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Recipes, food and family views from Beverley

  • Chicken Tagine with Couscous and Harissa

    This makes a delicious family friendly midweek meal.  You can start making it the night before or in them morning and allow it to marinade, if you forget just leave it as long as possible, even 30 minutes will do. Those who like it spicy can pour over the harissa.  Serve it with couscous or rice.

    Ingredients for 4 people

    Chermoula
    2 large brown onions, chopped
    5 cloves or garlic, chopped
    1 small bunch coriander, chopped
    pinch of sea salt
    1 tsp coriander seeds
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    1/2 tsp turmeric
    1 tsp rose harissa
    Juice of 1 lemon
    extra virgin olive oil

    Tagine
    4 chicken breasts, skinned and cut into 4 pieces each
    1 large brown onion, roughly chopped
    2 carrots, roughly copped
    chicken stock
    1 preserved lemon, finely chopped
    1 tbsp honey
    sunflower oil

    Harissa
    Juice of 2 lemons
    1 tsp rose harissa
    2 tbsp liquid from the tagine

    Blitz all the chermoula ingredients in a mini food processor.  Transfer to a bowl and add the chicken breasts.  Cover, put into the fridge and leave to marinade for 4-24 hours if possible.

    Heat a tablespoon of sunflower oil in a casserole, tip in the chicken and marinade and gently cook until the chicken is sealed.  Add all the other ingredients for the tagine and pour over sufficient chicken stock to cover the chicken and vegetables.  Bring the boil, reduce the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20-30 minutes until the chicken is cooked and the carrots are soft.  AGA transfer to the simmering oven for 45 minutes.

    To serve stir together 2 tablespoons of the tagine liquid with the lemon juice and rose harissa to make a thin sauce.  Steam some couscous, pile the tagine over the couscous and finish with a drizzle of harissa.

  • Halloween Recipe Development

    With only a couple of weeks to go I've been getting gruesomely creative in the Halloween department.  I'm running two workshops, Spooky Food which has been really popular over the years and is great for younger children and Whizz Bang Food.

    I created Whizz Bang Food an introduction to molecular gastronomy for teenagers.  The aim was to entice children who love science but maybe don't see cooking as cool to come along and try this alternative approach.  Heston Blumenthal for kids really.

    The workshop teaches spherification (caviar pearls), reverse spherification (blackcurrant bubbles), deconstruction (chocolate powder), gelification (instant setting spaghetti jelly) and some classic foodie science dishes such as making green fried eggs and setting off a bottle of pepsi with mentoes in the garden.  Plus making chocolates with popping candy.

    For Halloween I wanted to develop this into a gruesome version so here's what I came up with:

    • Reverse spherification - coconut panna cotta bubbles on a bed of raspberry coulis with green irises to look like eyeballs on blood.
    • Deconstruction and gelification - pink jelly worms on edible soil
    • popping candy skulls
    • plus skulls with raspberry jam goo inside.

    I had great fun playing with the skull chocolate moulds yesterday, they taste fantastic and received comments from the children -f

    "They are soo cool"

    "OMG they are awesome, are they ALL chocolate"

    Yeay, now to make up the eyeballs...

  • Ravioli and Victoria Sponge with the children at Saturday morning cooking club

    I had heaps of requests to make pasta, especially ravioli, from the children from my Saturday morning cooking club.  So today I kept my promise as we made cheese and ham ravioli with the option of turning this into tortellini.

    Audrey at Tring made Mini Victoria Sponges, which I think looked equally as good as the ones of the Great British Bake Off last week.   The difference being that the contestants on the GBBO were all over 10 years old and had a lot more experience than our children did, plus they had time to pipe the buttercream, we didn't.  All in all I think the children could give the contestants' Victoria Sponges a run for their money, don't you?

    vicspongesqsmall

    Back in Princes Risborough with the help of Ruby and Chloe, my red and pink KitchenAids plus pasta rollers, the children made the pasta by hand then used the machines to roll the dough.  There were a number of requests of where to buy the KitchenAids as the pasta attachments make it so easy to roll out the dough, much easier than the hand machines.

    The filling was made with or without sun dried tomatoes, this week it was the younger children who were more fussy re the filling than the older ones, which is unusual.  Usually the littler ones go for it and will try most things, whereas the teenagers are the ones who need coaxing into trying new foods so that made a nice change.

    Making tortellini was a little more fiddly to make, making sure you didn't put too much filling in the centre and then wrapping it around a finger while attempting to stick it together with the other hand was great fun.

    At the end of the morning the children all had a selection of ravioli and tortellini to take home, cook and share with their family, I await feedback next week when we're making eclairs.ravioli1sqsmall ravioli3sqsmall

  • Cheese and Ham Ravioli

    Homemade pasta is really easy to make, you can mix it in a food processor or mixer using a dough hook. ‘OO’ flour gives the best results, if you can’t get hold of this then use a strong plain flour recommended for bread making.

    Ingredients: for around 500g dough

    400g semolina or ‘OO’ flour
    4 medium eggs
    1 x tablespoon olive oil
    Semolina for dusting

    Ingredients: for the filling
    150g mozzarella, (one ball) drained and finely chopped
    50g Parmesan, finely grated
    50g Parma ham or cooked ham, roughly torn
    4-5 sundried tomatoes, finely chopped (optional)
    handful of fresh basil leaves, finely torn

    How to make ravioli... WASH YOUR HANDS

    1. Sift the flour onto a clean work surface. Using your fingers make a well in the centre of the mound of flour.
    2. Break the eggs into the small bowl (to make sure that you can scoop out any eggshell if you need to) and then pour the eggs into the well in the centre of the flour. Add a tablespoon of olive oil.
    3. Using your fingertips, gradually mix the flour into the eggs, stirring the ingredients together until they form a dough.
    4. Using both hands, knead the dough (to knead, use the ‘heel’ of your hands and push the dough away from you with one hand whilst turning it a quarter turn with the other). Knead for approximately 10 minutes until it is smooth and not sticky.
    5. Wrap the dough in cling film and place in the fridge to ‘rest’ for 30 minutes.
    6. Lightly dust a clean work surface with flour. Split the dough into two balls, cover one ball in cling film and pop it back in the fridge. Roll out the dough ball very, very thinly. Place the pasta sheet on a clean piece of baking parchment, sprinkle with semolina and cover with cling film to prevent it drying out. Repeat with the second ball of dough.
    7. Make the ravioli filling: Mix together all the ingredients, cover and set aside.
    8. To cut into ravioli - wait until pasta is no longer very sticky, transfer one sheet to a piece of baking parchment or work surface dusted with semolina. Dust the sheet with semolina and place teaspoonfuls of filling on the sheet, making sure there is space between them. Dampen the bare areas of pasta with water and lay a second sheet on top.
    9. Press down gently between the mounds of filling sticking the sheets together and squeezing out any air bubbles. Use a round bladed knife or cookie cutter to carefully cut the ravioli shapes, making sure that the edges are securely stuck together. Dust with semolina and cover with clingfilm, repeat with the rest of the pasta sheets. (Alternatively you can keep the pasta for a couple of hours in an airtight container in the fridge.)
    10. To cook the ravioli; bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, reduce to a simmer and gently plunge the ravioli into it and cook for around 4-6 minutes until the pasta is ‘al dente’.   Drain, drizzle over some olive oil and serve with freshly ground black pepper, a scattering of basil leaves and some parmesan shavings.

    To make Tortellini:

    Cut discs out of the sheets of pasta with an 8cm round cookie cutter, place teaspoonfuls of the filling in the centre of each disc, wet the edges with a little water and fold the pasta over to make a semicircle. Squeeze out any air bubbles. Dab one end of the semicircle with a little water, wrap it around your finger, or borrow someone else's, and press the edges together to stick. Take it off your (or their) finger and place it on a baking tray, sprinkle with semolina. Cook as before.
    ravioli1sqsmall

  • Bean Burgers with homemade slaw

    These are not your average boring bean burgers; these are packed with flavour and taste fabulous, serve them with homemade coleslaw and if you don’t have time to make the curry paste then use some from a jar.

    Ingredients: serves 4-6

    2 x 400g jars mixed beans or kidney and black beans, drained and rinsed
    125g breadcrumbs
    1 tablespoon Beverley's curry paste
    1 egg, beaten
    Bunch fresh coriander, chopped
    1 apple
    1 carrot
    half a red cabbage
    150g plain yoghurt
    2 teaspoon black mustard seeds
    Juice of 1 lemon or lime
    Wholemeal burger buns to serve
    Sea salt and black pepper

    How to make bean burgers and slaw...WASH YOUR HANDS

    1. Roughly mash the beans and add the breadcrumbs, curry paste, egg and coriander. Season with sea salt and pepper and stir well to amalgamate all the ingredients.
    2. Wet your hands (stops the mixture sticking) and split the mixture into 4 or 6 balls (depending how big you want the burgers to be), flatten them gently. Line a baking tray with foil, heat the grill to high, transfer the burgers to the tray and cook under the hot grill for 10-15 minutes turning them frequently. They should be crisp and golden.
    3. To make the slaw; peel and grate the apple and carrot then either grate or very thinly slice the red cabbage. Mix together the yoghurt, mustard seeds and lemon or lime juice. Pour over the grated veg and stir to mix.
    4. To serve, split and toast the burger buns, fill with a burger and top with slaw.

    The burgers freeze well, freeze at point 3 just after you’ve flattened the balls, to cook from frozen; bake at 200c/gas 6/AGA roasting oven, shelf on bottom set of runners for 20-30 minutes.

    Variations

    English – substitute the curry paste with tomato puree, top with homemade ketchup, slices of red onion and a smear of English mustard

    Mexican - substitute the curry paste with 2 teaspoons chipotle paste, use lime juice in the slaw and top with a slice of avocado and some tomato salsa.

    Italian – substitute the curry paste for a handful of shopped basil, add a finely chopped red pepper or 1-2 from a jar, drained and finely chopped, top with a slice of mozzarella and a smear of fresh pesto.

  • Ginger Snaps with spelt flour

    One of my favourite classic English biscuits, ideal for dunking into tea or coffee and super quick and easy to make.  This version uses wholemeal spelt flour and my children didn't notice - result

    For approximately 16-18 biscuits

    50g butter
    50g light muscovado sugar
    50g golden syrup
    110g wholemeal spelt flour
    1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
    1 teaspoon ground ginger

    1. Preheat the oven to 180c/gas 4/ AGA roasting oven third set of runners.
    2. Place the butter, sugar and syrup in a saucepan over a low heat and stir until melted.
    3. Mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda and ginger, pour in the melted ingredients and stir to form a dough.
    4. Place teaspoonfuls of mixture on a greased and lined baking tray, making sure they have plenty of room to spread, you will probably only get 9-12 biscuits on one tray.
    5. Bake for 8-12 minutes until deep golden brown (AGA 6-7 minutes), leave on the tray for 15-20 minutes until cool and hardened then transfer to a cooling rack to crisp up.
  • Elderberry Cordial

    It's glorious weather at the moment to get outside, drag the kids and dogs with you and get picking some of those gorgeous ripe elderberries.  They make the most wonderful winter cordial and with the addition of the cloves the finished drink is lovely and soothing for winter sore throats.  Top the cordial up with hot water and enjoy the deep autumnal flavours.

    2kg elderberry heads (this means the whole fruit spray)
    25g sugar per 100ml of strained juice (add up to 50g of sugar if you like it sweeter but taste it first)
    5 cloves per 100ml strained juice

    1. First gather the children together and hunt for elderberries in the hedgerows. Take a pair of scissors in case they are difficult to pick, then bring them back home and carry on with the recipe.
    2. Wash the fruit thoroughly, there’s no need to remove it from the stalks. Place the heads into a large, stainless steel saucepan (NOT aluminium). Just cover with cold water, bring to the boil and simmer for 25 minutes. Stir occasionally and once the fruit starts to soften press the bunches against the side of the pan.
    3. Line a sieve with muslin or a tea towel and pour the fruit mixture in. You may to do this in batches. Use a wooden spoon to press the fruit against the muslin to extract as much juice as possible – this is a great one for children to do as they are much more patient than grown ups. Don't wear light coloured clothes as the juice stains.
    4. Measure the liquid when you’ve finished and pour into a clean saucepan, add the sugar and cloves, bring the mixture to the boil and boil for 10 minutes. Remove the cloves and pour into clean, sterilized bottles with 4-5 cloves. Store in a cool, dark place. It should keep for 3 months, once you open a bottle store it in the fridge and use within a week.

    To Serve: Dilute with hot water and a squeeze of lemon for a soothing winter drink or for adults it’s lovely with champagne as a winter Kir Royale. Drizzle over apples in apple crumble or pie before putting the topping on.

  • Camp Bestival Packing

    Oooh it's that time of year again, one sleep to go and we'll be lugging the tent, stove, food, sleeping bags, air beds, clothes, booze etc around the site to our Camping Plus pitches.  Yes, pitches; there are two families and our tent is too big to fit on one so we have three between us.

    Camping equipment is currently sitting in my study ready to be packed into the car tonight, what's different this year?  Cocktails, that's what.  I've tried to find ready made cocktails and have failed dismally.  I can find cans of vodka and tonic, gin and tonic, rum and coke but not cocktails - come on cocktail makers there is market here for ready made cocktails to be frozen and taken camping to festivals.  My 'make-do' option is a carton of Mojito mixer - lime juice, mint and stuff and a flask of Bacardi to make mojitos on site.  Everything has to be decanted into plastic as no glass is allowed on site so the rum is in a flask so it doesn't get mixed up with water or that would be 'interesting'.

    I've also sourced 'glow in the dark' martini glasses from The Glow company - awesome, I only went to order glow sticks and found these, can't wait for tomorrow to try them out.

    Glow Martini Glasses Glow Martini Glasses

    I've bought Glow tumblers for the children so they don't feel left out.  We also our essential Bog in a Bag, for those 2am toilet needs, that way no one has to trog off to the loos in the dark.  In Camping Plus this isn't too bad but it's just easier to have a quickie in the tent.

    Food for the weekend

    Mojitos for tomorrow night and in an ideal world all we would need is three things: Tequila, salt and limes, we wouldn't need anything else to get us through the weekend as no food would be required or remembered.  However, we have children so that's not going to happen *sighs wistfully*.

    Our friend Grant is cooking tomorrow evening as is traditional, he's making Chicken with cider, apple and tarragon with mushrooms and new potatoes, yum.

    Friday evening is traditional fajitas, I'm about to make these and freeze them along with the refried beans and have to nip out and get guacamole later.

    Sweet potato and orange cake is made ready to be iced, brownies are just out of the oven.  I had a special request from the children to make brownies without anything 'superfood', no beans just normal really unhealthy brownies packed with sugar and all the bad stuff. Only thing left to make is the pear and frangipane tart to go with the coffee.

    I have shed loads of bacon in the freezer ready as we ran out last year, major crisis.  Box of sauv blanc in the freezer too, this worked really well last year to keep it lovely and chilled. Need to get a carton of red wine as a back up for when it runs out, plus crisps and nibbles.

    Girlie essentials

    A mirror - must take a mirror or it's very difficult to put your false lashes on, other girlie festival essentials are:

    • false eyelashes
    • false eyelash glue
    • glow in the dark/UV make up
    • ditto nail varnish
    • glitter and facepaint
    • wet wipes
    • sun tan lotion
    • mini skirt - fake tan on the legs if they are a little on the lumpy side
    • bikini tops - even in the rain
    • Dr Martens - it's really uncomfortable walking miles in flip flops
    • Wellies or walking boots
    • Flip flops for showers - we are in Camping Plus, this is posh, there are showers *whoops in delight*
    • mirror

    That's it, just need the tent and we're off.

  • Neilson Lemnos - tennis, mountain biking and family photo

    One week is just not enough, just getting the hang of windsurfing and getting some speed up, the bruises are turning yellow so I no longer resemble a smurf and I may even relax a little if I stayed longer....actually, no I'd just spend all day on the water for another week.

    Thought I'd best mention that there are land based options....not that I'm up for that when there is water around.  I could complain that I became a tennis widow for the week, but as I was on the water all day my lovely husband could complain the other way round.  It's funny, when you turn up at the airport to come home you suddenly see all these people you'd not noticed at the resort, that's because they were the 'tennis' crowd, not the 'beach' crowd.  My backside is firmly planted in the 'beach' crowd.  I still have no idea where the tennis courts are on site, at all, not a dicky bird, not even a vague concept of the direction they're in - quite proud of that.

    Pete playing tennis Pete playing tennis

    The girls played rugby, tennis and did a few Zumba sessions, one of which was on the gulet cruise with TAG.  This was apparently hilarious but there are no photos.  Surf squad went off on mountain bikes to Manos beach for ice creams and doughnut rides.  The kids all loved it, Wave Riders and TAG walked down there and said it was a fabulous beach with a great selection of bars and cafes with a lovely chilled vibe, we ought to have gone but the sea was calling. They also took over the pool for pool olympics complete with kayaks, again great entertainment for the adults

    Pete, Max and I did the SUP (Stand Up Paddleboard) pilates, yes, pilates on a SUP in the sea.  It was brilliant, so funny, wish they did it more than once a week as I really, really enjoyed it. and towards the end of the week Max plucked up courage to have a go at waterskiing, the had three goes and got up, really enjoyed it and said that he'd love to have another go if he was staying longer.  The girls were having too good a time in club to try it out.  By the waterski hut is the Sea Badger Weather Stone, a stone on a rope dangling from a board with the weather forecasting system on it.  Amazingly it's 100% accurate....read below

    Sea Badger Weather Stone Sea Badger Weather Stone

    Bling Taxi

    I have to mention this, the bling taxi, it's such bad taste it's awesome and Dimitri, the owner, is incredibly proud of his taxi.  As a stroke of luck (!) I managed to get a ride into town in it, completely by accident.  Inside he has a fish tank, a fridge stocked with mini champagne bottles and other drinks, plus glasses.  Here are some photos.

    At the end of the week we had a family photo shoot with one of Claire Edmead's team, here's the result, it's wonderful and great reminder of a fabulous holiday

    The Glocks on holiday The Glocks on holiday
  • Neilson Lemnos, childcare, clubs and photos

    Childcare, clubs and Clare Edmead Photography

    Our children, aged 17, 14 and 12 are all booked into clubs. The 17 year old wasn't impressed at being booked into TAG as she's almost 18 and declared that 'she'd see what the people were like'. Our 14 year old is in Wave Riders with other year 9 and 10s and small boy, who's 12, is in Surf Squad with other year 7 and 8s. The activities are so good I haven't seen them all week.

    TAG Water slide TAG Water Slide

    The clubs run through the day, including lunchtime and dinner so the children are supervised virtually from 10am through to 10pm. Last year small boy spent the first morning in club at a beach club who weren't Neilson and declared it 'boring', after that he just hung with a bunch of boys he'd befriended. This year we haven't seen him, he's basically been on the water most of the time, in kayaks (3 hours one afternoon), daily catamaran joy rides, gladiators style battles on the SUP boards, plus cycling into town for ice creams.

    Wave Riders Chocolate Wars Wave Riders Chocolate Wars

    In Wave Riders they've been in the pool frequently with battles, water polo, pool Olympics with the aid of kayaks and paddleboards, etc, plus volleyball and yesterday they had chocolate fights, brilliant, everyone had chocolate and they had to try and cover each other in it without getting covered themselves.  Then they attempt to wash it off in the sea, fab parental entertainment.

    TAG Chocolate Wars TAG Chocolate Wars

    In TAG - teenage action group, they've also been constantly on the water, two teams had to build rafts (anyone who'
    s been to a sales conference knows about these) then the other half of the TAG had to capture the rafts, sort of pirates really. Again parental entertainment on the beach. Yesterday they had 'water slides', huge sheets of plastic on the grass with hosepipes, brilliant. Beach entertainment this afternoon came in the form of 'sharks', two sharks in the water, the rest in kayaks, all in helmets. The two sharks had to capsize the kayaks and last man in a kayak won. That became interesting when it was a two man kayak and they turned on each other.  Today the whole TAG group have gone off on a gullet cruise with soft drinks only.

    Wave Riders Pool Time Wave Riders Pool Time

    How do we know what they've done every day? Do they tell us? No. So how do we find out? Clare Edmead Photography, that's how. This is totally and utterly brilliant. There are three photographers on site who work for Clare and they go all over the place taking photos of everyone. I spotted one on the fun boat used as one of the outer sailing markers waiting for victims. Every afternoon the photos are up loaded onto four computers in the pool bar and you put the ones of your kids, you etc into your shopping basket, at the end of the week they are transferred onto CD to take home for around €95. It's the only way we would have any clue what our children are up to, plus we have fabulous photos that otherwise we would not have as we wouldn't have been there to take them. I think it's worth every penny. Whoever had the idea for this deserves a medal.

    Winsurfing Windsurfing

    You do have to like your partner as you see an awful lot of them over the week as the children are off have huge amounts of fun without you. Windsurfing update The beach team are wonderful, by the end of my week I've managed to sail in a wind (on Sunday I was terrified of any slight amount of wind) sail over the wake of the speedboats (on Sunday I fell off a lot) and today I was sailing in winds gusting 4-5, plus I finished the morning with a beach landing, on purpose this time. My previous beach landing was going backwards when I was aiming to go out to sea, so that didn't count. I was rather loud about it and Nathan mentioned that all the beach had heard as he helped me take my kit apart. In all the 22 years I've tried to learn to windsurf I can honestly say that I've never spent so much time on the water. Usually it's been a morning or afternoon lesson, this year Neilson have changed the way they teach and it's two sessions a day, morning and afternoon to help you get going quicker, it works.

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