A curious mushroom liqueur

cepe essence culinary speciality bottle
Photo from http://www.distillerie-perigord.com

We found this intriguing liqueur in the supermarket in France last weekend; it seems to be an alcoholic essence of ceps. Here’s the blurb from the bottle:

Sublimez simplement vos plats avec la Spécialité Culinaire au parfum de Cèpe. Notre spécialité culinaire est élaborée au cœur du Périgord à partir de cèpes soigneusement sélectionnés.
Idéale pour déglacer, mariner, flamber vos volailles et autres viandes ainsi que vos poissons. Peut également être utilisée pour parfumer vos risottos, veloutés et purées. Versez 1 cuillère à soupe par personne en fin de cuisson, remuez, servez. (Aucun assaisonnement supplémentaire nécessaire).

Rough translation: “Easily enhance your cooking with this cep essence ‘culinary speciality’. Our culinary speciality has been created in the heart of the Périgord [province] from carefully selected ceps.”

“It is perfect for deglazing, marinating, or flambéing poultry, meat and fish dishes. It can also be used to flavour risottos, soups and purées. Add one soup spoon per person at the end of cooking, stir and serve. (No extra seasoning is required).”

Never having seen it before, I’m fascinated to see what can be made with this unusual product. The only recipe provided on the distilling company’s website is for a very rich-sounding scrambled eggs with ‘virtual’ ceps, which doesn’t appeal much!

I’m thinking of adding some to garlic mushrooms or a sauce for chicken or steak. It is very strongly flavoured so it’s probably not intended for drinking, although having Googled, there do seem to be mushroom flavoured cocktails around.

Have you ever used essence of ceps?


Links I found interesting this month

Lanhydrock, CornwallOne of my favourite types of blog posts to read is a round-up of links and stories from around the web. Not only is it a great way to find new and useful things to read, but it also means I’ll be able to find the links to those interesting articles later on! With that in mind, here are some items I found interesting this month:

• This blog post from Slow Your Home inspired me to delete all the social media apps on my phone last week.

• I sent this article about gender-neutral dress to my friend whose twins don’t have ‘his’ and ‘her’ clothes.

• Fantastic illustrations of Bath by Perry Harris, shown to me by the Mayor no less!

• Bristolians are loving the Shaun in the City sculpture trails.

• The Great British Bake Off starts next week (Wednesday, 8pm)!

• An enormous list of minimalism resources.

• Terrifying article about rescuing women from Isil (and women’s own testimonies).

• Finally, am I the only one with a bit of a crush on Mhairi Black?

December Twenty-Fifth – a well-barbecued turkey

Our kitchen is too tiny to cook everything all at once, so we decided to barbecue our turkey. It worked well!

Barbecued turkey

Here’s a bonus picture of T and I in our new Christmas aprons which were a gift from my Mum.

Christmas aprons 2014

Merry Christmas!

This month (December 2014), I’ve been attempting to turn my blog into an advent calendar by posting every day in the run up to Christmas! Posts are tagged ChristmasCountdown2014 or look at the calendar in the sidebar –>

December Twentieth – antipasti platter

Antipasti platterWe made this antipasti platter for our first Christmas celebration today with one side of T’s family. We used a dish that T inherited from his Granny. It used to live on her wall and I wonder if it had ever been used for food before.

I love making platters instead of formal starters. This one had some mixed antipasti from the supermarket (rolled for texture), pate, mixed olives, mozzarella pearls, cherry vine tomatoes, stuffed peppers, gherkins and rocket.

We’re going to do a fish version for our second Christmas celebration next week (we have four in total).

This month (December 2014), I’m attempting to turn my blog into an advent calendar by posting every day in the run up to Christmas! Posts are tagged ChristmasCountdown2014 or look at the calendar in the sidebar –>

December Fourteenth – River Grille


A group of us were out for dinner last night at the River Grille – the restaurant of The Bristol Hotel, in Bristol. It’s a lovely venue that we’d never visited before. The main dining room is at the level of the floating harbour or you can enter through the hotel and down through the piano bar. The atmosphere is very swanky with live music, glam lighting and good linens.

We came for the steaks, which were good, as was the fish of the day. However, everyone was jealous of my meal which was venison and winter veg. It was quite a Mastercheffy dish with venison done three ways (loin, sausage and a shoulder meat croquette) on a bed of thinly sliced beetroot, braised red cabbage and spinach. The sausage especially was fantastic.

We all thought it felt like a more expensive restaurant than it actually was and T said the wine was good value – an Argentinian Malbec which was £23 for a bottle.

I think we’ve found a new favourite.

*No photos for this post – I was too interested in eating my food to get a good photo of it!

December Thirteenth – social Saturday

A busy day today. T went wine shopping at Averys first thing.

All these boxes are full of wine!
All these boxes are full of wine!

We’re hosting Christmas Day at our house (first time since we’ve been married) so it’s good to know we’re in absolutely no danger of running out of wine!

Later, we went shopping for exciting festive items including: tinsel, lights (below), bath sealant and an extractor fan. This was followed by a spontaneous lunch with friends at The Flyer on Gloucester Road. It was surprisingly quiet for a Saturday afternoon – unlike Tinto Lounge which was jam-packed. T and I shared a fab brunch for two – it included all the normal brunch items plus pork & beans and bubble & squeak, all served up in a big cast iron frying pan. Yum.

Christmas lights

A busy afternoon of DIY and destroying cardboard boxes has left us pretty hungry. Time for dinner!

December Twelfth – I’m not a morning person, but I’ll get up before dawn for a toastie from Hart’s

Harts Bakery, Bristol

OK, so getting up before dawn is made slightly easier by the fact that the sun didn’t come up till 08.06 today (08.05 in Bath, which is 10 miles further East). Only 9 days till the shortest day.

T and I started a tradition this year. On Fridays we go to Hart’s Bakery, under the arches of the Temple Meads station ramp in Bristol, for breakfast before work. It’s good to celebrate the week being almost over, even if it does mean getting up a little earlier. He has a cheese and ham toastie with a tea, I have a plain cheese with a coffee and we chat about the weekend and what we’re up to that evening until I have to go for the train. Then I get teased for having “coffee breath”.

Hart’s is usually jam packed with breakfasters and the takeaway queue. They do the best (and best value) coffee in the station vicinity and of course the best pastries, cakes and toasties. You should definitely check it out if you pass this way.