It's all a bit mad again here. It's busy and a bit disorganised and there's no real routine. But it's good. Ahmad's brother is visiting from Denmark and Hannah's been home for a while. The garden's still fruiting and flowering and needing attention that it won't get for a while. We eat from it every day. Not on a grand scale but now that the first flush of radish and spinach and lettuce is over, maybe a few sprigs of herbs or fruit grace part of the food table; whilst we wait for the potatoes, onions, squash and carrots to grow big enough to harvest. We just shared the first fig from the garden...I never thought I'd be able to say that in England. A SWEET BIG BROWN RIPE FIG...IN MY GARDEN. Just one of two on the plant.
Building work, well carpentry, is still happening but it's almost finished now. Soon we will be able to do a big clean up, all the final decorating and organising, unroll the carpets and nail up pictures. Let everything find it's own special place. Then I can open up my little Etsy shop for treasures that I've been buying in the auctions for it. Maybe start making things, even do some artwork again.
I'm looking forward to autumn and winter in our old house. I've been stocking up on projects for Christmas. Influenced by this special weekend I'm imagining dusky pink pompoms decorating everywhere. I bought this book (it's sold out on Alycia's shop but I managed to get it on amazon) and this one too and tried to order this pattern but it wasn't quite ready for the UK yet so the money was refunded and I have to re-order it later. I've actually started knitting the cobblestone sweater again...I know it's not very exciting but do you know how good it feels to sneak a bit of time to do so.
We've been taking it in turns at cooking...and even got a bit competitive. Hannah made the best fruity salad with freshly peeled orange segments and grapes, spicy rocket and baby spinach leaves, spring onions(scallions) and salty feta. The freshly squeezed orange juice combined with the cheese to make a creamy dressing that we ate with spicy chicken that she panfried. Then Ahmad made a crunchy salad with celery and apple . It was my turn next. Theirs' were amazing...No pressure...
Hannah's back in Bristol now and I've mislaid her recipe (along with one for an amazing butternut squash and lentil curry)..but here's mine for now:
Pomegranate and Summer Greens Salad with Baked salmon parcels
- One ripe pomegranate. I prefere Turkish or Iranian ones than the paler Spanish one. The deeper red ones seem to have much more intense flavour. But any will do.
- Runner beans five or six beans per serving
- Mange toute (snow peas)(similar amount as beans)
- salad potatoes, two or more per serving depending on you appetite
- Watercress, baby spinach and rocket leaves or any salad leaf mixture of choice
- A little chianti vinegar or any other light vinegar
- Olive oil or alternative
- Sea or rock salt and black pepper
- A little runny honey or Maple syrup
- Scrub the potatoes well and peel if necessary. leave tiny ones whole, halve slightly larger ones and cut even bigger ones to the size of smaller ones so that they will cook uniformly. Cover with cold water and season with sea salt. Place on the hob, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat and cover. Simmer for about ten to fifteen minutes until tender. Drain when cooked.
- Whilst these are cooking prepare the pomegranate. I find the best way to do this is to score a section of the skin in the shape of an orange segment. Cut this bit out and pull it away with the seeds attached. Then remove these by hand, making sure that no little bits of yellow pith are attached as they are very bitter. Work your way around the fruit in this way until all the seeds have been removed. Put the seeds to one side.
- Prepare the green beans and mange toute by top and tailing and then pop them into a saucepan of boiling salted water. You can add them to last few minutes of cooking the potatoes. Allow them to cook a little but still remain crisp and green.Drain and keep to one side.
- Wash and prepare the salad leaves and place in a serving dish.
- Make a dressing by crushing a small handful of the pomegranate seeds in a mortar with a pestle. Trickle in a little olive oil, season and taste. The pomegranate will add freshness like lemon and depending on the fruit also sweetness, you may like to add some runny honey or maple syrup if like me you like a more sweet sour dressing.
- Assemble the salad on the bed of leaves. Add the potatoes, runner beans and mange toute. Mix carefully and top with some of the pomegranate seeds. Dress and serve.
Oven baked salmon
Ingredients per person:
- One salmon fillet
- One clove of garlic
- One spring onion
- Sea/rock salt and black pepper
- Half a lemon
- Baking parchment or foil to make a parcel
- Preheat the oven to 200 degrees centigrade.
- Take a piece of baking parchment or foil for each serving and place onto a baking tray. Place a fillet of fish onto each one.
- Season. Top with a crushed or slice clove of garlic, a little grated or sliced ginger. The zest and juice of half a lemon. You may also like to add some chilli if you like it more spicy.
- Make each piece of foil/parchment into a mini parcel. Bake for twenty to thirty minutes until the fish is opaque and tender.
- Serve with the salad.
nb. Pomegranate juice is a natural dye, I've been told that not only does the pomegranate motif often appear in Persian carpets, that they are also used to dye them. You will be caught red-handed if you don't wear gloves when peeling them and be extra careful not to splash any white walls as you will end up with purple polka dots. I have...lots of times...