Friday, August 25, 2017

Basil Pesto and Tomato & Mozzarella salad from my garden.

 One of the loveliest things about the summer is to be able to go out and pick vegetables and herbs from the back garden and make beautiful fresh salads.
I grew Basil and tomatoes this year as they are relatively easy to grow and you can turn them into so many beautiful dishes.
All the ingredients
Pine nuts

Extra Virgin Olive oil
Fresh Basil
Basil and garlic in the food processor

Parmesan cheese 

Add the olive oil
Basil leaves 

 Ingredients for Basil Pesto 

Half cup toasted Pine nuts 
1 cup of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
6 large Garlic cloves peeled
Half a cup Parmesan Cheese 
1 cup Basil Leaves
Teaspoon Salt & a pinch of black pepper


Put the peeled garlic and a few ice cubes in the food processor and add olive oil. Pulse on high and puree as much as possible and drizzle more olive oil in. Put the washed Basil leaves in a food processor and add the pine nuts, as well as the parmesan cheese. Pulse on a medium speed till everything is pureed but not to liquidized. Add salt and pepper to taste.

 Tomato, mozzarella and basil salad.

Cut the tomatoes and Mozzarella into slices and arrange on a plate.
Drizzle the fresh pesto on top of the tomatoes and cheese and add fresh basil for decoration.
Serve with any summertime meal or just fresh bread. 

Basil Pesto
Garden fresh tomatoes

Tomato and Mozzarella salad.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Natural Inspirations

As a Fine Art student my daughter produced some amazing work. Her unusual talent always intrigued me and I wondered where she got it from. As a youngster I never pursued art myself and always dismissed  any leanings in that direction. However some times we discover things about ourselves later in life that we didn't ever dare to explore before.
Having lived in Seoul for 5 years I am always looking for a connection to South Korea. Some times you find the connection in the most unexpected places! On a cold rainy day in February 2016 I was driving along unknown roads in Rye New Hampshire desperately looking for a bathroom. I had just come here from Arizona and the cold weather hit me like a punch in the face!

 Abruptly pulling into a parking lot of a strip mall that had some stores and offices I ran into the first building I saw next door to a dry cleaner. I ran up some stairs and saw a lady standing at the top. Realizing I was in an art studio and even though I was dying to go to the bathroom I couldn't help but around me. I also realized that the person who was in the art studio was Korean and I asked if she was indeed Korean. 
Soo Rye Yoo Gallery.
She seemed surprised and amused. I eventually did go to use the bathroom and when I came out we started to chat. Her art studio was a large space and had the most beautiful paintings and  art work of all different mediums. There were paintings of birds, houses and coastal scenery, post cards, photographs and pottery as well as Korean paper called Hanji. 
Soo Rye Yoo at work in her studio.
The Gallery space was calm, serene and so inviting that I wanted to stay a little longer and ended up buying a few things from her collection but i had to go home because she did't have a credit card machine. I found out later that the artist's name was Soo Rye Yoo and she had been an artist in the local Seacoast New Hampshire area for 7 years. I found that she gave art lessons to a variety of students of varying talent and experience as well as doing her own art work which seemed to have coastal theme.

Soo Rye's career began in Seoul South Korea where she had painted Moon Villages. She drew inspiration from the hopes and dreams of the poor who resided in densely packed houses on a hillside in a coastal town by the ocean in her native land of South Korea. She also depicting birds in some of her art which she notes are our messengers. As well as from her native South Korea Soo Rye also draws inspiration from her travels throughout the USA and Canada, especially New Mexico.
Whilst visiting relatives living in New Hampshire in 2001 Soo Rye fell in love with the stunning natural beauty of the Seacoast area. She went to New Hampshire University and then whilst acquiring her residence visa she was encouraged by several prominent local people to open a Gallery of her work on Sagamore road in Rye.
She is admired by many prominent artists in the New England art scene and her work is currently being exhibited at the Millbrook Sculpture garden in Concord New Hampshire.

New Hampshire Coastal Scenery

Odiorne Point

 My art lessons with Soo Rye Yoo have lead me to discover some very interesting things about how the natural beauty of Sea Coast New Hampshire can be so inspiring!
Concentration and hard work
The stunning beauty of New Hampshire is hard to miss with beautiful mountain, lakes, rivers plus the seacoast with everything coastal living has to offer and thousands of visitors flock to this part of the country at all times of the year.

My second art piece 
My third piece of art work depicting tulip from my mother's garden.
Wallis Sands beach Rye New Hampshire at sunset.

Personally I have been so inspired by Soo Rye and the natural beauty New England that I am now a regular student and have managed to produce some works of art of my own taking inspiration from my teacher, my back ground and my travels. I realize that my daughter may have inherited her artistic talent from me and I am so grateful to Soo Rye Yoo for helping me find that new side of me!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Chicken Stew with Herbed Dumplings.

Chicken Stew with Herbed Dumplings

On a cold winter's day when the wind is howling and the snow flakes are flying fast outside there is nothing better than being inside and sharing a hot heart meal with your friends and family.
This is a stew that I have been making for many years for my family and my daughter who is now a teacher asked me for it as she reminisced about her idyllic childhood!

This dish can be made with chicken, lamb or beef and you can include any vegetables that you fancy.
I like to use hearty winter vegetables like potatoes, carrots, swedes or turnips. 


For the stew

6 to 8 bite sized chicken pieces with the skin left on if desired
2 tablespoons of olive or vegetable oil
One large onion chopped fine
Salt to taste
2 teaspoons of turmeric (optional)
2 large cloves of garlic(optional)
2 large carrots peeled
4 large potatoes or 8 smaller new potatoes
1 swede or turnip peeled
1 cup of peas 
I cup of corn
1 sprig of Rosemary
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 cups of water
3 cups of chicken stock.
10 button mushrooms


Put the oil in a large casserole pan and add the onions and garlic. Add the chopped carrots, sides and celery and stir together. Add the turmeric and then add the pieces of chicken. Stir on a medium to high heat till the chicken is seared on all sides and coated with the oil and turmeric. This should take about 10 minutes. Put the lid on the pan and heat down to low and cook for 15 minutes. Add the chicken stock, water, salt and pepper  and let the pan come to the boil. Add the rosemary. Turn the cooker down and let this simmer for 40 minutes or till the liquid has reduced a little and then put in all the vegetables. Keep an eye on it to make sure there is plenty of liquid and if there is not enough add another cup.
Let this cook till the potatoes are tender and the chicken is cooked through.  Fry the button mushrooms in a separate frying pan till caramelized and add to the stew. Let this simmer and then make the dumplings.

For the dumplings

1 cup of all purpose flour
1 large teaspoon of baking powder 
I teaspoon of salt 
1 large bunch of fresh parsley chopped fine 
1 large bunch of tarragon chopped fine.
4 ounces of butter cut into cubes
2 tablespoons of water


Put the flour in a bowl and add the baking powder and salt. Then chop the herbs and put aside. 
Start blending the cubes of butter in to the flour with your fingers and then add the herbs. A sticky dough should form .
Add the water and make in to rough  balls.
Add each ball to the simmering stew and turn the heat up to a boil. Turn the heat to medium but boiling and put the lid on. When the balls of dough become large and firm turn down to a simmer for about fifteen minutes.

The stew should be nice and thick now! With a ladle serve into large serving bowls  making sure each serving has a piece of chicken and a dumpling and enjoy!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Pumpkin Soup.

Pumpkin Soup
 Fall in New England brings an abundance of squash or pumpkins. The squash is from a member of the gourd family.  Almost every different part of the squash can be eaten including the skin, seeds and flesh. Great soup can be made with any of the following winter squash varieties or pumpkins and can be eaten at any time of the year as the squash keep for many months!

There are many different types of squash with names as familiar as Acorn Squash, Butternut squash, Hubbard squash, Spaghetti squash, Amber cup, Turban squash to name a few.
Many colors, shapes and varieties of winter squash.
cow squash

1 whole winter squash cut in to cubes
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 large onion chopped fine
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon of turmeric
1stick of celery cut into pieces
One carrot chopped.
2 large potatoes cut into small cubes.
4 cups of chicken stock or vegetable stock if you want to keep it vegetarian.
2 cups of water
salt and pepper to taste.
3 cloves of garlic crush and chopped fine.
Half a head of white cabbage chopped fine

Choose any type of winter squash and cut it into chunks with a sharp knife. This one is a Cow squash. There is no need to take the skin or seeds out.
Then roast the chunks in an oven proof dish or pan on 240 degrees celsius. After it has roasted and is fork tender put the seeds aside and peel off the skin and cut into smaller chunks.

Once this is done, in a large separate pan, fry the onions and garlic in olive oil making sure they don't brown and add the other vegetables. Make sure they are all stirred and mixed together thoroughly.
Add the spices and the cubes of squash and keep frying.
Let this sweat for about 10 minutes with the pan lid on. Add the liquid including the chicken stock and water. Let this boil for about 30 minutes and then allow to cool for an hour.
When the liquid has cooled a little put this in the food processor and liquidize. Add the salt and pepper.

Put the liquidized soup back in the pan and warm through and then serve with croutons or  crusty bread. Enjoy any time of the year!

Thursday, August 4, 2016

Blue berry recipes.

Blue Berry Recipes

Blue berry Jam with apples and strawberries.

2 cups os peeled cored apples
2 cups of strawberries
6 cups of fresh blue berries
7 cups of sugar 
You can substitute the sugar with Stevia or a low calorie sugar.

A large braising pan
1 half a cup of water
I packet of pectin
1/4 cup of lemon juice
Sterilized canning jars

Clean the fruit and put it in the pan with the water and the sugar and bring to the boil.
Add the lemon juice and continue to boil.
Boil for 15 minutes on medium low heat
Add the pectin
Boil for another 10 minutes and when the mixture jells on the back of a spoon it is ready to put into the sterilized caning jars.

Blue berry Crumble

For the fruit 
2 cups of fresh blue berries
3/4 cup of sugar

For the crumble

1 cup of flour
1/4 cup of oats
1/2 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
3/4 cup of butter
I large mixing bowl
Make the crumble mixture by rubbing the butter into the other dry ingredients but keep it a little crumbly and not fully integrated. 
Put the fruit into an oven proof dish 
Add the crumble mixture on top.
Bake at 360 degrees Fahrenheit till fruit is bubbly and crumble mixture is brown.
This should take about 30 minutes.

Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.

Blueberry smoothie

1 cup of blueberries
I cup of low fat yoghurt
1 tablespoon of almond or peanut butter
1 cup of ice cubes
I tablespoon of honey or other sweetener
1/2 cup of milk or nut milk
Blend in a blender  till smooth and creamy.
Pour into a long cold glass and enjoy!

Monday, August 1, 2016

Picking blueberries.

Blue berries.

Many berries with blueish coloring are eaten in different parts of the world. There are blueberries grown and loved widely in the USA but eaten all over the world, bilberries in the UK, blackberries and Jaam in India, Bangladesh and other parts of South Asia.

Blue berries seem to be all the rage at the moment and are considered a superfood. They contain antioxidants and phytonutrients which help fight the free radicals damaging our cells.
A blue berry bush 
Blueberries also help reduce the risk of heart disease, cataracts, varicose veins, hemorrhoids, glaucoma, anti aging and the list of benefits just goes on!
One of the most fun things to do on a mild summer day is pick blue berries for your self so google "berry picking" and find a local place that will let you do precisely that! My daughter and I went to a blue berry farm  in Sanford Maine on the East coast of the USA. It was so addictive we ended up picking 12 pounds!
So when we got home I had to decide what to do with them apart from eating them raw by the hand full!

You can make so many things with them. I love making blueberry smoothies, strawberry, blueberry and apple jam, blue berry crumble and blue berry salad to name a few.

Blueberry Jam

Blueberry crumble.

Blueberry crumble.