Tales from kitchen and cellar

Archive for June, 2012|Monthly archive page

Bonkers about Broad Beans

In food, Food and Drink on June 26, 2012 at 4:30 pm

Broad Bean Bruschetta with Goats Cheese

Summer is finally here and although the weather might not agree the abundance of seasonal veg certainly proves the point and no more so than the humble broad bean. Yes they are a bit fiddly to deal with but I prefer to say nostalgic. Take 10 minutes out of your day to shell these little fellas and you might be transported back to your grandmas garden. Memories flood back for me when I was lucky enough to sit on her back step and pod and shell for what seemed like hours all manner of different summer veg.

Anyway back to the present and these tasty bruschettas make a great starter for four or light supper for two. It’s best to feel your way with this recipe adding more or less of this and that according to your own taste. So this recipe is merely a guideline.


3 large handfuls of broadbeans de-podded

a good glug of extra virgin olive oil

1 french stick

2 garlic cloves (1 finely chopped the other whole)

1 lemon juiced

salt and pepper

A good quality goats cheese


Take your podded broad beans and throw into a pan of boiling water for one minute. Drain and leave to cool for one minute before shelling ( I find it best to peel away the membrane by the little green attachment at the top of the bean).

Warm a little oil with the finely chopped garlic in the pan, fry for 2 minutes on a medium heat. Add the beans, toss and cook for a further minute. Pop the beans into a food processor with a good pinch of sea salt and pepper and the lemon juice. Pulse until you reach a creamy but still a little chunky consistency. Check the seasoning and adjust to your taste.

Slice your bread into rounds (diagonally gives you a larger surface area) and toast in a griddle pan or under the grill. Rub a little garlic on the bread and if you like before drizzling more olive oil.

Spread the broad bean butter on top and flake some chunks of goats cheese to taste on top. Drizzle with a little more olive oil if desired.

Serve and enjoy!


Euro 2012 Cheers!

In drink, Food and Drink on June 20, 2012 at 5:40 pm










Czech Flag

It’s Wino Wednesday and even though I am not the world’s greatest football fan I am following the tournament with unusual interest on this occasion!

Although it’s England all the way this drink pays homage to the Czechs who play tomorrow against Portugal.

It’s a tasty little shot that at first is a little harsh on the tongue before being washed away by the blue curacao and finishes on the sweet watermelon liqueur.

It’s a balancing act to get the colours of the flag right and takes a bit of practice but it’s well worth the effort and looks great.

Take your shot glass, pour a little watermelon liqueur at the base of your glass then gently pour over the back of a teaspoon the blue curacao followed by the vodka to represent the white of the flag.

Marvel at your handiwork and then…down the hatch!

Dotty About Cake

In Baking, Cakes, Cooking, food, Food and Drink on June 19, 2012 at 2:23 pm


Celebration Cake

Cakes are a firm favourite of mine whether they’re to eat, bake, decorate or share. This cake is no exception. When a friend asked me to bake a cake to celebrate her ten year wedding anniversary I was, of course thrilled. With little direction except “fresh flowers please!” I was excited but nervous about creating the right cake.

Thankfully this one went down a treat. The lemon drizzle and lemon curd buttercream was rich, sharp, sweet and tangy and was enjoyed by all.

I covered the cake in two layers of buttercream chilling between each layer before I covered it in ivory sugar fondant. I left to set overnight before spraying with gold food spray a number of times to ensure a golden, glittery sheen.

I picked roses from the garden mixed with some shop bought and they were kept moist in a little soaked oasis planted in a jam jar lid.

The spots on the cake were made from three different pastel fondants which I thought would complement both the cake and the flowers. I cut them out in three different sizes and stuck on with a little vodka.

I was tempted to spray again with a little gold but I liked the juxtaposition of the matt spots against the sheen of the cake.

I rested the flowers on top and added an ivory ribbon at the base secured with a pin, and that was it!

Ready to eat….


The Wonders of Watermelon

In food, Food and Drink on June 18, 2012 at 12:01 pm

I’ve been away on holiday, hence the little break from this blog, it involved sunshine and Greek hospitality and some great food. So I’m fired up and inspired enough to share my recent adventures in the culinary world!

I’d love to be able to say I ate the finest kleftiko or the most delicious feta or indeed the greatest Greek salad but I can’t. Yes all the old cliche Greek dishes were good but what struck me most and what I will remember for years to come was the fruit.

This wasn’t supermarket fruit that looks great but delivers nothing on the palate this was the supermodel of fruit. A different species that was as every bit as good to eat as it looked.

So breakfast and dinner started and finished with fabulous fruit. The clearest star of them all was the watermelon. That alluring pink flesh and juicy sweet taste and texture puts the watermelon i’ve tasted elsewhere in the shade.

So although this blog is not a recipe of sorts it does pay homage to the humble watermelon and other fruity families in all their wonderful glory!

Jubilee Cheers!

In drink, Food and Drink on June 1, 2012 at 11:23 am










Binfield Brut

In honour of the Queen’s Jubilee it is definitely time to think about celebrating and what better way than with a true English fizz, this one is from just down the road from where I live.

Read all about it here in my new blog for Get Wokingham

I discovered this little gem was being made locally and in the same way as Champagne but without the price tag!

Here are a few more photos of my local English vineyard about to bloom..










The vine here is Reichesteiner…