Tag Archives: Wine tasting descriptors

Sweet Potato love

21 Jul

Sweet potato love

“Sweet potato is a tuberous crop and its plant is a creeper with heart shaped or lobed leaves.” Isn’t that a sign? Heart shaped leaves? Of course it is! This lovely little fellow might as well shoot little hearts out at you! It has so many great benefits that I cant include it here in my writing, otherwise you will be reading forever! A while back I went to the Gourmet Burger with the hubby – two for one, we can’t help ourselves ;-p To the point really, I decided to enjoy a slightly different burger and had a chorizo and sweet potato burger. Now my friends, of course by now you know, when it comes to eating, I don’t want the old boring, traditional thing. To me when something sounds nice, it should taste nice and my oh my, sweet potato and chorizo are a match made in heaven!!

How can you resist all that soft, sweet love! Just another example that “beauty is in the eye of beholder” or in this case, the taster ;-p Not that a sweet potato is particularly beautiful, suppose if you are into that rustic kind of thing, it might well be. ;-p Anyhow, I remember when I was little my mother would take a few sweet potatoes, wrap them in foil and place them in the oven. I never particularly wanted to eat them. I thought something that ugly and misshapen couldn’t possibly taste nice! However, when I saw my father eating it out of its skin after it was cooked to perfection, I wanted it! Since I can remember, the food he ate and enjoyed created this content expression on his face. Now how did that help anything? I’ll tell you, it made me eat my veggies! However, I never quite enjoyed it the way my dad did. When he ate veggies, it almost looked as if he was savouring a delicious, creamy chocolate! Maybe that was his special trick? Who knows, it worked!

Ever since, as the years went by, I started to love the sweet potato more and more! This is where I can start talking in my “bubba shrimp” voice from Forrest Gump – you can have sweet potato mash, sweet potato fries, sweet potato wedges, sweet potato pie, sweet potato fritters…. and I can go on and on. It is possible that something so ugly can turn into something so irresistible! Totally gobsmacked! After weeks of rain and dark, dreary miserable weather, I need my sweet potato! I am going to follow the route of my inspiration for this dish – The Gourmet Burger. However, I will make a warm chorizo and sweet potato salad, and let me tell you my friends; you will be coming back for more!! What is there to feel guilty about?

Now, I know my dad loves a sweet potato….so what would ultimately make his day besides, a sneaky, special delivery from Torino chocolates in town? He is a big fan of Spanish, Italian and French cured sausages and meat. If he could sit down to this, I am sure that when he closed his eyes he would start imagining himself in a Italian marketplace somewhere with Italians screaming at each other, children eating warm, freshly baked pastries and a few Italians singing while lazily strumming a guitar. Dad, this one is for you. Maybe,one day, soon, we will do this and all of us can turn our faces to the warm sun and enjoy a crisp glass of White Italian wine

Warm chorizo & sweet potato salad 

1 big, long chorizo sausage/ 4 small chorizo sausages cut in slices

3 sweet potatoes, cut in wedges, preboiled for 10 minutes

125g cherry tomatoes, halved

1 onion, finely sliced

2 courgettes, sliced in medium wedges

1 handful of french beans

olive oil for frying

ground cumin to sprinkle

Salt & pepper to taste

1 teaspoon of sugar

Balsamic glaze

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celsius. Place your sweet potatoes on a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Sprinkle with cumin and season with salt and pepper. Put in the oven for 20 minutes. While these are cooking, drizzle a bit of olive oil in a heated frying pan and add your courgettes and green beans. Cook until tender, but still firm and add your chorizo slices.

They will release lovely juices. Cook until the juices are released. Flavour with salt to taste. Now, in a seperate small frying pan, add olive oil and fry your onions over a low heat. They must start caramelizing slightly, soft, but lightly browned.

Now add your cherry tomatoes. Fry until the tomatoes start realeasing a little bit of their juice and season with salt. Now add your teaspoon of sugar and mix well. Remove your sweet potato from the oven.

Squish them slightly with a fork. Place them in your plate. Plate the tomato and onion mixture on top of the sweet potato. Finally, top off with your vegetable chorizo mix.

Drizzle with a little bit of balsamic glaze and enjoy!

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Butternut & Aubergine lasagne

10 Feb

A rainy and well known, dull day in London today as described by the  Britons. Cold. One of those days when you just want to eat pasta! So, while working, I started to get the idea in my head that I wanted to go and get myself a big pasta lunch! No!!!! Have to save money for the holiday..save…. money!! So instead, while chewing on a dry crackerbread with marmite (exiting, isn’t it), I let my mind wander for something nice,tasty and warm that I could make.

I didn’t feel like making a plain pasta, I wanted something different. I wanted butternut, but just thinking about the peeling and chopping ( and losing some fingers) I felt even more tired already! However, just  thinking about the pure bliss I will experience while eating this lovely, hearty dish, I pushed myself forward to the peeling and chopping I will be doing when I arrive home. So, after getting stuck in the train again (emergency alarm is what they call it now) I really needed a happy meal! Luckily not in the unhealthy sense of Mcdonalds, but not entirely healthy either. So, here we go.

Butternut & Aubergine Lasagne

1 Aubergine, cut in thin circle discs  (salted to sweat and washed)

3/4 of a butternut, peeled and cut into chunks

Olive oil

3 teaspoons crushed garlic

2 onions, roughly chopped

1 handful of mushrooms, roughly chopped

1 or 1/2 pack of bacon, cut into medium pieces with scissors

1/2 cup white wine

250ml cream / soya cream

125ml milk

cumin

paprika

salt & pepper

2 sprigs of fresh rosemary, tear the leaves off the sprig

2 teaspoons of mixed herbs

grated cheese

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius. Boil some water in a saucepan and tip in your butternut. Cook it until soft, but still firm. While this is cooking, heat a frying pan and drizzle with some olive oil and garlic. Fry the onions until glassy an add the mushrooms and bacon. Season with salt.  Check on the butternut, it should be semi cooked, but still firm. Drain.  Add the mixed herbs to the onion and mushroom mixture and mix through. When the bacon is cooked through, pour in your white wine. Let it simmer for about 5 minutes and remove from the heat.

Now grease an oven proof dish. Put in one layer of lasagne sheets. Place your butternut on the sheets and spread them out. You can squash them slighty. Sprinkle with cumin and loose leaves of rosemary. Grind over black pepper. Add another layer of lasagne sheets. Now layer the bacon and mushroom mixture over the lasagne sheets. Layer with lasagne sheets again. Mix the cream and milk together.Now pour over the lasagne sheets. Cover with your aubergine discs as the last layer. Sprinkle with paprika. Now cover it with your grated cheese. Cook in the oven for 45 – 50 minutes. Allow to stand for about 10 minutes after removing from the oven.

Now, if you have fresh salad greens in your fridge, it goes beautifully with your lasagne. However, I came home late, only had green peppers in the fridge and was too lazy and tired to make salad! Yes I know, but sometimes I have to rest too! Did I mention while the lasagne was in the oven I folded and packed away all the washing and unpacked the dishes from dishwashing machine? Yup! So that’s why there is no salad ;-p  Enjoy! xxxx

My lazy thursday ;-p

27 Jan

so….. It is interesting that my blog entries seem to start more or less the same way – I am exhausted. On the way home on the train, I was reading the paper – there was an article about Londoners being so busy just trying to get somewhere, anywhere with the train and how commuting takes up so much of your time and energy. I am here to say that it is the truth. Therefore, when it is dark and freezing, you need something to look forward to. My little silver lining has always been cooking.. even though I am tired. Tonight however, the hubby had a team night out with his colleagues = no cooking = can’t cook for one = lazy dinner. Did I also mention it is my hero’s birthday today… yes.. my dad!! Ironically.. I had a little treat in the cupboard so that I can “share” his birthday with him here on the other side of the world. This entry is proudly sponsored by my mom, because she sent me All Gold Whole Green Figs in Syrup.

Everything is built around this delicacy of mine!! I absolutely love it, just like my dad!! He would secretly hide this little jar of beauty far away in the back of the fridge… I always found it though 🙂  So.. back to business.. since I always have various cheeses in my fridge.. you can guess what I had for dinner!! My man would never be happy just to have cheese for supper, so this is the only reason why I had this little piece of heaven 🙂 I took the cheese out of the fridge so that it is not too cold – cheese tastes best when it is room temperature… eaten with love and passion  ;-p   I took a few biscuits, placed it on a wooden board, along with Brie cheese, smoked chorizo slices and also another favourite of my dad’s – Roquefort Blue Cheese.  The grand finale – Whole Green Figs in syrup!! As a lady.. I should enjoy it with a lovely crisp, dry white wine… but there was an ice cold Duvel Beer in the fridge simply staring at me!! It has a soft, silky, caramel taste.. but not too dry either. As my husband always says – “Beeeeeaaaaaaaaauuuuutiful!!  I hope my dad had a wonderful birthday!! I miss him so much and I know, that as always, my mom has spoiled him rotten! Love you mom and dad xxxxxxx