30 January 2012

Panettone and Mincemeat Pudding

I was searching for something to do with my leftover panettone and mincemeat from Christmas and I not only found a fantastic recipe that uses both but the recipe was on a great website, Love Food Hate Waste. This incredibly useful website has storage ideas, recipes and foodie facts that are so useful - I really recommend it.

I've included Caroline Mason's (their cookery adviser) Christmas Panettone and Mincemeat pudding below which was absolutely delicious and really easy to make.

Christmas Panettone and Mincemeat Pudding

Serves 4-6

75g leftover mincemeat
Alcohol such as baileys, brandy, whiskey or rum (optional)
50g butter
1 panettone, sliced into small squares
100ml milk
375ml double cream
4 eggs
125g caster sugar
A few drops of vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas Mark 3. You will need a medium sized baking dish and a roasting tin to use as a ban marie. I used whiskey in my recipe as that's what I'd used in my mincemeat. This is basically like a bread and butter pudding so I think when it comes to the mincemeat and panettone you can use as much as you have.

1. Put the leftover mincemeat in a bowl, cover with the alcohol and leave to soak.

2. Melt the butter in a frying pan over a medium heat and fry the panettone slices for 2-3 minutes of until golden on both sides.

3. Arrange the panettone slices with the mincemeat, overlapping slightly in the baking dish.

4. Pour the milk and cream into a pan and bring slowly up to the boil. Whisk the eggs with the sugar until frothy and pale and then gradually add the milk and cream mixture to the eggs stirring continuously. Add the vanilla extract then pour the mixture over the panettone and set aside for 30 minutes to allow it to soak in.

5. Bake in a ban marie or roasting tin filled with hot water for 30-35 minutes or until just set in the middle. Serve with double cream.


25 January 2012

Store Cupboard Frittata

Now I think this is a store cupboard recipe because I always have spring onions and feta in my fridge. I love feta and use it in everything... but this would work just as well with most cheeses. Really easy and quick to make, we had ours with a tomato salad and ate it between the two of us because we are greedy but if you're not then this could do 3 or maybe even 4 if you had lots of salad and pudding to go after.

Tuna and Feta Frittata
Serves 2-4

5 eggs
80g feta cheese, cubed or crumbled
4 small spring onions, chopped
2 small cans or 1 large can of tuna, drained
salt and pepper
Olive oil

You need a medium/large frying pan and pre-heat the grill.

1. Beat the eggs together in a large bowl.

2. Add the spring onion and feta and stir together.

3. Flake in the tuna and add a bit of salt and quite a lot of pepper. Feta is really salty so no need to add too much salt. Stir well.

4. Heat the olive oil in the frying pan over a medium heat and pour in the frittata mixture. Cook over a low/medium heat for 4-5 minutes until the bottom is cooked.

5. Put the frittata (in it's pan) under the grill for a further 3-4 minutes until the top is set and golden.


23 January 2012

Pea and Herb Risotto

No sooner do I say that I'm going to cook more things from Jamie Does...then... well I make the pea and herb risotto from it. I am not friends with risotto. I don't really like rice as it is and whenever I've tried to make risotto before it's always been a bit crunchy and bland. But this was really nice and I made enough for 4 people and Joe ate 3 peoples worth so it must of been quite good.

The main recipe is for Risotto Bianco and then he has a few variations so I'm going to do this all as one recipe but the others look amazing too so really... you should just suck it up and get the book.

Pea and Herb Risotto

Serves 4

For the risotto bianco:
1 litre vegetable stock
olive oil
1/2 an onion, peeled and finely chopped
1 stick of celery trimmed and finely chopped
300g risotto rice
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
125ml white wine
a knob of butter
a large handful of freshly grated Parmesan

For the pea and herb bit:
a knob of butter
300g fresh or frozen peas
a small bunch of fresh mint, leaves picked and chopped
a small bunch of fresh flat leaf parsley, leaves picked and chopped
100g soft goats cheese
Parmesan Cheese
extra virgin olive oil

I cook this in a large saucepan, you need one that is reasonably high sided as you are going to add a lot of stock. I think one of the reasons this worked was keeping the stock in a pan on a low heat rather than just making it up in a jug and leaving it. I also didn't have any celery and it tasted yummy without but if you are making plain risotto it would probably need the celery.

1. Pour your stock into a pan and leave on a low heat.

2. Put a good lug of olive oil into your high-sided pan over a low heat and put in the chopped onion and celery. Cook gently for ten minutes, stirring occasionally until soft but not coloured.

3. Turn the heat up to medium, add the rice and a pinch of salt and stir for 2 minutes. Pour in the wine and stir until absorbed.

4. Add a ladleful of hot stock, stir and wait until it's been fully absorbed before adding more. Cook for 16 to 17 minutes adding a ladleful more stock every minute or so and stirring regularly, until the rice is al dente. When it's done it should be slightly looser than you want it as it'll thicken as it sits.

5. Meanwhile for the pea and herb extras melt the butter over a medium heat in a smaller pan and add the peas, fresh herbs and a splash of hot water.

7. Put the lid on a cook for 4 minutes.

8. When you have finished ladling the stock into the risotto bianco take the pan of the heat, stir in the butter and Parmesan, then season to taste.

9. Stir in the herby peas, put the lid back on the pan for 2 minutes.

10. Divide between the plates and put a slice or small scoop of goats cheese on the top. Sprinkle with grated Parmesan and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil.


20 January 2012

Mortadella Pasta Salad

The last of the salads for my studio picnic with my sister and the last from Nigella Express. I love this - I thought it was going to be a bit bland and dry (and lacking in mayo) but it was delicious and, even though I hate lemon, the lemon juice here is absolutely necessary and not at all too lemony. Although it used Mortadella it would work well with any kind of ham you can get hold of or even bacon... but then pretty much everything works with bacon. In fact, this pasta salad is a great basis for everything as you can have most of it in the fridge. I've taken to buying the pre-grated Parmesan because it's so useful for things like this and soups so in fact I only need to get the ham - I think I'll make this next time I have ham leftovers. Delicious!

Mortadella Pasta Salad

Serves 4 as a packed lunch

250g fusilli
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tsp Maldon salt or 1/2 tsp table salt
1/2 tsp mild German mustard, or similar
1 thick slice (approx 150g) mortadella, diced into 5mm squares
20g curly parsley, finely chopped
25g Parmesan flakes
salt and pepper to taste

I didn't have German mustard so I used good old grainy and it worked just fine. I also hate curly parsley and never see the need for it so I used flat leaf.

1. Put the pan of water on to boil, add the salt to taste, and then cook the pasta following the packet instructions.

2. Meanwhile whisk together the oil, lemon juice, salt and mustard to make the dressing.

3. Drain the cooked pasta and tip it into a large bowl, pour over the dressing and toss well to coat.

4. When cool, stir in the mortadella pieces, chopped parsley and Parmesan flakes. Check the seasoning, adding salt and pepper as required.


19 January 2012

Procrastination Plum Sauce

While trying to avoid work the other day I realised I really must do something with the plums wrongly delivered by Salisbury's and while I don't actually love plums I really like plum sauce and it would be a useful addition to my fridge so I turned to Sarah Raven's Garden Cookbook which never seems to let me down in fruit or veg crises.

Very quick and easy to make and I rather pleasingly found that the recipe needed exactly the amount of plums in my punnet which was nice. This can be brushed on lamb, beef, pork or fish before barbecuing or grilling, or can enrich the juices from your pork, goose or duck and can even be thinned a little with a light oil and used as a dipping sauce. I will probably eat most of it in the middle of the night with a spoon... or maybe with a pickled onion dunked in it... I'm not pregnant I swear.

Plum Sauce

For 500ml

450g ripe plums
2-3 garlic cloves
2 dried chillies or 1 fresh red chilli
3 heaped tbsp soft brown sugar
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
4 tbsp soy sauce

You need a heavy based saucepan but not a very big one. I used a fresh red chilli because I had one in the fridge and 3 cloves of garlic because I love garlic. I used a big jar as I only wanted one of these... I'm not sure it's going to last very long once Joe gets back from being away for work.

1. Halve the plums and remove their stones - I found it easiest to cut them in half and then remove the stones over the pan so you don't lose any juices. I kept the skins on but I'm sure you can dig the flesh out of them if you prefer. 

2. Chop the garlic and the chilli, or, if you are using dried chillies, crush using a pestle and mortar.

3. Put all the ingredients into a heavy-based saucepan and simmer for at least half an hour until rich and thick and most of the liquid has evaporated.

All the ingredients in the pan

4. Pour into warm sterilized jars, seal and cover. this keeps very well in the fridge for 3-4 weeks and freezes for up to a year.


18 January 2012

Sesame Peanut Noodles

Another of the choices for my studio picnic with my sister and also another from Nigella Express. Next time I make it (and there will be a next time) I think I'd scatter over some crushed salted peanuts. This would be great to make at the beginning of the week as a yummy, easy lunch.

Sesame Peanut Noodles

Serves 8

For the dressing:
1 tbsp sesame oil
1 tbsp garlic oil
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 tbsp sweet chili sauce
100g smooth peanut butter
2 tbsp lime juice

For the salad
125g mangetout
150g beansprouts, rinsed
1 red pepper, deseeded and cut into small strips
2 spring onions finely sliced
2 x 275g packets or 550g ready prepared egg noodles
20g sesame seeds
4 tbsp chopped fresh coriander

1. Whisk together all the dressing ingredients in a bowl or jug.

2. Put the mangetout, beansprouts, red pepper strips, sliced spring onions and the noodles into a bowl.

3. Pour the dressing over them and mix thoroughly to coat everything well.

4. Sprinkle with the sesame seeds, chopped coriander and salted peanuts if you want to try them out!


17 January 2012

Couscous and Feta Salad

I'm always a bit meh about couscous... it either tastes of nothing, or of stock, or of pesto but I've finally found a way to not only make it taste nice but I actually find this salad incredibly moreish and pretty hard to stop eating but lovely to have in the fridge as a yummy lunch. This does have pesto in it but not too much and if you cube the feta quite small and add it when the couscous is warm then it becomes all soft and yummy.

Couscous and Feta salad

Serves 2

100g couscous
200ml hot vegetable stock
2 spring onions
1 red pepper
1/2 cucumber
1/2 block feta cheese, cut into small-ish cubes
2 tbsp pesto, ideally the fresh stuff
2 tbsp toasted pine nuts
4 or 5 large fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped or torn

You just need a bowl to make the couscous in and a chopping board and you can do all the chopping while the couscous is brewing.

1. Put the couscous in a large bowl, pour over the hot stock, cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave for 10 minutes until all the stock has been absorbed.

2. While the couscous is cooking slice the onions, peppers and dice the cucumber. Cube the feta and toast the pine nuts.

3. When the couscous is ready, fluff it up with a fork then add the vegetables and mix, then the pesto and finally add the feta, basil and pine nuts.


16 January 2012

Tuna and Beans

This is one of the salads made for my studio picnic with my sister. It's from Nigella Express, although I tweaked it a tiny bit by adding some vinegar, and it was just yummy. Will definitely be making again.

Tuna and Beans

Serves 4-6 as a starter or part of a meal

1/2 red onion, finely chopped
4 tbsp lemon juice
2 x 400g cans borlotti beans
250g (200g drained weight) good quality tuna
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp chopped parsley to garnish
4 tsp balsamic vinegar

1. Put the chopped onion into a bowl with the lemon juice and let it steep while you get on with the salad.

2. Drain the beans and rinse to get rid of any gloop then place them in a bowl.

3. Drain the tuna and flake it into the beans.

4. Add the olive oil and some salt to the onion and lemon juice mixture, whisking to make a dressing, then pour it over the tuna and beans and transfer to a serving dish.

5. Fork the tuna and bean salad through, seasoning with salt and ground pepper, and scatter the parsley over.

6. Add the balsamic vinegar to taste.


Studio Picnic

My sister has work exhibiting in the London Art Fair which is coming up coming up so she's been working really hard in her East London studio for the past month and I thought she deserved a picnic, it also gave me an excuse to try out some quick, easy packed lunch recipes I've been wanting to test for ages three of them from Nigella Express.

I love picnics with pies, quiches and pates but this needed to be quick, easy to pack up and carry on the tube and simple to eat whilst perched on a painty chair. I decided on four different salads, some ginger ale and my chocolate fridge cake for pudding. I've listed the salads below and you can click on them to be taken to the recipe post which I've decided to do separately so they are easier to find, and follow.

It was so much fun - I highly recommend taking lunch to someone who is working hard and deserves a treat. An added bonus was having the leftovers for lunch the next day allowing us to go for a massive dog walk, get home ravening and have yummy lunch immediately. I also felt a bit smug for using a lot of the hoarded takeaway boxes I insist on keeping, I think slightly to my husbands disgust, but it does mean the photos don't look great - sorry Mumma!


14 January 2012

Vietnamese Pork Noodle Soup

Another one of Joe's choices for this weeks big shop. It was incredibly easy to make, soothing and tasty. I think next time I make it I may tweak it a little - I felt the broth was missing a little something that I can't put my finger on at the moment. Not that this should deter you from trying this recipe out and maybe you will let me know what you think if you do.

This comes from Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home - I still feel like I've only scratched the surface of what this book has to offer. What I love about this recipe is the use of pork fillet, which I have to confess to never using before. I'm not a huge pork fan but this was tasty and easy and really cheap compared to my usual beef. £4 something for nearly 500g so I cut it all into strips and put the remaining bits in freezer bag ready for the next batch of this. I think next time I will probably use straight-to-wok noodles and add them to the soup in the wok rather than cooking noodles separately.

Vietnamese Pork Noodle Soup

Serves 4

275g pork fillet, cut into thin discs and then fine strips
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbs soy sauce
1/2 tsp paprika
2 tbsp fish sauce
250g ramen noodles
1 tbsp garlic oil
6 thin or 3 fat spring onions, finely sliced
1 tbsp chopped fresh ginger
1 litre chicken stock
300g beansprouts
175g baby pak choi, torn into pieces
2 tsps chopped red chili

All you need for this (apart from a chopping board and a sharp knife) is a saucepan to cook the noodles in and a wok or deep heavy-based frying pan. I'd advise doing all the chopping and weighing out of ingredients first then cooking the soup itself will be a matter of minutes.

1. Put the strips of pork fillet into a bowl and add the lime juice, soy sauce, paprika and fish sauce, but don't let this stand for more than 15 minutes.

2. Cook the noodles according to packet instructions and then refresh in cold water.

3. Heat a wok then add the garlic oil and fry the spring onions and ginger for a minute or so. Add the pork and its liquid to the wok, stirring as you go.

4. Cook the meat in the pan for another two minutes, then make up the chicken stock with boiling water, add the hot stock to the pan and bring to the boil.

5. Check the pork is cooked through, then add the beansprouts and baby pak choi. Add water if the soupy base has evaporated too much - about 125ml of freshly boiled water should do the trick, but you may not need it.

6. Arrange the drained noodles equally in warmed bowls, ladle over the pork and vegetables and finally the soupy stock. Scatter the chopped chili on top and serve.

Finished soup (without the red chilli)

12 January 2012

Jamie Oliver's Chicken Kebabs with Avocado Dip

Every time I do a big shop, which I do online because it actually saves us money, I get Joe to look at my list of recipe's (I say list... it's a spreadsheet, I'm a geek) I want to cook and choose a couple that he wants to try out and I get the ingredients... or not depending on how Sainsburys are feeling. He chose this recipe from the Jamie Does... book and not only did I love it at the time, but I made the full amount for four people and we had the leftovers for lunch today and they were even more amazing. This is one of the first recipes I've cooked from this book even though I've had it for a while and it's definitely inspired me to use it more. I can see this recipe being a regular feature in the Harrod household.

One thing... these are billed as kebabs and Jamie raves in the recipe blurb about how great skewers are but I followed this recipe slavishly (because I have horrible lurgy) and you don't get told when to put the chicken on skewers. No big deal because I didn't really want to faff with those but I've added in when to do it... if you want to.

Chicken Kebabs with Avocado Dip

Serves 4

4 boneless chicken breasts, (approx. 125g each), cut into bite size chunks
4 Arab style breads or flatbreads
1 lemon cut into wedges to serve

For the marinade:
a thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely grated
1 tbsp hot paprika
1 tsp turmeric
1 tsp ground coriander
3 tbsp olive oil
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the avocado dip:
2 ripe avocados
1 tsp ground cumin
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and very finely chopped
1 fresh green or red chili, de-seeded or finely chopped
a small bunch of fresh coriander, finely chopped
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon

You need a griddle pan ideally but a frying pan would work just as well. You can use metal skewers if you want too and have them but they aren't essential. I used pitta breads because they are easy and you can freeze them and that's what I love about this recipe, the majority of things you can have in the freezer sot it's really pretty easy to make in some form or another.You can also make the dip the day before and marinade the chicken overnight so good for a yummy lunch with minimum preparation.

1. Mix all the marinade ingredients in a bowl with a good pinch of salt and pepper. Toss the chicken chunks in the marinade until evenly coated, then cover the bowl with clingfilm and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

Marinading chicken

2. Meanwhile, make the dip. Halve the avocados, remove the stone and spoon the flesh into a bowl. Add the other dip ingredients and mash together with a fork making it as smooth or chunky as you like. Taste and adjust the seasoning - I find avocado's often need quite a lot of salt.

Avocado dip

3. When you are ready to cook get a griddle pan on a medium heat and put the chicken on skewers if you are using them. Once it's really hot add the chicken and cook for 5 to 7 minutes turning occasionally - if you are not using skewers then it may take a bit longer, you need to make sure the chicken is cooked all the way through.

4. While this is happening warm the bread through - I wrap my pittas in foil and put them in a warm oven for ten minutes.

5. Tear your bread in half or make a pocket, dollop on the avocado dip and top with the chicken. Serve with lemon wedges on the side for squeezing over.

The proportion is weird... it wasn't a huge as this picture implies

7 January 2012


Now it would have been sensible to post this before Christmas as they are the most festive biscuit ever invented but as you may know I'm a complete Christmas obsessive and I got completely swept away by it all and didn't get round to writing these up. However, I have been crisping the leftover ones up in the oven and they're are very cheering at this depressing time of year so if you fancy a bake why not try these? Pepparkakor are the Swedish version of ginger biscuits and they are out of this world - this is a recipe from one of my mother's old Swedish cookbooks.


Makes a lot - probably 80ish biscuits

500g butter
500g sugar
2 tbsp syrup
1/2 tbsp ginger
2 tbsp ground cloves
2 tbsp cinammon
2 eggs
1kg flour
2 tbsp bicarbonate of soda

Pre-heat the oven to 200C/390F. You will need some lined baking sheets so you can do these in batches. You can use any shape cutter you like - I use a large and small star and a large heart for these. You can ice these or just sprinkle with icing sugar. The dough keeps for ages in the fridge and and if these biscuits go soggy a couple of minutes in the oven will crisp them right up.

1. Melt the butter in a saucepan and add the sugar, syrup, ginger, cloves and cinnamon.

2. Let it cool and then add the eggs, flour and bicarbonate of soda.

3. Roll out the dough as thin as you can and cut into shapes.

Uncooked biscuits on baking sheet

4. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes.

Finished biscuits on cooling rack
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