Posts Tagged With: travel

Goodbye Buster (The Worlds Coolest Cat) and Big Hello from Spain!

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Buster (aka, Buzzy, Buzz-man, Buzzeroonie, Buzz face, Raja, Buzzer, Buzzoid, Buzzeroo, Busty, Little Tiger………and other pet names) has left the building. He is the most wonderful little guy, but we are now in Puerto Mazzaron, Spain and soon to be in India for an extended period and we couldn’t find a way of keeping him close.

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We managed to find a brilliant home for the Buzzman in the next valley, real animal lovers.  The first night he went to his new home, he made his way back over the mountains at night and turned up at the back door, a little peckish.  He must have used the stars as a map to make his way across the streams and hills, its around 5 miles away.  What a little grey star he is!

Just looking at our recent lack of posts makes us very ashamed of our behaviour. We miss the posts but have been busy with other exciting projects, more about these very soon…….  We have been cooking shiny food all the time and have a huge backlog of photographs and recipes to post, we just need a little time and internet access (which always helps!)

Much Love from us and have a magical festive timeXXXXXX

 

Categories: 'The Good Life' | Tags: , , , , ,

Rainbow Chard & Red Lentil Harira

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Harira on the hob

We regularly have an identity crisis with dishes, turning traditional fare on its head, ‘Beach House-ing’ things you could say.  We don’t mean it, no offence to the original recipes and food heritage in question, its just we like to play in the kitchen.  Here’s another traditional recipe we have messed about with, thankfully the results were rather delicious.

The best harira I have ever had was for breakfast (regularly) in the village of Chefchaeoun, known to many a traveller for its exceptional soup, jalaba (hooded cloak garment worn by most Moroccans) production and wonderful mountain location.  Its small winding streets hide many a wonderful eating experience, rows of blue houses (yes blue!) make this one of the most distinctive and stunning villages in that vast old land.

I moved there for a while, took up residence in a room situated on the walls of the Hamam (the communal bath), the warmest room in town.  You see its high up there and you wake chilled to the bone and needing a serious bowl of spicy sustenance.  Abdullah provided.

He was a wonderful cook, in nothing more than a space between two buildings, a few squat tables and two gas burners with huge steel pots, Abdullah created the authentic Moroccan dining experience for breakfast, lunch and dinner.  It was like a French Bistro without the pretense and price tag.  My kind of joint for sure.

For a few pennies, Abdullah would dish you up an epic bowl of full-on morning ammunition, sometimes with a tooth-less smile that shifted the early morning fug.  This hearty soup fuelled me on many a hike around the Rif Mountains and also on days spent lounging around playing card games with other punks holed up there. It came with a wedge of steaming flat bread, fruity olive oil and a small bowl of freshly ground cumin to use liberally.  I sat wearing my Jalaba (the over enthusiastic tourist that I am) eating with the local men in silence, canteen style.  No women.  In Morocco cafes and restaurants seem to be a male only thing.

Chefchaouen

I like cooking soups, its a soulful pursuit.  You don’t have to be to precious, there are rules, but not many, a little like Morocco itself.  This is the situation where I feel nice and comfortable.

Recipe Notes

Add just  2 cups of water to make this a hearty stew.

As with all soups/ stews, depending on the quality of your veggies, you many need to add some vegetable stock if the flavour is thin on the ground.

Here’s to you Abdullah.  Peace be with you.  Hamdullah!

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Rainbow Chard and Red Lentil Harira

The Bits – For 4 bowls

1 1/2 cup dried chickpeas (soaked and cooked)

750ml fresh water (or vegetable stock)

1 tbs olive oil

1 1/2  inch fresh ginger (finely diced)

3 cloves garlic (minced)

1 large onion (finely diced)

1 yellow pepper (diced)

3 ripe tomatoes (with flavour)

3 cups chopped rainbow chard (stems separated from the leaves)

1 teas ground turmeric

1 1/2 teas smoked paprika

1/2 teas ground cinnamon

2 teas cumin seeds

3 tbs tomato paste

1 lemon (cut into wedges)

2 tbs gram flour (or flour of your choice)

1 handful fresh coriander leaves (leaves picked, stems chopped)

1 cup red lentils

3 dates (finely chopped)

1 teas fresh ground pepper

2 teas sea salt

 

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Harira bubblin’ away

Do It

Soak your chickpeas overnight in a saucepan.  Drain and refresh with new water, well covered.  Add 1/4 teas bicarb of soda (this makes them soft and cook quicker), bring to a boil and lower heat.  Vigorously simmer for 20 minutes or until chickpeas are tender.

Warm the oil in a thick bottomed sauce pan, add your onions and cumin seeds and saute the onions for a few minutes until glassy, add garlic, pepper and ginger, stir for a couple of minutes and then add all chard stems (add earlier if they are a little tough), flour and spices, stir and warm through for a minute and now add your tomatoes, dates, lentils, tomato paste, warm through for a minute then add your water/ chickpea juice. Bring to a rolling boil and turn down heat to the lowest setting, add your chickpeas and leave to simmer for 20 minutes.

When ready to serve, bring back to just about boiling, add your chard leaves and coriander stems.  Re-cover and allow to cook for a few minutes.  Check seasoning.

Serve

A lemon wedge, topped with coriander leaves and a good glug of good olive oil.  Add green olives and brown rice to the table if you’d like to make this dinner.

For a special touch, we have it sprinkled with roasted and chopped almonds.

We Love It!

With winter lurking up the hill, we are getting back to our hearty soups.  Harira is definately one of our fav’s and it is very cool when you have pleasant memories attached to a dish.  Food has amazing transporting properties, the sights and tastes so evocative and alive in memories.

Foodie Fact

Spices are much more than just incredible tasting, the vast majority boast some quite brilliant health properties (as long as we don’t burn them in the pan).

Turmeric is a root similar to ginger and in its raw state has very potent flavour, its wonderful stuff.  Dried is the best we can normally do on this island.  It is peppery and sweet, warm and bitter and has even been likened to orange peel (if very fresh indeed).

Now the nitty gritty and real magic.  Turmeric is anti-microbial, anti-flatulent and strongly anti-bacterial. POW!

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Heavy plate version with rice, olives, fresh coriander and lashings of olive oil

Categories: Autumn, Recipes, Soups, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Egyptian Ful Medames

We have hardly been prolific of late, both of us busy as bees.  Things are about to change.  Raw Earth Month is about to commence, more of that later.

It’s great to be getting back in the blog flow, so I thought I’d start with a simple little stew that we love, get warmed up gently.  So its semi-official, the Beach House is back and in many ways, better than ever!!!!!!!

I love broad beans.  They are surprisingly one of Britian’s most ancient crops and we used to make bread out of it until our seafaring sorts brought wheat to these shore.  I haven’t tried broad bean bread, but it sounds mighty.

This is a simple stew and ideal for a midweek dinner, hearty and superbly healthy, it also only takes a short time to prepare.

This may well be the national dish of Egypt, but it’s also served throughout North Africa and the Middle East.  Ful (I like to mispronounce it ‘fool’) Medames is a rich, spiced stew that was a true food revelation when I ate it in Cairo old town all those years ago (seven to be exact).  The food of Egypt was a pleasant surprise, as it does not have the reputation of say Lebanon or Iran.  I can think of one little restaurant, buffet style, with fresh flat bread, heavenly light hummus and a large dollop of this on a steel plate.  You can keep your Michelin star joints, this was real food, heart and soul.  They also showed very entertaining Egyptian TV and a beautiful recitation of the Koran, it was a multi-media feast.

This dish is equalled by an Arabian recipe, heavy on the tahini and tomato, which transports broad (fava) beans to something supreme.  I’ll be whipping that up in the future for sure.  Broad beans have such a great, chewy texture, they are great fodder for visiting meat eaters and would sate any ravenous carnivore, especially if you serve topped with a fried egg and lashing of warm bread.  YUM, YUM……

Alas, we live halfway up the hill in sunny Wales and my duty in the Beach House Kitchen it to bring the flavours of the world into our lovely little cottage.  Last night it was flavours of the pharaohs that we dined on and no, we were not walking like an Egyptian afterwards.

 

The Bits – For 6-8

1kg whole dried fava beans, 3 garlic clove (blended), 1 red onion (blended), 50g fresh coriander, 25g fresh parsley, 1 large lemons (juice and zest), 1 small hot chilli (finely sliced), 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 3 heaped tsp cumin seeds, 700ml good tomato passata, 3 heaped tsp tomato puree
3 heaped tsp brown sugar, 100ml olive oil, sea salt and black pepper

Add a tablespoon of light tahini for added richness.

Do It

Soak the beans overnight. Drain, place in a pan, cover with plenty of water and cook for around one hour until tender.

Toast cumin seeds for 3 minutes in a hot frying pan, no oil, pop in a pestle and mortar and grind (ground cumin is also fine, but just not as good)

Blend the onion and garlic in a food processor, then fry gently in a little oil. Meanwhile, chop and mix the herbs, oil, lemon juice, chilli and spices.

Add this mixture to the onions and garlic, then cook for a few minutes. Add the passata and tomato puree plus 100ml of fresh water, which you can first use to wash the remains of the passata out of the jar or packet it came in.

Cook for a ten more minutes and then add the beans. Continue to simmer and taste – adjust seasoning with sugar, salt and pepper. The beans will be ready as soon as the seasoning is balanced and the sauce is nice and thick.

Serve

Eat straight away or allow it to cool, divide into portions and freeze. It’s traditionally eaten with warm pitta bread, plus tomato and cucumber salad.

We Love It!

I love bringing the flavours of the bustling streets of Cairo into our quiet little kitchen.  Food evokes so many memories of travel for me and these flavours are allow me to relive days and nights in more exotic times.  I love Wales, but its good to mix things up, regularly.

Foodie Fact

Broad beans offer awesome levels of fibre, keeping the belly and below very happy.  They are full of folate, which lessens heart issues and other nasty diseases.  A cup of broad beans contains 40% of your daily iron (and fibre) and is a brilliant source of lean protein.  They are also easy to grow and even grow well in our windswept veg patch.

In times of doubt, refer to cat.

In times of doubt, refer to cat.

Categories: Dinner, Recipes, Stew, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Panamanian Breakfast Plantains

Panamanian Plantains

Panamanian Plantains

Jane’s favoutrite breakfast that she learnt to cook all the way in sunny Panama. Jane went over earlier in the year and stayed with the wonderful Kammie, after which, inspiration flowed freely for news ways of eating. Kammie is a brilliant cook and only eats the finest, healthiest foods on the planet. After years of seeking and experimenting, Kammie’s food combinations are top banana!

Plantains are the prime source of carbohydrates in many countries where they are mainly used like a potato.  A plantain fritter is a thing of heavenly flavour and crispness, but you can only eat one and then lie down for a while.  They are rich!

This is a simple breakfast dish, we don’t want to be messing around in the kitchen too much at this time of year, especially at breakfast time. Plantains are easy to come by in Britain and are distinctly different from their cousin, the humble banana. Get a nice soft yellow plantain ideally, which will be sweet, but not quite as sweet as a banana. You may also use green un-ripened plantains here, just add a little honey or brown sugar to the pan just before serving and stir in. Unripened plantains have a potato-like texture and flavour which is savoury and delicious.

We love to use coconut oil as it is the healthy alternative to almost any other oil.  It does have slight coconut flavour, which suits us just fine, but can clash with some dishes.  Read more about the wonders of coconut oil here.

The yoghurt here adds a wonderful creamy Caribbean flavour to breakfast, a great way to start any day.  Bring on the palm trees!

Beach Janie - somewhere in Panama

Beach Janie – somewhere in Panama

The Bits

2 plantains per person (depending on size, some are massive), 2 teas cinnamon, 2 tbs coconut oil

To serve – Yoghurt of choice (we used organic soya yoghurt), 2 tbs coconut cream

Do It

Half the plantains length ways, heat the coconut oil in a frying pan and place the plantians in flat side down.  Fry for a couple of minutes each side and turn over, they should be nicely golden on the outside and soft in the middle.

Place on a plate with some kitchen roll and mop up any excess oil.

The yoghurt is simple, mix the coco cream with the yoghurt.

Serve

Warm and sprinkled with cinnamon and a nice blob of coco yoghurt.

We Love It!

Brings a little bit of Panama sun to our little Welsh home, much needed on many Sunday mornings.

Foodie Fact

Plantains contain more vitamin A and C than bananas, they are also rich in the vitamin B’s.  As we all know by now, plantains and bananas are actually herbs and not fruits (fascinating fact of the day!)

Coconut oil – a real wonder food!

Categories: Breakfast, Healthy Eating, Recipes, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Dark Chocolate Masala Chai

Dark Chocolate Chai

Dark Chocolate Masala Chai

This is luxury chai (tea in English).  Packed with chocolate and spice, I can assure you they don’t drink it like this Chandhni Chowk (Delhi)!  But it’s a luxury take on the classic Indian masala chai recipe.

I have been playing around with my masala chai recipe for years and this is the best.  We normally drink it without the chocolate, this is just something for a very special treat.  The recipe works very well by itself.

Masala chai is more a potion, an elixir, than a mere hot beverage.  Add fresh chocolate shavings to the mix and you have something rather special indeed.  I have heard rumours about adventurous folk even adding a glug of brandy or whisky to it, I can imagine that to be quite a thing!

Masala chai basically means mixed spice tea and is normally brewed in the milk, rather than adding milk later.  It normally contains black tea, but we also love it with rooibos (for those not sipping caffeine).  Tea from Assam is best due to its dark orange colour and robust flavour.  Darjeeling tea is best reserved for drinking black or with a touch of milk, after all it is the champagne of teas don’t you know (normally meaning more expensive and well marketed!)

Indians now drink the most amount of tea in the word, chai (tea) is part of Indian everyday life and chai wallah’s (like Starbucks but more low-key and infinitely better) dot every street side around the country.  Thats over 1 billion people hooked on the spicy sweet goodness of chai and its really all down to the Brits.  Tea has always been grown up near Darjeeling and Assam in the wet and wonderful northeast of India, but it was the Brits who began to plant it on an industrial scale and ship it back.  What a meddling lot we were!

Sweetening chai is a must and we like to use jaggery if we can get it or dark sugar.

Star anise, cardamom, cinnamon, clove, ginger, nutmeg……this is truly a magic potion and it tastes pretty darn magic too.  I love this combination of spices and if you can get them all fresh and whole, the chai will be much better for it.  Powders are decent, but a proper chai should be simmering for hours and all of those massive flavours infused.

We have used soya milk here because we like the taste, but any of your favourite milks will be fine.

Traditionally, chai should be taken from small tea cups or even glasses, definitely not big mugs.  Chai is to be slurped and enjoyed, made a fuss of and very much savoured.  The smaller the tea cup the better (almost espresso size), this also has the advantage of prolonging chai time.

Bring on the potion!

The Bits – Makes one large sauce pan full, enough for 8 small cups

Beach House Chai contains:

1 stick of cinnamon

4 star anise

6 green cardamom pods (crushed)

4 cloves

2 heaped teas grated ginger

1 teas all spice

3/4 litre of soya/ almond milk, 1/3 litre water

3 good black tea bags (assam preferable, loose leaf tea is alot better and more traditional)

2 heaped tbs jaggery/ dark brown sugar or sweetener of choice (chai should be served nice and sweet)

1 big handful dark chocolate (grated)

Many other spices can be added including fennel seeds, cumin seeds (very warming), peppercorns, saffron, liquorice or even rose….the list goes on and each area of India has a particular favourite.

Do It

Get the water boiling in a large saucepan, add all the spices and turn down to a rolling simmer, leave for at least 10 minutes for the flavours to infuse (longer is better).

Now add milk, bring to a boil and then add your tea leaves/ tea bags.  Stir in and help the tea infuse.  Bring back to the boil.  Leave until you are happy with your chai shade, deeper is better.  Stir in your sweetener and chocolate.

Taste and adjust sweetness.

Serve

Strain into little cups with plenty of slurps and great conversation.  A biscuit would be nice!

We Love It!

This chocolate masala chai adds a whole new level to the chai experience, its a dessert in a cup and with that amazing mix of spices is the perfect antidote to a grey March day.  Indulge!

Foodie Fact

Black tea is the oxidised leaf of the tea bush, if it wasn’t oxidised it would be green tea (which makes sense!)  Black tea has many health benefits and considerably less caffeine than coffee.  It has a high level of anti-oxidants, it boosts the immune system, helps the heart and even lowers the level of stress hormones.  What a grand cuppa!

Tunes

Making chai in your home, you need some real India rajas to get the spices flowing.  Here is the late and and sorely missed Ravi Shankar playing with his daughter Anoushka:

 

 

Categories: Recipes, Tea | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Radio Tarifa Tagine

Tarifan Vegetable Tagine

Tarifan Vegetable Tagine

Tarifa is one of the windiest towns in the world, home to windsurfers and a whole host of eccentric folk (apparently the relentless wind sends people mad!)  Most places in Spain have three winds, Tarifa has five!  It is located directly across the med from Tangiers, an equally nutty Moroccan town.

Tarifa has long been regarded as a great example of the merging of all things Hispanic and African, not to mention, there is an awesome band named Radio Tarifa who rock our worlds (see below), they’re also a mix of Moroccan, flamenco and other beats. Really when you get down to this coastline, cultural borders blur into one hectic mix of all things med. There is an ancient feel in the air around here, Romans, Greeks, Punics, Carthagens…… it makes sense that people who want to live in such beautiful climes and always have done.

I learnt to make good cous cous and tagine on the open fires and portable gas stoves of Morocco, in garages, date plantations and even the odd oasis. Moroccans are like Italians when it comes to their cooking, namely, don’t mess with it brother!!!! Keep it the way it has always been and momma knows best et al. Which is cool, makes things easier.  I cooked a tagine in the Atlas Mountains and added beetroot to the mix and then spent the rest of the evening in some form of food induced exile.  They turned their nose up at my meddling with the ancient, alchemical laws of the tagine.  Seems I haven’t quite learnt my lesson!

I have had a good meddle here. I love to add a little tahini to the mix to add some richness and paprika is a superb local delicacy that creeps into most things I cook over here on the Costa Calida.  The rest is all fine, fresh, fresh, med veg and fistfuls of cumin from the markets of Marrakech to get things flowing in the right direction.

The secret here is a thick and rich sauce to start with and gently steaming the other veggies over that. This makes this dish brilliantly tasty and the veg chunks are cooked until perfectly tender and succulent.  The nature of tagine recipes is wide and uber-complex, but this one is straight forward and mighty fine.  A tagine is just the pot’s name really, it’s unique conical shape, but it’s what goes into it that matters.

I serve this with fluffy cous cous in a tagine dish, there is  plenty of gorgeous sauce to make the cous cous nice and moist. My tagine dish has a very sticky base, otherwise I would cook the sauce in the tagine base and then whack the lid on. That would be the authentic route, but I have used a pan here to make this easier and avoiding sticky situatioGod, I love Morocco, the dunes of the Sahara and the peaks of the Rif mountains are just a hop, skip and ferry away from here and it is calling my name in capital letters.  It’s such a massive empty place, full of amazing people and tasty treats.  This tagine takes me back……

Tarifan Vegetable Tagine

Tarifan Vegetable Tagine

The Bits

2 med onions (finely sliced), 6 cloves garlic (finely chopped), 3 inch cube of ginger (finely chopped), 5 big fat plum tomatoes (chopped rough), 1 courgette, 1 large red pepper, ½ large butternut squash, 4 large carrots (all veg chopped into large chunks), 4 teas ground cumin, 3 teas paprika, 1 teas cinnamon, 1 teas ground coriander, ½ handful roughly chopped dried apricots, 6 dates (finely chopped), 1 heaped tbs dark tahini (dark has a more intense flavour, but regular tahini is fine), 2 cups good veg stock, s + p to taste
350g cous cous (for three), 1 pint good veg stock, 1 teas cumin seeds,

Do It

Get a nice good glug of olive oil hot (high heat here) in a large saucepan, pop your onions in and cook until soft and going golden, add your garlic and ginger and your spices. Stir well and often, get it all combined nicely, then add your chopped tomatoes and stir in. It should all be smelling amazing and cooking down well. Taste and adjust accordingly. When the tomatoes have all broken down, 5-10 minutes, add all of your other veggies, stock and dried fruit stir in a little. Stick a lid on it and leave for 30 minutes to cook slowly, no peeking!

When the lid is taken off, you’ll have a gorgeous tagine waiting with plenty of rich sauce to be soaked up by the cous cous.

To cook your cous cous, warm a pan with a little oil and toast your cumin seeds for one minute, then pour in your cous cous and stir well, add some s+p to taste and pour in some freshly boiled water (straight from the kettle is good).

Cover the cous cous with water, 2cm above and then cover tightly with a lod and leave for 20 minutes to cook off the heat. When you lift the lid, fluff the cous cous well with a fork and add a little oil if it needs a little help.

Puerto Mazarron Sunset

Puerto Mazarron Sunset

Serve

As warm as you can, in a tagine dish preferably. Lay out plenty of cous cous on the base, spoon over plenty of sauce and then scoop on your vegetable tagine. Cover with more sauce and a good drizzle of great olive oil.

We like to eat out of the tagine dish in a communal fashion, pop it in the middle of the table and enjoy with your nearest and dearest, just like in Morocco. We had ours with hummus or a nice garlic yoghurt.

At the shepherds house - Bolunuevo, Mazarron

At the shepherds house – Bolunuevo, Mazarron

Foodie Fact

We use tahini in many ways, but here it adds a creamy richness to the tagine without the use of our old friends butter/ cream and the dairy gang, with the added advantage of awesome health benefits and easy digestions.  Tahini is full of vitamin B’s, essential for keeping the body ticking over, enhancing metabolism and sorting the immune system out.

Tahini is also rich in calcium and a small blob can contain up to 35% of your required daily intake.  Many people believe that tahini boasts the highest levels of calcium in any food!

Here’s the soundtrack to our Tarifan Tagine, the incredible Radio Tarifa:

Categories: Recipes, Travel, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Murcian Sweet Potato & Rosemary Burgers with Aubergine Buns

Happy day at the Sunday market (with backpack full of good stuff), Puerto Mazzaron, Spain

Hola from Murca, Spain!  We’ve moved here for a few months, following the sun!

It’s been a while beloved Beach Houser’s, too long, but we’re back with a bang and a massive burger treat.  The search for the tastiest veggie burger is a quest to be taken very seriously.  These are at the very least, a contender, with Aubergine for buns and a nice cheesy chilli kick.

Cracking burgers these with inspiration straight from the local markets of Puerto Mazzaron, Murica (a region known as the ‘garden of Spain’ or ‘veggie produce heaven’).  It’s not hard to be inspired in Murcia, the air smells of rosemary and herbs with tomatoes, lemons and almonds growing freely all over the place.

The local Puerto Mazzaron Sunday market is full of old time geezers and their wives selling their wares, mostly out of the backs of dilapidated jollopy type vans.  There is at least some organic produce here, but it’s never marked, we just pick the most misshapen, curly, funky looking varieties and this seems to work.  The flavours are amazing, a humble pepper can fill me with so much joy.

Mazzaron market is a real feast for the senses and like all markets in the world, I feel in my element,  free to sniff out the finest produce and really get to grips with a culture and place.  The market is the beating heart of a town, the fact they are dying out is a huge shame.  Food says alot about us and in Murcia they sell it whilst swigging cold beers, potent coffees and doughnuts dipped in thick hot chocolate all washed down with ham, ham and more ham.  This can only mean more veggies for us.  Buena Suerte!

We didn’t fancy any salt in these burgers, so the olives were a great local addition.  Packing loads of flavour and decent hit of salty tanginess.  The olive counter at the market is a large row of buckets with a mind boggling number of varieties.  We love the fat little green manzanilla’s, the spicy gazpacho mix and the sweet red peppery ones.  You can get olives anyway you like here, stuffed with lemon or even a whole chilli!

Jane on the mountain top behind our little casa – Isla Plana, Murcia.

Manchengo comes in various guises and I normally like the cured option, slightly saltier and harder, on the way to a pecorino.  Jane opted for the semi-cured variety this time which was a real surprise.  After munching much cheese in France, this Spanish stuff is really decent.   Semi-cured manchengo is very creamy and light, perfect for a tasty burger, adding a load of richness.  Add to that the local organic hot paprika, rosemary from the rambla (one of the dried river that runs below us) and the smells and flavours of Murcia are all here, in burger form!

Aubergine buns!?  Why not.  Tastier than bread and a healthier option.  Feel free to pop them into a proper bun if you fancy.  The only thing was, our burgers were way too big for our buns (never a bad thing), so we were forced to improvise and make it into something resembling an aubergine bruschetta.

These are burgers to crack out when you are in carnivore territory and you need something packed with flavour and filling. This is no flimsy veggie option, this is one for big eaters and lovers of rich food.  Ideal for barbecues.

We have no internet in our casa, so we hope to connect again soon, but who knows!?  Rest assured, we’ll be eating our way through the ‘garden of Spain’ and thinking of you all.  Watch this space for more BHK Espana antics.

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The Bits – For 4 big ones

1 medium sweet potato (cut into 1cm cubes), 1 ½ cup brown lentils, 1 yellow pepper, 3 cloves garlic, 1 aubergine (cut into 4 large wedges for the buns), 100g Vegan Parmesan Cheese (chopped fine), 20 plump green olives (mas o menos, chopped fine), 2 heaped teaspoons hot paprika (add ½ teas cayenne pepper if you don’t have hot paprika), 1 heaped teas Dijon mustard (when in Spain!), 2 teas balsamic vinegar, 2 teas fresh rosemary (chopped fine), lots of cracked black pepper, your favourite oil for frying (we used a nice sunflower)

Topping – Sweet Red Piquillos (red peppers, roasted and marinated in olive oil), thin slices of good tomato.

Do It

Cover your lentils with water, 1 inch above, add 3 bay leaves and a little sea salt, bring to a boil and simmer for 40 minutes until tender.  Drain well (keep the juices for soup or stew.  Yum!) and set aside.

Fry off your onions and pepper on medium heat in a good glug of oil until they are nice and golden, soft and sweet.  Set aside, cover and wipe out pan with some kitchen paper.

Add your little cubes of sweet potato and cook briskly and stir well until soft and getting caremelised, 10 minutes more or less, add your garlic and cook for another couple of minutes, then add your onion  mix and paprika, rosemary, pepper and mustard, cook for a few minutes on a low heat then add your chopped cheese and olives.  Stir well and combine your 2 cups of cooked lentils. Set aside.

Pop the oven on, 200oC.

Allow to cool for 10 minutes.  Get a masher and give the mix a thorough mash up.  Some chunks are allowed, all adds to the texture.  Grab a baking tray, get it oiled up (use some tin foil if you prefer), form large balls of the mix in your hands, it’s going to be sticky but that’s where the fun lies!  They should be a real cupped handful per burger (you may need to lick your fingers afterwards, this is encouraged).  Drop the balls in a neat(ish) fashion onto your tray, making four large balls.

Add your 4 hefty chunks of aubergine to the tray and drizzle/coat all with some nice oil.   Your burgers need to be formed, use a spoon to push and level out your burgers, make them thick and roundish, use the curve of your hand here.  You should be left four fat half pounders.

Top with a little cracker pepper and into then into the oven for 30 minutes (check them after 20 mins).

They may char slightly, the sweet potatoes caramelising, this is good and will be great for the flavour.

When handling the burgers take care, you need to have good spatula skills here.  They may fall apart unless handled with love.

Serve

If your burgers fit in your aubergines (you have huge aubergines!) then make a classic burger, topped with some gorgeously piquant, sweet piquillos and a few slices of tomato and Parmesan.   A green salad would be nice too.

We Love It!

Very, very tasty burgers.   The cheese inside makes them really rich and the effort put into crafting them is well worth it.  The roasted aubergines are a find, crisp and juicy, perfect with this sort of dense veggie burger.

Foodie Fact

Aubergine, Eggplant, Brinjal, whatever you want to call it, it tastes good and does you good.  Aubergine is low calorie, high fibre, full of the vitamin B’s and some Brazilian scientists have said that it can help control blood cholesterol.

Categories: Dinner, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Beach House – On The Road

We’re on the road, zig zagging our way down Britain then France and Spain, in our trusty car ‘Hooty’. Expect more news and foodie words and pics soon, but with so much adventure afoot, blogging is taking a back seat.

We love you all and will see you soon.

Peace and Love,

Lee and Janexxxxxxx

Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Hippy Daal

Bubbling Hippy Daal

We fancied a stew, a change to all these raw food textures.  My mind immediately stuck on my ‘Hippy Daal’.  With the beetroot and apple raita that was being chopped up, this was going to be a feast!

Hippies like daal (Dhal, Dal, Dahl however you take it), I like hippies, daal likes me……  I’ve cooked this a million times, maybe more, over camp fires and in people’s homes, in the back of jeeps and beside roads.  We eat it in the Beach House every week and every week it changes, but the heart of the dish remains the same.  Lentils and spices cooked with love, stewed until creamy.  Food that ‘clings to your ribs’ as we say.  It’s a true one pot wonder and cheap as chips.

The California Baba in Rishikesh, India

Daal is the food that keeps India ticking over, it comes in many forms, made with lentils, beans or chickpeas.  All Indians eat Daal of some description and I was told that one state had to ban Daal, because the people were eating too much of it and not getting a balanced diet.  Daal is normally a super healthy dish (unless you add loads of ghee) so these are quite drastic measures, but show the passion for the dish in India.  A land fuelled on daal.

Cooking daal is so simple and I’ve made it even simpler.  I have cut out the steps of frying the onions and spices etc and fast forwarded straight to whacking it all in the pan and bubbling the stew until it becomes thick and gooey.  It saves on washing up at least.  This is a basic recipe and is wide open to bits being added and spices thrown in.

Daal in India is always made in pressure cookers, as are most curries.  Anybody who has travelled around India will be familiar with the sound of your dinner hissing away in the kitchen, regularly reaching a kind of hissing climax that sounds like an imminent explosion.  It can be quite therapeutic, knowing that food is one the way and the potential of a hot chapatti just tops things off.  Chai mileaga!

I like all lentils and yes, some people do call me a hippy, not always because of this though.  Yellow lentils keep their shape, but also break down a little to form that lovely creaminess.  You can experiment until your heart is content with this one.

You cannot be shy with your spices here, they must be added with gusto and happiness.  Remember to take care of your spices, they are sensitive to light and the air.  Keep in a cupboard in an air tight container preferably, for long term, keep in the fridge.  I still have my stash of spices brought back from my favourite little spice market in Mumbai.  They have retained their potency.

Because this post relates to Indian cuisine, I must mention Kolpona Cuisine, the best place to go online for India recipes.  I love the way that Desi Chick cooks, plenty of oil and spices, and bold, bold flavours.

The garam masala here adds a nice bit of spice, I like the touch of cinnamon and cloves.  Really, you can use any India spice here and it will still turn out fine.  You can substitute all of the spices for the same amount of your favourite curry powder if you liked.

Daal keeps brilliantly, just add a little water to loosen it up again when re-heating.  I server my daal quite thick, but in India its normally halfway to a soup (or a full on soup depending on the quality of the restaurant you’re eating in).  I like it nice and thick though.  In fact, the best Indian food I have ever eaten has been in the U.K.  In Leicester and London in particular, we are blessed to have such a culturally diverse nation, it certainly means some interesting food.

The best Indian restaurant in Britain is the Jungle Club in Leicester.  Eating there is the complete Indian experience on these shores.  It’s such a colourful place, decorated like a jungle, with monkeys and tigers all over the place.  There is also a kids play area and a working mans club attached, just to add to the spice!

Strangely in the north east of England, where my family all hail from, we have a dish not disimialr to Daal.  Lentils cooked in stock, cooled to form a thick paste.  Its called ‘Peas Pudding’ and we traditionally spread it on sandwiches with ham and beetroot and plenty of butter.  The bread we use is a soft doughy white loaf called ‘Stottie Cake‘ which is very similar to the ubiquitous round load of Morocco.  Small world eh!  ‘Stott’ means bounce in Geordie (a dialect in this little corner of the world) and the bread is so dense, it bounces when dropped.  The north east of England was a mainly coal mining area and the food there was designed to fill up the miners for the hard labour they carried out 6 or 7 days per week miles below the surface.

This method produces a great daal, although not traditional in anyway.  Its carefree cooking, lentils are very forgiving, just let it bubble nicely and you know, dinner is on the way.  This daal is a meal in itself.

Makes one big panful:

Hippy Daal – Ready for a mix

The Bits

2 cups of yellow split lentils (any lentils will do really, soaked overnight in filtered water), 1 big onion (chopped into small pieces), some root veg (we used one large potato, and half a swede and 1 carrot, also using parsnips, sweet potato etc would all be grand.  Chopped into small chunks).

2 inch piece of ginger (finely chopped), 4 cloves garlic (mashed/ finely chopped), 4 bashed cardamom pods, 2 teas garam masala, 1 teas cumin seeds, 1 teas ground coriander, 1 teas turmeric, 1/2 teas chilli powder, 2 teas flax seeds (good for the belly), 2 teas curry leaves, sea salt to taste

I added two teaspoons of tamarind pulp to give it a nice fruity edge (optional).

Do It

Rinse you lentils well and cover in a large, heavy bottomed pan, with an inch and a half of water (more water can be added if needed throughout the cooking).  Bring steadily to a boil and then add all you veg, ginger and garlic.  Lower heat to a fast simmer and cook for 5 minutes, then add all of your spices and stir well, bubble gently for around 20 minutes, add some more water if needed, then cover and cook for another 20 minutes, stirring when you are in the area.  Check that you stir the base of the pan and no daal burns on the bottom.  Easy as that.

Hippy Daal with Beetroot and Apple Raita

Serve

We’ve had it cold in sandwiches before, now we eat it with salads and some Beetroot and Apple Raita, you can thin it down into a soup…cook it down and make lentil fritters…use it as a dip, the list goes on.

We like to stir in some more richness, we use yoghurt (soya or whatever you preference), ghee (authentic and delicious) or just a little good oil.  The last two will give a nice shine to the daal.

Foodie Fact

Lentils are packed with protein, a good source (of many) for a veggie diet.  Daal contains a protein content of around 25%, similar to meat and is very low in fat but high in carbohydrates.  It is also high in vitamin B and iron.

Ready to munch!

Categories: Dinner, Healthy Eating, Recipes, Travel, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

Raw Green Thai Soup

Thai soup – in the mix

Here is a classic Thai soup, only this time served cold.  This is without doubt the finest chilled soup I have ever tasted.  You just have to look at what goes into it to realise that it is going to be a taste sensation!  Coconut, lemon grass, chilli, lime and ginger.  That’s the taste of food heaven.

If there is any food which mirrors a country, it is Thai.  Vibrant, colourful and unique. The combination of ingredients and fresh, fresh flavours make my mouth water.

Jane and I met not far from Thailand (well the Philippines, but close enough!) We both love Asia for many reasons, but the people and food really stand out. Thailand cannot be beaten for food. A bold statement, but anyone who has visited and trawled the street food and markets will agree. Great food made simply but with super fresh ingredients. The soups alone are almost alchemical, their vapours can revive the soul and the flavours dance in your mouth like a dragon.

Thai’s love food. In a way that us Europeans cannot comprehend. For example, my friend Toum took me to a local market in a suburb of north Bangkok and I have never seen such care taken in the selection of produce. I was reprimanded for holding some green leaves the wrong way round, and soon realised that I had much to learn in the respect and handling of food… we carried our vegetables home as if they were newly born babies.

You can see the real identity of countries and cultures coming through in what they eat. Most Thais eat very well, regardless of social standing.  In fact, they seem to eat the same things, in the same places. Namely the street. There is a movement towards a more westernised capitalist culture in the upper and middle classes, but it’s all done in a very Thai way.  I can never see the big mac taking over from the pad thai.

This will be very refreshing come summer (it is coming I hope), the flavours are as intense and fragrant as you would expect from things Thai.

Bangkok Street Food

The Bits

There’s lots of bits in this one, but that’s what makes it so very tasty!

6 mushrooms, 6 tomatoes, 2 cloves garlic, 1 cm fresh ginger (or 1cm galangal if you can), 1 lemon grass stick, 1 red chilli, 4 dates, 6 lime leaves, juice of 2 limes, bunch of coriander, 120g fresh coconut chopped, 125g spinach, 1 apple, 2 tbsp tamari

Do It

Blend all of the ingredients together in a blender and keep your finger on the button until all the herbs have been blitzed.

Serve

In a big bowl with a few sprouts and coriander leaves on top, a whole heap of love, and the biggest spoons you have!

We Love It!

It is such a taste explosion and takes us back to happy memories of a wonderful land (just one spoonful of this and we now want to go back!).  This is authentic thai, without the jars of paste.

Thai Lotus Flower

Foodie Fact

So essential to Thai cookery, coriander (celantro to some) is actually native to the Mediterranean and is rich in anti-oxidants that help against heart conditions.  It also contains high levels of vitamin C and many different minerals.  It  is one of the richest sources of vitamin K and has a very high vitamin A content.  Quite a herb!

Categories: Healthy Eating, Raw Food, Recipes, Soups, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

Sava’s Elephant Garlic Flower Salad

Sava’s last lunch at the BHK

Here was this lunch offering, made by Jane and Sava.   A crunchy wonder, with bucket loads of veggies, topped with the ever intriguing, elephant garlic flowers.

This was Savannah’s last meal with us and we wanted it to be special.  We rustled up a few different salads, dips and even a piquant beige guacamole.

Sava is originally from South London, but is currently masterminding world domination (Sava style) which means spreading love, happiness and vibrant energy to all corners of the world.  Sava is also an ace vegan chef and was the perfect house guest during this raw time at the Beach House.  We have spent most of our time sitting around talking about food and travel, two of our most favourite chat topics.  Its been a gas….

Sava has an brilliant travel website, all about travelling the world and living your wildest dreams.  Its called travel butterfly.  Sava has just returned from travelling around Central and Southern America and there are loads of wonderful tales, images and tips to be found there.

These garlic flowers have thick stems with a potent garlic punch (the whole house stank of garlic after chopping a few up).  The flowers seem edible, with small yellow petals.  One bunch has lasted us quite a few days as its best used sparingly.  Warning, if you are worried about garlic breath, do not approach these flowers (and stop worrying).

You may like to add some spirulina, wheat grass or barley grass powder to the topping if you are raw, or even if you aren’t, this would give you a serious boost.  These are three heavyweight contenders of the superfood world.  It is said that you can live on these green powders (the barley grass actually tastes of dried fish) but not even I will venture this far down the road of cleaning my internals up.  The barley powder we have is labelled as a ‘powerful’ food and should be eased into, you wouldn’t want to over do it (this all seems very tame compared to my tequila slammer days, but unimaginably healthier!).

These salads are always super easy to get together, we’ve made them per person so you can just have it yourself, or share with the people you really, really like.  This is a big salad and designed to be a main meal so there is a lot of ingredients in it.  We realise this goes against some of our ‘The Big Four Raw Food No No’s’ but we are trying to be good!  We topped it with the elephant garlic flowers so we could measure the amount we ate with eat spoonful, it also looked great.

Elephant garlic flowers

The Bits

Per person – Handful of baby corn, 1 carrot (chopped), handful of mangetout, 1 ripe tomato, 1/2 courgette (chopped), 1/2 apple (green and sour is best, chopped), 1 stick of celery, handful of cucumber (chopped), handful of cos lettuce (chopped), 2 teas linseeds, 1 handful of mung bean sprouts, 2 teas alfalfa sprouts.

Topping – Handful of elephant garlic flower (chopped), handful of sunflower seeds, splash of olive oil.

Elephant Garlic Flower Salad

Serve

Layered with a creamy Miso, Tamari and Tahini Dressing, topped with the chopped elephant garlic flowers.

We Love It!

Mainly because Sava made it and she is very lovely indeed.  The elephant garlic is amazing and well worth seeking out, it explodes in your mouth and adds a spot of romance to the plate.

Foodie Fact

Native Americans believe wild garlic to help against ailments such as high blood pressure, asthma and scurvy.

Our Morning Juice Routine

Is stuttering along.  We are still getting into the routine of a mid-morning juice.  I used to have  a nice jug of coffee, now its a yogurt pot full of fresh juice.  I know which one my body prefers (bit sometimes I miss that aroma).

Jane made a magic juice this morning with the trusty Magimix.  Simple and not really worth a separate post, its similar to a couple we have done before.  It was a zesty Apple, Carrot and Ginger.  The perfect balance of sweetness with a kick of ginger.  Here is Jane mid juice:

Jane making morning juice

We aim to be drinking at least one juice per day and are finding that we are not hungry in the mornings.  This would make sense, all of our nutritional requirements are being met, so the absorption cycle of the body doesn’t really kick in until 12pm.  That’s when we whip out the salads.

We plan on getting a 25 kilo bag of carrots from a farm down the road and really getting juicy next week.  Apparently, if you drink too much carrot juice, you actually turn orange.  Watch this space, will make for interesting pictures I’m sure.

Happy days aheadX

Categories: Breakfast, Friends of B.H.K, Healthy Eating, Nutrition, Raw Food, Recipes, Salads, Sauces, Side Dish, Superfoods, Vegan | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Big Four Raw No-no’s

On a rope bridge in Panama

For me an introduction to raw food came quite unexpectedly while I was working and staying with a friend out in Panama; home of some fantastic and enormous fruit and veg. Kami prepared delicious salad after salad; we ate little and often, with the right combinations of foods and two weeks later I was veritably zinging.

We thought it would be a good idea to share Kami’s words of wisdom; after all one of the biggest reasons for going raw is to help the body with its mineral and vitamin absorption and efficient digestion. After some extra research I realised it is easy to get bogged down in this subject. So I squeezed it down into a few main points.

The Big Four Raw no-no’s

1. Fat and carbohydrate: Avoid having sweet fruit like bananas, nuts, seeds, avocados etc together in the same meal. If you do eat them together the fats and proteins (which are slower-digesting foods) will cause the sugary fruit to ferment in your stomach. This cannot be good. You can eat the fats or proteins four hours before, or a couple of hours after the sweet fruit instead – because the sweet nutrients will have had time to dance through your digestive system by then.

2. Carbohydrate food and acid food: Like with fats, acid foods need longer to digest. If they are eaten with sweet fruits they can also cause fermentation in the stomach.

3. Acid food and proteins/fats: Citrus fruit, pineapple, strawberries and other acid fruits should not be eaten with nuts or avocados; otherwise the protein will not digest properly. Acid fruits inhibit the flow of gastric juice whereas digestion of protein requires an unhampered flow of juice.

4. Keep the amount of fat to a minimum: Fat has an inhibiting influence on digestive secretion and also slows down digestion of other foods. It is generally a good idea to reduce fat intake; it is surprising how little of it we need. Delicious but notoriously fatty avocados are best eaten with a green salad but never with nuts sweet fruit, especially melons.

We feel the trick to this diet is to keep it simple. After all we just want to help our bodies digest this lovely fresh food. Tips like sticking to one type of protein in meals (some raw foodies even stick to just one type of nut or seed). By not eating a huge variety of food types in one meal will help to stop our bodies having to work too hard and will avoid most of the no-no’s too.

We’re just looking forward to getting sensitive with our own bodies; listening to how it feels after eating different combinations of food, and how we feel after these small easy to digest portions.

We want to live in the best possible way for our whole lives so that we can be the healthiest and best we can be for ourselves and for other people! Apart from the eating (which has a huge impact) we also want to focus more on sleeping, exercising, relaxing, being creative, being in nature, having fun so we can shine together brighter from the inside out – yay!!

Have fun trying out our recipes and join us in Raw June!

Love Jane xxxxx

Categories: Healthy Eating, Healthy Living, Nutrition, Raw Food | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Holiday Photos – The B.H.K hits Spain

Jane walking in the forests of the Espunas. 12oC, sandals and snow.

Viva Naranja!

Under an old olive tree. La Santa Monastery

View from the terrace of Antipodas Restaurant, La Azhoia (with the bar mascot)

Our local goats cheese platter.

Jane in the Monastery Square, La Santa

Sunset over the Port of Mazzarron

Gorgeous local Raf tomatoes. Sweet, sweet, sweet...

Hello Beach House Folk,

So this is where we’ve been,  doing what we do best, going on holiday!  Hopefully this explains the lack of Beach House Kitchen action recently.

We visited Murcia, the Costa Calida, a magical place.  We have done all our ‘foodie’ friends proud by eating and drinking in brilliant ways and of course taking it very easy.  Que Vida Espana!

The produce in Murcia, known as the garden of Spain, is exceptional and some of our favourite times were spent in the markets practising the lingo and meeting the farmers.  Buying fresh dates, figs, almonds, amazing vegetables (peppers, aubergines, artichokes), olives, lemons……….etcetc.  The list goes on and on here.  The earth seems very arid in the whole area, but a little sun goes a long way!

We are going fully Raw in June, we met some amazing so we need some help planing for that.  Whats your favourite salad/ juice/ smoothie?  We met some guys in Spain who really inspired us in this respect, very shiny people, cheers Rob and LindaX

We will be back to full throttle soon-ish.  Watch this space…….

Peace and Happiness,

Lee and JaneX

Categories: 'The Good Life', Healthy Living, photography, Raw Food, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

B.H.K. Review – Allegra McEvedy ‘Bought, Borrowed and Stolen’

‘Some women collect shoes, Allegra collects knives.’

A cookbook full of ‘Recipes and Knives from a Travelling Chef’.  Allegra’s books are always full of good writing and inspiration, but ‘Bought, Borrowed and Stolen’ inspires with not only the food, but the tools that make it and the personal journey behind each dish.

From San Francisco to Burma, this book is a true labour of love.  Allegra has definitely put in the hard yards here.  It’s an insight into many revealing journeys over nearly a quarter of a century and most of the planet.  Ever seeking sharp edges, shiny people, proper food and other tasty mouthfuls.

I own a couple of Allegra’s books, but this is the best read.  It’s as much a memoir as a gang of recipes; the memoirs of a foodie in love with the world and its diverse cultures and traditions, always lead to culinary adventures, relating directly to the plate and the belly.

Allegra has been out and about, distilling years of travel and great eating into these pages.  There is a real sense of love and passion that comes through in the writing. Allegra seems to get to the heart of each country visited and as we know, the best way a people’s hearts……….are their bellies (or rib cages and I’m sure Allegra will have a knife to suit!!!!!).

Jane gifted me this wonderful cook/travel book for crimbo.  It graces our windowsill turquoise and when opened, explodes with even more vivid colours.  Allegra’s food is always vibrant and challenges the stuffy ‘elite’ of British cooking.  You may know who I mean?!  Unlike most famous chefs, Allegra actually has a great sense of humour!  You are allowed to laugh, enjoy and be natural whilst cooking.  Not fickle or false.  Allegra’s cooking comes from the heart, not an assembly line of egos.  Hoorah!

It’s not a veg cookbook, but there are many veggie options.  The meat dishes can always be played around with; an aubergine here, a pumpkin there and you’ve got worthy substitutes for a slab of beef (sort of).  Allegra’s enthusiasm and talent is prevalent on each page.  The travel writing paints magical pictures of markets, stalls and kitchens encountered along the way.  This is an insight into a real cooks (chefs?!) pilgrimage from working on the ‘line’ to being one of Britain’s best-loved and talented foodie people (chefs?!).

Allegra gave up cooking ‘posh food for posh people’ years ago and since then has commited her time to giving great, affordable food, to the masses; via Leon Restaurants and many other charitable projects.  Bagging an MBE along the way.  Allegra is regularly on TV, her most recent show was ‘Economy Gastronomy’ and to cap it all off (for now), has been made only one of three ‘patrons’ for the fair trade movement.  Allegra is quite a busy lady.

To add to the job list, it appears Allegra may need to build an extension to accommodate her knife drawer!  I am sure it resembles some kind of ancient armoury.  I wonder is she has a spear?  I have one good knife, but this book has wet my appetite for more.  Maybe one of those ‘Oaxacan Whackers’ to have a go at a particularly stubborn beetroot.  Bring on the carnage!

The knives all seem to embody the food culture of the place.  The are all fascinating in their own way, many exhibiting great craftsmanship, many purely barbaric.  My personal favourites are an elegant Japanese Unagi Saki, handle-less; deadly looking, like something a Ninja would carry in there sock.  The Grenadine Scrimshaw is a tasty looking pen knife, the Phoenician Phoenix is ostentatious and the Burmese Machete looks like something you’d reduce a tree to splinters with.

Difficult to say which is my favourite recipe.  There are many.  The Shepherd’s Salad went down well at a Veg. Hen Party I cooked for recently.  The Hens liked the pomegranate.  The Black Sticky Rice is a treat, the Sweet and Sour Aubergine, Rooibos Malve Pudding, the list goes on and on…………..these recipes will grace many a happy occasion in the Beach House.

I love the fact that Allegra has copied these recipes down in situ, in the moment.  Scribbled in one of her many food diaries and then copied down here, straight on the page.  There is no messing with the dishes or ‘dolling them up’, making the food technical and overly complex.  It’s straight from the stall to the page, showing Allegra’s integrity, in honouring foods simplicity and respecting the lineage and tradition of the many cultures cuisines.  How we eat says so much about who we are and the recipes here seem like a true reflection of that.

2012-01-17-miniHappyCooking.jpg

Allegra in Malawi

Allegra wears her heart on her sleeve, which makes the book a personal quest for culinary insight, as opposed to a bunch of recipes re-hashed with a tenuous theme.  This is ‘real’ soul food with choppers!

I had the pleasure of working with Allegra for a short time with Leon Restaurants and I can imagine her in these far off places, being charming and impressing all with a passion for good food and good livin’.  Allegra is so kind and genuine, I’m sure this has opened many a doorway.   This book acts as a portal to the kitchens, history and characters of the world (and their cutlery drawers!).

Wherever you are in the world, there’s no better way of giving people joy than by handing them a plate of food made with love … and watching them love it too.”

Cheers Allegra!

Heres Allegra’s site:  http://www.allegramcevedy.com/Allegra/Biography.html

I also recommend the ‘Colour Cookbook’.  It’s cheap on Amazon.

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I feel that cookbooks are generally overpriced and not necessary.  I own three.  Just think about all that amazing produce you could buy with 30 quid!  I have notebooks full of recipes, all very personal and much-loved.  This suit me fine.

I prefer to get my inspiration, like Allegra, through travel and eating as opposed to second-hand in a sumptuously photographed hardbacks (lets face it, you can’t eat photographs, or books for that matter).  I like scribbled recipes and cooking from brilliant memories of taste and occasion.  However, if you are ever going to waste money on a cookbook.  This is the one! 

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A few of Allegras choppers

Categories: B.H.K Reviews, Recipes, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Homemade Goats Cheese with Wild Garlic

Goat's Cheese Recipe With Wild Garlic

I love Goats.  They are far superior to sheep.  More character, a little like their cheese.  I became aware of this love affair in Laos…..it’s a long story.

‘Eat Weeds’ (http://www.eatweeds.co.uk/) inspired me here.  It’s a great little website all about living from the land and getting out for the odd forage.  All you need to know about wild eating.  They regularly send me emails and this recipe reminded me of how easy this cheese is to knock-up.

The first time I made Goats Cheese was when I volunteered to help on a farm in Central Laos.  It proved to be very simple and deliciously creamy.  This method is almost as good, without the super fresh, still warm milk of the farm.

The Kids

We would milk, feed and clean the goats out before dawn, with the afternoons free to spend under the blazing sun, hacking down banana trees for feed. After around five hours hard graft, between three of us, we normally produced only four small blocks.  This experience really developed my appreciation of cheese!

The blocks were normally whisked off to the farm restaurant to be served to bus loads of tourists.  Sometimes we did manage to sneak a chunk ourselves and with a fresh baguette (which are amazing in Laos), it made all of the shovelling shit worth while!

With the lads on the farm

For this recipe, if you can get your hands on wild garlic, lucky you.  Otherwise use bulbs.  Goats milk is fairly easy to come by in the shops.

If you like eating weeds, subscribe and get the Classic Wild Food Collection.  It is free and packed with info on what to do with weeds and plants (and how you can eat them).

Bon Fromage!

The Bits

1 pint of raw goat’s milk, ½ lemon (juiced) or 2 caps of cider vinegar, 25g ramsons/wild garlic (finely chopped)***, sea salt

***An alternative to wild garlic would be one clove of minced garlic and a handful of roughly chopped parsley.

Do It

Pour goat’s milk into a pan and slowly bring to the boil. Remove from heat immediately.

Add lemon juice a little at a time until the curds separate from the whey.  Curdling.  It will begin to resemble very off milk.

Pour the pan of curds and whey through a fine muslin cloth, making sure that you collect the whey. Leave to drip for a few hours. You can refrigerate the whey for a couple of weeks, and use it in your sauerkraut recipes, in soups, stocks or as a refreshing drink. Whey is super full of minerals, and an excellent digestive.

Next tip cheese into a bowl and add the finely chopped ramsons and few pinches of sea salt, then stir until the ramsons and salt are thoroughly worked into the cheese. Taste saltiness and adjust accordingly.

Put the cheese back into the muslin and twist into a ball. Put on a slanted board with a big weight on top (always a bit of a balancing act), and leave for a couple of hours. The salt draws more moisture out of the cheese making it firmer.

If you can resist eating it, this cheese will age nicely.

Serve

Baguette! (warm)

Foodie Fact

Whey is a super-dooper food.  It’s packed full of protein, meaning that people who would like to be one big lump of muscle (mass) take it as a high cost supplement.  It’s free with this cheese.  The proteins in whey can be used easily by the body.

Whey is very low in calories and full of anti-oxidants that boost the immune system.

The end product

Categories: 'The Good Life', Foraging, photography, Recipes, Snacks and Inbetweens, Travel, Wild food | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment