Sunday 28 February 2010

Barbie princess cake

It's Jasmine's 5th Birthday today.
I started on making her a cake a bit last minute yesterday but it all turned out well and she loved it. It was a bit sad cutting barbie up, but we began by slicing the whole bottom off so she still stood proud whilst we ate her first half.

Orange and almond cake with edible flowers

I love citrus cakes.
This one makes quite a sturdy sponge but absorbs the syrup like a dream.
I iced it with a zesty lemon buttercream so I could decorate with the flowers but I think served with a dollop of creme fraiche it would be wonderful.

Workman's lunch- potato and chorizo soup

Cute pattern on the kitchen roll from the chorizo

Going to a venta in Spain makes for a cheap and filling lunch. For 7 euros you can choose a starter, main course and pudding with bread and wine/water. Everything is cooked in house and it's quick no nonsense service.
I wanted to recreate one of their soups.

Made with onions, garlic, tomato, potato, chorizo, beans and a pinch of paprika and seasoning.

Double portions for the boys who really are working in the fields and need the substance.

Nick's Breakfast

I suppose we have a sort of deal in the kitchen, I leave the breakfasts, brunch and one pot wonders to Nick and then I do all the rest!

First time I've tried Welsh dragon sausages from the Barn Bacon co with Caerphilly cheese and chilli, well worth the extra pennies.

Thursday 18 February 2010

Fish curry

I was in an experimental mood today. I bought some Rosada (white fish similar to cod) and cut it into large chunks. I rubbed a red curry paste into the fish with fresh shredded ginger and left to marinade.
I then made a really mild curry of vegetables, coconut milk and creme fraiche and fried the fish separately to get a crispy skin. When the vegetables were nearly tender, I simmered - adding the fish to just cook through.
Served with basmati rice and fresh coriander.
It made for interesting eating with the fish itself lovely and full of spice with the cool curry to balance.

Pesto with a twist

  1. Toast pinenuts, cool on kitchen paper.
  2. Grate a good quality parmesan.
  3. Add the above to a food processor with a handful of coriander, parsley, 2 handfuls of basil and a handful of spring onions.
  4. Add some grated garlic (to taste) and olive oil until a good paste forms - then a little extra to make the sauce. Add seasoning.

Wednesday 17 February 2010

Healthy Brekkie, smoothie n rye bread

As much as I love our daily breakfasts of coffee and pitufos, today was a swimming day and therefore a day for a healthy breakfast, I made a loaf of rye bread which by the way with cream cheese is to die for.. and cameron made me a smoothie which was yummy!

Sunday 14 February 2010


Yesterday I was cooking a three course meal for a Birthday Party out in Spain at my parents place. - they have built the most beautiful place out here and run events of all kinds, I come out to cook for them when I can. My sister and brother were front of house so I could hide in the kitchen all day. It was stressful but brilliant, original numbers were 80 thank god numbers diminished!

It was an early start and it had been a late night previous, cooking cooking so my brother Cameron was a darling, went out on his moped and brought me a fresh coffee and a ham and egg pitufo home from the local cafe (venta) where all the lorry drivers go before shift.

Sweetcorn chilli fritters with avo & lime

It's avocado season and I've got so many I don't know what to do! These little fritters love avo but with all the canapes I did today I think I still only used about 5!!

Whizz all the below ingredients with 2 eggs in a food processor, heat a non stick pan and fry for a minute on both sides.

Serve (oops forgot to take the photo) with fresh avocado and lime.

Sunblush tomato, mozzarella, basil and olive skewers

Great veggie canape, can't go wrong with fresh produce .. not much more to say on this one!

Homemade blinis

You can buy blinis in the supermarket at home but not out here in Spain, which I'm really glad about because it forced me to make them for this party. And then I wondered why I stopped making them and started to buy them because homemade has got to be better!

Plus the fresh yeast you get out here is seriously cute in a little yellow package and smaller than a matchbox, check out the photos.

225g buckwheat/wholewheat flour
250g plain flour
pinch of salt
2 free-range eggs, plus 2 free-range egg whites
45g fresh yeast
2 tsp caster sugar
1 pint warm milk
1 tbsp melted butter
vegetable oil, for frying

1. Sift the flours together into a bowl and mix with a pinch of salt.
2. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and add the two whole eggs and one of the egg whites. Whisk from the centre outwards to create a thick paste.
3. In a separate bowl, combine the yeast, sugar and milk and leave to stand for a couple of minutes.
4. Gradually pour the yeast mixture into the flour and egg mixture, whisking constantly, to make a smooth batter.
5. Add the melted butter and stir well.
6. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave in a warm place for one hour. (I put mine in front of the fire)
7. Just before cooking the blinis, whisk the remaining egg white in a clean bowl until light, then fold into the batter.
8. Heat a little oil in a frying pan over a medium heat. Spoon in the batter.
9. When bubbles start to appear on the surface of the batter, turn the blini over and cook the other side.
10. Remove the blini from the pan and keep warm while you make the rest of the blinis in the same way.

Prawn, chilli and lime canapes

I would normally use filo pastry for this canape but I can't find it anywhere in Spain.
Instead I used puff cut into little rectangles and scored. Once cooked the middles puff out and you can cut them out and fill the box, or you can keep the top as a lid.

These flavours are so fresh and zingy and the chilli gives it that little kick.

Prawns, lime juice, spring onion, red chilli, mayo and fresh coriander.

Thai Green Chicken Curry

So for the main meal guests had the choice of Lamb tagine with apricots and chickpeas or Thai Green chicken curry. I think because of the very fact the tagine started with having to bone 6 legs of lamb and this was laborious and messy- I didn't want to pick up my camera and therefore only have photographs of the curry!

I really think you've got to have a good green curry paste to make a good curry and although I have experimented making my own pastes, the one I buy from my local thai supermarket mixed together with some fresh ingredients really makes the best.

I don't know if I cant write a recipe for this... I will try.

I start by finely slicing lemon grass and soaking for a few minutes in lime juice with shredded galangal.
I then fry off a few spoons of green curry paste and then add the lemon grass, galangal, slices of ginger, garlic, torn lime kaffir leaves and coconut milk.
In a separate pan I lightly fry red onion, carrot, red pepper and sliced mushrooms and then add to the coconut before they brown.
Lastly add diced chicken to the curry and cook through on a gentle heat before adding fresh coriander and asparagus spears until tender. Serve with basmati rice.