Friday, 30 August 2013

Spinach and Ricotta Pasta Sauce

Home made Spinach and Ricotta Pasta Sauce

You will not believe how much time I have spent in the kitchen these last two weeks!

Now, some of you may have already picked up that despite living with my parents still, I do most of the cooking in the house. To be frank, Dad has just got lazy in his old age and when he gets in from work wants to do nothing more than sit down. Mum, bless her, doesn’t think she can cook so tries running in the other direction at the mention of moving into the kitchen. So, almost every day the cooking of the evening meal falls on to me.

Since they’ve gone on holiday, the word ‘almost’ has disappeared...

Don’t get me wrong, I’m certainly not complaining! Cooking for Mr KG every night for two weeks straight has meant I’ve been a bit more creative as I can’t fall back on many of the recipes I’d cook for my parents. (He’s veggie and has some rather random food allergies like sweetcorn!)

One of the best things to have come out of all of this cooking however, is my ability to knock together something incredibly simple and tasty with basic ingredients.

Best served simply with fresh pasta and garlic bread

Spinach and Ricotta is a classic flavour combination and frequently appears on veggie friendly menus. Ready-made packets of ravioli in the supermarkets are often stuffed to bursting with it and if that’s not enough, 9 times out of 10 there will be a tub of gelatinous spinach and ricotta sauce to go with it. I’ve also seen a twist on lasagne made purely with spinach and ricotta before and let’s not to forget it’s also the obvious filling for cannelloni!

We’ve all tried these supermarket made pasta dishes and I think we can all say that although they are quick and easy they are incredibly bland. Tell me, why do we subject ourselves to tasteless food in the name on convenience!? There really is no good excuse for it!

Monday, 26 August 2013

Dark Chocolate and Passion Fruit Cupcakes (Plus GBBO S4 Ep1)

Dark Chocolate Cupcakes topped with a sticky and sweet Passion Fruit Curd
This (ok, almost last) week saw the first episode of the Great British Bake Off back on our screens and for the first time EVER I actually managed to catch the episode as it went out live on TV. No more iplayer for me!

Two things really stood out for me from the first episode - #1 they all need to calm down and stop trying to chop their own fingers off, it really won’t help them! And #2 passion fruit seems to be the in thing.

Now I may have only made the second observation because I am currently OBSESSED with passion fruit, but still, I’m going to go with it.

The Angel Cakes were all drizzled in the delicious, sticky and sweet pulp of the passion fruit and my did they look heavenly! I was very impressed with how they all turned out actually, considering Angel Cake just isn’t that popular this side of the pond. It’s definitely something I’ll have to try.

The selection of cupcakes at my party.
Even so, this wasn’t the only time passion fruit cropped up in the episode. During the Signature Bake round, Howard made a gluten free passion-fruit and coconut sandwich cake out of rice-flour and xantham gum. It sounded so out there and whacky I don’t think anyone expected it to work but Mary and Paul LOVED it! Another win for the passion fruit.

Then in the Showstopper Bake round Ali cooked a Chocolate, Raspberry and Passion fruit Engagement Cake. Now I think his concept was actually pretty good. The nerves just got the better of him and he executed it pretty poorly. (Ali, don’t worry, you’re still secretly one of my favourites).

Again, yay for passion fruit!

As much as I love passion fruit though, and I really was happy to see it being featured in cakes on the show, it kind of ruined my plan to bake these delicious Dark Chocolate and Passion Fruit Cupcakes if ever I find myself on the show.

If this week’s episode of GBBO did inspire you to try baking with passion fruit and you’re not brave enough to use rice flour like Howard (and you want more success with your finished product than Ali had) then why not give these cupcakes a go!

The sweet and zingy passion fruit curd is paired beautifully with the dark chocolate which makes the overall flavour of the cake much more, well-rounded.

Although it’s tempting to make these cakes with milk chocolate in an attempt to make them more popular with a wider range of guests, the dark chocolate really is essential and many people who usually steer away from the bitter taste of dark chocolate will undoubtedly love it when paired with the sweet exotic fruit.
Another great thing about these cakes is they’re incredibly easy to make and look stunning when finished. Simply follow your usual method of making cupcakes, grab yourself a piping bag complete with a Wilton 1M tip and you’re good to go!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Lavender and Honey Cakes

Lavender and Honey Cupcakes made from locally produced ingredients.

I am one lucky girl. Now I don’t want to sound like I’m bragging, but I have so much to be grateful for and today I’m going to share them with you. Last weekend my parents threw me a party to celebrate getting a distinction in the LPC and my new job.

I’m thankful not just for the party with copious amount of Champagne, but for the opportunities and support they gave me growing up so that I could get to where I am today and reach my full potential.
I’m also grateful for where I live surrounded by friends, family and the countryside!

Wandering through Hitchin Lavender Fields, Ickleford
For the party I decided to make cakes and I’m lucky enough to live somewhere where I can easily source local ingredients. Just a short drive away we have lavender fields, pick your own fruit farms and local honey producers. I wanted to make the most of all of these things before we move to

London and our only green space becomes an inner city allotment.

With two jars of local honey in the cupboard, I already knew that honey cakes would be on the menu but I wanted to add a twist.

Mr KG (another person I’m incredibly thankful for having n my life after 8 and a half years together)  and I decided to spend our Saturday walking through the local lavender fields spotting bumblebees and butterflies amongst the flowers. They opened for the first time this year and for just £4 per adult – with kids going free – you can pick as much of their 15 varieties of lavender as you like! They even give you a bag to carry it home in and scissors to do the cutting.

Floral fancies - Lavender infused Honey Cakes
They don’t just make their money by letting locals come and cut their own. The lavender is also used in a number of food and beauty products which you can buy in their barn shop. They also produce essential oils (which I may have to stock up on!)

After browsing around the barn I came across their lavender honey and it suddenly occurred to me that lavender and honey cakes were the twist I was looking for! We’d seen in the hours we’d spent wandering the fields just how much the bumble bees loved the lavender so I was sure that my family would love the cakes too.

Friday, 16 August 2013

Law Student Does Lunch - where to eat in the Holborn area

City Snacks
This post is probably overdue and a little premature all at the same tie.

I finished law school back in May and took my exams in June. It feels like it was an age ago already which probably means I’m doing too much. No long hot summer for me!

Law school was one of my favourite periods of education; I always knew I wanted to practice law and as much as I loved my law degree (I really did), Law school was so much more practical and I felt like I was getting one step closer to my dream.
Exam results came out just a week ago and I can now proudly stay I’ve not only taken that step closer but I passed with DISTINCTION!!! I got a distinction in every single module so it almost makes up for just missing out on a first in my undergrad degree.

The nine months I spent at law school weren’t just great because I found my thing – they were also great because it was my first real taste of living/working in London.
Ok, so I still commuted from Hertfordshire, but I spent 5 days a week there! I had a fab time meeting new people, meeting uni friends for dinner, trying out awesome new bars and having some amazing nights out.

I also spent an awful lot of time checking out the food scene. If I wasn’t meeting friends for dinner, I was trying out various street food vendors and I spent plenty of time checking out the various places to grab lunch within walking distance of my law school.
Holborn has some great places to eat if you’re willing to take yourself off of the main road and down the back streets – they’re not scary I promise!

I did manage to get a few of my foodie visits turned into reviews but I couldn’t try all of these places without properly sharing what I found, so after maybe the 5th or so lunch eaten out I decided I had to put them on a map and so the Lawyer Does Lunch Map was born!


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