Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Birthday Bake-a-thon!

Firstly, let me apologise for my late night blogging! Who’s up reading blogs at this time of night...besides those of you who don’t live in England and it’s probably a reasonable time of day! I do have an excuse however, as I have been doing ALOT of baking...
Yesterday I embarked on another epic bake-a-thon! Last year I did my first bake-a-thon for my Dad when he wanted to take cakes to work for his birthday, and since I have done a number of bake-a-thons for cake sales that his work often hold for charity.

Yesterday, I was baking for my boyfriend Jon’s birthday (which is today! Happy birthday!) He too wanted to take cakes to work – he’s still very new so wanted to make a good impression! I told him he could have ANY cakes he wanted...after all, he was paying! But we decided to keep it relatively simple, one batch of vanilla cupcakes topped with vanilla butter cream and dolly mixtures, one batch of chocolate cupcakes topped with chocolate butter cream (made with a mix of dark and milk chocolate for depth of flavour and sweetness) and a sprinkle of M&M’s, and finally one batch of blueberry muffins!

Monday, 28 May 2012

Strawberry Ice Cream

In the summer time when the weather is high
You can chase right up and touch the sky
When the weather’s right
You got *ice-cream you got *ice-cream on your mind
Have a drink, have a drive
Go out and see what you can find...
(Hopefully more ice-cream!)

You would have to live in a cave to have not noticed the beautiful weather we have been having across the UK the last 3 or 4 days. The picnic blankets have come out, there have been walks in the park, gardening, cool cocktails in the evening sunshine and plenty of BBQ’s and the whole time I’ve been walking around with my own personal summer theme song playing in my head, except unlike the Mungo Jerry original, I have not had women on my mind, but instead, ice-cream!
I love all types of ice-cream, scoops in a bowl with fresh fruit, in a tall sundae glass covered in sauce, nuts, sprinkles and whipped cream, Ben and Jerry’s out of a tub, or soft my whippy in a cone with a flake...ALL types of ice-cream! I’m also quite partial to a sorbet or frozen yogurt too...but I’m sure there will be more of that as the summer continues.

As most of you know my exams are already over due to a horrible timetable that meant I had all of my exams in the first three days of my university’s exam period. As a result, I thought I’d return home for a week so as not to distract my friends still slogging it away over their textbooks and revision notes!
I’ve been fortunate enough to not only be able to sun myself in the garden all weekend, but I’ve also had access to my parents fridge/freezer and a couple of gadgets I couldn’t take to uni with me, like my ice-cream maker!

Saturday, 26 May 2012

Creamy Stilton Pasta with Garden Greens

Hello my lovely blog readers! I am back! After nearly a month of killing myself over my final law exams I am finally finished! Now, that’s not to say I’m never going to look a case again, to the contrary! I’ve already started hunting down extra reading before I start the LPC in September; law is perhaps the one thing I love more than cooking. Though I am happy that my exams are over.

During exams most people get “the fear” – for those of you who don’t know it’s the uncontrollable feeling of terror at the thought of failing your exams if you don’t revise. For most people this kicks in a week before the exam itself where they realise that “day off” shopping, or that crazy night out probably could have been better spent revising. But me, I get “the guilt” – if I am not revising, sleeping at sensible times, getting up early etc I feel uncontrollable guilt. I’m not sure what’s worse!
Now although everyone has to eat during exams, any time spent developing recipes, taking photos, and blogging regularly would’ve just made me feel super guilty, so most of the posts you saw over the last few weeks were a few cheeky scheduled posts I’d managed to back up over Easter!

Anyways...I did treat myself once or twice during exams, and this recipe was one of them! My local store had stilton on offer and I couldn’t resist. I am a sucker for stinky cheese. The stinkier the better! I love cheese so much one of my favourite presents this Christmas was a Scottish cheese Slate complete with chalk! (Maybe I need to get out more.)
This recipe isn’t great for anyone on a diet, with not one but two types of cheese, but it is great for anyone trying to eat seasonally! Simply grab from the garden (or the green grocers) and seasonal greens and they will cut perfectly through the cheesey sauce.

Here’s the recipe...

Friday, 18 May 2012

Pineapple Tea Cake

I wouldn't say I've ever particularly been someone "with a sweet tooth," and as I've got older I've most definitely not needed as many sugar-y treats. As I child I wasn't sweetie or chocolate crazy and would probably pick a hunk of real bread and a bit of cheese over a biscuit any day. Cheese has always been my thing, now that’s a treat! That’s not to say I wasn’t a normal kid though – I was always allowed a small bag of sweets from the Pic ‘n’ Mix every Friday, and I was a big Coke drinker (though the diet caffeine free version of course). But, that was all I needed.

I think my Mum and Dad were always a little disappointed in a way at how every Easter I would get a crazy amount of chocolate (the joys of a big family!) and it would take my FOREVER to eat it! I’m not going to lie to you, despite being 21 I still get a crazy amount of chocolate at Easter – apparently “I am happy not having an egg this year” means, we must buy her an Easter egg!!!!!! The last two years, I have actually had to throw chocolate away because it is chocolate I got the year before! Now I don’t want to sound ungrateful, but I just can’t eat that many sweet things! There is a time and a place.

For me, that time and a place is at the end of a good SAVOURY meal! There’s nothing better than having a delicious starter and main course then rounding it off with something sweet to finish. Which when you’re on a diet can pose a problem...

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Gourmet Tuna Pasta Bake

Pasta bake is one of those dishes that everyone seems to associate with might be the lazy pleasure of hearing that pasta sauce jar pop as your take off its lid, or the fact that if you’re willing to wait a little don’t even have to pre-cook your pasta! That’s one less pan to wash up!

I’m not going to lie, I’ve taken the pasta bake route many a time in my uni career, and with my uni career coming to an end in just a week, I’m not ready to give them up just yet! So, I set myself the challenge of a gourmet pasta bake, fit for the lawyer I am going to become!

If you though pasta bakes were for lazy people on a student’s budget, think again! The pasta bake is back and it is better than ever!

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Tomato, Mozzarella and Pesto Picnic Tart

I am really excited to be starting to explore real summer recipes! I’m sure you’ll agree with me that this tart would look great on a salad table at a BBQ, laid out on a picnic blanket in a field or on a beach, or just in the centre of a dinner table with a big bowl of salad and potato wedges keeping the whole family happy on a summer’s eve!

The quantities of this recipe make a tart 7.5 inches across so it really is the perfect size for sharing among other dishes, but I can guarantee whatever you serve it with, this tart will be the star!

What makes this tart so special are the four distinct layers, melt in the mouth short crust pastry, earthy pesto, creamy mozzarella and then bright and sunny tomatoes – which are now in season by the way! Woo hoo! You don’t know how excited May makes me in terms of food, as some of the best fruit and veg comes in to season, as soon as exams are over I’ll be taking over my Dad’s veg patch, he won’t know what’s hit him!

Not only is this dish in season, but it is also easy to turn into a low-er fat option! Tomatoes will give you a helping hand towards your 5 a day, low fat/low cal mozzarella and pesto are easy to find in any good supermarket. And I can confirm that the most recent time that I made my pastry, I made it with a low fat margarine substitute! (God only knows what its chemical name is...we will pretend its margarine for now...)

I guarantee that if you try this recipe it will become a staple of your summer.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Chilli Prawn and Pineapple Salad

Don’t you love those recipes that just JUMP out at you and scream I AM A GREAT IDEA! EAT ME! Well this one did just that as I was wandering aimlessly around Tescos. I recently did a giant supermarket order online and forgot a few essentials, but by the time I got into Tescos I’d completely forgotten what it was I had forgotten the first time round!
I definitely have “revision brain” if it is not about Corporate Insolvency, Trusts Law or Child Law...I won’t remember a thing!

So as I wandered down the fish isle on the hunt for some prawns...I’m not entirely sure why...this recipe came to me, as if in a dream...or something less dramatic haha!
It’s a really vibrant, fresh summer salad that leaves your taste-buds tingling! Don’t be scared by the combination of chilli, prawn and pineapple, I guarantee once you try them all together, you will fall in love!

Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Currently Craving: Popcorn

This post is long overdue, normally I post my currently craving’s within the firts few days of the month, but this one has taken a little longer to get to press! I hope you don’t mind!

So what am I currently craving, I must admit, I crave this one food stuff almost every day of my would not be an understatement to say I am ADDICTED! One of my favourite things in the whole world is POPCORN! I mainly eat salty popcorn, but I am happy with butter, toffee, chocolate, and all of the millions of savoury combinations!
I will eat popcorn when I’m bored, popcorn as a revision snack, popcorn when I feel ill, popcorn when I’m happy, and popcorn when I’m on a diet (make it at home and it’s a low cal snack you know?!). There is always an occasion for popcorn, it is not just for films!!!

You may have noticed a number of “gourmet” popcorn providers popping up, and you can now find individual bags in shops like Greggs and even Topshop to replace crisps when you’re on the go.
Now, cinema popcorn has had a particularly bad time of it in the media. The mark up is on average 600% and it can contain over 1800 that isn’t diet friendly! There was also some research that said they were feeding us stale nasty tasting stuff that we only liked because we associated it with the excitement of the cinema. Now I know this not to be true...if a family member goes to the cinema without me, I always make sure they grab me a bag of the stuff before they leave on their way out! I don’t need a giant film screen to enjoy a big bag of Cineworld popcorn!

Anyway, enough about my addiction! How can you make yummy popcorn at home?

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Turkey and Sweet Potato Pie

Calling everyone on a diet everywhere! Unless you are doing a crazy diet that cuts out a whole food group, this is one healthy recipe you can’t afford to leave out of your repertoire!

This recipe is low in fat – thanks to the lean turkey mince! Is jam-packed full of vegetables, making sure you get your five-a-day. And most of all it is full of flavour! It really is proof you never have to go bored or hungry on a diet ever again.

The turkey mince I have used is the best of British and can be bought fresh from all good supermarkets, and I’ve also used a slightly more unusual ingredient, Peppadew peppers! Very tasty, sweet little preserved peppers which give you a bit more of a kick than normal fresh red peppers would.

Also sweet peppers are coming into season so if you can get your hands on some they'd also go really well in this.

Tuesday, 1 May 2012

Sweet and Spicy Pork Stir Fry

Ever since Chinese New Year I have become obsessed with perfecting my own Chinese recipes!

You may remember, I posted recipes for Steamed Prawn Won tons and Crispy Spring rolls – two recipes which taught me about some rather exciting new ingredients (won ton and spring roll wrappers) and new techniques (such as how to fill and cook them!) I also posted a recipe for Sesame Chicken with Green Beans which is fast becoming a favourite in my house!

I’ve always enjoyed cooking Oriental dishes, for years I’ve had a go to special fried rice recipe, and a lovely recipe for Asian Salmonwith Cucumber and Red Onion dipping sauce, but I’m keep to keep on trying out new ideas.

The idea from this recipe came from two main sources of inspiration: firstly, whenever we order Chinese in, we always get one chicken, one pork, and one beef dish (at the very least!) and as I am yet to perfect a Chinese pork recipe, pork had to be my ingredient of choice; secondly, one of my favourite Chinese flavours is that sticky yet spicy sauce that covers ribs, I’m not talking about BBQ sauce, something a bit more oriental. And so this dish was born!


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