Saturday, December 30, 2006

Andalusian Pork

This has some great flavours and the meat is kept really moist from the dried fruit. It would be really nice with a saffron rice, but the people I made it for wouldn't have gone for that, so we had it with potatoes and veg...I got the recipe from the bbc website, its one by James Martin

Serves 6

3 medium to large pork fillet (800g)
4oz prunes, chopped
40z soft dried apricots,
handful chopped parsley,
3 tbsp paprika
2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried or fresh chopped thyme
2 clove garlic, crushed
1 tbsp coarse salt
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 lemon, cut into wedges, to serve

1. Cut the pork open with a sharp knife and open the fillet out along its length, being careful not to cut all the way through the fillet.
2. In a bowl, mix together the prunes, apricots and parsley and insert along the length of the fillet. Season well.
3. Roll the fillet up and securely fasten with string.4. Mix up the paprika, the remaining herbs, the garlic, the salt and the oil to make a thick paste. Spread over the surface of the meat, and leave it in the fridge, ideally overnight, but don't worry if you don't have time, 1/2 hour was delicious too
5. Preheat the oven to 200C/400C/Gas
6. Season the meat and sear on all sides in a heavy pan. Place in the oven for 25 minutes.
6. Rest the meat before serving with lemon wedges.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Beef Wellington, prepare in advance method..

I found this method by Luiska on the BBC forum website, it worked a treat and led to a lot less stressful Christmas day! I had served it with chunky ovenbaked chips, which I guess some people would see a travesty, but it was yum! I used onions instead of mushrooms as I'm allergic to mushrooms...

Fillet or sirloin beef
2 chopped onions
200g pate
2 packets ready made puff pastry..

Fry up the onions until caramelised, and when cold ( this is really important for food hygiene)., mix with the pate. then follow the method below...
Sear the outside of the beef & then put it on a rack to cool and drain. Roll puff pastry, cut a piece somewhat bigger than fillet, prick with fork and bake until crisp & golden. Cool. Spread cooked pastry with half paté-onion mix, top with fillet spread with remainder, cut off excess cooked pastry corners & cover with raw pastry sheet, tucking edges underneath, making sure that the tuck-in is fairly minimal or it gets stodgy. Decorate with pastry strips or leaves or whatever, but don't glaze. Refrigerate overnight. Bring to room temp somewhere dry, make a couple of steam holes, then glaze with egg wash and bake.

Christmas baked ham

I used this recipe for our baked ham for Christmas Eve, which I found on the bbc website, but which I modified a little. It was delicious. I got all our Christmas meat from Harveys, the organic butcher in Norwich... It was just as good, hot as cold..

4.5-5.5kg/10-12lb gammon joint - unsmoked
1 pint of dry cider
2 carrots, chopped into chunky pieces
2 onions, peeled and studded with cloves
4 bay leaves
2 cloves garlic
2 tbsp brown sugar
12 peppercorns
1 orange, cut in half
For the glaze:
cloves for spiking
8 tbsp shredless orange marmalade
juice of half a lemon

1. Soak the gammon joint overnight.
2. Drain and discard the water and pat the gammon dry. Place the gammon in a large pan and then pour over the cider and enough water to cover the joint.
3. Add all the other ingredients to the pan. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat and gently simmer for 3 - 3 ½ hours. Skim off any scum during the cooking.
4. When cooked, remove the ham from the pan and place in a roasting tin. Let it cool slightly and then peel away the skin.
5. Preheat the oven 190C/375 F / Gas 5.
6. Score diamond shapes on the fat and stud each diamond with a clove.
7. Heat the marmalade and lemon juice in a pan for a few minutes until it thickens to a sticky glaze. Brush the marmalade glaze over the surface of the ham.
8. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes until the glaze has set.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Christmas gingerbread biscuits

125g soft butter
100g firmly packed brown sugar
75 ml runny honey or golden syrup
50ml black treacle ( substitute for honey or golden syrup if you don't have any, or prefer a lighter taste)
1 egg yolk
375g plain flour
1 tablespoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
silver balls and /or edible glitter

Royal Icing:Royal icing sugar is very good and easy to use...
Beat butter and sugar in small bowl until light and fluffy;

beat in treacle golden syrup/honey and egg yolk.
Transfer mixture to large bowl, stir in sifted dry ingredients.
Knead dough on lightly floured surface until smooth; wrap in clingfilm and refrigerate 30 minutes.Roll dough until about 5mm think.
Cut shapes from dough using Christmas cutter.
Cut a small hole in shapes for hanging, if desired.
Place shapes 3cm apart on greased oven trays.
Bake at 180C for 10 minutes or until lightly browned (time depends on the size of the shapes). Transfer shapes to wire racks to cool.
Spread or pipe royal icing onto shapes, and decorate with silver balls and/ or edible glitter...

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Risotto Tricolore

This is a simple risotto, with the colours of the italian flag, hence the cheesy name ;-). You can make the base for the risotto with celery, which is more authentic, but i didn't have any last night...The basic risotto recipe is Jamie's but the additions are made up by me!

Feeds 2
500ml chicken or vegetable stock
1 onion
150g risotto rice
oliver oil
10 cherry tomatoes ( I used the baby plum ones)
1 glass of white wine
1/2 packet of watercress, rocket, and spinach salad
a few sprigs thyme
100g taleggio cheese ( you could try brie or camembert)
50g grated parmesan

Make the stock up with boiling water , or heat up ready made stock
Heat the olive oil in a pan. Add the onion, and fry gently for about 5 minutes until softened. Add the rice to the pan and turn up the heat. Cook for a minute or so, stirring constantly, until the rice looks slightly translucent. Add the wine and keep stirring - any alcohol flavours will evaporate.Once the wine has been absorbed by the rice, add your first ladle of hot stock and a good pinch of pepper and the thyme leaves. Turn the heat down to a simmer so the rice doesn't cook too quickly on the outside. Add the stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring constantly and allowing each ladleful to be absorbed before adding the next, until the rice is cooked but still holds its shape - this takes about 15 minutes.

While you are doing this, fry the cut in half tomatoes and 1 crushed clove of garlic together until the tomatoes are soft and brown.

Cut up the salad and when the risotto is ready stir in until wilted. Add the tomatoes and taleggio, and stir until you see the taleggio start to melt. Serve in bowls, with the parmesan sprinkled on top...

Monday, November 20, 2006

Pear Tarte Tatin

I made this for the inlaws on Saturday night... It was fantastic. You will need a dish you can move from hob to oven. I have a le creuset tatin 10" dish...
Sweet shortcrust pastry
200g (7oz) plain flour
Pinch salt
125g (4 1/2oz) butter
50g (2oz) caster sugar
1 egg yolk
Tablespoon cold water
3 large pears
about 2oz Butter
3 heaped tbsp soft brown sugar

Make the pastry by sifting the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the butter, cut into small pieces and rub in with fingertips til it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, mix in and add the egg yolk and enough cold water to make a stiff dough.
Melt the butter in the bottom of the pan and add the sugar. Heat gently and allow the sugar to melt. Peel, core and cut the pears into quarters and lay across the bottom of the pan and sprinkle the cinnamon over. The pears don't need to cook at this point as they are soft enough to cook in the oven, and you don't want them too mushy. Roll the pastry out into a circle that is slightly bigger than the pan, to cover the pears. Lay it over the top and allow the edges to turn up the side of the pan. Be careful, the pan will still be hot. Put into a hot oven 200°C/390°F/gas 6 for about half an hour, or until the pastry is golden. Serve warm with crean or ice cream. Even better the next day for breakfast ;-)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lamb Pilaf type thing

I made this up to use up the last of a shoulder of lamb we had at the weekend. Its kind of a pilaf thing - but in no way authentic - it is just quick, easy and tastes quite good!

Some shredded lamb left over from a roast
1 Pomegranate
1/2 handful chopped mint
1 handful chopped spinach
1 lemon
brown basmati rice
vegetable stock

Put the rice to cook following packer instructions, cooking in vegetable stock reather than plain water.

Warm the lamb up in a saucepan with 1 crushed clove of garlic. if it is a bit fatty, fry it off so it is crispy...
get the seeds out of the pomegrante by cutting it in half and hitting the skin with a wooden spoon.
When the rice is ready, drain, and rinse. Put back in the saucepan and stir in the lamb, pomegranate seeds, spinach and mint and the juice of the lemon. Add a little black pepper.

Serve in bowls bowls with a little chopped mint on top.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I made these yesterday for friends coming round. I decorated the icing with Chocolate chips. I now have some amercian cup measurers so I don't have to convert the recipes any more. This recipe does seem to use the maximum bowls and untensils possible but is very nice. Apprently you can get the red colour from beetroot powder - so I will get some of that next time, as I don't like using too much food colouring. I was inspired to try them after tasting Red Velvet Cake at the magnolia Bakery in NYC last year. They told me the colour was a reaction from the cider vinegar though - Fibbers! I got the recipe from

makes 36 cupcakes / 350 degree oven
3-3/4 cups cake flour

1/4 cups cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder or 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
3 teaspoons cider vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla essance
2 teaspoons red food colouring
2-1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cups butter
3 eggs
preheat oven to 350°F
sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder (or cream of tarter), and salt into medium bowl
whisk buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla, and food colouring in small bowl to blend
beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well fluffy, 3 minutes
add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition, about 30 seconds
beat in dry ingredients in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 3 additions
scoop into cupcake tins
bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes
cool in pans 10 minutes
cool completely on racks

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
12 ounces or 1-1/2 packages of Philly cream cheese

1/2 stick butter
3 cups sifted icing sugar
seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
bring cheese and butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours
sift powdered sugar into a bowl or onto parchment
beat butter and cheese at medium speed until creamy
add 4 cups of the sugar and beat until combined
add vanillas and beat until combined
add more sugar until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Easy Bolognese

Stock pot on hob. Fry 1 Onion until soft. in same pot fry up one cut up rasher of bacon per two people until crispy. Brown mince in sauce pan. Add a little red wine until mostly burnt off. add chopped rosemary, passata, black pepper. put a lid on and simmer for as long as you can, min 30mins.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Paprika Pork

This is a great easy meal, that makes a change from the all the ragu sauce variations...
Serves 2
1 onion chopped
1 red pepper
300g diced pork or pork fillet, in medallions
1/2 carton passata
2 tsp ground paprika
sour cream
egg pasta ( papperelle is best)

1. Fry the onion in a little olive oil until soft and golden
2. brown the pork in the same saucepan, until its cooked through.
3. In the same saucepan add the pepper, cut in to rough diamond shapes
4. When the pepper has soften a little, pour in the passata, stirring in with the other ingredients, then stir in the paprika and black pepper to taste.
5. Add a lid to the saucpan, then simmer on a very low heat for 20 mins
6. Cook the pasta ( about 5-7 mins)
7. Serve the pasta under the sauce in bowls, with a dollop of sour cream on top.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Pasta with Smoked trout and sour cream

This is a great mid week meal - very quick and healthy, especially for kids as the trout is high in omega 3.... The measurements don't need to be that accurate, just what looks right...

serves 3-4

300g egg tagliatelle or papperelle
a small packet of smoked trout or smoked salmon ( lidl's is good quality and good value)
3-4 florets broccoli or purple sprouting per person
1/2 a packet of watercress, rocket and spinach salad
100ml sour cream
15mls vodka ( optional)
1 lemon
1/2 a packet fresh dill

1. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions, and start to cook or steam the broccoli for 7 minutes
2. cut up the trout and salad roughly
3.chop the dill finely
When the pasta is ready, drain, saving a little of the cooking water. put the pasta back in the saucepan with the broccoli, dill, chopped salad and trout. Stir in the juice of the lemon and the sour cream and heat gently. Season well with black pepper ( it should be salty enough from the fish). Add the vodka if desired and stir in. The vodka is not appropiate if this is cooked for children as unlike a lot of recipes it won't have a chance to burn off. You could however take out the childen's portions before you add it.

serve with a litle chopped dill sprinkled on top.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Apple Caramel Sponge

I had some cooking apples to use up and couldn’t face another crumble…
You will need
A 10 inch flan dish or tatin dish. I use a le creuset tatin dish
1 large cooking apple or 2 medium size
½ jar dulce de leche or condensed milk caramel
2 large eggs
4oz (125g) self raising flour
4oz (125g) sugar and a little extra for stewing the apples
4oz (125g) butter
Vanilla extract
1. Peel, core and cut up in to chunks the apples and stew in a saucepan on a low heat with sugar to taste until they are soften but still holding their shape.
2. While the apple is stewing, make up the sponge mixture with the eggs, flour, sugar and butter, mixing them together until a smooth mixture is formed.
3. Grease the flan dish.
4. Spread the apple chunks over the bottom of the dish evenly. Don’t worry if there are gaps.
5. In the gaps, pur spoonfuls of the caramel or dulce de leche, so there is some in every slice
6. Pour the sponge mixture over the top evenly.
7. Bake in the over at 180C for 15-20 minutes until the the top is golden and the sponge is cooked all the way through ( check with a skewer, it should come out clean).
8. Serve with ice-cream or cream…

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Yoghurt Cake

This is a fanastic cake to make with a toddler - it has no butter or marg, so you can pretend its healthy too!
One 125g pot of yoghurt, either plain or flavoured
Two eggs
One pot of sugar
Three pots of sef raising flour
3/4 pot of vegetable oil
A few drops of vanilla essence (optional)

2 table spoons cocoa (optional - if you want chocolate cake)
Preheat the oven to 180 celcius, and then grease a tin or some fairy cake tins for the mixture.
Pour the yoghurt into a large bowl and then wash out the yoghurt pot. Measure out a pot of sugar.
Fill 3/4 the pot with oil and add this to the bowl.
Add the pot of sugar, flour, cocoa,eggs and the baking powder. Mix it all up.
Now pour the mix into the container(s) of your choice and bake in the oven for about 10-15 minutes or until a light golden brown

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Lemon Cheesecake

This is a great one to make with toddlers - my sister in law gave me the recipe.

200g digestive biscuits
55g butter
250g mascarpone cheese
175ml tin condensed milk
2 juicy lemons
fresh fruits or grated chocolate to decorate

20cm shallow loose bottomed tin
Put biscuits in to a plastic bag and bash them with a rolling pin until they look like breadcrumbs

Tip into mixing bowl
Melt butter in a smalll suacepan and pour over the biscuit crumbs and mix
Press evenly in to the tin and leave to rest in the fridge for 1hr
Put the mascarpone and condensed milk into a large bowl. Carefully grate the lemon skin and add the zest then squeeze in the juice as well.
Beat everything together until the mixture is smooth then spread it over the biscuit base and chill in fridge for at least an hour. Decorate just before serving.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Rabbit stew with lentils

This sounds a bit worthy but is actually really great - big strong flavours- perfect for autumn. People who won't eat rabbit can use chicken pieces instead...Double all the ingredients apart from the rabbit if its for 3 or more people. You could put in turnip, buttersquah,swede or mushrooms in this too

a sectioned piece of rabbit ( leg, shoulder) per person
2 tbsp flour
500ml vegetable stock
several sprigs of thyme
1 bayleaf
1 large onion
2 carrots
1 clove garlic
250ml red wine maybe a merlot?
3 tablespoons creme fraiche
60g green lentils per person

1.Chop the onion in to small pieces and cook in a little oil until softened in a large casserole dish or saucepan with a lid. cook the crushed garlic for a minute
2.Peel and roughly chop carrot
3. Lightly brown the rabbit all over in the same pan as the onion.
4.Add the stock and red wine into the pan and leave to simmer.
5. Add the carrot and herbs to the pan.
6.Stir in the flour until most of the lumps have gone. Dont worry about the rest - they will go when cooked
7. Cook at a barely simmer on the hob top for 1hr- 1hr and a half, until the rabbit is cooked through and the sauce has thickened. Alternatively You could also cook it at 130C in the oven for 2hrs.
8.After 1/2 hour start cooking the lentils by boiling them in water. when they are cooked ( still firm but not hard) rinse them and add them to the casserole dish.
9. Just before serving take the casserole off the heat and add the cream and stir in.
9. Serve a rabbit piece per person, with lots of the sauce and the carrots and lentils and the the same red wine you used in the casserole.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Spiced Apple Muffins - ( with Dairy Free conversion)

You will need:
200g plain flour
15ml baking powder
7.5ml ground all spice
Pinch of salt
1 large apple
55ml oil - corn or vegetable
55g light soft brown sugar
1 medium egg (beaten)
200ml milk ( or water for dairy free)
Preheat oven to 200OC/400OF/Gas6. Combine flour, baking powder, mixed spice and salt in a large bowl.
Peel core and chop apple. Fold apple into flour mixture.
Mix oil , sugar, egg and milk in another bowl, then pour over flour mixture. Fold ingredients together, be careful not to over mix as this will result in heavy muffins.
Spoon mixture evenly into muffin cases. Bake for 20 minutes or until risen and golden.
Serve warm or cold.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Hot Blackberry and Apple Souffles

This is from the Farmer's Market Cookbook by Ysanne Spevack. Again its quite a difficult recipe, and as with most souffles, you need to get it to the table as soon as it gets out of the oven. It tastes completely fab, and is a really pretty pink colour.....

Makes 6
Butter for greasing
150g/ 5oz cater sugar
350g/ 120z blackberries
1 large cooking apple peeled and diced
grated zest and juice of one orange
3 egg whites
icing sugar for dusting

1. preheat the oven to 200C. Generously grease six 150ml ramikins with butter and dust with caster sugar, shaking out the excess sugar.
2. Put a beking sheet in the oven to heat. Cook the blackberries, apple, and orange zest and juice in a pan for about 10 minutes or until the apple has pulped down well. Pres through a sieve into a bowl. You can keep what is left in the sieve to stir in to yoghurt or have with icecream. Stir in 50g of the caster sugar in to the liquid. Set aside to cool.
3.Put a spoonful of the fruit puree in to each ramakin and spread evenly. Put these dishes to one side.
4. Place the egg whites in a grease- free bowl and whisk to stiff peaks. Gradually whisk in the remaining caster sugar to make a stiff, glossy meringue mixture.
5. Fold in the remaining fruit puree and sppon the flavoured meringue into the prepared dishes. Level the tops with a paette knife and run a table knife around the edge of each dish.
6. Place the dishes on the hot baking sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes until the souffles have risen well and are lightly browned. Dust the tops with icing sugar and serve immediately.

Jamie Oliver's Rioja poached fillet steak with potato and swede mash

Jamie Oliver did this in his book "jamie's kitcten" with barolo instead of rioja and celeriac mash instead of sede and potato....I find this book one of his most difficult and it is definately not a recipe for everyday, but I cooked it for a speical occasion for a sympathetic audiance ( becaue the sause did split at the end) and they loved it. I served it with green beans too.
Serves 41/2 swede3 large potatoes sea salt and freshly ground black pepper 4 x 150gr / fillet steaks, preferably organic and well marbled 570ml / 1 pint chicken stock 1/2 bottle Rioja5 cloves garlic, peeled and kept whole 1 small bunch fresh thyme 6 whole peppercorns 100gr / 3 1/2oz butter
First peel the swede and potato. Cut into rough 2cm/1 inch dice. Half fill a large saucepan with salted water and bring to the boil. Take another pan which will snugly fit your 4 steaks later, and add your chicken stock, wine, garlic, bunch of thyme, peppercorns and a pinch of salt. Bring this to the boil then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. By this time your pan of boiling water should be ready so add your celeriac, cover with a lid and boil fast for 15 to 20 minutes until it's tender.
Place your 4 steaks side by side into the simmering wine and stock, making sure they are well covered by the liquid. Add a little water if needed, but if the pan is nice and snug the steaks should be well covered. As soon as they are in the pan, it generally takes about 6 minutes to cook rare, 8 minutes for medium and 10 minutes for medium to well done. Depending on the thickness of the steaks and how cold they were when you put them in, there's always a bit of leeway in the timing, so the best thing to do is give them a little pinch to check how soft they are in the middle. Cover the pan with a lid, half on,
When cooked to your liking remove them to a warm plate, cover and leave them to rest for a couple of minutes while you drain your cooked vegin a colander. Place it back in the pan adding half the butter. Mash to a smooth puree and season well to taste.
To make a light sauce all you need is 2 wineglasses full of the poaching liquor - you can freeze the rest. Bring this to a fast boil, then remove the thyme and peppercorns, and mash up the garlic which will be soft and sweet. Allow to boil for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat, season to taste and add the rest of the butter. Shake the pan lightly so the melted butter dissolves into the wine - this will make it a shiny lightly thickened sauce. Do not reboil as it will split. Serve each steak with a bit of mash and a little sauce. any leftover cooking liquor can be sieved and kept in the freezer to use again to make gravy from the goodness left in the roasting tray.

Cherry cupcakes

4oz butter or margarine
4oz sugar
4 oz self raising flour
2 eggs
4oz icing sugar
1/2 pot glace cherries
cherry jam ( I like St Dalfour or Bonne Maman)
vanilla essence
heat the oven to 180C

Mix the butter, sugar flour and eggs in a bowl until you have a smooth creamy mixture. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla essence and 3 tablespoon cherry jam. Mix the jam and essance in so it marbles through the mixture without blending in.

Spoon the mixture into little cake cases, and bake for 15mins or until golden brown. When cool make a thick icing with the sieved icing sugar and a little water ( try a teaspoon at a time) and decorate with a half glace cheery. ( Just call me Mr Kipling!)

Monday, September 25, 2006

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Roast Pumpkin Soup

4 lunch portions, 6 starter portions

A pumpkin ( the one I used was about 6inch diameter)
2 leeks
1 onion
1 stick celery
a few sprigs thyme
1 pint of vegetable stock
olive oil
sea salt
black pepper
1 clove garlic

Chop the pumpkin flesh in to chunks and bake with a little olive oil in the oven at 180 C for about 40 minutes. While this happening cook the chopped up leek, onion and celery in a little butter and olive oil in a lidded suacepan on a low heat till soft and slightly caramelised. add the crushed garlic, chopped thyme and roast pumpkin in the saucepan and cook lightly for 5 minutes. Blend until an even texture with a blender, then add 200ml milk. make up 1 pint of vegetable stock and stir in slowly until the soup is your desired consistancy.. season to taste.

Jamie Oliver's Summer Tray-Baked Fish

This is really great and really nutritious as nothing is too over cooked, and minumum of fat to cook it...
Serves 4
700g new potatoes, scrubbed
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
A large handful of runner beans, sliced into 5cm pieces
A large handful of green beans, tops trimmed
2 handfuls of frozen peas
55g butter
Extra virgin olive oil
2 lemons, zested and halved
A handful of fresh basil
A handful of fresh fennel tops or dill
4 fillets of sea bass, scaled, filleted and boned
Preheat the oven to 230C. Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil, add the new potatoes and cook for 10 -12 minutes until they are nearly done. Add all the bens to the pan and cook for another 4 minutes. Then drain the potatoes and beans in a colander. Put the in an appropriately sized roasting tray and add your peas, the butter a little drizzle of oil and the zest and juice of lemons. Season lightly with salt and the pepper and toss together while still warm so the flavours are absorbed.
Chop up half the herbs and add to the tray. Score the sea bass fillets lightly on the skin. Rub each fillet with black pepper and a little olive oil, and stuff the scores with the remaining herbs. Lay the fish flesh side down on the veg. Put in the preheated oven and cook for about 10-15 mins until the fish is just cooked and the veg is soft. Don’t forget the juices at the bottle of the tray - it makes a really nice sa uce poured over the rest.

Courgette, Ham and Cheese tart

I made up this tart using Delia's pastry recipe. It was a really nice light dinner.
Makes 6 oz (175 g) finished weight of pastry – enough to line a 7 or 8 inch (18 or 20 cm) flan or quiche tin
Ingredients4 oz (110 g) plain flour
pinch of salt
2 oz (50 g) softened butterBegin by sifting the flour and pinch of salt into a large bowl, holding the sieve as high as possible, so that they get a really good airing before you begin. Now add the lard and butter, cut into smallish lumps, then take a knife and begin to cut the fat into the flour. Go on doing this until it looks fairly evenly blended, then begin to rub the fat into the flour using your fingertips only and being as light as possible. As you gently rub the fat into the flour, lift it up high and let it fall back into the bowl, which again means that all the time air is being incorporated, but do this just long enough to make the mixture crumbly with a few odd lumps here and there.
Now sprinkle 1 tablespoon of water in, then, with a knife, start bringing the dough together, using the knife to make it cling. Then discard the knife and, finally, bring it together with your fingertips. When enough liquid is added, the pastry should leave the bowl fairly clean. If this hasn't happened, then add a spot more water. Now place the pastry in a polythene bag and leave it in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to rest.

Pastry from above
A Courgette
3 slices of ham
100g Cheese - I used a mixture of cheddar and pecarino
2 eggs
75ml milk
Preheat the oven to 180 C
Roll out the pastry in to a flan tin, prick it and brush with beaten egg, and bake the tart blind until it is a very light gold. (About 10 minutes)While the tart is baking beat together two eggs, 100g of Cheese and 75ml milk. Cut half a courgette in to ribbons with a potato peeler. arrange the ribbons in the pastry case, and arrange some ham over the top in strips. Then pour the egg mixture over the top. Bake until the tart has set and the flling turns golden. Serve with a salad.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Nigel Slater's Roast Chicken Legs with Honey and Orange

Serves 2
2 Chicken Legs
olive or groundnut oil
2 heaped tbsps honey
2 medium sized oranges
Preheat the oven to 200 C, Gas 6.
Put the chicken drumsticks into a roasting tin and drizzle over a little oil- just enough to moisten them and form a thin flim on the bottom of the pan.
Add the honey. Cut one of the oranges in half and slice the other thickly. Squeeze the halved orange over the drumsticks , then tuck the slices and the empty orange shells under the chicken. Season with salt and pepper. Roast in an oven preheated to 200 C Gas 6 for 50 minutes to an hour, turning once or twice during cooking, until thoroughly sticky.
I'm going to serve this with rice rice, green eans and courgettes tonight!

Monday, September 11, 2006

Jamie Oliver's Slow-cooked Shoulder of Lamb with Roasted Vegetables

This recipe is from Jamie's Dinners. Its meant to serve 6-8, so you can easily have enough for a sunday lunch - ( we had it with mash, which soaked up all the juices, just great) and then make other things with the rest of the meat for one and two meals. I made it yesterday with a smaller shoulder than in the recipe, so we have enough to make in to a curry ( with the liquid and veg from the same dish) tonight. I will just added some curry powder probably, as the gravy already has a lot of flavour, maybe some spinach too though...

2 1/4 kg lamb shoulder
olive oil
sea salt
fresh ground pepper
1 head garlic, broken into clove
fresh rosemary sprigs
2 red onions, peeled and quartered
3 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 sticks celery, cut into pieces
1 large leek, trimmed and cut
800 g tinned whole tomatoes
2 bay leaves
fresh thyme sprigs
4 ripe tomatoes, quartered
375 ml red wine
Preheat oven to 200 Degrees C (400 Degrees F).

Rub leg with oil, salt and pepper.
Put into roasting tray.
Using a sharp knife make small incisions all over the lamb and poke rosemary leaves and quartered gralic cloves in.
Add rest of garlic cloves, onions, carrots, celery, leeks and fresh tomatoes to the tray.
Tuck remaining herbs under the meat.
Pour tinned tomatoes over the top, followed by the wine. Cover tray tightly with double layer of foil.
Put into oven, turning down temperature to 170 Degrees C (300 Degrees F). Cook 3.5 to 4 hours.

To serve pull bits of meat of the bone, and serv e in bowls with the veg and mash...yum yum

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Ciabatta breadmaker recipe

Ciabatta breadmaker recipe
1 1/2 cups water

1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon white sugar
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 1/4 cups bread flour
1 1/2 teaspoons bread machine yeast
Place ingredients into the pan of the bread machine in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select the Dough cycle, and Start.Dough will be quite sticky and wet once cycle is completed, resist the temptation to add more flour.arrange on an oiled baking sheet, and cook for 20 minutes or until golden in a very hot oven (230C)
Part of the fun witht his bread is making different flavours - here are a few of my favourites...
Lavender Bread - sprinkle lavender flowers and rock salt on top

Thyme Bread - sprinkle thyme leaves and rock salt on top, can be done with rosemary and other herbs too.
Pesto bread - spread pesto thickly over a half height loaf, then cover completely with some more dough so it doesnt burn.
Cheese bread - sprinkle grate cheese on top
sundried tomato bread - add chopped up sundried tomato to the dough

Pork and Apple casserole

I made this for friends last night. Its delicous, and the kind of recipe you can stick in and forget about. I served it with a thyme and a lavender bread made from a ciabatta recipe ( listed above).

1 tbsp olive oil
450g/1lb pork, diced
2 cloves of garlic,
chopped1 onion,
2 carrots roughly chopped
6 salad potatoes cut in half
teaspoon dijon mustard
sliced2 eating apples, chopped
1 tbsp plain flour
290ml/½ pint apple juice
290ml/½ pint vegetable stock
pinch of sage
salt and pepper

1. Heat the oil in an ovenproof dish, add the diced pork and brown lightly. Add the garlic and onion to the pork and cook for about 5 minutes.
2. Add the apples, carrots, potatoes and cook for 2 minutes.
3. Add the flour and cook for 1 minute, then add the apple juice, vegetable stock and mustard. Keep stirring until thick and then add the sage, salt and pepper.
4. Place the dish in the oven at 150C/300F/Gas 2 for 2½ hours.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Quesadilla Recipe

We made these fab, very simple quesadillas for lunch...Babyfrog loved them too, and she was able to help make them
2 tortillas per person
grated cheddar cheese

Paint the passata on the tortillas with a pastry brush, sprinkle cheese over one side, the fold the tortilla in half. Heat a heavy bottomed frying pan, then heat the folded tortilla on both sides til oil is needed if you have a non stick pan.

Apparently you can do these with lots of things, I'm going to try guacamole next time!

Friday, September 08, 2006

white chocolate mousse

a great white chocolate mousse recipe is
1/2 a pint pot double cream1/2 a pint pot greek yoghurt1 bar of white chocolate.
whip up the cream til stiff peaks, fod in in the yoghurt, melt the white chocolate, and stir in then yummy!
I've not tried it with dark chocolate - let me know if you do...if you are feeling fancy you can make some caramel and arrange it in jagged edges on the top...

Monday, September 04, 2006

Damson Gin/ Damson Vodka

There were some damsons in my local farm shop this week, so we made this....for christmas presents! YUM YUM - just buy the cheaperst gin to make it - or you can use vodka too

Take a litre bottle of gin, and drink half a litre
Cut or prick the damsons and drop into the half-empty bottle so that they displace the remaining gin to near the top.
Add one wine goblet of sugar (approx 150g).
All you have to do now is turn or agitate the bottle daily for a week, then weekly for a month or two ... by which time it will be ready to drink (but it is really best kept until the next winter).

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Magnolia cupcake recipe - converted to brit measurements

The Magnolia Bakery Cupcake Recipe Preheat Oven: 350 degrees 180 C

F Cupcake Ingredients 8oz 225g unsalted butter, softened.
8oz 225g sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
6oz 180g self-rising flour
6oz 180g all-purpose flour
8fl oz 250ml Whole Milk 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Icing Ingredients 8oz 225g unsalted butter, softened
800g confectionary sugar (powdered sugar)
4floz 125mlWhole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

TIPS: If you have a stand mixer (like a Bosch, or Kitchen Aid) this recipe is much quicker to make. Using whole milk makes the taste of the cupcakes and icing much smoother. I tried using Skim milk and whipping cream just to test it out and whole milk makes a much better flavor. Cupcake Directions 1. Whip butter until very smooth in texture 2. Add sugar 1 cup at a time, beating until smooth in texture 3. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating very well between each addition 4. In separate bowl, mix the 2 flours together 5. In separate bowl, mix Milk and Vanilla 6. Add flour mixture and milk mixture 1 cup at a time to Butter mixture. Beating very well between each addition. 7. Spoon into lined cupcake pan (approx. ¼ c batter per cupcake) 8. Bake for 20-22 minutes in pre heated over (350 degrees F) Cool cupcakes before frosting (or else the frosting will fall off) You can also make 3 – 9” rounds with cupcake batter. Just make sure you grease and flour each pan. Icing Directions 1. Whip butter until smooth 2. Add ½ of sugar (4 cups), 1 cup at a time. Beating well between each addition. 3. Add Milk, and Vanilla 4. Add remaining sugar, 1 cup at a time. Beating well between each addition. 5. Add a few drops of food coloring to icing 6. Beat icing well, until good spreading consistency. 7. Over-beating is hard to do with this icing. Frost the cupcakes and then sprinkle them with sprinkles.

I'd just like to add to the post below that these were worth the extra faff from the usual fairy cake recipe, and that half the icing amount stated is ample!

Jamie Oliver - Beef stew

I cooked this tonight - we had people round for dinner. Its one of our favourites - it so easy, just stick it in and ignore it. Our 2 year old loves it too. I added some couscous at the end tonight instead of the potatoes
Jools's Favorite Beef Stew
(Serves 4) Olive oil

A knob of butter
1 onion, peeled and chopped
A handful of fresh sage leaves
1-3/4 lb stewing steak or beef skirt, cut into 2 inch pieces
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Flour, to dust
2 parsnips, peeled and quartered
4 carrots, peeled and halved
1/2 a butternut squash, halved, deseeded and roughly diced
Optional: a handful of Jerusalem artichokes, peeled and halved
1 lb small potatoes
2 tablespoons tomato purée
1/2 a bottle of red wine
1-1/4 cups beef or vegetable stock
Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated
A handful of rosemary, leaves picked
1 clove of garlic, peeled and finely chopped
Preheat the oven to 300°F. Put a little oil and your knob of butter into an appropriately sized pt or casserole pan. Add your onion and all the sage leaves and fry for 3 or 4 minutes. Toss the meat in a little seasoned flour, then add it to the pan with all the vegetables, the tomato purée, wine and stock, and gently stir together. Season generously with freshly ground black pepper and just a little salt. Bring to the boil, place a lid on top, then cook in the preheated oven until the meat is tender. Sometimes this takes 3 hours, sometimes 4--it depends on what cut of meat you're using and how fresh it is. The only way to test is to mash up a piece of meat and if it falls apart easily it's ready. Once it's cooked, you can turn the oven down to about 225°F and just hold it there until you're ready to eat it.
The best way to serve this is by ladling big spoonfuls into bowls, accompanied by a glass of French red wine and some really fresh warmed bread. Mix the lemon zest, chopped rosemary and garlic together and sprinkle over the stew before eating. Just the smallest amount will make a world of difference--as soon as it hits the hot stew it will release an amazing fragrance

Nigella's cream cheese brownies

I made these on friday, they were so delicious and moist I'd definately recommend them! The cream cheese isnt as weird as it sounds, and once they were cool, you couldn't really taste it...
125g dark chocolate
125g unsalted butter
2 large eggs
200g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
75g plain flour
pinch of salt
200g *cold* Philadelphia cream cheese
23cm square tin, 4cm deep, greased and lined
preheat oven to 180/gas 4
melt chocolate and butter over low heat in a heavy based pan. Beat the eggs with sugar and vanilla. Measure the flour into another bowl and add salt. When the chocolate has all but completely melted, take the pan off the heat - the residual heat in the mixture will finish it off. Leave for a bit to cool slightly before beating in the eggs and sugar. Finally add the flour, and beat till smooth.pour half the mixture into the tin, slice the Philly as thinly as you can and put it on the mixture in the tin, pour the remaining mixture over the top. Smooth the mix so that all the cream cheese is covered.bake for about 20 minutes - the top should be slightly paled and dry, but a skewer should reveal a slightly sticky centre. Cool for about 10 minutes before cutting into little squares.the first slice out will almost certainly be botched - so look on it as the cook's treat!

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Pizza dough breadmaker recipe

I made this recipe Friday Night, it turned out really well. Its from the recipezaar website. I tripled the recipe, and it still turned out fine. The cup measurement is 150g/mls
1 cup
water, room temperature
2 tablespoons
olive oil
3 cups
all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon
1 1/2 teaspoons
active dry yeast
6-8 servings
42 minutes 20 mins prep

Layer in bread pan according to manufacturer's recommendations.
Select'dough' setting.
When dough cycle is done, pat dough into greased 12x15-inch jelly roll pan.
Prick dough with fork.
Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 7 minutes.
Remove from oven and add desired toppings.
Baste crust edges with butter.
Return to oven for 15-20 minutes or until cheese is melted and crust is done

I made two pizzas, Both with onions and mozzarella, then one with salami, red pepper and ham and a bit of grated cheddar and the other with ham, pesto and red pepper.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Rhubarb and blood orange crumble

I made this for lunch with some friends - it was yummy. Feeds 8
7 sticks of rhubarb, trimmed and cut in to chunks
2 oranges ( i used blood oranges)
2 tsp ground ginger
100g sugar
250g plain flour
200g soft brown sugar
200g butter or marg

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Put the rhubarb in a pan with the sugar and the juice of one of the oranges, and cover and simmer for a few minutes. Spoon in to a deep overproof dish.
2. Put the flour, brown sugar, ginger and the zest of both oranges in a bowl, add the butter and rub in with your finger tips until the mixture resembles coarse breadcrumbs.
3. Add the flesh of the other orange cut up in to small pieces to the rhubarb. Sprinkle the crumble over the stewed rhubarb and bake for 25mins or until the topping is golden brown.
4. Serve with cream, ice cream or custard.

Saturday, March 18, 2006

Lemon Risotto

As you made have guessed I have an excess of lemons at the moment! I made this today, adapted from Nigella Lawson's "Nigella bites" book

I onion
I leek
60 g butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
400 g arborio rice
1.5 - 2 litres vegetable stock
zest of 1 lemon and juice of a half
2 sprigs of rosemary, leaves stripped and finely chopped
4 tablespoons grated parmesan
4 tablespoons (60ml) double cream
I egg yolk
Maldon salt to taste
a grating of pepper, preferably white
1 handful of spinach
I handful of broccoli
Finely chop the leek and the onion, then heat with the oil and half the butter in a large saucepan, and cook to soften about 5 minutes. Mix in the rice, stirring to give it a good coating of oil and butter. Meanwhile, heat the stock in another saucepan and keep it at simmering point.
Pour a ladleful of the stock into the rice and keep stirring until the stock is absorbed. Then add another ladleful and stir again. Continue. When you have used half the stock, add the broccoli cut in to florets/
Mix the lemon zest and rosemary into the risotto, and stir in the spinach and in a small bowl beat the lemon juice, egg yolk parmesan, cream and pepper. When the risotto is ready - the rice is no longer chalky, but still has some bite - take it off the heat and add the bowl of lemony mixture, and the remaining butter and salt to taste. Serve at once with more grated parmesan if you wish.
Serves 4.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Lemon Chicken and Ricotta Pasta

I made this up last night to use up the last of a roast guinea-fowl we had the other night. I'm sure it would work with Chicken just as well, and it was surprising lovely for little effort.

Served 3 but could be stretched to 6 with more pasta

Cooked chicken strips
White wine
2 Lemons
1/2 tub ricotta
I clove of garlic
2 Handfuls of spinach
1 handful of basil
Pasta ( i used penne)
Parmesan or Pecerino

1.Fry the chicken with the crushed garlic in a bit of Olive oil.
2.When the garlic starts to smell good, add the zest of the two lemons and the juice of one of them to the pan.
3.Start to cook the pasta
4. When the lemon juice has reduced down add a glass of white wine and reduce.
5. steam the broccoli to taste
6. When the pasta has cooked add to the pan with the chiken, the spinach, broccoli, ricotta and the juice from the other leomn. Cook on a low heat until the spinach has wilted, the add the torn basil.
7. Served with black pepper and grated cheese on top. Drink the same wine with the meal.

Restaurants in Lagos and Luz, Algarve, Portugal

I've just got back from a holiday in the Algarve. Ate out in some fab and not so fab restaurants while I was there...

1. 1st place has to go to the restaurant above the fish market in Lagos. When you sit down they come up to the table with a tray of fresh fish from the market that day, and ask you which you would like, of course all the fish has been caught in the last 24 hrs and is regional and seasonal. We shared a whole golden bream. It was cooked really simply, charcoal grilled with olive oil and herbs and lemon, served with salad, steamed vegetables and potatoes. It had to be the best fish I have ever tasted, and total proof that with really fresh produce, it doesnt need any fancy flavours or sauces... The service was really friendly too, and by the look of it they had good facilities for kids too, though we were on a night release from childcare so didnt have to test it out for ourselves

2. We went for a birthday meal to La Fortaleza in Luz. We sat in their terrace overlooking the beach. There were 8 of us for lunch including Baby Frog. We started with some really delicious olives and warm bread, then for main courses I had the Iberian black pig, which was again cooked really simply, charcoal grilled, and Mr Frog had John Dory. The lamb casserole also looked delicious, cooked a long time until the meat was really tender and the juices were all dark and syrupy. There was also enought to feed three people in one portion!

3. The Lime Tree, Luz. This restaurant was brit run I think. The food was really good, but too rich really for a holiday environment, and quite expensive by portuguese standards. I ate the Chicken au poivre. The two elelements were seperately well done but really didnt go together too well.

4. The Dolphin, Luz. The service here wasnt great, The had no highchairs. It is a South African- Prtuguese restaurant. I had the Fillet steak. The steak was really tender, but the chips tasted as if they were out of a packet, and both meals were served with a sweet potato mash which was really heavy, and a disgusting green bean puree which didnt go with the other food at all.

Oasis and Pinocchios

We ate out twice! this weekend. Friday Nights was Oasis, Queens Road, Norwich. This is a fairly new curry house in Norwich. It is in a converted chapel, open up to the ceiling with a gallery bar round the edge on the second floor. Decor is modern. We had two chicken dishes of course! I will try and remember their names in future now I am writing a blog! Was a bit more expensive than the usual curry house, but the athmosphere was great and was a good setting for a more romantic curry! Definately recommend it!
Pinocchio's, St Benedicts, Norwich used to be a bit pants before its fire, but they have so upped their game... don't know whether they have a new chef, but it has to be one of the best italians I've been to in the UK. I had artichokes in tempera, whic was actually a bit more like noraml batter, so a bit greasy. Mr. Frog had the antipasti plate, which was fabulous with about 4 different kinds of meats, various roast veg, cheese and ciabatta. For mains I had the lamb ragu papperdrelle, which had so much flavourr and was so tender, and Mr. Frog had the Wild boar. I've had it before - it is so yummy. You get this massive hunk of meat, with really caramelly roast veg on the side and smooth mash on the side. Dessert was hazelnut semifreddo to share - Jamie Oliver tastic. The caramel sauce was so delicious - and semifreddo is a hassle to make so its just the thing to have out, especially when it is as yummy as this. With a bottle of wine between us, it came to about £60. hAS TO BE MY NEW FAVOURITE RESTAURANT! They do really cheap lunchtine pasta and pizza too

Welcome to my blog!

Welcome to my blog. I have decided to start a blog, talking about cooking I do and restaurants I go to....I love food! I live in Norwich UK, and Live with Mr Frog and Baby Frog. I used to like eating out a lot, but since the arrival of Baby Frog, we cook more.