Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Titchfield Abbey

 Today we visited Titchfield Abbey. Which although is in ruins is still a great place to visit with lots of nooks and crannies to explore.  This is the view from where we parked the car.

 Looking up a staircase tower. 
 If you look at the first photo you can see these windows from the outside.
 Luke looking 'cool' in a fireplace.
 The thoughts I had wondering how many people it takes walking on these stairs to wear them down like this.
Mosaics were still scattered around the site and this one reminded me of patchwork quilt blocks.
 Gargoyle still looking ferocious after all those years guarding the building

Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Silver jubilee celebrations

We went down to one of the villages celebrations yesterday and enjoyed a swift drink. Fun day and loved watching the concert too in the evening at home.

dandelion and burdock version one

I spent a while looking up recipes on the Internet and cobbled this one together. Although it made a very nice moist almost fudgy textured tasty cake, it wasn't quite what we were after. But no one is complaining eating our efforts.

225g plain flour
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 eggs 125g butter
30g natural yogurt mixed with 100 ml milk
175 ml of dandelion and burdock drink
2 tbs cocoa powder sifted

beat the butter with the sugar until pale and fluffy, add in eggs one by one until combined.

sift together the flour, bicarb and cocoa powder and add a third, when combined add the yogurt/milk mixture.  Then add third more of flour then carefully add the dandelion and burdock, which will make mixture looks curdled but it's OK honest.  mix in the rest of flour mixture and pour into a greased lined 9 inch tin. Cook in preheated oven at gas mark 4 for 45-60 minutes until a cake skewer or small knife tip comes out of the cake clean.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Dandelion and burdock cake

I've been experimenting with making cakes with the fizzy drink. So far have made 2 but not tested them as still need to make icing. Will let you know tomorrow how they went and recipe for best one

This was first one fresh out of the oven

Saturday, 2 June 2012

cheesy orzo and roasted asparagus

Tonight's meal was pretty simple, but a few favourites of my 9 year old.  First up was the asparagus. Luke loves asparagus with a passion.  He also discovered he likes balsamic vinegar recently at an Italian market. I mixed up a tablespoon of balsamic and olive oil together with one clove of finely grated garlic and seasoned, poured this over prepared raw asparagus and roasted in the oven at gas mark5 while I prepared the pasta. 

The pasta in our house is simply called cheesy pasta and beats mac and cheese any day for us. I make it with Orzo pasta ( looks like large grains of rice) Or broken spaghetti or pasta shapes broken up.  Simple and fairly quick. melt a knob of butter in a pan and add your pasta, and stir often, I used 250 grams. The pasta wants to end up quite toasted and about half of it is browned.
You can go a little darker than the picture above.  For this amount I added 600 ml of vegetable stock, chicken stock is better but I had a vegetarian to feed. Stirring let it come to the boil and then let simmer stirring occasionally.  The pasta wants to end up absorbing most of the stock. make sure it does not catch on bottom of pan and add more boiling water if needed.  When tender but slightly al dente remove from the heat and stir in grated cheese, Parmesan if you have it but cheddar works just as well.  Chopped parsley is great.  My boys have an aversion to 'green bits' though ;o/

For us meat eater I chopped up a few slices of back bacon and fried until crisp and added to the pasta after I had served up the vegetarian portion.  Added some cucumber and sliced tomatoes, drizzle of olive oil and a few grinds of pepper and a simple meal was ready.

The asparagus was ready at around 13-15 minute mark and I took out of the oven just before I dished everything up.

Friday, 1 June 2012

June already

Hard to believe we are coming up to almost half way through the year.  I have been in a bit of a slump in most departments of life and blogging has suffered a little.  So I am going to use June to try and blog once a day just to get back into the habit of it all again.  It might not all be cooking but it will be blogging at least

So this evening I decided to share with you what we had for our tea/dinner. Sausage kebabs
I made a discovery some years ago (not saying how many) that my children would eat most things if it came on a stick. There were a fair few fruit kebabs years ago. Grapes all lined up on a stick and frozen was a popular summer snack for both adults and children.

A few days ago I was watching I can cook on cbeebies. They made something similar using rosemary stalks as skewers. But when Luke asked me for sausages I decided to do these with veg left in the fridge so it was orange pepper and chestnut mushrooms and pork sausages cut in thirds.  to add a little more flavour I mixed some Dijon mustard and runny honey in equal measures and painted onto the kebabs.  In a moderate oven while I boiled my pasta and made a basic garlic and tomato sauce for it, so around 20-25 minutes.  Kids loved it 9 years old and 7 month old ate it all with no complaints, and 3 lots of their 5 for fruit and veg :o)