Saturday, 26 April 2014

Smoked Aubergine Puree AKA Baba Ganoush - for Random Recipes & Alphabake A

So this months Random Recipe and Alphabake entry was planned earlier in the week, in good time for the deadline - which is er today.. however I had a bit of a flare and spent two days in a zombie state...these new painkillers sure are strong but if they sort out my hip it will be worth it! It was already fun climbing stairs with a pair of dodgy knees but throwing in the hip is just no fun! I think this week I survived mostly on tea and ready to eat cocktail sausages which are kept in the drinks fridge (my weakness!). 

Fortunately this morning with the rain brought a brighter day after and I actually made it out of the house, albeit with my boyfriend driving and it was only to the garden centre but it was still nice to see daylight! Plus it has a great food hall and I picked up something for my dad's birthday which I better not write here just incase he reads this...

So enough of me rambling - I normally ask my boyfriend to choose at random but he was out and being unable to bend at the time I reduced my selection to the shelf at arm level and methodically counted to ten whilst moving my arm back and forth - the neighbours already know I am a bit special so hopefully just carried on by... the book turned out to be 'Just like mother used to make' which my mum actually did buy for me a few years back. Its full of homely recipes but seems to solely be used for drop scones so it was about time a new recipe was tried from its floury pages! I then as per the chosen letter of A for this months theme, then closed my eyes and moved my finger up and down the tiny A section for a further 10 seconds and out came Baba Ganoush - which is technically B but its made with aubergines and listed under A so it became the chosen recipe! For some reason I have always loved the name Baba Ganoush, it sounds so exotic like some foreign dancer or stage presence!

The recipe itself is a doddle to make, apart from that I have the slowest oven in the world so took double the time stated but it was delicious. B had never eaten it before and in all honesty I wasn't sure if I had but I love anything aubergine'y so really it couldn't be bad... its best eaten with loved ones, the garlic breath is entirely worth it!

I scaled the original recipe down slightly - I always find aubergines vary so much in size - my dad actually picked it up for me as he lives near lots of great little ethnic grocers and was coming around for lunch - and assumed mine was a medium to large sized one and I have scaled the recipe accordingly. I also subbed the extra virgin olive oil for extra virgin rapeseed oil, mainly as the EVOO I have is very tasty but also very peppery and I wanted to taste the aubergine and the latter oil is nice and buttery tasting....mmm butter! And the lemon juice was from a bottle shh!

Also whilst it says to use a food processor, I am lacking this one essential piece of technology and used the liquidiser which worked a treat - if using a food processor don't worry about chopping things up before hand. I finished it off with a little smoked paprika as it made the smoosh a bit more attractive and a little more smokier too!

Makes one bowl of lovely dip/ puree/ smoosh


1 med/ large aubergine
1 clove garlic
2 tsp tahini
1 tbsp extra virgin rapeseed oil
1/4 tsp salt (I used himalayan)
few twists black pepper
2 tsp lemon juice
Smoked paprika to garnish if desired

If you are lucky enough to have a gas hob, sear the aubergine all over until skin is wrinkled. If like me you don't, place the whole aubergine in the oven, on its highest setting until the skin has wrinkled. The book claimed 20 minutes. Mine was more 45 minutes.. and it burst, guessing that was a good sign it was ready.. place in a bowl and cover, leave to cool.

Once cooled, remove the skin and discard the stalk, chop roughly and place in the blender with everything else. Blitz to form a smooth puree. Taste and adjust accordingly - I added a little bit more lemon and salt to mine to taste. It says to leave it 30 minutes to thicken but my cooked aubergine had been left whilst out for a good few hours and I served it up after about 5 minutes and was perfect for us! 

Spoon the mixture into a serving bowl and sprinkle over a little smoked paprika if desired.  

I served ours with a little fridge raid feast - toasted pitta breads, olives, rosebud beetroots and carrot sticks. B loved it, he did comment that this meal would be something he would never had considered before meeting me. I guess thats a good compliment! It was clean plates all round after!

Overall verdict? A resounding yes to enjoying it now and yes to having it again! I loved its silky smooth texture and little hum of lemon and garlic, definitely a keeper. 

Many thanks to this months hosts for the inspiration to give some love back to the cookbooks: 

Dom at Belleau Kitchen 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

Sticky Ginger and Almond Rice Pudding (Dairy and Gluten free)

Allergy friendly cooking with Eating Smart Magazine, from Woman and Home 

Over the past few years I’ve not always been that well but I’ve somehow battled through and as I’ve spoken about before, I think diet plays a huge part  in healing and recovery but when food can be a cause of illness it can be very hard to get back on track. It can be also quite overwhelming to work out what is good to eat – and can be a constant source of anxiety... overall my insides are better behaved than ever before nowadays just by relaxing about food..

The recent diagnosis of Fibromyalgia has knocked me a bit, though not entirely unexpected. Some days I lack the energy to even go down stairs and get something to eat but I’ve been reading up on gluten free diets easing the symptoms and starting to explore that area further. .Whilst I have been tested for Coeliac disease and it was negative, if it relieves symptoms and allows to claim some life back its worth a shot!

Overall its still very much work in progress though and as I love food so much on the good days, its fun to discover new food and drink, and Woman & Home very kindly sent me a box full of free-from goodies to experiment with and a copy of their fabulous Eating Smart magazine to give some inspiration, it is jam packed full of delicious ideas and recipes, including useful product guides depending on your dietary needs.

With dairy, I seem fairly tolerant I just don’t over do it but my lovely auntie can’t have milk anymore, even things like milky rice pudding can make her poorly and I recently stayed with her for a few days and I decided to try and recreate a few favourites dairy free and also discover some new delights along the way! This pudding I made happened to be both dairy and gluten free so suitable for lots of people following special diets.

I have tried a few different dairy free milks with mixed results, I don’t mind soya in things, I rather like hazelnut milk and I had not used Almond milk before this but it screamed pudding to me and I set about recreating a rice pudding to remember! Keeping on the almond theme I chose flaked almonds to create a crunchy topping and sweet fragrant stem ginger to give it a very delicious twist! I think I actually prefer this now over regular rice pudding and my auntie loved it! Which was of course the main reason I made it, fortunately everyone else liked it too and B had seconds. And I may have too….

Sticky Ginger and Almond Rice Pudding

90g pudding rice
1 litre unsweetened Almond milk
60g sugar
2 tsp stem ginger syrup (from the jar)

30g flaked almonds
 2 balls stem ginger finely chopped
1 + 1 heaped tsp dairy free margarine/ butter

NB: We had the oven on high cooking dinner but you can cook just a bit longer on the same temperature if you prefer. All ovens vary too so judge accordingly!

Serves 4 generously

Preheat oven to 185o

Grease a suitable baking dish with 1 tsp of the dairy free margarine. Ideally the dish 2-3 inches deep.

Place the rice, sugar, milk and syrup in the dish and bake for an hour. Reduce the temperature to 140o and cook for a further 1 ½ hours or until it has developed a golden skin and most of the milk has been absorbed and the rice is fluffy.

Meanwhile toast the almonds lightly in a dry heavy frying pan, add the 1 heaped tsp of margarine and the ginger pieces, fry for a further minute then reserve to one side, occasionally stirring to break up the mixture, it should be light and slightly crispy. 

About 10 minutes before serving, sprinkle over the top of the rice pudding and cook for a further 5-10 minutes, allowing the ginger to melt slightly into the mixture.

Remove from the oven and allow to sit for 5 minutes before serving into bowls, making sure the crunchy topping remains on top! It will be very hot to be careful!

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!

Disclaimer: This post was in collaboration with Eating Smart Magazine from Woman and Home, recipe and images remains the property of Anne's Kitchen. I received products for review and expenses to cover my time and ingredients

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Chinese Leftover Roast Pork Noodles

Firstly sorry I've not been around much this past week, I've been struggling the past few weeks with a dodgy hip among other things so I've not been cooking very much and making very good friends with the sofa! We also went away for Easter for a few days by the sea to relax, which was well needed! I hobbled around as best as I could for brief spells and we had a nice lunch out over looking the sea plus the odd ice-cream! The journey back was awful, the motorway was solid so we did a magical mystery tour of A roads and what seemed like farm tracks, including through the spectacular Cheddar Gorge! I am back home now but will off a few more weeks so I apologise now if I get a little ranty on my twitter feed from being stuck indoors!

Going back to the most important thing - food! We love noodles it is no lie. Whenever I ask B what he wants to eat it’s nearly always Noodles! I play around with my recipe as to what needs using, slowly perfecting it and this was pretty darn good! When I served it up it looked a bit small but I think it was my new dishes being quite big as I was full up afterwards! Plus we did have a plateful of freshly cooked prawn crackers alongside! I am so pleased we bought them on our last jaunt into China Town!

I made this back in February I think, (I've started dating things in my notebook now as memory fails me some days!) using up some leftover roast pork. There wasn't very much pork leftover after making some other dishes but when mixed up with everything else it was most adequate! I think noodle dishes are great for making something out of not very much! I also garnished it with ribbons of egg to help bulk out the protein and make it look attractive too!

Serves 2


2 nests Fine egg noodles
½ courgette, sliced into half moons
½ red onion, sliced thinly
1 basics vegetable stock cube
75g leftover cooked pork, finely shredded
2 tsp garlic and ginger paste
1tsp Chinese 5 spice
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp sherry/ Shaoxing wine
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
1/2 tsp Black pepper
1 tbsp sunflower oil
3 spring onions, finely sliced
½ tsp sesame seeds
1 egg, beaten

Place the shredded pork, 5 spice, pepper, sherry, soy sauce and sesame oil in a bowl to marinade for a little while before ready to cook. 

Heat a large frying pan, spray a little oil and add the beaten egg, tilt the pan to make a thin layer, cook until browned underneath, flip for 20 seconds and remove to a chopping board. Roll up and slice finely into ribbons and keep warm.

Meanwhile cover the noodles in boiling water, crumble in the stock cube and cook as per packet instructions - normally 3-4 minutes. When cooked, drain and reserve 50ml of the cooking stock.

Add the oil to the pan and cook the onion until softened, add the courgette and fry until golden, add more oil if its burning. Reduce the heat and add the ginger and garlic paste. then add the white part of the spring onion, and fry for a minute or so. Then add the pork and its marinade, then stir through the noodles and the reserved stock and heat through. Season with salt and pepper - I find soya sauce quite salty but B likes more so adjust to your tastes!

Spoon the noodles into your serving bowls, sprinkle over the sesame seeds, egg ribbons and green parts of the spring onion

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Boozy Gooseberry and Currant Pudding Cake

Its been a while since I did a baking post so its high time I made something sweet and baked for you! This cake has since been made again since the original creation - just to double check of course that it was still delicious - fortunately it was! Its a really comforting, homely pudding and served with lashings of custard to complete it! B declared it 10/10 which now leaves my next bake quite scary to compete!

When I think of gooseberries I think of my brother. Growing up there was an assortment of fruit bushes in the garden including a gooseberry bush, and he delighted as a child in throwing the prickly little fruits at my bare legs!! Anyway fortunately the gooseberry in this cake involves a jar of gooseberry jam so its very safe to prepare! My dad bought the jam from a farm shop a while back and I found it hiding in the fridge, not very sure what to do with it as it was a little bit sharp on its own... A week or so beforehand I had made a similar and delicious cake without the jam part which was very tasty and then my brain started scheming and in went the jam.....

The currants were leftover from making hot cross buns - is it me or are they really small? I was honestly surprised upon opening the bag up! I'd never bought them before admittedly and it was faintly amusing to me for a while! Lastly the other key ingredient is sweet wine - I really dislike sweet wine but a friend was throwing it out as she didn't like it either and as I hate waste and thought it could be re-born at a later date....waste not want not.. 

As I was serving this cake in the baking dish, I opted to use my well loved pie dish - and it worked a treat! Its an ancient but still lovely Le Creuset one I got free when taking out a magazine subscription a long, long time ago and washes up a treat! They don't make this model anymore but guessing its still the 24cm size.


60g dried currants
4tbsp sweet wine
2 large eggs - apx 140g
140g caster sugar
140g soft margarine/ butter
100g gooseberry jam
160g self rasising flour
1 tsp baking powder (I used Dr Oetker's sachets - so easy to use!)
1 tbsp demerara sugar

Start by placing the currants and wine in a small bowl to soak - at least 15 minutes. Pre-heat oven to 180o.

Grease the pie dish with a little butter using a bit of kitchen paper

*I use a mixer for baking as my arms protest otherwise - if by hand do the same order*

Cream together the butter and sugar until fully combined and soft. Add the eggs and beat for a few seconds, with the mixer on low gently tip in the flour and baking powder, followed by the jam and soaked currants with any remaining wine until its all combined but don't over beat it! Sprinkle over the demerara sugar - this gives a nice little crunch when baked!

Spoon the mixture into the prepared dish and bake for 55 minutes or until a skewer comes away clean and its all lovely and golden on top.

Allow to cool for 15 minutes before serving with lots of lovely custard!

As my cake used up neglected jam, leftover currants and unwanted wine I've entered this in Elizabeth's No Waste Food Challenge, held this month by Jibber Jabber. I am hosting in July and this is a great way of making sure you don't throw anything away!

Monday, 7 April 2014

Meal Planning Monday 07.04.2014

Well last week flew by like a whirlwind and we mainly stayed on plan the only real change was Friday nights satay sauce becoming soy sauce, in the form of some Filipino soy sauce my neighbour gave me as we had somehow run out of the regular one we buy, its still as nice fortunately! I made a lush and to be blogged soon Gooseberry and currant sponge which B rated 10/10 which leaves a lot to live up on the next bake! One of the other highlights out was this giant bacon cheeseburger:

On Saturday me and a girlfriend went and saw the amazing Gary Barlow in concert!! And as the 02 is overwhelmed by restaurants but none really that great we found via my friends brother and the power of twitter a decent burger place in Clapham - and it was delicious! A little bit rare, seasoned fries and gravy on the side - what's not to like?!

So back to reality with a bump this week - keeping up with the budget theme as our wardrobe has collapsed and we have the mot and service due shortly, it is a good freezer raid!

Monday - B will be having something involving sweet potatoes and chorizo - I've given him instructions as I going to a friends house before a pampered chef party!

Tuesday - It may change..but I have lamb in the freezer and thinking of some sort of curry-  maybe a Lamb and Spinach Bhajee that I made a long, long time ago but it was very tasty! 

Wednesday - Fishcakes with mash and roasted vegetables

Thursday - I am going to something..I can't talk about yet..! B will be having bacon pasta

Friday - I have a chicken carcass in the freezer, thinking of boiling up making a nice soup base for noodles and veggies etc

Weekend - I am thinking risotto followed by arrancini the following night with the leftovers..

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Anne's Kitchen has turned 7...with A Little Foodie round-up!

So March saw a lot of things happen - for a start my blog turned 7! I had in the back of my mind it was somewhere around now but was still slightly surprised to see my first post here was on the 22nd of March 2007! Gosh so much has happened during this time! Where on earth has it gone?! 

Seven years on I am a much better cook for a start and I have met some truly wonderful friends during this time, discovered lots of lovely new foods, drinks and housewares's. Not to mention having some pretty unique opportunities and experiences too along the way! From starting out as just a place for keeping my recipes together as I was struggling with lots and lots of word documents, to actually properly researching and writing out posts, engaging on social media including my twitter feed and facebook pages, its been a ever evolving blog! 

My blog has also changed colour and style several times, the most recent header was thanks to the lovely Jac who writes Tinned Tomatoes, who was fed up with my previous, ancient one and made me a lovely one using a professional photo I had done - believe me I spend most days in Hello Kitty pyjamas with no make-up on but its nice to look good sometimes! I keep looking at going over to self hosting and adjusting the blog name slightly but its work in progress and I will keep you updated!

Life during the past 7 years has been a rollercoaster too, involving many housemoves, lugging boxes of kitchenalia around, not to mention all the cookery books too much to the horror of friends and family who kindly helped! And yes I do need it all. My career and relationships have changed, friends have come and gone, and after battling through ill health and life's other challenges I have somehow muddled it through and I sit here today in amazement over it all! When you hit rock bottom the only way is back up!

What I have learned and accept most is to just breathe, what will be will indeed be and sometimes you just have to evolve too - you can only ever go forward, its impossible to re-live yesterday after all! I have no idea how the next 7 years will pan out, I just hope my health improves and that I will continue to have all my wonderful, lovely family and friends around me because without them, I don't think I would be sitting here now writing about the past 7 years. Thanks guys n gals :)

And so I did promise some food in this rather cathartic post - over the past few months a few items have popped through the door that I've been playing with - first us is these dinky pastry shells from Pidy - I used their spoons to make little canapes filled with a thick spicy Beetroot soup, topped with a teeny drop of clotted cream and sprig of coriander - they were very cute and even B ate several of them, I think I have truly converted him to Beetroot now! The 'Spoonettes' held the soup very well without going soggy and are very appealing to the eye!

In my job I work the odd night shift and eating sensibly during the small hours I find quite hard - I get peckish and I would normally have a banana but I did tested out some some new healthy snacks called 'Go Nuts' from EPJ Health and whilst I didn't care for the cinnamon flavoured ones, I really enjoyed their coconut ones and it really helped give me a 'natural' boost to get through the last few hours of the shift, which are always very busy ! They are made of a fruit and nut mixture, are low GI and well balanced. 

Whilst I make a fairly decent pizza, for convenience we sometimes pick up a ready made pizza -and recently Dr Oetker kindly gave us some vouchers and we discovered their gorgeous Spinaci pizza - its a nice crisp base, topped with Spinach leaves, a tasty tomato and garlic sauce and both edam and gooey mozzarella cheeses - we both loved it and I would definitely buy again! I served it with our favourite rocket, sundried tomato and pine nut salad - delicious!

So overall many thanks to all my fabulous friends, family, readers of my blog and all the companies I've worked with over the past 7 years! Its been great!

Do you have a favourite recipe on my blog? Please let me know - I love to receive your comments!

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