Tag Archives: Jamie Oliver

Obrigado Senhor McGregor!

Garden Of Plenty, Rocking Dog

Garden Of Plenty

After a day working with Young Carers it was lovely to find a wicker basket of loveliness at the Rocking Dog kennel. Again it came from Mr McGregor’s Patch. This time its contents were gathered together by the handsome Aderbal who has been lovingly helping to tend the vegetable plot this summer.

The fragrance of the sweet peas was so beautifully characteristic of an English country garden. With vintage china awaiting its journey back into the cellar after being hired for a tea party, I spied a teapot, just perfect for sweet peas!

As for the edibles, the beetroot, carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and beans, I will enjoy putting them to work in the next few days. Delicious!

Also in the basket, an intriguing list of ingredients written in Portuguese. The Kilner jar it transpired contained Feijoada, Brazils national dish. Traditionally this stew is made using a mix of salted, smoked and fresh meats including every part of the pig including ears, tails and snouts. Jerak beef is also mentioned in many recipes, Aderbal will need to enlighten me! Using Google I managed to translate the ingredients for my Brazilian neighbours stew. It includes pinto beans, bacon, smoked sausage and chimichuri.

Chimichuri (I love this word!) is a Central/South American marinading sauce for meat. It can also be used as a condiment, think South American pesto! There are many variations but parsley, garlic, crushed red pepper, oregano and oil are common ingredients.

As I have an empty basket to return, it will be good to see Mr McGregor’s patch sometime soon. Vegetable gardens and allotments are a real passion of mine together with washing lines! I will need to think up something very foodily British for my Brazilian neighbour.

In the Young Carers kitchen we were cooking up Veggie Enchiladas and Shortcut Meatballs with Roast Sweet Potato Wedges. Puddings were Roasted Peaches with Raspberries, and Pineapple with Garden Mint. These young ones were definitely well on their way to getting their 5 a day!

Thank you or should I say Obrigado Aderbal so much for your veggie kindness.

Flower Vessel, Rocking Dog

Flower Vessel

Perfect!, Rocking Dog

Perfect!

So Lovely!, Rocking Dog

So Lovely!

Recognise These Sr Rodrigues?, Rocking Dog

Recognise These Sr Rodrigues?

That Time Of Year Again To Make Gravadlax

beetroot gravadlax in the making, rocking dog

Beetroot Gravadlax In The Making

Yes it is that time of year again in the Rocking Dog household to make Gravadlax. It is becoming a little bit of a tradition now to prepare this in readiness of a Scandi’ style meal on Boxing Day. Therefore blinis, rye bread, Gravadlax, cornichons, dill sour cream, a crunchy radish and fennel salad all feature. It’s not even as if we have turkey leftovers to contemplate, for we are going against tradition and having venison tomorrow.

When does something become a tradition? Is it when a recipe or activity is repeated more than once, or does it have to be something you do over several years for it to qualify as a tradition? I wonder how many of the things we do as a family over the festive period will be continued in future generations. Maybe, making Gravadlax will be one of those hand me down traditions!

So the salmon has had it’s generous coat of grated beetroot, orange zest, horseradish, salt, dill and vodka and is currently curing in the fridge. I love Jamie Oliver’s recipe for gravadlax especially when it is accompanied by his crunchy salad. The beetroot which he recommends gives the salmon a wonderful puce colour, whilst the salad is crisp and refreshing. A perfect antidote for the carb-fest of Christmas day.

We enjoyed some Gravadlax whilst in Stockholm last year. Particularly memorable was a wonderful smorgasbord served aboard a boat. We spent a winters afternoon happily sailing Stockholm’s archipelago. The food was copious and delicious….and included in the price of the trip… bargainous by Scandinavian standards! We feasted on pickled herring, smoked salmon, cured meats, a cornucopia of salads, cheese, roast potatoes and a groaning table laden with desserts. We really want to return to Stockholm, to “do” the Blue Train trip, to revisit The Hairy Pig and The Vasa. We also missed out on The Abba Museum, Andyman the misery, really wasn’t keen!

Back to the Rocking Dog kitchen, today I am finally putting a Christmas cake in the oven, after all IT IS tradition.

I hope all your preparations are going well, and that you aren’t going to be doing battle for the last Brussel Sprout in the shop today!

the finished article, rocking dog

The Finished Article

simple crunchy salad, rocking dog

Simple Crunchy Salad

Boat Food, Stockholm

Boat Food, Stockholm

'Tis The Season To Be Jolly!, Rocking Dog

‘Tis The Season To Be Jolly!

Swedish Nativity, Rocking Dog

Swedish Nativity

Floristry The Stockholm Way, Rocking Dog

Floristry The Stockholm Way

Oops! The Pesky Things Have Escaped!

Hanging Around!, Rocking Dog

Hanging Around!

Indeed, some pesky things have escaped! I just couldn’t help myself, I bought one or two new Christmas decorations and couldn’t resist hanging them. Those empty cup hooks along my cookery book shelves proved all too tempting for my haul. Pretty!

When I am reading an interiors feature in a magazine I always love to scrutinise the home owners book shelves/ coffee table. My shelves display a plethora of Jamie O, Nigella, Delia, Ottolenghi and Skye Gyngell books. What I wonder does that say about me? I very rarely send cookery books off to the charity shop so there are remnants of my tentative first steps into culinarydom! That Hamlyn cookery book dating from 1973 started me off on my Pineapple Upside Down Cake odyssey. Sometime very soon a Jamie Oliver tome will be pulled from the shelf for his delicious Beetroot Gravadlax recipe.

Elsewhere in the Rocking Dog Kennel tangled fairy lights from my childhood tumble down Material Mountain. Alas no electrician seems to want to touch them – so unlit they’ll stay. Perhaps i’ll twirl some new lights around them to festoon them with light. I have such memories of my dad every year untangling the glittery chain, twiddling each bulb and exclaiming “God love a duck” when the lights refused to work. Eventually he’d manage to get the lights working. He’d then half heartedly but methodically swathe the tree with the lights before sinking into a chair with a tot of whisky and cigar. Mum and three tired kids would then set to work with boxes of oh so familiar tree ornaments, tinsel, lametta, and net skirted fairies. All the while Jim Reeves would be serenading our frouing.

Spanish Madonna has never gone away. A Christmas gift last year from Andyman, I could not bear to send her into the attic so soon after unwrapping her. In the workroom a jumbled jar of bottlebrush trees, cheery spotted mushrooms and ballerinas await cakes and parcels to adorn. Meanwhile a jar of old fairy light bulbs are hoping to be strung into a nostalgic garland if time allows.

I know, I am totally incorrigible regarding my love of Christmas decorations and you know who!

Cook Book Heaven, Rocking Dog

Cook Book Heaven

Strictly Come Dancing, Rocking Dog

Strictly Come Dancing

Oh Deer!, Rocking Dog

Oh Deer!

Heirloom Tangle, Rocking Dog

Heirloom Tangle

Spare Bulbs, Rocking Dog

Spare Bulbs

Mache Madonna, Rocking Dog

Mache Madonna

It’s Been A While. Shame On You Rocking Dog!

Hand Washing a la Francais!, Rocking Dog

Hand Washing a la Francais!

Writer’s Block has rather taken it’s toll on me this sunny June! Thankfully I possessed enough verve to complete envelopes for some important “Save The Dates”. It was lovely to put my recently acquired calligraphy skills to use (thank you to Meticulous Ink and The Makery). Another envelope project was to pretty up a plain envelope to gift some cash. A ripped Selvedge magazine image and Mrs Beetonesque calendar cake shred did the trick in a jiffy!

The memories of Chelsea Flower Show still casts a warm glow, and I have been busy trying to make strides with my own garden. The latest purchase has been an old roll top bath from Ebay. This is the first one of a planned four which will form raised beds for my kitchen garden. This time next year the baths will hopefully be bursting forth with salad leaves, herbs, chard and a myriad of other edibles. Not quite The Good Life…. but…!

The garden is a sea of pretty weeds, new planting, and Mr Dursley’s pesky rubble. Mole hills (Grrr!) proliferate at an alarming rate. I even glimpsed the mischievous velvety little fella doing his worst! To add to the general mayhem we are having a new run of fencing, but this has come to a grinding halt. A blackbird is sweetly, but everso slightly inconveniently nesting on the rear of one of the old panels. Work will therefore restart once the chicks have fledged, Aaaahhh! Meanwhile, confetti production continues, cherries ripen, elderflowers need picking for summery concoctions and we need rain to replenish the brook.

Sewing has recommenced with Rocking Dog making laundry bags to stash away items for hand washing. All too often a favourite woollen or silk scarf has mis-adventured into the washing machine. Has it happened to you? I guessed a drawstring bag to separate delicates could be useful. Using pretty up-cycled fabrics for the gloved hand appliqué, I then hand stamped the bags with the words “Lavage a la Main” (which I truly hope means washing by hand in French). These bags will be for sale at a future Rocking Dog event. They would be perfect for packing in a holiday suitcase.

Another laundry project has been to wash and starch some lovely 1930’s table linen. Oh decisions, which pieces can I bear to part with…. and just exactly how many tablecloths does a girl need?!

Finally we all have to eat… and how lovely to use rhubarb from the garden for a Jamie Oliver recipe. Summer on a plate!

Rocking Dog is pleased to be writing again.

Vintage Laundry, Rocking Dog

Vintage Laundry

Cash Envelope, Rocking Dog

Cash Envelope

Save The Date!, Rocking Dog

Save The Date!

Garden Confetti, Rocking Dog

Garden Confetti

Ebay Roll Top Bath Time, Rocking Dog

Ebay Roll Top Bath Time

Summer Cooking, Rocking Dog

Summer Cooking

Yay! Rhubarb Season, Cocktail Time!

Gin, Fizz And Rhubarb!, Rocking Dog

Gin, Fizz And Rhubarb!

The wonderful early spring sunshine has made our rhubarb grow prolifically! I LOVE rhubarb. What could be more lovely than granola or muesli served with some greek yogurt and chilled home cooked rhubarb. Here in Hambrook I have about seven Rhubarb clumps and we are able to enjoy this vegetable from April through to the start of September. The plants are very hardy, and they thankfully need very little to keep them happy and heavily cropping. I have some deliciously aged terracotta rhubarb forcing pots which add to the charm of my rhubarb triangle.

My favourite ways of using rhubarb are in crumbles (delicious with the addition of some chopped stem ginger) and made into a fresh “jam” to serve with freshly baked buttermilk scones and clotted cream. Jamie Oliver’s recipe for Marinated Pork Fillet on Roasted Rhubarb is a family favourite and very quick to prepare. Meanwhile Mark Hix’s Little Buttermilk Puddings are divine served with roasted rhubarb. Similar to Italian panna cotta’s they are a wonderful inexpensive and easy dessert to serve guests.

To celebrate the start of rhubarb season why not toast a good crop with a cocktail! Make a rhubarb syrup using rhubarb (doh!), a little water, sugar and a vanilla pod. Cook in a saucepan until the fruit is soft. Press the fruit and its liquor through a fine sieve and chill. In a pitcher or cocktail shaker whizz up gin, rhubarb syrup and lemon juice. Pour into ice filled glasses and top up with some chilled Prosecco. Stir carefully and add a thin lemon slice to each glass to serve. To alter the flavour of the syrup fresh herbs can be added to the stewing rhubarb, rosemary or lemon thyme would work well. For an eccentric way of serving cocktails, pour your chosen tipple from a pretty vintage teapot. Wind up the gramophone, slump in an old fashioned deckchair and celebrate rhubarb and the cherished sun. Cheers!

Rife Rhubarb, Rocking Dog

Rife Rhubarb

Ready For The Pan, Rocking Dog

Ready For The Pan

Teapot Cocktails, Rocking Dog

Teapot Cocktails