Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Retro Challenge

I am a member of a foodie forum called Violet's Pantry. I have met some lovely friends there and it is wonderful to chat to other foodies. Vi gave us all a challenge to come up with a retro recipe. This had me pondering for quite a long time. So what is retro? How retro should I be? Do I eat any retro food.

With regard to food I think that retro refers to something that is considered to be old fashioned or not popular or trendy at the moment. However there does seem to be a growing trend for all things retro and this includes food as well.

Getting back to the task I really wasn't sure what to cook. I was thinking about all the things my mum and gran used to make. There is a whole variety of different things and it took me ages to decided. I started off thinking I would make a retro dessert and was almost tempted to make a lemon meringue pie or a trifle. This wouldn't be something new for me as they are things that I do make occasionally. I decided to make something completely different and chose a recipe that I had never made before. After much deliberation I decided to make coq au vin.

This was something that my mum used to make and it reminded me of meals with my family sat around the big table in my parents kitchen. I used to help my mum in the kitchen and can remember waiting for my dad to come home. He was a lorry driver so wasn't always home every day and we used to get so excited when we came home after being away for a couple of days. My sister and I always thought we were so grown up having this as there was some wine in it. Little did we know then that the actual alcohol had evaporated.

The recipe was very easy to prepare but did take a while to cook. It is something that is just all bunged together in a dish and then put in the oven. An hour or so later you have the most amazing meal. The husband and I really enjoyed this and will definately have it again. The recipe I used was from the UKTV Food site and you can find the link here - http://uktv.co.uk/food/recipe/aid/512004 I will have to ask my mum for her recipe and see if it is as yummy as I remember.

Thursday, 29 November 2007

1080 Recipes

This is my newest cookery book purchase. I bought it yesterday when I was doing a bit of Christmas shopping. I just happened to buy myself an early Christmas present. I have never really cooked much Spanish food but am really looking forward to experimenting with the recipes in this book. There are so many though that I don't know where to start. The book is beautiful and there are lots of very pretty illustrations throughout the whole book. The recipes look simple but delicious and I'm sure I will have many favourite recipes from this book. The recipe for stuffed Andalusian Chicken looks especially good and I think that might be the first one I try.

Wednesday, 28 November 2007

Books and more books

I have a bit of a thing for cookery books and foodie magazines. They seem to be taking over my house and there are cookery books in nearly every room. Last night I decided to see exactly how many I have and was surprised to find that I have over 60. I also have lots of copies of magazines like Delicious and Olive and never throw any away. I have a wish lish on Amazon and there are lots of other books that I would like. I love recieving foodie books and gifts and like nothing better than getting a cookery book. I hope to list all of the books that I have and write some reviews here on my blog. Its going to take a while though but I'm sure it will benefit me.

Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Cheesecake and Chocolate

My husbands parents came round for dinner at the weekend. For the main course I made the mustard pork chops from Nigella Express. I had made them a while ago for the two of us and told my mother in law about them. She said how nice they sounded so I invited them round cooked them for her. I got some lovely pork chops from our butcher and served them with some homemade gnocchi. They were really rather nice if I do say so myself.
I wasn't sure what to make for dessert. There are so many lovely things I could have made but in the end I settled for a cheesecake. It is absolutely delicious and my husband thought it was scrummy. It is ever so easy to make but does take several hours to set in the fridge. I made it the night before and popped it the fridge ready for dinner the next day. It is made with a combination of double cream and creme fraiche along with rather a lot of chocolate. Just try not to think about how many calories there must be when you tuck into a slice.
White Chocolate and Bailey's Cheesecake
8 oz Digestive Biscuits or Chocolate hob nobs
4oz softened butter
400g Good White Chocolate – I used Green and Blacks
5 Tablespoons Bailey’s Irish Cream – Some of the supermarkets do their own version too.
500g Tub Crème Fraiche
142ml tub Double Cream
Crush the biscuits and then add the softened butter. Press into a loose bottom cake tin and put in the fridge. Melt the white chocolate in a bowl, either in the microwave or over a pan of simmering water. Whip the cream but ensure that it isn't too stiff. Fold the crème fraiche and the whipped cream into the melted chocolate. Add the Bailey’s to the mixture. Taste and add more Bailey’s if you want it a bit stonger. Pour the chocolate mixture over the base. Decorate with a little grated chocolate. Chill in the fridge overnight.

Friday, 23 November 2007

Toad in the hole

This is a favourite in our house and was what we had for our dinner last night. There is a fantastic butcher just up the road from us so we get all our meat from there. They do the most amazing sausages and the husband would eat them every day if he could. I grilled the sausages first and did a few extra so the husband can have sausage butties for lunch today. I then made the batter just as you would make one for a yorkshire pudding. I served our toad in the hole with steamed veg and some creamy mashed potato. It was very yummy and all the better for having such amazing sausages. Its just not the same with some cheap ones from the supermarket.

I made a bit of a mess in the kichen last night as I also made a pasta salad for my lunch today. I have a deal with the husband in that I cook and he washes up. I left him a huge mountain to do last night which he wasn't very impressed with.

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Macaroni Cheese

With the weather getting colder its nice to have some comfort food. One of our favourite comfort meals is macaroni cheese. I made this last night as we haven't had it for a while. It was delicious and I made a bit extra for lunch today. I served it with some garlic pizza bread as well. It was lovely and warm and comforting. Its a perfect meal for the cold winter months.

Macaroni Cheese

Serves 2
25g butter
25g plain flour
half a pint of milk
1 teaspoon mustard
grated cheese - I normally use a mizture of cheddar and parmesan

Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 6.
Cook the macaroni in a saucepan of boiling water.
Melt the butter in a saucepan.
Add the flour and mustard and stir into the melted butter.
Add the milk and bring to the boil.
Let it simmer for about 5 minutes. This will thicken the sauce.
Add the grated cheese but reserve a little bit to sprinkle over the top.
Drain the cooked pasta and pour into an oven proof dish.
Pour the sauce over the top and stir into the pasta.
Sprinkle the remaining grated cheese over the top and then grate a little nutmeg over the top.
Put in the oven for about 15 -20 minutes until golden

Monday, 19 November 2007

My weekend

My husband Paul and I had a lovely relaxing weekend. It was really nice as we have been really busy and have quite a lot of plans before Christmas. On Friday I made a lovely meal of sage roasted chicken with goats cheese gnocchi. Its a Tony Tobin recipe that I got from the BBC food site. I've never made gnocchi before but it was absolutely scrummy and I'll definately be making it again.

On Saturday we had a lazy morning at home and then walked into town in the afternoon and went to the cinema. We saw American Gangster which stars Russell Crowe and Denzil Washington. It was really good. After the cinema we had a wander around the shops and I found a fabulous new cook shop that has just opened. I dragged Paul in and could have spent ages looking at everything but Paul isn't very impressed with shopping. I spent a good few minutes drooling over the KitchenAid mixers that I am lusting after. They had loads of fabulous gadgets and gizmo's as well as lots of ideas for gifts. I will definately be going back soon but will leave Paul at home next time. You can buy online here as well: http://www.steamer.co.uk/index.php?pageid=home_page

On Sunday we saw Pauls parents. They had invited us for dinner and so we had a lovely meal of roast beef and yorkshire pudding followed by apple and blackberry crumble.

Raspberry and marshmallow swiss roll

On Friday evening I made a bit of a feast for Paul and I. I started off by making the dessert which was a raspberry and marshmallow swiss roll. It was ever so easy to make although I did have a bit of a problem rolling it up as the cream and raspberries spurted out of the edge. It didn't look as good as I'd hoped but tasted delicious and Paul was very impressed. He thinks we should have desserts more often. I really liked this and think it would be good with other fruits especially strawberries. I'm a bit of a chocoholic so I think I might try a chocolate version of this too.

Serves 6

For the cake:
3 eggs
75g golden caster sugar
75g self-raising flour
butter, for greasing
For the filling:
5 tbsp raspberry jam
125mdouble cream, whipped
100g marshmallows
100g raspberries
icing sugar, to dust

1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
2. For the cake, crack the eggs into a bowl, add the sugar and beat together until pale and fluffy. Fold in the flour.
3. Grease and line a 23 x 30cm/9 x 12in swiss roll tin. Pour the cake mixture into the tin and smooth the top with a wet spatula.
4. Transfer to the oven and bake for 7-10 minutes, or until golden-brown and springy to the touch. Remove from the oven and allow to cool slightly, then turn out onto a sheet of baking paper.
5. For the filling, spread the jam over the cake, followed by the cream.
6. Place the marshmallows into a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on full for about 15 seconds, or until beginning to soften. Spoon the marshmallows on top of the cream.
7. Spread the raspberries along the edges of the cake, then roll the cake up in a cigar shape. Dust with icing sugar.

Thursday, 15 November 2007

Mustard Pork Chops

I made mustard pork chops for dinner last night. Its a Nigella Lawson recipe from her new book Nigella Express. I really like her recipes but this is only the second one I have tried from this book. I served it with creamy mashed potatos and some steamed veg. In the book it says to serve with gnocchi which I think would be lovely but that isn't something I've made before. I think I might try it next time or when I have a bit more time. The pork chops were lovely and its a pretty quick recipe to do in the evenings when I get home from work. Even my other half Paul liked them. I told him to tell me if he didn't like them otherwise it will serve him right if I dish them up again. I used wholegrain mustard as it says in the recipe but I think it would be just as nice with a different type such as dijon.

Mustard Pork Chops - Serves 2

2 Pork Chops
2 teaspoons of garlic oil
125ml cider
1 tablespoon of grainy mustar
75ml double cream

1. Cut the fat and rind of the chops, then bash them briefly with a rolling pin between two pieces of clingfilm. This will make them a bit thinner so they cook quicker.
2. Heat the oil in heavy based pan and cook the chops over a moderately high heat for about five minutes on each side. Remove them to a warmed plate.
3. Pour the cider into the pan, still over the heat, to deglaze the pan. Let it bubble away for a minute or so then add the mustard and stir in the cream.
4. Let the sauce continue cooking for a few minutes before pouring over each plated pork chop.

My Kitchen wishlist

I already have a lot of gadgets and gizmo's in my kitchen. My cupboards and shelves are overflowing with them. Some of them I use a lot and others sit there getting dusty. My husband P decided that we should get a juicer a while ago. We've only ever used it about 3 times. Its such a faff to use and clean again afterwards that we just buy juice.

These are some things that I am lusting after at the moment for my kitchen. I love looking at stuff for my kitchen online.

Firstly I would so love a Kitchenaid mixer. I just think they are so nice and even though P doesn't think I'd use it much, I know I would. I think they look gorgeous and I would love to own one. Seeing as himself has just bought himself a games console I might treat myself to one soon. I just need to decide which colour to get. I can't decide between the green or the red one.

I also really like some of the Living Kitchen range by Nigella Lawson. I already have some stuff but would love this cake stand. I'd probably never use it but I really like it.

I already have the LK measuring spoons but would love to get the cups as well. I have a cheapy set of metal ones but these are divine and I would love some. They are on my Christmas wish list. They are so pretty and I know they would come in useful.
So there you have it, its not much to ask for is it?


This is my first post on my new blog. I hope to be able to share what I cook and bake here along with lots of photos.

I have loads of cookery books and love buying and recieving them. I also love experimenting in the kitchen and trying out different recipes. There is no more room for cookery books on the shelf in my kitchen so my books have started to take over other rooms in the house.