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I have to be careful when it comes to chilli, alas, but this recipe from Deliciously Ella looks and sounds mouth-watering.

These chilli and chive chickpea pancakes are my go-to quick lunch or supper at the moment. They take about five minutes to make, need just five ingredients and taste amazing! They’re the simplest, most fantastic…

Source: Chilli and Chive Chickpea Pancakes | Deliciously Ella

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

 


Style: Travel/Commuter Mug

You don’t have to give up a colorful, funny, or attractive design for the function of a top-notch travel mug. Zazzle’s commuter mugs feature a rubber-lined lid for a tight, spill-resistant seal, twist the lid to reveal the sip opening! So, take your favorite photo, monogram, pattern, or cool design with you on your new favorite mug.

  • Dimension: 3.5” diameter x 6.2″ h; 14-ounce capacity
  • Materials: Stainless steel body; plastic handle and base; rubber-lined plastic lid
  • Double-walled stainless steel helps will keep your drink of choice hot
  • Do not microwave; hand wash recommended
  • Printed on demand in San José, California

 

Source: Hot Cross Buns Easter Basket #1 Travel Mug | Zazzle

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


ANOTHER RE-BLOG OF ONE OF MY FAVOURITE FOOD POSTS!
“Eight peas, please.” When I was very young, peas were the only vegetable I could stomach. Luckily, I grew out of that. Nowadays, there are very few vegetables I dislike. While okra and…

Source: First Night Design | “Eight peas, please.” | #Carrots #Recipes | First Night Design


I just love this idea!

In what is likely the best use of pasta you’ll see today comes this cookbook from the Gerstenberg Publishing House. As the title implies, it’s a cookbook that you can eat. And we’re not talking just edible paper here — this is the big leagues. Each page of the book is printed on a sheet of delicious pasta, and the entire book is meant to be read and then baked as a lasagna. Finally, the perfect way to…

Source: The Cook Book You Can Eat – Cool Stuff | Tribalmystic stories


A lovely nod to Shrove Tuesday.

Apple Pancakes – this recipe certainly sounds like one worth trying from William Ellis’s Country Housewife’s Family Companion!…

Source: Pancake Day in the Georgian Era – All Things Georgian


As we are spending Christmas with some friends here in Crete, I can do no better than give you this delicious post from Letter from Athens about a traditional Greek Christmas.

In the Greek Orthodox tradition, Christmas ranks second to Easter, but it is still a very important holiday. For the devout it is preceded by a period of fasting so food, unsurprisingly, plays a major role in the festivities. But more of that later.

In Greece, Santa Klaus or Father Christmas is Agios Vasilios (Saint Basil) – so gifts are opened on his name day, January first.

On Christmas Eve and Christmas Day children go from house to house singing the Kalanda (carols whose name comes from the Roman calendar, the first days of the month) and accompanying themselves on small metal triangles and sometimes harmonicas. They knock on doors asking ‘Na ta poume?’ – ‘Shall we say them?’ They are rewarded with money, sweets and sometimes dried figs and other fruit. Then the householders wish them ‘Kai tou xronou’ – ‘Again next year’. They will do the same on New Year’s Eve and…

Source: A Greek Christmas | Letters from Athens


Μελομακάρονα — Honey Biscuits or Macaroons

melomakarana

There are rather too many sweet treats in Greece of which I’m not a great fan. For instance, I don’t like Baklava (Μπακλαβάς), Halva (Χαλβάς) or Galaktoboureko (Γαλακτομπούρεκο), which is a custard-filled pastry with syrup); it’s something about the texture of the first two that puts me off, and the custard one has rarely been good when I’ve bought it from a bakery. I’ve tried, heaven knows, I’ve tried.

But Melomakarona (Μελομακάρονα) are different, especially when there is enough honey syrup to make them moist. They are a Christmas indulgence over here and often given as presents.

This is a traditional recipe by Maria Pantzelioudakis from her previously mentioned cookery book. One of the ingredients is ‘alisiva’ which is designed to make the biscuits ‘crunchy and crumbly’. It is made using clean ash from burnt wood — bet you didn’t expect that!

Ingredients

720 ml olive oil
240 ml orange juice
125 g walnuts, finely chopped
grated rind of 1 orange and 1 lemon
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cloves
125 g cup sugar
1 tsp baking powder/soda
120 ml alisiva (see below for how to make)
1 kg flour (approx)

Syrup

1 kg sugar
480 ml water
240 ml honey
juice of one lemon
2 sticks cinnamon

Method

First make the syrup. Boil together the sugar, honey and water for 8 minutes. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice and the cinnamon and leave to one side to cool

Next make the alisiva. Boil half a cup of clean ash with 2 cups of water. Once it has come to the boil, remove from the heat and let the ash settle. Finally, strain and the clear liquid is ‘alisiva’. This recipe requires 120 ml of this liquid.

Now make the biscuits. Place all the ingredients except the flour into a large bowl and mix. Gradually add the flour and knead the mixture lightly. Be careful not to knead too much as this will make the biscuits hard. If necessary, add more flour until the dough is no longer sticky. Shape into ovals agout 3/4 cm thick and place on a greased baking tray. Bake in the oven at 180 degrees centigrade for 30 minutes until the biscuits are golden. Remove from the oven and pour over enough cold syrup for the biscuits to soak up. Sprinkle with chopped walnuts and arrange on a platter.

Prepare to be be enamoured!

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


One year I was so bored with the usual tat for Christmas and the lack of anything different that I created An Italian Christmas, having discovered that the Italians traditionally eat fish at this time of year, especially on Christmas Eve, The Feast of the Seven Fishes.

Visit Cooking with Nonna for several Italian fish recipes for Christmas, but not until you’ve read my recipe for Kedgeree below!

 

This image was created using one of my textures and a photograph I took of some Cretan fish which we barbecued. A friend had brought them over and did give us the Greek name but I’ve long since forgotten what it was! The closest I can give you is whitebait.  They were delicious cooked on our barbecue, an interesting ramshackle affair built by Mr FND with some of the rocks dug up from the garden.

Smoked Mackerel Kedgeree

I don’t know whether Italians ever have any form of Kedgeree at Christmas but since I currently have a craving for it, I thought I’d give you my adaptation, which uses smoked mackerel and common or garden rice rather than Basmati. Incidentally, it’s not a genuine Indian dish but hails from the time of the British Raj.

Serves 4 with average appetites (2 with greedy appetites like me and Mr FND).

Ingredients

450g pack cooked Smoked Mackerel

50g Butter

200g Long Grain Rice

1 Large Red Onion, sliced

3 Eggs, hard-boiled

1 tbs Curry Powder

2 tbsp  Fresh Parsley

1 pint Fish Stock

2 tsp Nutmeg

2 Lemons

Olive Oil

Method

  1. Tear the parsley into pieces.
  2. Remove the skin and flake the smoked mackerel fillet.
  3. Hard-boil the eggs, shell and cut into quarters.
  4. Slice the red onion and use a frying pan to soften in oil.
  5. Add the curry powder and nutmeg and stir. Cook for a minute or two.
  6. Add the uncooked rice to the mix and stir until the rice is coated with the oil.
  7. Add 3/4 of the fish stock and leave on simmer for as long as you would normally cook rice. Test whether the rice is cooked. Add more stock as necessary but don’t have it ’swimming’ in stock. Turn down the heat.
  8. Add the butter and stir until it has melted.
  9. Add the mackerel flakes and the egg quarters, half the parsley, stir and season to taste. 
  10. Turn up the heat a little before serving in your favourite dish and decorate with the rest of the parsley. Serve with slices of fresh lemon.

Like all my recipes, this is only a guide. If you want to add more eggs or less curry powder, for instance, feel free.

Available at the following galleries:
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Garlic is for Heroes Postcard
Garlic is for Heroes Postcard

There’s a taverna down the road from us in Chorafakia called Sunset. Not a name to conjure with, I grant you, but you can glory in a burnt orange sky while eating delicious home-made food.

The owner-chef, Maria, was born in 1950 in the mountain village of Semprona and arrived in Chorafakia at the oh-so-young age of 16 to marry Jacob Pantzelioudakis. She likes nothing more than providing traditional Cretan recipes using fresh food. She grows her own fruit and vegetables and rears  her own chickens, lambs, goats, rabbits and more. When so many tavernas this side of Crete (north-west), cheat their customers with mass-produced moussakas heated in a microwave, it’s a relief knowing you will be served freshly cooked food every time.

In our early years here, we were naïve enough to eat in a taverna at one end of the Venetian Harbour in Chania. I had moussaka and Mr FND had a steak—what was he thinking of! The first had been microwaved to within an inch of its life and had evidently first seen the light of day a week before. The second had seen service at Chernobyl. We sent both meals back. We already knew that the Greeks like their meat well done but this well done? They tried again with exactly the same result. Even Mr FND’s Retsina was grotesque. We gave up and went to complain, and saying we refused to pay. There was a huge furore with the restaurant owner, the chef and us. We were accused of scamming them. I won’t continue but you get the picture. Needless to say, we have never returned.

MussakasMeMelitsanesKePatates01The best moussaka I have eaten here in seven years was cooked by our friend Stela when she invited us to supper. I no longer order moussaka anywhere. I lie. There is another taverna in one of the nearby villages that does a mean moussaka. But it’s still not as tasty as Stela’s.

The following recipe is adapted from Maria’s self-published cookery book, Maria’s Recipes. Sadly, we had an accident a few months ago which meant that part of the book has been blighted by water damage. What is even sadder is that Maria has not been able to afford to do print run for the last couple of years or I’d buy a further copy.

There’s Taramasalata and Tzatziki but have you heard of Skordalia? It’s a garlic dip and fans of garlic will want to double up the following quantities. In fact, to serve four, I’d suggest you quadruple the ingredients!

skordalia-maria

Photo of Skordalia Dip from Maria’s Recipes with evidence of the water damage and torn pages!!

Skordalia (Σκορδαλιά) Garlic Dip

Ingredients

3 medium potatoes
3 slices of brown bread
1 tbsp vinegar
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
4-5 cloves garlic, crushed
salt & pepper to taste

Method

Peel, boil and mash the potatoes. Soak the bread in water then squeeze hard to remove excess water and place together with the rest of the ingredients in a food processor and process until smooth. Drizzle with olive oil.

Yes, it’s that simple! It can be served as a dip but is most often served as a side dish with salted cod. However, it goes well as an accompaniment to most fish, meat or vegetable dishes.

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


In the mid-1990s, after a delightful holiday in Crete with a dear friend, she and I decided we wanted to buy a bolt-hole on the island. I planned to spend half the year in Crete to give my health (or lack of it) the warmth it desperately needed.

At the Going Down of the Sun 
At the Going Down of the Sun (coastline, Chania, Crete)

But life, as John Lennon and others before him said, has a way of happening when you’re making other plans and we never did buy that bolt-hole.

Lighthouse in the Mist Post Cards
(Chania) Lighthouse in the Mist

Cut to September 2008 and Mr FND and I went on our first proper holiday after thirteen years together, prompted by my having four TIAs (mini strokes) in the May. We knew we had to change our lives and a holiday was a priority.
We settled on Chania and the rest is history. I think that even before we got on the plane at Gatwick, we knew we would move to this glorious island permanently. It may, at this time in history, be part of Greece, but there is something different about the island and an atmosphere that is quite unlike the mainland.

Lighthouse in Chania iPad Mini Cover
Lighthouse in Chania iPad Mini Cover

DAKOS

Dakos

© Sarah Vernon

It is a truth universally acknowledged that Crete has the healthiest diet in the Mediterranean. The island has the agriculture, the chefs and the recipes to make your stomach and your doctor very happy! The tavernas and cafés in the tourist areas of Chania, the nearest city to the village of Chorafakia — primarily round the Venetian Harbour — are, alas, not the place to find great Greek or Cretan food but venture into the cobbled streets of the Old Town or up into the mountains and you will often find places to eat that can fulfill your every Cretan dream.

We’ve probably all heard of Moussaka and Tzatziki but unless you are partly or wholly Greek or have spent many years having Greek holidays, you may not have heard of many of the staple mezes or snacks. One such are Dakos, which originated in Chania.  These are barley rusks (twice-baked bread) topped with fresh tomatoes, feta or mizithra cheese, olive oil and oregano. Simple but delicious … and healthy!

Details of how to create Dakos at home can be found at Maria Verivaki’s blog, Organically Greek. She writes:

‘This is the healthiest salad snack you can imagine. It has been immortalised all over Greece and is famous for its Hania origins. It is served in practically every single restaurant, taverna, café or kafeneio in the province. It is extremely easy to make. I don’t know why it’s called dackos (or dakos, or dako for that matter); the same name is also used for the troublesome fly that infests olives and ruins olive trees.’

Scorched Earth Greeting Card
Scorched Earth Greeting Card (Chania’s Venetian Harbour)

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Originally posted on Eclectic odds n sods.
This is such a super easy chicken meal, I’ve cooked it a few times now and it got the thumbs up from my mother in law, so it must be good 😀  It also hits the button with the Low FodMAP eaters.

Succulent Sweet, Lemon Chicken

Ingredients

3 juicy lemons
50g butter
3 tbsp clear honey
leaves from 4 rosemary sprigs…

Source: Succulent Sweet, Lemon Chicken | Eclectic odds n sods


Venetian Harbour, Chania © Sarah Vernon

Venetian Harbour, Chania © Sarah Vernon

This photograph of the Venetian Harbour in Chania, Crete, was taken by me on this occasion and not Mr FND! My idea was to create a watercolour with the gentle lines of a preparatory drawing showing through.

My first layer was the bluewatercolor from Angie Makes in Photoshop’s Normal mode. This I followed with the Beguiling-18 texture from 2 Lil’ Owls in Linear Burn. As you can see, I’m getting a lot of mileage out of those two backgrounds! Next came the Venetian Harbour which I put in Screen mode. To create the line drawing, I used the Trace Contour tool; this is not the best tool in the world but since I wanted the bare minimum showing, I knew it could work. To top it off, I used another 2 Lil’ Owls texture, 2LO Confetti 8. Putting the latter in Multiply mode was the perfect finishing touch.

The original harbour photograph © Sarah Vernon

The original harbour photograph © Sarah Vernon

The last time I tried to create a watercolour effect with this photo — some years ago now — it was disastrous and very obviously ‘Photoshopped’ using their ‘watercoloor’ tool. Not a good idea. I’m much happier this time round!

Incidentally, the mosque in the centre of the picture is the Mosque of the Janissaries, now an art gallery. If you ever find yourself in the harbour, by all means have a drink but don’t, whatever you do, eat a meal. The quality is appalling and you would be better off going up the side streets to find good, authentic food. Most important of all, avoid the taverna that sells very pink and very green cocktails — coloured fizzy water at best! We were each offered one for free having allowed the owner to do a quick run round the harbour on my mobility scooter. Never again!

Here, for your delectation, is a recipe for what looks and sounds like an excellent green cocktail from MyBestCocktails.com:

minttu

Minttu

Ingredients
1 oz Malibu Rum
1 oz Cuban Rum
1 oz Batida de Coco
2/3 oz Midori
1 oz Pineapple Juice
6 leaves Mint Leaves

  1. Shake all ingredients in a shaker with ice.
  2. Pour into a tall glass with some ice.
  3. Enjoy!

No, I’ve never come across Midori either!

Available at the following galleries:
Redbubble
Crated
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK
Fine Art America
Fine Art England
Saatchi Art

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah


Originally posted on arecipeforgluttony

I am sharing this recipe because it is something super easy & fast you can make to add to a meal which will take it from ordinary to something really special. Pickling vegetables need only take 10 minutes and they add wonderful acidity & depth of flavour to all sorts of dishes and snacks without much effort. Don’t think pickled onions, although they are a great thing they are way too strong for most dishes. Quick pickled vegetables should be crunchy and still taste like themselves but with an acidity from the vinegar which does not overpower.

I often make some to add a bit of depth to a starter. For example, the photo above is scallops marinaded in wasabi with pickled fennel. The scallops are rich & creamy, the wasabi adds heat & the pickles give crunch and acidity. They are great with a terrine, or any cold meats, cheeses, seafood, grilled meats and even spicy dishes such as a curry.

The amount of pickling time will depend on the vegetables, how you cut them and the flavour you want to achieve. I often pickle radishes as they take on the liquid easily and we always seem to have them in the fridge. Thin slices only need about 5 minutes in the vinegar to have a lovely acidic flavour but retain a crunchy texture. I eat them with sushi, on salads, with cheeses and on…

via Pickled Vegetables – in just 10 mins | arecipeforgluttony.


I've no idea what Ron's soup looks like but here's an approximation from Wikimedia!

I’ve no idea what Ron’s soup looks like but here’s a rough guess from Wikimedia!

Originally posted on Ron’s Rants

The soup will be puréed so no need to be obsessive about cutting up the veg**. For a veggie version just omit the chicken cube and the bacon.

**But see Update footnote.

Ingredients:-

500g (pack weight), Leeks, trimmed, halved lengthways, washed if needed, and sliced across

3 Sweet Spear carrots, sliced

3 rashers Sainsbury’s Butcher’s Choice Sweetcure unsmoked back bacon, fried in a little oil, cooled and chopped into small pieces. Retain the oil.

2 Kallo organic veg cubes, softened among the leeks

1 Knorr chicken cube, grated

1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon dried basil

1 litre of bean stock, if you have it. If not, boiling water. Bean stock is light on flavour but will contain nutrients from the beans

½ litre boiling water…

Read original: Leek, Potato, Bacon, and Soya Bean Soup… | Ron’s Rants…


Planning a little shindig for Easter? How about delicious Hot Cross Bun invitations?

Hot Cross Buns Easter Basket #2 5" X 7" Invitation Card
Hot Cross Buns Easter Basket #2 5″ x 7″ Invitation Cards (US)

Here’s Delia Smith’s recipe for Hot Cross Buns.

Ingredients

 450g strong white flour
 1 level teaspoon fine salt
 4 level teaspoons, easy bake yeast
 3 level teaspoons ground mixed spice
 1 level teaspoon ground cinnamon
 50g golden caster sugar
 110g currants (I like pinhead)
 50g whole candied peel, chopped
 50g spreadable butter
 150ml hand-hot milk
 75ml hand-hot water
 1 large egg, beaten
For the crosses:
 40g strong (or normal) plain flour
 10g spreadable butter
For the glaze:
 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
 2 tablespoons of water

Equipment

You will need a large baking sheet with a liner or well-greased and a lightly oiled polythene bag

Method

First tip the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the salt, yeast, mixed spice and cinnamon then give it a good mix.

Add the caster sugar followed by the currants and candied peel then mix these dry ingredients together and make a well in the centre.

Next add the butter and pour the hand-hot milk and the hand-hot water over the butter followed by the beaten egg.

Now mix everything to a dough, starting with a spatula and finishing with your hands until it is all combined, evenly mixed and leaves the bowl clean. Add a spot more milk if it needs it.

Next cover the bowl with a polythene bag and leave it at room temperature to rise – it will take about 1½ hours to 2 hours to double its original volume.

Then turn the dough out on to clean work surface (you shouldn’t need any flour) and punch out the air.

Now divide the mixture into twelve using a palette knife.

Take one piece of the dough and shape it into a round then roll it between the fingers of each hand, keeping your hands flat, to form a fairly smooth round ball (this should only take about 10 seconds or so) then do the same with the remaining pieces of dough.

Arrange them on the lined or greased baking sheet (allowing plenty of room for expansion). Leave them to rise once more inside a large, lightly greased polythene bag for 45 minutes to an hour, or again until about double the size.

Meanwhile, if you want to make dough crosses, put the flour into a bowl and rub in the butter. Add just enough cold water to form a dough then roll it out thinly on a lightly floured surface to an oblong about 12cm by 16cm then cut it into 24 strips.

Pre-heat the oven to 220°C, gas mark 7.

When the second rising is up, brush the strips with water, to make them stick, and make a cross on top of each bun trimming away any excess dough with a small knife.

Alternatively you can use a small sharp or serrated knife to score a cross in the top of each bun.

Bake the buns for 15 minutes near the centre of the oven. Then, while they’re cooking make the glaze in a small saucepan by slowly melting together the sugar and 2 tablespoons of water over a gentle heat until the sugar granules have dissolved and you have a clear syrup.

As soon as the buns come out of the oven, brush them immediately with the glaze while they are still warm.

Then cool them on a wire rack.

If you are not serving them on the day that you bake them its best to freeze them as soon as they are cool.

Then when you need them defrost them and warm them through in the oven. If there are any left over they are wonderful, split, toasted and buttered on the following day.

Available at the following galleries:
Zazzle US
Zazzle UK

Take care and keep laughing!

Sarah

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