Don’t You Worry Child

Gosh well its been a crazy few weeks. I can’t believe how busy I have been with work and kids and divorce rubbish and Christmas and New Year and well you know..

November flew by and I think my son spent half of it wearing his Halloween costume! We finally  extracted Rufus from his Giraffe Costume after nearly 2 weeks of solid back to back wearing.  He finally allowed it to go into the washing machine when assured Giraffe would not get dizzy. Tilda did the honours holding the offending piece of material away from her muttering “this is sooo going in the wash”.

Halloween done and dusted and then we were hurtling towards Christmas. My ultimate favrouite time of year. I know I have said it before but my god I just love it. Its not just the food and the best excuse ever to spend 3 days cooking, baking and prepping for the best roast dinner ever. Its the fairy lights and the tree and children’s excitement. It is palpable..Plus the best threat ever for bedtime best behaviour…”Father Christmas is watching you”…Admitedly I do kind of start using that threat around the end of October. I took a ton of photos of the Christmas festivities and will upload them very soon.

Recently I was invited to meet an Atomic Kitten whip up some fabulous Florida Grapefruit inspired dishes. Liz McClarnon was really lovely and funny and what a great afternoon. We had a little segment the grapefruit competition and then Liz demoed 3 recipes, A Florida Grapefruit Fajita Platter with a fresh and sunny salsa, Honeyed Florida grapefruit with pancetta, goats cheese and pine nuts and also a fresh Florida grapefruit, lime and mint sorbet. All delicious and different.

All really simple to make and delicious. I learn’t loads about this delicious fruit. I know everyone thinks Grapefruit is bitter and needs to be slathered in sugar. I remember my mother religiously slicing hers in half every morning and shaking spoonfuls of sugar over it then placing it under the grill.

Florida Grapefruit however is sweet and juicy and easy to peel and delicious. Its in season from November to March/April.  Don’t get the ones from Cyprus or Turkey or wherever. It was a lovely afternoon and brought a bit of summer to a dreary winters day.

I leave you with a few photos of the event and also Liz’s recipes.

Have a wonderful Weekend.

Rachelle x

Liz chopping 2 copy Grapefruit segments copy Florida grapefruit salad copy Florida grapefruit fajitas copy Eating sorbets copy Liz and florida grapefruit fajitas copy

Liz McClarnon’s Florida grapefruit recipe

Honeyed Florida grapefruit with pancetta, goats cheese and pine nuts

Serves 4

Ingredients

6 slices pancetta
2tbsp olive oil
2 small knobs butter
4-5tsp honey
1 Florida grapefruit, peeled and segmented by hand (not a knife)
3tbsp balsamic vinegar
2tsp Dijon mustard
Handful of pine nuts
Salt and pepper
Bag of salad leaves
150g goat’s cheese, sliced
Method

1. Fry the pancetta in 1tbsp of the oil in a pan until nice and crispy, then place onto kitchen paper to drain off any excess oil.

2. Wipe out the same pan with more kitchen paper to get rid of the excess oil. Add the remaining oil, 1 small knob of the butter and about 2-3tsp honey. Mix it up a little, then add the Florida grapefruit segments to the pan (they need to be in their original segments and not cut to prevent them falling apart when cooking). Stir and make sure they are coated and caramelised (that should take about 4 min), then add 1tbsp of the balsamic vinegar. Put the segments to one side so you can use the pan again.
4. To the pan, add the remaining knob of butter, the remaining balsamic vinegar, the Dijon mustard, the remaining 2tsp honey, the pine nuts and season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix everything together and heat through for about 2 min.
5. Make up the salad: cut the pancetta into bite-sized pieces. Place the salad leaves onto four plates, then add the caramelised Florida grapefruit, the goat’s cheese, the pancetta and pour over the dressing to serve.

Per serving

341kcal

12g protein

26.4g fat

10.6g saturates

14.5g carbs

14.2g sugar

1.5g fibre

1.4g salt

22mg vitamin C

0.2mcg vitamin D

 

Florida grapefruit fajitas platter with sunny salsa

Serves 4

Ingredients

4tbsp squeezed Florida grapefruit juice

4tbsp fresh lime juice

Pinch of salt and pepper

1tsp all-purpose seasoning
2tbsp olive oil

1 red and 1 yellow pepper, seeds removed and cut into strips
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
450g lean beef, cut into strips
8 tortillas
1 avocado, peeled and stone removed

120ml reduced-fat sour cream
75g cheddar cheese, grated

For the sunny salsa:

3 tomatoes, chopped

1 onion, peeled and diced

2 mild chillies, seeds removed and finely diced

Fresh chopped coriander

½ Florida grapefruit, peeled and finely chopped

Pinch of salt

1tsp lime juice and water

1. In a large food bag, combine the Florida grapefruit and lime juices, salt and pepper, all-purpose seasoning and 1tbsp of the olive oil. Add the beef, seal the bag, and squeeze the marinade together so that it covers the meat. Put in the fridge for a few hours to marinate.

2. Add all the Florida salsa ingredients to a bowl, mix and set aside.

3. Heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet pan. Cook the peppers and onion until soft and brown, then add the beef strips and cook until browned. Place in a serving dish together.

4. Heat the tortillas according to the pack instructions.

5. Slice the avocado lengthways and place in a serving dish and put the sour cream grated cheese in dishes

6. Place everything on the table so everyone can dig in.

Per serving

721kcal

42.2g protein

27.5g fat

9.8g saturates

79.9g carbs

18.2g sugar

9.8g fibre

2g salt

158mg vitamin C

0.6mcg vitamin D

 

Florida grapefruit, lime and mint sorbet

 

Serves 6

Ingredients

200g sugar

Juice of 5 Florida grapefruit plus zest of 2

Juice and zest of 5 limes

1 bunch finely chopped mint, plus sprigs to decorate

Method

1. Put the sugar in a pan with 275ml water and bring to the boil. Then turn down the heat and simmer for about 5 min. Leave to cool.

2. In a bowl, mix the cooled sugared water with the Florida grapefruit and lime juices and zest, and the chopped mint.

3. Transfer to a freezer-proof dish, cover and pop into the freezer for 2 hours, stirring it about 3-4 times during this time.

4. Serve in glasses, decorated with fresh mint sprigs

 

Per serving

156kcal

0.4g protein

0.1g fat

0g saturates

40.8g carbs

40.7g sugar

0g fibre

0g salt

25mg vitamin C

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In Sickness and In Health

I’m sitting at the breakfast bar, having dragged my sick tired body out of bed. I have been floored by a horrendous virus. It literally knocked me sideways and I did not get out of bed for three days! Anyway I am actually out of bed. Its amazing, My lovely child minder (and nursemaid for the duration) is bustling around gathering coats ready for the school run.  Lola gives me a hug goodbye and then looks at me. “Mummy, when we get back from school can you not be wearing, socks, pants, vest…” she then gestures with a look of disdain on her face, “and this” “This” is a very comfy very oversized cardigan “Can you please wear a dress”

Having been told, I got dressed and stepped outside for the first time in days. It took me five times longer to do anything but I managed to shop for my Mexican Class.  I really enjoyed teaching this class. A really lovely couple who were enthusiastic and very able. We cooked an authentic chilli, no kidney beans in sight here, just good quality beef and a ton of Mexican dried chilli’s. Its so simple and so delicious when you make it you will not make chilli any other way.  We made salsa by charring the vegetables and the chillies and whizzing them with lime and garlic. Its surprising how different the salsas tasted when each person made their own. We also make Churros. Its a donut  Deep fried batter dipped in chocolate, how can that be wrong?

Due to my incapacitated state I haven’t really cooked anything this week. Next week I will be recipe testing and also baking a birthday cake for my childminder…Shhh don’t tell her.

I leave you with a recipe for chicken noodle soup..It was the first thing I ate when I began to feel better. It is totally simple and so comforting and f I am ever feeling, under the weather or in need of comfort this is the recipe I always turn to.

Have a wonderful week.

Rachelle x

A simple chicken quesadilla

Spicy charred veg salsas

Churros

 

 Chicken Noodle Soup

Not really a recipe more of a list of four things and you heat them up. Simple and restorative the best kind of healing food. This recipe is for one person.

Ingredients

  •  A handful of cooked chicken, shredded off the bone
  • Good quality chicken stock, but don’t beat yourself up if you use a stock cube
  • A handful of Gigli pasta noodles. You can use your favourite noodle.
  • Salt and Pepper

Heat up the stock in a small saucepan, add your chicken. When the stock is hot and simmering add the noodles. Simmer until the noodles are cooked. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 


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Quando Quando Quando…..

I feel like its been an eternity since I have put fingers to (very broken) keyboard.  I have had the busiest two weeks with work and kids. I will never complain of course, but wow last week was a perfect storm of all my income streams.  I assisted Lisa with a shoot on Monday then taught a Thai Class on Tuesday and then made a ton of flowers for a wedding at the weekend…

Due to my crazy schedule this week I found myself making really quick suppers, literally chucking things in a pan for the kids. One pot dishes are a saviour in times like this and luckily my kids are always keen to see what concoction mum has thrown together. I made a great chick pea and cabbage dish this week. I know it sounds odd but savoy cabbage shredded and sautéed in olive oil and garlic with a pinch of fennel seeds is divine. I then threw in some chick peas (for carbs mainly) and some chorizo which was knocking about in the back of the fridge. You can use anything really, ham, or bacon would be wonderful too.

I also found myself in auto pilot on my one free day and made some pizza dough. I then threw a tin of tomatoes into a saucepan and reduced them down a little. I spread it on the dough and add whatever is in the fridge. As long as there is cheese you can pretty much make up any kind of topping.  The left over dough (if there is any) can be turned into a flat bread. I just roll it into thin ovals press some caraway seeds on one side. Then put it in a very lightly buttered frying pan and dry fry it for 3 mins on each side then brush with butter. We had them with a lamb tagine, another simple one pot dish.

I leave you with the recipe for the lamb tagine. I also hope you have a wonderful rest of the week.

Rachelle x

 Lamb Tagine

It looks like a ton of ingredients they all just get thrown in the pot. Do omit the dates and the almonds if you wish.

  •  Shoulder of lamb diced  (1kilo)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 medium onions (300 g), finely sliced
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground turmeric (=curcuma in French)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon chilli powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 375ml chicken stock
  • 250 ml water
  • 85 g seedless dates, halved
  • 60ml honey
  • 80 g blanched almonds, toasted
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh coriander leaves

 

Directions:

  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in pan, add lamb in batched, cook, stirring, until browned; drain on absorbent paper.
  2. Heat remaining oil in same pan, add onions, garlic and spices, cook, stirring, until onions are soft.
  3. Return lamb to pan with stock and water, simmer, covered, 1 hour.  Remove lid, simmer about 30 minutes or until mixture is thickened slightly and chicken is tender.  Stir in dates, honey, and nuts; sprinkle with fresh coriander.
  4. Serve over rice or couscous.

 

 

 


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A Weeks Work

Last week was pretty hectic,  I taught a Mexican Class on Tuesday night. It was a small class just 4 people, they didn’t know each other but all got along really well.  They made, an Authentic Mexican Chilli, they had never seen the dried Mexican Chillis before and they were really surprised that they all had very different flavours and colours. I love the Mulatto Chilli, it has an almost blackcurrant aroma. I put one of those in just because I love the smokiness of the flavour. They also made various Salsa’s, using different methods, grating chopping and Charring the fresh veg.

We all agreed that charring the fresh veg was the most delicious, whizzed up in a food processor with some chopped coriander. So simple but wow its addictive.

 

Lisa and I shot the Gluten Free Canapés on Friday and Saturday they look amazing, I will post a few pictures when Lisa has finished Post Production.

 


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Madi’s Party

Lisa then came with me on Sunday to Stirring Stuff to shoot me in action for Madi’s Birthday Party. She had 11 of her friends come and we made Pasta and Sticky Gooey Puddings. They were a great bunch of kids, really quick learners and they made really really good pasta. I was totally impressed. Her lovely mum Jeni sent me this. Makes me happy.

Rachelle

Can I just take this opportunity to thank you and your team for giving Madi a great party on Sunday. Everyone had a wonderful time, and you were a perfect host. I loved Lisa’s sparkle too. You make a great team and I really wish you every success for the future.

 

 

Half Hour Pasta

  • 300g strong ‘00’ flour
  • A pinch of salt
  • 3 large eggs

Put the flour and salt into a large bowl.

Break the eggs into a jug and whisk together.

Make a well in the flour and pour in all of the egg. Mix well with a wooden spoon to form a dough.

Tip the dough onto a clean work surface and knead until a bit softer and smoother. Cover in cling film and place in the fridge to rest for half an hour.

With a rolling pin roll the pasta into an oblong and pass through the pasta machine at the widest level.

Fold the pasta in three and with the folded edges outwards roll and pass through the machine at the widest setting again but this time leave a 3 cm overhang in the machine.  Press the ends well together to form a band and pass through the machine at the widest wetting once more. When the join is reached reduce the width by one and continue in this vane until the pasta is as thin as you wish. Cut and cook or store.

To cook bring a large pan of salted water to the boil add the pasta and a tablespoon olive oil and bring rapidly back to the boil with the pan lid on. Boil for 3-4 minutes until al dente. Drain and serve.

Flavoured pasta

For the above amount:

1 teaspoon tomato paste

½ small beetroot pureed

A pinch of saffron strands

 

 


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