Thursday, 27 October 2011

Up in the Air

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Apologies for the lack of post this week. Its been a bit busy and as you may know I am now in Berlin. We set of early this morning (3am alarm clock) I really love this city and I can't wait to explore some more. Tim's show 'Berlin Bandits' opens on Saturday and I can't wait to see all the work in there. The show is alongside the very talented Billy & LowBros. I will be sure to take photos and share after the opening.

We set off in the dark this morning and flew toward the sunrise. I managed to get some photos of the pink skies which as you can see were pretty breath taking! Soon after arriving we headed down to one of our favourite food spots Ali Baba in Friedrichshain for one of their amazing falafel and halloumi wraps, €3 for a huge wrap that could easily sort you out for lunch and dinner. Can't wait to eat more of those.
Anyway, we need to head back out soon but I thought I would share some of my photos from today.

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Cashew & Raisin Flapjack

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On Sunday morning I got a serious urge to do some baking. After a quick scan around the kitchen I decided on Flapjack, perfect for my 'on the go' breakfasts. I love the combination of sweet & salty so I added extra salt to the top of the flapjack before baking. If you're not that much of a fan then leave it out. I winged this recipe a little as I didn't have quite enough honey or agave so add a little more oats if needed till you get the right consistency; everything should stick together but there shouldn't be any pools of syrup.

Makes 12 bars
You will need-
  • 375g porridge oats
  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 200g demerera sugar
  • approx 150g honey or agave or a mix of both.
  • 50g raisins
  • 25g chopped cashew nuts
  • 1tsp salt
Pre-heat the oven to 180C.

Add the butter, sugar and honey to a large saucepan and heat over a medium heat until the butter has melted and the sugar dissolves. Add the oats, raisins, nuts and salt and mix well until everything is incorporated.

Line a tin with a little oil and greaseproof paper and then spoon the mixture in. Smooth it all down with the back of your spoon and then sprinkle around 1/2 of salt over the top. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes until the flapjack is lightly golden around the edges but still a little soft in the middle.

Leave it to cool slightly in the tin and then turn out onto a wire rack. When completely cool cut into bars. Keep in an airtight container.

Enjoy x

Friday, 21 October 2011

Pear & Pecan Strudel

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I have fancied the idea of making a strudel recently, its another one of those things that brings me back to my childhood and is a lovely combination of autumnal flavours. Mine just happen to be pears and pecans but you could of course do a more traditional apple strudel. Its great served warm from the oven with custard but I also love a thin slice for breakfast. I store it in an airtight contain in the fridge and it keeps for a few days.

Recipe adapted slightly from domestic sluttery

You will need-
  • 1 pack of filo pastry- don't use frozen as it breaks too easily
  • 5-6 pears on the firm side, peeled, cored and cubes
  • Handful of pecan nuts- I smashed them up a little in my pestle and mortar
  • Handful of raisins
  • Drizzle of maple syrup
  • 40g brown sugar
  • Zest from 1 lemon
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp ginger
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • Melted butter for brushing

Begin by pre-heating your oven to 180C. Add the pears, pecans, raisins, sugar, maple syrup, lemon zest, cinnamon, ginger & nutmeg to a medium size saucepan and simmer gently on a low heat for 5-10 minutes.

Whilst the mixture is simmering unpack the filo pastry and 1 by 1 brush with the melted butter and then lay it into a loaf tin. Keep going until you have used up the pastry. If its a particularly large pack of filo then stop after 6 sheets. 

Pour the mixture into the tin and then cover with the filo. Brush more butter across the top and bake in the oven for 30-40minutes until golden brown and crispy.

Enjoy x

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Aubergine Parmigiana

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I have recently joined the library so that I can manage my addiction of cookbooks without spending a fortune. One of the books I got recently is Jamie's Italy. It is full of lots of inspirational recipes and this is the first one that I have made from it. Aubergine Parmigiana is great on its own as a meal or alongside roasted meat. I love it on its own but I would love to make it as part of a big meze meal.

Recipe loosely adapted from Jamie's Italy
Serves 2

You will need-
  • 1 large firm aubergine (or 2 small)
  • Olive oil
  • 1 small onion finely chopped
  • 1 clove of garlic finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano (I ran out so used rosemary)
  • 1 tin of good quality plum tomatoes
  • A drop of wine vinegar
  • A small handful of fresh basil chopped
  • 1-2 handfuls of freshly grated parmesan
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs (I mixed mine with a little olive oil and rosemary and baked in the oven till golden before using)
  • Handful of chopped kalamata olives (optional)
  • Buffalo mozzarella (optional)
  • Salt & Pepper

Begin by slicing the ends off the aubergine and then slice it into 1cm thick slices. Heat a griddle pan to the highest temperature and then in batches grill the slices until they are lightly charred.

In a saucepan heat a little olive oil on a medium heat and then cook the onion, garlic and oregano for around 10 minutes until the onions are soft and the garlic gets a little colour on it. After 10 minutes add the olives and then plum tomatoes. Break them up with a wooden spoon and give the whole lot a good stir. Place a lid on the pan and simmer on a low heat whilst you finish grilling the aubergine.

Pre-heat you oven to 190C.

Once the aubergine is grilled and then tomato sauce has been simmering for at least 10 minutes add a little splash of wine vinegar to the sauce and the fresh basil then set to 1 side.

Now its time to assemble everything. Begin by putting a small layer of tomato sauce in a baking dish then scatter lightly with parmesan. Top that off with a layer of aubergine slices and keep repeating until you use all of the ingredients up. Finish with a layer of tomato sauce topped with parmesan and the breadcrumbs and bake in the oven for around 30 minutes or until golden and crisp. Top with crumbled buffalo mozzarella.

Eat right away. Enjoy x

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

London Art Fairs

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Kensington Station on the way home

Last Thursday evening Tim and I headed to London to visit some art fairs. The fairs in question were Moniker, Islington Art & Design & Christie's Multiplied. It was a fantastic evening out especially at Multiplied, we managed to rub shoulders with Tracey Emin among many other very talented artists. The studio where I work will be exhibiting at Multiplied next year so we went along to see what it was like. Other than the great work on show, (my favourite being the Bridget Riley prints) were some amazing canapes. Delicious Mexican inspired wraps and pulled pork washed down with Hibiscus and something or other cocktails. This was all finished off at the end of the night with popcorn and thick hot chocolate topped with tequilla (I wasn't brave enough to go for the tequilla option)

At Moniker I was mostly impressed by Dabs and Myla's work. All amazingly tight and super cheerful.

Outside D*Face had painted a huge mural which was inspired by a painting on show inside. Earlier in the week whilst painting it a lot of people assumed that the mural had been 'defaced' with a fire extinguisher filled with pink paint until he came back and completed it with further defacing.

At Islington Art & Design fair we went to visit the Lucky Dip Collective stand where Tim (Mr Penfold) had a painting and a couple of prints in. My favourite things at the show were his (of coarse) and Show Chickens amazingly detailed drawings.

Week in Food- Week 9

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I really struggled this week and I think I have worked out why. By the time I serve dinner its too dark to photograph the food so the photos never come out all that successfully. I am going to do some studying to find out what things I can do to help. I am also going to try and take the majority of my food photos during the day to combat the problem and also push myself to look outside the box.

This weeks photos are available on flickr

I have some exciting news coming but I'm just going to wait a little longer before I share, I would hate to jinx anything!

Monday, 17 October 2011

FoodCycle Cambridge need your vote

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In August I spent some time with FoodCycle helping with and documenting the great work they do. You can read about my time with them here. They are currently taking part in Natwest CommunityForce and are in with the chance of winning £6,000 which they would use to sustain the current lunches they do by buying the extra ingredients they need, better kitchen equipment and a food trailer for collecting all the surplus food. It will also give them the opportunity to expand the project further by hiring a second kitchen so that they can cook more meals for those in need in Cambridge and save even more food from ending up in landfills.

Did you know that 18 million tonnes of edible food ends up in landfills every year. FoodCycle help the community by using the food that would otherwise end up there by feeding those in food poverty whilst educating and spreading the word about food waste. Experts claim that by eliminating this waste from the US and UK alone could lift more than a billion people out of hunger worldwide.

I (and they) would really appreciate it if you could take 2 minutes out of your time to vote from them. Its such a fantastic cause and would help them to continue doing what they do. You can vote from them here

Thanks in advance!

Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Week in Food- Week 8

Pin It I have decided to make a little change to my Week in Food post. From now on I will post my Week in Food photos on my flickr account so as not to bore you with repeated photos. I will still post a link every week to my account if you want to see them. You can see the photos here

Monday, 10 October 2011

Chocolate Fudge

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I made this fudge over the weekend as a present for a friends birthday and was so pleased with the outcome that I decided to share it on here. Its like the middle part of a chocolate brownie or a super thick chocolate frosting, you really can't just eat 1. I plan on making more and combining with other treats for Christmas hampers for friends. Next time I will also sprinkle some chopped hazelnuts on top for a bit of a crunch.

Recipe from Lorraine Pascale

You will need-
  • Vegetable oil for greasing
  • 70g unsalted butter
  • 300g soft light brown sugar
  • 125g evaporated milk
  • 225g marshmallows
  • 300g chopped milk chocolate
  • 75g chopped dark chocolate (at least 60%)
Begin by greasing a 20cm square tin (I used 2 smaller tins) and then line it with greaseproof paper. Make sure you cut the paper longer than you need so it goes up the sides of the tin and  makes removing the fudge easier.

Put the butter, sugar and milk in a pan over a low heat and melt gently.

When the sugar has dissolved add the marshmallows. Turn up the heat to a medium and then boil the fudge for 5-6 minutes

Finally take the fudge off the heat and add the chocolate. Stir until it all melts and combines then pour into the prepared tin. Leave to set for a few hours and then cut into bite sized squares.

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Brioche Buns

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I have been planning on making brioche for quite a while and I finally got around to making it over the weekend. Like most bread its quite a long winded process but it sure is worth it! I started the bread in the evening and baked it in the morning. The house filled the most delicious smell and we ate them warm with jam. Its definitely not something that you would make weekly (see butter) but its fantastic for a special treat. They're great with jam or alongside a big bowl of soup and would be great to take on a picnic.

I stuck with the original recipe from Bon Appetit

Makes 12 buns
You will need-
  • 1/4 cup of warm water
  • 1/4 cup of milk
  • 3 tsp active dry yeast (I used 1 7g sachet)
  • 2 3/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 12 tbsp unsalted butter at room temperature (6oz)
  • 1 large egg beaten and combined with 1 tsp water (for the glaze)
Begin by combining the water, milk and yeast in a bowl of a stand mixer with a paddle attachment and let it stand for around 8 minutes until the yeast dissolves. Mix occasionally during this time.

Next add the flour and salt and mix on a medium speed until lumps form. Scrape the sides down occasionally. This will take 1-2 minutes. Now add the eggs 1 at a time and mix until combined after each addition. Mix for around 3 minutes till the dough is smooth. Reduce the speed to low and add the butter 1 tablespoon at a time. Once you have added the butter turn the speed up to medium high and beat until the the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and climbs the paddle (8-9 minutes) The dough will be super silky, smooth and shiny.

Lightly butter a large bowl and transfer the dough to it. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave it to rise in a warm place till it has doubled in size. (1 hour 15 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes)

Gently deflate the dough by lifting around the edges and then dropping the dough back into the bowl. Repeating as much as needed. Cover the bowl tightly with the clingfilm and place in the fridge deflating the dough the same way every 30 minutes until it stops rising (around 2 hours). Chill the dough overnight.

In the morning butter a muffin tin and then divide the dough into 12 pieces.  Cut those into 3 pieces then roll the pieces into small balls. Add 3 balls into each cup, cover with greaseproof paper and leave in a warm place to rise for around an hour. The dough will rise between 1/2 inch to an inch above the rim of the muffin tin.

Pre-heat your oven to 200C and when the dough is ready brush with the egg and water mixture along the top. Be careful not to drip it between the dough and pan as it will affect them rising in the oven.

Bake the brioche in the oven until golden brown for around 20 minutes. If the start to brown too quickly cover with baking foil. When ready, transfer to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes and then get stuck in.

Have you noticed the print button under every post? You can now save and print a pdf version of all the recipes I post on here minus the pictures.

A Sunday in Cambridge

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This afternoon Tim and I decided to head for a little stroll around town and check out the food stalls on the market. I was hoping to track down some chestnuts but I think I may be a little early. We ended up buying a lovely spicy chorizo and a pack of chipotle chillis from the Cambridge Chilli Farm. I am making spicy bean burgers this week so I can't wait to stick some chipotle in there too.

After a little explore we decided to grab some lunch. Tim went for a Curry Wurst to tide him over till our next visit to Berlin in a couple of weeks.

I couldn't resist the Bisbrook Ostrich Farm stall and decided on a Ostrich steak sandwich. Ostrich meat has a much lower fat content than other meat with its fat content being less than 0.5% as well as it being low in cholesterol and high in protein. It is very similar to beef in flavour and texture. If you're ever in Cambridge I thoroughly recommend giving it a try!

The rest of our afternoon was spent watching films on the sofa with a brief break for a dinner of Tuscan Bean Stew. I am unbelievably tired today so its been a perfect day of relaxing and a few little treats. The weeks seem to be going by quicker and quicker at the moment so when the weekends come around they seem to fly by. I always seem to plan lots of things to do for every weekend so its nice to occasionally just put my feet up and relax.
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