Monday, 30 April 2007

Review of ginger simnel cake

Recently for Easter I made this recipe: from

Warning - you need lots of bowls! quite fiddly!

Overall 9/10

Very gingery but added a nice twist

Here are my pictures of it:

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

Beef and Leek Stew

Serves 3

Quantity of leftover roast beef, about 2 handfuls say 450g
1 Large leek
1 onion
2 sticks celery
50g pearl barley
1 clove garlic
1 kallo organic veg boulion cube
1 tbsp beef gravy granules
1.5 pints boiling water

1) Rinse the pearl barley and place in a bowl (or microwave steamer) and cover with boiling water generously, microwave for 18 mins, stirring half way (not needed if slow cooking, just add a little extra liquid)

2) Make up the stock using the bouilion and gravy granules

3) Dice the onion and garlic, slice the celery chunkily

4) Heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a pan, add the onion and fry for 2 mins, add the garlic and celery, cover and fry for 5 mins, add the (drained) pearl barley, transfer to a casserole dish and cover

5) Warm through & brown the beef for 4-5 mins in the empty veg pan, add about 1/4 of the stock to simmer for a couple more mins, add to the casserole pan and mix well, cover with remaining liquid and transfer to the oven for 2 hours, starting on 200 elec and drop down to 150 elec*

Serve with fresh bread


*Can be done in slow cooker as well, about 5-6 hours on high, up to 10 on low.

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Lamb and Spinach Bhajee

This is a rather lovely adaptation from one of my indian cook books! Great way of using up leftover lamb!!

Serves 3 ish


Leftover roast lamb, about 2 handfuls diced / roughly shredded
1 bag spinach
1/4 tsp turmeric
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp cumin seed
1 onion
3 waxy potatoes, peeled and cubed into 1.5cm apx pieces
Veg oil

1) Heat a couple of tbsp veg oil in a large shallow but lidded pan

2) Add a sliced onion, and brown for 5 mins,

3) Stir in the spices and add the cubed raw potatoes and cover

4) after about 10 mins add the cubed / shredded (cooked) lamb

5) Wilt the spinach in another pan, drain well and add to mix,

6) Add a little bit of veg stock to moisten and cook for about 15 mins more until the potatoes are just cooked through,

OH actually enjoyed it and would definately make again, was very comforting and warming food!

Recomended Recipes from others:

The Cranberry Sauce from Nigella Lawson's recipe for Cranberry Bakewell, even better with a slug of sloe whiskey in :-) Keeps for months and best we have made and tasted!

Bacon and New Potato Salad from BBC Good Food magazine July 2006, perfect summery salad, actually making again this week now that summer is almost upon us! Have swapped watercress instead of the rocket and even better! (they now publish a certain amount on-line but this has not featured yet :( )

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Chinese Style Salmon

Serves 6

Get some nice fresh salmon fillets, skin on, allow one per person

Marinade them in a bowl for about 30 mins or so in the following (have left it a few hours before and is fine, just make sure has some marinading time!):Kikkomans Teryaki sauce liberally added so that they 'sit' in it!.
1 teaspoon dark soy sauce
2 dessert spoons 'gourmet garden' liquid ginger or 1 d.spoon grated ginger
2 dessert spoons sweet chili sauce
1 small green chili, de-seeded and finely sliced (optional)
1 d.spoon runny honey if you have any

Line a deep baking tray with foil and place salmon fillets skin side up, grill on medium heat for about 12 mins until the flesh breaks away easily, turn over carefully and grill for about 2/3 minutes more, serve immediately with mixed wild rice (is a mix of wild and normal white rice, allow about 75g per person) cooked in water and a tin of coconut milk.

If you wish to serve any veggies mange tout goes nicely or baby corn but normally serve on its own.

Also if you don't like ginger / chili then just simply leave it out or adjust to your tastes!

Requires minimal effort and virtually no prep leaving you more time to be with your guests! :)

Low-fat Cauliflower Cheese

I recently done an alternative cauli cheese which turned out a surprise hit!

1 cauliflower
250g (small tub) low fat creme fraiche
1 large egg
50g apx grated mature cheddar
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper

1) Cut up the cauli into florets and either boil or steam for about 15-20 mins or until tender

2) Transfer to a small oven proof dish or roasting pan.

3) In a bowl mix the creme fraiche, egg and a 2/3 of the cheese, black pepper and pour / spoon over the cauliflower evenly, sprinkle over remaining grated cheese and bake in the oven for about 25 mins till golden.

Was really delicious and light, not heavy like it can be normally. discovered by accident and will be staying!! Served this with roast lamb and trimmings, all went! Feedback from BBC

Authors note: A year on and have made this countless times! Always loved and raved about and now requested if making a roast (or anything else for that matter!) is so light and gorgeous you cannot go wrong with it!

Bacon & Mushroom Pasta

Serves 1 very hungry or 2 light suppers

1/2 tin (200g) good italian chopped tomatoes
70g lardons or bacon bits
1 tbsp chili olive oil
1 clove garlic
1 shallot
3 large closed cup mushrooms
100g linguine (About 1/4 of the pack)
1/2 glass dry red wine
Few leaves of fresh basil and oregano
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Freshly ground mixed peppercorns to taste (op)
Freshly shaved parmesan for serving
Pinch salt

1) In a large saucepan bring water to boil for the pasta.

2) In the meantime, dice the shallot and garlic.

3) Slice the mushrooms.

4) In a non stick skillet heat the chili oil, add shallot for 2 mins, then add garlic.

5) Add pasta to the boiling water with a pinch of salt.

6) Add mushrooms to the skillet and stir well, leave for 2 mins.

7) Add the lardons, stir well and leave on medium heat for 5 mins.

8) Add wine to pan and reduce down.

9) Pour on chopped tomatoes and mix, leave to simmer.

10) Pasta should almost be ready, if so drain and toss with olive oil, keep warm.

11) Add herbs to skillet including ground peppers to taste, leave for one minute, then add to the hot pasta.

12) Shave / grate over the parmesan and serve!

10/10 yummy tummy!!

Basic white sauce - microwave method

Makes 1 pint
45g flour
45g butter
1 pint milk

1) In a large glass bowl or jug add the butter and microwave for about 30-40 seconds on high until melted and slightly bubbling, remove and place milk in a seperate container in microwave for about 40 secs. (alternatively take the milk out of the fridge about 30 mins before to take the chill off)

2) In the meantime stir in the flour to the butter and whisk to form a roux (paste) remove the warm milk and add 1/3, whisk well making sure you scrape the bottom, place back in microwave for one min, remove whisk well and add another 1/3 milk, whisk well and return for a further minute, remove add last of the milk and put back in microwave, set it for 2 mins and stop as soon as it thickens should take between 1min 30 to 2 depending on wattage.

3) Remove and whisk well making sure all blended, should be thick and stiff.

Cheese sauce- add 40g grated mature cheddar and 40g mozzarela
White wine - add 1 large glass to dish, add sauce and then a splash more wine.

Makes a lovely versatile well coating sauce

Bacon and Cheese Pasta Bake

Serves 3-4

6 slices good smoked bacon
80g mature cheese grated
Any parmesan that needs using up
350g conchiglle or penne pasta

*Also the ingredients below for sauce

1) Cook pasta till al dente

2) Fry or grill bacon till crispy and tear into 1inch pieces, mix with cooked pasta and transfer to oven proof dish

3) Make up the sauce as per below and season with black pepper, pour over the pasta, top with a little extra cheese and grill until golden, about 10-15 mins.

*Cheese sauce: Makes 1 pint
45g flour
45g butter
1 pint milk

1) In a large glass bowl or jug add the butter and microwave for about 30-40 seconds till melted and slightly bubbling, remove and place milk in a seperate container in microwave for about 40 secs.

2) In the meantime stir in the flour to the butter and whisk to form a roux (paste) remove the warm milk and add 1/3, whisk well making sure you scrape the bottom, place back in microwave for one min, remove whisk well and add another 1/3 milk, whisk well and return for a further minute, remove add last of the milk and put back in microwave, set it for 2 mins and stop as soon as it thickens should take between 1min30 to 2 depending on wattage.

3) Remove and whisk well making sure all blended, should be thick and stiff, if not keep cooking until so.

Sausage and Shallot Flan

Serves 2-3
Created in mums kitchen by me in June 2006.


6 skinless sausages
1 tbsp vege oil
4 nice shallots finely chopped
1/2 tsp sugar
4 large eggs
6oz/ 150g flour + extra for rolling out
1.5oz/ 37g butter
1.5oz/ 37g lard
6/7 tsp ice cold water
80g davidstow cheese or similar mature cheddar
s&p to taste
6 sprigs parsley
2 tbsp tomato puree

1) In a bowl sieve the flour and add a pinch of salt, chop in the fat (best left out of fridge for about 30mins first) and using your hands gently rub together to form a breadcrumb type mix, slowly add water and build up to a dough, wrap in cling film and place in fridge to rest.

2) In a frying pan heat the oil, add sausages and cook as per instructions, norm about 8 mins, when cooked place on kitchen towel to drain.

3) Finely chop the shallots and cook them on low/med heat in the sausage pan for about 10 mins adding sugar halfway through, until slightly golden, leave to one side.

4) Remove pastry from fridge, lightly dust the work surface, roll out pastry wide enough to fit your dish (mine is 20cm), line the dish.

5) Using greaseproof paper carefully place inside the dish over the pastry and weigh down with baking beans/ dried pulses, cook for about 10-15 mins

6) remove from oven and spread tomato puree over base

7) Halve sausages and line dish, spread over 1/2 the cooked shallots

8) In a bowl beat the eggs with remaining shallots, s&p (two pinches salt, about 6 grinds of pepper mill), cheese, 2/3 parsley roughly shredded, pour over sausages evenly

9) Cook for 25-30 mins on about gas 5/ elec 18o till golden and cooked through

10) Serve hot or cold with salad

Tuesday, 10 April 2007

Adventures with a Chicken!

On Saturday 6th April 2007 I bought a 2kg free-range chicken for £6.50, planning to make it stretch as far as possible!

So here goes:

06/04/07 - Removed thighs, legs and wings, frozen individually, roasted remaining bird wrapped in bacon and stuffed with 1/2 an onion. Served with cabbage, potato & leek bake and sweetcorn, used approx half the breast meat, allowed to cool and wrapped up tightly in fridge. Also as the bacon was erm rather crispy after 2 hours cooking, instead of wasting it I crumbled it up and have frozen in a small bag - perfect next time I make soup or cauli cheese!

09/04/07 - Removed remaining breast and side meat and shredded, used 2/3 in dinner of sliced waxy organic potatoes sauteed in butter and olive oil, after 10 mins added sliced organic leeks and the chicken and covered with gravy, simmered for about 30 mins and seasoned with S&P and 1tsp dried sage, served with buttered par-bake baguette mmmm. Re-wrapped carcass and is in fridge. (made 4 portions, eaten by 2!)

10/04/07 - Chicken sandwich for lunch, planning to boil up carcass tonight to make stock, also to hopefully make chicken noodle soup for tomorrow nights meal...will report back!

11/04/07 - Well my dinner guest cancelled for tonight so didnt boil up the carcass, also problem as freezer is full so will have to be thrown away unfortunately. There is one handful of meat left though so that will be my dinner tonight!

3rd May 07
The wings got used tonight in the yoghurty chicken marinade, was advised they were very nice! (also mixed with a pack of chicken bought from butchers)

Whole Legs still in freezer...

20/05/07 - Legs used in Yoghurty Chicken Part Deux!

The Adventures are now over and body parts used! Reckon got 10 meals out of it so pretty good going! Wish had the chance to make the stock for yummy soup but a girl can't have everything!! Have discovered new dishes along the way and has been good fun!

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Jelly Cheesecake

Prep time 20 mins + chilling

9 plain digestive biscuits
30g butter
1 sachet quick-gel (choose colour according to fruit)
1 tub mascarpone
1 tin of: mandarin segments / pear halves / peach slices (choice is yours!)

1) Place the biscuits in a food processor and blitz until fine crumbs or place in a large sealable food bag and bash with a rolling pin

2) In a saucepan melt the butter, turn off the heat and add the biscuit crumbs, stir well, now transfer to a loose bottomed sandwich tin and press down to make a smooth layer, allow to cool and chill for 20 minutes

3) Remove from the fridge and cover the base with the mascarpone to make a smooth layer

4) Slice your fruit of choice thinly and make a pretty layer over the mascarpone

5) Make the quick-gel up as per the instructions, pour over the top carefully until covered, allow to set and chill for a couple of hours before serving

In the summer, using fresh strawberries is lovely

This dish is a surefire winner and so easy to make!

Monday, 2 April 2007

Foolproof Choc Coconut cake

Use either 7" or 8" sandwich tin


2/3 large free range eggs - should weigh around 205g, use this as your base figure
same weight in butter/ stork marg
same in caster sugar or golden caster sugar
same weight in sr flour
about 4 heaped tbsp desicated coconut
1.5 tbsp cocoa powder

pre-heat oven to 180o

1) cream marg with the sugar till fluffy
2) add the flour slowly until all mixed
3) beat in the eggs until all creamy
4) add the cocoa and coconut, mix and pour into two lined sandwich pansbake for about 20-25 mins until it bounces back and a cocktail stick comes out clear, leave to stand then turn onto wire racks when cool,
5) sandwich together with lots of strawberry, raspberry jam or blackcurrant jam goes wonderfully.

for topping, either dust with icing sugar or make a quantity of glace icing, about 6 tbsp icing sugar mixed with a little boiling water until smooth and pourable, (mixed with a pinch of cocoa powder for colour if wanted) spread quickly over the cake and sprinkle over more desicated coconut as required, place half a glace cherry in the middle or you could cover with fondant icing but I find it too fiddly!

Is lovely with a mug of tea the following day!

This also doubles up well, an average springform tin you are looking at respective measurements of 390g. Just lower temperature by 15-20 degrees (depends on how hot your oven is) and cook for about an hour nd 10 minutes or until it passes the skewer test.

Tuna & Potato Croquettes

they are very messy but very easy, just omit the tuna/ pepper for plain ones

1 quantity of mashed potato - do not add milk or butter as will be to mushy!
small bowl of breadcrumbs, (leave them on the counter to dry out a little first)
1 egg beaten,
small bowl plain flour
tin tuna drained and flaked
1/2 red pepper chopped finely chopped
2 spring onions, finely diced

1) Boil potatoes until soft, for the last 2 mins of cooking add the piece of red pepper to soften, remove on draining and dice finely, drain potatoes return the potato to the pan and mash well, season to taste, add the chopped pepper, spring onion, tuna and mix very well

2) Now for the messy part! dust your hands with flour and take a small wedge of the potato mix, (roughly a heaped tbsp) roll into a croquette kinda shape and dip in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrums to coat thoroughly, carefully place on a foil lined baking tray. repeat as above for the remaining mix and chill for 30 mins to firm up.

3) Heat about 1 inch of hot oil in a wok/ saucepan, cook the croquettes for 2-3 mins in batches and keep warm in the oven.

They do freeze well but need to be carefully defrosted as had a few mixed results!have oven baked them as well but they stuck to the tray far to easily unfortunately :(
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