Monthly Archives: July 2016

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Rocking Dog Post Number 300 With Love

Not Meat & Two Veg'!, Rocking Dog

Not Meat & Two Veg’!

Indeed this morning’s post is number 300 out of the kennel! I can hardly believe that over 4 months have passed since the 250th milestone blog post. So much has happened in that four months, much of it lovely, including our long awaited trip to Cuba and THE wedding. However, life is incredibly unpredictable. Things have arisen recently that have been so damned heartbreaking and unfair. I never cease to be amazed by the strength fellow human beings find to deal with complex situations, that rallying positive spirit which cajoles others to keep optimistic. It really is working. Therefore, it has been a real privilege to witness such constant love, devotion and care. I am in awe of you all, including all the lovely medical staff.

My 300th post is a food related one, four days of Rocking Dog food.

Thursday evening starts my four day food odyssey. Friends for supper and I shopped and cooked in a three hour time frame. It was a guinea pig meal (i.e… recipes I had stashed but not tried and tested before) We ate Moroccan Salmon baked in foil and served with minted yogurt, pita and a chopped salad. The recipe advocated that the salmon be put foil parcelled on a barbecue, my oven seemed to do the job perfectly adequately. Incidentally have you ever heard the tale of being able to cook a whole salmon in a dishwasher set on a medium programme?! Pudding came in the form of a tart, this time a Coconut, mango and lime tart. I made my own shortcrust pastry using lime zest and juice, but a shop bought pastry would be a perfect shortcut. The meal got the thumbs up, so the recipes got filed in tried and tested!

Friday evening, Meals on Wheels! A meal taken to friends and then enjoyed with them. Another Persian inspired meal. Ottolenghi’s Lamb Shawarma, which involved marinating a leg of lamb in a spicy aromatic rub overnight. Cooked for 4 hours the thickly sliced lamb was accompanied by a chopped salad (tomatoes, diced cucumber, spring onions, lemon juice), and a red cabbage salad (red cabbage, pomegranate, fresh herbs, pomegranate molasses). Pita stuffed with a tomatoey harissa paste, homemade hummus (Ottolenghi’s recipe, naturally) and saffron roasted Charlotte potatoes completed the feast. Pudding was more French than Persian – a tart case filled with creme patisserie and glazed raspberries. As you already know I love Ottolenghi and am particularly fond of his “Jerusalem’ book.

Saturday evening, a party to go to in a lovely garden. A pudding to take…. ah..what shall i do? 8oz Victoria sponge mix. Cakes baked, sponges sliced through. Cakes sprinkled with strong black coffee and Tia Maria and then layered up with grated chocolate and whipped double cream/Mascarpone. Cake cling filmed and refrigerated overnight. Getting dressed up for the party it was given a generous coating of the Mascarpone/cream mixture dusted with cocoa, finely ground coffee, and grated chocolate. Final embellishing was a broken Easter egg and some gold stars. Voila! you will go to the ball!

Sunday evening, three hours of ironing and about the same of gardening I wasn’t keen to spend much time slaving in the kitchen. I rustled up a simple but pretty salad, Red cabbage and gorgonzola salad with blackberry balsamic dressing. It was meant to have viola flowers in the mix, not having any trusty little pansy flowers I picked some dramatic royal blue flowers from the garden. I did give Andyman a health warning not to eat the said flowers as i’d forgotten what the species was! I think the jury’s out on this salad, and I don’t know whether the recipe will make the cut for the Rocking Dog recipe file.

There are some foodie events on the horizon for Rocking Dog this week. Wednesday sees me doing a session for Rangeworthy and Bagstone WI. I am going to be whizzing up some simple savoury and sweet canap├ęs. I am sure these ladies will pass on some of their culinary wizardry and I look forward to meeting them.

Saturday sees me help with judging the food and drink entries at Frenchay Flower Show. Yikes! what a responsibility. I don’t want to be a hunted woman, I know just how competitive these shows get. I hope I won’t have to try anything too disgusting, cloudy wines, eggy quiches and trifle would be nightmare scenario’s. I have obviously come of age, and so it must be the time to don a tweed suit, sensible shoes and a string of pearls….. or perhaps not!

So I guess my 350th post will fall when the leaves are indeed falling. I’m hoping there’ll be lots of corners turned, lots of blazing light at the end of the tunnel for friends, and the ever present wonders of just how amazing and special the people around me are. Thank you x

Fish On Thursday, Rocking Dog

Fish On Thursday

A Tart On Thursday, Rocking Dog

A Tart On Thursday

Minted Yoghurt & Pita, Rocking Dog

Minted Yoghurt & Pita

Friday's Fodder, Rocking Dog

Friday’s Fodder

Lamb Shawarma, Rocking Dog

Lamb Shawarma

Jaffa Pita Pockets, Rocking Dog

Jaffa Pita Pockets

Friday's Tart, Rocking Dog

Friday’s Tart

Saturday's Cake, Rocking Dog

Saturday’s Cake

Add Some Bling!, Rocking Dog

Add Some Bling!

Feeling The Heat In Umbria

Umbrian Sunset, Rocking Dog

Umbrian Sunset

We certainly did feel the heat in Umbria over the weekend. With temperatures in the high 30’s and tipping into the 40’s, it was meltingly hot! I certainly feel more in control of my complex heat regulatory system in the spring or early winter in Umbria. A siesta is an essential part of Italian life, shutters close, shops close up, streets empty, market stallholders pack up, and the nation sleeps or eats, converses or rests.

After a truly delicious lunch under a leafy sun dappled pergola with our hosts, we sought refuge from the searing midday sun. Lloyd Loom chairs in a cool stone portico allowed us to stay outside, but inside. Incidentally, the lunch platter was amazing and included grilled lemon leaf wrapped Scormoza (a smoked mozzarella style cheese). Tomatoes, Parma ham, Ligurian olives, melon, figs and other Italian yumminess made the 4.30am dash to Bristol Airport absolutely worthwhile.

The landscape of Umbria in summer is so very different from that of the beloved olive picking season (late October/early November). The noise of happy and busy Cicada’s fills the air from the time the sun climbs into the sky until the air cools after dusk. Umbrian gardens’ are filled with fragrant lavender, Oleanders, Jasmine and showy Agapanthus. Meanwhile, fields are burgeoning with crops of towering Sunflowers, maize and wheat. Vegetable crops depend on lavish and frequent watering, and tomato plants do not require the protection of glass houses. Swallows swoop down over the pool refreshing their busy sculptural wings. Lizards bask in the sunshine, enjoying the warmth of the thyme frilled paving. Any interruption, and they dart into cool dark crevices seeking solace and protection.

Olives are tiny, they have four long months to plump up, blacken and ripen. The promise of a plentiful harvest is the hope of the entire nation. Nets will be unrolled and laid out, rakes and crates will be gathered, and the camaraderie of another olive picking season will begin.

Monday and Tuesday bought unrelenting heat. The only tangiable escape was to stay in the pool… or to retreat to the house.

A late afternoon stroll in the local hill top town of Panicale took us through shaded winding streets. I loved the tiled orange Madonna and child gracing one of the towns’ houses, its colours seemed to echo the heat of the day. Aperol Spritz’s were enjoyed in the town square- Umbrian sunshine in a glass!

Monday evening and with temperatures gently dwindling, we ventured out to a Lakeside caff’for food. Knowledge of the ordering system was preferable, if not essential. Pull ticket, await number call, hurriedly select food from a large covered glass cabinet. Steak, Calimari, battered vegetables, torte and non battered vegetables chosen, most were given a fiery baptism over charred wood. Another counter, another function, order and collect wine. Other counters, other functions, puddings, cheese, gelato. Pay. Head out to a Pine canopied lake view, tear your own tablecloth from banqueting roll. Eat, chat and watch the sun go down. Total cost about 45 euro’s for the four of us! Sunset truly beautiful and priceless, no digital retouching whatsoever required.

Fleeting visit, hospitable friends, lovely food and gorgeous scenery, molten temperatures and heat filled lethargy!

Welcome Lunch, Rocking Dog

Welcome Lunch

Seeking Shade, Rocking Dog

Seeking Shade

A Dip Perhaps?, Rocking Dog

A Dip Perhaps?

Orange Madonna, Rocking Dog

Orange Madonna

Orange Drink, Rocking Dog

Orange Drink

Busy Bees!, Rocking Dog

Busy Bees!

Lakeside Transport Caf', Rocking Dog

Lakeside Transport Caf’

Golden Veg', Rocking Dog

Golden Veg’

Moonlight Dip Anyone?, Rocking Dog

Moonlight Dip Anyone?

Going To See A Man About A Dog

Real Live Rocking Dog Smiling, Rocking Dog

Real Live Rocking Dog Smiling

No I’m not really going to see a man about a dog, but it was one of my dad’s favourite sayings! Rocking Dog is signing off for a little while because metaphorically she is going to see a man about a dog. I look forward to checking back in later next week. Hopefully there’ll be lots of creative and foodie posts tucked up my sleeve.

Until then have a truly lovely weekend. I hope the sun continues to try and break through wherever you are.

Love Rocking Dog x

Thinking today of all those who served, died (19,240 British Soldiers died on this day in 1916), were injured or miraculously survived the Battle of the Somme 100 years ago. They Will Never Be Forgotten.

Poppy Of Remembrance , Rocking Dog

Poppy Of Remembrance