A Week of Vacation MealsPosted: March 30, 2012
This week, I’ve been away in South Wales with Phil’s family, staying in a beautiful cottage high up on a hill overlooking Swansea Bay. The weather has been unusual in the best possible way. Temperatures soared, we didn’t see one cloud in the sky all week, and were happy to be so close to so many beautiful beaches and cliff walks. As a result, we didn’t fancy having too many meals out – when we’ve got everything we need at home, why trudge down the hill for dinner? (Believe me, it’s a bit of a trudge… Phil and I have been going on morning runs down to the waterfront and the way back up hasn’t been pretty).
Instead, the 6 of us decided to take turns cooking dinner for everyone, save for the night we arrived (Phil’s birthday) when we went out for dinner at a fabulous little restaurant called The Kitchen Table. Phil opted to go first and cooked us wholegrain pasta served two ways: with shrimp & spinach & garlic or vegetarian sausages with chili flakes. On the side was a huge bowl of arugula salad. It was a perfect first meal! Here’s a shot of the chef in action:
The second night, Phil’s brother Graham made an Indian feast: two types of curry (one was a lentil dal), brown rice, homemade onion bhajis, cucumber raita, warm chapattis, and some lime pickle for tang. It was so tasty – we are all going to steal his curry recipes for our own.
I was up next, and after tracking down many many ripened avocados, I decided on a Mexican theme. It was a DIY table full of food: taco shells or soft corn tortillas for burritos, a big pot of veggies for filling, orange & cumin smashed black beans, guacamole, cherry tomato salsa, sour cream, little gem lettuce, crumbled sheep’s feta, and some lime wedges for squeezing over everything. I think it went down well!
For dessert, I was thrilled to discover our rental cottage had a blender. I whipped up a variation on the raw chocolate mousse that has become a popular sweet treat in our house, using the ingredients I could find in town (i.e. no coconut oil!) – so this proves that you can create healthy and unusual desserts without any fancy equipment! You can find the recipe at the end of this post.
Wednesday night was cooked by Phil’s Mom, using locally caught wild sea bass, cauliflower & broccoli quinoa, and butternut squash roasted to perfection.
Last night was BBQ night – we bought a couple of disposable ones from the nearest supermarket and grilled up salmon, veggie sausages, and halloumi. On the side was a quinoa salad, greens with avocado, and some very popular sweet potato fries. There was almost a cooking crisis when we realized there were no matches to be found. Luckily, there is a perfect neighborhood shop up the steep hill from our house, and they stock all manner of essentials.
Tonight is pizza night – we were able to find a bag of spelt flour at the grocery store, so spelt pizza dough it will be! Phil’s Dad is famed for his pizza making skills so I’m very much looking forward to this final meal.
It’s been a great week away from London – if you’re interested in visiting, I’d highly recommend Mumbles for a seaside getaway. Funnily enough, I found out about it after meeting a local granola producer back in London over a year ago. We’ve got some more trips planned in the next couple of weeks while Phil’s on vacation – including our one-year anniversary and a mini road trip.
This will be the last “normal” post from me for a while – I am participating in Wego Health’s Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge (HAWMC) – posting daily for the month of April on health and wellness using the prompts they provide. I hope you enjoy this change of pace at The Particular Kitchen for a few weeks. Regular programming will resume in May, hopefully with a bit more creative flair!
In the meantime, here’s a delicious recipe to tide you over 🙂
Creamy Chocolate Mousse
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 0 mins
Ingredients (serves 4-5)
- 2 large ripe/soft avocados
- 3 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder)
- 1 can full-fat coconut milk, stirred (to mix cream and water together)
- 3 tbsp organic honey (or to taste)
Combine everything in a food processor or blender until thick and creamy. Divide into individual cups or ramekins.
You could serve right away, or to thicken slightly, place in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
Optional: sprinkle with cinnamon and cayenne to make Mexican chocolate mousse!