Monday 30 November 2009

Raspberry Souffles, well soup!

I was very excited about this recipe when I saw it on Britain's Best Dish as it looked so simple. As you can see from the pictures, however, it wasn't all that easy! I think my principle mistake was not whisking the eggs enough at the start, and from then on, it seemed to get runnier and runnier!

Despite it's look, I often find myself eating raw egg mixture (scraping the cake bowl, etc.) so had no qualms about eating it anyway. the taste was scummy, but I think I'd serve it as Raspberry soup next time!

At least they rose!

Saturday 28 November 2009

Weekend Treats

It's the weekend, and I find there's always that little extra time in which you can make a pudd!
So, I've put together a list of ideas to fulfil that after dinner sweetness craving we all get from time to time!

Chocolate Fondant - click on Dan's name to find the recipe link

Buns - dead easy and fun with children. Recipe is as a comment under post

Toffee Apple Puddings - again, easy and tasty

Key Lime Pie - bit more work required for this one good dinner party pudd.

Rhubarb Fool Trifle - tasty and easy, especially in summer

Wednesday 25 November 2009

lemon drizzle cake

Having looked for several Drizzle Cake recipes and not finding one I was happy with, I made my own very simple version: it's a basic cake mix, with a lemon syrup drizzled over the top.


6oz s.r. flour
6oz butter
6oz sugar
3 eggs
lemon zest and juice
caster sugar

Cream butter and sugar. Add eggs, lemon zest, a little juice, then flour, making sure you only mix enough to incorporate the flour.
Pour into a cake tin and bake for about 30 minutes at 180 degrees c until it's spongy and light, and a skewer comes out clean.

During the last few minutes of cooking, make the drizzle:
Put the juice and two lemons some zest, and enough sugar to sweeten into a pan and melt until bubbly and hot.

When the cake comes out, stab several times with a fork, and, whilst still hot, pour over the drizzle. Let it soak into the top before eating!

Monday 23 November 2009

beef stew - thanks to allens of mayfair

Again, this was made with the meat - it seems an endless selection I know - that the OH butchered at a recent course at Allen's Of Mayfair. Today it was the turn of Featherblade Steak, a piece of meat taken from the shoulder blade of the cow. It needs a long slow cooking time, so OH got to work early in the day!

He followed the recipe sent with the meat and created a tasty and warming meal. It's really easy to follow...

You need: beef, shallots or onions, Guinness, beef stock, peppercorns, thyme

Fry off the chunks of beef and remove from the pan.
Fry off the shallots or onions.

Place the beef back in the pan and add Guinness, beef stock, fresh thyme and a few black peppercorns.
Simmer gently for as long as possible.
Serve with champ and a couple of crispy Yorkshire puddings!

We found it a little runny and a little bitter, so half way through cooking, took the beef out, coated it in in flour, then returned to the pan. We also stirred in a spoonful of redcurrant jelly to sweeten it a slightly.

Saturday 21 November 2009

It's Still Me!

No, you haven't been transported and linked to another blog: it's still me, Merlotti, and my blog, Bon Appetit: I've just been playing.

It's now midnight, so I'll make this quick! I've been trying to update the look of the blog for, approximately, 6 hours now, and I think I've finally got it right. I felt the text and pictures needed more space and a plainer background to look their best, but I wanted to keep an element of brightness so it keeps your attention and isn't dull.

Let me know what you think...I'd be pleased to hear all comments, positive or constructive.
Fingers crossed!

Saturday Night Supper Suggestions

If you're searching for something to make for those dark, cold, winter evenings, look no further. Perfect for snuggling down with in front of the fire...

Lamb and Herb Stew - delicious. Make it as hot or mild as you want by adding more or less Harissa.

Oxtail Stew - you could spice this one up with the addition of chilli flakes.
Tartiflette - reminiscent of those bright cold ski days - one of my favourites, though make sure you do something during the day to deserve this winter treat!
Green Thai Curry - you don't have to make your own paste for this one, but the addition of onions and green pepper makes it even more tasty. Serve with coriander flatbread.

Gnocchi - very easy so don't be put off by making your own pasta. It's simple. And a range of sauces to choose from too.

Herby Lamb Cobbler - a great winter warmer for those chilly evenings.

Mushroom and Spinach Pancakes - if you use shop-bought pancakes it takes even less time to prepare!

Thursday 19 November 2009

Come Dine With Jemma


Selection of Olives
Scottish Mussels with Spicy Tomato Sauce
Lemon Chicken and Pea Risotto
Tangy Lime and Mascarpone Torte

So, what do you normally do on a Monday evening? The obvious answer may not be, Come Dine With Jemma, but that's what three of us did last Monday. We previously discussed rules and regulations and it was with excitement that we all attended our first! Well, excitement, that is, apart from Jemma, who found it all a bit nerve-wracking, until we arrived and she settled beautifully into the evening!
What can I say...well, not too much actually All scores are held secretly by an 'independent adjudicator' until we have all hosted!
So, onto the food and the evening: Olives some stuffed with pimento pepper, others with chilli - delicious. Even Stacy tried one!

Last minute menu change for starters as the (super)market didn't have the promised mussels they said they would, so Jemma chose to keep the same sauce and toss in some prawns instead. With lots of crusty brown bread and butter to dip and soak up the soggy tomatoes, it all mopped up beautifully. Delicious with just the right about of heat and spice.

Chicken Risotto - great flavour combinations. The chicken was baked in the oven with lemon zest and juice - a little overcooked, as admitted by the cook herself, but this didn't detract from taste, and the peas were plentiful and sweet!

Intercourse Entertainment, (again, as suggested by host) got a few odd looks, until all realised she actually meant between-course, as opposed to intercourse - entertainment! A game of Bowling on the Wii came first and it was Donna who claimed victory with a late run of strikes and spares! We couldn't help a splash of karaoke, with the Wii remotes for microphones as we got a bit distracted, trying to choose a song for the staff to do for Christmas at school! Finally we chose 'All I want for Christmas'. Not sure we're up to Mariah Carey's standards, but...

Back to pudding - rich and creamy with a chunky biscuit base. Again, great flavour combinations, made perfectly.

To end the meal, a box of yummy After-Eights was produced, but only if we played a game. Two of us had never played before, but two had, one as a drinking game! Place the After-Eight flat on your forehead. Now, you can only eat it if you can wriggle it to your mouth without using your hands! It took a couple of tries but I think we all succeeded in the end! Lots of eye-brow wiggling and funny faces were pulled...tongues out, desperately reaching to flick it up and into the wide hole! All good fun!

So, many thanks to Jemma - a great evening. Marks will follow shortly!

Tuesday 17 November 2009

Pepper stuffed with Tomato, Garlic and Basil

An incredibly easy starter and quick lunch. Simply slice a pepper in half and remove the seeds. Stuff with cherry tomatoes or chopped large tomatoes until half full. Add some finely chopped garlic and basil, salt and pepper, and place another layer of tomatoes on top. Sprinkle over more garlic and basil. Season well and drizzle over some good quality olive oil. Roast in a hot oven, about 180 degrees c, until the pepper starts to char slightly and is soft. Serve hot with an extra drizzle of oil and some crusty bread.

Monday 16 November 2009

The Christmas Pudding Challenge!

The Christmas Pudding Challenge

I came across this fab. competition on the UKFBA site: its a chance to use up any left-overs at Christmas, or indeed, convert a delicious Christmas pudding into something more!

"To spice up Christmas, Matthew Walker is urging all UKFBA food bloggers to use ‘The Pudding’ and create some cracking alternative Christmas fare to get their, and your readers’, taste buds tingling! "

So, I emailed immediately, and the Matthew Walker puddings were sent very promptly! I was excited to find one large one and one little one! Now the challenge began - what could I make?

Love Food, Hate Waste has two recipes for making good use of leftover pudd! I have three: A Bread and Christmas Pudding, Squiffy Trifle and Christmas Truffles.

The first recipe is incredibly rich as a pudding, but as delicious as it is sticky!

Bread and Christmas Pudding

1 large Matthew Walker (454g) pudding
2 eggs
200ml milk
30g caster sugar
orange marmalade

Heat the oven to 180 degrees celcius.
First, slice the puddings into 1cm slices and dribble over a little of your favourite tipple: there is Port and Sherry in the pudding, but my first choice would be brandy, although I actually used a very smoky whisky this time!
Butter one side of each slice lightly, then spread mum's marmalade on top - if your mum doesn't make marmalade (!), I'm sure your preferred recipe / jar will do the trick!

Whisk the eggs and sugar together, then add in the milk, whisking thoroughly to get as much air in as you can!
Arrange the pudding slices in a shallow, ovenproof dish and pour over the egg and milk mixture.
As the pudding is so moist already, not much will soak in, but leave for a time for as much as possible to do so.

Pop into the oven for about 20 minutes, until most of the egg and milk mixture is absorbed and thickened, and the top is crispy and brown.

Serve with either ice-cream or cream - I feel it needs something cooling!

Christmas Truffles

As the pudding is already cooked, you don't need to do anything with the pudds first.

Matthew Walker mini Christmas Pudding
double cream
dark chocolate (>70% cocoa solids)
toasted, crushed almonds
caster sugar

Heat the cream gently; meanwhile, melt the chocolate and butter over a pan of hot water.
Once the cream is getting hot, gradually stir in the chocolate mix.
Once combined, stir in the chopped Christmas pudding.
Chill in the fridge.
Once cool, form the ganache into little balls and coat in either sugar, cocoa or the crushed almonds.

Squiffy Trifle

1 Matthew Walker Christmas Pudding
splash of brandy, or cherry flavour liquor
tin of cherries
double cream
zest and juice of a clementine
toasted almond flakes

Begin by crumbling the pudding into the bottom of suitable glasses.

Pour over a splash of brandy and splodge a few cherries on top.

Coat all in custard and chill until set.

Whip the cream, adding the zest and juice of a clementine and spoon on top of the custard.

Top with the toasted almonds.

Since I can only enter one dish in this competition, I now have to make a choice! So, what will it be? The squidgy, rich pudding; the sweet and soft truffles or the tipsy trifle?

Well, with votes from myself and the husband, we've decided to go with...SquiffyTrifle! Hope you enjoy it as much as we did! What a Sunday!

Sunday 15 November 2009

Moules Poulettes / Marinieres

I just saw these delicious little lovelies and decided impulsively we'd have them for Saturday night tea! After visiting France many times, I have become 'used' to these; I used to hate them, the texture you see, not the taste, but over the years, a bit like Professor Higgins did with Eliza Doolittle, I've become accustomed to their faces!

During the summer, when the tourists are about, this is often called Moules Mariniere, but it reverts to its more traditional names of Moules Poulettes once the tourists have dispersed! It's basically mussels steamed in white wine with onions / shallots and cream. Easy and delicious.

Begin by softening the finely diced shallots and garlic in butter. Meanwhile, clean the mussels by removing the beard and rinsing through with cold water. Tap each one firmly to ensue it closes. If it doesn't, it's dead and needs throwing away. Do not cook mussels that don't close before cooking.

Once the onions have softened, add the cleaned mussels with a good splash (a large glass) of crisp white wine. Cover with a lid and steam for about 5 minutes. Once the mussels have opened and are hot, pour in some cream, add chopped parsley, season well and serve immediately in a large bowl with a glass of chilled wine and crusty french bread.

I served with an Australian Sauvignon Blanc, which was perfect.

Friday 13 November 2009

chicken soup - thanks to allens of mayfair

This was the second recipe we made from the meat butchery course the OH went to at Allen's of Mayfair a few weeks ago. One of the bags he returned home with was a bag of bones; chicken bones to be more precise. So, being the ever resourceful one who tries, but doesn't always succeed, not to let anything go to waste, I decided a chicken soup would be a perfect lunch, or starter for supper.

You'll need - a bag of bones, or the carcass of an already roast and eaten chicken! A small potato, onion, leek, double cream, herbs.

First, cover the carcass or bones with water and boil rapidly for about 20 mins. Then, pick all the bit of chicken off the bones and set aside. Return the bones to the pan.

Meanwhile, fry off the onions, leeks and chopped potato, ensuring you season them well, until browned but not cooked through.

After boiling the bones for about 2 hours, strain the liquid and return the stock to the pan with the vegetables. Gently simmer until cooked through, adding a chicken stock cube to add flavour if necessary!

When cooked through, blend the mixture until smooth, then add the chicken pieces and stir in the cream. Taste and season as desired and sprinkle with chopped parsley to serve.

Wednesday 11 November 2009

La Vie en Moules!

Erm...this amused me! And entertained: How can mussels be so clever as to react to the tapping? Watch the one standing up in the middle at the end - it just wobbles shut!

Monday 9 November 2009

Marmite Cashews - yuck!


Now, I LOVE Marmite, especially spread on hot buttery white toast, or brown for that matter! The Marmite Cheddar previously blogged about was also 'alright', though could have done with much, much more of the brown treacly stuff! These nuts however, were horrible, I'm sorry to say.

I opened the packet and was extremely optimistic as they smelt of beef Monster Munch - yum! As I brought one nearer to my mouth, however, I began to doubt my sense of smell! I took a few, and they definitely tasted of something, I'm just not sure what. They had no spice, no hint of that long, deep, nutritious marmitey flavour; simply 'a' taste, that hung in the mouth longer than the sourness from a sloe berry just picked from the tree. A very unpleasant after-taste; more bitter than thickly spread Marmite (which I Love!) and sour, that masked the taste of Cashew nuts altogether. NOT nice.

Such a shame; I had high hopes for these.

Saturday 7 November 2009

Family Favourite Recipes

I thought I'd put together a quick reference list of tea-time family favourites. Some are my recipes, but mostly, I've adapted from others! Have a look and click the link. Happy tea-time!

Tandoori Pork burgers. I serve this in flatbread with salad, and homemade sweet chilli dip!

Mediterranean Chicken:
This recipe was given to me by a friend and every time I make it I add more ingredients! It's essentially chicken breast with a vegetable and cheesy tomato sauce.

Cheesy Chicken Breast:
Chicken stuffed with cheese and herbs and wrapped in bacon. Yum. Serve with potato wedges and beans!

Fish Cakes:
A Delia Cheat recipe - I always use tuna instead of salmon and buy the breadcrumbs. Easy!

Fish Pie:
This requires a bit more preparation than the other, but is delicious filling.

Lamb Kebabs:
A quick and easy combination of ingredients. Fun to make with the children.

An easy base and cover with whatever you fancy. Scroll down past the gnocchi to get to the pizza ideas!

Toad in the Hole:
Quick and easy family favourite, especially delicious served with caramelised onion gravy!

Fish Cakes on Foodista

Thursday 5 November 2009

Damson Jelly

Plonked on the staffroom table the week before half term were several bags of 'nearly ready to turn to mush' damsons. Thanks to Stacy's mum's next door neighbour! Now, never one to let bags of food go to waste, I hastily looked up a damson jelly recipe: I've previously made plum jam and spiced plum chutney, so I needed a slight change!

The bag arrived home safe and sound with only a little juice leakage onto the floor amt of the car! They had to sit for another day at home while I found some preserving sugar, as stated in the recipe. I then followed all the instructions, to the point of making my own strainer with a j-cloth and sieve! I was, however, a little over-zealous with the 'bubbling' stage of it, and it became thick rather too quickly for my liking! Once done, I chose to pour a shallow layer into a silicone baking tray and let set.

By the time I came to cutting it into little squares to serve with cheese, it was incredibly gooey! So much so, that when you eat it, it gels and melts in your mouth. Ok, so not easy to cut and slice with the cheese but very tasty nonetheless.

Tuesday 3 November 2009

Figs with Port and Honey

A Winter Warmer treat, that's so easy and so tasty. Slice down the figs, leaving the base intact. Spoon over some runny honey, pour over a little port and place in a hot oven until the figs start to 'melt' and become soft and gooey. Serve with a dollop of vanilla ice-cream. Perfect as the evenings begin to draw in.

Sunday 1 November 2009

Sausages Braised in Red Wine

Sausages Braised in Red Wine

This is a Delia twist on an old favourite and is absolutely delicious. I never use venison sausages, but whichever I fancy that particular day. It's the juniper berries and redcurrant jelly that make it though - the sweet and sour 'bite' and sauce with bacon is just scrummy!

The idea is that you brown off the sausages, fry off bacon, onions and mushrooms with some crushed juniper berries, and braise the lot in red wine. I just steamed some broccoli in the microwave to go alongside, and because my mum still always asks what greens I'm having with my tea: sometimes I even make it up, but, being my mum, she always knows!

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