Stepping away from my usual topic to bring you some pictures from our day at the Paralympics last week. We caught four games of football, a game of goalball and did plenty of wandering around the park. We did also unfortunately eat in the biggest MacDonald’s in the world and I bought a kitschy little Team GB mug from the shop. I’m really glad we went, soaked up the atmosphere, something we’ll always remember.
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Pasta making has been on my to do list for such a long time, and I’ve seen lots of recipes I wanted to try but never found the time to get around to it – or maybe conquer my fear of it! So I jumped at the chance when Miss Sue Flay said she knew a local lady, Ruth from The Bread Bin, who taught pasta and bread making from her home, she’d also tasted her fresh pasta, which she sells to people in her village, and vouched for how delicious it was.
It was great fun, I’m quite used to working with dough and it was much easier to make than a pastry or a bread dough. Just eggs and flour slowly worked into each other, rested in the fridge and then rolled out and taken through the stages of a pasta machine.
The pasta machine part gets a bit tricky as the dough gets thinner and longer but as long as you work carefully and have plenty of space on your work surface you’ll be fine. And if it breaks, well, you can start again or you just have slightly different shaped pasta!
Ruth is a fantastic baker, she bakes all kinds of things for her family and also to sell – breads, breadsticks, pitta, flavoured pasta. She has a real passion for real bread and uses the best ingredients and sources them locally. Her knowledge of all things made with flour is encyclopedic! Miss Sue Flay baked breadsticks whilst I did the pasta, and the bread dough she used can also be shaped to make lovely fluffy pittas – something I must try.
You can find Ruth on Facebook, where you’ll find details of her courses and also make bread orders to pick up on Fridays, ready for the weekend!
|Photo by Miss Sue Flay|
We’ve been enjoying eating the pasta I made – tagliatelle, bows and little cups of pasta – since the class last week. And now I am on the hunt for a pasta machine.
Inspired by Miss Sue Flay’s post I thought I’d write about my own mission to get healthier – eating better and exercising more (well exercising at all). Since I started blogging 4 years (!) ago I have learnt so much about food, how to cook and perfecting the perfect brownie, cake and bread. I still love baking and I am not giving up proper cakes and treats but now is the time to get a bit healthier and not always have a home baked sugary cake in the kitchen.
I’ve been half heartedly giving exercise a go since about January, when I went to my first Zumba class, which was a good introduction, but in the last few months I joined the gym which has helped me get into a routine, I am going to attempt to get better at running next – wish me luck!
But this is a FOOD blog so I am here to talk about some of the yummy and healthy things I’ve been enjoying lately.
One of my favourite programmes at the moment is Exploring China, I wrote about catching up on it in my food programmes post recently and I am really glad I found out about it, it is a brilliant series. I’ve learnt a lot about Chinese cooking from it and am keen to try some new recipes from the series.
The programme in Sichuan was very interesting, having seen many Sichuan restaurants popping up in London and even one in Cambridge, I was keen to know about the province a bit more and also how to use the infamous Sichaun Pepper.
I liked the idea of creating a Sichuan pepper spiced hot oil to pour over the dish to finish it off so I tried it on a fillet of salmon. Not a traditional thing to use with Sichuan cuisine as they don’t use much seafood, but it was delicious and diet friendly (more on the dreaded diet soon). A warning: the photo is pretty unphotogenic but it tasted delicious!
I poached the salmon fillet in vegetable stock (you could use fish stock if you had some) for about 10 minutes on a medium low heat. Meanwhile I fried finely chopped garlic, a teaspoon of chilli bean paste, finely chopped ginger and about 10 Sichuan peppercorns crushed up. When the salmon was ready I poured the fragrant hot oil over it. I had it with a cabbage and carrot salad spiked with rice vinegar, sesame oil and sesame seeds. A perfect light dinner with tons of flavour.
You can find (very few of) the recipes on the BBC Website, I wish there were a few more there but I suppose they want me to buy the book! Exploring China is on Sundays at 8pm, the next episode will be in Taiwan and Canton.
I went to the second Platelickers Supper Club, cooked, hosted and run by miss igs and afternoontease back in July, so I do apologise for the extreme lateness of this blog post.
Along with an absence of enough good restaurants there aren’t many supper clubs in Cambridge either, but with the amount of Cambridge food bloggers there are (hi everyone!) I did think someone would set one up eventually. Whilst I have wild ambitions to do a supper club with all the spare time I don’t have, I don’t think I could manage it as brilliantly as the ladies from Platelickers.
The supper club was in the St. Pauls Church on Hills Road, which was a quirky location – we ate amongst lovely stained glass windows and pews, with candles lighting the room and making everything very pretty.
This was the second Platelickers Anonymous, with a moroccan/middle eastern theme. We started with some gorgeous and garlicky houmous and some baba ganoush with pitta and vegetables to dip – neither of which I have successfully been able to make myself – these were shining examples of how to make these dips properly.
The drinks were not forgotten too, a lovely vodka and pomegranate cocktail. We were both thankful for these as we’d bought along a hastily purchased really awful bottle of wine to drink!
The starter was a chilled green gazpacho, nice to have something different to the usual tomato. We all mused over what it contained, we think peas, basil, garlic and maybe some other green vegetables. The soup was fresh and with lots of flavour for a cold dish.
Main for meat eaters (which I failed to take a picture of) was a slow cooked pork belly served with herby cous cous, gooseberry chutney and green beans with orange. Best crackling ever! And the pork just melted, the gooseberry was a really nice take on the traditional apple sauce. For the veggie dish Mr got courgette and feta fritters, which I wanted to steal one of when he wasn’t looking! But I didn’t. I’m nice.
Pudding was two desserts – win! Baked peaches with a lovely sugary nutty topping and almond and polenta cake. It was Mr’s birthday so the ladies had kindly put a little candle in the top for him, sweet touch
We had a lovely time at the supper club, which was well attended by some local food bloggers, it is great to be supporting a little venture like this and try some new and interesting things in a relaxed atmosphere.
Details of the next supper club haven’t been announced yet but follow Miss Igs and Afternoontease’s blogs for updates.
They’ve also blogged some of the recipes from the evening too.
Roasted Pork Belly
Gooseberry, elderflower and ginger relish
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