Bologna makes a perfect city break for food and drink lovers. Perfect for brunches! Speedy and gorgeous with a salad and or eggs. Always so good with eggs! The perfect prawn curry? This view of Australia is very much through my lens, supported by the Travelbag range of tours and products. Predictably, to Sydney, and I loved every minute. I was curious but as a professional contrarian I had avoided the year in Australia which most Irish people tend to do at some point.Hookup Kenya co Ke
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I never even planned to go to Australia, it seemed too close to home even though it is so far away. A friend moved there and another friend was keen to go so I decided I would try it. Australia proved to be surprising and exciting, and I have now been back 9 times. Each time I have experienced something completely different. Australia is a place that I have developed a deep affection for. The lifestyle is gorgeous, people are very friendly, and there is a very laid back air there and a general joie de vivre. It is a fun place to visit. The food and drink scene is vibrant, Australians know and love their food and have high expectations of every eatery who usually deliver. I needed little persuasion. Emilia Romagna is a favourite place to visit. I go most years, to Bologna, to Modena, to Parma. I still have places to visit like Ferrara, and I will continue to return. I adore the food, and the people. Emilia Romagna is known as the belly of Italy and for good reason. The people of Emilia Romagna have a joie de vivre when it comes to life, and especially when it comes to eating. It is home to,, tortellini al brodo and lots of other hearty foods. Some of my favourite wines are made here too, the underrated lambrusco, a sparkling red wine served chilled, and perfect for the foods of the region. It is also home to the Italian food products that we are most familiar with. Salumi comes from here (there is even a salumi museum) and Emilia Romagna is the home of Parma ham, balsamic vinegar of Modena and parmigiano reggiano (aka Parmesan). Christmas ham is a tradition and there are many ways of doing it. I love tucking in on Christmas Eve, most regularly at my sisters. They do a superb traditional ham with cloves and honey and mustard. It is divine.
It is an excellent idea to do a big ham if you have a group of people mulling around grazing over Christmas, and isn t that what Christmas is all about? But what if there are not so many of you, or you just want something a little different? What about a small ham of your own or a tray of individual hams for a group for supper? Ham hock is the one, it is so good and so underrated. Terrific value too, I buy mine for roughly £8 from the farmer at my local farmer s market. Ham hock makes a wonderful soup allowed to bubble gently with carrots, celery and onions, a bay leaf and a bouquet garni or whatever suitable herbs you have like rosemary. A couple of hours should do it. Make sure you soak it first or your broth will be very salty. When almost finished dunk in frozen peas and you will have a sublime pea and ham soup. Shred the meat from the bone, it should just fall off, and serve with the broth, some veg and the peas, brighten it with some mint). Oh my! I do love homemade pasta. It almost always tastes better homemade and as with anything you make yourself you can adjust it to your taste, be that thickness or adding additional things to the dough. Normally I like my papardelle thin and silky, but today I wanted it toothsome, and so I rolled it a little thicker than normal. Handmade pasta is a frugal thing and pappardelle is just a noodle thickness crafted from an egg pasta dough. Just pasta flour (which most supermarkets carry now, all Italian delis, and it is certainly easily available online), eggs and salt, that is it. The rest is time and a little effort, but really it doesn t take that much time at all, and the effort is very satisfying. If you don t have a pasta machine, panic not,. I have done this and it is so satisfying. Equally, it is more common to make the dough by hand, making a nest of flour and putting the eggs in the middle, slowly introducing them to each other before kneading until soft and elastic. At home for speed and to free myself up to do other things, I usually use my mixer with dough hook, and I roll the pasta with a pasta machine, as I have no space for a pasta board (and how I would love one, like I have seen in Italian homes used weekly). This soup won t solve all of your problems, but it will come pretty close. Especially on a gorgeous snow day like this.
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The rich gorgeous stock, the sparkle of white pepper, the marinaded pork, smoked tofu, sweet pops of tomato and shiitakes. Those slivers of egg. It will fight the cold, be it physical or mental. People, you need this hot and sour soup in your repertoire. Every soup is only as good as its stock and the stock I made for this is special. If you don t have time to make it, substitute it with the best chicken stock you can find. The flavour and the goodness is in the broth. I like to make it with a combination of chicken wings and pork ribs, but honestly, whatever you have to hand or like. Broth from a ham hock will do a mighty job here too (and isn t it ham hock season? ! Deep joy). This is the second in a two post series in a happy collaboration with Vitamix to celebrate the launch of the Vitamix Ascent Series blenders. This unique blender series combines power and precision, future-forward technology and an all new design to ensure fast, consistent results that are bursting with flavour. I have really enjoyed experimenting with this very impressive piece of kitchen kit and I can heartily recommend it. It has won coveted space on my tiny kitchen counter and I now use it regularly. ( ). I am committed to the cause. Several causes, I am a little obsessive, but let’s focus for now on Christmas. Now, I am not one of those Christmas types who throws out the pumpkins and wheels in the tree and all other festivities on November 6st. Nor am I a Michael Bublé cd toting menace (you know who you are). But I do love the build up in December, and all the things that winter brings at this time. Seeing people I rarely see, having fun, and indulging. Christmas is all about luxury and intensity, seeing friends, taking stock, and eating and drinking more than is necessary.
Christmas is all about food and drink and food at Christmas should be festive and a little different. Turkey is fine, but Christmas is all about the midday and all day snacks, the cheeky glasses of wine, and we can do those better. This is the first in a two post series in a happy collaboration with Vitamix to celebrate the launch of the Vitamix Ascent Series blenders. It is temporary for now while we isolate the troublemakers via an exclusion diet. I have known that I was lactose intolerant for a while, at least that is what I thought I was, but my doctor says that we need to do a thorough exclusion and make sure. Because things aren’t right. When people hear that I am on an exclusion diet, a mild panic flits across their face and they inevitably say: but cheese! I don t know how you can live without cheese. I couldn t. The reality is if cheese is suspected of making you ill, you cut it out. (Even if you LOVE it, as I do). I do have pangs, and moments of weakness especially after a glass of wine. But for now, cheese is completely off my plate, and I need to seek alternatives. For further inspiration, It is December 6st! And so yes, now we all can start raving about and planning Christmas. Today I went out and bought pine branches and red berries and lots of clementines. Tis the season, and it is freezing to boot so I need no excuses. You know how much I love sherry, that most underrated of drinks. A bright easy but full flavoured lunch, a gorgeous dessert and a cocktail to get you through. I wax lyrically about my favourite dry sherries all the time: bone dry fino, briney manzanilla and nutty oloroso regularly grace my table. I am such a fan.
There are many sherries though, and sweet sherries are perfect to consider for winter and also for festive celebrations. They are rich and deep and reassuring. They speak of time and luxury and relaxing. Compact and varied, I do most of my weekly food shop there. I know the farmers and producers well by now, and I have a few favourites that I never miss. I know that when I get home to London there will be pumpkins and squash aplenty. I also look forward to visiting my local farmer and seeing what he has got. The meat and the cuts vary week on week based on what comes from the farm. Sometimes he has pork cheek, the whole jowl, and I love to roast those or stick them on the BBQ. He always has veal, minced and escalope, brisket, steaks, and sublime minced beef. I know that whatever he has, it will be delicious, it always is. I bought these spiral sausages from him before I left for Australia and their twistiness made me think of nothing else but round bread. I wanted to embed those sausages in a flatbread and make a meal of it. Brunch, of course. Making bread is easy when you have a mixer with a dough hook, it literally makes itself, and so I make batches of dough reasonably often. The same batch of dough can become many things: pita, pizza, lahmucun, bread rolls. This time, it became a sausage flatbread. Those of you who know and love Turkish food will find this flatbread familiar. You might have even thought that it is lahmucun. It does look very like it and for good reason, it was directly inspired by it. In fact I started making lahmucun and then diverted to this. That is generally how it goes in my kitchen.
I love lahmucun, a wonderful very thin Turkish flatbread covered with spiced meat, usually lamb, and baked until crisp. If you want to explore proper Turkish food culture, and you want Londons best kebabs, this is the part of London you should head to (Dalston also). Are you still here?