Wednesday, July 1, 2015

On Fire For Samfire

Samphire is an edible coastal plant, making it a lovely addition to fish dishes.  They like to grow in salt sprayed, rocky, or marshy areas.  The marshy variety is the the more common type available.  It is also referred to as sea asparagus, as it can be prepared like asparagus and slathered with butter for a great side dish.  Other names it can go by are sampha, sea pickle (it is nice pickled, by the way...), glasswort, or sampkin.  It is said to be quite easy to grow, even away from the sea.


Samphire is best in July and August.


It tastes best raw or steamed. This had me thinking that the crunchy texture of it raw and the salty taste would be good for a chicken salad.  Enter Coronation Chicken Baguettes! Here is my version of the well known dish:


For colour I used two kinds of grapes....About a cup's worth.


Slice in halves.

                                      
Chop up some raw samphire about 1/2 a cup.


2 cups shredded chicken, 2 gherkins, a tsp. mustard, 1/2 an onion small diced, 1/3 c. mayo, and curry powder to taste (I used 2 tbsps.)


Gently fold together.


Fill a baguette with some of the chicken salad and butter crunch lettuce.




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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Golden Pitaya


Another fruit I recently tried is a Golden Pitaya.  After research and opening I found it is a golden version of dragonfruit.  I could imagine a delicious salsa made from this epiphytic cactus.  There are many health benefits of Pitaya, such as it is high in fiber, vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, phytoalbumins and lycopene.


I scored the flesh in a crosshatch, then a centre cut, finishing by scooping it out.  There are numerous ways to prepare this fruit. Check these recipes out.


My cubes featured in a melon salad, with mint ribbons.


This salad is a good side to a cheese platter.


Our cheese du jour was Hereford Hop. An old friend from The Clive days! The sharp cheese with the bitter hops balanced nice with the natural, light sweetness of the fruit.


Hops and from Hereford coat a cheese from Gloucestershire to make Hereford Hop Cheese.


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Monday, June 29, 2015

A Feastival - Shrewsbury

    
We arrived to the beginning of the queue, without having had a brekie.  The only thing propelling us forward was a cup of coffee.  An announcer came over the tannoy that marked the beginning of the food fest!
True to the name food festival, there was food everywhere.  Much to our empty tum's delight, there were ample samples.




 Although a bit early (Well, it was a one off), we didn't say no to various samples of cider, beer, liquours, perry, mead....


The only thing missing here was demos of cider being made in stages, like we saw in Ludlow.




We filled up on lovely cheeses stacked on crackers and bread of all types.





There were meats preserved and cooked.  One butcher providing zebra, ostrich and other game samples.


Olive oils, and flavoured oils were savoured.  The garlic Rapeseed oil was a favourite.


Jams, jellies and chutneys gallore, again plenty of samples!  


 Sweets next!  I'm glad we skipped breakfast.





 British farm animals on display. The British Lop pigs were having a kip when we saw them.

A Great Berwick cow was very attentive to her new calf.


I didn't expect to see John Challis (Boysie from OFAH), but there he was.


 By 2pm it was quite a crowd, and the sun was getting hot....We had done the circuit, well full and happy.  Our advice is to arrive early with an appetite.  I would like to see more demos and I noticed the Slow Food movement was missing. It is a rather large and less intimate festival compared to Ludlow, but samples were more free flowing.  Having said that the Shrewsbury Food Festival was a great day out and will give you a good overview of the food scene in Britain.


For a few more views visit my Flickr album dedicated to the day.

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Sunday, June 28, 2015

Granadilla


I ran across some new to me fruit to try, as it turns out this one called Granadilla is a sort of Passion fruit. Granadilla, a South American native is also known as Sweet Granadilla, Lemi Wai Lani wai, and Lemona. Other fruits of this family are Maracuja, Feijoa and the regular Passion fruit we all know and love.   Commonly, Granadilla is eaten straight up, but can be nice in jellies, pies, frostings, cocktails and fruit salads.  Granadilla is rich in fiber, calcium, Iron, Niacin, Phosphorus, Potassium and vitamins; C, A, K.


To prepare cut in half to reveal the pulp and edible seeds.


Scoop out the lot, but leave the tough skin behind.


After cutting it open, I wasn't surprised that the fruit tasted of Passion fruit.  I found the Granadilla to be milder than Passion fruit, however.  There wasn't a strong, lingering fruity taste. The seeds although still digestible were larger and had a harder shelled. 


Granadilla was very nice topping a basic custard.  I focused on the pulp and juice more than the seeds in this pudding.  
  

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Thursday, June 4, 2015

Ramping Up The Wild Garlic, or Post Season Rampson

 


ramson

[ram-zuh n, -suh n]



noun
1.
a garlic, Allium ursinum, having broad leaves.
2.
Usually, ramsons. its bulbous root, used as a relish.

This is an early spring, seasonal treat.  The best way to use them is in a pesto with pasta.  I have been a bit creative with a few easy recipes, I did previously while they were in season.  I usually find ramps at farmer's markets, or many times at Whole Foods.  It may be fun to go for a forage of them sometime!


 
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Smoked Salmon with Rampson Dressing


- Half of a large bunch of ramps, cleaned and trimmed
- A dash of mirin
- 3 tbsp. rice wine vinegar
- 2 tsp. honey
- 1 tbsp. mustard
Salt and pepper to taste

Blitz all this in a blender, or food processor.  Slowly add 3 tbsp. oil, as the blade spins.  This dressing will be thick with the bits of ramp.

Paint this dressing on a plate.  Arrange the smoked salmon over the dressing.  Top with more dressing.



Garnish generously with radish slivers.


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Rampson Chimchurri Compound Butter





- 1 stick of butter, softened
- Half of a large bunch of ramps, whizzed and broken up in a food processor
- A few pinches of red pepper flakes
- juice of 1/2 a lime
- Salt and pepper to taste

Whip in a blender, until somewhat smooth and well blended.  Form in a tube with cling film, or parchment paper.  Refrigerate until firm. 


This is excellent served with steak!  Here we have flank steak basted with the butter while grilling.  On the side we have roasted potatoes and fried okra.



Top with a coin of the butter and sprinkled red pepper flakes.


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