The best trips are the ones you least expect, same for joys I think. This weekend I found myself in London without much planning or the kind of planning very open to change -the way I like it. It was the first time in many months that I took time to walk and savour a place rather than just be on and off trains, in and out of of work places.
We walked the streets of Bayswater, Notting Hill and Islington and enjoyed the hustle and bustle of London’s Borough Market and the Embankment.
My highlights, photographed here, included:
Pre-dinner at Ottolenghi’s Notting Hill branch, where we savoured a moorish goat and aubergine cheesecake with two salads: one of beetroot, dill and doclelatte and another of buttenut squash with goat’s cheese.
An affordable, upretentious, even if ‘just-satisfactory’ Thai meal at the Cool Monkey, on Clarendon Road: the massaman chicken curry bursting with cocunut, peanut and ginger flavours was the highlight of our meal.
Italian cookies and a strong cappucino at Charlie’s on Portobello Road, a cafe that has changed names a couple of times since I discovered it, but one I would still visit to avoid the very busy cafes and streets of Portbello Market in the weekend.
A thick and filling foccacia with peppers and tomatoes; the wheatgrass, ginger and lime ‘Zinger’ Smoothie at the Totally Organic Juice Bar; and, most importantly, the infamous Brindisa chorizo sausage roll served with grilled pimento peppers and fresh rocket (for which I queued 20 minutes) at London’s Borough Market. .
A dinner at the Canonbury kitchen at Islington, the highlights of which were Breasola filled with fresh ricotta and served on peppery rocket, the good company (two of the Greens!) and the atmosphere of this great kitchen.
And last but not least, having the honour of meeting Wizz Jones, chatting to John Renbourne and seeing Robin Williamson during their sound check at the Union Chapel, Islington, and before being graced with their soothing performance at a venue so fitting and serene I almost felt that I was granted entry to heaven.
10 out of 10 for this weekend review !
What a couple weeks these have been. I have been working, meeting, talking and writing non stop in my day job and for other endeavours: research, analysis, re-editing and a talk all on things water-related.
I have not been idle in the kitchen too: it has been my down time. Filled peppers, with wholemeal rice, mushrooms and lentils are cooking in the kitchen as I write this. And I have cooked and photographed a chickpea and kale curry that I will share with you this weekend: a recipe that my dear friend Petra Derkzen left as a comment to the Amok Curry recipe on this blog.
In a recent email conversation about my food blogging a friend said, ‘Everybody is doing it (blogging) at the moment!’ And right you are Mrs Winnard, as we say in Cardiff. Everybody is doing it and what a sterling job they are doing too!
I have discovered the entertaining food ramblings of Joanne, a medical student in New York, whose writing is intimate. Eats Well with Others is personal and entertaining: an emotive diary of an intelligent young lady who dazzles us with her skills: an athlete, a cook, a down-to-earth woman and a hard working medical researcher. Today’s recipe on Joanne’s blog is a parsnip and carrot soup, with a great photo for the entry.
My second discovery is They Draw & Cook, a blog both ingenious and unique. It merges art, cooking and design in the perfect visual recipe. Artists from around the world have submitted illustrated recipes they have drawn and designed and illustrated, and there is a map that pinpoints where contributions come from. This is the baby of Nate and Salli , the photograph of whom is really telling of affinity and friendship. Big up to both. And another great thing is that artists who submit their work and receive royalties for any print sold.
We love bites is another recent discovery: the blog of fellow Cardiffian, Rachel Kinchin, who also writes a vegetarian food column for WM Magazine in Wales. Rachel’s writing is warm and ‘tasty’. She writes about ‘snazzy eats’ and her adventures as a ‘seasoned vegetarian’ and ‘passionate amateur cook’. It’s quirky and I love the latest tagine recipe that she has executed and photographed for the blog. I hope to read more of your ‘vegetarian shenanigans’ and to meet you soon Rachel.
And last but not least, I want to tell you about Pandespani, the name of which, Pan di Spagna, means sponge cake and, believe it or not, is my favourite cake of all: particularly when dunked in dark strong coffee! Pandespani successfully makes gourmet cooking simple and approachable: ‘cooking seriously, for fun’ is the blog’s catch-phrase. Recent tantalising entries include white chocolate fudge with oreos and French onion soup. Mmmm! The blog comes mainly in Greek but is also translated in English by Fyllosophie. The contributions come from lady Pandespani and Mr Greekadman, and strike a cord with me. Pandepani seems a product of friendship and fun. Perhaps I have imagined this, but I recognise hybridity in the language and also style of the blog: of fellow Greeks that have also lived abroad possibly? Is it by luck that lady Pandespani talks about the ‘various expressions of her perfectionism’, refers to Greekadman’s ‘self sarcasm’ and Fyllosophie’s ‘competitive Welsh humour’? Traits that, unexpectedly perhaps for some, to me emphasise the compatibility of Greek and British cultures. And just a day ago Greekadman left a message on my blog, ‘Here’s to the Greeks in Wales’, he said. You three: I wonder what your story is? And I can’t wait to hear it!
The two recipes for cabbage rolls (lachanontolmades or sarmades) adjusted from the Greek edition Christmas issue of Olive magazine
For our New Year’s Eve dinner we had a varied spread including a spinach Quiche, the recipe for which I gave you two weeks ago, a butternut squash pie made by Elpida, vegetatian lasagne made by Valentina Brioschi and finally cabbage rolls, lachanontolmades or sarmades.
Cabbage rolls are an ideal party dish but you can also prepare it as a main course. I think it is an fantastic dinner dish for the post-Christmas healthy eating time when all of us are looking for light but tasty treats. It is possible to diet with flavoursome and light dishes, no need to torture yourself.
I got the idea to cook these very different cabbage rolls recipes from the Christmas Greek edition of Olive magazine. The recipes were provided by Simona Kafiri and Georgia Kofina. I adapted the simplified version of the traditional Greek cabbage rolls to my liking, and a tested a new spicier version with a red sauce that uses diced pork instead of minced meat. Both are fantastic. I also discovered that you can use iceberg lettuce to make a lighter but extremely tasty version of the dish. So here is my innovation!
The recipes below can feed 6 people and take nearly 2 hours to prepare and cook.
Thanks to Dan Green for photos.
Two cabbage roll recipes: one traditional and one spicy
Preparation of cabbage, the basic ingredient, 30min
1 large or two medium white cabbages
1 iceberg lettuce
This is the first step of your preparation. But you can also start with the preparation of the spicy filling as it needs to simmer and cool down before the cabbage leaves are stuffed.
It is impossible to fill and roll cabbage without blanching or slightly boiling it. Remove outer cabbage leaves that might be scarred but keep for layering the base of your pots before cooking.
Cut around the base of the cabbage with a sharp knife and remove the stem of the cabbage(s).
Place the cabbage in a large deep pot with boiling water and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove and cool down before peeling the leaves and preparing them for filling and rolling.
As I started to peel the leaves I realised that I did not have enough cabbage for all my filling. I was pushed for time so I decided to experiment with iceberg lettuce as an alternative. Iceberg lettuce leaves are quite firm compared to other lettuce varieties, so I peeled and dipped them in the hot, but no longer boiling water, for 30seconds to a minute to soften. Iceberg lettuce rolls are absolutely amazing and surprisingly worked really well, particularly with the traditional recipe.
For the new spicy filling of Georgia Kofina, 20 min:
300 gr pork fillet or chops, finely diced
¼ cup rice (either Carolina variety or Thai rice) – the rice you have will do
½ large onion, finely diced
1 garlic clove
2 Tbspns finely chopped parsley
1/6 cup olive oil or about 4 Tbspns
1 cup stock (either home-made or bouillon meat stock)
¼ glass white wine
½ tspn paprika and cayenne pepper
Sautee the onion in the olive and then add the garlic.
Once translucent add the white wine and then add the meat, rice, parsley, paprika and cayenne pepper, and finally, add the stock and season.
Cover and simmer at very low heat until the rice absorbs all liquid.
Then remove from the heat and set aside to cool down before the rolling begins.
For the sauce of the spicy version of Georgia Kofina, 5 min:
3 celery sticks thickly diced
1 carrot, peeled and roughly diced
200 gr finely diced ripe tomatoes
¼ cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to season
Prepare all your ingredients for the sauce. You don’t need to do anything else at this stage as all ingredients are added to the cooking pot after you laid your rolls.
For the traditional filling adapted from Simona Kafiri’s recipe:
175 gr minced pork
150 gr minced beef
1 large onion, grated
½ cup of finely chopped parsley
½ green pepper finely diced
¼ cup grated ripe tomatoes (1 or 2 tomatoes)
1 ½ flat tsbns salt
Freshly ground pepper
¼ cup rice (either carolina variety or Thai rice) – the rice you have will do
½ tspn ground cloves
½ tspn ground cinnamon
Mix all the ingredients in a bowl with your hands and set aside for filling.
Filling, rolling and cooking, 1.5 hrs:
2 separate pots, 25cm circumference or at least 20cm
The red sauce ingredients you have prepped for the new and spicy version.
2 Tbspn olive oil or butter (for the traditional recipe)
1 ½ cup stock (either home-made or bouillon meat stock) (for the traditional recipe)
Add a little bit of olive oil at the bottom of each pot. If you have kept the outer leaves of the cabbage layer the pot with these/ Remove the thick end (vein) of each cabbage leaf by making an (upside down) V shaped incision. This way you will be able to roll the leaf more easily.
Add enough filling in the middle and roll the cabbage leaf, by folding its outer sides in and then rolling so that you can have the top of the leaf facing your cooking surface. You should then place the roll in the pot, with the top of the leaf facing the bottom of the pan, this way your rolls will not unfold and open whilst cooking. It is a lot easier to roll with the iceberg lettuce leaves.
Use all cabbage leafs and layer the rolls in the pot close and tight to each other. I made to layers of rolls in each pot. If you are using iceberg lettuce roll too, you can place those on the second layer as they will cook faster.
For the new spicy version, spread the celery and carrots over the rolls, evenly pour the tomato and olive oil and add some salt and pepper. I had to add some more stock to the pot, just a couple of tablespoon. Simmer on low heat for 45 minutes.
For the traditional recipe, add the olive oil and stock in the pot. Cover and simmer for 1 hr. Don’t throw away the liquid.
Once the rolls are cooked, set aside for cooling and serve on long platters garnished with the sauces you have prepare.
For the traditional recipe sauce, Avgolemono, 10 minutes:
1 Tbspn Corn flour
1 Tbspn butter
¼ cup lemon juice
1 egg yolk
Some paprika (optional)
You might prefer to have the traditional cabbage rolls as they are. But this avgolemono, lemon and egg, traditional sauce is the perfect accompaniment to this dish. Simona’s recipe of avgolemono is simple and delicious: I had never made it before but it was very easy to deliver.
Remember the sauce preparation must happen really quickly so have all your ingredients within easy reach. There should be about a cup of juices left in your pot from cooking and you will need all of it for your sauce.
Melt the butter in a small pot and mix in the flour well so that you have no lumps.
Then remove from the heat and mix in your egg yolk swiftly. Aim for a creamy mixture.
Immediately stir in the warm juices from the pot, little by little, constantly stirring on very low heat. Keep mixing until your sauce has thickened to the consistency of double cream.
Pour over your traditional cabbage rolls and enjoy!
With a recipe for a colourful, festive Quiche.
I am sitting here dunking a piece of Terkenlis caramel brioche cake (Tsoureki) in a mug of warm coffee and looking at the photos of yesterday’s New Year Eve dinner party. I want to keep them all. They capture our fantastic spread of dishes and the laughs, hugs and dance of all of those who shared the last hours of 2011 and the first moments of 2012 with us. My kitchen is still filled with leftovers from last night patiently awaiting the return of some of our guests for a New Year Day film night.
To my left there is a plate with the remains of a spinach quiche portion that I munched on for brunch. It is so delicious and as I recenty photographed the stages of Quiche making I thought I should share the recipe with you today.
I love New Year’s Day and its sweet, indulgent fatigue from the celebrations of the night before. For its freshness and glimpse of endless possibilities in the coming year. A big thank you to all our loved friends for offering us such warmth and joy yesterday. And a Happy New Year to all of you! Xxx
A recipe for a spinach quiche
It is easy to make quiche from scratch. I think quiche is a diverse and impressive dish, ideal for dinner parties and light lunches.
On New Year’s Eve, I experimented with wheat free organic flour to make a crunchy pastry. This was a lighter alternative to the traditional Pâte Brisée pastry using buttery margarine (mixed with buttermilk) instead of butter. If you don’t want to make the pastry you can put a quiche together in no time using ready-made short crust pastry from your local shop. If you want to make everything yourself you need approximately 1.5hrs.
For a wheat free short crust pastry prepared New Year’s Eve 2011
(from Doves Farm Organic)
300g gluten and wheat free plain white lour blend
150r margarine flavoured with Buttermilk (or plain margerine or butter)
2 pinches of salt
Mix the margarine with the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the water and knead the pastry lightly in a ball of pastry. Wrap the pastry in a cling film and leave to rest for 30 min.
For a Pâte Brisée pastry (from the SilverSpoon cook ‘bible’)
250g Plain flour, plus extra for dusting
175g butter, softened and diced
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 pinches of salt
Mix the sifted flour and salt with the butter. Rub with your fingers until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Shape into a mound and make a well in the centre. Add the egg and knead lightly with your hands. Wrap the pastry with cling film, flatten with a rolling pin and leave in the refrigerator for 30 min.
The dark colour of pastry in the images used for this blog is because I used Einkorn wholemeal plain flour in a previous occasion. Whilst this is tasty and very filling version of Pâte Brisée you might find it a lot heavier to digest than the white plain flour version.
For a colourful quiche filling
300gr Spinach or red chard
1 red pepper (either bell or sweet red pepper)
1 bunch of spring onions or a leek
4-5 mushrooms chopped (optional) or some chopped Kalamon olives optional
150-200g feta cheese
50g Cheddar or Parmesan cheese
Salt, pepper to season
2 pinches of nutmeg
250ml double cream
4 beaten eggs
Pinch of salt
Pick your pastry: ready made or one of the above recipes. Roll out on a floured surface or simply place into the baking dish with your fingers-this might be easier for the wheat free flour pastry, which is more crumbly. For this amount of pastry you need a 28cm (diameter) tart or quiche baking tray.
Blind bake the pastry for 15-20 minutes in a very hot preheated oven. To blind bake: lay some baking parchment on top of your pastry and fill tightly with baking beans. My baking beans are a large bag of tarka daal, which I keep in a large jar after blind baking and reuse.
Whilst the pastry is sitting or even whilst you are blind baking it, prepare your filling.
Fry the sliced spring onions or leek in a little bit of olive oil and add a pinch of salt. After a couple of minutes, add a sliced red pepper, and follow with the chopped mushrooms (if you are using). Add the roughly chopped spinach or red chard and sauté until it wilts. Sautéing all ingredients should take approximate 10 minutes. If you are using olives now is the time to add them. Add the nutmeg. When the mixture has cooled down crumble the feta cheese in and add the grated cheddar or parmesan cheese.
Mix the cream with the 4 beaten eggs. Add some freshly grated pepper.
Once your pastry is prebaked remove the baking beans and baking paper, and lay the spinach or chard filling evenly on the base. Pour the cream and egg mixture. Bake in 180 degrees Celsius , gas mark 4, for 40minutes.
Once baked cool for at least 15 minutes before removing from the baking tray and slicing.
Cauliflowers are in season in Britain from September till May and can be found in abundance at greengrocers and farmers markets in the winter months. It is an ideal vegetable to be creative with: from experimenting with variances of the infamous cauliflower cheese dish to imaginative salad and soup recipes.
We have prepared the soup of pearl a couple of times in our home this autumn and winter. This soup is an ideal winter dish for the week before Christmas if you want to keep your meals light but satisfying. Or it might be the perfect accompaniment for your turkey leftovers in the coming weeks.
This Lia’s kitchen recipe was inspired by two recipes from Skye Gyngell and Delia Smith found in Soup Kitchen, a soup recipe book edited by Thomasina Miers and Annabel Buckingham. The recipes are inspired by the combination of cauliflower and blue cheese that give the soup an iridescent white pearl tint and its characteristic flavour.
My favourite cheese for the soup is Pearl Las (from Caws Cenarth Cheese Company), an unexpectedly different Welsh cheese: a blue Caerphilly cheese. You can use Dolcelatte or Roquefort instead of Pearl Las: these are the cheeses used in the original recipes that inspired this meal.
The bread of preference for this soup is homemade and wholemeal Irish soda bread. Once the bread is in the oven the preparation of your soup should not take much longer than its baking and cooling down time (approx. 45 min). Your meal should be ready in an hour and could feed 4 people as a main (including seconds).
Recipes and preparation
For the Irish Soda Bread I have used and adapted a BBC Food recipe from James Martin:
170gr self raising wholemeal flour
170gr Einkorn or other plain flour
½ tsp salt
1/1 tsp bicarbonate soda
This is the easiest and quickest bread to make. I use plain Einkorn and self raising wheat flours, both organic and wholemeal. Don’t worry if you don’t have buttermilk: you can make it yourself by adding the juice of one lemon in 250ml or more of milk. If your milk does not seem to thicken just add a bit more lemon juice. Mix all ingredients together and knead briefly in a lightly flowered area. I make one round bread and cut a cross in the middle. Before baking I sprinkle the top and bottom of the loaf with more Einkorn wholemeal flour. The bread bakes in 30 minutes 200 degrees Celsius. Serve warm with butter.
One of my favourite butters to have with warm or toasted bread is Calonwen Organic slightly salted butter, made in Wales by a dairy cooperative of 20 organic farmers.
For the soup of pearl for 4-6 people:
2 medium to large cauliflowers
25 gr of butter (plus a tbspn at the end)
Fresh Thyme (dry will do if you don’t have any)
4 heaped tbspns of crème fraiche or more
3 bays leaves
1 large leek
1 Celery stick (optional)
1-2 medium potatoes peeled and cubed
250gr or more of Pearl Las Cheese or Dolcelatte
Some ground nutmeg (optional)
At least 3 litres of stock
A large pot that can fit 2.5 litres of water and soul (makes about 5 litres of soup)
Sauté the leek, onions and bay leaves in your pot in low heat for 10 minutes. Season with some salt and pepper. Add celery and some of the thyme and continue for a couple of minutes. Then add the cubed potato or potatoes, the florets of cauliflower and the green stalks. Waste none of the cauliflower, the green leaves of the vegetable add to the taste and make a fantastic stock. After sautéing for another couple of minutes fill the pot with 3 litres of boiling water or stock. You can use chicken or vegetable stock. I prefer using organic and yeast free bouillon stock. Simmer the cauliflower for 20-30 minutes or until all ingredients are tender. Take the soup of the hob and add the crème fraiche, half the cheese or more, season with some more salt and pepper and nutmeg if you would like. Cream the soup with a handheld food processor or blender in the pot. Adjust seasoning to your taste. I usually end up putting more crème fraiche and some more cheese.
For the pear relish
3 conference pears
1 tbsp or more sugar
A bit of butter (25gr)
Some red wine
Some cider or red wine vinegar (75 ml)
Fresh lemon thyme or dry thyme
Whilst the soup is cooking: Peel, core and chop the pears and apple and place in preheated pot with the melted butter. Add some thyme. Soften the fruit on the heat for 5 minutes add the sugar followed by the wine, and vinegar after a couple of minutes. Simmer at very low heat for 10 minutes or until the fruit is soft and there is enough thicken relish juice for the soup.
This relish makes the soup very special as its sweet and sour flavour nicely contrasts the creamy and savoury soup. I would advise you make double the relish if you have guests. You will notice that people keep reaching out for it.
Two pie recipes: leek and spinach, olives and chard fillings
Just a few days after I wrote that I ‘hardly ever shop in town these days’ I found myself on a rare lunch break prowl in Cardiff City centre looking for the basic ingredients of an evening meal for two of my East Side ladies Del Roath, Alice and Emma.
Gathering basic ingredients
I stopped at Pipi’s Greek Café and Deli to get my two basic ingredients: filo pastry and lots of feta cheese. Pipi’s is run by first and second generation Cardiff Corfu-ites and stocks a good range of Greek products in its Deli corner ranging from various types of Feta (Vermio, Dodoni, Kolios), to olives, Greek pasta and even kourampiedes. Filo pastry is sold frozen to retain its moisture and freshness but needs to be thoroughly defrosted in room temperature before cooking, so my timing was perfect: 5 full hours for defrosting at work were allowed but 2 hours in warm room would have been enough.
Feta cheese is one my favourite ingredients and literally translates to slice. Although it is usually just made of ewe’s milk, there are as many varieties of feta as its producers and regions of Greece. It can be creamier or crumblier and sometimes with a strong hint of sweetness depending on the hillsides and pastures the sheep or goats graze on. For my pies Pipi’s offered me feta from Vermio, North West Greece and filo pastry imported from near Thessaloniki where I was born and raised.
On my way back to work I stopped at Cardiff Central Market in haste. I love visiting this beautiful Victorian market building that is home to one of the few remaining fishmongers in Cardiff and where, at its 1st floor balcony, quality LP lovers are at luck. Unfortunately, last week, I only had time to stop for some salad leaves and cherry tomatoes.
Introducing the ladies…
Alice and Emma are my neighbours. I forget how long I have known Alice for and it seems irrelevant. We haven’t always socialised regularly. I have worked, danced, talked and shared food, and most importantly shared moments of my life with Alice, and that I always enjoy doing with this lady. And Emma, who I met through Alice, I have just known for a few months only but I really enjoy getting to know her.
For this first episode of Ladies Del Roath I prepared two different pies, one with leek and cheese and another with olives and rainbow chard. We savoured the pies with lettuce and tomato salad, a bottle of Primitivo red wine from Puglia, Italy and in the musical company of Eartha Kitt and Dinah Washington.
Recipes and preparation
Leek and Spinach filling
Leek and cheese pies had rarely been just that at our home when I was growing up as mom would usually add spinach or other wild greens. But for my version of a leek and cheese pie I used 1 onion and a gigantic organic leek (the equivalent of 4 medium leeks). I sautéed the finely sliced onion in some olive oil , a pinch of salt and a tea spoon of unrefined caster sugar until it almost caramelised. I added the thinly sliced leek and cooked for another 5 minutes or until it was softened. After cooling the mixture I crumbled 250-300gr of feta in and added plenty of freshly ground pepper. I added 2 beaten eggs, as usual, but this time I also added two tablespoons of crème fraiche for a creamier filling. You can also use yoghurt or skip this step.
Olive and chard filling
For the olive and chard pie, I sautéed a finely sliced leek, threw in 5-6 halved cherry tomatoes and about 100-150gr of roughly chopped pitted olives (preferably Kalamata variety but other similar types of brown olives will do), and added 500gr chopped rainbow chard (stalks removed) to cook for about 10 minutes. Sometimes I like using rainbow chard instead of spinach because of its tenderness, mellow flavour and beautiful colours. I find it regularly at Roath farmers’ market at the Blencaemel Farm stall.
To finish off this filling I crumbled 250-300gr of feta cheese, and added a handful of grated cheddar and plenty of freshly grated pepper. No eggs this time! s
Preparation and Baking
Whilst the fillings were cooking I prepared the pie dishes. In my kitchen I use 25cmx 30 or 35cm baking trays for pies. I separate my filo pastry pack leaves in half: for the bottom and the top half of the pie. For 2 pies I used 2 packs of Greek imported filo pastry. I use at least 12 filo pastry leaves for each pie. Most imported pastry packs have 12 or more leaves but the ones you get from supermarkets like Sainsbury might only have six.
Lightly oil the baking tray with a brush before laying the first pastry leaf and then continue by lightly oiling each filo and continuing to layer the first half of the pie (6 or more leaves). I prefer that the filing goes in the middle and then I lay the rest of the pastry leaves as before. You might find other recipes, which require more filling added every couple of leaves.
At the end of the layering process I always fold the edges of the pastry leaves in to secure the filling and create a pie crust. I get rid off excess filo to avoid a dry and flaky pie crust. To finish off the pies for our ladies Del Roath meal, I tried two different toppings. For the leek and cheese pie I melted a knob of butter in 4 tbspns of milk and poured that on the pie starting from the crust edges and topped with sesame seeds. For the olive and chard pie I glazed with some beaten egg and tipped any excess off. Before putting the pies in the oven I pre,cut them into 6 large portion. This allows better cooling down and easier serving after the pie is cooked.
The pies cooked in a preheated oven for about 30-45 minutes, at 170-180 Celsius or Gas Mark 4. If the pie browns too quickly cover with some aluminium foil. And please make sure that the bottom of the pie is cooked before removing.
These ingredients made 12 large portions of pie. There was plenty left over for one hungry man and lunch for two the next day.
Note: I take most recipe cooking times as indicative as ovens differ. My oven is unreliable so I have learnt to adjust cooking time and temperatures. I always set an alarm to go 10 minutes before the indicated cooking time to double check that everything is still going to plan.
What a lazy and leisurely weekend this one is! Yesterday’s weekly pilgrimage to Roath farmers market filled our kitchen with vegetable and meat essentials for the week. We still get surprised at how much cheaper than we thought the local or organic produce at the market is. For example, you can get a dozen of free-range fresh eggs from Nantgwared farm for £2.40 and organic eggs for a similar price. From my experience fresh means fresh at Roath farmers market. Or at the end of each month you can get 3 home cooked ready meals for £10 at Clare’s Plant2Plate stall, which is what I call healthy and economic convenience food. The stallholders have quite a few farmers markets in South Wales to keep them busy and ensure that the produce on sale is regularly renewed. Did you know that you can find out which farmers market is closest to you at the farmers market wales website?
I love living in Roath. It is such a beautiful and friendly neighbourhood, so central yet almost like a little independent market town. I hardly ever find myself shopping in town these days. Roath’s streets are lined with charity shops where we go on outfit treasure hunts. There are so many health shops, coffee shops, household shops, pharmacies and grocery stores as well as your usual supermarket chairs. You can definitely keep busy all weekend particularly as you are guaranteed to stop and talk to someone you know every couple of minutes! Roath allows me to come a step closer to the way I would like to live my life: shop local, support healthy local business activity, walk or ride rather than drive and spend less money on clothes and non-essential goods.
One of my regular destinations during the weekend is Spice of Life, at the very beginning of Inverness Place in Roath. Spice of Life, run by Gareth, is a cornucopia of spices, seeds, nuts as well as various pastas, pulses and basic cooking ingredients. This weekend we stocked up on some Italian coffee, almonds and pearl cous cous, which we used for our Saturday evening meal.
We were ravenous by the time we returned home as we also stopped at the Record Store, one of Cardiff’s independent record stores, which I left elated carrying two LPs , one of Eartha Kit and one of Pink Floyd, and Sho Gallery, where Dan is putting up some work, the kind that makes you giggle!
This is one of the most satisfying omelettes I ‘ve made. Pomlette is new to my kitchen because I had never used potato flour before yesterday but the use of flour in omelette is not. I have added different types of flour to omelette mixtures a few times for a more filling version of the dish and to create an interesting cross between pancake and omelette. I have also read about many vegan omelette recipes using chickpea flour instead of egg, which could mean that if you mix flour and eggs you need less eggs and could be making a healthier version of an omelette . Omelette purists might tell you it is unacceptable to add flour to an omelette. But then again why not ignore them and try this recipe? And if you do tell me how you like it?
- 4 Nantgwared farm eggs
- 4 finely sliced spring onions
- 1 sweet yellow or red pepper
- 1 large garlic clove crashed
- a couple of pinches smoked paprika
- ½ to ¾ cup of milk
- 3 heaped tablespoons of potato flour
- Grated cheddar cheese
- salt and pepper
- Use a hand mixer to make a smooth mixture with the eggs, milk and potato flour adding a few pinches of salt and pepper.
- Sautee the onions, the sweet pepper with the sweet paprika and just before adding the mixture throw in the garlic.
- Cook in a 20-25cm wide non-stick frying pan for 4 minutes before adding the grated cheese.
- Either continue cooking for another 4 minutes as is or fold and flip for another 4 minutes on both sides – until firm but not completely dry.
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