Monday, 29 October 2012

Pumpkin patch cake - recipe

Here is my recipe for a pumpkin patch cake I made for this weeks spooky South Lancashire Clandestine Cake Club, you can read about that here.

If you children are still on half term its a great way to keep them amused, trust me! They will love getting the kitchen messed up making the chocolate 'soil' for this cake and the little pumpkins to go on top of the cake, both are very easy. The 'soil' is crumbled chocolate cake or crushed chocolate biscuits; for the pumpkins you just roll balls of orange sugar paste and put a green stork on top!
You can use any cake as your base, I made a vanilla sponge cake as I had the ingredients to hand in my kitchen. A chocolate cake and chocolate butter cream would work just as well for this.

Monday, 22 October 2012

Black pudding, pork and chutney sausage rolls - random recipe

Its a strange life being a food blogger at find yourself pondering all sorts of things...last week it was...'how to make a black pudding sausage roll look 'sexy' ' the blogging sense of course. I haven't fallen for a black pudding sausage roll as a bedmate, with all those flaky crumbs in the bed *tuts*. BUT I must be honest I have fallen for Nigel...yes readers Nigel and I have drifted off together on many a night recently; entwined in each others mutual passion for all things good and wholesome (food wise).

I'm not daft enough to think I'm the only one I'm pretty sure that I'm one of a few that are currently sharing a bed with Nigel (Slater) , he talks about this in his new book. My lovely sister bought me Nigel's new book 'The kitchen diaries' for my birthday a couple of weeks ago.  It's an interesting read and full of inspiration, if you love to cook good food. Its a big book and there is lots in it, taking you through most of a year of what's been created in Nigel's kitchen. AND when  you read it, its like Nigel reading you a cooks bedtime story, you know he has that sort of soothing voice on the TV? Well you can hear him when you read the book (well not really, but I can).

I like the premise behind the book that a kitchen shouldn't have too much stored food (buy fresh and create meals from fresh foods notion) and I love the way he advocates the using up of bits and pieces to make new and interesting meals. In fact, thats just how I like to cook at home, I love a good rummage in the fridge and the cupboards, and I really enjoy making meals out of what might appear to be very little.

My husband agrees that some of the best meals we have had have been created from 'bits and pieces'; and when we were watching Nigel on TV last week (there is a series on TV currently that supports this book) I was paid one of the best compliments ever when my husband said 'this reminds me of the way you cook and some of the meals we have', I welled up I was so proud to be compared to Nigel Slater!

Nigel has a recipe in 'The kitchen diaries' for a black pudding sausage roll; here is my version where I am trying to use up some of the many thousand jars of chutneys/relishes we have at home and an abundance (and don't ask me why) of poppy seeds! Dom's random recipe challenge this month at Belleau Kitchen is all about using up 'store cupboard finds" and this recipe inspired by Nigel's new book fits the bill perfectly, sexy or not its delicious.

Monday, 15 October 2012

A postcard from south west Turkey - in pictures

A postcard from south west Turkey...we've been back from holiday for a week now and thought I'd share some of the photographs we took of the things we saw and what I cooked and ate while we were there...not many words but plenty to see...

Breakfast of roasted plums from the garden, local honey, bread, turkish eggs with sumac
The view into the valley
Sea bream cooked with local tomatoes, garlic, and onions
Limes growing in the garden

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Home made and well preserved challenge with Steenbergs Organics and Vivien Lloyd

Well-preserved adj.
1. kept in good condition. 2. continuing to appear youthful.
Jam n. 1. a preserve containing fruit, which has been boiled with sugar until the mixture sets. 
Chutney n. a pickle of Indian origin, made from fruit, vinegar, spices, sugar, etc.: mango chutney. 
Pickle n. 1. (often pl.) vegetables, such as onions, etc:, preserved in vinegar, brine etc. 2. any food preserved in this way. 3. a liquid or marinade, such as spiced vinegar, for preserving vegetables, meat, fish, etc. 4. to preserve in a pickling liquid. 
Piccalilli n. a pickle of mixed vegetables in a mustard sauce. 
Marmalade n. a clear sweetened jelly in which pieces of fruit and fruit rind are suspended. 
Curd n. a custard like mixture made from fruit juice, sugar, butter and egg yolks and used as a filling or spread (Definitions quoted from Well Preserved)

You might remember last year when I held my preserving challenge called 'Homemade and well preserved'? If you don't, you missed an absolute belter of a challenge and some great preserving recipes came out of the challenge too!  You can read about it and see the links to last years recipes here.

I'm very pleased to announce that 'Home made and well preserved' is back again this year... think of it as...'the return of 'Home made and well preserved'...'Home made and well preserved' - the sequel'...and this time its serious!
This year there are TWO lovely prizes to be won...and there are two categories to enter, these are...drum roll please...

Saturday, 13 October 2012

Pear and ginger bundt - recipe

Yesterday was about seasonal British apples from Sainsburys and today is about British pears...over 10 varieties of pears are sold in their stores.  I'm quite fussy about pears, there are some I like much more than others and I don't generally like to eat fresh pears until they have ripened/softened in the fruit bowl for a few days. Once they soften some of the varieties we have tried from Sainsburys, like Comice and William, have a flavour and taste of sweet honey, they are so sweet and juicy. I like my pears just like my apples, with a rosy blush to the skin, so some varieties appeal more to me than others.

This is a very autumnal looking pear and ginger bundt cake, it has a flavour along the lines of a parkin cake as its rich in treacly ginger flavours, its a dense cake that lends itself to lashings of cream or custard and it fares very well as a pudding and if served warm. I made a similar cake recently for a South Lancashire cake club but have altered the recipe and made it again since. The original recipe this cake is adapted from is from a recipe in Australian Gourmet magazine.

You need a bundt cake tin to make a cake in this shape, but its not vital as any baking tin would do. This is a big cake, so think 10 or 12 inch square or round tin. Half the recipe to make a smaller version if you are not feeding the 5,000, except for the pears...the more juicy caramelised pears you use on top the better this cake will benefit.

Friday, 12 October 2012

Spiced apple sponge pudding - recipe

We like apples here, but we do like British grown apples best of all, and I love this time of year in the autumn as our apples come into their own Two of my faves Bramley's and especially Cox's apples are particularly good. I love the sharp, clean, tartness of a Bramley and the sweet juicy flavour and colours of Cox's with the dark rosy autumnal glow on the skin. 

British grown apples are readily available in all markets locally and the main supermarkets, Sainsburys stock a mind blowing 52 varieties. I haven't tried all 52 (yet!) but I reckon I could blind taste and pick out a Cox's easily as I like them that much. My husband, on the other hand, is a Braeburn apple fan and always asks for this variety (each to their own!). Award winning Bramley's from Sainsburys are descended from the original British Bramley (going back to 1809) in this country, this variety are pleasantly sweeter Bramley than others I've tried. 

This recipe is for a lovely autumnal spicy sponge topped pudding, full of good seasonal things, Cox's apples make the topping of light fluffy spiced sponge sitting atop of Bramleys.  Its a great combination of seasonal fruit flavours from the cooking and eating apples together.

Its just the sort of pudding where you want to put both hands round the dish breathe in the flavours and dive in with a spoon. 

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Raising money for Macmillan Cancer - Thank you!

I have been away on holiday so am catching up with posts on my blog...but I wanted to update everyone on the Macmillan Cancer Coffee morning I ran with colleagues on 28th September.

This event had been months in the planning (and if you follow me on this blog or on Twitter you might be fed up of hearing about it) but I think this is a really good cause to support and I have always wanted to run an event for Macmillan, so I was fulfilling an ambition of mine, by helping raise money for this charity.
Our event included a number of things, a pop up tearoom, a raffle, a tombola, a bake/food sale, guess the sweets in the jar, name the teddy, a recipe book sale, a very successful auction and a book swap. We were also supported by our local Body Shop whose staff came along on the day to do make-up demos and hand massages. It was a great event with lots going on.
But rather than write about the event itself, mostly I wanted to use this post to say a few thank you's ...and these go out to people I'd call friends and other 'acquaintances' on Twitter, who sent me items for the event. Some of these items were used in an auction and others used for raffle prizes or to sell on the day. Because of everyone's amazing efforts and generosity...
We raised a total of £1,300. for Macmillan Cancer