Food. Travel. Recipes.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

my summer soundtrack

A perfect accompaniment to lazing on a beach, kicking back relaxing in a park or in the hustle and bustle of a humid city is that perfect summer soundtrack.  A collection of music that epitomises the season, the sultry, relaxed, sunny vibe that summer gives off. I love how various songs can be a soundtrack to a moment, a season, a time period, a person, a friendship, a romance. Music is so important and for me hearing the first few notes of a song that has been faithfully stored on your iTunes for years can bring you back, in an instant, to a life altering moment. 

Here is my shortlist (with new and old faithful tunes):

The Black Keys - Ever Lasting Light

Plasticines - Barcelona 

The Drums - Let's Go Surfing

Vampire Weekend - A-Punk

Norah Jones - Chasing Pirates

Har Mar Superstar - Almond Joy

Beck, Jay-Z & Pharrell - Frontin' On Debra

Solange - Stillness Is The Move

Eliza Doolittle - Pack Up

Crowded House - Weather With You 

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Universally Speaking

Vampire Weekend - Holiday

Rilo Kiley - Silver Lining

Darwin Deez - Radar Detector

Miles Davis - So What

Basement Jaxx - Raindrops

Frank Sinatra - Come Fly With Me

Red Hot Chili Peppers - Can't Stop

Aaliyah - Back and Forth

Donnell Jones feat. Left-Eye - You Know What's Up

The Stranglers - Peaches

Ella Fitzgerald - Blue Skies

The Chemical Brothers - The State We're In

Kelis - 4th of July

Bran Van 3000 - Drinking in L.A (probably out of all of these, my favourite summer song)

Thursday, 10 June 2010

exciting salads

So this caught my eye in Jamie's America a few days ago and I couldn't believe I hadn't taken notice of it before. It's a real, fresh summery salad with some of my favourite foods in it. Watermelon, lime, seeds, spinach (which was my addition to it), goats cheese and mint. The flavours tasted amazing together, the crunchiness of the seeds with the soft cheese and crunchy, watery melon. It's so easy as well and just makes salad that bit more exciting!

I heart chickpeas

So along with all the ingredients mentioned with that pasta (chorizo, tomatoes, crème fraîche), chickpeas are another ingredient that I really love and that goes so well in so many recipes. I found this recipe in Jamie's America cookbook (a recipe book that does come across as having pretty tricky recipes, but there are some that on a closer look are actually not that hard) One of my favourites is Jamie's chicken chickpea stew. A recipe where the chicken drumsticks and thighs are marinated in a light lemony, garlic marinade and the stew is full of tomatoes, chickpeas and tinned peppers which makes a rich, oily stew. It's so summery and lovely to enjoy with a glass of cold white wine.

a bit of spice and all things nice

So this is a very yummy pasta from the lovely Rosie Lovell's Spooning with Rosie. It's a very different sort of pasta but it has some of the best ingredients; chorizo, crème fraîche, cherry tomatoes and butternut squash.

The vegetable ingredients are roasted before with a sprinkling of chilli flakes then everything is mixed together with the pasta, crème fraîche, some balsamic vinegar and chorizo. Unfortunately, me and my housemate found it a tad too spicy so I will be laying off those chilli flakes next time but the chorizo was gorgeous along with the colours and flavours of the other ingredients.

afternoon tea anyone?

So this is a cake I made for my Pop's birthday; a Victoria Sponge made from Nigella Lawson's How To Be A Domestic Goddess (a staple in any cooks kitchen!), which was recommended by my mother. It made a beautiful sponge and I whipped up some cream and had some raspberries for the middle. It was a bit of a hit, if I do say so myself.

Nigella chucks everything into a food processor and since I was at home, it was easy enough for me.

The recipe goes a little something like this (I've found it on another website, but it is from Nigella)

225g unsalted butter, very soft
225g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs
200g self raising flour
25g cornflour
1 tsp baking powder
3-4 tbsp milk

2 x 21cm sandwich tins about 5cm deep, buttered

For the filling, Nigella suggests:
1 punnet raspberries or fruit to match your jam
125ml double cream

Preheat the oven to 180C.

The recipe asks for all the ingredients to be put in the food processor EXCEPT FOR the milk. You process everything until it reaches a smooth batter then pulse whilst adding the milk through the funnel until the cake reaches a slightly runnier consistency (but not too runny!).

Pour the batter into the tins and bake for 25 minutes until the cakes are springy and spongy to the touch.

Then whip the double cream until thick and pour onto the bottom half of the sponge then arrange the raspberries on top and place the other half of the sponge on top. Dust with icing sugar and add a couple of raspberries and blackberries for decoration.

A light, summery, very English cake sure to be a show-stopping hit with the family!