Beach Hut Food (or almost half a dozen things to do with Tortilla Chips)

Despite the distinctly mediocre weather we have been experiencing this week, we have found our collective stiff upper lip and pressed on with our half term/Jubilee plans regardless. We like to book a beach hut on Studland beach for a week each year and this week has been the appointed one. The weather on the Isle of Purbeck can frequently render national forecasts useless and certainly for part of the time I think we have managed to suffer far less rain than some. Sunday tea time we returned from a very pleasant afternoon at the beach, switched on the TV, to find the National Anthem in full flow on the River Thames and a bedraggled choir trying to look cheerful notwithstanding the driving rain. Nightmare.

Kitchen for the week

So during a typical week, we like to cook at the beach as much as possible and over the years we have developed Beach Hut Food. This can easily be regarded as camping food and so with the camping/glamping/festival season upon us some might find the following useful. I’m not really suggesting anything very revelatory just jogging memories I suspect.

The return of the 5 layer dip; the original recipe is here but an easier or possibly more child friendly version would be as follows:

Small tin of refried beans spread on the bottom of  the bowl/saucepan/suitable receptacle.

A layer of sweetcorn from a small tin to cover the beans or a layer of guacamole from a ‘ready to eat’ tub

A layer of tomato salsa, strength to your taste

A layer of half fat soured cream

A layer of grated cheese

Arrange the tortilla chips around the bowl as illustrated. This is really good as an accompaniment to a barbecue. N.B. Doritos are not very strong and therefore not good for scooping. Sainsburys Basics Tortilla Chips are much much better in this regard.

Tortilla Soup; British summers being what they are, soup is still a must even in July at times. Cuppa soup Cream of Tomato or a tin of Heinz Tomato can be pepped up with a few drops of Tabasco sauce and tortilla chips to dip with.

Camp style Caesar Salad; this is adapted from a Nigella recipe so she deserves all the credit. Arrange some salad leaves (Little Gem are good here) in a bowl and dress with Caesar salad dressing (we like the Pizza Express Light variety). Add to that handfuls of tortilla chips and grated Parmesan or any grated cheese.

Tortilla chip sandwiches; if you are at the beach, the ‘do I have sand in my sandwich’ concern can be offset by adding tortilla chips to the filling. The crunchy sensation they provide will mask any actual sand. Again grated cheese, a drop of Tabasco and chips work well and should you have these ingredients around because you made the 5 layer dip, will help with using stuff up.

As it was Jubilee weekend, we really pushed the boat out however and had my favourite sandwich of all, baguette with smoked salmon, lots of dill, lemon juice and black pepper and whilst barbecuing constructed this user-friendly arrangement.

Frozen raw King Prawns can defrost throughout the day in a cool box. Thread onto the skewers as the barbecue is lit to finish defrosting if necessary. Fill a fish holder with the skewers and cherry tomatoes for ease of handling.

The fish holder is often filled with Bream stuffed with dill. If you have sea air up your nostrils, this barbecue dish has to be one of life’s great pleasures.

Warming up for Wimbledon

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Barbeque or Party Style Five Layer Mexican Dip

It has finally stopped raining. It has been relentless for weeks and this weekend is set to be mild, warming up even, as well as dry. Is the barbeque season finally with us? I think we may well peel the cover off ours and cook a few burgers to celebrate. If you are of a similar mind and looking for a hearty something to go with you might fancy the following….

I had this at a party recently and found it incredibly more-ish. The friend of mine who produced this delicious concoction explained what was involved well into the evening so I’m not sure I’m reproducing entirely what was described, but this went down a storm with my better half when I tried it at home.

I suspect there are a million way to present avocado, tomato and soured cream as a Mexican dish however this multi-layered dip-style version creates a bit of a splash. The quantities below produce the amount in the picture which was enough for 2 to 3 as a starter. But if you need it for a party or full scale barbeque double or treble the recipe. A glass bowl would work well too to display the colourful layers (I don’t have anything appropriate although some sort of earthy terracotta dish might have looked more suitable!)

You will need: a small tin of Refried Beans ( I used Discovery), 1 Avocado, juice of ½ a Lime, 12 Cherry Tomatoes, 1 Spring Onion, 150ml Half-fat Soured Cream or Crème fraîche, 2 tbsp chopped Coriander, 30-50g finely grated Cheddar, Tabasco Sauce, Tortilla Chips.

Start by spreading the refried beans over the bottom of the dish or bowl you are using, peel and slice an avocado and lay the pieces on top of the beans, drizzle the lime juice over. Cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters and slice the spring onion. Mix the tomato and onion together and spread over the avocado. Next, evenly dollop on the soured cream and sprinkle with the coriander. Finally distribute the finely grated cheese as the top layer and drizzle over some tabasco sauce. Position tortilla chips around the edge of the bowl and await the cries of delight. It’s a good one.

Thank you Iford Arts Girl.

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