Eat well - travel often

Month: January 2013

Tropical Sun takes me to the Caribbean in Winter!

Tropical Sun takes me to the Caribbean in Winter!

Recently I was browsing on Facebook and someone had shared Tropical Sun’s virtual vending machine. The video showed a tropical beach scene with a vending machine filled with Tropical Sun products. You clicked on a button and the product fell into the bottom of the machine, a […]

Be A Connosieur with Cono Sur

Be A Connosieur with Cono Sur

A fantastic menu at at classic restaurant If I could arrange my perfect evening then the evening I spent at Le Pont De La Tour restaurant at Buttler’s Wharf near Tower Bridge would be as close to perfect as it gets.  Le Pont De La […]

Time to Go Out Shopping in the Snow!!

Time to Go Out Shopping in the Snow!!

A couple of times a year I like to use up what is in the freezer, cupboard and shed storage to ensure everything is replenished regularly and as fresh as possible.  To this end I have been making some unusual meal combinations but so far everything has been really tasty as I do have a wide selection of ingredients and spices to call upon.

Well with the current dump of snow we have recently had I have not been out shopping for the required fresh ingredients lately but I think today really is the end of the line.

Mr R is having a few days off as holiday and he does love soup for lunch (lately I have been having my lush soup creations for lunch all by myself!). Mr R also was moaning last night that when you buy broccoli you get so much stalk which is a waste.  Not at all, the stalk makes a good start to a broccoli + soup.

I didn’t have any onions but found a couple of spring onions lurking in the veg drawer along with half a tomato, clove of garlic and a couple of sad looking stalks of celery.  Perfect start so get that cooking in a little oil/butter combination whilst I finely chopped up a small piece of chorizo the broccoli stalks and three small mushrooms.  When this had been cooking for about 5 minutes I added stock to the pan, a couple of charlotte potatoes and some broccoli florets.  Let this simmer away for about 20 mins, cool and whizz up with my kMix Tri-blade Hand Blender (extra useful for small amounts of soups and sauces).  Season with salt and pepper and some chilli and away you go – a really lovely, warming and inexpensive lunch!

I gave Mr R some to taste and he immediately went to the kitchen, poured himself a huge bowlful and with a tower of bread and butter sat down to lunch.

It didn’t last long!

Guess I will get myself some!!

What is your favourite winter soup? If you have any good soup stories or recipes let me know and we can link up at the end of February!

Farmhouse Breakfast Week with 'Shake Up Your Wake Up'

Farmhouse Breakfast Week with 'Shake Up Your Wake Up'

Breakfast  the most important meal of the day, but it often gets skipped or becomes a high sugar intake which does not satisfy you all morning. Farmhouse Breakfast Week is 20th-26th January, 2013 and I have been asked to think about and create some tasty […]

Tapas at Condesa London

Tapas at Condesa London

Recently opened in Central London just behind Covent Garden, tucked away down Maiden Lane you will find a small, unassuming restaurant serving a lovely collection of Spanish tapas with a Mexican influence and fine wines from Spain, Chile and Mexico. Daniel Caballero (originally from Mexico […]

It’s cold outside but I have soup for lunch!!

It’s cold outside but I have soup for lunch!!

With the current cold weather outside looking beautiful through the window it is necessary to keep warm when you go outside.  I came back from walking the dog this morning and very much in need of warming up inside!  So naturally I went straight to my pot of chicken stock.

Last night for supper I roasted a small chicken, rubbing the outside with rapeseed oil and sprinkling Tropical Sun Rub Rub for Meat over the top. Into a roasting dish and around the outside I added chopped celery, a couple of tomatoes, onion and half a red pepper.  I roasted this all in a hot oven for about 1 hour 30 mins.

Whilst the chicken rested I put all the veggies, oils and juices into a sauce pan and added a tin of Italian plum tomatoes, some tomato puree and 1/2 teaspoon of Gran Luchito Mexican chilli and let simmer for about 15-20 minutes.

This made a meal of roast chicken, pasta shells and sauce for myself and Mr R. There was enough for Mr R’s sandwiches to take to work, some morsels for the dog and a carcass for me to make my soup broth.

With my broth made (carcass now ready for the hedgehogs to feast on)

I added some of the tomato-vegetable sauce and chicken pieces and blitzed this together. In my bowl I added some left over pasta shells, a dollop of the sauce and some Total Greek Yoghurt sprinkled with a sweet paprika. Heaven in a bowl and just what I needed on a cold, wintery day.

I had thought of saving some for Mr R but it was so good I ate the lot for my lunch today!

Tropical Sun can be found using the link above or follow them on Facebook or Twitter (@TropicalSunFood) for more details.

Gran Luchito can also be found on Facebook or Twitter (@Luchito_Mexico) to find out about the magical Mexican chillis used to make this essential ingredient.

From the Shores of Clonakilty with Clonakilty Black Pudding!

From the Shores of Clonakilty with Clonakilty Black Pudding!

There is nothing like Irish hospitality and the lunch I was invited to was no exception.  At the invitation of Clonakilty Black Pudding I set off to West London for the Chiswick Moran Hotel to attend their celebration at launching their black pudding in the […]

One Ingredient – 3 Recipes (Grey-Poupon Dijon Mustard)

One Ingredient – 3 Recipes (Grey-Poupon Dijon Mustard)

Grey-Poupon Dijon mustard dates back to 1777 (a year after the American Independence) and quickly became one of France’s most outstanding and popular mustards.  Today Grey-Poupon is known as the finest! With ingredients such as water, mustard seeds, white wine, salt and citric, acid this […]

I love Mary – Tabasco Bloody Mary that is!!

I love Mary – Tabasco Bloody Mary that is!!

Tabasco and vodka – essentials for a great bloody mary

An invitation popped into my e-mail inbox recently which really took my interest.  The McIlhenny British Bloody Mary Competition and Awards taking place at Bar Americain near Piccadilly Circus in London.  The competition and awards were sponsored by McIlhenny the makers of the iconic Tabasco sauce produced only in Louisiana USA.

First three contestants ready to go
There were 10 contestants and in groups of three at a time, they each had to make their own version of a Bloody Mary cocktail but had to include vodka, tomato juice and of course Tabasco.  The guests had the hard task of tasting each version whilst the three judges also tasted and judged according to preset criteria. Then the contestants each had to make a cocktail using the Tabasco sauce but the rest of the ingredients were up to them.  Some of these were a bit way out and not exactly to my taste but after tasting 20 cocktails the event was getting funnier and gigglier with each one.

Contestant No 2!

 I am always fascinated by the guest list of these events and this was no exception.  There were staff from the PR Agency organising the event there to see it all ran smoothly, another dozen guests known by the agency staff, two food bloggers (including myself) and a hand full of celebrities.

A few well known faces!

I don’t know if it was the vodka or the relaxed and fun atmosphere of the competition but the celebrities were having a good time and mixed with all the other guests. There were a few faces I recognised but didn’t know the names and some that I did. I was sitting at a table with Craig Revel Horwood of Strickly Come Dancing and a friend of his and 20 cocktails to taste later we were having fits of the giggles big time!!

Trying to remember which number we were up to got more difficult as the event wore on!
But seriously, since 1868 Tabasco sauce has been made on Avery Island in Lousianna, USA by the McIlhenny family. It is made in a modern day factory with all mod cons but it started because the diet of the South was bland and monotonous in the 1860s. So after being given some hot pepper seeds and growing them successfully Edmund McIlhenny decided to create a pepper sauce to give the food some spice and flavor — some excitement! There are newer versions available from time to time such as the original red sauce, green jalapeno, chipotle with a rich smoky flavour but not too hot and not here from the US yet a Buffalo sauce, habanero and garlic and herb sauce and believe it or not in America it even comes in gallon jugs!!

I used to be afraid of adding Tabasco sauce to my creations but since the competition I have been adding a few drops to almost everything! Next time I visit the States I might have to buy a gallon!!

Baked Haddock with Creamy Topping

Baked Haddock with Creamy Topping

When I open the freezer and see fish I usually choose something else because I don’t really know what to do with the fish! But tonight bravery took over and I decided to go with the fish.  Now I just happened to have some wild […]