Thursday, 21 April 2011

Some of my Favourite Blogs.

Back in February, Alex from Dear Love Blog very kindly passed on the One Lovely Blog Award to me.

Alex's blog is fascinating.  She has recently done a cooking diploma and she shared all the amazing looking things she made.  She was also kind enough to send me her own panforte and some peanut brittle at Christmas time.  She mentions how supportive and encouraging the community of food bloggers are and I have to agree.  I have found myself a very friendly community to belong to and am so enjoying cooking and baking alongside you all.

Now as part of accepting this award I have to nominate 15 blogs to pass the award on to.
I also have to pass on these instructions - 
In accepting this award you agree to:
1. Post about the award & acknowledge the person who gave it to you.
2. Pass the award on to 15 blogs you love.
3. Tell the award recipients so they can come & claim their prize.

Now, I am a little concerned about the viral/chain letter aspect of this but I do think it is a good opportunity for me to give a shout out to some of my favourite blogs.  So, if you get this award from me, please don't feel obliged to do anything with it unless you would like to.

So, on to my list - 

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

The Cake Slice Bakers - Challenge 7 - April 2011 - Cold Oven Cream Cheese Pound Cake.

So this is my first ever Bundt cake.  Don't tell my husband but I bought myself a Bundt tin for it.  I'm glad I did as I love the way the cake looks and look how perfect it is in my cake keeper!

So, can't wait to keep experimenting with Bundt cakes.  I think they look classy and grown up.

Anyway, I didn't put any ginger in this cake as I don't like the stuff so I increased the lemon and made a lemon icing.  It was lovely and we finished it off very quickly.  Next time, I think I would up the lemon flavour a little more as I do love the tang.  A very moist and soft crumb to this cake.

Now, as we are moving house soon, I have packed away my recipe books and forgot to take a note of the recipe for this post.  Instead I will link to Emily's Cooking Foray for her post which includes the recipe.

Click here to see The Cake Slice Bakers Blogroll.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

The Daring Cooks' Challenge No. 6 - April 2011 - Edible Containers.

What a fantastic challenge this month - so exciting.

Renata of Testado, Provado e Aprovado was our Daring Cooks’ April 2011 hostess. Renata challenged us to think “outside the plate” and create our own edible containers! Prizes are being awarded to the most creative edible container and filling, so vote on your favorite from April 17th to May 16th at!

Well, with a) being a bit busy, b) being creatively challenged and, c) being useless at making things look pretty, I decided not to try to come up with something myself or compete but, instead, I chose to try out a few of the examples Renata gave us.  I chose family friendly meals ideas and had some fun.  I really do need to work on my presentation skills!

My first attempt was a very simple version of this breakfast - scrambled eggs in toast baskets with smoked salmon.

Next I tried a wee salad in a basket made from parmesan cheese.  Laura gave me the idea in The Daring Cooks' Forum.

The next one was Texas Fiesta Bowls from Salad In A Jar.
I used her idea for the tortilla baskets and filled with my own chilli and accompaniments.

Next, I made eggs baked in potatoes as inspired by The Daily Spud.

And, finally, I made some Yorkshire puddings and filled them with stew.  These are not the prettiest but they were very tasty and hearty.  I made giant puddings for Steve and me and mini ones in muffin pans for the kids.  Yum.

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Belleau Kitchen Random Recipe Challenge 3 - My First Ever Cookbook.

This month Dom asked us to cook a random recipe from our first ever cookbook.

I was tempted to go to my parent's house and choose a book I would have cooked form in childhood.  The most appropriate one would have been my Mum's old domestic science jotter as that is definitely the one I used when I first ever started baking.  My favourite is the rum truffles and they are the first thing I ever remember baking.  I still love them.

Steve felt that the first book he bought himself was Leith's Cookery Bible but when we went to get it from the shelf, it seems it was a victim of our clearing out for selling the house.

So we looked on the shelves and chose the books we felt were the earliest books we had really cooked from that we still owned.

Steve chose Fish by Sophie Grigson.  He has a signed copy.  We went to see her demonstrating her kedgeree recipe from this book in Glasgow when we were students and certainly he made recipes from it for me when we were dating all those years ago.

His random recipe was Roast Cod With A Lemon, Garlic And Parsley Crust.  I did the shopping so I bought haddock loin instead of the cod because it's local and I prefer it.

It was a delicious and kid-friendly tea.  We loved the tang of the garlicky and lemony crust.
Here's the recipe -

Recipe - 
Serves 4.

Ingredients - 
700g skinned, thick cod fillet (or haddock, coley, pollack, hake, bass, toothfish, red mullet - this is one of the great features of this cookbook - she gives you alternative options for EVERY recipe)
85g white breadcrumbs
3 generous tbsps finely chopped fresh parsley
2 garlic cloves, crushed
finely grated zest of 1 lemon
60g butter, melted
lemon juice
salt and pepper
lemon wedges, to serve

Method - 
1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/GM 7 .
2. Season the cod with salt and pepper.
3. Mix the breadcrumbs with the parsley, garlic, lemon zest, salt and pepper then add the butter and a squeeze of lemon juice.  Mix thoroughly with your fingers.
4. Place the cod in a greased, shallow ovenproof dish and press the buttered crumbs firmly onto the upper side to form an even crust.  
5. Bake for 20 mins, until the crust is browned and the fish just cooked through.  If the crust is still pale, pop under a hot grill to finish browning.
6. Serve immediately, with lemon wedges.

So, onto my random recipe challenge.  From the shelves I chose Grub On A Grant by Cas Clarke.  This book doesn't even belong to me but was lent to me by a friend who had finished university by the time I started in 1996.  There are some quite weird studenty dishes in this book so I was a bit apprehensive about what I might end up having to make.  Luckily it was Tarragon Chicken which is a really simple dish to serve with pasta.  And uses chicken thighs so hopefully Dom will give me extra brownie points!

I served the chicken pieces on the tagliatelle and the following day I stripped the remaining chicken and stirred it through the pasta like a sauce.  Both versions were yummy.  I love the flavour of tarragon and just don't use it enough.  Although I do make a creamy tarragon chicken hot sandwich from Nigel Slater's Fast Food which is a real treat.  Anyway, this was a nice easy supper and certainly a great dish for students.

Recipe - 
Serves 8.

Ingredients -
2 large onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
75g butter
8 chicken pieces
1/2 bottle dry white wine
salt and pepper
2 tbsp tarragon
250g sour cream
1 tbsp paprika  (Ooops - have just realised I completely forgot to sprinkle on my paprika)

Method - 
1. Fry the onion and garlic in 50g butter until soft.  Place in a large casserole dish.
2. Fry the chicken in the same pan in 25g butter.  Fry until golden.
3. Pour half the wine over the cooked onion.  Season with salt and pepper and lay the chicken pieces on top. Sprinkle with tarragon and pour over the rest of the wine.
4. Cook at 170C/325F/GM 3 for 2.5 hours.
5. Add the sour cream just before serving. Serve the dish dusted with paprika.

Friday, 8 April 2011

100th Post.

Well, it's my 100th post - that came round really quickly.
And, guess what?  I have nothing to post.
We are moving home in less than 3 weeks and, with having the kids around and working, getting anything packed takes forever so today I am packing up my baking stuff and making a start on packing all my crockery.
This means that there will be very little cooking or baking going on here for a while then I'll have a whole new kitchen to get used to.  I think I'm moving to an electric hob - eeek - I know I'll miss my gas hob!

So, instead of food, I'm going to post a few pics of my favourite non-food subjects.  Gratutitous.

Sorry about that.