Tag Archives: Haggis

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!

My Week Defined By Vegetables

Chelsea Potatoes,Rocking Dog

Chelsea Potatoes

Indeed last week was rather dominated by all that was vegetable.

MONDAY. A relaxing lunch with friend at The Pig near Bath. As ever it was gorgeous to have a wander around the walled kitchen garden after eating some delicious plates of food. There is something rather special about a garden in winter. The stillness, quiet, and the silent anticipation of shoots and leaves forcing their way through frost crested earth.

TUESDAY. I went on a Social Media course at the M Shed, Bristol. Discussing the merits and problems of different social media platforms I felt somehow rather disillusioned. However, I feel I have a better understanding of feed, engagement, traffic etc… but i’m still a slumbering pumpkin!

WEDNESDAY. I participated in a healthy eating session with a small group of young adult carers. They were great, and we cooked enthusiastically together. Chicken and vegetable wraps together with vegetable laden pizzas were cooked and eaten together. Instead of feeling like a slumbering pumpkin I definitely felt more like a dinosaur trying to explain the concept of seasonal food! It went a bit like this “as a child growing up in the 60’s we only saw strawberries at the start of June through to the start of August, and then we didn’t see them until the following year”. It was quite a revelation to them, as was the tip to “peel” root ginger using a teaspoon. I aim to please….. even if I am a Tyrannosaurus!

THURSDAY. 36kg of haggis was delivered to the kennel from over the tartan border. There was the traditional offal’y variety, there was the vegetable variety, some to suit gluten free guests and of course the ceremonial chieftain haggis for the Selkirk Grace. Fridge space was rather tight with all these wee beasties taking up temporary residence.

FRIDAY. Sorrel, baby Doug and I headed out to pick up 50kg potatoes and 30kg swede. Thank you to Bob at Eastville Market for super fresh produce. I have to say though the potato type, Marfona sounded like some type of mini pill or Intrauterine Contraceptive Device! After our vegetable buying trip we headed to nearby St Werburgh’s City Farm for a coffee. Doug was fascinated by the goats, ducks, black hairy pigs and a large rook. The cafe is definitely worth a visit. We shared Beetroot, chocolate & beer cake gloriously eaten with some good cappuccino’s. We were fortified ready for the mammoth two day peeling and mashing session!

SATURDAY. 50kg potatoes peeled & mashed. Tick. 30kg swede peeled & bashed. Tick. 9 trays of brownie baked. Tick. Let the Rock Pipes Burns Night begin. It was a culinary killer. Thanks to lovely, lovely friends who pitched in to help get hot food out to the 160 paying guests. Everybody seemed to have a fabulous time. I even managed to summon up the courage to hit the stage to promote the raffle which raised an amazing £341 for Young Carer’s “Christmas in a Box”. Rock Pipes did their final set with everyone on the dance floor for an Abba medley, 500 miles and of course YMCA! Auld Lang Syne sent everyone on their way with 50 kg chappit tatties, 36kg haggis, 30kg bashed neeps and a wee dram of whisky in their tummies.

SUNDAY. I woke up feeling as if every bone in my body had been broken and then had been reset really badly! How can vegetables do that?! I’m simply too old for this catering malarkey.

So yes, that was the week that was. After a day of washing up yesterday I am trying to be kind to myself and to let my burnt and chapped hands recover. Still on a vegetable theme I have some lovely vintage fabric titled “Sweetcorn” to be made into a blind for Sorrel & Pete. Some quiet therapeutic sewing should get my aching bones sorted.

A million thanks to my lovely girls who were magnificent in the kitchen and to all those who helped without asking. I have some truly gorgeous friends. Thank you.

PS I picked up a great tip from Sorrel (old dogs really can learn new tricks!) To strip Thyme of it’s leaves poke the woody stalk through a hole in a wire sieve. Pull the stalk and voila the leaves are left in the sieve. Have you any canny tips to pass on I wonder? Please tell all.

Table Veg',Rocking Dog

Table Veg’

Greenhouse Veg',Rocking Dog

Greenhouse Veg’

The Pigs' Pigs,Rocking Dog

The Pigs’ Pigs

Seasonal Fruit &..,Rocking Dog

Seasonal Fruit &..

Seasonal Veg',Rocking Dog

Seasonal Veg’

Veggie Cake!,Rocking Dog

Veggie Cake!

For Chappit Tatties,Rocking Dog

For Chappit Tatties

Let 'em Eat Haggis!, Rocking Dog

Let ’em Eat Haggis!

Vintage Veg' Fabric,Rocking Dog

Vintage Veg’ Fabric

Gosh It’s Been A While. Happy New Year!

 

Come & Sit At The Table,Rocking Dog

Come & Sit At The Table

It’s been a long old time since Rocking Dog signed in. Christmas has hurtled in and whistled out. New Year was celebrated very merrily on foreign shores and now 2018 has begun in earnest. So where do I begin as the famous song goes?!

Perhaps it’s just best to firstly wish all who are reading this a very, very happy 2018. I hope this shiny bright year brings lots of joys, challenges, good health and wonderful times spent with friends and family. Having just spent eleven days or so with friends in Umbria there isn’t anything quite so lovely as having nurturing friends who enjoy caring for each other, noticing when a glass needs topping up (!) and sharing wonderful plates of food and lively conversation. Andy and I feel very blessed.

It has been amazing how many folk have said to me how quickly 2017 came and went. So how do we make a year feel as if it actually lasts twelve months? Perhaps not allowing Christmas to filtrate shops in September might be a positive start! Setting goals and learning new things, visiting new places, and rather than saying “we must get together sometime”, just let’s do it, perhaps they’ll all help extend our perception of a year well spent.

I have one or two things penned on the calendar which I am looking forward to and perhaps one that fills me with apprehension! There are 24 massive Haggi to tussle with a week on Saturday. I am using my long drive brain tactics… if I don’t think about the drive- or in this case the 160 mouths to feed I am ok! Breathe, breathe, breathe Rocking Dog! After hopefully coming through the Rockpipes Burn’s Night in one piece I can then look forward to a workshop with a hero (sadly it’s a bit un-PC to say heroine) of mine. The artist Julie Arkell is running a sewing workshop and i’m debating whether to wear ALL my papier mache brooches and the watch made by her! I think i’ll leave off the one that alas has been the victim of a vicious wash cycle on two occasions. Sooooo sad.

Rather conveniently I have put to the back of my mind a social media day next week. I’m going to be queen of the tweets, retweets and insta’s by all accounts! I have felt a sense of inertia about blogging recently, apparently instagram is the way to go. I post a photo of scaffolding and get “followed” by a construction worker from Tehran, it’s a whole new world. Umbria saw me post one photo a day on instagram. It was rather liberating not thinking about what to write for a blog and just to seize the moment with a snap of a nativity, stunning view, plate of spaghetti etc… However, here I am writing.. and then I remember that I write so much of the time for myself. A few years ago I had a fairly crippling bout of depression which left me pretty much incapable of holding a pen, let alone writing. Many of you will know that if I can write I am doing just fine.

It seems a bit late to look back on the year that was. It was certainly a bit of a roller coaster! Lovely bits were the arrival of Doug’ and what a privilege it was to be in the delivery room to see my new grandson emerge. It has been gorgeous to witness Doug’s doting parents nurture him. I just wish I could take away some of their tiredness! There is another little baby due in May and i’m sure Alex and Kylie will be fabulous parents too. Exciting times.

We have had great times in Umbria in 2017 and have enjoyed sharing our tiny piece of paradise with friends, family and rental folk. Olives have been picked, hill top towns scaled, wood burner installed, stars gazed at, the cool of the pool gloried and the peace truly adored. I really do pinch myself, so very lucky.

Also on a positive note Andyman’s corporate legal case finally came to a conclusion. Basta, basta adesso! (Enough, enough now!) It’s all been pretty tedious, long winded and rubbish. Where’s Judge Rinder when you need him?!

Lastly I have immense admiration for so many friends and family who are travelling very unpredictable roads regarding health, relationships and difficult work situations. You are all SO amazing and thanks must go to the wonderful NHS staff, carers, and charity organisations together with the support of unstinting friends and family members.  Wishing all who have mountains to climb and rivers to cross a very fruitful and happy 2018. You know where we are, and I hope you’ll come and eat at our table very soon.

Globally, blogs generally may be read less, with likes, comments, re-posts dropping off the radar but I do hope i’ll hang on in there during 2018. I’m sure there’ll be interesting things to say, lovely pic’s and creative inspiration, together with lots of moans and groans from someone who would like to be thirty again!

Wishing you all a truly wonderful 2018 and thank you for being with me on the Rocking Dog adventure!

Have a great weekend.

Liz x

 

Field Full Of Flowers,Rocking Dog

Field Full Of Flowers

Paradiso,Rocking Dog

Paradiso

Siblings,Rocking Dog

Siblings

Sporrans At The Ready!,Rocking Dog

Sporrans At The Ready!

Off To New Places, Rocking Dog

Off To New Places

Arkell Inspiration, Rocking Dog

Arkell Inspiration

Yay! Haggis Sausage Rolls For Burn’s Night

Straight From The Oven,Rocking Dog

Straight From The Oven

Oops! slight oversight I forgot Burn’s Night! Married to a Scot (oops sorry Andyman not your team!) and being half Scottish myself that’s slightly unforgivable. I spotted a MacSween Haggis in a butchers window and that’s when the penny dropped.

So, the Rocking Dog Huddlers will be offered haggis sausage rolls this evening. I made these golden beauties using an Abel& Cole recipe,credit to my lovely girl Sorrel. However I cheated a little by using ready made Taste The Difference all butter puff pastry. There’s a delicious vegetarian haggis version too for anyone feeling slightly queasy about the offal and entrails involved in the art of haggis making.

Burn’s Night always gives me the opportunity to talk about my Toby Jug folk and to be just a little bit silly… so here goes! Mrs Mack (the present from Fleetwood) has waddled across the mantlepiece, unable to resist the kilted charms of Wee Tam. Poor Toby, his beer swigging ways are not going down well with Mrs Mack (she is a convent girl after all). Toby’s Gout, flatulance, swarthy complexion, beer belly and moobs, she really wants to move on and find out just what Wee Tam wears beneath his kilt. Is he really so wee?!! For The time being she’s just enjoying his ticklin’ and Sean Connery accent. Ooh she’s a wee flirt!

Anyway enough of this nonsense, have a very happy Burn’s Night one and all!

Stop Your Ticklin' Tam!,Rocking Dog

Stop Your Ticklin’ Tam!

Readying The Kennel For St Andrews Night

Homage To Rudolph!, Rocking Dog

Homage To Rudolph!

Where is the tartan (love this link by the way) you may ask, and if the truth be known i’m asking myself the same question! The trouble is that I spotted these giant carrots in Paperchase on Sunday and I couldn’t resist coming up with a cunning plan for them. As you probably already know Andyman has put a complete embargo on any more Christmas decorations coming into the house (11 boxes are absolutely and utterly enough as the sermon from Andyman doth go!) I guessed that these carrots could be smuggled into the house under a non Christmas guise.

My kitchen chandelier thingy provided the perfect place to deal with these giant sparkly carrots. Despite their size and subtle blingy glamour Andyman chose not to pass comment at breakfast time. During the day further frouing occurred. There’s a handsome reindeer minus the red nose, and some twiggy pencils which have scribbled child like notes. How difficult I found it to write like a five year old! Some glowing strands have arrived and I plan to add some hanging mince pies. This is my homage to Santa Claus and Rudolph. The poor old gnomes who normally hang out on the chandelier thingy together with their spotty mushrooms are now gnomeless, oops homeless!

Rocking Dog has indeed been making the kennel look glamorous in readiness for the rapidly approaching St Andrews Night sale. Tomorrow I will make a conscious attempt to tartanise the place as I don’t want to be accused of Christmasfying rather than Andrewfying!

Wee Tam together with Toby and Mrs Mac (the present from Fleetwood) are ready and waiting on their mantlepiece perch. Bagpiping, haggis sausage rolls, ginger shortbread and a wee dram are eagerly awaited. Toby will need his drams restricted for abomomnable gout the poor fellow does have. Enough of this utter nonsense, even though i’m very fond of my toby jug talk!

Shopping, labelling, pricing, baking, making, and boo hoo cleaning will make the next couple of days busy. There is also the small matter of taking poor Real Live Rocking Dog for a haircut…poor boy, on the coldest day of the year so far. No worries he does have a splendid tartan coat ..he can be a walking, barking homage to St Andrew on Wednesday evening. Result!

Sowing The Seed, Rocking Dog

Sowing The Seed

Happy Wee Tam', Rocking Dog

Happy Wee Tam’

Festive Sewing,Rocking Dog

Festive Sewing

Flying Christmas Trees,Rocking Dog

Flying Christmas Trees

Edible Table!,Rocking Dog

Edible Table!

Rocking Dog "Let's Make..",Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog “Let’s Make..”

Creative Wrapping Ideas By Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Bag For Scottish Goodies!, Rocking Dog

Rocking Dog Bag For Scottish Goodies!

There are a raft of Birthdays and thank you’s to gift wrap for this June. Rocking Dog is too mean to buy gift wrap and loves to do a bit of creative recycling.

My mother in law has a birthday this weekend and I have made a bag from a vintage tea towel. Being Scottish I thought she’d appreciate the burly piper and nostalgic Scottish recipes. The bag will be filled with a homemade fruitcake, shortbread and other Scottish delicacies, a tin of salmon (yuk!), Irn Bru, porridge (anyone of a nervous disposition please don’t click on that last link!), Scotch pies, haggis i’ll see what I can scavenge! Interestingly the bag was made in a similar way to the reading glasses case, and so there’s not a raw hem to be seen. I doubled up Tartan ribbon for handles (sorry I don’t know which tartan) and neatly attached them to the bag. I was feeling very chilled, sewing whilst listening to a bit of Barry! Maybe it would have been more appropriate to sing along to something a bit more…. well, Scottish!

A thank you prezzie was wrapped in jolly spot with a spotty ribbon to boot. I used a pretty piece of scrapbooking paper. TK Maxx do a great selection of craft products at discounted prices. The parcel was completed with a chalkboard label (again TK Maxx) and I used a white rollerball pen. Looking at my rather scratchy handwriting I rather think I need a new one.

Another thank you present was a hand baked fruit cake, unfortunately the tin was rather Christmassy, no it really isn’t time yet Michael! However, for the wedding we bought tea towels from Ikea to use as napkins, and there was a little unused stash. I therefore placed the tin on a towel and gathered up the corners before securing with some string. The pretty label came from the front cover of a free John Lewis “Cook” magazine. I hope the boys will enjoy eating a generous wedge of cake whilst deciding what to do next in their truly wonderful garden (it definitely counts as one of my top 5 favourite gardens, with its Mr McGregor vegetable patch, orchard, orangery, ice house, vines, espalier fruit trees and of course the cottage garden flowers). Botanically and creatively yummy!

Finally a “mock up” voucher. I wanted to make a gift voucher envelope from a restaurant menu. This one was made from a menu for “The Pig”. I added a stamped label and a polished horse brass depicting a pig, and tied it with some linen ribbon. I thought it worked rather well. Incidentally the horse brasses were an impulse purchase in a charity shop. I bought about 25 for £5 and have hopes they’ll grace presents with a bit of brassy bling. I don’t think they’ll ever see their way onto any of the beams at the kennel thankfully.

So presents wrapped, some have been delivered, and others are yet to be given. Just where can I get Irn Bru, and tell me just what do cold battered Mars Bars taste like?!

Have a great weekend, whatever the days hold for you. Love Rocking Dog x

Scot Cuisine!, Rocking Dog

Scot Cuisine!

Let Them Eat Cake!, Rocking Dog

Let Them Eat Cake!

Simple Spot, Rocking Dog

Simple Spot

Voucher Envelope, Rocking Dog

Voucher Envelope

Template & Menu, Rocking Dog

Template & Menu

Stamps & Horse Brasses, Rocking Dog

Stamps & Horse Brasses

Time To Cook The Haggis- It’s Burns’ Night!

Wee Tam' Waiting For His Haggis Supper!, Rocking Dog

Wee Tam’ Waiting For His Haggis Supper!

There is no hope for me and a minimalist lifestyle! Another Toby jug has appeared on the mantlepiece. So old Toby and Mrs Mack (the present from Fleetwood) have been joined by Wee Tam. Poor old Toby with his gout and ale supping ailments cannot compete with the handsome Tam! A fine figure of a kilted man, resplendent in his gilded sporran, tartan sash and Tam’o Shanter, he is ready to nimbly sword dance with the blushing Mrs Mack!

Enough of this nonsense, indeed it is Burns’ Night when folk across the world celebrate the Scottish poet Robert Burns. A good excuse then to cook some haggis, neeps (swede) and tatties and wash it all down with a wee dram of whisky. Even better to be eating and drinking to the sound of Andyman and his pipes.

The decision needs to be made as to whether Wee Tam will be filled with whisky or Gravy. Let me see now what makes less mess when he’s doing his nocturnal Highland Reels with Mrs Mack!

Happy Burn’s Night to one and all.

PS. If you haven’t ever tried Haggis before it really is delicious. If you find the thought of the meat version a little stomach churning try the vegetarian haggis which is also very tasty and doesn’t involve any offal!

Rivalry For Mrs Macks Attention!!, Rocking Dog

Rivalry For Mrs Macks Attention!