Weekly rumblings – 11

This week’s rumblings are a bit of a ramble. A combined post for 2 weeks as I am away for a short holiday. I had a few queries from readers wondering why there was no blog last weekend…happy that it was missed!

We are soon away on holiday to Portugal, and the more I read about Lisbon and the surrounding areas, the more I wonder why it’s taken so long for us to do this. The seafood is meant to be absolutely fabulous, and spring is a great time to visit. My contribution to all our holidays is to book the restaurants, which I have done, thanks to my Portuguese friends for pointing me in the right direction. Apart from the eating, I am also looking forward to acquiring some ceramics for the kitchen, which no doubt will feature in future food photos.

In the press:

I am forever devouring food related news. And recently work done by James Wong and Michael Mosley throws up some really interesting and useful stuff to improve the nutritional content of food that we already eat. BBC 2 covered it in a new TV programme called “The Secrets of Your Food”. This Telegraph article captures some of the tips that Wong provides. Chopping  lettuce, sunning your mushrooms (yes!), and microwaving kale, for getting a nutritional burst.

If you watch the show, there are many more practical nuggets; eggs provide a complete protein (all nine of the essential amino acids our body needs), but eat them cooked, in a raw state we only benefit from half the protein.

Recipes this week:

Back to sunny London, with Easter coming up, there’s only one thing on my mind – Hot Cross Buns. They are immensely popular here in the UK. I love these sweet sticky spicy buns, both fresh and toasted. When I lived here previously, I often bought myself a pack from somewhere posh, in the hope that they would be as outstanding as the price, but was almost always disappointed. Although I like the buns to be redolent with spices and flavour, these were often dense, sweet & bordering on stodgy.

Now back in London, and armed with far more bread baking knowledge than I possessed before, I made a batch of hot cross buns last week. I think they are amongst the best hot cross buns I have ever eaten, and even the boys, who only “sort of liked them” previously, were lining up for their share.  I urge you to try making them once. You will be making them every year.

Yet another salmon recipe, again a  family favourite. Salmon with chickpeas and yoghurt by Neil Perry, who only the Aussies will know of.   I must confess at first I was somewhat sceptical of the flavour combination. But it works really well. Just make sure you get the skin on the salmon really crisp.

Poached egg, leftover chickpeas & yoghurt

I had leftover chickpeas and the herby yoghurt, so here’s a photo of what I had for lunch the following day. I tossed some spinach into the chickpeas, added a poached egg and topped it off with the yoghurt. Eaten with some crisp sourdough toast, it felt quite luxurious for leftovers.

 

 

This week, with the kids at home, I made panna cotta. It’s the perfect make-ahead dessert, especially if you jazz it up with a fruit compote or a crunchy brittle. It’s fancy enough if you are entertaining, and at the same time simple enough to make for children, who on half-term break were very happy indeed to eat it. Make small portions, and serve it with some fruit on the side.

Book review:

Thomasina Miers’ Mexican Food Made simple
Thomasina Miers Mexican Food

I chanced upon this book accidentally, and ended up buying it for a pittance at the local library. This is the first time I have actually bought a book on Mexican cooking, but have been pleasantly surprised by some of the delicious sounding and relatively light recipes in the book. Having said that, I made the not so light Chorizo & Potato quesadillas, and they were scrumptious, served with a fresh salsa. I have also tried some of the salads & salsas, and they seem quite authentic. Always wary of Tex-Mex, I wanted to check the authenticity of this book with my reliable Mexican friend. She said Mexicans never use Cheddar cheese, so I am assuming that Miers’ has used some leeway, as a few recipes do call for that. I have perfected a recipe for homemade corn tortillas, and Miers’ is almost identical to mine, so I am reassured.

Overall this book is a good starting point for anyone interested in exploring Mexican food.

She also provides a recipe for “Churros”, which we all love (deep fried sugar coated dough, what’s not to love?) and I am dying to try it out. I have a few different recipes I have been stashing away for churros, and several use a choux pastry base with egg. Her version is without egg, so I am intrigued.  Posting soon, I hope.

I do love my family a lot and I will cook churros for them, once back from holiday!