Tag Archives: summer

Summer frittata

For the last few weeks we’ve been getting our eggs from a smallholder in the village- and very good they are,too. It’s weird because knowing that the hens are having a good life just a couple of fields away, pecking around, tucking into all sorts of kitchen scraps, gossiping with each other(maybe) and generally enjoying the good life makes the eggs seem much more precious and somehow more real than if I grabbed a dozen from the supermarket shelves. I was going to make a simple omelette last night for supper but then I suddenly remembered a recipe for an oven baked frittata given to me by my neighbour Nicole when we lived in France. She made it for our annual village picnic and passed it down the table for us all to try. And very good it was, too. I have to admit I have messed around with it a bit but it’s no worse for that. I have courgettes and herbs in my garden, cherry tomatoes from the farmers market and I’ve added a few sliced cooked new potatoes because everything’s better with a bit of spud(you can take the girl out of Ireland etc)
This recipe serves 2-3 but if you want to double it go ahead as it’s just as nice the next day and makes perfect picnic food.

Nicole’s picnic frittata

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2 small courgettes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cornflour
150ml milk
6 eggs, beaten
150ml single cream
75g mature cheddar, grated
3-4 cooked sliced new potatoes
150g cherry tomatoes, quartered
handful fresh summer herbs, such as basil, chives, tarragon, parsley
salt and pepper

1 Heat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Line a 20x30cm oblong tin with baking paper. Dice the courgettes and cook in the oil for a few minutes until just softened and starting to colour.
2 Blend the cornflour with a little of the milk in a jug, then add the rest of the milk, the eggs, cream and cheese. Season well with salt and pepper then pour into the tin. Scatter over the potatoes,courgettes, tomatoes and herbs.
3 Bake for 20-25 mins until golden on top and firm to the touch. Cool for 10 mins before cutting into squares, or leave to cool and eat at room temperature.

Elderflower gin- cheers m’dears

IMG_1668It’s turned out to be a fantastic year for elderflowers round here and particularly on a sunny day the scent is pretty intoxicating. I reckon everyone round here is busily making elderflower cordial- I know this because every chemist in a 25 miles radius has sold out of citric acid which you need to make the stuff. So I set about making elderflower gin instead. I could wax lyrical about how fantastic it is, how everyone who has tasted it can’t stop at one glass(you know who you are) but what I’d prefer is for you to get out into the countryside before it is too late, gather up a bagful of creamy blooms and make some for yourself. Here’s the recipe which is child’s play to make and ready to drink in a week.

Elderflower gin

20-30 elderflower heads
1 unwaxed lemon
1 750ml bottle gin(nothing fancy- a supermarket brand will do)
200-250g caster sugar, depending on how sweet you like it
Shake each flower head upside down to release any creatures hiding in the flowers, then put them in a large wide necked jar. Pare the zest from the lemon in wide strips, avoiding the white pith if possible, then add to the jar with the lemon juice, gin and sugar. Put on the lid and give the jar a good shake to dissolve the sugar. Put a sheet of cling film directly on the surface on the liquid to avoid the flowers turning brown(though it doesn’t affect the flavour if you do get a bit of discolouration) Seal the jar and leave in a cool dry place for a week.
Strain the mixture through a sieve lined with muslin then pour into bottles.Your elderflower gin is now ready to drink. Keep a bottle in the fridge or freezer and serve in chilled shot glasses, or for a longer drink top up with fizz or tonic water.