Thursday, 28 April 2011

Quesadilla & Salsa

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These quesadilla are a firm favourite in our house and are really easy to make. Great to enjoy with friends but also great the next day for lunch.

You will need:
  • 8 small corn tortillas
  • Soured Cream
  • Cheddar cheese
  • 230g black beans (I used canned and then drain them)
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • bunch of coriander (leaves and stalks) chopped
  • 1 & 1/2 limes
  • 1/2 small red onion thinly sliced
  • 1/2 tbsp white wine vinegar
  • 3 spring onions
  • 4/5 sweet medium tomatoes
  • 1 garlic clove
  • salt
  • 2 ripe avocados diced
First you make the black bean paste. place the drained black beans, ground coriander, ground cumin, cayenne pepper, half of the chopped coriander, juice of 1 lime and 1/4 tsp salt in a food processor and pulse quickly until you have a rough paste.

To make the salsa soak the red onion in the vinegar an a bowl for a few minutes and then add the spring onions, chopped tomatoes, crushed garlic clove, the rest of the chopped coriander, juice of 1/2 a lime, 3/4 tsp salt and diced avocados. Mix well.

Now to put it all together. Take a tortilla and spread it with the black bean paste leaving about 2cm clear all round the edge. Over one half, spread a tablespoon of the soured cream, a tablespoon of salsa and a sprinkle of the cheese. Now fold the tortilla in half.

Heat a griddle pan till its really hot and then gently place the quesadillas one or two at a time and cook for 2-3 minutes on each side. The filling should be warm and the tortilla nicely charred. Serve with the left over salsa.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

current crushes

Pin It May is a tricky one for me, 2 best friend's birthdays & a mini holiday = the need to be careful with how much I spend on other things. The problem? This makes me crush over new things even more because I know I have to wait an extra month for them. Heres a few

I have been in love with these jars and straws from shutterbean for a long time now you can find them here and here
I have also discovered a new love for midi skirts and dresses after buying a few recently. They are so easy to wear and are perfect cover up for those warm but not hot days. This one is from here but how about this one
I recently bought Boo Davis' Dare To Be Square book and am desperate to get going on this design. You can get the book here
I am slowly getting getting our new home together, one of the things I am still lacking is lampshades. I absolutely love this one from here

garlic love

Pin It Oh dear, what a bad blogger I am. The last week was a super busy one with a weekend trip to Bristol for the hubby's 3 man show and the hot weather meant that I didn't spend much of my spare time at home.

I rustled up this quick dinner tonight, it is a pretty rich treat so if you would prefer it with a little less oomph perhaps serve with regular pasta rather than gnocci.

Serves 2
You will need:

  • A pack of gnocchi, (I recommend Jamie Oliver's fresh gnocchi)
  • An inch square piece of smoked pancetta finely chopped (you could just use 2/3 slices of sliced pancetta and finely slice
  • 6/7 slices of hungarian spicy sausage or chorizo, finely sliced
  • 5 or so cloves of garlic (I am a huge garlic fiend so if you're not as big a fan, use less)
  • 150ml or so of creme fraiche
  • Parmesan for grating

Right, heat you frying pan on a medium heat with a little oil. When ready add your pancetta and sausage and cook for a few minutes. The sausage should release a lovely orange oil. Peel and crush your garlic and add to the frying pan. Cook for 5 minutes or so, be careful not to burn it. Turn the heat down a little and add your creme fraiche. Give it all a good stir, taste and then season. Leave on the low heat.

Get a saucepan of salted water on the boil and add your gnocchi. The one I use only takes 2 minutes to cook. Drain and then add to your frying pan of saucy goodness. Give it all a good stir and serve. Grate some parmesan on top.

Easy peasy.... one work of advice, probably best not to eat before a date.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Potato Tart Tartin

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I received Ottolenghi's Plenty cookbook as a wedding present and I absolutely love it! I am in need of his other cookbook. (Nudge Nudge Hint Hint husband) and I am yet to go to his restaurant in London but I am sure of making that happen the next time I am down there.
So, this recipe is one of my favourites from his book, its best served warm but it also lovely the next day for lunch. I can imagine it going down very well at a picnic also.
You will need
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 500g baby potatoes, skin on
  • 1 large onion
  • 40g sugar
  • 10g butter
  • hand full of sundried tomatoes chopped
  • puff pastry rolled thinly
  • salt and black pepper
First of all put your potatoes in a pan of salted boiling water and cook for 25 minutes. Drain and let them cool then cut off a little bit off the top and bottom of each potato and then cut into 2cm thick disks. If you have really small potatoes then just cut them in half.
Thinly slice your onion and then saute with the oil and some salt till golden brown.

Now brush a 22cm cake tine with oil (I use a sprung cake tin) and line the bottom with a circle of baking parchment. In a small pan cook the butter and sugar on a high heat, make sure you are stirring constantly with a wooden spoon so you get a semi dark caramel. Pour the caramel carefully into the cake tin.

Pre-heat your oven to 200C and then arrange your potatoes ontop of the caramel, work from the outside in and then push the sun-dried tomato and onion in-between the gaps. At this point you can place slices of hard goats cheese ontop.

Sprinkle some salt and pepper on top and then cut a disk of puff pastry about 3cm larger than your cake tin. Lay the pastry on top and then tuck it under the potatoes.

Bake the tart for 25 minutes and then reduce the temp to 180C and cook for a further 15 minutes. The pastry should be thoroughly cooked. Remove from the oven and let it sit for 2 minutes. Undo the spring from your tin and take off. Place an inverted place ontop of the pastry. Hold it firmly with a tea towel and then carefully but quickly turn them over and lift the tin off. You can serve this hot or cold. Its lovely with just a fresh salad or as a starter.
footnote: I have always found it a real shame to waste the left over pastry so recently I started making these little 'biscuits' Its so quick and easy and you can pop them in with the tart and just cook for 20 minutes or so.
I used
  • A rectangle of puff pastry
  • Finely chopped sun dried tomatoes
  • Grated parmesan.
Spread the sun dried tomatoes and parmesan onto the pastry and then roll from both sides till they meet in the middle. Cut into 3cm pieces. Place on a baking tray with greaseproof paper on and squash lightly onto the sheet.
Bake in the oven for around 20 minutes and then place on a wire rack to cool. You can do many variations sweet or savory. The next time I am going to have a go with ground almonds and a little honey.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

spring = new clothes

Pin It As soon as the sun comes out it does lovely things to people. It reminds us of how great life really can be. It makes even the most boring task that little bit more enjoyable and, of coarse it means that we can finally start dragging out our lovely summer dresses and sandals as well as buy lots of new ones too.

Right now I am loving the midi length dresses, I found 2 new beauties from Primark of all places...(I know shock horror) plus a cute blue suedette fringe bag.
I also dug out my lovely office sandals. I have wanted them for what feels like eternity but could never justify the £45. Finally this winter they went on sale and I managed to snap them up for a bargain price of £25!

Sadly the lovely weather we have been experiencing has gone back in to hiding but it was a lovely taste of spring and summer. I can't wait for the real deal. As all the locals say, Cambridge is lovely in the summer. With all the green space, the river, punting it really is heavenly and it makes you appreciate this city a lot more. Hopefully we will manage a few trips out of the country again this year with Berlin, Florence, Milan & Barcelona on the list. Has anyone been to any of these? Any recommendations?

Also, how could I forget. I have completely and utterly fallen in love with this beauty from Zara. I want need it in my life!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

making home

Pin It Tim (my husband) and I moved house 2 weeks ago. We lived in a really tiny 1 bedroom apartment for 2 and half years which we loved so much but outgrew in the 1st year. We spent the rest of our time there slowly looking for a new place to live. Because there was no rush for us we really took our time finding the right sort of place also the rental market in Cambridge is crazy so there were a few places that we missed out on too. It's such a nice relief to know the wait paid off and hopefully our next move will be when we bite the bullet and buy somewhere. I know that we will always look back at our old place with a lot of love but it is so great having all this extra space. I plan on doing a little post at some point of our old home as I photographed it all before we moved so we can show the grandkids in years to come.

I thought it would be a nice idea to use this post as a little tour of my favourite bits of our new apartment with little stories of how they came in to our lives.

My husband (Mr Penfold) 's painting, Robin Day chairs, original 1950's Ercol table that we bought for a bit of a bargain and just finished restoring.
Painting by Mike Brick - a very generous wedding gift. Habitat lamp shade
Our wedding invite designed by Stephen Chambers and screenprinted by me and the mr
Our newest addition found this weekend. Wood and leather bench intended for reading
A proof of a Stephen Chambers screenprint that didn't get used placed under the glass on our coffee table. Cut glass dishes found in charity shops.
Bust of a child, this belonged to my dad, he got it from his university in Sarajevo, on his last visit he brought it back for me. 'Shell Mary' a little bit of kitsch bought on our honeymoon in Croatia.

I planned on including the kitchen too but I just haven't quite got that right yet. I seem to have rushed to get the living room/dining room sorted which has put the other rooms on a bit of a back burner. We also have a LOT of prints that we acquire from work that are desperate to be framed. I hope I will get round to that soon.

Monday, 11 April 2011

Sunday Roast for 2

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I love a traditional English roast dinner on a Sunday but when you're cooking for 2 its not always viable to buy a joint of meat. This way I buy a nice piece of steak and griddle in the last 15 minutes.
You will need
  • 3 medium sized potatoes peeled and cut into halves
  • 2 carrots cut into fingers
  • 1 large parsnip cut into fingers
  • 3 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • Large piece of good quality of steak, cut in half
Yorkshire puddings
  • 75g plain flour
  • 1 egg
  • 3fl oz (75ml)milk
  • 2 fl oz (55ml) water
  • salt & pepper
  • olive oil
First thing, pre-heat your oven to 200C and pour some olive oil between two small baking trays and place in the top of the oven. Whilst they are heating up get a pan of salted water on the boil and add the potatoes. Boil for 5 minutes and then pour into a colander and leave them to sit for a few minutes. Now give the colander a good shake so you ruffle up the edges of the potato, this will help you get nice crispy bits.

Remove the two baking trays from the oven and carefully pour the potatoes in one. Move them around the pan until they are covered in the hot oil, return to oven. Now pour your carrots and parsnip in the 2nd tray grind some salt and pepper over them and then squeeze some honey over, give them a good mix around in the tray and return to the oven too.

After 20 minutes move both trays to the middle shelf and then get a muffin tray out. Place roughtly 1/2 tsp of oil in 6 of the holes and place in the top of the oven to heat up. Whilst that is heating sift your flour into a bowl then make a crater in the middle. Crack your egg in the middle and then slowly begin to whisk.

Add the milk and water, salt & pepper and whisk till it is all incorporated and there aren't any lumps. Remove the muffin tray from the oven and quickly pour the mixture between the 6 holes and return to the top shelf. Give the carrots and parsnips a mix around. Add the cloves of garlic to the potatoes and give  them a mix around.
Take your steak out of the fridge and season with salt and pepper and a little bit of olive oil. Rub it in to the meat and leave to rest for 10minutes. After 10 minutes place your griddle pan on the hob and put it on the highest heat. Once it is sizzling place your steaks on and cook for a few minutes on each side, timings will vary depending on thickness and how you like your steak cooked.

Once cooked place on a warmed plate to rest for 5 minutes. Whilst the meat is resting plate up the yorkshire puddings, potatoes, carrots & parsnips. The yorkshire puddings should be risen and crispy around the edges. Add your meat and enjoy!

I think a hello is in order.

Pin It So after a lot of should I shouldn't I, I decided to bite the bullet and go for writing my own blog. I doubt anybody will read but i have felt like I have needed somewhere to put all my thoughts, ideas, recipes and whatnot. I have filled up countless notebooks and I see this as my way of saving the environment. ahem. and money as my expensive taste in notebooks has got a little bit out of control.
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