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Sunday, 16 December 2012


I've just realised, this will two pancake posts in a row.
Not intentional, honest!
This is another one of those things I heard of, but never seen or tried and knew I never would whilst living here, so I had to make it.
I ordered the kit online, from  The Japan Centre.
These were actually really easy to make, different, but delicious.  I left out the bacon.  You really should try them.

Saturday, 15 December 2012

Spring onion pancakes

Someone gave me the link to these a few months ago, and I made them then and then forgot all about them.
I wanted something to serve along sweet and sour chicken and remembered these.
They are very easy to make, and delicious.
Apologies for the plastic Disney plate, no idea why I used that!

Sunday, 2 December 2012

French onion soup

I really wanted some le Creuset bean pots, to use for French onion soup, and luck would have it, Baz bought me some for my birthday, along with a salt pig.
Thank you Baz.  I'm sure he only buys me cookware so I'll feed him when he stays, but I'm not complaining!

This meant the soup was on the menu.
I used good old Queen Delia's recipe

OMG, this is utterly divine, why have I never made this before?

Leftover sandwiches

These are what we made with our Thanksgiving leftovers and I put a moistmaker in the middle! This is a slice of gravy soaked bread for anyone who doesn't watch friends.
Niamh and I then boomed out my sandwich, MY SANDWICH, and hooted with laughter.
Much fun.

Pumpkin pie

This is the traditional Thanksgiving dessert.
I've never had pumpkin in a sweet recipe before.  It calls for canned pumpkin which I had to buy on Amazon.
It wasn't difficult to make as such, though I did manage to burn the pastry a bit, usual for my pies!

It was interesting, different but quite nice.  Ailsa loved it so I'll maybe make it for her again.
Pumpkin pie

Thanksgiving dinner

I've always wanted to try a traditional Thanksgiving meal, and knew the only way I'd get to was to cook it myself, so I did, on the Sunday following Thanksgiving, which also happened to be my 35th birthday!
The meat was a turkey thigh joint, which I slow cooked all day and then put in the oven to crisp the skin.  It was really tasty, and not dry which turkey can be.
The sides I served were sweet potato casserole with marshmallows
Green bean casserole
Mashed potato, stuffing-good old paxo!, cranberry sauce from a jar and bread sauce

This was a lot of food, with a lot of leftovers (post to follow on that)
Delicious, except for the marshmallow topping on the sweet potatoes, which was just weird.
It looks a bit of a sloppy mess served up but then I think most roast meals do.

Paneer tikka

I love cheese, all cheese and indian cheese is no exception.
I've cooked with paneer a few times now and found this dish when googling for new ideas.
I didn't bother with the onions and peppers on the skewers.
This had a lovely flavour and gorgeous texture.
Paneer tikka
I served it on top of a dhal, I can't actually remember which recipe I used for this as it was from my freezer!

Monday, 19 November 2012


I'd wanted to cook this for ages, my Mum used to make it and hers was wonderful.  I have no idea what recipe she used though so just googled and chose this one
I used pork loin chops, which I cut into strips, and subbed the sour cream for greek yoghurt as I had some in the fridge to use up.
I made poppyseed dumplings to go with this, using the ratio of half fat, butter in this case, to flour enough water to bind and a tablespoon of poppyseeds.
These were truly delicious, and worked so well the the goulash.
Niamh has not stopped raving about this and has requested it again soon.

Mushroom risotto.

This will be our last mushroomy meal for a while, as Niamh has decided she no longer likes them!
She picked hers out, but loved the rice, it's so creamy and comforting.
I adapted this recipe, using button mushrooms and omitting the wine, to keep costs down.
It's still delicious.


This really isn't cooking at all.
I bought the pizza dough, and just topped with tomato sauce from my freezer, and our favourite toppings, anchovies, olives and mozzarella.
Simple, but delicious.

Monday, 12 November 2012

Cauliflower cheese soup and sausage rolls.

I had a cauli to use up, that was slightly past it's best, and knew it would be great turned into soup.
I googled for a recipe, and found this one. Good old Delia!
I subbed the roquefort with mature cheddar, as I already had some, and am on a bit of a budget until Christmas.
As you know, we like good accompaniments with our soup, so I poked around and found the recipe for chorizo and cheese sausage rolls.  As I've said, Simon Rimmer has never failed me yet.
I'm dying to try his recipe for pulled lamb vindaloo but lamb is so expensive.
I unfortunately burt the tops of the sausage rolls, so Niamh only ate the filling but enjoyed them, soup is always a winner too.

Chicken Parmigiana.

This is another popular American dish, that I'd heard of but never tried, always fancied the sound of it though, and as it's based around fried chicken was always gong to be popular here!
There are lots of recipes online, I browsed through a few and came up with my own version of what I wanted to eat.
I used chicken thighs instead of the breasts commonly used, served the tomato sauce with the spaghetti, not on the chicken, and fried the chicken, rather than baking.
This was utterly delicious, and as there was plenty of spaghetti and sauce left we had thisfor dinner the following evening.

Saturday, 3 November 2012

Halal chicken and rice again

I made this back in June, and said it would become a regular here.  Well, it hasn't, not because we didn't love it, but because we like trying new things too much to have many regulars!
Anyway, I saw it mentioned again recxently so tried a different recipe for it, from Serious Eats last night.
I think this was possibly even better than the first one.
I used sriracha again, as I couldn't get harissa yesterday, and I used my kewpie mayo in the white sauce. I'm getting addicted to this stuff, need to buy more!

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Boston baked, erm lentils!

I post on a food forum, and the other day, when discussing winter warmers, Boston baked beans came up.
As you know, I've tried a couple of recipes for this and am always keen to try more, as it's something we really enjoy, and very economical.  I need that after the Good Food show and the £7 mayo!
This is the recipe.
Now after deciding I was making it, I discovered I had no beans in the cupboard, none, and I couldn't go out to get any as I wasn't too well (I have a collapsed lung), but found a tine of green lentils, so made that sub.  Later on, I found some dried black turtle beans in the back of another cupboard, so soaked those for a couple of hours in boiling water, then cooked for 40 minutes, and used those too.
I also subbed the black treacle for molasses and french mustard for dijon as that's what I had.
I used my slow cooker for this.
It's probably not much like the original, but it was absolutely delicious.
I'll have another go again, but stick to the original next time to compare.
Thanks Kavey!

Tuesday, 30 October 2012

More kewpie mayonaisse

Since we really liked this, I had to try another recipe with it, and this time I actually used Tregans's from MCA
I didn't do her mayo, I couldn't get the chipotle so I just used some cayenne and smoked paprika.

We loved this dish, real dude food as it was on MCA!
Shame Tregan went out last night.

Mushroom soup and laverbread cakes.

I'd seen Wade make this dish on Masterchef Australia and my friend Jen had made it and raved about it so I gave it a go too.
It's really mushroomy and delicious, and warming.
I didn't do the croutons, just whizzed up some porcini in the blender and sprinkled over the soup.
It's very easy too.
Wade's mushroom soup
Now, a few months back I bought some laverbread, that's a welsh seaweed.  I had been wondering what to do with it for a while, and since we like interesting accompaniments with our soup I though I'd have a go at these laverbread cakes.
One change I made was to cook a couple of chopped rashers of bacon and add to them.
Niamh wasn't that keen but I loved them.  I thought the taste of the laverbread was sort of like seaweedy spinach, with a hint of capers.  Very interesting.  I have two tins left so any ideas what to make with it would be great!

Sunday, 28 October 2012

Kewpie mayonnaise

I saw this on Masterchef Australia this week and just had to try it.  It was £7 on Amazon(!), but hey, I love trying new foods.
I knew from the show it is Japanese, so I got out my Japanese book Everyday Harumi which I'd only cooked two dishes from.
I chose the chicken karaage, crab fried rice and sesame green beans.
The rice was way too stodgy when cooked, and I knew it wouldn't fry well at all, so I imrovised and made it into a cogee, using mirin, dashi wasabi and topping with sliced spring onions.
It was delicious, but then we love congee.
The karaage was great-fried chicken always is, and the beans added a great freshness and crunch.
The kewpie is much tastier and tangier than normal mayo we thought, I have another recipe using it lined up for later this week.

Mushroom Vindaloo

Time for veggie curry again!
We just can't get enough of the stuff.
I used this recipe as suggested on a food forum I use, subbing the chicken for mushrooms.  I also made some raita, just with cucumber, mint, garlic and yoghurt.  The vindaloo really isn't too spicy, I only used one chilli and then raita cools your mouth too.

Venison Pie

I really wanted to use the venison I bought at the Good Food show, and as I have said I'll be making more pies this seemed perfect.
I halved this recipe to use as the filling.
It was very rich, we had a small slice each and I've frozen the rest.  I used bought pastry, shortcrust for the base and puff for the top.
I baked the base blind, then let it brown slightly before filling.
It cooked for around half an hour when filled at 200 degrees.
We had it with red cabbage, braised in red wine vinegar, redcurrant jelly and chicken stock.
Really fabulous autumn food.

Monday, 22 October 2012


I'd wanted to try this for years, as I love anchovies and capers, and it sounds so unusual.
I deceide it would go nicely with some of the leftover pulled pork from last week.
It was so quick to do, and the flavours are wonderful, I loved it.
I served it with salad and homemade bread

BBC Good Food show

On Friday, I went to the Good Food show, with Niamh and my friend Eilidh, it was my first ever day out in a wheelchair, which was interesting.
Why some people seem to think not being able to walk means I can't understand them is odd.
I spent too much, as always, but bought some lovely food.  We also saw Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood.
Mary is teeny tiny and had gorgeous nails, and Paul is just gorgeous.  He made the plaited loaf from GBBO and made it look so easy.
Clootie dumpling

Diced venison and assorted salamis.

Smoked salmon

Smoked lamb

Arbroath smokie pate.

Saturday, 20 October 2012

Banana curry

Yes, you did read that correctly.
I'd had this idea floating around for a while, ever since I made a plantain curry a few months back.
I didn'treally fancy any of the recipes I saw for it, and I knew what I felt like tasting, so I made it up.
I made a paste from ginger, shallots, fresh coriander, garlic and green chilli, and fried it untill frangrant.  To this I added coconut milk, and simmered until thickened.
I then added in sliced banana and heated through.
I also made HFW's chickpea ketchup curry and Niamh made us some basmati rice.

Niamh had not been impressed with the idea at all, but loved it, and had a second portion.
I know it sounds unusual but really do give it a try.

Pulled pork buns

This is the easiest, most non cooking recipe ever.
Take one pork hock, put in slow cooker, turn to high and leave for eight hours.
Remove, shred with two forks, serve in buns with salad and sauce of choice.
There are lots of recipes out there for flavours to add to the meat first, the reason I leave it plain is so I can use the leftovers in different ways, they freeze brilliantly.  I used bottled barbecue sauce this time but have made my own, have also done with stuffing, gravy and apple sauce, and I think cjilli sauce, the one I made with the Korean fried chicken would be amazing.

Monday, 15 October 2012

Lentil, mushroom and cheese plait.

Someone who posts on a food forum I use had made a loaf this week based on this wellington.
I liked the sound of it, but of course didn't make it at all, but it did inspire me to make a vegetarian plait.
I made this up as I went along.
I fried a finely chopped onion, until soft but not brown, added in red lentils (no idea of quantities, I go by eye) and veg stock from a cube, and cooked until the lentils are soft and the mixture is thick and spreadable.
I spread this on a sheet of ready rolled puff pastry, cut to plait, instructions here.
Over this, I added sliced button mushrooms, softened in oil and some fresh thyme, and then topped with a layer of grated, mature cheddar.
The plait was formed, brushed with egg wash and cooked at 180 for around half an hour.
I served this with some roast cherry tomatoes.
It was really tasty, and very cheap!

Greek salad

I'm currently watching the new series of Masterchef Australia and loving it (Go Amina!), and last week they made a modern greek salad.  I didn't like the look of it at all, but it did make me want a traditional version.
I had some bought feta and spinach parcels and mini calzone in the fridge that needed using, and some potatoes, so I cooked tham and made chips to serve with the salad.
I'd forgotten just how good this is.  Such lovely fresh, zingy flavours and so simple.
Traditional greek salad

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Brined southern fried chicken.

This is a recipe I've made a few times before, and Niamh loves, which is probably why she chose it for her first night home meal.
She was away for a week again, this time with Young Carers.
Brined southern fried chicken
You have to start it the night before, so the chicken can sit in the brine, but it makes for such moist and tasty meat.  I use chicken thighs for this.
I served it with mashed potato, which Niamh made, and some steamed green beans and gravy.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Stuffed baked tomatoes.

I volunteered to test a recipe for the Mumsnet cookbook, and actually swapped the one I was given for this.
I was given ice cream cone cupcakes, but as you know, I'm a terrible baker and Niamh is a bit past 'fun' creations.

She did make this though, as I was very wheezy.

We thought it was bland and boring, not for us, although nothing nasty about it.
I served it with a spinach salad and some of my no knead bread.

Saturday, 6 October 2012


This is from Nigell'as new programme, and book, Nigellissima.
I do generally like Nigella's savoury recipes, though find her sweets and baking can be hit and miss.
Niamh asked me to make this, after seeing the show.
It was easy to do and tasty enough, though hardly groundbreaking.
I might make it again, but wouldn't rush to.

I do think it would be popular with children though, Niamh certainly loved it.

Saturday, 29 September 2012

Corn dogs

I love the look of American food, and love watching US food programmes.
I'd heard of these, but since I've never been to the US, never tasted one.
My friend Baz went to Florida in the summer and loved them, he was telling me about them when he was visiting, so they went back to the top of my to try list.
I found this recipe from Simon Rimmer, none of his recipes have ever failed me.
They were very easy to do, I used frankfurters from a jar.

With them I made Mac and Cheese, following a US recipe from Alton Brown.
Baz assures me it's like the mac and cheese he ate in the states.  It was delicious, quick too and no need to make a white sauce.

We will have these again, though not too often, my hips wouldn't thank me for it!