Thursday, 15 November 2012

Tomato and Mascarpone soup with Cheese and Tomato Toasties

Lord God it is bloody freezing down here in Brighton and I can't seem to stop eating tomato soup with cheese on toast at the moment. It is such a gorgeous combination though isn't it...cheese and tomato.
Especially when the cheese is all melted and dipped in hot home-made soup, yum. I only cooked enough to make a couple of bowls so feel free to increase the measurements to cook for more people.

1 tin of good quality tomatoes (I used CIRIO)
4 Medium Vine Tomatoes
2 Carrots
1 Onion
2 Cloves of Garlic
A Dollop of Mascarpone
Pinch of Sugar
Olive Oil
Basil Leaves
Cracked Black Pepper

All you need to do is chop the onion and carrot into small pieces, crush the garlic and fry gently in the olive oil until they are soft and cooked through being careful not to burn the garlic. Next add your vine tomatoes with the skin and seeds removed and fry for further few minutes and then add your tin of tomatoes and simmer all together for around 15 Min's. Now add some torn basil and a big dollop ofmascarpone and transfer to a blender or just use a stick one and blend until smooth. Then put it all back in the pan and heat gently. I drizzled some olive oil and tore some basil on top of the soup. I served mine with cheese and tomato toasties which I used my trusty toasted sandwich maker for with lovely cheddar and sliced tomatoes. It is the perfect winter warmer and satisfying enough for a lovely cosy supper by the fire (if your lucky) or otherwise maybe the radiator.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Lot's of Home-Made Bread

I have a confession to make, I had never made bread before and I really do think it's one of those things I should have done already but I always thought it would be hard and it turns out it's actually rather easy, horray!
I am currently studying 'Culinart Arts's' at university and in my lesson this week we spent four hours making different types of bread from the book 'Dough: Simple Contemporary Breads' by  Richard Bertinet and I absolutely loved it.

My lovely french stick, it was a but thin but tasted great.

Small milk rolls that I made with some left over dough.

This is a garlic, rosemary and sea salt foccacia which I made using a dough that I added semolina and olive oil to.

These are lovely little bits of dough stuffed with home-made pesto. I believe they are French but have totally forgotten what they are called!

This pretty bread is called 'Fougass' and is on the front cover of the book 'Dough: Simple Contemporary Breads'

Another lovely bread that is made by shaping your dough in to a French stick type shape and then getting a pair of scissors and snipping it down the middle and pulling the snipped parts to each side.
I am definitely going to be making bread as often as I can now I know how easy and rewarding it is.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Warm Halloumi and Harissa Salad



Here is a very simple recipe for a tasty warm halloumi salad that I think is just right for the weather, rather cold  but with some lovely sun!

Halloumi sliced ( I had 4 slices But I'm greedy)
One Red Onion
Sweet long Red Pepper
Small Vine Tomatoes
Chopped Mint

It's just a case of pan frying the onion and peppers in a spoon of the harissa, using some of the lovely oil you get in the jar with it and cook for around five minutes before adding the tomatoes, which I sliced in half. You want the onions to almost caramelise so they get that lovely sweet flavour and when this has happened put the contents of your pan onto a plate and put the sliced halloumi in the same pan and fry on both sides. When the halloumi is all crispy on the outside and a but soft in the middle, lay it on top of your onion, pepper and tomato mixture and sprinkle over some chopped mint.

My lovely friend bought me a jar of home made harissa from a lady at her local farmers market in Lewes, East Sussex.

The harissa give the halloumi a lovely golden colour a bit like saffron, very pretty.

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Chilli Jam

I know it's only October but I have started to think about Christmas already and how I can be a bit more frugal this year with the whole present buying thing. I always tend to go over board and so have decided to make every ones presents in the form of little food hampers.This is a really easy recipe for chili jam that I got from Nigella Lawson and this the first addition to food hampers!

  • 150 grams long red chilli pepper
  • 150 grams Red peppers
  • 1 kilograms Jam sugar
  • 600 ml cider vinegar

 First thing you need to Sterilise your jars and leave to cool, I did this by washing them in boiling hot water and washing up liquid and then put them in the oven for around 10mins on a low temperature.
To make the chilli jam first cut-up the chillies and put into a food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped. Next add the chunks of red pepper and pulse again.
Dissolve the sugar in the vinegar in a pan over a low heat without stirring and although it is tempting to stir you must make sure you don't!
Next you need to add the chilli-pepper mixture into the pan and bring to the boil, then leave it boiling for ten minutes and after that take the pan off the heat and allow it cool-
After about 40 minutes or when you can see the jam is beginning to settle ladle into your jars and seal tightly.
It's a really easy recipe and looks gorgeous, when it's closer to the time I will cover with fabric, tie a ribbon around them and attach a tag with the date I made the chilli jam.

Monday, 24 September 2012

Chocolate Cookies with White Buttons & Mars Bars

I used the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook for my basic chocolate cookie recipe but decided to add large white chocolate buttons and melted a mars bar in the chocolate and butter mixture to make them extra amazing. But I made a stupid mistake when it was to late to do anything about it, I forgot to put the butter in..nooooooooo. They were already in the oven when I realised my mistake and it was to late to do anything it. They were surprisingly okay and had a strange chewy meringue texture, I defiantly recommend not forgetting the butter!

Makes 12 Cookies

50g Unsalted Butter
450g Dark Chocolate
170g Soft Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
85g Plain Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 mars bar Chopped
1 Pack of Large White Buttons

Start by pre-heating your oven to gas mark 3 or 170c and then put your butter and half your chocolate in a heatproof bowl over gently boiling water to melt.

Put your eggs, sugar and vanilla extract in a bowl and beat until well mixed, and then in a separate bowl sift your flour, salt and baking powder and slowly add your chocolate mixture a small amount at a time until well combined. At this point stir in your chocolate buttons!

Get two baking trays and put baking paper on each one, I use a small amount of the cookie mixture in the corners of the tray to hold the paper down. Put 6 equal amount of the mixture on the trays and make sure you leave enough room for the cookies to spread.

The cookies need 10/15 minutes in the oven or until they look glossy and the surface has begun to crack, I forgot to add the butter to mine because I am a fool so they don't look as good as I was hoping but they worked very well broken into pieces over vanilla ice cream.

Friday, 21 September 2012

Pulled Pork

I have been making pulled pork lot's recently, having been inspired by a place called 'BBQ Shack' in Brighton that does proper US barbecue food including ribs, brisket, burgers, chicken, mac n cheese and even something called an armadillo egg which is a cream-cheese stuffed jalapeƱo, wrapped in spiced sausage meat and then held together with bacon, it is so good! I love their pulled pork and really wanted to make it at home myself and the result was amazing, granted you have to marinade over night and then slow cook for as long as you possibly can but it is so worth it.
I bought something called 'Old Bay' seasoning which you can only get in the USA and it added a really nice flavour having not used it before but it is not something you have to use.

Bone in pork shoulder
Old Bay Seasoning
Smoked Paprika
Mustard Powder (Coleman's)
Garlic Powder
Onion Powder
Crushed Chipotle chillis
Fresh ground black pepper
BBQ Sauce

Here's the Old Bay seasoning I used as part of my dry rub.

First I covered my pork shoulder in the dry rub and I know it's not traditional but I then smothered it in a really good BBQ sauce before covering in clingfilm and leaving to marinade in the fridge over night.

I cooked my pulled pork for nearly eight hours the next day on a really low heat in the bottom of the oven.

It literally fell off the bone and was so tender, I put some little yellow peppers in about halfway through cooking and they were a really tasty addition.
I served my pulled pork with macaroni cheese, jacket potatoes, coleslaw, salad and lot's of BBQ sauce.
I can't recommend doing this to a shoulder of pork enough, quick do it!!!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Stuffed Butternut Squash

I always seem to make butternut squash into a soup with ginger and coconut or I roast it and mix it into a risotto, I never stuff it. I realised I had accidentally bought another pack of Feta cheese by mistake whilst already having a pack in the fridge and so thought a stuffed butternut squash with feta was in order.

One butternut squash
Large Red Chili
Pack of Feta cubed
One courgette
Field Mushroom
Yellow or Red Pepper
Thick bacon (optional)
Salt & Pepper
Olive Oil
Salad to Serve

I started by slicing my butternut in half, chopping a chill and crushing some garlic which I spread on top and then drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled some salt.

I also chopped my veg and tossed in some olive oil and let that gently roast in the oven on a lower shelf and around 10mins  before it was due to come out I added my chopped field mushroom.

Near the end of the cooking time, I grilled my bacon and added that to the veg. I scooped out the flesh from the butternut squashes and mixed everything together including the feta and then put them back in the oven for around 15mins.

In an ideal world I would have sprinkled the top with Parmesan and breadcrumbs but I had neither so had to do without.

I ate it with salad and it was very filling, a great mid-week yummy dinner.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Cornflake Tart

I had never heard of Cornflake tart before but when my Boyfriends Auntie mentioned it, I had to make it.
I think it's a bit of a School dinner pudding but all I know is, it tastes amazing and I love it!
Your meant to use shortcrust pastry but I had a role of puff in my freezer so used that and it was very nice indeed!

Role of shortcrust/puff pastry
110g Golden Syrup
55g Butter
90g Cornflakes
25g Muscadova Sugar
100g Good quality Strawberry Jam
Pinch of salt

I started by blind baking my pastry using baking beans for 20mins in the oven and then when it was cooled slightly I spread the base with slightly warmed through jam.

To make the filling melt the butter, sugar, golden syrup and salt together. Once the sugar has dissolved, fold in the cornflakes, making sure that all the cornflakes are coated in the syrup and put them in the pastry case.

I baked it in the oven for about 10mins and then left it to cool for about 15mins so the filling didn't melt out. Apparently your meant to serve it with custard but I chose vanilla ice cream instead, I do love hot and cold together!

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Cheddar & Marmite Sausage Rolls

Oh the absolute joy of being able to blog again, it has been such a horrible two months trying to replace stolen items and have back and forth pointless exchanges with the police. The people who broke into our house have not been found and I'm guessing they never will be which I am not surprised about, the bastards, I hope their extremities drop off and they contract the black death..
Anyway enough of that it is done and you move on, I have been cooking and baking more than ever and I believe it to be because I am starting my 'Culinary Arts' degree in just a couple of weeks and am beyond excited, but this is not exactly a culinary masterpiece that I am giving a recipe for, but who doesn't like sausage rolls? And of course you can make your own puff pastry for this but I had ready made in the freezer so that is what I used. Also I am using an iphone to take these photo's so bare with me while I try to make them look half decent!

Role of shop bought puff pastry
Good quality pork sausages, skinned
Grated Cheddar
1 Egg beaten

I mixed my sausage meat with grated strong Cheddar and a rather large dessert spoon of Marmite as it looses a bit of it's flavour when cooked.

I spread a layer of Marmite on the pastry before laying my meat mixture on top.

I like my sausage rolls quite big but make them smaller if you like, I brushed them with beaten egg before putting in the over at around gas mark 6 for 20 minutes.

And here they are, the Marmite makes the pastry get a gorgeous sticky savoury goo around the edges and they were lovely. Great things to make with kids or for lunchboxes.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012


I had such a lovely post that I was going to put up tonite but I came home to find that my laptop, camera, grandma's jewellery, playstation 3 and many other things had been stolen from my house whilst I was at work. I have never been burgled before and it is without a doubt one of the most horrible feelings to know strangers have been in your home and stolen your belongings. So for now I don't know when I will be posting again as both my camera and laptop are gone, bastards.

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Peanut Butter and Brown Sugar Cookies

Well it certainly has been a few weeks since I was last here, I didn't realise it was so long! I have spent two of those weeks in Cornwall hoping for warm sun and rock pooling but instead got rain rain rain non-stop for nearly the whole trip, this is without a doubt the worst summer I have experienced in the 27 years I have lived on this earth! A couple of days ago we had a tiny bit of sunshine so I sat in the garden and made my peanut butter cookie dough until of course it started raining again around half an hour later, sigh.....

 25g Crunchy peanut butter
25g smooth peanut butter
50g Butter
25g caster sugar
25g Muscadova sugar
1 Egg beaten
100g plain flour
1/2tsp baking powder

Very simple recipe, just beat all your ingredients together to form a dough.

If the dough is a bit sticky put it in the fridge for half so it's easier to work with.
 Grab walnut sized pieces of dough and press with a fork, make sure you leave enough space in between as they will spread out when cooking.
I crumbled some muscadova sugar on the top of my cookies for extra crunch and sweetness.
I baked my cookies for 15-20 mins on gas mark 6, they still had slightly chewy centres which I love.
Cookies and milk, American thing I know but it really does work!

Bye sun.....

Friday, 15 June 2012

Summer Berry Crumble

Rain sun, rain sun, rain sun....... Make your mind up weather (choose sun please)...This is a recipe that has summer berries to remind you it is ment to be Summer but also has a lovely buttery, almond crumble topping that is perfect on one of these rainy nights we've been having.

4 Apples peeled and cored
Half a punnet of strawberries hulled and cut in half
Large handful of blueberries
Raspberries (mind had gone mouldy so had to leave them out)
Caster sugar
Muscovado sugar
Half a pack of butter
Ground Almonds

Toss the fruit in a bit of caster sugar and add a small amount of water.

Next make your crumble topping by rubbing together butter, flour, ground almonds, caster sugar and muscovado sugar which gives it a nice caramelised flavour.

I love crumble with a scoop of really good quality vanilla ice cream or if your lucky then home-made is the best of all.

Friday, 8 June 2012

Duck Pancake Rolls

I love duck pancake rolls, it's my favourite thing to get from the Chinese although I can't even remember the last time I actually got a Chinese because let's be honest they are generally a  disappointment and I always end up feeling a bit sick so making my own was the only way to go.

To do proper Chinese roast duck it takes many hours but I just did two duck legs which I pricked the skin of, poured boiling water over and then dried with a hairdryer to make the skin as crispy as possible. I then covered the skin in honey and Chinese five spice powder before slow roasting in the oven.

After around an hour in the oven the skin was crispy and fell off the bone. I was naughty and bought the pancakes and Hoi Sin sauce from the local Asian supermarket.

They were just as delicious as the ones from the takeaway and I had ten of them, yes that's right ten.

 Now go make some of your own and eat ten or maybe even twelve, go crazy!