Archive for Piquant Prawns

The Spice of Life

Our daily food has changed out of all recognition since I was a girl. My Mother was a plain cook, and the only seasoning I remember in our house was salt and pepper and packets of  Paxo (other stuffing are available!). Maybe a clove or some nutmeg at Christmas. I recall that one of the few positive things she ever said about my cooking was to praise me for making my own stuffing.

 

Now spices are a part of every day cooking in most households and are readily available on the high street  and online, where the range is of cause literally global. The most expensive spice is Saffron, known as Red Gold, so that should give you a clue. A lb of Saffron, if you should require that much would cost a mere £4000.00. No I haven’t put in too many o. While the cheapest spice is chilli powder. We grew chilli plants last year, fiery red little beasties which we have only just finished using.

The definition of a spice is that it is a seed, fruit, root, or bark of a plant, while herbs are the leaves, stems, or flowers of plants.  Another definition of the word spice is, ” something that makes something else more exciting and interesting”. I love words, the way you can squeeze two meanings out of one. Cinnamon was one of the earliest spices to be used, the Egyptians used it as an embalming agent!

Black pepper is the most used spice. Now I like a sprinkle of black pepper on my chips, but the use of white pepper has been a revelation to me. I knew about its use in white sauces, the colour blends in, but had never thought about its taste. We use white pepper and nutmeg to season our mashed potato, making something special of an every day dish I’ve eaten all my life, giving them a lift, a spicy warmth.

Spices have an ancient connection with us having been used for many different purposes. Magically in rituals as incense, for their healing properties, in tradition. And always and forever  in the art of the preservation of food, its taste and flavouring.

New Shoots

 

The forsythia is showing its wands of gold, and daffodils have sprung back up from the snow. Every tree and bush has its quota of green buds, and the anemones are pushing up their feather boas.

At Pea Green we too are emerging from the cold snap with a brand-new set of menus to tempt you in. Although we have kept some firm favourites, the all-day breakfast and the smooth and delicious White Windsor soup, we have some great additions

 

New Spring Menu 2018

Piquant Prawns, and Ratatouille Au Gratin have already become popular starters or light lunches. I love the colours in these dishes, the pink prawns in sauce laced with red and yellow chillies, grown in our greenhouse We lay them on a bed of green leaves, in a smoky green glass dish. I enjoy the way the vibrant reds, and yellows of the Mediterranean vegetables are revealed when the cheese and breadcrumb crust is broken through.

We serve an Asian slaw as a starter, although we also use it to garnish salads and sandwiches. It makes a refreshing change from the usual coleslaw, not as heavy but pretty to look at as well as eat. Chopping the red cabbage, red pepper and then the mint creates a wonderful aroma. It transports me back to my childhood garden, and the bed of mint that dad grew to go with new potatoes.

Spring Menu 2018

You will be spoilt for choice. Come in out of the April showers, tear yourself away from the shopping and chores. Take the weight off your feet and let us take the dilemma out of what to have for lunch or supper, it’s all at Pea Green.