This is a diary of what I cook and what I eat.

Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Caramel Cheesecake

I write now in my new year diet phase, one which I undoubtedly assume is shared by many right now given the general tendency for everyone to overindulge over the Christmas and New Year period.  Yet, I am blogging about something which was made prior to those celebratory chimes.  

I made a rather un-festive caramel cheesecake, this was from the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook and the recipe can be found at luellas Bakery blog. 

This recipe was absolutely fabulous and the only comment I would have is that be prepared to use cream cheese which has a high fat content as the basic toffee part of the cheesecake for me was so runny it had to be cooked first for a little while and then I put the much thicker chocolate mix on top.  I think this, as I desperately backtracked through my baking, was due to me purchasing some own brand stuff which just wasn't thick enough.  

So sadly I cannot consume anything of this sort at the moment, well until my diet breaks but this will definitely feature somewhere along the line, perhaps if I reach goal weight I'll need a treat?

Friday, 28 December 2012


So it's been just two years since my last post but the festive season has reminded me that I will need a resolution. Mine is to 're- kindle` my passion for food blogging. Plenty to talk about and definitely plenty to cook! Especially now I'm working with food everyday! No excuse. A blog a week is my resolution!

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Pork chop with cauliflower puree

Not been blogging as often recently because I have been busy with work but I hope that I will have more time to tend to my rather flagging blogging soon.  Particularly as my lack of blogging means serious decline in readers which is the ultimate goal really.  I have cooked some fantastic things and just haven't had the chance to write about them and so I move on to the pork I ate this evening.

The rather anaemic looking white stuff underneath the pork, I assure you this is down entirely to my lack of decent camera, is the cauliflower puree and it went beautifully with the salty pork.

serves 2
2 pork chops
salt and pepper
half a head of cauliflower
200ml whole milk
a splash of double cream

Really simple this one: Cook the cauliflower on low for 20 minutes in the milk, not allowing the milk to boil.  Blend and reserve.  Grill the pork on a really high heat, ensuring the pork is well seasoned.  Add the double cream to the puree and gently re-heat.  Serve however you like! So, so simple but if your meat is good quality it is delicious.  I poured the juices from the pan over the top as well but you could make a bit more of a gravy.  I had some broccoli on the side as well, from my organic riverford veg box

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Liverpool Food and Drink Festival 2010

I have just returned from the Liverpool Food Festival at Sefton Park after a fabulous, foodie filled day.  This the first leg of the tour,if you like, as this is running all week in a variety of restaurants across Liverpool.  We are going to 'Gusto' tomorrow on the half price day.  Basically each day this week there is a new promotion going on and this is part of the ongoing efforts of a variety of people to show off the culinary talents that Merseyside has to offer, for a reduced or discounted price so that everyone can try.

Currently I am saving for a house and do not have the spare funds to be flashing about but I did, as usual, treat myself to a few buys whilst wandering around today.  I purchased some extra virgin greek oil from the 'Delifonseca' stall, some vegetables and some free range, British, rose veal escalopes. I then made a veal dish with these ingredients for my dinner this evening and the recipe will follow as it was quite delicious.  I also ended up signing up for an organic vegetable box to be delivered to my house weekly.  So I am so excited about this and the price was quite reasonable.  So that means there will be plenty of seasonal recipes coming up as they choose the vegetables according to seasonality.

I waited for an hour in a queue to see James Martin in the demonstration tent and I thoroughly enjoyed it and intend on trying his recipes out very soon.  I did the very embarrassing thing and asked for a picture with him but I was pleased that I did as Mum will be very jealous!

Me and James Martin

I did get some time last night to actually make something for a change and that was corn fed chicken breast, chestnut and portabello mushroom risotto, wilted spinach with fondant parsnips, recipe below.

Serves 2

2 chicken breasts with skin on (preferably free range)
3 chestnut mushrooms and 1 portabello mushroom finely diced
1 shallot, finely diced
1 celery stick, finely diced
chicken stock
1 glass of white wine
a handful of grated parmesan
120g arborio risotto rice
double cream
150 g baby spinach
1 large parsnip

1. Peel the parsnip and take out the centre hard section and then make even chunks of the remaining parsnip.  Place these in a saucepan and pan fry in butter over a medium heat until turning golden brown and then pour a little chicken stock in the pan and reduce the heat.  The stock should come up to halfway on the chunks.  This water needs to be topped up throughout cooking.

2. Pan fry the chicken breasts, skin down, for around five minutes on a moderate heat or until slightly golden brown.  Then place into a hot oven.  You can now start the risotto.

3.  Start by frying the shallot in a little olive oil, then after two minutes add the finely diced mushroom and cook for a couple of minutes.  Then add the risotto rice and cook for forty seconds then add the glass of white wine.  When this has evaporated a little start to add a little stock, little by little.  This process is stated in my earlier recipe for red wine risotto and this is repeated here.

4.  when the rice is slightly al dente in the centre it is cooked perfectly.  Add the parmesan and stir.  Place the lid on and remove from the heat, allowing to rest and really get the starchy creaminess out of the rice.

5. quickly heat some butter in a pan and throw in the spinach with plenty of salt and pepper.  Cook for a minute or even less.

6.  Check on the chicken, which should be done.  To assemble, half the chicken breasts and place on top of good dollops of risotto.  Add the spinach to the top, the parsnips can go round the edge.  Lovely. 

Monday, 30 August 2010

Wirral Food and Drink Festival 2010

Its been over a week since I last blogged and its because I have moved house! Therefore cooking and photo taking has been on the back burner whilst I try to settle into my new room.  I have had time however, this bank holiday weekend, to visit the Wirral Food and drink festival 2010 at Claremont Farm near Bebington.

The Wirral already has a good name for itself amongst foodies in the north west, providing brilliant suppliers and in possession of a Michelin starred restaurant: 'Fraiche'.  The food festival was really busy and had some great, newer stalls that I haven't seen in Lark Lane farmers markets or at the Conwy food feast and that was great to see because sometimes there is an abundance of the same type of stuff.  My purchases were fairly minimal as I have to watch the pennies at the moment, so i was frugal with myself as I could definitely get carried away, if allowed to.

I bought some lovely rye bread and a large piece of smoked pancetta, which the vendor assured me would be good for up to six months, which to be fair is not necessary in my case.  I think the first thing I will do with that is a risotto and use the pancetta in the onion and celery base. 

I also happened to see Aiden Byrne, who was demonstrating a white chocolate and white truffle risotto with pan fried scallops, and bought a copy of his new cook book, 'Made in Great Britain'. 

So all in all a good day, but we then continued to go out for an absolutely gorgeous meal at 'The London Carriage Works' on Hope street in Liverpool city centre and my main course tasted as delectable as it looks.  The great thing about the restaurant was that we could eat from the market menu, which was not only reasonably priced but had some great stuff on it.  Everything that the chef, Paul Askew, creates is done using locally sourced ingredients wherever possible.  The market menu focuses on the best that Merseyside has to offer and is produced using food sourced from a 25 mile radius of the restaurant itself. 

Aiden Byrne demonstrating his recipe in the glorious sunshine

Loin of Lakeland Saddleback pork
with cauliflower puree, radish, green beans and Parmentier potatoes
And again...

The link for the restaurant is above.  I am extremely excited now about the Liverpool food festival starting on the 12th September in Sefton park which will no doubt celebrate more home grown food that the fabulous North West has to offer.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Easy Lasagne

I blogged a while back about making the perfect bolognaise recipe and I have used it again here in lasagne.  I made a really simple, and I think more traditional, Italian Lasagne.  Any lasagne I've eaten in Italy has been relatively firm and thick in its texture and this is what I hoped to re-create.  I cannot stand sludgy, over sauced mess and very often lasagne in restaurants resembles this very thing. 

I serve mine with a very simple iceberg lettuce salad because, quite frankly, that's what my mum used to do.

Serves 4 or 3 greedy people

1 batch of bolognaise recipe

10 lasagne sheets
1 pint of milk
1 tbsp plain flour
1tbsp butter
cracked black pepper, lots of it
large handful of Parmesan
large handful of mozzarella

1. Heat the bolognaise sauce in a pan if it not already hot.  Spread little spoons of this underneath your first two sheets and then continue to layer up with small spoonfuls of sauce with pasta sheets in between.  Making two nice stacks side by side in a large ovenproof dish.  Ensure there is about an inch in between the two and a nice bit  space around the pasta.

2. Pour the white sauce over the top when this is done (made melting the butter over a gentle heat and adding the flour until a smooth paste and then adding the milk bit by bit, incorporate all of the cheese bar a little handful of the Parmesan- reserve this for later)

3.  Add loads of black pepper and sprinkle the Parmesan cheese.  Place in an oven at 160/gas mark 4 for thirty five minutes or until the lasgane feels soft with a knife and the top is lovely and brown.

Monday, 16 August 2010

The Best Broccoli soup!

I'm feeling massively bloated and unhealthy so the solution to that is another soup I reckon!  I decided to spring for a broccoli soup and I was actually going to put a few courgettes in for a little creaminess but changed my mind at the last minute because its good without it. 

The picture is a little fuzzy and to be honest I'm a little embarrassed about the quality of my pictures but goodness knows how long it might be before I can afford a really nice camera.  Its going to happen though!!

Unless its my terrible camera skills?

Serves 4

2 Broccoli bunches
1 chicken stock cube made up to enough water to just about cover the broccoli
a little double cream
cracked pepper
pinch of salt

Its mega simple this time, place into a large pan and cook for twenty five minutes and then blend.  Check how it tastes, I love plenty of pepper.  If you want to omit the double cream to make it healthier then you can always use skimmed milk.