Emma made these muffins, based on this recipe. One of the comments on the original post mentions how vague a 'large courgette' is as an ingredient. Since we had an enormous 'almost marrow' in the fridge, we thought that might be a bit too big. We didn't have any sun-dried tomatoes left but yesterday we bought a huge bowl of cherry tomatoes from the market so I cut some of those in half and put them in the oven for a few hours.
For this years Heritage Open Days, we visited a few places in Coventry and Kenilworth, choosing places we hadn't been to before. We went to a few places in Coventry on saturday. Although we had been to Kenilworth quite a few times, we had never actually been to Abbey Fields, so we went there on the sunday.
Click on the thumbnail to view the image
We took a short break to Skegness at the weekend, stopping off at a few places on the way there and also on the way back. Since we live in Coventry, which is almost as far from the sea as it's possible to be in England, it was nice to spend some time at the seaside and have a paddle.
Click on the thumbnail to view the image
I was discussing nursery rhymes and similar childrens songs with Emma and we were talking about how we learned slightly different versions of some songs. Neither of us could remember the full words to the song I'm a little teapot so I decided to look them up. Our tablet computer was nearby so I used that, clicking on the voice search and saying the name of the song.
I was a little surprised by some of the suggestions and had to search the old fashioned way, by typing the words instead. When I tried the search using my phone, it correctly recognized what I was saying.
I really have no idea what the computer thought I was saying.
We were back in Birmingham today so we paid a visit to Woktastic, which we go to occasionally when we're in the city centre. We always have the all you can eat sushi and every now and then they introduce different types of sushi.
The change this time was the introduction of deep fried sushi. I don't know how long they have been serving this since it's been a while since we were last there. Part of me thinks that deep fried sushi is such a bad idea and goes against the simple and healthy image of sushi. Another part of me thinks that if a food is worth eating, it is worth deep frying.
I was discussing food with one of my colleagues in work and I remembered that we had some chopped spinach in the freezer which we had bought a couple of months ago but haven't used yet. When I got home and mentioned this to Emma, she looked for recipes and found Spiced chickpeas with halloumi. She described the recipe to me then I went into the kitchen to start cooking our version. At this stage I hadn't actually read the original recipe.
I started by slicing and frying one red pepper and one orange pepper. I then added a sliced onion, a couple of cloves of garlic, 3 small chilli peppers, and a level teaspoon of dried ginger. I stirred everything together then left it for a few minutes for the veg to soften.
I sliced the halloumi and left it on a piece of kitchen roll to remove excess water while I drained one can of chick peas and added them to the pan then added a handful of the chopped spinach. I then fried the halloumi in a separate pan.
The meal was rather spicy (Emma actually added the chillies and 3 seemed like a reasonable number - we didn't realise the original only called for 1) and I couldn't really taste the ginger, so next time I might reduce the chilli and increase the ginger. For a less vegetarian version, we could also add some shredded chicken to the chickpeas
This year we seem to have a house full of chilli plants. There are several on the windowsills in both the upstairs and downstairs front rooms. The upstairs chilli plants get a bit more sunlight during the day and were the first to start to ripen.
This afternoon I noticed there were 3 bright red chillies so I harvested them to add to our regular saturday night pizza. They seem to have a decent amount of heat and flavour. There are a lot of green unripe chillies on the plants so it looks like it might be a good chilli harvest this year.
This recipe happened because we were lucky enough to find 2 large smoked cod fillets reduced from £10 to £2 in the supermarket. I had some home-made pesto in the fridge, leftover from our regular saturday pizza night. The puff pastry was bought ready-rolled.
The cod pieces were quite large at nearly 300g each. We decided that we had to eat both tonight since fish really doesn't keep very well.
The pesto sauce was made using home-grown basil and watercress, olive oil, pine nuts, cheddar cheese and cream cheese. It was spread onto the fish immediately before the the pastry was folded over the top and sealed with some beaten egg.
The fish parcels were baked for about 25-30 minutes at gas mark 5.
The Ricoh Arena has been temporarily renamed the City of Coventry Stadium and is hosting some of the Olympic football matches.
Mexico v Gabon
It looks like, at long last, the almost continuous rain has ended and summer has arrived. The garden is growing again, and some courgettes seem to have appeared on one of our plants almost overnight.
When I left work this evening, it was a bit toasty in the car. The thermometer actually measures the temperature underneath the car rather than inside but I can easily believe that it was over 40c, since the car is practically a mobile greenhouse. The temperature originally read 42c when I first got in but by the time I got my phone out to take a photo, it had dropped a degree.
My search for new uses for sourdough starter continues and my latest attempt is crumpets. I like crumpets but they are one of those things which we rarely buy. This recipe is based on one from the Sourdough Companion website but I halved the quantities.
I started by weighing out 100g of plain flour and added ½ a cup of my sourdough starter. I added approximately 130ml of water, about 25g of sugar and half a teaspoon of salt. All this was whisked together and left for a few hours to start to bubble.
I poured the batter into a mould in a frying pan (on a low heat) and cooked each crumpet for a few minutes, trying to turn them over just before the bubble started to collapse.
It took about 10 minutes to cook each crumpet, so it certainly doesn't count as fast food. The mixture made about 10 thin crumpets.
We served them with a variety of toppings, including locally produced honey (pictured above) and peanut butter. The flavour was good but the texture was a little soft inside. It was an interesting experiment but I'll probably just buy crumpets the next time I want some.
Tonight's tea came about because Emma bought some dressed crab during her trip into the city centre this afternoon. I started off by thinking that crab goes well with both chilli and basil. I originally considered crab and chilli pasta with a basil oil drizzled on top. I then thought I like crabcakes but haven't had any for a while. Tea then became crabcakes (flavoured with onion, chilli and garlic) served with noodles and a basil oil.
Emma suggested spätzle instead of noodles so we arrived at the third and final iteration of tea:
The dressed crab was in a tub with brown crabmeat mixed with mayonnaise at the bottom and white crabmeat with chopped hard boiled egg on top. I mixed it together with 2 finely chopped chillies and 2 sliced garlic cloves. I then added a beaten egg and enough breadcrumbs to bind everything together.
I shaped the crabcakes into small 'burgers' and coated them in cornmeal. I fried them in a little oil for 10-15 minutes while I prepared the spätzle.
While the spätzle cooked I fried 1 sliced medium in a little oil until it had softened. We had a small amount of cooked chicken leftover in the fridge so I added that too.
I shredded a handful of basil leaves and grated about 100g of cheese and set them aside for later.
When the spätzle was cooked, I drained it then mixed in the onion, shredded chicken, shredded basil and half the cheese. The rest of the cheese was sprinkled on top.
Some of the fruit and veg stalls at Coventry market sell bowls of fruit and veg for £1. We occasionally buy things like bowls of peppers but this morning we decided to also get a bowl of fennel. Now this is a vegetable which we occasionally buy from the supermarket but then it's only 1 bulb at a time. This time we have 5 bulbs of the stuff to use so we're going to need to be a bit creative.
We have a pizza book which has dozens of different recipes for toppings and sauces. One was a fennel sauce which has diced onion, fennel and garlic which is fried then simmered in tomato sauce. We gave that a go and topped it with salmon, anchovies and capers. And cheese of course. I might try it again if we find ourselves with excess fennel again.
Yesterday Emma bought some smoked mackerel from the supermarket in the city centre. I was looking for a suitable recipe which could be made using items we had in the kitchen. I found a recipe which looked promising. The only thing I didn't have was olives, so I left them out. I also decided to cook it in a pan instead of in the oven.
I started by frying some onion and garlic in a bit of olive oil until they softened. I then added a glass of red wine and boiled it for a couple of minutes before adding a similar amount of chicken stock and half a tin of tomatoes (just the tomatoes, not the juice - I didn't want the sauce to be too runny). I added a pinch of sugar, a couple of tablespoons of capers and a sprig of rosemary and let it simmer while I boiled a pan of rice. We thought a slightly spicy rice might go with it so I cooked the rice in the rest of the chicken stock and added a generous pinch of chilli flakes.
When the rice was nearly cooked, I removed the sprig of rosemary and added the mackerel to the pan. When it was ready to serve, I grated some parmesan to sprinkle on top.
The combination of tomatoes, fish and capers reminded me of a puttanesca sauce. The flavours were fairly intense but well balanced without anything dominating too much. The fish was quite good too, despite being from the supermarket's economy range.