Friday, 31 December 2010

Last Entry of 2010: Brie and Cranberry Sandwich

Multiseed bread, organic butter, slices of slightly gooey, room-temperature Brie, smeared with a bit of cranberry sauce.

I admit, it did make me feel a bit sick...

But HAPPY NEW YEAR everyone, and here's to good food, love and laughter. Am cooking fajitas later cos its my son's birthday today, and a big roast dinner on Sunday 2nd, so thats the first posts for 2011 in the pipeline already.

Have a lovely evening! XX

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

McDonalds Fans: I have free desktop wallpaper for you!

The tiles for my beautiful junk fodder mosaic took about, errrrm .. a whole year to collect!

Saturday, 25 December 2010

Brenda's Pretty Christmas Trifle

Recipe found in a magazine, by Gordon Ramsay. Found it via google on this website. The trifle is topped with crushed peanut brittle which is possibly the best bit.

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Leftover Roast Taties

Peeled, boiled, shaken til fluffy then roasted in goose fat.

Christmas Dinner is the Greatest

That's haggis in the middle, incase you were wondering.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Minestrone (with Spinach & Ricotta Tortelloni)

Simple and very very quick (chopped onions and carrots, tinned toms, stock, peas, blah blah) and then, much nicer than using plain old pasta, bung in some tortelloni, and a few minutes later its ready. Drizzle with olive oil if you like, add some parmesan and nice bread to dunk. The bread in the pic is cheese & onion bread.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

This'll warm your cockles on an Autumn mornin - Tinned Toms on Toast

Have you eaten this at any time, since the 70s?

Silly Choc Chip Bread Pudding, by Nigella

This receipt is in Nigella's new "Kitchen" book, and she also made it on the telly the another night. Her eyes danced manically as she mentioned something about this being an american equivalent to our bread & butter pudding. So, its very easy to do and made with chocolate chips, (I just chopped up a bar of choc though) milk, cream, eggs and sugar. Now, it is nice and it certainly warms your tummy on a chilly night. But I still reckon it's not as good as we do it this side of the pond .. the scents of nutmeg and cinnamon, the waft of vanilla, and the juicy nip of an occasional sultana .. will be conspicuous by their absence ..
If you have surfed in looking for the recipe, it can be found here:

Monday, 4 October 2010

Baked Bean Bread

Interesting, this. Half a can of beans, added to the usual ingredients for a loaf in the bread machine.

The only downside was that a huge air bubble got trapped just under the top crust - resulting in a huge, swollen loaf which came bursting out the tin. When I sliced it open, it was like a big cave, inside the bread. I am not sure how to prevent this happening again.

Then again, it wouldn't stop me doing this bread again. When you eat it, you don't think, "ah, beans" - it just tastes nice, and had a satisfactorily chewy texture.

Sunday, 26 September 2010

Vanilla Ice Cream Sundae with Honey Syrup Poached Pears, and Blackberry Compote, darling. And a crumbled flake on top.

Wooaaarrgh what a big juicy chuffer of loveliness this one was. Start with a layer of chopped madeira cake, top with 2 or 3 pear halves (poached in syrup made with honey and brown sugar, which is why they went a bit golden) THEN some blackberries, cooked and squashed a bit in a splash of water and some sugar to sweeten, THEN home made vanilla ice cream (out of the Ben & Jerry's ice cream book ... great book) and FINALLY some chocolate. Buttons, sauce, flake, up to you.

Future additions, could be, some toasted chopped hazelnuts sprinkled in somewhere. I also considered making some nutty crumble topping (on its own, I mean) and sprinkling that on. Imagine that.

Chicken & Ham Pasta Bake

A huge and delicious bake of orichiette pasta (like little flying saucers) with chicken and ham. I wanted to feed seven hungry mouths and have some leftovers for the next day .. I used the meat from a whole roasted chicken and a boiled ham joint. I made a big pan of bechamel, using all the chickeny juices and adding a bit of cheese. I also used about 750g of pasta and mixed it all in a big dish (actually it was the big roasting tin I do the turkey in at christmas). Finally, some breadcrumbs, and into the oven to get crispy and bubbly.
We had it with roasted tomatoes and garlic bread.

Eve's Slow Roasted Tomatoes with Garlic

Thanks Aunty Eve for the big bag of toms you gave me from your greenhouse glut!
I halved these (across the equator, not through the poles..) and put in the dish. Then I pushed thin slivers of garlic into the seeds. I added salt & pep of course, and a drizzle of garlic oil.
They roasted quite slowly for 1hr 30mins. We ate them with the pasta bake in the next post .....

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Brown Rice Salad with Sesame and Lime Dressing

I did some brown rice in my new Zojirushi rice cooker (see previous post) and made a salad with it for my lunch box tomorrow ... all I did was, mix in chopped cucumber, yellow pepper and sliced baby tomatoes, then some salt, a drizzle of sesame oil (you really do not need much) and the juice of half a lime. Mix gently, chill in fridge. You should taste it but not too much or you'll have none left, it tastes lovely.

My New Fuzzy Logic Zojirushi Rice Cooker

This piece of kit is generally held in regard as the Mercedes Benz of rice cookers .... quite hard to get hold of in the UK, then I found this amazing website called Yum Asia, and got it from there. Cooks rice perfectly and especially without burning it on the bottom! You just put the rice and water in, switch on and forget it. It employs something called "fuzzy logic" technology, which I do not understand at all, but it bloody works. Love it.

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Creamy Tomato and Lentil Soup

This'll smooth you right over..

Baked Beans Pizza! (on ciabatta crust)

The dough came from a packet of ciabbata bread mix, made into a dough in my bread machine. I made it in a rough square on a big baking sheet, and added tomato sauce, beans and cheese. Finally, baked in a hot hot hot oven for 15 mins.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Gordon Ramsay's Face Stew

This stew was named on account of the rough, craggy surface of the dumplings. Sorry Gordon. I can't decide if dumplings are better cooked with the lid on, so they stay soft, like floating clouds, OR do them in a hot oven with the lid off, so they get a bit crusty. Difficult one.

Friday, 3 September 2010

Anyone Fancy a Chinese Tonight?!

I triple dare you to set this as your computer wallpaper.

Peach Pudding (or any fruit you want for that matter)

The recipe for this came from a charity booklet of celeb chef's family recipes, I found in Morrisons one day. This was in there, by Mary Berry, and she called it "Hot Plum Torte" which I think is sexing it up a bit. Its just a sponge mixture in a dish, fruit on top (common sense suggests you might want to poach a hard fruit for a bit first), sprinkle on some sugar, and bake it.

Use an approx 28cm diameter ovenproof dish, and have the oven at about 180c. If your dish is smaller in diameter (therefore the pud being a bit deeper) I suggest a bit cooler, and cook a bit longer. I learned that from experience. Mix and beat 75g butter, 75g sugar, 100g SR flour, 1tsp baking powder, the zest of an orange and 2 large eggs in a bowl. Spoon into the dish or tin. Tumble, chuck, or place 900g of your chosen fruit on top. Sprinkle over approx 150g demerara sugar, depending on your taste or the sweetness of the fruit. Bake for 30 mins and check it. Mine always needs a bit longer in the dish I use. Torte, my arse. This is just lovely PUDDIN and just right after your Sunday lunch! With custard or ice cream!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

Meatloaf - Ode to The Food Pornographer!

Whilst taking my rumbling tummy for a walk on the web recently, I came across this utterly stunning meat loaf recipe on The Food Pornographer (you will have to visit and look at hers!) and I had to make one for myself. I admit, its the sight of those smiley cheeky eggs in the middle that get to me ...
I made my own version based on what seemed good to me, with beef, sausagemeat, onion, some little bits of chopped ham, stuffing mix (better than breadcrumbs, in these situations, I reckon) and against ALL my instincts and upbringing - I smeared the top with tomato ketchup before it went in the oven. As far as I can tell, most of the americans do this to their meatloaves too. "Ketchup Glaze" they call it ... anyway. It baked in the oven for an hour. Delicious. Thanks TFP!

Crushed New Potatoes with Lemon, Olives and Olive Oil

It was nice making these. Again, from Diana's book, "Cook Simple". You just boil the baby taties then you squash them just a little bit, but not too much. Then you chuck in olive oil, lemon juice and pieces of black olive. Delicious!
If you are not keen on olives, leave them out but consider replacing them with something salty, like maybe some feta cheese (if the rest of your menu is not already too cheesy) or just make sure you season well. I will leave you to consider other salty possibilities ..

Diana Henry's Aubergines stuffed with Chilli, Feta and Mint

From her book, "Cook Simple" which I think is very good!
Simple and obtainable ingredients, in a combo you might not have tried before ... delicious, they were. There was also a bit of sour cream/creme fraiche daubed on the top, and some caramelized onions and fried garlic in there too. Troff, troff, troff.

Simon Hopkinson's Stuffed Tomatoes

Oh, bugger, I can't remember which book of his, these came from. It might have been from his new(ish) veggie one. Or "Week in, Week out". He does really good books, anyway.
Forgive my little babies if they look a bit squished. I cooked them for a long time and they collapsed. However, the long slow cooking gave them a perfect, concentrated sticky, burnished tomatoey flavour and if you close your eyes when eating these, you could be transported to a beachside taverna in Crete. I had a previous life there, you know. Did you know that?

My Take, on an Iced Orange Cake (originally by Rachel Allen)

This simple and delicious little cake is from a recipe by Rachel Allen. The blueberries were my idea, and were just right with the runny icing (ok perhaps a bit too runny) and the orangey cake. Rachel points out in her recipe (found here) that the cake is supposed to be quite dense, and sink a bit in the middle. Which makes a nice surface for a little pile of berries, I reckon.

Cheesy Chicken & Roasted Tomatoes

Simple for simpletons, this one. Chuck the tomatoes in the dish and add a splash of wine. Make a pocket in your chicken breasts and stuff cheese inside. Strew with thyme and bake until chicken is done.

Original recipe can be found here.