A Challenge from Peef and Lo!!

Snooping around my favorite foodie blog and I saw a challenge! Thanks Peef and Lo, I haven't heard of some of these, but I will be googling and making it my business to eat em ALL! 

So, here's what you do...
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Crossout any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment here at linking to your results.

The "What We Eat" what we ate Omnivore 100!

1. Venison 
2. Nettle tea
Huevos rancheros
Steak tartare
6. Black pudding
Cheese fondue
8. Carp

9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
Aloo gobi 
Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses 
17. Black truffle
Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras (YUM YUM YUM YUM YUM - Sorry!)

24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or 
head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
Bagna cauda (YUM YUM YUM! - Sorry to anyone who smelled me in the days after!)
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
35. Root beer float (I've had a coke float!!)
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
Clotted cream tea
Vodka jelly/Jell-O
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
Sea urchin
Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
63. Kaolin (ooo hope not!)
64. Currywurst (YUM YUM)
65. Durian (Ah puke fruit... I wonder would I like it or loath it!)
66. Frogs’ legs
Beignetschurroselephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe (very messy!)
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
89. Horse

90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
Soft shell crab
93. Rose
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee 


I can't figure out how to cross out, but I wouldn't eat Fugu, I saw someone eat in on the tv and they weren't too impressed! Therefore I wouldn't think the risk was worth the reward...! 

If you need any more reasons to participate, read all about theOmnivore's 100 here.

A stitch in time...

Last night, as soon as I wrangled myself free of little hands, I headed down to Ciaras for a very pleasant evening of chat and laughter.  Ciara has had a great idea of getting her girlfriends together under a backdrop of knitting and stitching, which is a great incentive to start projects and finish others!!! I have been putting off making the dashboard curtains for our campervan, and so this is a great opportunity to get them done, so I'm determined now to buy the material and get them done! Most of Ciaras circle are proficient dressmakers, and knitters, so its a good place to get help if something isn't working out!People brought mending, knitting and all sorts of crafty projects!

With lovely nibbles and copious amounts of tea, the evening was great fun, the conversation strayed from dressmaking to movies, food, music and back again, and I'm sure the sounds of raucous laughter at times rattled the wildlife! 
Can't wait for next month!


What they ate!

In 1747 a lady called Hannah Glasse published a book called the Art of Cooking.  Hannahs story after that is a sad one, ending in the debtors prison but her book was a huge success (last published in 1863), and it is in which she recorded the popular dessert known as "A Pupton of Apples"... 

I have never heard the word pupton, and immediately looked it up in my Word History dictionary... It wasn't there!! I googled it, no luck either except to see a historian on a closed website define it as "a dish where a ragout..." - A dish where a ragout what? 

The curious thing about cooking these ancient dishes is that, a)there are no "heres one we made earlier" pictures, and b) there is no method.  The book from which I am sourcing my recipes, offers modern versions of the dish but it is the artistic italiscised original recipe that I am attemping so I really wanted to know what a Pupton was.  Was it a bowl of sorts? A texture? WHAT IS IT??? So I googled and googled and googled!

The closest I got was with this, a glossary of 17th century terminology where it lists Pupton,
PUPTON, POUPETON: These are worth studying. One or two of the fish puptons, such as pupton of salmon, might be adapted for today. They seem rather like the hot fish terrines recently made popular by the more progressive French chefs. The French poupeton probably came from the Italian polpettone, a meat roll, or polpa, a hash. (John Nott, 1726)

So from that I deduced that I was dealing with a terrine of sorts, something that would be baked and then chilled.  Right so... Off we go!

A Pupton of Apples
"Pare some apples. Take out the cores and put them in a skillet; to a mugful heaped put in a quarter of a pound of sugar, and two spoonfuls of water; do them over a slow fire, keep them stirring, add a little cinnamon and when it is quite thick and like a marmalade, let it stand quite cool; beat up the yolks of five eggs and stir in a cup of grated bread and good bit of fresh butter, and then form it into what shape you please and bake it in a slow oven, and then turn it upside down on a plate for a second course." - Hannah Glasse 1747

You'll need
5 Large apples, peeled, cored and chopped into small pieces
1 cup of caster sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp water
5 egg yolks, beaten
1 cup breadcrumbs (freshly crumbed if possible)
Large knob of butter

Place the apples, with the water, sugar and cinnamon into a hot pan.  Stir over the heat until the apples are very soft.  Remove from the heat and add the breadcrumbs and the butter.  Stir together.  Allow to cool.  Beat the egg yolks (I added a splash of cream) and add to the cooled mixture.  Shape into a log, or pat down into a cake tin and bake at 180c for 25 minutes or until golden brown.  Serve hot with whipped cream.
This was absolutley delicious, like a caramel pudding.  It was so easy to make, and I think the next time I will make it into a pudding shape, it would look really sweet served on a plate with dribbles of cream running onto the plate! 


What they ate!

So I'm starting my experimental history of food posts, and I have to say, I have not enjoyed cooking so much since I was in school taking Domestic Science.  I decided to go all the way back to the time of Henry the Eighth for my first venture, and the dish was so unfamiliar, it really reminded me why my love of cooking started all the way back in my teens. The relationship between ingredients is so wonderful, and I was amused and intrigued by the ban on garlic - which did not make an appearance until the late 1600s (and then was never eaten by ladies!!) - and I was astonished by the amount of Saffron in every dish! I would have presumed that Saffron was a fairly recent spice, for the British Isles, but in medieval cooking it is everywhere! In the medieval times apparently, they loved their food very colourful and used Saffron and cochineal left right and centre! 

So I looked through the recipes I have here, and settled on a main course called Meat Custard. Sounds horrific doesn't it? Well, it was really lovely, and everyone commented on how different it was to our modern food, how the tastes were unusual yet not of any world cuisine they could think of.  

What did I think? I really liked Meat Custard.  I absolutely loved making it, I felt close to my ancestors (me granny was english!), I could picture them in their bright airy kitchens, rolling up their sleeves and chatting away in the lovely poetic 'olde' english language... and it tasted great too! The sauce was delicious, the meat custard delicious, and everything just worked so well.  These dishes would have had to have been popular to have been recorded, so it would seem Meat Custard was a days of olde Lasagne!! 

Should you try it? Sure! Its not difficult to make, it is good hot or cold and Bill tells me its great in a sandwich - so why not! 

Meat Custard and Saffron Sauce

Soupes of Salomere : Take boylid beef & boylid pork & hew yt an grynd it; then take cowe mylke, & Eyround y-swonge, & Safroun & mynce Percyly bladys, & grynd mace an pepir in, & caste there to & let boyle alle y-fere ; & dresse uppe-on a clothe...

You'll need
500gms Beef mince
100 gms Pork mince
Handful fresh parsley, chopped
Pinch saffron
Ground pepper 
2 cups of breadcrumbs
5 eggs
1 cup of milk
Half a cup of walnuts
1 tsp Ground nutmeg

Fry the beef and pork together with the spices until brown.  Strain any water or oil away, and place in a bowl with the breadcrumbs, and nuts and mix.  Beat the eggs and milk together and add to the mix.  Pour into a lasagne tray, loosely cover with foil and bake for 40-50 minutes until a knife comes out clean.  Allow to cool slightly before slicing.

For the Sauce

Pinch of saffron
1 tbsp flour
1 tbsp butter
125mls double cream

Melt the butter in the pan and add the flour (this is not strictly 1300s method, but I didn't have the thickening agent they used, rice flour, and so I made a rue...!). Stir in the cream and add the saffron.  Stir until the sauce is a nice shade of yellow and thick.  

Serve the meat custard with new potatoes and haricot beans, fried in oil.  Top with plenty of sauce.  


Basta Pasta!

Yes I admit, I make (and eat) way too much pasta! Its a 4-times-a-week situation, and I have noticed, through this blog, that I really need to branch out more... I know the starches are limited, what have we got... Potatoes (all the peeling...), rice, and then the once offers - cous cous, bulgar, quinoa which are pretty much interchangeable and I'm afraid I really only use them as a rice substitute!

Potatoes are fantastic, but also limited as they encourage a "meat and veg" plate for most of their ambition to get involved in other gastronomic delights just doesn't work that well... 

Rice is wonderful but I just can't get enough of pasta! It is limitless, can be simple one day and extraordinary the next, unlike the humble rice grain, it comes in tremendous variety.  It really is the business.  

Yet, I still feel guilty for, perhaps, taking the easy route time after time, and looking through this blog, I can see that I definately need to start branching out more!

So I am starting a little project with myself.  I have a number of vintage cookbooks in this house, with recipes from as far back as the 1300s, and so I am going to attempt a recipe from the past twice a week for the next few weeks and blog about it.

But for now, as a small farewell, here is my recipe for the classic Spaghetti Carbonara, a firm favorite in this house, and so easy to make...! 

Spaghetti Carbonara
You'll need
500gms Spaghetti
125mls fresh cream
3 large eggs
100gms ground parmesan cheese
1 tbsp Coarse ground black pepper
Chopped cooked bacon.

Cook the spaghetti as per the packet instructions.  In a bowl whisk the eggs, cream, parmesan and pepper together.  When the spaghetti is cooked, strain it and pop it back in the hot pan.  Placing the pan back on the heat, pour in the cream mixture.  Move the spaghetti around in the mix as it thickens and becomes a sauce.  Serve with sprinkle of salt and bacon on top.


Perfect Pear...

I have to say Pear is just a perfect dessert fruit, it marries wonderfully well with nearly everything - almonds, custard, spices, vanilla... the list is endless, and it continues to crop up, paired with new and wonderful things, year after year... Roquefort, pork and beetroot are foods I've seen it coupled with on menus of late, there is a wealth of possibilities...

So I wanted to make another Semi-Freddo, having enjoyed the first one, and since wondered about its possibilities.  

Our big trip has emptied our coffers, and is still digging around in the fluff in case it missed a cent, so I had to use storecupboard ingredients, bar the cheeses which I bought.  Spying a tin of Pears lurking in the back of my cupboard and a packet of ginger biscuits, I jumped at the combination, it works so well and would carry the light Semi-Freddo perfectly.

The result was a perfect combination of lightness and flavour, a marraige made in heaven, a perfect pear (threesome really but...)

White wine Semi Freddo, with ginger and pear...

You'll need

225gms philidelphia cheese
225gms marscapone
150mls double cream
50 mls sweet white wine
4 - 8 tbsp icing sugar (this really is down to your own preference)
1 tsp Vanilla extract
Ginger biscuits
knob of butter
1 tin of pears in their own juice!


Beat the cheeses and the cream together until smooth, tip in the extract and the wine before adding the sugar to taste.

Pour the mix into a round cake tin and cover.  Freeze for at least 2 hours.

Crush the ginger biscuits, and add the melted knob of butter. 

Take the Semi-Freddo out of the freezer about 15 minutes or so before serving, cut into slices and serve on a heap of the crushed biscuits alongside pears with some juice drizzed over.  You could also add flaked dark chocolate if you felt the need!!!


...All covered with cheese....

To welcome ourselves back, we invited some of our dear friends over on Saturday for a casual supper, I'd a hankering for meatballs with spaghetti, but going to all the trouble for just us never appeals to me, plus I like the "mmmm mmmm"s to be in chorus...

These meatballs are super delicious, easy to make but you do need to start them way before you need them, the morning or day before is ideal.  I always make enough to have leftovers for Subs the next day - you'd be mad not to too!

So they came, we ate, we drank good wine!
There was one or two incidences of i-pod sabotage which WILL BE REVENGED... and despite which a great night was had, we tried not to start every sentence with"Oh in Munich...." or "Yes in Frankfurt" etc and they happily listened to our stories without saying "I know, I read it on the blog!" - it was good fun, I drank too much wine and sloped off to bed at about 1 am,  and listened to the sound of laughter and conversation continue as I drifted off into sleep... 

Spaghetti and Meatballs

You'll need
1 kilo of beef, minced
500g Sausage meat
1 Green pepper
1 chili pepper (your choice!)
1 onion
Clove of garlic
handful of fresh parsley
1 large egg, beaten
Some flour
Salt and pepper

2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 green pepper, chopped
1 Tbs tomato puree

1 kilo of spaghetti

Get everything prepared before you start mashing the beef and sausage together, because you will only be washing your hands every five seconds otherwise.  So finely chop, or blitz, one pepper, the onion, parsley, Garlic, chili and egg with some salt and pepper and then pour into the mince and pork which you have waiting in a mixing bowl. 
Get your hands in, and mash it all together until evenly blended.  Form into small balls, pop into the flour and cover and then brown in a hot frying pan for colour.  Place into a large casserole dish. Mix the chopped tomatoes with the puree and chopped pepper and pour over the meatballs.  Cover and cook in a preheated oven, 180/200c, for about an hour.  Leave to cool completely.  

About 40 mins - 1 hour before you want to serve them, pop them back into a hot oven, without the lid this time, until bubbling.  Serve on freshly cooked spaghetti!
The next day serve the remaining meatballs, cold, in a baguette with plenty of parmesan and cheddar cheese grated on top! There is nothing better!


I'm back!

I'm back! Thank you for your patience, for your good wishes both here and over at We Heart Ladybird! We had a wonderful trip, full of adventure and fun but now its just memories, and so back to our home, and what we eat!

I'm welcoming myself back by looking through the pictures of the wonderful foods we had while we were travelling, here is just a few... My absolute favorite meal I had on the whole trip was in Dusseldorf, a sausage, boiled potatoes and cauliflower, so simple but the sauce was exquisite - something I am determined to replicate soon!

Fresh Mackerel (We think!) - Basque Country
Prawns in oil - Barcelona
Paella Mixto and Arroz Nero - Barcelona
Cream cakes - Casalvieri
Almond macaroons - Sora  
Semi Freddo - Casalvieri 
Potato Pizza and Cheese Puffs - Florence 
Red Cabbage Risotto - Trent

Carrot Ice Cream - Trent  
Wienerschnitzel and dumplings - Innsbruck

Ice Cream filled Chocolate Dumplings - Munich 
Meat Plate - Frankfurt

Sausage, Potatoe and Cauliflower - Dusseldorf

Olive and greens quiche - Amsterdam 
McDonalds - Antwerp
Freshly baked Waffles with caramel - Bruges

Treacle Tart - Wales 
Fish and Chips - LLanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwlllanttysiliogogogoch 


Ten on Ten... Amsterdam!

Here is my contribution to the Ten on Ten for August!


Simple Antipasti...

Marinated anchovies, Meat selection, Caprese salad and beloveds...

Breasola with peaches and mozzerella, and toast with sheeps cheese and acacia honey...
and wonderful Supli di Riso, when in Italy I always buy mine but they are easily made - just take leftover risotto and form it into small balls, dip in flour then egg, then breadcrumbs and deep fry in Olive oil until golden brown! Serve with a garlic mayo, Delicious!

A little tip!

Add pancetta and frozen peas to my basic risotto recipe for a great summer lunch dish!

Semi Freddo!

As you know I love a challenge, so when my soon-to-be sister-in-law asked me to try to replicate the dessert we had both ordered in the local Osteria I felt up to the challenge.
The dessert is called Semi Freddo and is usually a semi frozen ice cream, but the one we had was different, more like a cheese cake... just delicious! So I decided to try it out and see what I'd come up with!

It turned out to be a lovely dessert but next time I will use Philidelphia instead of Marscarpone, the Semi freddo needs that cheesey tang to make it perfect.

Here is the recipe I used, replace the marscapone with cream cheese if you want more of a cheese cakey flavour!

Semi Freddo

You'll need

400gms Marscarpone
150mls cream
2 tsps extract of vanilla
75gms icing sugar (or more to taste)

Ameretti biscuits and sliced peach to serve!

Mix the cheese and the cream until blended and add the vanilla and sugar. Blend well and pour into a tupperware dish. Freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight and then leave in the fridge for an hour before serving.

Cut into slices and serve on crushed ameretti with peaches (I popped the fruit into a hot saucepan with some sugar and a bit of butter to release the juice!)

Cuscino al Forno

Everyone loved these "Oven Cushions" that I made for them, I have to say they are very tasty, hearty but not heavy and just perfect for a casual supper!

Cuscino al Forno

You'll need

400gms Fettucine
8 large thin slices of Salty Ham
75gms ricotta cheese
75gms parmesan
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 tin passat
1 mozzerella ball
fresh basil
salt and pepper
3 drops tabasco.


Cook your pasta and set aside, in a seperate pot fry the onion and garlic until soft and add the tomatoes. Add the ricotta and parmesan, basil and seasonings... add the tabasco to taste. You want a tiny kick not a boot in the face!

Mix through the pasta. Place two slices of the ham overlapping lengthways in an oven tin. Twist some pasta around a fork and lay it into the middle of the ham, repeat until you have about 100gms/quarter of the pot and then wrap the ham around, edging it in until the bottom side of the ham is on the top and the ends neatly underneath. Top with thin slices of the mozzerella and pop under a grill until cheese is bubbling!

Serve with a nice green salad!