End of July 2020

Like French Fashion, French cuisine has held itself up as the Creme de la creme, but in recent times, its star has fallen. Throughout France far too many of the restaurants serve basically the same food, some better than others but innovation seems to have gone out of the window. Too many of them are now “buying in” food that is made elsewhere whether it be the charcuterie or the patisserie or even the mains. And so it is with delight to know that somewhere some chefs are still being a chef and that the words “Fait Maison” really mean something.

This is true in our bit of France. Claire in our Hamlet at her little La Ratelli, doesn’t have a clue, which is a shame as we welcomed her when she opened, but her prices are high and her food really not very good. Whereas, in town a young Anglo French couple have really made a go of La Grange. Fred is in the Kitchen and Alex is front of house and 11 years on they are still in business. My only complaint is that the food is very much Savoyard, but then that is what tourists want, I guess!

My favourite, there is the oft mentioned Tarte de l’Abondance. On a recent visit here, I found out that a couple of other cheeses were involved in the making of this delicious tarts, one of which I have never found. So now I use predominantly Abondance, with Beaufort and Comté added to the mix. On my first use of Watts Farm ( Kent) they had as one of their weekly specials, Comté at a ridiculously low price of £9.00 a kilo! ( normally would cost upwards of £35 a kilo). It said ” short shelf life”. I immediately bought 2 kilos of it, cut it into the requisite size for my tart, wrapped and froze. The down side of this of course, is that now two drawers of my freezer are now full of cheese!

Meanwhile grandkids have been busy, a crumble, Rhubarb of course and Banana cake/ bread ! I have been showing them joys of All In One Baking. This came into being in the early 1970’s and I taught in East London schools, back then, I am still surprised that in modern recipes it is rarely used.

We have had so far, Slow roasted pork, with the Rub/ marinade done by Alfie, Singapore Laksa, a noodle and coconut / soup dish, often made with seafood, but we used turkey breast, made by Popi ( Himself), Turkey Fajitas, not truly Mexican but the Salsa and Guacamole made by Willowy blond were, well almost, we were missing the Coriander ( cilantro).

Willowy blond has also been making a yummy salad for lunch. Easy peasy, watermelon, mint and Feta cheese. What could be easier. Of course, mint also is not always available.

Today, is another Ice Lolly day, the 3 oldest grandchildren have been boating, swimming and water fighting with the three kids also visiting their grandparents next door. Language with water guns, is not a problem!

Midway through July, 2020

I wonder what history will say about the Pandemic after (if) a vaccine has been found and life returns to albeit maybe a different form of normality . Hats off to all the companies and individuals who have been more than creative by setting up online, delivery companies, from fish and meat to fruit and vegetables, to cakes and pastries, and well to almost anything. Of course Amazon has benefitted greatly from all of the online purchases, but I am thinking more of the small people who have needed to make a living, and have been innovative indeed, to young Sophie who has turned her chefs training to making sourdough bread and wonderful macaroons, to all of the restaurants who have continued cooking and now do home delivery. In the words of an old saying, The Butcher, The Baker and the Candlestick Maker.

So, for me someone who really likes grocery shopping, this has been a totally new experience and I am hooked! Why traipse off to Billingsgate Fish Market at 6 am on a Saturday ( one really has to drive there) or any day at 5 am to Smithfield, the meat market, when it can be delivered to your door? No more gutting and filleting 30 sea bass, no more slicing 2 kilos of Ribeye into individual steaks ! And no more lugging of shopping bags up to the 6 th floor ( to be honest, Himself does the lugging, not me) . Distilled water, bug spray, computer paper, toilet paper, all just appears at my front door ! A Miracle!

On rummaging in the freezer the other night wondering what to have for dinner, and actually not really a rummage, as I do know what is there, and where it is. I decided on Sea Bass and squid. Two beautiful Sae Bass fillets and a small bag of squid, would do the trick.

The Sea Bass was already prepared, the squid needed cleaning quickly done.

Then all I had to do was to heat some olive oil in a pan , a quick light dusting of flour,pop p the fish skin side down and on a medium heat sauté them until the upper side turned opaque, fish is cooked and skin crispy.

Squid, dusted with a little flour, popped into another pan with hot oil in and quickly cooked, a quick stir and again done.

Himself had this with some of the cauliflower gratiné that came out of the freezer, a squirt of lemon juice or a smear of the anchovy butter from the freezer and dinner was soon done.On a slightly different note a lovely visit to Kew Gardens on Friday, and with the restrictions on numbers was just lovely. Here is a photo of my Finchley crew in the Hive !

119 days, and we are still going strong Mid July 2020

Although things like hairdressers and nail salons, restaurants and bars, and soon gyms and out door pools, are opening, (but don’t do the butterfly, too many viruses will leap around as well) and men can get their beard trimmed but women can’t get their eyebrows sorted! All done with a snap of fingers and Boris seems to think it all a bit funny, having a giggle at beauty parlours! But Hey Ho, I’m not going any where, any time soon.

I had my delivery from Watts Farm in the week and with it some wonderful fresh Kentish fruit, including Rhubarb ( I know not a fruit) and gooseberries.

We had visitors for the weekend, son and lovely wife and the little girls, a long time no see. Baby Molly was just one month old when last seen and she is now a smiley happy 5 1/2 month old. Joy oh Joy.

We had very simply hamburgers cooked on our new baby gas grill. I ways make my own hamburgers, as I find this in the shops, tasteless and rubbery. I take my minced beef and add a good dollop of butter and mush it in well, likewise with horseradish sauce and Dijon mustard. I then divide the mixture up equally, and I allow +/- 200 grms per person. Then sub divide it into 100 grams pile. Shape the first 100 grams into a patty, put Emmental or gruyere or blue cheese in the middle, add the second 100 grms and finish shaping the patty, Hence a Cheeseburger, without the cheese sliding off the top, all over the grill !

The added fat is important here, as the meat needs it to get a great flavour.

I decided to make a fruit fool for dessert, and no I wished I had bought twice the amount of gooseberries, but what was I to do ? Simple answer, use, a combination, of the Rhubarb and the gooseberries. A quick and very easy dessert, which of course is wonderful with fresh summer fruits, but nowadays can be made year round using frozen.

For 6 people you will need:-

  1. 500 grms fruit, I used gooseberries and rhubarb
  2. 75 grms caster sugar
  3. About 75 mls fruit cordial, I used elderflower , but others are available and No not something like Ribena !
  4. 100 grms double cream
  5. 100 mls full fat yoghurt,
  6. Decoration, mint raspberries, dried raspberry bits etc

Top and tail the gooseberries ( remove the bits at either end of the gooseberries with a sharp knife)

Put the fruit, the sugar and the cordial knot a pan and cook gently until soft, takes. O time at all.

Blend the fruit in either a food processor or with a hand held blender. Set aside to cool.

Whisk the cream until thick, stir in the yoghurt and then the fruit purée . Divide between 6 glasses and decorate. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

As a child, it was often my job to top and tail gooseberries. This was done with a kind of scraper which always came with shoe repair kits. Yes, then it was normal for families to do their own minor shoe repairs, rubber heels and soles were the norm. And the kits came with a semi circle rasp, which was perfect for topping and tailing. Today, we no longer repair our own shoes, although I see on Amazon they are still available, but today I use a micro plane to top and tail! How times have changed!

Dinner tonight?

We have once again a well stocked refrigerator, thanks to my new best friends at Watts Farm. Being a Kentish girl and a Maid of Kent ( depending on which side of the River Medway is your birthplace) I am very keen on Kentish produce, especially at this time of year. Fresh green asparagus strawberries, raspberries and don’t forget the cherries.

We had a delivery the other day which did include cherries, ( now nearly all gone, eaten) along with raspberries and gooseberries. How often do we see gooseberries in a supermarket, not often I am sure. All of these memories from my childhood, where we were pretty much self sufficient in fruit ( raspberries, strawberries, gooseberries, black and red currants, ) and then beans and peas, cabbages and lettuces, onions and parsnips, turnips and swede, potatoes of course. These were days before a freezer was common place in the home, so my memory was mother “Bottling” or “salting” so we would have a supply during the winter. My memory too of wrapping apples from the local orchard in newspaper, staking them in boxes and storing in a cool dry place, likewise so we could have apples during the winter months.

And so it was, I was left wondering what to have for dinner, with my new found supplies still intact ( well almost, not the cherries), when Himself had a cunning plan. As we are the now proud owner of a mini gas BBQ, he was very keen to use it again. We have used it just the once for a hamburger and now it was calling us again. What was it to be? I know Himself said, Squid, memories of our visit to Portugal last year and the absolutely divine Octopus. Squid it was going to be, out of the freezer came two packs of frozen squid, which not only needed to be defrosted but cleaned and brown/ pink skin removed as well.

Once defrosted, squid looks not so nice but is easy to clean. Simply pull off the head, which might or might not pull out the innards ( creamy white and gooey, but not horrible), remove the innards as well. Cut off the tentacles from in front of the eyes and discard the eyes and ink sac.Pull out of the body, a clear piece of cartilage which runs the length of the body of the squid, and discard. I find it easy to remove the brown/ pink skin by rubbing it with a bit of kitchen paper. Rinse the squid in cold water and pat dry. It is now clean and white.

Many people think that squid is tough and yet one of the most popular starters in some of the chain restaurants like Côte or Bills, is fried calamari, with usually a chilli dipping sauce.

The method of cooking squid can be done in two ways, either hot and fast or slow. If hot and fast, then think grilling, flash pan frying and Barbecuing. Slow, then think of stewing and braising.

Therefore to Barbecue Squid for 3-4 people, take about 500 grms Cleaned squid and toss it in some olive oil with some added salt. Heat the grill to really hot, throw on the squid and grill for about 4 minutes ( or less) until it is opaque. Serve at once with either simply a squeeze of lemon, or garlic butter, or anchovy butter or as we did with Harissa butter.

To make this simply add a teaspoon of shop bought Harissa to softened butter and mix well, add some squeezed garlic and salt as well, serve on the hot squid.

Harissa is a Tunisian spice made from roasted chilli peppers and other spices, and Rose Harissa is Amale with rose petals and is a softer version. It maybe bought in a tube a small can or the Rose Harissa in a jar. Refrigerate after opening, or in the case of the small can , I would freeze it.

Now if only He would remember it is SQUID and not Shrimp, then we might have it again.

Oh,Oh! Oh,Oh! It’s Off to the World, We Go!

We can Travel Yeah! We are allowed to go to all sorts of places, not the USA ( as we won’t let them in , but not sure I want to go there at the moment anyway). Oh,we are allowed to go to New Zealand, but there is a catch, they won’t let anyone in ! A long way to go only to be turned around!

So virtual Travel is for the moment at an end, but I couldn’t resist just one more. Going through old photos and more I found a few from a bygone age. When my kids were commuting from Houston Texas to the UK after 5 dreadful flights via Amsterdam on KLM, I finally relented and let them fly via London on what had been Texas International, and then Continental ( now United). The joke was always lunch or dinner, the Same Old, Same Old, CHICKEN OR BEEF, always the same and when you flew that route as often as we did it got very old, very fast. The best part of the flight was scones and Cornish cream for afternoon tea!

To celebrate our relative freedom, we are still not venturing out and about more than we have to, but tonight we had only our second take away from Carousel. Carousel is a restaurant down the road from us, we were about to explore and then we were locked down, but meanwhile I have been supporting them in their efforts to feed NHS and homeless. And they Deliver! Even better !

Carousel features visiting chefs and until Mid July it is a Mexican Chef. Many will say, oh, spicy, or carb overload, or fatty, greasy and other such ideas, but from our many many visits to Mexico, we beg to differ. From Street food to top end restaurants, the food is delicious, and yes they do use chillies but for us we miss Mexican cuisine as we only had very excellent food whilst there. ( TexMex is not Mexican). Hence, when we saw that Carousel was offering a Mexican dinner, we invited the willowy Brunette for a socially distanced dinner.

The restaurant duly called and delivered our dinner and I had already download the instructions. Lots and lots of little pots and some bigger ones as well, all labelled with numbers, but weirdly most were number 3, so took a lot of deciphering. ( and I think that many of the numbers were wrong).

Ceviche

So the bottom line is, dessert, Chocolate Mousse was lovely, As for the rest, the Totopos, were like blue cardboard, the Ceviche was OK, the grilled corn broth, seriously short changed here, as I had to add bouillon to make three small servings.

Pork PUBIL

But the biggest disappointment of all was the COCHINITA PUBIL, this traditional pork dish from the Yucatan would normally be very slow cooked pork, cooked in a pit barbecue. Obviously in the modern kitchen this is not possible, but Diana Kennedy, the worlds leading authority on Mexican cuisine, states that the meat has to be cooked for about 5 hours, so it falls off the bone, is then shredded, with all the juices from the pan poured over it. It says NOTHING about leave fat and gristle in. After the first few mouthfuls, when the willowy Brunette nearly threw up, I’m afraid the rest of it went straight into the bin, but not before I photographed THE FAT AND GRISTLE. And the corn Tortillas really seemed stale.

A plate of FAT AND GRISTLE

So sorry, Carousel, won’t be using you again !

100 DAYS! June 30/2020

Apparently it is 100 days since we began our incarceration! Makes me think of people in prison, for whatever reason. What do they do,what do they think? Although we were in strict Lockdown for what 10 weeks, 12 weeks, it is at the point where I don’t really remember. Waking up, thinking “What day is it”. But can you imagine, being in a situation where it doesn’t matter what day it is, I just can’t. At least despite having our freedom severely curtailed, we could buy groceries, wine, beer, in fact we could buy almost everything we wanted/ needed and more.

I actually ventured out, all by myself today, the third time since mid March ! A very strange feeling indeed. I didn’t go far, but it was eerily quiet ( and I live in the centre of London) some shops were open and some closed permanently I think. The Beautiful Paddington Street Gardens, has gone from spring green and primroses to summer colours, where did that time go ?

I wish I had thought of dinner before venturing forth as I subsequently decided on Bang Bang Chicken. This brought me back to Houston Texas, where in a restaurant aptly called Houstons, my favourite salad was Bang Bang Chicken, actually it wasn’t called that, it was just grilled chicken with peanuts sauce, it was sweet , nutty and spicy all in one. On returning to the UK I discovered that the IVY, the restaurant of the stars ( and Rich and Famous and me) has Bang Bang Chicken in the menu !

The late AA Gill, published a couple of recipe books ( he might have done more) one from Caprice ( sister to the Ivy) and one from the IVY. The Ivy recipe version is OK but not quite right and other versions that I have found are also not quiet right, so I combined a couple, missed out a few bits and bobs and came up with my own.

For me the problem was that the recipe requires PEANUT BUTTER, preferably smooth and unadulterated. When we moved from Texas to Belgium I had a problem, then with Peanut Butter. Whilst in Texas, my kids became Americanised, demanding peanut butter and Jelly ( Jam to you and me) or peanut butter on Celery sticks, also with jam. The jam is essential, as PNB can be very cloying. In Texas I bought a brand called Laura Scudders, it was unadulterated, whereas Skippy, which is the best selling of PNB in CHINA , and it contains a whole load of Junk, corn syrup, sugar, soy protein, salt oils and other added extras.

I resorted to making my own. Very simple, buy, salted roasted peanuts, purée them in a food processor, sometimes necessary to add a few drops of oil to aid processing.

However, being extremely lazy, I didn’t want to go out and about just to buy peanuts, or peanut butter, but I had red skin peanuts. Roasted them in the oven, rubbed off the skins, puréed them, hence my PNB was ready.

To make Bang Bang Chicken you will need:- quantities are a bit hit and miss, depending on how many people you are making it for !

But for two people

  1. 6 chicken thighs, skin on, roasted left to cool
  2. 100 grms smooth peanut butter
  3. 1 tablespoon sweet chilli sauce
  4. a tablespoon of each, sesame oil and vegetable oil ( I use olive)
  5. A tsp e@ch of 5 spice powder and star anise powder ( both optional just gives a bit more Umph to the sauce. If unavailable add some chilli powder.
  6. 2 carrots peeled and sliced finely
  7. 2 spring onions cut into strips
  8. 1/4 cucumber cut into strips
  9. A small handful of sesame seeds
  10. Optional extras, cherry tomatoes, sliced avocados
  11. Small amount of rice vinegar

Of course you can be really lazy and use bought rotisserie chicken, cut into bits. However if you are cooking the chicken yourself, thighs are tastier than breast but after cooking remove the skin and de-bone and shred the chicken.

Put the peanut butter into a heatproof bowl and stand in a pan of Hot water for about 5 minutes for the butter to soften, remove from heat, stir in the chilli sauce and spices and then the oils, stir until well blended ( May use a whisk or handheld blender). Make sure that Not A Drop of water gets into the PNB as the merest drop, will make it seize up ( just like chocolate) and there is no salvation to start over. ( me? Of course I heat mine gently in the microwave, no water there then).

Put the vegetables in the vinegar to soak for 5 minutes, drain. I then use a bed of lettuce, arrange my vegetables and chicken on the salad, , spoon over the sauce and sprinkle the sesame seeds on top.

Another point to remember is, Do Not Store either the Peanut Butter, nor any remaking sauce in the refrigerator.

Week Fifteen, Saturday and Sunday June 27/ 28/ 2020

The weekend is here, not that it makes a whole world of difference these days, days roll into weeks and weeks roll into months and here we are,the longest day of the year has already been and gone! I wake early, have a peep out of one eye, to see if the sun is already up and if the bamboo is fluttering in a gentle breeze or really swaying in the wind. Then I think, oh what day is it, and sometimes have to really think hard, but now that the golf course is back open it does form some structure, get up now, or time to have a cup of tea and read the paper.

This week I discovered another source of food online. Chalk Stream foods, is a fish company in Hampshire raising trout. They offer whole trout gutted and vacuumed packed alongside fillets, smoked trout and pâté, all from fish raised the ” the Gin Clear waters of their chalk stream rivers., apparently used by chefs like Jamie Oliver and Yotem Ottolenghi alike. Again their service and delivery was exemplary and will use them again. What interested me was their fresh trout, with large trout at £5 each and free delivery over £40, I ordered 10 and as they were already packed for the freezer, in 8 of them went.

Saturday night, Himself is cooking and so is cooking the trout. Not an awful lot to do, but trying out our new mini gas BBQ. We shall have them with salads and the anchovy butter that is sitting in the freezer.

Upon sorting out, foods the other day, I had forgotten the celeriac that I had bought with the intention of using it for celeriac chips or a whole baked celeriac or even along with carrots, roasted root vegetables, but no that is a winter dish, I needed a summer one.

I decided upon Celeriac Remoulade.

Remoulade is a French cold sauce based on mayonnaise , similar to tartare sauce, but sometimes is flavoured with curry, or paprika, can also have anchovies and capers added. In Louisiana it is used a lot with seafood especially shrimp and can be quite spicy.

However, I made Celeriac Remoulade, and here is what you need :-

  1. 1 medium size celeriac peeled and grated
  2. Juice 2 lemons
  3. 3 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  4. 3/4 cup mayonnaise ( bought mayonnaise will work just fine)

Mix the grated celeriac with the lemon juice straight away as it has a tendency to go brown rather quickly. Add the mayonnaise and the Dijon mustard and mix well.. serve on a bed of lettuce. Can be stored covered in the refrigerator for several days. Easy and tasty and Celeriac is a great source of Vitamin C and for dieter low calorie, fat free. Great for adding to soups and is good with other winter root vegetables, sweet potatoes, carrots and parsnips.

Week Fourteen, Midweek June 21-24; 2020

This week has been amazingly beautiful, wall to wall Sunshine ( well in London at least) not set to last of course, but wonderful whilst it lasts. The plants on my terrace have never been so beautiful, Oleander in Bloom, Hydrangeas in Bloom along with Geraniums, and others the names of which I haven’t a clue! Normally, we have white fly, loving the new tender shoots on all the Bay Trees, but this year, Ants in love with likewise the new leaves on the Holly bushes! A constant battle. Yesterday I googled, Ants and came up with, Bicarbonate of Soda mixed with icing sugar. The Ants apparently have a sweet tooth and love the icing sugar, and the bicarbonate will readily despatch them to Ant Heaven. Then along with diluted washing up liquid will do the same to those hiding in the bushes. I wait for the results.

With hot weather ones thoughts go to Ice Cream. I’m not a great lover of Ice Cream, the only one I think I would crave is Pecans Pralines and Cream. Himself who has a really sweet tooth would probably eat any. When #1 daughter moved to New Delhi, I remember going with her and small grandson, (18 months) to an ice cream/ sorbet shop. He wouldn’t have anything to do with it. Fast forward to Mexico City and Neveria Roxy, it was one of the delights that we would go with the then two and then three small ones, it was a family owned establishment and they knew us well. Now when they come to stay I make ice Lollies, relatively healthy ones, a mixture of Frozen raspberries,Water Melon and apple juice.

I had last week, some mangoes that were crying out to be eaten or used. Mango Sorbet was the answer.

  1. 3 mangos
  2. 200 grms icing sugar
  3. Juice 2 lemons or limes

Peel and roughly chop the mangos and,put in a food processor along with the icing sugar and lemon/lime juice. Blend to a purée. Transfer to a plastic container and put into a freezer, stir a couple of times during the freezing process. When frozen put on a lid on the container.

Soften a little before serving.

Of course it may also be made using an Ice Cream machine.

Another use for soft mangos is Mango Chilli Aioli. A spice sauce to be served with shrimp along with course as a dip with chips.

  1. 1 cup of frozen mango chunks
  2. Juice of a lime
  3. 1 tsp caster sugar
  4. 1tsp smoked paprika
  5. 1tsp curry powder
  6. 1tsp fine salt
  7. 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  8. Pinch black pepper ¡
  9. 1 red chilli seeded and chopped
  10. A cup of mayonnaise ( bought or homemade)

Peel the mango and cut into chunks, and freeze. When frozen put them along with everything except the mayonnaise, process until well mixed. Add the mayonnaise and blend. Put into a bowl, cover and refrigerate until ready to use. Maybe kept refrigerated for three to four days.

Of course you can be Really Really lazy, even more so than the above. If you have anything like ready made, harissa and or chilli paste simply put it in with the Mayo and Mango, taste and add lemon/ lime salt pepper to taste.

Week Fourteen, Sunday June 21st

Sunday once more, sounds a bit like the Mamas and Papas, Yesterday once more. But it is Fathers Day, and Willowy Brunette ( she who doesn’t cook) has gone into baking, baking cakes for us and for her nephews and niece . She made her father a scrumptious Rum Raisin cake, and for the little ones a Beetroot and ginger, which they loved ( just don’t tell them it is beetroot).

Sunday, means neighbourhood Cocktail Hour and today we are actually going somewhere! About 20 yards or so further afield. Up onto a roof terrace, so we can look over the whole of London. We occupy here, two floors but next door they are on three floors, hence a real roof terrace, whereas ours is long theirs is square and so we can still be socially distant but without having to shout across the void. Exciting !

Sunday is also Story time for the three older grandchildren, each week they give Himself a character that they want to be incorporated into a story, I’m not sure what they are this week, something along the lines of a Crazy politician, a Dumb Bat and a Rainbow Princess! Try putting those into an interesting kids story ! Himself works all week on the tale after, Miss Tess declared on the second week, when asked ” It was Not his best “! What a put down from a ten year old ! Since then he has worked hard to come up with the goods.

Meanwhile, I’m on the hook for dinner and it is once again fish ( excuse the pun there) and it is salmon. As it is cocktails and story night I have to be ready with dinner at 8.30 pronto. Therefore Fish it is, especially as I had a delivery from IshFish.

Until today, my favourite way of cooking and serving Salmon, was to pan fry, skin side down ( crispy skin) and spread frozen Anchovy butter over it to serve. That was all about to change and for a couple of reasons.

Firstly I bumped into a foodie neighbour , obviously not literally, we were almost on opposite sides of the street, but he told me where to buy relatively inexpensive Porcini Mushrooms, they are from an English company via Amazon, so I bought a tub ( 500 grams of dried mushrooms, is a lot, but just checked at other outlets, powder almost £10.00 per 100 grams at Waitrose, more expensive at Whole foods)

I had read somewhere about using Porcini dust with Salmon and here was my chance.

So! What to do? Take a few of the wonderful dried mushrooms and with the motor running on your blender ( and a blender does work better than a food processor, or probably even better a coffee grinder )drop in the dried Porcini, with the motor running. Immediately put your hand over the spout, you don’t want to lose any of this precious dust, let the motor run. Tip the jug upside down over a sieve and shake gently into a bowl. Then with a paint brush or mushroom brush, dust out the blender, so as not to lose any. Any bits that have not been ground into dust, DO NOT THROW AWAY, keep in a jar until you need some extra flavouring, in a soup .

Then very simply, I used it by pressing some onto the skin side of my salmon. I have to buy salmon with the skin on as frying it skin side down is the only way to go, you get crispy skin and so easy to see when the salmon is cooked, but not over cooked. And then I just cooked my salmon as usual in a frying pan with a small amount of Olive oil.

I recently did some crowd funding to finance some Young Spanish farmers, consequently I bought 5 kilos of the most wonderful lemons ( currently being preserved for future use) and 5 litres of wonderful olive oil!

Week Thirteen, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday ( June17, 18, 19)

Tempus, Fugit, again, week Thirteen midway through June, almost at Mid Summers day. I absolutely love this time of year, light evenings, ( though I have to say not really appreciating them this year) but the mornings! Light at 4 am, light and then sunshine streaming in, just wonderful.

I have made Tabbouleh this week, one of my favourite salads, but for me it has to be made with curly parsley, which seems to have fallen out of favour with the English public. However, Watts Farm, my new delivery source, gave me a choice, Flat or Curly.

Most recipes for Tabbouleh say, use flat leaf parsley, but for me, I assume that the first time I ate it, it was made with curly.

It is a salad from the Middle East and as such there are many variations, some use oodles of bulgar wheat, as in Turkey and Armenia, whereas in Syria, Lebanon, Palestine, Jordan and Egypt much more parsley, but honestly try and see how you like it. Personally, my preference is curly parsley and lots of it.

Therefore this is a list of ingredients but quantities vary according to taste :-

  1. 1 cup of bulgar wheat
  2. A large bunch of parsley finely chopped
  3. 1 large tomato diced
  4. Bunch of spring ( green onions chopped)
  5. 100 mls good olive oil
  6. 100 mls fresh lemon juice
  7. Cloves of garlic crushed and chopped ( optional)
  8. Salt and pepper
  9. 1/4 cucumber diced ( optional)
  10. Dozen or so fresh mint leaves ( optional)

Soak the bulgar in 2-3 cups of boiling water. Leave it to cool, then drain.

Mix together all the vegetables then add the bulgar. Stir in the oil and lemon juice, taste and add salt to taste.

This salad keeps very well for several days covered in the refrigerator. I often make a bowl of it for me but Himself usually declares it is too much of that green stuff !

Goes well with grilled fish or chicken or just have it by itself. I also added, very un-conventionally , chopped avocado, simply because I happen to really like avocados!