Tag Archives: Frou’ing

The Love Of My Umbrian Kitchen

Sorrel's Laden Table,Rocking Dog

Sorrel’s Laden Table

With the cold and dampness of November in the West Country it’s lovely to remember the warmth of recent winter days spent in Umbria. Andyman and I were keen to put our stamp on No5 and spent four days climbing ladders to paint our bijoux apartment throughout.

We went to an amazing local paint shop for a vat of white emulsion. Sheets of gold leaf, glittery paints, floor paints, colourful paints, matt, gloss, egg shell, and we came out with bog standard white. Next time, yes next time!

Though Andyman’s Italian is progressing at an impressive rate it didn’t quite manage the technicalities of paint “speak”. In hindsight we rather think that the colossal vat of white was supposed to mixed with a significant quantity of water. No worries, the paint went on like PVA glue. I suddenly became a very unsplattered painter and the coverage was superb, no second coat required!

The boring bits done, we could get on and add pops of colour. As planned, the wardrobe was moved into the kitchen and transformed into a larder cupboard. Oak shelves, paint, handles and  wallpaper remnant all played their part in this up-cycle. I estimate the makeover cost just over £100 as opposed to £1,500 upwards for a JL or M&S version. In time it will have a blackboard, some hanging hooks and other larderesque refinements. Meanwhile a little bedroom table acquired with the apartment was reassigned for use as a kitchen workspace. Paint and a new handle was all that was required. Voila! my kitchen was evolving and growing.

Before leaving for Italy we commissioned  a local metalworker to make up two simple curtain poles and a batterie de cuisine (approximately £60 for the three items). Utensildom sorted!

The lovely timeworn rusty lanterns did not “make the cut” for the trip, the choice was to take the lanterns or Real Live Rocking Dog! In the event we decided on a local Italian chef/boffin to create a bespoke twisted copper light source for our living space. The lanterns do not need to look forlorn, they will be “plumbed” into Rock House at some point.

Finally the lovely frouing bits kept me busy. How often have you stayed in a holiday let with four forks between six of you, a chopping board that has seen better days or chipped plates galore? No5 therefore is definitely going to be a cooks kitchen.

We have rarely as a family done a hotel holiday, in part it’s because we all like to cook. I well remember, staying in a hotel overnight in readiness for an early morning flight and our youngest on walking into the family room asking “mummy where is the kitchen?!” Then there was the year we had a last minute deal to Madeira and by day three I was crawling the walls wanting to get my hands on a knife (a cook’s one obviously!). With a market brimming with fish and local fruit and vegetables I was desperate to whizz something up! This utter desperation may also have been slightly influenced by the retro 70’s pudding buffet on offer at the hotel. I had never witnessed such a display of wibbly blancmange, jellies, bavarois, creme caramel and other rather nasty gelatinous delicacies. Frustratingly there were banana’s growing everywhere on the island, but seemingly not one to be had in the hotel.

In our kitchen there are knives, matched china and glassware, cutlery (and yes cutlery phobic son there is some “Dragon” cutlery in the drawer) baking tins, scales, serving dishes etc..etc.. I tested the oven by baking a cake and made a little list of kitchenalia yet to buy. Cooking generally leads to eating, and so at times with the nights getting shorter and more nippy we ate inside (Sorrel and Liv’s laden table was a seasonal, locally produced highlight), but there were sunny warm opportunities where eating outside was simply perfect.

There are still bits to do. The kitchen table has had its legs painted in jolly “Mister David” and it awaits equally cheery chairs to join it in the spring. I loved some ladder back inspiration in Lerici. Andyman and I went to relive our youth there momentarily. It was 35 years since we were last in the pretty coastal town, back then we camped, ate frozen calamari, drank Lambrusco, sweltered in the scorching heat and got bitten alive by mosi’s!

Last night at the kennel I could not find the can opener for love nor money. Somewhat frustratingly I know a drawer in a far off land where I have two!

 

 

Paint Those Chairs, Rocking Dog

Paint Those Chairs

Ladder-back Inspiration!,Rocking Dog

Ladder-back Inspiration!

Let's Think,Rocking Dog

Let’s Think

Little Black Book,Rocking Dog

Little Black Book

Workspace,Rocking Dog

Workspace

Wardrobe To Larder,Rocking Dog

Wardrobe To Larder

Utensildom!,Rocking Dog

Utensildom!

Kitchen View,Rocking Dog

Kitchen View

Breakfast Spot,Rocking Dog

Breakfast Spot

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Andyman’s Lovely Limoncello Meringue

Frou'd And Ready To Eat, Rocking Dog

Frou’d And Ready To Eat

I was trying to be VERY good but then the weekend came and two lovely eating treats beckoned! We were lucky enough to receive some vouchers at Christmas for the Michelin star “Pony & Trap”, so Saturday was earmarked for that. We then had a delicious invite to join friends for lunch on Sunday. We offered to make pud’, so Andyman made Limoncello Meringue. We first ate this with friends in Italy, with Charlie having made his own Limoncello. Truly delicious.

It’s a little bit of a cobble of two recipes. So here goes :-

Meringue
4 large free range egg whites (use the yolks for scrambled egg or panna cotta)
200g caster sugar

Lemon Curd
125g butter (preferably unsalted)
175ml lemon juice
Finely grated zest of 3 lemons
450g golden caster sugar
4 large free range eggs, beaten
50 ml Limoncello (optional) commercially made or homemade.

Cream filling
300ml double cream
small tub mascarpone

Oven 140 C Fan 125C

1. Whisk egg whites until in stiff peaks.
2. Continue to whisk as you add spoonful by spoonful the sugar. The Meringue should be thick and glossy.
3. Turn the meringue out onto a baking sheet lined with baking parchment. A rough circular nest is great.
4. Pop into the oven for 25 minutes and then bake for a further 1 & 1/2 hours or so at 110C.
5. The Meringue can be left in the oven once switched off to dry out a little further. Remember to leave yourself a little note on top of the cooker to remind you of the meringues current home! I have burnt too many meringues than I care to remember.
6. For the lemon curd, place the juice and zest, butter and sugar into a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl over a pan of simmering water on a low heat.
7. Once the butter has melted and sugar dissolved, whisk in the beaten eggs. Continue to whisk over a low heat until the mixture is thick (approximately 10 minutes)
8. Strain the curd through a sieve and once a little cooler, fold through the Limoncello, cover and place in the fridge.
9. Shortly before serving whisk together the cream and Mascarpone until thick and in soft peaks.
10.To serve, dollop the cream mixture over the meringue base and top with the lemon curd. Grate over a little lemon or lime zest.

SHORTCUTS- Shop bought meringue, and a jar of good quality lemon curd would do the trick perfectly.

Andyman did a wonderful job but I could NOT stop myself from doing just a little frou’ing! I walked upstairs and said to him “you are going to be very cross with me”. He immediately knew i’d been dabbling with his delectable dessert (p.s love this link, sweet memories) and yes he was just a little bit everso cross!

Primroses, wild violets, pansies, raspberries or pomegranate seeds would all be lovely to add the final gilding to this gorgeous pud’. I can hear Andyman stamping his feet angrily!!

We ate pretty pud’s and other lovely things at The Pony and Trap. I loved the Figgy Pudding ice cream and the Bristol Cream Pickled Shallots.

Back on the straight and narrow, no more gastronomic misdemeanours for me!

Luscious Layers, Rocking Dog

Luscious Layers

Japonica, Rocking Dog

Japonica

Spring Is Around The Corner!, Rocking Dog

Spring Is Around The Corner!

Pretty Pony & Trap Pud', Rocking Dog

Pretty Pony & Trap Pud’

..And Another One, Rocking Dog

..And Another One

The Savouries Weren't Bad Either!, Rocking Dog

The Savouries Weren’t Bad Either!