Thursday, 26 August 2010

..the next chapter.

As I've said on the BBC Food website,it's been a while since I posted anything on here.

I'm off work again as it seems that my titanium implants aren't working to solve my back problem. In fact one of them appears to be on the move and causing me quite a bit of pain.I'm hoping to get back 'fusion' surgery before Christmas but with the NHS waiting lists,who knows?

This afternoon I'm going to attempt to make some cupcakes as requested by my 3 year old son Leo(ASBO).If I have time I may try and get and make some peanut butter cookies.

Wish me luck.

Saturday, 13 February 2010


I can't believe where the time has gone. I started this blog whilst trying to come to terms which a nasty back injury which limited things I could do on a daily basis.
It's been a while since I blogged at all until I saw Paul's new blog which was advertised on the BBC Food Messageboard and now I'm a follower.
I had my operation 4 days ago on Tuesday 9th February and although I think I may have turned the corner,the pain is still excrutiating as I'm trying not to get too dependent on the morphine.
The actual cooking of food will have to take a back seat for a while as I'm not allowed to lift anything but I'll still be active and annoying on the Food Messageboard as I tend to be a bit opinionated.

Anyone that's reading this that has a love of cooking will know how frustrated I feel not being able to do anything and just walking into MY kitchen and seeing a worktop with crumbs on. It's driving me mad.

If you're at all interested I'll try and cut and paste a diagram of the finished surgery which will show 1 of the 2 implants that I have.

Monday, 31 August 2009


Last night I was given a carrier bag of apples by an elderly friend of mine.
He said proudly "They're James Grieves'".I obviously gave him a strange look be3caquse he followed up with "That's their name and they're regarded as culinary apples".

With around a dozen large apples to utilise I decided on a Tarte Tatin and some small apple pies.
I've come across a recipe by James Tanner for a 'cinnamon cream' which looks interesting so I'll give that a go.

Saturday, 22 August 2009


These past few days I've been left with a dilemma.
The Test match is on at the Oval and I love to watch so that means snacking here and there unless it rains or we have the designated lunch or tea.

Today was a struggle.My wife has been planning all week to go out with some of her girl friends.I ought to point out that Tracey doesn't get out much so this is a bog occasion so she's really been looking forward to it.
I've been the supportive husband and she suddenly announced "I need to take a plate of food with me cos we're meeting at Kays house for nibbles and drinks before we go out on the town!"

I racked my brains for something she could easily carry around the corner that would be reasonably filling because you don't really want to be drinking on an empty stomach. I decided on a vegetable quiche which was mainly courgette,onion and sweetcorn and garnished toward the end of cooking with some halved cherry tomatoes, finely diced sweetcorn and a spronkling of cheddar.
It looks and smells gorgeous. As for the taste,I'll never know.

Friday, 14 August 2009


My day consists mostly of get up in pain,do the necessary and take all the prescribed medication and then relax.

This is what some doctors tell you to do and others say 'keep as active as possible'.

I try and follow the latter advise and as I've said 'if it wasn't for my love of cooking I'd have given up long ago'.

Before bed last night my wife asked if I was ever going to get around to making the Chunky Bran and Banana Muffins that she'd seen on a programme called Barefoot Contessa which is hosted by Ina Garten who lives in the luxurious Hamptons part of the USA.

This morning I did just that and here they are along with Ina's recipe which I urge you to try.

Chunky Banana Bran Muffins
2007, Ina Garten, All Rights Reserved
10 to 12 muffins

• 1 cup unprocessed wheat bran
• 1 cup buttermilk (shaken)
• 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 1/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
• 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
• 6 tablespoons unsulphured molasses
• 1 teaspoon grated orange zest
• 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
• 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
• 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
• 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
• 1 cup raisins
• 1 cup large-diced bananas
• 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Place paper liners into 1 (10 or 12-cup) muffin tin. Combine the bran and buttermilk and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment for about 5 minutes, until light and fluffy. With the mixer on low, add the eggs, 1 at a time. Scrape the bowl and then add the molasses, orange zest, and vanilla. (The mixture will look curdled.) Add the bran/buttermilk mixture and combine. In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the flour mixture to the batter just until combined. Don't overmix it! Fold in the raisins, bananas and walnuts with a rubber spatula. With an ice cream scoop or large spoon, fill the muffin cups to the top and bake for 25 to 30 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean.

Wednesday, 29 July 2009


As the title suggests I'm on a continuing quest to try new things and the other day was no exception.
After chatting to my wife Tracey she commented on the fact that she'd never tasted BAGELS.
Now there's a challenge so off to the kitchen I went along with a recipe for Bagels by Si and Dave(The Hairy Bikers) and here are the photo's for all to see.

Saturday, 18 July 2009


As I've said in my previous post I haven't been updating much as I've had other commitments like falling asleep during the day due to morphine and insomnia at night.

However I'm still cooking alot and I've tried to attempt something new as often as possible.
Last week I tried out several different marinates/marinades on ribs and I can happily report that most were very successful.
The only failure was my fault cos I tried someone elses 'tried and tested-T&T' recipe without thinking to adjust the cooking times for my fan oven.
In one case I had dry cremated ribs that looked like something following a nuclear explosion rather than a set of moist,sticky flavoursome ribs.

In the end I messed around with 4 or 5 different rubs/marinades mixes and came up with the following.

Scott’s BBQ rib recipe.

You will need:-

1 onion-finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic-crushed
¾ inch of ginger-finely chopped
1 tspn of cumin seeds
2oz dark muscovado sugar
142ml can of tomato puree
a large dash of Pernod
50ml of dark soy sauce
150ml water
salt and pepper.


1) Fry off the onion,garlic,ginger and cumin seeds, then added all the other ingredients and incorporated them well.
2) Preheat the oven to 110°C and roast the ribs that you’ve cut into pairs for 1 hour.
3) After an hour pour over the wet mix and roast for a further ¾ hour .
4) Remove from the oven and turn making sure the rub is recoating both sides of the ribs.
5) Cook for a further ¾ hour covered with foil.


It's been sometime since I've updated my blog but that hasn't been because I haven't been cooking-quite the contrary-I been cooking loads.
Yesterday was my son Leo's 2nd birthday and with our Welsh heritage I decided to bake him a birthday cake in the shape of a Welsh rugby ball

Here are some snaps running through to the finished article.

Friday, 3 July 2009

...AND THE NEXT.....

These past few days have been tough for me on the pain stakes. I've had to up the morphine to 150mgs every 12 hours and haven't been doing much in the way of cooking.
We're having a long-ish hot spell at the moment but I got the itch to do something in the kitchen so decided to produce some more ice cream.
After realising we were about to waste some bananas that tend to over ripen really quickly in the heat I decided on making banana and walnut ice cream and by popular demand from my friends on the BBC Food website,a honey flavoured ice cream.

Here they are in all their glory but I can't comment on their flavours as they've only been in the freezer for an hour and a half.

Thursday, 25 June 2009

...AND THE NEXT.....

Can you see the common denominator yet?

Today started with me trying to decide primarily what to cook for my son Leo and myself.
It's sad to say but the wife Tracey as gorgeous as she is comes 2nd cos she's happy with reconstituted frozen rubbish that you buy in supermarkets

Anyway I decided to defrost some steak and kidney and make the obvious Steak and Kidney Pie.
In order to do a pudding using suet pastry I would've of course needed some suet which,not only did I not have,but I've never used.
As it happens I didn't even have any lard so I started a thread on the BBC Messageboard asking for pastry recipes using oil and a substitute shortening.
A good friend of mine Lesley found a recipe and I decided to go with it.When I'd finished it I found it was one of the easiest pastry consistencies I'd ever used. I'll definately use the same recipe again and here it is:-

Ingredients: 1 cup self raising flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large egg, beaten
2-3 tblspns water

I used my food processor to make it by firstly adding the flour to the salt and just pulsing it.
Then it was as simple as adding the egg and olive oil and putting the machine on medium speed and adding a little water a tablespoon at a time until it came together into a ball of dough.
The recipe suggested resting it in the fridge for 30 minutes but I went straight on rolling it out.
This was the perfect amount for 2 small pies in ramekins that measure 4" diameter and 2" deep.

I had;-
280g of cubed steak
196g pork kidney
½ red onion finely diced
3-4fl oz gravy

I fried off the onion in a little butter and olive oil until soft and then put them to one side.I then tossed the steak and kidney in seasoned flour and again sealed in hot oil and butter.
It was then a simple matter of lining the ramekins with the pastry and filling them with the onion,steak and kidney mix.
I then poured the gravy on top and place the pastry on top,sealed it,brushed it with milk and cut an air hole in the top.
I placed into a hot oven(220°C)for 20-25 minutes until a nice golden brown.

I forgot to mention a product that I've recently become aware of thanks to my good friend Melissa who bakes better than I do that I'm not sure I could do without now.
It's Wiltons Cake Release and it's brilliant.

In case Melissa ever reads this she ought to know that I'm aspiring to bake better than her.

Can you guess fro the photo which is the mass produced frozen vegetable pie.


About Me

My photo
I'm 42 and married to Tracey with a gorgeous 23 month old son called Leo who's named after my late Father.I have two great daughters from a previous marriage called Laurenne who's 14 and Danielle who's 13 and they live with their mum in Scunthorpe which is 160 miles away.I don't see the girls as often as I'd like but that's down to financial restraints as much as anything.