Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Radicchio Apple and Grapes

It's been an exciting week with daily rain and thunder showers then amazing blazing sunny periods. the veg patch Is loving the weather, im not so sure about it myself. The week was made even more exciting when the video card in our computer died, oops. Could be a few weeks till its back up and running! So this post is being written entirely from my smartphone. Which with the blogger app isn't as bad as I would have imagined. 

The up side is my Radicchio Treviso plants are looking fab, and I've decided to try out a recipe I've earmarked for a time like now when my plants were ready. The recipe is adapted from Around my French Table, by Dorrie Greenspan, (see Bookshelf Page, above) a must have for any enthusiastic chef who loves entertaining with simplistic and delicious food. I love recipes that toy with sweet and savoury ingredients, so this one caught my eye.

Radicchio is part of the endive/chicory family of plants thats flavours range from faintly bitter to intensely bitter. The Bitterness can change during the growing season too, depending on outside temperatures, cooler temperatures aiding in a more mild flavour. The bitterness mellows with cooking as well, adding a bit of cream helps too. This dish is slow cooked with salted butter, sweet grapes and tart apples balance out the bitter tones of the radicchio. One bite is bitter the next sweet and savoury, its a flavour sensation, and a little rosemary undertone sews the whole plate together. Enjoy! 

Radicchio, Apple and Grapes
Serves 2 as a main or 4 starters

Making this dish reminds me of cooking a tart tatin, the aromas of the butter caramelising with the apples and grapes are part of the reason. Another is the time involved, patience is key. Everything needs to be soft and melting for this dish to be perfect. 

2 medium heads Radicchio Treviso or 1 large head, halved for medium heads or quartered for large
1 1/2 Gala apples, quartered and cored
3 small clumps of green grapes
3 -4 small sprigs rosemary
2 tablespoons salted butter 

• place a large sauté pan on a low heat , add the butter and let melt. 
• place radicchio in pan cut side down, fill in gaps with apples, grapes and rosemary, leave to bubble away slowly for 20-25 minutes
•check to see if everything is caramelising, if not turn up heat a fraction and wait to turn the fruit and radicchio.
• once browned flip everything over and repeat cooking another 20-25 minutes
• poke the radicchio, apples and grapes to make sure they are soft, check got caramelisation, if ready remove from heat and plate. If not let cook longer adjusting heat if necessary.
• add a small bit of water to the pan to make a scant amount of sauce and spoon over the finished dish

Friday, July 19, 2013

Salads Everyday

French breakfast radishes with greens
here in west cork, we are having the best weather in it seems like a century! you don't even want to think about cooking, its that warm. spain is even cooler than here, global warming? maybe. does it matter? not right now! (i'm half joking there) we seriously haven't had rain in weeks.

despite the lack of rain, one of the great things about this time of year is every time i go to the garden, there's something new to pick and chop up into a salad. which is great for a hot afternoon.
there's cauliflower, courgette, cabbage, kale, peas, beetroot, radishes, spinach, lettuce, onions, chard.... you get what i mean? its a great time to have a garden and this post is a celebration of that fact.

there's no recipe today but there's more posts on the way like: a tangy slaw for tacos, elderflower fizz and cocktails (yes, MORE cocktails!) and a recipe that goes great with crispy calamari. enjoy the photos, there's loads more on the FWDR instagram page.

little gems are a great lettuce to grow if the slugs don't get to them first!

smoked mackerel with chard, fennel and flowers

Monday, July 8, 2013

Lemon Thyme Whiskey Sour

thyme is by far my favourite herb, and among that my favourite type is lemon thyme. the lovely citrusy notes to the earthy sweet herbal qualities make it great for cooking, baking and infusing into cocktails. like this infused simple syrup, its so easy to do. the syrup will keep for months refrigerated in a clean sealed jar.
I encourage you to seek out lemon thyme at your garden centre, just one sniff of this herb well sell you on buying two plants, mine has been used down to a little nub! I hope it grows back for more of this cocktail lover approved tipple! my syrup only lasted a week with my friends, better double up when the plant rejuvenates! this whiskey sour is great for summer barbecues or all night drinking sessions.
naturally one is enough but three is always better!

Lemon Thyme Whiskey Sour
Makes 1

inspired by: The Seasonal Cocktail Companion: 100 recipes and projects for 4 seasons of drinking, by Maggie Savarino. a pricelessly inventive cocktail book!

2 measures Whiskey, your preference, I love Bushmills
1 measure Lemon Juice
1 measure Lemon Thyme Syrup (recipe follows)

for Lemon Thyme Syrup:

3/4 cups (180gm) white sugar
1 cup (240ml) water
1 good fistful lemon thyme or thyme
  • using a mortar and pestle crush the thyme with a little sugar, or bruise with your fingers
  • place all ingredients into a sauce pan and bring to boil stirring occasionally
  • let cool and strain out thyme
  • store in a sealed jar in the fridge for 1-2 months
for drink:
  • place all ingredients into a large jar or cocktail shaker with a good amount of ice
  • shake or stir until well chilled
  • strain into a glass tumbler or cocktail glass filled with ice
  • garnish with thyme sprig or thyme flowers and a cocktail cherry

the creative process

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

FWDR on Instagram

Flour Water Dirt & Rain is now on Instagram! I'm finding Instagram really handy as a substitute for blog posts. I know myself and the reality is, I can only get time to make 1 good blog post a week (sometimes 10 days!! eek). I wish it was more, but a full time job in a bakery has precedent over blog time. i'm not complaining either! I love my job. I also really like the FWDR blog and I love getting feedback from readers. so if there are any readers who wish there were more frequent postings, following FWDR on Instagram might suffice! It's great for those little moments you find in the garden where something new is happening but might not require an entire blog post. like the flowers on the 'golden wonder' spuds. so cool! or the oats i'm experimenting growing - they must be 4 feet tall by now! Instagram might also spark an idea for a blog post too, like a kale and radish slaw for tacos? so delicious! I have to blog that one.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! there is also a FWDR Pinterest account, just click the links on the right hand side bar to get to both sites.

Monday, July 1, 2013

Gooseberry Elderflower Pie


Last week was a glorious week of balmy summer weather. the gooseberry bush (that we adopted with the house) was heaving with bright green fruits. screaming: "hey, pick me! don't forget about me like last year!" the big question was: what do you do with all those gooseberries? gooseberry fool pops into everyone's mind but, what else? after browsing my Bookshelf, I came across recipes for savoury uses like, a sauce for pork or mackerel, and sweet ones like: a pie, jam or chutney. the pie recipe jumped out at me, as well as a seasonal pairing of elderflowers. its that time of year too! bring on the elderflower champagne!