Sunday, October 19, 2008


ISBN 9780718148584.

Following my posting for Chianti Baked Meatballs by Jo Pratt from her book In The Mood For Food, I dipped further into her book and have cooked a small selection of recipes.

Unfortunately, I am not able to put the recipes on, because it would take forever. I have only been able to find a link to one recipe, which is a shame.

Marshmallow Meringues with Mango and Passion Fruit.

These meringues were possibly the best I have ever made, we loved the crisp outside and the marshmallow centre. For the mango and passion fruit cream, I simply pureed a mango and swirled this into some sweetened Greek Yoghurt along with the passion fruit. This simple dessert was delicious and I loved the scented yoghurt.

Cherry & Almond Cake

It is National Baking Week from the 20th to the 26th October 2008 here in the UK and this is the recipe I have chosen, to celebrate everything that is so wonderful about baking.

Orange Caramel Yoghurt

A definite hit, but the oranges need to be segmented and not cut across into thin slices. If you get any horrible membrane from the orange then this will ruin the dessert.

Ginger & Banana Trifle

Wonderful - anything made with ginger cake is a hit with me! Just an assembly job using Grand Marnier to soak the ginger cake, stem ginger and bananas. I topped the trifle with whipping cream but I think the sharpness of creme fraiche would be better.

Sticky Maple Pears

I didn't have any maple syrup and so used a good honey instead. The recipe says to crumble amaretti biscuits over the pears, but if you do this then the presentation gets very messy.

Honey-Seared Salmon with Sesame Noodles

I confess to cheating on this one - I bought a bag of stir fry vegetables instead of the spinach, bean sprouts and springs onions - it still tasted great. Also, I added to this a sweet chilli and ginger sauce bought from Marks and Spencer! I have made this twice now and it's fabulous. The recipe is here.

Cheese, Onion & Potato Pie

Oh dear! The potato was very sloppy due to the amount of milk required in the recipe. Also, for us there was far too much cheese. I used Red Leicester, which is a cheese I would always add to cheese and potato pie, purely for colour. I'll go back to this another time and adapt the recipe.

Extremely Simple Beef & Ale Casserole with Horseradish Dumplings

After the casserole had finished cooking, I tried the sauce but it really wasn't to my taste and so I added a few mushrooms, a tin of chopped tomatoes and a teaspoon of English Mustard. Also, the dumplings didn't have any suet in them, I'm sorry but suet dumplings always win hands down for me!

I also made Parmesan-crusted Chicken with Avocado Salad, but unfortunately no photograph for this one! This one was another great recipe.

On my 'to do' list from the book Roast Sea Bass with White Wine Potatoes and Vine Tomatoes and also Roast Chicken for Two In One Pan.

All of the recipes have turned out well in this book, and I know that I will return to some of them time and time again.

Sunday, October 12, 2008


I thought I would share with you, one of the surprise presents my husband so thoughtfully bought for me last Christmas. I had been hinting I would love to be the owner of a set of these in white for ages.
For both of us he bought a beautiful coffee mug and saucer each. They are part of the NewWave collection by Villeroy & Boch.

I even made a banana cake with passion fruit icing to match my lovely coffee cup and saucer! This is an Australian Women's Weekly recipe from the book Home Baked - one of my favourite baking books.

This week I met Jan from What Do I Want To Cook Today, a fellow food blogging friend, and we decided to make a trip to Birmingham. Whilst we were looking at the the Villeroy & Boch NewWave collection in Selfridges, it reminded me that I ought to post about my lovely mug and saucer. Jan and I both love kitchen gadgetry, pots etc, and it is a real joy to look around with her. Thank you Jan for another really enjoyable day out.

Hopefully, sometime in the future, I will manage to post about our coffee machine, grinder and where we source our fresh coffee beans. The foam on top of the coffee in the photograph is light years from what we are achieving now. We now know how to surf and texturise the milk to make micro foam. My husband has all the makings of a fine Barista, but alas, I am still a Barista in training. Unfortunately, latte art is still not achievable by either of us!


As I have dared to mention the word Christmas, perhaps you are now thinking you can't possibly find the time to blog, and just how stressful it can get, with cooking, posting and commenting.

How about sending for a Berocca's Blogger Relief pack. I first saw this last winter on a blog, applied for the pack and last week received mine. The pack consists of Berocca tablets which is an effervescent orange drink full of vitamins and minerals, a pen holder, bubble wrap keyring, a glass, a USB panic button, stress ball and a pen!

Well, we all need some fun sometimes, don't we?

Sunday, October 05, 2008


Antonia over at Food, Glorious Food is hosting her first blogging event British Food Fortnight Challenge.

Antonia and I share a passion for puddings and so with this in mind, I have made Sussex Pond Pudding, I chose a Delia recipe I have yearned to make for a long, long time, but have never somehow got round to making.

Sussex Pond Pudding is usually made in a large glass bowl and steamed for about 3 hours. This is, to me, the best of all the suet puddings. A whole lemon is placed inside the suet lined bowl with equal quantities of butter and sugar placed around the lemon, this is then topped with a suet pastry lid.

Now for the pond, once you cut into the pudding the buttery, lemony juices pour out around the pudding creating a pond. A piece of the cooked lemon is served to everyone along with the pastry and juices.

Note - if you don't prick the lemon all over with a skewer before placing in the pastry lined bowl you risk the lemon and your pudding exploding - how do I know this you may ask, it happened to a friend of mine who had cooked this for us! Mary Norwak in her book of English Puddings, tells of a similar pudding where you leave the lemon whole and the pudding is called Lemon Bomb because of the exploding lemon!

There is also another version of this pudding that includes dried fruit to the mixture, and this is called Kentish Wells.

Recipes can be found in the following books, and obviously in many others - Jane Grigson in her book English Food, English Puddings by Mary Norwak and The Pudding Club.

Antonia has asked, as far as possible, to use British produce. For this challenge I used the following:

Self-raising flour Leckford Estate, Hampshire (purchased from Waitrose).
Wyke Farms, Somerset, farmhouse butter.
British milk.

Now back to Delia's recipe - these one portion size puddings were really easy to prepare, I was a little worried that I would be short of pastry to line the pudding basins, but as usual, Delia had allowed just the right amount. The pudding basins are lined with a very thin suet pastry. The addition of fresh white breadcrumbs to the suet mix, gave a very light texture to the pastry. This pudding certainly wasn't a poor relation to the huge pudding that would normally be served. Sussex Pond pudding isn't a pretty pudding, but boy does it taste good!!

Here is a lovely nineteenth-century rhyme - all about boiled puddings, of course.

Mother Eve's Pudding

If you want a good pudding, to teach you I'm willing,
Take twopennyworth of eggs, when twelve for a shilling,
And of the same fruit that Eve had once chosen,
Well pared and well chopped at least half a dozen;
Six ounces of bread (let your maid eat the crust);
The crumbs must be grated as small as the dust;
Six ounces of currants from the stones you must sort,
Lest they break out your teeth and spoil all your sport;
Six ounces of sugar won't make it too sweet,
Some salt and some nutmeg will make it complete,
Three hours let it boil, without hurry or flutter,
And then serve it up - without sugar or butter.
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