Sadly this post will not be included in my ‘100 Adventures’ as I was in London in order to take exams. [Damn you, University for ruining my summer holiday fun].
Breakfast in bed before I left for the train, courtesy a lovely Husband-Gusto.
Boiled egg, kiwi, natural yoghurt with dried prunes and strawberries and a slice of fig and walnut loaf with salted butter.
My Diners Drive Ins and Dives moment – Southern fried chicken burger with a side of mac and cheese. Thank you Premier Inn.
Exam day breakfast – yoghurt, honey, grapefruit and granola plus a crumpet with peanut butter.
Walk to exam room
Chinese food – chicken and chilli. Lots and lots and lots of chilli.
Then after my Tuesday morning exam- home. To be met with the sight of a crop of Damsons.
It has been a rather quiet Cowes Week for us this year. I have exams coming up so am studying madly. We are without houseguests for the week, which is very unusual. But I have managed to get out and about a very little bit.
red funnel bringing people to Cowes.
breakfast from the pop-up creperie- crepes with honey and walnuts
The actual Boat ‘Swallow’ from the about-to-be-released film ‘Swallows and Amazons’
View of HRH Prince Philip’s Royal Yacht Galatea
I was feeling a bit lazy today so whipped up the easiest pesto. I just roasted two red peppers (bell peppers, or red capsicum) in the oven with two cloves of garlic and a bit of olive oil. I added this to a blender, a pack of raw unsalted cashews, a tablespoon of olive oil and a third of a jar of sundried tomatoes in their oil. A bit of water to loosen the mixture and blitz and bingo- easy peasy pesto.
Gorgeous, but gorgeous over pasta, but also as a dip for breadsticks or crudites.
French onion soup is comfort food at its best. For me it brings back memories of cold wintry Sunday afternoons. Finely slice 15 medium brown onions. Put a knob of butter and drizzle of olive oil into a soup pan. Gently cook the onions until they have started to really go a caramel brown. When they have reduced, add two teaspoons of sugar and cook. This whole process takes a good solid thirty minutes. When the sugar and onions have really started to caramelise, add 1.5 litres of really good quality vegetable or beef stock and 300 mls of dry sherry. Cover and simmer for another thirty minutes or so. This can be eaten straight away, but it is best to let it rest for several hours while the sweet oniony flavour develops.
It is pretty much essential to top a steaming bowl of soup with cheese croutons. I toasted a slice of fresh white french boule bread topped that with grated cheese and let this bubble under the grill.
We then had omelette with fine herbs….. chives and thyme.
This was followed by vanilla, raspberry and chocolate macaroons, and for H-G his homemade crab-apple vodka.
I am a proud Australian, and very proudly live in England with my English husband and English son. I love England and utterly, completely, madly, adore living on the Isle of Wight.
Naturally I have developed a deep love for English food, literature, culture. I particularly love a quintessentially English picnic, and a traditional afternoon tea. I am not a fan of cucumber but I go weak at the knees at cucumber sandwiches. The bread has to be crustless and white, and the cucumbers peeled and sliced very very thin. Add lots of salt and a thin smear of butter and you have the food of the Gods.
One of the first ‘English’ dishes I made for my husband was when we were living abroad. He mentioned that his favourite ever supper dish was fish pie – just like how his mum used to make. I had never heard of fish pie,- I immediately thought that it would be like the curried scallop pies I adored in Australia – creamy spicy scallops encased in pastry. No, it was creamy fish topped with mashed potato. I downloaded the recipe from Delia Smith’s website and made fish pie, which naturally we served with peas.
There are many recipes out there – some include capers or cornichons. Some use smoked fish. I very occasionally use one fillet of smoked haddock, but today I did not. My recipe was simple. I place 2 salmon fillets and 3 cod fillets into milk on the hob which I then heat until just about to boil. I then remove the fish and use the milk to make a white sauce. I then place the fish into a shallow oven dish, add the white sauce, a good double handful of cooked King Prawns and three boiled eggs which are sliced. This is then topped with mashed potato and cooked in the oven until hot and bubbling.
We served this with peas and fresh broad beans.
We rarely-to-never eat puddings but for a classic English summer supper, it had to be Eton mess. Eton mess was apparently traditionally served at Eton college during the summer cricket matches. It is possibly the easiest pudding ever – just fresh strawberries layered with whipped cream and crushed meringue. Divine.
Today is the first day of the summer school holidays. We are so excited Chez Gusto. 9 weeks away from school (although not, alas, from work or study for H-G or I) but school hols for Baby Gusto. I am determined to wring every single bit of opportunity out of the summer- no matter what the unreliable English weather holds in store.
Yesterday, the last day of school, was a half day. So as it was impractical to drop off B-G and then go home again I stayed in town. The day started with a banana and cinnamon smoothie at home
Then it was school drop-off followed by trashy food and a trashy book
I still had 2 hours to go, so I went to a new tea shop in Ryde, Hobbs. I really like this place. It is annexed to the very long-standing Hobbs watchmaker and jeweller, and as a cup of tea and a home made cheese scone costs only £2.50, it seemed the perfect place to prop and work on my tax law assignment.
Today however I left B-G to recover from his busy term and went to the local farm shop. This was my happy haul.
Free-range eggs, cherries, white peaches and glorious blood plums.
For dinner I served grilled steak and kebabs with salad and made my favourite blue cheese sauce. Just a clove of garlic, olive oil and St Agur.
This was followed by vanilla ice cream and fresh fruit from the farm shop.
baby Gusto went to bed and Husband Gusto and I sat and sipped tea and ate our way through the fruit bowl. This was quite literally what was left…..
Good, happy day.
This little chap has been visiting Cowes for some months now.
Our first walnut crop.