Friday, June 26, 2009

River Stiffkey


Fathers Day at Fi's took us on a improtu paddle down the River Stiffkey. The river is just a 2 minute stroll up from Fi's house.

I got the giggles because I couldn't steer and then a herd of huge cows descended upon us - well almost. I finally got the hang of the steering which was a relief to Stu as he's been eagerly ebaying Canadian canoes and Kayaks. Sadly this red canoe was just borrowed.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Lovage and Pancetta Arancini


I made these savory rice balls in May when the lovage leaves were young and tender. The Arancini recipe is taken from Hugh FW's weekly column in the Guardian, but I swapped a few ingredients around, adding the lovage and lemon and pancetta.

Lovage, used as both odour eaters in the Middle Ages and as an aphrodisiac in the 16th Century, has an intense celery like aroma and flavour. It's fabulous stuffed inside a chicken prior to roasting and also great when a small amount of leaves are added to pea and ham soup.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Broad Beans


We've just eaten the first broad beans of the year freshly picked from the our back veggie patch. Damn tasty but the yield seems even lower than usual. Next year I'm taking a leaf out of David Barker's (Wolterton Hall's organic) growing methods and planting the plants close together. My method of generous spacing just makes the low yield even more frustrating as I could have been growing something else in it's place.

Alphonso Mangoes

I recently bumped into a friend in one of the Asian food stores on Magdalen street. She was stuffing two boxes of Alphonso mangoes into the back of her son's buggy. With each box containing approx 12 fruit I wish I had asked her what she was going to do with them. I also bought a box of the delicious fragrant, deep orange coloured juicy mangoes and have eaten them just as they then sucking the stone ending up with a orange mustache no one told me about. Thanks kids.

Alphonso's are so different from the all year round mangoes, like the ones that never ripen which I buy in bulk from Lidls when they are 35p. They are great for mango chutney but truly disappointing eaten on their own when compared to an Alphonso.

The last time I bought a box (a grate) of mangoes was when I lived on Hamilton Island, Great Barrier Reef - the fruit is grown nearby on the mainland. They were so tasty, so perfectly ripe that I couldn't manage to eat all the fruit and that's the only trouble with buying in bulk, you have to eat a lot of fruit or make something out of them. There I had no cooking facilities but Skye Gyngell has included a few recipes in her recent column for The Independent.

The Alphoso season is short, perhaps only available for the next week if that. I'm going to try and buy another box today and make a sorbet or ice-cream using the clever Play and Freeze which I was given last summer although Skye's jam recipes sounds just up my street.