Saturday, 9 February 2013


Ok, this is almost the extend of my knowledge of French.  It is such a beautiful language and yet so scary when it appears in the name of a recipe, don't you think?  It sounds complicated, so it must be - right?  And here comes the funny bit:  I am finding that more often than not, it is actually not that hard!  Sure, there are plenty of recipes that need a lot of skill and will only be perfected after much training but there are others that just sound difficult.

Trout meuniere...
Take "sole meuniere", for example - I heard the name and ran for the hills.  Not that it didn't sound tasty but I didn't have a clue what it meant or what was involved and so I was never going to cook it.  Until now, that is, because I actually bothered looking up the meaning and reading the recipe.  A "meuniere" is a female miller or wife of a miller and in this dish it basically just means that the fish (sole) is covered in seasoned flour (hence the miller bit) before being cooked in plenty of butter which then forms the basis for the sauce.  To me that does sound quite a lot easier.

I cooked trout meuniere because that's the fish I could get hold off and we served it with broccoli, crispy potato cubes and a creamy mustard sauce (which I unfortunately forgot to take a picture of).  We loved it and I will definitely make this again.  It was surprisingly quick to make as the fish only needed frying for a total of 6 minutes - talk about fast food!

And so, as promised, here is the recipe for a quick and easy dinner...

Friday, 8 February 2013

Just Say Neigh...

It's actually not funny at all.  I am not sure how much of this has been covered in the global media but we have the latest food scandal on our hands here in the UK (and other European countries):  horse meat!  It turns out that with our constant appetite for increasingly cheaper food products, some producers have taken it upon themselves to replace beef with horse meat in a number of ready meals, burgers etc.  Needless to say, they failed to communicate this little fact to their customers and packaging still labels the meat as beef.  Not only that, the horse meat used is unlikely to have undergone the same stringent tests that would be normal for beef (especially after the mad cow disease crisis).  Can you imagine that some products such as "beef" lasagne actually contained 100% horse meat?  And this only appears to be the tip of the iceberg...who knows which other countries are affected by this?  In some countries eating horse meat is the norm and for me this is not about whether you like to eat horse or not.  It's about being lied to by producers and not being given the choice.

Budgets are tight and lives are busy but I think that the only way to ensure we know what goes into our food is to make our own as much as possible.  And maybe some of the recipes here, on other blogs, in books & programmes show that meals can be made from scratch without too much effort.  Yes, it might need more planning and a little more time but at least we know then what we feed our families and ourselves!

Climbing off my soap box now to prepare another post with an easy & quick recipe for you to try...

Until then, get mad, get even, get cooking!

Thursday, 7 February 2013

Sweet Nothings...

How has your week been so far?  I hope it's been good but if you need a bit of cheering up, this little photo of Keith the dog might just do the trick.  His cheeky face always puts a smile on my face, so hopefully it will do the same for you.
It's Valentine's Day next week.  Are you thinking of treating a loved one to something special? Or are you the one being treated?  Maybe you hate how commercial it has all become but want to do something nice for someone else on another day?

Either way, I think you might enjoy this dessert recipe: lemon syllabub.  Creamy and tangy with a bit of added crunch from the biscuits, this fluffy lemon dessert can be prepared ahead and would be the perfect finish to a meal at any time of the year.

And if you really want to push the boat out, then I've got a couple of main course recipes for you that will be just the ticket - I will share those with you over the next few days.  For now, here is the dessert recipe...Enjoy!

Wednesday, 6 February 2013

Mexican wave...

Do you love Mexican food?  I simply adore it...or at least the stuff that is served over here under that name.  Unfortunately, I have never been to Mexico but I imagine that it would be an amazing trip with lots of brilliant foods to try in different regions of the country.  Whenever I watch a cookery programme and it features Mexican food, I am sure I can taste it just watching it, so one day we are going to have to visit!  And until that dream trip becomes reality, I am just going to have to cook my own take on Mexican food.

I promised you another recipe and here it is: a fajita bake...corn tortillas stuffed with vegetables and chicken in a spicy sauce (or not so spicy, depending on how you like it) with a crunchy does that sound?  Some guacamole (or my version of it) on the side and cooling yoghurt (or sour cream) on top, this makes a great meal for during the week or would also work as an informal dinner for friends. And if you need to turn it vegetarian. it couldn't be easier!

Please click below to find out how to make this - I hope I have whet your appetite...

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Excitement in the Larder...and a recipe update

First of all I can't say just how thrilled I am that some of my recipes are being tried in far-flung corners of the world.  It really means a lot to me to that you are going through the trouble of giving the recipes on this blog a go, so thank you! :-)

Based on feedback I have received  (thank you Softie), I have made a couple of adjustments to the apple crumble cake  which featured early on in the life of this blog - I've been a bit more specific on timings and temperatures, so hopefully that will help.  And since this is a rather large cake, I have also added a note on freezing any leftovers. 

Now, I had better got back to writing a new post with a recipe that I think you might like as much as I do...

Back soon!  Until then, happy baking/cooking/eating!

Monday, 4 February 2013

Pass the Parcel...

It was my eldest niece's birthday at the weekend - I can't believe she is 13 already!  Time flies... It reminded me of birthday parties and the social side of eating.  I love to eat in company.  There is something quite lovely about sharing a meal with others, passing bowls of tasty food around and chatting over dessert and coffee.  Maybe it's because I grew up in a big family. :-)
Dinner parties are an ideal opportunity to share food with others and I think today's recipe would be fab for this: samosas.  How about a big platter of these with dips when people mingle?  Or a couple of samosas each as a starter? These little parcels are great - you can fill them with pretty much anything and - using ready-made filo pastry - they are quick and straightforward to create.  I had never used filo pastry before, thinking it would be incredibly hard to work with but the opposite was the case with this ready-made version.  
The samosas I made had a curry filling and we served them with my sweet chilli sauce (find the recipe here) and also some homemade chutney (which will feature in another post soon).  

I also froze a couple to see how that would work and am happy to report back that not only do they freeze extremely well, they are also just as tasty as freshly made.  You can eat them cold or heated in the oven.  And I guess you could even take a couple out of the freezer in the morning before going to work and by lunchtime, they'd be defrosted and ready to be eaten.  Perfect!

I hope you have a good start to your week!

Sunday, 3 February 2013

Have a break...

...and grab a muffin? Or doughnut?  Or how about both rolled into one?

I came across a couple of recipes for exactly that recently: jam doughnut muffins!  And they are just the perfect treat on a Sunday afternoon or on a Monday in your lunchbox if you need to cheer yourself up at the beginning of the new working week.

We love these, especially since they are a lot lighter than your average greasy doughnut.  You can vary the jam filling according to what you have in the larder...ideal for scraping the last bits out of jam jars.  I used raspberry and strawberry jam for these.

I hope you'll have 5 minutes to yourself today and time for a little treat!