Category Archives: Food and drink

Roasted Salad

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I had a delicious salad at a cafe recently and decided to recreate it at home as I so often do. 

So – armed with butternut squash, peppers, onion, garlic, sun dried tomatoes, feta cheese, pine nuts and salad I got down to work. 

– par boil the squash

– cut onions, peppers and garlic 

– strain the squash, mix with onions, pepper and garlic, drizzle in oil and slow bake for 30 minutes 

– prepare rest of salad, lay the table, cut the bread, pour the wine

– when your vegetables are cooked to perfection, spoon them onto the salad, add on the cubed feta, pine nuts and sundried tomatoes, drizzle with a stressing of your choice and serve

  
It was yum and we went back for more. Next time I make it I will add in some cous cous. 

Enjoy and share your recipes! 

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Halen Môn – Anglesey salt

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We’ve just returned home after 3 days on Anglesey and I’ve done the washing, removed sand from pockets and put the salt away. Not just any salt! Halen Môn salt. THE salt of Anglesey!

On Thursday we nipped into Halen Môn to pick up some salt for gifts and of course me, and I could have bought plenty in their beautiful shop that is stocked with salt, salt products like Nom Nom chocolate (delicious I tell you), oils, vinegars, sauces, home wares and stationery and much more!

  
The shop is spacious, beautifully stocked, well presented and lovely staff to boot. A beautiful shop!  When I say it’s a beautiful shop I really mean it, so I’m going to award it a Nellington Pom Poms pom pom of excellence! 

  

Nellie Knows – The Wokingham Paper – 15 May

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This was previously published in The Wokingham Paper on 15 May 2015

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Another week has flown by and it’s now only a week until half term and the late May Bank Holiday, here’s hoping that the weather is clear, dry and bright for everyone’s plans. I do like it when a new month starts on a Monday however unlike a diet the month carries on! June isn’t far away and is wedged between the month of Bank Holidays and the manic month of end of term activities and the start of the summer holidays. I don’t want to wish the year away but we’re nearly halfway through and I know I am turning into my grandmothers when I say I have no idea where the time has gone!

In the garden

I do know where the time has gone as I have been in the garden when time permits, however I do lose track of time and was in the garden so late one evening last week that I didn’t realise how dark it had got until I walked back into the house. There I was busy untangling the clematis and attempting to train it along the top of the trampoline (as useful and fun as they are they are ugly so I am hoping for it to be covered with pretty pink flowers) not noticing that it had got much darker and considerably cooler! The apple tree is full of blossom this year, maybe this is the year we have a good crop of apples!
Health and wellbeing

We normally go to France in the May half term but our friend is undergoing treatment for brain tumours so it will be too much, but all is not lost as I will be flying out to Bordeaux for a few days next month to hold her hand. When Charch my schoolfriend and the inspiration for my bonkers Husky Trail was very poorly we used to turn up in Cardiff with gifts and she particularly liked the knitted bed socks and Niki McGlynn’s Warming Balm so I will be taking some of that for Mme Cholet. I’ll also be taking some Dairy Milk because that’s her absolute favourite, but I wont be eating it as I must knuckle down with my training for my Husky Trail.

Sledging and sleeping in the snow

I can’t believe I have signed up to go on a Husky Trail in Norway next March because I am not what you would call a natural camper, I don’t like being cold and to be honest as lovely as huskies are they are not my favourite so it’s going to be a challenge. Why am I going then? Well, my schoolfriend Charch died last year and in her last few months she was an inspiration to us all, so I am going to Norway for a week without creature comforts and WIFI to raise awareness of the HeadSmart campaign and The Brain Tumour Charity. All joking aside I am really looking forward to it!

Telly

Having said last week that I didn’t watch much telly I seem to have had a telly overload recently and even carried on watching some Teen Beach movie that the children were watching when they walked out of the room. I’ve been glued to Home Fires and practically jumped out of my seat squealing when my cousin came on the screen. I also shot out of my seat watching Enfield Haunting, but I still watched it. I’ve got a big huge pile of ironing to get through and have a load of stuff on the planner so I will look forward to that. No really I will!

Food and drink

I met up with my friend Naomi Slade the Horticultural Journalist and author of The Plant Lovers Guide to Snowdrops last week over at The Blackbird Cafe in Bucklebury where we enjoyed a fair few coffees and a cake, she kindly gave me a bottle of Dr Grandad’s Apple Juice which is delicious and went down very easily. I have also been making cakes for my hungry lot and as I always take one in to the studio when I am on BBC Radio Berkshire I have been making lots of lemon drizzle and chocolate cake. The children often ask me to make Welsh Cakes so out comes the hot stone and as quickly as they are made they children devour them. I now know why my mother in law bakes when there’s no one else in the house!

Out and about

I have really enjoyed seeing lots of photos on Social Media of people’s walks and bluebell woods. There really is no other smell like it and the sight of the bluebells is enchanting. I have also been plotting our NGS and National Trust visits, I do love nosing around gardens and old houses, but for me there’s no place like home!

Birthday Meal with thanks to Wellington Farm Shop

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I’m a big fan of farm shops, delicatessens and small independent shops and regularly hop across the county border to Wellington Farm Shop to meet up with friends, browse the shelves or pick up delicious ingredients.  With a box of ingredients from Wellington Farm Shop I made Pheasant Casserole which went down well.  A few weeks ago I was given a box of produce by them to whip up a feast and as it was Big Welsh’s birthday I chose his favourite pudding as well as a dish I had eaten at friends the weekend before and my favourite Lemon Drizzle Cake (oh what do you mean it’s his birthday and he chooses the cake?).

Regular readers will know that I don’t always follow the recipe but I do follow the ingredients list and then take it from there, this method stood me in good stead for the Mango Curry dish I was going to make as I only knew what the ingredients were as I wandered into the kitchen whilst they were being unpacked!

Shopping List : chicken breasts, onions, leeks, coriander, Creme fraîche, mango chutney, fresh mango, rice, salad, eggs, sugar, vanilla pod/essence, strawberries, raspberries, single cream, mint garnish, flour, sugar and lemons

My box of goodies was handed over and I headed home to whip up a feast, not before having a cappuccino in the cafe!

Mango Curry (made up from memory)

Ingredients: chicken breasts (cut into strips or chunks or kept whole – up to you), onions, leeks, (chopped), coriander, creme fraîche, mango chutney, fresh mango, butter or oil for frying

Fry onions and leeks in butter or oil with garlic, then gently fry chicken.  While that’s doing its thing mix all the creme fraîche with chopped up coriander and mango chutney, how much chutney is personal preference but I spooned in 2 tablespoons.

Mix them together and put into an oven proof dish for 30 mins or so.

While that’s cooking boil the rice and prepare the salad.

Shortly before serving add the sliced mango and pop back in the oven to warm whilst you holler for the family.  Serve with rice and salad.

This was just as nice the next day served cold with new potatoes & salad.

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Pavlova

Ingredients: 4 egg whites, 250g caster sugar, Vanilla essence / whipping cream, fruit

Heat the oven to 150degrees/130degrees fan assisted or gas mark 2.

Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks and add vanilla essence, whisk again and slowly add egg whites, I add in an extra teaspoon of sugar for extra gooey pavlova.

Cover a baking tray with baking paper (for your perfect shape draw round a dinner plate on the baking paper), then spoon the mixture making sure the sides are higher than then middle, pop in the oven and wait, patiently!  After an hour take out the pavlova and leave to cool.  Then do your magic with whipped cream and fruit and garnish with mint leaves.  I’ve never known anyone slice a pavlova without making a mess so it normally becomes Eton Mess in our house.

Lemon Drizzle Cake

Ingredients: 225g unsalted butter, softened, 225g caster sugar, 4 eggs, finely grated zest 1 lemon, 225g self-raising flour

Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.  Blend the butter and sugar until smooth, gradually add the eggs – mixing all the time, add the lemon zest and the self raising flour.  Spoon into a greased loaf tin and pop in the oven for 45 minutes.

After 45 minutes take the loaf tin out and leave the cake to cool in the tin.  Mix juice of 1-2 lemons and 85g caster sugar to make drizzle.  Prick the warm cake with a fork or skewer and slowly pour over the sticky citrus drizzle.  The cake will soak up the drizzle juice and the sugar will make the crisp topping.  Leave to completely cool in the tin and then turn out, enjoy the first slice in peace as it won’t last long!

A very big thank you to Wellington Farm Shop for my box of ingredients!