29 Sept 2008


Over the next few weeks, I have decided to cook a few recipes from Jo Pratt's wonderful book -
In the Mood for Food
ISBN 9780718148584
- page 122

There are six chapters in the book: In the Mood.....for Being Healthy, Something Naughty but Nice, Some Comfort, Being Lazy, Being Extravagant and Being Romantic.

The Chianti baked meatballs are light in texture with lots of flavour. The meatballs are cooked in a rich tomato, red wine and basil sauce. This is a one pot meal, cooked in the oven from start to finish. The only alteration I made to the recipe, was to leave out the olives from the meatball mixture - olives aren't a huge hit in this family. The basil leaves are out of my garden, only small leaves are left because garden creatures have destroyed all the other leaves!

You can serve the meatballs with pasta, or potato mixed with rosemary and olive oil, this can then be cooked in the oven with the meatballs.

The recipe can be found here on Nigella's site and is a recipe recommended by Nigella's Admin! I too, would recommend this recipe and I know it won't be long before my husband requests this again.

21 Sept 2008


This recipe came from a recent food magazine, and is an advertisement feature for Green Giant sweetcorn, encouraging us to use sweetcorn as one of our five-a-day.

The potato topping caught my attention. You simply put cubes of parboiled potato mixed with cheese, on top of the fish pie filling, and now, I don't think I will ever top my fish pie with mashed potato ever again!

It's recommended in the recipe to use a large 340g can of sweetcorn, that's fine if you want lots and lots of sweetcorn, but I thought a 198g can would be more sensible. Fortunately, this was the right decision and gave just the right amount of sweetcorn to the finished dish. Obviously, some frozen peas can be used instead of the sweetcorn.

If you are reading this posting son, next time you have made a fraught journey home late at night after a hard week at work, this tasty, comforting fish pie will make the journey home even more worthwhile!! PS. I haven't forgotten your request for a crumble.

Serves: 4 people

You will need: A large ovenproof buttered dish.

700g potatoes, 15g butter, 75g grated mature cheddar cheese, 300g skinless salmon fillets, 400g skinless cod (or other white fish), 6 spring onions, 198g can of sweetcorn or alternatively some frozen peas.

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas 5.
2. Peel and chop the potatoes into small chunks. Boil for 8 minutes until tender and then drain.
3. Melt in the butter and then stir in the grated mature cheddar cheese.
4. Poach the fish for 5 minutes then cut into small chunks. Place in a buttered ovenproof dish.
5. Scatter over the spring onions and the can of drained sweetcorn, or alternatively the frozen peas.

For the sauce:

400ml semi-skimmed milk, 4 tsp cornflour, 1 tsp vegetable stock, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley.

1, Blend a little of the milk with the cornflour. Heat the rest of the milk in a pan, add 1 tsp powdered vegetable stock and when it is almost simmering, stir in the blended cornflour, until the mixture thickens. Cook over a low heat for 1 minute, then add the chopped parsley.
2. Pour the sauce over the fish. Top with the cheesy potatoes and then cook for 35 minutes or until golden brown.

I have been fortunate enough to be awarded some awards from my fellow food blogging friends.

My friend Jan over at What Do I Want To Cook Today has passed to me a 'Friendship' award - thank you Jan!

The 'Brillante Weblog' award has been given to me from Jan of What Do I Want To Cook Today - once again, many thanks Jan! Also the same award from Rosie of Rosie Bakes a 'Peace' of Cake, and Cakelaw of Laws of the Kitchen - to both of you thank you.

I am passing the above two awards to all the food bloggers who have visited my site over the last two years - thank you.

14 Sept 2008


Whilst looking at Delia's site for bbq inspiration I came across this tart recipe. We had a bbq yesterday, and I served this alongside all of our usual meats and salads.

I used vine tomatoes which I had bought previously and picked a few thyme leaves out of the garden. The goat's cheese was in the fridge, the puff pastry in the freezer and so I was ready to go, go, go!

Lovely, lovely tart and it looked so summery too!

The recipe can be found here.


For dessert after a bbq fruit is always a favourite of ours, and this recipe can either be cooked on the bbq or in the oven.


ISBN 1845730038 - Page 113

Serves: 6

3 ripe nectarines, 1 large orange, ¼ teaspoon almond essence, 55g butter, Greek Yoghurt, 6 crushed amaretti biscuits.

1. Halve the nectarines and remove the stones. Take a large square of thick foil and stand each half, cut side up, on the foil. Alternatively, place the cut halves in a suitable dish.
2. Pare the rind from half the orange and cut into very thin strips. Place the orange strips into a bowl and pour boiling water over, leave to stand for 10 minutes.
3. Squeeze the juice from the orange and stir in the almond essence.
4. Into each nectarine half, put some of the orange juice and a piece of butter, followed by some drained strips of orange rind. Then fold the foil to make a sealed parcel. Or alternatively, cover the dish with foil.
5. Cook the parcels, seam side up, over a medium heat on the bbq for about 10 minutes - or alternatively cook at 180°C/Gas 4 for 15 to 30 minutes, until the fruit has softened, and the butter has melted.
6. Open the parcels and top the fruit with Greek Yoghurt and the crushed amaretti biscuits.

5 Sept 2008


Blackberries are now in the hedgerows and the best news - they are free! Where I live we have an endless supply, in the hedgerows on the canal paths.

Wild blackberries are one of my favourite fruits and you can make endless desserts with them. The BBCGoodFood site have 33 recipes you can make using blackberries. UKTV Food have some wonderful recipes too.

The larger blackberries in the photograph are cultivated ones from my own garden and they taste surprisingly good, and I have mixed these with some wild blackberries. A few years ago I bought some thornless blackberry plants and this year I've picked a bowlful of berries from them almost every day.

The shortcake recipe I used was disappointing, the texture was quite dense and they were a little on the heavy side.

Nigella's shortcakes, a recipe I have made lots of times, would be perfect and I will give the recipe below for Nigella's shortcakes and the blackberry compote.


ISBN 0701168889 - Page 69

You will need: 1 baking tray, greased, 6.5cm round cutter

For the shortcakes:

325g plain flour, ½ teaspoon salt, 1 tablespoon baking powder, 5 tablespoons caster sugar, 125g frozen unsalted butter, 1 large egg beaten, 125ml single cream, 1 lightly beaten egg white.

1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/Gas mark 7
2. Mix the flour, salt, baking powder and 3 tablespoons of the sugar in a bowl. Grate the butter into these dry ingredients and use your fingertips to finish crumbling the butter into the flour.
3. Whisk the egg into the cream, and pour into the flour mixture a little at a time, using a fork to mix. You may not need all of the eggy cream to make the dough come together so cautiously.
4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and roll gently to a thickness of about 2cm. Dip the cutter in flour and cut out - you should get 8 in all.
5. Place the shortcakes about 2.5 cm apart on the baking sheet, brush the tops with egg white and sprinkle with the remaining 2 tablespoons of caster sugar.
6. You can now, if necessary, cover and refrigerate them for up to 2 hours.
7. Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and let them cool for a short while on a wire rack.
8. Meanwhile, make the filling.


ISBN 0091905575 - Page 179

For the filling:

250g blackberries, 1½ tablespoon caster sugar, grated zest and juice of 1 orange, 150ml double cream.

1. Place half of the blackberries in a saucepan, add the sugar, orange zest and juice. Cover the pan and cook on a low heat for a few minutes. The fruit needs to be tender and hold its shape. Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
2. Beat the double cream until it forms soft peaks. Split the shortcakes in two and fill with cream and fresh blackberries. Drizzle over the compote and serve.