Category Archives for Spring

Drink: Grapefruit Gin & Tonic Slushie

A sip or two of this citrus slushie will start your spring BBQ with a swing. A great twist on the classic gin & tonic, this drink is sharp and refreshing with more buzz than a bumblebee in a sunflower….

gin and tonic slushie

A friend of mine recently posted a picture on Facebook of their first BBQ of the year (yes, I’m looking at you Matt!) and I have to say, much as I love a good BBQ, I have found the weather a little too much on the chilly side to be tempted to the dust off the grill and fire-lighters just yet (and by that, of COURSE I mean, get hubby to dust off the grill and fire-lighters).  That being said, I definitely feel like the season of outside eating is just around the corner, and it’s definitely not too early to start planning that first spring or summer BBQ with friends…or to start taste testing this fabulous Grapefruit Gin and Tonic Slushie to make sure it’s up to scratch.  You’re such a good friend to care so much about getting it just right! 😉

gin and tonic slushie

Apart from the fact that it’s just more pleasant to eat a meal in the garden, the warmth of the sun on your skin, the sound of birds singing in the trees; it also makes entertaining so much easier and somehow less formal.  People can be ushered quickly through the house (before they notice you haven’t hoovered) and out into the garden, where you welcome them with a little drinky…

gin and tonic slushie

Slushie the Campfire Slayer

(I’m sorry.  I had to.  It was just too good).

…Which brings me to the purpose of this post.  Assuming you’re not as brave as my friend Matt and you haven’t yet had your first BBQ of the year then I urge you to include these as an aperitif when you do.. They’re a (ahem) ‘citrus’ twist on an old classic and they’re both refreshing and just alcoholic enough to kick your afternoon or evening off with a pleasant buzz.

Grapefruit Gin and Tonic Slushie

Grapefruit Gin and Tonic Slushie
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 100 ml gin
  2. 300 ml tonic water
  3. Juice of 1/2 a grapefruit
  4. 2 tsp sugar
Instructions
  1. Mix your ingredients in a jug and then pour into a shallow baking tray - I use the disposable foil ones
  2. Pop your tray in the freezer for 2 hours
  3. Now break up the forming ice with a fork and spoon into the glasses of your choice
  4. Grate a bit of grapefruit, lime or lemon zest over and serve with a straw
Notes
  1. For an extra twist, add a splash of elderflower cordial to the glass once you've spooned in the ice.
Eat Drink Cook http://www.eatdrinkcook.co.uk/
 In a party mood?  Then try one of these great drinks too!

Chai Baileys

Sangria

sangria

Recipe: Roast Chicken with Spring Vegetable & Bulgur Salad

Succulent roast chicken, delicately flavoured with parsley, lemon & garlic. Served with a side of gleaming, golden bulgur wheat full of fresh green asparagus, peas and mint. All the tastes of spring, in a beautifully light meal…

The other day, disaster struck.  I had bought a chicken, ready for a Sunday roast, but when the day dawned and I went to the fridge to begin preparations, I realised, with horror in my heart, that we had no potatoes.  It was a dark moment indeed, let me tell you.  The supermarket already shut, I had no option, but to consider alternative meals and to break it gently to my family that their Sunday roast would be a little different this week…

roast chicken recipe

As luck would have it, everything turned out rather well.  I decided to roast the chicken anyway, but with a  lighter twist – something more fitting for spring.  I also had a whole load of asparagus in the fridge (thanks to our lovely friend Wendy, who brought it round for us after picking it up on her travels in Lincolnshire).

I tried to go for light, spring-like flavours and the end result was a beautiful alternative to the usual Sunday roast. We enjoyed it so much that I did it again today and I suspect it will become a firm favourite in the coming months of warmer weather.

roast chicken recipe

Roast Chicken with Spring Vegetable & Bulgur Salad

Serves 4

For the Roast Chicken…

You will need:

1 medium chicken (approx 1.7k)

1 tbs olive oil

1 lemon

1 clove garlic

1 handful parsley

seasoning

  • Pre-heat your oven to 180C
  • Now take your chicken and rub the olive oil all over it – even underneath
  • Cut your lemon into quarters and stuff them all, along with the parsley and garlic clove, inside the chicken
  • Now season liberally and pop in a roasting tin and into the oven
  • Roast for 20 mins per 1/2 kilo, plus another 20 mins
  • Sit down and have a cuppa – you haven’t got anything else to do for a while yet! 🙂
  • Once cooked, remove your chicken from the oven and cover in foil. Leave to rest for around 15 minutes (while you make your bulgur wheat salad!)

roast chicken recipeFor the Spring Vegetable & Bulgur Salad…

You will need:

200g bulgur wheat

1/2 onion (or about 5 spring onions)

1 oz unsalted butter

500 ml chicken stock (or veg fine too)

1 bunch of asparagus

150 g peas (fresh or frozen!)

1 heaped tbs of chopped, fresh mint

  • Melt the butter in a pan and then add your finely chopped onion and sauté gently until it has softened
  • Now add your bulgur wheat and coat it in the melted butter and onion mix, cooking it for a couple of minutes
  • Add your stock and once it has started to simmer, put the lid on and leave to simmer gently for 10-15 minutes, until the bulgur wheat has absorbed the liquid
  • Meanwhile, steam your asparagus for about 5-10 minutes, until tender
  • Add the peas to the bulgur wheat when there are about 5 minutes left so they have time to soften or defrost depending on which type you’re using
  • Once the bulgur wheat has cooked, add in the asparagus (chopped into bite size pieces) and the chopped mint
  • Fluff up with a couple of forks and you’re ready to serve your meal!

Enjoy with a glass of chilled white wine – or just keep it simple with a jug of iced water with a few sprigs of mint and slices of lemon.

The Calories

Lovely Leftovers

If you find yourself with a spot of the bulgur wheat salad and a bit of chicken left over then you can make yourself another tasty little meal in no time at all.  Just pick any leftover chicken from the bone and mix in with the salad along with some chopped tomato, salty chunks of feta and a good sprinkling of chilli flakes. It’s best served at room temperature and is a real little treat. 🙂

Recipe: Salmon en Croute

Lightly smoked, tender salmon fillets with a fresh, creamy, tarragon filling… all encased in a buttery, puff pastry…

Every now and then, I have an idea for a recipe that makes me nervous.  The image is so clear in my imagination that I can almost taste it, but I’m not sure if I can actually do it justice in the kitchen.

This little beauty of a dish was everything that I hoped it would be and I urge you all to give it a go!  It’s perfect for entertaining – it tastes luxurious and like you’ve been slaving in the kitchen for hours.  HOWEVER, it’s actually so fast to make, that you could comfortably do it after work one evening without even breaking a sweat.

salmon en croute

Salmon en Croute

(serves 2)

You will need:

2 smoked salmon fillets* (skinned)

1 tbs crème fraiche

1 tbs cream cheese

1 tbs chopped gherkin

1 tbs chopped tarragon

1 sheet ready-made puff pastry

1 tbs milk

*Don’t panic if you can’t get/don’t like smoked salmon fillets, the un-smoked variety will also be delicious!

  • salmon en croutePre-heat your oven to 180C (fan)
  • Mix your crème fraiche, cream cheese, chopped gherkin and chopped tarragon together in a bowl
  •  Place one of your salmon fillets in a square of puff pastry that will be big enough to wrap around both fillets on top of each other
  • Now spread over all of your creamy mixture (it may seem like quite a lot, but believe me, it’ll be perfect!)
  • Pop your second salmon fillet on the top (put it the other way round & upside down  so that the thinnest end is at the opposite end to the thinnest end of your first fillet)
  • Finally, pull both sides of your puff pastry up to the top and seal them together (brushing a bit of milk around the edges will help make the pastry stick)
  • Then push the pastry at both ends together so the whole parcel is completely sealed  – you can use the tines of a fork to help with this
  • Pop the little package on a baking tray (I find it much easier if it is covered with foil – the tray that is, not the salmon)
  • Brush with milk (this will help it to brown beautifully)
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the pastry is golden
  • Serve with buttery new potatoes and a simple salad or some seasonal greens

The Calories

After asking for opinions on whether the inclusion of calories would be welcome or horrifying, I got a mixed response (although most seemed in favour) so I decided to introduce this final, secret if you want it to be, section to my recipes.  Enjoy (or not, as the case may be!)

Keep in touch!

I’d love you to get in touch through the comments section.  Let me know if you give this recipe a try – or if you have a favourite fish recipe that you’d like to share 🙂

What’s in season in May?

Asparagus, Sardines and Elderflower… just a few of the foodie delights that May has to offer…

Firstly, an apology is in order for missing the last few months and not posting any seasonal food between February-April.  Today, I’m putting things right with a reminder of all the wonderful foods out there that will be in season in May…

Vegetables in season in May

Asparagus

Peas

Broad beans

Chicory

Fennel

Just seeing those top two, fills me with a real sense of pleasure.  Asparagus is always such a treat and I really believe that not much beats the humble pea.  My little boy and I love to sit and munch our way through bags of fresh peas at this time of year – although I can’t help but feel that I’m doing all the shelling and Jacob is doing all the eating…

Asparagus Risotto – Phil Vickery/BBC Good Food

Asparagus Risotto – Phil Vickery/BBC Good Food

Meat & Fish in season in May

Spring lamb

Wood pigeon

Sardines

Another gorgeous selection!  Sardines always remind me of holidays to Spain where we eat them fresh from the BBQ with a beautiful zingy salsa full of zesty lemon.

 Grilled Sardines with Sauce Vierge – James Martin/BBC Good Food

Foraging

Elderflower

This is the one that I’m MOST excited about! Last year, I was given a recipe for Elderflower Champagne, but I didn’t get around to collecting any Elderflower before its season was finished so I’ve waited a whole year in anticipation of finally giving it a go!  If it’s good, I’ll be sure to post it but in the meantime, here’s something to be going on with…

Elderflower Cordial – Jane Hornby/BBC Good Food

Elderflower Cordial – Jane Hornby/BBC Good Food