26 Apr 2009


How could I resist making a couple of Nigel Slater's wonderful recipes.

We find from reading his books, Nigel calls Toad in the Hole - 'Toad' - and has always fondly called it this since he was a child.

The sausages used should really be the herby variety, but in the freezer I had some fabulous pork sausages made by my local Q Guild butcher. Obviously for the photograph, herb would have looked better but I hadn't preplanned making this and so thick pork sausages it was.

You have to firstly skin the sausages and then wrap them in Prosciutto. The batter is slightly soggy underneath and crisp on top - exactly as Nigel wants us to experience his recipe. Also, a new twist, was to add grain mustard to the batter mix - his 'Toad' was a winner.

I served this with his browned onion and Marsala gravy, and have made this on numerous occasions.

The recipe comes from his book Nigel Slater's Real Food

This is a quick and easy recipe to make and I chose bright red ripe plums for this. Nigel advises the pudding is best eaten hot, with either ice cream or cold cream.

The crisp topping is made by simply melting butter and pouring over breadcrumbs and sugar.

The Kitchen Diaries is one of those books that you can't put down and then can't make your mind up which recipe to cook next!

Nigel writes for The Observer and you can find his Plum Crisp recipe here.

19 Apr 2009


This recipe came from Feel Good Food by Woman & Home - the magazine is published quarterly and is an excellent source of inspirational recipes, ideas, styling and information.

Unfortunately, in the photograph you can't see any evidence of the berries because the muffins are scattered with a pecan crumble topping, well that's my excuse anyway! Perhaps it would have been a good idea to coat the berries in a little flour and then gently poke them into the mixture in the muffin cases.



Makes: 8

You will need: 175g self-raising flour, 1 tsp baking powder, 50g fruit sugar, 100g melted butter, 2 free range eggs, 75ml skimmed milk, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 100g mixed berries.

For the topping: 15g unsalted butter cut into cubes, 25g plain flour, 1tsp fruit sugar, 20g pecans roughly chopped.

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/325°F/Gas 3.
2. Make the topping by rubbing the butter into the flour and then stir in the sugar. Put to one side.
3. Sift the flour and baking powder into a bowl and add the sugar. Mix together the melted butter, eggs, milk and vanilla. Pour the mixture into the flour, add the berries and stir to combine - be careful not to over mix.
4. Divide the mixture between the cakes cases in a muffin tin. Top each with a little of the crumble mixture, then the pecans.
5. Bake for 20 minutes or until well risen and golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.


12 Apr 2009


Julia over at A Slice of Cherry Pie is hosting her annual Easter Cake Bake challenge and this is my entry.

If you click here you can see my two previous entries for this challenge.

Cupcake heaven - I made vanilla scented cupcakes, topped with chocolate fudge icing, on to which I placed the mini-eggs. Curls of white Belgium chocolate and Green & Blacks Organic Dark Chocolate, were then scattered over the cupcakes.

To make 12 vanilla cupcakes you will need: 150g softened unsalted butter, 150g caster sugar, 175g self-raising flour, 3 eggs, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract.

1. Line a 12 hole muffin tray with paper cake cases. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and beat for 2 minutes. Divide the mixture among the cases.
2. Bake in a preheated oven, 180°C/350°F/Gas 4 for 18-20 minutes until they are risen and just firm to the touch. Transfer the cakes to a wire rack to cool.

Chocolate Fudge Icing

You will need: 25g unsalted butter, 15g cocoa powder, 175g icing sugar, 2 tablespoons of milk.

1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the cocoa powder and cook, stirring for about 30 seconds until smooth. Remove the pan from the heat and gradually stir in the icing sugar and milk, mixing until smooth.
2. Return to the heat for 1 minute, stirring until it has a glossy pouring consistency. Quickly spread the icing over the cakes whilst it is still warm.

Note: Very quickly, the fudge icing cannot be spread, as it cools down. I popped the mixture into a basin and warmed it through in the microwave until it became a pouring consistency again, you may need to thin it down a little with some more milk.

Spread the chocolate fudge icing on top of the cupcakes, and top with mini eggs. Decorate with the chocolate curls.

5 Apr 2009


I purchased a super sweet ready to eat pineapple at the supermarket. Even though they are green on the outside, within they are sweet, fragrant and very juicy.

This recipe will be wonderful, especially if you want to make a prepare ahead dessert that will feed lots of people and impress your guests. The best thing is you will be able to make this dessert for about £3.00.

Carpaccio means to cut thinly, but upon inspection of the said cut pineapple, I don't think mine warrants that title. Must try harder next time.......

The rum, star anise and black peppercorn infused stock syrup is simply poured over the sliced pineapple and then left in the fridge overnight. Marcus says to drain off the liquid and serve with other dishes.......I don't think so! It was so wonderfully sticky and aromatic that I served our pineapple along with some of the syrup and a good vanilla ice cream.


ISBN 9781405320047 - Page 160

You will need: 1 ripe pineapple, 300g caster or granulated sugar, 4 star anise, 50ml dark rum, 6 black peppercorns.

1. Top and tail the pineapple, cut off the skin and remove the 'eyes'.
2. Slice the pineapple cross ways into very thin discs. Place these in a shallow rigid container, overlapping them in a single layer.
3. Put all the remaining ingredients in a pan with 400ml cold water. dissolve the sugar over a low heat, stirring once or twice, then bring to the boil.
4. Pour the syrup over the pineapple, making sure that every slice is submerged. Cool, then cover and leave to infuse in the fridge overnight.