Sardines in Jelly?

James and I are going on a hugely exciting two week adventure to Brazil and then on to Virginia for a further week.  The excitement is coupled with an enormous fear of what will become of the garden in its three week holiday from me.  We have a few people lined up to water it accordingly and I’m going to sprinkle it with  a healthy dose of fertilizer before we go, so I’m hoping that all my hard work this far won’t be completely wasted.  We’ll be back at the start of June, no doubt with some Brazilian inspired recipes to fuel the blog.

In the meantime, however, to distract me from the nerves I was looking through the photos on my phone of some food related moments over the last year or so and I thought some of them might be quite fun to share, so here you go…

These first few pictures come from when I assisted the wonderful Food Stylist Susie Theodorou on the commercial for Raymond Blanc’s The Restaurant.  The premise of the ad was to show how some things work together and how some don’t, these are the couples that don’t work well…  Meringues with bolognese, anyone?

Gold leafing (cooked) chicken thighs, as you do.  Edible gold leaf, for an expensive and extravagant picnic perhaps?  This one was for a book I worked on.

Delicious globe artichokes with a classic french vinaigrette, can’t get much better than that really.

Our most original house warming present without a doubt, a massive ostrich egg and yes I genuinely needed the hammer to get into it.  They take something insane like an hour to boil.  We baked it with some mushrooms and it took forever to set, it was very rich and pretty eggy!

Pork Crackling!  Everyone loves pork crackling and here are my tips for getting the best crackling possible.  Make sure the skin is really well scored and then rub lots of table salt down into the cracks.  Rub in 1 -2tbsps (depending on size) white / red / cider vinegar into the skin.  Leave it in the fridge overnight, uncovered.  Sprinkle over some sea salt, roast nice and slowly and then if it hasn’t crackled yet for the last 20minutes or so, turn the heat right up and let it crackle away.  Yum.

Nothing particularly exciting here, but to me the best use of left over cold potatoes is to chop them up and saute them until nice and golden.  To these ones I added a pinch of dried chilli and tossed through some rocket (from the garden!), green beans (cooked), radishes (also from the garden!) and some lemon juice at the last minute

Wonderful Burrata.  If you’re after a hassle free and incredibly delicious plate of food Burrata ticks all the boxes.  With some super ripe tomatoes, basil, black pepper and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil you can’t really go wrong.  For those not in the know, Burrata is an amazing creamy fresh mozarella.  This particular one came from the Food Hall in Selfridges.

Ox heart?  I’m sure you’re all thinking ‘yum’.  This appeals to every ounce of Scottish blood I have, it cost me £4 for 2kg of meat.  This particular heart got stuffed and roasted nice and slowly.  But I think the best way to eat it is to marinade it in something quite vinegary for 24 hours to break the meat down a bit, then slice it really thinly and flash fry it, as they do at the fantastic St John’s.

Some naughty frogs legs with little gherkin appendages for a very sophisticated hen party:

 And on that note, I’d better go and pack.

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