Monday, 30 August 2010

Nosh in Norwich

Hi guys! Sorry I've ignored you for a while...Toby and I have been on an adventure up to my parents, then down to Norwich to stay with my brother Adam and his girlfriend Lucy in their lovely home in Norwich. Tomorrow, we head back to my Mum and Dad's for the rest of the week.
Yesterday we went for a Sunday roast, and visited Norwich castle in the afternoon. Then it was back home for some much needed tea and cake-Lucy had made lemon drizzle, whilst my Mum's contribution was a beast of a chocolate covered marble cake. I must say, it's been nice for Miss P to take a little break from doing the cooking!

Today, after a girly morning shopping (leaving Toby with the men!), we took a boat trip down the river through the Norfolk Broads. This was Toby's first time on a boat, and he loved it! Though, it has to be said, he enjoyed the ice cream afterwards just as much..

When we got home, Lucy made a Jamie Oliver recipe of salmon, pesto and green beans baked in foil. For dessert we had a mixed berry jelly, served with vanilla ice cream. It was delicious. Check out the chef (and sous chef) in their aprons! Oh, and also note Lucy's massive double oven that I was oh so jealous of..

Staying here again tonight, then heading back to my Mum's in Milton Keynes tomorrow for the rest of the week. Don't worry, I'll keep you all well informed. Love you all x

Tuesday, 24 August 2010

Bacon and Butter Bean Stew with Spring Greens

Tonight we had a simple, rustic sort of meal. If I'm being honest, I had to make something out of what we had left lying around in the fridge and storecupboard! It did hit the spot though. If you like soupy, chunky dishes that are crying out for a big hunk of crusty white bread to dip into, then you're gonna love this! Rough ingredients list to serve 2 greedy people:

1 tbsp cooking olive oil
3 rashers bacon, chopped
1 head of spring greens (or cabbage), washed and shredded
2 large carrots, peeled and chopped
1 leek, sliced
1 garlic clove, chopped
approx 1 litre organic vegetable stock
1 tin butter beans, drained
fresh herbs, if you have them
(I used some rosemary and thyme)
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
1. Heat the oil in a heavy based saucepan. Chuck in your carrots, leeks and garlic, and soften for about 5 minutes.
2. Add the bacon, and cook for another 5 minutes.
3. Pour in the veg stock and add your spring greens (you might have some leftover, you could stir this through some mash to use for another meal). Season.
4.Bring to the boil, then reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until the veg has softened.
5. Add the tin of buter beans for the last 5 minutes of the cooking time. They just need to be warmed through.
Serve in big bowls with some crusty bread alongside.

Friday, 20 August 2010

Triple Choc Brownies Recipe- as promised!

My, oh my! Just looking at this recipe is making me want to bake another batch. You have got to try this one guys, you won't be disappointed. Here's what you'll need:

150g dark chocolate
125g butter, at room temp
75g white chocolate
75g milk chocolate
3 eggs
200g caster sugar
150g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1. Set the oven to 180'C/Gas 4. Line a small deep roasting tin with nonstick baking paper.
2. Break the dark chocolate into pieces and put into a glass heatproof bowl. Cut the butter into small cubes and add this to the bowl.
3. Half fill a saucpan with water, bring to the boil, then turn off the heat. Put the bowl on the pan and leave for 5 minutes until the chocolate has melted, stirring occasionally.
4. Put the white and milk chocolate into a small plastic bag, and hit with a rolling pin until broken into small pieces.
5. Whisk the eggs and sugar in another bowl, using an electric mixer, until light and frothy.
6. Pour the melted chocolate mixture over the top, and gently fold in using a metal spoon.
Sift in the flour and baking powder and gently mix in.
7. Pour the mixture into the lined tin.
Now sprinkle the white and milk chocolate pieces over the top.
8. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the top is crusty and the centre still wobbles slightly. Important! Don't be tempted to put it back in! This is what will give you the gooey, squidgy centre.
Leave to cool and harden in the tin.
9. Lift the cake in its paper out of the tin. Cut into 18 pieces.
The brownies can be stored in an airtight container for 2 days...if they hang around that long!

Thursday, 19 August 2010

Triple Chocolate Brownies...baked by Double Trouble

Last night we had my little cousin Kaitlin come to stay. She was very excited when I suggested we make these brownies! Although, she did insist on doing everything herself...poor Toby's jobs were restricted to whatever she allowed him to do! Either way, he was kind of in awe of her and was happy to watch and do some occasional spoon licking. When the brownies were ready we ate them warm, with a glass of cold milk, whilst snuggled up on the sofa watching a DVD. What could be better?
Oh, and I'm so sorry but I'm just too tired to type up the whole recipe right now. Looking after two kids and baking is seriosuly exhausting. But I promise, readers, to tell you tomorrow. This is one worth trying.

Monday, 16 August 2010

Roast Sea Bream with Potatoes and Mixed Mushrooms

Last night, for a special Sunday treat, I made this lovely Jamie Oliver dish. The original recipe used Sea Bass but I used Sea Bream, which is cheaper and very similar! I was going to roast the fish whole, but Tim's a bit squeamish about eyes and the whole he's-watching-you-while-you-eat-him thing, so I had a go at filleting them instead, which gave us two small fillets each. To make this light but tasty dish you'll need:

2 small sea bream (or 2 large fillets)
1 handful mixed herbs (I used, thyme, rosemary and parsley)
500g potatoes
olive oil
1 garlic clove, chopped
salt and pepper
2 knobs of butter
250g mixed mushrooms (I used chestnut and shitake), torn
1 lemon

First, prep the fish-make 3 slashes in each fillet and stuff with the chopped herbs.
Now do your potatoes. Wash. Slice lengthways, just under 1/2 inch thick. Dry them on kitchen paper, then mix with olive oil, half the garlic and salt and pepper. Lay out in a large baking dish or roasting tin. Cook in the oven for around 15 minutes, until just cooked.
Meanwhile, melt a large knob of butter and a glug of olive oil in a saucepan. Add the rest of your garlic, then the mushrooms. Fry them for about 5 minutes, until the juice that comes out of the mushrooms evaporates. Take the pan off the heat, squeeze over juice from 1/2 the lemon and add another small knob of butter.

Scatter the mushrooms over the potatoes. Place your bream fillets on top. Now bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fillets.

Remove from the oven, cover with foil and leave to sit for 5 minutes. This will allow all the lovely lemony juices to run into the potatoes.
Serve with a crisp green salad, and the remaining lemon cut into wedges. Oh, and a crisp white wine!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Blackberry Pickin' and Pancake Flippin'

After a busy week of work and visting people, it was nice to just chill out with Toby this afternoon. We were stupidly excited to finally be able to pick the blackberries from the bush in our garden, that randomly appeared and took over. Most of them went straight in Toby's mouth before making it to the bowl though! Then we made pancakes, which we gorged on with the blackberries and cuddled up watching Toy Story. Sometimes being a Mum can be pretty cool, you know.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Chicken and Puy Lentil Salad with Coriander

This recipe was taken from Rachel Allen's Food For Living cookbook. It's a light yet suprisingly substantial salad, that's just what you fancy after playing out in the sun on a warm August day.

serves 2
2 small chicken breasts
1/2 tbsp ground coriander
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
salt and pepper
juice of 1/2 a lemon
3 tbsp olive oil
115g puy lentils
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
mixed salad leaves
50g feta cheese, crumbled
balsamic vinegar (optional)

1. Using a sharp knife, make a few long slashes on both sides of the chicken breasts. Place in a bowl. Add the ground coriander, garlic, black pepper, 1 tbsp lemon juice an 1 tbsp olive oil. Mix it into the chicken, making sure it is evenly coated. Allow to sit for around 30 minutes.

2. Pre-heat the oven to 230'C/Gas 8.

3. When the oven is hot, spread the chicken out onto a baking tray and cook it for 20-25 minutes. Once cooked, take it out of the oven and allow to rest for a couple of minutes.

4. Meanwhile, place the lentils in a saucepan, cover with water and boil for about 20 minutes. When cooked, drain the lentils then dress them with the remaining olive oil, lemon juice and chopped coriander. Add more seasoning if necessary.

5. Now assemble the salad. Slice the chicken thinly and toss with the lentils and add the salad leaves. Pile onto plates and sprinkle with the crumbled feta and, if you like, a small drizzle of balsamic vinegar. Yummy!

Monday, 9 August 2010

Summer Picnicking

Yesterday we went back to Holt, to visit the Courts Garden which we didn't manage to visit last time (as we spent so long enjoying our pub lunch!). It was a quintessential English garden, complete with orchards, old oak trees, roses, stone statues and a beautiful pond filled with waterlilies. I can't think of a lovelier place to have a picnic...other than by the sea, perhaps.
We sat on a little bench hidden amongst some bushes and looking out over the pond, enjoying our sandwiches and strawberries, where I discovered a bizarre little placquard with an old recipe for Rose Jam! Are you any of you brave enough to give it a go, dear readers? I'd be very intrigued to see how it turned out, but I dont like rose tasting things so I won't be making it myself anytime soon! Here's hoping for a sunny August so we can enjoy more picnicking pastimes.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Baked Ratatouille with Goats Cheese

Each month I'll be trying out my pick of the best recipes from the current BBC Good Food Magazine! Tonight we had this simple, healthy dinner. I served the baked ratatouille with jacket potatoes and salad. This is four of your five-a-day so it's super good for you!

1 red onion
1 medium aubergine, cut into bitesize chunks
2 medium courgettes, thickly sliced
1 red and yellow pepper, deseeded and chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
400g can chopped tomatoes
handful basil leaves, roughly torn
100 goats cheese, crumbled

1. Heat oven to 200'C/Gas6. Microwave the potatoes for 10 minutes. Prick all over with a fork, drizzle with olive oil, rub in some sea salt. Put into the oven.
2. Place all the veg into a roasting tin and toss with the oil. Season and roast for 30 minutes until cooked.
3. Stir tomatoes and basil, then scatter over the cheese. Return to the oven for 10 mins more until the cheese has melted.
4. Serve hot with the jacket potatoes and salad. Alternatively, you can serve this with crusty bread or over pasta.

Wednesday, 4 August 2010

American Pancakes

I almost forgot to post the recipe for these pancakes I made at the weekend. This was my first attempt at making these, so lets just say the first few pancakes didn't come out as well as the rest! Very simple once you get the hang of it, and once you've got a steady heat on your pan. Try this the next time you want to make a special breakfast for that certain someone.

makes 18
200g seflf-raising flour
100g caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 egg
200ml milk
1 tsp butter

1. Mix the flour, sugar and cinnamon together in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Beat the egg and milk together, then pour into the well. Gently incorporate the wet ingredients into the dry, using a wooden spoon.
2. Heat the butter in a large non-stick frying pan over a low heat. Add three tablespoons of the batter to form three 9cm circles.
3. Cook the pancakes for about 1 minute, until bubbles appear on the surface, then flip over and cook the other side for 30 seconds, until cooked through and golden brown.
4. Remove from the pan and keep warm (I like to keep them on a plate in a very low oven).
5. Repeat the process until you've used all the mixture. Serve warm, with fresh seasonal berries and maple syrup. Then smile smugly for achieving such a domestic-goddess like breakfast.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

The Tollgate Inn

Today was the 5 year anniversary of when Tim and I started going out! For our anniversary lunch, we managed to leave Toby with Nanna and Grandad and sneak off to The Tollgate Inn at Holt. I have to credit Tim for finding this place. It's a great pub, really nice decor and atmosphere, and the food was restaurant standard but very reasonable at £16.95 for three courses.

I had a very special starter of game terrine with toasted brioche and homemade chutney. Tim had a tomato and red pepper soup drizzled with basil oil. We both had local roast beef for our mains, served with proper yorkshires!

For dessert, Tim had a ridiculously huge chunk of sticky toffee pudding with caramel ice cream. I had a lemon possett with strawberries, chantilly cream and a little homemade biscuit, with a dessert wine alongside.

Definitely recommend this place!


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