Monday, 30 November 2015

Meal Planning Monday

I have just spent a lovely weekend in Newcastle staying with my sister. On Saturday we took the Metro out to Tynemouth on the coast and went to Tynemouth market in the train station. It was a huge mishmash of stuff, but I managed to bag myself some beetroot sourdough bread.

After that we went to Tynemouth Priory and looked around the ruins. It was so windy though we were nearly blown over!

In the afternoon we headed back into Newcastle and went to the Arts and Crafts exhibition at the Laing Art Gallery, which was fantastic. I hadn't realised that Gertrude Jekyll was a contemporary of William Morris, nor that she designed the gardens at Lindisfarne Castle.

In the evening we went to the Tynemouth Sailing Club Prize giving Dinner and my sister won a cup! The meal was delicious, smoked salmon followed by risotto for me.

On Sunday we met my Godfather and his partner for brunch at The Quay Ingredient on the Quayside. I had a breakfast burrito, which wasn't very photogenic so I didn't take one, but it was stuffed with sausage, bacon, beans and has brown and was delicious. We then took a wander down the Quayside, but it was so windy that some of the stalls had blown over. I then headed back to the train and back to London.

This week is pretty busy too as we head towards the end of term and Christmas, which doesn't, in my head at least, start until the 1st December! On Tuesday I am going to see Four Minutes at Trafalgar Studios and on Thursday I am going to have a Christmas meal with some friends. On Saturday I am going out for brunch and then out for dinner and to see a sing-a-long Muppet Christmas Carol and then on Sunday I am going to the Wolseley for afternoon tea.


Out at Pizza Express before the theatre

Black Lentil Dahl with Naan Bread
Salmon Burger

Thai Squash Soup and a Scone
Out at a Christmas Dinner

Curried Lamb Pittas with Coriander Raita (Cooking the WW Way)

Out for brunch at Foxcroft and Ginger
Out for dinner 

Buffalo Burger
Out for afternoon tea 

Goat's Cheese and Chutney Stuffed Chicken Breast

I finally found a recipe to use some of the lovely chutney I made over the summer. This is a really simple chicken dish and i loved the combination of the chutney and the goat's cheese. I served it with mash and veg.

Goat's Cheese and Chutney Stuffed Chicken Breast (from The English Kitchen)
(Serves 4)

4 chicken breasts
salt and pepper
125g soft goats cheese, cut into 12 slices
4 dsp chutney
4 dsp panko bread crumbs
knob butter to dot

Preheat the oven to 200C.

Cut a pocket into the outside edge of each chicken breast, without cutting through all the way to the back edge and leaving attached at both ends. Put three slices of goat's cheese into each pocket. Top with a spoonful of the chutney.

Place into an ovenproof dish.  Sprinkle a dessert spoon of panko over the top of each chicken breast.  Dot with butter.

Bake for 30 to 35 mins until the juices run clear. Serve.

Sunday, 29 November 2015

Smoked Mackerel and Spinach Chowder

It's definitely turned into the weather for soup, lovely warming, comforting soup. This is one packed full of oily fish and really simple to make.

Smoked Mackerel and Spinach Chowder (from Jack at a Pinch)
(Serves 2)

1 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tbsp flour
200ml milk
200ml water
50g frozen spinach
100g mackerel, flaked
100g sweetcorn
200g potatoes, cut into small chunks

Heat the oil in the saucepan, add the onion and cook until softened. Add the flour and stir for about a min. Add the milk and water and stir well. Add the mackerel, spinach, sweetcorn and potatoes. Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for 15 mins or until the potatoes are soft and the sauce is thick and creamy.

Saturday, 28 November 2015


Mince doesn't seem quite so terrible when I stick it all together in a burger or meatball, so I made meatloaf. Whilst not exactly healthy it was very tasty! i Served it with cauliflower mash and green veg.

Meatloaf (from Pioneer Woman)
(8 Serves)

250ml milk
6 slices bread, torn up
900g beef mince
100g parmesan cheese
2 tsp paprika
salt and pepper
bunch parsley, chopped
4 eggs, beaten
10 slices bacon

340g ketchup
70g Brown Sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
tabasco to taste

Preheat oven to 180C.

Pour the milk over the bread slices and leave it to soak for a while.

Place the mince, milk-soaked bread, Parmesan, salt, pepper and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Pour in the beaten eggs. With clean hands, mix the ingredients until well combined.

Form the mixture into a loaf shape on a foil lined grill pan, which will allow the fat to drain. Lay bacon slices over the top, tucking them underneath the meatloaf.

Add the ketchup, sugar, mustard, and hot sauce to a mixing bowl. Stir together. Pour 1/3 of the mixture over the top of the bacon. Spread with a spoon. Bake for 45 mins, then pour another 1/3 of the sauce over the top. Bake for another 15 mins. Slice and serve with remaining sauce.

Friday, 27 November 2015

Fish Smoking Workshop: House of Sverre

On Wednesday evening I took a trip to Green Lanes to the House of Sverre for a fish smoking workshop run in connection with Craft Food London. First we met owner Gunnar Lieungh who talked us through the curing and smoking process he uses for his cold smoked salmon. He uses farmed salmon from Faroe Islands and it takes 6 days to produce a smoked salmon and he used juniper, alder and beech wood for the smoking.

He tampers as little as possible with the fish before smoking, just filleting it, leaving the ribs on, which he removes once the fish is cooked. 

We tried smoked salmon from different parts of the fish, first the belly, which was lovely and creamy. 

Then the neck which has a much more meaty texture a bit like parma ham and a smokier flavour and then the tail, which tasted more like the smoked salmon I am used to. We then went outside and were taught to smoke fish on a barbecue.

First you heat the coals as you would do for a normal barbecue and then you put a tray on top, followed by the wood. He used a mixture of chips, shavings and dust.

The grill rack is then placed on top and the fish on top of that. He smoked trout which had been brined for 3 hours.

Then the lid goes on and it is left for 15-20 mins.  Then you get delicious smoked trout!

The course was really interesting and he also went through how you could smoke fish in the oven, which I will definitely try over the festive period and hopefully beyond!

Apple and Prune Compote

I love compote with Greek yoghurt for breakfast, it has become one of my staples, and whilst this doesn't look the most appetising it is absolutely delicious. I used apples from my Mum's garden and prunes that had been lingering in the cupboard for a while.

Apple and Prune Compote (from River Cottage Light and Easy)
(Serves 4)

3 large or 4 medium cooking apples
125g pitted prunes, halved
1/2 vanilla pod
1 tbsp caster sugar

Peel quarter and core the apples, then slice them into a saucepan. Add the prunes. Split open the vanilla pod and scrape out the seeds. Add the seeds and pod to the pan. Sprinkle over the sugar and add 150ml water.

Put the saucepan over a medium low heat and bring to a simmer. Cook gently for about 20 mins, stirring occasionally until the apples have broken down. Take off the heat and leave to cool. Remove the vanilla pod before serving.

Thursday, 26 November 2015

Pesto and Goat's Cheese Fritatta

I made this a couple of weeks ago to try and use up some pesto in my fridge. I adapted the recipe quite a bit as it needed to be portable so I added the pesto and goat's cheese into the frittata rather than sprinkling on top. I served it with a green salad.

Pesto and Goat's Cheese Frittata (from Good Food Magazine April 2012)
(Serves 4)

4 medium potatoes, thinly sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
3 tbsp pesto
8 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp olive oil
100g soft rindless goat's cheese, sliced

Boil the potatoes in water for 5 mins until just tender. Meanwhile, Preheat the oven to 200C. Mix the garlic, pesto and eggs together with some seasoning, then drain the potatoes and stir into the egg.

Heat the oil in an ovenproof frying pan, then tip in the egg and potato mixture. Arrange the slices of goat's cheese on top. Cook over a low heat for 5 mins or until two-thirds of the frittata is set, then cook in the oven for 10-15 mins until cooked through.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Warm Pigeon Breast with Cracked Wheat Salad

This is a warm salad I remember from way back when I did my Leith's course 10 years ago. It was one of the demonstrations during the course and actually it's a very simple and yet very tasty dish to make. I made a double batch of the bulgar wheat salad and had the second half without the pigeon later in the week and it is a fab salad on it's own.

Warm Pigeon Breast with Cracked Wheat Salad (from Leiths Cookery Bible)
(Serves 4)

2 tbsp Chinese five spice powder
1 tbsp light soy sauce
8 pigeon breasts, skinned
310g bulgar wheat
2 tbsp oil
1/2 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
2.5cm piece ginger, peeled and grated
110g shiitake mushrooms, sliced
100g parma ham, sliced
140g plum jam
5 spring onions, sliced
55g sun-dried tomatoes, sliced
salt and pepper
lemon juice
30g pinenuts, toasted
1/2 cucumber, deseeded and finely chopped
2 tbsp oil
2 tbsp snipped chives

Mix together the five spice and soy sauce and coat the pigeon breasts on both sides. Put into a shallow dish, cover and leave to marinate for at least 30 mins or overnight in the fridge.

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the bulgar wheat according to the packet instructions. Drain thoroughly.

Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan, add the chilli, ginger, mushrooms and parma ham and stir-fry over a high heat for 2-3 mins. Add the jam, spring onions and sun-dried tomatoes and bring to the boil. Add the bulgar wheat and season to taste with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Heat thoroughly and stir in the pine nuts and cucumber. Keep warm.

Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the pigeon breasts and fry for 3 mins. Turn and cook for a further 2 mins until browned but pink inside.

Divide the bulgar wheat between 4 plates and top with the pigeon breasts. Sprinle with chives.

Tuesday, 24 November 2015

Somen Noodles with Prawn Curry and Peas

I made this on the fly, when I needed a quick dinner. It was really tasty. I found a packet of somen noodles at the back of the cupboard and in a bid not to waste anything I used it. I served it on a bed of stir fried veg to increase the veggie content. 

Somen Noodles with Prawn Curry and Peas (from Noodles
(Serves 6)

3 tbsp veg oil
1 garlic clove, minced
thumb sized piece of ginger, finely grated
1 tbsp curry powder
juice and zest 2 lemons
salt and pepper
300g somen noodles
24 raw large prawns
150g frozen peas
1 spring onion, thinly sliced

In a medium bowl combine 1 tbsp of the oil, the garlic, ginger, curry powder, lemon juice and zest. Season with salt and pepper, add the prawns, toss, and set aside to marinate for 20 mins.

Bring a pan of water to the boil. Add the somen and cook for about 2 mins. Shock in ice-cold water. Drain and transfer to a large bowl.

Heat the remaining oil in a large frying pan over a high heat. Saute the prawns and the marinade for about 1 min. Add the peas and toss for 1 min more. Add the prawns and peas with their sauce to the noodles. Mix well and divide between 6 bowls. Sprinkle over the spring onion and serve.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Meal Planning Monday

So I ended up having a really busy and eventful week last week. I had my interview with St John Ambulance on Wednesday and I was the last of 13 people to be interviewed so I didn't leave until 8pm!

On Friday I went to an Alice in Wonderland panel discussion at the British Library and had a quick nose at the exhibition although it was really busy.

The panel consisted of Lauren Laverne, who had to dash of part way through to do the Mercury Music awards! Chris Ridell, Vanessa Tait (Great Granddaughter of Alice Liddell) and Frank Cottrell Boyce. The discussion was really interesting and explored the many sides to the book.

Afterwards we went to Costa for a debrief, hot chocolate and cake. I had their Black Forest Hot Chocolate and we shared a salted caramel brownie and a mince pie. All were delicious.

On Saturday I went to a friends house for Thanksgiving. It was absolutely fantastic, there were 11 of us and we had so much food!

And pudding!

I made a broccoli casserole and an apple pie. And then of course there were leftovers!

I am looking forward to mainly eating turkey this week! On Sunday I met my Mum and we went to the Fabric of India exhibition at the V&A, which was fantastic, a lot of the fabrics were from the 16th-19th centuries but they could have been modern. This is my favourite, it's a map shawl and there is also a Shah's tent, which was on loan from Powys Castle!!

We had dinner in PingPong Soho and a much better meal that a month previously. They have a seasonal special of crispy prawns with wasabi mayonnaise, which was so good.

This week is quite busy too, I am going to a fish smoking workshop on Wednesday and then on Friday I am going to visit my sister in Newcastle for the weekend and we are seeing my Godfather and his partner for brunch on Sunday as well as going to an exhibition and a couple of markets. There is a lot of turkey featured on this weeks plan and that lentil curry again as I never got around to making it!




Quiche and Salad

Scrigno with Salad
Salmon and Pea Pasta Salad

Lemon Sole and Olive Sauce with New Potatoes and Courgettes

This is the first dish I have made from Jamie's Super Food book and I have to say it was pretty good. The courgettes were delicious, lovely and sweet, and the tang of the olive sauce was really good with the fish.

Lemon Sole and Olive Sauce with New Potatoes and Courgettes
(from Everyday Super Food by Jamie Oliver)
(Serves 2)

2 large mixed-colour courgettes, quartered lengthways and sliced 2 cm thick
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced
250g baby new potatoes, halved if big
6 black olives, finely sliced
1 spring onion, finely sliced
1 red or green chilli, finely sliced
1/2 bunch mint, finely chopped
juice 2 lemons
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
150g spinach
2 lemon sole fillets

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a casserole pan over a medium heat. Put the garlic followed a min later by the courgettes. Stir well, then pop the lid on and cook for 15 mins, stirring occasionally. Remove the lid, reduce the heat a little and cook for another 5 mins or until sweet.

Meanwhile, cook the potatoes in a pan of boiling water for 15 mins or until cooked through, and drain.

Put the olives, spring onion, chilli and mint into a bowl and toss with the juice 1 lemon and the extra-virgin olive oil to make a sauce.

Lightly squash the potatoes, then fold them into the courgettes with the spinach and lay the lemon sole fillets on top. Put the lid back on and leave to steam for 7 mins until cooked through. Transfer to a plate and spoon the olive sauce over the fish and serve.

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Grilled Swordfish with Goat's Cheese and Aubergine Caviar

I splashed out a couple of weeks ago and bought myself some swordfish steaks. I am trying to use up stuff I already have and I had aubergines from the garden and goat's cheese in the fridge so this was an easy choice. It was easy to make and not too bad, not the best things ever but I quite liked the combination of the aubergine and the fish. I served it with crushed new potatoes and green veg.

Grilled Swordfish with Goat's Cheese and Aubergine Caviar (from Leith's Fish Bible)
(Serves 4)

4 swordfish steaks
olive oil
110g goat's cheese, thinly sliced

For the aubergine caviar
4 medium aubergines
4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
4 garlic cloves
2tbsp chopped parsley
salt and pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
lemon juice

Preheat the oven to 190C.

Brush the aubergines with a little oil and bake for 20 mins, then add the garlic. Bake for 20-30 mins until soft. Remove from the oven. Allow to cool.

Skin the garlic and put into a food processor with the aubergine, parsley, salt and pepper. Whizz to a smooth puree. Gradually beat in the remaining oil and when the mixture is stiff, stir in the lemon juice to taste and season with salt and pepper.

Preheat the grill.

Brush the swordfish steaks with oil and season. Place on the grill rack and grill for 4 mins each side or until the fish is cooked.

Divide the goat's cheese between the swordfish steaks. Grill for a further 2 mins, cheese side up until the cheese has started to soften.

Serve the swordfish with the caviar.

Saturday, 21 November 2015

Mushroom and Spinach Goat's Cheese Pasta

A simple lunchbox salad.

Mushroom and Spinach Goat's Cheese Pasta (from Two Peas and Their Pod)
(Serves 6-8)

200g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 cloves garlic, crushed
salt and pepper
500g dried pasta
200g spinach, coarsely chopped
170g goat's cheese, crumbled
bunch basil, chopped

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, but before draining, reserve 1 cup cooking water.

Whilst the pasta water is boiling, add a tbsp oil and a knob of butter to a frying pan. Add the mushrooms and cook until golden and brown. Add in the garlic and spinach and cook for 2-3 mins until wilted. Season and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Take off the heat.

Toss the pasta with mushrooms, spinach, and goat's cheese. Add in reserved cooking liquid and stir until the cheese melts and the pasta becomes creamy. Toss in the basil and season with salt and pepper. Serve immediately or leave to cool and pack into a lunchbox.

Friday, 20 November 2015

Courgette and Goat's Cheese Soup

I made this soup a while back with the last of the courgettes from my garden. It was a pretty poor year for courgettes, I only got a handful. So I don't have all the grated and sliced courgette in the freezer that I usually have. This soup was delicious. I have changed my stock cubes from Knorr stock pots to Marigold Vegetable Bouillon which has a much better taste than those I was using before. It also froze really well.

Courgette and Goat's Cheese Soup (from The Guardian)
(Serves 4)

2 tbsp oil
1kg very firm small courgettes, sliced 3-4mm thick
salt and pepper
2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
750ml milk (or use half milk, half veg stock)
1-2 bay leaves
100g rindless goat's cheese
Basil leaves (or mint, if you prefer)

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the courgettes and, once they're sizzling but before they start to brown, turn down the heat, season with a little salt (it helps draw out the moisture) and cook gently, stirring often. As they become tender, break them down a little until they have softened; this can take up to half an hour. Add the garlic when the courgettes are almost done, so it gets a chance to cook but not burn. You should end up with a fragrant, garlicky, rough courgette puree. Leave it coarse like this, or blitz in a food processor if you prefer a less chunky soup.

While the courgettes are cooking, put the milk in a pan with the bay leaves. Bring up to just below boiling, then leave to infuse.

Stir the cheese into the courgette mixture, then strain in the hot milk a little at a time and stirring all the while, until the soup is a consistency you like. Bring the soup just to boiling point, season and ladle into bowls. Top with a few shredded basil leaves.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Goat and Cashew Curry

I made this lovely curry with the last of the goat meat that I got from The Oundle Food Festival in the summer. It was absolutely delicious and I loved the nuttiness of the cashews.

Goat and Cashew Curry (adapted from River Cottage Light and Easy)
(Serves 6)

1kg goat meat, cubed
2 tbsp oil
2-3 tbsp curry paste
1 onion, thinly sliced
10 cardamom pods, lightly bashed
400g tin chopped tomatoes
125g cashew nuts
40ml water
salt and pepper

Put the pieces of goat into a large roasting tin, trickle with the oil and season with a little salt and pepper. Roast the goat uncovered for 20 mins. When the goat is nicely browned, take it out of the oven and lower the temperature to 170C.

Stir the curry paste into the browned goat, then add the sliced onion and cardamom pods. Add the tomatoes to the roasting tin, along with their juice. Combine well, then cover tightly with foil and return to the oven for 1 1/4 hours.

Meanwhile, blitz the cashew nuts in a food processor and add the water until you form a cream.

Remove the goat from the oven. Stir in the cashew cream, along with 3-4 tbsp water if it needs loosening. Return to the oven, uncovered, for a further 10 mins or until heated through, then taste and add a little more salt if you need to. Serve with rice.

Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Goat's Cheese, Sun Dried Tomato and Rocket Pasta Salad

A really simple lunchbox salad packed full of flavour.

Goat's Cheese, Sun Dried Tomato and Rocket Pasta Salad
(Serves 1)

50g pasta
small handful green beans
4 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
handful rocket
1 heaped tsp pesto
20g goat's cheese

Bring a pan of water to the boil and cook the pasta according to packet instructions, adding the green beans for the last 3 mins of cooking time. Drain, run under the cold tap and drain again well.

Put into a bowl and add the sun-dried tomatoes and the pesto. Mix well to combine.

Put the rocket into the bottom of your lunchbox and top with the pasta mixture then sprinkle over the goat's cheese. 

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Cheese and Potato Stuffed Pork Chop

When I went to the supermarket a little while ago I got some pork chops that were reduced. Then I had to find something to do with them. This struck me as a really interesting and different recipe, I'd never thought of stuffing a pork chop before. It was delicious, lovely and cheesy. I served it with mashed butternut squash, kale and beans.

Cheese and Potato Stuffed Pork Chop (from The Midnight Baker)
(Serves 4)

4 pork chops
2 medium potatoes, sliced very thinly
50g cheddar cheese
50g asiago or fontina or monterey jack cheese
salt and pepper
3 tbsp melted butter, divided

Preheat oven to 200C. Lightly spray a roasting tin.

Make a “pocket” in the chops to hold the filling.

Slice the potatoes really thinly, so you can read the newspaper through them. You can use a box grater–the side with “U” shape or a mandolin

Pat the potatoes to remove excess moisture between paper towels. Place potatoes in a medium bowl. Add the cheeses, salt, pepper and 1 tbsp of the melted butter. Stuff each chop with ¼ of the potato and cheese mixture.

Place in the roasting tin and brush with the remaining melted butter. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper. Bake for 40-50 mins.

Afternoon Tea at Aura Rosa, Walthamstow

On Sunday afternoon I went out for afternoon tea for a friend's big birthday. We went to Aura Rosa in Walthamstow and had a fantastic tea.

We started with three different kinds of empanadas - chorizo and potato, pulled pork and pineapple and pesto, potato and olive. They were served warm and were absolutely delicious. As I don't drink tea or coffee I had a plum and pear cordial.

We were then served a little almond milk and cinnamon drink.

Followed by 2 raisin scones with clotted cream and jam.

Then a small sorbet.

Then came the cakes; raspberry macaron, a marshmallow, mango creme brulee, green tea and strawberry tart, mini meringues, a mini tres leches cake and a rich dark chocolate mousse.

Oh my goodness this was good. The empanadas were lovely and flaky and the flavours were distinct. The scones were lovely, served warm and the cakes were fab, that chocolate mousse is seriously to die for. It was really good to have a slightly untraditional afternoon tea, without sandwiches and slices of cake. This was more inventive and just oh so delicious.

Monday, 16 November 2015

Meal Planning Monday

So last week turned out quite eventful. On Monday I went to a talk at The Last Tuesday Society, Alice in Wonderland: Sex, Drugs and Rock and Roll. Before the talk we went the The Gallery in Bethnal Green for dinner. I ordered one of the specials, Bean Chilli Nachos with Pea Guacamole, which was delicious, my friend had the mushroom risotto, which was huge and delicious too.

Last week at school was Book Week. On Friday everyone dressed up as a book character and we had a parade in Assembly. I dressed up as The Queen of Hearts, although I did manage to say in my staff meeting that morning that I was the Queen of Tarts!

As part of Book Week one of the teachers held a book making workshop in the library, which I joined in with. We made three books and it was great to get some ideas.

On Saturday I went to The Good Food Show at Olympia with my sister. We saw a demonstration by Tom Kerridge, who made mussels, venison with pasta and funnel cake in half an hour!

Then we saw an interview with Paul Hollywood.

I came home with some garlic, a jar of mayonnaise and we had gorgeous sausage rolls and cannoli for lunch.

thought I'd post a picture of my Christmas Cacti which are flowering as the moment as they look so pretty!

On Sunday my neighbour and I took our neighbour in between out for afternoon tea to celebrate her birthday. We went to Aura Rosa in Walthamstow for one of the best afternoon tea's I have had.

I also made yoghurt flatbread when I got home on Sunday and It went all lovely and puffed up!

This week is fairly busy. I am going to the cinema tomorrow to see Brooklyn, on Friday I am going to an Alice in Wonderland panel discussion at the British Library, on Saturday we are doing Thanksgiving a week early at a friend's house and then on Sunday I am going to the V&A with my Mum to see the Fabric of India exhibition.


Roasted Carrot Salad with Freekeh Pilaf (Plenty)




Buffalo Burger
Out for Thanksgiving meal

Out with my mum at Ping Pong

Peach Whisky Barbecue Chicken

I saw this recipe on an episode of Pioneer Woman and I had to make it. It was scrummy, obviously peaches are now out of season here so I used tine but I bet fresh would have been even better. As you can see from the picture my sauce is a little watery, totally my fault as I misread how much water to add and added too much. I made two portions of this and with the second I just removed the chicken and peaches and rapidly boiled the sauce for a few mins to thicken it up. I served it with cauliflower mash and green beans.

Peach Whiskey Barbecue Chicken (from Pioneer Woman)
(Serves 6-8)

12 whole chicken thighs, bone-in, skin-on
2 tbsp oil
1 onion, chopped
375ml whiskey
340g barbecue sauce
325g peach jam
125ml water
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
4 peaches, pitted and sliced into 8 slices each 3 spring onions, thinly sliced

Preheat oven to 150C.

Heat the oil in a heavy pot over a medium-high heat. Place the chicken thighs, four at a time, in the pot, skin side down. Brown both sides, then remove to a plate and repeat until all chicken is browned.
Pour off half the grease, then return the pan to the stove. Add the onions to the pan and stir, cooking for 2 mins.

Pour the whiskey into the pot, being very careful if you're using an open flame. Stir and scrape the bottom of the pan, allowing whiskey to reduce for a min or two.

Pour in the barbecue sauce, peach jam, water, and Worcestershire sauce. Stir until combined, then return chicken to the pot, skin side up. Then throw in the peaches. Cover and put the pot in the oven. Cook for 1 1/2 hours, then remove from the oven.

 Serve the pieces of chicken over a big pile of mashed potato. Sprinkle sliced green onions over the top.

Sunday, 15 November 2015

Blackberry and Apple Tray Cake

The Community Centre down the road from me were having a Halloween day and as part of that they had a cake sale. This is what I baked for it. I cut the cake into squares and apparently it was the first cake to sell out :) So I'm very pleased! It was delicious, I saved a small slice for me and it was so crammed full of fruit and moist. The apples of course came from my Mum's garden and the blackberries I picked on Walthamstow Marshes back in August.

Blackberry and Apple Tray Cake (from Good Food Magazine October 2006)
(Serves 12)
175g butter, plus extra for greasing
300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
4 Bramley apples, (approx 800g/1lb 12oz)
squeeze lemon juice
284ml carton whipping cream
225g golden caster sugar, plus 1 tbsp for sprinkling
3 eggs 300g blackberries

Heat oven to 200C. Grease a roasting tin (30x20cm) with butter, dust with a little flour, then set aside. Peel, core and slice the apples into rings, then toss in a little lemon juice to stop them going brown.

Tip the cream and butter into a saucepan, bring up to the boil, then set aside. Whisk the sugar with the eggs until they thicken and turn pale, about 3 mins. Whisk the buttery cream into the eggs, then fold in the flour until completely smooth.

Pour the batter into the prepared tin and arrange the apple slices over the top. Scatter over the blackberries, then sprinkle with the remaining sugar. Bake for 50 mins-1 hr until golden and beginning to pull away from the sides of the tin. Leave to cool in the tin and serve cut into squares.

Saturday, 14 November 2015

Daring Cooks November 2015: Cauliflower Pakora

Vimala was our host for the November daring cooks challenge and she invited us to try our hands at some Indian snacks and treats.

Although not very difficult to make, these were really good. I made them for my Mum and sister for lunch one day with a green salad and some mango chutney. The deep fat frying element is always scary for me so I made sure I had an adult present throughout!

Cauliflower Pakoras
Servings: makes 1 bowl
Preparation time: 10 mins
Cooking time: 3-4 mins

Note: you can use any vegetable or meat to make these pakoras.
1 cup / 11oz / 320g cauliflower florets, clean and cut into thin long strips
a pinch salt
a pinch turmeric powder
1/2 cup / 1 1/2oz / 43g gram (chickpea/garbanzo/besan) flour OR powdered yellow cornmeal
2 Tbsp / 1/2oz / 16g cornstarch (maizena, Aust/UK cornflour)
1/2 tsp paprika/ red chili powder
1/2 tsp ginger garlic paste
1/4 tsp garam masala
1/4 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 cup water
oil for deep frying

Soak the cauliflower florets in a bowl of water with a pinch of salt and turmeric powder for 10 mins. Remove and drain them and cut into thin long strips.

In a clean bowl, add gram flour/ powdered cornmeal, cornstarch, paprika/red chili powder, cumin powder, ginger-garlic paste, garam masala and salt, and mix well.

Add cauliflower and mix with your hands to coat it well.

Add a little water and mix it with your hands until the mixture is moistened and the powder combines well with the cauliflower. Note: The mixture should not be watery and the consistency should be sticky.

Set aside for 5 mins and add enough oil to a frying pan that it’s about a quarter full, and heat till it reaches 200°F / 93°C. Now reduce the heat and put the battered cauliflower into oil and fry them till golden brown.