Before I start writing a post for this blog, I also browse through my old photos as well as the more recent ones. There’s always a throwback in there which for some reason has either escaped my noticing it, or has lost its turn to be replaced in line with a new recipe or an exciting book review. There’s nothing I like best other than to spend my winter afternoons and early evenings in my study, reading or writing and sipping hot chocolate. In summer I just can’t get my mind to concentrate much. Aprile dolce dormire, the Italians say, dolce dormire roughly meaning a sweet sleep. So while C&T HQ keeps on working on the writing, recipes and other miscellaneous photos, I can spend some time sorting through my archives.
Continue reading Quick Lentil Salad →
I am a planner. Well, whenever I can that is. I look for interesting recipes, write grocery lists and plan weekly meals. Usually. Though there are times when I just can’t be bothered. Stuff just happens. It’s been almost a year since moving back to Malta and we haven’t stopped. Feeling overwhelmed and stressed out doesn’t even begin to describe. So for the past few months I have given up on planning meals all the time. Giving this up for the most part has not been as hard as I anticipated. I know – I’m surprised at that myself to be honest but I gradually learnt not to fuss over the little things. To an extent. Cooking and baking are meant to be stress-busters for me. Whereas lately they were completely stressing me out! And I was letting them do that. I almost made my kitchen my enemy. Say what?! The fact that I’ve been running this blog for four and a half years now has somewhat increased the pressure, even though it remains my beloved hobby and my rock. Phew.
So I decided that when it comes to buying fresh produce I was going to relax. My thought process for the past few weeks has been something like this: deep breathe, let the notepad go, let the pen go, make the journey to the veggie truck, pick the best fruit and veggies you can buy, think of some recipes while you linger, chat to the nicest people there, pay for the stuff and walk away slowly. And it’s working. It is. I feel freer and I cook whatever I want when I’m home. The kitchen is not my enemy anymore. At least for now!
Continue reading Mushrooms with Fresh Garlic and Tomatoes →
During the past few weeks I made quite a number of pizzas, reason being I’m still testing out my oven. I didn’t want to bake before making sure I wasn’t about to burn anything. A couple of friends whom I visited last Saturday are still waiting for a lemon drizzle cake. And this morning, when I actually had some time on my hands, I ran out of sugar, so the cake just has to wait. My mum came over for a short visit though and we made some pizzas for lunch.
Continue reading Pizza →
Today I decided to share with you some shots which I took during a walk around Hever and Hever Castle. You must forgive me when I say that this week I just feel like reminiscing about that green and pleasant land in which I have lived for quite a while. I consider this blog not only to be a sort of cooking diary, but also to me it’s a journal of what I am up to in life, consisting of one also out of the kitchen. It’s so good for my soul to look back through old photos and posts and learn from my past experiences.
Continue reading Around Hever →
You know you have a winner when you cook something again and again without minding that much. This is one of my go-to recipes whenever I don’t want to think about fancy dishes or when I’ve had a tiring day. There is some prep work involved and some stirring, but you could always get someone to help with that! You can use a mixture of fresh mushrooms and it’s even better with some dried porcini soaked in a little hot water. (Don’t even dream of using the canned stuff, and if you do please don’t tell me.) I like to use chestnut mushrooms because they are tastier than the white button mushrooms. (I don’t buy porcini often!) Anyhow, you will get more flavour from the grated cheese and fresh parsley later. This is a simple but delicious winter dish. Serves 4.
- 250g chestnut mushrooms, chopped
- 250g arborio
- knob of butter (approx. 25g)
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 medium onions, finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped or crushed
- 1 teaspoon mixed spice
- 1 litre hot vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
- 2 tablespoons grated cheese (Pecorino or Parmeggiano)
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped (optional)
- Pour the olive oil and butter in a large-ish saucepan and add the onions, garlic and mixed spice. Stir until everything is coated by the melted butter.
- Add the arborio and 1 ladle of stock, and stir until this is absorbed by the rice. Continue to add 1 ladle full to 2 of vegetable stock at a time while stirring often. Add the mushrooms when you have used around half of the amount of stock. When you have finished adding the stock and the rice has absorbed it you should end up with a creamy consistency. If it is too dry try adding more stock.
- Remove it from the heat, add the grated cheese and parsley and mix these into the rice. Call everyone to the table and serve at once.
A note on something completely different: I will be away for a couple of weeks, but will be back with some new recipes as soon as I’m back in Surrey, just in time for the run-up to Christmas. Enjoy!