Camping and a BBQ filled Bank Holiday

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So, hope everyone had a good bank holiday weekend? Dave was off on his stag do in Dublin so I decided to tag onto a camping trip with some friends (those of coconut prawns fame!) down in Petersfield, not far from Portsmouth.

From Friday to Monday I was living in a little tent on what appeared to be telly tubby hill. We miraculously missed the rain and enjoyed some sunny if a little windy weather.

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Lamb Kleftiko with lemon crispy potatoes

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I made this last week and no word of a lie, its one of the top 5 tastiest things I've ever made. Long winded but worth the wait!

As you will know from my family's love of Italy and its cuisine, I am a big fan of Mediterranean food. Having never been to Greece, I probably know least about Greek food out of the 'meditteranean umbrella'. From the little i have tried, I love it all - Moussaka, Greek Salad, souvlaki.. and now, Kleftiko!

From reading online, I don't think this is a particularly authentic version of Kleftiko but its really delicious and surely that's what really counts?! This recipe came out of an old copy of Olive magazine but it is also available on the BBC Good Food website here.

Lamb Kleftiko with Lemon Crispy potatoes

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Doddington Hall Farm Shop & Sculpture Exhibition

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I've just got back from Doddington Hall near Lincoln where I've been helping my mums friend with some photography of her pieces in the Sculpture Exhibition running there at the moment.

Doddington Farm Shop - Veg boxes
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Review: 80th birthday curry at Salims

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Last weekend we were celebrating my Nanna's 80th birthday. Naturally, she wanted to mark the occassion with a curry, like all 80 year olds do. So, we went to Salim's in Loughborough.

Positioned opposite the pretty scuzzy Phantom pub (inhabited mainly by equally looking scuzzy students and young people), Salim's is on Leicester Road just a little way out from the town centre, as if you were heading out towards Quorn, Leicester etc.. The frontage doesn't look much from the road, just a standard Indian restaurant?

Once inside, things pick up a bit. The decor is simple and tasteful. Clean walls and simple artwork make a refreshing change to a lot of curry houses in the area which are stuffed full of swirly wall paper and heavy coloured fabrics. The leather seats were comfortable and fresh flowers on every table were a nice touch. This isn't a bring your own joint which does push the price up a little but the waiter quickly arrived to take our drinks orders. Lager for me. Its the only place I drink pints these days.. wine and curry doesn't seem right somehow! Unfortunately for my Dad, they don't offer any ales or bitters - as our resident 'grumpy old man' he wasn't overly impressed that he had to drink "that gassy rubbish you drink"...


We had the usual round of poppadoms and dips which were all pleasant enough. We were pleased to see a choice of 6 dips  - the usual suspects, onion mix, riata and mango chutney but also lime pickle, a dry coconut dip and a spicy tamarind chilli paste.

For my main I had the Achari Gosht. This is something I've had (and loved) at old faithful, The Spice Cube in Mountsorrel so I was interested to see what it was like here. A medium spice lamb dish cooked in a base of lime pickle with spinach, the flavour is really punchy and very moreish. The spice isn't blow your head off but the pickle does give the dish an intensity which some people may find too much. Eaten along side my fave G&T (garlic and tomato naan) and mushroom rice, the meal was absolutely yummy, hot and delicious.

There were 7 of us in total, each having 2 poppodums, sharing a rice and naan and a main each, plus 1-2 drinks. The bill came to around £130.00 - average of just over £18.00 each. Pretty good value I think!

So, overall... I was very impressed with Salim's, the food was delicious, service was good and the decor is fresh and tasteful. Would I rank it as my favourite local Indian restaurant? Probably not, but its a close second to my all time favourite - Spice Cube in mountsorrel.

Chicken Tikka Masala £7.95 - Britain's most popular dish, marinated and grilled chicken cooked in a rich yoghurt and cream sauce - mild to medium in heat.

 
Shahi Korma - £9.45 - Selection of Chicken Tikka, Lamb Tikka, Sheek Kebab & Tandoori Chicken pieces, seared and slow cooked in a creamy gravy. Recommended with a Peshwari naan to enhance flavours.

Achari Gohst £8.95 (above and below) - tender pieces of lamb cooked with pickled chilli mango, lime & other spices in a thick sauce.


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Rhubarb & Strawberry Crumble Muffins

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For those of you who follow me on Twitter or are fans of my Facebook page, you'll know that of late, I've been on a slight rhubarb cooking bender. My mum has been growing some gorgeous organic Timperley rhubarb in her garden and its never ending!

My shout out for rhubarb recipes last week was very successful. I had to choose just a couple of recipes and this one is based on a Rhubarb Crumble Muffin recipe from Gourmet Mum. I changed it slightly and added strawberries but the inspiration was perfect! Do check out her blog, it's full of lovely photography and recipes.


As I started making the muffins, I realised I had a punnet of Strawberries on the turn and last minute, decided to throw a couple in. The sweetness (I hoped) would contrast nicely with the Rhubarb. Turns out I was right. Here's the recipe:

Ingredients, makes 12:
  •  375g Self Raising Flour 
  • 125g Soft Brown Sugar
  • 100g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
  • 250ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten 
  • 200g rhubarb, sliced lengthways and chopped into small chunks
  • 50-100g strawberries - topped and quartered
  • 50g Caster Sugar
  • 2 tbsp water 
For the crumble topping:
  • 50g Plain Flour 
  • 25g Porridge Oats 
  • 50g cold unsalted butter, diced 
  • 50g Demerara Sugar 
Method: 
  • Preheat the oven to 200 degrees/ Gas mark 6
  • Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases 
Using only the muffin ingredients at first (ignore the crumble topping until later) 
  • Sift the flour into a bowl
  • Add the soft brown sugar 
  • Whisk the egg, milk and butter together 
  • In a bowl, mix the rhubarb, caster sugar and water together
  • Drop in the quartered strawberry pieces  - a rough science weight wise! See what looks like enough! 
Now using the Crumble topping ingredients:
  • Mix together the porridge oats, flour and butter and rub between your fingers until the mixture resembles rough breadcrumbs.
  • Add the sugar and lightly mix.
Back to the muffins... 
  • Add the egg and rhubarb mixtures to the flour and fold it all together. It's supposed to be lumpy so don't over mix!
  • Divide the muffin mixture equally into the 12 cases - make sure that each one contains at least 2 pieces of rhubarb and strawberry.
  • Top them all with crumble mixture, be generous and don't worry about being neat. Press it down gently.
  • Bake for approx 20 minutes.
  • Leave them to cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
    I've entered this into the Simple and in Season feature on the Fabilicious Food blog!
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    The Greedy Italians - Handmade Sausages with Pepper Sauce & Potatoes

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    About a month ago, Dave came home with a new cookbook for me - as much as I love a bunch of flowers, I love a new cook book more!

    This one is a cracker, Two Greedy Italians is basically a follow up to the TV series of the same name which followed Antonio Carluccio and Genaro Contaldo around Italy whilst they made lots of oooh and ahhh sounds as they ate and drank pretty much everything in sight! A thoroughly entertaining duo, you can't help but love them!

    Two Greedy Italians Cookbook Cover

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    Eating and drinking in Garfagnana, Tuscany

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    We have an affinity with Tuscany in our family. In particular, with the Garfagnana region around Barga. My mum and her husband (crumble munching Andy) have been visiting for almost 10 years after falling on the place by accident as part of their honeymoon.

    I've been twice and my brother has been 3 times, this year I'm not going and my sister is, along with mum, Andy and my brother.. so, as you can see, its a real love affair.

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