25 Nov 2007


The weather has been cold, wet and grey. This pot roast will make you feel better just by looking at it. Everyone seems to have a cold at the moment and thinking about cooking is the last thing on your mind. How about trying out some one pot cooking where you just throw everything into the pot and then you needn't even think about putting a saucepan on the hob.
It will take you about 20 minutes to prepare the pot roast and then 1½ to 2 hours later you will have the most amazing chicken meal which is bursting with flavour.
This is soul food and an excellent way to feed a cold.
Seasonal Kitchen is a wonderful book packed full of beautiful photographs and recipes. It is divided into seasons which is very useful and the recipe below comes from the Winter section.

by Michele Cranston

ISBN 9781921259036 - Page 331

Serves: 4-6 (this recipe has been slightly adapted).

1.5kg whole organic chicken, 1½ tablespoons softened butter, 4 slices proscuitto, 2 onions each cut into eight, 2 large carrots,(peeled and cut into chunks), 1 celery stalk (cut into 2cm lengths), 2 leeks (rinsed and sliced into 2cm rounds), 3 potatoes (peeled and cut into chunks), 1 rosemary sprig, 250ml dry white wine, 250ml chicken stock, a handful of chopped flat-leaf parsley.

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°C/Gas 4.
2. Sit the chicken in a 3 litre casserole dish. rub the butter over the breast of the chicken, then cover with the proscuitto slices.
3. Arrange the vegetables and rosemary around the chicken, and then pour the wine and stock over. Season well with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.
4. Cover with a sheet of greaseproof paper and then put the lid on top and bake for 1 to 1½ hours.
5. Remove the casserole dish from the oven and gently move the vegetables around. Using a large spoon, pour some of the juices over the chicken. Leave the lid off and roast for a further 30 minutes, or until the chicken is golden brown.
6. Place the chicken on a warm serving platter along with the vegetables.
7. Pour the sauce from the casserole into a gravy skimmer, discard the fat, then pour the sauce over the chicken and vegetables.

18 Nov 2007


Jeanne over at Cook Sister is hosting
Waiter, There's Something in My...Topless Tart! I've entered the 'Waiter' challenge several times click here to see my previous entries.
Pears, almonds and chocolate are a divine combination of flavours and on many occasions I have looked at this recipe longingly and waited for the right time to come along to make it. This was now the perfect excuse to indulge!
The book I've taken this recipe from is by food writer Louise Pickford who is a contributor to food magazines such as Delicious. I'm a huge fan of food writers and if you enjoy baking, this book will earn its place on the bookshelf.

FRESH BAKED - Louise Pickford

ISBN 0600613569 - Page 93

Serves: 8

The original recipe suggests making a sweet shortcrust pastry to line the tin but I opted for a basic shortcrust pastry.
Delia's method for baking a pastry case blind is the method I always use and needless to say it's foolproof.

225g plain flour, 50g butter, 50g lard, approximately 3 tablespoons cold water.
Make in the usual way and put in the fridge for 30 minutes. Roll out and line a 25cm
flan tin. Prick the base with a fork and chill for a further 30 minutes. Bake blind in a preheated oven, 190°C(375°F) Gas Mark 5.
Leave the cooked pastry case to cool completely.

125g butter (softened), 125g caster sugar, 125g ground almonds, 2 eggs lightly beaten, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, 3 ripe pears (peeled, cored and thickly sliced), 25g flaked almonds.

1. Beat the butter, sugar and ground almonds together until smooth and then beat in the eggs and lemon juice.
2. Arrange the pear slices over the pastry case and carefully spread over the almond cream. Sprinkle with the flaked almonds and bake for 30 minutes or until the topping is golden and firm to the touch.
3. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
4. Dust the tart with icing sugar and serve in wedges with the chocolate sauce and some vanilla ice cream.

100g dark chocolate chopped, 50g unsalted butter (diced), 1 tablespoon golden syrup.

Put the chocolate, butter and syrup in a small bowl set over a pan of gently simmering water and stir until melted. Leave to cool slightly.

11 Nov 2007


Although at this time of the year we turn our thoughts to comfort food, I try to eat some lighter meals midweek. Christmas is only a few weeks away and I start to think of all of those extra calories eaten over such a short time. If the pounds pile on now in the run up to Christmas, then the problem becomes greater over the festive period.

If I eat sensibly then I don't have any weight issues, but unfortunately, that isn't the case with my husband, who just has to look at food and seems to be able to put on the pounds!

After cooking Pasta with Spinach and Cherry Tomatoes I had lots of spinach left and so this salad was made and I served it with a savoury tart.

OLIVE MAGAZINE - August 2007

Serves: 4

Marinating the onions gives them a lovely sweet and sour flavour and takes away some of the rawness.

1 red onion (halved and sliced), 1 tbsp caster sugar, 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar, 100g young spinach, 4 tbsp toasted pine nuts, olive oil, 1 teaspoon cumin seeds, 150ml natural yoghurt .

1. Put the red onion in a bowl and toss with the sugar and vinegar. Leave for 10-15 minutes to soften. Put the spinach in a large serving dish. Drain the onions then scatter over the spinach with the pine nuts.
2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil and add the cumin seeds. When they start to pop, take off the heat and stir into the yoghurt. Drizzle over the salad and serve.

5 Nov 2007

‘Tipsy Blackberry & Apple Cupcakes’
‘Jane Asher Home Baker of the Year 2007

Linda has kindly accepted my invitation to write a 'Guest Posting' for my foodblog. I know that you will enjoy reading all about her very exciting day when she entered the above competition. Her cupcakes look amazing and I couldn't resist asking if she would share this wonderful day, photographs and recipe with us. A truly deserved winner!

Margaret has kindly invited me to do a Guest Posting as I have recently had the great honour of being crowned ‘The Jane Asher Home Baker of the Year Competition 2007'.

I entered the competition online (3 hours before the competition closed). I love creating new recipes and wanted to come up with something that was seasonal, tasty & original.

After an overnight stay at a smart London hotel, hubby, myself and the four other finalists & guests were whisked away to the Good Housekeeping Institute in London for the bake-off. Meeting everyone involved was very exciting - though waiting to start was quite nerve-wracking as I was unsure about using a different oven. As soon as I started baking the nerves melted away, the oven was nowhere near as fierce as mine so I had to whack the temperature up. The judges including Jane Asher & Chef Brian Turner chatted to us whilst we were adding the finishing touches to our recipes. Our cakes were then whisked away to be judged. We then relaxed with our guests & journalists whilst enjoying a lovely champagne buffet. Soon after, we were ushered into the judging room and Jane & each judge spoke about each recipe. When Jane announced my name as the winner I nearly fell over as the competition was very stiff indeed - all the other cakes were truly delicious. My husband’s face was a picture - he was so proud of me. I was literally speechless, overwhelmed & thoroughly chuffed to have won. Along with the title of Home Baker my other prizes were fantastic also. Lots of Jane Asher bake ware, her new book (signed), kitchen textiles, beautiful ceramics & a luxury spa break at the Westin Turnberry Hotel in Scotland. Oh! and a beautiful engraved silver trophy (I get to keep for a year).

I have since appeared in local press, radio (BBC) & television (ITV Anglia) & national magazines. Hubby & I have even been immortalized in a hilarious cartoon in my local Gazette newspaper. I am launching a cookery business in April next year and will make great use of my prizes. I would urge anybody who enjoys baking to enter next year’s competition at www.homebake.co.uk (dates for next year to be announced). Believe me if I can win anyone can. Here’s my recipe if you’d like to give it a go sometime (though it’s a little late for fresh blackberries just now).

‘Tipsy blackberry & apple cupcakes’
Ingredients for cupcakes

225 grams unsalted butter (room temperature)
215 grams golden caster sugar
225 grams self raising flour
4 large free range eggs (very lightly beaten)
1 teaspoon Madagascan vanilla extract
1 – 2 tablespoons milk
2 crisp granny smith apples
large shot of ‘sour apple liqueur’ (Luxardo) or use calvados brandy for an even ‘tipsier’ flavour
10-20 grams golden caster sugar (to taste)

filling & topping
500 - 600ml fresh double cream
300 grams fresh blackberries (reserve 12 blackberries to top cupcakes)
splosh of ‘sour apple liqueur’
10-20 grams caster sugar (to taste – depending on tartness of berries)

You will need a sturdy 12 bun muffin tin lined with 12 muffin cases & a large piping bag with a 15ml plain round nozzle.

For best results make sure the baking ingredients are at room temperature and try not over beat mixture once eggs & flour are added.


1. preheat oven to 170-180, gas mark 4 (fan assist 150-160 depending on oven – mine is very fierce so that’s why it seems low temp, adjust accordingly ).
2. peel, chop & gently cook apples, sugar & ‘sour apple liqueur’ in a small covered pan (until very slightly soft). Strain apple and put to one side to cool. Reserve all the lovely apple liquid, as this will be added to whipped cream when cooled.
3. using the same pan put the fresh blackberries, sugar (to taste) & a splosh of ‘sour apple liqueur & cook until ‘jammy’. Leave to cool.
4. in a separate bowl cream butter with wooden spoon adding sugar & vanilla extract beat until light & fluffy.
5. gently mix in the beaten egg & fold sifted flour with a metal spoon.
6. fold cooled apple pieces into cake mixture & add a tablespoon or so of milk if required to ‘slight dropping consistency’ but not too much or apples won’t ‘hold’.
7. using a metal ice cream scoop, spoon mixture into the 12 muffin cases & fill until three quarters full.
8. cook on the middle shelf for 15-20 minutes or until lightly golden. Test with skewer. Remove tray from oven & leave for a few minutes. Transfer cupcakes onto wire tray to cool completely.
9. cut out a teaspoon sized piece from top centre of cooled cupcake using a serrated knife. Add a teaspoon of ‘fresh blackberry jam’ into the centre.
10. start to whip the cream (add the reserved ‘apple liquid’ as just as cream begins to thicken). Whisk into soft peaks & just firm enough to pipe. Fill piping bag with cream mixture. Pipe the cupcake with the cream and top with a fresh blackberry.

The cupcakes are best eaten fresh soon after baking. If refrigerated the sponge will become quite ‘dense’ in texture but will still be tasty. © Linda Edmonds Aug 2007