courgette, Food, food bloggers, goats cheese, lunch, preserved lemon, Recipes, salad, vegetarian

Courgette Carpaccio with Goats Cheese, Preserved Lemon and Chilli

Courgette Carpaccio with Goats Cheese, Lemon and Chilli

I know that it’s a bit of a cliché to moan about the weather, but seriously summer, where the hell are you? I’ve been reliably informed that a heatwave is on its way, but I remain sceptical. Then again, I work in one of the rainiest parts of a rainy country, and I often wonder if it would just be cheaper to get myself laminated rather than spend another tenner on an umbrella which – inevitably – breaks.

So, I am forced to search for summer in my vegetable box. At the moment, it’s bursting with glorious green vegetables – big bunches of spinach, plump broad beans and crunchy courgettes.  Usually I like to throw them in pastas, ratatouilles and stews, but sometimes I feel like getting a bit more inventive, which is how this courgette ‘capaccio’ came about.

This isn’t a conventional carpaccio, given that it comprises vegetables rather than meat, but it’s still prepared the same way. Paper thin slices of courgette are dotted with goats cheese, preserved lemon zest (my new favourite ingredient), red chilli flakes and a good glug of extra virgin olive oil. Don’t have any goats cheese to hand? Ricotta or feta will do just as well. Served with a roast chicken, a hunk of bread and a glass of crisp white wine and you can almost believe that summer is here…even if you have the central heating on.

COURGETTE CARPACCIO WITH GOATS CHEESE, PRESERVED LEMON AND CHILLI (Serves two people as a side, or one person as a large salad)

A version of this recipe was originally posted on Little Red Courgette (my old blog!)

You will need:

  • 2 small courgettes
  • The juice of a lemon
  • The peel from two preserved lemons
  • 50g soft goats cheese
  • 1 tsp red chilli flakes
  • A large glug of extra virgin olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to season

Make It!

  1. Top and tail the courgettes and slice thinly. You may wish to do this using a mandoline but I just used a sharp vegetable knife.
  2. Slice the preserved lemons in half and scoop out the flesh (you can either discard this, or reserve it for another recipe.) Chop the peel finely.
  3. Place the courgette rounds into a medium bowl and (carefully!) toss with the lemon peel and chilli flakes.
  4. Arrange on a plate in an overlapping pattern, and dot with the goats cheese.
  5. Drizzle over the lemon juice and extra virgin olive oil. Season with the salt and pepper and serve immediately.
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ASOS, books, Charlotte Tilbury, Gin, July round up, lunch, Lush, Nars, REN, salad, Sheila Heti, Tatty Devine

Radio Silence

Radio Silence

I got a passive aggressive email from WordPress last week, informing me that it ‘missed me.’ While I was previously unaware that inanimate cloud-based blogging platforms were capable of feeling human emotions, it reminded me that I really should pull my finger out and get posting again.

While it’s no excuse, my July has been a little chaotic. I’ve left my job in London, been to a wedding with a mariachi band, necked red wine from the bottle on a street corner in Soho on the hottest day of the year, started a new (terrifyingly grown up) job in Manchester and discovered the ‘joys’ of having to get up at 5.50am every morning and apply eyeliner flicks on a Northern Rail train. TLDR; I’m skint, knackered and happy. I’ve also been unable to nab any decent pics of my (admittedly excellent) work attire, so until I a) figure out how to get my phone to do a full body selfie and b) find a disabled toilet somewhere in Manchester where I can achieve this feat, I thought I’d do a bit of a round up of things I’ve been enjoying recently.

  • Magical beauty products for manky Mancunian weather: While I have missed Manchester, I have not missed its ridiculous climate. My return back to the North has seen me singing the song of my people – ‘Seriously, it’s July and I’m wearing sandals. Can you stop bloody raining?’ The bizarre weather has also made a total mess of my skin – think dry patches, dark circles and a general sickly ‘Victorian orphan’-esque pallor. Two products have sorted me out – REN’s Flash Rinse One Minute Facial (which has left my skin looking firm, fresh and zingy) and Lush’s Ultra Bland cleanser (which smells like marzipan and strips every blob of make-up from your face in one swift swoop. It’s calming, soothing and great for eczema sufferers such as myself.)

Norman Parkinson's Vogue shoot with Jerry Hall

  • Make Yourself Beautiful: I can – and will – rave about Charlotte Tilbury’s make-up until I’m blue in the face, so it’s quite dangerous that my new office is a fifteen minute walk away from one of her concessions. Her new Norman Parkinson collection is out of sight, full of gorgeous bright colours and packaging featuring Jerry Hall in her prime.  For me, the stand out product is her 1975 Red matte lipstick. It’s £23, and it’s sheer perfection, a rosy coral with staying power, which puts one in mind of warm beaches and sipping cocktails by the pool.
  • Munchies: Now I work in an office five days a week, I am determined to be sensible and bring my lunch to work with me. It’s cheaper and way more satisfying than blowing all my £££ in Pret. Smitten Kitchen’s Carrot Salad with Tahini and Crisped Chickpeas is on regular rotation – it’s satisfying, savoury and crunchy. Hollow Legs also posted a delicious sounding Sesame Peanut Noodle Salad last week which I can’t wait to shove into my lunchbox.
  • How Should a Person Be?: I recently read Sheila Heti’s fantastic How Should a Person Be? after reading an interview she did with Juliet Jacques for her book Trans. I’ll admit, I initially approached it with scepticism – every review I’d read of it made it sound like some awful hipster edict filled with selfish people. (It’s frequently been compared to Girls after all, which is – guess what! –  an awful hipster edict filled with selfish people.) In reality, it’s warm, funny and a brilliant examination of female friendships. It’s a book narrated by someone trying to navigate the world and her place in it, while also figuring out how to be a decent human being. Read it.
  • Gordon’s gets us drunk: I recently wrote a piece for Munchies on Liverpool, gin and Liverpool Gin. I had great fun writing this, not least because I got to drink a fair amount of G&T’s while writing it.
  • Oh look, it’s me: The lovely Holly at Gadgette recently called me one of the ‘top ten plus sized babes to be following on Instagram this summer.’ It was very unexpected but utterly delightful, particularly as I was described as a ‘tattooed temptress.’ I’m in some great company too, so check it out if you fancy following some excellent plus sized fitties on IG.

Nautical Christina

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asparagus, Food, lunch, Recipes, salad, spring

Steak and Asparagus Salad

Steak and Asparagus Salad

Some recipes haunt you. They lodge themselves inside your head and remind you of your existence every time you open the fridge and wonder what you’re going to make for dinner that evening. I’ve not stopped thinking about Heidi Swanson’s Asparagus Panzanella since it popped up on my RSS feed. It’s the perfect Spring recipe – one which is simple, elegant and can be thrown together in half an hour. (Plus, she recommends topping it with a chopped hard boiled egg and – as we all know – everything is better when you put an egg on it.)

But, me being me, I had to tinker with it a bit. My bunch of asparagus didn’t look substantial enough on its own, so I added the leftovers of a box of mixed leaves I got in my Abel and Cole delivery. I had a pack of white miso lying unloved at the back of my fridge, so I decided to add it to the dressing to round it out a bit and add an extra ping of sweetness. And (while I never really need much of an excuse to eat steak), I’d had a bit of a crappy day, so lets throw a bit of medium rare rump in there too.

While it may not look as refined as the original, sometimes there’s no shame in being a bit rough and ready. This is a spring salad which satisfies, and the perfect way to celebrate English asparagus season while you’re at it.

STEAK AND ASPARAGUS SALAD

Adapted from 101 Cookbooks

You will need:

  • 1 medium sized piece of rump steak
  • 80 ml buttermilk
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon white miso (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 bunch of (English) asparagus
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 large handful of good quality sourdough, torn into chunks
  • 1 large handful of mixed salad leaves (I used these baby leaves I got from Abel and Cole)

Make it!

  1. Cook your steak (make sure you oil the meat, not the pan!) I find that two – three minutes on each side does the trick to get it medium rare, although this will depend on the thickness of your steak.
  2. Make the dressing by whisking together the buttermilk, olive oil, mustard, vinegar, white miso, and a pinch of salt. Taste and adjust if needed, before setting aside.
  3. Melt the butter in a large skillet, add the cubes of sourdough bread and toss until every nook and cranny is smothered in melted butter. Continue to toss them gently on a medium heat until they turn crispy and golden. Transfer to a paper towel.
  4. Trim the asparagus and blanch in a saucepan of salted boiling water until just tender – around a minute or so. Add the blanched asparagus to the rinsed mixed leaves.
  5. Slice the steak against the grain into thin stripes. Add to the bowl, along with the toasted bread and a healthy drizzle of the buttermilk-miso dressing. Serve with a large glass of wine.
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