Broccoli & cauliflower soup with Cornish Blue

Broccoli soupMore cold weather, more soup. I could happily live on soup – there are so many variations that each one is like having a completely different meal. From something fast to throw together after work, like Pea & Mint or super-quick Thai Noodle, all the way up to slow-cooked Oxtail & Pearl Barley or Goulash Soup with Caraway Dumplings at the more ‘hearty and cockle-warming’ end of the scale, there’s definitely a soup for every mood.

Today’s recipe is for something that sits nicely in between – warming, hearty and tasty, with the bonus of being simple to prepare and quick to cook. The blue cheese (or any type of cheese that you like) really does make things extra moreish. Robin ran amok on a Cornish cheese website a few weeks ago, and I received a surprise package of a whole wheel of Yarg and half of a wheel of Cornish Blue. We seem to have been eating it forever, but it’s still taking up half of the bottom shelf of the fridge – though there are surely worse problems in the world than too much cheese. Continue reading “Broccoli & cauliflower soup with Cornish Blue”

Pizza bianca with potatoes, bacon & rosemary

IMG_20200619_122326_142It has to be said that lockdown is beginning to lose any appeal that it may have had in the beginning (the fact that it has rained non-stop for the last ten days may have had some bearing on that, I admit). I can’t remember whether we are 11 or 12 weeks in, I can no longer be bothered to count, and anyway I can’t see out from under my fringe. We remind ourselves daily that we and our families are incredibly fortunate – none of us has had Covid-19, nobody has lost their job, everyone has a secure home and we are all financially keeping heads above water – for now at least. Continue reading “Pizza bianca with potatoes, bacon & rosemary”

Springtime minestrone with wild garlic & butter beans

20200504_195728I have set myself a challenge of going to the supermarket an absolute maximum of once a week (though I do allow myself a quick dash into the village store to get fresh milk and fresh fruit in between). Robin is staying at home apart from our daily walk on the Bissoe Trail, owing to his advancing years and marginally dodgy ticker, so I figure that the fewer times I expose myself (and ergo him) to our new friend Corona, the better for everyone.

This means we end up with an odd collection of bits of this and bits of that in the veggie drawer, inevitably leading to either a cheesy-veggie tart or a bowl of soup. Last night we had severe storms down here on the coast, don’t you know, so soup was just the ticket. And the sourdough starter was calling to be topped up, so it seemed the perfect time to bake a couple of loaves of rye/durum wheat sourdough for dunking purposes. Continue reading “Springtime minestrone with wild garlic & butter beans”

High-fibre beef & lentil chilli

img_3479Happy new year to everyone. Rather late in the day, being half way through January, but the year already seems to be racing past at speed.

We are back in Cornwall after spending Christmas and the New Year looking after the most beautiful black labrador in the Cotswolds village of Bretforton, while her owners went off on holidays for a couple of weeks.

Thrown in with the deal was a velvety black rabbit called Bumbles – a comical, cantankerous, unpredictable, dish-hurling, naughty, affectionate little diva. After two weeks, we came to an understanding – she could nibble my jumper sleeves as long as she didn’t nibble my wrists, and I would provide her with an endless supply of brussels sprout tops, kale, cabbage and the occasional stick of celery.  That seemed to work. To be fair, the dish-hurling only happened twice – unfortunately this then involved me crawling into the pen on my hands and knees, Christmas-enhanced backside in the air, trying not to kneel on rabbit poo, in order to retrieve it. We’ve had more dignified assignments. Oddly enough, Robin left rabbit care to me, though I admit he more than made up for this by taking on responsibility for the early-morning dog walks.
Continue reading “High-fibre beef & lentil chilli”

Hot and sour Thai noodle soup

IMG_3417Despite the mostly inclement weather, we’re enjoying being back in Cornwall, and it is especially novel not sharing our house with the plumbers, carpenters and electricians. We quite miss them though – they are a happy and helpful bunch – though we don’t miss the early morning start time. They were here last week finishing off a few bits and pieces, but I think that is everything now until the summer. Robin is muttering about ‘getting up the floor of the conservatory’ to install underfloor heating, as that is our only dining space and it can be parky at this time of year. Personally, I favour a large rug. The thought of having the floor up fills me with horror. I am hoping he will have forgotten about it by the summer. Continue reading “Hot and sour Thai noodle soup”

Blackberry pork

IMG_3097We have just returned to Cornwall after spending a few weeks in Warwickshire with our families – hence no blog posts for a while! I am sure we couldn’t have picked a hotter spot in the British Isles if we had tried. We tortured ourselves daily by watching the BBC weather report and seeing that, back here in Cornwall, it was a whole ten degrees cooler. Obviously we’ve come back to cool weather and rain, though it does make quite a change. We will be back in Turkey in a few weeks, so there will be plenty more sunshine to come. Continue reading “Blackberry pork”

Piyaz (Turkish white bean and tahini salad)

IMG_2884.jpgWhen we lived in Istanbul, we used to frequent a fine establishment near our shop, called the Meşhur Tarihi Sultanahmet Halk Köftecisi Selim Usta – yes, a bit of a mouthful, it roughly translates as ‘The famous and historic Sultanahmet people’s meatball seller, Master Selim’. It is my kind of place because I hate making up my mind from a menu, and there’s really only one reason to go there – to entirely pig out on köfte and piyaz. (Talking of pigs, see later para). Continue reading “Piyaz (Turkish white bean and tahini salad)”

No-faff fish pie

IMG_2702.jpgRobin’s favourite favourite is fish pie. Closely followed by fish pie. It is not mine, on several counts: a) I find it a bit on the mushy, school-dinner, nursery-fare, side; b) it doesn’t look very appetising once it’s slumped onto the plate; and c) it is a right faff to make, what with having to pre-cook the fish, cook and mash the potatoes and then make a bechamel sauce with the cooking liquid. You feel as though you need to start thinking about dinner roughly five minutes after you’ve put the cornflake bowls in the dishwasher, and you’ll need more pots and pans than Jamie Oliver.

But help is at hand. I was idly watching a Mary Berry programme back in the summer and she made a fish and cauliflower gratin – a kind of fish pie by any other name. Now, I am not overly keen on cauliflower and I certainly don’t think it goes with fish – it’s just about OK if it’s been swathed in a particularly Cheddary-mustardy sauce and baked to a golden crisp in the oven, as a bit of a mid-week tea, but as a component of a fish pie, well, yuk. However, I decided Mary definitely could be on to something with her idea for a more simplified method and, with a few judicious tweaks in the ingredients department, I came up with a yummy alternative. Continue reading “No-faff fish pie”

Chicken and sausage cassoulet

IMG_2608.jpgI just noticed that my last blog post was back in January for December’s Cookery Calendar Challenge, more than a month ago. Several things have got in the way of blog posting – we were away for ten days in January, looking after a family of Greek rescue cats in the Midlands while visiting various branches of the Tassell/Pearson family and now (I can hardly bring myself to say this) I AM ON A DIET. Yes, the dreaded ‘D Word’.

While we were in Warwickshire, I met up with my old school friend Carole, who was about to embark on the Slimming World programme. Last summer’s pasty frenzy left about 50% of my summer wardrobe rather too snug for comfort – painfully aware that I will be needing to wear it in a few weeks time when we get back to Turkey, I decided I would keep Carole company. Continue reading “Chicken and sausage cassoulet”

Fillet of salmon with capers, fennel & Dijon butter (Rachel Allen)

IMG_2565On to Round Two of December’s ‘Cookery Calendar Challenge‘. I can see the obvious flaw in that statement – yes it is January, but Christmas happened and so I ran out of time. In actual fact, I cooked this on New Year’s Eve, so I can probably still legitimately claim to have fulfilled the challenge – the problem was, what with having mates here to stay,  Prosecco may have been taken and we’d eaten it all before I even thought of getting out the camera.

On the upside, this salmon dish from Rachel Allen’s ‘Recipes from my Mother’ was absolutely delicious and so ridiculously easy that we’ve eaten it again since, even though we are only a week further on. I’ve even managed to make it look quite nice for the photo, which is an improvement – perhaps 2018 will be the year I conquer this photography lark a little more. Continue reading “Fillet of salmon with capers, fennel & Dijon butter (Rachel Allen)”