Boozy homemade jellies are my jam. So are desserts served in little individual cups, because I'm far too much of a wuss to make anything that involves turning something that I've supposedly set with gelatine out of a mould. Jellies, panna cotta, you'll aways find me serving them out of some sort of pretty glassware. Because Valentines Day is basically an excuse to make pretty pink desserts, here is my two person recipe for a basic champagne jelly, topped off with strawberries slices carved into little heart shapes.
Monday, 30 January 2017
Friday, 27 January 2017
I have a new TV show and podcast obsession for those of you into political dramas. First up, download The West Wing Weekly. The presenters include Joshua Malina, who plays Will Bailey on The West Wing, and David Rosen on Scandal run through every episode of The West Wing (basically the most iconic political drama ever made (I have the box set, a binge watching (every few years!) investment you won't regret) with analysis and interviews with the writers and actors. It's engaging, fascinating, and teaches you a lot if you're at all into television, acting, politics or creative writing. Then watch Designated Survivor. Unfortunately, it's US only at the moment (there is a reason I kept my streaming subscriptions!), but it is frankly brilliant, is obviously inspired by The West Wing and basically follows the aftermath of the Capitol being blowing up during the State of the Union, killing everyone, and the designated survivor (explained here) becoming President.
1. Cozying up in front of the fire with a bottle of Merlot and a bowl of my favourite Sausage Bolognese. It's so cold that I'm in front of it, under a blanket as I type, actually! #ad | 2. Enjoying a lovely bright and spicy plate of Sweet Potato Rosti with Roast Curried Sprouts and Red Onion, topped with a perfectly runny poached egg, from Riverford's new Vegetarian Quick meal box they were kind enough to send me to trial. God those sprouts were good (!) | 3. Fighting a winter cold with Kimchee Fried Rice and Korean Fried Chicken at Kyoto in Canterbury. | 4. Filling the house with pink roses, mainlining sweet rhubarb tea, and learning all about FODMAPS with Emma Hatcher's The FODMAP Friendly Kitchen. I don't believe in restrictive diets without a medical diagnosis, but as I live with someone who has been recommended a low FODMAP diet, I'm excited to try some recipes we can all enjoy together. | 5. Another delicious dish from Riverford's new Vegetarian Quick meal box: Lentil, Butter Bean & Kale Stew with Pumpkin Seed Pesto. | 6. More pretty doorways running errands in Deal.
Wednesday, 25 January 2017
Next in my series getting to grips with your ingredients, I thought I'd focus on spices. We all have them, I know there are so many that we buy for one recipe never to use again, and believe it or not, I seem to have even more of them that I do cooking oils or Asian ingredients! So, below I've run through my spice collection, noting who are my favourite suppliers, which you can toast and grind yourself (and don't worry, I'll tell you how to do that too!), and most importantly, give you some recipe inspiration so that nothing needs to go to waste!
Monday, 23 January 2017
For my first restaurant review of 2017, we're in Canterbury checking out Kyoto, a new restaurant that has purchased the space previously occupied by Little Joe's Deli right by the Cathedral that I've visited for lunch a couple of times over the past few weeks. As you'd expect from a restaurant called Kyoto, it's a sushi bar, but actually, everything else on the menu that does not involve raw fish and Japanese rice actually some pretty great and authentic Korean food. Not what you'd expect from a building built into the Precinct walls. Korean has to be one of my favourite cuisines, so obviously I'm over the moon that I can now get dishes that are not Tamago's fantastic kimchee ramen without having to make them myself or hop on a plane to L.A.'s Koreatown.
Friday, 20 January 2017
So I was planning on making a Madeiran tomato and onion soup (sopa de tomate e cebola), but somewhere in the testing process I accidentally made the easiest, most delicious tomato and onion stew, which I just could not not share with you. This twist on a Madeiran peasants dish is hearty, filling and warming bowlful for cold, January days, uses almost exclusively store cupboard ingredients, and is so cheap to prepare using basic ingredients. While it is delicious with whatever you've got, as always the best quality ingredients produce the best quality dish, so this will always improve with the best ingredients you can afford.
Wednesday, 18 January 2017
Following the success of my post on different cooking oils, how to choose between them and what different ones do, I've decided to focus on a few more ingredients that seem either overwhelming to choose between on packed supermarket shelves, or that you may not know too much about, buying them for a certain recipe before they move to languish at the back of your kitchen cupboards. Today, I want to run you through my collection of ingredients I use for Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese and Korean cooking.
Monday, 16 January 2017
Yes, I'm still on the winter lunches thing. I can't recommend grain bowls or roasted aubergines more, but sometimes you want something a little more summery, but made suitable for cold weather eating. I'm still piling my fridge high with little packets of feta, but I have now moved onto lentil bowls: my favourite way to make what would usually be a summer chopped salad more substantial. I typically buy my lentils pre-cooked in pouches, and here I've combined one to serve two with the fixings of a classic Greek salad: tomato, cucumber, red onion, black olives, feta, oregano (I've used fresh rather than the usual dried here) and lots of olive oil.
Friday, 13 January 2017
It is cold, it is wet, so I think we all need something life affirming round about now. In those first few quiet days of 2017 before we all went back to work I watched What We Did on Our Holiday, which has to be the best, the funniest, and the film that made me happiest to be alive in ages. It has a great cast (David Tennant, Billy Connolly, Rosamund Pike, and a load of kids who would give the Outnumbered cast a run for their money), and not to give too much away, they all pitch up for a family reunion, trying to keep the secret that the parents are getting divorced. Family tragedy strikes, and the kids decide to deal with it themselves in the most imaginative (and to grown ups amusing!) way possible. If the weather is getting you down, rent or stream a copy of this and I promise you it will put you right and loving life in no time!
1. The first feta-loaded egg pot and Skinny Bunny smoothie of the year at The Skinny Kitchen in Canterbury. | 2. Snacking on some Whitworths Shots (they're 3 for £1 in Tesco right now!) on my daily (weather allowing!) country walks. #ad | 3. Filling the house with dazzlingly bright blooms to make up for the cold and the rain. | 4. A lovely bottle of Chateaubeuf-du-Pape by the fire at The Compasses Inn in Crundale. | 5. Pretty pastel doors, running errands in Deal. | 6. Hunting out some more unusual vegetables at the Garden of England greengrocers in Canterbury.
Wednesday, 11 January 2017
While in the summer there are a whole host of fresh, bright and light lunch options out there, having something quick, light and imaginative in winter is a lot harder. I'm big on things like warm grain bowls, but another relatively quick and delicious lunch I've been enjoying recently is a roast aubergine. Served hot or warm, the spongy flesh roasts up beautifully into something rich, meaty and satisfying, serving to amplify the flavour of whatever you choose to spoon over it: today, a chunky mixture of anchovy, walnut and parsley, brightened with a flash of fresh lemon, all bound together with a glug of your very best extra virgin olive oil.
Monday, 9 January 2017
I was making soup last night - one of those everything leftover in the fridge numbers without a recipe, which this weekend turned out as a lovely, almost brothy-stew with butternut, kale, and fried pieces of chorizo by way of a garnish - and I realised that we keep an excessive amount of different cooking oils in the kitchen, but I do actually use pretty much all of them. But how to choose? How do you know which oil you should use where, or which ones you do actually need when confronted with the intimidating oil aisle in the supermarket? So, I thought instead of posting a recipe or review for you all this morning, I'd break down my collection.
Friday, 6 January 2017
Hands up who has the ends of lots of things for Christmas still kicking around your cupboard or in your fridge that really should be going, but you really can't bare to waste? I've got your Friday night supper sorted for you today by way of a delicious quick, easy, and leftover friendly sauce for that packet of ravioli you're going to pick up over your lunch break or on your way home. I know I'm usually one of those 100% homemade people, but bare with me until I master good homemade ravioli that does not take simply hours to make! (We all really enjoyed the Bolognese Ravioli from Jamie's Comfort Food on Christmas Eve, but wow was it a project!)
Wednesday, 4 January 2017
Most of you went back to work yesterday, so I thought now would be the perfect time to share the next in my series of recipe box reviews (I've got a couple more lined up so you can really choose the best box for you), Gousto's Four Person Family Recipe Box. When I needed to feed anyone and I'm coming home from a day at the office, I find it so much easier to have all of the ingredients and what I'm going to be cooking ready for me.
Monday, 2 January 2017
I have the perfect warm, filling and healthy grain bowl to kick off your 2017. I don't really go in for 'diets', but after all of that rich and heavy food over Christmas I tried to go for move veg based meals in January. You can mix and match quite a few things in this recipe adapted from the one I loved in Riverford Organic and delicious. Magazine recipe box I loved last Autumn, such as the herbs and nuts (especially if you have some leftover from the holidays). While it serves two warm, it would make a great make-ahead desk lunch, too.