Category Archives: cooking

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 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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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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The Zingy Lemon Curd Cake

Ready to Nom Lemon Curd Cake

350g self raising flour

3 level teaspoons of baking powder (this is my trick, you really want a bouncy fluffy sponge!)

350g butter, at room temperature, unsalted

350g caster sugar

6 eggs

rind of 2 lemons

juice of 1/2 – 1 lemon (depending on how zingy you like it)

Get the sponges on, this is quick and easy. Grab a hand held whisk or a food processor and through all the above into a bowl and mix together. If you want to be fancy, sieve the flour first (but for some reason self raising flour is the poofiest thing and just flies everywhere, so I avoid that where possible). You’ll end up with a lovely consistent cake batter, which you should split equally between two 20cm cake spring form tins, lined with greaseproof paper at the bottom.

Bake for 40 minutes at 175 degrees celcius (335 degrees fahrenheit). They’ll be ready when golden brown, when a skewer comes out clean and when it bounces back on light pressing. Cool for a couple minutes and turn out on to a wire rack. Allow to cool fully.

Sponges Cooling

300g caster sugar

zest of 4 lemons

juice of 4 lemons

8 eggs

200g butter, unsalted

While the cake cooks, make the lemon curd. In one bowl (one that fits nicely over a pot of water) pop the sugar and lemon zest. In another bowl beat the eggs and add the lemon juice. Mix into the first bowl with the sugar and place the unsalted butter in little bits into the bowel. Heat the pot of water, with the bowl on top. Stir at intervals, allowing the sugar to dissolve and the butter to melt. This might take up to 30 minutes, but you’ll get a lovely thick lemon curd at the end of it. I always make more than I need. It’s the best on a slice of toast in the morning!

Wait for the curd to cool a little. Go back to your now cooled cakes.

Curd Delicious

With a wonderfully sharp knife, a steady hand and a good eye – cut each cake horizontally into two, to double the layers of the cake. Place the bottom layer on a cake stand or plate and spoon a big dollop, around a cup of the curd in the middle of the bottom layer. Spread outwards, add the second layer and add curd again. Repeat with the third layer. Finally, add the top layer, ensuring that the gold brown side of the cake is on top.

Dollop that curd

Half way there with the layringFinished layering

With the juice of half a lemon and 50-100g of icing sugar (go for a consistency you like, we like a thin runny icing on the top), make your icing and pour into the middle of the top layer of the cake. Smooth outwards trying to cover everything. With the rind of 1-2 lemons decorate the top. For the occasion I used some lime zest too!

Extra Curd Saved for Breakfast

Slice and serve. Moist, tangy, sweet, nommy. (Is moist even allowed to be used anymore? Totally un-food related.)

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An Unbelievable 50th Feast

Ever wanted a birthday menu. This is what whipped together for our parents joint Birthday celebrations. All home made by the children. We were a little too busy cooking for 35 people to take photos, but the menu is better than nothing!

Champagne Aperitif

Taitinger

Starter

A hot spicy crabby ginger tart with salad garnish and a chili dressing

White Wine

 Sophie Bertin Sancerre 2011

Main

Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo, Ireland Sirloin Beef

with Roast potatoes, Salsa Verde and a Rosemary Jus

Red Wine 

Ch. Puygueraud 2005 Bordeaux cotes de Francs  (3L bottle=Jeroboam)

Ch. Latour-Martillac 1999 Pessac-Leognan Gand cru classe de Graves (1.5L bottle=Magnum)

Torbeck 2009 Barossa Valley Grenache-Shiray-Mourverdre

Villa Novare 2009 Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso

Dessert

Lemon Drizzle Cake or Chocolate and Hazelnut Torte

or Both! served with Berries and Creme Fraiche

Dessert Wine

Chateau de Rolland 1989 Barsac

Cheese

A large selection of Irish, French and Swiss cheeses served with rye crackers with linseed.

Port 

A bottle of Dow’s 1963 Port (from the year of Mom and Dad’s birth) and a bottle of Taylor’s 1977 Port (supposedly the best vintage for port of the entire 20th century)

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Absolutely Nutty Not-Just-Pecan Pie

Nommy Nutty Mix

This is absolutely delicious. It genuinely very quick to make. Took the filling from Nigella, but did not like the dough she used, so I whipped up a batch a la Delia Smith – the Quick Flaky Pastry (we basically use this as a standard in pastry in our house).

So whip up a batch of that by grating 110g butter (which I pop into the freezer before hand) into 175g of plain flour. Once grated use a metal spoon to stir all the grated butter into the flour, ensuring all little bits are covered. Then add a small amount of cold water and using your hands, but minimising your touching of the dough, bind it together. Adding a little more cold water if needed. Once its a consistent ball of pastry, wrap in cling film and through it in the fridge for at least 30-45mins.

Take the pastry out and roll it to 5mm thick to fill a 25cm flan dish. Press it into the sides and cut off excess pastry, but leaving a little above the rim. Pop the flan dish into the freezer (I had to find space for it, but managed) for 20 minutes, while you make the filling. (Pop it in the fridge if you can’t fit it in a freezer).

To get the filling together; start with a pot or saucepan and let 200g of light brown sugar, 150g unsalted butter and 4 large tablespoons of golden syrup (I only use Lyle’s Golden Syrup, but I believe corn syrup, maple syrup or molasses could do the trick too). Once melted, stir together, although the butter tends to separate, don’t worry about that. Add a teaspoon of vanilla essence, stir again and pull off the heat and leave for ten minutes to cool. Whisk 3 eggs in a bowl and leave ready for after.

Golden syrup, butter, brown sugar

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius (or 350 fahrenheit). In the mean time grab the flan dish from the freezer and check that its nice and cold. The freezing protects the shape of the pastry once it gets into the hot oven, so it’s important its crisp and cold.

Grab at least 350g of mixed nuts (they have to be unsalted and ideally with no additives in them). If you want feel free to use only pecans, but its handy to use all the half packs of almonds, hazelnuts, walnuts, pecans etc. I do love an odd brazil nut in here too or a cashew, so be daring. It is delicious after all. Arrange them nicely in the flan dish.

Nutty Mix Arranged in Frozen Pastry Flan Case

Pop back over to the now slightly cooled filling mix and with your whisk, mix in the beaten eggs, until its a lovely thick caramel-like nom.

Syrupy Mix and Eggs Ready to Go

Pour gently over the nuts into the pastry case. Pop into the now heated oven for at least 40 minutes or until the the filling has set.

Pre Baked Nom

Let it cool a little. Serve with a dash of lightly whipped cream.

Post Baked Nom - The Not-Just-Pecan Pie

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