Everyday Food by Fay
I love food. Food and I have a very sensual, very committed relationship. I love seeing it, I love cooking it, I love smelling it and my, do I love eating it! Cooking and baking allow me to express myself when I have writer's block. Writing is my mistress. Food is my therapist.
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askwhatsforlunch · an hour ago
Spiced Pineapple Upside Down Cake
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This Spiced Pineapple Upside Down Cake, inspired by this month’s issue of The Simple Things is exceptionally light, fluffy and fragrant and makes an excellent cake for Tea. Happy Sunday!
Ingredients (serves 6 to 8):
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
5 tablespoons demerara sugar
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
a pinch of fleur de sel and freshly cracked black pepper
1/2 plum vanilla bean
1 tablespoons good quality Dark Rum (like Guadeloupe’s Bologne)
1 can pineapple slices
190 grams/ ounces plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
100 grams/3.5 ounces demerara sugar
1 1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup grapeseed oil
1 teaspoon Homemade Vanilla Extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
Butter a 20cm/8″ round cake tin, and line the bottom with a circle of baking paper. Set aside.
In a medium saucepan, combine butter, demerara sugar, bay leaf and cinnamon. Heat over medium heat, stirring often until butter is melted. Add fleur de sel and black pepper. Scrape seeds off the vanilla bean and add both seeds and pod to the saucepan. Stir until emulsified. Then stir in Bologne Dark Rum. Add pineapple slices, and bring to a simmer. Cook, for about 5 minutes, turning pineapple slices to coat in the syrup. Once it has lightly thickened, pick pineapple slices with a fork and arrange at the bottom of prepared cake tin. Discard bay leaf and vanilla pod, and pour spiced syrup all over the pineapple slices. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 180°C/355°F.
In a small bowl, combine flour and baking powder. Give a good stir; set aside.
In a larger bowl, combine eggs and demerara sugar, and whisk energetically until pale and foamy. Stir in sour cream, grapeseed oil, Vanilla Extract and salt. Finally stir in flour mixture until just blended, making sure no white spec of flour remains. Gently spoon batter over the pineapple slices in the cake tin, and level the top.
Place in the middle of the hot oven, and bake, at 180°C/355°F, 35 minutes, until golden and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
Remove from the oven, and allow to cool in the tin, 10 minutes, before carefully turning out unto serving plate. Peel off baking paper.
Serve Spiced Pineapple Upside Down Cake warm, with a nice cup of tea. Happy Sunday!
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askwhatsforlunch · 21 hours ago
Formaggi Pizza (Vegetarian)
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Sourdough Pizza Dough makes this simple but tasty Formaggi Pizza even more special, and particularly flavourful! Happy Saturday!
Ingredients (serves 2 to 4):
430 grams/15.15 ounces Sourdough Pizza Dough
4 heaped tablespoons Tomato Concassée
125 grams/4.4 ounces fresh Mozzarella di bufala
Parmesan Cheese
4 black olives
Preheat oven to 250°C/480°F.
Roll Sourdough Pizza Dough onto a lightly floured surface and place onto an oiled pizza pan or baking tray lined with baking paper.
Spoon Tomato Concassée generously on top, and spread evenly all over. Tear Mozzarella into chunks, and scatter liberally on top. Generously grate Parmesan all over the pizza. Top with black olives.
Place in the middle of the hot oven, and bake, at 250°C/°F, 15 to 18 minutes, until the crust is a nice golden brown colour.
Serve Formaggi Pizza hot, with a good Montepulciano d'Abruzzo or chilled rosé.
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askwhatsforlunch · a day ago
Sourdough Pizza Dough
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It makes the tastiest bread, but there’s heaps more you can do with your Sourdough Starter! Like this Sourdough Pizza Dough, which makes a flavourful and crunchy crust!
Ingredients (makes 1 (430-gram/15.15-ounce dough):
210 grams/7.40 ounces strong white flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
100 grams/3.5 ounces Sourdough Starter
1/2 cup lukewarm water
In a bowl, combine strong white flour and salt. Give a good stir. Dig a well in the middle, and add Sourdough Starter. Stir, gradually pouring in water, until a sticky dough forms.
Knead dough on a very lightly floured surface, a good 5 minutes, until it no longer is sticky. 
Pop dough into a large, lightly oiled bowl, and cover with cling film. Allow to rise, 3 hours, at room temperature, in a warm, draught-free room.
Once it has risen, punch the dough, and knead quicky to knock back the air. 
Roll Sourdough Pizza Dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and garnish with the toppings of your choice. It shall take about 15 to 18 minutes to bake it, at 250°C/°F.
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askwhatsforlunch · a day ago
Whisky Sour
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When one has taken a day off, but has also spent a good chunk of the arve planting (more!) fruit shrubs, in-between and sometimes under rain showers, I reckon one has deserved to cool down with a cocktail, should the sun belatedly come out! One beautifully refreshing tipple is a citrus-y Whisky Sour! Happy Friday!
Ingredients (serves 1):
60 millilitres/2 fluid ounces (4 tablespoons) Single Malt Whisky (some favour bourbon, but I reckon this drink benefits from the floral and herbal notes of The Glen Grant’s Arboralis)
1/2 small lemon
1 1/2 tablespoon egg white
1 1/2 tablespoon Simple Syrup
8 ice cubes
Angostura bitters
Pour Whisky in a shaker. squeeze lemon juice, and add to the shaker as well, along with egg white and Simple Syrup. Close tightly, and dry shake (without the ice), about 30 seconds.
Add ice cubes to the shaker, and shake energetically until well-chilled. Strain into a coupe glass, and add a few dashes Angostura bitters.
Enjoy Whisky Sour immediately!
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askwhatsforlunch · 4 days ago
Grilled Ginger, Lime and Rum Salmon
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If you have a bit of sunshine and warmth where you are, ar at least a stable weather, why not fire up the barbie, and cook a delicious and fragrant Grilled Ginger, Lime and Rum Salmon? This is a bit of Caribbean sunshine on your plate, this is food that brings a smile to your face! Happy Wednesday!
Ingredients (serves 4):
1 lime
1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger
1 ½ tablespoon coconut sugar
1 teaspoon Homemade Vanilla Extract
¼ teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons good quality dark rum (like Guadeloupe’s Bologne)
1 (650-gram/1.45-pound) side of salmon
In a large shallow dish, grate the zest of the whole lime.
Peel ginger, and grate into the dish as well. Add coconut sugar, Vanilla Extract and Red Chili Flakes. Then, stir in olive oil, and thoroughly squeeze in the juice of the whole lime. Add Dark Rum. Give a good stir, until well-blended.
Pat side of slamon dry with paper towels and, turn into the marinade, rubbing it in, to coat. Leave it skin-side up, so the flesh marinates, cover with cling film, and place in the refrigerator, at least 3 hours.
Prepare barbecue: half an hour before grilling, arrange a layer of coals in the barbecue. Top with a few small branches of wood (applewood gives good taste), and light.
Cut a large sheet of foil, and fold the edges up, to create a sort of tray. Oil the centre generously with olive oil. Remove side of salmon from its marinade and place, skin-side down, onto the foil tray.
Once the flames have died down, place the side of slamon, on its foil tray, onto the grill over the red embers. Grill, about 10 minutes, until the flesh of the whole slamon has become an opaque pink colour. Brush generously with ginger, lime and rum marinade, and carefully flip side of salmon. Grill, 3 to 4 minutes, then carefully flip back and serve onto a tray. Once more, brush with marinade.
Serve Grilled Ginger, Lime and Rum Salmon hot, with grilled corn, and if you fancy it, a chill Dark ‘n’ Stormy.
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askwhatsforlunch · 5 days ago
Melanzane alla Parmigiana (Vegetarian)
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I never went to Parma, but the first time I had Melanzane alla Parmigiana was in Italy, when we had a family holiday between Roma and Napoli. Ever since I’d bought beautiful aubergines at the market the other day, I promised Jules I would make the cheesy gratin. I kept postponing it, for I was too tired after work to give it the care and love it deserved. And it was just as well, because, when I baked it in the weekend, serene and happy, singing Via con me with Paolo Conte (who, incidentally, studied law at the University of Parma!), it was flavourful and indulgent, and absolutely delicious!
Ingredients (serves 2 to 3):
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 sprigs fresh thyme
1 small fluffy sprig fresh rosemary
half a doen leaves fres basil
1/2 red onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
5 Whole Peeled Tomatoes, with about 1/3 cup of their juice
1/2 cup good red wine (like Montepulciano d’Abruzzo)
1 tablespoon caster sugar
2 large aubergines, rinsed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried basil
250 grams/8.8 ounces Macsarmone cheese
Parmesan cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
100 grams/3.5 ounces fresh Mozzarella
2 tablespoons Italian Seasoning Breadcrumbs
In a medium saucepan over medium-low heat, heat olive oil. Finely chop thyme, rosemary and basil leaves, and add fresh herbs to the oil. Allow to infuse, 1 minute. Peel and thinly slice red onion, and add to the saucepan. Cook, until softened, about 3 minutes. Then, stir in garlic, and cook, 1 minute more. Increase heat to medium-high, and add Whole Peeled Tomatoes, crushing them with the wooden spoon. Finally, stir in Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, and bring to the boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to medium, and simmer, 15 minutes, giving a stir every now and then. Before turning of the heat, stir in sugar until dissolved. Remove from the heat; set aside.
Heat a large grill pan over medium-high heat. Cut aubergines into slices, lengthwise. In a small bowl, combine olive oil and dried basil. Working in batches, brush aubergine slices with basil oil on both sides, and place them on the grill pan. Cook, about 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until grilled and softened, and transfer to a plate. Set aside.
Spoon Mascarpone into a medium bowl, and whisk energetically to soften. Grate in about 1/3 cup Parmesan and season with salt and black pepper. Give a good stir to combine.
Preheat oven to 210°C/410°F. 
Grate about one cup Parmesan.
Lightly oil a baking dish with olive oil. Spoon about 4 tablespoons of the tomato sauce at the bottom of the dish. Arrange a layer of grilled aubergine slices. Then,  scatter dollops of Mascarpone and Parmesan cream liberally on top. Sprinkle generously with 1/3 cup grated Parmesan. Top with a layer of tomato sauce. Repeat with another layer of aubergines, remaining Mascarpone and Parmesan cream, 1/3 cup Parmesan and the rest of the tomato sauce. Top with remaining grilled aubergine slices. Tear off chunks of Mozzarella and scatter liberally on top. Sprinkle with remaining grated Parmesan and Breadcrumbs, and place in the middle of the hot oven.
Bake, at 210°C/410°F, 25 minutes until beatifully golden brown on top.
Serve Melanzane alla Parmigiana hot, with a glass of earthy Montepulciano d’Abruzzo.
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askwhatsforlunch · 6 days ago
Barbecue Rum Bananas
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One should enjoy the sun whilst it’s out and shining in blue skies, for apparently, rain is in the forecast. And what better way to relish in the Summer-y weather than with a barbie and a lunch outside! From main to dessert too, with these delicious Barbecue Rum Bananas! And if the rain starts falling and you’ve got to go inside, these barbecued beauties pair wonderfully with Rum White Chocolate Passionfruit Ice Cream and an episode or two of Death in Paradise! Happy Monday!
Ingredients (serves 2):
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 tablespoon coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract, preferably made with rum
1/2 teaspoon black treacle
3/4 tablespoon good quality dark rum (like Guadeloupe’s Bologne)
2 just ripe large bananas
In a small bowl combine softened butter and coconut sugar. Stir energetically until smooth, and well-blended. Whisk in Vanilla Extract and black treacle. Then, gradually whisk in Dark Rum, until you have a smooth and well-mixed flavoured butter.
Place each banana onto a large sheet of foil. Cut a long slit the length of the middle of each banana, careful not to cut through the whole fruit. Gently spread open the slit, and fill with rum butter. Proceed likewise for the other banana. Roll foil tightly on the edges and tops, to seal both parcels. Place in the refrigerator until you need them.
If you have been grilling meat or fish on the barbecue it’s even better. If not, light a fire on a small layer of coals in the barbecue, and wait until the embers are just ash grey. Place banana foil parcels onto the embers, and leave to cook, about 15 minutes.
Then, carefully remove parcels, and open them onto serving plates.
Serve Barbecue Rum Bananas with Ice Cream, if desired. 
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askwhatsforlunch · 7 days ago
Sourdough Loaf
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Sourdough bread is special. I love its taste, its texture, it makes tasty sandwiches and great toasts; we always buy a loaf at the bakery. But until then, I had resisted the urge to bake my own. I felt that a starter was too big a commitment; but what better time than now. I work from home, I have no social engagements or travel plans... And the commitment I give it will be turned into comfort for me (and Jules), because bread is comfort! So, I started a starter last month. My first attempt wasn’t completely satisfactory; the starter had not fermented enough and the bread was very flat, albeit very tasty. This Sourdough Loaf, my second attempt, is far better: a rustic-looking (I do not yet master the art of slashing) but absolutely delicious loaf. I’m very proud of it, and a third is on the way! For it makes one’s Sunday morning tartines, slathered with butter, a little bit more special when one has baked the bread! My Sourdough Loaf also makes a great companion to a selection of very good cheeses and an excellent bottle of wine -I suggest a robust and earthy Australian Shiraz- Happy Sunday!
Ingredients (makes 1 loaf):
1/2 tablespoon vegtable oil like sunflower or grapeseed
450 grams/1 pound strong white flour
1 teaspoon salt
300 grams/10.5 ounces Sourdough Starter
1 teaspoon pure clear honey
about 250 millitres/1 cup lukewarm water
Grease a large glass bowl with grapeseed oil; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine strong white flour and salt, and give a good stir. Add Sourdough Starter and honey, and stir, gradually adding lukewarm water, until a soft, slightly sticky dough forms. You may not need to add all the water, but your dough should not be dry, it should stick a bit to your fingers.
Tip dough out onto a claen surface, and knead, a good 10 to 15 minutes. Kneading will make it smooth and elastic and no longer stick. Shape into a ball, and pop into prepared bowl. Cover with an oiled sheet of cling film, and allow to rise, in a warm enough, draught-free place, 3 hours.
Line a bowl or basket with a clean tea towel, and flour it generously (if it isn’t floured enough, the dough will stick to it!)
At this point, the dough should have doubled in size. Tip it out ont the kitchen counter and knead well to knock the air out, 5 minutes. Flour lightly, shape into a bowl and place into lined basket or bowl, seam-side up. Cover loosely with a lightly oiled sheet of cling film, and prove a second time. 
Depending on the temperature, the humidity, the strength of your Sourdough Starter, the second prove can take between 4 to 8 hours. You want the dough to have doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 220°C/430°F, placing a dish filled with water on the bottom shelf of the oven, to create steam and a beautiful crust.
Line a baking tray with baking paper.
Once second prove is complete, gently lift off cling film. Then, carefully tip risen dough out of its basket and onto prepared baking tray, lifting off tea towel gently. Slash with a sharp knife. Place baking tray in the middle of the hot oven, and bake at 220°C/430°F, for 30 minutes. Then, reduce heat to 200°C/395°F, and bake, for a further 15 minutes.
Remove from the oven and lift off the baking tray. 
Let Sourdough Loaf cool completely (if you can), before eating slathered with butter, with tasty cheeses and good wine...
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askwhatsforlunch · 7 days ago
Baking Tip: Sourdough Starter
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I may be late to the Sourdough party, but third lockdown’s the charm for me! I finally decided to take the plunge and make a commitment to a Sourdough Starter last month! It’s a journey I’m new to, but so far, I’ve been enjoying both the ride (and rise) and the destination!
700 grams to 1 kilogram/1.55 to 2.20 pounds strong white flour
On the first day, spoon 100 grams/3.5 ounces strong white flour in a medium bowl. Gradually stir in 125 millilitres/1/2 cup slightly warm water until smooth and lump-free.
Spoon mixture into a large (at least 1 litre/1quart) sterelised container or jar. Using a glass jar allows you to watch your Starter more closely! Leave the container lid open, for about an hour in a warm place. Then close, but not air-tightly. Set aside for 24 hours.
Then, feed your Starter every day for at least the next six days. Each day, pour half of your Sourdough Starter in a clean bowl, and stir in 100 grams/3.5 ounces strong white flour and 125 millilitres/1/2 cup slightly warm water until smooth and lump-free, and pour the whole lot back into the jar. Close (not air-tightly). Try and feed your Starter at about the same time every day.
After three days, bubbles should start appearing on the surface, which means the fermentation  is happening. It will smell acidic when you open the jar to feed it, too!
Keep in mind that this is not an exact science and if your Starter feeds too quickly on the sugars of the flour you add every day, you might see a thin layer of liquid on top of it. It’s called hooch, and it’s harmless as long as it’s clear, and there’s only a little of it. Try adding more flour and/or water the next time you feed your Starter, and it should be happy.
On the seventh day, your Sourdough Starter should be quite bubbly and smell much better and sweeter (a little like apple cider vinegar, less acidic). 
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It might take a few more days to reach that stage, but when it is very bubbly and has risen, it is ready to use to make bread!
You will need to continue feeding it, though! A Sourdough Starter takes a bit of commitment, but the delicious bread it makes is worth the effort. If you intend to bake quite often -several times a week- with it, you can keep it onto your kitchen counter, albeit not close to heat and not in direct light. And feed it every day!
If, on the other hand you do not plan to use it as often, keep your jar of Sourdough Starter in the refrigerator, and you may only need to feed it once a week, as the cold slows the fermentation process. Keep a regular eye on it, though, as you will be the best judge.
If you have kept you Sourdough Starter  in the refrigerator, and plan to use it, remove from the refrigerator at least 12 hours before you need it. Allow it to come back at room temperature, and feed it as you normally would.
It is a learning process for me too, and so far, it is working rather well!
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askwhatsforlunch · 7 days ago
Pink Gin
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“Then the women appeared at the doorway of the lounge. They all four seemed in the best of spirits and were talking and laughing. ‘Tony, darling, it was too divine,’ cried Valentine as she dropped into a chair by his side. ‘The most marvellous idea of Mrs Gold’s. You all ought to have come!’ Her husband said: ‘What about a drink?’ He looked inquiringly at the others. ‘Pink gin for me, darling,’ said Valentine. ‘Gin and gingerbeer,’ said Pamela. ‘Sidecar,’ said Sarah. ‘Right.’ Chantry stood up.He pushed his own untouched pink gin over to his wife. ‘You have this, I’ll order another one for myself. What’s your’s Mrs Gold?’ Mrs Gold was being helped out of her coat by her husband. She turned smiling: ‘Can I have an orangeade, please?’ ‘Right you are. Orangeade.’ He went towards the door. (...) Valentine Chantry picked up the pink gin and drained it. ‘Oo! I needed that,’ she sighed.”
If you’re a reagular in this speakeasy, you might think there are too many gin cocktail recipes! What can I say, gin, with its wide range of taste, from hebaceous to floral, is my poison, as one says. My poison of choice at least, I like a good whisky and I’m rather keen on rum and Cognac, too. And, it seems, it is a penchant shared by my favourite 1920s gals of fiction, from the Honourable Phryne Fisher to Frankie Drake! You can blame this Pink Gin on Valentine and Commander Chantry. Jules and I stumbled on Triangle at Rhodes on telly the other night, and we enjoyed it very much. Not only for the story, which we knew, but also for the fun and the glamour (and the bit of history we grasped about the Greek island being an Italian territory between the wars). The wardrobe is stunning, and not only Mrs Chantry’s (and I mean Hercule’s, too!) Naturally, I’ve been wanting to mix a Pink Gin ever since. So, I did, and sipped it -it should be enjoyed, not “drained”- whilst reading the original short story by Agatha Christie in the sun, this arvo. For a minute, I could have been, like Hercule Poirot, soulfully gazing at the deep blue sea... Have a wonderful weekend, darlings!
Ingredients (serves 1):
1/2 tablespoon water
1 dash Angostura bitters
8 ice cubes
60 millilitres/2 fluid ounces (4 tablespoons) good quality London Dry Gin (like Hendrick’s)
4 to 5 dashes Angustura bitters
1 lemon
Spoon water into a coupe glass, and add a dash Angostura bitters. Swirl in the glass, to rinse, and discard. 
Fill a mixing glass with ice cubes. Gin and Angostura bitters, and stir gently to mix. Strain into the coupe.
Finally, using a vegetable peeler cut a thin lemon peel. Epress oils over the glass and garnish cocktail with it.
Enjoy Pink Gin immediately!
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askwhatsforlunch · 9 days ago
Smoked Herring Lentil Salad
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This Smoked Herring Lentil Salad is both delicious and flavourful and nutritious, full of fibers and good omegas! Perfect after exercise! Happy Friday!
Ingredients (serves 2 to 3):
1 1/2 cup green lentils (ideally Lentilles vertes du Puy)
3 cups water
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
2 bay leaves
1/2 red onion
1/2 lemon
1 ripe tomato, rinsed
100 grams/3.5 ounces smoked herring fillets
1/3 cup Senap och Dillsås (Mustard and Dill Sauce)
fresh dill, to garnish
Spoon green lentils into a medium bowl, and cover with water. Leave to soak, at least a couple of hours.
Then, transfer lentils to a saucepan, add water to cover and stir in coarse sea salt and bay leaves. Place saucepan over a medium flame, and cook, about half an hour, until lentils are tender. Drain lentils thoroughly and discard bay leaves. Set aside.
Peel and finely slice red onion. Place onion slices in a salad bowl. Thoroughly squeeze lemon juice all over the onion slices. Toss well, and let stand, 5 minutes. 
Dice tomato. Cut smoked herring fillets into small bites.
Stir Senap och Dillsås into the softened red onions. Then stir in the lentils, diced tomato and smoked herring bites, tossing well to coat in dressing and combine well.
Garnish with fresh dill, and chill in the refrigerator, at least an hour.
Serve Smoked Herring Lentil Salad with a chilled dry white wine or rosé.
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askwhatsforlunch · 9 days ago
Cowslip Tea (Vegan)
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I have become rather keen on foraging. It is a happy consequence of all these walks in the woods and meadows and parks all around my town, I reckon. I am rather new to it, and The Simple Things is, as always, a wealth of knowledge on my current passion. I’ve thus learned that cowslip is an excellent botanist’s remedy to ailments from coughs to headaches and anxiety. And whilst going on the less leisurely grocery walks, I found a spot with heaps of them. Yesterday, when I wasn’t carrying two heavy bags, I went to the place where I spotted them and... they were gone, the grass had been mowed!! I was rather gutted, as the spot in question is a rather steep slope and nobody walks there, it is exactly the sort of place where you want to leave wildflowers be. I vengefully picked my basket, and strolled furiously across town, heading towards the park, hoping I could maybe find some there. And a heavy rain shower broke out, so I returned home empty-handed, soaked and disgruntled. Precisely the knid of sensations and feelings a cowslip cuppa would have soothed. Today, after a long time spent on the computer, I needed to get out a bit, get some fresh air. I didn’t venture far, just the nearby woods, but I was glad I had taken my basket (I’m a fast learner!), for I found the flowers, and picked a few. I also spotted a few elderflowers (and I don’t imagine they will be taken down with the week), so the foraging adventures are only beginning!
And I got home and brewed this Cowslip Tea, which is very soothing, indeed!
Ingredients (serves 1):
4 teaspoons (about 2 dozens) freshly picked cowslip flowers (primula veris), rinsed under cold water
1 1/2 cup boiling water
Place cowslip flowers in a teapot. Pour boiling water over them. Close teapot, cover with a tea cosy, and let steep, 7 to 10 minutes. Strain into a cup or mug.
Enjot Cowslip Tea, immediately!
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askwhatsforlunch · 10 days ago
Nettle Smoothie
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I love to pick fresh flowers in my garden and use them to make a fragrant Syrup  or Liqueur, or decorate a cake or dessert with them, fresh or Crystallised. But even the things you want to remove from your flowerbeds and lawns can be used in the kitchen and make a tasty treat. So, when you’re weeding out nettles, you then can have a delicious and good-for-you Nettle Smoothie to reward your efforts!
Ingredients (serves 1):
about 2 dozens freshly picked nettle leaves (wearing gloves) and thoroughly washed under cold water (wearing rubber gloves!)
Frozen Banana
1/3 cup plain soya yoghurt
2 teaspoons Honey Syrup
In a blender combine nettle leaves, Frozen Banana, soy yoghurt and Honey Syrup. Whizz until smooth and perfectly blended;
Enjoy Nettle Smoothie immediately.
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askwhatsforlunch · 12 days ago
Hot Rum and Lime Prawns
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Every Monday, dinner is a Caribbean feast at our house and with devour fragrant and spicy food as avidly as we do the week’s mystery on Death in Paradise. Last night was even more special, as we’d been anxious to know how Catherine recovered from her attack, excited to see Camille return to Saint-Marie to be with her mum, and couldn’t wait to find out who killed the pianist! And we were really happy to see the mayor (Catherine) healthy, and Camille and Neville investigate together, and the surprise appearance of Richard Poole (in Camille’s imagination, but also on our screen) delighted us. These Hot Rum and Lime Prawns were appropriately celebratory!
Ingredients (serves 2):
1 lime
1 thumb-sized piece fresh ginger
1 1/2 tablespoon coconut sugar
1 teaspoon Homemade Vanilla Extract
1/4 teaspoon Red Chili Flakes
2 tablespoons avocado oil
500 grams/ ounces large raw king prawns
2 tablespoons good quality dark rum (like Guadeloupe’s Bologne)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons good quality dark rum (like Guadeloupe’s Bologne
In a large shallow plate or dish, grate the zest of the whole lime.
Peel ginger, and grate into the plate as well. Add coconut sugar, Vanilla Extract and Red Chili Flakes. Then, stir in avocado oil, and thoroughly squeeze in the juice of the whole lime. Give a good stir, until well-blended.
Peel the king prawns, and add them to the plate, tossing well to coat in the marinade. Stir in dark rum, until well-combined. Chill in the refrigerator, a couple of hours, giving a stir every now and then.
In a large, heavy-bottomed frying pan, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. With a spoon, scoop the prawns ot of the marinade, and add to the hot pan. Cook, a couple of minutes until they are pink and start to brown. Pour dark rum all over the prawns, and carefully ignite with a match. Flambé, gently shaking frying pan, until flames die down. Once they do, stir in reserved marinade, and cook a couple of minutes more.
Serve Hot Rum and Lime Prawns hot, over fluffy white rice, with a lime halve, and if you fancy it, a Ti’ Punch, too!
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askwhatsforlunch · 13 days ago
Mushroom and Onion Tart (Vegetarian)
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This simple Mushroom and Onion Tart, with its beautifully flaky pastry and its flavourful filling makes an excellent lunch or dinner and pairs well with a glass of Australian Shiraz. Happy Monday!
Ingredients (serves 4):
1 fluffy sprig fresh rosemary
2 fluffy sprigs fresh thyme
a small bunch fresh chives
2 fluffy sprigs flat-leaf parsley
8 large button mushrooms, dusted
1/4 teaspoon fleur de sel or sea salt flakes
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
a small red onion
1/2 a small lemon
a small white onion
a large Spring onion
1/4 teaspoon fleur de sel or sea salt flakes
1/4 teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon Modena Balsamic Vinegar
225 grams/8 ounces Rough Puff Pastry
1 large egg yolk
Finely chop rosemary, thyme and chives together. Chop parsley separately.
Cut mushrooms into thick slices or quarters and transfer to a medium bowl. Season with fleur de sel, black pepper, half of the chopped rosemary, thyme and chives, and all of the parsley. Drizzle generously with olive oil and give a good stir, to coat evenly. Set aside.
Peel red onion. Finely slice a quarter of the onion, and place slices into a small bowl. Squeeze lemon juice over them, and toss gently. Set aside. Cut remaining red onion into quarter.
Peel white onion, and cut into quarters. Slice Spring onion, saving a little of the green part. 
Combine red onion, white onion and Spring onion in a medium bowl. Season with fleur de sel, black pepper and remaining chopped rosemary, thyme and chives. Drizzle with olive oil and Balsamic Vinegar and toss well, to mix and coat. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 200°C/395°F. Line a baking tray with baking paper. 
Onto a lightly floured surface, roll Rough Puff Pastry out into a large square, roughly 30x30cm/12″x12″. Transfer Puff Pastry square onto prepared baking tray. 
Lightly beat egg yolk, and brush the edges of the Puff Pastry square with it. Then, liberally scatter onions and mushrooms all over the Pastry.
Place baking tray in the middle of the hot oven, and bake, at 200°C/395°F, 25 minutes, until the Pastry is beautifully golden brown and puffed.
Remove from the oven and transfer to serving dish. Scatter lemon red onion slices and reserved green part of the Spring onion all over. Shave Parmesan liberally on top. 
Serve Mushroom and Onion Tart immediately, with dressed lettuce and a full-bodied red, like a Western Australian Shiraz.
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askwhatsforlunch · 14 days ago
Strömming Burgare (Smoked Herring Sandwiches)
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My first evening in Stockholm, two Summers ago, I spent it ambling through Gamla Stan and enjoying the Kulturfestival, dancing and conversing with people, from American tourists to Swedes (i svenska). And when I felt a bit peckish, I bought a smoked herring sandwich and a cold beer at one of the food stand, and enjoyed it very much, also! Ever since, I’ve wanted to re-create the recipe. So, I made Strömming Burgare for lunch today; it is simple enough, but so, so tasty (Jules loved it, too!) Happy Saturday!
Ingredients (serves 2)
1/2 small red onion
1/2 lemon
2 large pieces fresh Baguette
2 tablespoons olive oil
4 tablespoons Plain Breadcrumbs
150 grams/5.30 ounces smoked herring fillets
8 tablespons Senap och Dillsås (Mustard and Dill Sauce)
6 leaves gem lettuce, rinsed
2 fluffy sprigs fresh dill
Preheat oven to 200°C/395°F.
Peel and finely slice red onion. Place onion slices in a small bowl. Thoroughly squeeze lemon juice all over the onion slices. Toss well, and let stand, 5 minutes.
Place Baguette pieces in the oven to warm, about 5 minutes.
Heat olive oil in a large, nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. 
Spoon Breadcrumbs into a shallow plate. Gently roll smoked herring fillets into the Breadcrumbs, to coat evenly. Then gently place them in the pan, and fry in the hot oil, about 3 minutes on each side.
Remove Baguette pieces from the oven. Cut each Baguette piece  in half, but not all the way through, and open like a book. Generously spread Senap och Dillsås all over. 
Roghly chop gem lettuce and arrange a layer onto the bottom half of each Baguette. Top with fried smoked herring fillets, red onion slices and fresh dill. Close sandwich, pressing slightly.
Serve Strömming Burgare immediately with a pale ale or a light Chardonnay.
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askwhatsforlunch · 16 days ago
Whisky Chocolate Mousse
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On a cloudy Spring Friday, if you can’t decide between a cocktail or a dessert, why not indulge into a bit of both with this delightfully boozy Whisky Chocolate Mousse? And it’s not just the delicate aromas of the Whisky that make this mouss special, it is light as air and incredibly creamy, too! Happy Friday, indeed!
Ingredients (serves 2):
90 grams/3 ounces good quality dark chocolate (at least 65% cocoa)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 teaspoon Homemade Vanilla Extract
30 millilitres/1 fluid ounce (2 tablespoons) good quality Single Malt Whisky (something floral like The Glen Grant’s Arboralis works wonderfully)
1/2 cup double cream
1 large egg white
a pinch of salt
2 tablespoons caster sugar
more dark chocolate, for shaving (optional)
2 freshly picked primroses, for garnish (optional)
In a medium bowl fitted over a small saucepan of simmering water -the bottom of the bowl shouldn’t touch the water, melt dark chocolate with butter, stirring until smooth and shiny.
Remove from the heat and stir in Vanilla Extract. Gradually stir in half of the Whisky as well. Allow to cool; set aside.
In a medium bowl, whip double cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Continue beating, on high speed, gradually adding remaining Whisky, until just stiff. Set aside.
In another bowl, beat egg white and a pinch of salt until soft peaks just form. Continue beating, a few minutes more, gradually adding caster sugar until you have a beautifully glossy meringue.
With a rubber spatula, fold Whisky whipped cream into Whisky melted chocolate until just blended. Then, gently fold in meringue, until no white streak remains.
Spoon Whisky Chocolate Mousse into two glasses or cups. Shave a little dark chocolate on top, and garnish with primroses if desired. Place in the refrigerator and chill, at least 2 hours.
Serve Whisky Chocolate Mousse on its own, with Champagne or a glass of Whisky!
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askwhatsforlunch · 16 days ago
Parmesan Polenta
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The secret to a delicious and smooth Parmesan Polenta is very simple: it’s all proportions and elbow grease! You want half the amount of polenta that you have of liquid (and the addition of milk makes it creamier); and once you add the polenta to the hot liquid, until the moment you serve it, you have to whisk it! And it is well worth the (rapid) effort!
Ingredients (serves 2):
1 cup semi-skimmed milk
1 cup water
1 teaspoon coarse sea salt
2 bay leaves
1/2 cup polenta
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
In a large saucepan, combine milk, water, coarse sea salt and bay leaves. Heat over a medium flame until simmering. Remove bay leaves.
Add polenta all at once, energetically stirring with a whisk to prevent lumps from forming. Whisk constantly until mixture thickens. Once it has, whisk in butter. Finally, grate in about 1/2 cup Parmesan, and whisk until completely melted and you have a beautifully smooth polenta.
Serve Parmesan Polenta hot, topped with Tomato Concassée if you wish.
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askwhatsforlunch · 17 days ago
Tomato Concassée
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Very simple and quick to make, this Tomato Concassée elevate beautifully ripe and red tomatoes into a flavourful sauce.
Ingredients (makes about 1 1/2 cup):
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 sprigs fresh thyme
half a fluffy sprig fresh rosemary
a large garlic clove, minced
3 ripe tomatoes, rinsed
1 tablespoon Modena Blasamic Vinegar
1/2 tablespoon caster sugar
In a medium saucepan, heat olive oil over medium-low heat.
Finely chop thyme and rosemary leaves and add to the oil. Cook, 1 minute. Add minced garlic.
Dice tomatoes and add them and all their juices to the saucepan. Increase heat to medium-high, and bring to the boil. Stir in Balsamic Vinegar, and boil rapidly, a couple of minutes, stirring constantly. Reduce heat back to medium-low, and simmer, 5 to 6 minutes. Stir in caster sugar until completely dissolved.
You can use Tomato Concassée hot as a sauce for pasta, rice or polenta, as the base of a stew or soup. You can also let it cool and spread generously onto Pizza Dough...
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askwhatsforlunch · 18 days ago
Growing and Gardening: Planting Squashes
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Last year’s attempt at Planting Squashes, although fruitless -but it did produce beautiful and tasty flowers!- taught me a few things, and I’m optimistic about this year’s harvest.
First, I have sowed cantaloupe, butternut squash and Red Kuri squash seeds I had collected when cooking, and dried, in soil. I put the cantaloupe seeds in empty egg boxes which make an excellent seed tray as it’s easier to remove them without harming the roots once they’re ready to be planted. For the butternut and Red Kuri squash seeds I used larger peat pots.
I sowed one (1) cantaloupe seed per egg cup, and two (2) Butternut and Red Kuri squash seeds per peat pots. Covered them with soil, watered and then I grated coal on top (to prevent seedlings from dying). I kept them inside during germination, at a temperature of about 21°C/70°F to 23°C/73°F, and watered regularly (whenever the soil was dry to the touch; about every couple of days). And I watched the seedlings pop out and grow, and bend towards the light! It took about 17 days for the first ones (sowed on 10th April); some others are not there yet.
Once the cantaloupe seedlings have reached 7cm/2.75” and the larger squash seedlings are at least 10cm/4”, they are ready to be planted outside.
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The day before you intend to plant them (and you want to plant them on a sunny day), remove weeds -naturally with a hand fork or hoe- till gently, sprinkle with compost and rake to mix.
On the day you plant your seedlings, wait until the area where you are planting them is in the shade. Dig a 10cm/4” hole with a trowel. Carefully remove seedling from its cup or pot, making sure not to break the roots, and transfer it to the hole; fill the hole with garden soil. Repeat with remaining seedlings. You want at least 50cm/20″ (up to a metre/3 feet, if you have the room) between each Butternut squash and Red Kuri squash seedlings, and at least 30cm/12” between cantaloupe seedlings.
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You may also want to sow nasturtiums where you are growing squashes as the two are great companions. Water your seedlings and protect your squash bed from slugs with a border of Coffee Grounds. The planting is done; now let’s hope the growing begins!
I’ll keep you up to date!
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