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.

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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.

 

 

Spring Greens

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

Trug Full of Love

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Melanzane Parmigiana

Melanzane. Ah, I love this word. Say it with me: Melanzane.

Mel - ant - zaané

Mel – ant – zarné

It means aubergine in Italian and hearing them say melts my insides. As does this recipe. It is so warming, and comforting and packed full of cheese. Amazing winter warmer. And one of the vegetarian options on my Delicious Dinners list. Its super filling and has no carbs except the breadcrumbs on top which are kind-of optional. The sauce needs long slow cooking so this one takes a little time but it is soooo worth it. Even the Italians loved this when I cooked it for them last summer, they couldn’t believe an English cook had made it…

Melanzane alla Parmigiana

Large aubergine, 2 balls mozzarella, 2 tins whole, peeled plum tomatoes, olive oil (loads), garlic, onion, glass of red wine, oregano (fresh if possible), handful fresh basil leaves, breadcrumbs, Parmesan

First off we’ll start the sauce. In a large pan heat a large glug of olive oil then add the finely chopped garlic and onion, sweat until soft and sweet with a pinch of salt. Add the wine and simmer gently until reduced by about half. Open the cans of tomatoes and, with your fingers, squish the whole tomatoes into the pan. Retain the sauce in the cans. Chuck in a handful of fresh oregano or a heaped tablespoon of the dried stuff. Add another big glug of excellent olive oil and simmer gently for as long as you can – over an hour is good, adding a little of the tomato sauce from the tins if things get a bit dry but you’re going for a nice thick sauce.

Slice the aubergines thinly into rounds. For a slightly healthier option, you could griddle all the slices, for a totally unhealthy option fry them all in oil. Or do a bit of both for a middling option as frying them makes them so soft a scrummy that to not have any in there would be a shame (this is packed with cheese so its never going to be a healthy dinner anyway…).

Super Supper

Super Supper

In a deep, square/rectangular oven dish layer the sauce, cheese and aubergine slices in the following order: sauce, aubergine, sauce, mozzarella slices (seasoning), grated parmesan, aubergine, sauce, mozzarella slices, grated parmesan mixed with breadcrumbs to top.

Put into the oven at 180 C for 30 minutes, then turn the oven up to 200 C for 10 minutes if the top hasn’t browned nicely. Top with torn basil leaves before serving. Eat with lots of crusty bread and a large glass of Italian red wine. Possibly a leafy green salad too, depending on how bad you feel about consuming that much cheese…

 

Gnocchi with Garlic Brown Butter and Shredded Spinach

This is my its two weeks til Christmas, I can’t spend more than two minutes on my feet, I’ve been shopping all day dinner.

Get you cloves off!

Get your cloves off!

Today I spent hours traipsing round toy shops trying to find a mechanical cat that didn’t look like it might malfunction and tear my little sister’s face off, and Peppa Pig slippers. Parents seem to have an innate sense of where to find these things. I had no clue where to even start. Thank goodness we have Bhs in Malta…

I also need to eat something other than candied peel for dinner. Yes, I am eating everyone’s Christmas presents for them, yes I will have to make more….

I like to make my own gnocchi and if you haven’t spent all day on your feet, or you have someone lovely that will make it for you, here‘s the recipe. However, there are some pretty good pre-made types that you can buy in places that do fresh pasta. I was just going to eat the gnocchi on its own with the garlic butter but threw in a handful of spinach at the last minute and boy am I glad I did!

Gnocchi with Garlic Butter and Shredded Spinach

Gnocchi, garlic, butter, rock salt, big handful of spinach (or kale would work equally well)

Cook the gnocchi as per the instructions on the packet, most need just a few minutes in salted, boiling water. Slice the garlic then fry in a big knob of butter until the butter is brown and sizzly. Add the gnocchi, tossing well so they are coated in the butter and allow them to fry a little to give them a bit of crisp and colour. Stir in the spinach, leave for thirty seconds then serve. I could eat buckets of this stuff, it makes super supper or a lovely lunch, perfect for the drop dead shopping diva (with a large glass of wine…of course).

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

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Thrifty Cooking

Thrifty cooking is something that has always been close to my heart. Not just from the budget point of view but also as a method of reducing waste. I hate wasting food, even the tops and tails of veg aren’t wasted when I’m cooking at home, they make excellent stock.

Thrifty cooking starts with thrifty shopping. Before you even go to the shop, start with a weekly menu plan. I plan out roughly what I want to cook for the week, work out who I’m going to be cooking for and whether there is anything they don’t eat or anything they love that I haven’t cooked for awhile. From this menu I can make a shopping list of things I need based on what I already have in the cupboard. For me, as a cook on a boat, this is essential. It means I can let the crew know what’s planned for the week and anyone can raise objections before I go shopping rather than after I’ve cooked the dinner. It also means that when I come to cook the meal, I know I have everything in stock. There is nothing worse than wanting to cook something and realising you’re missing the main ingredients (like on Sunday when I desperately wanted to make brownies but there was no butter and ALL the shops were shut because this is France…).

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