Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Fizz for the Festive Season

Nothing better on a damp November day than to think about the warm glow of Christmas and the festive fizz that can make you glow even brighter.
I came across two delicious drinks to serve our friends and family when perusing my November issue of the Waitrose Food magazine today.

I feel a Countdown to the Festive Season coming on ...
Day1    Festive Fizz
Two drinks to get us started today: Mulled Cider and Sloe Gin Martini.

Image: Ingrid's iPad with Hipstamatic via Waitrose magazine Nov 11

If you remember I showed you my sloes here and if you too have a gin mix maturing in your cupboard, this is a marvellous way to use it and treat your guests, who are unlikely to have tried it before (unless they read this blog of course).
Sloe Martini
  • Mix 80 ml of sloe gin, from your distillery or Waitrose, with 40 ml of sweet vermouth in an ice filled mixing vessel.
  • Strain this into 2 chilled martini glasses, garnish with lemon zest spirals. Serve it over more ice if you want to be really chill.

Mulled Cider

Image: Ingrid's iPad with Hipstamatic via Waitrose magazine Nov 11
  • Mix 1 litre of dry cider with 250ml apple juice, 75ml of brandy, 100gram caster sugar, 1 cinnamon stick, 8 cardamom pods, 2 cloves, 1 star anise,  zest of 1 orange, 2 cm piece of fresh root ginger, peeled and cut into chunks. Add all the above into a large saucepan. 
  • Stir over a gentle heat till the sugar is dissolved. Heat slowly until hot, but do not boil.
  • Take the juice of 1/2 a lemon with it's zest and stir this in.
  • Serve in thickish glasses and inhale deeply as you sip. Delicious.
Thanks to James Ramsden for the recipes via Waitrose Magazine, November 2011.
(Be sure to check out James' blog, a veritable feast awaits you there)
Back soon with more ideas to cook up during December.

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Pass the Parsnips please

Two great things about being back in the Uk are being able to buy parsnips and watch chefs like Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Neither Hugh nor parsnips made it to China.

So to celebrate one of my favourite cookbooks of this year;

here is Hugh's recipe for Parsnip and Ginger soup.
I made it for lunch today, perfect if it's feeling nippy in your neck of the woods.

Image: Ingrid at her table

Parsnip and Ginger Soup
500g parsnips, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
5cm piece of ginger, peeled and finely chopped
Spices: 1/4 teaspoon of each- ground cumin, cayenne pepper
4 whole cardamom pods (or 1/4 teaspoon group cardamom)
800ml of vegetable stock ( I cheated and used Marigold vegetarian stock powder)
1 tablespoon olive oil
15g butter
up to 200ml of whole milk
Sea salt and black pepper

Let's get cooking:

  1. Heat the olive oil and butter in a saucepan and sauté the chopped onion for about 10 mins, medium low heat.
  2. Add garlic, ginger, cumin, cayenne and cardamom pods, stir for a couple of mins.
  3. Add the chopped parsnips, swirl them around in the mix to coat with spices.
  4. Pour in the stock, season with salt and pepper and simmer on a low heat for 15 mins, till the parsnips are very tender.
  5. Cool the soup slightly and fish out the cardamom pods NOW. (It's too late once the blender gets going)
  6. Puree till smooth with a food processor or stick blender.
  7. Add some milk and taste for seasoning readjustments.
  8. Warm soup gently through.
  9. Take 2-3 tablespoons of almond slivers or pumpkin seeds (or both, as I did). Toast them in a dry frying pan (no oil) until just turning golden . Do not leave them for 1 second.
  10. Warm your soup bowls, add the soup, swirl in a bit of yoghurt or cream and scatter the toasties over the top. Grind again with black pepper and you are in for a treat.
PS. Did anyone notice I am slipping behind with my promised 3 blogs a week? Phew well that's a relief.
Maybe this soup will help me warm up my post production.
Be back soon.

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Loafing around

Actually I've been quite busy kneading away in North Norfolk.

Do you remember my long-winded attempt to create my own sour dough?
There had to be an easier way, so ..... I decided the best thing was to join Virtuous Bread for a one-day course in north Norfolk. What a lot I learned.
Rosie, our fab teacher, is in action below creating her wonderful artisan bread (which if you're living in London will set you back £4 a loaf).

Anyone interested in getting stuck in to some dough work should definitely contact her.
Among the many things I discovered, there is nothing like getting your hands covered in wet rye dough to really understand what making sourdough is all about.

 My fridge now has 3 different pots of gloop, so I'm never going to be stuck for a starter. They have varied characteristics, ranging in age from 1851, through to 2000 and my very own 2011 vintage.
"Beer and bread are the midwives of civilisation"
There are more than just crumbs on offer at this particular table!

Friday, 4 November 2011

What if .........?

What if you feel like you are stuck in a rut?

Leo at Zen Habits has written a great post on "The Rut, & the Way Out"
This left me asking myself a few "What if?" questions this morning in bed & provided some much needed momentum.

Sometimes I have such a lack of motivation that lethargy just takes over. 
Setting goals etc is ineffective, telling myself to shake up doesn't work and all I can see is the mountain of things to do. 
Leo has a great starting point if you are at this same spot with me.
Ask yourself a few "What if?" questions. 
No action required just ask the the question.
 I tried that in bed at 6am today and these were my posers:
  1. What if I decided to write in my journal every day for the rest of this month? Yes, I want to do this, I want to get back to writing creatively. No excuses. See I am doing this as I sit here.
  2. What if I sew one stitch (minimum) everyday? I cleared my sewing table yesterday, so it's all set.
  3. What if I did 5 minutes yoga every morning? Well, that is a bit more radical for me ... but I like the thought and it doesn't mean I have to do headstands.
Leo goes on to ask more scary "What if's?" such as:
"What if your life was a blank slate and you could fill it with only things you love?" and "What if you tossed out all your excuses?" and "What if you tossed out your to do list and only did one important thing each day before doing less important tasks?"
I find it helps being invited to think differently about my set ways.

If you want to go further, you should announce a major challenge. Just announce it.
Here goes:
 "I am going to challenge myself, Ingrid, to write and publish 3 blog posts a week for the next month."                                                                                  You'll know if I keep to it!

Saying it aloud creates a momentum and I feel committed.
Here is the blog that proves it - if you saw all the draft blogs I half write and never get round to publishing, you'd know how easy it is for me to leave things unfinished!

Hope you read Leo's post and hope it helps if you, too, are in a dip.
Me? I'm off to do 5 minutes yoga, no time like the present. Maybe later sew something for the table ... after all that is what this blog is supposed to be about.

Subscribe via email

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

You may also like

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...