Archive for March, 2010

Two Media Mentions In The Guardian

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Steenbergs was mentioned two articles this weekend in The Guardian which was most kind of the two authors – Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Yotam Ottolenghi – so thank you both. 

Both talk about Steenbergs spices within their recipe ideas, so if you are looking for what to do with cardamom or how to use za’atar they give some excellent recipes.  I think the Savoury Aubergine Cheesecake (Eggplant Cheesecake) sounds amazing and I will have a crack at that soon.

Here are the links:

Beautiful Early Spring Day In Northumberland

Sunday, March 7th, 2010

Today, we were visiting with my parents, who live on the Roman Wall near Hexham in glorious Northumberland. 

It was a beautiful Sunday morning, the first really gorgeous day of the year – the sky was blue and the sun was actually warming with temperatures getting up to 6oC , even if the snow was still lying in the shadows of the dry stone walls or the dips of the fields.

I was woken to the sound of a greater spotted woodpecker playing tunes on the trees and the metal bits of telegraph poles – the males like to call their mates by playing tunes on the metal bits as if they are calling them via some secret drum beat, and the lapwings were calling their distinctive peewit calls and gliding up and down in their intricate wavy dances through the air through the stubbly fields.

Spring will be here when the curlews can be heard in the fields and summer when the swallows finally get this far north – they’re probably already in North Africa, enjoying the sun.

I love the light at this time of the year – it has a real crispness that brings everything out into sharp relief, making the snowdrops extra bright and white. 

And the air was so still and fresh, clearing the lungs and cobwebs from this wintertime, when we have all spent too much time indoors, pushed inside by the really low temperatures.  I seemed to spend much of the time, playing football or tennis or kick-the-can with the children, which got the blood coarsing around my blood vessels.

Perfection and peaceful;  home.

Recipe For Granny Salad Or Cucumber Salad

Friday, March 5th, 2010

Following on from the recipe for Yorkshire Salad, my mum makes a wonderfully refreshing cucumber salad, which has a similar sweet and sour flavour.  It’s lovely in the summer for al fresco dining and great with fish all your around.

Ingredients for Cucumber Salad

Ingredients for Cucumber Salad

What you will need:

1tsp caster sugar
1tsp warm water
3tbsp cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
2 – 4 spring onions, chopped finely
½ tsp sea salt
2tsp dill herb (fresh)
Half cucumber

Firstly, peel the skin off the cucumber and then slice very finely into thin rounds of fresh cucumber.  Place these on a plate so that you can see the tops of all the slices of cucumber, then sprinkle over some sea salt and leave.

Now make the sweetened vinegar, by first dissolving the sugar in warm water and then adding this to the cider vinegar.  Stir it up thoroughly. 

Chop the dill herb up finely and then the spring onions.

Sprinkle the vinegar over the cucumber slices, then sprinkle the chopped spring onion over this, followed by the dill weed.

Cucumber And Dill Salad

Cucumber And Dill Salad

Serve immediately.

Recipe For Yorkshire Salad

Wednesday, March 3rd, 2010

We have been discussing the ins and outs of Yorkshire Salad, and some of the different variations, including a very similar recipe called Granny Salad which Sandra (one of our amazing spice packers) was handed down from her Granny in Devon.  Sadie – who does all our labels and web site photos – prefers it without onions but says that it definitely wouldn’t be Yorkshire Pudding without an accompanying Yorkshire Salad made by her mum.

Yorkshire Salad

Yorkshire Salad

You will need:

1tsp caster sugar
1tsp warm water
3tbsp cider vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
2 – 4 spring onions, chopped finely
8-10 fresh spearmint leaves, chopped finely
A green leaf lettuce (not an iceberg), shredded

Ingredients for Yorkshire Salad

Ingredients for Yorkshire Salad

Onions and Mint

Onions and Mint for Yorkshire Salad

Chop all the salad ingredients and place in a salad bowl or other bowl; I have given some flex in the ingredients as you should really just go with what you feel – I like it quite minty and without too much onion.  Make the dressing by adding a bit of warm water to dissolve the sugar in, then add the cider vinegar to this.  Adjust until you are happy with the sweetness – basically it’s sweet and sour, so not too sweet and not too sour.  Chuck in the dressing and mix well.

You can serve it not only with Yorkshire pudding, but with other salads, or it goes really well with fish, especially smoked fish.

How do you make yours?