Foody Crushes of the online nature..

I have the biggest foody crush on Melissa Clark! Her stuff is so simple and delicious and the filmography/photography makes it super to watch and drool at! If you don’t know her go go go!

Melissa Clark

 

If you like middle eastern vibes check out Anjum Anand, or if you like rustic hearty you can’t miss the Hairy Bikers!

 

Who are your culinary crushes? What are your favourite foodies to follow?

 

 

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What a Gorgeous Leg .. of Nom.. I mean of Lamb

This is our standard Sunday dinner when the Granny is coming over – a beautiful leg of lamb with a delicious crusty herb coating, roast potatoes and whatever veg is going.

Wash down the leg, unless your butcher already has, and grab a skewer and pierce the skin all over on the fat side of the leg. Pat it dry and place on tin foil in an oven dish.

In a bowl add soft butter to whatever herbs you like. My mix contains parsley, rosemary, thyme, mint, tarragon and chives. Make sure the herbs are chopped finely and mix them in with the soft butter until the butter goes an off-yellow green.

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Spread evenly across the leg of lamb. Close the tin foil around the meat and pop in a preheated oven (190 degrees celcius) for 3 hours. (We calculate our lamb cooking time as 60 minutes per kilogram of leg, as we like it well done, but drop 30 odd minutes off it if you like it a little pink). After you’ve calculated whatever cooking time you want, leave it roast and 30 minutes before the end of the allotted time, open the tin foil up to let the herb butter crust up on the leg.

 

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Leave it to rest once out of the oven for 10-15 minutes and cut and serve with mint sauce.

Hearty Hearty Guinness Stew

 

Making a stew for the g’rents, so its key that I hide as much veg in there as possible (making sure they get their nutrients and fibre is essential, but if they see a hint of green I’m in trouble and they’ll turn their noses up at my delicious stew!).

We sweated some onions in a large casserole dish with a glug of olive oil and in another pan cooked up the round steak (cut in to bite size chunks) until crispy and brown. When the meat was done we put it all to the side.

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Then when onions are soft we added 1kg of carrots, a large courgette from the garden, a tablespoon of mustard, a small handful of rosemary, 2 tablespoons of Worcester sauce, 1 bottle of Guinness, 3 cans of chopped plum tomatoes and 1 1/2 litres of vegetable stock. Cook until reduced a bit and add the beef once there is space for it.

 

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Continue to reduce on the stove and then place in the oven at 160 degrees centigrade for 4 hours, or until the round steak is falling apart in little fibrous delicious pieces (my mouth is watering writing this!).

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Serve with roast or boiled potatoes! NOM!

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A Pretty Panda Packed Birthday

At 11pm I started baking this ursidae of a cake! It was herself’s birthday and I needed to make something that would feed the army in the workplace.

I nabbed Nigella Lawson’s divine Malteser cake (which you can’t get online, but can get in Feast) for the recipe and decorated it with buttons (I have an aversion to black food colouring and icing generally, so I had to adapt the black and white colours of the panda!).

I used Ovaltine instead of Horlicks and of course doubled the recipe to ensure I had enough to build the ears and snout.

Hello Panda

It went down a treat.

 

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A Swedish Meal and a German Meal

 

The Swedish Meal

Mom’s on this health craze so we are going through a wide range of salads at the moment. This salad is simple and nom.

Toast some whole almonds in a pan and then drizzle with brown sugar and balsamic vinegar. Once a bubbly thick caramel, make sure all the almonds are covered, pull aside and let cool. In the meantime, prepare a salad bowl full of kale and carrots, grated if you’re a normal person, sliced if you’re my mom! With the kale and carrot in a bowel, chop up the almonds in to fine toasty-crunchy-sweet bits and throw on top of the salad. Finally grab 2-3 apples and chop into small cubes and pop on top of the salad. Serve with a balsamic dressing made with walnut oil.

With the salad we had swedish meatballs made from a pork-veal combo (made sure to get good quality pork and veal mince from a nice butchers. Serve meatballs with lingonberry jelly and horseradish cream. Om nom nom.

Kale, carrot and apple salad

Kale salad and swedish meatballs

 

 

A German Dinner

This was genuinely eaten so quickly I couldn’t snap a proper picture of it.

Sweat 2-3 chopped onions in a little bit of butter until browning and then add in 300-400grams of chopped bacon (or if you can get your hands on it some delicious smoked German speck!). Then add 500g of chopped button mushrooms and cook until soft and brown and there is a lovely juice sweating out of it all. Add 750g of German spatzle (funny shaped noodles) and stir well into meat, mushrooms and onion. Add 250ml of creme fraiche (half fat stuff if you feel a little guilty) and 75g of cheddar or emmental grated. Stir well and bung it all into a casserole dish. Top off again with some cheddar or emmental. Serve hot with a salad.

Spatzle Ready to go

Spatzle Nom

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Second Desserts is a Thing!

Round two on our academic an cultural exchange took us to our other sister College – Oriel College Oxford!

We were given a lovely tour of Oxford and then fed – lots!

Champagne reception

Starter: Goats cheese and onion endive tartlet

Fish: Sea Bass with Aubergine and Caper NOM

Main: Loin of Venison, CARBS and gravy

Dessert #1: White and dark chocolate mousse

We then “retired” (moved) to a post dinner reception for seconds!

Dessert#2 Cheeses (amazing), Chocolates and Port. Their own College port. I brought a bottle home!

Dinner, Port

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A Dessert Party

Myself and a delegation of students were invited to our sister college – St. John’s College Cambridge. This is the feast we were fed (excuse the port stain!).

Dessert Party at St. John's College Cambridge

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Chicken Calvados

We were having people over and wanted to make a hearty nommy dish, given the cold Spring it is. We threw some butter in a pan and seared seasoned chicken breast until browned, but not cooked inside. We placed them in to a casserole dish.

Seared chicken

Then in the butter left of the pan we glazed and softened shallots (use as much as you want, we used 450grams), but we were feeding 10 people.

Sweat the shallots until glassy

Add shallots on top of chicken in casserole dish.

Stock

Then in a pan heat 6 tablespoons of calvados, set alight and pour over chicken and shallots.

Calvados

flaming calvados

Pour 2 litres of chicken stock and 500mL of cider into the casserole dish and heat in oven for 40 minutes at 180 degrees Celsius.

Stir

Cider

In a separate dish cut 8 cooking apples in to edible chunks and leave them in water until needed. With a small amount of oil in the pan heat the apple chunks and toss them in oil. Then remove the casserole dish and add the apples stirring them in.  Return to the oven until the apples have softened. 

Apples tossed in oil

Ready for the oven

Serve with bread and a green salad. Nom

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Curry or Soup – Sweet potatoe, butternut squash and lentils

A lot of recipes I find come from just having things sitting around the house, like a couple of sweet potatoes or butternut squash. This was divine, I made it again two days later because there were cries for more more more! I am also pretty casual with how I make my soups, this one ended up thicker and more of a curry, so feel free to adjust spice or veggie combos yourselves.

Looks like a soup doesn't it?

1 butternut squash

1-2 sweet potatoes (yams)

3-4 onions

2-3 stalks of celery

2-3 carrots

olive oil

3-4 garlic cloves

a thumb or two of ginger

ground cinnamon

ground  tumeric

ground cumin

chicken/vegetable stock

400g of chopped tomatoes

Heat the oil in the bottom of a pot or the good ol’ casserole dish  and throw in the onions, letting them soften, but avoid browning them, so a low heat is good. Add the lentils (you can use any type, the family is a little picky so I find they like the split red lentils more than other types) and stir, coating all the lentils in a little oil.

stir to cover veg and lentils with a little of the oil

Throw in the carrots and celery chopped into bit size pieces, this is a nice chunky soup, so you need some chunky veg in there. Then peel and chop the sweet potatoe and butternut squash as well and pop them in the pot too. Stir and let it all cook for a little minute. Then add the garlic, crushed, and the root ginger, grated.

Add the spices, I like my spices and to quote my mother “the balance is just right here” – so 1 tablespoon of cumin, 2 1/2 teaspoons of tumeric and 2 teaspoons of cinnamon.

ginger, cinnamon, cumin, tumeric, garlic

Then add 1 liter of stock, I used chicken, but go veggie if you’d prefer.  Then I added a can of chopped tomatoes, or blitzed whole ones.

a can of chopped tomatoes

Cook until it all reduces and the squash and sweet potatoe is soft. The lentils add great body and texture to the soup.

let it reduce

We served it with a lime, avocado, tomatoe, mustard seed salsa and a cucumber, garlic, yoghurt thing. And a bit of naan bread. Kind of reinforcing the curry, rather than soup vibe.

Nom

Maybe you guys can decide if its a curry or a soup?

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Red Cabbage, Like the In-Law German Granny Does

Red cabbage nom

There was this odd head of red-cabbage sitting in the fridge for a good while, so I decided I had to do something with it. We happened to have a ham too and what’s better than a glazed ham (Neven Maguire’s recipe is amazing, we used this at Christmas!), mash potatoes and some red cabbage. So I gave it a bash.

80g of butter into the bottom of the casserole dish, with the head of red cabbage chopped into small strips/slices. Soften the cabbage, stirring every so often, until the blue-ish red colouring is staining all the cabbage. Then add three chopped apples, (we genuinely had no apples in the house), so I added a small bottle of apple puree I had made ages ago (for pork!).

Butter and a Head of Red Cabbage

Sweat it out, add wine, cider vinegar and stock

Then add 500ml of red wine, 75ml of cider vinegar, 400ml of stock (I used ham stock, but stock of your choice works too!) and 200ml of red current jelly.

Delicous

Cook under tender. Then add another 75ml of cider vinegar.

Spices at the ready

Finally sprinkle a teaspoon of ground cloves, half a teaspoon of nutmeg, a teaspoon of cinnamon, a pinch of salt and three juniper berries into the pot. Stir well to get the spice everywhere. Then add 6 tablespoons of sugar and stir well.

Add the caster sugar

Cook until sauce is reduced and all the cabbage is soft and looks like it would just go SO well with a small bowel of steaming mashed potatoe.

Reduce the sauce

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