Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Prawn and Rhubarb Moilee

Prawn and Rhubarb Moilee

1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp ground black pepper
2 green cardamoms, lightly bruised 
3 cloves
2 banana shallots, thinly sliced 
3 cloves garlic, thinly sliced 
5cm ginger, finely chopped 2 green chillies, slit lengthways, seeds removed
Small handful of fresh curry leaves
1/2 tsp ground turmeric
400m1 coconut milk
500g large tail-on fresh prawns
2 rhubarbs, cut into bite-sized pieces

Heat the oil in a heavy-based wok over a medium heat. 
Add the pepper, cardamoms and cloves and fry for 1 minute until fragrant. 
Add the onions and fry for 5 minutes until translucent, then stir in the garlic, ginger, chillies, salt and curry leaves and fry for 1 minute.
Add the turmeric and coconut milk. 
Bring to a simmer and simmer for 4-5 minutes until reduced slightly.
Then add the prawns and chopped rhubarbs and simmer for a further 4 minutes until the prawns are cooked and rhubarb is tender. 
Turn off the heat, cover the pan and set aside for 3-4 minutes. 
Serve with rice.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Garden Updates

Today Mr Scotty, our 200 years old Scots pine
had his much needed haircut.
Years of neglect and exposure to high winds
had left him looking worse for wear.
So we thought we'd hire a professional tree-surgeon to do the deed
and hopefully Mr Scotty will survive another 200 years....

Before the makeover

Mr Scotty
Live long and prosper

Another project...
the one that left me with one flattened toe!

I decided to fill the sad-looking grassy area 
in the herbaceous border with some aggregates

It was a back-breaking task but I was adamant (or stubborn... whichever!) to finish it


After the umpteenth wheel-barrow loadful...

For future reference...
these were the rocks that fell off the wheelbarrow
and hit my little toesie
it was not fun
but true to form
I was out gardening again over the weekend!
For the record (credit due where credit deserved)
I got a lot of help from Elsa and MrD

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Photographing Geranium

Had a little accident while working in the garden...

The wheelbarrow tipped and spilled its content 
of garden rocks onto my foot.
It was lucky that Elsa was home for the holidays, 
she had to play nurse - putting ice packs on my foot and making me comfortable until the dad came home.
A visit to the A&E ensued
and I was told by the doctor to keep my foot off the ground for at least a week.
A week!
Who could wait a week!!!
Day 2 and I'm already walking (with the help of a stick)
and I intend to kick some balls by this weekend... just watch this space :)

In the meantime, enjoy some photos of these geranium taken in Crathes' hothouse

Monday, 22 June 2015

Raspberry Almond Tart

Remember our berry-picking outing last weekend?
We managed to collect 2 punnets of raspberries between the 3 of us...
not exactly a quantity to be screaming with pride about, 
certainly not if you're aiming for a career as a fruit-picker

What's left of them, I decided to turn into a less-healthy, calorie-laden dessert

Here's my take on the famous Bakewell Tart

Raspberry Almond Tart

For the pastry:
200g self-raising flour
175g ground almond
100g sugar
200g butter
1 large egg yolk

Make the pastry by tipping all the ingredients, except the yolk, 
into a food processor and pulsing to the texture of breadcrumbs. 
Add the yolk, then pulse until it all comes together to form a soft pastry. 
The pastry will be too soft to roll out, so press it evenly into a loose-based tart tin until the pastry comes up above the edges of the tin. 
Rest in the freezer for at least 20 minutes.
Heat oven to 190C. 
Line the tart case with baking parchment and baking beans, then place on a baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes until the edges are starting to brown. 
Remove the beans and paper, then continue to cook for 10 minutes until biscuity. 
Leave aside to cool at room temperature.

For raspberry compote:
250g raspberries
200g sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice

Place berries and sugar in a saucepan. 
Bring to a full boil over high heat. 
Boil hard for 3 minute, stirring constantly.
Add lemon juice to the boiling mixture and remove from heat.
Set aside to cool.

For the frangipane:
60g butter
40g sugar
1 large egg
grated lemon zest from 1 lemon
3 tbsp flour
115g ground almond
1/4 tsp baking powder

Cream together the butter and sugar until fluffy, 
then beat in the egg. 
Fold in the dry ingredients and zest and a pinch of salt.

To assemble:
Spread the pastry base generously and evenly with raspberry compote. 
Arrange 200g fresh raspberries on top of the compote.
Spread the frangipane mixture over the fruit and compote layer.
 Bake in 170C oven for about 40 minutes until browned and thoroughly cooked.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Dear Papa

During events like Father's Day, special messages are like an unspoken tradition worldwide. No one says you have to write them ... but you do. I don't have any issues with writing these little messages (I think they're great) but my biggest issue is how to start.

Now I know you love puns, silly jokes and all kinds of humor, which is a good thing because that means I can come across funnier than I actually am, but how do I start your message like that? Guess what, papa? I forgot what day it is today. JUST KIDDING IT'S FATHER'S DAY! And after reading that, you're supposed to laugh.

See? It's not funny when written down.

So I scrapped that idea and went on to the next: cheesy.
If you google 'father's day quotes' (searching it for research purposes only), you get some pretty deep stuff. And by deep, I mean:

"Any man can be a father, but it takes someone special to be a dad."

"A father is someone you look up to no matter how tall you grow."

"Don't tell mom."

Yet seeing as
a) you already knows you're special,
b) I'm still shorter than you, and
c) you wouldn't dare hide anything from my mom, those quotes don't work.

So the cheesy intro had to be crossed off the list too.

But you know, after thinking about it for a while, I guess the best way to go is to keep it direct and genuine.

I love you an incredible amount.

From the moment I was born to my graduation into university (plus all my really awkward embarrassing stages in-between that I refuse to acknowledge), you've always been there 100% no matter what. You are one of the very few people I would ever feel comfortable enough to rely on - regardless of what I ask, you'd always try your best to do it.

Both you and mama are some of the most special people I know, not just to me but also out of the people I've met. Your genuine down-to-earth personality and easy-going attitude is second to none and I will always be grateful for it. You may not realize how much we appreciate every thing you've done for our family, but just know that we do. You're an irreplaceable figure in my life and I will always love and admire you for who you are.

Happy father's day to the family teddy bear and most adoring person I know.

xx Elsa

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Garden Updates - Herbaceous Border Overview

My two-year labour of love
Two years is not a long time, horticulturally-speaking
It would be at least 5 years before the borders fully mature
and look its best.
I'm not a patient person but I'd have to wait...
Do I really have a choice?