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Showing posts from October, 2010

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…

Chocolate Caramel Flapjacks

At every market I visited in Brittany there was always a stall selling the Breton speciality caramel au beurre salé, a deliciously gooey buttery caramel. I ended up buying 5 large tubs of the stuff to take home with me, but I really wish now that I'd bought more - it's so good, especially on ice cream.
This recipe is an adaption of a millionaires shortbread, but uses a flapjack base rather than shorbread - and I actually prefer it. These bars are best kept in the fridge to keep the caramel firm. Enjoy.
CHOCOLATE CARAMEL FLAPJACKS| Serves: makes 16 squares  | Prep Time: 10 Minutes plus overnight chilling | Cook Time: 45 Minutes | Total Time: 55 Minutes plus chilling |
Ingredients: 200g Butter140g Light Brown Sugar60g Golden Granulated Sugar2 TBSP Syrup350g Oats250g Caramel - or just use a 397g tin of Carnation Caramel (you will just end up with a thicker layer of caramel)100g Dark Chocolate100g Milk Chocolate
Instructions: Step 1: Preheat oven to 150c and line a 20cm square cake in w…

Bretagne in pictures

A few foodie (and some not so foodie) photo's from our recent holiday in Brittany.

Market at Lanion

Perros Guirec
Ile de Brehat
Perros Guirec
Rory in the sand
Lowen at Tregastel
Ile de Brehat
Market at Morlaix