Thursday, 30 June 2011

Elderflower and Gooseberry Butterfly Cakes

Every month, a recipe competition is hosted on the blog WeGrowOurOwn. Craig the author selects a handful of seasonal fruit/vegetables, and invites his readers to submit recipes to the blog which use one or more of the selected fruit/vegetables. He then selects finalists from those submitted (and extra points are given to those who have grow the fruit or veg themselves!) The competition is then opened up to votes.

This month, I decided to enter the competition. Craig had selected Broad Beans, Beetroot, Gooseberries, Carrots and Peas.

The gooseberries instantly jumped out at me as my gooseberry bush in the garden is currently weighed down with big juicy fruits so I set to coming up with a recipe.

Here is my final recipe which won the competition!

Elderflower and Gooseberry Butterfly Cakes

The concept is an innocent looking butterfly cake, perfect for garden parties, that has a surprise jam-like centre. There are a number of elements and processes so please take this into account. It is a lot easier than it looks!

Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Food Trends #1: Cake pops

The more I immerse myself in the underground world of food blogging, the more I am coming across a series of food trends; cake pops, macaroons, and whoopie pies to name but a few. I am going to do a series of posts, one on each, outlining what they are, where the trend sprang from, any special kit you'll need to make them, a basic recipe, and any extra tips and tricks! I'll also post pictures of my attempts at making them!

What is a Cake pop: A cake pop is essentially a lollypop made out of cake and butter cream. Their texture is that of a truffle, they taste sweet, and make perfect gifts. They can be decorated for a variety of occasions, from making faces of people, or animals, Christmas cake pops, baby shower cake pops, and many more. Wedding cake pops are becoming particularly popular!

Monday, 27 June 2011

Lemon Meringue Pie

I had some shortcrust pastry left over from my quiche today and couldn’t decide what to do with it. I knew I wanted to do a sweet, so had to consider what I had in the house! I had chocolate, but no cream, and only two eggs left over which meant that my options were somewhat limited, but I soon settled on Lemon Meringue pie! These are extremely simple to do, the quantities can easily be adjusted depending on the number of guests to dinner, and are surprisingly cheap!

Low Fat Spinach Quiche

Summer is officially here! The temperatures are soaring, and the sun is out, not a cloud in the sky.

The summer brings with it a whole new foodie experience, from BBQ’s, al fresco dining, picnics to ice creams, and as a result it is one of my favourite times of the year!
(I'm already scouring e-bay for a vintage style picnic hamper, complete with gingham lining!!! If anyone knows of one going cheap, do let me know!

The veg patch is currently overflowing with spinach, so for dinner tonight I had to come up with a new recipe where spinach is the star, so I decided to cook a low fat spinach quiche.

Alternatives can include adding bacon which we did tonight, using the whole eggs, and adding lots of cheese!

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Lentil Lasagne

I am not a big fan of meat substitutes such as veggie-'mince.' As a meat eater, I just don't think you can replicate meat, nor do I think you should!

This lentil lasagne, in my opinion, is BETTER than a meaty version! The textures are perfect, there is lots of lovely fresh veg, and the flavours are so vibrant that it makes for a brilliant sharing dish in the centre of the table. At just £1 a portion its a brilliant way to impress family and friends!

Give it a go and let me know what you think of this veggie alternative to an Italian classic!

Egg Salad

I've come back to Stevenage for the summer now (minus working the University's Open Days this Fri/Sat) and have come how to find our veg patch growing wildly! I will do a post on it soon!

As the lettuce has got so large, I didn't mind stealing a few leaves for my lunch to make egg salad. This is the recipe!


Friday, 17 June 2011

Aubrey's Traditional Creperie

I've recently updated the Restaurants/Take-Away page (click the tab above) with reviews on Mumbai Flavours, and Aubrey's Traditional Creperie.

The Creperie is a new personal favourite, that I will be returning to regularly! (They also cater for events...if only I had an event planned that they could cater for!)

The shop has such a quaint vintage feel and serves quality crepes and galettes alongside speciality teas, coffee and other soft drinks.

For a shabby chic, French vintage experience and taste sensation I really recommend Aubrey's Creperie. Check out the review to find out more!

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

Lumaconi alla Vodka

The idea of adding Vodka to a tomato and bacon based pasta sauce did not seem strange to me today when I decided to give it a try, but after searching into the history of the dish, I struggled to find where the idea originated from.

Even Wikipedia was no help, giving numerous possibilities of how the dish developed:
According to Pasquale Bruno, Jr., author of The Ultimate Pasta Cookbook, penne alla vodka was invented at Dante, a restaurant in Italy. Other historians of the culinary arts recognize James Doty, a graduate of Columbia University, as the inventor of penne a la vodka. Paula Franzese, an American law professor, has asserted that her father Luigi Franzese, born in Naples, Italy in 1931, devised the first version of penne alla vodka, which he called penne alla Russia because of the addition of the vodka to his tomato and cream sauce base. He first prepared the dish table side for patrons at the New York City restaurant Orsini in the early 1970s. (This seems the more recognised version of events with other websites I stumbled across stating the same!) The Williams Sonoma Essentials of Italian cookbook says that it was invented in the 1980s by a Roman chef for a vodka company that wanted to popularize its product in Italy.

Wherever the dish originated from, this is my version! Do give it a try and let me know what you think!

Sunday, 12 June 2011

Mocha Cake

It's been a while since I last posted on here, but it's been very hectic with my boyfriend finally finishing his final exams and him coming to stay!

At the end of last month it was his 21st, but due to exams we couldn't celebrate on the day! However I promised I would bake him a cake nonetheless, and he requested coffee cake!

This is my recipe for a super-indulgent coffee and chocolate celebration cake! There are 4 main elements, the cake itself, a chocolate ganache which fills the cakes, a coffee frosting and then the chocolate top.

This is the finished product!

As you can imagine it hasn't lasted very long! There is one lonely piece left! I wonder who will be the lucky one to get it?

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Butternut Squash with Pine-nut and Sage Ravioli!

After having a go at making my own home-made and surprisingly CHEAP fresh pasta, we had to decide what to do with it! Dad had been given a ravioli mould as a present for Christmas to go with his pasta machine so I decided to try something new!

My parents always have butternut squash in the vegetable store so I popped outside to hunt for some herbs, and rummaged the cupboard for other ingredients, coming across pine-nuts and Parmesan, and got to cooking the filling!

Home-made Pasta

UPDATED: 17/05/2013

My philosophy has always been that if you cook from scratch you will not only be eating more healthily but you will be eating more cheaply. One of the best examples of this is home-made pasta.
Although dried pasta can be extremely cheap (Asda’s cheapest is just 30p for 500g!) fresh pasta prices however are through the roof. What’s more is that it’s not even that difficult to make at home, requires 2 ingredients both of which I guarantee you will already have in your house, and it’s FUN to make.

You’ll notice I have a rather sexy duck egg blue pasta maker on my side, but if you’re thinking about not reading any further because you don’t own one, don’t panic. Pasta can be made entirely from hand. It takes a bit longer, and a bit more man power but all you need is a rolling pin.
Another fab thing about making your own pasta (apart from how fun it is), is that you can make a big batch, freeze it or keep it in the fridge.
Have I convinced you how great it is to make your own pasta yet?
If not, this simple recipe certainly will.


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