Lava @ Blue Lagoon Iceland

So after being forced to relax and chill in the waters my legs feel like lead which isn’t helped by the ‘proper’ boots im wearing but as part of the package we had a table was reserved in the onsite restaurant Lavaimage

Yet again the Icelanders put on a great service and great food. After my fishfest last night I did opt for the chicken option on the lunch menu.

Fried chicken breast and slow cooked leg
Parsnip, green kale, onion, bacon, almonds
ISK 3950 (about £20) it was exactly what the doctor ordered. A hit of protein and a few greens to balance it out, perfectly cooked and succulent.

Although I felt like I might fall face first into the plate we shared the “Skyr” mousse and liquorice ice cream. It was beautifully light and refreshing with a energy boosting sugar dosage. Skyr is the local/Scandinavian version of strained yogurt and they sell it everywhere.

Right time now to pass out on the coach back to Reykjavik in hope that the power nap recharges me and that the weather is good for a late night of sky staring for dancing lights without the usage of any narcotic chemicals…. Other than perhaps a strong cup of coffee….


First night in Iceland….

So a fantastic deal came up before Xmas so we are now in Reyjkavik.

They booked us on a northern lights tour tonight but I’m quite thankful it’s snowing so instead we had a beer (local of course) in the hotel whilst finalising plans for the next few days.

Pint done we sauntered (after a mini accidental detour) the 15 minutes walk into the centre. Loads of boutique shops with great individuality. Although it thankfully lacked chain restaurants you could see they still aimed at specific groups.

We happened across a gateway with a restaurant my Icelandic friend had mentioned and although busy managed to just walk in.

Grillmarkadurinn was great, it had a quite funky layout and great knowledgable staff.

Ok so I’m on a (smaller) island so of course it’s time to eat seafood!

Okay so mild lobster overkill for me…. Shellfish soup with shrimp scallops and lobster then when I say a mountain of chargrilled lobster I’m not kidding! It was a struggle and one worth the effort! It came with a champagne dill sauce and a fruity salad. The main was about £35 but dear god you got your money’s worth!

We literally didn’t have space for dessert but it looked immense when other people received it…..

(Yes I avoided eating shark or whale this evening and I’m hoping that will continue purely out of ethics reasons)

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Healthy doggie treats

So I’m raw feeding Hugo and once getting around the crunching of bones occasionally I realised most treats are full of crap. So again some research (and the suggestion of my wonderful trainer suggested) came up with massacring a chicken into pea sized pieces and dehydrating them at 70C for 9 hours then a website suggested putting it in the oven for 10 min at 150C to sterilise it and ensure there are no nasties


Pimento Cheese

So the same friend who lived in the states has this in some random cookbook…..

She made some and thought I would love it so brought some to work, just be warned make sure you have lots of Tortilla chips….

  • 450g grated strong cheddar
  • 115g cream cheese
  • 1tsp freshly ground white pepper (i did cheat)
  • jar of bell peppers in oil
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup good mayo
  • splash of Tabasco
  • depending on taste cayenne pepper at least 1/4 teaspoon

Use the a food processor to blitz everything up and whack in the fridge. This truly is amazing one of the best dips i’ve made!


First trip to the Allotment of 2015

So on the 11th of Jan I made it to the plot….. It wasn’t as scary as expected.

I had limited time due to my first session session with the dog trainer scheduled in, thankfully due to the few dry days it was perfect for gathering up all the dead stuff and having a mini bonfire making it look half reasonable.

I managed to pick a red cabbage and some seaweed kale which was a bonus!

I have a really good looking January King Cabbage sitting there and the sprouting broccoli is looking in great shape about to bud.

My friend wanted onions so I had given in and planted some sets last year.

Hopefully I will manage to get there this coming sunday weather permitting and although the polytunnel is coming to the end of its current covers lifespan I have discovered a DIY solar watering system as the premade one out there is a bit flimsy…

Parts have been ordered and obviously no rush to get it set up but i will plant some seeds in there imminently and a guaranteed water supply will be nice.


Mixed Spiced Nuts

So as I commented before I now have a puppy which has taken most of my time since xmas….. Cuddling on the sofa is obviously far more important than typing random ramblings about food….

So I did these as nibbles to go with drinks and can I just say they are fantastic, My friend gave me the recipe she picked it up in the states as well as another cheesy dip which will follow!

  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 1 cup pecan halves
  • 1 cup whole almonds
  • 1 cup dry-roasted unsalted peanuts
  • 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic salt
  • 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

Preheat the oven to 150°C. Add butter to a baking pan then set the pan in the oven to melt the butter. Remove the pan from the oven add pecans, almonds, peanuts, and Worcestershire sauce to the melted butter. Gently stir until well mixed. Bake the nut mixture until it is toasted, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Remove the nuts from the oven and sprinkle the mixture evenly with chili powder, garlic salt, and cayenne pepper. Toss until well mixed. Transfer the warm nuts to a bowl and serve immediately, or let cool and store them at room temperature in an airtight container until ready to serve.
Makes 3 cups of spiced mixed nuts.

I changed garlic salt for celery salt due to a friends allergy and they were amazing!


Beef Wellington

I tried this recipe a year or so ago… from BBC Good Food this worked a treat the only thing i changed is the size of the meat an doubled the duxelles ingredients. Also my mum suggested using rice paper discs to encase the whole thing to lay on the clingfilm then lay the prosciutto and continue as normal finishing with a couple discs to seal it all. This helps keep the moisture locked in so no soggy pastry!
  • a good beef fillet (preferably Aberdeen Angus) of around 1kg/2lb 4oz
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 250g / 9oz chestnut mushroom, include some wild ones if you like
  • 50g / 2oz butter
  • 1 large sprig fresh thyme
  • 100ml / 3½ fl oz dry white wine
  • 12 slices prosciutto
  • 500g/1l b 2oz pack puff pastry, thawed if frozen
  • a little flour, for dusting
  • 2 egg yolks beaten with 1 tsp water
  • Rice disc papers (the type used for summer rolls etc)
Gordon Ramsay’s version of the classic steak dish – a show-stopping centrepiece on a special occasion
1.Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Sit the 1kg beef fillet on a roasting tray, brush with 1 tbsp olive oil and season with pepper, then roast for 15 mins for medium-rare or 20 mins for medium. When the beef is cooked to your liking, remove from the oven to cool, then chill in the fridge for about 20 mins.
2.While the beef is cooling, chop 250g chestnut (and wild, if you like) mushrooms as finely as possible so they have the texture of coarse breadcrumbs. You can use a food processor to do this, but make sure you pulse-chop the mushrooms so they don’t become a slurry.
3.Heat 2 tbsp of the olive oil and 50g butter in a large pan and fry the mushrooms on a medium heat, with 1 large sprig fresh thyme, for about 10 mins stirring often, until you have a softened mixture. Season the mushroom mixture, pour over 100ml dry white wine and cook for about 10 mins until all the wine has been absorbed. The mixture should hold its shape when stirred. Remove the mushroom duxelle from the pan to cool and discard the thyme.
4.Overlap two pieces of cling film over a large chopping board. Lay 12 slices prosciutto on the cling film, slightly overlapping, in a double row. Spread half the duxelles over the prosciutto, then sit the fillet on it and spread the remaining duxelles over. Use the cling film’s edges to draw the prosciutto around the fillet, then roll it into a sausage shape, twisting the ends of cling film to tighten it as you go. Chill the fillet while you roll out the pastry.
5.Dust your work surface with a little flour. Roll out a third of the 500g pack of puff pastry to a 18 x 30cm strip and place on a non-stick baking sheet. Roll out the remainder of the 500g pack of puff pastry to about 28 x 36cm. Unravel the fillet from the cling film and sit it in the centre of the smaller strip of pastry. Beat the 2 egg yolks with 1 tsp water and brush the pastry’s edges, and the top and sides of the wrapped fillet. Using a rolling pin, carefully lift and drape the larger piece of pastry over the fillet, pressing well into the sides. Trim the joins to about a 4cm rim. Seal the rim with the edge of a fork or spoon handle. Glaze all over with more egg yolk and, using the back of a knife, mark the beef Wellington with long diagonal lines taking care not to cut into the pastry. Chill for at least 30 mins and up to 24 hrs.
6.Heat oven to 200C/fan 180C/gas 6. Brush the Wellington with a little more egg yolk and cook until golden and crisp – 20-25 mins for medium-rare beef, 30 mins for medium. Allow to stand for 10 mins before serving in thick slices.
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Seasons greetings and all that jazz!

Obviously as with most people I’ve been busy the last week and as usual gotten ill from the hectic lead up to Christmas.

Also my wonderful other half has been very sneaky and partially through boredom of hearing me talk about it organised the best surprise.

On the way back from my parents we took a detour and much to my surprise ended up coming away with the newly christened Hugo…..

I’ve always loved ‘frenchies’ such amazing character… So I have to apologise but I fear success with training and home made doggie treats might end up being a regular feature….

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Never again…..

So a little late but on Sunday I had a final friends catch up pre Xmas…

Looking through the menu at the Richard the first in greenwich being a Sunday a roast was in order, after a friend opted for the ‘King’ of roasts… I took the challenge as well.

Pork beef and chicken all perfectly cooked on a mound of veggies and a giant Yorkshire pudding.

The meat was devoured but there really wasn’t room for all the fantastic veg and roasts…. I failed the challenge but it was worth it.

The Richard the first was refurbed earlier this year and has a stunning eating area with a glass roof. Super friendly staff and great food what else could you ask for?


Limoncello

So theres still time to get this sorted for new years….

The first batch of this I did in time for Guy Fawkes night aka Bonfire night

It’s super simple and was received with much gusto although the next morning it was blamed for the second wind and therefore pounding head the next day…

  • 5 unwaxed lemons
  • 1 l bottle vodka
  • 750 g caster sugar
  • 700 ml boiling water
1.Pare the zest from all the lemons, taking care not to include any white pith. Put the zest in a large clean jar and pour over the vodka. Cover with a tightly fitting lid and leave for a week, shaking the jar each day.
2.Put the sugar in a heatproof bowl and pour over the boiling water, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. After this has cooled slightly add the vodka and peels and leave for a further week, shaking the jar regularly.
3.Strain into decorative bottles, adding a few strips of lemon zest to each bottle.
Obviously this is best having spent at least an hour in the freezer to serve