Sunday, 29 January 2012

Potato, Chorizo & Thyme Frittata with a Beetroot & Feta salad

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  1. Please send me on holiday to Barcelona
  2. If you follow me on twitter you will know that I have being going on (a little too much) about the rare breed eggs I bought the other day from the Gog Magog farm shop...all 12 eggs ended up as double yolkers which I think means that I am in for some good luck! Anyway I had initially bought the second box for my mum but being the forgetful person I am I forgot to give them to her yesterday. I have been meaning to make a frittata for a while now and saw this as the perfect opportunity. I decided to pair it with a simple salad of baby beetroot, romaine lettuce & crumbled feta. After the mac & cheese incident I didn't want anyone to   think I was a salad dodger! This frittata makes a great lunch or dinner but would also be fantastic served as tapas along with lots of other lovely Spanish delicacies. 
  3. This recipe is super quick and easy to make, you just need a non stick frying pan that will go under the grill. A metal or removable handle would useful.
Serves 4
You will need-
  • Approx 300g of waxy potatoes like rooster or vivaldi
  • A good handful of thinly sliced chorizo
  • A few stalks of thyme, leaves removed
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 6 large free range eggs
  • 100ml milk
  • A handful of grated parmesan or similar cheese
  • A salad of your choice
Peel and cut the potatoes into small cubes and then simmer in a pan of salted water for 5 minutes. Drain and put to one side.

Heat your frying pan over a medium heat and cook the chorizo for a few minutes till it starts to get a little crispy. Next add the thyme leaves and fry in the chorizo's oil for a few more minutes. Drain away the chorizo and thyme and cook the chopped onion till soft.

Crack your eggs into a bowl and add the milk and whisk. Now add the chorizo, thyme, cooked onion, potatoes and parmesan and season well with salt and pepper. Turn the heat of the pan down to low and then pour the mixture in. Stir gently to evenly disperse everything then cover and cook for 15 minutes or until it has nearly set in the middle. Heat the grill to medium and then place the pan under till the frittata sets completely and the top becomes golden brown.

Slice and serve immediately. Left overs can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge and eaten cold the next day. Hello lunch time!

I should also mention the salad. I bought some baby beetroot that is infused with white wine vinegar & balsamic vinegar (Tesco finest), sliced it up finely and placed on top of chunks of romaine lettuce hearts and the crumbled some organic feta on top. If you can't find the beetroot I used just use regular and drizzle the whole salad with a little balsamic vinegar.
 Enjoy x

Saturday, 28 January 2012

Sourdough Bread in Pictures

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In November I began making my own sourdough bread after buying the Tartine book. Ever since I have planned on sharing the recipe. Yesterday when I got home from work I got stuck in making sourdough for the weekend- I had bought some fantastic eggs and bacon from the Gog Magog Farm shop and was planning an epic breakfast. I had also done a very fair trade with Jo, a jar of her homemade Seville orange marmalade for some of my starter which was begging to be dolloped onto a piece of sourdough. Whilst editing my photos I came to the realisation that I really couldn't do Chad's recipe justice. His technique of turned the dough rather than kneading really ought to come from him so after a very quick search I found the recipe on the Martha Stewart website here. I can't recommend the Tartine book enough and I keep on meaning to make some of the other breads in there although right now I am so in love with the Basic Country Loaf that I can't even begin to imagine how delicious the other breads in there are! So, although I'm not sharing the recipe here I thought I would share my photos. I am very glad the recipe makes 2 loaves because looking at the photos is making my stomach grumble.

Thursday, 26 January 2012

Carrot & Walnut Loaf

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I recently did some catering for an event and decided to make a carrot and walnut type loaf. I searched high and low around the internet till I found a recipe on the trusty BBC good food website. I liked the idea of using half regular self raising flour and half wholemeal and without the icing its a slightly healthy option for a cake as you're using oil instead of butter, also great for those who are dairy free. Annoyingly my icing came out a little runnier as I got impatient waiting for the butter to soften so gave it a helping hand. Don't be like me if though, just leave it out overnight. 

I have to add, this cake is so moist (I love that word) and moorish and keeps for a few days (if it lasts that long without being eaten that is) and is a great accompaniment for your afternoon tea anytime of the day!

Recipe slightly adapted from BBC Good Food
You will need-
  • Zest & Juice of 1 orange
  • 50g sultanas
  • 150ml sunflower oil plus some from greasing
  • 2 free range eggs
  • 140g soft light brown sugar
  • 85g self raising flour
  • 85g wholemeal self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 140g carrots, grated
  • 50g chopped walnuts plus some halves for decorating.
  • 200g soft cheese
  • 50g butter, softened
  • 85g icing sugar cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
The recipe suggests that you soak the sultanas in the orange juice and zest overnight or to microwave the mixture on a medium heat for 1-2 minutes. As I didn't plan ahead and don't have a microwave (shock horror) I left mine to sit on top of my oven for a few hours whilst I did some other baking and it seemed to work fine.

So, pre-heat your oven to 180C and grease and line a loaf tin with some oil and greaseproof paper (it should be a 2lb tin). In a large bowl mix together the flours, sugar, cinnamon, mixed spice and bicarbonate then add the sultanas along with the juice and zest, grated carrot and walnuts. 
In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs and oil and add to the flour mixture. Mix it all really well the pour the mixture into the tin and bake for around an hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave the cake to cool completely in the tin.

To make the icing use an electric whisk and start by beating the butter so its really soft and creamy and then add the soft cheese, icing sugar & vanilla till you have a really smooth consistency (don't be impatient like me and use firm butter). Remove the loaf from the tin and spread the icing on. Decorate with the walnut halves if you want to bit a little fancy.

Enjoy x

Monday, 23 January 2012

Chorizo & Cauliflower meets Mac & Cheese

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So I guess I should begin by saying that I initially got the idea for a cauliflower & macaroni cheese from good old Jamie and his not so 30 minute meals. I liked his use of creme fraiche for the sauce and made his version after seeing it on the tv. I planned on doing the same again tonight until I realised I couldn't find the recipe anywhere. This is when I decided to make my own spin of it and I am happy to say it was a success. So much so that just looking at the photos is making me want to run to the fridge for seconds! According to Tim, this meal has the perfect mix of textures, chewy, crunchy, soft (he should know he's a bit of a textures man) and I have to agree with him. If you are more sensible than me then you would serve this with a lovely crisp salad but with it being January and a monday I thought I would treat myself!

I know I will struggle waiting for lunch time at work tomorrow knowing that this is waiting for me in the fridge!

Serves 4
You will need
  • 200g penne or macaroni elbows
  • 1 cauliflower leaves and stem removed and cut into small florets
  • 50g chorizo
  • 100g mature cheddar, grated
  • 40g parmesan, grated
  • 150ml creme fraiche, I used low fat to make myself feel a little better!
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • A sprig of rosemary, leaves chopped
  • A couple of slices of stale bread, or some shop bought course breadcrumbs
Pre-heat your oven to 170C and then begin by placing the pasta and cauliflower in a bowl of salted boiling water and cook according to the pasta instructions. (When draining the pasta and cauliflower save the cooking water).

Whilst that is boiling away cut your chorizo into thin slices and then cube.

In a separate bowl combine the creme fraiche, cheddar, parmesan, garlic and chorizo and leave to one side.

Slice your bread into smaller chunks and then place in the oven for a few minutes. Once its toasted add it to your food processor along with your rosemary and blits till you get course breadcrumbs.

Once you have drained the pasta and cauliflower (and reserved the water) place them back into the pan along with the cheese mix you made and combine. Add some of the cooking water till its slightly runny then pour into a baking dish. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs over the top and bake for around 15-20 minutes till the breadcrumbs are lovely and golden.

When cooked spoon out onto your plate and eat as fast as you can. Then try to avoid eating any leftovers straight after. But don't be like me, don't forget the salad!

Wednesday, 18 January 2012

Roasted Butternut Squash Soup with Chilli & Ginger

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So, as promised, here is the recipe for your left over butternut squash. The original recipe is for a whole squash so feel free to double the recipe if you're cooking for more people. I first tried this soup a few months ago after seeing it on Loraine Pascale's show. I loved how few ingredients there were but wondered if the soup may be a little bland. Well bland it is not! Its the perfect balance of flavours with a lovely kick from the chilli. Luckily I had some left over coconut milk from the curry as I think opening a whole can for a little drizzle is a bit wasteful but it definitely adds something to the overall flavour.

I didn't end up using the lime or coriander as I didn't have any to hand but I'm sure they would add even more flavour and a bit of freshness so if you have some do use it. - Although the soup is pretty delicious without.

Serves 2
You will need
  • 1/2 butternut squash cut lengthways & deseeded (around 400g)
  • 1 clove garlic, kept in the skin but smashed a little
  • 1/2 onion chopped
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 25g butter
  • 1/2 red chilli, deseeded and chopped
  • 2cm chunk fresh ginger, peeled & grated
  • 450ml vegetable or chicken stock
  • A quater of a lime
  • A sprig of fresh corriander
  • A splash of coconut milk

To begin preheat your oven to 220C and then score the butternut squash, drizzle with half of the oil and season with salt and pepper. Place the garlic clove in the squash and then bake for around 30 minutes. The flesh should be nice and soft so test it with a knife and bake for a little longer if needed.
 Whilst the squash is in the oven place a large saucepan over a medium low heat and melt the butter with the remaining oil and cook the onions with a little more seasoning until they are really soft and translucent. You don't want them to burn or brown. When the butternut squash is ready squeeze the garlic out of its skin chop it up a little if needed and add it to the pan along with the garlic and ginger. Let the butternut squash cool a little then scoop the flesh out into the pan. Now add your stock and bring everything to the boil.

Once its boiling turn it off and blend carefully, I used my stick blender, just be careful not to splash soup on yourself. Season and add some lime juice if you are using it and pour into your bowls.  To serve drizzle with the coconut milk and sprinkle some coriander leaves on top.

Enjoy! x

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Coconut Meringues

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Today has been a pretty full on day. I started it off by volunteering at FoodCycle which was great fun and I was joined by fellow Cambridge food bloggers Jo & Miss Sue Flay. After we cooked up a storm I headed home to get making for my recipe for the February issue of Explorer Magazine (watch this space). I ended up with some left over egg whites and feeling inspired by the FoodCycle guys I decided to whip up some meringues with a twist. The coconut was a bit of a last minute decision and I'm so glad I chucked it into the mix because these meringues are seriously delicious & moorish. I used's Delia's meringue recipe as a base and ended up with the perfect meringues. They would be great served with all sorts of things but I love them just as they are.

Makes Approx 24 small meringues
You will need
  • 2 fresh egg whites at room temperature
  • 4 oz caster sugar
  • 2/3 cup grated coconut
Begin by preheating your oven to 150C then pour your egg whites into a clean bowl (make sure that there isn't any grease or water left in there). Whisk the egg whites on the slowest setting for around 2 minutes till the mixture starts to turn bubbly. Then turn it up to a medium speed and whisk for another minute before turning it to the highest speed and whisking it until stiff peaks are formed. But be careful not to over whisk the whites.

 Once the egg whites are stiff start adding the sugar a spoon at a time till the mixture is glossy. To check if its ready rub some of the mixture between your fingers and if you can still feel the sugar keep going. When the meringue is ready gently fold the coconut into the mixture.
 Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and dab some of the meringue into the corners to hold the paper down. 

Spoon or pipe the mixture onto the paper and then place the meringues in the oven. Turn down the temperature straight away to 140C and bake for 20 minutes. Once the time is up turn the oven off but leave the meringues in the oven till it has cooled down completely. This will take some restraint but it will be worth it I promise!


Friday, 13 January 2012

Chickpea, Butternut Squash & Lemongrass Curry

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The past week I have been a little busy. Firstly getting back into the swing of work after all
that time off over Christmas, and secondly trying out lots of new savoury, vegetable packed dishes (along with a new cake recipe which is baking as I type). This inspiration behind this recipe wass from citrus&candy but as I couldn't find any kaffir limes and was worried about the suggested amount of chilli I decided to make it my own. I have to say the over all result was super tasty and I kind of surprised myself, it tasted like a really authentic Thai curry and was devoured in minutes! Its safe to say this recipe is definitely going on our dinner rotation list.

Serves 2
You will need-
Curry paste
  • 1 large shallot, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3 dried chillis- soak them in hot water to soften them a little then drain and roughly chop
  • 1 large red chilli, deseeded and roughly chopped
  • 1 inch of fresh ginger peeled and sliced
  • 1/2 lemongrass with the lower bulb removed, sliced
  • Drizzle of oil, I used rapeseed
  • Juice of 1/2 a lime
  • 1/2 can coconut milk (100ml) I used reduced fat. (Save the rest for a recipe coming in a few days)
  • 125ml vegetable stock
  • 1/2 can of chickpeas (100ml), drained and rinsed
  • 1/2 a small butternut squash, peeled and cubed (Save the other half along with the coconut milk)
  • 75g green beans, ends cut off and chopped in half
  • 1/2 tbsp dark brown sugar
  • Fresh lime juice to taste
  • A few drops of fish sauce to taste
  • Coriander to garnish
  • Cooked basmati rice (see Delia for how to cook the perfect rice)
Place all the ingredients from the paste list into a food processor or pestle and mortar and mix until it turns into a thick paste. My food processor didn't do the greatest job of it so mine was a little chunkier but still gave great results.
Place a wok or a large saucepan over a medium high heat and then heat 1/2 tbsp of oil for a couple of minutes. Next add the paste ingredients and fry until it all gets fragrant but be careful not to let it burn. Then add the coconut milk and stock and bring to the boil. Once its boiling reduce it down to a low simmer and add the butternut squash and chickpeas then after 10 minutes add the beans and cook until the vegetables are cooked.

When its almost ready season with the sugar and fish sauce to your taste and serve over the rice.


Tuesday, 3 January 2012

Review- Bibimbap House, Cambridge

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Beef Bibimbap
 Last night we went and ate a Korean restaurant on Mill Road after finding out about it on twitter (thanks Nora) I had never eaten Korean before so I didn't have anything to compare it to but I have to say that if that is the benchmark then I am really excited about trying more! The owner is a nutritionalist and focuses on different types of bibimbap with the menu consisting of only around 10 dishes. This is right up my street as I can't stand restaurants that have page upon page of dishes often suggesting that the majority of what you eat is frozen. Bibimbap translates to mixed meal and consists of various vegetables, strips of meat and rice. The whole thing comes in a big stone bowl which is heated up and continues to cook everything slightly whilst you eat. This means that you end up with lovely crispy bits on the bottom of the bowl. When you receive the bowl of food you are meant to mix everything up together before digging in. I ended up going for the Bulgogi with Japchae noodles after being recommended it by Nora. This is a bowl of marinated strips of beef, sweet potato noodles, mixed vegetables and rice. 

To accompany the main dish you also get a couple of side dishes. We had kimchi & a cold mashed potato dish and also a bowl of miso soup. They were the perfect accompaniment to the hot bibimbap.

The other mention I have to make is about the accompanying sauces, they have their own home made soy sauce which is so much better than others I have tried before. Then there are the two chilli sauces, one hot and one sweet which were out of this world (I have a slight chilli sauce addiction at the moment)

I do also have to say that the staff and owner of the restaurant were so friendly and welcoming even down to little things like offering us tap water where most restaurants frown upon it a little when you ask and also the free green tea refills which weren't mentioned on the menu.

The restaurant is also really well priced working out at just over £10 p/head. Its safe to say that I am already planning my next visit!
Bulgogi with Japchae noodles
Bibimbap House
60 Mill Road

Blueberry Crumble Muffins

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This is the third in my mini series of Ottolenghi recipes. Its a fantastic take on blueberry muffins with an irresistible crumble topping. It would be a nice idea to make the crumble with ground up oats which I will try out next time. I halved the original recipe and I'm glad I did because I ended up with 12 muffins and a mini loaf from the mixture even though the regular recipe states that it will make 10-12 muffins. I have a regular sized muffin tin so I'm not quite sure what happened there. The recipe I have included is the halved recipe but of course if you wanted to make the regular batch you could easily double this recipe. 

You will need-
  • 75g plain flour
  • 25g caster sugar
  • 50g cold unsalted butter, cubed
Place all the ingredients into a food processor and mix for a couple of seconds until you get breadcrumb texture. Be sure that there aren't any lumps of butter left. You could of course use your hands instead and rub the butter into the flour and sugar but I'm just a little lazy.

I ended up with more crumble than I needed so I froze the rest for next time although you could work the mixture into a dough and then make biscuits from it.

  • 270g plain flour
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 free range egg
  • 170g caster sugar
  • 70g melted unsalted butter, cooled slightly
  • 190ml milk
  • Grated zest of 1/2 lemon
  • 1/2 Granny Smith apple diced into 1cm cubes
  • 100g blueberries plus extra for the topping
Begin by preheating your oven to 170C and then line your muffin tin with cases.

In a large bowl lightly whisk the egg with the sugar & melted butter followed by the milk & lemon zest then fold in the fruit. Next sift the flour, baking powder and salt into the mixture and fold everything in together really gently. Like the previous muffin recipe, you want it to still be lumpy.

Spoon the mixture to the top of each case and then cover the tops with plenty of the crumble mix. Pop a couple of spare blueberries on top of each muffin and then bake for 30-35 minutes. A skewer should come out clean when inserted to the middle.

Once cooked cool on a wire rack and then dig in!

Enjoy x

January Explorer Magazine

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My newest recipe is in the January issue of Explorer Magazine. If you are in the Cambridgeshire area keep an eye out for it. It is ideal for starting off your New Year diet or detox.

Monday, 2 January 2012

Pistachio & Ginger Biscotti

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Is it just me or is the combination in these biscotti perfect? Lightly salty pistachios and sweet stem ginger. This is the 2nd recipe from my Ottolenghi baking marathon the other day and there are only a couple of these biscotti left (I have been trying to practice restraint!)

Makes 25
You will need-
  • 80g unsalted butter
  • 110g caster sugar
  • 2 free range eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 tbsp brandy - I didn't have any so I replaced it with a tbsp of the syrup the ginger was in.
  • Zest of 1 & 1/2 oranges
  • 150g plain flour plus a little more for dusting
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp salt - leave out if using salted pistachios
  • 80g shelled pistachio
  • 60g drained and roughly chopped stem ginger in syrup
To begin line your baking tray with greaseproof paper and dust it lightly with some flour. Cream together the butter and sugar using a mixer or some elbow grease until it turns pale and is light. Slowly add the eggs and mix until incorporated. Next stir in the the brandy (or syrup) and orange zest then the flour, ground ginger & salt if using. Finally fold in the stem ginger & pistachios.

Spoon the mixture onto the baking tray and place it in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This will give it a chance to firm up a little and make it a bit easier for you to shape.

When the 30 minutes are almost up pre-heat the oven to 170C. Shape the dough with your hands into a log. It should be around 25cm long. It will spread out lots during baking so don't worry about it being perfect. I freaked out slightly when I saw how much it had spread but if it hadn't of it wouldn't of been the tradition biscotti shape. Bake it for 20minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. I actually left mine overnight  once it had cooled and then did the 2nd bake in the morning.

Once the log has cooled preheat your oven to 130C then using a serrated knife cut the biscotti into 1cm thick slices. Lay them out on the baking tray and bake for around 40cm. They should be nice and crisp and golden. Cool them on a wire rack and store in an airtight box.
Enjoy x

My Top 5 blog recipes of 2011

Pin It So I thought I would take inspiration from some of the other food blogs I read and do a round up of my top 5 recipes of 2011. 2011 was a great year for me and marked the birth of this blog. I hope that it just keeps on growing and that I keep on being inspired with new recipes. 
1. Pad See Ew - This has become one of our staple meals. I love mixing it up depending on what vegetables we have in the house.
2. Pesto Pull Apart Bread - The most moorish thing I have ever eaten and bound to impress when made for friends and family. Honorable mention also goes to Sundried Tomato, Garlic, Pine Nut & Pecorino Pull Apart bread, a bit of a mouthful in more than one sense!
3. Flourless Chocolate Cake - This has also become a bit of a staple recipe for when a chocolate cake is needed. It was also a bit of a star of the Mill Road Winter Fair.
4. Vegetarian Pho - The perfect meal for when you're feeling a little under the weather, it is sure to perk you up instantly. Another really versatile meal so you can make it work with a lot of different things you may have in your kitchen.
5. Self Frosting Nutella Cupcakes - A complete indulgence but they did prove to be very popular on the blog. A smaller photo as this was back when I was still using my phone to take all the photos.

Wishing you all a very Happy New Year and a prosperous 2012. Thank you for reading and for all the support!
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