Friday, August 18, 2006


Dan and I are off to Lille next week. We're spending two nights there and we can't wait! If you have any recommendations for places to eat or drink please leave a comment.

We leave Tuesday so before then would be great.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Chorizo, new potato and prawn salad

With a fair bit of inspiration from the Sunday Times, I produced dinner for tonight. My recipe is different from the recipe they had, so I'm publishing the modifications as well!

500g baby new potatoes
200g chorizo, cut into wedges
170g raw king prawns
50g rocket
1 red pepper, chopped
about 10-12 pitted green olives
olive oil
1tbsp smoked paprika
salt & pepper

1. Boil the new potatoes according to directions. Set aside to cool.
2. Heat a few tablespoons of oil with the paprika (I landed up adding more oil as I went along).
3. Fry the chorizo until lightly browned. Set aside.
4. Fry the prawns in the oil from the steps above until they are opaque.
5. Add the potatoes and chorizo to the pan and coat thoroughly.
6. Take off the heat, add rocket and olives and stir in. Check for seasoning.
7. Place in serving bowl and add the red pepper bits on top.

Extremely filling!

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Chocolate Beer Cake

Recipe from Delia Online

I made this cake with Guiness because it was the only stout available that didn't involve buying a six-pack!

I found that I landed up doing most of the mixing with a wooden spoon. The only time I used an electric whisk was when I was adding the eggs.

I was delighted to find that the cakes had rise evenly and were therefore rather easy to sandwhich together. I didn't use any nuts in my version but the proportion of icing to cake worked well.

In my oven (fan assisted) the cakes took 15 minutes at 170C, substantially less than in the recipe.

I shall definitely be making this again - I've been having it for breakfast for the past few days.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Karhai chicken

My entry for The Spice is Right IV is a recipe from Madhur Jaffrey's Ultimate Curry Bible which I love cooking when I want a quick curry or when Dan wants curry and I can't be bothered to make his favourite aloo gosht. Before this recipe came along I'd never thought of using cayenne pepper in curries (I always use ground dried red chillies though)!

This recipe is great because of all the stuff that gets added in at the end, specially the green chillies! It's a matter of taste how much of each of the final ingredients get added. We like our curries hot here but while I like more coriander, Dan prefers less; ditto for the garam masala.

2 chicken breasts cut into bite size pieces
1 medium onion finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
1.5in piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
cayenne pepper
ground turmeric
natural yoghurt
2/3 a (400g) tin of tinned tomatoes

1 tablespoon peeled, and shredded fresh ginger
finely chopped coriander leaves
hot green chillies
1 tsp garam masala
rest of the tinned tomatoes

  1. Heat a few tablespoons of oil in a non-stick pan (or a wok, or if you’ve got one, a korai). Add the onion, garlic and ginger and stir fry until golden brown (4-5 minutes).
  2. Add salt, cayenne pepper and turmeric. I don’t measure out how much I add, but just sprinkle it in until it looks right. (The actual recipe calls for 1¼ tsp salt, 1 tsp cayenne pepper and ½ tsp ground turmeric.) Stir.
  3. Add the chicken and fry until all the pink bits on the outside disappear.
  4. Add yoghurt (how much I add is really variable – anything from two heaped tbsp to 6!) and tomato and cook for another 4 - 5 minutes.
  5. Cover and cook for about 7-9 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. Stir in all the ingredients from the second list, turn the heat to low, cover and cook for 2 more minutes.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Jointing a chicken

(I'm writing about this because I've just jointed two chickens and also noticed a google referral on my statcounter).

You will need: a chicken, sharp kitchen scissors (or poultry shears if you have them), a sharp knife

This is the way I do it: it's not perfect but it works well enough. You get 4 pieces per chicken.

1. Start with the chicken breast up.

2. Grab the stubby nasty bit of a leg and twist it until it pops out of the socket - it may actually break, this is ok, but just makes it messy. Once you've got that separated use the scissors to cut it off and pitch it.

3. Grab the drumstick+thigh and twist it to dislocate (this is easier). Some skin trimming may be necessary to get easy access. Again use the scissors to cut the thigh part away from the carcass.

4. Dislocate the wings. I discard them but they can be kept too.

5. Using the scissors, cut down the breastbone and separate. This makes it easier to get at the chicken breasts. I generally find a combination of hands and the knife helps to remove the breast.

There is no point contemplating jointing a chicken if you are squeamish, or don't like the possibility of the sound of bones cracking or chicken guts on your hands. The carcass can be used for stock but beware over-enthusiastic partners who land up spilling the stock on the kitchen floor!

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

More cake pictures

The recipe for these cupcakes is here.

There would be more posts if I wasn't uploading the accompanying photos on dial up.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Chocolate cake

150g dark chocolate (the one I used ~72% cocoa solids)
8oz (~225g) butter (unsalted; leave out of fridge to soften)
80z sugar
8oz flour
2 tsp baking powder
4 eggs

Pre-heat oven to 180C

Break the chocolate into pieces and melt over a water bath - glass bowl with chocolate over saucepan of hot water.
Pour into big mixing bowl with softened butter.
Add sugar, flour and baking powder and mix.
Add eggs one by one, mixing between each egg.

Grease and flour cake pan (mine is about 8")

Spoon half the mixture in and bake in the oven for about 18 minutes. My oven is fan heated so cooks faster than a non-fan heated oven. (Maybe about 25 minutes if not fan-heated.)

Place cake on wire rack to cool. I had to bake my cakes in two batches as I only have one tin.

Chocolate ganache filling
150g chocolate (same as above)
200ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Break chocolate into pieces and place in a heat proof bowl. Heat the cream in a saucepan until little bubbles appear along the edges. Pour the cream into the chocolate and let it sit for a minute. Stir until combined. I had to place it back over a water bath to get some stubborn chocolate bits to melt. Add vanilla.

Let the ganache come down to room temperature and then place in the fridge to set a bit.

Glace icing
150 g icing sugar - sift to get rid of lumps
Indeterminate amount of warm water

Place icing sugar in a bowl, add water until you get a good consistency. Can always add more sugar if it gets too runny. If I had more icing I would have taken it all the way down the sides.

To decorate (mine is not the perfect example of a beautiful cake, but it tastes good):
Spread a layer of ganache on top of one cake and place the other cake on top. Cover the top with the glace icing.

I did the glace icing because my ganache was too bitter for my tastes and I wanted something sweet and sugary.

Keep cake in fridge. I don't like doing this but did so because of limited storage space in the kitchen!