Saturday, October 18, 2008

Press for our upcoming opus. . .

This actually even looks like us!!

We got a lovely little article about our upcoming book, Fresh Eggs Don't Float in today's Daily Mail!


You can pre-order a copy here.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Baba Ganoush

2 large aubergines, halved lengthways
2-3 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4tbsp tahini
25g ground almonds
Juice of ½ lemon
1tsp ground cumin
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
Large handful of fresh mint leaves, roughly chopped

Preheat to 200c/400f
Brush the cut sides of the aubergines with some of the oil and bake them for about 35 min or until soft. Meanwhile, heat the grill to it’s highest setting.
Place the aubergines under the grill, cut sides up, and leave until they are black and blistered. This will take about 5 min. Remove and set aside to cool.
Scoop out the flesh, discard the skins, and place the flesh in a food processor. Add the garlic, tahini, almonds, lemon juice, cumin, and season with salt and pepper. Process to a smooth paste and check the seasoning.
Spoon into a serving dish, drizzle with the remaining oil and scatter over the mint leaves.

Can be made up to two days in advance and refrigerated.

From New Flavours of the Jewish Table.

What can I say about this except that it is Baba Ganoush. You have to have a recipe for it, because it is a staple (like Hummus). It’s great stuff, and this is a great recipe for it.

The aubergines need to be cooked, but that’s not hard to do, and other then that the food processor does the work for you.

Funny enough, it was my four year old that went totally over the moon for this one (though we all loved it). The first time I made it he kept pulling the bowl across the table and saying that the baba ganoush was his dinner, and we could all have the rest of the stuff. That is incredibly high praise from a four year old.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Moroccan Carrot Salad

This picture is awful, but this salad is so good! So Good!

75g flaked almonds
450g carrots
2 tsp clear honey
3tbsp olive oil
juice of ½ lemon
1tbsp rose water
50g raisins
1tsp ground cinnamon
salt and freshly ground black pepper

preheat to 200c/400f
place almonds on a baking sheet, and toast in the oven for 10 min, or until golden, set aside.

Grate the carrots in a food processor, or by hand, and place in a large mixing bowl. Stir in the honey, oil, lemon juice, rose water, raisins, and cinnamon. Season well with salt and pepper and mix well. Leave at room temperature for 1 hour for the flavours to infuse.
Stir in the toasted almonds just before serving.

I only recently discovered this recipe from New Flavours of the Jewish Table, but I’ve already made it three or four times (you’d think I could have gotten a better picture one of those times, but I’m always so excited to eat it that I forget).
I find it perfect because I always have carrots in the house, and I have a bottle of rosewater that I don’t use often enough, so it’s convenient in that respect. It’s also great because the prep is super quick, and although it has to sit for an hour (which could be a pain), it can also sit in the fridge for the day, or even overnight, making it the perfect make-in-advance accompaniment to whatever else you are having.

I have made this with the almonds toasted, with them un-toasted, with them added before serving, and with them added during the prep, and left in there while it infuses. The way it is done in the recipe gives the best results with the almonds giving it that subtle, almost but not quite - smoky flavour, but if you forget to toast them, or forget to hold them out, it’s no big deal, the salad will still be fabulous.

Easy, fast, delicious, exotic, and mostly made from ingredients that you could easily have to hand. This dish ROCKS!

Thursday, August 28, 2008


2 slices white bread, crusts removed
600ml milk
1tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
450g lean minced beef or lamb
1 apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1-2 tbsp mild curry powder
50g flaked almonds
50g sultanas
zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
150ml beef stock
2tbsp apricot jam or mango chutney
salt and freshly ground black pepper

40g butter
40g plain flower
1-2 bay leaves
2 large free range eggs, beaten
Good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg

Soak the bread in half the milk for about 10 min, then squeeze out by hand, and keep both bread, and remaining milk to one side.
Heat the oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, add the onion and cook for 2 min. Add the mince and fry for a few minutes, until nicely brown. Add the apple, curry powder, almonds and sultanas, mix well and continue to cook for another 5 min.
Preheat to 180c/350f
Stir the lemon zest and stock into the mince, then crumble and mix in the squeezed-out bread. Season and transfer to a pie dish, leveling the mixture with a spatula. Warm the jam or chutney in the microwave for 20 seconds to make it runnier, then brush it over the top of the pie to seal it, and bake in the oven for 10 min.
Now make the topping. Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat, add the flour and beat for a minute or so until you have a light sandy texture. Gradually add the reserved milk, and the bay leaves, beating all the time so the mixture remains smooth. (if it does go lumpy, use a wire.) Take off the heat, beat in the eggs and nutmeg, and season.
Remove the mince from the oven, pour the topping evenly over the top, then bake for a further 35-40 minutes, until nicely browned.

I know I have made Babotie before, but I recently tried this recipe from Ainsley Harriott's Feel-Good Cookbook , and I think I like it better.

The original one that I made had a super easy meatloaf-like preparation, whereas in this one you have to cook the filling separately, then bake it, then add the topping and bake again. It seems like that would be a lot more work, but it was not a big deal in the end. It was worth it too, because it gave it a much nicer consistency. It was less meat loaf-y and more cottage pie-ish.

The flavour was lovely, and the topping was too. The whole family approved of this new version.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Herring salad in soured cream sauce

1x300g jar of pickled herrings
1 shallot or small onion, finely chopped
1 red apple, cored and coarsely chopped
2 dill pickles, rinsed and roughly chopped
150ml soured cream
1 tsp sugar or to taste
sprigs of fresh dill or fresh parsley, to garnish
pumpernickel or rye bread to serve

Drain and rinse the herrings, scrape off any skin or membrane, and cut into small pieces
In a medium bowl, combine the herrings, shallot or onion, apple, dill pickles, soured cream and sugar.
Cover and refrigerate for at least 24 hours
Garnish with dill or parsley and serve with pumpernickel or rye bread

From New Flavours of the Jewish Table.

I was really excited when I found this recipe. Back in the States it’s really easy to find jars of this herring salad at most supermarkets. My grandfather used to eat it all the time. Whenever I saw it in the store I would think of him, and although I didn’t buy it regularly, I liked to have some once in a while.

I’ve not ever seen it out here (except there is a version of it at IKEA), so it had been a really long time since I had come across it. This recipe for it was wonderful. It was easy to make, and it was delicious. My husband was pretty unsure about it, but agreed to try it. Although he found the mixture of fish, apples and pickles a little hard to get his head around, he actually liked it quite a bit, and had more then one serving.

I love this dish, and I love this recipe for it. It’s still not something I would keep in the house regularly, but when I do have the urge, I know how to make it myself now.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Vietnamese style crispy pork and little gem salad

1tbsp sunflower oil
450g pork mince
2tsp freshly grated ginger
1 red chili, seeded and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
4 spring onions, trimmed
2tbsp chopped fresh coriander
2 tbsp chopped fresh mint
2tsp soy sauce
2tbsp fish sauce
2tbsp rice vinegar, or white wine vinegar
1tsp soft light brown sugar
3 limes
50g dry roasted peanuts, chopped
4 little gem lettuces
Fresh coriander sprigs, to serve

Heat half the oil in a large frying pan over high heat. Add half the pork and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and crispy. Remove from the pan and put into a bowl or dish, then cook the remaining mince in the same way.
In another bowl, mix together the ginger, chili, and garlic. Finely slice the spring onions, and add to the bowl with the herbs. Add the soy sauce, fish sauce, vinegar, sugar and the juice of 1 lime. Give it a good mix, then pour the mixture over the crispy pork. Scatter the peanuts over the mince.
Cut the remaining limes into wedges, and separate the leaves of the lettuces.
Scoop some crispy mince onto each lettuce leaf, add a squeeze of lime and top with a sprig of coriander.

This type of salad became really popular a while ago. All of a sudden I was seeing them everywhere. They looked good, but I tended to avoid them, as I’ve never been a terribly fashionable person. Still, they looked so good that eventually I was worn down.

I decided to try this one from Ainsley Harriott's Feel-Good Cookbook , as his happened to be the one I was looking at when I made up my mind to take the plunge.

I’m really glad I did it. This was delicious! It was beautiful to look at, it was fast to make, and it was so tasty that I wanted to make it and eat again right away. The filling of the individual leaves was a bit fiddly, and I would think that if you were serving it casually, to the family, you could probably serve it in a bowl with the leaves on the side and let people do that part themselves. Either way, it will be a crowd pleaser.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Bread and Tomato Soup

Everyone who is growing tomato plants needs to have this recipe!

from Jamie’s Italy
500g/1lb2oz ripe cherry tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely sliced
a large bunch of fresh basil, leaves picked, stems chopped
olive oil
sea salt and fresh ground pepper
2x400g good quality tins of tomatoes
500g/1lb2oz good quality bread, stale

Prick the cherry tomatoes, and toss with one sliced clove of garlic, and a quarter of the basil leaves. Drizzle with oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper, put in a roasting tray and bake at 180c/350f for 20 min.
In a large pot, heat the oil and add the remaining garlic, and the basil stalks. Stir for a minute till soft, add the tinned tomatoes, fill the tins with water and add that, break up the tomatoes with a spoon. Bring to a boil and simmer for 15 min.
Tear the bread into thumb sized pieces, and add to the pot. Mix and season. Tear in the basil and sit over low heat for 10 min. Pour in the cherry tomatoes with all their liquid, and give it a good stir.

This is another recipe that I used to make all the time before the year long cooking challenge started. When I started making a new recipe every day, this one got left behind, so I thought I would revisit it, and see if it lived up to the memory after all the recipes that I have tried and all of the things that I have learned.

It did!

If you are growing your own tomatoes, then this has got to be the cheapest soup in the world to make, as all you’ll really need is some fresh basil, and some stale bread.

The texture of it is sort of thick and sticky like porridge, but also very silky and smooth at the same time. You could probably eat it with a fork it’s so thick, and the flavour is amazing. The fresh basil, and the fresh roasted tomatoes really make it taste summer-y, even though it is filling enough to be a winter dish (if you could get decent tomatoes in the winter).

The recipe is simple and fast too. One thing I noticed is that it may not need to go a full 10 minutes in that last step, you don’t want it to start burning on the bottom.
This one was as good if not better then I remembered. I am not going to lose sight of it again.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Chicken With Olives and Sage

I was thinking about how before I started the year long cooking challenge, I had a few favorite recipes that I made all the time. I wondered if I would still like them as much, now that I have so much more cooking experience. I looked through my old notes and picked a few to make and review this week.

The first was a super easy chicken recipe that was my husbands all time favorite. It’s Chicken with olives and sage from a book called Twelve. Nice book. It’s all Tuscan recipes laid out in the twelve months of the year so that you can cook with the things that are in season that month. Jamie Oliver did the same type of thing in his last book.

5tbsp olive oil
1 chicken (1.5kg) cut into 8 portions
200g black olives in olive oil (drained)
4 garlic cloves, peeled and lightly crushed with the flat of a knife blade
about 20 fresh sage leaves
125ml (1/2 cup) white wine

preheat to 200c (400f)
Heat the oil in a wide saucepan or casserole dish suitable for oven use.
Add the chicken and brown on all sides (should take 10-15 min). Season with salt and pepper on all sides. Add the olives, garlic cloves, and sage leaves and cook for a couple of minutes to blend the flavours.
Pour in the wine and transfer the dish to the hot oven. Cook for 30 – 40 min.

If you would like more sauce, remove the chicken, sage, olives and garlic to a plate, add 60ml (1/4 cup) water to the pan and put on the stovetop. Scrape up the bits with a wooden spoon mixing them into the sauce, let it bubble for half a min or so.

This recipe has to be one of the easiest in the whole world. It is simple in the best of ways it’s just a few ingredients that really compliment each other, so that with the smallest amount of effort, you have an amazing chicken dish. We liked it just as much as we used to.

I have a sage bush growing in the back yard, so fresh sage is not a problem, but when I used to make it (in our old flat), I used to use dried sage and it worked just as well. Back then I also didn’t have a pan that could go from the stove top to the oven, so I would brown the chicken in a pan, then just transfer it to a casserole before pouring over the wine. It added a touch of hassle, but worked just fine.

This recipe still rocks, I’m glad I found it again.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Bambi Birthday Cake

So I made another funny cake. After seeing my son’s Car
cake, a friend of mine mentioned that her daughter would really like a birthday cake shaped like Bambi (the Disney deer). I thought about it for a really long time, and this is what I came up with.

She loved it! I loved making it too. I used two batches of Victoria sponge batter, only instead of making four circle shaped cakes, I made three in loaf tins and one in a regular Victoria sponge tin.
The body is made out of two of the loaf cakes, and the head is made out of half of the third one. The circle was perfect for making the legs, and the other bits (ears, tail) were made from scraps from the third loaf, and the circle.

I find that it’s best to make the cakes the day before, and refrigerate them over night. It makes them a little less delicate, easier to cut and manipulate.

These cakes are my new favorite hobby, so hopefully there will be more of them in the future.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Prawn and Ginger Noodle Salad

Fine rice noodles 250g pack
Large prawns 250g peeled and cooked
1 small mango peeled and sliced
Light soy sauce 4 tbsp
Root Ginger 2 inch piece, finely grated
1 lime, juiced
coriander leaves, a large bunch, roughly chopped

Soak the noodles in boiling water for 6-7 minutes, until tender. Rinse under cold running water then drain and put into a bowl with the prawns and mango.
Whisk the soy sauce with the ginger, lime juice, and some black pepper and pour over the noodles. Scatter the coriander over and toss together.

So over the weekend I found myself looking for something that could be made in no time at all, and mostly out of things that I already had in the house, as I was really short on both time and money.

I found this in 101 Quick Fix Dishes.

It was perfect. Shrimp (prawns) have been on sale recently, which led to the discovery that both of the boys totally love them. My little one refers to them as “those pink-y, white-y things” and asks for them every time we go shopping.

This was everything I was looking for. It was tasty, it was one of the fastest dishes I’ve ever put together, we had most of the stuff in the house already, and as a bonus, everybody loved it.

Good stuff.