Category Archives: Recipe

Churros

Because it’s Sunday and you have the luxury of trying something new, and because not enough places serve them in my native Birmingham (though shout out to Bodega and Digbeth Dining Club, both places have given me fine ones).

This is a recipe which is much easier with two, as you have to pipe them and cut them off carefully to avoid splashing hot oil everywhere. So a shout out to my lovely girlfriend Rosie too.

Delicious on their own, even better with a strong cup of coffee and some chocolate sauce.

Ingredients

  • 250ml water
  • 45g caster sugar
  • 5g salt
  • 140g plain flour
  • 1l vegetable/rapeseed oil
  • Another 100g caster sugar on a plate for dusting
  • A pinch of cinnamon (optional)

Essential equipment – a piping bag with the toothy nozzle (that’s a technical term, honest) and a deep sided pan capable of comfortably holding the oil.

Method

Firstly, make the dough. Add the water, sugar, salt and two tablespoons of oil to a small pan and bring to the boil, stirring till it all mixes.

Remove from the heat, and add the flour a little at a time till you have a stodgy dough and the flour is used up. Leave to cool a little, then put it in the piping bag.

Heat the remaining oil in your large deep sided pan – if you have the luxury of a deep fat fryer, it should be set to 190c. If not, ot should be bubbling. Squeeze out long strands of the dough for a bag, and cut off at around 5cm. MAKE SURE YOU ARE AS CLOSE TO THE OIL AS POSSIBLE. I mean, it’s fine, but splashed oil at double boiling point is liable to make you swear.

When they turn golden, remove them with a slotted spoon and add them to the plate of sugar for dusting. Repeat until all the dough is used up.

If you wish, sprinkle over a little cinnamon, and eat. Heaven.

Okonomiyaki

Well. It’s been about a year since I put a recipe up. Here is a recipe. I hope you enjoy it.

Okonomiyaki is a Japanese pancake dish, apparently meaning ‘whatever you like’. I’ve gone moderately sane here.

Okonomiyaki 

Ingredients

  • 100g flour
  • 4 or 5 eggs
  • 1/4tsp baking powder
  • Salt and pepper
  • Half a white cabbage
  • 4 spring onions
  • Pork belly (optional)
  • Okonomiyaki sauce and kewpie mayonnaise… Or;
  • A 50/50 mix of brown sauce and Worcester sauce and regular mayonnaise 

Method

If you’re cooking pork belly, chop it up fine and lightly fry it for a few minutes, then transfer to a bowl.

Beat together the flour, eggs, baking powder, salt and pepper till you have a smooth batter.

Chop up the spring onion and shred the lettuce. Beat this (and the pork belly if you’re having it) into the batter mix.

In a small pan over a lowish temperature, spoon in the mixture to make a pancake about an inch high. Push in the edges as you go, and let it cook for about 5 minutes.

Then you need to flip it. Probably easiest to turn the pan over onto a plate, then slide it back into the pan.

Give it another five minutes then serve it. If you can, put the sauce and mayo in a crisscross fashion. It looks nice. Not essential though.

Eat up!

Savoury Summer Tart

Hi.

Been a while.

I’d explain but my life isn’t really the point of this blog. Here are some pictures of other foods I’ve made while I’ve been away though.

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Cajun Chicken and Noodle Salad
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Duck a la Cerise with Creamy Spinach
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Buttermilk Fried Chicken and Slaw
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A Vegan Feast for the Green Party, including a Root Veg Stew, Pine Nut Cous Cous and Vegan Cookies

Here’s a new thing!

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It’s a really simple summery tart. Takes about 50 minutes, and it’s just plain delicious. Rich Mediterranean flavours, creamy goat cheese, blooming simple.

Ingredients

  • A 30cm by 30cm square of puff pastry (bought, because I’ve been busy)
  • An onion
  • 50g pancetta
  • Pesto
  • About 10 cherry tomatoes, halved
  • A good lump of goat’s cheese

Method

Chop the onion into about 8 or 10 big wedges, and throw into a frying pan on the lowest heat on the smallest hob with a dash of oil. Throw the pancetta in too. Leave it in the pan for about half an hour, until the onions are translucent and lovely.

Lay the puff pastry on a baking sheet and spread a layer of pesto all over, leaving about a centimeter at the edge. Preheat the oven to 220c.

Dot the halved tomatoes around, and crumble the goat’s cheese over. Wait for the onions to be done. When they are, layer over the onions and pancetta.

Bake in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes then enjoy! Obviously let it cool down a bit first. Hot tomato burns. A lot. I know this.

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Not as good as my Mum’s Fish Pie

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When I was in Australia, I got really homesick one day, and made this fish pie. It’s nowhere near as good as my Mum’s, but it’s near enough to make me feel 6 years old again, in our old house, on a cold day, snacking on fish in an unctuous sauce, and the creamy potato.

Hopefully my Mum will read this and give me her recipe, but it’s that good I’m fairly sure it’s only ever handed down the female line, and then only on their death beds. It’s that good.

Edit- My Mum let me know- apparently it’s pretty close! I forgot to include a sliced up boiled egg or two along with the fish, which in hindsight was one of my favourite bits!!!

This is merely comforting and tasty.

Ingredients

  • A mix of salmon, haddock, white fish, prawns… about 500g
  • 750g potatoes, peeled
  • 400ml milk
  • 25g butter
  • 25g plain flour
  • A leek
  • Parsley
  • Chives
  • 25g parmesan
  • 1tsp mustard
  • Vegetables- about 2 handfuls of peas, sweetcorn, green beans, broccoli. Your call here.
  • Cheddar cheese, to top

Method

Stick the spuds on boil. About 20 minutes, or until the spuds are falling apart.

While they boil, put the butter and the chopped leek into a pan over a very low heat. As the butter melts, add the flour, stirring vigorously, in about 4 small measures. This should coat the leeks, as they cook, in a kind of stealth roux.

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Add the milk, bit by bit, stirring thoroughly then cook out on a slightly higher temperature for about 5 minutes, till thickened. Take off the heat, and stir in the parmesan, chives, fish, parsley and veg, and transfer to an oven proof dish.

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Preheat the oven to 185c. When the potatoes are done, mash them up with some butter and milk. Spread all over the top of the fish mix, put some nice lines in with a fork (this helps crisp the top up) then put a layer of cheese on top.

Bake for 20 minutes or so. Let it cool on the side for 5 minutes then scoff it greedily.

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Link up your recipe of the week

Sausage and Leek Meatball Tagliatelle

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Happy January. If, like me, you got paid early in December, and are now eagerly anticipating being paid and trying to wring value out of every last penny, then I hope this recipe helps.

It’s a Niger Slater one that does his talent for making superbly comforting food from easily available ingredients, and I’ve got two dinners out of it for about four quid.

Ingredients

A pack of sausages
Two leeks
A 250ml tub of cream
150g tagliatelle
Chilli flakes
Dill
Fresh parsley
Tarragon

Method

Slice open the sausages and put the insides in a bowl, discarding the skins. Add a couple of teaspoons of dill and chilli and squodge it all together with your hands.

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Fashion this into about 8 largish meatballs. In a large saucepan, heat a generous amount of olive oil. Brown the meatballs win this, then cover and cook for another 10 minutes, shaking occasionally to evenly cook the balls.

Transfer the balls to a bowl. Put a pan of salty water on boil and cook the pasta. Chop the leeks, and put them on a low heat in the pan you cooked the meatballs in, to cook in the juices.

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When they are soft and lovely, throw in the cream, some tarragon and chopped parsley, and season. Add the meatballs and drained tagliatelle and let it cook for a few more minutes.

Serve, eat, meditate on the fact your poverty is manageable for 10 minutes.

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Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Baklava

A sort of companion to last week’s turkish delight recipe, except where that was simple, this is hardcore. You can make it simply by shopping online or living in North East London, where ready made filo pastry can be purchased.

Despite having two books on baking, I didn’t have a recipe for filo pastry. Despite being judgemental on the Great British Bake Off, even the sainted Paul Hollywood tells you to just to buy frozen filo! The filo recipe is by Michel Roux, and seems to come out pretty well.

Also, baklava is just crispy, nutty, syrupy heaven, so it’s worth every ounce of effort.

Ingredients

Pastry

200g flour
170ml warm water (warmed to 50c)
1 tsp salt
15ml olive oil
Cornflour (for dusting)

Baklava

300g shelled pistachios
125g butter (melted)

Syrup

300ml water
500g caster sugar
Juice of half a lemon
1 tsp rosewater
Some orange zest

Recipe

So, are you brave? Are you going to try to make impossible pastry? Good on you. If not I’ve stuck a heading below for you so you can start from there.

Still reading? Okay! In a large bowl, mix together the flour salt and water until they all start to come together. As they do, pour the olive oil in in a thin stream, like you’re making mayonnaise.

Beat for another 5 minutes, and it should be soft and sticky. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper and dust it lightly with some cornflour.

Pull the dough into 60g balls, about the size of a small satsuma, and lay on the baking tray. Cover with cling film, and leave somewhere cool for about 2 hours.

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After 2 hours, dust your work surface with cornflour and roll each ball out into pieces about the size of your baking tray. You want the pastry so thin you’ll be terrified to move it for fear it will break. At the very most, about 3mm thick. As you finish each piece, lay it on some cling film, then lay more cling film on top for the next piece.

Anything you don’t use will keep well in the freezer, well wrapped in cling film.

Recipe for cowards

Preheat your oven to 180c.

Welcome back! So… If you have a food processor, stick the shelled pistachios in there and blend them up. If not, stick them in a sandwich bag, wrap it in a teatowel, picture the face of someone you hate, then beat it with a rolling pin until they’re reduced to crumbs.

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In a suitably sized tin, place a layer of pastry. Brush this with melted butter all over, then add a thin layer of pistachio crumbs. Lay over more pastry, brush again, nuts again, until you have 5 or 6 layers of pastry. Pre-slice these into pieces about 2cm each. Pick whaterlver shape you fancy.

Stick this in the oven for 30 minutes, until puffed up and golden.

While this cooks, put the water and sugar in a pan over a high heat. Bring it to a pretty firm boil for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and stir in the lemon, rose water and orange zest.

Pour half of this over the baklava as soon as it comes out, then the other half at least 10 minutes later.

Eat sparingly. It’s syrupy and will be too rich for a full blown binge. Trust me… I tried.

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Turkish Delight

Well its vaguely christmassy, if you’re a fan of The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe, and more importantly, it’s bloody delicious.

Also, at the halfway point, as it’s setting, it looks like the pink goo from Ghostbusters 2, which made me want to put it in the toaster and sing to it!

Makes a very nice Christmas gift too! Or any time gift. People just like this stuff.

Also, if you fancy a more varied approach, lemon essence and coconut dusting, or orange and pistachio would both be a worthwhile try. Just vary what you stir in at the end!

Ingredients

300ml water
8 leaves gelatine (or equivalent of Agar powder for veggies)
500g caster sugar
Rose water
Pink food colouring
30g icing sugar
15g cornflour

Method

Put the water in a large pan, and put the gelatine leaves in there. Go and have an amble for 10 minutes until they’ve started to bloom. In English, this means they’ve gone kind of wispy.

Put the pan on a hob at a very low heat, then stir until all the gelatine has gone. Add the sugar, increase to a medium heat and sturdy until all the sugar dissolves.

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Bring this mix to the boil, then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes.

When you’re done, remove from the heat, then stir in the colouring and the rose water. A few drops of each should suffice. Subtlety is key here!

Pour into a moistened mould (I used a small loaf tin) then leave to set overnight.

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The next part is hard. Put the icing sugar and cornflour on a plate and mix well. Then remove the jelly from the mould, directly onto the sugar mixture.

It is the stickiest thing in the world, so it will be a nightmare to get out, and if you don’t land it on the sugar it will stick to whatever it touches!

Get your sharpest knife, rub a little neutral tasting oil all over the blade, then cut the jelly into bite sized cubes, tossing each one in the sugar until it’s no longer sticky.

Put in a suitable container, and add some more sugar mixture, just in case!

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Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Quick and Simple Healthy Bubble & Squeak

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Bubble and squeak is one of God’s finest creations, and one of the essential parts of a proper fry up.

For reference, these are;

  • Egg
  • Bacon
  • Sausage
  • Black pudding
  • Beans
  • Hash brown
  • Grilled tomato
  • Mushrooms
  • Bubble and squeak
  • Brown Sauce

Anything further is optional. And I would insist on proper bubble and squeak, as in fried, and with spuds for breakfast.

This option is more for a nice evening meal, as an interesting side. I tend to get healthier as the day goes on!

It’s bloody simple and tasty as hell.

Ingredients

  • 500g Sweet Potato
  • 150g Kale or trimmed Cavolo Nero
  • A wodge of butter or butter type product.
  • 1 tbsp. cumin seeds
  • 1 tbsp. coriander seeds
  • Chilli flakes, to taste

Method

A first for me… use a microwave. Blast the sweet potatoes till they’re soft all the way through. You could steam them. But really… why bother? It’ll take about 8 minutes.

While these are nuked, bake the cumin and coriander seeds for 4 or 5 minutes, till they smell nice.

Once everything is done, put the flesh of the potatoes, kale, baked seeds and butter in a large baking dish and smoosh it all together. Add salt to taste, then bake at about 180c for 20 minutes.

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Simple and tasty, a solid weeknight snack or side.

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Non Traditional Traditional Fudge with a Thai Twist

Well. It’s actually tablet. The delicious Scottish variation. It’s grainy and delicious.

My little sister turns 30 this week and asked me to invent a coconut recipe for her. Which turns out to be harder than it sounds. Eventually I found this. Googled it. Nobody else has done this as far as I can tell.

So this coconut and basil tablet is for, and dedicated to my amazing sister!

Ingredients

  • 125g butter
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 1kg golden caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 350ml condensed milk
  • 50g dessicated coconut
  • A handful of Thai basil

Method

Preheat your oven to 200c. Stick the coconut in a baking tray in a thin layer and toast it for about 10 minutes.

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Cut the basil into the tiniest pieces you can, then pat dry on some kitchen towel.

Melt the butter in the largest deepest pan you own. Add the milk, sugar and salt, and bring to a simmer for about 8 minutes.

Add the condensed milk, and turn that heat down low. Slowly bring it up to 115c (use a sugar thermometer), stirring occasionally. This will take 15 minutes or so.

Remove from the heat, and beat this as agressive as you can till it turns matte, rather than gloss… sorry. I only know painting terms for it. About 5 minutes in, when your arms are crying G out for a break, stir in the coconut and basil. Any hotter it’ll burn out the flavour.

Pour the mixture into a suitably buttered container. After half an hour or so, cut it into slices. Leave until set and then binge.

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Christmas Spiced Rum

So… If you’re looking to get drunk in style this Christmas, you probably need to get making this soon!

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Antipathti

This recipe is mostly taken from this month’s Waitrose magazine. I’m making a batch and decanting it into little bottles as an alcoholic stocking filler*, and let’s face it, they are the best kind.

The flavours in this remind me of a fisherman’s festival in Tossa de Mar, in Catalonia, that we chanced upon on a family holiday a few years ago. They served a clove spiced rum from enormous vats on the beach, warmed over a fire. We all imbibed quite a lot, and my Dad, with a rum induced smile, kept saying ‘Christmas drink’. In June.

A bowl of flaming cremat A little research has shown that this is called cremat. It’s great, and I’ll probably try and make this at a later date- it contains coffee too, so wins all round there!

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