Wednesday, 26 October 2011

Walking on apples

Have you ever caught an apple falling from a tree?
Cinnamon dusted and golden, falling free.
What a special moment that would be.
Read on, there's a simple recipe,
With love to you from me!

I know apples well, some are better for cooking than others. Aged three in my Granny's orchard in Ireland, I'd pick one and take a bite, often they were bitter, the sour explosion provoking a surrendering squirm, though sometimes, the best of times, they were fresh and crisp and simply delicious.  I found out their names and what they were best suited too. There are over 2,300 types in Britain alone, though Cox's Pippin apples are a good all rounder and an all time favourite, they can be eaten from the branch and are also good to cook with, though I had a few meetings with crab apples and soon realised they were better in pies, their sourness easing away with cooking. In fact the first dish I ever cooked was an apple pie and I still have a tiny scar on my right arm that marks the occasion and also where the oven gloves stopped! This is one of my favourite Irish proverbs, 

"When the apple is ripe it will fall."    

I love apples and now in Autumn this is my favourite way of eating them. Gently cooking them in hot melted butter, with a sprinkle of cinnamon and a dollop of crème fraiche to serve transforms the relatively reserved fruit into a fragrant temptress. Apples served this way share the rosiest of fruit times and ones kitchens scent welcomes and woos those close by. 

I couldn’t mention apples without noting the saying, “An apple a day keeps the Doctor away.” The Doctor may tell you that apples prevent the release of free radicals. Hence by eating them often, one may lower their chances of getting cancer; prevent Alzheimer's and manage diabetes - also apples contain Boron which increases bone strength. For me though it's how apples taste that make them delicious.

One of my favourite tonics is a long walk, it clears the mind, dusts off the cobwebs and helps me get my thoughts in order. However, at the moment my newborn son's hunger and sleeping times steer the course of my day, it feels totally natural in a sense, that is until I decide to impart control and order, then you can forget it, I feel like I'm walking on apples without enjoying their taste. Happily I've surrendered and as long as he’s fed and freshly changed he seems to love walking too, be it carried in a sling. So each day I love to amble and I’m noticing things for the first time that I’ve walked passed hundreds of times.
Transport was simpler back then...
Dazzling sun in Autumn is an invitation of the finest, a warm welcome to the great outdoors. I love my local farmers market in Notting Hill; it’s a feast for the senses.


Lunch on the go - a gorgeous Serbian pie - Burek, YUM!
Time ceases to matter in moments of happiness; in fact the ticking tock of a moving clock is the last thing anyone wants to be reminded of in moments of bliss.
Buying straight from the producer is the best way to shop

Seasonal sensations!
So I picked up some gorgeous seasonal apples from Sussex to make this simple apple treat, it lifts the natural fragrant freshness and very little needs to be done, this humble fruit deserves full recognition and gets a real boost when cooked in this fashion. Within five minutes the apples are golden and ready to eat. For an autumnal version of porridge scatter these apples on top or simply serve on their own with a spoonful of crème fraiche or Greek yogurt, whatever you prefer.

Caramelised apples

Apples 2, peeled, sliced and cored
Butter, 1 knob
Fruit sugar, 1 tsp
Cinnamon, a tiny sprinkle

HEAT a medium sized frying pan to melt knob of butter.
ADD apples and fruit sugar and cook for five minutes to caramelise, stirring occasionally.
SPRINKLE over some cinnamon sparingly.
LOVINGLY serve in the best way you know how and enjoy the simple things in life, there are the best.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Nothing will come of nothing

Ooh this is delicious!
King Lear, my favourite character of Shakespeare's, speaks with regal relish when he utters the words “nothing will come of nothing.”

Indeed something will always come of something. And so it is that in loosing something, something new is found. As those of you who read my blog may know, both my Parents have passed on in the last two years, I’ve gotten married and most recently welcomed my second child into the world. Much of our identity comes from our parents, so in loosing both of mine I’ve had to take stock of everything that is important to me. De-cluttering the heart and mind is no easy task. I hope to share some of this with you in my posts, though I promise there will be no sentimentality or morose meanderings. Life is for living and loving and that has never been so apparent to me.

As this is a food blog the main aspect will always be recipes, though food alone doesn’t interest me, it’s the act of doing, the art of mixing, and the generosity of cooking for the ones you love that really gets me excited. My food thoughts and new recipes now return with love and a healing heart, needless to say I’ve missed my blog and I’ve missed you! Part of the joy of writing is indeed hearing back from you; food likes nothing better than to be shared and talked over. So my soil has been harvested and my thoughts have rested, I’m now stirring at the prospect of wintertime and all of the seasonal harvest that beckons.


I’m enjoying the special moments that each day brings, my heart melts often, perhaps part of this is hormonal, the other and more abundant side is definitely a feeling of total love and appreciation for all the blessings that a new life brings! Also letting go of anything that doesn't make the broth taste good! There I go again, de-cluttering.

Good news also comes in the form of me being offered to write my first column for a wonderful magazine called "Families First." I’ve happily accepted and will share more of that with you in January….

The other day whilst reading Lillian Too’s little book of Feng Shui in my most clucky voice to my younger son, three weeks old today! I was taken in by the idea of yin and yang – light and dark – there is balance in everything and so it is with thanks that I deeply appreciate all that I have and of course my Folks live on through me and both my sons. 
Balance brings harmony ~ nature knows best


Now, back to Feeling Food, back to flavour, back to nourishment, back to Love and memories to savour!

This recipe is swimmingly sensational, best of all it's simple and adaptable. Sea bass, a sweet, white, textured fish relishes a ruby dazzling of opulence. Spoon over this dressing of deep-red tartness and you will woo even the faintest appetite, I promise.

Bag some berries!
I love berries, each season offers a treasure chest of delights and this recipe may be adjusted to suit anytime of year. I've used Blackberries in this, however Cranberries are soon in season and rather than neglecting these soulful berries until Christmas day, I say indulge, infuse and saunter in their nutritional glory. Berries give rubies of goodness with each bite – they're rich with vitamin c and contain powerful infection-fighting properties. Instead of grabbing a hanky, grab some berries and get cooking;
                                          
We eat to live, not live to eat.


Our food choices reflect our sense of identity and culture, eat well and life and everyone you meet will be the better for your care.

Pay attention!

YOUR BERRIES NEED YOU!

In eating them you may say goodbye to a plethora of ailments and greet with warm cashmere covered arms oodles of berry benefits. My favourite bit of berry trivia is that   berries protect the brain from neurological damage. That alone makes eating them essential.

Seared salted sea bass with a berry dressing is a gorgeous and simple dish that takes minutes to make, the secret to crispy skin takes us back to the sea. Salt!


Busy Mums and Dads, or those who’ve returned from a long day at work will love the ease of this delight - roughly 25 minutes from start to finish and a Mermaid/ Merman feast awaits. The colours on the plate will bring cheer to your heart. I love pan-frying sea bass, it’s a chameleon like fish, one minute Moroccan spiced, the next Thai, and sometimes like this, plain and classic with a simple dressing.

Buy your sea bass on the day of cooking and ask the fishmonger to scale and clean the fillets.  I love to serve this on a bed of soft mash with a drizzle of truffle oil, mind, use only a dot, as truffle oil is potent.

More that anything, enjoy the experience and moment of each step.

Here’s to dancing always,

Love,

FFX

Seared salted sea bass with a berry dressing

SERVES 4



FOR THE DRESSING

Butter, 150g unsalted
Garlic, 1 clove bashed
Rosemary, 3 sprigs
Cranberry juice, 150ml
Sherry vinegar, 50ml
Shallots, 2 finely chopped
Fruit sugar, 1 tsp
Fresh berries 100g (whichever is in season and are grown closest to home)
Flat leaf parsley, 1 tsp finely chopped (optional)

HEAT butter in a frying pan on a low heat for 3 minutes until nearly melted.
ADD garlic and rosemary sprigs and cook for a further 3 minutes on a slightly higher heat.
REMOVE pan from heat and set aside to allow the flavours of herb magnificence to infuse.
SIMMER cranberry juice in a small saucepan.
ADD sherry vinegar, shallots and fruit sugar.
CONTINUE to cook until sauce has reduced to syrup.
STRAIN flavoured butter through a sieve and pour into syrup.
SCATTER in the cranberries/ any seasonal berry, and continue to stir until just softened.
TURN off heat and switch your attention to the sea bass.

FOR THE FISH

Sea bass fillets x 2
Olive oil
Sea salt
Freshly ground black pepper

SCORE the skin lightly with a sharp knife.
HEAT a medium sized non-stick pan* over a high heat.
DRIZZLE enough oil to cover base of pan.
GENTLY place fillets, skin side down, onto pan and lower heat to a medium.
COOK for 4 minutes exactly.
TURN and cook for a further 2 minutes.
SERVE on a bed of mash, skin side up and lovingly pour over the ruby dressing. WOW WOW WOW!
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