Showing posts with label Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. Show all posts

Friday, April 12, 2019

The Book Tour Stops Here: A Review of "The Library of Lost and Found" by Phaedra Patrick, Served with Recipes for Fish and Chips with Mushy Peas & Dill Mayo

Happy Friday! I love books and I especially love books about books, so i am very excited to be today's stop on the TLC Book Tour for The Library of Lost and Found by Phaedra Patrick. Accompanying my review is a very Friday appropriate (and classic British-leaning) dish of Fish and Chips with Mushy Peas and Dill Mayo.

Publisher's Blurb:

A librarian’s discovery of a mysterious book sparks the journey of a lifetime in the delightful new novel from the international bestselling author of The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper

Librarian Martha Storm has always found it easier to connect with books than people—though not for lack of trying. She keeps careful lists of how to help others in her superhero-themed notebook. And yet, sometimes it feels like she’s invisible.

All of that changes when a book of fairy tales arrives on her doorstep. Inside, Martha finds a dedication written to her by her best friend—her grandmother Zelda—who died under mysterious circumstances years earlier. When Martha discovers a clue within the book that her grandmother may still be alive, she becomes determined to discover the truth. As she delves deeper into Zelda’s past, she unwittingly reveals a family secret that will change her life forever.

Filled with Phaedra Patrick’s signature charm and vivid characters, The Library of Lost and Found is a heartwarming and poignant tale of how one woman must take control of her destiny to write her own happy ending.

Hardcover: 352 Pages

Publisher: Park Row; Original edition (March 26, 2019)

My Review: 

I have had the author's first book, The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper, on my TBR list for age,s so it was more the premise of this story about a mysterious little book of fairy tales coming into an isolated librarian's life that caused me to jump on this tour.

Martha Storm hasn't had an easy life and now in her forties, rightly feels like much of it has passed her by, caring for her aging parents until their passings and being quite a doormat, almost compulsively helping her neighbors, townspeople and library patrons with their tasks and lives. but not getting anything other than more requests in return. Martha was an outsider in her family from a young age, with a controlling father who markedly preferred her younger sister, and a mother who acquiesced to her father's rules and demands. Her eccentric and vibrant 'nana' and the sharing of books and writing stories are the bright spots in Martha's life until she disappears and her parents tell her Zelda has passed away. It's a tiny battered book of the fairy tales she and Zelda told each other and it was published after Zelda's death. The book sets Martha on a journey to learn Zelda's secrets and discover what happened all the those years ago and it's a journey that teaches her about herself. 

Watching Martha change and grow and begin to find her spark and stop living for others was my favorite part of the book. The fairy tales mixed into the story are wonderful too, although bordering on the melancholy at times, they illustrate what Martha, her mother, and her nana were going through. The Library of Lost and Found is an endearing novel with engaging characters that has its harder, sadder moments, but doesn't dwell long in them. It is a an easy, pleasing read and a feel-good story about books and writing, family and secrets, and ultimately the power of finding yourself and your passions. 


Author Notes: Phaedra Patrick studied art and marketing and has worked as a stained glass artist, film festival organizer and communications manager. She is a prize winning short story writer and now writes full time.

She lives in the UK with her husband and son. The Curious Charms of Arthur Pepper is her debut novel.

Connect with Phaedra on her website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram


Food Inspiration:

There was food and drink to be found The Library of Lost and Found, and plenty of traditional British food. Mentions included heart-shaped cookies, rosé wine, bacon,Cheese and onion pie, tea and biscuits, chocolate fudge cake, ice cream sundaes, cordial, ham sandwiches, beef and potatoes, steak and kidney pie, coffee and cake, beans on toast, hot dogs, candy floss, ice cream with chocolate flakes and multicolored sugar sprinkles, a toffee apple, muesli, milkshakes, Americanos, macchiatos, date and walnut cake, sticky toffee pudding, carrot cake, chips and cheese, pickled onions, pie and peas and pickled red cabbage, a dinner party that included blush prosecco, baby new potatoes in minted butter, steamy carrots and green beans, a juicy nut roast, and slices of beef, bread with salt and peppercorn butter, coleslaw, Chardonnay, fruit loaf with juicy cherries and sultanas, tiramisu and merlot, cheese sandwich and a cup of tea, cottage pie, salmon carrot sticks and hummus, sausage rolls and crisp, anniversary cake, a salad of lettuce, tomatoes and cucumber in a bowl with cress sprinkled on top, sausages and pineapple on sticks, apple pie, rhubarb crumble, chocolates, tomato soup with bred and butter and golden tea, milk and hot buttered toast, mince pies, and turkey with vegetables and gravy. 

For my book-inspired dish, I went with a British classic--fish and chips with mushy peas enjoyed on a cold day along the seaside. Martha's enjoyment of this meal with her family was palpable--trying to keep themselves and their takeout food warm and the mention of the pools of brown vinegar she loved. I love fish and chips although I am more a tarter sauce fan than vinegar. I found a Nigella Lawson recipe for mushy peas (Called Pea Puree on Food Network) and her recipe for Dill Mayonnaise and I used Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall's Perfect Fish and Chips from I will confess that my French Fries were grabbed through a drive-thru on my way home and crisped up in my toaster oven.

Nigella's Posh Mushy Peas aka Pea Puree
Slightly Adapted from Nigella Lawson via Food
(Yield 1 Serving)

1 clove garlic
5 oz frozen pies
1 to 2 Tbsp crème fraîche (I used sour cream)
1 to 2 Tbsp grated Parmesan or Pecorino
1/2 tsp dried mint
(I added about 1 Tbsp lemon juice)

Fill a pan with cold water and throw in the clove of garlic. Bring to the boil and then add salt and the peas. Cook until tender, drain, and put into a food processor, or blender, and add the crème fraîche, cheese, and dried mint. Puree the peas until knobbly and check the seasoning, adding salt if you need to. Tip the pureed peas into a bowl (or back in the pan is probably a better idea) and cover to keep them warm. 


Dill Mayonnaise
Slightly Adapted from Nigella Lawson via Food 
(Makes 1 Cup)

1 cup good mayonnaise 
small bunch dill (about 1/3 cup
lemon or lime juice to taste
(I added 1 Tbsp capers, drained)

Put the mayonnaise into a bowl, and finely chop the dill, adding it to the mayonnaise. Stir in capers and some lime juice and taste for seasoning. Serve with the prepared fish.


Perfect Fish and Chips
Slightly Adapted from
(Serves 3)

300ml (about 10 oz) beer
200g (about 1 cup) flour

salt (I added black pepper)
2 fresh fillets of pollock (I used cod)
500ml (about 2 cups) sunflower oil

Salt the fish fillets. Add 200g of plain flour with seasoning of salt to a large bowl. Add beer slowly and whisk flour with enough beer to turn into double cream consistency with no lumps.

Dip fish in and then into the oil at 160°C (320 F.) for 2-3 minutes until crispy and golden, drain and put on kitchen towel briefly before serving.

Notes/Results: Although I like peas, I wasn't sure I got the whole mushy peas appeal with fish and chips, but these peas are tasty and especially if you use vinegar with your fish and chips, the slight sweetness of the peas is a nice contrast. I liked the prominent dill flavor in the mayo sauce, but I of course needed to add my beloved capers too. The fish (I used frozen cod) was perfectly cooked--moist and tender and the beer batter appropriately crisp. Had i had more time to get dinner made, homemade fries would have been the best, but these take-outdid fine in a pinch. Although not a very healthy meal, it was well worth the indulgence and I would happily make it all again.

Linking up with I Heart Cooking Clubs where it this week we have a Cuisine Spotlight on Classic British Food.

I'm sharing this post with the Weekend Cooking event at Beth Fish Reads, a weekly event that is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share. For more information, see the welcome post.

Note: A review copy of "The Library of Lost and Found" was provided to me by the author and the publisher via TLC Book Tours. I was not compensated for this review and as always, my thoughts and opinions are my own.  
You can see the stops for the rest of this TLC Book Tour and what other reviewers thought about the book here.


Sunday, September 16, 2018

Smoked Fish, Leek and Potato Chowder (Scottish Cullen Skink) for Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammie) Sundays

I love a good chowder. Add smoked fish and I'm even happier. This Smoked Fish, Leek and Potato Chowder, known as Cullen Skink in Scotland, by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall is a great example. I was able to find non-smoked haddock at Whole Foods and smoked white fish, so I combined the two, added a little liquid smoke into the mix, and made a few other changes--noted in red below.

River Cottage says, "A creamy smoked fish and potato soup, known in Scotland as cullen skink, rarely fails to be supremely soothing and comforting. This very simple but utterly delicious example can be knocked up in little more than half an hour.

Smoked Fish, Leek and Potato Chowder
Slightly Adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall Via
(Serves 4) 

300g (10.5 oz) smoked pollack or smoked haddock fillet (I used 1 lb haddock fillet + 1/2 lb smoked whitefish)
650ml (about 3 cups) fish or vegetable stock (I used 5 cups no-chicken veggie stock)
a large knob of butter
2 large leeks, trimmed, washed and finely sliced (I used 4 medium leeks)
500g (18 oz) potatoes, peeled and cut into 4–5mm cubes (about 1/2-3/4 inch)
4 Tbsp double cream (I used 1/2 cup coconut creamer)
(I added 1 1/2 tsp liquid smoke)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Finely chopped parsley, to finish (optional)

Put the fish into a saucepan and add the stock. Bring slowly to the boil, then immediately turn off the heat, flip the fish over in the pan, cover and leave for 3 minutes. Turn the fish over again and check if it is cooked – the flesh should all be opaque and flake easily from the skin. If it’s not quite done, leave it in the covered pan for a couple of minutes longer. Once cooked, lift it out of the pan on to a board, reserving the stock. Take the fish off the skin in large flakes, checking for any bones as you go.

Heat the butter in a large pan over a medium-low heat. Add the leeks and sweat gently for about 10 minutes until soft. Add the potatoes and reserved stock. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 10 minutes until the potatoes are tender.

Stir in the cream and flakes of smoked fish. Reheat gently, without boiling, then taste and add salt and pepper as needed. Ladle into warm bowls and finish with a scattering of parsley if you like. Serve at once, with brown bread and butter on the side.

River Cottage Notes: If you don’t have leeks, but you do have spring onions, or even regular onions, you can happily use them instead. Trim and slice a couple of good bunches of spring onions and sweat for 5 minutes only. Or finely slice 2 large onions and sweat for 12–15 minutes, until soft and tender.

Notes/Results: Just a yummy bowl of chowder--like potato-leek soup and fish chowder married together. I actually liked using the frozen haddock fillets with the smoked white fish as it gave a nice variation in texture. adding the liquid smoke meant I didn't lose any of the smoky flavor and the frozen haddock was more economical too--a win-win in my book. This chowder will make great lunches throughout the week. The only think I am missing as I am avoiding gluten, is some good bread to dunk in it. A tasty soup and pretty quick and easy to make, I would happily make it again. 

Linking this chowdery soup up to I Heart Cooking Clubs where it's our Monthly Featured Dish/Ingredient Challenge: Chilis & Chowders from any of our featured IHCC Chefs.

Here's a few links to my other favorite chowders and chilis (three of each) from our IHCC featured chefs:

Nigel Slater's Quick Fish and Corn Chowder:

 Rick Bayless's Lanie's "The World's Greatest Chili" 

Jacques Pépin's Corn and Hominy Chowder:

Mark Bittman's Espresso Black Bean Chili

Jacques Pépin's Tomato Chowder with Mollet Eggs

Giada's Vegetarian Chili Verde:

Lets take a look into the Souper Sundays kitchen:

Lovely Tina of Squirrel Head Manor shared Potato, Corn and Mushroom Soup and said, "This past week it was clean-out-the-fridge time and the orphaned veggies found themselves dropped into a soup. Sometimes those kind of soups are the best - no recipes to follow, just chop and dice whatever yummy vegs you have on hand and go from there. (Another bonus for zero waste.) It made enough for two days lunches for us. Once Doug retires I will divvy  up the lunch fixings so he can heat some at home and I take some to work. Now that will be weird after eating lunch together for decades. More on that later."

My pal Kim of Stirring the Pot brings a unique chili and said, "Giada's Lentil and Hominy Chili is a vegetarian delight. The lentils really make this chili hearty and comforting, and the hominy, well, I just love that stuff. It's fragrant, it's chewy, it just pops in your mouth and it's just plain fun to eat. I have NO idea why it's not more popular. However, I do feel like what makes this chili are the toppings, especially the lime juice. The squeeze of lime really brightens things up and brings all the flavors together. The avocado adds a lovely creamy quality and the cilantro...well I just love that too.

Mahalo to Kim and Tina for joining in this week!
About Souper Sundays:

Souper Sundays (going since 2008) now has a format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches at any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.

If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's Souper Sunday's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you. Also please see below for what to do on your blog post that you link up her in order to be included in the weekly round-up.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post. (Not to be a pain but it's polite and only fair to link back to events you link up at--so if you link a post up here without linking back to it on your post, it will be removed.)
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (optional).

Have a happy, healthy week!

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Creamy Celery Root Soup with Pesto Swirl for Souper (Soup, Salad, & Sammie) Sundays and My Five Favorite Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall Dishes (& a Bonus Recipe)

This was our last week cooking with British Chef Hugh Fearnley-Whiitingstall at I Heart Cooking Clubs before switching to cooking with The Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten on Monday. I'm sending Hugh off with one last recipe, his Celery Root Soup from River Cottage Every Day and recapping the past six months by picking my five favorite Hugh recipes, plus one bonus favorite.

Celery Root is one of those ingredients I often overlook in cooking. It sits there at the grocery store looking like a big ball of dirt, but the flavor, once it's cleaned up (the tough skin peeled or sliced off and the root well-cleaned, it is easy to work with and it adds a delicious celery-herbal flavor. I was going to make the Parsley-Walnut Pesto that Hugh recommends as a topping, but laziness and a jar of pesto I had on hand won out. ;-) I also chose to make the soup vegan and non-dairy by using vegan butter and non-dairy soy creamer. My changes are in red below.

Hugh says, "Given its humble ingredients, this soup has a surprisingly sophisticated flavor. Celery root's earthy intensity and velvety texture are wonderful combined with the spicy, salty, or sweet finishes, and a swirl of parsley and walnut pesto works very well too."

Celery Root Soup
Slightly Adapted from River Cottage Every Day by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
(Serves 6)

3 Tbsp unsalted butter (I used 2 Tbsp vegan butter)
1 large celery root, or about 2 lbs worth, peeled and coarsely chopped
about 12 oz leeks, white parts only, chopped
2/3 cup peeled and diced potato
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves chopped
4 cups good, light veggie stock
1/2 cup heavy cream, optional (I used unsweetened non-dairy creamer)
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Melt butter in a large heavy saucepan. Add the celery root, leeks, potato, onion and garlic; season generously, then cook for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften. 

Add the stock, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 20 to 25 minutes, until the celery root is tender.

Puree the soup in a blender and return it to the pan (or use an immersion blender to puree it in the pan). Reheat gently. If the soup is too thick, thin it with some water or stock, though remember you may be adding cream.

Just before serving, check the soup for seasoning and stir in the cream if you want to enrich it a little. 

Besides pesto, these are Hugh's suggested toppings: 
  • Diced apple fried gently in butter until golden, then spooned over the soup, buttery juices & all.
  • A few crisp shreds of fried smoked bacon or ham.
  • A little chile confit or chile oil

Notes/Results: This is a creamy and tasty soup with a slight celery-ish flavor. The potato and leek/onion comes through too but the celery root is really the star. Rather than try to peel it, I followed an online tip and cut the skin off which made it pretty quick and easy to prepare. The beauty of pureeing in this soup is that nothing has to be beautifully cut and can all be coarsely chopped. The pesto was perfect swirled into the soup--added a bright pop of color and flavor. I still want to try his buttery-apple topping and will do that with my leftovers. A good dish to go out with Hugh on, I would happily make it again.

As promised, here are my favorite five Hugh recipes cooked during the past six months. I liked all of the recipes I made with Hugh but these six are the ones I thought of and craved after. I also added another Hugh favorite cooked before our time with him as a bonus.

Tomato and Mozzarella Risotto is the ultimate pantry comfort food and just posting the picture makes me want this creamy, cheesy spaghetti-flavored risotto again. 

Hugh's White Bean and Leek Soup with Chili Oil really elevates a simple bean soup and adds complexity and a kick of heat. I made mine vegan and loved noshing on it all week as the flavors only got better.  

Lemony Zucchini on Toasted Bread is a great way to use up an abundance of zucchini. The lemon, garlic and thyme combination brings wonderful flavor to the squash. I made this recipe several times and even added in to pasta for a change from the bread.

I make a lot of lentil soups but I really liked the flavors in Hugh's Red Lentil Soup with Caraway and Minted Yogurt. I wasn't feeling good when I made it but it was simple to toss together, tasted great, and made me feel nourished.

This recipe for Crudités with Garlic and Anchovy Dressing is great both for as a dish with the grilled veggies and as a salad dressing for greens. It has strong Caesar salad like flavors and backs a good garlic punch.

OK, this last one was made before we starting cooking with Hugh but it was such a great recipe (I did make some small changes) that I had to include it as a bonus--Zucchini and Goat Cheese Soup with Basil & Lemon. Rich, decadent, and one of my favorite zucchini soups. 

There you have it, some fabulous Hugh recipes. You can see how everyone sends him off at IHCC by checking out the picture links on the Goodbye Hugh! post.

We have some fantastic dishes waiting this week in the Souper Sundays kitchen--let's have a look!

Debra of Eliot's Eats shared Herb-Vinaigrette Potato Salad and said, "This is a great way to celebrate early produce from the garden. To add some more crunch, sprinkle with croutons.  (This recipe is featured in Taste of Home’s Holiday & Celebrations, 2017).

Judee of Gluten Free A-Z Blog made Vegan Lentil, Leek, and Potato Soup this week and said, "Lentils, leeks, and potatoes are the key players in this tasty autumn soup which is both naturally gluten free and vegan. ... I like my soups on the chunky side and unblended, but feel free to blend this soup into a creamy mixture using an immersion blender or Vitamix."

Shaheen of Allotment2Kitchen shared Balsamic Beetroot Orzo Pasta Salad with Green Beans and said, "I have made an Estonian Beetroot and Potato Salad, and this simple Beetroot Orzo Pasta and Green Bean Salads for work. I have mentioned in previous blog posts, that week after week I make the same salads, so its nice to vary with the changing seasons."  

Finally here at Kahakai Kitchen I made an easy and delicious Caramel-Apple Jam and served it as open-faced sandwiches on fresh sourdough bread with cheddar cheese, inspired by Farmer Boy by Laura Ingalls WIlder for Cook the Book. Although the jam has many tasty uses, it made a wonderful sandwich. 

Mahalo to everyone who joined me at Souper Sundays this week! 

Souper Sundays is back with a new format of a picture link each week where anyone interested can post their soups, salads, or sandwiches any time during the week and I post a recap of the entries the following week.)

(If you aren't familiar with Souper Sundays, you can read about of the origins of it here.

If you would like to join in Souper (Soup, Salad, and Sammie) Sundays, I would love to have you! Here's how...

To join in this week's linkup with your soup, salad or sandwich:

  • Link up your soup (stew, chili, soupy curries, etc. are fine), salad, or sandwich dish, (preferably one from the current week or month--but we'll take older posts too) on the picture link below and leave a comment on this post so I am sure not to miss you.

On your entry post (on your blog):
  • Please mention Souper (Soup, Salad & Sammies) Sundays at Kahakai Kitchen and link back to this post.
  • You are welcome to add the Souper Sundays logo to your post and/or blog (optional).

Have a happy, healthy week!

Friday, September 22, 2017

A Fried Halloumi Salad for My Friend

Some weeks are tougher than others. This week has been one of those weeks. Lots of issues and work deadlines and some 'life stuff,' combined with everything that is going on in the world. My heart goes out to the people of Mexico, Puerto Rico and everywhere else so horrifically impacted by earthquake and hurricanes. Years ago I spent a lot of time in Puerto Rico for work and still have former coworkers and friends there and seeing the devastation is heart-wrenching. Then there is all the recent health care news and the stupid Twitter battle being waged with Korea that may result in an H-Bomb being 'tested' in the Pacific Ocean--not great news when you live on an island there. 

It's also hard when a good friend is grieving and it hits close to home. The wonderful Kim of Stirring the Pot, my friend of many years and co-host at I Heart Cooking Clubs lost her mom last week and that makes me sad for her. My mom passed away two years ago and so I know at least some of what she is feeling and I wish I could give her a big hug and offer some better form of comfort than were words. Since I can't do that in person, like many of her other blogging friends, we are dedicating this week's IHCC Potluck to Kim and sending her our love, along with some virtual food for comfort, in honor of her mom who was a big supporter of Kim's cooking and blogging.

You may not think a salad is the right food for solace, but this one from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall has fried cheese (halloumi) on top of a Greek-style salad and I know Kim is a fan of those flavors and ingredients. Her mom was quite the green thumb and herb gardener so I think she'd approve. Cheese, especially fried cheese, is always welcome and I hope the capers I tossed in are too. Most especially it was made with plenty of love.

Fried Halloumi Salad 
Slightly Adapted from River Cottage Every Day by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
(Serves 4)

For the dressing:
1 tsp honey

juice of 1/2 lemon
1 small garlic clove, crushed
pinch of red pepper flakes
pinch of sea salt
3 Tbsp canola or olive oil

For the salad:
1 small red onion, very finely sliced
1 small cucumber, cut into chunks
2/3 cup cherry tomatoes, halved
1/3 cup kalamata or other black olives, pitted
large handful of mint leaves, coarsely shredded
large handful of flat-leaf parsley leaves

(I added 1 heaping Tbsp of capers)
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
large pinch of smoked paprika
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
8 oz halloumi cheese, cut into 8 slices
2 Tbsp canola or olive oil

First, make the dressing. Stir together the honey, lemon juice, garlic, red pepper flakes, and salt until well combined, then whisk in the oil. 

In a large bowl, toss together the onion, cucumber, tomatoes, olives, mint, and parsley. 

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, paprika, and some salt and pepper. Moisten the halloumi slices slightly with water, if necessary, then press them into the seasoned flour and shake off any excess. 

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and fry the halloumi slices over medium heat for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden and slightly soft inside.

Toss the salad vegetables with the dressing, turning them over with your hands to make sure everything is lightly coated. 

Divide the salad among 4 plates, put 2 pieces of the hot halloumi on each one, and serve immediately.

Notes/Results: This is a simple salad but full of fresh flavor from the fresh herbs and the from dressing--which is slightly sweet with a little kick from the crushed red pepper flakes. The halloumi is the perfect touch with it's chewy, melty goodness and I especially liked the hint of smoked paprika in the coating. I would happily make it again.

It's Potluck week at I Heart Cooking Club and this one is in honor of Kim. Sending her much healing love as she goes through this difficult time.  

And I am linking this salad up to Souper Sundays, here at Kahakai Kitchen--where every Sunday, we feature soups, salads, and sandwiches from across the blogosphere. You can find the details for joining in here-on this week's post.