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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!

Friday, 28 September 2012

Winter Minestrone

This was supposed to be leek and potato soup, but I didn't fancy it, so went searching soup recipes.
I found this one and used it a a base for what I had in.
I subbed the bacon for chorizo, the beans for green lentils, and left out the celery.

I reckon it veries really well, and is great for using up veg.  I'd use pasta in it too.
I served it my homemade no knead bread.

Very filling.

No knead bread.

Second post in a row that I've stolen from Jen.
I saw this on her blog, and knew it was ideal for me, as my asthma makes it impossible for me to knead dough, and my Kenwood is still broken.
I'm lusting over a crystal blue kitchenaid, when I win the lotto!

My first batch was a disaster, a wet, mushy mess that stuck to my hands, and went in the bin.

I had more success with the second batch though, it doesn't look great, but tasted lovely.
I'm going to make pizzas with it next week.

Smokey pork stew

I got this straight from Jen's blog. Like her family, we love the flavour of smoked paprika too.
I didn't use the potatoes in the stew, but served the dish with buttery mashed potato, which was a great combination.
Another great dish.

Simply Italian pasta

Niamh and I were watching TV on Monday lunchtime, and came across the programme Simply Italian, which we hadn't seen before.
They were making a lovely looking pasta dish, which we both wanted to try.
On the show, they made their own pasta, but no way was that happenning here!
This is cooked farfalle, with tomato sauce (I use my own recipe, which actually varies depending on what I have in), spinach, black olives and then a ball of mozzarella, ripped up and stirred through.
This so so delicious with the stretchy, stringy cheese.

Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Thick onion tart

Thick onion tart

Two things to say.  First, I bought the pastry, second, it tasted great.
(we'll ignore the fact that my friend Paul said it looked like I'd cooked a pile of sick)

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Aubergine tikka masala

I had a couple of aubergines in the fridge, we love them, and curry so this was a great recipe.
It's one I haven't tried before, from Gordon Ramsay.
It was really flavourful, and one to reccommend.
Obviously I didnlt use chicken, I added the aubergine, which I deep fried for 5 minutes first, and then simmered in the sauce for around half an hour.
Served, as usual, with Niamh's basmati rice.

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Rich beef cobbler

The third dish from my Great British Bake Off book.
Would it be a success this time?
Judge for yourself!
It was like a really good version of mince and dumplings, and great for a rainy Autumn evening.

Tomato, spinach and mushroom pasta

This was just a quick, easy midweek meal to use up some leftovers from the fridge.
I fried a couple of portobello mushrooms in olive oil untill browned, added in some tomato sauce, which I had left from the pizza topping, wilted through some spinach, added in a splash of cream and stirred through tagliatelle, with parmesan grated on top.

Stuffed crust pizza

I'd never made a stuffed crust pizza befopre, and since Baz loves them I thought I'd have a go.
I was worried it would be fiddly but it really wasn't, in fact it was dead easy.
I used cooked sausage, bacon and garlic sausage as the fillings, and topped with homemade tomato sauce, and a combination of bacon, chorizo, pepperoni, mozzerella, blue cheese and barbecue sauce.
I actually made two pizzas for us to share.
They went down a treat!

Stripy chocolate cheesecake

Why, why did I think this would be a good idea?
Well Baz loves cheesecake, and I wanted to make him one.
I had obviously forgotten, or at least wiped from my memory that I did this a few years back and it ended in actual tears.
Still though, it couldn't be that bad could it, and the last failure I had from the Great British Bake Off Book was a fluke right?
Well it does kind of have a stripe in it.
Niamh liked it, and has eaten several slices.
Baz liked it but said it didn't taste of cheesecake.
Ailsa said it tasted quite healthy for a cheesecake.
I thought it was overbaked, the texture was too solid, and the dark layer was too rich for me.
In saying that, it has all gone, and wasn't a complete disaster.  I would try cheesecake again, but not this recipe.

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Carrot cake and cookies

My friend Baz came to stay on Sunday for a couple of days, I hadn't seen him since December so wanted to feed him some lovely food.
First off was some home baking.  I know, I know, I can't bake well but it was another go.
These were tried and tested recipes.
Carrot cake
I subbed the Smarties in the cookies for white chocolate buttons.
The cake was a tad greasy on the bottom, but that's because Niamh overgreased the tin!
It tasted great though.

Friday, 14 September 2012

Baked lamb ribs with feta and aubergine casserole

I did a check of all the meat and fish I had in my freezer this week, and found some lamb ribs I'd bought in Morrison's, I love Morrison's more unusual meats btw, and googled for a recipe to cook them for the first time.
I really liked the look of this one.
It was very easy to make, though needs to be done in advance.  The ribs were really tender, and tasty, I'll be trying them again.
With it a chose an aubergine and feta casserole as I think these flavours work really well with lamb, and I was right!
This would make a lovely veggie dish with some salad and crusty bread.
I left off the egg topping, it didn't appeal to me and I don't think needed it.

Thursday, 13 September 2012

Beans on toast

I have made Boston baked beans before, and blogged them, and whilst I don't usually blog the same dish more than once, this was a different recipe, and a great one at that so I thought I'd include it.
It came from one of my favourite food sites, Chowhound, and is excellent to leave cooking all day.
I served the beans on some thickly sliced tiger bread toast.
Slow cooker Boston baked beans

Sunday, 9 September 2012

King rib supper.

I finally made a Scottish supper!
King ribs are traditional here, but I'd never tried one, there's a recipe in The Takeaway secret though, so I had to try it.
King rib
It's pork mince, shaped into patties, frozen, fried with barbecue sauce, chilled, and then batterred and deep fried.
You need to start this earlier in the day because of the freezing/chilling time.
I also made homemade chips and served some mushy peas, from a tin!
This is Niamh's plate, she doesn't like the peas but being the mean old Mum I am, insisted she had a small portion.
Heart attack on a plate, and bloody lovely!

Saturday, 8 September 2012

Leek and bacon pie.

Last week I treated myself to a lovely Le Creuset pie dish and bird.
I had watched an episode of Masterchef Australia where they were baking pies and decided I wanted to bake more of them.
I want the Hairy Biker's pie book, but that has to wait for the bank balance to ctah up so I flicked about my books, and online for a recipe.
I found one I liked the sound of, for ham and leek, but subbed bacon as I knew I had a pack in the freezer.
I didn't follow the recipe, just made it up as I went along, browning the bacon, adding in and softening the leeks and then making white sauce to add.  I included a dash of white wine in the sauce.
I made this earlier in the day.
It was going to have a top ond bottom crust, but I didn't have enough pastry!
The pastry also cracked a bit, but wasOK.
I bought it btw, I don't do homemade pastry.
This tasted fantastic.
I fancy a steak and kidney this week.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Creamy mushrooms on griddled polenta.

A few weeks ago, I bought a block of polenta, the ready set stuff, which I'd never tried before.
I slung it in the fridge and forgot about it!
I was out for lunch with my friend last week and she had a lovely dish of creamy mushrooms on sourdough toast.  It came to me that I could recreate this at home, and then I remembered the polenta and thought I'd use it instead of the toast.
I sliced it and griddled it, for 10 or so minutes a side, it didn't seem to brown very quickly, and also broke up when being turned/removed.
For the mushrooms, I used a pack of thickly sliced chesnut which I cooked in olive oil until browned and the released water had evaporated, added a splash of wine and sizzled, and then a large splash of cream plus seasoning.
Garlic would be good too but I didn't fancy it last night.
The mushrooms were served over the polenta, with honey roast cherry tomatoes and leafy salad.
A light, easy, vegetarian meal.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012


This is a classic, Scottish dish, which I had never tried before.
I asked for help with this one on Mumsnet, and got lots of ideas.  I took them all into consideration, different meats were mentioned, from leftover roast, to mince to sausages and corned beef.  I went with the corned beef as I knew there was a tin lurking in the back of the cupboard.
I browned a large onion in beef dripping, added in chunks of potatoes, two large for us, a beef stock pot, the cubed tin of corned beef and some water, a mugful maybe?
I don't do exact quantities!
I put the lid on and left for around forty minutes, until the potaoes were soft, and the onions were meltingly tender.
I served this in the traditional way, with oatcakes and broon (bown) sauce.
Brilliant, delicious and cheap comfort food.
I'll be rolling this out again in winter.

Dhal, thoran and sweet potato bites

Indian vegetarian food is among some of my favourite, and as I've said before, I love to cook a variety of dishes, it actually means more time in the kitchen too, which is a good thing when my lungs are behaving!
I got the dhal and sweet potato recipes from a blog, I 'know', the blog owner through a food forum I post on, and have been reading it for a while.
She cooks delicious sounding and looking food, and now I can say tasting, based on these!
I stuck beetroot thoran into google, and used what came up.
I'd been wanting to try this for ages, it sounds so unusual, and I love the bright colour, even if my kitchen matches it now.
Niamh didn't enjoy the thoran, but she doesn't like beetroot, she still finished her portion though.
Coconut, mushroom and spinach dhal
Sweet potato bites
 Beetroot thoran
We had some naans too, but I bought those!

Monday, 3 September 2012

Mince and tatties

Well, spiced lamb mince with sweet potato and feta mash!
I was supposed to try a new recipe for lamb sausages wrapped in proscuitto, but after the horror of the cake, I really didn't feel like it, so I cooked the mince with onions and garlic that had been put through the mini chopper, added in a spoonful of turmeric and ground coriander, a big squeeze of tomato puree and a splash of veg stock, and simmered until thick and tender.
I made Jamie Oliver's mash with this.
We loved the mash, this will go on the regular list!
An interesting change on mince and tatties!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Caramel layer cake.

Well, it was Niamh's 11th birthday on Tuesday, but she wasn't here, so I had to make her cake for her coming home.
Unfortunately that didn't happen, thank you asthma, so I bought her a cheesecake, thank you Tesco.
I still wanted to make her a cake though, and since I love The Great British Bake Off, and have just bought the new book, thought I'd try a cake from it.
It was a caramel layer cake, and salt caramel at that.  We tried salt caramel at Martin Wishart's restaurant last year and loved it, it also looked fairly easy which I need, as I am not a good baker.

Oh god, just oh god.
This was a nightmare.
The cakes took at least 20 minutes more to cook than stated, went all lumpy and fell apart.
I almost gave up and chucked them, but didn't want to waste them so made the caramel topping.
That didn't dissolve, stayed gritty and splattered everywhere.
I'm afraid I didn't bother with the chocolate topping, I'd lost the will to live by then!

In saying all this, it tasted great, and Niamh loved it.
She is also very amused by my disasters.
I love Great British Bake Off, it's how I want to be, in a programme- Serene, naice, relaxed and just lovely.
I'm far too harassed and shouty, and sweary!