I wanted to share this recipe because it is delicious and very easy to make. I bought a pizza last week which I ate with my housemate. She loves mayonnaise and we had none in the flat but lots of eggs so I whipped us up a batch in less than 10 minutes. It tastes so much better than from a jar and it’s still going. I had some for dinner last night with salad and cous cous left over from a BISCOCHO supper club we held the night before ( 27 people – our biggest yet and raising money for Kids Company, post soon to follow) I got this recipe off the BBC website and it’s by The Hairy Bikers – Foolproof Mayonnaise. Yum, I will definitely be making more.
I’ve been a little preoccupied and abandoned oranges and lemons for much longer than planned. To summarise… I moved flats in December. It’s the best decision I’ve made in the past six months. I’ve also moved jobs which has been a little scary but at the same time a massive learning curve. And I’ve become a little obsessed with baking and dare I say it One Direction (Bruno Mars not far behind thanks to housemate).
I should be thanking my housemate for a lot of things. One of my oldest friends, we’ve known each other since we were nine and lived together back then but in boarding school halls. Now we’re grown ups (apparently) and we live in a grown up flat with another wonderful person and have made a wonderful home. I love being here and could quite happily stay indoors all day. Being self-employed I’ve had more time to spend at home which means baking happens often. Right now I’ve just pulled a Carrot and Spelt Flour cake out of the oven.
Going back to my housemate, LB, she’s a very supportive and loyal friend who has put up with a lot of my wingeing and taking over the kitchen so when her birthday arrived I wanted nothing more than to bake her the ultimate birthday cake. It was her choice of flavour and the final decision was Chocolate Peanut Butter cake. I found an american recipe which also had a cream cheese icing. I tend to be overly critical and there is a lot I would change about this recipe – cream cheese icing doesn’t go, not enough peanut butter- but it was a lot of fun to make. Having only one cake tin made the process a little slower than if I had three but you make do and it occupied an entire evening of staying in the flat away from the cold.
American-style pancakes with bacon and maple syrup is one of the best breakfasts on a lazy Saturday morning. We cheated slightly using Bisquick to make the pancakes. Light and fluffy they tasted incredible with the salty bacon and sweet syrup.
Why is it the first pancake always turns to mush? It was the final pancake which looked the most appealing, that was number 12. Maybe it was the pan, maybe I put too much butter, maybe the mix was too thick or maybe I should be more patient.
Sophs made sure the bacon was perfectly crispy. We kept all the pancakes in the oven until everything was ready to serve then sat the bacon on top so all the juices were absorbed. It’s making me hungry thinking about it. Next time I have a lazy morning on the weekend Hollow Legs‘ Blueberry Pancakes with Maple Syrup & Bacon looks like the one to go for.
You’re probably thinking what the hell is that, trust me it tastes better than it looks. It probably could have looked more appetizing also if I had bought nicer bread but we worked with what we had. Finally blue cheese, bacon and dark chocolate all ended up in my fridge at the same time. It’s been about two years since I tore out Paul A.Young’s recipe for Honey Cured Bacon, Stilton and Chocolate Sandwich out of a newspaper ( which one I’ve forgotten, possibly The Times). On more than one occasion I’ve said we’ve got to make this recipe and for some reason or another we never got round to it. Maybe it was fate that led all those ingredients into my fridge, maybe a happy coincidence, but the morning finally arrived when two people sat content in bed munching on these sarnies. It’s been a long time coming Mr Young but glad we got there in the end.
I’ve had a copy of last weekend’s Telegraph magazine sitting on my desk staring at me. I was about to throw it out then remembered I usually like to flick through the back and see what recipes are featured. A huge smile spread across my face when I turned the page to see Heidi Swanson photographed in her immaculate white kitchen. A beautifully written article along with four wholefood recipes, if you haven’t had a chance to read it yet you can visit the link below.
This New Year Noodle Soup posted on 101Cookbooks has become a staple recipe in our kitchen. Originally featured in the book Saraban: a Chef’s Journey Through Persia, this is a wonderfully inventive dish and very easy to prepare. The part I enjoy most is cooking the onions watching as they slowly turn golden and release the most intoxicating smell. This soup goes a surprisingly long way and my eyes are always bigger than my stomach. It is great served generously with the fried onions and sour cream. I also like to reserve some of the chopped cilantro and sprinkle it on the warming soup at the very last minute.
Native to Mallorca, this cured sausage made with pork, paprika and other spices is one of the tastiest things to add to a simple tomato sauce. A friend who often returns to the Balearic Island to visit her parents always very generously purchases a large portion of sobrassada at the airport for me. Typically you eat this minced meat spread over a piece of large crusty bread, this is the way you will see it served at most markets in Mallorca. I personally prefer it hot. The rich red oil seeps out of the meat and makes it more easy to spread but also adds a huge amount of flavour to a pasta sauce. There is no strict recipe for this sauce I make, each time I improvise depending on what nice vegetables are purchased and what is already in the kitchen cupboards. Here is an example of what we made over the weekend.
sobrassada tomato sauce with fettucine ( serves 4 to 6)
- 2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 clove garlic, crushed
- 1 large red onion, roughly chopped
- 1 large sweet red pepper or 2 green peppers, roughly chopped
- 2 x 400g tinned chopped tomatoes
- 1 fresh red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
- Sobrassada ( this is where I often improvise as it depends on how meaty you want your sauce!, I like to add at least half of the amount you can see in the top photograph above which is about 200g)
- 1 large handful parsley, roughly chopped
- sea salt and freshly ground pepper
- Parmesan for serving
- In a large casserole dish heat the olive oil and add the onion, garlic and chilli. Leave them to fry on a medium heat for about 5 minutes.
- Add the sweet pepper to the pan and cook for a further 5 minutes.
- Add the chopped sobrassada to the pan. *You can cut this roughly to whatever size you like, I tend to do it around the size of a 20p coin.
- Leave the sobrassada to cook for about 2 minutes releasing some of the oil from the meat.
- Add the chopped tomatoes, turn the heat up till the sauce begins to boil and then leave to simmer for 20 minutes. After 10 minutes of simmering you should be ready to put your fettucine pasta into a pan of boiling water and start cooking.
- Just before you are ready to serve the sauce with the fettucine, add your parsley and season to taste.
- Serve with freshly grated parmesan.
- Shortbread in four different flavours; rosemary and sea salt, lavendar, chocolate and chilli, and Lime. My mum gave me a simple shortbread recipe which I have been using for the past three years and love it. They are incredibly easy to make and these new added flavours all turned out really well.
- Guinness cupcakes. These were my least favourite creation from the evening. The miniature cakes themselves look great and are difficult to dry out because the beetroot keeps them moist and spongy. The disaster was the icing. The recipe was followed but it was so runny which made it difficult to work with if you want to make a cupcake look pretty.
- Banana Bread. I’ve made this plenty of times before but this time tried a new recipe and also added additional ingredients to it ; chopped walnuts, 1/4 tsp ground allspice, 1 tsp cinnamon. The result was perfect. The bread didn’t dry out which it often tends to do in my temperamental oven.
- Zucchini Ricotta Cheesecake. This was by far my favourite recipe from the baking session. Very similar to a quiche but without the pastry, this is a delicious melt in your mouth savoury cheesecake which is best served 10 minutes after exiting the oven or at room temperature the next day.
On Sunday, after a late breakfast of poached eggs on toast, we decided to walk to a market which neither of us had experienced yet. It is slightly confusing that Ally Pally Farmer’s market isn’t actually inside the incredible Alexandra Palace but down the other end of the park next to the car park. We got there eventually after a lovely stroll admiring the spectacular views of London.
I was looking for vegetables to go with the Nigella Lawson Pork Steak with Port & Figs recipe I was preparing last night for four of us. There were three good sized stands, one organic, with a great selection of fruit and veg. I bought two huge bags of bramley apples and conference pears aswell which were very reasonably priced and all ended up in the apple crumble cake dessert. My other half also bought a selection of home made sausages and dry cured back bacon. We sampled lavendar jelly, banana jam ( which reminded me a bit of baby food), delicious melt in your mouth goats cheese, and ginger conserve.
The market was inspiring. Although smaller than expected ( perhaps it grows in the summer) it had a variety of stalls selling great produce and gave me plenty of ideas to start planning for our own food stall. Next farmer’s market on the list to explore is Stoke Newington.
Moro is on my list of restaurants to try this year. I bought their cookery book Moro East at the beginning of 2011 and didn’t use it once last year which I now regret. It was a nice surprise to find that it was a signed copy by Sam & Sam Clark when it arrived. I flicked through the pages admiring all the beautiful photos, marking which recipes I hoped to try and then put it on my shelf forgetting about it for the next 12 months. Big mistake.
A couple of weeks ago I decided to take a recipe book to my boyfriends so that I had something there for inspiration and would hopefully encourage me to start working through all the recipes I have marked in my ever expanding collection of cook books. Moro East was the chosen one and the first recipe I decided to try was Mansaf. Considered the national dish of Jordan, this saffron and yoghurt soup with miniature lamb meatballs is divine. The ingredients was doubled last Sunday so that we had enough to last us two lunches each at work. I would have happily had it for lunch every day this week, it just keeps you coming back for more. Unfortunately I can’t find a direct link to the recipe but I have found it on another person’s blog; Cooking Up A Storm. The meatballs do take quite a long time to prepare but it is really worth it. Give yourself a couple of hours so that you have time to leave them in the fridge for at least 30 minutes whilst you start making the rest of the soup.