Archive | January, 2011

Reclaiming the weekend

31 Jan

This weekend I made a pact with myself. No longer will my spare time be dictated by hours upon hours of reality tv. I will instead watch the best bits in fast forward (can’t go cold turkey just yet) and spend my previously lost hours cooking delicious dinners for my loved ones. Seriously, could they draw out those shows for any more hours? They’ve turned into a full evening’s committment!

So, this Sunday I bypassed Dancing On Ice (a former favourite) and cooked a variation on a theme of lasagna.

Pork and pancetta lasagna

Fry red onions, garlic and mushrooms in some butter and then add the pork mince. Fry until browned and add chicken stock, white wine and fresh parsley, then cook until it reduces. Then make a traditional white sauce, and add nutmeg and a good few spoons of ricotta cheese. Then, layer up the lasagna, alternating mince, pasta, pancetta slices and white sauce. Top with breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, more parsley and bake.

Ok, I never said these recipes would be healthy. It’s one guilty pleasure for another.

Swap this....

For this...

Baking with kids

24 Jan

I recently had the pleasure of trying out this super easy recipe with a very enthusiastic little person who really doesn’t like getting his hands dirty! That challenge aside I think between us we made a rather good attempt at Robot Biscuits! As mentioned in a post below, this is a great way to use up leftover chocolate and other store cupboard staples.

Robot Biscuits

Not just fun for the kids...!

Make a simple gingerbread mixture by mixing; 225g of self raising flour, 1 teaspoon of ginger powder, 100g of brown sugar and 75g of butter. Rub until the mixture looks like breadcrumbs and then add 1 beaten egg and 2 tablespoons of golden syrup. Knead until a dough is formed then roll thinly onto the work surface. (If you don’t have a rolling pin…improvise!)

Not too child friendly but it did the trick...

Then, cut out the shapes for the robot carefully and bake at 170C for 20 minutes. Let them cool and then for the fun part…decorate as desired!

Happy baking!

A fishy business

16 Jan

The fish industry is a hot topic on TV at the moment and has continued to receive a battering (see what I did there?!) thanks to last night’s Dispatches on Channel 4. It investigated sustainability and tracebility of the fish we buy and some worrying facts about seafood labelling were revealed, with many products sold on “fresh” fish counters having actually been frozen already, sometimes for a number of months. Advice: read the small print before you buy.

But on a more light-hearted note, Friday night saw Heston B create one of his fabulously extravagant and extraordinary meals, this time a fishy feast for hungry celebs including Jonathan Ross and (hilariously) Zoe Salmon! He used sea cucumber tea, wolffish and chips and trout candy floss to raise awareness of dwindling fish stocks and dabble with reinventing our national dish. He’s so clever.

Positive or negative, fish are enjoying the media limelight at the moment and I hope people aren’t put off from purchasing fish despite the negative coverage. Let’s see how Hugh gets on with his fish fight and yes, I have spent all weekend watching TV!

The January Detox?

11 Jan

January probably isn’t the best time to be starting a food blog. Delicately balancing the healthy eating regime with quietly polishing off the leftover Quality Street is a testing way to welcome in a new year. Having said that, I thought it was about time I had somewhere to rant about my love for food, post occasional recipes, discuss general foodie news and celebrate my beautifully colour coordinated kitchen. Enjoy!

So, what do you do about all that leftover Christmas chocolate? Here are a few ideas for you:

One, which I indulged in this weekend (and will be the subject of an upcoming blog post) is the baking of extravagant biscuits. Decorated with every type of confectionery you could think of and shared with an array of family and friends the calories were spared from my own waistline, result!

Love Food Hate Waste also has some interesting baking ideas for leftover chocolate. I’m particularly intrigued by the chocolate mayonnaise cake – if anyone tries it out, please let me know!

Chocolate truffles are fun to make but again, the mixture of double cream,alcohol, butter and chocolate is even less detox-friendly! However, if you do fancy it, check out Delia.

Other suggestions greatly received!

Everything in moderation...