Monday, 29 November 2010

What a week...From Figs and Poached Salmon to Shepherds Pie and Bread and Butter Pudding!

I think I have to learn to say no...I had an event this Friday, planned in the diary for a few weeks, it was for a shoot in Oxford so I thought Id go down on Thursday night and get organised, however on Wednesday night I got a call from a new client asking if I could do a last minute dinner party for 12 people on Thursday night in London...of course I said yes! 

So on Thursday I prepared the elevenses, shepherds pie and bread and butter pudding, and then frantically drove to Knightsbridge for the other dinner party...obviously I was running late and wasn't particularly helped out by the terrible traffic (burst water main...standard!).  I managed to pull off the dinner party, two canapes, starter, main and pudd and then jumped in my car, at about 11.30 pm and drove to Oxford, Shepherds Pie and Broccoli soup carefully strapped in  the car! 

I arrived in Oxford at 1.30pm, got some things organised and went to bed...only to wake up 4 hours later to start cooking again....YAWN!!

So I thought I'd share my favourite dish form the two days....and it just has to be the humble, deliciously satisfying, bread and butter pudding. 

Bread and Butter Pudding

12 Slices of Brioche Loaf
60g Butter
100g Currants
1-2 tsp cinnamon power
300ml Full Fat milk
80ml Double Cream (and a little extra to serve with)
70g Caster Sugar
3 eggs
Grated Zest of Orange
Freshly Grated Nutmeg

Line a baking tin with a little butter. Butter the brioche and then cut into triangles and place a third of it butter side up in the tin. Sprinkle the layer of bread with a third of the currents and some cinnamon. Repeat the layers three times. Then in a pan heat the milk and cream (but do not boil) take off the hear and stir in a third of the sugar, then whisk the eggs and slowly add them to the warmed milk and cream. Strain the liquid and then pour over the bread. Sprinkle with the nutmeg, the rest of the sugar and the grated orange zest. Serve with a little double cream!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Did you know that England Produced the Best Sparkling Rose in the World in 2009 and 2010

I love drinking wine and champagne and occasionally like to pretend that I am a connoisseur - in reality all I really know is that I like dry white wine, Pinot Grigio tends to be my regular choice, and Pino Noir is my favorite red! What I couldn't quite believe had excaped my knowledge was that England produced the best Sparkling Rose in the WORLD! Its called Camel Valley and they produce their wine in Cornwall! 

Apparently lots of people are investing in British vineyards so maybe it's time for us to start challenging the big guns in France and Italy - how grape would that be!!!

A few weeks ago I visited an English Vineyard to brush up on my knowledge and the friend I stayed with, who happens to be a proper wine expert, had a few bottles stored away....

Monday, 22 November 2010

I never know what to cook on a Monday!!!

Monday's to me are always a bit strange, I feel tired and chubby from all the food I ate during the weekend and have an urge to eat something healthy, but I also need something that will make me smile and cheer me up - basically something that will get me ready to take on the week!

So... I reckon my favorite Monday dish has to be fish pie - and its quick and easy!!

Fish Pie!

2 Cod fillets
2 Smoked Haddock Fillets
100g cooked prawns
2 Leeks
2 Carrots, sliced
1 tsp Tarragon
300g Cherry tomatoes
1/4 pint veg stock
150g Creme Fraiche
Petit Pois

Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees. Pop the potatoes in boiling water and cook until soft, then mash. In a deep pan, fry the cod and haddock in a little olive oil for about 3mins on each side. Add the leeks, carrots, veg stock and tarragon and cook for a further 7 mins on a low heat. Add the prawns, cherry toms and creme fraiche, then season and simmer for a further 3 mins. Transfer to an oven dish and cover the mixture with the mash potatoes, season and drizzle with a little olive oil. Pop in the over for about 15 mins. Serve with the peas!

Fish Pie

Friday, 19 November 2010

I think its time for a Curry and Film Friday night!

As its Friday, and all I want to do is chill out after a stressful week, I could think of nothing better than making a curry, drinking a cold bottle of beer and watching a good movie!

I have to admit im a bit of a wimp when it comes to hot food but I have realised that when it comes to spicy food its all about balance. For example, if you use chilis, marry the spice with creamy coconut and coriander, their cool fresh flavors will sooth your mouth and balance all the flavours out. 

A few years ago I was lucky enough to visit India and I absolutely fell in Love with the food in the South - Specifically a place called Kerala, a very relaxed and beautiful area surrounded by water plains. We spent four days on a boat and had the most fantastic chef who cooked giant prawns, lentils, tomato salsas, lady's fingers (okra) and so many more deliciously fresh dishes! So here is my Keralan inspired Prawn Curry!

My quick and easy Kerelan Prawn Curry

1 Red Chilli
1 Green Chilli
4 Spring onions, chopped
1 Onion finely chopped
2 cloves Garlic
Tbsp finely grated Ginger
half a lemons juice
1 tsp Turmeric
1 tsp coriander powder
500g Raw King Prawns
Tin of chopped tomatoes
Baby Sweet Corn
Tin of Coconut Milk
Bunch of coriander chopped

Basmati Rice and Naan Bread to serve!

On a low heat fry the Chillies, spring onion, onion, garlic and ginger for about 5 mins. Then add the lemon juice, turmeric and coriander powder and cook for a further 3 mins. Add the prawns, tomatoes, baby sweetcorn and coconut milk. Season. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 20 mins. Sprinkle with coriander. Serve with the rice and Naan Bread. 

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Home-made Beefburgers in 20 mins!

With the amount of sport that's been on recently I have had to find ways of amusing myself...obvious place to turn...the Kitchen! And with a few hungry boys to feed I thought I'd cook up my favorite beef and sweetcorn burgers - quick, easy and delicious.

Beef and Sweetcorn Burgers

500g Mince beef (spend the extra bob or two on the nice stuff, it makes all the difference!)
2 eggs
1 tbsp cornflour
Sprinkle of Steak Seasoning
1 small red onion finely chopped
Tin of sweetcorn
Half a bunch of Parsley very finely chopped
Half a bunch of Coriander finely chopped
Tsp Whole grain mustard
Lea and Perrings

To Serve: Burger Buns, Ketchup, Mayo, Grated Cheddar, Lettuce and Cherry Tomatoes

Lightly mix the raw beef, eggs, cornflour, steak seasoning and some salt and pepper, in a large bowl and set to the side. In a large frying pan cook the onion and sweetcorn in a little olive oil on a low heat for about 4 mins, then add the parsley, coriander, mustard and Lea and Perrings and cook for 2 more mins. Add the onion mix to the beef. Form circles (basically the size of a normal burger) in your hands and place directly in the frying pan you used for the onions. You should be able to make about 10 burgers from the mixture so you might have to do this in two rounds. Turn the burgers after about 5 mins on each side. The middle will be slightly red but that's what I like! cook for longer if required!

Heaven in your mouth!!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Self doubt with the recipes!!!!

I suddenly had a very horrible feeling last night that my recipes don't actually work if someone else was to read them! I just write the way I cook but it dawned on me that I might not make sense to anyone else! i thought the best way to test this was to give my good friend Archie a recipe - Archie, I hope he doesn't mind me saying is a typical boy cook, he makes a cracking spag bowl or bangers and mash and has his secret weapon in his mothers rib marinade - which, i have to give him credit for, is delicious - but he rarely steers from his comfort zone! So if he can do it from scratch just by following the recipe, then i think that is research enough to comfort me!!

Archies test drive of Prawn and Tomato Linguine

400g King Prawns (uncooked)
4 spring onions chopped (with scissors if feeling lazy)
1 red pepper finely sliced
300g of sweet cherry tomatoes
Half a bunch of Coriander finely chopped (save some leaves for a garnish!)
2 handfuls of cashew nuts
half a red chili, deseeded and finely chopped
1 lime ( get some zest and some juice!)
Half a glass of white wine
A big Knob of Butter

Pop the pasta into a big pan of boiling water, it should take about 10 mins. Place the King Prawns and Spring Onions in a little olive oil and cook on a medium heat for 3 mins - as the prawns are turning pink add the red peppers, cherry tomatoes and half the chopped coriander. Cook for about 3-4 mins. Add the cashew nuts, chili and lime zest - cook for 2 mins and take off the heat. The pasta is probably ready to drain now! Add the Prawn mixture to the pasta pan, stir in and leave in the pan. With the pan that you cooked the prawn mixture in place it back on a high heat and add the rest of the coriander, lime juice, wine and butter and cook for about 3 mins. Pour this over the pasta and prawns! Serve in big bowls with the coriander garnish!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Food for Him and Her!!

There is one thing in life that I find incredibly frustrating and that is my complete inability to leave any food on a plate, whether I am presented with a 20oz steak or a mountain of pasta, I can guarantee that I will squeeze every last morsel into my mouth and my ever expanding tummy!!

What I tend to do is serve my boyfriend (who like all men has the annoyingly faster food burning gene) the same amount as me. Even if I do decide to put less on my plate, you can be sure to find me in the kitchen with my spoon in the pan clearing up the left overs! Is it just love for food? or Is it greed? probably the latter! Either way I have to find a way to change the way I eat so tonight I am going to cook a meal for him and a meal for me and see if i can resist begging him to share!!

Keep it cheap by buying the same ingredients!

For Him                                                                         For Her
Chicken Pasta Bake                                                        Chicken and Potato Soup
1 Chicken Breast Chopped into thin slices                       1 Chicken Breast Chopped into thin slices
1 leek chopped                                                               1 leek chopped
4 New Potatoes cut into cm pieces                                  2 New Potatoes cut into cm pieces
1/4 pint Chicken Stock                                                    1/2 pint Chicken Stock
Twirly Pasta                                                                    1 Carrot chopped
Broccoli                                                                          Broccoli
Cherry Toms                                                                   Sweetcorn
Sweetcorn                                                                       If you're peckish have some thinly sliced ciabatta
Grated Cheddar


Fir him, In a pan fry of the chicken and leek for 3-4 mins until golden. Add the new potatoes and chicken stock and leave to cook on a medium heat for 10 mins. Put about 100g pasta into boiling water and leave to cook for 10-12 mins. Meanwhile pan fry your chicken and leek until golden and add your potatoes, carrot and chicken stock and again leave to cook on a medium heat for 10 mins.  Add the broccoli and sweet corn to your mix, season and leave to simmer for a further 5 mins. To his add the Broccoli, cherry toms and sweet corn and only cook for another 2 mins. Add the mixture to the drained pasta, place in a small heatproof dish and cover with the cheese. Place under the grill for 3 mins.

I will try this tonight and if I can do it anyone can!!

Thursday, 11 November 2010

Why not have a Mexican Party this weekend???!!! Olé!

What with it being MOVEMBER and it apparently being National Guacamole Day on Sunday 14th November - I figured why not throw a Mexican night in celebration of the great avocado and give yourself an excuse to put on your sombreros, knock back some Margarita's and eat some delicious fajitas!!!! Olé!

I have to have a choice of chicken or beef whenever i make fajitas so you will need to make three dishes for this delicious feast (which feeds 8 people!) - Chicken Dish, Beef dish and Guacamole. You also need to serve it with Sour Creme, Salsa, lettuce leaves and Tortillas which you can just buy from the supermarket!

For the Chicken
4 Chicken Breasts cut into slices
1 onion sliced
1 red pepper sliced
1 yellow pepper sliced
1 green pepper sliced
1 lime juice
tsp Oregano
tsp flour
1/4 pint chicken stock (1 oxo cube)

Fry the Chicken for about 4-5 minutes until sealed on all sides (add pepper and salt as you wish!). Reduce the heat to medium and add the onion, fry for 2-3 minutes then add all the peppers and lime juice. Fry for a further 5 minutes then add the oregano and flour and mix well for 2 minutes. then add the chicken stock, turn the heat to very low and leave to simmer for 10 mins. Serve in a big bowl and place on the table! 

For the Beef
500g Minced Beef
1 onion sliced
2 tbsp Tomato Puree
1 Red Chili
1 red pepper sliced
1 yellow pepper sliced
1 green pepper sliced
1 lime juice
Half a bunch of Finely Chopped Coriander
tsp flour
1/4 pint beef stock (1 oxo cube!)
A tin of Sweet corn

Fry the onion for about 3-4 minutes until soft. Add the beef and cook for a further 5-6 minutes until browned (add pepper and salt as you wish!). Add the tomato puree and chili and cook for 1 minute. Reduce the heat to medium and Add the peppers and lime juice and cook for 2 minutes. Add the coriander and flour and mix well for 2 minutes. Add the beef stock and sweetcorn, turn the heat to very low and leave to simmer for 10 mins. Serve in a big bowl next to the chicken!

For the Guacamole
2 Avocados - peel, remove stones and chop!
2 Spring onions finely chopped
1 garlic clove finely chopped
10 or so cherry tomatoes finely chopped
Half a Limes juice

Crush the avocados in a bowl, add the spring onions, garlic, cherry tomato's and lime juice! Serve!

Put everything on the table - Chicken, Beef, Guacamole, Sour Creme, Salsa, Lettuce leaves, Tortillas and bottle of Tequila!


Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Fast, Fantastic Fishcakes!

Don't get me wrong, you cant beat a good seabass or lemon sole but I also have a massive penchant for fish covered in bread crumbs, or even batter for that matter!

So I thought Id share my fishcake recipe - its so simple and perfect for middle weekday Wednesday! If like me your questioning if you should have a glass of wine....just pop open the bottle and start cooking!!

You will need:

4 Cod Fillets
2 Smoked Haddock Fillets
About 8 medium (I like Maris Piper) Potatoes (peeled if you can be bothered) Boiled and Mashed
1 Lemon
1 Egg
4 spring onions finely chopped or just grate it!
2 tbsp Cream Cheese
2 tbsp Chopped Chives
Bread Crumbs (you can buy these in a bag at any supermarket!)
1 bag of Rocket

For the dressing
1 Cucumber (cut into strips)
1 Red Pepper (finely chopped)
200g Light Creme Fraiche
1 tsp Horseradish

Take all the skin off the fish and poach in a pan of half milk and half water. It should take about 10 mins! Once cooked add to the mashed potatoes and mix thoroughly. Season. Add the Egg, half the lemon juice, grate in some lemon zest, throw in the spring onions, cream cheese and chopped chives and mix again. Make into little round balls and press into the bread crumbs on each side. Fry in a little olive oil until brown on both sides.

For the sauce, simply mix together the cucumber, red pepper, creme fraiche and horseradish. Season to taste.

I like to drizzle some balsamic reduction on a plate and then serve the fish cakes with a few rocket leaves and a dollop of the sauce!

Clementine Genius!

SO . . . about three months ago, every time I got back to my desk at work after going to lunch or just popping to make a cup of tea, I would return to a Clementine peel purposefully laid on my desk. On realising the culprit, i asked him, as a joke, to take as many photos with a clementine as possible. He quite clearly took it literally! We were working on a construction site and here is a small selection of what he produced......

Monday, 8 November 2010

Food to increase your sex drive....oh my!!!

Okay so...'i have a friend' who has been feeling a little sluggish in the bedroom of late and asked me what they could eat to increase their libido. There are the obvious choices, oysters and strawberries spring to mind but I thought I would put together a simple starter, main and pudding where every ingredient is considered a libido booster!!! And considering the weather is so rubbish at the moment...any excuse will do!!!

Starter: Avocado Salad

Baby Spinach
1 Avocado
Cherry Tomatoes
Sunflower Seeds
Extra V olive oil and Balsamic vinegar

No cooking required. Simply pop the baby spinach on a plate and drizzle with good extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. Chop the tomatoes in half and place on the spinach, then sprinkle with Raisins and Sunflower seeds and place half a chopped avocado on top. Finish with a drizzle of Balsamic!

Main: Beef Fillet with Grilled Aubergine and Veggie Rice

An Aubergine
2 Lean Beef Fillets
Brown Rice
1 red and 1 yellow pepper
Petit Pois (frozen peas!)
1/4 pint chicken stock
1 Egg

Cut the Aubergine into cm strips and cover with salt. Leave for about 10 mins. Add pepper, Olive oil and a few sprigs of rosemary and place under the grill for about 8 mins on each side.

Place the rice in a pan of boiling water and leave to cook for 20-25 mins.

In a separate pan add a tsp of olive oil, when hot add the Beef Fillets and fry on each side for 2 1/2 mins (for Medium Rare). Take the beef out of the pan, cover with foil and set aside. Pop the peppers in the pan you used for the steaks and fry for 3 mins, add the frozen peas, broccoli and 1/4 pint of chicken stock. Boil for 4 mins. When the rice is cooked, drain and add to the veg and stock. Crack in an egg and stir (it will have cooked on its own once its served!!) 

Serve with the strips of grilled aubergine on the bottom of the plate, a circle of rice and the beef fillet on top.

Pudding: Pineapple and Strawberries

1 Digestive Biscuit
200ml single cream

Literally the easiest pudding ever. Chop the pineapple into chunks and strawberries and grapes in half and pop into a champagne glass. Crush the digestive biscuit and pix with the cream. Pour over the fruit. Yum!

Friday, 5 November 2010

Friday Feeling Food

I always feel the same on a Friday morning - tired from a wine fuelled Thursday night and in need of carb heavy tasty food. So I thought I would write, probably my favorite dish of all time, here to give you something to look forward to should you choose to cook it this evening!

You will need:

Chicken Chopped into little pieces(I much prefer Thighs - so much tastier - you can get it boneless from the butcher too! Or just use breast!)
1 White onion chopped
1 Red Pepper Finely chopped
1 Tbsp Flour
1/2 Pint Chicken Stock ( I know its naughty but the best chicken stock in my eyes, if you haven't got time to make it yourself that is, is Oxo!! I would add two cubes to half a pint of stock to give it that extra chickeny flavour!!)
Mange Tout chopped in half
New Potatoes roughly chopped into tiny little 1cm squares
1 Egg per person

So....Fry the Chicken in olive oil for about 5 minutes until sealed. Add the chopped onion and chopped red pepper and cook for a further 5 minutes until the onion is soft. Season! Add the Tbsp of flour and stir for 2 mins. Gradually add the chicken stock but continue to stir until the sauce is smooth, should take about 3-4 mins. Add the Mange Tout, Peas and Sweetcorn, bring to the boil and then turn the heat to very low and leave to simmer for 10min.

In a frying pan put a tbsp of olive oil and add the potatoes. Cook for 15 mins until soft and crunchy. (I tend to add some steak seasoning to them to give them a bit of a kick - or you could add paprika, mixed herbs etc - basically anything tasty in your cupboard!)

All you need to do now is poach the egg, I like mine runny so i poach it for about 2 mins!

Place the Chicken on top of the potatoes and the egg on top of the chicken!
Garnish with Chives if you want it to look prettier!


Thursday, 4 November 2010

Lily's Lovely Bites - Sample Menus

Late night last night putting together my new menus - cream crackered doesn't quite do this feeling justice!!

I have also developed a small addiction to Le Pain Quotidiens raisin toast - I always go there to do my work after work and every time i order raisin bread toast and an Americano! I highly recommend it!

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

A Recipe for Wednesday...Lamb Stew

This has got to be one of my favorite dishes and its so easy. You need a little bit of time but if you start cooking when you get in from work you should be ready to serve by 8pm!! (I'm assuming you're home by 6.45)!!!

So you will need:
Neck of Lamb chopped into chunks
1 Onion
Tsp of Flour
1 pint chicken stock
New Pots (chopped into quarters)
Red Peppers

Put a drizzle of olive oil in a frying pan, when hot add the lamb, onion and rosemary and fry for 4-5 mins. Lower the heat and add the flour and keep stirring for about 3 mins. Gradually add the Chicken Stock whilst stirring for about 5 mins until flour disappears and the juices are boiling. Add the Carrots and New Pots and leave for about 25 mins simmering on a low heat. Add the Red Peppers and Peas and cook for a further 10 mins. Turn the heat of and leave for 10 mins. Serve in bowls with a fork and spoon!

P.s The Lamb season is generally from June to November so you better get cooking quickly!!!

 Hope you enjoy!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

If you eat anything this week make sure it includes.....

....White Truffle Oil. I can honestly say that there is no smell greater than the smell of truffles! I bought this Truffle Oil last week for a canape Event I had for Red Bull, I made little Brioche Squares, topped with delicious Duck Foie Gras, a rocket leaf and a drop of truffle oil! It was like heaven in my mouth! A luxury of course, but you can always just use a duck pate and the truffle oil is £4.65 and worth every penny!

With truffle oil its good to keep it simple, just add a few drops to some pasta with grated Parmesan - easy and delicious! 

Kiddies Lunch Boxes

I met with a very cool company called Sharky and George ( last week, they are the coolest childrens party organisers in London! So I have put together a Kiddies Lunch Box menu, and now all I can think about is eating cheese and marmite sanrnies and stuffing my face with Rocky Roads!!