Seasonal shopping …the hard bit’s stopping!


Been a ridiculously busy fortnight at work and I feel as if i have been in someone else’s skin for most of the time…not really being me, if you know what I mean. Playing the role I have to play – I guess we all do. Anyway, the holidays are not far away and this weekend I am resigned to doing nothing, well. almost nothing. We are off to a friends for supper at 7.30pm and tomorrow I may amble over to Salisbury’s Christmas market. I love this time of the year…there’s lots of crass commercialism but there’s enough good out there to make me feel good deep down. And of course, this morning we went shopping and I love, absolutely love, food shopping…and this time of year it is almost double the fun. Part of the challenge is to not come back with too many things you never intended going out for but at this time of the year I tend to crumble now and then. I always say I am not going to buy nuts but i gave in…again…they always look so inviting…glossy hazelnuts, rugged brazils, gnarled walnuts, precocious pecans, adamantine almonds…and I know I will never crack them all..though earlier as i sat in front of my wood burner musing about life and lunch, I began the crack fest…so to speak! I think I need to update my nutcracker. And I also slipped a box of Algerian dates into my basket. It just had to be done. They will wink at me each night until I delve into their sweet moistness…I can only hold out so long to certain charms!

I have also started the stocking up of cheeses for the season including a rather tasty looking blue camembert which I have not come across before. I love nutty emmental, serious and old curmudgeonly stilton, breezy Wensleydale, as well as a straightforward honest and loyal cheddar at this time of the year. There will aways have to be cheese in for a spontaneous evening raclette too. I also fell for a block of italian date and walnut slice – perfect slow burning companion to a slice of cheese and a purring port. I tend to often buy stuff in case folk just pop in as well, the nice nibbly bits –  prawn platters, smoked salmon, smoked trout, toothsome sausage rolls for when I have not had time to make my own, smoked cocktail sausages, slices of bresaola, whole salamis…oh and I could not resist the half piece of prosciutto on offer – stunning just stunning. Every slice will transport me to Rome!

I did look and consider other items but thought I have to spread the pleasure out over a few forays over the coming week or two. The slices of game pie, pickles, chutneys, panettone, the port, single malts dressed as santa, the crackers will all have to bide their time – fear not, I will be back.

(I did though buckle at the half price champagne – who wouldn’t. It’s a given.) I need to go in search for this year’s turkey in the coming week too…see what the local butchers and farms have to offer…and tomorrow my daughter and I are going to give our decs a serious audit.

Oh and I did buy food for the week too!

Right – time for another log on the fire…time to thumb through a few recipe books and start dreaming of dishes to rustle up before I get ready to go out. Enjoy your weekend and the coming festive weeks!

Nativity scene and altar, Salisbury Cathedral

Nativity scene and altar, Salisbury Cathedral (Photo credit: Philocrites)

Creamy Dreamy Salmon Tagliatelle


Creamy Dreamy Salmon Tagliatelle

Simple dish – I am sure it is not new to any of you but it is one of our family stand by quick suppers. I love it. They love it . We all love it!

Ingredients for 4:

100 gm of smoked salmon cut into strips
300 gm tagliatelle
25 gm butter
175 gm single cream
Roasted red peppers cut into strips – or you could use them drained from a jar
Flat leaf parsley chopped
A little black pepper

Melt the butter in a frying pan. Add the cream, black pepper and warm through gently for a couple of minutes. Add the salmon and the peppers. (You could do this dish just with either ingredient if you were so inclined of course.) Toss in the drained cooked tagliatelle and the chopped parsley and stir round. You should not need salt but I daresay there are some folk who might want to add a brisk grind of sea salt at this juncture. But not for me – the smoked salmon is salty enough.)

A dreamy dish for a summer evening supper…… or…… salmon chanted evening! (Oh dear…ouch!)