I love breakfast. No, make that I LOVE BREAKFAST. It is without question my favourite meal. As you can tell from this blog I love other meals too. A lot. But breakfast is sine qua non to my daily happiness. Although it is rarely elaborate, and often involving no equipment other than a knife and hot overhead grill – or bowl and spoon – any sustenance is gratefully received. If ever I have to skip breakfast (I can’t remember when that last happened) I get seriously grumpy. Dropped pacifier, burst football, home team lost kind of grumpy. Stay the heck away if that happens is all I can say. Continue reading
If you don’t know what a shawarma is, this recipe will not particularly surprise. But, if you know shawarma, you could be forgiven for uttering a popular acronymed Anglo-Saxon epithet beginning with W and ending with F. If you are from the Levant, you will no doubt be thinking an equivalent in Arabic or Turkish. Just perhaps not as rude. Continue reading
I can’t really remember the first time I had hummus. Being raised in a Deep South commuter town, whose main highway was hemmed in with strip malls, Burger Kings and Dairy Queens, I seriously doubt it was there. We did have - and it is still there today – a lone Greek restaurant, but I only ever remember the ubiquitous but very pleasant Greek salad, with its starchy ‘garnish’ of yogurty potato salad as a sop to American tastes. But hummus? I don’t think so. This was the era of aerobics and low fat after all. If I had been more adventurous, and less figure-conscious, I would no doubt have found the hummus and been hooked from the get go. Restaurant hummus is always far superior to that we can make at home. Or, so I thought. Continue reading
After an unfeasibly long absence, hello! I’ve been in Florida the past couple of weeks visiting my lovely Dad and younger sister, getting a bit of sun/Vitamin D and eating in some of Tampa Bay’s great new local-food restaurants. I won’t take over a whole post with restaurant reviews but I must say that even since my October visit the food scene has spiced up considerably. I’ll pop down some recommendations in a soon-to-be-written page of travel finds (she typed hopefully), but I was quite impressed by Wimauma and Boca, both in south Tampa.
The former specialises in what it terms “Cracker Cuisine”, referring to the jokey name given to native Floridians, indicating a ”frontier people who did not just live but flourished in a time before air conditioning, mosquito repellent, and bug-screens.” Although I did not see squirrel on the menu, my sister and I split, and enjoyed very much, a dish of juicy shrimp (although anything but shrimpy – the suckers were HUGE) sauteed with tomato, basil, white wine and pork bark, and served over the creamiest, softest grits I have ever tasted. Green tomatoes, hush puppies, collard greens, Florida seafood, boiled peanuts and many other native treats get the gourmet treatment at this unusual, family-friendly restaurant. My only criticism – too much salt. I noticed that many higher-end restaurants take the French way of seasoning to the extreme. I should have done a pre- and post-trip blood pressure check. Could’ve been quite alarming though. I am hoping the copious amount of backyard grapefruits and star fruits that I scoffed will somehow have mopped up the excess sodium. Note to molecular biologists and biochemists: please do not write in and disabuse me of this new but strongly-held belief.
As I have been back less than 24 hours, this post will be short-ish and to the point (-ish). I have an urgent appointment with a comfy sofa… Continue reading
A quick post today, but hopefully none the worse for it. I have a good excuse: as well as working I have been busy cooking, scribbling and snapping for an upcoming Easy Food Gifts For Friends and Family post. After a good bit of thought, and a thumb through some old cookbooks and recipes, I have put together a small but wide-ranging collection of easy to make holiday treats suitable for sharing with foodie friends and family. I will also give links to fabulous ideas from other food bloggers. Can’t wait!
It’s 5 a.m. and I’m sitting at a computer, bare footed with a glass of freshly squeezed orange juice at my elbow. Mr A and I have annoyingly been up for quite a while, surfing futiley through a gazillion TV channels, knowing that come 3 p.m. all we – and Miss R- will want to do is flop under a ceiling fan and have a wee siesta. But we will be too busy alligator spotting at the local nature preserve or burning up the plastic in a meat locker-cold mall for such simple pleasures. Yup, we are not at home in Edinburgh, but in fact visiting my family in Florida. And, despite the decided lack of zzzs, it is worth all of the crummy jet lag in the world. Continue reading
I will let you in on something: I am typing this while eating pink peppercorn dark chocolate. Yes, little miss eat-your-greens is merrily chowing down on some delectable chocolate noir au poivre rose, to give it its proper name. I discovered it in the impulse buy section by the tills at good old TK Maxx. Normally I am immune to the lure of the well-thumbed packets of oddly flavoured liquorice and jelly beans that are the usual checkout fodder at said retail emporium, but my trash-o-meter must have been out of whack. It does have pretty pink packaging, so I can just about blame the buy on grounds of physical attraction rather than greed. But we know better. If you are interested, it is from quality Belgian brand Dolfin, who have a beautiful website that helpfully offers convincing health information to lessen the guilt. For more about benefits of chocolate and why not to feel guilty about it, see my earlier post. I subsequently saw ‘my’ chocolate in the posh chocolate section of Tesco (no, I didn’t know they had a posh section either, let alone a chocolate one) but have resisted buying a job lot. Just to leave some for you. I’m not normally that nice. It’s well-balanced, not too bitter and comes in a petite 70g size – enough for two to share, or not…
It’s a funny old day today. At the crack of dawn (well, 8.30) Mr A and I bid a temporary adieu to Miss R as she set off with some of her classmates on their Duke of Edinburgh Bronze walk. As a nearly 15-year old she has of course been away from home. But she’s never been dropped off in the middle of nowhere armed only with basic provisions of NASA-type food, compass and water. No adults, no personal phones, no GPS. That’s what I can’t get out of my head – they are literally alone, with nothing but an emergency phone in a sealed envelope to connect them to the world, 15 miles away. Prior to departure they were all leaping about the car park in giddy anticipation of their 18 hour pass away from parental controls. But us parents, despite our smiling facades and cheerful waves, were probably all distracted basket cases, a packed weekend planned to stop us wondering how they are getting on, and if what’s her name remembered the matches. Or maybe that is just me. Mr A is fine about it as he did DoE in his day – achieving his Gold award, which culminates in more of the same but for a longer, blister-inducing time. The most intrepid thing I have done on my own was go to the Soviet Union when I was 20. I think my parents thought I was in Greece. Because I am me and rather known for coming a cropper when away from home, I ended up ill in hospital, with US embassy staff bringing me toilet paper and contraband trashy magazines. That must be what is guiding my thoughts, that Miss R may have inherited my gene for not-quite disasters. Must get a grip and realise that she is her father’s daughter, a capable leader-type with a calm head and a brave heart. She’ll be absolutely fine. No doubt really. But, can she make s’mores like her old American mum, probably not. Hang in there, dear reader: a totally unrelated recipe follows the page break, after a bit more musing – about blood pressure.