Tuesday, April 17, 2018

A Visit to the Churchill Rooms in London and The Mayflower

Gourmet Living News

Editor’s Note:   This is a reprint of a Blog Post published a year ago on the Mayflower and a visit to the Churchill Rooms on a sister site, GourMay.net, which documents one of our trips to Great Britain.  Slightly irreverent,  this blog post is pitched more to our family than readers of Gourmet Living.  Nevertheless, it has some useful suggestions for those travelling to the UK, particularly London.

QUOTE

Over the last 20 years or so, I have been dabbling about in Ancestry.com crafting a family tree.  Mind you, I am not a genealogist and could care less whether our relatives were descended from Charlemagne or Jack the Ripper (wasn’t he a member of the Royal family?)

The Mayflower Pub

A couple of weeks before our visit to London, I discovered that one of my distant relatives (Constance Hopkins – Age 14) came over on the Mayflower to the “New World” in 1620.   As things go, one can never be entirely sure that one’s family tree is 100% accurate, but then few people would have predicted that Donald Trump would be President.

Mayflower Pub

As we finished our Brunel, London Walk, we popped over to the Mayflower Pub in Rotherhithe for lunch.  Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the Mayflower was moored immediately below the pub (it had a different name then) in the Thames, before sailing with 65 passengers to rendezvous with the smaller Speedwell that was bringing Puritans from Leiden, Holland.

The Speedwell sprang a leak and all settlers eventually sailed together on the Mayflower, departing from Plymouth in late 1620.

On the wall of the pub was a picture featuring the silhouettes of the 102 settlers and of the 1620 Plymouth voyage of the Mayflower.  Immediately below, was another picture showing those settlers who made it through the first year in Plymouth.  Roughly 50% had perished!

Our lunch was rather pedestrian, but it was thrilling to share in a piece of history with distant relatives.

The Churchill War Rooms

The Churchill War Rooms are NOT part of London Walks.  Surprisingly, I don’t recall visiting them during previous visits to London.  Nevertheless, it is a useful visit for those who wish to visit an “active war room” exposed to great danger during the bombing of London in WWII.

A Churchill Museum was added to the bunker complex in 2005. In under two hours, one can gain a great appreciation for the brave men and women who lived under most dangerous conditions to help direct the Allied war effort. Also, the exhibit helps highlight Churchill’s irascible personality and energy during that period.

Certainly worth a visit. Get to the War Rooms early (they open at 9:30 a.m.) to avoid queueing.

UNQUOTE

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Thursday, April 12, 2018

Roasted Asparagus and Mushrooms with Balsamic Vinegar

Gourmet Living News

asparagus and mushrooms with balsamic vinegarSpring is a wonderful time to enjoy fresh asparagus, particularly with aged balsamic vinegar.  In a recent Food and Wine magazine, I discovered a wonderful recipe for roasted asparagus and mushrooms from Sarah Grueneberg.

We had an opportunity to sample this delicious recipe this Easter and plan on making it a regular “side” for future meals.  Furthermore, it gave us a great opportunity to feature our Goccia d’Oro balsamic vinegar which is drizzled over the top.  It’s like putting icing on a cake, the balsamic vinegar adds definition and “gravitas” to most any dish.  This proved to be no exception.

Roasted Asparagus and Mushrooms with Balsamic Vinegar

A delightful recipe from Sarah Grueneberg for asparagus and mushrooms which allows us to feature Gourmet Living’s exceptional balsamic vinegar of Modena

Ingredients

  • 1 pound asparagus, trimmed and halved crosswise

  • 1 pound hen-of-the-woods or oyster mushrooms, or 8 ounces morel mushrooms

  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

  • 1 cup loosely packed watercress or arugula (about 1/4 ounce)

  • Flaky sea salt (preferably Maldon)

  • Premium balsamic vinegar/ (Gourmet Living Goccia d’Oro), for drizzling


Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with heavy-duty aluminum foil. Arrange asparagus and mushrooms in an even layer on prepared baking sheet. Drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle with kosher salt, and toss to coat. Roast in preheated oven, stirring occasionally, until charred and tender, about 15 minutes. Add butter and thyme leaves. Once butter is melted, toss vegetables to coat, and roast until glazed, about 5 minutes.

  2. Arrange roasted vegetables on a platter, top with watercress, and season with flaky sea salt to taste. Drizzle with balsamic vinegar. 


Courses Vegetables

Cuisine American

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Friday, April 6, 2018

Barley and Spinach Salad from Food and Wine

Gourmet Living News

I must confess that I can rarely bring myself to throw away a Food magazine. My husband complains a bit and suggests that I organize my favorite recipes in loose-leaf binders, but I procrastinate. In any event, my procrastination generally results in some wonderful meals and this recipe below is no exception. It is a bit on the heavy side, but one which we enjoy on a coolish spring day.

spinach salad

Photo and recipe at https://ift.tt/2Epg6vt

The photo above comes from Bebe Love Okazu, but this basic recipe comes from the June, 2009 Food and Wine magazine. The crumbled firm tofu in the sherry vinegar dressing adds extra protein. If tofu isn’t your thing, feel free to substitute diced chicken.

Barley and Spinach Salad with Tofu Dressing

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pearl barley (7 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil (Tuscan EVOO from Gourmet Living, please!)
  • 10 ounces cremini mushrooms quartered (makes about 4 cups)
  • Freshly ground pepper (tellicherry is best)
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 7 ounces baby spinach (8 cups)
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves torn
  • 3 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 7 ounces of firm tofu, drained and crumbled

Preparation

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the barley, chicken stock, thyme and half of the garlic. Add a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over moderately low heat until the barley is tender, 25 minutes. Discard the thyme. Drain the barley and transfer to a large bowl; cover and keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat, stirring until lightly browned, 5 minutes. add the shallots and cook, stirring until softened, 3 minutes longer. Scrape the mushrooms into the barley and toss. Add the spinach, basil and mint, but do not stir.
  3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil in the skillet. Add the remaining garlic and cook over moderate heat until softened. Add the vinegar, lemon juice and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Cook until slightly thickened. 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook until heated through. Stir in the tofu and season with salt and pepper. Scrape the sherry vinegar dressing over the salad and toss. Serve warm.

Barley Spinach Salad with Barley

Yield 2-4 Servings

A delightful salad recipe from a 2009 Food and Wine Magazine.  The barley works wonder in this salad and you can substitute chicken for tofu. 

Ingredients

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pearl barley (7 1/2 ounces)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 2 thyme sprigs
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • Salt
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil (Tuscan EVOO from Gourmet Living, please!)
  • 10 ounces cremini mushrooms quartered (makes about 4 cups)
  • Freshly ground pepper (tellicherry is best)
  • 2 shallots, thinly sliced
  • 7 ounces baby spinach (8 cups)
  • 1/4 cup basil leaves torn
  • 3 tablespoons chopped mint
  • 1/4 cup sherry vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of fresh lemon juice
  • 2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
  • 1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
  • 7 ounces of firm tofu, drained and crumbled

Instructions

  1. In a medium saucepan, combine the barley, chicken stock, thyme and half of the garlic. Add a generous pinch of salt and bring to a boil. Cover and cook over moderately low heat until the barley is tender, 25 minutes. Discard the thyme. Drain the barley and transfer to a large bowl; cover and keep warm.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper and cook over high heat, stirring until lightly browned, 5 minutes. add the shallots and cook, stirring until softened, 3 minutes longer. Scrape the mushrooms into the barley and toss. Add the spinach, basil and mint, but do not stir.
  3. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of the oil in the skillet. Add the remaining garlic and cook over moderate heat until softened. Add the vinegar, lemon juice and brown sugar and bring to a boil. Cook until slightly thickened. 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and cook until heated through. Stir in the tofu and season with salt and pepper. Scrape the sherry vinegar dressing over the salad and toss. Serve warm.

Notes

The photo is from Bebe Love Okazu, but this basic recipe comes from the June, 2009 Food and Wine magazine. The crumbled firm tofu in the sherry vinegar dressing adds extra protein. If tofu isn’t your thing, feel free to substitute diced chicken.

Courses Salad

Cuisine American

Looking for more great salad recipe ideas.  Here are a few of our favorites:

Poached Salmon and Farro Salad

Summer Salad with Courgettes and Halloumi Cheese

Vietnamese Poached Chicken Salad

Cranberry Bean and Tuna Salad

Composed Winter Citrus Salad

 

 

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Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Red Cabbage, Apples, Bacon by Jamie Oliver

Gourmet Living News

Red Cabbage from Jaime OliverMy husband adores the recipes of Jamie Oliver.  Personally, I find that he is a bit footloose with the measurements, but his insistence on using fresh seasonal products makes all of the difference in his cooking.

I particularly like his “heavy” vegetable recipes.  Let’s face it, who can argue with red cabbage with apple and bacon.  Add Gourmet Living’s delicious balsamic vinegar and you have a recipe fit for a king.  This is a great seasonal recipe, best enjoyed during the winter or an early (cold) spring day.

While I had planned to use this recipe to accompany his slow-roasted pork, I couldn’t resist and we ate this delicious recipe as a stand-alone main dish.  Neither my husband or I were disappointed at Jamie’s inspired contribution to tasty cooking.

Red Cabbage, Apples, Bacon and Balsamic Vinegar

Yield 4 servings

Another wonderful recipe from Jamie Oliver.  The addition of balsamic vinegar makes all the difference.  

Ingredients

  • 1 onion
  • 1 red cabbage
  • 2 eating apples
  • 2 rashers of higher-welfare smoked streaky bacon
  • ½ a bunch of fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon fennel seeds
  • 150 ml balsamic vinegar (Goccia d’Oro Gourmet Living
  • 1 small knob of unsalted butter

Instructions

  1. Peel and slice the onion. Click off and discard any tatty outer leaves from the cabbage, then remove the core and chop into irregular chunks.
  2. Peel the apples, then chop into 2.5cm pieces, and pick and finely chop the parsley leaves. Finely slice the bacon.
  3. Drizzle a good lug of oil into a pan over a medium heat, add the bacon, then bash and add the fennel seeds and cook until golden.
  4. Add the onion, cover, and continue to cook for 5 to 10 minutes, or until lightly golden and sticky.
  5. Scatter in the apple and cabbage, season with sea salt, black pepper and the vinegar, then stir well.
  6. Pop the lid back on, reduce the heat to low and cook gently for 1 hour, or until gorgeously sticky and sweet, stirring occasionally.
  7. Scoop into a serving dish, pop the butter on top and sprinkle over the parsley, then serve.

Courses Vegetables

Cuisine International

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