Back in England and Scallops are very much back on the menu for us. This is a simple but luxurious starter or a light lunch or supper. I also served the scallops with some excellent smoked salmon I happened to have but it would have been just as good without.
Ingredients (to serve 4 as a starter or 2 as a light main)
Some finely chopped rocket mixed with the finely chopped zest of a lemon (unwaxed)
Some finely chopped coriander to sprinkle over
For the dressing
2 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of sesame oil, 1 teaspoon of fish sauce, a tablespoon of rice wine vinegar, half a crushed clove of garlic, the juice of half a lemon, a little honey (to taste), salt and pepper.
Mix or shake up all the ingredients for the dressing, tasting and adjusting as you go
Heat the griddle pan until it is smoking hot and quickly sear the scallops on each side (about a minute is all they’ll need) then plate them up. Pour the dressing over the hot scallops, and sprinkle over the rocket and lemon mix.
Fast food doesn’t get much better than this!
For more scallop inspired recipes, take a look at this or this.
Some things are more fun when done with pals. Ravioli making is one of them. Just ask Chgo John. Luckily my lovely neighbour Denise was willing to give up a few hours of her time and we had an evening of ravioli making and eating in the garden.
We made four kinds of fillings.
Potato with caramelised onion and parmesan, mixed mushrooms with spinach and nutmeg, ricotta with lemon zest and coriander and mascarpone with rocket and sun-dried tomatoes.
No quantities except to say we made pasta with 500g of flour and 5 eggs. This made about 70 ravioli (with some leftover dough too), although we didn’t manage to eat them all. We did give it our best shot though!
We were well lubricated with wine as I believe it is actually illegal to make ravioli without a glass or two to hand.
We served some with tomato sauce and others more simply with olive oil and parmesan.
Summer cooking, summer eating. Everything tastes better eaten outdoors on a hot summer’s night don’t you think?!
(I know they’re not the best shots in the world but they were “working” snaps and it got darker and darker as the evening went on – naturally – I hope you enjoy the atmosphere of the evening as much as we did despite this!)
Ooh, that sounds a bit restauranty doesn´t it? Well, you can see from the photo that it really wasn´t, but it was quick and delicious and a perfect New Year´s Eve starter for the two of us. Who wants to spend hours in the kitchen when there´s champagne to be drunk for goodness sake?!
Back here on the South Coast of England, we are lucky to have access to freshly caught fish and shellfish. Rye Bay Scallops (caught locally) are delicious and even have a festival to celebrate their glory. Lucky us, perfect for a special treat.
Ingredients (for 2 people)
A few handfuls of your favourite salad (we used rocket and baby plum tomatoes)
3 scallops with their coral per person
6 thin slices of jamon (or use 3 slices of prosciutto cut in half)
A salad dressing made from olive oil, lemon juice, a splash of soy sauce, half a teaspoon of honey and salt & pepper (go easy on the salt because of the soy sauce)
Heat a griddle pan until it starts to smoke and then quickly sear the jamon/prosciutto for a few seconds on each side.
Remove from the heat and cook the scallops for about a minute on each side (or less if you like them less cooked or they are not very thick).
Put a layer of salad on a plate then 3 slices of jamon followed by the scallops. Season the salad, drizzle with the dressing, serve with lemon and enjoy.
I´m starting to sound like a scratched record now, I´m sorry. Work continues but with huge progress.
Last night, in House Number 1, we mopped the final floor, we screwed in the final light bulb, polished the final window and left a Welcome Card and bottle of wine for our lovely new tenant.
It was all a little emotional if I admit the truth. It was our first truly joint business venture and blood, sweat and tears (literally) went into the work. We feel happy with a job well done, to a high standard and we were happy in our time spent in the little house.
Who remembers the bathroom that went from this…
Or the kitchen (sorry about my nose causing a big shadow!)…
…which now looks like this
And that scary hall….
..sorry, I know you loved that carpet….but it had to go!
Last night we were exhausted. Too tired almost to eat. But we rallied for a bottle of bubbles and a little celebratory snack. I was reminded of a fabulous recipe From the Bartolini Kitchens and created some tasty little crostini which went perfectly with our “end of the first part of the project” drinks. Simple, tasty, perfect.
Slices of toasted ciabatta (or other dense bread) drizzled with a little olive oil
Gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
A few handfuls of rocket leaves
Coarse Sea Salt & Freshly ground pepper
Spoon some crumbled cheese over the little toasts and then sprinkle over some rocket leaves. Drizzle with olive oil and honey, add a tiny sprinkle of salt (optional, blue cheese is typically very salty) and a good grind of black pepper. Raise a glass, put your feet up and enjoy.
PS. Thank you all so much for your patience, and apologies for not being able to get to all of your great posts as much as usual.
Summer time means sweet juicy fruit. And fruit isn´t just for jams or desserts you know. Oh no, mixed with peppery salad leaves and a citrusy sweet dressing it´s a perfect summer starter.
We have two seasons of figs here in Andalucía, early summer Brevas (usually the dark, black-skinned figs) and late summer Higos (the green variety). How lucky are we?!
Big Man came home yesterday with four juicy figs that had somehow fallen into his pocket off someone´s tree. At least, that´s what he told me and who am I not to believe him?!
Not enough for dessert, but just enough for a little salad.
Not so much a recipe as an inspiration to make a version yourself. I mixed some chopped lettuce with basil and rocket then over the top I put the four stolen precious figs, one peeled chopped peach and about 2 tablespoons of chopped semi cured goat´s cheese.
To make the dressing I mixed 1 tablespoon of honey with 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, 3 tablespoons of olive oil and a squeeze of lemon juice. Salt and pepper were added then it was all shaken up then poured over.
Ah, “stolen” fruit always seems to taste that much sweeter!
I realised tonight that a month had flown past since we planted our vegetable “plugs” this year. We´re catching up as we´ve has plenty of rain followed by sunshine and a few misty evenings, which the plants seem to love!
Our herbs are doing well, apart from my parsley and cilantro (coriander) which are still looking a bit sad.
I´ve let the sage flower as I think it looks so pretty. I sometimes deep fry the large leaves in very hot olive oil for a few seconds and sprinkle with coarse sea salt as a little nibble with almonds and olive…and wine, of course!
The mint is going crazy…these were the stragglers which I had to pull up later.
I´ve also let the chives go to seed as the flowers are also lovely in salads.
The basil is almost ready for the first batch of pesto.
We´ve got plum tomatoes.
We´ve got a “wild” tomato which has sprung up from a leftover seed from a squashed tomato from last year. It has such a desire to live, we´ve let it do its own thing!
We have some (very) bitter salad leaves and the delicious chard. The celery tucked in there is slow to get going, but we´ll let it take its time.
Tomatoes, beans and the little muscat vines.
We´ve got rocket seedlings (must plant some more though)
The first of the runner beans should be ready to pick in a few days
The onions are doing well too
We´ve got long thin green peppers and large bell peppers – but we can´t remember which are which. We´ll soon find out!
The aubergine flowers are so pretty – wish they´d hurry up as I love aubergines (eggplant!)
Dwarf French beans (yellow and green) which we only planted a week ago
And finally, radish seedlings…not long now!
As I said, we´re a little behind this year because of the very wet spring that we had, but we´re happy with progress so far and already dreaming of grilled vegetables, salads and bunches of grapes. Happy growing to you all!
So in 2016 I turned 50. I was in Italy for my 21st, 30th and 40th. To keep this birthday tradition going I always knew I'd be in Italy for my 50! This blog starts with my 5 week adventure in Puglia but my love affair with Italy continues.....