Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Take me to Tilapia


I wrote this post on Sunday morning, shortly before visiting my Mum in hospital. We spent a lovely afternoon chatting and laughing. What I didn’t know then was that this would be the last time I would see her alive. My Mum was a brave, dignified and beautiful woman with such strength and resilience - it is difficult to accept that she is no longer with us. I dedicate this blog to her and my Dad – who are now together again. Colette was the loveliest of ladies, generous and thoughtful to a T. She taught me how to cook and instilled in me why it is so important to nurture the ones you love. I won’t be writing for a while as I need to gather my strength, the gentle kicks in my tummy remind me that life goes on and I need to be strong. Prayers are very welcome at this difficult time.

RIP - Colette Margaret Kent - 6th June 1953 - 29th August 2011

Forever in our hearts. xoxox

A conversation between a fisherman and a young boy

* Tilapia – a sustainable alternative to cod and popular source of protein in Africa. Ancient Egyptians cultivated it and this fish is fast becoming a food phenomenon boasting its own hieroglyph. Containing very low levels of mercury, rare amongst many fish, it is a good source of protein, phosphorous, niacin, selenium, vitamin B12 and potassium.

Boy - Take me to Tilapia and I’ll show you flavours that flow –
A place of warmth that has never felt snow.

Fisherman - My dear this place doesn’t exist,
Perchance a dream, forgotten, now missed?

Boy - No, I know the place, I’ve tasted its flow,
I’m sailing to Morocco, see you, off I go!

Fisherman - Boy, wait, Tilapia is a fish that gives le mojo –
I’ll take you to the village of Essaouira, you know?

Boy - Yes, it rings a bell in distant memories I hold,
Its time to let them go and discover new times told.

Fisherman - Wise words my dear,
It’s in truth that Tilapia swims most clear.  

Lemon sour, sprinkled on fresh white fish with a mixture of fragrant herbs and aromatic spice foretells of a supper without compromise. I often choose meat over fish in a restaurant – though in recent times I'm tending to steer for the fish option and I'm feeling the benefits.

Sunday sunset on 28th August - an invitation to heaven
Now with a baby in my tummy, I am exploring the oceans gems with a newfound enthusiasm, the EFA's are a real magnet. My first pregnancy ignited my interest in healthy eating and now a little older and possibly wiser, I’m plunging into deeper waters! Literally.

This recipe reminds me of all the aspects I love about healthy food. The taste is like a clear blue sky, on a crisp day warmed by a fragrant herbal breeze from the Azures. Taste buds are swept into happy shores and the various textures are all complimentary. Onions, tomatoes, peppers, courgettes and garlic are at their seasonal best, it's such a simple and delicious recipe to make, I find it difficult to find a reason why not to make it.

Perfect for a midweek supper, preparation is minimal and the results are swimmingly good. As always, if you can manage, buy fish on the day of cooking. Sea bass also works beautifully in this recipe.

Eating fish never felt this fresh before.

Love,

FFX

Moroccan Tilapia

Tilapia fillets, 2 
Onion, 1 medium finely sliced,
Red pepper, 1 cut into strips
Courgettes cut into chunks
Lemons 2, 1 juiced and 1 sliced
Ground cumin, 1 tsp
White pepper, ½ tsp
Garlic, 1 clove crushed
Dried rosemary, 1 tsp
Rosemary, 2 fresh sprigs
Parsley, a small bunch roughly chopped
Coriander, a small bunch roughly chopped
Mint, a small bunch roughly chopped
Tomatoes, 2 medium sliced
Olive oil, 2 tbsp
Salt, for a final sprinkling

PRE-HEAT oven to gas 4, 180’C, 350’F
LAYER slices of onion, courgette and red peppers in the base of a suitably sized ovenproof dish.
LIGHTLY season.
PLACE one piece of tilapia on top.
SPRINKLE over cumin, white pepper, dried rosemary, garlic and the juice of one lemon.
MIX herbs together and cover the fillet - leaving the fresh rosemary to one side.
PLACE second fillet on top of herbs and fish.
LAYER tomato and lemon slices on top.
DRIZZLE over olive oil.
FINALLY finish with the remaining rosemary sprigs and a generous pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper.
BAKE for 45 minutes and serve immediately.
SAIL away with the ones you love.

Friday, 26 August 2011

One for the weekend

Something delicious is heading your way!

What does the weekend mean to you? On Friday it's as though an excitement bubbles to the surface and breathing alone is more enjoyable, Fridays feel different, fresher somehow.

And weekends offer so much possibility, a time for play and rest, in equal measures and much more. Often friends and family visit, Sunday lunches are eponymous. I, no surprises here, love weekends. This recipe is a weekend favourite, it is methodical and makes light work of deliciousness.
Step 1 -
Watch out loaf!
  Step 2-
Yikes!

Step 3-
Ah that feels better!

There is order in everything, even when this doesn't seem possible. Certain conversations, smells and flavours stand the test of time. A few years back whilst visiting family in Ireland, one of my cousins mentioned that he had mastered the art of a leisurely breakfast for visitors. By simplifying the classic Irish breakfast to a more continental style one, spliced in with a few Irish favourites for authenticity - the idea being less stress and organisation to contend with - thus a slower and more relaxed get up. It got me thinking... hey, and fair enough - the seed took a few years to sprout into this post, which brings to mind one of my favourite quotes, 

"Courage is an accumulation of small steps." George Konrad

Today’s offering is one especially for the weekend, and whether or not you’re expecting visitors, these eggy bread inspired muffins are a joy to make and an even tastier treat to eat - happily they make a light and seasonable alternative that is difficult to forget and requires little to no courage at all, they're very easy to make!

If you happen to live near hedges, lucky, lucky you! The shopping list will be minimal, however if you’re a town mouse the blackberries will be shop bought, beautifully though, you’ll probably notice that these juicy berries haven’t travelled too far and are as plump as bells – for it is blackberry season. These deep purple berries lie at the heart of this morning moment, swaddled in egg soaked brioche with a splash of vanilla, a sprinkle of cinnamon and a pairing of chopped banana… YUM! YUM! YUM!
Plump and ripe for the picking.
Blackberries are bursting with vitamin c, high in anti-oxidants and contain 36% of the daily-recommended amount of vitamin K, which is particularly important in pregnancy. Vitamin K helps the body’s absorption of calcium and aids the normal clotting of blood.

The wonder of this recipe is that all the prep is done the night before and means simply unwrapping these beauties for baking in the morning. For the 25 minutes of cooking time needed, one may pop out to the shops to get the weekend papers, another joy, and also perhaps more importantly get the kettle on! Whatever the weekend means to you, these are sure to make it a more special one.

Lots of love,

FFX

Blackberry, Banana & Brioche Breakfast Muffins

SERVES 4 – yields 12 muffins
Brioche, 130g cut into bite sized cubes
Eggs, 3 medium
Milk, 200ml
Sweet freedom/ maple syrups 2 tbsp
Ground cinnamon, ½ tsp
Vanilla extract, ½ tsp
Blackberries, 200g (If large, cut in half)
Banana, 1 cut into small cubes

LIGHTLY grease a 12 hole muffin case.
MIX the blackberries and bananas together and drizzle over one tbsp of the sweet-freedom/ maple syrup – leave to one side.
POP 3-4 cubes of brioche into each case.
POUR milk into a suitably sized jug and whisk in remaining sweet-freedom/ maple syrup, cinnamon, vanilla extract and eggs, until frothy and well combined.
DIVIDE fruit equally amongst the cases; be sure to pour in juices too.
POUR milk mixture over the brioche.
COVER with foil and place in the fridge to leave over night.
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz
PRE-HEAT oven to gas 4, 350F, 180’C.
REMOVE foil and bake for 25 minutes.
SERVE with an additional fruit salad and Greek yogurt.
*For the eternal carnivores crispy bacon also pairs up surprisingly well. Most importantly relax and welcome the adventures of your weekend.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

The wheel turns

Tumble me, turn me,
The world seems brighter,
Shake me, show me –
Now change feels lighter!





Changing weather and changing times all mean one in the same thing – change. Like it or lump it change means moving, be it forward, backwards, left or right whatever direction you take, when it feels right it usually is. Fight against change and we soon know about it, stubbornly pressing our heels into the ground will cause a glitch, a stumble or even a fall - this is natures way of saying take note! Something needs to change.



Last night the sky looked like this.

This morning grey shadows whip the clouds into watery rain and people are passing by with umbrellas or failing that an old newspaper. Yesterday’s news becomes today’s umbrella. When our appetites change we are offered an opportunity to tune into our deeper needs. The seasons are a good barometer for our changing zeal and are worth tuning into.

This simple dish offers a fresh tide of delight and deliciousness. 

Rotelline, a wheel shaped pasta makes a beautiful alternative from the more popular penne or fussilli. The wheels trap and roll in the flavours of any sauce, the shape is particularly appealing to children – so would make a perfect choice for fussy little eaters.  Available in a range of flours, I’d recommend the whole wheat version, or even quinoa, see what you can find, and what you like best.

I love a dish that brings colour and flavour to the fore, and this dish is perhaps a symbolic stepping-stone into our changing seasons - much like the wheel of fortune and the wheel of life. The leaves are falling and dare I say, autumn is drawing ever closer.

Warmth has many sources, and in colder climates the kitchen is literally the hub of our homes. 

Sizzling garlic with a red chilli thrown in for glory will lift any appetite to new heights. The addition of anchovies, that melt into the pan, lit by the slices of pink radishes, and swirled together with Rotelline and yellow peas, green if you can’t find them – makes this a dish of significance.

PINK for a reason, radishes are a food of love and related to the Mustard family. They’re low GI, full of goodness, anti-cancerous, boost liver function, offer a rich source of folate and potassium, bringing a fresh fiery flavour to many a dish and salad.

Happy memory – my son, aged three picking organic radishes straight from the ground and enjoying their natural goodness, Bugs Bunny style!

Good food ignites our imaginations, and this dish does just that. For the less spicy inclined be sure to remove the seeds from the chilli, though I like to keep them in. Take comfort friends -

“All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another.” Anatole France

Be brave always, especially in the kitchen! A change in your weekly shop can really change the way we see the world! Try this lovely supper, simple and ready in minutes it will leave you with plenty of time for talking and putting the world to rights of course. I hope that wherever you are in the world, cosiness and calm abound.

Love FFX

Radish and Chilli Rotelline

SERVES 4

Rotelline, 350g
Olive oil, 5 tbsp
Garlic cloves, 4
Red chilli, 1 chopped (deseed for less fire)
Anchovy fillets, 7
Radishes, 10 trimmed and sliced
Yellow/ green beans, 100g trimmed and sliced
Flat leaf parsley, 50g/ small bunch, roughly chopped

ADD pasta to a pan of boiling salted water and cook for 4 minutes.
ADD trimmed yellow/ green beans and cook for a further 4 minutes before draining.
MEANWHILE heat a large frying pan.
POUR in oil and gently fry garlic and chilli for a minute.
ADD anchovy fillets and watch as they melt into the symphony of flavours.
PINKIFY the pan with gorgeous radishes and fry for a further minute.
TOSS cooked pasta into the pan and scatter over the parsley.
SEASON generously and stir again.
SERVE with some Parmesan or other desired cheese, watch as the wheels work their magic!

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Roseanna’s Granola


Ahoy me hearties! Hello and welcome back, or if this is your first time clicking into Feeling Food, I’m delighted you’re here. I have some lovely recipes to share with you over the coming weeks that will gently lead us towards autumn! Can you believe it? Over the last few days I’ve noticed a definite change in the air.  For now though lets enjoy summer and all her beautiful gifts, her bright light transforms flavours and frames our fresh taste buds formidably, so while the marrow salutes, the tomatoes beam, the courgettes curtsy, the cabbages cream, the leeks linger and the berries blush - enjoy them all.

I’ve spent the last few weeks away in the Wild West of Ireland, my favourite place; time was spent with loved ones in fresh, peaceful, calm and beautiful surroundings. However, the switch of a button zoomed us back to the reality of the August riots that seemed to sweep across England. From a distance perspective is clear and it’s easier to be objective.

Provocative and prejudice statements have been flying around ever since, knee jerk reactions to a series of unfortunate events. In the scheme of things these riots are a blip, there are much more serious events going on in the world, the famine in Sudan for a start. Why isn't this getting more news coverage? The point eloquently made by Sean Fitzgerald in Clapham Junction, highlighting the charity shop that had been destroyed speaks volumes - what happened a couple of weeks ago was mindless - we need to be mindful. We may each make a difference, and of course that starts at home.

How about we make it our business to sit around a table with our families more often, sharing thoughts and concerns. Families today are not necessarily blood relatives; our multi-cultural society bids us to live side by side in peace. How lucky I feel to have neighbours with totally different cultures, each person has something unique and special, sometimes it's bubbling under the surface and needs a little encouragement, though its always there. Recently I’ve been having the most random conversations with strangers. Possibly this is a result from spending time in a small village, where people acknowledge one another all the time. To me the people acting out seemed like lost souls, desperate for recognition and venting anger. So in Ireland I was relieved to switch off the screen and enjoy the quiet. Now I'm back and it's lovely to be here. The silver screen has a way of magnifying things, scale it down and law and order are once again in place, phew! Imagine if one rose was planted for every inch of damage that was caused ~ think how much more beautiful London would be. It's difficult to be angry when appreciating nature's beauty. 


Now back to Feeling Food!

Happily I’ve discovered a simple way to slip into serenity and find clarity amongst the madding crowd, a seemingly essential life skill to adopt in London or anywhere for that matter! Start each day with a sip of fresh juice or nectar. Freshen up for the day, whatever that means to you and gladly relish a bowl of gorgeous granola!!!

Last week I had a special request from a lovely lady, Gemma Fergie, for a good granola recipe. This is especially for you, Yummy Mummy, and all the other Yummy people out there! I’ve named it Roseanna’s Granola, after her darling little angel who was born yesterday! Welcome to the world beautiful honey bee
  
Rose

Oh, there is no sweeter scent than Natures favourite flower, Rose. She belongs to the same botanic family as apples, pears and raspberries, and gives a flavour that sweeps you into blooming contentedness. Rose extract brings a touch of Arabian magic, where food enchantment floats o’er. Roses are the flower of love.

Inspired by Roseanna, the special ingredient used in this recipe is, you guessed it, Rose extract, one of my all time favourite ingredients. The granola once made should be stored in an airtight container and will remain fresh and delicious for an age. 
























I love to scatter it on yogurt, or sometimes with a splash of oat milk, or when the moment calls, creamy full-fat milk. Mix it up, add some fresh seasonal fruits, or carry around this crunchy gorgeousness in a small container for a light and healthy snack. Most importantly enjoy!
Roseanna’s Granola

Sunflower oil, 2 tbsp
Sweet freedom/ maple syrup, 125ml
Honey, 2tbsp
Rolled oats, 300g
Rose extract, 1 tsp
Vanilla extract, 1 tsp
Sunflower seeds, 50g
Pumpkin seeds, 50g
Dried cherries, 60g
Dried cranberries, 60g
Dessicated coconut, 60g
PRE-HEAT oven to 130C/ gas 2.
MIX oil, sweet freedom, honey, vanilla extract, rose extract, seeds and rolled oats in a large bowl.
SCATTER onto two lined baking trays and spread evenly.
BAKE for 15 minutes.
REMOVE trays and scatter over remaining dried fruit and coconut, give everything a good mix.
BAKE for a further 15 minutes and allow to cool.
FOLD baking paper into a funnel shape and simply pour into an airtight container.
DIP into as you wish.
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