Alice is

July 2013 Archives

cooking cauliflower cheese, reborn

July 28, 2013

I had this idea for cauliflower cheese when I was researching alternative ‘steaks’ for vegetarians. Aside from aubergine and mushroom, there aren’t that many really meaty vegetables.

Then I struck gold. A cauliflower. When sawn in half, not only resembles a tree (!) but makes for a fairly substantial slab of vegetable.

raw cauli

There is no resemblance to a steak, let’s be honest. A steak is meat. Vegetable is…vegetable.

However if cooked like a steak, oiled and seasoned, fried in a dry pan, the cauliflower becomes caramelised and it’s flavour intensifies.

Serve atop a mild goats cheese sauce (normal béchamel but with soft rindless goats cheese added at the end), this is tangier and lighter than heavy ‘kids’ cheese sauce. Would be nice topped with toasted pine nuts or walnuts.


cooking mini plum pie

July 28, 2013

Plums are in season!

The imported ones, the deep purple, shiny round ones aren’t all that to eat, but great for cooking as they hold their shape and become sweeter and more plummy.

plums drawn

I had leftover pastry in the fridge, so came up with a 5-minute pie. Pretty self explanatory; half a plum, wrapped in pastry, sprinkled with sugar and that’s it, maybe cinnamon if you have it.

You can easily use shop bought pastry here, ‘saxbys dessert pastry’ is the best, I’m not sure if they do it anymore as I haven’t seen it in ages.

Or for homemade just mix 90g of softened butter with a pinch of sugar and salt. Add 180g of plain flour, 2 egg yolks and 3 tbsp of cold water. Mix until you have a sand-like mix, then bring it together with your hands. Clingfilm and leave in the fridge for an hour, then you’re good to go. When ready to bake, simply make a small ball of pastry, roll it out and mould it around the halved plum (this is oddly enjoyable). About 15 mins in a 180C/350F/gas5 oven should do it.





cooking Ribeye, Peanut Sauce, Lime Rice & Tenderstem Broccoli

July 21, 2013


This is a recipe that is all about the sauce, the rest is just meat and vegetables that I’ve thrown together to show you what it goes well with. It’s a great, almost slutty sauce because it requires zero skill yet goes with all manner of things; steak, chicken, tofu, vegetables. It also takes seconds to prepare.

To make enough for 2 people you’ll need: (for the sauce)

  • half a tin of coconut milk

  • 2 tbsp of crunchy peanut butter

  • 1/2 tbsp curry powder

  • 1 tsp brown sugar

  • 1 lime

(for the rest)

  • 3 spring onions

  • 155g basmati rice

  • some tenderstem broccoli

  • 2 juicy rump steaks

  • chopped peanuts (optional)

Start off by brushing the steaks with olive oil, and season them genourously with salt and pepper. Set aside on a plate at room temperature.

Cover the rice with 360ml cold water, bring to the boil, then turn the heat right down to the lowest setting, place a teatowel over the top and put the lid on. Leave alone for 20 minutes.

In a small saucepan, combine the coconut milk, curry powder, peanut butter, sugar and half of the limes juice and on a low heat, stirring until combined for a few minutes, then turn the heat off and leave alone.

Heat a pan of salty water for your broccoli.

Heat a dry frying pan for the steak, when hot, cook the steak on one side for 3 minutes, then turn over and cook for a further 2. Remove, cover with foil and leave to rest for 5 minutes.

Cook your broccoli for 3 minutes in salty boiling water.

Zest the remaining lime, take the lid off the rice which should be steamy, hot and fluffy. Add the zest and juice of the whole lime and a pinch of salt. Chop your spring onions finely.

Plate with the sauce surrounding the sliced steak, scattered with spring onions, and chopped peanuts if desired.



cooking Oat Crusted Mackerel with Dill & Potato Salad

July 21, 2013


I don’t often use potatoes. They’ve had a bad rep. over the years and deemed too ‘carby’. Unless they’ve been cut in to chips and coated in rosemary salt, no one wants to know.

This recipe needs potatoes, nice earthy new ones.

Mackerel is one of those ingredients that you can’t help feeling good about eating, it’s sustainable, rich in oils that make you live longer, and cheap. All in all this feels like a virtuous recipe. I’ve adapted it from Nigel Slater, using fresh mackerel rather than smoked, (I think the bacon makes it salty enough), and have coated the fillets in oatmeal.

For 2 people you’ll need:

  • 2 large fresh mackerel, filleted
  • a handfull of oats
  • 1 small white onion
  • 300g new potatoes
  • a bunch of dill
  • 1 tbsp of capers
  • 100g smoked bacon lardons
  • 300ml white wine vinegar
  • 1 tsp dijon mustard
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • good glug of olive oil
  • sunflower oil

Cut the onion in to rings and toss in the vinegar, set aside for 15 mins.


Boil your potatoes in salty water.


Brush the mackerel fillets with sunflower oil, the roll in oats.


Fry the lardons in a dry pan, medium heat. Once they’re crispy, remove and set aside, keeping the pan as it is.


Remove and add the fish to the same bacon-y pan, skin side down.

Mix the mustard, capers, salt, sugar, olive oil with some of the vinegar from your onions.


Mix the potatoes (chopped) with the bacon, dressing, chopped dill and drained onion rings.




The mackerel should be crispy and golden. Plate the salad, and top with mackerel.




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cooking Lemon and Raspberry Madeleines

July 16, 2013


I’m not into cupcakes. Thick, gross, sugary icing, adorned with stuff you might find in a child’s dressing up box; edible unicorns, small plastic beads, glitter. A cake that needs that much icing is trying to hide something. Dry sponge anyone?

No thanks.

If you simply insist on eating ‘cute’ cakes, let it be these buttery madeleines. Bite-size and void of icing, these guys are much more worthy.

To make about 24 you’ll need:


  • 3 eggs
  • 130g/4.5oz sugar
  • 200g/7oz plain flour
  • 10g/1/4oz baking powder
  • 1 unwaxed lemon, finely grated (zest only)
  • 20g/3/4oz runny honey
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 200g/7oz butter, melted and cooled
  • a handful of fresh cherries or raspberries
  • icing sugar, for dusting

Sift your flour and baking powder in a bowl, adding the lemon zest. Set aside.

Beat your eggs and sugar in a large bowl, until frothy and pale (this can take about 5 minutes by hand or only a couple if using an electric whisk). Aim to get them as pale and fluffy as you can.

Mix the honey, milk and cooled butter together and whisk to combine and add to the eggy sugar froth, stirring until fully blended.


Fold in the flour in two batches. Cover and leave in the fridge for a few hours or overnight, this firms up the batter and lets it rest for the perfect Madeline consistency.

When ready to bake switch the oven on to 190C/350F/Gas 5.

Butter and flour your madeline cases (if you don’t have these, just use small cake tins).

floured tin

Put a heaped tablespoon of cake batter in to each mould and press a raspberry (or pitted cherry) into each.

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Bake for 5 mins, and turn the oven off for 1 minute. Then turn it back on for a final 5 minutes but on a lower heat of 160C/325F/Gas 3. This process helps them form their shape.

Cool on a wire rack, and leave to cool ever so slightly before dusting with icing sugar.

wire rack

Madeleines have to be eaten warm, thems the rules.