This was the first, but I look forward to many more evenings to come out here.
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
Its late ...
I am home now finishing this post and I am glad to see that there is some left for me ... its waiting quietly in the kitchen for coffee time tomorrow. I will tell you about my dinner in Rustic Stone tomorrow, I simply do not have the energy now ...
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
I love the simplicity of this dish. It is a dish for summer, to serve alone for lunch or perhaps with some marinated lamb chops for dinner.
I like the combination of colours and flavours tightly packed together, the bright colours of the green and red studded with little glistening olives....perfect for enjoying on a sunny evening, with a blanket around your shoulders and glass of cold Gruner Veltliner.
You will need, for two as a main course:
450g ripe tomatoes
300g small firm courgette
300g waxy potatoes, peeled
2 large onions
4 cloves garlic, finely sliced
100g pitted black olives
2 sprigs thyme, leaves only
6 tblsps vegetable stock
6 tblsps extra virgin olive oil
1 medium sized gratin dish, lightly oiled
Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees
Slice the tomatoes, courgettes, potatoes onions and garlic cloves to approximately the same thickness.
Then in rotation, place each vegetable vertically across the gratin dish, so courgette, tomato, potato, onion, courgette and so on....
When you have tightly packed the dish, slide in the chopped garlic slices into some of the little gaps left.
Wash and dry the thyme leaves and sprinkle them over the top.
Monday, August 23, 2010
It was just one of those Irish days....a dark, grey, unmerciful downpour one minute and bright glorious sunshine the next, continuing intermittently for the entire day. I love days like this as they provide the perfect excuse not to leave the house at all and to hunker indoors with a steaming cup of tea and brewing up a half-notion of creating something wonderful in the kitchen for a few hours. There was nothing else for it but to delve deep into the cookery book shelf and see what was to be found. And what a little treasure I did find. My cookery book from when I was a child. My mother gave my brother and I a different one each (I hope he still has his) and leafing through the pages was like being 7 years old again. I must have read and re-read and made every recipe in this book when I was a child as reading them all again today, I knew every groovy seventies recipe by heart.
Today called for a tea-time treat, although not an old fashioned one from my seventies childhood like coconut cones, castle puddings or flapjacks. As nostalgic as the book made me, there was not one thing that I actually fancied eating!
Today was a day for something simple yet a little more sophisticated, so the boys and I made vanilla shortbread. I have several shortbread recipes, snipped and clipped from various sources, but this one by Nigella is faultless in its ease of execution - it needs no alteration and absolutely anyone can make it. It is also delicious and so much better than anything you will buy in the shops.
You will need:
200g plain flour
100g icing sugar
200g soft unsalted butter
seeds from 1 vanilla pod
vanilla caster sugar for decoration
Preheat the oven to 200 degrees.
You will need 1 flat baking sheet or Swiss roll tin.
This beautiful bunch of vanilla pods was a present from my mother from France this summer and I have been looking for any excuse to use it. I love the soft, waxy feel of it and the smell when you split them open is unforgettable.
To extract the vanilla seeds, split one vanilla pod in two and scrape out the seeds with the tip of a knife.
Saturday, August 14, 2010
Firstly apologies for the lack of post over the last few days but apparently there is a technical problem in Dublin somewhere and my Internet has been cut off, albeit temporarily ... not convenient to say the least. I have in the interim been experimenting with various cake recipes. The cake below is a pure hazelnut cake, but I think that my oven thermostat and the dial are at odds with each other, as the cake was over-cooked on the outside and slightly undercooked on the inside ... I think an oven thermometer is required.
This is a recipe for a really nice, 'any time of the day' kind of fruit cake and it is especially nice eaten with warm summer fruits. I made apricots but you could use stewed berries or poached pears. It also contains my flavour of the month nut, the hazelnut! I love the colour of the apricots with this as they complement the golden top and sings of summer.
You will need:
250g caster sugar
100g plain flour
100g plain flour
1 lemon, unwaxed, zest and juice
75g ground hazelnuts
100g unsulphured apricots (dark brown in colour)
4 large free range eggs, lightly beaten
Set the oven at 180 and line the base of a 23" with greaseproof paper
Combine the butter and sugar and beat in the mixer until it is light and creamy. Mix the flour and the hazelnuts. Whizz the dried apricot until they are very finely chopped.
Add the lightly beaten eggs to the butter and sugar gradually with the mixer on a low speed.
Add the zest of the lemon. Turn off the mixer and add about a quarter of the flour/hazelnut mix.
Mix slowly until it is incorporated. Repeat the process adding another quarter of the flour/hazelnut, turning the mixer off while you do so. Lastly add the lemon juice and the apricots and mix slowly for a few minutes until combined.
Back to Dublin tomorrow and a short holiday to Berlin next week (sans enfants) ... back soon!
Tuesday, August 10, 2010
Friday, August 6, 2010
I am home with a bundle of mixed emotions about being back but I am slowly settling in. One of the major benefits of being away for more than a few months is that when you come back, you really do see things in a different way. When you spend every day looking at a skirting board which is falling off or an old set of curtains, you start to filter out these nasty things. I am back now with a fresh eye and a long list of things to do!
I had a request a couple of weeks ago from my friend who had just harvested her potatoes, although given her proximity to green fingers, I cannot believe that hers were as marble-like as mine. Anyway she requested a recipe for small potatoes!
Drain well and set aside to prepare the parsley.
Now it is back to a grey-skied reality after my long and delightful holiday ... the cogs keep turning and life goes slowly on.
Monday, August 2, 2010
Right now I should be packing although I seem to be in complete denial of the fact that I will be back in Dublin tomorrow. I have just spent a very enjoyable evening eating really good pizza with some really good company and quite frankly I do not want to go back. But needs must and there is a busy time ahead in Dublin.
I was looking back through some of my photos of my time here and will leave you with a few of my local Karl-August Platz market ... every Wednesday and Saturday I was there, well almost every. I think this post is as much for me as you, to remind me of my summer, I will miss its sounds, smells, the good cheese and all the friendly traders with whom I practiced my still-not-very-good German!
Auf wiedersehen Berlin ... at least for now.