Ben Wyvis

I climbed my third Munro (Scottish hill over 3000  feet/914 metres) this morning.  Well, actually, it was only my second but Ben Resipol is only 228 ft off and it was bloody difficult.  Surely the fact that it felt like it was a Munro counts?   Yes?  Good.  Anyway, Ben Wyvis is the nearest hill to us and is the landmark we see each morning on our way to and from work.  It was about time we climbed it.

 

P.S. See you all in a week’s time.  I’m off to Dublin for a wee break.

Crowdie Stuffed Mushrooms

Crowdie is a soft, light cheese made locally in Ardersier.  I love its slightly lemony tang and how versatile it is too.  Recently I’ve used it to make a raspberry cheesecake, canneloni and stuffed mushrooms.   The latter  is perhaps my favourite and has been eaten alongside lots of crunchy salad leaves for lunch this summer.

Crowdie Stuffed Mushrooms

(serves 2)

4 field mushrooms

1 small clove of garlic, crushed

1 tblspn chopped parsley

2 tblspn breadcrmbs

3 heaped tblspn Crowdie (or cream cheese if Crowdie is not available)

Olive oil

  • Preheat the oven to 180 oC.
  • In a small bowl mix together the crowdie, parsley, garlic, and most of the breadcrumbs.  Season to taste.
  • Cut the stalks out of the mushrooms and add a dollop of cheese mixtre to the centre of each mushroom.  Sprinkle with remaining breadcrumbs and brush or spray very lightly with olive oil
  • Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes until the mushrooms are soft and the breadcrumbs are golden.

Aberdeen

Aberdeen gets a bad rap.  True, it’s not as pretty as Edinburgh and it doesn’t have the buzz of Glasgow.  It’s also quite possibly the coldest place on Earth when the wind picks up (as it often does) and on a dull day when you are surrounded by granite and beneath a slab of sky it can feel like you’re walking in a concrete box.  But it’s a town I know well – I was brought up just outside the city limits – and I have a great amount of affection for it.  The buildings are a mixture of grand and quaint, the seagulls are bold, the pies are fantastic and on a blue sky day that grey, grey granite sparkles gently in the sun.

Managed to snap a few photos of  Aberdeen yesterday between lunch with a friend and an opticians appointment.  They aren’t great and they’re of a limited area but they’ll give you an idea of what the town is like.  :)

The second last photo is of the tattie pie that I bought from the Auld Toon Bakery for my lunch.  The final photo is of the bird that pecked it from out of my hands as I walked down the High Street then devoured it before my eyes.

Greedy gull. 

Summer Pizza

An idea for a summery, Greek-inspired pizza.  Light, fresh and exceptionally tasty.  I just can’t stop making this just now.  :)

Summer Pizza

BaseSee flatbread recipe here.  When rolling out the dough, however, use semolina rather than flour to dust the surface.  To ensure a crispy base without a stone oven, I like to bake the base in a very hot oven for a couple of minutes before adding the tomato sauce and toppings.

Tomato SauceSaute a small onion in olive oil until soft.  Add a garlic clove and cook for another minute before adding 4 very ripe, chopped tomatoes.  Cook gently for an hour or so until thick and jammy.  Add some torn basil.

ToppingsCrumbled feta, capers, olives,, halved cherry tomatoes and a sprinkling of thyme.  Add rocket when pizza comes out of the (still very hot) oven.

Book 2

 

 Just finished reading A Fine Balance by Rohinton Mistry.  Set in 1970’s India during a time of horrific political and civil turmoil, the novel explores the relationship between four characters of great differing backgrounds (geographically, culturally and economically).  The title of the book comes from an idea discussed by two passengers on a train, that the key to life is balancing hope with despair no matter how awful one’s situation.  It’s a beautiful idea, especially when illustrated by the heartbreaking tragedies and injustices of the characters’ lives and their continued labours to improve their lives.

A captivating but shattering read. 

Flatbread

The lovely summer pizza recipe and more-ish lamb kofta recipe I’d like to share in the next week or so requires a base of (preferably) freshly made flatbread.  The same ridiculously easy, absolutely fool-proof flatbread that I promised to post a recipe for weeks ago and never ever did.  Here it is – better late than never. 

Flatbread (makes 4)

1/2 tspn dry active yeast

200ml warm water

250 g pasta flour (a mix of durum and white flour) or strong white flour

1/2 tspn salt

Olive oil

Optional – sesame seeds

  • Whisk the yeast with the warm water.  Set aside for 15 minutes until begining to froth.  Stir again briefly.
  • Sift half of the flour and all of the salt into the bowl and stir to make a ragged dough.
  • Tip dough onto floured surface and gradually knead in the rest of the flour.  Knead for 10 minutes until dough is stiff but smooth.
  • Place in a lightly oiled bowl and turn until dough has a thin film of oil all over.  Cover with a plastic bag and put in a warm place for 1.5 hours.
  • Heat oven to 250 oC.  Split dough into four pieces.  Take one piece and roll out on a floured surface into a very thin circle.  Sprinkle with sesame seeds if desired and roll in.  Place dough circle on baking paper and bake in the middle of the oven for approximately 7 minutes or until the bread puffs up like a balloon and has just a few spots of golden brown.
  • Repeat until all the dough is used up.