And Breathe…

We cooked Christmas lunch. My sister and I some how managed to cook Christmas lunch for ten without murdering each other with a carrot. Well, nearly. It seems gravy is a contentious issue.

In order to prevent murder most foul we separated the jobs to do about three weeks ahead of time so my sister could write a complex itinerary of timings, a list of ingredients, and establish marshal law in my poor mother’s kitchen. I was doing the meat and she the vegetables. I knew I was cooking a turkey crown and a large piece of beef striploin. My planning extended to turning up with a hangover, finding the meat, and cooking the meat. What we didn’t decide was who’s responsibility the gravy was…

DSC_1513

Needless to say, we had way too much food. The turkey crown was surprisingly tasty (I don’t normally eat turkey) and the beef was divine. We had about seven different vegetables; the best and most popular of which was the brussel sprouts…no really. My sister smothers them in cream and fries them with bacon, it is truly delicious. There was cauliflower and broccoli cheese, tarragon carrots, honey roasted parsnips, roast potatoes, mashed carrot and swede…most people think the meat is the most difficult bit. I got let off lightly. Steph’s veggies really were the stars of the show. We, as a family, have always prided ourselves on our roast dinners. We love to feed people; my father’s present to everyone on Christmas Day is the showstoppingly lavish dinner he provides.

A roast dinner is never just meat, potatoes and a few veg. It is a decadent celebration of all things seasonal. A feast. Each item lovingly prepared to showcase its unique flavours. It is a meal to take your time over. To prepare with love for those you love. Roast dinners are not scary, unless you’re faced with the same boring, soggy vegetables every week. They are an exciting way to explore new and exciting vegetables, delicious meats and different methods of cooking. The ultimate way to appreciate and stay connected to the seasons; once a week you can take the time to assess whats going on in the world around you. A walk while the meat cooks to see how the lengthening days are changing the pattern of the landscape. Duck, goose, grouse, guinea fowl, hare, mallard, partridge, turkey, venison. Much of the venison produced in the UK is from deer that roam freely, rather than being intensively farmed, resulting in superior meat. Good quality venison is tender, tasty and close textured, which means it’s easy to produce great results using simple recipes. As for vegetables, winter is by no means a boring season if you know what you’re looking for. Beetroot, brussel sprouts, cauliflower, celeriac, celery, chicory, horseradish, jerusalem artichoke, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, parsnips, potatoes, salsify, shallots, swede, truffles, turnips, and a range of wild mushrooms.

Eating the seasons not only helps to ground a busy life, it is also a nutritionally, financially and ecologically sound way of organising your diet.

Between now and New Year I will add a few recipes that will turn your carrots from soggy reminders of schools dinners to transcendentally delectable nibbles of loveliness, your parsnips from boring sticks of root veg to dragon’s tails and sweet salads. Never cooked Jerusalem artichoke? Never fear. The gratin is here!

 

 

Veggie Enchiladas

Recently there was a boat show in Antibes. There was free wine. Enough said.

Too hot? Too spicey?!

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.

Continue reading

Return of the Galley Wag

Gosh its been awhile!

J'adore, Je t'aime

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.

 

 

Gnocchi Dokey

I have been thinking about gnocchi a lot lately. And pumpkin. And the result is, unsurprisingly, pumpkin gnocchi.

I love pumpkin and squashes, they are so wonderfully autumnull with their orangey, yellow skins and rooty sweet flavours, OMG I love them! They are versatile; useful in sweet and savoury dishes, mains and sides and puddings, even as festive lanterns or as a substitute for crockery to save on washing up (I loathe washing up).

Super Bowl

Super Bowl

And damn they can be cute!

It is SMALLER than my HAND!!!

It is SMALLER than my HAND!!!

Continue reading

For The Love of Blog

My laptop is still broken. I am currently borrowing one; its like my fix of methadone while waiting for my dealer to get back off holidays…or not, really. But I have realised I am a total computer/internet addict. I thought I could be with out it but I have found myself pining for writing my blog and other projects in a way I feel just a little bit ashamed about. But also good about because it means I really LOVE doing it.

For most of the time it wasn’t too heartbreaking as I was distracting myself valiantly with a trip to Kenya where I fell in love with samosas and Swahili sauce. And so actually I haven’t done a huge amount of cooking in the time I have been bereft of laptop. I did however spend a great deal of time hanging about in airports looking at my favourite food blogs and so I am going to direct you to some of the recipes I will soon be trying because I can’t get the thought of their potential deliciousness out of my head…

Continue reading

Grilled Aubergine Rolls stuffed with Spinach and Feta

We always have a lot of aubergines in the fridge and so seeing as I still haven’t been food shopping yet this week (eeek, getting withdrawal symptoms, the shopping shakes!!) I had to come up with something that used up the left over chorizo and white bean stew from last night and the aubergines that are just begging to be cooked. And this was it.

Rolly polly lunch

Rolly polly lunch

Continue reading

Super Stuffed Squash

Super, scrummy, seasonal, sensational squash. There are a huge variety of this wonderful vegetable around at the moment, and they look so damn weird! They come in all shapes and sizes and can be multi-coloured too. Many make the perfect bowl in which to serve stews, soups and other autumn warmers. The first time I came across the squash bowl was at an autumn party, the weather was still clear enough to sit outside but it was definitely getting chilly. So with hats and coats and gloves, and a hot bowl of soup, we sat outside in the garden being gently warmed from the inside out!

Weird and wonderful

Weird and wonderful

Continue reading