Category Archives: Food

A Very Easy and Delicious Salad Dressing

Salad Dressing Recipe - Hello Sam Goodbye SamanthaMy father is the all time greatest salad maker.  I know that sounds extreme, but I have never met anyone with such a talent for salad combinations. His methods may be…unorthodox (baked beans in potato salad, anyone?) but are always delicious. As a result, you will often find me hunched over the counter picking at the remains of a huge salad. It seems my inheritance is my fondness for polka ogorki… and salad.

Having said that, it’s only recently that I have started to dress my salads. I’m usually an enjoy-them-as-they-are kind of a gal, apart from a slug of olive oil and more balsamic vinegar than is truly necessary. I have now, however, really cracked a dead simple salad dressing and I thought I would share it here with you.

I love a good bit of antipasto and this is the heart of my (extremely loosely called) recipe.

You will need:

  • A jar of some kind of antipasto – sundried tomatoes, or my particular favourite, chargrilled artichokes.

Method:

  • Gobble up most of the artichokes in a moderately unattractive fashion, leaving a few for the salad. Reserve the oil in the jar and put to one side.
  • Peel 2 garlic cloves, and gently crush using the flat of a knife. Add to the jar.
  • Bruise 2 stalks of rosemary – dried or fresh, it doesn’t matter.
  • Add in a few good glugs of balsamic vinegar – I like a roughly 50/50 ratio, but after a few goes, you’ll work out a combination that rocks your socks.
  • Reseal the lid, shake it like a polaroid picture, and pour, trying not to let the garlic cloves or rosemary escape.
  • Reseal and store in the fridge – it should last at least a week, and you can top up with olive oil, fresh garlic and balsamic vinegar as you go.

It should take you approximately 2 minutes to prepare, using mostly what I assume to be store cupboard ingredients – forgive me if not – and if you’re anything like me, this time includes the time to eat 3/4 of a jar of artichokes!

Enjoy!

 

Goat’s Cheese and Asparagus Tart

Goat's Cheese and Asparagus Tart - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

I thought I’d try something a little different on the blog this week, and share with you a rather tasty little recipe I whipped up over the Easter weekend.

Now, several years ago I was a rather intense cook, teaching myself quite a lot from cookbooks. Jamie Oliver and Nigella were particular favourites, although I also learnt (and continue to learn!) a huge amount from both Master The Art of French Cooking (Julia Childs) and the Larousse Gastronomique. I learned the basics of cooking, namely that almost every savoury recipe starts with olive oil, onion and garlic.

In recent years, and particularly since I’ve begun to work longer hours, I’ve slacked off in the cooking department and leant heavily on the repertoire of meals for I’d built up a relative degree of expertise. I still muck up, actually quite often, but it’s usually a result of being lazy or rushing, due to my famed appetite.

To cut a long story short, both Mr H and I were a little bit bored of our usual fare, and so the idea of an asparagus tart popped into my mind whilst we absent-mindedly wandered around Sainsbury’s. It’s been a long time since I indulged my penchant for goat’s cheese, and what is the Easter Bank Holiday weekend if not a perfect opportunity to indulge?

You Will Need:

  • 6 eggs
  • 100ml cream (although any milk will do, we just happened to have some that needed using up)
  • 1 bunch of baby asparagus
  • 3 spring onions
  • 100g soft goat’s cheese
  • 6 sheets of filo pastry
  • salt and pepper to taste

What To Do:

  1. Pre-heat your oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Grease a flan tray (preferably with a removable base). Lay your sheets of pastry one at a time, spiralling out so that there are no gaps. I sprayed each layer with Fry-Light, but that’s optional. Set to one side.
  3. Finely slice the spring onions and put to one side.
  4. Crack the eggs into a medium sized bowl. Add the cream (or milk) and whisk.
  5. Add the spring onions and salt and pepper to taste.
  6. Pour the mixture carefully into your prepared dish.
  7. Gently dot the goat’s cheese around the egg mixture in generous blobs.
  8. Arrange the asparagus on top in any pattern of your choosing. Due to inherent sloppiness, my asparagus was too long and so I didn’t get the perfect wheel effect – was I bothered? Not in the least.
  9. Scrunch any excess filo around the sides.
  10. Bake for 25 – 30 minutes or until golden brown. Leave to cool for a couple of minutes before serving.

This is perfect with a nice vinegary salad  – lots of onion to cut through the richness of the egg and cream! In the summer months, a nice cold glass of white wine wouldn’t go amiss either. Obviously.

 

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The Seaplane Works :: Rochester

This weekend contained one of the best Saturdays I’ve had in a while. I achieved approximately nothing, but I got to hang out with my guy, pottered about and then even squeezed in a mid afternoon nap! The stuff of legends.

A particular high point was the half-hour or so that I spent sipping a rich hot chocolate in The Seaplane Works, the latest addition to Rochester’s burgeoning hipster coffee scene, courtesy of the renowned artist Billy Childish. It didn’t disappoint.

HSGS at The Seaplane Works 1 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

HSGS at The Seaplane Works 2 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

I think it’s testament to the quality of the hot chocolate that the only picture I have is of the bottom of the cup!

HSGS at The Seaplane Works 3 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

The café has a small but perfectly formed menu, with a focus on no-grain whole foods. I haven’t actually eaten here yet, but a couple of my friends are positively evangelical about the salads.

They have a minimal online presence at the moment, but the Seaplane Works Facebook page states that they cater to paleo and vegan diets. I am neither, but still found a couple of items on the menu that piqued my interest, for sure.

HSGS at The Seaplane Works 4 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

The hot chocolate itself was perfectly sweet without being sickly, had a creamy consistency and most importantly, was hot! I can’t stand it when hot chocolates are tepid, because you end up finished about 3 years before your partner. It’s a hard life.

HSGS at The Seaplane Works 5 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

While it was quiet when we first entered, the atmosphere soon picked up and before too long the place was happily bustling. The café itself has got a great modern London-ish feel to it, which I think is exactly what Rochester needs.

It could, in my humble opinion, do with a little more paraphernalia or artwork on the walls, but all in all, it’s a wonderful addition to our High Street and I urge you to go, forthwith!

Chrimbo At Home – 2015

Merry Christmas 2015 - Hello Sam Goodbye Samantha

I singularly failed to take any photos of our family Christmas celebration this year, which happened on December 19th. As penance, I offer you a picture of my front door, which I think looks rather festive, if I do say so myself.

In my post about Christmas rituals, I may have mentioned that I love this time of year. I am pleased to report that our celebration lived up to all my hopes and expectations.

Despite the fact that we had offered to host everyone this year, on the day after I finished school (yikes), it all happened rather smoothly. As with many bloggers, the Nigella Christmas Cookbook became my bible.

Here is our intended menu:

  • Salmon and cream cheese blinis
  • John’s famous sausage rolls*
  • Pumpkin & Goats Cheese Lasagne
  • Nut Roast Pie
  • Beef Wellington*
  • Roast Vegetables
  • Bread sauce*
  • Cranberry sauce*
  • Christmas Coleslaw
  • Chocolate Christmas Pudding
  • Christmas Cake
  • Cheese platter
  • Yule Log

All served with copious amounts of prosecco, wine, beer and cider. My delightful sisters in law provided the cheese and yule log. Delegating people. Delegating.

A couple of things got scratched (marked with an *) – 1) because I ran out of time, 2) because people were stuffed to the gills and couldn’t face another bite and 3) because my stove was obviously unaccustomed to such a heavy workload and threw a tantrum.

The Beef Wellington turned into a roast beef with Yorkshire puddings, as it proved to be impossible to find a beef fillet anywhere. I don’t think anyone was particularly disappointed!

It’s been ages, really, since I’ve done any amount of ‘fun’ cooking, and being so exhausted during the week has meant I have relied on my dwindling repertoire of recipes, and shamefully, even more so on justeat.co.uk. Dreadful. As a result, despite the limited time, I really enjoyed whipping up the feast.

I can’t wait until next year!