No ordinary Friday night

Home on a Friday night, how sad! Decided to take advantage of my time and curb my sweet craving in one foul swoop by baking yet another cake! I need to start branching out really…too much baking can turn into a bad thing.

Anyway, it tastes good apparently and it’ll keep the family quiet for a few days 🙂


Aaaaah…Pesto

I bought myself a little book from Amazon at the weekend, which has lots of lovely little recipes that you can make into presents. I thought that was a brilliant idea and it shows that you’ve actually put loads of effort and thought into what you’re making for your loved one.

I saw a recipe for pesto – yum! – so I thought it would be a nice and easy place to start.

The book I bought is great, it’s called “Gifts from the Kitchen” by Annie Rigg.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Gifts-Kitchen-Irresistible-Homemade-Presents/dp/1856269388/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1316122478&sr=8-1

Sooo, I made a start on my pesto! To make 2 small jars:

Ingredients:

  • 75g Basil leaves
  • 2-3 fat cloves of garlic, roughly chopped
  • 75g pine nuts
  • 250ml fruity olive oil*
  • 75g finely grated Pecorino cheese**
  • Salt and Pepper to season

* I used regular extra virgin olive oil (no idea what “fruity” means?!)
** I used standard Parmesan

Equipment

  • Blender!
  • Jars to store the finished product
Yes. My blender is old. In fact, I believe it was bought by my great grandma, the year I was born, to help my mum make healthy baby food … haha!
Method:
  1. Put the basil, garlic and pine nuts into the food processor and blend until they are roughly chopped.
  2. Add almost all the olive oil and blend again until finely chopped and well combined
  3. Remove from the blender into a bowl and mix in your cheese (Pecorino or Parmesan)
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste!
Easy right? So easy, I should really have kept it to myself and pretended I was really clever ….
The end result ….
It’s so much nicer than the bought stuff and really flexible.
I had some Pesto with my dinner tonight actually, how could I not! I had an oven baked, crispy jacket potato, cut in half and mashed slightly with lots of lovely butter … yum yum … then I dolloped on some pesto and spread it over the top of the potato. I then sprinkled over some more Parmesan and grilled it until it was starting to brown!
Quick. Easy. Simple and fairly healthy (without the butter … and lots of cheese … ). Let me know if you’ve tried the recipe and what you think!

Cupcake-athon – the results!

I got my new piping bag in the post yesterday and I went a bit mad…

I think I need to learn other ways of decorating cakes, but for now….look how pretty!

Amazing reviews from my work colleagues 🙂   always good to know things you’ve made are yummy!

I’m planning on making pesto tonight. Found a great recipe in a little book I got from Amazon looks nice and simple – chuck it all in a blender … although I sometimes find that the most simple recipes can end up with disastrous results…hmm we shall see!

Cupcake-athon

Thanks to National Cupcake Week, newly inspired and armed with a brilliant excuse to eat cake, I set to work on perfecting my cupcake recipe….

I managed 21 in my first go, doubling my standard recipe and adding chocolate chips – any excuse – to the mixture. I didn’t have time to decorate them, so tres tres excited to start on that! At the moment I just have 20 (yes I ate one) blank canvases to decorate. Watch this space!

My little blank canvases:

 

National Cupcake Week

Amazing. A whole week dedicated to cupcakes. I certainly will be doing my bit for the cause 😛

National Cupcake Week 2011 takes place September 12th to 18th. There are a number of special events and promotions taking place and a series of special programmes on Food Network – I know I’ll be watching!!!

I wanted to try out a red velvet recipe tonight that I found online – the Hummingbird recipe – but I have read some awful reviews about the mixture smelling awful … Cooking should smell good – seriously!?

On a nicer smelling note, I made some cupcakes and a larger cake for my birthday and brought them into work – they went down very well 🙂



My mum taught me a little trick for making the sponge fluffier:

Rather than introducing the whole eggs to the cake mixture, I whisk them lightly in a seperate bowl and then add them slowly. It makes a huge difference to the texture of the cake!

Sushi!

I’ve recently had my 24th birthday and after many months of ranting about sushi, my best friend bought me a sushi making set! I got rice vinegar, nori, a rolling mat, sushi rice and a mini japanese recipe book – amazing!

We decided to have a go, so we set an evening aside and bought our fillings – crispy prawns and avocado for me and smoke salmon and avocado for Elle. Thinking the rolling would be the hardest part, we were surprised when that part turned out to be quite simple! It was the rice that was the hardest. After several hours of preparation our sushi turned out really well!!

Served with a big bowl of soy sauce – heaven!

Foodicide

Foodicide: when someone eats so much they feel as if they may die.

I decided to start a foodie blog after a conversation about all things food over a cream cheese and bacon bagel on Sunday. As a food addict I enjoy talking about, eating and making food, so why not add writing about food to the list!

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There’s just something about weekends that seem to triple my appetite. All psychological obviously, but I certainly look forward to my oversized, homecooked roast more than I would on a week day.

I didn’t have time to home-make too much myself this weekend but I did cook pork on Friday evening, accompanied by a lovely bottle of Asda’s finest Pinot. Main was followed by a chocolate brownie pudding meant for four…but eaten by two!

My partner had pork chops in the freezer, so rather than having the normal pork chops and mash, I decided to make something a bit different. I de-fatted the chops and breaded them in brown-breadcrumbs, cheddar, parmesan and parsley and grilled them. I served them with homemade apple sauce and roasted sweet potatoes. It was actually really nice and also unexpected for my partner who spent most of the cooking process with a rather dubious look on his face! Recipe below

Ingredients:

For the pork:

* 4 x pork chops
* 60g brown bread (for breadcrumbs)
* 30g parmesan cheese
* 25g plain flour
* 3 free-range eggs, beaten
* 10g cheddar cheese
* Handful of parsley

For the potatoes
* 2 large sweet potatoes, chopped into 1-2 inch pieces
* Runny honey
* Finely chopped garlic
* Olive oil
* Dry rosemary and thyme / mixed herbs

For the apple sauc

* 2 Cooking apples, cored and cut into cubes
* 65-70mls cold water
* Squeeze of lemon
* 50g unsalted butter, cut into cubes
* Sugar, to taste

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180-200 degrees.
  2. For the potatoes, peel and chop into 2inch-ish cubes and place in a bowl. Sprinkle with the garlic and mixed herbs and drizzle over some of the runny honey and olive oil. This is totally to taste. Season and then mix so the potatoes are nicely coated.
  3. Put the potatoes into a roasting tin and place into the centre of the pre-heated oven. They should be in for about 25minutes, but check them after 15minutes. They are ready when you can put a fork in them easily.

For the pork
These don’t take long to grill, especially if you have quite thin chops, so I have the potatoes done and set on the side, covered to keep them warm.

  1. Cut the fat off the pork chops and set aside. You can grill the fat separately to make crackling.
  2. Mix together the breadcrumbs, parsley, cheddar and parmesan in a bowl.
  3. Dip the chops into the flour, then into the beaten egg and finally into the breadcrumb mixture.
  4. Grill! This should take between 2-5 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of the chop, turn when golden brown.

For the apple sauce:
Put the chopped apples into a saucepan with the water and a squeeze of lemon juice. Cook over low heat, stirring occasionally for about 12-15 minutes until the apples have softened. Stir in the sugar (optional) and whisk in the cubes of butter and keep warm. If you want cold apple sauce, don’t put in the butter.