Cheese Cake with Dragon Fruit Coulis

I would like to end September blogging with a show stopper. Great British chef gave me the opportunity to develop a recipe with dragon fruit. It was going to be an ice-cream but if the weather is oh so perfect now, it was not that brilliant in August, therefore I put the dragon-fruit ice-cream on the back burner, so to speak.
 
However, curiosity kept nagging me. With such a delicate flavour, dragon fruit can't be incorporated in any old pud otherwise it would get lost ....and let's face it, when you pay £2 for a fruit, it would be silly not to get value for money.
 
After a couple of weeks, toying with the idea, I opted for a vanilla cheese cake and the result was magnificent. Read about it and get the recipe here
 
 



Camping in Sandy Balls


 Most writers are a singular mix of fatalism and optimism with a tendency to peek into the dark side. It's a disposition generated by the fact that most of what we write will never make it to publication. We live in a world of definite maybes.


It may be the case that we shall not secure the much needed support for an trip. Or, if and when we do, the concept might not hit the right note with the editors and... vice-versa. So when all the pieces fit together, it inevitably leaves us a little puzzled.

 
I first approached Godshill's award-winning holiday village, Sandy Balls, in 2011 when all the above applied. So, when their marketing department contacted me three years later, cold sweat ran down my back. Will the 5 star romantic hide-away provide enough material to engage readers?
 
Read all about it in Trip Reporter

Butternut Walnut and Sage Gratin

It's getting colder and days are noticeably shorter, time for comfort food. In my books, nothing says. "Comfort food" better than butternut. Starting with peeling, when most cucurbita are knobbly and so hard to peel, butternut is as smooth as an apple. Then there is the nutty taste and the creamy texture of the jolly bright orange flesh.
 
With such a distinctive taste, it's not too hard to pair butternut with other food, almost a given really. For this gratin, I chose walnuts though the original recipe indicates hazelnuts. Sage provides an earthy addition, use sage sparingly as too much will overpower the whole dish.
 
 
Ingredients
150ml double cream 150 ml milk
1 garlic clove, crushed
2 to 4 large sage leaves
40g melting cheese, grated, I used Wensleydale, parmesan or cheddar are also an option
750g butternut squash, peeled, cube and steam to soft
30g walnut, roughly chopped
20g breadcrumbs

Tip: The butternut will absorb a lot of liquid while cooking so don't worry if it starts by looking very wet.

Method:
Preheat the oven to 190C.
Peel, cube and steam to soft the butternut squash
Mash when cooked
Meanwhile, mix in a large bowl all the other ingredients except the breadcrumbs and cheese.
Mix mash and creamy mixture, season well
Transfer to gratin dish, cover with breadcrumbs and cheese, top with foil
Cook for 30 minutes coved, uncover and cook for another 30 minutes.

Tall Ships Event - Greenwich -

Greenwich and Woolwich have been buzzing for the past four days. More than 600,000 visitors so far have flocked to the borough to take in this year's tall ships event. 
 
With the last tea-clipper on dry dock at Greenwich, the borough was the natural place for such a festival to take place. And, a festival it was, there was a real party atmosphere. It was incredible to see so many (50) majestic boats gliding on the Thames.
 
He and I were among the privileged press members to board the Iris on Sunday morning. Though the weather was overcast, it was slightly surreal to see familiar sights from a very unfamiliar angle.

The final parade was spectacular. If you have missed the festival do not despair, I am being told that the event will reoccur in 2017.
 
video

Latest, an update on the event from the Greenwich media team: The final figures show that there were 1.1m visits to our event sites. People truly voted with their feet and turned up to the event in huge numbers but we have also heard from many local businesses who have said that they had their busiest ever days on record!

Give-Away #27 : A Lifelong Membership to Eat Your Books (EYB)

For my birthday, I so was spoiled that in return, I wanted to present you with one of the best give-aways Pebble Soup has ever run. 
 
Amazingly the fabulous owners of Eat Your Books have offered a lucky reader a Lifelong membership to Eat Your Books.
 
  
Not long ago, I read that as an average, we use only three recipes per cookbook. If you have more than 5 books it get very complicated to find the right recipe quickly. Not anymore.......

Eat Your Books is a website that searches for recipes in your cookbooks, food magazines and blogs. It's user friendly. All you have to do is catalogue your books, favourite website and magazine collections. Once that's done, there is a sophisticated search tools which will do the rest. Take a look here.

To win a lifetime membership, answer a quick question in the comment box via the rafflecopter, it will unlock several bonuses. Good Luck.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Risonitto - Quick Dinner -

Orzo looks like rice, its name means "barley" but in reality it's a small pasta which makes Orzo, a master of disguise. Boil it for 9 minutes, accommodate it, the way you would pasta, alternatively bulk soups with it and you have got yourself a quick meal.
 
However if something looks like rice, you should expect to treat it like so. Because of its chameleon properties when I first cooked orzo, I boiled it. As a result, he, who is very sensitive to textures, defined it as "slimy". Though, I quickly add that there is nothing slimy about orzo.
 
Next time round, I wasn't going to take any chances and went for risotto, or in this case, risonitto. Now, hang on to your seats, in Italian, orzotto is a pearl barley dish; risotto is rice based. So what do you call an orzo-pasta-risotto?

Risonitto, as our master of disguise has an alias: Risoni.
 
Technically when an ingredient is sealed in hot oil it will keep its shape while cooking. That is why French ratatouille doesn't look like mush. Each vegetable is being fried before it goes to the pot.
 
The same principle applies to most things. Cooked this way orzo is full of flavour, a great option for weekday meals.
 
Risonitto
Ingredients

serves 4
250g orzo
1 chopped shallot or onion
600ml bouillon (I use marigold) to which 1 tbs. tomato paste
 1 chopped red or green pepper 
 2tbs d'huile d'olive
Sel, poivre
Do not hesitate to add anything else you fancy
 
Method
In a large frying pan, heat the oil and fry onion and pepper until soft.
When this is done, retrieve the vegetable and place them in a bowl for later use. Keep the oil.
Heat the oil again and add the orzo, stir, when it start to turn white carefully add a little bouillon, keep adding until orzo is soft.
Return the vegetable to the pan, stir and serve
 
 Other recipe : Orzo
 
 
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