Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Festival cooking ideas

For those of you who like the idea of trying your hand at a bit of festival cooking this summer, here are a few ideas... NB. All of the following involve involve ingredients that do not need to be refrigerated.

Tinned food...
Any kind of tinned food can be heated by placing in the embers of a fire - just be careful when taking the tins out and remove the lid before heating.

NB. I know this is not really cooking and more just heating up food, however this is a really good tip for festival cooking as you can keep the tins stored inside a tent (or anywhere out of direct sunlight).

Baked potatoes...
Before going to bed wrap pricked potatoes in foil and leave in the campfire embers overnight. In the morning the potatoes should be perfectly cooked and ready for breakfast. If you have tinned beans with you, open the tin and place in the campfire embers to heat through - just be careful lifting the tin out of the fire and then serve over the potatoes!

Flat breads...
Flat breads are another good festival food and are easy peasy to make. Mix flour and water into a doughy ball and flatten into a round shape that will fit within the base of a frying pan, saucepan or even the top of a tin can. When making the dough experiment with adding different flavourings, such as salt and pepper or herbs and spices. Bake the bread in the base of a pan over an open flame. Turn the bread over once browned and cook the other side. These are really good eaten whilst still hot, straight from the pan. 

Bean salad...
This dish is really nice served with the flat breads. Open and drain a tin of mixed beans or create your own selection - I like to use borlotti, pinto and kidney beans. Put the beans into a bowl or whatever you have to hand, e.g. saucepan or a paper plate. Finely chop up two chillies and a couple of cloves of garlic and add them to the beans. Cut a lemon (or lime) in half and squeeze the juice over the beans, chilli and garlic mix. Season with a generous handful of sea salt and serve...

What I really like about this recipe is that the ingredients can be changed to suit your own personal taste. Try adding more chillies or anchovies in olive oil instead of the lemon juice to create different variations.

Smores!! These are one of the best campfire treats and involve sandwiching melted marshmallows between chocolate biscuits. NB. See one of my earlier blogs on Smores for more details.

I am planning on making all of the above and hopefully some new ones at Glastonbury next week and I will let you know how I get on. Also, if you have any other ideas for recipies let me know and I will try them out too!

T :-))

Friday, 4 June 2010

My perfect omelette...

Omelettes are a great quick and easy dish to make and work well at any time of the day. Breakfast omelettes are good with cheese, mushrooms and bacon, lunchtime omelettes are good with fresh seasonal ingredients, such as asparagus and supper omelettes really suit rich fillings like goats cheese and smoked salmon.

There are lots of different views on how to make the best omelette, however my own favourite way is as follows.

• Beat two eggs in a bowl and season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
• Melt a teaspoon of butter and a slug of olive oil in a small frying pan.
• Prepare the filling ingredients and have them ready at the side of the pan.
• When the butter and oil are starting to brown pour in the eggs and let them set for about 10 seconds.
• Take a fork and stir it around the pan a couple of times and then swirl the pan to fill in any gaps with the runny egg mixture.
• Leave the omelette to cook for about 30-40 seconds.
• When the egg mixture has begun to set on top take the filling and place on one side of the omelette.
• Leave the omelette to cook for a few more seconds.
• Take the pan off the heat and fold the uncovered half of the omelette over the filling.
• Slide the omelette out of the pan and serve with another scrunch of sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Then enjoy!

NB. Lunchtime omelettes are great served with a green side salad and tangy dressing, like balsamic vinegar and olive oil.

I like cheese fillings in my omelettes, especially soft cheeses like goats cheese or feta, as they melt really quickly and blend into the lovely yummy eggy mixture...

So... there you go! This is my favourite way to make an omelette and my favourite filling. All that leaves is to hear how you make your perfect omelette and what your favourite filling is?

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

Bank Holiday food and wine highlights...

It has been  a while since I last blogged, however this is due to lots of fun being had over the recent bank holiday weekend, so hopefully forgivable! I do love this time of year... there there are so many long weekends to make the most of and it really helps blow away the final winter cobwebs.

To start the weekend in style on Friday night a friend and I enjoyed a great bottle of pink fizz with a plate of charcuterie and smoked fish, at John Gordon's on the Promenade in Cheltenham. John Gordon's are an independent wine and spirit merchant, however they serve a selection of food and of course a wide range of drinks every day of the week (10am-10pm Mon-Thurs, 10am-11pm Fri-Sat, 11am-9pm Sun). I highly recommend this place - not only for the great food and wine, but also for the very friendly staff. Pedro the chef was especially entertaining and very attentive!


Saturday morning Chris and I headed to the Curious Cafe on Bath Road for breakfast. Mmm... I really like this place. The food is well cooked, reasonably priced and comes in very generous portion sizes. Not only is the food good and served by helpful waiting staff, but the atmosphere is great and the outdoor area is especially lovely. It is like being sat in a secret garden away from the hustle and bustle of the outside world... The owners have used a real mix mash of garden furniture, trellis and wall decorations and surrounded everything with wild, jumbley overgrown flowers and shrubs. A real little piece of hippy heaven in Cheltenham! The Curious Cafe is very popular and does get pretty busy, however this all adds to the casual, informal atmosphere and attracts a very cosmopolitan clientele.

No webpage for this one I'm afraid, however the address and telephone number are as follows: 204 Bath Road Cheltenham GL53 7NE, Tel: 01242 226 854, Open: Mon-Sat 9am-6pm.

Later that evening Chris and I headed over to a friends house for a very sophisticated dinner party. I was in charge of the dessert and three of the other guests were responsible for the canapes, starter and main course. We had a mix of dishes, ranging from homemade sausage rolls, cockles and lava bread, surf and turf Thai stylee and summer berries and cream - it was all really enjoyable and enhanced by the great company.

The rest of the weekend was spent at a mixture of bars and friends homes... Sunday evening we enjoyed a bit of a blow out ;-) in town centre bars such as Copa, the Slug and Lettuce and JJ's vodka bar. Monday was spent at a lovely friends house watching films and eating perfect pizza. All in all a great bank holiday weekend catching up and spending time with loved ones!!!

T :-))