Saturday, 28 June 2014

Prawn & Chive Dumplings

I love ravioli that have a generous filling and ultra-thin (see-through) dough. I recently tried to make them from scratch (meaning the pasta dough part) and it was a total disaster (no pasta machine, and even with the marble rolling pin I could not spread the dough as thin as I wanted). Frustrated but not ready to give up, I decided to use already-made wonton pasta (for dumplings). Thanks to a friend that could source some for me, I could make delicious prawn & chive dumplings!
The filling is made using 150g chopped raw king prawns, 1 egg, lots of chopped chives and a tablespoon of cream. These quantities are perfect for 24 dumplings. Then it is just a matter of  placing a small amount of filing in the middle, folding half and sealing with water. They cook in small batches, 3 minutes from the time they reach the surface of the boiling water. Serve immediately and use olive oil to prevent them to stick together. It is much appreciated to use herb-marinated oil (basil, chilli, lemon grass or whatever moves you). This wonton pastry is remarkably soft and has a silky texture that I love. A must-try!

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Canal du Midi - Boat trip

Last week I went on a canal boat along the Canal du Midi (in France). We cruised from Béziers to Carcassonne and went through numerous locks, canal tunnels and aqueducts. This part of the Canal du Midi is really interesting as it is high up, following the curves of the hills (and not at the bottom of the valley). It has been built in the 17th century and is part of the Canal des Deux Mers  (system joining Mediterranean see to Atlantic Ocean).

A representative selection of landscaping of the canal banks:

The canal structures:

The villages houses in which we stopped were also worth of interest:

Some peculiar canal boats:

Finally we reached our destination - Carcassonne:

Monday, 9 June 2014

Maldon Mud Race with the Fuddy Muckers

On the 25th of May was the Maldon Mud Race. This is a fun race organised for charities in which most of the participants (usually in teams) wear fancy dresses and have to progress through 500 meters of thick mud over the bed of a river at low tide (this is close to an estuary). They start from one bank and make their way through water to the other side, negotiate 200 metres of mud along the river and then return to the original riverbank.

The Fuddy Muckers - still fresh and shiny

Taping the shoes so as not to lose them in the mud
 Other teams:

Limbering up before the start

Everyone make their way through the calf-high mud by the riverbank for the start

A panorama of the whole course

The first slope is discriminating

Some are posing for the glory!

A common situation : on all fours!

The race to the finish!

Finishing is a relief...

Finishing as a team!

Congratulations to them!!