Wednesday, 28 July 2010

Prawn and Pea Risotto.

I wanted something relatively indulgent and filling but also fresh and summery to eat for my dinner this evening, so though a sweet pea and prawn risotto would be perfect enjoyed outside in the afternoon sun with a glass of white wine, so that is exactly what I did.
Mercer does not like sea food because he is mentally unbalanced but luck had it that he was going to spend the evening with friends so I had free reign to cook what I wanted in the kitchen and by God I knew it had to be seafood.

Prawn and Pea Risotto

Knob of butter
olive oil
1 small onion , finely chopped
2 garlic cloves , crushed
300g arborio rice
100ml white wine
800ml vegetable stock fresh
250g cooked peeled prawns
100g frozen peas
80g Parmesan , grated

First melt a knob of butter with a dash of olive oil in a wide, shallow pan and add the onion. Cook until softened, then add the garlic and cook for a minute but don't brown. Tip in the rice and mix well. Add the wine and stir till it evaporates. Pour in stock to just cover the rice and gently simmer, staying with it the whole time and stirring from time to time.
As the stock evaporates, add more stock and stir until all the stock is used, this will take about 12-15 minutes. Finally, add the prawns, peas and season. Simmer for 2 minutes, mix in half the Parmesan just before serving then sprinkle the remainder over the top and you can add a squeeze of lemon juice if you fancy and have a green salad with it, if you fancy but it's very perfect as it is as well!


Tuesday, 27 July 2010

Thai Spinach and pea soup

I have only been writing this blog since April and seem to have already done two soup recipes and I'm about to do another one, so there! I do love home-made soup and can eat it even if it is hot outside and other people are eating ice cream or salad and I'm sitting there with a steaming bowl of thick soup!
I like to think of this soup as a summery one as it is fresh and light with delicious Thai flavours, I just made this for myself so there isn't large amounts of ingredients but you can very easily adjust it to your needs and taste!


1 Bag of spinach
1 onion chopped
clove of garlic
1/2 stalks lemon grass
Knob of ginger
Handful of frozen peas
Half a tin of Coconut milk
500ml home made chicken stock or just ready bought veg/chicken stock
1 small green chili
Lime juice
black pepper

Start but gently frying the onion until soft then add the garlic and chili and fry for a further two minutes. Then stir in the vegetable stock and while that is simmering peel the outer layer from the lemon grass and finely chop the lower bulb part of the lemon grass and discard the top parts before adding to the soup and cooking for 10 Min's.
Next add the frozen peas and cook for 3 Min's before adding the spinach and cook for a further 4-5 Min's.
Now add the coconut milk, lime juice and some black pepper and gently re-heat. You can add some cream, sour cream or Greek yogurt if you want to.


Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Ozzy Breakfast..... my favourite breakfast.

I love a full English breakfast on a lazy Sunday morning as much as the next man, woman or child so please don't get me wrong, I would never turn down sausage, egg, bacon, beans, mushrooms, tomato, toast and black pudding...I just wouldn't say no...or would I???
Well yes I would so I just lied as I would much rather have an authentic Ozzy breakfast any day because it is just so God damn good. When I lived there(which was mentioned in my first post!) I worked in a cafe called 'Leroy Espresso' (that's how it's spelt!) that just served breakfast and that is where I learnt the ways of the Ozzy brekky and the stupendous varieties and choices that you could peruse from the menu, for example ladies and gentleman I give you the brekky bruschetta topped with scrambled eggs, pesto and smoked salmon, or perhaps a healthy version of a fry up which is sausage, mushroom, sauteed spinach, avocado, tomato and sour dough bread and maybe a pot of home-made hollindaise sauce to dip in,(I know that's not healthy,shhhhhh)
One of my favourites was corn and zucchini fritters with mint yogurt on a bed of rocket with chili sauce. You may think that it does not sound that exciting but it would be hard to find the same quality and freshness of ingredients, cooked so perfectly and the huge variety of dishes to choose from is out of this world.
I also had porridge with Cinnamon poached pears, toasted fruit bread, carrot and orange muffins, savoury muffins with feta, spinach, roast tomato and Parmesan cheese on top, pancakes with stewed fruit and creme fraiché or banana's and maple syrup and that is just naming a few. I urge you to go to Australia and eat breakfast at a gorgeous cafe, when the sun is shining with a mug of the best coffee whilst looking at the menu. If you need a guide I would be happy to accompany you so don't be shy to ask me.


This was what me and Mercer had for Breakfast on Sunday, but he had his with bacon, I'm trying to be healthy, that's a bit of a joke when I'm eating something that is basically covered in Butter and egg yolk...mmmmm healthy.

Chicken Satay

I love love love chicken satay and hadn't eaten it for ages so decided to make it for tea to eat on a balmy summers evening with Mercer. I also made coconut rice with peas and spring onions but didn't take a photo of that as it got eaten before I got a chance and so did the skewers, so here is a photo of my lovely peanut sauce!!
I will be the first to admit that I never really measure anything and so ingredients just get thrown in but 'carefully' thrown in as I have a pretty good feeling for what the right amount should be and things generally turn out very well! I have made this recipe to feed two but please do adjust the measurements to suit you!


Pack of chicken thighs (around 3 per person if a main meal or 1-2 if a starter, they're are very moreish!)
Soy sauce
fish sauce
1 tin of coconut milk
peanut butter
1 fresh chili (red or green)
fresh coriander
sesame oil
half a fresh lime
pack of skewers


Firstly get your chicken thighs, peel the skin off and de-bone them, then lay them flat and cut into strips not forgetting to remove veins, extra fat and little bit's of bone.
Try to be quite generous with the size of the strips as they do shrink a little in the pan.
Put your strips into a bowl and pour in just enough coconut milk to cover them all, a few splashes of soy sauce, a teaspoon of fish sauce and then cover and refrigerate for around two hours or as long as possible.
To make your peanut sauce add 90ml of coconut milk into a pan that's on a gentle heat, then two tablespoons of peanut butter and stir, when the sauce is smooth add a teaspoon of fish sauce, a splash of soy sauce, the juice of half a lime and come finely chopped chili. The sauce will thicken quite quickly but if it needs more peanut butter than add more as you please, but be very careful not to over heat the sauce or it will go very wrong, it should only take a few minutes to make. When the sauce is done add some chopped coriander to finish it off.


Put your chicken on the skewers(don't forget to soak them if there wooden) and cook them on a griddle if you have one or just pop them under the grill if not. Serve with the peanut sauce and there you have it! To make the coconut rice I just cooked basmati rice in coconut milk and water the added peas and spring onions at the end. Enjoy!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

Bananna and pecan muffins with cream cheese and molasses frosting

Last night Mercer and I went to a friends house to cook dinner for her and her teenage kids but when I say 'we' cooked I meant 'I' cooked, as Mercer's Idea of cooking is cheese and marmite on toast or a anything with salad cream and BBQ sauce but that's another story for another day.
I decided to make the slow cooked beef and spinach balti curry that I was supposed to make a few days back but never got to and for pudding I made some banana and pecan muffins with a very delicious cream cheese and molasses frosting which were so so good. I stole the basis for the recipe from Nigella Lawson's Banana Bread recipe but just separated it in to muffin cases and added the frosting and I am so glad I added the frosting.

100g sultanas
75ml bourbon or dark rum
175g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
125g unsalted butter, melted
150g molasses sugar
2 large eggs
4 small, very ripe bananas (about 300g weighed without skin), mashed
Muffin cases
1 pack of cream cheese
extra molasses sugar to make frosting with

Put the sultanas and rum or bourbon in a smallish saucepan and bring to the boil.
Remove from the heat, cover and leave for an hour if you can, or until the sultanas have absorbed most of the liquid, then drain.
Preheat the oven to 170ÂșC/gas mark 3 and get started on the rest. Put the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt in a medium-sized bowl and, using your hands or
a wooden spoon, combine well.
In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar and beat until blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the mashed bananas. Then, with your wooden spoon, stir in the walnuts, drained sultanas and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture, a third at a time, stirring well after each bit. Then scoop a spoonful in to your muffin cases until it's used up and place in the oven on the middle shelf and leave for around 15-20 Min's or until springy in the middle. When they are in the oven mix your cream cheese and add your molasses sugar a little at a time and I think it's totally up to you how much you use! The good thing about molasses sugar is that it dissolves very quickly and makes a sumptuous glossy frosting.
Let the muffins cool before using a palate knife to spread the frosting on top of the muffins or if you prefer slice them open and put the frosting inside which is what I would have chosen to do but they had not risen enough!


I am afraid the icing does have a few bit's of unmelted molasses in it but never mind! And my brother has taken his camera back to use for a few days so the photo quality is not fantastic but you get the idea.

Monday, 12 July 2010

What ever is in the fridge soup or just 'Fridge Soup'

I really wanted to make a slow cooked beef, tomato and spinach curry for mine and Mercer's dinner tonight and so I went to the shop's to get all the bit's that I needed and came back home and put it all away only to get a phone call from Mercer explaining that he would be staying out with friends until,late so not to worry about dinner. Well to be honest I was slightly annoyed and may have huffed, puffed and stamped my feet a little as there was no way I wanted to cook a curry just for me. Don't get me wrong though as I will cook extravagantly for myself when ever the fancy takes me, but I really wanted to enjoy this with another person!
So instead I searched the fridge to see what i could find and I pulled out several large carrot's, a couple of small potato's, half a butternut squash, a large red onion , fresh ginger and some roast chicken left from Sundays lunch and I thought the most logical thing to do was make it into soup which is exactly what i did by sweating all the veg and ginger in butter, olive oil, turmeric, garam masala and cumin seeds for about 5 Min's and then added vegetable bouillon and simmered until the potato's were cooked, blended it all before returning it to the pan and putting shredded chicken in and the topping with coriander and pumpkin seeds!!! In the end I was glad Mercer stayed out because it was one of the best soups I have made and I am rather fabulous at making soup!


Sunday, 11 July 2010

Growing for the first time and basil pesto

I recently went to a huge car boot sale in Sussex with my lovely friend 'Miss Dobby' who drove us there, which was very lovely of her as I still can't drive and I'm nearing the age of 26 now so should really start learning! It was not the best boot sale I have been to but there was a lot of local people selling an array of vegetable and herb plants from there gardens and allotments and so I decided to buy two tomato plants, a basil plant and a little coriander plant to. I have been carefully looking after them ever since and if I do say so myself they are looking very good and are growing so fast that I am going to spend my day re-potting them all. The best thing of all is that my two tomato plants have actual real tomato's on them, there is only three that I can see between them and they are very tiny and green but they are definitely tomato's so I am very happy!


My basil plant seems to be producing more basil than I know what to do with so I made a batch of basil pesto which was very easy,and here is how to do it.

Basil Pesto


1 small garlic clove
A pinch of sea salt
25g pine nuts, very lightly toasted
50g fresh basil leaves (this is the amount of picked leaves you get from a large pot from the supermarket)
25g Parmesan, finely grated
Juice of ½ lemon
125ml extra-virgin olive oil

Put the garlic and a pinch of sea salt in a food processor and pulse, then add the pine nuts and pulse again until roughly chopped (be careful not to over-process). Add the basil and pulse carefully until it is well mixed but still very textured. Turn into a bowl and stir in the Parmesan and lemon juice. Pour in the olive oil, mixing to a juicy paste. Season to taste.
And do not worry if you don't have a food processor just use a pestle and mortar which is an equally great way to do this and it's a bit of exercise for your arm which can't be bad!
You can stir the pesto into tagliatelle with mushroom, onion, garlic and bacon with shavings of Parmesan over the top,or as an alternative to tomato paste on the base of a pizza with spinach,mozzarella and sun-dried tomato.
I how ever decided to have mine in a sandwich with tomato's and mozzarella for breakfast this morning along with a purple berry smoothie I made by mixing natural yogurt, oats, honey, half a frozen banana, frozen strawberries and blackberries to give it the lovely purple colour that I can't show you as I drank it, sorry!


Saturday, 3 July 2010

Saucisson Sandwich

Oh how I love sausages, they are delicious and come in so many varieties and flavours whether it be a good old British banger cooked on a BBQ and served in a soft white bap with tomato sauce and mustard or perhaps some pork and ale sausages with creamy mash and rich onion gravy on a wintry evening with a glass of red wine, perfect.
I decided to go on an outing to 'The Brighton Sausage Company' with the intention of buying some delicious organic, home-made bangers and oh how delicious they are! I adore TBSC, they make many different varieties of sausage including wild boar and I am known to pop in there if I am peckish when in town as there sausage rolls are the best I have ever had!


But instead of coming home with sausages I am came home with Saucisson and a few extra goodies from the surrounding shops that ended up in me making hands down one of the tastiest sandwiches I have ever had the pleasure of eating.....
I bought a round of olive oil bread which I filled with Dijon mayonnaise, Gruyere cheese, hand carved ham from the local deli and last but not leat slices of saucisson and to have long along side it a bowl of little cornichon pickles and it was so good I ate it before I could take a photo, sorry guys.