Saturday, 28 June 2008

Normal Service Will Be Resumed.....

When I get back from our holiday that is.

I've been slightly demented these past few weeks. Going on holiday stresses me out in a big fashion!!
Cleaning, ironing, cutting the grass, cleaning the car and cleaning anything that doesn't move out of my way in time!
Why do we do that when we're going on holiday? I can't be going away without the house being clean and shiny like a new pin!

I know what I'm like - poor Paul it'll be 'Don't use that loo it's been cleaned'!
'Don't put any rubbish in the bin, it's been cleaned'!
Anyway, I'm sort of calm now as yesterday I got everything done.

Our flight goes at 8am (UK time) tomorrow morning from Manchester.
So, no posting from me for a week as we're off to the island of Thassos in Greece - Yippee!

Lot's of pictures will follow............

Saturday, 21 June 2008

I've been Tagged!

Today I was 'tagged' by a friend of mine Marie of A Year at Oak Cottage

It was Marie that got me into all this blogging lark in the first place - I met her on a site called RecipeZaar where she called me into the 'Meet and Greet' forum. It's great, we all have a good old chat about stuff, nonsense and going's on in general!
I have, through her, met a great bunch of friends, so thank you Marie.

Okay here we go!

What was I doing 10 years ago?

Okay, ten years ago I was living in Bourne in Lincolnshire with my now ex-husband Andrew. We had four British Giant rabbits. British Giants are HUGE!
I love rabbits (I love all animals) but bunnies have to be my favorite.

Five Things on My To Do List Today:

1 Clean the rabbit out (we have one rabbit called Brian), he isn't a Giant rabbit, he is in fact a drawf lop eared bunny. Yes I've gone from one extreme to the other!

2 Clean the Guinea pigs out (such an exciting life) - only joking, my life is great.

3 Do some ironing

4 Cook the Dinner

5 Get a bit of packing done ready for out hols next week!

Five Snacks I Enjoy:

1 Well, I have to say, I rather like.....wait for this.....Salad cream and plain crisps! I just love to dip the crisps in the salad cream (has to be Heinze of course)!!

2 Olives stuffed with lemon

3 Feta cheese, cut into cubes

4 Those cheese tri-angle things you can get 'Dairylea' and crisps together -
The plan is, you use the crisp to cut off a bit of the cheese.......I know you couldn't take me anywhere!

5 Cashew nuts

Five Things I Would Do If I Were a Millionaire:

1 Pay off the Mortgage. Pay off my Brother's Mortgage and Paul's Mum and Dad's Mortgage.

2 Go places, everywhere! Greece and every Greek island possible to get to, Turkey, USA, Canada, Maldives, Jamaica.....I could go on and on and on....

3 Take my Mum and Paul's Mum and Dad on a nice holiday somewhere.

4 Pay off my best friends Jean and Tony's Mortgage and their kids Sarah and Nicola's too.

5 Take all the girls on our 'Zaar' Meet and Greet Forum to see 'Honey' who is sadly not very well at the moment - we'd all have such a laugh together!
Okay - I think I've just spent my million!

Five Places I have Lived:

All are in the UK:

1 Tottenham in London

2 North Weald in Essex

3 Middlewich in Cheshire

4 Bourne in Lincolnshire

5 Telford in Shropshire

Five Jobs I Have Had:

Well, I've only ever worked for Marks and Spencer. That is my only job from leaving school. I have had a couple of Saturday jobs before that.....

1 A Newsagents shop in Tottenham (child labor I was only ten!!!) Selling all sorts even cigarettes, if you please (against the law big time)!

2 A Hairdressers also in Tottenham - washing woman's hair and sweeping up! And making tea too!
There was one old lady that used to come in with eyebrows that she'd used a brow pencil to draw on.......we used to be frightened of washing her hair in case we washed them off. One day some girl did! The poor woman only had one eyebrow left and wasn't pleased (glad it wasn't me)!

3 In a Bakery shop, also in Tottenham!
I worked there with a girl I went to school at the time, we used to have a great laugh. The woman that owned the shop said that at the end of the day we could take home any bread or cakes that were left - trouble is, I don't like cakes!

4 Marks and Spencer, and I'm still there 30 years later, so there is no number five!

Now comes the bit where I get to tag five of you!

I Tag, In No Order of Importance:

Peter of Kalofagas

Kevin of Closet Cooking

Nic of Cherrapeno

Nina of My Easy Cooking

Sue from Back to the Table

Friday, 20 June 2008

Moussaka Recipe and the Greek island of Kos

This is the main road of Tingaki on the Greek island of Kos, along this road is restaurant after restaurant. We loved walking along reading all the menus that they have outside.
The best place to eat in Tingaki, Kos is called Sagittarius Restaurant it is owned and run by Manos and his wife Donna (Donna is from the UK). They are such a lovely couple. They have now built some excellent looking apartments which they have recently opened.

This is the island of Pserimos which easily reached by boat from Kos.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

Harissa Roasted Butternut Squash

Oooooh YUM!
Well today, seeing as I had a Butternut Squash lurking, I thought I'd roast it in some olive oil and be adding some, well, (quite a good couple actually) spoons of Rose Harissa.

Peel and cut the butternut squash into bite sized chunks, drizzle with Olive oil and stir in some Rose Harissa.
Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200c for about 30 minutes - or until the squash is tender.
PS: That isn't all we had for dinner in case you think I've gone on a diet or something, just I'm trying to make my pictures look less busy!

Roasted Vegetables

What am I like - I haven't posted anything for an age then I do two in one day!

Last night I did some roasted vegetables to go with the chicken we were having.

Just slice up any vegetables you fancy, I used Courgette, Aubergine, Red Onion and Red, Green and Yellow Peppers. I also added a couple of baby tomatoes.
Toss them in oil and add a little Balsamic Vinegar and season with salt and black pepper.
Then spread them on a baking tray and roast in the oven for about 20 - 25 minuets at 200c

Because we both love cheese I couldn't resist adding some and browning it with my cooks blow torch!

Smoked Salmon, Capers and Lemon Dressing

I love love love smoked salmon! One of the best ways to have it I think is like this. Just the smoked salmon, with a lemon and black pepper dressing and a few capers.....Mmmm Yum!

Saturday, 14 June 2008

Salmon Baked in Foil with a Rather Nice Marinade!

Don't know why but I haven't seemed to have had any time at all lately to post anything on here.

Also, what's putting me off is whatever food I take a picture of seems to look horrid, so more than a few times I haven't bothered to post anything here.
This is another example of my bad presentation of food and my rubbish photography!......But I'm posting this anyway as, whatever, it was very nice to eat.

Okay - It's hard to tell what's what here, as I said I must try harder with my presentation - It might not look fancy but it tasted very nice!

I made a marinade using a little oil, dark soy sauce, grated fresh ginger, honey and a good dollop of sweet chili sauce. I added a little finely sliced red chili pepper and red onion. I poured the marinade over the two salmon fillets and left them covered in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Then I took two pieces of kitchen foil and put one piece of salmon in the middle of each and poured over most of the marinade including the sliced red onions. Then I scrunched the foil loosely, bringing up the sides to make a parcel and making sure the juices didn't pour out.

I baked the salmon in the oven at 200c for about 20 minutes - leaving the top open for the last 3 minutes.

I did a stir fry of sliced red pepper, baby corn and mange tout with some noodles and added a little dark soy sauce.

I sprinkled the top of the salmon with some sliced spring onion and toasted sesame seeds.

Friday, 6 June 2008

Chicken, Chorizo, Peppers and Pasta with a Few Other Nice Things

Yesterday I needed to have a sort out of my fridge before I went shopping.
I hadn't a clue what to cook for dinner, so seeing as I had some Chorizo, red and yellow peppers, an aubergine (eggplant) that needed to be used I made this concoction!

To Serve Two:

I sliced the Chorizo into 5mm slices and then cut them in half (moon shape).
Cut a large onion, half a red pepper, half a yellow pepper and half an aubergine into chunks. Defrosted some frozen peas.
I then sliced two chicken fillets into thinnish strips.

Fry the Chorizo until the orange oil comes out and it starts to brown. Add the onion then add the peppers and the aubergine. After a bit add the thinly sliced chicken and continue cooking until the chicken is cooked through.

Add the peas and a jar of your favorite pasta sauce. I then added about three quarters of a teaspoon of dried chili flakes.
Continue until the peas and everything is cooked through.

Meanwhile I cooked some pasta - you can use any shape you fancy - I used 'Casarecce'. When the pasta is cooked, drain then stir into the mixture.
Now because I had a little bit of feta cheese left I crumbled that on top too. It was actually rather nice indeedy!

Wednesday, 4 June 2008

Quick Chilli - Nigella Lawson

This chilli is most certainly quick and so very easy to make, no chopping or messing about.  Taken from Nigella Lawson's book 'Nigella Express'. 

I'll be making this again as it was really good. My beans were not the spicy kind - just mixed beans in water, so I did add the chilli flakes.

Sunday, 1 June 2008

Our Greek Evening!

Last night we had two friends coming round for dinner, so I decided to have a Greek evening!

I had a go at making stuffed vine leaves as part of the Meze. There was a recipe on the back of the plastic pack the vines leaves came in - but me being me I washed the empty packet - I'm cooking remember and that packet has been in how many peoples hands....yuk!
So, the result was the recipe washed off the packet! 

Oh dear! Good job I'd had a quick read first. Anyway, it was something like this:
Soak some long grain rice in boiling water for 5 minutes, rinse with cold water and drain.
Put the rice into a bowl and add chopped tomato, chopped onion, crushed dried mint, all spice, and ground cinnamon. Then add salt and pepper.
Then line a saucepan with some left over leaves (I think I had about 30 left) but I didn't want to make loads in case they turned out horrid, in any case they were only for a taster.

Where was I - lining the bottom of a saucepan with some leaves.....
Then put a small amount of the rice mixture into the center of the leaves and roll up. Place them on top of the leaves in the saucepan and cover with a mixture of olive oil, water and the juice of a lemon. Put a lid on and simmer for about 45 minutes.
Let them cool in the pan, then remove and serve cold.
It was something like that anyway!
Overall the verdict was good as we all ate them!
I got some Greek white wine too! (Retsina)

Olives with feta, those big beans in tomato sauce and some peppers stuffed with feta.

I made Pastitsio using this recipe but forgot to take a photo - so here is a picture from when I made it before! The only difference I do to that recipe is to use only one can of tomatoes, but add 200ml of red wine and two tablespoons of tomato puree.
It is the best Patitsio recipe ever. Many thanks once again Evelyn.

I made an individual bowl of Greek salad for everyone, but I made a really nice dressing following a recipe I'd seen in Rick Stein's book. Remember though, he was the one that made me put too much red wine vinegar in my Beef Stifado!.......So this time I was ready for him.
He said 1 tablespoon, I used only 1 teaspoon!
I made Rick Stein's salad dressing recipe from his Mediterranean Escapes book.

Left to right: Paul, Matthew and Caroline.

For dessert I made Galaktoboureko using this recipe by Peter of Kalofagas blog.
Thank you Peter for such an excellent and easy to follow recipe and for your help via email.
PS: Anyone in the UK - I managed to get semolina flour in Waitrose.

With ice cream, of course!!!