Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Grandma Naylor's meat and potato pie

Grandma Naylor was my Maternal Grandmother and though she had a very limited repertoire of very simple food, she cooked what she did very well, and meat and potato pie (after her Yorkshire puddings) was my favourite.  She was born and brought up in Yorkshire in the north of England and believe this dish is local to the area that she lived in.

It is very plain with no spices no herbs this was the England of mid 20th century, but don't be put off by that it has a wonderful simple clean flavour and well worth making on a cold rainy early winter day. This can be a week night dinner if you start the night before which is what I did.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Spice rubbed pork tenderloin

This is a quick, easy and healthy weeknight dinner, I have had a bit of a gippy stomach since Egypt, so I wanted something that was not too rich or heavy for dinner and I picked up a pork tenderloin this weekend. (You could also use chicken breasts if you had those instead Leah)

Preheat the oven to 350 then mix together the spice rub.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Thanksgiving - Pecan pie

Thursday was American thanksgiving, and though I was born and brought up in England and live in Canada, I don't see that as any reason not to celebrate it.  Luckily I have several American friends, one of whom invites us every year to a wonderful turkey feast.  Everyone brings something, and as it is a traditional holiday and we are traditional people we always bring the same things.  My mission is to bring pies.  Usually I make Pumpkin pie.  (for some of us it is not thanksgiving with out pumpkin pie) and at least one other for non pumpkin pie eaters.

This year I am making pecan pie, and apple blueberry pie.  It was going to be apple pie, but I had less apples than I thought and there were some blueberries in the freezer. The pastry for the apple blueberry pie was the same as for the apple pie I made earlier in the fall, I just mixed some frozen blueberries with the apples and tossed in about 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to thicken some of the juices.  Any way it turned out well and Dov a good friend declared it the best blueberry apple pie he had ever had (I suspect it was the only blueberry apple pie he had ever had but thank you any way) He said he usually found blueberry pie to sweet and sickly and the apples helped cut the sweetness.

Blueberry apple pie
For the pecan pie I used a traditional french pastry Pate Sucre (sugar pastry) this is rich with butter and cuts almost like a shortbread cookie and I think it goes well with Pecan pie.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Egypt a Nile cruise

I was lucky enough to spend 7 days drifting down the Nile with my Father, a woman I have known since I was 5 and she was a new bride and her husband.  We flew to Luxor from London and were picked up by our tour company representative.  Thank heavens I do not know how we would have made it out of the airport to the boat without him.

The Nile cruise boats
The boat was moored along with many others just South of Luxor, we settled into our room and went for dinner.  The food on the boat was about what I had expected, nothing special.  This normally would have been a major problem for me as one of the reasons I enjoy traveling is the food, but this was Egypt the place I had always wanted to go to.

The first day we visited the Valley of the Kings and the Valley of the Queens along with many other tourists in many other buses.  This was my first time on guided trip and though I am not sure how many others I will go on, for Egypt it did make things easier as there were so many people and most of the people working both on the boat and all the tourist destinations had only a rudimentary understanding of English and I have no Arabic.

Hatsheput's temple
On the back side of the Valley of the Kings was Hatsheput's Temple massive and Awe inspiring as were all the temples.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A day in Capri

We had decided that this was the day to go to Capri as the weather was warm and fairly clear, so we climbed down the many, many steps to the harbor and bought 3 two way tickets to Capri, there was a time for our return journey of 3:15, which as we were getting a 9:30 ferry would give us a few hours to poke around the island.

On the ferry to Capri
we were approached by a friendly man offering to show us around the island on a bus promising "free time to shop"  but after a little consideration we turned him down and turned out to be very glad that we did.

We walked down the same sea wall the that the cars used to drive on to the ferries with. BC Ferries would be horrified, then went to find a cafe to relax and watch the people go by.

Very good very expensive Cappuccino

Monday, November 22, 2010

Barbecued lamb

First night back in London from Italy Jacky's husband (from New Zealand) volunteered to barbecue a leg of lamb for dinner, this is his speciality and I was really looking forward to it.  We decided to make an appetizer using the buffalo mozzarella and lemon oil that we had bought in Italy.  And as we still had celeriac left over from last week we thought we would make a variation on the previous weeks side dish using sweet potato and regular potato along with the celeriac.

This was a meal made with whatever we found in the house.  O happy day when you find fresh buffalo Mozzarella from Italy in your fridge.

We had a whole leg of lamb which Jacky studded with garlick and surrounded with beautiful fresh rosemary from the garden, then wrapped in foil and baked in a medium oven for 40 minutes.

ready to bake
After the lamb was baked Howard (Jacky's husband) took it outside to their built in wood fired barbecue where he had readied the fire so that the wood was mostly burned down to charcoal.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Another Evening in Sorrento

We had had a good drive down the coast, came back to the hotel had a bottle of wine that we had got at the super market (not great) and contemplated where to go for dinner. Having not come to a decision we went down below the central square and sniffed out something that looked good.  It was getting late about 9:00 and we were not too hungry so just wanted something light.

We found a place in a piazza that we could sit outside and watch the world go by.  Candy ordered a salad that though it was not called a salad nicoise  in fact was.  Jacky ordered an omelet and I ordered a seafood salad. But before our meal arrived we received a free pizza bread.  It was like a pizza base with a brucshetta topping, another thing I like to try when I get home.  We all loved it and ate it though we were not that hungry,

free bruschetta bread

Drifting down the Nile

Currently drifting down the Nile with very limited very expensive internet.

Beautiful weather beautiful views not so good food, but you can not get everything.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Amalfi coast

After a morning of shopping (mostly window shopping) in Sorrento, we decided to take a drive up the Amalfi coast.  This was something that I had really been wanting to do as I heard it was very beautiful and I was not disappointed.

We set off around the coast road, the sun came out for a while and it was stunning.  Again I was really glad Jacky was driving, as the roads were very twisty and the Italians were driving like no one else was on the roads again.

We drove for an hour or so and then started looking for somewhere for lunch. We stopped at a place on the side of the road to look at some pottery and there was a restaurant down the side of the cliff.  So we went on down and found we were the only diners, again we worried about the food and again in vain.

we ordered the a pizza to share and mixed meat and cheese again as we had enjoyed it so much the night before.  The pizza was we all agreed the best pizza we had ever had.

The best pizza ever
The topping was mushroom and pancetta with fresh mozzarella it was fabulous and the crust was thin but not too thin.

meats and cheese
the mixture of meats and cheese were good but not as good as the night before.

After we had eaten we continued down the coast after buying some of the wonderful lemon oil that was served with the bread, I can't wait to use it at home.

As we were setting back along the coast road the sun set and gave us quite a show.

The sun setting over the Amalfi coast 

An evening in Sorrento

We blew in to Sorrento (literally) at about 5:30 and checked in to our hotelHotel Antichemura. We were situated right in the central square the room was  quite large and pleasant with one very large bed and one single bed. It was a little more than the hotel in Pompeii but worth it as we were spending 3 night here. Though we did pay for internet it was so desperately slow that it was impossible to upload pictures for the blog so my plans of writing up each night were thwarted.

The concierge made a reservation at restaurant Filippo they even sent a driver to pick us up, so we were a little nervous that we might be set up for a tourist trap.  But in fact the restaurant was great, good atmosphere and wonderful food.  We started with tuna carpaccio and assorted meats and cheese, and eggplant Parmesan.

Tuna carpaccio
We were all blown away with the tuna carpaccio it was  very fresh and served on a bed of arugula with generous amounts of lemon squeezed on it.  It was probably one the best dishes of the holiday.

Saturday, November 13, 2010


We were staying at Hotel Diana in Pompeii which was very centrally located and was extremely reasonable at 85.00 euro about $119.00 for the three of us. Not luxurious but clean and pleasant with a beautiful garden with lemon trees in it had the weather been better we would have breakfast out there.

The day started out well, warm and not raining. Unfortunately we got up too late for the breakfast at the hotel, but they kindly brought the most delicious croissant and cappuccino from the bar.  We then headed out to find Pompeii which we were assured was only 5 minutes walk from the hotel.  Well if you didn't make any wrong turns and jogged it might have been.

As soon as we entered the gates we were offered a guided tour which we decided to take up.  For an hour we were shown the best parts of Pompeii including almost complete houses, the amphitheatre and shops. Soon after our tour finished the rain started to come down but we continued around in the wind and rain and toured the remainder of the site it is quite amazing and far larger than I imagined.
Lost in Pompeii
Walking around rainy Pompeii

Fountain in Pompeii

Found a roman kitchen

So after all this culture and weather we needed some lunch and headed to a restaurant not too far from the entrance, always a bit of a bad sign.  But beggars can't be choosers and we wanted to have lunch before driving to Sorrento so in we went.

The walls of the restaurant

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


Stuck in Sorrento (there are worse places to be stuck) with out a decent internet connection, so I can not upload any photographs.  Weather is gradually getting better and better and the food for the most part has been wonderful.

Back to full internet on Saturday.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Potato, celeriac and fennel side dish

Whilst enjoying my peaceful evening in front of the fire on my first night in England I came accross this on a cooking show on The Cooking network UK it sounded like just the thing to go with roast pork on Sunday.

A short list of ingredients and little prep time just my kind of recipe, let the ingredients speak for themselves.  I think fennel and celeriac are both much underrated vegetables and this is a wonderful way to use them.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Simple English dinner

I arrived in England mid afternoon and my school friend Jacky kindly picked me up at Heathrow. She and her family were abandoning me for the evening as they had a prior engagement. (this is something only a friend who has known you since were 9 could do.) So I was on my own for dinner

We stopped at waitrose to pick up my supplies, I wanted to have something not easily available in Canada as well as pick up some twiglets and scotch eggs. I found in the fish section something that I loved as a child that I called "yellow fish" this is in fact smoked haddock. So I decided on that and got some interesting looking potatoes (there are so many more varieties easily available here) There was also some purple sprouting broccoli which looked very interesting.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Roast chicken and pasta

Recovering from jet lag so this is the last meal in Canada.

This is a recipe adapted from one by Jaques Pepin, he described this as a dish his mother would make and it is a favourite in my house too. Normally I would not have time to cook this after work as it takes at least 1 1/2 to roast a good size chicken, fortunately (for this any way) I have a son at home that could put the chicken in the oven at 4, so when I got home at 6 it was beautifully cooked.

Feeds a family of 4 with lunch for one the next day.

Friday, November 5, 2010


Well I have not even left the ground yet to fly to London and already major disaster.  Just coming off the the Canada line and dragging my luggage down the ramp I suddenly felt something around my ankles I looked down it was my skirt!!!!!  Thank God I had a long coat on, nevertheless I had to muster what ever dignity I had and pulled it up, of course while convulsing with laughter.

Well this looks like its going to be a good trip stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Mushroom ragout

One of my husbands favourite foods is mushrooms. So since I am about to take off and abandon him for over two weeks and fresh mushrooms are everywhere at this time of year  I thought I would make mushroom ragout.

I bought a container of chantrelle mushrooms and another with a mixture including portabello and oyster as well as the more common button mushrooms.

This recipe is quick and simple and just shows off the wonderful flavour of the mushrooms.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Comfort food at its best - Cassoulet

Earlier in the week I was bemoaning the lack of time for a long slow cooked meal, well Sunday night my craving was sated with the wonderful french Cassoulet. Though the sun was shining you could feel winter in the air and it is just a matter of days until all the trees are bare. Also it was Halloween so I felt like Cooking the ultimate in slow cooked dish.

The autumn leaves soon to be just a memory

This is a dish from the south west of france where it is a way of life and there are probably as many recipes for it as there are cooks cooking it. In fact every time I make it, it is a little different, changes made based on meats, sausages and beans available.  So I will write up how I cooked it this time with some suggestions for other variations.

These quantities served 8 of us and there was enough for lunch for one left over.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Saturday night in Seattle at Tulio

After an exhausting day of shopping, tasting and being over stimulated by the sights and sounds of Pike place Market we headed back to Kathleen's hotel, which was close by, for a glass of wine to recuperate and to discuss dinner plans.

A fish watching me at Pike place market

Due to lack of planning  we find our selves yet again with out reservations, but Kathleen's husband suggested Tulio Restaurant where he had eaten the night before.  He was not joining us as he had a late lunch.  A quick call to the concierge and a booking was made with a enough time left for another glass of wine.

Tulio's was just a couple of blocks away, which was good as the heavens had opened. We waited for a little while in the hotel lobby as we were little to eager and arrived a little too early.

We had a table right next to the open kitchen, always my favourite place to sit.

We started with a couple of salads which were good but not memorable, Connie and I shared arugula with crisp pancetta and hard boiled egg.  It was pleasant and I was glad I had it as my main course did not come with any vegetables

I know it is a little hazy, but frankly I think we all look a little better that way