Ullapool

Seems like my entire family have visited in the past few weeks.  Been great but not left much time for this space.  Will post a fantastic and super simple tomato soup recipe tomorrow(ish).  Until then, here’s a shot from a road trip to Ullapool last week.

Blue Cheese Butter

It’s a simple thing but it’s a wonderful thing.

Just mash up one part soft salted butter and one part strong blue cheese. Roll into a sausage shape in clingfilm then chill.  Cut off slices and use as you please.

I like it spread generously on rye bread with tomato soup;

oozing into baked potatoes;

or melting gently over sirloin steak.

Spaniels, Rod Stewart and Meatballs

I’ve had an absolutely cracking weekend.  For starters, my bestest friend Genna and her spaniels (Rufus and Zack) were around for the whole weekend – always wonderful.

We also had the first (last?) warm days of my summer holiday and spent every moment of it outside walking, eating, drinking and watching the pups play.

And, finally, we went to see Rod Stewart in concert at Caley Stadium on Saturday night and had an absolute blast dancing and singing like idiots to all his cheesy hits.

It’s now raining, I’m tired and I’m covered in bruises from playing with the dogs and dancing into various objects.  Still smiling happily to myself though.

Here’s what we ate on Saturday evening to prepare us for the night ahead.  The best meatballs I have ever made, no competition at all.  :)

Meatballs in Tomato Sauce (adapted from Bill Granger)

Serves 4 generously

For the meatballs:

500g minced beef

1 onion, very finely chopped or whizzed in a food processor

Handful of finely chopped parsley

Handful of finely chopped coriander

1 tspn paprika

1 tspn cumin

Pinch cayenne pepper (optional)

1 egg

1 cup of breadcrumbs

1 tpsn salt

1/2 tspn pepper

Tomato sauce – I like this recipe for fresh tomatoes or this one for tinned (doubled).

400g pasta – I used rigatoni

  • Mix together all of the meatball ingredients and shape into small balls (about half the size of a golf ball).  If possible, chill overnight to let the flavours combine.
  • Heat the tomato sauce until it’s not quite simmering but occasionally plipping and plopping.
  • Heat some olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium high heat and brown the meatballs in batches.  Once browned add to the tomato sauce and cook gently for an hour, partially covered with a lid so the sauce doesn’t lose too much moisture.
  • Cook the pasta in plenty of salted boiling water until al dente, drain and add to the meatballs and tomatoes.
  • Serve with Parmesan cheese and a green salad.

Sanctuary

This afternoon we visited David’s colleague, Winona, at her home on the Black Isle.  I say “her” home but she shares it not only with her husband, Bill, but with twelve dogs, twenty-two horses, a whole bunch of cats and countles chickens.  The vast majority of these animals have been rescued from circumstances which I cannot bear to write about but are now living safely and very, very happily with this big hearted couple.

It was a slightly crazy but utterly wonderful afternoon.  I did try to cut down on the amount of photos on this post but, really, who could I leave out???

The couple are setting up an Adopt-a-Horse/Dog scheme at the moment to help fund their sanctuary.  The website is still a work in progress but can be found here.  Will let you know when it’s fully up and running.  They would greatly appreciate any help you could offer.

Krakow

This week I travelled to I travelled to Poland with sixteen teenage history students and then I moved house.  Both were very exciting; both were lots of fun and both were physically and emotionally exhausting.  The moving is an ongoing affair but I have photos of the trip to share with you.

Shall post them in the order I saw them.  :)