Ginitos

I’m pretty sure a few folk in the Highlands have sore heads this sunny Sunday morning.  And I’m pretty sure I know what’s to blame…

A ginito is a gin based cocktail similar to the classic moquito.  I discovered them a couple of summers ago at the Taste Edinburgh festival where we drank them on the grass under a perfect, blue sky.   Light, refreshing and far, far too quaffable, it’s an absolute cracker of a drink at any time of the year.  Like on a snowy January evening playing Pictionary in front of the fire with friends.  :) 

Ginito

(Per drink)

4 or 5 mint leaves

1 tspn white sugar

1/2 lime

Lots of ice

1 measure of gin

Soda water

Ginger ale

  • Tear up the mint leaves and add to a tall glass with the sugar and lime juice. Stir well, crushing the leaves against the side of the glass to release the minty-ness of the leaves.
  • Add lots of ice to the glass and a measure of gin.
  • Top up glass with 3 parts soda water, one part ginger ale.

Winter Minestrone

Now that we’re reaching the end of January, the days are slowly but surely starting to stretch.  There are hyacinths on my windowsills and I’ve noticed  a few snowdrops starting to push out of the frozen ground.  It’d be easy to believe that spring is almost here but there’s fresh snow in my garden and  I’m still walking Marco in the dark before and after work.  That tells me we have a while to go yet.

One of the bright sides of this is more weeks to make and eat this soup.  Can’t get enough of it just now.  I’ve been making the ham stock version but the veggie version is great too.  Just don’t omit the parmesan rind.  It’s absolutely essential, imho.  :)

Winter Minestrone

(serves 6)

Splash of olive oil

1 onion, chopped

3 rashers of trimmed back bacon (optional)

1 carrot, chopped

2 sticks of celery, chopped

1 fennel bulb, chopped

1/2 small turnip (swede to all you non-Scots – the yellowy one)

Sprig of rosemary, finely chopped

Bay leaf

Tin of tomatoes

1.5 litre ham stock (or vegetable)

1 rind of parmesan

400g tin of haricot or butter beans

100g wholemeal spaghetti

1 head of spring greens, sliced finely

  • Heat the oil in a large, heavy pan.  Add the onion and bacon and cook for 5 mins.  Add the carrot, celery, fennel and turnip and cook over a medium heat for another 10 mins until veg is beginning to soften.
  • Add the bay and rosemary.  Stir well.  Add the tomatoes, ham stock and parmesan rind.  Simmer for 5 mins before adding the spaghetti, beans and greens. 
  • Simmer until the spagetti is cooked.
  • Remove the parmesan rind and serve.

Mushroom Baked Eggs

 

One day I’m going to  follow Christina,  Sophie and Celia’s examples and get some chickens.  They sound like wee characters, they looks amusingly grumpy, I really like the sound of their clucks and, as if all that wasn’t enough, they produce one of my very favourite foods: eggs.

Quite sure I’ve mentioned my love of eggs before.  Truth be told, I eat  far too many of them.  There’s just so much one can do with them!  This is my latest egg-based Saturday lunchtime obsession. 

Mushroom Baked Eggs

1 field mushroom per person, stalk cut out

1 large egg per person

Salt and pepper

Cayenne pepper

  • Preheat oven to 200 oC. 
  • Season inside of mushroom and place in shallow baking dish, gills up.  Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Break egg into a cup.  Remove mushroom from oven and pour egg into the hollow of the egg.  Sprinkle with a little salt and cayenne pepper.
  • Bake for another 10 minutes until the egg white has turned, umm, white and wobbles gently.
  • Serve with something to dunk in the yolk.

Coronation

Something a little different today. 

The above photo was taken in Gartcosh (village near Glasgow that I hail from) in 1953 onthe Queen’s coronation day. The gentleman at the front right of the photo is my grandfather (A.K.A. Gags/Gaga) and the two wee girls behind him are my mum and my aunt. 

I love this photograph.

(Thanks to Aunt Val for providing me with it!)

Cauliflower and Smoked Cheese Soup

Lazy days have come to an abrupt end.  We returned to school yesterday after three weeks of holidays and snow days.  It’s nice to be back but it’s a bit of a shock to the system too. 

I didn’t blog as much as usual during this break.  Not sure why; heavy snow and perishing temperatures meant I wasn’t out of the house much other than walks with Marco (who must have polar bear relatives as the cold and ice don’t bother him in the slightest).   Had lots of free time.  Perhaps the enforced laziness affected my blogging mojo…

The following is a soup that I had lots and lots of times over the holidays.  It’s (again) adapted from a Nigel Slater recipe.  I’ve made it lighter though by omitting the cream and reducing the cheese.  Kept the richness of the soup by adding more milk and using a strong smoked cheese.  The stronger the cheese, the less you need. 

Cauliflower and Smoked Cheese Soup

(serves 4)

1 onion, chopped finely

2 sticks of celery, chopped finely

1 tblspn olive oil

1 head of cauliflower, broken into florets

Milk (approx. 300ml)

Stock (approx. 300ml)

Bay leaf

50g smoked cheese, finely grated

Salt and pepper

  • Saute the onion and celery in the oil until softened.  Add the cauliflower and bay leaf.  Stir to combine.
  • Add equal parts milk and stock until the cauliflower is just covered.  Season.  Bring to almost a simmer and cook gently for 15 minutes or so until the cauliflower is completely soft.
  • Remove the bay leaf and blend until smooth. 
  • Stir through the cheese and reheat gently.  Season to taste.

Feathery Frost

Got a backlog of recipes to share with you but I’m just not in the blogging mood.  Perhaps once I go back to work tomorrow I’ll snap back into it.  Until then I’ll share some photos of the last few days. 

It’s been stunning here recently.  Cold as hell (that’s not right…) but gorgeous nonetheless.

 

Even the barbed wire looks pretty.  :)