Sunny Sardinia

I’m not long back from a week in Sunny Sardinia, where in all honesty, eating, sunbathing and sleeping where my main activities. I’m not even joking. Although our hotel did have some wonderful free yoga classes, which I managed to find time in my packed schedule for a visit to.

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While hotels in the region (and often Italy generally) aren’t always mega luxurious, this doesn’t really matter when it’s this beautiful…

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Stunning views were everywhere in Sardinia and even a terrible photographer like me took some lovely shots capturing the island’s beauty. The beaches in particular were perfect and with temperatures in the 30s, we were very glad of the sea breeze and the cooling waves.

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Sleep came easily in a canopied bed that made me feel like a princess! Obviously, it’s a mosquito net to keep those nasty little bugs out (of which Sardinia has plenty!) – but it does look rather pretty doesn’t it?

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Seafood, pizza and pasta made up much of our diet on this trip, well it would be rude not to wouldn’t it? I had a few salads for good measure, but when in Italy, this is what it’s all about…

Tiramisu…had to be done!

A special thanks to Colin & Olatz for this treat of some local bubbles on our first night!

There’s nothing like a late August/early September holiday to make you really feel the difference in seasons on your return. Now we’re back in England, the tan’s fading and the weather’s turning. It’s easy to give into the blues but secretly I’m rather looking forward to winter (and Christmas!!!)…bring it on! 

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Healthy Seafood Lasagne

Here’s a very rough recipe for a hearty, but fairly healthy dinner I made earlier in the week. It’s a seafood lasagne!

Ingredients:

Tinned tomatoes
Reduced fat cream cheese
Mixed seafood (I used prawns, scallops, mussels and shrimps)
Creme fraiche
Dill (I used dried)
Lasagne sheets (I just used the standard shop bought variety)
Reduced fat cheddar cheese
Parsley (optional for a topping/garnish)

So all did was to fry the garlic in a little olive oil and add in the tinned tomatoes, followed by the cream cheese (about half of small tub) and mix them together. The sauce was a little pink in colour, but it tastes great. Once the sauce seemed thick enough I added the seafood in and made sure it was all well mixed.

Setting that mixture to one side, I then added some of the remaining cream cheese to the creme fraiche and mixed some dried dill. For extra creaminess you can add in a little ricotta here too

After that it was a simple case of layering the seafood mixture in baking dish, covering with lasagne sheets and repeating this to end up with a covering of lasagne sheets on the top. I then covered the top with the creme fraiche mixture and finished with a topping of the reduced fat cheddar and some chopped parsley.

Here’s the resulting dish straight out of the oven…

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My reduced fat seafood lasagne

Foodie Celebrations at WestQuay…

Planning on visiting WestQuay for a little Christmas shopping? Well here’s some exciting news (and another reason to go)…the new Dining at WestQuay officially opens this month on Thursday 22nd November. Dining at WestQuay will be home to several new restaurants, including Pizza Express, Wagamama, Southampton’s first Café Rouge Express, Mexican eatery Tortilla and American-inspired Ed’s Easy Diner.

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New foodie offering at WestQuay

To celebrate the opening there’s lots of fun foodie goings on – including live cookery demos from celebrity chef Aldo Zilli, who’ll be dishing out culinary advice and dishing up pasta chitarra with four tomato sauce, baked cod with black olive crust and a panettone dessert. Plus chefs from some of Dining at WestQuay’s new and existing restaurants will also be demonstrating some of their most popular dishes, including the new Wagamama – yum!

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Celebrity Chef Aldo Zilli will be showcasing his skills at WestQuay on Thursday

And as if that wasn’t enough to get you down to WestQuay this Thursday, there will also be all kinds of menu samples from new and existing WestsQuay foodie outlets – the list includes Hotel Chocolat, Starbucks, Café Giardino and many more. I’m told prizes, special offers and discounts will also be up for grabs on the day  too – sounds a like a fab foodie outing to me. And with WestQuays’s shops open until 8pm there’ll be time to cross a few things off my Christmas shopping list too.

All the action starts with Aldo Zilli’s first demonstration at 12pm this Thursday 22nd.

La Dolce Vita…Lakeside!

There has been a little lapse in FoodTeaLife entries of late and it’s because of a wonderful holiday to Italy – the beautiful area of Lake Garda to be precise. We soaked up the sunshine, took in the stunning views, swam in the crystal clear lake, ambled through the medieval streets and generally enjoyed all of the nation’s famous foodie delights. From gelato, to pizza, pasta, tiramisu, grappa and limoncello – we indulged in all of Italy’s classics! The region’s local wines had to be sampled too – all of which proved to be delightful and left us wondering why you never find these wonderful wines back home?

Probably the best summary I can give of the trip is a visual one…so feast your eyes….

The 16th century castle at the entrance to the medieval town

The castle even has its own moat filled with lake water

A proper olden days castle with battlements and it’s own moat, does it get much more fairytale-esque? Well I think it does, take a look at these photos of the castle at it’s most magical…

The castle in the dead of night…mysterious and mythical

Waiting for Rapunzel to appear…

Not only was the castle lovely to gaze upon from the outside, but once inside it provided some breathtaking views of the lake and the old town of Sermione…

There were spectacular views to take in everywhere you looked from the old fashioned streets to the lake itself….

Looking out over the lake

Sirmione is made up of quaint little streets like this one

And now of course on to the foodie highlights of the trip…

A classic Italian stone baked Margarita pizza

Spaghetti with clams – delicious!

Another pasta classic…carbonara

Grilled shellfish with garlic

Soup of mussels and clams

On to the desserts…

Duo of desserts – the one on the left is a miniature tiramisu!

A table tree of petit fours!

And to wash it all down with…

Limoncello for the ladies

Grappa for the gentlemen

And an interesting local cocktail…I can’t be a 100% sure of its ingredients, but I believe Campari and Presseco are two major components!

Colourful cocktail

All in all a most fabulous foodie adventure and very relaxing trip – a huge thank you to my second family for a wonderful time xxx

Exciting News for South Coast Seafood lovers!

A while back I said I’d have some exciting local foodie news to share…well here it is, brace yourself seafood lovers this is really cool!

Love fish? Then read on…

If like me you love the sound of fresh locally caught fish and seafood, but aren’t quite sure how or where to get it…well get ready because that’s about to change  thanks to South East Seafood! Working in partnership with the south coast’s fishing community, South East Seafood has launched Local Catch, a revolutionary new smart phone app and website designed to connect you direct to your local fisherman’s catch of the day.

Local Catch – the brand new app for local seafood fans

The launch of Local Catch means anyone on the south coast (that’s Winchester folks too!) can register to receive alerts about their local catch of the day direct to their smart phone, tablet or computer. Whether it’s crab, lobster, bream or bass, the south coast’s fishermen and the fishmongers, restaurants and cafes they supply will all be uploading details of their freshest catches, along with their exact location every day. All you have to do is pop along to your local fishmonger, or meet your local fishermen directly and you’ll be guaranteed fresh local fish and seafood, the day it’s caught.

A Hamble fisherman uploads his catch of the day

To ensure you really make the most of your fish, Local Catch gives you access to a whole range of recipes, inspiration and ideas, as well as cooking tips and videos on the preparation of various fish and seafood dishes. So whether you’re making bouillabaisse, bisque, crab cakes or chowder you can be sure your fish supper will be the freshest around!

Lobster Linguine, just one of the great recipes you’ll find on the Local Catch app

In addition to guaranteeing you fresh fish that’s 100% local, the launch of Local Catch also means a fairer price for the fishermen of the south coast – it’s really a win win, lovely fresh fish and a better detail for the local fishing community. All in all it’s fantastic news for seafood lovers around the Hampshire/West Sussex areas…I’m personally encouraging all my South Coast friends to download Local Catch – let’s get behind it and start to revolutionise the way we get our fish!

A Hayling Island Fisherman uploads his catch of the day

It’s not just local residents who can benefit from the app either,  local chefs can get involved too. The South Coast’s chefs, restaurants, pubs, cafes, delis and fishmongers can all use Local Catch too – they simply need to register in the same way as members of the public would, but once they’ve purchased from their local fishermen they are then able to send out an alert that lets people in the local area know they’ve got fresh, locally caught seafood on the menu.

Fresh fish on the menu – always a winner with me!

Local Catch is really simple to use and free to download now for Android devices (iPhone version coming soon!). It’s  just as easy to use Local Catch on your computer too. Simply log on to www.localcatch.co.uk to sign up and find out the catch of the day.

What are you waiting for fellow Hampshire folks? Get downloading!

Prawn, Salmon & Mushroom Lasagne

Here’s a yummy pescetarian recipe I mish mashed together in the kitchen this evening and it turned out to be quite delightful…

Prawn, Salmon & Mushroom Lasagne ingredients (not that many!)…

– Cooked & peeled prawns (you could cook up raw ones or use frozen)

– Mushrooms (obviously!)

– Creme Fraiche

– Garlic salt

– Dill (dried is fine)

– Smoked salmon pate (you could use actual Smoked Salmon – this was all I had!)

– Marscapone cheese

– Splash of white wine

– Parmesan cheese

– Pre-made lasagne sheets

You can probably guess what to do just from looking at the list above, but here’s how I cobbled them together…

Firstly I fried the mushrooms in a little butter, white wine, dill and garlic salt, then mixed in the Creme Fraiche to make a creamy consistency and added the prawns at the last minute. Then I layered the mixture  in a baking tray with the lasagne sheets, adding smoked salmon and marscapone cheese to the other layers and topping off with Parmesan cheese. Popped it in the oven until the cheese was golden brown (about 25 mins) and then Tom and I promptly demolished it!