Saturday, 31 October 2015

Afghan Yoghurt Chicken

I always seem to have half pots of natural yoghurt leftover at the end of the week, which I usually end up eating for breakfast with some compote but this is a good alternative use of that leftover yoghurt. I am quite good, I think, about not wasting/throwing in the bin too much food, however from time to time it still happens. The website Love Food Hate Waste gives you all sorts of ideas of how to use up those leftover items and has some really nifty information.

Afghan Yoghurt Chicken (from Love Food Hate Waste)
(Serves 4)

1 tbsp oil
8 boneless chicken thighs, skin removed, each cut into 4 pieces
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped
1 green chilli, finely chopped
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
3 cardamom pods, crushed
1 tsp hot paprika
500g Greek yoghurt
small bunch coriander, finely chopped
small bunch mint, finely chopped sea
salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a medium, lidded casserole pan. Brown the chicken in batches, then remove from the pan and set aside.

In the remaining fat left in the pan, cook the onion over a low heat for 8 mins, or until it has softened and taken on a lightly caramelised colour. Add the garlic and chilli and cook for a min.

Add in the spices and toast them over a low heat for a min. Add the yoghurt, chicken and a splash of water to the pan and give it a good stir. Add the chopped herbs and a little salt and pepper, stir, then cover with a lid and let it simmer gently for 20 mins.

The curry is ready when the chicken is cooked through and tender and the sauce has thickened. Don’t be worried if the sauce looks a little curdled – it’s caused by the yoghurt. Serve with rice.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Cinnamon Graham Cracker Cookies

I hurt my back a while back and because I had to keep moving I decided to bake and made these chocolate chip cookies. I used cinnamon chocolate chips that I brought back from the States, but you could of course use normal chocolate chips and add a bit of cinnamon to the dough.

Cinnamon Graham Cracker Cookies (from Buns in my Oven)
(Makes 15 Cookies)

113g butter, room temperature
200g brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 egg
14 graham cracker sheets, crushed into crumbs
94g plain flour
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/4 tsp salt
175g cinnamon chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 180C.

Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and egg until well combined.

In a medium bowl, combine the graham cracker crumbs, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, and salt. Fold the flour mixture into the butter mixture until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Using a tbsp, drop balls of dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 9 mins. Cookies will look slightly underdone, but should set up as they cool.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Smoked Mackerel Wrap

This is a lovely way to pack in some oily fish to your day. I used homemade flatbreads and I added in the cherry tomatoes to the original recipe. It was delicious.

Smoked Mackerel Wrap (from Fish is the Dish)
(Serves 4)

100g reduced-fat soft cheese with chives
2 tbsp low-fat plain yogurt
2 smoked mackerel fillets, flaked
handful cherry tomatoes, halved
4 tortillas
1/4 cucumber, cut into strips
75g bean sprouts

Mix the soft cheese and yogurt together and stir in the flaked mackerel and cherry tomatoes.

Spread the mixture over the tortillas. Place the cucumber lengthways over the mackerel and scatter over the bean sprouts and salad leaves.

Roll up each tortilla tightly and serve.

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Tuna and Corn Pasta Bake

This is a super simple pasta bake, all in one, mix around and bake!

Tuna and Corn Pasta Bake (from The English Kitchen)
(Serves 6-8)

1 small tin of sweet corn, undrained
1 large tin of creamed corn
1 large tin tuna
350g small pasta shapes, uncooked
1/2 the creamed corn tin of milk
salt and pepper to taste
150g sharp cheddar cheese, grated (reserve a handful for the end)
finely crushed buttered cracker crumbs

Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a baking dish really well. Set aside.

Stir together both tins of corn and the tuna, remembering not to drain either one of them. Add 1/2 tin of milk, some seasoning to taste and most of the cheese, reserving a small handful for the end. Pour this mixture into the prepared baking dish, spreading it out. Cover tightly with aluminium foil. Bake for 45 minutes, stirring it every fifteen minutes and uncovering for the last ten minutes. At that point you can sprinkle the remainder of the cheese on top and the cracker crumbs. Bake for the last 10 minutes until golden brown.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015


So my chutney making continues! This time it's picalilli. My Mum gave me the contents of her fridge before she went on holiday a couple of weeks ago and so I decided to use it up in one swoop. I'm not sure what this tastes like yet as it needs to rest for 4-6 weeks but it smelt gorgeous.

Picalilli (from River Cottage Handbook Preserves by Pam Corbin)
(makes 3 340g jars)

1kg washed, peeled veg - choose 5 or 6 from the following: cauliflower or romanesco, green beans, cucumbers, courgettes, green or yellow tomatoes, tomatilloes, carrots, silver skinned onions or shallots, peppers.
50g fine salt
30g cornflour
10g tumeric
10g English mustard powder
15g yellow mustard seeds
1 tsp crushed cumin seeds
1 tsp crushed coriander seeds
600ml cider vinegar
150g granulated sugar
50g honey

Cut the veg into small, even bite-sized pieces. Place in a large bowl and sprinkle with the salt. Mix well, cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave in a cool place for 24 hours, then rinse the veg with ice cold water and drain thoroughly.

Blend the cornflour, tumeric, mustard powder, mustard seeds, cumin and coriander to a smooth paste with a little of the vinegar. Put the rest of the vinegar into a saucepan with the sugar and honey and bring to the boil. Pour a little of the hot vinegar over the blended spice paste, stir well and return to the pan. Bring gently to the boil. Boil for 3-4 mins to allow the spices to release their flavours into the thickening sauce.

Remove the pan from the heat and carefully fold the weel-drained veg into the hot, spicy sauce. Pack the picle into warm sterilised jars and seal with vinegar-proof lids. Leave for 4-6 weeks before opening. Use within a year.

Monday, 26 October 2015

Salmon and Prawn Sandwich Pies

So I made my own version of the Sandwich Pies, a fishy version. They are really good and so simple to make a batch and then grab out the freezer.

Salmon and Prawn Sandwich Pies (adapted from Good Food Magazine July 2011)
(Serves 10)

2 cooked salmon fillets, flaked
100g cooked prawns, chopped
6 spring onions, finely chopped
6 tbsp full fat soft cheese
1 tbsp chopped dill
500g pack bread mix plain flour for dusting

Make the filling by mixing the salmon, prawns, spring onion, cheese and dill with some seasoning, stir well to combine, then pop in the fridge until later. You can do this up to a day ahead.

Make the bread mix following pack instructions. Divide the dough into 10 equal pieces, shape into balls then roll out on a floured surface into circles measuring 12cm across.

Heat oven to 200C. Grease 10 holes of a muffin tin. Put a dough circle into one of the holes, push in lightly, then fill with 2 tbsp of the filling mix. Gather the dough together with your fingers and pinch to create a little parcel that looks a bit like a big flower – don’t worry about totally sealing the dough as the filling will bubble through anyway, which makes the parcels look even better. Keep doing this until you have used all the dough and filling mix.

Brush the parcels with milk and cook for 25-30 mins until golden and risen. Enjoy warm in the garden or leave to cool and transport in the tin to a picnic.

Meal Planning Monday

Ok, so, I seem to have spent most of half term cleaning and doing jobs! I have cleaned the kitchen and the bathroom and hung pictures and done all the stuff I don't have time for during term time. Then on Thursday I took a break and went to my parents house for a few days. The first thing we did was to visit Hilltop Farm Pick Your Own to pick squashes!

They came in a myriad of shapes and sizes and I got a bit over excited so this was my haul! Any awesome squash recipes send my way!

We had mushroom, cream and garlic pasta for dinner. I made the leftovers into a pesto, mushroom pasta salad the next day.

Then baked apples for pudding! One of my favourite autumn puds.

I also went for a long walk round the villages near where my parents live.

This week I am back at work and it's a lovely quiet week with only pilates on Monday evening. Then next weekend the North London Waste Authority are doing a Give and Take Day, which I'm going to and then I think I might go and see Spectre on Saturday night to avoid Trick or Treaters. Having looked at my plan there is an awful lots of pasta going on this week! Yum!


Cheese and Onion Quiche with Salad
Kipper Carbonara (River Cottage Fish)

Lemon Sole with Cucumber, Potatoes and Veg (Leiths Fish Bible)



Lentil Marinara with Pasta

Goat and Cashew Curry with Rice (River Cottage Light and Easy)

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Gingerbread Biscuits

This was the third thing I made with my niece, gingerbread bisucits! We didn't have cutters in the shape of a man, so we just used what we had. As we has small shapes, it cooked much quicker than I expected, so i burnt quite a few! They were lovely and gingery though!

Gingerbread Biscuits (from The Children's Step by Step Cook Book by Angela Wilkes)
(Makes about 30 biscuits)

115g butter
175g soft brown sugar
4 tbsp golden syrup
340g plain flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tbsp bicarbonate of soda
1 egg, beaten

Preheat the oven to 190C. Line baking trays with baking parchment.

Put the butter, sugar and syrup in a saucepan and stir them together over a low heat until they have melted.

Sift the flour, ground ginger and bicarbonate of soda into a mixing bowl. Add the syrup mixture and the beaten egg.

Mix everything together then knead into a ball. Chill the dough in a plastic bag in the fridge for 30 mins.

Sprinkle some flour on the table and rolling pin. Then roll out the dough until it is about 1/2 cm thick.

Use biscuit cutters to cut out shapes. Press the cutters down, then lift them off.

Lift the biscuits onto the lined baking tray. Then gather up the leftover dough, roll it out again and cut out more shapes.

Bake the biscuits for about 10-15 mins until they are golden brown. then lift them on to a wire rack to cool.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Soba Noodle and Veg Salad

I fancied a soba noodle salad, this is really easy to whip up and you could pretty much use any veg you like, I just used what I had in the fridge. I love a soba noodle salad.

Soba Noodle and Veg Salad
(Servesd 1)

50g soba noodles
1 small carrot, sliced into batons
handful green beans, chopped in half
handful bean sprouts
1 spring onion, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp soy sauce

Bring a pan of water to the boil and add the soba noodles, cook the noodles according to packet instructions. Drain and run under cold water, drain again well.

Mix together the oil, balsamic and soy sauce to make the dressing.

Put the noodles into a lunchbox and add the carrots, beans, bean sprouts and spring onions and the dressing and mix well.

Friday, 23 October 2015

Chocolate Truffle Making Workshop at The Chocolate Museum

Last Saturday I went to The Chocolate Museum in Brixton to a Chocolate Truffle Making Workshop. it was really good and the truffles we made looked and tasted delicious!

We started off by making ganache, well they heated up the chocolate, added the cream and then we stirred! We also got to flavour our individual pots of ganache and my Mum and I chose ginger.

We also cut out fudge shapes, the fudge had been remade as it has to set.

Finally we shaped white chocolate ganache into balls ready for coating.

The last thing we learnt how to do was temper chocolate so that is at the right temperature for that lovely glossy finish. We did a dark bowl and basically after the chocolate has melted you add cold pieces of chocolate to bring the temperature down, for dark that's to 33C. Once the chocolate has been brought down to that temperature you have to be really careful about remelting it once it solidifies and it mustn't go back above 33C for dark. It's 32C for milk and 31C for white chocolate.

We then coated our various fillings in the different chocolates and added sprinkles, or rose petals or chocolate shavings. These are the fudge:

Followed by the white ganache:

Then the chocolate and ginger ganache:

We then packed them into pretty bags to take home.

They would make really fab Christmas presents but they need to be kept in the fridge and only last about a week as the ganache has fresh cream in it.

Thursday, 22 October 2015

Beetroot and Farro Burger

I love making veggie burgers and have a stock of homemade ones in the freezer. These farro and beetroot burgers are a little more crumbly than sometimes but the flavour is fab. I served it on a homemade bun with homemade pickles and cheese.

Beetroot and Farro Burgers (from What's Cooking Good Looking)
(Makes 4-5 Burgers)

65g uncooked farro
a pinch of salt
2 beetroot, roughly chopped
2 carrots, roughly chopped
3 spring onions, chopped
1 large clove garlic, minced
salt and pepper
35g rolled oats
60g sunflower seeds
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 tbsp oil
Cook the farro according to packet instructions.

Put the cooked farro, beetroot, carrots, spring onion, garlic, salt and pepper into a food processor. Pulse several times until everything is pureed. Add the oats, and pulse until combined. Add the sunflower seeds. Pulse a few times. 

Transfer the mixture to a medium bowl, and add in the beaten eggs, stirring until it is combined. 

Place the mixture in the fridge for 30 mins.

Once the mixture has been chilled, remove it from the fridge and form the patties. Divide the mixture into 4-5 patties, and place them onto a plate or baking sheet. 

Heat the oven to 200C and bake for 20-25 mins. Or fry them in a little oil until cooked. Serve.

Wednesday, 21 October 2015

Jam Tarts

I made these jam tarts with my niece a couple of weeks ago, we were waiting for the bread to rise and were looking for something else to make and in truth I've had a craving for jam tarts for ages! These were fab and she basically did all the work, I was there as back up! We got out all our children's cookery books and went through them to decide what to make.

Jam Tarts (from My Cookery Book by Caroline Green)
(Makes 12)

100g plain flour
25g butter
25g shortening
pinch salt
cold water

Sieve the salt and flour into a large mixing bowl. Cut the butter and shortening into little cubes and drop them into the flour Mix with a knife.

Rub the flour and fat together with your fingers until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs.

Sprinkle 2 tbsp of water into the mixture. Stir in quickly with a palette knife. Add more water if necessary. Now, with your hands, form the dough into a ball that leaves the bowl clean. Wrap the pastry in cling film and leave in the fridge for 30 mins; this makes it easier to roll out. Turn the oven on to 190C.

Sprinkle flour on to the work surface and the rolling pin. Gently roll out the pastry to 5mm thick. Cut the pastry into circles with the cutter and put into patty tins.

Put 1 tsp of jam into each tart and bake in the oven for about 15 mins until the pastry is golden.

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Guglee, Finchley Road

On Friday night I went to see Mr Foote's Other Leg at Hampstead Theatre with my father. We went to Guglee on Finchley Road for dinner before the theatre. We started off with Poppadums with raita, spicy pickle, mango chutney and tamarind-date chutney. There were two types of poppadum, one spicy and one plain. The sauces were delicious.

We then had Aloo Chaat for starter, these were crispy potato cakes topped with yogurt and chutneys, the flavours were similar to those of the chutneys served with the poppadums but there was the lovely crunchy potato cake underneath.

Formy  main course I had goa fish curry, which is what let the whole meal down. In terms of flavour all I got was chilli heat rather than any nice spiciness. The fish was perfectly cooked but the flavour was disappointing.

I also had a garlic naan, which was super, really garlicy and lovely and crispy but soft, the perfect naan.

So all in all this was a good meal but the main course really let it down. I would come back but definitely choose a different main.

Monday, 19 October 2015

Meal Planning Monday

So last week was lovely and busy. On Tuesday I went to a bread making course at the Dusty Knuckle in Dalston. You can read about it here.

On Saturday I went to a Chocolate Truffle making workshop at The Chocolate Museum in Brixton

Then on Sunday I went to the Liberty and Fashion exhibition at The Fashion and Textile Museum, which was fab.

My Mum also brought me some apples from her garden, these are two trays of eaters, but I have two of cookers and two more trays of eaters in the shed!

This week is half term and quieterish. I am working today and have pilates tonight, I am out for dinner at a friends house on Tuesday and then I go to my parents for a couple of days and then on Sunday I am going to see Judith Kerr talk at the British Library, which should be fab. This plan is also subject to change due to whim!

Salmon and Prawn Sandwich Pie with Crisps
Sausage and Chicken Chilli with Rice

Kipper Cakes with Salad
Out at a friends house


Mackerel with Bombay Potatoes and an Egg

Shellfish Laksa

My second laksa in a month and this one was super too. It felt a bit more like a yellow Thai curry but was really very tasty and full of fish.

Shellfish Laksa (from Fish by Joanna Farrow)
(Serves 4)

1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced
1 stalk lemongrass, thinly sliced
1 onion, roughly chopped
50g root ginger, roughly chopped
50g unsalted roasted peanuts
4 tsp fish sauce
3 tbsp oil
8 shelled scallops, halved if large
1/2 tsp tumeric
600ml fish stock
1 400ml can coconut milk
150g dried egg noodles
200g raw peeled prawns
150g white crabmeat
150g bean sprouts
bunch coriander, chopped

Put the chilli, lemongrass, onion, ginger, peanuts and fish sauce in a blender and blend to a thick paste.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan and gently fry the scallops until they are seared on all sides. Drain with a slotted spoon. Add the paste to the pan and fry gently, stirring for 5 mins. Add the tumeric, stock and coconut milk and bring slowly to simmer.

Cook the noodles in a separate saucepan until they are tender, following the packet instructions.

Meanwhile, stir the prawns and scallops into the broth and cook gently for 3 mins or until the prawns have turned pink. Stir in the crabmeat, bean sprouts and coriander and cook for 1 min. Drain the noodles, pile them into serving bowls, top with the laksa and serve.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Artisan Bread Making at The Dusty Knuckle

On Tuesday evening I went to the Dusty Knuckle, a bakery in a shipping container in a car park in Dalston for a breadmaking course! I found out about the course through Craft Food London. First Max went through the basics of sourdough bread and how bakers ratios work in order to made sourdough. They had made up dough for us and we shaped it into 3 different shapes, the first were rolls

Then baguettes

Then a loaf of bread, and we had a go at slashing the tops with a razor blade to allow the bread to expand.

So I came home having made all this! I took most of what I made to work the next day and everyone who tried some stopped me in the corridor and told me how good the bread was.

We also made pizza for dinner with a slightly different dough, which was just so so good. I topped mine with tomato, aubergine, basil and mozzarella.

We also made some dough during the course which we took home to bake which I did on Thursday evening.

My bread was absolutely delicious, it was a little bit sourer as I waited a couple of days to bake it, but I really love the flavour.

All in all this was a super course and Max, the guy who led it, was so knowledgeable and I now feel that I understand making sourdough a bit better, and could attempt it on my own, now all I have to do is keep the starter alive! 

Pickled Onions

My Mum gave me some tiny onions from her garden and I used them to make some pickled onions. I have no idea what they taste like as I need to leave them for a month to develop flavour!

Pickled Onions (from Vegetable Expert)
(Makes a 1 litre jar)

450g baby onions
600ml water
50g salt
400ml malt vinegar
1 tsp pink peppercorns
1 tsp yellow mustard seeds
1 tbsp caster sugar – for sweet pickled onions

Dissolve the salt in the cold water and put into a large bowl. Cut a thin slice from the base and top of each onion, ensuring that it will remain intact, and remove the outer skin. Drop the onions into the brine as you peel them. Leave the onions overnight (or up to 24 hours) to draw out moisture. In the morning, tip the onions into a colander and pat with kitchen towel to dry out as much as you can. 

Prepare the pickling vinegar. (If you'd like to include additional spices such as bay leaves, cardamom or chilli, go ahead - ensuring that you use no more than 1tbsp of spice in total.) Put the spices, sugar and vinegar in a pan and bring the mixture to simmering point. Turn off the heat, strain through a sieve to remove the whole spices, and let the vinegar cool for a while.

Prepare the jar. Wash in warm, soapy water and put them into a warm oven (120 degrees C) for 5 mins to sterilise them. Take out of the oven and leave for another minute or two before packing the onions into the jar. Pour in vinegar as you go, topping up after halfway and finishing with enough vinegar to cover the top layer of onions. Put the rubber seal onto the jar and seal. Turn the jar upside down to cool.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Chicken and Tomato Orzo Salad with Goat's Cheese

This salad was delicious! I haven't made a recipe from this blog in while and now I've made two in a week and it's such a shame that she stopped writing it. If your going to pack to take to work, pack the dressing separately and add a lunch time.

Chicken and Tomato Orzo Salad with Goat's Cheese
(from The Sweets Life)
(Serves 6)

300g uncooked orzo
2-3 large chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
100g spinach, roughly chopped
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 red onion, 
2 tbsp chopped basil
4 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper
75g crumbled goat cheese

Cook the orzo according to package instructions. Drain, run under the cold tap and drain well.

Combine the pasta, chicken, spinach, tomatoes, pepper, onion, and basil in a large bowl, tossing to mix well.

In a small bowl, whisk together the vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper. Pour over the pasta mixture and toss well to coat. Sprinkle with goat cheese just before serving.

Friday, 16 October 2015

Salsa Verde Quinoa Bake

I had a can of green enchilada sauce that needed using up so I used that in place of the salsa verde, which worked really well. This was a lovely bake.

Salsa Verde Quinoa Bake (from The Sweets Life)
(Serves 6)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 peppers, chopped
1 tbsp minced fresh garlic
300g quinoa, cooked
1 400g can black beans, drained and rinsed
225g salsa verde
120g cream cheese
2 tbsp flour
250ml milk
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
salt and pepper
50g cheddar or Montary Jack cheese, grated

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion and peppers and cook for 6 mins or until softened. Add the garlic and flour and cook for 2 mins. Add the milk, stirring constantly, and bring to a boil.

Remove from the heat and stir in the cream cheese, cumin, coriander, salt, and pepper, mixing to combine. Mix in the black beans, quinoa, and salsa verde.

Pour the mixture into a greased oven-proof dish. Sprinkle with crushed tortilla chips and grated cheese. Bake for 30 mins, or until the cheese is golden and the mixture is heated through.

Thursday, 15 October 2015

Indian Potato and Spinach Filo Pie

A little while ago I was desperately trying to use up some filo pastry and made lots of pies, this was one of the pies I made. It was wonderfully fragrant and lovely served with a dollop of mango chutney or raita and salad.

Indian Potato and Spinach Filo Pie (from Good Food Magazine August 2011)
(Serves 8)

1¼kg large waxy potatoes such as Charlotte, halved
85g butter
2 onions, chopped
1 tbsp cumin seed
1 tbsp mustard seed
2 tbsp finely chopped ginger
2 red chillies, halved, deseeded and sliced
3 tbsp curry paste
400g bag fresh spinach
4 tomatoes, chopped
small bunch coriander, chopped

For the pastry
270g pack filo pastry (6 large sheets)
50g melted butter
1 tsp black mustard seed

Heat the oven to 190C. To make the filling, heat a pan of salted water. When boiling, add the potatoes and boil for 15 mins until tender. Melt the butter then fry the onions for a few mins. Add the cumin, mustard seeds, ginger and chillies and fry, stirring occasionally, for about 7 mins until soft. Stir in curry paste.

Cook the spinach in the microwave on high for 5 mins. Drain and squeeze out as much liquid as you can, then chop it. Drain the potatoes and tip them into the spice mixture. Crush lightly to break them up into chunks rather than mash. Toss in the spice mixture with plenty of salt to coat them, then add the spinach, tomatoes and coriander.

Carefully unroll the pastry and brush 2 x 20cm loose-bottomed sandwich tins with some butter. Brush the first sheet of pastry and lay it in and across the tin so that it hangs over the side. Do the same with another sheet of pastry to cover the other side of the tin (so the two form a cross), butter and fold the final sheet in half and lay it in the base of the tin to create a firm base. Do the same with the other tin and remaining pastry.

Spoon the filling into the tin and fold up the pastry that is overhanging so that it covers the filling. Brush generously with the remaining butter and sprinkle with seeds. Bake for 35 mins until golden and crisp.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Daring Cooks October 2015: Makloubeh

For the month of October, Sawsan from chef in disguise challenged us to prepare a rice based main meal that represents our own culture, or one from a cuisine that we would like to explore.

So surprise surprise mine didn't turn out quite as planned! I'm not sure the English have many rice based dishes, the only one that comes to mind is Kedgeree and that's an Anglo-Indian hybrid type thing. So I settled for one of the dishes suggested. I made Makloubeh, which I had never made before, that I think is the beauty of Daring Cooks, that it makes me try things I would never normally come across. This was a beautiful dish, really flavourful. I used goat meat instead of beef as I already had some in the freezer and it was meltingly tender. I did however manage to burn the rice in the bottom of the pan, I suspect because my heat was a little too high. So I then spent a while trying to clean the pan! nonetheless this was a delicious dish.


Servings: 6 
Cooking time: 1 hour and 30 minutes 

3 cups (600 g) short grain rice 
1 head cauliflower 400 grams beef cut into cubes 
1 medium onion chopped 
1 teaspoon (2.6 g) all spice 
1/2 teaspoon (1.3 g) cinnamon 
1/2 teaspoon (1.3 g) cardamom 
3 teaspoons (17 g) salt 
3 tablespoons (45 ml) olive oil 

To cook the beef 
10 whole all spice berries 
10 cardamom pods 
1 stick cinnamon 
2 liters (2000 ml ) water 
Toasted nuts and chopped parsley for decoration (optional) 


1.Wash the rice and soak it in some warm water for 15-20 minutes then drain it, discard the water. 

2.Cut the cauliflower into florets and then fry it until golden brown (You can brush it with oil and grill it if you want a healthier version) 

3.In a pot add the beef cubes, onion , whole all spice, cardamom pods and cinnamon stick and then add 2 liters of water to 

4.Cook until the meat is done (you can do this in a pressure cooker to save time, if you use a pressure cooker 3-5 minutes after it starts to whistle is more that enough) reserve the water, you will use it to cook the rice in it 

To assemble the makloubeh:

1.In the pot you will cook it in start by adding the olive oil followed by a thin layer of rice. 

2.Arrange the beef on top of it and fill the gaps with rice 

3.Add a layer of cauliflower,then top with half of the remaining rice then another layer of cauliflower, then the remaining rice 
4.Sprinkle the salt, all spice, cinnamon and cardamom on top 

5.Add enough of the chicken broth for it to submerge the rice and rise by 1-2 cm (around 6 cups) 

6.Cook on very low heat, covered for 30-40 minutes (we are cooking on low heat because we don’t want it to boil and bubble because if it does it will spoil the arrangement of the layers) Note: You can place a small plate on top of the last rice layer to help keep things in place 

7.Allow to cool in the pot for 20-40 minutes this will help the layers hold together a little 

8.Place your serving dish on top of the pot and flip the pot. You may tap the bottom of the pot gently to help the makloubeh slide off. 

9.Decorate with toasted almond and chopped parsley and serve it with yogurt or a simple salad

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Crab Guacamole

This is a really simple recipe and used up the last of my avocados. I served it in a wrap for lunch with some lettuce and tomatoes.

Crab Guacamole (from SkinnyTaste)

2 ripe avocados, coarsely mashed
2 tbsp sour cream
1 tbsp chopped coriander
1/4 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp salt
several drops bottled hot pepper sauce (optional) 
170g tin crabmeat chunks, drained

In a bowl combine the avocados, sour cream, coriander, lime juice, salt, and hot sauce. Fold in the crabmeat and serve.

Monday, 12 October 2015

Meal Planning Monday

So sadly I was off sick for 2 days last week with my back, which is slowly improving day by day. In order to keep moving I made cookies and other sorts of baking delights, it is really lucky that my oven is at waist height so I didn't have to bend. I also went to a hat making workshop at The Cartoon Museum on Wednesday and made a tea cup fascinator, which has given me an idea for my costume for Book Week!

Over the weekend I went to Vegfest on Saturday with friends and tried a plantain wrap for lunch. It was delicious if an awful lot of stodge! The fair was really interesting too and we tried lots of samples of different vegan foods.

On Sunday I met a different friend and went to Thomas Carlyle's House in Chelsea and then for lunch on King's Road. The house was fascinating. Thomas Carlyle seemed to know everyone who was anyone in literature! The house also had a beautiful garden. We went to Le Pain Quotedien for lunch and Ian and Victoria Hislop were sitting behind us eating brunch! Given that I never see/notice anyone famous this was awesome!

Next week is busy too. I am going on an Artisan Bread Making Course on Tuesday night at The Dusty Knuckle and to the theatre on Wednesday and Friday. My Mum is coming for the weekend and we are going to a truffle making workshop on Saturday and then to the Liberty and Fashion exhibition at The Fashion and Textile Museum.

I have deliberately left the weekend unplanned as I'm not sure what we are doing about food!

Chicken Makhani with Rice

Beans and Sausage on Toast
Out at a cookery course

Carrot and Caraway Soup with a Scone
Out at the theatre

Cheese and Onion Quiche with Salad
Salmon and Prawn Sandwich Pie with Crisps

Smoked Trout Pate Sandwich 
Out at the theatre