Sunday, 27 November 2011

Banana and Honey Flapjacks

Always end up with a few over ripe bananas? This flapjack is an easy little way to use them up! They're also great sources of energy for lunchboxes or after school. I've added chocolate chips here too, but that's not at all necessary...

50g butter
60g brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp honey (or golden syrup)
2oog porridge oats
2 small bananas, peeled

small handful of milk chocolate chips (optional)

In a pan, melt butter, add sugar and golden syrup and stir well - or simply melt together in a bowl in the microwave.
Mash the bananas with a fork (if you have a little helper they'll enjoy this) and mix into butter mixture with the oats. Spread into a greased and lined baking tray, roughly 15cmx20cm in size. Flatten with the back of a spoon, and bake at 200C/Gas 6 for 15-20 mins until slightly brown.
Leave to cool, then cut into squares - I cut mine into 12.

Thursday, 17 November 2011

Spiced Pumpkin Muffins

Ok not the best photo I'm afraid, but I had to take it from my iPhone as my camera was out of battery! But ignore that. These muffins are delish and make a perfect Autumnal treat, especially warm straight from the oven.
I adapted a recipe which you can find here and made a few tweaks. For example, the Americans are huge fans are canned pumpkin pureé but I used fresh. Mostly because it tastes better, but also because canned pumpkin is hard to get hold of over here so is therefore stupidly expensive! Having said that, pumpkins can be a pain in the ass to prepare so feel free to use canned. Two other little changes: I swapped 1/3 of the flour for wholemeal, just to make them a bit healthier, and she uses "pumpkin pie spice mix", but I just used a rough combination of cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger.
You could also add dried fruits such raisins, sultanas or apricots to these. Or maybe even some chopped preserved ginger. Whoooo you can go crazy with these muffins! Yeah, live on the edge!

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Spinach Soup aka Dinosaur Swamp

Ok so Dinosaur Swamp might put you off this soup...but if you've got a little one it will make them really into it. And who doesn't want to watch their kid eat a whole load of spinach? Exactly. Luckily it's delicious too. I cooked this with Toby so he could put the spinach in himself-I'm a firm believer in involving kids with the cooking process so that they're familiar with ingredients and not "scared" of them. He loved seeing how the huge handfuls of spinach he threw into the pan shrunk so quickly. If, however, you have a delicate eater who will not not knowingly eat a leaf, then just serve this up to them when it's ready. They will never know how much goodness is in it! In the past I have also served this with little dinosaur shaped bread or sandwiches, using a cookie cutter. Raaaar!

2 tsp olive oil

2 crushed garlic cloves

1 small onion

1 medium potato, peeled and chopped

250ml low sodium organic vegetable stock (from a cube)

200ml semi-skimmed milk

approx 200g baby spinach leaves

Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Add the onion, garlic and potato and saute for 5 minutes.

Add the vegetable stock and milk, bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes or until the potato is starting to soften,.

Add half the spinach, season, and simmer for 5 minutes more.

Cool slightly. Stir in the remaining spinach and blend with a hand held electric blender.


Monday, 24 October 2011

Teriyaki Chicken and Black Bean Fried Rice

Cooked this for a night in with my brother at the weekend. I fully intended to write down what I was doing as I went along so I could give you a full recipe, but after a couple of beers it became far more relaxed.
I can tell you that I chopped 2 chicken breasts into chunks and left to marinade in about 3 tbsp of teritakyi marinade for an hour before cooking. Then I cooked some white basmati rice. Then heat 1tbsp sesame oil in a wok and add the chicken. Toss to prevent sticking. After 4-5 minutes add some veg-I used a handful of chopped spring onion, half a red pepper, chopped, some chopped shitake mushrooms and 1 clove of chopped garlic. Crack in 2 eggs and scramble into the mixture. Tip in the rice and half a tin of drained black beans, and mix it all together. Add a few splashes of soy sauce and perhaps some more teriyaki. Taste. If it tastes good and the veg is still crunchy, you're good to go!

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Bertinet Kitchen and Bakery

The ever-charming French chef and baker, Richard Bertinet, runs a successful cookery school in Bath. They have a bakery attached to the school which is open Saturday mornings, and when I worked nearby a Saturday morning almond croissant became almost complusory! Having thought I'd escaped temptation (as I no longer work Saturdays so am usually still in my pyjamas by the time the almond beauties sell out) what do I discover? They go and open a bakery right in the centre of town! So on an innocent trip to the library I ended up being very distracted indeed, and walked away with a-rather expensive but totally delicious-rustic loaf. Better not let this become a habit..

Monday, 17 October 2011

Roast Beef with Homemade Yorkshires

Yesterday's lunch is still on my mind...

...haven't had roast beef in ages, so though I'd treat my sister and her fiancé. I always make my own yorkshire puddings when I cook beef as they come out ENORMOUS. If you're still using Aunt Bessie's then try this super easy recipe. There's really no excuse not to!

makes 12

3 eggs

1 cup plain flour

1 cup milk

vegetable or sunflower oil

Preheat the oven to 190°C. In a medium bowl beat the eggs with the milk. Stir in the flour until the mixture is combined and as lump free as you can get it. Now pour oil into the twelve cups of a muffin tray (about 1/3 of the way up). Put the tray in the oven for 5-8 minutes. You want the oil to be really hot, so that is sizzles when you add the batter. This is what causes them to rise! Remove the tray and, using a ladle, distribute the batter evenly among the cups. Place back in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Try not to open the door early on in the cooking or they may deflate!

Give it a go!

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Slow Cooked BBQ Pulled Pork with Homemade Coleslaw

So I think I under-estimated how much time of my life would now be spent studying! At least every now and then I still get to really dedicate some time to cooking something special, and this pulled pork recipe had been on my mind for a while. It also gave me the chance to finally use my slow cooker that lurks around in my kitchen, waiting patiently for it's big moment. Yes it takes a long time, but you can just leave it and get on with your life, then return to a beautiful porky sight.

Here is the recipe I used for the pulled pork: Barbecue Pulled Pork . It served four of us. You basically need to slow cook the pork for about 6 hours, then shred it with two forks, add the BBQ sauce, and return it to the slow cooker for about another hour. But click the link for the full recipe.

I made my own BBQ sauce, based on a few different recipes I had found and tweaked to my own taste and ingredients I had in my cupboard! It was delish and here's how you can make it:

Pour 2 cups of tomato ketchup into a saucepan (nb: 1 american cup is equal to 250ml)

Add 2tbsp red wine vinegar, 2tbsp dark brown sugar, 1/2 tsp dijon mustard, 3/4 cup of water, 1 tbsp worcestershire sauce, 1 minced garlic clove, 1/2 tsp smoked paprika, salt and pepper and a 1tsp honey. Bring to the boil, then leave to simmer for about 20 minutes until you have a nice thick sauce. you can always add a drop more water if you think it is too thick. Taste and adjust if neccessary - you want a nice balance, of sweet, sour and spice. Now it's ready to use!

I served my pork with crusty white buns and homemade coleslaw.

To make a simple coleslaw (that will be better than anything you can buy in a tub):

Finely chop half a small white cabbage and add to a large mixing bowl. Now add 2 large peeled and grated carrots, and 1 finely sliced large white onion. Pour over 1tbsp of white wine vinegar and mix through with your hands. Add 2-3 tbsp of mayonnaise and stir through. Season to taste.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

This Morning

The realities of being a student kicked in today. Namely, having to overcome a hangover to do some intial reading and get my timetable sorted. This is it.

Friday, 23 September 2011

Sausage, Lentil and Sweet Potato Bake

Sorry guys, quiet blog week...I've been having an induction week at uni so it's been pretty hectic. I'm finally getting round to studying my English degree-just four years behind schedule after having Wonderboy! As you can imagine that will be taking up a lot of my time from now on, but you'll be pleased to hear I am going to try and keep Miss P's Kitchen in business-there seems to be going back now, as I can't seem cook a plate of food without the compulsion to take a photo of it! Mind you, if this week is anything to go by, not a lot of eating has actually taken place. So tonight called for a much-needed comfort meal.

Makes 2 portions.

Heat 1tbsp olive oil in a frying pan, then fry some sausges until browned on the outside. I used chipolatas, in which case use 3 or 4 per person. Remove from pan and keep to one side.

In the same pan, on a low heat, add 1 finely chopped onion, 1 crushed garlic clove, a generous pinch of dried chilli flakes and a small pinch of paprika. Cook for 5 minutes or so until softened.

Add 100g dried red lentils that have been rinsed in cold water. Add 1 large sweet potato (or 2 small ones) peeled and cut into chunks.

Tip in 1 tin of chopped tomatoes. Season. Add the sausages back to the pan and mix all together.

Now move this all to a bakng dish, top with some grated mature cheddar and bake in an oven pre-heated to 200°C for approimately 25 minutes until golden brown and crispy.

Serve with green vegetables.

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Saturday Stuff

A great Saturday with Wonderboy. Lazy morning involving movies and dens. Hyper afternoon involving swings and conker hunting. Cosy evening involving chicken korma and X Factor.

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Light Reading

Took pity on this stack of Good Food magazines that were about to end up in my friend's recycling bin. Some of them are 10 years old! She had the best of intentions to take out her favourite recipes and categorize them but never got round to it, and finally gave up the dream...
I already have a pile of other editions that I was planning to do this with. It hasn't happened yet. So I figure it would take at least another 10 years for me to get round to doing all of it.

Steak in Ale with Potato Dauphinoise

The first signs of Autumn get me very excited. Not just because it's the only season that truly co-ordinates with my hair colour. Or because I am a huge fan of walks in the leaves, bonfires, crisp misty mornings and rainy afternoons. No, I think what truly excites me is that it is the onset of stew season-stews, soups, pies, casseroles and all that is filled with gravy-like comfort.

I'm off to a pretty good start this year with this steak cooked in ale that a friend and I shared at the weekend, over a bottle of hearty red. I made a creamy potato dauphinoise to go alongside..just because. I'm not suggesting you eat this everyday, but it was damn good!

To make the dauphinoise (roughly 4 portions) - thinly slice 4 large potatoes. You want the pieces about the thickness of a pound coin. Place haphazardly into a buttered baking dish, adding some fresh chopped garlic (1 clove) and generous seasoning as you go. Pour over 300ml double cream, top with some grated gruyere cheese and pop in oven pre-heated to 180° for 1-1/2 hours.

Before you get the daupinoise in the oven, make a start on your stew. Mine was done in a very relaxed fashion, whilst chatting away, so the measurements aren't the most accurate. But it's stew right, how badly can it go? Again this made about 4 portions.

Heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large heavy based saucepan or casserole. Add one finely sliced onion, 2 large peeled and chopped carrots, approx 12 mushrooms, sliced, and 1 crushed garlic clove.

Cook on a low heat for 5 minutes until softenened.

Now add approx 500g diced stewing steak (or similar) and stir to combine. Cook for 3-4 minutes, stir in 1 heaped tbsp plain flour and cook for another 3-4 minutes until the meat is starting to brown.

Now pour in half a tin of tomatoes and most of one 500ml bottle of ale (I used Old Speckled Hen)

If you have any fresh thyme add a couple of sprigs at this stage. If not, 1/2 tsp of dried thyme will do. Add some more seasoning.

Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and leave simmering for about an hour.

Loosen your belt.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Cheddar and Chilli Bagel

Today was the Wonderboy's first day at school. Well, afternoon. It's safe to say I was definitely more nervous than he was! After dropping him off I came home, cried, made myself this immense bagel, then felt much better. Meanwhile he was having the time of his life running around and making friends, unaware of how pivotal this day in his life was and how hard I found it to loosen the apron strings. He can't wait to go back tomorrow! Phew.

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Easy Chocolate Cake

Now I'm not professing this to be the best chocolate cake recipe. To make a really good, moist cake it is always better to use fresh chocolate. But this is an excellent fallback recipe which uses cocoa powder, so you can whip it up if you don't always keep chocolate in the house (or if it doesn't hang around long..) It also bakes quickly so is great to make with kids, who are not the most patient of cooks!

This will make enough to fill two thin 20cm cake tins, or one deep tin if that's all you have. Then you can ice the two sponges together, or ice the top of one large cake as above.

175g of soft (room temp.) unsalted butter
3 large eggs 150g self-raising flour
175g Castor sugar
30g of cocoa powder
1 teaspn of vanilla essence
2 tablespoons of milk

Pre-heat oven to 180°C/Gas 4.
Put all the butter into a good-sized mixing bowl and, using a wooden spoon or an electric mixer, beat until creamy. Add the sugar, beating all the time until the mixture is light and fluffy.

Break the eggs into another bowl or jug, add the vanilla essence, and beat together with a fork. Pour this mixture a bit at a time into the bowl containing the butter and sugar mixture.

Sift the flour and cocoa powder over the butter, sugar and egg mixture.

Add the milk. Then gently fold the flour and cocoa mixture into the rest of the mixture, until thoroughly combined. You want to do this in as few movements as possible though, to ensure there is lots of air still in the mixture.

Pour the mixture into your tin/s and bake for 15-20 minutes.
The cake is done when the sponge springs back when gently pressed in the centre; or is starting to brown on top and has shrunk away from the edges of the tin.

Turn out onto a wire rack and let the cake cool completely before you filling or icing. I made a simple chocolate butter icing using 125g unsalted butter at room temperature; 400g icing sugar, sifted; 3 tablespoons of cocoa powder, sifted and 3-4 tablespoons of milk. Thoroughly mix together before using.

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Love Food?

I don't believe in God as such. But if I did, I would ask the big guy for a massive favour and let it be sunny on Sunday for this festival at Dyrham Park.
To be honest, I would probably ask for more than that, but it's a good a place to start I guess.

Thursday, 1 September 2011


Last week-a lovely catch up and reminisce with old school friends. It seems to be a time for moving onto bigger things, so the meal was a celebration really...especially for beautiful Skye, who has managed to land a real grown-up job in Dubai! Sophie is going to Australia, Sorcha is heading back to Leeds to finish her medical studies, and I...well I'm off to university in Bristol. Not quite as far, of course, but nonetheless exciting for me!

Nothing says good luck like a novelty sized bottle of champagne!

Maybe ignore the terrible photo I took of Sorcha's chilli, which was much tastier than I have done it justice here. Just look back at the pretty girls!

Now toby and I just need to plan some kind of round the world trip to visit everybody next Summer..

Sunday, 28 August 2011

Courgette, Lemon and Chilli Fettuccine

I had a friend round for dinner the other night and made her this simple, summery pasta dish. We also had a bit too much Prosecco but that's optional. Oh and if you're interested in what we had for dessert check out my previous post!

To serve two:

2 large courgettes

200g fettuccine pasta or similar

4 rashers streaky bacon, roughly chopped

1/2 a red chill, deseeded and finely chopped

1 egg yolk

Approx 40g grated parmesan, plus extra to serve

2 tbsp creme fraiche

zest of 1 lemon

1.Coarsely grate the courgettes, then place in a sieve over a bowl. Press to squeeze out all the liquid - this may take a few mins, but try to drain away as much as you can.

2.Cook the pasta in boiling salted water. Meanwhile, heat a large, non-stick frying pan, then dry-fry the bacon, stirring often, until crisp.

3. Add the chilli and cook for 1 min more, then tip in the courgettes and cook on a high heat for 2-3 mins.

4.Mix together the egg yolks, cheese, cream and lemon zest. When the pasta is cooked, drain it, reserving a little of the cooking water. Tip everything back into the pasta pan and toss together. Divide into bowls to serve, with extra Parmesan.

Apricot and Almond Tart

Definitely the nicest thing I've made for a while. We ate it warm from the oven with vanilla ice cream. I suggest you do the same!

Line a 23cm/9inch loose-bottomed tart tin with sweet shortcrust pastry. I have a confession here...this was the first time I've actually made my own pastry. I've always thought it was one of those technical things that I might mess up, but I used Rachel Allen's recipe from her "Bake" cookbook and it was so simple. Maybe it was beginner's luck, but it turned out perfectly crisp. Find the recipe here.

Then here's how to make the filling:

1 medium egg, plus 1 egg yolk

50g unsalted butter, melted

100g golden caster sugar

100g ground almonds

In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients. Spoon into the pastry case.

Now top with some drained tinned apricots and sprinkle over some flaked almonds.

Bake in an oven pre-heated to 200°C/Gas 6 for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.

That's it! Be prepared to feel very proud of yourself..and you don't have to tell anyone how easy it was!

Thursday, 25 August 2011

Simple Pleasures #3

Just an awesome sandwich I made today. Pesto, mozzarella, tomato, watercress. Organic wholemeal. Very nice.

Tuesday, 23 August 2011

Traditional Rock Buns

If you're British, it's very likely you will remember making these as a child. If not, you were perhaps raised on a more exotic diet and these may not seem like the most appealing of teatime treats. After all, they only contain a few rather unexciting ingredients. But sometimes simple is best... and even if it's just because chipping my tooth on a rock bun makes me feel five again, I can't help but feel comforted by the sight of these coming out of the oven.
I used a recipe from the beautiful Leon "Naturally Fast Food" cookbook, and was very pleased with the results. However, the recipe claimed to make 12 but for some reason we only got 9 (and they weren't enormous). Though this may just be because I left Wonderboy to do most of the work so a lot of flour did end up out of the bowl!

180g plain flour

85g butter

85g granulated sugar

a pinch of ground cinnamon

1 tsp baking powder

85g sultanas or raisins

1 small egg

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4.

2. Sieve the flour into a large clean bowl. Cut the butter into chunks and rub into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs.

3. Add the sugar, cinnamon, baking powder and sultanas and mix thoroughly.

4. Whisk the egg and add it to the bowl, mixing it in with your hands. The mixture will seem dry but don't worry that's how it's supposed to be!

5. Lightly flour one or two baking trays and arrange the mixture in 12 heaps, leaving space between for them to spread.

6. Bake for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Leave to cool. The buns should be hard when cool, but slightly soft in the middle.

Saturday, 20 August 2011

Try This..

Broaden your mind! Expand your horizons! Throw caution to the wind!

Seriously though you need to try this chocolate/sea salt combination from Lindt, recommended to me by a friend. It's pretty intense and slightly strange at first, but if you leave the chocolate to savour in your mouth then the salty flavour comes through gradually, leaving a bizarrely pleasant savoury taste. You won't be able to resist another piece. Then you'll eat most of it, leave the wrapper torn and messy looking on the coffee table and therefore totally unphotogenic for your blog. Ok well that's just me, but you get the idea..

Monday, 15 August 2011

Creamy Pasta with Prawns and Broccoli

A great thing happened in my kitchen the other day...the Wonderboy ate prawns for the first time! Hooray and hurrah! He said they tasted "like fish and peas" which, weirdly, is kind of right. Once again, I have learnt to never underestimate the sophistication of a child's palate.

This makes for a handy emergency dish, as it requires very few ingredients and I even used frozen prawns and frozen broccoli. Simply put some pasta shapes onto boil (I used rigatoni). Add the broccoli for the last 3 minutes of the cooking time. Now drain the pasta and broccoli, making sure to retain some of the cooking liquid seperately for later.

Return to the pan. Now add the prawns, a couple of tablespoons of creme fraiche, some freshly squeezed lemon juice (I used half a lemon for 2 adult-sized portions), and plenty of salt and pepper. Put over a low heat, stirring until hot. This is where you can add some of the cooking water back to the pan if the sauce is a little thick.

Stir through a fresh herb of you have some-I used basil, though I think mint or parsley would also work well.

Then just act super casual, like it's no big deal and "hey all 4 year olds eat seafood, chill out man", and see if your little one digs in..

Sunday, 14 August 2011


Pretty much the perfect Sunday today. A picnic in the park (where we seemed to bump into everyone we knew so felt very popular)....

....followed by picking blackberries from the ridiculously wild bramble that has taken over the side of our garden. This is where my laissez faire approach to gardening has really paid off. We managed to get over half a kilo today and I'd say there's about another kilo still to ripen!

Now I just have to decide what to do with them all...any great blackberry recipes you guys know of? So far I'm most excited by blackberry ripple ice cream. Actually that's a lie. Honestly I am most excited about making blackberry gin!

Sunday, 7 August 2011

The Cosy Club

Went here for the first time last night- the newly opened Cosy Club in Bath's Southgate district. Having heard good things about it, and already being a fan of their other bar in Bath 'The Velo Lounge', we were very excited to give it a try. Mostly I was keen to get my hands on their tapas menu and enjoy a nice cold glass of Sauvignon Blanc on the balcony terrace, which overlooks the streets below so is an excellent people-watching spot!

There is a good selection of tapas (aswell as other mains on the menu such as burgers, salads and pasta dishes) and you can choose three dishes for £8 which is, I think, very good value.

FYI if you go on a "Tapas Tuesday" you also get a free glass of wine!

Some of our choices included chorizo cooked in garlic and red wine, slow cooked five-spice pork belly, minted peas with feta and spring onions, and crayfish tails in a chilli tomato sauce. YUM!

After our food we moved inside for some cocktails. I have to say the decor is one of the best things about this place-an eclectic mix of colours and textures, with oil paintings on the walls, mismatched cushions on the bar stools and Victorian lampshades hanging over the gorgeous bar.

Did I mention the delicious raspberry margherita? It was...well, delicious. I came for the food, but it may just be this new cocktail discovery that keeps me coming back...


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