On Thursday evening I went down to Gunwharf to pick my daughter up from work at 7pm.  It was a lovely evening with few clouds.  Any clouds that were in the sky had an amazing red glow to their underside from the setting sun.

As we drove along the hard, I suddenly had an impulse to take a picture of HMS Warrior as we drove towards the Dockyard gates. As we neared the bend and slowed down, I took the picture using my iPhone.

Looking at it on the screen, I could see it was blurred but liked the look of it, so I didn’t delete it.  When I got home, I looked at it on my PC and actually quite liked it.  I like the way HMS Warrior is framed by the tree and the wall of the dockyard.

I also like the bench in the foreground and the steps behind.  To me, it looks like a great photo to use a the basis for an impressionist painting of the ship?

Easy Main Course Or Starter

Posted: September 15, 2010 in Food

This isn’t one of my recipes and to be honest, I cant remember where I got this one from so my sincere apologies if I am infringing any copyright laws.

Its dead easy, it takes about 10 minutes to prepare, can be prepared in advance and just slung in the oven when ready. It doesnt get any easier than that does it?  The dish contains butter nut squash, and even people who say they don’t like squash, have loved this, so give it a go.

I normally buy all the ingredients at Waitrose as they usually have the Haloumi cheese, but I know you can get it in Morrisons too. Also, don’t waste money on expensive balsamic vinegar, get a cheap bottle.

The ingredients are:
(SERVES 4)

2 Butter nut Squash
4 Romano Peppers
2 Red Onion
1 block of Haloumi Cheese
Balsamic Vinegar
Olive Oil
Black Pepper

If you have never cooked squash before, you can leave the skin on but I always cut it off.  Once you have done that, cut the squash, peppers and onion into rough large chunks, better too big than too small.  Put it all in a suitably sized metal oven tray, pour on some olive oil, some black pepper and give it all a good mix up so its all coated with the oil & pepper.

Put it in the oven on about 180 (electric fan oven) and whilst thats cooking, cut the haloumi cheese into cubes.

After about 30 – 40 mins the veg should look almost cooked, take the veg out of the oven and add the haloumi cheese and pour over some balsamic vinegar. I love balsamic vinegar, so I put on quite a lot, but do yours how you see fit.

Give all a good mix up again and put it back in the oven until the haloumi starts to go brown and then its ready to serve.

You can serve it on its own in a bowl as a starter or as a main.  We usually have it with diced herb potatoes. Bloody lovely.

If you try it, let me know how you get on?

A Smooth Argentinian Red.

Posted: September 10, 2010 in Drinks

Recently I have been thinking that I need to expand my horizons of the wine drinking front. I normally drink French wine, sometimes Italian and rarely a Californian or Spanish.  To date I have found that any wine NOT from France or Italy gives me a massive headache.  Not just any headache, but one that really hurts your eyes and keeps you horizontal until at least midday the following day.

However, so far this year I have tried several wines from other countries and have awoken the next day unscathed, so in the interests of keeping this blog as varied as possible, I am going to be truly selfless and risk life and limb by drinking non-French or Italian wine at (almost) every opportunity. And by the way, I still think I deserve a round of applause for drinking that Turkish stuff! (See blog post: 3 Wines & Eastern Promise).

The other night I went to a friend’s house as she needed to send about 140 photos to her husband who works abroad and didn’t really know how to do it. Now two of the great things about Helen are, she loves a drink and all their wine is delivered by the case from Laithwaites and I have never had one I didn’t like round there and this was no exception.

Helen opened a bottle of ‘FIFTY BLOCK’ Malbec, an Argentinian red from the Famatina Valley, according to the label and it was bloody lovely.  A very rich taste, but also very, very smooth and the taste lasted in the mouth for just that little bit longer than expected. Lush is a word a might use to describe it. I just looked on the Laithwaites site and their wine expert says its rich and smooth (so we agree on that) with bramble, violet and liquorice character.

Of course as it’s from Laithwaites, you can’t buy it by the bottle from them but in a case of 6 it works out to £6.49 a bottle and once again I agree with their wine critic, it’s a steal!

Here’s the poor bugger after we’d finished with him!

A Pleasant Red From Waitrose.

Posted: September 8, 2010 in Drinks

I bought a bottle of Domain Combes from Waitrose on Saturday. It was £5.24 and to my mind worth every penny!

However, I have noticed over the past months that the prices are creeping up.  One of my favourites and gone from £7.99 a year ago to about £9.70 now.  In percentage terms, that’s quite a leap.

But back to the Domain Combes, it was very nice indeed.  Quite peppery, medium bodied, not too heavy and smelt lovely too.  The label on the back describes it as ‘rich’ ‘full-bodied’ and ’round’.  It certainly isn’t full-bodied, at least I don’t think so.  I don’t like full bodied wine.

The label also describes it as tasting of Blackberries and Plummy.  I didn’t pick up on that but I don’t think my palette is that educated, all I know is good from bad.

As always, here is a picture for you to lick.

A Lovely Dressing.

Posted: September 6, 2010 in Food

We had some friends over for dinner on Saturday night and as a starter I wanted to cook an Asparagus dish. Normally I have Asparagus as part on my main course, shallow fried in a little olive oil, black pepper and garlic, just cooked long enough so the spears start to go soft, but not too long so they go limp!

I decided to look on the BBC website and found a recipe that sounded simple and interesting.  But once I read the instructions, I didn’t quite get it and asked my wife to read them too and, like me, she found them a little confusing. One of the ingredients for the dressing was Oranges but the instructions didn’t really tell you what to do with them, for that actual dressing mix.

So I decided that I would buy the ingredients and make it my own way.  It turned out very nice, especially for a 1st attempt but it did take some modifying as I made way too much of it and used far too much Ginger, so here is how the finished version ended up being made.

1 Tablespoon of Balsamic Vinegar.

3 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil.

1 Red Chilli, finely chopped.

Small piece of Ginger, finely chopped.

Juice of 1 Orange.

I put the oil, vinegar and juice in a bowl, chopped the chilli and ginger, put them in a pestle & mortar and ground them together, added them to the bowl and let is brew for about an hour before we ate and it tasted lovely, but just make it to your taste.

Also, the only downside was that it didn’t really coat the asparagus very well as they were already coated in oil from the shallow frying, but it was still nice. So maybe next time I might cook the asparagus in hot water or make the dressing for a salad or something different, or just dip in some crusty bread!

If you give it a go, would you be kind enough to let me know how you got on and what you had it with?

Half Price Wine @ Morri’s

Posted: August 27, 2010 in Drinks

It’s Friday, 5pm on a Bank Holiday weekend, so you’d better be quick!

I’ve just been into Morrisons and found these two cheeky buggers down the red wine aisle and naturally, I got caught in their tractor beam!

Both were £9.99 reduced to £4.99

Run Forest! Run!

Apologies the pics are a bit out of focus, I was rushing to get these online.

Have a great Weekend!

3 wines & Eastern Promise.

Posted: August 26, 2010 in Drinks, Food

I use to work with a bloke and we nicknamed him ‘Turkish’ because he always failed to do anything on time, so we reckoned he was full of ‘eastern promise’.

He popped up in conversation on Tuesday as I was in a town in Hampshire called Petersfield having lunch with 2 friends.  We went to a very small Turkish restaurant in Bakery Lane, which unfortunately doesnt show up on Multimap, otherwise I would have posted a link.  But its an alleyway that runs from the car park behind Waitrose into the town centre.

The food, the prices and the service were amazing and it wasnt a one-off because this was my 3rd visit to the place.  I think its called Fez, but its the only Turkish place in Petersfield so you wont end up in the wrong place!

The first wine we had was a Californian Merlot.  I am not a fan of Merlot or Californian wine, so I wasnt really looking forward to this but it really was very pleasant indeed.  Especially as it was lunchtime so I didn’t want anything too heavy.  Not sure if its available in the shops, but as usual, here is a snapshot of the label

Unfortunately it was the last bottle and the waiter persuaded us to try a bottle of Turkish red wine.  Alarm bells started going off with me but when he promised to exchange it if we didn’t like it, we agreed to try it and again, I wasnt disappointed but before lunch I had also had 2 G&T’s so maybe I wasnt in the best shape to judge.  that said, I think I would try it again.

Last night I had dinner at a friends and she brought out an absolutely beautiful bottle of Italian red from Tuscany. She buys all her wine from Laithwaites online, so again, I don’t know if this is available in the shops.  It was so smooth, lovely taste and here is a link for it

http://www.laithwaites.co.uk/DWBase/jsp/templates/article/productDetails.jsp?productId=prod890481