Eat well - travel often

Kitchen Talk and Travels

Kitchen Talk and Travels

Eat well - travel often

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Crete: Olea Villas Chania near Loutraki Bay

Crete: Olea Villas Chania near Loutraki Bay

Olea means olive in Greek. To offer an olive branch is to offer the hand of peace. Giving a bowl of olives to a guest at your home or at a restaurant is to welcome them and the owner of the luxury Olea Villas makes sure […]

Recipe for a simple and tasty honey cake

Recipe for a simple and tasty honey cake

Scroll down for the recipe for my simple and tasty honey cake. Years ago I used to have a cafe on the weekends at a local environmental centre. I would make all of my cakes, jams, chutneys and more during the week. One winner was […]

Recipe: Cretan Orange Ice Cream

Recipe: Cretan Orange Ice Cream

Scroll down for my recipe for home made Cretan Orange Ice Cream.

Cretan oranges

On a recent visit to Crete I was lulled by the vastness of the orange groves which seemed to be around every corner. If there weren’t orange groves then there were lemon groves.  I have made Cretan ice cream with one of the oranges I brought back from Crete with me.

Ever since I can remember my perfect house would have a lemon and orange tree in the back garden so I could pick to my heart’s content!

One of the oranges I carried home was used to make an orange and chilli dipping sauce (here is the recipe).  To make this I had to simmer a whole orange in a sugar syrup.  After making the sauce I was left with a lovely orange infused syrup which inspired me to make this ice cream.

I served this delicious ice cream with a rhubarb crumble.  It must have been good – there was absolutely none left!!

 

Cretan orange ice cream

5 from 1 vote
Cretan oranges
Cretan Orange Ice Cream
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
3 hrs
Total Time
3 hrs 20 mins
 

A quick and delicious ice cream made with oranges I brought back from my trip to Crete

Servings: 6
Author: Heidi Roberts
Ingredients
  • 1 large orange
  • 300 ml double cream
  • 300 ml condensed milk
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 1-2 Tbsp orange syrup
  • 1 tsp Cretan orange balsamic nectar optional
Instructions
  1. Whip the double cream until light and fluffy .

    Cretan orange ice cream
  2. In another bowl whip the condensed milk until light and fluffy .

  3. Carefully fold the whipped condensed milk into the whipped cream.

  4. Fold in the orange zest and orange syrup

  5. If using the Cretan orange balsamic nectar fold this in at this stage.

    Cretan orange ice cream
  6. Pour the mixture into a plastic container and freeze for a minimum of two hours.

  7. Before serving take out of the freezer about 5 minutes in advance.

  8. Serve with your favourite pudding or dessert.  I served it with a rhubarb crumble and it went down very well!

    Cretan orange ice cream
This recipe is my own.  All photographs are my own and may not be reproduced in any form without my written permission.

 

 

Nevis: History and a Heritage Trail

Nevis: History and a Heritage Trail

Nevis has a rich history for such a small island and a Heritage Trail. I love the Caribbean islands and each year I am trying to visit one or two new ones.  This year we flew from Grenada via St Kitts taking the short water […]

Recipe: Orange and Chilli Dipping Sauce

Recipe: Orange and Chilli Dipping Sauce

On a recent trip to Crete, at The Botanical Park and Gardens, my fellow blogger Nayna and I were served some of the food we had made at a cooking class earlier. As a garnish on the Maratho Pita (Fennel Pie) was an orange and […]

Crete: Welcome to Crete

Crete: Welcome to Crete

As the wheels of our Norwegian Airline plane touched down on the Greek island of Crete I was so excited to finally be on Greek soil. I was travelling with fellow blogger Nayna of Simply Sensational Food and we were looking forward to getting to know this little island gem.

Chania

The Greek islands hold a mystique of their own going back to ancient Greek mythology and Crete is no exception. It is believed that Crete was the birthplace of Zeus according to Greek mythology.

Crete is the largest of the Greek islands and the fifth largest Mediterranean island.  Chania is a city in the northwest comprising of an Old Town, Venetian harbor and vibrant New Town.  There are many places to stay from international hotels to small local B&Bs.

We stayed about a 10 minute drive from the airport or 20 minute drive from Chania in the Loutraki Bay area. Our villa was set on the side of a hill facing the bay. Olea Villas is a collection of two three bedroom villas, sympathetically constructed with local stones however the epitome of modern architecture.

Olea Villas

If you want to see inside Olea Villa and know more look out for a blog post coming soon!

Chania has an indoor market which is open everyday however Saturday brings the locals into town to sell their home grown fruits, vegetables, herbs, spices, cheeses, honey and so much more.

Walking around this market I felt like a child in a sweet shop. I wanted to buy so much however only being on the island for a week and with so much sightseeing to do coupled with the fact that we had limited luggage space I was only able to buy a few things!

Chania market

We drove out into the countryside via windy roads to the village of Vatolakkos to visit Manousakis Winery. A two generation family run winery who are making a wide selection of premium wines and we were able to try about twelve of them!

Manousakis Winery

As well as really smooth and delicious wines we had a lovely platter of food.  I bought some of the olive oil and sea salt that they sell on the premises and then donate a portion of the profits to charity – more about this in a future post!

We visited the Botanical Park and Gardens high up in the mountains.  Re-built after a fire in 2003 devastated the area and re-opened in 2010. It now has the richest collection of plant life in Europe as well as a restaurant serving food based on Cretan recipes and nutrition. We had a cooking lesson and made two Cretan heritage recipes – Harupopitaki a carob wrap filled with a spinach, leek, onion sautéed mixture and Maratho Pita or Fennel Pie.

Botanical Gardens Crete

Botanical Park and Gardens I used to think that to make olive oil you just picked the olives and crushed them and the olive oil ran out into containers and there you had it.  That is however far from the truth.

Our visit to Biolea Astrikas Estate – an organic olive oil producer who have set themselves apart by producing stone-milled, cold pressed superior quality Extra Virgin Olive Oil from the smaller Cretan Koroneiki olives.

Biolea

The surrounding views of the mountains and the sea are outstanding as is the flavour of the Extra Virgin Olive oil they produce.

Biolea

Biolea

One of my favourite experiences was spending the day with Valia and her team at Hand Picked Greece.  Here on a small holding we spent the day cooking Cretan recipes using a wood fired clay oven and food and herbs harvested from the rich surroundings.

Hand Picked Greece

Hand Picked Greece

We made all of the items on our menu and sat down communal style to enjoy the food, each other’s company

Hand Picked Greece

and some local music.

Hand Picked Greece

I will be reproducing some of the recipes and telling you more about our wonderful day. Here are just a couple of photos to whet your appetite!

Hand Picked Greece

Hand Picked Greece

A private chef at our villa, evening hot tub sessions, picking oranges and lemons by the side of the road and nearly getting lost several times are all part of our great week in Crete.

I will be writing more detailed posts about most of the places and experiences mentioned here.  This is just a taster to whet you appetites for the island of Crete and what you can do, see, eat and drink there! Please leave a comment on this post if you have been to Crete and what you loved about it or if you would like to go there one day.

I wish to thank Olea Villas for my stay. I was not required to write a positive account of my visit to Crete. As usual all opinions and photographs are my own. No photos may be reproduced in any manner without my written permission.
St Albans: Bill’s Restaurant Opens a Secret Garden

St Albans: Bill’s Restaurant Opens a Secret Garden

Bill’s Restaurant in St Albans had a complete makeover at the beginning of this year (2018) and Mr R and I attended the re-launch and a few days later reviewed their new menu (read the review by clicking here).  Last week they unveiled their Secret […]

Somerset: The Retreat – Resetting My Creativity

Somerset: The Retreat – Resetting My Creativity

As part of my blogging journey I sometimes have the opportunity to attend events designed to improve my knowledge of the process of blogging. Occasionally, such as a recent weekend, the venue requires a stay away from home for one night or two. FleaEnterprises put on […]

April is Italian Month at Marks and Spencer

April is Italian Month at Marks and Spencer

April is Italian month at M&S.

M&S Italian month

I have to say that Italian is my favourite cuisine to re-create at home for Mr R and in fact anyone visiting.

In M&S stores this month there will be an emphasis on all their products made in Italy but especially on the pastas from the north – the Dolomites and the sauces from the south in Calabria.

M&S Italian month

M&S dried pastas have been made to a traditional recipe since 1908 using only locally grown wheat and water from a spring  2,000 meters above sea level.  The pasta is then air dried in the Italian alpine air to keep it absolutely pure!

M&S pasta sauces are made by a third generation family business in Calabria, Southern Italy using the finest ingredients. Each batch starts with a classic ‘soffritto’ base – vegetables slowly cooked in Italian extra virgin olive oil then combined with local Italian tomatoes and herbs. The vegetables are harvested in the morning, cooked and put in jars that afternoon. They pride themselves that their sauces have that ‘our home’ taste.

Each jar of the prepared sauces in the current range have the sticker on top certifying they were indeed made in Calabria.

I attended an event put on by M&S with my blogging friend Nayna – to read her account click here.

At the event we made our own pasta according to Marks and Spencer’s recipe – a vegetarian ravioli, a tortellini filled with their Calabrian spicy Nduja paste and a simple tagliatelle.

We also tried their ready made pasta Beetroot & Lemon Ravioli which cooks in three minutes making it one of a perfect range for quick mid-week supper. When pasta is this good you don’t need a complicated sauce.

I popped into my local M&S to but some of their Beetroot and Lemon Ravioli. When I got home I cooked the ravioli in salted boiling water and drizzled M&S pesto over it along with fresh lemon juice and loads of freshly grated Parmesan.

M&S Beetroot and lemon ravioli

By the way, Italian pastas are not just different shapes that have evolved over time.  Each shape originated in different areas designed to hold the sauces from that region.

 

For instance in the northern region of Lombardy the Farfalle (bow-tie) shape works well with a light topping such as Tomato and Basil Sauce. Liguria favours Linguine (like thin and flat spaghetti). Linguine means ‘little tongue’ and works really well with creamy seafood sauces.

The region of Emilia Romagna is known for it’s love of Tagliatelle (to cut into ribbons) this egg-rich pasta works especially well with a ragu meat sauce such as the ever popular Bolognaise.  Around the ‘knee’ of the boot shape of Italy is the area known as Lazio from where we find our most poplar pasta – Spaghetti.  Spaghetti is popular all over Italy but of course everyone knows the famous ‘Spaghetti Carbonara’ often claimed to have come south by the Carbonari (coal men) from Umbria.

Penne whose name means ‘pen’ are hollow tubes perfect for soaking up rich sauces.  And finally but in no way to be forgotten Sicily offers us Rigatoni coming from the word ridged and very popular in the kitchens of southern and central Italy.  Rigatoni works really well with salty, tangy sauces such as Tomato, Tuna and Olive Sauce.

I hope you can tell how important pasta is to me.  I could never imagine not having pasta, it is our ‘go to’ meal when we are short of time as well as our family meal when the whole family is coming for dinner and just as importantly it is my favourite ‘comfort’ food.  What is your favourite shape and what is your favourite sauce – please leave a comment below!

I was a guest of M&S and was not required to write a positive review.  As always all opinions and photographs are my own. No photographs may be reproduced in any manner without my written permission
Giveaway: Two Beautiful Tins Filled with Chocolate and Love’s Mini Bars.

Giveaway: Two Beautiful Tins Filled with Chocolate and Love’s Mini Bars.

Do you want to win two beautiful tins filled with Chocolate and Love’s Mini Bars? I am very much in favour of good, unadulterated chocolate. Chocolate that melts in your mouth with your eyes closed and your thoughts drifting away to cocoa plantations in far […]