Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Chorizo & Butternut Squash Risotto

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The first time I cooked risotto was for some friends who had just had a baby. She is vegetarian so I decided to cook something a little different from the usual veggie meal route. I came across a recipe for a mushroom and leek risotto which received great feedback and therefor inspired me to cook risotto non-stop for about a month. I was always so scared of cooking risotto as I always heard these horror stories from everyone about how tricky it was but as long as you prepare in advance it should all go smoothly.

This combination of chorizo & butternut squash is my favourite combination, this time I mixed it up a little by using a hungarian sausage instead of chorizo as it was what I had in my fridge. I can imagine it working well with most cured sausages so its worth experimenting. This recipe can easily be doubled, tripled etc.

Serves 2
You will need-

  • 1/2 cup of diced chorizo sausage or similar cured sausage
  • 110g risotto rice
  • 1 + 1/2 to 2 cups diced butternut squash
  • 450ml hot vegetable stock
  • 1/2 cup peas (optional)
  • 1/2 cup of grated parmesan cheese

Firstly add your squash to the pan of stock on a medium high heat. You want it to cook for around 10-15 minutes. Whilst that is cooking get your biggest saucepan on a medium high heat and then add your chorizo. Because of the oil content of the sausage you don't need to add any more oil. Cook the chorizo for around 5 minutes. You want it to go a little crispy round the edges but don't let it burn. Next, using a slotted spoon remove the chorizo and place in a bowl. Be sure to keep all of that oil goodness behind in the pan.

Now add your rice to the pan and cook for a minute. Be sure to coat the rice in all that oily chorizo goodness. Whilst that is cooking remove the butternut squash with a slotted spoon and place in a separate bowl. You want to add a ladle-full of stock at a time. 

Stir often and add another ladle-full once the last lot of stock has been absorbed. Once you get close to the last of your stock taste a bit of rice to check how cooked it is. I like it with a bit of bite to it. Keep going till the rice is at the cooked 'stage' you like. Be sure to not let the risotto dry up to much, you don't want it to become a sold lump.

Now all there is left to do is add the chorizo and squash to the risotto and mix well. Serve in bowls and sprinkle with pepper and parmesan.

Enjoy x

Italian Sausage Stew with Smashed New Potatoes

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This is one of my favourite comfort foods and contains my beloved garlic. Make sure you use some good quality sausages, preferably Toulouse if you can find them. Its great as a mid week meal but also great instead of a sunday roast. You can very easily double/triple/quadruple this recipe to feed more mouths.

Serves 2

You will need-

  • 4 Toulouse Sausages or some other good quality sausages
  • 1/2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 carrot chopped finely
  • 1 stick celery chopped finely - you can use any vegetables that stew well and you have to hand.
  • 1 onion or 3 shallots chopped finely
  • 1 rosemary sprig chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves roughly chopped (remember I'm a garlic fiend so use less if you're not into it)
  • 85g dried green or red lentils rinsed
  • 200g can of chopped tomatoes
  • 350ml of veg stock
  • Around 10 baby new potatoes
  • Butter

Get your casserole dish on the hob on a medium heat and heat your oil. Cook your sausages until they are brown. Remove them and then add your chopped vegetables and cook for 10 minutes or so. Now add your garlic and rosemary cook for another minute.

Add your tomatoes, lentils and stock and then return the sausages. Bring the whole thing to a boil. Now cover and simmer the whole lot for 10- 15 minutes until your lentils are cooked.

Meanwhile, get your potatoes in a pan of boiling salted water and cook for around 20minutes or until cooked. Drain and mash lightly with some butter and salt.

Season your stew to taste and serve.

Enjoy x

Berlin, I Love You

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So, as you may have seen last week me, my husband and our friend Alex headed off to Berlin. The main aim of the trip was to paint as much as we could and that we did. So much so that I didn't end up getting to see as much of the city as I had hoped, but from what I saw I loved. We are already planning our return. The city is really chilled out and everyone is so nice. Random people that watched us paint gave us free drinks, pizza and an invite to go for tea round their house.

I have to say all the food I ate was fantastic, from Currywurst to Falafel and Tom Kha to a German BBQ on the balcony and best of all... it was all so cheap! The danger being, if I lived there, I would end up eating out every night.

So we hooked up with Nerd from Low Bros and painted 2 big walls. It was so fun to get fully involved in the productions and I can't wait to get painting again next week when Tim and I head to Newcastle.

Brunch on arrival

lots of food

..and drink

and then the painting began



and some more.

We also saw some amazing murals by Blu, Os Gemos and more

We finished the trip with some Currywurst.

Dotted all around Berlin are some old photo booths. I couldn't resist.

Sorry for the image heavy post but I took so many it was hard to whittle them down.

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

A Little Trip

Pin It Think of me tomorrow morning around 4am when I will be getting up and setting off to the airport. We are off on a short break to Berlin to have an explore, eat lots and paint some walls too.

I also have a bunch of recipes that I am planning to blog when I get back, or, if I am super organised tonight.

On another note, we went off to watch the Trinity College May Ball fireworks last night. It has become a bit of a tradition for us although this year we watched them from a bridge rather than sitting on a punt. Even though it rained for some of it I really enjoyed standing there with my hot chocolate oohing and aaahing.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Espresso Coffee Cupcakes

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A few things occurred tonight. Firstly my husband has been out all night working and secondly I realised that I don't have many sweet things on this blog. Boredom always leads me to the kitchen, to either raid the fridge or to rustle something up. I was really craving me some cupcakes tonight so after a quick mental round up in my head I realised that I had all the ingredients I needed to make these beauties. I prefer to use proper espresso but you could use a cafetiere or instant.

You will need-

For the cake- 
  • 120g plain flour
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 40g butter at room temperature
  • 50ml espresso
  • 70ml milk
  • 1 egg
For the icing-
  • 125g butter at room temperature
  • 220g icing sugar
  • 50ml espresso
So, preheat your oven to 180C and then mix together your flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix using an electric whisk or your fingers mix the butter into the dry ingredients. When they have all combined nicely then slowly start to add the coffee, milk and finally the egg.

Whisk for a few minutes until you get a nice smooth batter. Spoon the batter into your cases and then bake in the oven for around 20 minutes.

They should be a nice golden colour when they are done and a skewer should come out clean when poked into the centres. Leave them to cool completely on a wire rack.

Whilst the cupcakes are cooling you need to make the icing. Whisk the butter and the icing sugar together till you get a nice smooth consistency. Then slowly start to add the coffee and whisk until you have a lovely fluffy icing. Pipe onto you cupcakes and decorate with sprinkles or whatever else takes your fancy. Chocolate covered coffee beans would be pretty perfect!

Enjoy x

Monday, 13 June 2011

Moutabal -Aubergine Dip

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A year or so ago a Lebanese restaurant opened quite close to our house offering the best meze for very cheap. It was the first time I discovered Moutabal and ever since I have been so hooked! It is made up of very few ingredients and is dare I say it, in my opinion, better than hummus. It is smoky, garlicy perfection.

You will need-

  • 1 Large Aubergine
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, crushed
  • 4 tbsp tahini
  • 4 tbsp lemon juice
  • salt
  • olive oil
  • parsley
Firstly, pre-heat your oven to 180C and then place the whole aubergine in the oven until cooked through. It should feel nice and squidgy. Ideally, if you have gas stove you should cook it over that so you get a lovely blackened skin. This will give you the smokiness. If not, once it has come out of the oven stick it under the grill and turn often to get a similar effect.



 Next, run the aubergine under a cold tap and then peel the skin off the aubergine.

In a bowl, mash the aubergine and then add the garlic, salt, tahini, lemon juice and a drizzle of olive oil and mix well. Sprinkle with some freshly parsley and serve with flat breads.

Spinach Pita, another Bosnian Recipe

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Pita is the ultimate Bosnian food. Every mother, wife, grandmother, aunt and so on makes pita regularly. It is sort of the standard fare for the week. This recipe is passed on to me from my mum and its her adaptation pita. There are so many things you can do with it but the main 4 are cheese (sirnica), spinach (zeljanica), potato (krompirusa) & meat (burek). I plan on sharing all these recipes at some point but the start here is the spinach (with cheese) pita recipe.

You will need-
  • A pack of fresh filo -don't buy frozen as it breaks and is a nightmare to work with.
  • 3 eggs
  • 600g cottage cheese
  • 300ml creme fraiche
  • 250g frozen spinach - defrosted and drained
  • olive oil
Pre-heat your oven to around 180C then brush some olive oil in your baking trays. Then get your filo pastry out. If they are big sheets cut them in half.

Whisk your eggs and then add the creme fraiche and stir.

Now add the cottage cheese and stir again.

Place your spinach in a food processor and give it a whizz for a few seconds. You want pieces of spinach rather than just a puree.

Mix the spinach in with the egg and cheese mixture. Now its time to start making the pita. You need a tablespoon of mixture for each piece of filo. Spread it out evenly.

Now comes to rolling. Fold over the top and bottom of the filo so they nearly meet in the middle.

Now very loosely roll the filo up from one end and place in your baking tray.

Repeat until you have used up all of your filo/mixture. Then brush the pita lightly with olive oil or melted  butter.

Cook for around 20-25 minutes until nice and golden brown and puffed up. 

 Leave to cool for a couple of minutes and then serve alone or with salad and soured cream or creme fraiche. Place left overs in the fridge and eat as a packed lunch or snack either hot or cold.

Photographs courtesy of Imogen Freeland

Baked Breaded Goats Cheese

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I had such a busy week last week which has resulted in being ill and also having a very bare fridge. The husband is coming to the rescue by going to the supermarket after work with a very specific shopping list that has just been emailed to him. But in the mean time I needed something for lunch. After a quick look around said bare fridge and cupboards I decided on some baked breaded goats cheese. If I had been planning this I would have served it with some salad and onion marmalade or cranberry sauce. It would make a great starter for a meal or just a super tasty snack. I would suggest 1 whole goats cheese per person, depending on the side of the cheese.

You will need-
  • A round of goats cheese, a soft variety
  • Olive Oil
  • Rosemary
  • Salt & Pepper
  • Bread Crumbs

So first of all, cut your goats cheese in half, (I cut mine into 3 which resulted in a lot of the cheese running out during cooking) So I recommend half as the rind will keep the insides in place. Next place on a plate or in a bowl and pour over a generous glug of olive oil and then sprinkle some freshly chopped rosemary over. Roll the cheese about in the oil and rosemary till it is well coated then place some clingfilm over and pop in the fridge for an hour or so to marinade.

Just before the time is up preheat your over to around 180C and then in a separate bowl add you breadcrumbs, a pinch of salt, a bigger pinch of pepper and some more rosemary. Bring the cheese out of the fridge, give it another roll in the oil making sure you cover the sides then let the excess oil drip off before placing it in the breadcrumbs. Cover very generously with the crumbs and then place on a baking sheet, preferably with greaceproof paper on. Once you had coated all your pieces in place in the oven for around 5-10 minutes. 

Keep an eye on them, they're ready when the breadcrumbs are brown and the cheese feels soft to the touch.

Check out that ooze! 

Enjoy x

Sunday, 5 June 2011

Tulumba / Tumumbe recipe

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From as long as I can remember my grandma used to make these for me. After we moved to England I used to crave them so much. So everytime I would go back to visit my grandparents my only request would be for my grandma to make tulumbe for me. They are so good. Crispy, oozy, sticky, sweet and so moorish! My aunty recently sent me the recipe along with the contraption you need to make them, Its like a metal piping tube which I am sure you can get quite easily. Since I received it I have been desperate to get making. Knowing how good they are I knew I could only make them if I had a home for the majority of them to go, I can't trust myself with a box full of these! So when the opportunity arose to cook for the charity event I jumped at it. My mum has been warning me all week about these being difficult to make and I was a little worried but I have to say, they took some time to make but all in all, it went really well and I can't wait to make them again! So, in memory of my Baka (grandma) Josefa, here is her recipe.

You will need-

  • 200ml water
  • 200ml milk
  • 100 ml sunflower oil
  • 250g tip 500 flour
  • 5 eggs
  • 800g sugar
  • 1/2 liter water
  • 1/2 liter sunflower oil (for frying)

To start, put the water, milk and oil in a saucepan and bring to a gentle boil then add the flour and mix till you have a lovely smooth dough. Remove from the heat and then 1 by 1 mix the eggs into the mixture. Make sure each egg is fully mixed in before you crack the next one it. This is pretty labour intensive on the arms so ask your husband/boyfriend/friend to help if you can. Mine was quite conveniently out for the day so I gave my bingo wings a good work out. When all your eggs and mixed in give the dough one more good stir. You should have a lovely smooth dough. Next transfer the mixture to a bowl and pop it in the fridge for at least an hour. I left mine in for around 2/3 hours.

Around 30 minutes before your dough is ready combine the sugar and water in a large saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer for about 30 minutes till you have a light brown runny syrup. When ready, remove from the heat and leave to cool. Once cooled, place in a big plastic box and pop to one side. 

Now you are ready to start making the tulumbe. Pour the oil in a saucepan on a medium high heat. You can test for readiness but dropping a little bit of the dough into the oil. It should bubble and turn brown in a minute or so. Start filling your piping tube, you want one of the star shaped holes fitted on it.

Carefully squeeze 2 inch or so 'sausages' of the dough into the oil and cut the end with a knife. I can't stress how careful you need to be here, you don't want the oil splashing on you. They pop up and float after 30 seconds or so. Use a slotted spoon to turn them over half way through cooking. When they are lovely and brown remove with your slotted spoon and place on a kitchen paper or towel to drain the oil off and then pop into the syrup. Push them around the syrup so they get covered nicely then continue till you have use all your dough up. They should be lovely and light and crispy. They are best if you leave them at least overnight so make the day before if not more. They keep for around a week if kept somewhere cool and in an airtight box.

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