Blog layout / format amendments
Have you noticed that I have made a few changes to the appearance of my blog? I have widened the main part, so that I can now accommodate photos at the "Extra Large" size, which I think will be beneficial since I am fired-up with enthusiasm for using my new camera.
I have also changed some of the fonts, the font sizes and colours, trying to make a more visually-appealing colour scheme. I am aiming to get a sort of "natural" look without anything too harsh, and in general toning with the red and green of my Chilli header picture. Any comments?
|Bolbitius Vitellinus - the Yellow Cow-pat Fungus?|
I have discovered a great website for identifying fungi - an area I am quite interested in at present. It's called Visual Fungi. It has some fantastic photos of fungi which can help you to identify the ones you find. You'll see that I have added a link to it in my sidebar. I'm sure that many of you will find it useful and interesting. My own endeavours in this field are described in a couple of my earlier posts, such as My own Fungus Foray and The Octopus fungus. With the aid of this website I think I have identified the fungi that grew in my tomtato pots last year as Bolbitius Vitellinus aka Yellow Cow-pat Fungus.(Picture above).
A new recipe discovered
Last night we tried a new dish that we had not previously experienced. It was Polenta with Butternut Squash and Blue Cheese, which may be of interest to those of you who still have squashes and pumpkins left from the Autumn. The inspiration for this came from two places: firstly the book called "Plenty" by Yotam Ottolenghi that I reviewed a short while ago, which has a recipe for Mushroom & Herb Polenta; and also the BBC's Olive magazine, which has a recipe for the combination we tried.
Ottolenghi's description of the dish (taught to him by his Father) is very atmospheric and his recipe is comprehensive - he really makes you want to eat it. The Olive magazine recipe is a bit basic / functional , and contains no description of the finished dish, though it does have a picture.
Anyway, with a combination of ideas from both sources, Jane made the dish. Making soft polenta is not something she had done before (surprisingly), but turned out to be fairly easy - basically slowly stirring the polenta meal into boiling water and enriching it with butter and parmesan cheese. The finished dish was lovely too. The polenta comes out the texture of thick custard, and it goes really well with the Butternut squash (roasted until it is caramelized at the edges) and strong, salty blue cheese (we used some Dorset Blue Vinney which had been hanging around since Christmas and was nicely "mature"). We served the dish with home-made bread, a green salad and a bottle of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc. [I wish now I had taken a picture!]
As you know, Jane and I are not vegetarians, but we love many non-meat foods, and I think we will be making more dishes with soft polenta. Ottolenghi's one with mushrooms will probably be next, but I'm also considering sundried tomatoes; and Cavolo Nero; maybe spring onions; maybe fried red onions; maybe lentils...
A Ducking good prize
What would you do with the following?
2 whole Gressingham ducks
2 whole ducks ready prepared for oriental-style "Crispy Aromatic Duck", complete with pancakes
2 Guinea fowls
2 duck leg portions stuffed with orange and apricot
Because Jane has won such a collection in a competition.
It's a good thing we like duck! Any recipe recommendations?