14 June 2014

Moroccan Orange Salad

I am now almost 2 weeks in to 4 weeks of holiday...how can it have gone so fast?  And sadly I am sure it is going fly by even faster from here on in.  There has been much catching up with friends & family over good food & good wine.

Especially this little cutie, my niece.

Oh & this little cutie, Tobermory & Toby for short.  

There has been lunch at The Witchery, The Witchery is nestled up at the top of the Royal Mile in Edinburgh just by the gates of  Edinburgh Castle.  It was built in 1595 & as The Witchery it’s been nestled there for over 40 years & takes its names from the 100s of women burned at the stake as witches on Castlehill in the 16th & 17th centuries. 

For lunch we were in the Secret Garden, a magical dining room that you enter down a stone staircase. In Summer you can eat al fresco on the terrace. However, this being Scotland we didn’t happen to be there on an especially summery day, sadly a little few & far between, so it was inside for us. Not a problem as it is a wonderful, romantic candlelit space & really makes you feel like you are in another world.

We had beautiful food, featuring some wonderful Scottish produce; juicy scallops, duck & trout all featured at lunch. To start I had a wild garlic veloute with smoked cauliflower puree.  Bright vibrant green, the veloute fresh & the smoked cauliflower a wonderful addition.

The scallops, or rather scallop, came with broad beans & chorizo & the duck was alongside a chicory & orange salad & a beet sorbet, that was quite incredible, wonderfully smooth, sweet & earthy.

For mains most of us had the roast sea trout with a pea & tomato risotto & a fennel & rosemary cream.  Perfectly cooked trout & a light risotto, perhaps a little more of the cream would have been good as it got lost amongst the other flavours.  There was also the pot roast chicken with the vanilla lime mash which sounded intriguing but perhaps there could have been a little more punch.  To finish a zesty lemon tart, which was a good tart & a lovely finish to a quite lovely lazy lunch.

There was also an amazing lunch at Tom Kitchin’s Kitchin.  More on that later, but check out the souffle!  The dreamiest, lightest, airy souffle to pass my lips.

Add to that family gatherings & general over indulging it was with pleasure that I came across this Moroccan Orange Salad from Rick Stein.  A quite delicious, exotic even, dessert that was on the right side of light.
Moroccan Orange Salad, from Rick Stein’s Mediterranean Escapes

*the only minor tweak was using ground cinnamon rather than ground cinnamon stick.


4 large juicy oranges
2 tbsp icing sugar
1 tbsp orange flower water
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon (or 2.5 centimetre/1 inch cinnamon stick)
Half a cup pomegranate seeds*

*Buy some pomegranates when in season & freeze the seeds & they can be used straight from the freezer.


Slice the top & bottom off each orange & stand each one on a chopping board.  Cut carefully from the top down to the bottom slicing away all the skin & the pith. Thinly slice the oranges & arrange them on a platter.

Sprinkle the oranges with the icing sugar & orange flower water. Cover & place in the fridge for an hour.

Just before serving sprinkle over the cinnamon & scatter over the pomegranate seeds.

This is bright & fresh & makes for the perfect light, fruity sweet to finish off a meal.

If you like this you might like this Almond & Orange Florentines

04 June 2014

Poached Vegetables with Caper Dijon Mayo

So it was just my first weekend back home in Scotland for 4 weeks on holiday, happy times indeed. There will be many catch ups with friends & family & of course there will be lots of eating! I will likely be rolling off the plane when I get back to New Zealand at the end of the month! So Sunday came around & it was time to cook & enjoy a Sunday roast.  This time around pork with crispy crackling, gravy & apple sauce.  On the side freshly dug Ayrshire new potatoes, these delicious little spuds just need roughly scrubbed clean, boiled & a little salt & butter.  They are perfect as they are & need no embellishments.  

And you’ve got to have some vegetables.   As I am now in the northern hemisphere I get a bonus season of asparagus so there had to be asparagus!  Yes, so excited to get an extra few weeks of these delectable green spear.  I love them every which way, but today going Ottolenghi inspired with spring vegetables poached in white wine, olive oil & lemon juice along side some herbs & then topped with a caper & Dijon mayo concoction. Plus there were some freshly podded peas. Oh how lovely it is to be getting a second round of all these Summer vegetables.

Poached Vegetables with Caper Dijon Mayo, adapted slightly from the as ever wonderful Ottolenghi

*Fennel, baby leeks, broccolini & even a few fresh peas would all be welcome additions


Serves 4-6 as a side dish depending on your level of love for vegetables

2 carrots, peeled & cut in to batons
1 handful green beans, top & tailed
1 bunch asparagus, any woody stems removed
1 zucchini, cut in to batons
2 tbsp dill fronds

Poaching liquid
600ml white wine
200ml olive oil
Juice of 2 lemons
2 bay leaves
1 small onion, peeled & halved
2 sticks of celery, cut in to batons
1 tsp salt

Caper Dijon Mayo
1/2 a cup good quality mayonnaise
3/4 tsp Dijon mustard
Juice of half a lemon
2 tbsp capers, roughly chopped
Pinch salt


Start with the mayo; place all the ingredients in a bowl & mix them all together. Season & taste & if need be add a little more Dijon, lemon juice or salt.  Cover & place in the fridge until ready to serve.

Pour the wine in to a large saucepan & bring to a boil, lower the heat & simmer for 2-3 minutes.  Add all the other ingredients for the poaching liquid & bring to a simmer. Add the carrots & the beans to the pot & simmer for 3 minutes. Then add the asparagus & zucchini & poach for 3-4 minutes more.  We want the vegetables still bright & a little crunchy.

Remove the vegetables with a large slotted spoon & place on a serving platter.  Spoon over a drizzle of the poaching liquid & scatter over the dill fronds. Serve with the mayo on the side. Pile some veg on your plate, top with a dollop of mayo & enjoy.

These are wonderfully bright & light vegetables, the lemon really brightening them up & the dill delivering a lovely slightly aniseedy note.  Then there’s that mayo, the tang of Dijon & the briney capers the perfect companion for these poached vegetables, actually the perfect companion for lots, it is quite the friendly condiment & quite moreish.

If you like this you might like this Grilled Vegetables with Lemon Cumin Yoghurt & Dukkah
One year ago Swiss Chard Fritter
Two years ago Pork Rillettes
Three years ago Braised Lamb Shanks

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