Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Goats Cheese and Red Onion Jam Pastries

In my fridge I had some soft goats cheese and baby plumb tomatoes.
In my freezer I had some ready made puff pastry.
In my cupboard I had a jar of red onion jam - So, wondering what to do with all these nice things, I came up with this!

You will need:

250g of Ready Made Puff Pastry - divided into two
1 Jar of Red Onion Jam
100g of Soft Goats Cheese
6 x Baby Plumb Tomatoes
Some Fresh Thyme Leaves, chopped
Rocket Leaves and a Few Olives to Serve - if you like them, which I do!

Preheat the even to 190C or 375F Gas 5

I rolled the pastry till into two oblongs until they were about a quarter of an inch thick - or slightly more.

Then I lightly scored (being careful not to go right the way through) a border of just over half an inch all the way round.

Taking a fork, lightly prick the pastry inside the border all over to prevent pastry on the inside part from rising as much as the rest of the pastry.
Place them on a non stick baking tray.

Bake in the heated oven for about 10 minutes, remove and very carefully retrace the line you made that formed the border.
Normally, you see in recipes where you would remove the top layer of pastry and either discard or use it as a lid. I didn't remove it, after re-tracing the scored line, I just pushed it to the bottom to make the base thicker and more yummy.......Ha ha a cunning plan ah?!

Now spread a good amount (to your liking) of the red onion jam all over the bottom and top with some goats cheese.

Now, add some halved cherry tomatoes. Sprinkle with some freshly chopped thyme leaves.

Return to the oven for (approx) a further 10 minutes until the cheese begins to melt and the pastry takes on a light golden brown colour.

Remove from the oven and top with some black olives and rocket.
Serve immediately.

Sunday, 27 July 2008

A Walk to Ironbridge, Shropshire

This post has nothing to do with food, it's just something I thought people might find interesting. The Iron Bridge was built in 1779, and was the first structural use of cast iron.

I love Ironbridge itself, which is also the name of the place. There is so much history there and there's also a Victorian Town further down the road at a place called Blists Hill.

Yesterday we took a walk there and the following pictures are in order of that walk.

Down a steep hill - well it's seems steep on the way back up!

A house at the bottom of that hill.

Here's a cute looking pub called 'The Horse and Jockey'

A Rooftop!

Now were are at the old Police Station, which has since been turned into an Indian Restaurant. It's our favorite place to eat Indian and is called 'The Pondicherry'

A couple of other restaurants on the way down.

An old fashioned sweet shop called Memory Lane Sweets.

Now we are at the Iron Bridge itself, with tourists everywhere!

Just past the bridge still walking down by the river there are many shops, Bed and Breakfast places and loads of Pubs!

I love the little side streets.

Below is the main street, with the river on the left.

Below are the Lincoln Hill Lime Kilns.

Under tremendous heat, rock hard limestone was transformed into powdery-fine lime in the lime kilns.
Lime kilns have been found in the Gorge since medieval times.
These kilns operated from about 1760 to 1870 when Lincoln Hill supplied huge quantities of lime stone to the surrounding iron furnaces.

Below is one of the many pubs!

And finally, this is the view from where I'm sat with my wine in one of our favorite pubs! 'The Swan' in Ironbridge.

Saturday, 26 July 2008

Thai Red Chicken Curry

I first blogged about Thai Red Chicken Curry back in April, but I've since made it a few more times and have modified my recipe to perfection - well say I anyway! 
  So, with that in mind, I've decided to remove the old post and start again.
I made this last night but couldn't get red birds eye chillies yesterday so I used green ones. I think red look nicer, but in these pictures you will see green ones, just take no notice!
Too lazy to go upstairs and get my camera, I used the camera on my phone and forgot to put that macro thingey on for close up's so some aren't too sharp.  Anyway, you'll get the gist......

Friday, 25 July 2008

Sirloin Steak with Roquefort Sauce

Roquefort sauce is so very easy to make.  Steak is my all time favourite food to eat.  For me it has to be cooked medium-rare  - more on the rare side than the medium.
I personally don't like to have any sauce served with mine. Just simple steak, chips, Portobello mushrooms, tomato and either peas or salad and I'm happy.
I pour a little red wine into the pan after the steak has been removed let it simmer for a few secs (it removes any of the nice cooking bits on the bottom of the pan) and I then pour it over my steak - am very particular about that having to happen!

Paul (the husband) loves to cover his steak with Roquefort sauce. He had in in a restaurant and I tasted it, it was okay, but quite runny and not too much going on in the way actual Roquefort!
I had a go at making it myself and made it up as I went along and I've made it the same way since.

Print Recipe

You will need:
1 Knob of Butter
1 Small Red Onion or a Shallot, chopped (I do usually use a shallot but didn't have any last night when I made it).
100g of Roquefort Cheese cut into small cubes so it melts quicker.
150ml of Double Cream (Heavy cream I think they call it in the US)?
2 Teaspoons of Brandy
How to do it:

In a small saucepan melt the butter over a low heat and add the onion. Saute until soft but not coloured. Turn the heat up and add the Brandy, stirring for a minute.
Turn the heat back down and add the Roquefort and stir with a wooden spoon when it starts to melt add the cream. Don't be tempted to use single cream (it must be double) or it will split when being cooked.

Don't let it boil. Stir until heated through and serve immediately.

The finished Roquefort sauce.

Jan's steak cooked to perfection!

Friday, 18 July 2008

Stuffed Peppers - that were not actually stuffed......

We had peppers stuffed with feta cheese while we were in Greece, they were so nice I could eat them all day. I think if I lived in Greece I'd become huge - I love their food too much! Hang on, what am I talking about - I love all food too much!

However, when I had a go at making some I didn't end up stuffing them. It all looked a bit too tricky for my liking after the peppers were roasted. I think they would have fallen apart. But I was determind to make them anyway!

After roasting them until their skins started to blacken, I let them cool then peeled off their skins.
So, I just put the roasted peppers on top of the feta and baked in the oven........sorted! Same difference me thinks!

I forgot to take a picture of them on the plate, but trust me they looked fine!

I didn't seem to be able to help myself and added a few slices of red onion, although I'm not sure why. It all tasted yummy whatever.

Thursday, 17 July 2008

The Perfect Jacket Potato

The perfect jacket potato has to have a nice crispy skin and be perfectly cooked through on the inside.

There are many people who will cook a jacket potato in kitchen foil but to me, it isn't going to be any where near as nice if the skin isn't crispy.

**Update: Please see my latest blog post with more information on the variety of potato to use.

Pre- heat the oven to 200c/Gas6
Be sure to get nice big potatoes and leave them in their skins.
Wash the potatoes and then dry them.
Now rub the skins with a little olive oil and rub on a little crushed sea salt.

Prick the skin of the potatoes here and there with a knife a few times all over.
Bake directly on the bars of a pre-heated oven for at about 1 hour to an hour and a half.
The actual time will of course, will depend on the size of your potatoes and the variety.
The potato is done when you can easily insert a knife into it and it and the skin is nice and crisp. There is nothing worse than a baked potato that's not cooked through so make sure it is.

Cut a big cross on each potato and add a big dollop of butter and some salt. You don't have to add salt but it just won't taste the same.
Be sure to serve straight away.

I like to dice some red and yellow peppers, red onion and cucumber.
Yummy served with the potato and grated cheese on top!
Do you think all that salad will counteract the calories in the butter and cheese?!

Wednesday, 16 July 2008

Pantespani (Greek Lemon Sponge Cake)

While we were on the island of Thassos, in almost every place we ate in they gave us free something or other. Either coffee at the end of the meal with, or water melon, or Metaxa (Brandy) and sometimes a dessert.

Every time we were given Ouzo at the start of our meal and in one place we went to they gave us 500ml of red wine, which was a bit of a worry since we'd already had 1.5 litres between us!! I love red wine but I can not cope with that amount of it!

One of the desserts we had was a Greek sponge cake called Pantespani. The syrup that is poured over the top of the cake while it cools when we had it was a lemon syrup.

This is my atempt at making it!

I had a go at making it at the weekend. I used this recipe but I used lemon instead of orange.

I am no baker - mine grew in the oven at am alarming rate! So it came out a bit more deeper than when we ever had it in Greece.

This picture was when it first came out of the oven. You then cut it into squares and pour over the syrup, which then soaks into the sponge.

I served it with ice cream (can't imagine that your supposed to) but hey, it was nice!

Sunday, 13 July 2008

I've Received An Award!

A good friend of mine, Raquel over at Kitchen Mysteries has given me an award!
Raquel has a great blog, and always has a story to tell among her numerous recipes.

The award is the Arte E Pico Award. I'm not sure that I deserve it, but thank you again.

Here are the rules that accompany this award.

1 Choose 5 blogs that you consider deserving of this award for their creativity, design, interesting material, and their contribution to the blogging community.

2 Each award has to have the name of the author and a link to his/her blog.

3 Each award winner has to show the award and put the name of and link to the blog that presented her/him with the award.

4 The award winner and the one who has given the prize has to show the link of Arte Y Pico blog so everyone will know the origin of this award.

5 Show these rules on your blog.

Okay, now it is my turn to pass it on!

I have choosen:

Marie of A Year From Oak Cottage because Marie is a lovely person, kind, and generous and puts so much time and effort into her blog.
Besides, Marie got me into this blogging stuff in the first place, which has led me to make a lot of lovely friends.

Peter of Kalofagas because he puts such a lot into his blog, which is always interesting to read. Also because he helps me with my cooking disasters and never seems to get fed up of me asking questions! The food blogging world would not be the same without him.

Kevin of Closet Cooking, Kevin works so hard with his blog and comes up with such great recipes and photographs.

Sylvie of A Pot of Tea and a Biscuit because Sylvie is such a nice person and does great pictures on her blog along with lots of yummy recipes.

Jeanne of Cooksister because Jeanne has helped me with growing my chili plant and her blog is very interesting to read with lots of lovely food.

Cheese Saganaki (Fried Feta) and How NOT to make it!

While we were in Greece we had a dish called 'Cheese Saganaki' (Fried Cheese)

So, I tried to make it myself. Silly me didn't look on the net or anywhere first I just 'decided' how to make it......Can't be that tricky I thought, it's just a block of feta in batter and deep fried. WRONG!

UPDATE: Since this attempt I have got it right - here.

This is what it should look like.

This (below) if you haven't already guessed, is mine.......

It doesn't look quite the same does it?!

Deep frying is not good - I didn't have my brain in when I made this as the batter floated to the top of the fryer and the feta melted!......I retrieved what I could of the feta and balanced the batter back on top. Tasted okay but this obviously isn't how to make it!

Peter over at Kalofagas tells me you just dip the cheese in flour and shallow fry it.
Tiz easy when you know how. I'll have another go soon. Do I get any points for trying?!

Thursday, 10 July 2008

Tagged AGAIN!

Oh no - I've been tagged again!
This time by Angie of 'Can You All Hear Me at the Back' Angie has a great blog so go on over and have a look!

I have to say 6 random things about myself......Not sure it will be too interesting but here I go anyway!

1 I am a born worrier, I worry if I have nothing to worry about. But hey I don't have to do diets - just give me slight stress and I'll loose weight! Just as well me thinks with the amount I eat!!

2 I am a Food Shopaholic I think really that I need counseling. It's my mum's fault (sorry mum now the world knows)!
You have to have lots of things in the cupboard at all times in case you're ill and can't get out, or there's a war, or extreme weather, or you run out of something......or......or LOL!

3 I LOVE eating in general if you hadn't realised. I don't think I'll ever have an eating disorder and if I did get HUGE I don't think I could do a diet.

4 I love animals, we have a cat (Yaz) a rabbit (Brian) a tortoise......Yes a tortoise (Tilley) two Guinea pigs without names! Both called Pig and a pond with several fish in......Oh and one of those freshwater muscle's - have you ever seen one in a shop that sells pond fish? Well it (I say it, as I'm not too sure how to tell if it's male or female! So it doesn't have a name either. They apparently clean the bottom of the pond by eating all the goo.......lovely!

5 I love red wine!

6 I have to go back to work on Monday and I don't want to! Can you tell I'm running out of things to think of.

Okay that's me done! Thanks again Angie.

What you do now:

Write 6 Random things about yourself.

Link to the person who tagged you.

Post the rules on the blog.

Tag six people at the end of your post and let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

Let the tagger know when your entry is done.

Here are my 6:

Mike of Mike's Table

Christine of Sookies Kitchen

Tulip of Tulip's Kitchen

Lina of My Life is Yummy

Sue of Back to the Table

Bal of Be Foodie

PS: If I've tagged someone that's already been tagged for this please ignore me - I just can't keep up with all the reading since I've been back off of holiday!

Thassos Holiday Pictures

I've posted our holiday pictures on the net for anyone that's interested.
Try not to sleep though all of them!!
Click here and select 'Slideshow'

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Thassos 'Four Seasons Apartments' and Greek Food

Thassos is such a lovely island. We stayed in 'The Four Seasons Apartments and Studios' and they were fantastic.

This picture was taken from our studio (there are 25 studios and only 2 apartments) the can studios sleep 3 (the 3rd person would sleep on a sofa bed) and are extremely clean. Very modern and stylish. The pool is only small but was never packed out at all.

The staff at the hotel were very friendly and really very helpful. The pool bar serve food all day and the range of food is really good. Moussaka, Pastitsio, Greek Salad, Chips, Steak, Burgers, Toasties, Full English Breakfasts........I could go on!

The shower and toilet - see what I mean about nice and clean!

The Studios opened in May 2008. They are available to book through Thomson but not one of the pictures Thomson show (as I write this anyway) are not pictures of The Four Seasons at all - Not one of them!
Also, they are not situated in Skala Rachoni either as stated! They are about 5 miles away from there going towards Thassos town.
The hotel puts on a free return mini bus service to take you into Thassos town at night which, without that, you would have to get a taxi which costs 6 euros each way.
On the first day you arrive the mini bus takes you to the supermarket to stock on on drinks etc which I thought was a great service and as I'm always hungry my main concern is FOOD! So at least you can get drinks and things for your room which of course is fully equipped should you feel the need to cook........I did not feel the need to cook at all even though I love cooking, I was on holiday!!

The only good thing Thomson have done is post pictures of what you think looks an 'okay' sort of place to stay and when you get there you are really pleased to find that they are actually excellent and so clean and modern and much, much better than the pictures they show!

Thassos is such a beautiful island but we think you really must hire a car if you go. We went for a week and only hired a car for one day so we could go all the way around the island.

Forget the buses - they are okay if you don't mind waiting anything up to 40 minutes until it arrives! The timetables are just not any help. When they do turn up they are nice air conditioned coaches which is one good thing.

Okay, this is a shop front in Limenas (Thassos Town) selling jars of olives, oils and different nuts in syrup. I got some Greek Oregano that was actually from Thassos.

The drive all the way round the island is about 70 miles and then you are back to where you started. You can not go wrong as there is only one main round that goes right the way around the edge. I mean on the edge too sometimes! Very winedy and up one minute and down the next. The scenery is fantastic. We just stopped where we could, parked up went to a few different beaches, had lunch and carried on our way - that's the life!

This picture is of Skala Rachoni beach.

This was part of a meal we had in The 'Gorgona Restaurant' in Skala Rachoni. Fried Feta on the left and Spicy Cheese Salad (is what they called it on the menu) on the right.

And below is Pepper and Tomato Stuffed with Minced Meat and Rice.

Thassos town (Limenas) is just full of places to eat. Lots of locals eat in many of the places there too.
One place we really liked was in one of the side streets, see picture below.

More lovely Greek salad, and Cheese Croquettes.
Once again it was Feta cheese with roasted sweet peppers and on top was hot green peppers or we think chillies. We LOVE feta cheese - Can you tell?!
Mmmmm YUM!

Another excellent place to eat is 'The Thassian Resturant'.

Below, Roasted Peppers with the skin removed, stuffed with feta cheese and baked in the oven.

This is Aliki beach, which if you look at a map of Thassos is at the bottom right of the island and was one of the places we stopped to have a dip in the sea and have lunch. You can see the place we ate in (above the sign in the middle of the picture).

It's a shame as I don't have pictures of everything we had to eat, there were so many nice dishes but sometimes I felt a bit, no very silly with my camera taking pictures of food! I tried to explain to one Greek man when he saw me with the camera he thought I wanted a picture taken of us - but I didn't I wanted the FOOD photographed!

Below, is Aliki looking from the road side where we parked up. The beach shown above is to the left of this picture.

Well, I've gone on way too much, but all in all Thassos was a lovely island and met a lot of lovely people especially a couple called Sara and Barry.

By the way - I've just noticed this is my 100th POST!!!!