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Month: October 2016

The Dishiest Halloween Dish – Black and Blue Salsa

Wow!  It’s been sooooo very long since I have done one of these posts.  I think this is worth the wait though. Ever since I found the recipe in Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Light & Easy, the Black and Blue Salsa, as I have come to call it, has been on high rotation in my kitchen! And it’s a perfect meal for a Halloween dinner, given it’s dark and spooky colour!

black-and-blue-salsa2You can see it top of the photo here as part of the salmon burrito bowl (except it was on a plate) that i had for dinner the other night. The main ingredients of the salsa are black beans and blueberries hence the black and blue name. 


If this combination appears strange to you, don’t worry it did to me as well. But trust me, it works!  It also looks quite lovely on a plate because the dark colours contrast nicely with against greens, chicken, fish etc.  Hugh describes it as “dark and devillishly well flavoured, ,this is hot sharp, sweet and smoky all at the same time”  He’s right, it is also totally delicious and highly addictive as well as being jam-packed with healthful ingredients!

black-and-blue-salsaI like this with some coriander added.  The original recipe does not have it. 

Black and Blue Salsa
A delicious and healthy salsa, perfect with chicken, fish or any grilled meat
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  1. For The Salsa
  2. 400g can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  3. 200g blueberries
  4. 1 small red onion, chopped
  5. 2 medium hot red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
  6. Handful of coriander leaves, chopped
For The Dressing
  1. 1 garlic clove, smashed
  2. juice of 1 lime
  3. 1 tsp sweet smoked paprika
  4. 1 tsp sugar
  5. 2 tsp cider vinegar
  6. 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  7. Salt and Pepper
For The Dressing
  1. Combine the garlic, lime juice, paprika, sugar, cider vinegar and oil in a jar. Shake well to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let sit for around half an hour to let the flavours develop.
For the Salsa
  1. Combine the blackbeans, blue berries, onion an chilli in a bowl
  2. Strain the dressing to remove the garlic and pour over.
  3. Mix well.
  4. If possible, let stand for half an hour before serving.
  5. Just before serving sprinkle the chopped coriander over the top.
  6. Enoy!
  1. You can also add diced avocado into this. I left it out this time because I already had avocado on my plate.
Adapted from slightly from River Cottage Light and Easy by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall
Adapted from slightly from River Cottage Light and Easy by Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall
Retro Food For Modern Times
 Elsewhere in life….


I am mid way through S2 of Narcos and thoroughly enjoying it.  Ditto Stranger Things



My  current read is Truly, Madly Guilty by Liane Moriarty.  I loved one of her previous books, Big Little Lies but I am struggling with this one. 

Tasty Reads

The October Choice was Preserving.  I chose The Modern Preserver by Kylee Newton. I loved this book and it is likely to be my Tasty Reads book of the year.  I have made so many things from it and every one of them has been great! 

The only book likely to beat it from top position at the end of the year is the November / December choice  – Free Choice.  On the back of some very high review praise, I have chosen Stirring Slowly by Georgina Hayden.

Described as a “new modern classic” by none other than Jamie Oliver, I am looking forward to picking this up and getting stuck in!


Seeing as my favorites Tanis and The Black Tapes are both on between season hiatus, I have started listening to My Favorite Murder.  It’s a comedy true crime podcast and I love it.  I think the two hosts are brilliant and I am so glad I still have 30+ episodes to go before I am caught up!


OMG.  I have started running.  Well, I have started staggering around the back streets and local track in a facsimile of running.  But it’s a start.  I am doing the Couch to 5k program and am midway through week 4. 

My aim is to be able to do a full 5k by Christmas.  We’ll see.  It really starts to ramp up after this week, I am a little nervous. And the thing is,  I totally hate doing it when I am doing it.  My chest aches, my legs ache, I am slow and ungainly and huff and puff like a pack a day smoker.  But everytime I do it, I get a little bit better.  And that feels marvellous!

This week I am looking forward to cooking the Cherry Flapjack Granola from Stirring Slowly and a Tom Yum soup from another Tasty Reads favourite, Adam Liaw’s Big Pot

What are you reading / watching  / listening to?

What are you looking forward to cooking?

Have a Happy Hallloween, a fab week and to borrow a catch phrase from my new favorite podcast, “Stay sexy; don’t get murdered”

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Halloween Cocktail – Bloody Sundress

Hey Hey,

How’s your weekend coming along?  I’ve been adding some final touches to my costume for a Halloween party next Friday.  Meaning I now have red glitter glue all over me, the dogs, my dining room table and the good Lord only knows where else!  Time to chill out with a Halloween appropriate cocktail, the Bloody Sundress.


This comes from the book True Blood Drinks and Bites by Gianna Sobol and Alan Ball:

The cocktail celebrates the scene in one of the early episodes where Sookie, goes to Fangtasia wearing this adorable white sundress:


And ends up like this:

Yeah, I know, we’ve all had nights like that right?

It does lead to this very memorable line from Pam: 

Ok, so maybe we haven’t all had nights quite like that!

And now for the Bloody Sundress Cocktail.  If this is what vampire blood tastes like then give me more!  It combines the tartness of pomegranate juice with zinginess of limoncello and fresh lime so it is quite tangy   I loved it!  If you really do not like sour flavours just add more simple syrup until it is sweet enough for you!  I also really liked the touch of rosewater in this too!

This could very easily become my go to summer cocktail.  It’s very refreshing and a gorgeous rosé wine colour.  So pretty!  Perfect for a day with the girls!


Bloody Sundress Cocktail
A delicious tangy cocktail
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  1. 1 1/2 oz of vodka
  2. 1 oz limoncello
  3. 1 oz unsweetened pomegranate juice
  4. 1/2 oz freshly squeezed lime juice
  5. 1/2 tsp or more (or less) simple syrup
  6. 3-4 drops rosewater
  7. ice cubes
  8. lemon twist
  1. Place a cocktail glass in the freezer to chill.
  2. Pour all the ingredients except for the lemon twist into a cocktail shaker.
  3. Shake until well chilled.
  4. Remove the glass from the freezer, add some fresh ice cubes.
  5. Strain the cocktail into the glass.
  6. Garnish with the lemon twist.
  7. Enjoy!
Adapted from True Blood Drinks and Bites by Gianna Sobol and Alan Ball
Adapted from True Blood Drinks and Bites by Gianna Sobol and Alan Ball
Retro Food For Modern Times

And now for my costume.  Want a hint?  Here you go.  These will be in my hair:


Not ringing any bells?  Well, these need a couple more coats of glitter and they will be good to go!


Have a wonderful week.  I’ll be following a yellow brick road somewhere.  What are you up to?  Are you dressing up for Halloween this year?

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Goldilocksing Vitello Tonnato

Dear People of the Internet,

Have you ever been utterly obsessed by a recipe?  So much so that even when it confounds you time and time again, you have to keep trying to cook it to perfection? Just as Nic Silver is obsessed by Tanis, so have I been consumed by a search for a, no THE, perfect Vitello Tonnato.  My obsession started during the 2015 (2014?) season of My Kitchen Rules when Ash and Camilla made it.  Veal with Tuna Mayonnaise?  Really girls?  Really? But no. Despite my initial misgivings, the judges loved it!  And it’s kind of kooky and very retro.  Which are pretty much my criteria for food obsession.


They say the course of true love never runs smooth and so it was with my adventures with Vitello Tonnato.

Vitello Tonnato – The Bad

The first Vitello Tonnato I made came from, yep, you guessed it, The A-Z of Cooking, 1977. From the chapter entitled N is for Night Before to be precise.  It looked good enough but oh…..that veal.  That  veal was so stringy and fatty and revolting it was damn near inedible!

vitello-tonnato vitello-tonnato2This was a huge fail on the veal but props to the A-Z of Cooking, the tonnato was good!

Vitello Tonnato – The Ugly

Next up, I  went super modern.  This version of Vitello Tonnato came from a Tasty Reads Book club choice from earlier in the year which espoused the virtues of “clean” living.  The author has apparently lost quite a bit of weight eating this food and I am not surprised.  Pretty much everything I have made from it has been singularly awful. 

 The vitello tonnato was no exception.

The surprise was that the Tonnato was made from tofu.  And I’m not going to go on a tofu bashing rant because, as with everything, tofu has it’s place – miso soup, vegan curries? Awesome, brilliant, the more the better!  It just does not belong in Vitello Tonnato!  I made this to take to a Tasty Reads Cookbook Club meeting. 

Here is what I took:

almond-butter-prawnsWhat?  I hear you say.  That looks like the weirdest Vitello Tonnato in the world. It looks more like almond butter grilled prawns.  And you ‘d be right.  If they gave gold medals for things that tasted flipping disgusting and smelled like sick, that Tofu Tonnato would win hands down.  And the roast veal was again dry and fatty.  The veal went to the dogs, the tonnato went in the bin and I went down to the supermarket to buy the prawns for the dish you see above.  Incidentally, the prawns were one of the handful of decent recipes I have cooked from this book!

Vitello Tonnato – The Good

Normally, after two fails at a dish I would give it up as bad job.  But obsession is obsession and I still not done with Vitello Tonnato. And so, I turned back to the initial inspiration for making this dish – The MKR website.

vitello-tonnatoAnd you know what?  The third time was a charm!  This Vitello Tonnato was everything the other’s weren’t.  The veal was lovely and tender, the tonnato was tasty and the accoutrements – pickles, fried capers and micro herbs were perfection!

It was also the gift that kept on giving – it made a lovely dinner, and the next day, wrapped in lettuce leaves it made a super tasty lunch!

vitello-tonnatoHere is a link to the MKR recipe for Vitello Tonnato

The only problem with the MKR Vitello Tonnato is that you poach the veal in a gorgeous stock made with herbs and vegetables and white wine and stock.  And then presumably throw it out.  Not on my watch!  I kept it in the fridge over night and the following evening I roasted up some tomatoes, added this to the stock mix and voila, I had a super quick, easy and delicious tomato soup! Add some grilled cheese and it made the perfect work lunch!


So tell me.  Have you ever been obsessed by a recipe?  And how many times do you try something before giving up on it?

And have a super week! Signature 1 Vintage Valentine Quick as Wink2  Related articles














Tanis Inspired Cocktails #4 – Sex on The Breach

With my love of puns, there was no way I could resist this.  The Sex on the Breach is my Tanis inspired version of a variation of the classic Sex on The Beach. sex-on-the-breach

And now for the PSA. If you are in the PNW and you are contemplating having sex in the breach? 




Stop. It. Now.

At best The Breach contains mutant cuttlefish, psycho squirrels, TARDIS like cabins, strange creatures lurking in the shadows, Eld Fen, and has sent more than person totally loopy….Lord only knows what kind of hellish offspring would result from any sort of hanky panky within those grey pancake walls.


I found this version of a Sex on the Beach on Drinks Mixer and was really interested to see how the mix of Chambord, Midori and Pineapple juice would turn out.  In my head I wanted it to have a more murky tinge.  In reality, the lovely deep red was a lot more pleasant to the eye than the colour I had in mind!  Also, the original called for Cranberry juice.  I had Pomegranate juice in the house so I made it with that.  Feel free to sub in cranberry juice in your version if that’s how you roll. It is totally delicious too!

Here’s the  recipe:

Sex on The Breach
Celebrate the Season Finale of Tanis with this super tasty cocktail!
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  1. 1 part vodka
  2. 1/2 part Midori® melon liqueur
  3. 1/2 part Chambord® raspberry liqueur
  4. 2 parts pineapple juice
  5. 4 parts pomegranate juice
  1. Combine all ingredients with ice.
  2. Stir gently, strain and serve.
  1. You can substitute cranberry juice for the pomegranate juice
Adapted from
Adapted from
Retro Food For Modern Times
With the Season 2 Finale of Tanis imminent (this week?), why not make one of these to sip on as you listen.  Unless, of course you listen in your car.  In which case, read my PSA above. 

There are so many questions that the finale may answer. 

  • Will Nic find Tanis?
  • And if he does….then what?
  • Who the fuck is Mike?   Solved.  See below.
  • Will Nic find Sam Reynolds and Morgan Miller?
  • Can Nic trust CameronEllis?  Will anyone ever be able to separate CameronEllis’ first and second names?
  • Should Nic trust Nathaniel Carter and Veronica Pillman?
  • Will they ever stop calling Karla or is it Patrcia Corrie, Marcus Corrie’s widow?  The dude is still alive.  Batshit crazy but alive and incarcerated at Tesla Nova.
  • Did Nic and MK do it in S2E10? (Yes, they totally did).

And the most burning question of all.


He better be boozing in a bar somewhere and not have been lured into the breach by someone/ something only to  end up eating his own arm or gouging out his eyes with a spooky Tanis rock like….Oh!  That’s who Mike is.

sex-on-the-breach-3OMG, I can’t wait for the S2 finale….so excited!  And whilst it is sometimes incredibly frustrating to have to wait for the next instalment, I actually kind of love that in a world where everything is on-demand this is something you have to wait for! 

I have had a fabulous time doing this series on Tanis and I hope that you have also enjoyed both it and the cocktails! 

I don’t think I have said this before but to the makers,writers, actors of Tanis, THANK YOU for making one of the best podcasts, actually the two best most original, creative, well produced podcasts around.  I could not love your work more and I hope you view this tribute as my way of saying thank you for the amazing work you do!   And thanks for the retweets!

Hmmmm…what next I wonder?  Maybe a Black Tapes series?  Who knows?

Stay tuned.

And keep looking.

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