Tuesday 26 April 2011

Herb crusted rack of lamb

Oh Easter weekend, where did you go all of a sudden? Wasn't the weather just beautiful, knowing our luck, that was our window of Summer and this morning it felt slammed shut. Oh and poor Will and Kate, looks like their wedding may be a wet one. Still, things to be happy about. I picked up my first asparagus bunch of the year this morning and yesterday Nick and I had the most incredible rack of lamb I got from a cute little butchers in Kew. 
 I didn't really have a plan for the lamb.... but I had a parsley pot I could butcher...and a bit of crusty white loaf left over from brunch..and some parmesan. So, add a little seasoning, a garlic clove and drizzle of olive oil and you've made yourself a wannabe crust. (I also added a teeny bit of lemon oil but I would have preferred a pinch of zest, but suppose u can do either)
 Season your lamb and then brown all over in a sizzling pan

 Pop in the oven for 10 minutes on 180C
 Meanwhile, start on your veg...
 Take out of oven,  brush with a little dijon mustard
 Press the meat into the crumbs to make a crust
 Stick back in oven for 15-20 mins(poor plant)
 Let rest for 10 minutes and then slice up and serve. If your lamb is pink and juicy you don't even need a sauce.

Friday 22 April 2011

Make your own Easter egg- in 20 minutes!

I'm all for a bit of Cadbury chocolate for the cinema or for my chocolate cake bar but when it comes to an easter egg, I like the fancy stuff. Saying that, if you're gonna make your own egg then you can mix things up a bit to just how the receiver likes it. I melted 100g of 70% lindt with 100g of their milk bar. (No reason why you couldn't use their intense orange of ginger for something a bit different)
 Then get yourself an egg shell mould (this is what your egg normally comes in from the shops) and pour in the chocolate whilst swirling it around evenly. Then chill in the fridge or freezer for a minute until set and then pour in another layer of choc, do this 3 times until thick. Chill again and pop out of mould.
 Once you have two halves, dip one in a shallow pool of choc and stick together (if you want to fill with any other treats then do so, or write a note or joke!)

I then melted white chocolate and drizzled it over and then sprinkled gold edible stars and mini gold dragees.

Tie a bow aaand ...voila!

Thursday 21 April 2011


Spent the day at Kew Gardens with my niece and nephew today and it was hot and busy. Beautiful but busy...so I am tired and cannot write much x
Wild mushroom and tarragon tartlets
 Duck liver pate on brioche toasts, caramelised onions
 Fig, mozzarella, balsamic syrup and basil wrapped in Serrano ham
 Prawn and Japanese noodle spoons
 This made me laugh, I did the wasabi like that purely for presentation yet when the plate came back it had been demolished!

Wednesday 20 April 2011

HOT CROSS BUNS! (with cointreau soaked sultanas)

U got good buns? Yeah, well maybe you should steer clear of these if you wanna keep them that way. I just had two. Two and a half. 
The air is still warm from the oven and it smells sweet and spicy. You should really make these, they taste worlds apart from shop bought. I've taken tonnes of pics to help you through my variation on a Delia recipe.
1 envelope/sachet of dried yeast
150ml of really warm water
60g caster sugar
mix all above and leave for 10 mins until frothy
450g plain flour 
1 level tsp table salt
1 tsp of mixed spice
1/2 tsp of cinnamon
sift together into a roomy bowl
add 50g chopped mixed peel and 75g of sultanas soaked in 1tbsp heated cointreau
 melt 50g butter and lightly whisk with an egg and 50ml warm milk. Pour it, and the yeast mixture into a well and mix.
Work into a dough, turn out onto a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes, then cover the bowl with cling and stick in a warm place for one hour until doubled in size.
Take out and punch down to original size and then cut into 12 pieces which you can mould into bun shape (tuck the sides into the bottom)
Make a cross with a sharp knife and cover with cling again and let rise for 40 minutes.
 Preheat your oven to 220C and make another dough out of 2 heaped tsp flour and a drop of water. Roll out and cut thin strips for your crosses. Stick on with a little water and pop in the oven for 5 minutes.
 Once out the oven and on a cooling rack, brush with a sugar glaze.I made mine with an orange juice, sugar and cinnamon reduction.

Tuesday 19 April 2011


I love my job, cooking can take you all sorts of places. Last week I was helping out a friend, Sam, who owns Cookhouse, getting people together to cook and to eat. Got a hen party to organise or a work night out? - Then check out his website http://www.cook-house.co.uk for an event with a difference.

So last week we were in Windsor in a lovely hotel with the first of this glorious sunshine. There were four chefs and we each had a station; antipasti, starter, main and dessert. The group were split into 7 people for each station and with canapes, an open bar, and plenty of banter we got about to prepping each course ready to plate up during the meal. We take a back seat, put a little pressure on (Ramsey style) and then mark each group on teamwork, presentation and efficiency for the awards at the end of the meal. It gets heated and competitive! 

Here are a few pics...