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.