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Showing posts from 2010

Mexican Bean Stew

In an attempt to utilise what I had in my cupboards, this lovely Mexican stew was created - its amazing what a few spices can do to pep up some tinned beans! Make this the day before you want to eat it for the best flavour.
MEXICAN BEAN STEW| Serves: 4  | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 30 Minutes | Total Time: 40 Minutes |
1 TBSP olive oil1 Red onion, roughly chopped1 Red pepper, chopped1 TSP each of Paprika, Cumin, Coriander, Chili and Oregano1 400g tin of Kidney Beans1 400g tin of Butter Beans1 400g tin of Cannellini Beans400g tin of chopped tomatoes100ml Vegetable Stock 1 tbsp dark chocolate , choppedCoriander, chopped

Step 1: Heat the oil in a large casserole and fry the onion and red pepper until softened - about 5 minutes.Step 2: Add the spices, beans, tomatoes and stock, cover and simmer for 25 minutes.Step 3: Stir in chocolate until melted and sprinkle over the coriander before serving.
| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 20th December 2010 |

Plum Flapjacks

These sweet, fruity little beauties were gone in a day. Perfect with a cuppa but also surprisingly good with some warm mulled cider - well it is Christmas!

| Serves: makes 12 | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 45 Minutes | Total Time: 55 Minutes |
Ingredients:400g fresh Plums, stoned and chopped1/2 tsp Cinnamon300g Golden Granulated Sugar300g Butter350g Rolled Oats140g Plain Flour3 TBSP Golden SyrupInstructions:Step 1: Heat oven to 200c/ 180fan and grease a 20cm cake tin. Toss the plums with the cinnamon, 50g of the sugar and set aside.Step 2: Melt the butter and Syrup in a pan. In a large bowl combine the flour, oats and remaining sugar.Step 3: Pour the butter mix into the dry ingredients and combine.Step 4: Press half the mix into the tin, spread the plums on top and then add the remaining flapjack mix. Press down firmly and bake in the oven for 45 minutes.| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 15th December 2010 |

Sausagemeat and Bramley Apple Stuffing

I've been experimenting with stuffing over the last few weeks and thought I'd post my favourite concoction to date. The bramely apple gives it a lovely tang (especially with a glug of cider) and it would make the perfect accompaniment to your turkey.
| Serves: 6  | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 40 Minutes | Total Time: 50 Minutes | Ingredients:450g Sausagemeat1 Onion, chopped1 Bramley, peeled, cored and grated1 Egg, beaten1 TBSP Dried Mixed Herbs100g BreadcrumbsSalt and PepperIf mixture is a little dry, add a glug of Cider!Instructions:Step 1: Fry the onion in a TBSP of butter until soft.Step 2: Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mix thoroughly and then spoon into an ovenproof dish. Uncooked stuffing can be kept in the fridge for a few days.Step 3: When you are ready to cook, preheat oven to 180C/Gas 4 and bake for around 40 minutes - check after 30 mins and if browning too much on top cover with foil.| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 9th Dece…

The Scandinavian Cookbook: A Review

I have to be honest I'd never heard of Trina Hahnemann before the recently published paperback version of Scandinavian Cookbook dropped through my door. My knowledge of Scandi cuisine extended only so far as knowing herring is pretty popular and cardamom buns are an institution (*hangs head in shame*!).
However, thanks to following some Scandinavian foodies on Twitter, such as Scandilicious and Scandinavian Kitchen, Scandinavian cuisine has really come into my radar in the the last few months and I jumped at the chance of reviewing, reading and trying out some new recipes from this beautifully presented book (a book which quite frankly is far too good to be confined to the bookshelf thanks to the stunning photography by Lars Ranek).
So Trina Hahnemann - who is she? Well after a little bit of research I found out she is a leading Danish T.V chef and food writer but her career started over 20 years ago when she co-founded a company that catered for the film and music industry on locat…

Molton Chocolate Puddings

I've been looking for an easy warming pud to make for the Christmas pudding haters in our family (there are a few of them!)...and I think I've found it. These are so simple taking just 5 minutes to prepare and about 10 minutes in the oven and taste gorgeously rich and gooey. You could easily double the recipe to serve 8 if you needed to cater for a larger number of people and for an added seasonal twist you could omit the vanilla extract and add the zest of 1 or 2 clementines.
I promise you will be impressed by these!
MOLTON CHOCOLATE PUDDINGS| Serves: 4  | Prep Time: 5 Minutes | Cook Time: 10 Minutes | Total Time: 15 Minutes |
Ingredients: 125g Dark Chocolate125g Unsalted Butter3 Large Eggs150g Golden Caster Sugar35g Plain Flour1/2 TSP of Vanilla ExtractButter and Flour for ramekinsInstructions:Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200c and butter and lightly flour 4 ramekins (approx 200ml capacity).Step 2: Melt the butter and chocolate in a microwave (do 20-30 second zaps at a time to pr…

Easy Mince Pies ..... for the freezer

Last weekend I made my usual batch of mincemeat and decided while I was at it to make some mince pies for the freezer too. The pastry is no effort and is made entirely in the food processor (although you can do it by hand if you wish). It produces wonderfully crumbly pies, with a slight nutty flavour thanks to the ground almonds.
You don't have to freeze the pies of course and I give instructions below for baking them straight away, but I like to get ahead at Christmas and stashing a batch of these away in the freezer, I am safe in the knowledge I am just 20 minutes away from a warm homemade mince pie. Perfect for unexpected guests.

EASY MINCE PIES| Serves: 16 pies  | Prep Time: 20 Minutes | Cook Time: 20 Minutes | Total Time: 40 Minutes  |
Ingredients:  350g Mincemeat200g Plain Flour75g Ground Almonds40g Caster Sugar125g Butter, cubed1 EggMilk for glaze.Instructions:
Step 1: Butter a bun tin (you may need two).Step 2: Place the flour, sugar, almonds and butter in a food processor and…

A Slice of Cherry Pie: A Review

As a UK Food Blogger it was with great excitement I received my copy of ‘A Slice of Cherry Pie’ written by the founder of the UK Food Bloggers Association, Julia Parsons.
Julia, who has run a successful food blog (also entitled ‘A Slice of Cherry Pie’) since 2006 and more recently set up the UK Food Bloggers Association to act as a community hub for like-minded foodies, is now officially a published author too (is there no end to this woman’s talents?).
Julia has been releasing snippets of the book on her blog in the run up to its launch and I, like many bloggers have been eagerly counting down the days to its release. Well, it finally landed on my doorstep last week and I spent a lovely evening curled up on the sofa reading it from cover to cover – ideally it would have been with a glass of wine, but due to the flooding I hadn’t been able to get the shops so I had to make do with a can of hubby's lager – which somewhat ruined the image of a dark autumn evening, fire blazing, feet u…

Turkey Bolognese (and a cardinal sin)

OK, shoot me, I used linguine instead of spaghetti, a cardinal sin according to my hubby! 
Despite this 'oversight' on my part it turned out to be a deliciously rich bolognese, not dry as I often worry with turkey. 
Although the recipe uses turkey mince, there is absolutely no reason why you couldn't substitute it with some leftover cooked turkey (chopped up in a food processor) from your Christmas lunch! Just remember to add the turkey after the mushrooms.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
TURKEY BOLOGNESE| Serves: 4  | Prep Time:  20 Minutes | Cook Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes  | Total Time: 1 Hour 50 |
Ingredients:  2 Onions, chopped2 Cloves of Garlic, chopped250g Mushrooms, slicedOlive Oil600g Turkey Mince - or use leftover turkey chopped up1 dried chilli2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes2 TBSP Tomato Puree325ml Red Wine500ml Chicken StockDash of Worcestershire sauceSprig of thymeSalt and Pepper
Instructions: Step 1:  Heat a glug of oil in a large pan and cook the onions and ga…

Easy Christmas Cake

I finally got around to making my Christmas Cake last weekend, - I was beginning to panic a  bit as I've never left it this late before. Instead of the usual pre-soaking of the fruits in alcohol, I decided to simmer the fruits in Cherry Brandy for 10 minutes, which meant I could get the whole cake made and baked in a couple of hours.
The cake is now safely wrapped in a double layer of baking paper and a layer of foil, ready for its weekly feedings of cherry brandy - it's going to be a boozy one! In terms of the decoration, this year I am opting out of icing and instead going to go for a simple apricot glaze (warmed apricot jam brushed onto the cake) with brazil nuts and candied fruits on top.
EASY CHRISTMAS CAKE| Serves: 1 x 20cm cake | Prep Time: 30 Minutes | Cook Time: 1 Hour 45 Minutes | Total Time: 2 Hours 15 Minutes |
Ingredients:  500g dried fruit mix including rasins, currants and mixed peel100g Glace Cherries, chopped100g Apricots, chopped100g Dates, choppedZest of 2 Oran…

Food from Plenty: A Review

Many of you may know Diana Henry from Market Kitchen, or perhaps from her articles in The Telegraph, Waitrose Food Illustrated or Sainsbury's magazine (she has been named cookery writer of the year twice!). I have long been a fan of her fresh, family friendly approach to food but shamefully up until last week I didn't own any of her cookbooks.
Henry is the author of six books to date including the much acclaimed Crazy water, pickled lemons;Roast figs, sugar snow and Cook simple. The latest offering, 'Food from Plenty' has over 350 recipes showcasing inexpensive and resourceful meals, ideas for using up gluts and clever ways to make the most of leftovers.
The book is based on a strong sustainability ethos but is not preachy or condescending. Diana shows the reader that by cooking seasonally, often with cheaper cuts of meat and fish (e.g. Braised Lamb Shanks with gremolata p180 and Pigs cheeks with mustard lentils p193), you can reduce food miles but more importantly produ…

Leon: Naturally Fast Food - A Review

Following on from their best-selling cookbook Leon: Ingredients and Recipes, Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent have recently published their latest offering– Leon: Naturally Fast Food.
Leon (Carnaby Street) opened in 2004 by Dimbleby, Vincent and Allegra McEvedy had within 6 months been named the Best New Restaurant in Great Britain at the Observer Food Monthly awards. With a prestigious judging panel containing names such as Gordon Ramsey, Rick Stein, Nigel Slater and Jay Rayner it was bound to go far and far it has gone – with 9 restaurants and counting! Leon's ethos is based on the twin principles that food can both taste good and do you good and the offerings in this cookbook certainly respect the founding aims. But far from being boringly healthy, this book exudes fun, quirkiness and above all is a very useful tool in any cooks kitchen.
The book is split into two halves. The first half contains fast food recipes, recipes for all types of occasion that take less than 20 minutes t…

Pumpkin, Apple and Sage Soup

A very large pumpkin had sat staring at me for quite a number of days in my vegetable rack so when Friday came (my day off) ... and it was raining, I thought I'd better turn the monster into something edible. Despite the time it took to chop up all the pumpkin flesh (a job I very much dislike!), it was on the table in less than an hour, so not bad really.
The apples were a bit of the spur of the moment thing, but they really worked and the cider vinegar gave it a tangy edge. I served it with some cheesy toasts using some of the Dorset Blue Vinney I was kindly sent from The Cheese Shed.

PUMPKIN, APPLE AND SAGE SOUP| Serves: 4  | Prep Time: 20 Minutes | Cook Time: 40 Minutes | Total Time: 1 Hour |
Ingredients:  15g Butter2 onions, peeled and chopped2 garlic cloves, sliced1TSP Sage1/2 TSP Chilli Flakes1 TBSP Cider Vinegar1 large Pumpkin, peeled, cored and flesh cut into chunks2 Bramley Apples, peeled and chopped800ml Vegetable StockSeasoning
Instructions: Step 1: Melt the butter in a larg…

Win a Hotel Chocolat Advent Calendar

COMPETITION CLOSED Christmas is not so far away (7 weeks to be exact) and to celebrate Hotel Chocolat have plied me with chocolate...again. They have kindly let me road test not one but two Advent Calendars  AND given you the opportunity to win them in a little Christmas competition (2 winners this time so double the chance of winning).
First up was the Childrens Advent Calendar which Lowen reviewed (although I think she was getting confused thinking it actually was Christmas - she's only 3!). The Advent Calender was filled with milk chocolate in 6 different festive shapes, Lowens favourite being the reindeer below. The calendar also included 3 Christmas decorations to cut out and hang on your tree.

Hubby and I got to road test the Truffles for Share Calendar, which handily has two truffles behind each window - no more fighting over one chocolate for us! There are 6 different varieties of truffles, my favourite was the mousse au chocolat but the gingerbread truffle came a close seco…

Foodie Events in Cornwall ~ November 2010

24th - 27th November - Made in Cornwall Christmas Fair, Lemon Quay, Truro. Huge array of Cornish food, drinks and crafts.
27th November - Celtic Beer Festival, St Austell Brewery.
27th -28th November  -Cotehele Christmas Food Fair at Cotehele House nr Saltash. Annual Food Festival organised by Taste of the West. £2 admission.
Events at Amelies Restaurant, Porthleven this month Pie & Ale night - every Tuesday Tuesday nights at Amélies are homemade pie and ale nights. Priced at £12.50, you get a homemade pie with seasonal vegetables, hand cut chips and a bottle of your favourite ale. £10 Curry and stew night - every Thursday (except 11th and 25th)Choose between chef Marcus Houghton’s incredible curries served with rice, naan bead and chutneys, or a wholesome stew with oven-baked bread. All meals are served with a bottle of beer and are priced at £10.00. 70s night - Thursday 11th November Take yourself back to a brighter era, with a funky disco, and retro buffet of classic 1970s dishes: praw…

Win a Cheese Shed Christmas Selection Box

The Cheese Shed started life back in 2006 when Ian Wellens, James Mann and Gill Mann, set up the company with the aim of making little known Westcountry cheeses available to people all over the country. Their key focus remains the same today, selling local artisan cheeses from the southwest, primarily from small scale producers.

I am a cheese lover as most of you will already know, so when an opportunity came up to try a Cheese Shed Christmas  Box (and give one away!) I wasn't going to turn it down. I was the lucky recipient of the following;
A Christmas Three Box containing;
*Dorset Blue Vinney - a wonderfully crumbly blue cheese made by Michael Davies at his dairy near Sturminster Newton. He uses a semi skimmed unpasteurised milk which makes it low in fat (so you can eat more of it without feeling guilty).
*Black-Eyed Susan - my personal favourite. Made by Richard and Caroline Harbord on their farm near Bruton in Somerset. This particular cheese is covered in crush…

Halloween Cupcakes

(I think this was meant to be a red legged spider!!)
As I said in the Gingerbread Skeletons post, I am possibly the least artistic person to walk this planet, so if I can decorate cupcakes anyone can. I kept the decorations simple, so spiderwebs, pumpkins and monster type things with long red legs were the order of the day! Feel free to be as adventurous as you wish.  Just make sure you set aside a good hour to clean up afterwards. Icing sugar gets everywhere!

Thank-you to Silverspoon for sending me the products to try.
250 g unsalted butter, softened250 g caster sugar250 g self-raising flour1 tsp baking powder4 eggs1 tsp vanilla extractFor the icing220 g unsalted butter, softened400 g icing sugar1 tsp vanilla extractSilverspoon writing icing, colourings and choco beans to decorate (as well as other sweets such as red laces, liquorice)
Instructions: makes 18
Step 1: Preheat oven to 180c. Line 2 cupcake tins with paper casesStep 2: Put all the cupca…

Win A Cosy Tea Hamper

COMPETITION CLOSED I recently got to trial these fab teas by a company that I hadn't even heard of before (I can't believe these slipped through the radar). What makes Cosy Tea unique is that, inspired by the recent rennaissance in knitting, each packet has its own knitted pattern (a kind of tea cosy) and, on the side of each pack is the name of the stitch and knitter that created it. Very quirky and right up my street.
The Cosy Tea range includes the following teas; Breakfast Tea Earl Grey Chamomile Rooibos Lemon Green Jasmine Green Peppermint Blueberry and Echinacea
All products are organic as well as being approved by the Vegetarian Society and for vegan diets by Viva! My favourite has to be the Blueberry and Echinacea- which came in very handy during my recent bout of sniffles. It was intensely fruity and, with a drop of honey really soothed my throat.
I've got two mini hampers, each containing 6 packets of this lovely stuff to give away to two lucky people .
To be in with a chan…

Easy Kedgeree

Its not exactly authentic, being more like risotto in texture rather than the traditional rice and fish breakfast dish that originated in India, but who cares when it tastes so good. You could replace the smoked cod loin with the more traditional smoked haddock if you wanted, I just managed to pick up a lovely piece of cod from my local fishmongers at a knockdown price.
EASY KEDGEREE| Serves: 4  | Prep Time: 10 Minutes | Cook Time: 20 Minutes | Total Time: 30 Minutes |
400g Cooked Basmati Rice2 TBSP Groundnut Oil1 heaped TBSP Harissa Paste400g Smoked Cod Loin, skinless and boneless6 Spring Onions, sliced1 Green Chili, sliced400g Tin Coconut Milk1 TSP Veg Bouillon powderHandful of frozen peas2 Hard Boiled Eggs, quartered1 Lime, quarteredInstructions:Step 1: Heat the oil in a large lidded pan and add the harissa paste, stir for a minute.Step 2: Place the cod loin(s) into the pan scatter over the spring onions and chilli, pour in the coconut milk, add the vegetable bouillon po…

Gingerbread Skeletons

Enough of the laughter - I tried my best! Hopefully for those of you that are artistic you can see the potential in these Gingerbread Skeletons for Halloween. The dough itself is very easy to make and is based on a Delia Smith recipe that now has many adaptions. It withstands manhandling by the kids so it really doesn't matter how much they play around it.
White Designer Icing (from Silverspoon) was used to pipe on the skeleton frame. Just make sure you knead the icing  tube a little before use, it makes piping a lot easier.
This would make an ideal half term activity with the kids.
GINGERBREAD SKELETONS| Serves: 10 Gingerbread Men | Prep Time: 30 Minutes | Cook Time: 10 Minutes | Total Time: 40 Minutes |
Ingredients:  75g Light Muscavado Sugar2 TBSP Golden Syrup1 TBSP Black Treacle1 TSP Ground GingerPinch of ClovesZest of 2 Satsumas95g Butter, cubed1/2 TSP Bicarbonate of Soda225g Plain FlourWhite Designer or Writing Icing to decorate.
Instructions: Step 1: Preheat oven to 180c or Gas Ma…

Butternut Squash, Blue Cheese and Sage Risotto

Those of you who follow me on twitter will know the night I made this I declared it the best risotto I had ever made and on reflection, I still believe that (not trying to pipe my own trumpet - it was the quality ingredients obviously).
The slightly sweet nutty roasted squash together with the tangy Helford blue cheese I purchased at   Fifteen Cornwall Farmers Market was a match made in heaven, but the sage just gave it an extra special dimension. A sprinkling of toasted pine nuts if I'd had any, would have been a great addition too.
A perfect, comforting autumnal recipe to be enjoyed with a large glass of wine.

| Serves: 2  | Prep Time: 15 Minutes | Cook Time: 30 Minutes | Total Time: 45 Minutes |
1 Butternut Squash, quartered and deseeded2 Cloves of Garlic, chopped15 Sage leaves, shredded20g ButterGlug of Olive Oil1 Onion, choppedSplash of Vermouth300g Arborio Rice1 litre of Vegetable Stock100g Blue Cheese, cubedInstructio…

Fifteen Cornwall Autumn Farmers Market

Lowen and I ventured down to Watergate Bay on Saturday to visit the Fifteen Cornwall Autumn Farmers Market. Despite the wind (it was blowing a hoolie) the crowds turned up in force to enjoy the fresh Cornish produce on offer.
There were about 25 stalls in the marquee, which had been erected on the Car Park above the restaurant, selling everything from fish, fresh bread and patisserie, jams and pickles, cheeses, duck, meat, chocolates and oils. The Eden Project also had a stall selling Christmas decorations (which sent me into a panic - better get on with the Christmas cake) as well as Halloween goodies.
Here are a few photo's of just some of the foodie offerings.
Cornish Coldpresed Rapeseed Oil from Simply Oils is produced from Rapeseed grown on the North Cornish coast. It has a really distinctive nutty flavour that I would quite happily enjoy by itself with some fresh bread for dunking.
Cornish Orchards with a fine display of their hand crafted apple juices, ciders and vinegars made…