Tag Archives: Tuscany

Places I Want To Go To Soon

A destination is  a different way of seeing the world.

England is a green and pleasant land,

royal throne of kings, paradise sceptred isle,

another Eden, a precious stone set in the silver sea,

But, there are places I want to go other than in England.

~

Big Bear Lake, California

Palm Springs, California

Santa Monica, California

Las Vegas, Nevada

New York City, New York.

Cyprus

Malta

Florence, Tuscany

Sienna, Tuscany

Pisa, Tuscany

San Gimignano, Tuscany

~

These are all fabulous places I have already seen, but want to go back to very soon.  I guess this is my bucket list.  Some of these I want to get to this year.  If a friend wanted me to go with them somewhere else, then that would be cool to ~ although there are some places in this world I would just not go to under any circumstances.

Most of these are places it would be great to drive to, (except Cyprus and Malta of course, and nobody with even an ounce of sense would drive in New York).  On the other hand, I really like taking long road trips, preferably with a cool girl riding shotgun.  Cyprus is a big enough island that it’s great to drive around there, and so is Malta.  California and Tuscany are both fabulous places to take a road trip.  Of course, you should really have a really cool car to take on your long road trips ~ a convertible Mustang is ideal.

~

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

 

 

 

 

Sponsored by:  http://www.amazon.com/shops/salinevalleyenterprises

Food on Friday #48 ~ Apples

I know a girl who doesn’t really like apples.  Well, she is from California.

Apples are such an English thing.  But what can one do with an apple, other than peel it?  You would be surprised what a brilliant addition apples can make to a hell heck of a lot of dishes.

For a start apples make cider, and one can do a hell heck of a lot with cider.  First up this week we have maple apple cider from the very cute Tieghan Gerard at Half Baked Harvest.

maple-apple-cider-1

Maple Apple Cider

Also from Tieghan at Half Baked Harvest there’s crockpot cider braised short ribs with sage butter mashed potatoes.  Very nice and very nourishing on a cold autumn evening.  And, following last week’s Food on Friday you should all know just exactly where your slow cooker is.

crockpot-cider-braised-short-ribs-with-sage-butter-mashed-potatoes-1

Crockpot  Braised Short Ribs with Sage Butter Mashed Potatoes

There are thousands and thousands of recipes for food and drinks involving cider, but with Halloween coming up, here’s something only a real witch could drink.  From KC’s Bookshelf, via hocuspocus13, we have this stupifying concoction, a perfect fall wine.  This recipe includes the superfood beet juice.  (On your own head be it.)

spiced-wine-featured

A Perfect Fall Wine

Cider will eventually turn into apple cider vinegar, (cyder).  This stuff is excellent in so may ways, but you should really look for the genuine organic article.  My friend in Orange County swears by Bragg organic raw apple cider vinegar.  Want to turn your apple cider vinegar into a perfect basis for a salad dressing and a complete restorative body-cleanser and cure-all?  Well then, make a tincture of apple cider vinegar with rose hips and rosemary.  I’m lucky, I can collect great wild rose hips and rosemary right near the garret.

p1050177

Apple Cider Vinegar with Rose Hips and Rosemary

I couldn’t possibly do a post about apples without including an apple pie, and this apple cranberry pie from Andrea at Cooking with a Wallflower looks delicious.  Sadly, I have a complete blind spot when it comes to baking, so I may not ever try this wonderful recipe.  Also from Andrea we have a great autumn breakfast; pumpkin Dutch baby pancake with caramelised brown sugar apples.  Nice.

apple-cranberry-pie-1-683x1024

Apple Cranberry Pie

There’s a self-fulfilling prophecy that says I can’t bake.  Maybe I should try.  Maybe I should try this recipe from Elise Bauer at Simply Recipes ~ a wonderful apple coffee cake.  Never even heard of this, but it looks delicious, and I so like the idea of using apples in a cake.  Apples seem so much better than the idea of carrots in baking!

apple-coffee-cake-vertical-a-1800

Apple Coffee Cake

It’s autumn, and for a lot of us that means soup. Heather Christo has this parsnip, apple soup with bacon fried apples, you could turn this into a vegan dish by missing out the bacon.  I love parsnips, and I’m going to make this soup over the weekend.

applesoup

Parsnip, Apple Soup with Bacon Fried Apples

Even though this dish from The Kale Box is called pumpkin spiced fall medley, it’s less pumpkin and more sweet potato and apples, which suits me fine.  Looks a great change from our average vegetable side dishes.

pumpkin

Pumpkin Spiced Fall Medley

This next recipe may only use a couple of apples, but I tried this last Sunday, and you can take it from me, those apples make all the difference in the world.  For a dish with a truly international flavour, English girl Amanda, who lives in rural France, offers us Tuscan roast pork, from her site Chez Le Rêve Francais.  I love Tuscany, and I loved making and eating this dish.  (I must admit that these days I roast everything inside a roasting bag, which means that I retain a lot of juices with the meat, which always make a fabulous sauce.)

tuscan-roast-pork-2

Tuscan Roast Pork

And finally for this week, from Cookie and Kate, (Cookie is the dog), we have a vegan recipe for apple steel cut oatmeal.  In England we call this porridge, and I’m not usually a fan.  This looks like a great breakfast.

apple-steel-cut-oatmeal-recipe

Apple Steel Cut Oatmeal

~

liebster-12A big big thank you to all the great cooks featured this week.

jack collier

jackcollier7@talktalk.net

Make Your Own Adventure ~ Road Trip

P1020029Some say a good road trip is a great way to spend your vacation, or a great way to spend any time you have with your girl, or any time you don’t have to do something else for that matter.

SNLPFMMy very first long-distance road trip was from my place in the North of England to a little villa on a vineyard in Tuscany.  At it’s very best that’s 24 solid hours driving, assuming no delays, and that you don’t go out of your way sightseeing and driving mountain roads just for the sake of it.  All told it’s a drive of around 1,350 miles, each way.  Perhaps I was being optimistic to think my Triumph TR6 would make it there and back without breaking down, at least once.   (I was younger and better-looking then.)

In my opinion, there are seven essentials for a successful road trip:

  1. A cool car.
  2. Enough money.
  3. The right girl.
  4. A great driving road.
  5. Good weather.
  6. A relaxed attitude to deadlines and commitments.
  7. Time.  Lots and lots of time.

Not necessarily in order of importance ~ however, if you don’t have all seven then your road trip adventure isn’t going to be all you hoped it would be.

If you are using your own car, then you also need to take along a decent tool kit, some spares, and the knowledge to use both.

P1030116It is vitally important that the girl riding shotgun is someone who you really like hanging out with, because you are going to be spending a lot of time cooped-up together.  That has been my mistake on more than one occasion, because taking a long road trip with the wrong girl can give new meaning to the concept that there are sixty minutes in every hour, and twenty-four hours in every day.

(It helps if she knows how to take a great picture.)

There are three kinds of road trip;

  1. Where the destination is important.  Usually the time is also important.  You have to be in say; Tuscany by Tuesday…
  2. Where you have organised everything in advance, including booking your overnight accommodations.
  3. Where the destination is immaterial and time is of no pressing importance.  Except perhaps,  you have to go back to work in a couple of weeks or so.

Guess which type of road trip is the best?  But then, you do what you want as long as you stay cool and relaxed.

Chateaux & 7As an example of organising everything in advance was a road trip I took down the Loire Valley.  Because I wanted to stay in a different château each night, this all had to be booked and paid for before I set off.  (If the girl riding shotgun is the least bit ‘precious’ don’t make her pack all her luggage in the back of a tiny 7 ~ or she will sulk.)

P1030793For my next road trip I want to follow as much as I can of the old Route 66 from Chicago to Santa Monica, ending with dinner at The Lobster.  Say 2,200 miles.  For something shorter there’s the PCH which runs from Orange County in Southern California to Mendocino County in the North.  About 600 miles.  What the hell, I have the time and money to do both, preferably in a muscle car.

~

P1040171jackcollier7@talktalk.net

pictures by jack collier

and the girl riding shotgun

%d bloggers like this: