Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Summery Supper - Salad Days

This week's warmer weather has caused us to make a transition to summery salad suppers, and I've been trying to think of different dishes to add to the salady bits to make a meal. Yesterday we had smoked mackerel fillets, which were delicious. I fancied a quiche today, so hit Google to find a gluten free recipe, as I've not yet found a very successful pastry crust method. This recipe caught my eye, as we have Polenta in the larder, so I gave it a go. The polenta crust was delicious, although I had to vary the method of making a little: I ended up kneading it into place in the quiche tin, pressing it out into a smooth layer before blind baking whilst making the filling. I would definitely repeat this recipe soon.

For some reason I cannot get this photo into landscape format, the quiche seems determined to be a half-moon!

I also made some muffins from the wonderful Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook: Maple and Pecan, again gluten free. They don't look like the ones in the book, but they taste excellent. I don't often bake because I really don't need the calories, but once in a while it's good to practice methods and try out some recipes. I enjoy the occasional cakey treat, too.

A little of what you fancy does you good!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Blue Skies and Armchair Travels

At the moment, when I leave the house by the kitchen door to go to the garden, this is what I see and smell: the glorious wisteria growing in next-door's garden and arching over the path beside the study. It is so glorious a combination, the two shades of blue in flower and sky and the subtle,heady, sweet scent as you pass below the plant.

We have been thinking a lot about summer adventures and travels, and what we can do for a holiday this year. It seems harder to plan than usual. For starters, the ash cloud effects on flying cannot be ignored, and neither can the parlous economic state of the country and its local effects on all of us.

Then there are the limitations I am experiencing due to health problems, which sap my energy so severely and also are causing extreme pain when I walk the shoert distances I can manage.

At present we can fly from our local airport to New York, but that service will be ended soon, and part of me feels we should try to take advantage of it while it is there. I've been looking around the internet but its so hard to find out information about accessible travel. So can anyone tell me how accessible New York is? I'm not confined to a wheelchair although I have the use of one, but I do use two walking sticks or a rollator walking frame with integral seat. Any advice, suggestions or comments would be ever so gratefully received. When I think of New York I think of busy traffic, the subway (which I don't use in the UK due to the amount of walking involved to get to it), yellow taxis (are they costly?)...

What are must-sees?

Then there's the rest of the world! I yearn to return to Venice, and to go to Turkey/Istanbul and to Granada in Spain, but I'm missing Greece and open to other suggestions. Am I spoiled for choice? Maybe. Over the past few years we've tended to take self-catering properties which are more family-friendly and flexible. I'd love to visit the Scilly Isles but you need to book up sp far in advance - years not months or weeks - because they are so popular. Rome has been suggested but I don't know how easy it would be to get around and I suspect hiring a car would not be a relaxing option there!

So, please, give me some information and ideas! Meanwhile, I'm glad not to be missing the glorious sight and smell of the wisteria over the fence.