Lemon Chicken


Having earmarked Family Friendly Fridays as The round up for March. The next step was only a matter of finding a recipe which would encompass the title.

If the thought of family food brings a lot people back to a comfort zone where their mother was baking and cooking diner, this is just not my case. I close my eyes and zilch, nothing nada, rien de rien, I have no memory of my mum's cooking. Possibly because she never baked me a cake or zoomed to the market to buy lots of vegetables which she would subsequently turn into marvellous creations. It was not Dickensian, I ate convenience food of the times: burgers, brains, Smash and fish on Fridays besides this, I have no family food memory bank. 

However, I have this make-believe family food lala land which I associate with my grand-father's kitchen, Tagines, Chakchouka, Couscous and Pickled Lemons. Possibly never happened that way either but, as a child that is the closest I got to a working kitchen.

So for this family friendly dish, I gathered bits of recipes, picked a seasonal vegetable, hey, this is going to be featured on Ren Behan's site, a blogger known for her love of "in-season food" and made a simple, quick and easy dish with the flavours of North Africa.

        Time to Try: Shallots, a member of the onion family with a subtle flavour not as strong as its onion cousin, great in salad, they bake well, use large shallots for ease of peeling.

Lemon Chicken

Ingredients

2 lemon
3 tbsp soya sauce
6 chicken drums
1 tbsp honey and 3 tbsp of water
salt & pepper
6 large shallots

Method

Mix soya, the juice of 1 lemon and honey + water in a bowl
Place the chicken drums in a baking tray and pour the mixture over
Marinate for 2 hours minumum

When you are ready, Peel and halve the shallots
Place them in the tray
preheat oven to 180C
turn the drums over, season
Cook for 45 minutes making sure that it doesn't dry out.












Fish is the Dish: The Saucy Fish Co

Having been welcomed in  Fish is the Dish's cooking pot, my task is to taste and talk.
  
 Last Thursday, I took reception of two fish products from the Saucy Fish Co: Sea-Bass with Beurre Blanc and Dill Sauce and Cod with Piri-Piri sauce
I mostly cook from scratch, for pleasure and for economical reasons, this is my modus operandi and therefore when shopping I only glance over packaged food. 

However lately, I have noticed a resurgence of vacuum packed fish with added options such as rice, vegetables or sauces. The Saucy Fish Co is offering an interesting concept, it is a kind of half way house between scratch and frozen fish.

Fresh, filleted fish, vacuum packed so it keeps longer than the fish from the stalls with the added advantage that it doesn't smell at all. The fish is good quality and responsibly sourced, good news and at present one of the most important thing if you choose to eat fish and especially cod.

The sauce can be found in a separate pouch. You don't have to use it but if you do, it is very simple, drop the pouch in a bowl of hot water for a few minutes and drizzle it over the fish at serving time.

Verdict:
Starting with the sauce: It is not the best sauce, I have ever tasted but it's adequate, though it lacks spices for my taste.
The fish is good quality. The fillets are really fresh, tasty and boned to restaurant standard. The skin is left on and descaled.
The price: each 270g pack in the range is priced at £4.00 (£14.80/kg). A kilo of cod to start from scratch costs on average £12.00. Though cheaper, there is a big "but". You would have to buy all the ingredients for the sauce.


 Conclusion: The Saucy Fish Co ticks a lot of the boxes, Next time, I am in a hurry, I will have no hesitation to buy a fish from the range.
The cod was pan-seared to keep the robust taste of the fish, I was careful not to overcook it. It was served on a bed of onion cooked in single cream.

The Saucy Fish Co is exclusively sold at Tesco's.

Thank you to Fish is the Dish to include me in the fish fanatic group and to the saucy fish sauce co to send their product for trial.

Fish is the Dish: Sea-Bass on a Bed of Asparagus


Go on, ask me: "What is your favorite food?", I am going to beam back and say: "fish." So, in time it was only part of the course to apply to be a Fish fanatic and give a helping hand to fish is the Dish. A scheme devised to encourage people to eat more fish.


Fish is quick, easy and delicious but we tend to always reach out for the same variety, you know the one I mean, so it is a delight to be able to explore and share other possibilites. Let's take a look at sea bass.

Fish facts:

Sea Bass is a white/pink fleshed fish with skin which goes very crunchy when fried. It has a very delicate flavour. It is lovely whole but fillets are much more practical. The fillets are thinner than expected for a substanstial looking fish. Taste wise, it is a "melt in the mouth" fish. Downside, it is a little expensive

Recipe

Cooking time is virtually 5 minutes. Pan-fry it in butter, skin down, don't flip it, to make sure it is cooked, you do the "Master-Chef" trick whereby you press on the fillet with a finger to check the top is hot and moist, you should be able to feel the indidvual flakes of the fish.

I was sent fillets by The Saucy Fish co, they arrived vaccumed packed by 2, de-scaled, with a beurre blanc and dill sauce which needs to be warmed up in its plastic pourch and poured over the fillets at serving time.

Serving ideas:  on a bed of asparagus, with roasted potatoes.

Thank you to Fish is the Dish to include me in the fish fanatic group and to the saucy fish sauce co to send their product for trial

Chokablok: New Choc on the Block


Chokablok, three weeks ago, I had never heard the name. That was before the brand invited a selected few journalists and bloggers to a "Make your Own Chocolates Masterclass".  The event took place in a converted violin factory.

 

The conversion was filmed for Kevin McCloud's Grand Design. Personally I am not moved by this type of  home which I find soulless, however I was duly impressed by the £34 000 gas cooker and the fact that two tonnes of cocoa beans where being tempered releasing a delightful aroma.

After the initial Chokablok range presentation, we were invited to create our own chocolates and bars, mine were to be a pistachio white chocolate filling in milk chocolate cases and an orange flavoured and golden balls bar called "Orange Revolution".

The trick with working with chocolate is  to be really fast. Good chocolate sets extremely quickly, so planning is essential. The chocolate industry has nothing to fear, I am not going to open my chocolate factory soon. Though I had lots of fun, I'll stick to my writing job.

If you are looking for  an Easter chocolate egg for kids Chokablok Billionaires Dynamite Egg priced at £5 retailed by Tesco has been voted best buy by several magazines.

My thanks to Chokablok for a fun afternoon

Give Away #14 : Mary Berry "Supper for Friends"

Congratulations to the Winner Laura Henderson with her entry number 14 


DK Books are promoting their food quizzes pages. The quizzes are really fun to do. A quiz will take about 5 minutes and will test your knowledge on all sort of food related subjects.
To celebrate DK books is offering one Pebble Soup's lucky reader a copy  of Mary Berry's Supper for Friends. A collection of 60 recipes for meals and buffets with menu planners.
To enter the competition
  • Complete the Rafflecopter form below
  • This give-away is set to close on the 1st April at midnight

Good luck


a Rafflecopter giveaway
•This give-away is open to UK residents over 18 •Winners are picked by Rafflecopter using random.org and the site owner contacts them by the email. •There is no money or other alternative

Paneer Stuffed Peppers- The Deconstructed Version

In the last series, one of the Masterchef contestants baked a deconstructed Custard Pie. I thought the concept and the result were hilarious. Tom Rennolds had carefully planned  his recipe, he believed in it but sadly despite its grand title the end product was nothing short of a  disaster on a plate.

It is not unusual for  a recipe to  turn out wrong. At Pebble Soup HQ, we are well versed in the confection of  deconstructed dishes here are my  deconstructed cookies and since there has been many more disasters. Unless I have to, usually I keep them quiet and they are not published.

However Stuffed Paneer Peppers is such a good recipe that even though this first attempt was "deconstructed" I would like to shared it. And though it looks like the effort of a very absent minded cook, one who would have forgotten to use the peppers, let alone to stuff them, the recipe works and I am certain that whoever else tries it will do justice to it.

Paneer is an unsalted cheese. Home-made in India, we tend to use the commercial equivalent, Long Clawson Paneer, A popular product which sells well in the UK, 1.000.000kilos a year or 2 packs every minute. Paneer is very versatile, it can be grilled on the BBQ, added to curry sauces or even used in cheesecake recipes. Home-made Paneer is soft, normally used mashed or cubed. Commercial brands are harder therefore easier to grate though....

 

Hand-grate paneer and you might as well spend your time more constructively sticking trickle to a tree.  A full size food-processor is not a better alternative, too big for the job.  It is in such occasion  that  I am grateful for my Tefal Mini-Express.  I use it almost every day, with time I have grown very fond of it, so have you. Its review is one of Pebble Soup most read posts.

Back to my disaster or reconstructed peppers recipe which should have looked like so, a beautiful recipe by the talented Indian chef Anjum Anand.
But ended like so:

Panneer Stuffed Peppers: the Deconstructed version
Ingredients
  • 4 large red or green peppers,stalks removed, flesh cut in half, seeds scooped out
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1¼ tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 2 tsp finely chopped ginger
  • 2 handfuls frozen peas
  • 70g/2½oz green beans chopped
  • salt to taste
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp red chilli powder
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1½ tsp garam masala
  • 250g/9oz grated 'long clawson paneer' paneer
  • 100ml/3½fl oz water
  • 5 tbsp double cream
  • handful fresh chopped coriander
  • 200g/7oz basmati rice, cooked according to packet instructions, to serve

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
  2. Place the pepper halves onto a baking tray, drizzle with one tablespoon of the oil and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until softened. Once the peppers are cooked, remove them from the oven and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, heat the remaining oil in a non-stick pan. Add the cumin seeds and fry for 20-30 seconds, or until fragrant.
  4. Add the chopped onion and cook for 3-4 minutes, or until golden-brown.
  5. Add the tomatoes, ginger, peas, beans, salt and spices and simmer for 10-12 minutes, or until the tomatoes have softened and reduced to a pulp.
  6. Add the grated paneer and the water and stir until well combined. Bring the mixture to a simmer and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
  7. Add the double cream and season well with freshly ground black pepper. Simmer until heated through.
  8. Add the chopped coriander and continue to simmer the mixture for 4-5 minutes, adding tablespoons of water as necessary to stop the sauce from drying out as the paneer absorbs the liquid.
  9. Preheat the grill to its highest setting. While the grill is heating up, fill each of the baked pepper halves with the paneer mixture. When the grill is hot, grill the stuffed peppers until the paneer mixture is golden-brown.
  10. To serve, place one or two stuffed pepper halves onto each serving plate. Spoon a portion of basmati rice alongside each.

Recipe and photo reproduced with permission. Anjum in her original recipe uses home made soft paneer which she crumbles.


Whisky and Vanilla Ice Cream


This recipe was prompted by three things: a request, a gift and a wish.

A request for 'whisky ice-cream' which was innocent enough and sounded so simple. But there is nothing easy about adding alcohol to ice-cream. To be successful it is best to  regard ice-cream making as a chemistry lesson. Alcohol lowers the point of freezing, too much and the mixture will become "gooey" and won't set.

The gift, was a gift of vanilla, by the talented writer of "Prep" & "Goddess on a Budget". I am not a liberty to divulge what kind of vanilla it was, as it is not yet on the market. But if you make ice-cream, invariably, at some stage you will make a vanilla ice-cream so here a few  vanilla tips, starting with the one to avoid:
Vanilla essence which is often artificial and doesn't taste right at all.
Vanilla extract is second best, on the plus side it is economical, last a long time and does an OK job. But the best is without any doubt the Vanilla pod.
Vanilla pod comes from a type of climbing orchid, make sure to scrape all the seeds as it is rather expensive. Good quality pods are soft.

The wish....No way Jose, I am not telling because if I do, it won't happen.

Whisky and Vanilla Ice-cream

Use a whisky you like the smell and flavour of. I use an ice-cream maker, so the bowl needs to go in the freezer for 12 hours before hand. Be ready to make meringues with the egg white, though they freeze well

300ml full-cream milk
1 long vanilla pod or 2 short ones
4 large egg yolks
100g sugar
300ml double cream
50ml of whisky.

First thing is to heat the milk and the vanilla pod, split in half lengthwise. Bring to almost boiling point and leave the vanilla to infuse for 15 minutes

In a heatproof bowl, beat the egg yolks the sugar until the mixture is pale.

Remove the vanilla pod from the milk and scrape carefully all the seeds in the egg yolks and gradually add the milk.

Now make a custard by placing the bowl over a pan of simmering water until the mixture is thick enough to coat a wooden spoon, you will need to stir all the way through and that can take sometime, the process accelerates at the end.

When the mixture is ready, take the bowl off the heat, stir the whisky in allow to cool before pouring in the ice-cream maker.

Oh, the brown "thing"on the photograph is a dash of balsamic syrup.

Recipe Testing: Baking Mad's Mini Orange & Cranberry Hot Cross Buns


Having our cake and eat it, is not enough, we want to make it ourselves and with Easter around the corner, we can do plenty of that. In preparation, I am having a hot cross bun moment.

It is well know that though a good cook, a perfect host and an even "perfecter" diner, I am not a cake baker, "It's always the baker's children who have no bread."
Having learnt that for trial and error to be fine the trial period needs to be short. When it comes to cakes and baking treats, I turn to a site which is working hand in hand with the food-blogsphere. I am referring to BakingMad.com
 
 
Their tĂȘte de pont, is Eric Lanlard who trained with the Roux's brothers. Lanlard is Baking Mad on Channel 4. Behind the gloss there is also team of communicators who know exactly how to give tips, steps by steps, explain ingredients and what they do singly and together.
But are their guidelines good enough for the like of "distracted bakers" like me? We were soon to find out when they asked me to try out a recipe in Baking Mad Easter page. I safely chose Hot Cross Buns, as it is a bread base and I am good at this. 

Mini Orange and Cranberry Hot Cross Buns 
Ingredients

Preparation time  2h20
Baking 20 mins
Make 12 mini, 16 large

600g Very strong white flour



 
1 tspSalt
2 tspMixed Spice
50 gramsButter chilled
50 gramsGolden Caster Sugar
1 Orange zest of
1 sachetEasy Bake Yeast
1 Eggs
275 mlmilk tepid
125 gramsDried Cranberries
 For the cross
2tbsp white flour
1 tbsp golden syrup

How to make Mini Orange and Cranberry Hot Cross Buns   

  1. Sieve the flour, salt and ground mixed spice into a large mixing bowl. Rub in the butter, using your fingertips.
  2. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add the sugar, orange zest and yeast. Stir in the egg and milk. Mix the mixture into soft dough – this might be easier to do using your hands rather than a wooden spoon           
  3. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Carefully work in the cranberries. Knead lightly by push away the dough with the heel of one hand, gather up with the other hand, and then knead again. Knead for about 10 minutes or until you can pull a strand and it bounces back like elastic.           
  4. Grease a large, warm mixing bowl with butter. Shape the dough into a ball and place it into the prepared bowl, then cover with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place for one hour to prove until the mixture doubles in size           
  5. After an hour, remove the dough from the bowl and knead gently for 6-8 minutes. Return to the bowl and cover and leave to rise for a further 20 minutes.
  6. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, and then flatten slightly into a bun shape using the palms of your hands.            
  7. Put the buns on a floured baking tray. Wrap it loosely in greaseproof paper and place inside a large plastic bag. Tie the end of the bag so it is airtight. Leave in a warm place for 40 minutes.            
  8. Preheat the oven to 190C/ 170C fan/gas 5. Mix 2tbsp of flour with 2tsp of cold water to create a paste. When the buns have raised remove from the bag and pipe a cross shape onto each bun.            
  9. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the buns are golden-brown. Check they are cooked through by tapping the bottom. It should sound hollow  
  10. As soon as you remove the buns from the oven, brush them with the hot golden syrup, and then set aside to cool on a wire rack.  
Conclusion, did it work?
Yes and...no

Yes, the hot cross buns were extremely tasty, the texture was perfect, the cranberry and the orange lift the recipe and it makes a real good treat, breakfast bun and/or snack

No, By the end of the process, I had forgotten to carefully read the recipe therefore miscalculating the number of buns, being too heavy, they had a problem with gravity....as a result they didn't look very good, but looks is not everything. At least, I now know what to do and it will take only another go for them to be perfect which is an achievement.

Thank you to BakingMad to request my participation in their new campaign.


A French Classic : Quiche Lorraine


As we know Lorraine is not the only quiche, one can add whatever takes one fancies to this dish, from fish to vegetable, however if there are many ways of making a quiche, there is only one classic quiche Lorraine and that has got to be an open tarte with bacon, egg and cream dot

The pastry
I read that originally, centuries ago, the pastry was bread dough, may be so but today we are faced with three possibilities and bread dough is not one of them. Puff, shortcrust bought or home-made, take your pick, either of the three work.
It may be a crime to buy shortcrust pastry as it is so simple to make, but it is even simpler to buy.

The filling 
Cheese will add nothing to this dish, on the contrary it might just make it too salty. Simplicity makes this dish good. Chunky bacon, cream and here personally I make a concession and cut the cream with milk on account of the calories and whole eggs. A good quiche needs to rise and mixing the ingredients with a whisk helps.

Nutmeg or no nutmeg
Yes to nutmeg, just a pinch to tease the taste buds

Ingredients

3 eggs
225g double cream and 30ml milk
150g thick chopped bacon
1 ready to roll sheet of shortcrust pastry
a pinch of nutmeg + pepper

Method
Preheat the oven to gas mark 6/220C.
Unroll the pastry and place in a large (23cm) flan dish (or use anything else metal and large could be rectangular)
In a bowl whisk all eggs, cream, milk. Add seasoning
Place the bacon on the pastry
Pour the mixture over
Place in the oven and cook (without opening the door) for 35 minutes.
Retrieve from the oven, careful, fingers, it is hot. Leave it to rest for 5 minutes, cut and serve. It is also delicious cold.




Butter Chicken

It never ceased to amaze me how almost difficult it is to cheat our senses. Let me explain, when I eat a curry house, I am always torn between two dishes which on the surface, look really different: Chicken Murgh Makhani -also called Butter Chicken- and Tandoori Chicken. Invariably, I pick the tandoori dish only because it is lower in fat.

Are you ready for the wow moment, in the course of researching this post, I  found that in fact, they are closely related. Take a look at this snippet from Wikipedia:

'It is thought that Butter Chicken was hastily prepared by a Delhi Eatery chef post dinner time for a harried VIP customer who wanted "some" Chicken dish. The chef had only half of a Tandoori Chicken which he tossed with liberal amounts of butter, tomato and garam masalas to come up with the earliest version of "Butter Chicken". He later improvised to make this a regular feature of the menu.'

Conclusion, Once more senses could not be cheated.

This dish is one of the most popular Indian dish outside India. To do it justice, I have used the set of spices which I lucky to win on Fabulicious Food, Ren Behan's fresh and seasonal blog. Butter Chicken needs to marinate in the fridge overnight which in my books makes it perfect for week-ends.

Chicken Murgh Makhani
Ingredients:
Ground spices
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp garam masala
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp fennel
whole spices
2 bay leaves
2  cloves

1/4 pint/150ml natural yogurt
2 ounces/50g ground almonds
2cm ginger 
2 garlic cloves
14 ounce/400g can tomatoes
1 pounds/500 g chicken, skinned, boned and cubed
2 1/2 ounces/60g of ghee or 2 ounces/50g butter
1 tbsp corn oil
1 medium onions, sliced
2 tbsp fresh coriander, chopped
4 tbsp cream or 150 ml milk
salt and pepper

Method
  1. Make a paste in the blender with  yogurt, ground almonds, all the ground spices, ginger, garlic, tomatoes and salt pepper
  2. Put the chicken into a large mixing bowl and pour over the mixture.
  3. Cover and leave it in the fridge over night
  4. Melt together the butter and oil in a  wok or frying pan. Add the onion, fry for about 5 minutes. Add the marinated chicken with all the mixture and cook for a further 20 minutes. Cover, reduce the heat and cook for a further 20 minutes  stirring occasionally.
  5. Pour over the cream or the milk and stir in well. Bring to the boil.
Could be garnished with fresh coriander.

Mango Lassi, a Recipe for the Rainbow Cookbook


Albania, the Philippines, the Yemen, Mongolia are just some of the countries where I investigated the cooking pots and enjoyed or otherwise the hospitality of locals.

When asked the ineluctable question: "Of all the countries, you've travelled to, which is your favourite?" I shrug my shoulders, "I don't know" is my answer. But would I be asked, "What do you like, say about........India?", then one would not be able to stop me talking about the villages, the dust, the emotions, the smells, the noises, the brightness, the colours.........

So when I was commissioned to participate to the Rainbow Cookbook to promote Appliance Online British Oven, a trendy new look from “New World Cookers”, I closed my eyes and the first thing I saw was the mellow yellow of the Alfonso Mango flesh. No doubt, my recipe was not not going to be blue, nor orange but yellow.

The Rainbow Cookbook is the brainchild of Appliance Online. You may have heard of them, they have already sprinkled a little fairy magic across the blogosphere with the Fairy Hobmother campaign. This time, they are going all colourful with their range of New World cookers which comes in bright colours, for the occasion seven bloggers are contributing to an online rainbow cookbook,
Red, Pink, Green, Orange, Purple, Blue and of Pebble Soup with a Yellow

Mango Lassi
Ingredients
1 large mango, peeled and stoned
pinch of salt
350g plain yogurt
225ml chilled milk
2-3 tbsp sugar
1 cardamon pod, crushed use only the seeds alternatively a pinch of ground cardamon or 1tsp of ginger
Ice-cubes up to 10

Method
Peel and stone the mango, place the flesh with all the ingredients in a blender. Blend for a couple of minutes on ice-setting or highest setting. Pour in individual glasses and serve.

If your blender does not take ice-cubes crush them in a tea-towel and add them to the serving glass.

Know your Chablis Wines: A Pairing Challenge.


"Wines reflect their terroir," have you noticed how almost instinctively we define wines, French wines in particular, by their area of origin: it's a Bordeaux, a Beaujolais etc... So what is a Chablis?

Chablis information:
Chablis is a white Burgundy, The grape used is Chardonnay. Chablis' viticulture was first developed by Cistercian monks. In this small area halfway between Paris and Beaune, winters are hard and summers relatively hot. The soil composition is unique, with its limestone and small oyster fossils. 300 vineyards produce the equivalent of 10,000 bottles, of which 3 out of every 10 is sold in the UK.

So there you have it, it would seem that when we want a "good bottle" of white wine, to go with our Fish and Chips, we are likely to reach for a Chablis. There are four different appellations of Chablis: Grand Cru, Premier Cru, Chablis, Petit Chablis.

The challenge: Pebble Soup was one of 30 bloggers invited by "The Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne" to give their ideas for food pairing with Chablis wine. There are plenty of blogs out there from wine experts and sommeliers which are brilliant, but they wanted to hear from bloggers who don’t necessarily have any experience in wine or food and wine pairing but think they have some ideas which could work.

Having been selected, and now in possession of two bottles of Premier Cru at Pebble Soup HQ, research was full on in order to find the best food pairing, next, we got tasting with gusto what we didn't know we learnt as we went along.

The research
First port of call: my friend Serge. If there is anything you need to know about wine, he is your man. I e-mailed him around midnight with pairing suggestions and 5 minutes later, I got a reply, "For the Premier Cru 2009, your choice of poultry is excellent. As far as the 2008 is concerned I would drink it, as a pre-dinner drink, with a selection of cheeses such as goat cheese rolled in ashes." What? had he lost his mind? a white wine with cheese? plus contrary to my expectations there was no mention of fish here.
Next morning, I was reading all about pairing and yes, Serge was correct a Chablis is excellent with cheese.

The Tasting:
 He and I set to the task. The tulip glasses  at the ready, the right conditions were created, a Premier Cru is best served at 12-14 degrees. The wine temperature is crucial, especially for a pre-dinner drink. So, the wine thermometer got its first outing...ever. At this stage, I couldn't stop giggling. I got a few stern looks in return. We looked at the clarity, the intensity, smelt and tasted. Here are the results.

The verdict and the pairing
Chablis Premier Cru, Mont de Milieu 2008, Jean Paul and Benoit Droin, RRP £29.00, was a rather a luxurious pre-dinner drink, with its selection of cheeses: mostly fresh French Goat's cheeses. The pairing of goat cheeses and the mature white wine was just sublime.  The wine is pale, clear almost limpid. It tastes of citrus fruits and pepper, it is fresh and delicious. It lives a long, long time in the mouth, which is what you want for an aperitif.



Chablis Premier Cru, Domaine de la boissoneuse 2009, Julien Brocard, RRP £19.39. This wine is certified organic even I, who is not an expert, could appreciate the difference. It is full of life, vibrant and zingy.  Again the citrus came through on the nose, the acidity, on the tasting, with some curious flavours such as warm bread, pineapple and wood.  My choice of poultry was chicken, I love to get vegetables in season, luckily Morels are just ready. This Chablis was like a musician it made the Chicken with a Cream Sauce, Morels and Button Mushrooms sing.


What else did I learn? I was reminded that even when on unfamiliar grounds thinking outside the box is important: cheese doesn't call automatically for red wine. It is worth doing the research so if you want to know more about Chablis wines, the official website is full of information.

Disclosure:
I received 2 bottles of Chablis to take part in this challenge. My thanks to "The Bureau Interprofessionnel des Vins de Bourgogne"

Aubergine Raita


At Pebble Soup HQ as in most homes, likes and dislikes of  ingredients determine the menu. I like Raita, a fresh Indian dip which base is yogurt and cucumbers. However he has a strong dislike for this Cucurbitaceae. But that doesn't mean that Raita should be banned.

Though I am known for replacing a ingredient by another, in the case of Raita it took me years to click that I could do so. Be certain that now I have done so, Raita is back on the menu thanks to the aubergine.

Aubergine Raita

Easy to prepare- serves 4
Ingredients
1 aubergine
125ml natural yogurt
1 small red chilli, seeds, no stem
1 garlic clove, peeled
salt pepper
1/2 cumin pref seeds, but ground will do.
Method
Preheat the oven to 200C/gas mark 6
place the aubergine on a tray and place in the oven for 30 minutes check towards the end, if too hot the aubergine will split
Cool in cold water,
Peel and place in food blender or mixer with all the other ingredients except seasoning and spice
blitz until smooth
add seasoning and spice blitz again

Place in a bowl and serve with small poppadom or pitta, add a swirl of oil on the top- I am using Roasted Pumpkin Seed Oil from Merchant Gourmet which burst with nutty taste flavour.

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