Season the top of the chicken with salt, pepper and herbs of your choice – a sprig of fresh thyme or rosemary would be excellent, dried is fine also. Turn your slow cooker to hot and leave for 6-8 hours. A lot of liquid will come out of the chicken to provide a stock for gravy or a thin sauce if you prefer.
If you have any left overs, blitz with a stick blender and serve as soup for lunch the following day (week…it was a big chicken…)