Wild mushroom, pancetta and potato gratin

This was utterly yummy, comfort food at its very best!

Serves 6 as a side or 4 as a main course.

Ingredients
6 garlic cloves
1 onion, halved
3 bay leaves
3 thyme sprigs, plus a sprinkle of leaves
600ml pot double cream
600ml whole milk
140g diced pancetta
25g butter, plus a knob
400g wild mushrooms, roughly chopped after cleaning
1¼kg medium potatoes (I used Maris Piper)
1 whole nutmeg
green salad, to serve

Method
Put the garlic cloves, onion, bay leaves, thyme, double cream and milk in a pan. Bring slowly to the boil over a low heat, partially cover with a lid and cook for 20-30 mins until the onion is tender and the cream mixture slightly thickened. Turn off and leave everything to infuse for 1 hr.
Strain the cream mixture into a jug (or bowl) and discard the herbs. Put the garlic cloves and onion in a food processor or blender and whizz until smooth – add a drop of the cream if it helps. Stir the paste back into the rest of the cream and season with 2 tsp salt.
Put the pancetta in a cold frying pan and cook gently, over a low-medium heat so the fat melts into the pan, until the pancetta is really crispy. Lift out with a slotted spoon, add the butter and mushrooms and turn up the heat, frying the mushrooms, until golden and dry.
Leave the skins on the potatoes and slice as thinly as possible. Grease a large baking dish with a little more butter. Layer up the potato slices, scattering over some of the cooked pancetta, the mushrooms and a little freshly grated nutmeg and pepper as you go. Finish by slowly pouring over the cream so that it settles among all the layers, then scatter over a few more thyme leaves. Cover with foil.
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Bake the gratin for 1 hr, then remove the foil and bake for 35-45 mins more until golden and crispy on top. Poke a knife in to check the potatoes are tender, then leave for 10-15 mins to settle, before serving with a salad, if you like.

IMG_7564.JPG

Ibiza – the pull of the white Isle

I broke my Ibiza virginity last year after going there for my 40th. I had put seeing the sunset from Cafe mambo and do an all nighter on my 40 at 40 list. I completely fell in love with the island. It’s a place that draws you back.

When you mention you are going to Ibiza, people instantly say “you going clubbing?” The party area is a small area of this beautiful island. I naively thought that Ibiza was called the “white Isle” due to drugs and not the white painted buildings!!

Last year I stayed at Santa Eulalia which was a lovely town to stay but was quite a trek over to San Antonio. So this time I stayed in San Antonio bay with a short water taxi ride over to the party zone.

I love Cafe Mambo and went 3 times this holiday. It’s great people watching and got to see some top DJs and DJ in the mambo booth.

IMG_5959.JPG

IMG_5977.JPG

IMG_5944.JPG

IMG_5951.JPG

IMG_6311.JPG

IMG_6302.JPG

IMG_6238.JPG

IMG_6245.JPG

Even got grabbed for a dance, still got the moves!

We did a near all nighter when we went to Pacha to see David Guetta. He didn’t come on till 3am. Not too old to party just takes a few days to recover. In future think will book to go to Mambo as most of the DJs do there pre party there. Plus it’s finished by midnight far more sensible!

IMG_6119.JPG

IMG_6108.JPG

Whilst on holiday, I love just lying on my sun lounger absorbing myself in my kindle, reading trashy magazines or planning my next adventure.

IMG_5924.JPG

I do however drag myself off my lounger to go and explore the island. One of my favourite places is Portinax, it’s a beautiful bay and in the cove there is a fantastic restaurant. The best paella washed down with champagne sangria.

IMG_6330.JPG

IMG_6332.JPG

IMG_6334.JPG

IMG_6335.JPG
The island is so beautiful and full of aqua blue coves.

IMG_6325.JPG

IMG_6326.JPG

IMG_6336.JPG

IMG_6320.JPG
Ibiza old town is definitely worth a visit. Walking up the countless steps to the top of the castle was the most exercise I had done in a few days!! So worth it for the views.

IMG_6354.JPG

IMG_6342.JPG

IMG_6350.JPG

IMG_6351.JPG
After all that exercise got to have refreshments!

IMG_6360.JPG

IMG_6340.JPG
This holiday I managed to complete 2 things off my new fabulist! First, was ride a bucking bronco. It was a bargain at €1 a go!!

IMG_6021.JPG

IMG_6008.JPG

Second, was to go parasailing. Time to face my fear of being over open water and heights. It was amazing and I really enjoyed it.

IMG_6149.JPG

IMG_6162.JPG

IMG_6150.JPG

IMG_6148.JPG

I’ve just fallen in love with Ibiza so don’t be put off by it being “the party island” if you get the chance go 🙂

The Liebster Award – Pay it forward

20140703-214513-78313878.jpg

I would like to thank Tookie Bunten for nominating me. I feel very honoured as I’m relatively new at this blogging lark. I had never heard about this till I got a tweet with the link to his blog.
http://walkwithtookie.com/the-liebster-award-pay-it-forward/

So I guess I’d better get on and answer Tookie’s questions.

Continue reading “The Liebster Award – Pay it forward”

Chorizo and Prawn pilaf

This is my ultimate comfort food, healthy and super quick to make.

This recipe serves 4

Ingredients

2-3 tbsp olive oil

2 red onions, peeled and diced

2 garlic cloves, peeled and grated

Finely pared zest of 2 lemons

2 thyme sprigs

220g chorizo, diced

Pinch of cayenne pepper

Pinch of saffron

1 red chilli, seeds removed and finely sliced

1 cinnamon stick

250g basmati rice

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

1l hot fish stock

250g large raw prawns

Handful of basil leaves, finely sliced

Handful of chervil leaves, roughly chopped

Method

1. Heat the oven to 190°C/Gas 5. Cut a greaseproof paper circle slightly larger than a heavy-based

ovenproof pan or a cast-iron casserole. Snip a small hole in the middle of the paper to serve as a

steam vent.

2. Heat the pan with the oil, add the onions, garlic, lemon, thyme leaves, chorizo, cayenne pepper,

saffron and chilli for 4-6 minutes until they begin to soften. Add the cinnamon stick and rice and stir

well to toast the rice for a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper and pour in the hot stock

and bring to the boil. Cover with the greaseproof paper and transfer the pan to the oven.

3. After 10-15 minutes, take the pan out of the oven, lift the greaseproof paper and scatter over

the prawns, basil and chervil leaves. Re-cover with the greaseproof paper and return to the oven for

4-5 minutes until the rice is tender and the prawns are just cooked through and opaque. Remove

from the oven and leave to stand for about 5 minutes before lifting off the paper.

4. Fork through the rice to distribute the prawns evenly, and remove the cinnamon stick. Check the

seasoning and serve immediately.