26 Jul 2009


I came across an article at guardian.co.uk/TheObserver, written by Rachel Cooke, on her obsession with the Australian cook Bill Granger.

Now, I could in no way be described as having a Bill Granger obsession, but I am lets say 'quite fond of him!'

Rachel cooked a few recipes out of Bill's books without complaint from her family.

Making these cheesecakes wasn't a happy journey for her, and I believe her obsession with Bill came to a very abrupt ending. Oh well, such is life. These mini cheesecakes are in his book Feed Me Now! She says in her article they came out of the oven looking totally rubbish and nothing like the photograph in the book. Well - we've all been there haven't we! Apparently, she sulked badly, sat on the floor by the oven with gin in hand and quite possibly had a good cry!

I decided to take on the challenge of trying out this recipe. My little raspberry cheesecakes turned out perfectly! Sorry Rachel. Yours got stuck in the paper cases -
I, on the other hand was a clever clogs, and sprayed mine with oil to stop the sticking problem, and I guess that's what the home economists did with Bill's too!! Unfortunately, Bill forgot to pass this information on to us!

The recipe can be found here on the Good Food Channel website.

12 Jul 2009


Sometimes I really want a takeaway dinner. It's so easy choosing from the menu and everything sounds so tempting. Ringing up, placing the order, hopping in the car and picking up the wonderful brown bag filled to the brim with foil containers. Coming home, and taking the lids off with waited anticipation! Ah yes, all so easy.

That's all a distant memory now and it's so much more fun making your own takeaway, with the added advantage that you can play around with the ingredients, depending what's in the house. I am definitely not an expert when it comes to stir frying, but you don't need to be to turn out something tasty.

The supermarkets are brimming with packs of stir fry vegetables, to which I tend to add mushrooms and onion, throw in some chicken if you like, buy a fresh stir fry sauce from Marks and Spencer, cook up some noodles and then add these to the stir fry - done!

Here is my homemade takeaway I made last Saturday evening, it definitely satisfied my craving for a sweet and sour Chinese meal.


ISBN 1844511804 - Page 120

Serves: 4

You will need: 425g can pineapple pieces in natural juice or better still fresh pineapple, 1 deseeded green pepper deseeded and quartered (optional), 1 tablespoon groundnut oil, 1 onion cut into thin wedges, 3 tbsp soft brown sugar, 150ml chicken stock, 4 tbsp wine vinegar, 1 tbsp tomato puree, 1 tbsp light soy sauce, 1 tbsp cornflour, 350g fresh prawns, 225g pak choi shredded, 350g medium egg noodles, coriander leaves to garnish (optional).

1. Make the sauce by draining the pineapple and reserving 2 tablespoons of the juice.
2. If using a quartered pepper, remove the membrane and cut into thin strips.
3. Heat the oil in a saucepan. Add the onion and pepper and cook for about 4 minutes or until the onion has softened. Add the pineapple, the sugar, stock, vinegar, tomato puree and the soy sauce.
4. Bring the sauce to the boil and simmer for about 4 minutes. Blend the cornflour with the reserved pineapple juice and stir into the pan, stirring until thickened.
5. Clean the prawns if needed. Wash the pak choi thoroughly, then shred. Add the prawns and the pak choi to the sauce. Simmer gently for 3 minutes or until the prawns are cooked and have turned pink.
6.Cook the noodles in boiling water for 4-5 minutes until just tender. Drain and arrange the noodles on a warmed plate and pour over the sweet and sour prawns. Garnish with coriander leaves and serve immediately.

5 Jul 2009


Have to admit I am more than 'a bit of a Bill Granger fan'! I have all of his books - and please don't tell my husband - but they really do earn their place on the bookshelf.

The peaches came from our new Lidl store and excellent they were too. I am trying out some of their fruit and vegetables at the moment and so far so good. The milk costs less than a pound for two litres and they sell some really great chocolate!

Our Lidl store is only a five minute car journey away and was built in what I would describe as Waitrose country. The residents who live nearby, first refused Waitrose and then Marks and Spencer. Waitrose took over our huge Safeway Supermarket and so as they say every cloud has a silver lining!

I didn't use Bill Granger's recipe for the meringues because I am hopelessly addicted to Nigella's mini pavlova recipe. Here is Bill's recipe for the peaches in rosewater syrup.

This was a really easy recipe to make and has the added advantage that it looks as though you spent the best part of the day preparing it. I hope you take advantage of the peaches at the moment and make this pretty desert!