Sunday, 30 December 2007

Christmas Pie

My mum made this, and as you can see, we placed the initials of all those present on the pastry tree.
The best pie ever, although I wish we had put balls of stuffing in it too, like when we did the prototype in November.

Thursday, 27 December 2007

Fred's Banoffee Pie (or Christmas Pudding for Kids)

Crush up some digestive biscuits and mix with melted butter. Then press them into a shallow pie dish.
Then get some caramelized condensed milk. In my day, you had to buy a can of sweetened condensed milk and boil it, unopened, for two hours. They always warned you on the tin that you should NOT do this, because of the risk of nuclear explosion; but knowing this only seemed to make the whole event slightly more dangerous and sexy, and the pie more delicious.. imagine my disappointment when I found ready-made caramelized condensed milk in Tescos, then.
However! Atleast life is now much safer and child friendly. Well, making this pie is anyway.
So spread on the creamy caramel, then slice a couple of bananas, and lay these over too. Top generously with whipped cream and grated chocolate. Chill until the nippers are ready to dive in.

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Pesto Rice Salad (more Christmas buffet..)

More from Delia; this recipe (like the roasted tomatoes) can be found on her website at
This is a room-temperature rice salad and I would have been more than happy to have not had to share this with other people. It's gorgeous. And check out my Algerian couscous spoon!
You use risotto rice for it, and cook it in vegetable stock (I always use marigold vegetable bouillon powder for this). The recipe says to make your own pesto, but I really couldn't be bothered and I used fresh pesto from the fridge in the supermarket, and it was utterly superb. I also added an extra squeeze of lemon. I think the bits of spring onion on top (added as instructed) were superfluous really. Some bits of torn basil would be just as pretty. Ok, is it really rice salad, or just cold risotto?

Thursday, 20 December 2007

Roasted Tomato Salad (for a Christmas office buffet)

This is a Delia Smith recipe and can be found on her website,

I roasted the tomatoes the night before, with salt and pepper, garlic, and olive oil.

(By all means, click on this bloody fantastic photo, save the proper big version and have it as your desktop background..)
The next day, I added fresh basil leaves and little balls of mozzarella.

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Moussaka in the Slow Cooker

This rather stunning photograph is of some aubergine slices which were doused in oil and cooked in a hot oven until soft and golden. Then I cooled them overnight.
In the morning, I layered the aubs in the slow cooker with the meat mixture (barely cooked, just browned and mixed; and it was beef but I think lamb is better) and left it to cook all day. When I got home, I poured cheese sauce on the top (with an egg whisked into it) and left it another hour.
Yes, it was well cooked and going brown at the edges, but it was very good.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Rachel's Christmassy Bread Sauce

You're mad if you buy the stuff in packets. Make this instead!
Get two saucepans. Into one, pour a pint of milk. Then get an onion, peel it and halve it. Stick some cloves into one of the halves, and plop it into the milk. Add a bay leaf, sprinkle in a pinch of nutmeg, and/or perhaps some mace, or allspice. Let it all simmer very gently.
Chop the rest of the onion and cook it very very gently in the other saucepan, in a generous nob of butter. Two generous nobs of butter! Don't let it brown, although it might go slightly gold. Let both pans tick over gently for about 20 - 30 minutes.
Get a small whole white loaf of bread, remove the crusts and tear up the bread.
Remove the onion and any whole spices from the milk, then pour the milk into the buttery onion. (If any of your onion did go brown, or you just decide you don't want it in the sauce, remove it if you wish..) THEN chuck in the torn up bread, and stir it all in. Season and add more milk or more bread until it is the texture you like.
Freezes and reheats happily. So no excuses. Eat hot, with your dinner. Dollop it cold into turkey butties. When you're hanging around in the kitchen at night, dip a cold roast potato into it. Get a mouthful of it and give someone a christmas kiss. Ha ha ha.

Thursday, 13 December 2007

Heartache? Make Pasta Bake

This cavatappi-licious roasting tin full of pasta is my son's favourite. It is just pasta shapes, bol sauce, then cheese sauce on top. I whisk an egg or two into the cheese sauce too, it makes it set a little, like a sort of creamy cheesey custard.
Warning: it is quite hard to stop eating it.

Tuesday, 11 December 2007

More Fish & Chips

Please note bottom right: curry, peas, tommy ketch AND salad cream ..

Sunday, 9 December 2007

Shepherds Pie (Partly Hidden By Lots Of Vegetables)

Forgive me, as this is not the best photo of a shepherds pie. However, this was a great Sunday lunch. The sheppy is to the top left; go clockwise towards the peas and cabbage, then the big dollop of cauliflower cheese (with bits of bacon on top). The whole lot has been doused in gravy with rather a lot of onion in it.

Saturday, 8 December 2007

Isn't Bread Amazing

The best thing to do on a Friday night, (apart from eat / get drunk / dance / have sex .. I mean, just before you go to bed) .. is fill up your bread machine with ingredients and set it to have a loaf ready for when you wake up on Saturday. Sleep, dream, and forget all about about it. As you ascend towards consciousness in the morning, there is a great moment when your brain suddenly registers the smell of baking bread in your nostrils, and you smile to yourself.

Well, I do anyway!

Saturday, 1 December 2007

Egg In A Hole

Weekend breakfast classic; the method of preparing which, I hope you can observe step-by-step.

Important: use plenty of oil so it doesn't stick to the pan. Get the oil really really hot so it fries quickly and crisply and doesn't soak it all up.

Flip over if you dare; personally I baste it.

Do not cook naked. But by all means eat naked if preferred.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

Nigella Lawson's Sticky Chocolate Pudding

Welcome, to the most searched for recipe in my entire blog! I appreciate that to you, it looks like a brown splat, but this is one of my absolute most favourite recipes of all time. It has voodoo qualities. Nigella made it on tv years ago, on one of Nigel Slater's programmes. The recipe can be found in her book, "How To Eat", and also seems to be on several websites. I last cooked this (and took the photo) during a very miserable weekend earlier this year. I was in a massive mardy, and feeling very sad. However, as I remember, a few weeks later my life was transformed quite drastically .. and now just looking at this pudding reminds me of that time. So perhaps it really is a magic pudding. If you love chocolate, make this when you are in the doldrums, and perhaps make a wish as you stir the mixture. Believe me; you never know what's round the corner.

Oh, and don't THINK of missing out on the ground hazelnuts, (or swapping them for any other kind of ground nut) even if you have to pulverise them yourself. They are gorgeous in it.

Nigella Lawson's Sticky Chocolate Pudding
150g self-raising flour
25g good-quality cocoa powder
200g caster sugar
50g ground hazelnuts
75g dark chocolate buttons (or dark chocolate, chopped)
180ml full cream milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
40g butter, melted
1 free range egg
For the sauce:
180g dark muscovado sugar
120g good-quality cocoa powder, sifted
500ml very hot water
Put all the dry ingredients ­ the flour, cocoa, sugar, ground hazelnuts and chocolate pieces ­ in a large mixing bowl. Whisk together the milk, vanilla extract, melted butter and egg. Pour into the bowl containing the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.
Pour the mixture into a large, buttered soufflĂ© dish, about 20cm in diameter. Mix the muscovado sugar and cocoa together and sprinkle on top of the pudding. Pour the hot water on top ­(don't stir!) and put in an oven preheated to 180°C/Gas 4. After 35 to 40 minutes, the pudding should be firm and springy. Serve at once, with cold pouring cream.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Four Gorgeous Cakey Cakes

Clockwise from top left: 1)Kaaren's smartie and mars bar cake. 2) Jean's chocolate cake with smarties and flakes. 3) My banoffee cake, decorated with maltesers and big splats of cream. 4) Another Jean's chocolate cake.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Kids Teas

Clockwise, from top left: Pizza (remote control on the side). Pie, chips, mushies & curry sauce. Pasta tubes, sausage & tomato sauce. Ice cream sundae with flake. Roasting tin of sausages (for hot dogs). Burger & chips & onion rings.

Sunday, 18 November 2007

Christmas Pie (Prototype)

We decided to try a special Christmas Pie for Christmas dindins this year. My mum rustled this up today, by way of rehearsal. Purely in the spirit of experimentation, research and science of course.
The pie contains poached chicken, white bechamel sauce and balls of stuffing!
I think its a goer.

Saturday, 17 November 2007

Homemade Chinese Takeaway Part 2: Prawn Chow Mein

Please, begin with raw prawns. If you use cooked ones, they will be like little blobs of rubber at the end. These had sat in a tub in a fridge with a load of crushed garlic and ginger, before frying.
I added some shredded vegetables, beansprouts and stuff, then some sauce and noodles.
Completed gastro-symphony.

Homemade Chinese Takeaway Part 1: Lily Kwok's Curry

The recipe for this curry can be found here. Or just put "Lily Kwok" in Google. I always add some coconut milk too.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Victorian Curry

Begin with ancient cookery book (this one, I found on eBay and is from 1898). Fry six onions slowly and patiently until brown, then add curry paste, two chopped apples and some stock. Simmer for a while, then blitz. I also added lentils and eggs.

Sunday, 11 November 2007

Sunday Lunch Part 2: Banana Butterscotch Pudding

I can't take the credit for this, as my mum cooked it - from a recipe by Rachel Allen. Like sticky toffee pudding, but with bananas too. Gorgeous!

Sunday Lunch Part 1: Shepherds Pie

Medicine for colds and miserable autumn days. I can't help putting baked beans in my shepherds pie; it probably makes me look a right skipper but I like it. There is also some cauliflower cheese here, amongst the other veg.
Making enough food to heat up for another dinner the next day will also take the edge off that Monday morning mardy.

Friday, 9 November 2007

Tuesday, 6 November 2007

Veggie Quadrangle

Clockwise from top left:
Fried potato slices with spinach, cream and garlic.
Vegetables and tomatoes, about to be roasted.
Cheese & potato pie with beans.
Jean's cheese & onion pie!

Monday, 5 November 2007

Bonfire Night Bangers & Mash

Plus some swede, and onion gravy.

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Ridiculous Black Forest Gateau

I based this very silly one mainly on Nigella's recipe for a chocolate fudge cake. Then I put it together in four tiers, adding whipped cream, black cherries, and grated chocolate.

Thursday, 1 November 2007

Homemade Soups

Clockwise, from top left: beetroot, with sour cream and a noggin of cheese on toast. Cauliflower, brocolli & stilton. Another, perhaps thicker and much cheesier cauliflower, brocolli & stilton. Lentil, bacon & vegetable.

Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Hans' Bangers & Mash in a pub in Nottingham

This was consumed in an old pub called Ye Olde Trip to Jerusalem. Check out that gravy, man.

Sunday, 28 October 2007


I have nothing further to add ..

Friday, 26 October 2007

Chickpea Balti with Kale

I think kale is quite horrible really; I tried steaming it once and it was like trying to eat my tights. However, some good can always be made of such a situation. Shred it up and give it a proper nuking with some chickpeas, onion, maybe some tomatoes went in there, and curry paste.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007

Lamb & Chickpea Jalfrezi in the Slow Cooker

This is really, the absolute danglers. There are not many ingredients either. Begin in the morning before you go to work, and chuck two tins of chickpeas and a jar of curry sauce in the slow cooker. Add some water (to stop it all getting too thick) and plonk a piece of lamb in. Dont expect it to look good yet.

When you get home, you will open the door and be greeted by a lamby, chickpeay spicy smell, wafting through the house. So by all means, dig in now if you must. However, I cooled it all down and put it in the fridge for the night, and lifted some of the fat off the next day.
I cut the meat up and warmed everything up in a pan. Add a bit more water too. At the end, I quickly fried some onions and peppers over a high heat, just until they started to go brown round the edges, then mixed them in.
Troff it down with rice, and some yoghurt and chopped cucumber.

Tuesday, 23 October 2007

Chocolate Ice Cream Sundaes

Begin with some tasty sundae glasses (I got mine off eBay!) and fill with .. possibly in the following order .. some squashy chocolate fudge cake; a drizzle of chocolate sauce; a few chocolate buttons; some chocolate ice cream, a sprinkle of maltesers and perhaps more sauce. Then another blob of ice cream, a dollop or squirt of cream, a mini flake, and some crumbled up or grated bits of chocolate.

Monday, 22 October 2007

Sunday, 21 October 2007

Mary's Duck

That looks tasty, duck ....
(Table looks nice too)

Freya's Pub Lunch (from Del & Hans)

A very exciting kids pub meal of pasta and meatballs, but look at the range of little goodies which turned up. Del, what was this pub again?