Project Food Blog

Shirley Price

With the intention of Taking Back Sunday firmly planted in our heads, we headed over to the (well, my) In Laws In The Country for the weekend.  I love cooking in my MIL's kitchen, she has all the latest equipment stowed away behind her oak cupboard doors! And when you look outside it's just like the bit in Snow White where Snow White is singing and the animals all peek out of their hiding places and come to help her with the house work...
My brother in law Ian is a very entrepreneurial  fellow, who will have a go at anything, and enjoy the journey to boot. We got chatting about his latest venture, Shirley Price Aromatherapy Oils and how oils can be used as an ingredient in food, for example Bergamot in Earl Grey tea, and the many uses of flowers such as Lavender and Roses. I spent a gorgeous afternoon with a friend at the Rockwell Bar on the ground floor of The Trafalgar Hotel, sipping Champagne cocktails made with essence of Roses, so subtle and so delicious!
Anyway, as we had been talking about adding such flavours to food, I decided I would experiment and see if  I could adapt the Primrose Bakery recipe for lavender cupcakes, and use the essential oil rather than the fresh sprigs as suggested in the book. Much to my delight, 6 drops of lavender oil and about an hour later, we were all tucking in to Lavender Cupcakes, made with Shirley Price Organic lavender oil, and our own freshly laid eggs.
Later on in the afternoon, we shared a delicious Sunday Roast, comprising of Leg of Lamb, Roast Potatoes, Roast Vegetables (red pepper, butternut squash, onion, courgette) Honey glazed parsnips, the most glorious Yorkshire Puddings, Cauliflower Cheese and for pudding, the remaining Lavender cupcakes, Lemon Roulade, Tiramisu, and Apple Pie.

Sundays don't get any better than this!

I left my camera there so you'll have to wait for more photos! Sorry!

Where the Wild Things Were Last Night

Having parked rather cheekily up a pedestrianised one way street (I took a wrong turn, honestly it was an accident) to race into the last two shops in town that might sell cornmeal, as NONE of the supermarkets or Health food shops stock it at the moment where I live!) I frantically made my last minute essential purchase and headed home to cook the Cornbread for my lovely friend's birthday soiree. A Mexican theme. Right up our (One way) street!)
Her  intention was an evening of elegant dining, with singing of Gilbert and Sullivan Songs and bed by half 10.... but then someone had to go and open the Tequila!!!
We had a slightly raucous night, as often happens when a group of twenty or so 30 and 40 somethings get together. It was a great bunch of women, some of whom I had met before and others who were new to me last night.A really interesting mixture of people, all united by their friendship of one person.
What really struck me was we that we shared a collective feistiness, with a fresh, positive attitude towards life, work and business. I met a great girl called Donna who has a her own company renting Luxury Villas in Florida, a beautiful Italian lady, Rosa who I think I have agreed to ship my children off to, or maybe that got lost in translation, together with a whole host of other bright, intelligent and opinionated females! (If you are a like minded woman, check out Where The Bright Women Are, does exactly as it says on the tin!
Anyway, the food was fantastic and the Margaritas flowed! The thrice cooked Chilli at 3 in the morning is highly recommended. (Kesh had made wise use of Little Nanny's Jam Pan!)
And as for the pool table... well  let's just say it may have a slight skew to one side now (sorry Steve, at least we took our shoes off) and finally, for any of you who know how to play this game..... I have NEVER been to Florida. Pour yourself a shot if YOU have! Cheers!

We're takin' back Sundays

You may think that after the meat-laden, cream-heavy richness of Chrimbo, our minds may be turning to lighter things this month.

Err, no.

Perhaps it's the snow. And the sub zero temperatures. Or just the fact that we had such rollicking fun eating and drinking and socialising in December that we saw no reason to stop. Perhaps, who knows, it's the effect of this blog...

Either way, January is shaping up to be a bit of a culinary high point. Take last week. Here's what I cooked on the first three 'back to school' nights:

Monday - Brace of pheasants, roasted apples and veg, bread sauce, madeira gravy
Tuesday - Roasted 5 spice pork with cabbage and caraway seeds
Wednesday – slow cooked chilli con carne with spicy guacamole

Okaay, it didn't stay at this level (I had to return to work eventually, and my husband was getting suspicious at all the nice attention) but you get the gist. I was on a cooking – and eating – roll. And you know, it really beat those winter blues. I didn't even mind not drinking (for a few days).

Anyway, come Sunday, I finally let my oven have a day off as my dear friends Ben and Rachel hosted a dinner party. All I had to do was supply the pud, the rest was down to them. What was on the menu? Let's just say, there was a boat in the harbour, so we pushed it out…

Nibbles: Toast with canard pate and caramelised red onions, served with 1990 Bollinger Rose Belle Epoque.

Main event: Huuuuge roast pork, crackling, apple sauce and all the extras you'd wish for, served with a 2005 Margaux

Cheese course: no less than 8, including a Compté, Brie, Reblochon, Roquefort and a hard cheese with cumin seeds (plus more delicious and gout inducing red wine finery, too many bottles to mention)

Pudding: Rhubarb and ginger crumble with custard and clotted cream, served with a stickie

Then there were extra delicacies throughout the evening – surprise little puds from Ben served with coffee, huge boxes of chocolates pressed upon us by Rachel whilst we played 'Who's in the bag' (if you don't know how to play this email us and we'll fill you in!).

It was like Christmas all over again. Which made us all decide upon one resolution we're determined to keep. We're claiming back Sunday lunch. As a time for cooking, conversation and conviviality. We'll let you know if we manage to stick to it!

Moose Milk

Still snowbound! Have had our former next door neighbours round for coffee and Christmas cake and got chatting about the things we love to eat and drink in this cold weather. I mentioned a delicious cocktail that we had had at my friends Frank and Danny's wedding a few years ago which is perfect to beat the winter blues. Danny is Warrant Officer of a Submarine, and picked this cocktail recipe up while hanging out in the Canadian Navy Officers Mess

This recipe is for a single moose, but the recipe in the side bar is for a large gathering... do not drink it all by yourself although it is absolutely delicious, it is very potent!

30ml Dark rum
30ml White rum
15ml Kahlua®
2 scoops vanilla ice cream
grated nutmeg (though apparently the navy don't bother with that!)

Blend just until smooth. Nutmeg if you want.  Drink with caution!

What to do with a potato and some leftovers

Lucy my lovely, just read your twitter comment! I may just have the answer to your snowbound prayers:

1. Preheat the oven to 180.
2. Peel 4 potatoes and slice very thinly
3. Do the same with 2 onions
4. Grate or chop any cheese you have
5. Layer up in an ovenproof bowl
6. Add 1/2 pint water, stock or milk, seasoned with salt, pepper and thyme
7. Cook for 45 minutes, putting a piece of foil on top if you don't want the top to go too brown.

Enjoy with cold meats, sausages, or on its own with HP sauce.