Friday 23 July 2010

Corn cakes with buckwheat and basil

A very filling lunch brimming with flavours

I love corn. Love love love it. These corn cakes are fat little gems fried on a hot pan and bulging with awesomeness. I have used buckwheat flour here (it makes them very filling and more like a proper meal) but you can use regular flour if you want. The best thing you can do to these lovelies is hit them with a bit of real butter once they come off the pan and let it melt in. It makes all the difference.

Ingredients: (makes about 10 cakes)

- 1/2 cup buckwheat flour
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- Tsp baking powder
- Tsp salt
- 2 cups corn kernels (fresh/ thawed from frozen/ tinned)
- 1/4 cup chopped basil

- Mix together the flour, baking powder and salt in a bowl and gradually add in the eggs and milk. Whisk together well to make sure there are no lumps.
- If using tinned sweetcorn, drain it and rinse it really well to get the sugary brine off the kernels as much as possible.
- Add the corn and basil to the batter and stir well.
- Put some olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat until it's hot but not smoking. Use 1/4 cup of batter per cake (or just over a tablespoon) and pour batter into the hot oil. The batter will be very thick. Cook for 2 mins or so, until the edges of the corn cake are dry, and flip them over for another min or two of cooking.
- Remove from the pan and rub a little butter over the top of each cake.
- EAT! For the love of jehovah, eat these lovely things!

Monday 5 July 2010

George Pig birthday cake

Happy birthday!

Here are some shots of the cake I made this week for my nephew's 3rd birthday party. He loves the cartoon Peppa Pig, particularly George Pig who never goes anywhere without his toy dinosaur. The inside is chocolate brownie cake and it went down well with the sugar-high kids at the party. I loved making this cake, it was a lot of fun. After we cut the cake I glimpsed my nephew gnawing on one of George Pig's eyeballs and he looked delighted. Success!

Thursday 17 June 2010


Eggs poached in a spicy tomato sauce

Shakshuka is a dish which originates from North Africa and is now popular all over the Middle East. It is easy to make, good for your belly, really delicious and very filling. We served with toasted pitta bread but it would also go well with rice or even pasta.

Ingredients: (serves 2 - 3)
- 1 onion, chopped
- 3 red chillis, deseeded and finely chopped
- 5 cloves garlic, crushed and sliced
- 1 tablespoon sweet paprika
- 2 teaspoons ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 courgette, diced
- 2 tins tomatoes
- 1/2 cup water
- 4 eggs
- Handful fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- Handful feta cheese
- Salt, pepper
- Pitta bread

- Heat a good glug of olive oil in a wide, shallow pan and cook together the onions and chilli for about 5 mins, until softened and starting to colour.
- Add in the garlic, courgette, paprika and cumin and cook for another 3 mins.
- Pour in the two tins of tomatoes and season with salt, pepper and sugar. Add two-thirds of the chopped parsley and 1/2 cup water and simmer for approx half an hour until thickened and reduced, like so:

- Break an egg into a cup and gently pour it on top of the tomato sauce. Repeat for the other eggs (spread them out over the surface of the sauce) and put a lid on the pan. Cook for approx 10 mins until the eggs are cooked through, less if you want gooey yolks.
- Top with crumbled feta and the remaining parsley, and serve with toasted pittas.

Tuesday 15 June 2010

Crunchy coffee bars

A nice alternative to a biscuit. Also, they're bigger!

I wanted to get some work done on my thesis today so I convinced myself that I 'needed' some 'study treats'. I didn't take much convincing so I decided to give these a go. I had read a recipe online for toffee coffee bars and it looked pretty good; I made a few small changes and the result was pretty tasty. I was hugely confused when the original recipe instructed me to put exposed chocolate directly into the oven - wouldn't it burn? The answer is yes, yes it would. Caught it in time and covered the baking tin to stop the chocolate spoiling. I'm guessing there is some ingredient in American chocolate chips (which the original recipe called for) that makes them more resistant to the heat of an oven. I used chopped German chocolate (a mix of 70% and milk) and it did NOT like being in the oven. Anyway, I recommend cooking the base separately and then drizzling melted chocolate on top when it has cooled. That's what I would do the next time.

- 4 oz butter, softened
- 1 cup soft brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon instant coffee granules
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- Pinch salt
- 2 cups flour
- I cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

- Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until lighter and fluffier.
- Add the baking powder and salt and mix.
- If your coffee granules are quite coarse, put them in a pestle and mortar and grind them into a powder. Add this to the mixture.
- Add the flour and work it through (this takes some effort) until you have a crumbley 'dough' - a bit like a shortbread.
- Dump this crumbley mixture into a greased baking tray and press it down well.
- Bake at 160 (fan) or 180 (conventional) celcius for approximately 15 minutes until it has darkened slightly. Don't be nervous if it hasn't hardened - it will be really soft until it comes out and has fully cooled.
- Allow to cool in the tray for ten mins or so, then cut into squares and leave to cool on a wire rack.
- Melt the chocolate and drizzle generously over the squares. Serve to your friends and siblings as bribes.

Cauliflower soup with a hint of cheese 'n' onion

Wowzers. This is seriously good soup.

Some mornings I wake up and my body immediately tells me what I want to eat that day. Today I arose from slumber thinking 'cauliflower'. Odd perhaps, but I listened and made this soup and it was incredible. I used both a red and a white cheddar, both really mature and flavoursome, and finished it with finely chopped scallions for a bit of extra oomph. A winner.

- 1 head of cauliflower
- 1 onion
- 1 large clove garlic
- 1 potato
- Chicken stock
- Milk
- Cheddar cheese
- Couple of scallions


- In a large pot, throw in a good glug of olive oil and a knob of butter. Chop the onions and garlic and add them in. Cook for a few mins until softened.
- Meanwhile, chop the cauliflower into small florets and peel and dice the potato. Add them both into the pot and season with salt and pepper.
- Add chicken stock, enough to cover the vegetables, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat, put a lid on and cook for 15 - 20 mins until all the vegetables are tender and cooked through.
- Use a stick blender to whizz up the soup until smooth, then add in a good splosh of milk (you can see its important to be exact here) and 2 good handfuls of grated cheese (as much as you like really).
- Cook through until soup is hot and cheese has melted. Taste for seasoning (I needed more salt at this point) and then add in the chopped scallions. No need to serve with bread as this gorgeous soup will keep you full all on its own.