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Friday 30 October 2009

Pot Roasted Brisket in Beer with Parsnips and Mushrooms

This is a really delicious recipe from BBC Good Food website. Easy to make, lots of long slow cooking and the dark beer with the mushrooms makes a rich and tasty gravy.

I used an Orkney Beer called Dark Island

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Julie & Julia

I wasn't quite sure what this film was going to be like. I knew that it was a true story, I knew it involved Julia Child and cooking, but I was not prepared for just how entertaining it was going to be.

I went to see it with my friend in our local Film Theatre, which is very small, it was sold out. The audience was mainly women of middle years, with just a few men joining us. What can I say, we laughed, groaned and generally were drawn into the lives, and cooking triumphs and disasters, of these two delightful women and their equally lovely supportive husbands.

I cannot reccomend this movie highly enough. I'm going to buy the DVD when it comes out so I can see it whenever I need to lift my spirits.


Tuesday 20 October 2009

Chocolate Muffins - this time they're real!

I made my friend a book of 50 treats for her birthday in April, you can see it here and she is calling in some of the treats as she has her neice and nephew visiting.

She got 6 chocolate muffins

The recipe is one by Delia Smith from the Comic Relief 'Delia's Red Nose Collection' from 1997. Delia made these as mini-muffins, I doubled up the mix and made mine full size.

5oz (150g) plain flour
2 level tbsp cocoa powder
1 level dessertspoon bkaing powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 1/2 oz (40g) golden caster sugar
4 fl oz (120ml) milk
2oz (50g) butter, melted and cooled slightly
2oz (5og) plain chocolate drops

Preheat the oven to gas mark 6, 400F, 200C

Start off by sifting the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt into a large bowl.. Then in a separate bowl mix together the egg, sugar, milk and melted butter. Now return the dry ingredients to the sieve and sift them straight on to the egg mixture (this double sifting is essential becuse there wont be much mixing going on). What you need to do now is take a large spoon and fold the dry ingredients into the wet ones - quickly, in about 15 seconds. Don't be tempted to beat or stir, and dont be alarmed by the rather unattractive, uneven appearance of the mixture: this, in fact, is what will ensure that the muffins stay light. Now fold the chocolate drops into the mixture - again with a minimum of stirring, just a quick folding in.

Divide the mixture between the muffin cups about 1 heaped teaspoon in each, and bake on a high shelf in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, until well risen. Then remove the muffins from the oven and cool in the tins for 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling tray.

She also got 6 fruit scones, just a very basic scone recipe with some dried fruit added.

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Sunday 18 October 2009

The Delia Effect

I know I shouldn't but I just can't resist a cook book, especially one by Delia Smith. Having had a quick flick through, there are a few recipes from other books but also some new ones. I'll let you know how I get on with it.

I thought I should share my 'Delia' collection lol! I also used to have 'One is fun' but gave it to my SIL who was more in need of a solo cook book. The only one I've hardly used is 'How to Cheat' as I am already very experiened at cheating lol!


Tuesday 13 October 2009

Rice is nice, but cheesecake is better!

On Sunday I made one of my favourite one-pot dishes, Spicy Prawn & Chorizo Rice by Silvana Franco (recipe below)

and followed it with more spiciness of the sweet and spicy kind, are you seeing a theme to my weekend cooking lol, I decided to make the Apple Streudel Cheesecake from Judy's Kitchen. My measurements were slightly haphazard as I didn't have the right amount of cream cheese, but it turned out beautifully and was absolutely delicious, I served it with the rest of the windfall apples that a friend of my MIL's had given me. Thanks for that one Judy, it's a keeper.

Spicy Prawn & Chorizo Rice
Takes 45 - 55 minutes. Serves 6 with plenty for seconds.

2 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves finely chopped
2 rd chillies, seeded ad chopped
400g/14oz chorizo sausage, skinned and cut into chunks
450g/1lb long-grain rice
1tsp smoked paprika or 1 tbsp ground paprika
200ml/7fl0z dry white wine
1.5litres/2 3/4 pints hot chicken stock (if mkaing with cubes, don't use more than two)
175g/6oz frozen broad beans or peas
400g/14oz raw shlled tiger prawns, thawed if frozen
250g/9oz cherry tomatoes, halved
3 tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley, plus extra for sprinkling

1. Heat the oil in a large wok or pan, then tip in the garlic, onion, chilies and choizo and fry for a cople of minutes until the onion has softened and the chorizo has released some of its oil. Add the rice and paprika, give a good stir, then pour in the wine and bubble vigorously until the wine evaporates.

2. Pour in the stock, then lower the heat and cook gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Tip in the beans or peas, season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and cook for another 7-10 minutes, stirring, until the rice is tender. Keep an eye on the water level and have a kettle of boiling water at the ready in case you need to add a spalsh or so to keep the rice moist.

3. Stir in the prawns and tomatoes and cook for a few more minutes until the prawns turn pink and are just cooked through and the tomatoes start to soften. Toss in the parsley, check the seasoning, then stir and leave ot settle for a few minutes before serving in blowls. Serve
with a mixed leaf salad.

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Monday 12 October 2009

Sticky Spiced Toffee Pears

On Saturday I noticed there were still a lot of pears in the fruit bowl. They had been very hard when I bought them but now were suddenly all ripe at the same time. I knew right away what I woudl do with them, because since last weekend I have been smelling the Star Anise in the cupboard every time I opened the door. I couldn't get it all to fit in my spice jar and there were two 'stars' in the open box.

So I put some water in a pan with two tablespoons of light brown sugar, the two star anise, half a cinnamon stick and four cloves. I put it on a gentle heat to let the sugar melt, while I peeled the pears and cored them from the bottom - ouch! Once the sugar had melted, I poached the pears for about 20 minutes, then left them to cool in the syrup. Once cool, I lifted them out into a dish and then returned the syrup to the pan and turned up the heat. Now I was planning to reduce it slightly, but went to do something else and just caught it as it turned to caramel! Another few seconds and it would have been ruined.

I poured it over the cooled pears and found that indeed I did have caramel, with strands just like James Martin :o So I thought I should take a picture, because I'm sure I would never get the caramel right if was trying!

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Sunday 11 October 2009

Woo hoo look at my new blog banner!

When I saw the LaCucina, Digital Scrapbook Kit by Amy Stoffel, was on offer at Scraporchard, I just had to get it. I have been feeling that my blog banner needed updating, can you see the cows through the window? This was such a lot of fun to make, I hope you enjoy it too.

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Sunday 4 October 2009


My son Steven (Steve) got engaged to Shona last week and we had an informal engagement party at Shona's parent's house. I made these Martha Stewart cupcakes to celebrate the occasion. More pictures of the engagement over at Serial Crafter.


Saturday 3 October 2009

Cupcakes are coming

I'm making some special cakes, will post more about them soon.