Did I or Didn't I?

I was I had posted this little four minute video, of our grand trip last year, but it appears I never did! 

The wonderful music is by wonderful Chequerboard... 


A little treat!

If you want a treat... and you have a minute... pop over to Honeybee and have a look at this...


Forgotten Posts!

I was flicking back through some recent photos and I realised I never told you about the cake I made for my brother Eamons birthday recently (yes my whole family are all winter babies!) and so if its okay I will tell you about it now!

Firstly here is my brother... he always does this eejit face when we try to take his photo...
And now here is the cake...!
I couldn't stop laughing the whole time I was making this... it just looked so much like him! 

The cake itself was a Lemon and Almond cake, recipe below and it was really delicious... My brother said it was a different experience, slicing up his own face and passing it around so we could all eat it... but great fun altogether!!

Lemon and Almond Birthday Cake
(Great for fondant icing!)

You'll need
225 g soft unsalted butter225 g castor sugar4 large eggs50 g plain flour225 g ground almonds1/2 teaspoon almond essencezest and juice from 2 lemons

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Cream together the butter and sugar until almost white. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, adding a quarter of the flour after each addition. When all the eggs and flour have been incorporated, gently stir in the ground almonds, then the almond essence, lemon zest and juice.

Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for about 1 hour. Cover with foil after about 30 minutes, once the top is lightly browned. The cake is ready when the top is firm, and a skewer, inserted, comes out cleanish - you want dampness, but not gooey batter. Take the cake out and let it stand for 5 minutes or so in the tin. Then turn it out on a wire rack and leave till cool.

P.S. I think you can safely assume ALL my cake recipes to be from Nigella Lawson unless I say otherwise!!! xx


Happy Birthday Little M!

-I'll post the recipe for this Malteser cake soon, after I get up off the floor where I am still lying after it dawned on me that next year I will be the mother of a TEENAGER!!! ;-) Sure am I not one of them meself still? -


Forragers food...

"We are shelves, we are
Tables, we are meek,
We are edible,

Nudgers and shovers
In spite of ourselves.
Our kind multiplies:

We shall by morning
Inherit the earth.
Our foot's in the door. "

Taken from Mushrooms by Sylvia Plath

Wild Mushroom and Walnut Soup

You'll need

4 cups of wild mushrooms
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
1 cup walnuts, shelled
300mls chicken/vegetable stock
75mls double cream
A drizzle of walnut oil

Saute the onion, garlic and mushrooms until soft.  Add the stock and bring to a simmer.  In your food processor blitz the walnuts with the cream.  When ready to serve the soup add the walnut cream. Serve with fresh bread and a dribble of walnut or truffle oil...


A little nutty...

One of my favorite bars as a child was the good old "Marathon" (now renamed as Snickers),and  pocket money from my great grandfather, of one pound, would buy me a Supercan of coke, a marathon bar and my weekly copy of "the Mandy"... Thems were the days... 

So now, but only on very sunny days, I will often treat myself to a snickers bar, keep it in my pocket until its soft, sit on a wall somewhere and then eat it very carefully, enjoying every bite...

Marathon Muffins 
(aka Snickers Muffins from guess who? Yep Nigella Lawson... I really must branch out and buy another baking book!!)

You'll need
250g Plain Flour
100g Golden Caster Sugar
1.5 tablespoons baking powder
Pinch Salt
6 tbsp Crunchy Peanut Butter
60g Melted Butter
1 Beaten Large Egg
175 ml Milk
3 Snickers Bars, chopped into small pieces

Preheat your oven to 200c and line your muffin tray with muffin cases.  Stir together flour sugar, baking powder and salt. Add peanut butter and mix until you have a bowl of crumbs, then in a seperate bowl, add the melted butter and egg to the milk and mix.  Mix the wet ingredients gently into peanut butter mix
and stir in the chopped snickers bars.  Divide mixture between 12 muffin cases and bake for 20-25 minutes.


A Muse or two...

Those of you who follow this blog will know that we spend most of our summers in Italy, down south in the middle of the most glorious teal green mountains, and beside a meandering river known as the Melfa.  

The first time I ever ate a bean, barring baked beans from a tin, was in this valley, and I could not believe how delicious beans could be! Since then I have been a bean addict, not a week goes by when I don't cook the famous Beloveds or some other concotion!  This evening with all the ingredients for my favorite dish, I set about making some... to go with some inspired chicken!

With Christmas over and done, I am starting to look to the summer and those glorious mornings, with the sound of geese as they pass in a gaggle, the afternoons with the low hum of worker bees and the smell of honey in the air, and those warm evenings with the crickets chirrupping in the trees and the smells of what we're cooking wafting across as we sit in the dimming sun...

Melfa Chicken...
You'll need
1 Large chicken
50gms butter
1 tsp maldon salt
3 tbs honey
3 tbs milk
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 onion
Parsley to garnish

Preheat your oven to 190c.

To prepare the chicken, pop it into the roasting tin and,using a spoon, seperate the skin on the breast from the flesh.  Slice the butter and place the slices under the skin.  Pop the onion into the cavity.  In a cup mix the milk, honey, and garlic together and brush onto the bird.  Sprinkle with the salt and pop into the oven.  Its usually 1 hour 10 minutes per kilo.  

When cooked, the juices will run clear when you skewer between the thigh and the leg.  Leave to rest for ten minutes before serving.

Serve with Beloveds... (I put fresh coriander in these tonight, not strictly italian but delicious all the same!)


Happy Birthday Joe...

Perfect Birthday Cake (from How to be a Domestic Goddess)
This quantity will fill a 12" square tin!

You'll need
500gms plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
.5 tsp salt
400mls buttermilk
3 tsp vanilla extract
250gms unsalted butter
400gms caster sugar
6 eggs

Mix the flour, salt, bicarb, and baking powder together in a bowl.

Then in a large mixing bowl cream the butter and sugar together.  Add the eggs, one by one, with a spoon of flour, into the mix while mixing all the while.  Add the rest of the flour and buttermilk and blend to a smooth batter.

Bake at 180c for about 40 minutes or until a cake skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool in the tin, and then turn out onto a wire tray.

When the cake is cool, run a serrated bread knife through lengthwise to create a top layer and a bottom layer.  Don't worry if it breaks a bit, icing covers all tracks! 

Draw a template onto a sheet of parchment, which you have cut out using the cake tin as a guide.  Then cut out the template and lay on top of the cake, cut around it using a bread knife.

Fill the cake with freshly whipped cream and strawberry jam.  Ice using egg white icing, prebought is just as good, I go for Supercook White Frosting!


Ten on ten... January....

If its okay, I'm going to do this ten on ten from my own archives, ten of my favorite photos from our amazing year! Hope you enjoy them!

Happy New Year!



Wait! Wait! It is me! With a new look for 2009!

I've also decided to branch out a bit, broaden our scope, look over other walls other than the kitchen wall!

2008 was wonderful, getting to know the world of blogging, and meeting all the amazing and dedicated bloggers out there in cyberspace!  I have made some good friends!

So here is a new road for a new year, and I hope you will all come with me while I find out where this new road will take me!


A big ole bowl...

...of steamin' hot chilli...please...

Thats the order as I got it down the telephone wire two evenings ago.  A very tired and fluey man arrived home, with an inability to say the letter 'M' and a desperate need for some TLC.  So I set about making him some chilli, with enough pep to clear his head and fill his belly!

Here is my own recipe for Chilli con carne, enjoy!

You'll need
400gms mince beef
100gms mince pork (optional)
2 chilli peppers (chopped finely)
1 onion, chopped
3 celery stalks, chopped
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 tbs cumin
1 tin of chopped tomatoes
2/3 tbsp tomato puree
1 tin of baked beans
1 tin of chilli beans
1 tin of sweetcorn
3-4 drops of worcestor sauce
1 tbsp of flour (dissolved in about 50mls water)

Fry the onion, celery, peppers and garlic in oil for about two minutes, stir in the cumin and then add the mince.  Brown through.  Add the tomato puree and tomatoes.  Stir. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir over a low heat until thick. Serve with rice, guacamole and corn chips or celery sticks!



I have always avoided making mayonnaise, which incidently is probably my favorite thing on earth, because it always gave off that edge of being more hassle than it was worth!

Since making some myself, I have of course changed my mind, although still have yet to make regular mayonnaise, my foray into the flavoured mayo front is a successful one.

It isn't hassle, it isn't difficult, its well worth it and guarantees lots of those invaluable Mmmmms from loved ones! 

Tarragon Mayonnaise for Steak

You'll need
2 Egg yolks, beaten
1 tbs White wine vinegar
200mls Sunflower oil
1 clove of garlic
1 tsp Salt
1 tsp pepper
A handful of tarragon, chopped finely.

Whisk the eggs and the vinegar together, I use an electric whisk for this.  Add about a teaspoons worth of oil and whisk like mad, until it begins to thicken and then drizzle the oil in while whisking away. The mixture will begin to mayonnaise-ify, get thicker and paler.

When you are happy with the consistency, taste it, add your salt and your pepper.  Add the garlic and the tarragon and if you have it handy, a squeeze of lemon juice.

Serve dolloped on hot steak slices in a baguette!! Delish!


A trifle amusing!

I've never been a huge trifle fan... although I will admit those I have trifled with have been "old school" with tinned fruit, birds custard and buckets of sherry! However after a disastrous attempt at a trifle last christmas, which left mouths like smoking guns and sent most of us over the limit, I decided to think of something new for this years attempt.  With some inspiration from Emily over at Honeybee I decided on this!

It worked out well, subtle and not too rich, and certainly one for the recipe notebooks to make again and again!

Raspberry and Almond Trifle

You'll need
3/4 Raspberry Muffins
1 bar white chocolate, grated
1 carton of devon custard
1 carton of whipping cream
1 tin of raspberries
A few fresh raspberries
Chopped almonds
100mls of Amaretto

Roughly break the muffins into chunks, place into a seperate bowl from the trifle bowl, and sprinkle with all of the ameretto.

Leave for a few minutes and then take half the chunks and line the trifle bowl. Top with some tinned raspberries, grated white chocolate and a sprinkle of chopped almonds.  Top that with a thin layer of custard.  Repeat until all the muffin is laid and finally top with softly whipped cream, almonds and the fresh raspberries... Grate some chocolate on top and serve within a day.