Tag Archives: Cooking

Food For Friends – Ottolenghi Style.

Ottolenghi's Sweet Offering, Rocking Dog

Ottolenghi’s Sweet Offering

After cooking for 160 Haggis eating folk last weekend it was lovely cook for friends this weekend. How very wonderful it was to have my lovely friend sitting at our table, at last able to eat and enjoy food. Her journey is truly remarkable.

On Saturday evening there were decisions to be made as to just what to cook for our guests. I’m afraid dear old Ottolenghi’s tomes came out…. but I did try some new recipes as well as some old favourites.

There was hummus from “Jerusalem” together with Saffron rice with barberries, pistachio’s & mixed herbs. I substituted currants and goji berries for the barberries and totally forgot to put the pistachio’s in! I also did a Spicy beetroot, leek and walnut salad from “Jerusalem”. Very delicious.

Ottolenghi’s first recipe book (“The Cookbook”) supplied me with the main event, Harissa-marinated chicken with red grapefruit salad. There was also a citrus’y sauce to go with the chicken. Time didn’t allow me to make flatbreads, so shop bought versions were given a flash in the oven.

Dessert was Pistachio roulade with raspberries and white chocolate and this recipe came from Ottolenghi’s latest book “Sweet” which he co-wrote with Helen Goh.

All food for this lunch was easy to prepare and cook…. and tasted yummy! If you haven’t tried the hummus, it really is the best i’ve ever tasted and can be tweaked with addition of fresh herbs, a topping of crisply fried onions or toasted pine-nuts.

We drank a lovely red and delighted in the warmth of the wood-burner. However more than anything it was so lovely to share food with amazing friends.

Hallelujah Burn’s Night is over for another year! Andyman has been busy piping and being vocal with the Selkirk Grace over a number of evenings this week. I haven’t done my usual little bit of silliness with the Toby jug folk, so I hope you’ll allow me now to be just a little bit nutty to bring Burn’s celebrations to a close. If you haven’t already met my Toby jug folk there’s tankard swigging Toby who’s just a little bit grumpy and gouty. Then there is Mrs Mac who REALLY is a present from Fleetwood. Toby and Mrs Mac were bought on the same day in different charity shops. Their joining was simply meant to be. Living a peaceful and happy life with no doubt some shenanigan’s when the lights went out there was a fateful day when Wee Tam’ came to join them on THEIR mantlepiece. Mrs Mac is really superciliously fickle and shamelessly has a soft spot for a man in a wee kilt… a menage a trois has developed. What goes on after dark is anybodies guess, but we need to remember Real Live Rocking Dog slumbers there as does Luminous Mary! Enough of this super-silly twaddle, all that 36 kg haggis has gone to my brain!

Have a lovely week.

Love Rocking Dog x

The Rocking Dog Creative Huddle reconvenes this Wednesday 7pm-9pm, all welcome. Over £100 was raised last year for Fine Cell Work, teaching and supporting prison inmates to sew and embroider. Thank you. Donations into the teapot to carry on the work of this amazing charity. Homemade cake, warming drinks, gentle chat and maybe a bit of sewing etc… going on!

The Best Hummus,Rocking Dog

The Best Hummus

Gift Wrap Beetroot,Rocking Dog

Gift Wrap Beetroot

Unwrapped Beetroot,Rocking Dog

Unwrapped Beetroot

Pomegranate Garnish, Rocking Dog

Pomegranate Garnish

Gorgeous Grains,Rocking Dog

Gorgeous Grains

The Main Event,Rocking Dog

The Main Event

Something Sweet On The Lips!,Rocking Dog

Something Sweet On The Lips!

Nuts For Dessert,Rocking Dog

Nuts For Dessert

Goodbye Burn's Night!,Rocking Dog

Goodbye Burn’s Night!

Kitchen Creativity With Lovely Young Adult Carers

Delectable Chicken Shawarma,Rocking Dog

Delectable Chicken Shawarma

Last night I was getting creative in the kitchen with a group of lovely Young Adult Carers. The group of eight cooked three healthy main courses before we sat down for a social supper. The dishes were a healthier version of Chicken & Leek Pie using scrunched up filo pastry,
Chicken Shawarma Flatbreads (including all the bits) and
Butternut Squash & Pancetta Fusilli. We had a great time in the kitchen and in just over an hour we were all sitting down to eat their dishes. Delicious!

We ended the social eating with a fruit platter and many enjoyed trying new fruits. They all left the building having eaten a good proportion of their five a day!

Many of these young adults have been coming to Young Carers for ten years or so. The centre and dedicated team have been a major support system and have provided the opportunity for youngsters to meet others with similar caring responsibilities. The nasty word funding is unfortunately never very far away.

Bravo to all, you were brilliant and it was a real privilege to share the kitchen with you.

PS. More creativity of the sewing and cake eating variety tonight- Rocking Dog Huddle 7-9pm

For The Pie,Rocking Dog

For The Pie

This Too!,Rocking Dog

This Too!

The Golden Result,Rocking Dog

The Golden Result

Choosing Dishes,Rocking Dog

Choosing Dishes

Any Butternut Squash?,Rocking Dog

Any Butternut Squash?

Pasta Plate,Rocking Dog

Pasta Plate

Eating Together,Rocking Dog

Eating Together

5 A Day, Rocking Dog

5 A Day

Trying New Things,Rocking Dog

Trying New Things

The Week That Came & Went

It's A Rocking Dog Summer Wrap,Rocking Dog

It’s A Rocking Dog Summer Wrap

Yes Rocking Dog has been a little bit quiet over the last week. A perforated ear drum in her good working ear has been naggingly painful! She has now entered a world of lip reading, shouting, subtitles and zorb like isolation. Thank goodness for antibiotics (Hallelujah!), analgesics (phew!) and TV subtitles (bliss!)

I have tried to stay calm and carry on, so my 2017 quilt is well underway. More in a future Rocking Dog blog post on that, perhaps when I have anchored the 100 or so vintage buttons to gloriously adorn it. Still on a vintage theme we were invited to a wonderful vintage birthday party and it was simply divine. Carnival glass, beaded handbags, bunting, frocks, cake and cocktails. I wrapped presents in crisp white tissue and customised Ikea baubles for summery frou! Summer Rocking Dog wrapping ideas in a blog post coming very soon.

There has been a trip to Bristol harbourside and HOW I want to stay in that crane! We ate a delicious Ploughman’s on the outside deck at Riverstation and wandered to Swoon for the best ice cream I have ever tasted (possibly some of the most expensive too!) Another trip took me to Clifton to the lovely Sahara to help choose wedding garb for my lovely friend. The staff member was just SO helpful. Thank you.

On Thursday I met oldest daughter and baby Douglas at Kilver Court. Winter wardrobe inexpensively sorted in Toast outlet and garden sorted with plant sale bargains (£1 a pot) Result! Needless to say i’ll be out in the wooded wonderland this week digging in my cut price greenery.

There has been food to cook for friends and family. Thursday Skye’s Roast chicken & bread salad with sour cherries & roasted red onions. Friday Yotams’ Meatballs with broad beans & lemon served with Saffron rice with barberries, pistachio & mixed herbs. There was Walnut & fruit crumble cream to follow. Sunday with family gathered I prepared roast lamb on a bed of baby leaf spinach with cherry tomatoes, green beans and baby roasted new potatoes. It was all drizzled with a summery mint dressing. I also cooked Toad in the Hole and a retro pud’ Pineapple Upside Down. This pudding is always the talking point of just HOW much my brother Jem hates this pudding. As a teenager I baked it twice weekly for a number of years and the mere mention of P U Down sends him into a groaning spiral. It was a good job therefore that he didn’t turn up unannounced from New York for Sunday lunch!

The week has also seen me deeply involved in menu planning, detailed shopping lists and ordering for a wedding the Dog is catering for at the end of the month. Meanwhile there are plans already underway for a Rockpipes Burn’s Night in Thornbury next January. There is the small matter of food for the masses. I rather think I have been volunteered for the task….hmmmm! Bah Haggis!

The ear is still sore and tirelessly frustrating but I hope i’ll be spreading the Rocking Dog word a little more frequently than in the week that was.

Hoping your week will be sunny and happy.

Love Rocking Dog x

2017 Quilt,Rocking Dog

2017 Quilt

Cotton Spring Clean,Rocking Dog

Cotton Spring Clean

Room In The Clouds,Rocking Dog

Room In The Clouds

Dream Ice Cream,Rocking Dog

Dream Ice Cream

Plants To Buy,Rocking Dog

Plants To Buy

Vintage Loveliness,Rocking Dog

Vintage Loveliness

Wedding Menu Planning,Rocking Dog

Wedding Menu Planning

Retro Family Food,Rocking Dog

Retro Family Food

I Hate Pineapple Upside Down!,Rocking Dog

I Hate Pineapple Upside Down!

Gold Stars For The Young Carers

Star Baker!, Rocking Dog

Star Baker!

Yes, definitely gold stars for the Young Carers. I had a lovely time in the kitchen with eight young budding culinary maestro’s yesterday. One trio made Chicken fajitas with a home made tomato and chilli salsa, together with wholemeal tortillas. Meanwhile another trio made some tasty Toulouse pork shortcut meatballs with roast sweet potato wedges. Finally, a very enthusiastic pair baked a peach filo pie in a very appropriate star shaped dish. Then chefs, staff and volunteers all came together to eat the feast. It was stupendous Young Carers- thank you.

The washing up fairy swished her magic wand and with goody bags in hand (containing all the ingredients for making a sugar free tomato sauce) the YC’s whisked themselves away to practice all they’d learnt.

Volunteering for over a year for Young Carers I can see just how vital the services are for these young folk and their families. The staff are so committed and the young ones benefit from knowing that they are absolutely not alone.

Gold stars to one and all!

Competition For Nando's, Rocking Dog

Competition For Nando’s

Sweet Potato Wedges, Rocking Dog

Sweet Potato Wedges

Shortcut Meatballs, Rocking Dog

Shortcut Meatballs

Planet Wedding In Full Swing!

Blue Sky Ordered. If It Were Only That Simple!, Rocking Dog

Blue Sky Ordered. If It Were Only That Simple!

With THE wedding little more than a week away I have been trying hard to stay calm and to carry on! Yesterday was a day of organisation, and my brain thankfully now feels less cluttered. Beloved Bernina was still busy, making some party bags out of tea towels and a pretty tablecloth found in a bargain bin in Ikea. Now to fill the bags with edible and non edible treats.

The coat is finished and for my first attempt at dressmaking since the 1980’s, i’m quite pleased with myself. Thankfully I managed to stop myself from using 1980’s style shoulder pads. I’m sure suave Patrick from The Great British Sewing Bee may have a few things to say about my garment … but heh ho!

Beloved Bernina has a childrens’ tent to customise today and then she will be put away until the matrimonial frivolities are over. Spoons and whisks will be the tool of choice when the new week begins. 120 free range eggs have arrived from a farm in Long Ashton and they will be joined by copious quantities of butter, cream and chocolate. So much devilish naughtiness.

Olive oil from olives we picked in November has been bottled, and pickles labelled. Dry cleaning has been collected and lanterns await removals.

Lists cover my desk, shopping lists, schedules, staffing, to do, to buy etc… etc.. I so love being able to tick something off. Must be the school teacher in me that likes red pens and ticks!

The weekend beckons, and I hope you have a lovely relaxing time. Myself, I think I may be rather busy. I need to get in touch with Lionel to make sure he’s still ok to do a Gary Barlow style pop up. Here’s hoping. If it clinches it for you Lionel, we do have a mirror ball and smoke machine!

Love to all, and special thoughts for special friends for very special reasons. You are all TRULY AMAZING. x

Removals Required, Rocking Dog

Removals Required

Coat Complete, Rocking Dog

Coat Complete

Pretty Confetti, Rocking Dog

Pretty Confetti

Ready For Action, Rocking Dog

Ready For Action

120 Free Range!, Rocking Dog

120 Free Range!

Hardware Assembled, Rocking Dog

Hardware Assembled

Olive Oil Bottled, Rocking Dog

Olive Oil Bottled

Cherries On The Menu, Rocking Dog

Cherries On The Menu

Tea Towel Party Bags, Rocking Dog

Tea Towel Party Bags