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March 2014 Archives

cooking blood orange-meringue posset

March 31, 2014

posset

For years and years I have made the most Traditional of Old English desserts – lemon posset as a fall back, trusty pudding. I am lazy, so any dessert that can be made with only three (yes, I said it, three!) ingredients is going to be my friend. Lemons, check. Sugar, check. Cream, check.

But, as with most things done repeatedly for years and years, it becomes reliable and a tad dull (we are still talking about desserts right?). I decided it was time to get zesty and give the posset a makeover. What I came up with was this - a hybrid between a lemon meringue pie and a posset, but made with blood oranges as well as lemon..yeah. Anyway, it’s really delicious and as easy as lemon meringue (non-pie) to make. Nice with biscuits of various descriptions.

Note: You will need a blow torch. If you don’t have one – just get one. You can pretend you’re in Flashdance AND they also come in handy for things like chargrilling peppers, barbecuing corn and getting things out of moulds.

Find the full recipe here

posset

cooking warm lentil salad with burrata, croutons and mint dressing

March 31, 2014

puy

I am something of a lentil champion-er. They’ve been good to me over the years: seeing me through my studenthood; through sickness; through health and through financial instability. I won’t hear a bad word said about them. They’ve had a bad rep for a while, but I think (as Bob Dylan puts it) ‘the times, they are a chaaaangin’. Lentils are proving their versatility and are popping up on menus everywhere. Puy lentils (or poor man’s caviar as they’re known in France) are the crème de la crème of the lentil world—they hold their shape and texture much better than standard lentils, as they are grown in the hot volcanic climate and mineral rich soil of Le Puy. This warm salad uses them as a bed partner with mozzarella and makes for a lovely, rustic, peasant-y plate.

Find the recipe here

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cooking seabass ceviche with pickled chilli

March 20, 2014

seabassceviche

As summer approaches, who wants to be cooking into the wee hours? No thanks - I plan to spend all my free time drinking pale ale on Peckham Rye, and have vowed that NOTHING will prevent this. The clever, clever Peruvians have a nifty dish that allows one to both cook and play. Ceviche.

Pronounced sev-veech-ay, which is essentially fish left in the fridge for a few hours bathing in citrus juices before being adorned with pretty things. Now before anyone goes waving their finger - I was in fact taught at college that cooking means ‘changing the chemical structure of food’. This means that preparing ceviche is in fact cooking. Only we’re letting the lime juice wear the apron while we gallivant amongst the daffodils rapturous applause for limes. Ceviche is about as challenging to make as putting on a pair of flip flops, but take note - the time spent sourcing your lovely ingredients for it mustn’t be rushed! The fish has to be top notch—supermarket vac-packed swimmers be gone – it has to be sushi fresh. It’s time to become besties with your local fishmonger. I shamelessly flirted my way to getting my fishmonger to not only fillet my seabass, but pinbone it too. I think I love him.

I’m something of a purist when it comes to ceviche. I think it should be left pretty simple, so you can taste your expertly-sourced fish. The pickled chilli is dead easy and you can keep it in the fridge for a good week or two; and put it in salads and all sorts.

Nice with crispbreads and, if you prefer, make guacamole with the avocado instead of dicing it.

ceviche

Find the recipe here

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cooking bacon chapati and a chai masala

March 18, 2014

bacon

ONE of my favourite breakfasts is a builders style bacon sandwich, brimming with ketchup on soft white bread and a sweet cup of tea. Or at least it used to be, until I discovered Dishoom.

Dishoom is an Indian restaurant in London. You may not associate Indian restaurants with breakfast but don’t be too hasty - as their bacon naan is like the best bacon sandwich you ever had (naanwich?). It’s made with home-made naan bread, sweet chilli jam, creamy yoghurt and coriander. APPLAUSE.

Oh and that steaming mug of sweet tea to go with? That’ll be a Chai Masala. It’s sweet tea made with equal amounts of black pepper, cardamom and cinnamon. It’s dreamy.

Any day that starts like this is a good day.

My D.I.Y. version uses homemade chapatis, rather than naan (I don’t have the time or or patience to start making my own naan bread, oh no). Chapatis on the other hand, well, they only use two ingredients and one of them is water - hurrah!

chapati

Find the recipe here

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cooking mushy peas and black pudding crumbs

March 12, 2014

black

When my boyfriend goes food shopping (a VERY rare occasion), it normally ends up with him coming back with the most peculiar arrangement of ingredients that I then have to bring together in some way, Ready Steady Cook style. It can be frustrating.

The other day he came back with black pudding, some weird processed cheese and leeks (for some reason, he always gets leeks). I discarded the weird cheese and the leeks and got out some peas from the freezer and some leftover tenderstem. This was going to be a simple number.

What we ended up eating was simple but nevertheless, delicious. I really like black pudding, but feel it needs to be broken up into large crumbs and fried rather than kept in disc-form.

Full recipe here

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cooking borscht

March 11, 2014

borscht

I have had the worst cold this week. I have sounded like Michael Caine and wherever I have gone a Hansel and Gretel trail of tissues has followed. I’ve lost count of how many lemon and whiskey drinks I’ve shot back.

Nourishing soup was the answer, but I am just not into the whole puréed soup thing. You see, I have a good old set of God given gnashers, and I like to use ‘em. Why purée all the interesting bits of a nice soup to smithereens? This beetroot soup is a cracker, and not a blender in sight. It’s a fun colour, is like soooooo good for you and it turns a somewhat intimidating bunch of beetroots into something spring-y, clear and alive. Beetroot can be a little too sweet sometimes, but in this soup it’s balanced by the other vegetables. Also you get to feel like a Russian peasant when you ladle it out.

My Grandad used to pride himself on making his borscht by boiling up a cows foot, for depth of flavour, so this is my homage to him, only using slightly more accessible beef stock. There are some dishes that I believe shouldn’t be tampered with when it comes to tradition. This is one of them. Serve as the Russians do and add a dollop of sour cream and a smattering of dill, and a shot of voddy.

borscht

Find the full recipe here

bowl

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cooking quick Chinese pork with Spring Onion Pancakes

March 05, 2014

chinese

This recipe was born out of frustration. What does one do with mince when one can’t face shaping meatballs, stirring a Bolognese, or waiting for the oven to heat up? This is what you do!

You simply fry it off with a range of deliciously Chinesey (err, yes it’s a technical term) store cupboard essentials and the pork is transformed into a salty, sweet, spicy, crunchy mass. It’s really good over brown rice or with noodles, or with pancakes. Now I know that TUESDAY was Pancake Day BUT in my house we celebrate for the entire week, so I served my pork with spring onion pancakes, and amen, it was a good decision.

Cucumber is often sidelined to salad only. But it’s SO good fried. It breaks down a little in the heat so the texture becomes more gherkin-like. It’s nice because it doesn’t overpower. Same goes for radishes.

rawso

cookedpancake

plated

Find the recipe here

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cooking Black and White pancakes

March 04, 2014

b&w

How do you like your pancakes in the morning? I like mine wafer thin, piled high and doused in lemon and sugar. Call me boring, I can handle it.

But this year I have turned to one of my favourite cakes for this years inspiration – Guinness and Chocolate.

sophie

I love the drama of the black vs white. The ‘black’ comes in the form of a standard American pancake batter but with dark cocoa and Guinness. The ‘white’ comes in the form of a cream cheese sauce.

If you don’t like Guinness, don’t worry, no-one does except my weird next door neighbour Brian. The Guinness takes away the sickly sweetness of pure chocolate flavour and leaves a dark chocolate undertone with a slight bitterness that goes really nicely with the milky sauce.

batter

b&w

pcakes

For the full recipe go here

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