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Family Feast Day

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So last weekend I organised a little family get together kind of a belated father’s day feast as I didn’t get to spend the actual day with my great Pa.  I love get together’s like this, my brain automatically starts going into a creative spin, because it is an oportunity for me to try out new recipes. Now some of my creations last weekend were a monumental hit and of course I will share these with you my fellow “bleeps”.  However to give you full disclosure one of my efforts was not quite up to scratch so has been put in the “work in progress pile” – more on that later.

Despite the mixture of gloomy skies, sporadic showers and the blink and you might miss it sunshine – summer we are currently having, we thought we would be bold and go for a BBQ style feast.  My family is not big, so gathered together we were just 6 adults and 2 kids under 5 but you know this style of food works perfectly for giving people options.  This is what was on the menu:

Rosemary Chicken Thighs

Gluten Free Sausages (from the “Good little sausage company”

Pork ribs with a homemade glaze

Kale, Feta & Apricot Salad

Roasted Rosemary/garlic new potatoes

and for dessert…

Banana Bread and a Nectarine Tart with Coconut cream.

Wowsers just writing this is making me hungry again!

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The Sausages and the Chicken I didn’t do anything fancy with other than a little seasoning for the chicken and a few sprigs of Rosemary snipped straight from my dad’s beautiful garden – it really sets the taste buds up in anticipation of a feast with the lovely fragrant aromas of Rosemary wafting through the air.


The Potatoes I actually par- boiled (10mins) as the kids were ready to eat their own arms off they were so hungry; before adding them to a roasting tray with a few whole skinned cloves of garlic, salt, pepper and a few sprigs of Rosemary, all drizzled with light Olive Oil and then bunged into the oven 200C for about 30mins to roast them off.  The Sausages were perfect for keeping everyone going before the main event – these sausages are very tasty indeed – not only are they Gluten Free, they have no artificial colours or stabilizers and are made from lean pork, the pigs are also allowed to root and forage freely – and if all that wasn’t “good” enough for every pack you buy, they give someone in a developing country the means to grow themselves a meal every day for 2 weeks! Seriously start stocking these “good” little guys! 🙂

Good little Sausages


Next up my mum picked up this massive rack of pork ribs from the local butcher – I mean easily 12 large juicy ribs worth – ambitious in terms of imagining we might get through it all but I love having left overs so actually, pretty darn awesome! This is where my new recipe didn’t quite live up to the “dream.”  I had this idea of making a glaze for them; so on the Saturday I sent myself off on a mission down Brick Lane to get a block of Tamarind; I  know you can buy these ready-made sauces/glazes but to find one that is without Gluten, Sugar and is not full of, let’s face it ‘crap’ and fits the “Sha-Zam” bill on the taste buds, is hard!

I have to say although what I created tasted fantastic, I don’t think I can honestly say it was a glaze… Let’s just say the cooking and execution of this dish needs a little more development.  I actually started the rack off on in the oven for 45 minutes, then I added my “glaze” and that is when it hit the BBQ.  Don’t get me wrong the finished result was very tasty but for my liking the meat did not sing with all the flavours I had put together, perhaps because I did not marinade the meat or treat it to a slower style of cooking… in addition to that the “glaze” element didn’t really happen and perhaps this is because my recipe was not packed full of sugar! But don’t worry, the challenge has been set, I am on the case I will conquer this and then give you all the deets.

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The Kale salad was a mega hit – most people think Kale is just for the frying pan or for dehydrating into those tasty little crisps but if you really want the mother load of “Vit Hits” – leave it alone – let it be its raw natural self!  I first had raw Kale in LA and it was kind of a salad revelation – this gutsy leaf is not shy of flavour doesn’t wilt under pressure and I can’t leave this nugget out – it’s a superfood packed to the gunnels with Iron, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin K. A diet high in Vitamin K can help protect against various cancers, it’s also high in fibre and has a touch of sulphur which all helps in detoxifying the body – I mean hello health!  Hard to think this was and I am sure still is still grown just for the purposes of feeding cattle!


So here is my…and in the voice of SUPER DOPE Kale, Feta Apricot, Salad – the genius of this is you can knock it up quickly even dress it and not worry about it looking like a mushy mess an hour later!


1 large bag of Kale, washed & whizzed in a salad spinner
1 bag of Pine nuts, lightly toasted – instruction on:
1 packet of Feta Cheese
1 Handful of Dried Apricots, finely chopped
1 small Red Onion, finely chopped
Black pepper
Good glug of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Tblsp Balsamic Vinegar (check it is Gluten Free)

Pretty self-explanatory really: A big bowl, add the main ingredients and toss together, then for the dressing don’t be shy with the Olive oil and just a dash of the balsamic makes the perfect balance. You don’t need to add extra salt as the cheese is salty and the apricots (full of Vit A, C & Fibre) do that yin yang thing with the cheese and the pine nuts add an extra awesome crunch factor.

Desert – don’t know about you but I think the success of any good gathering is a choice of deserts – perhaps this is because more often than not, when I eat out, my dietary requirements usually dictate my desert choice; which generally is limited to just a sorbet.  Really I don’t quite know why chef’s have not got more imaginative with their desert menus to create sweet dishes that are not only exciting and suitably lush but also healthy – it’s really not that hard!

My Banana bread was a show stopper in the taste department particularly with the kids. Here’s the scoop: Bananas are full of Potassium and B6 and a good source of fibre – Yeah bring it!

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Bella’s Banana Bread

Click on the link below for the recipe:

Final desert – when I was a kid my family used to go on the odd holiday to Menorca and those holidays were all about the BBQ’s one of the recipes my mum picked up around this time was Nectarines poached in wine and cinnamon – I can honestly say the combination of Nectarines and cinnamon is just heaven and the aromas when they cook are a heady floral combination. Nectarines are full of Vit C, Beta Carotene and Lutein a super antioxidant cancer preventor! I’ve talked about Cinnamon before but in case you forgot here’s the sweet & low… it regulates blood sugar levels, is anti inflammatory so helps with joint pain related to arthritis, helps alleviate menstrual pain and balance hormones.

With all this in mind I came up with this Sexy Little Nectarine Tart: For recipe click here:

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Coconut Cream – easy peasy – how to: at the bottom of “Sexy Little Nectarine Tart.”

A final personal thought: It was wonderful to spend this day with my family and in particular to be able to say goodbye to our wonderful family dog Jemma who at the ripe old age of 14 was really starting to struggle with old age and painful arthritis, she sadly passed on the Monday.  She was a much-loved member of our family and will always be fondly remembered. R.I.P Jemma.


2 responses »

  1. Pingback: Lazy daze Summer Picnics: Mini Quiches and more… | Bella's Freestyle Kitchen

  2. Pingback: Mood Food | Bella's Freestyle Kitchen

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