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.

Sunday, 21 June 2009

...time to experiment.

Well like most things,hindsight is 20/20.I decided that after eating a rather over peppered Ginsters Cornish Pasty that I could expand on it and hopefully improve things.
We all have opinions anyway.

After some thought on the matter,running through flavours in my mind of matches that were made long before I walked the planet,I eventually decided on doing some Chicken and mushroom pasties with a twist.

I decided that although Traditional Cornish Pasties had no sauce,the chicken would need something to stop it drying out. The outcome was as follows...a chicken and mushroom pasty with a tarragon flavoured bechamel sauce and here's the recipe I devised along with a picture.I made some small ones especially for my young son.

1 large chicken fillet
A couple of shallots-finely diced
2oz swede-diced
A small potato-diced
3oz finely sliced mushrooms

and for the sauce....
2oz butter
2oz plain flour
¼ pint milk
4-5 tarragon leaves finely chopped
1 beaten egg

For the pastry I used:
8oz plain flour
4oz butter-diced
1 egg to bind
Pinch of salt

1) Dice the chicken and seal in hot oil and transfer to a bowl with some salt and pepper in.
2) Add the potato,swede,mushroom and onion.
3) Make the bechamel by melting the butter and adding the flour and whisking continuously for a few minutes to cook out the flour.Then add the milk and carry on whisking.
4) The sauce will start to thicken up after a few minutes and at this point add the tarragon.
5) Pour onto the pasty mix and incorporate well.
6) Sieve the flour into a bowl,add the butter and rub in til it looks like breadcrumbs and then add beaten egg slowly.Just add enough to bring the dough together and save the rest for eggwash later.Rest it for ½ hour in the fridge then roll out to 5mm/¼" thick.
7) I used a small plate with a diameter of 8"/20cms.
8) This amount of filling should be enough for 5 pasties.
9)Pile up some filling in the centre of each circle and brush some beaten egg around the edge.
10) Fold over and either press down to seal.If you're more proficient that I you can try and crimp the edges.
11) Eggwash each pasty.
12) Place each pasty on a lightly oiled baking tray and place in a preheated oven for 30/40 minutes.

Enjoy.I did.

Monday, 15 June 2009


I promised my wife recently that I'd have a go at Simon Rimmer's Jaffa Cakes as seen on Something For The Weekend a couple of weeks ago.

As per usual I managed to get ahead of myself and had the chocolate melting in the pan way before I'd even made the jelly.

Ther recipe suggested that it was for 12 Jaffa Cakes using a 12 space muffin tin.
Mine is only a 6er so I made 6 big ones and some small ones using using a mince pie tin.

The first stage was basic enough but I ran into complications later on about what could I use as a template for cutting out jelly rounds of 3 and 4cm diameter.

In the end I opted for a Highland Spring water bottle top for the 3cm and the top off my sons bubbles container which is exactly 4cm diameter.

In the end I managed to save the chocolate by adding a small knob of butter and a little drizzle of single cream.

I only had enough chocolate for 5 large and 6 small jaffa's so I had to melt two triangles of Toblerone in the microwave just to cover the odd one.

See for yourself the results minus the obvious tastings which diminish the numbers slightly.

Saturday, 6 June 2009


Good day one and all.I've been checking out one of my favourite 'hang outs'-The BBC Food Website...and in particular the messageboard which I guess is a Stone Age version of a chatroom about food.

After chatting to various friends and replying to previous posts I decided on a tried and tested recipe of Sue L's and it's Chocolate Brownies

Not for the faint hearted or people watching their waistline.

Here is the recipe with kind permission of Sue. Try it and it'll change your life.

The photo's you see above are of the brownie slab turned out to cool.Then turned over and then sliced and presented.
My wife now want's a divorce on the grounds that "I'm making her fat!"

Chocolate Brownies(Sue L’s)

200 grams butter
200 grams plain chocolate
600 grams caster sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 eggs -- large
250 grams plain flour
4 tablespoons cocoa

Preheat oven to 180C, Gas 4
Prepare a small rectangular roasting tin or oven proof dish approximately 8 x 12" (20x30cm)
Melt the butter and chocolate over a pan of simmering water. Cool slightly.
Stir in the sugar and vanilla.
Add the eggs, one at a time, stirring until well blended each time.
Add the flour and cocoa and beat for about 1 minute, until smooth.
Pour into prepared tin, and bake for about 40 - 50 minutes. The mixture needs to be just cooked, so start testing with a cocktail stick at about 35 minutes - it should have moist crumbs, but not wet batter, still clinging to it.
Cool in tin until cool enough to handle, then turn out and leave until completely cold before cutting into squares.
I cut this size into 24 pieces (8 x 3), but it could easily make 32 smaller pieces (8 x 4) as it is very rich.

NOTES : Use the best chocolate you have; 40 - 50% cocoa solids makes great brownies, but 70% cocoa make superb ones!
You can use unrefined brown sugar, even muscovado, for that extra bite.
Strong flour can be used for extra chewiness.

Thursday, 4 June 2009


I've received some relatively good news about my back.
I had an appointment with the pain clinic doctor on the 28th May which was the follow up from the epidural that I had on February 27th.
He asked how I was and I basically threw half a carrier bag full of medication on his desk and said how the hell do you think I am?

Any way he could see how much pain i was in so the first thing he did was write me a prescription for Morphine and then said he would get me an urgent MRI scan.This was around 2.30pm on Thursday.
True to his word I arrived back from the hospital at 3.15pm and my phone was ringing at 4.00pm asking if I could get to the hospital the next afternoon for an MRI.

As I've said I got the results and it appears I have a prominent disc bulge and a tear in the disc.I neglected to ask if this was separate discs or not but when he said I could be treated without major surgery I was happy.

I've got to go to Coventry for a procedure called an I.D.E.T which is a less complicated way of saying INTRADISCAL ELECTROTHERMAL THERAPY.

With this news and the 100mgs of morphine still fresh in my mind I felt the need to cook something.
As I've said before I do like to try things that I haven't tried before and today was no exception.
When a schoolboy some of my dinner money used to go towards a packet of Garibaldi Biscuits which I loved.My schoolfriends used to call them Squashed Flies.
I found a Marcus Wareing recipe and decided to give it a go.
As you can see by the photo's they turned out great and taste just like i remember them.

Monday, 1 June 2009


I managed to keep out of the kitchen for most of the day which would've pleased my wife.
Every time she comes in through the front door from work she's worried what will be the next thing to add inches to her perfect waistline.

I managed ok til around 3.20pm when I was overtaken by the urge to cook something.
I knew it was imminent as I had to put a meal together for my wife ,son and myself.

I decided on a shop bought steak and kidney pie with some mashed potatoes and minted French beans.

My wife walked in through the front door at 4.22p.m which is over an hour early.
She shouts through to the kitchen.."Oh god,now what?"

In she came to find me cutting out and placing fruit scones onto two baking sheets.

The recipe I used is quite a straightforward one.

8oz/225g Plain Flour
1½ Teaspoons of Bicarbonate of Soda
2oz/50g Butter
1 oz/25g Sugar
2oz/50g Sultanas
Approximately 2-3 Fl oz milk .

1) Sift together the flour and bicarb together into a bowl.
2) Cut the butter up into small cubes and add to the flour and rub in with your fingertips.
3) When it's fully incorporated slowly add enough milk to allow the dough to come together to form a ball.
4) On a floured surface roll out to about ½ inch thick(1½cm).
5) Cut into fluted rounds and place onto a baking sheet.
6) Brush with milk or beaten egg and bake in a fairly hot oven for 15 minutes or until light brown in colour.


Following on from Miss Agedashi's great recipe I was asked by a friend if I could adapt/change it just for him?
He loves his fudge but he liked it grainier and sweeter if that was possible.
In the end I decided on the sugar being half an half (caster and granulated),I was only using condensed milk and as her recipe states...I stirred it for longer as it cooled.
When my friend tasted it ,the only way I could describe the look on his face was 'It looked like he'd been sat in an opium den .'

The type that you used to see on the news in China etc.
My friend is a Northerner through and through he insists and he asked me if I made Eccles Cakes?

I replied not only have I never made them but I've never tasted one. I guess that could be a future project.

Wednesday, 27 May 2009


Today the postman arrived bright and early with my new gadget. A Sugar thermometer that I bought from Amazon.

A bought it with the intention of making some homemade Vanilla Fudge.

I had a recipe that's been recommended by a fellow foodie off the BBC Food Messageboard and it's by a lady known as Miss Agedashi and here it is:-

Vanilla Fudge –Miss Agedashi.

1lb/450g granulated sugar
4oz/125g butter
1/2 pint of milk/condensed milk (I used 1/8 pint condensed and made it up to 1/2 pint with milk - if you're using less than 1/4 pint condensed, add more sugar at your discretion to make up the sugar content)
seeds from half a vanilla pod

Butter a tin about 6 x 8in/15 x 20cm and line it with baking parchment. Put all the ingredients together in a pan, and stir over a low heat until the sugar and butter have dissolved.

Bring to quite a fast boil, and continue cooking until it reaches 116C on a sugar thermometer. If no sugar thermometer, boil for about 20 minutes STIRRING CONSTANTLY, until the colour changes from a creamy colour to a light brown (squirrel?!). Take care not to burn, it's easily done.

When it reaches the correct temperature/colour/soft ball stage, remove from the heat and leave to cool for a couple of minutes. Then start stirring vigorously for about five minutes, or until the gloss is going, it's getting thick and going flaky around the sides of the bowl. The longer you beat the cooling fudge the grainier/harder the texture will be.

Pour quickly into the lined tin and leave to set. As it cools, cut into squares with a sharp knife.

My only regrets are that I should've used a bigger saucepan to allow me to stir it easier and next time I'll wait til it's cooled completely before cutiing it up as it stuck to the knife while it was still warm.

You live and learn.

Friday, 22 May 2009

A DAY OF REST...not likely

I had a dreadful night's sleep last night and eventually got up just after 9.00am.
The plan was to check e-mails as we're still looking for somewhere else to live.

The phone rings and it's a wrong number.

I get an e-mail from my wife Tracey reminding me that I said I would make something a bit healthier that she could eat.Funnily enough The Lardy Cakes and sticky chicken aren't acceptable to my vegetarian wife.

With her thoughts in mind I decided on Simon Rimmers Bakewell Tart using this recipe which can be found on the BBC Food website.I'll post 3 photo's.One still in the tin which was a challenge on it's own cos i didn't have the correct tin.The second out of the tin and the third iced.

For the pastry
300g/10½oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
125g/4½oz unsalted butter
30g/1oz sugar
1 free-range egg, plus 1 extra, beaten, to glaze
2 tbsp milk, to bind (if needed)
For the filling
225g/8oz butter, softened
225g/8oz sugar
225g/8oz ground almonds
3 free-range eggs
1 lemon, finely grated zest only
50g/2oz plain flour
jar cherry jam
flaked almonds, for sprinkling

1. For the pastry, place the flour, butter, sugar and egg into a food processor and pulse to combine. If necessary, add a little milk to help bring the mixture together.
2. Turn the dough out onto a floured work surface and roll out until large enough to line a 26cm/10in tart tin. Carefully lift into the tin, then place into the fridge to chill for an hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
4. Fill the tart case with a sheet of greaseproof paper weighed down with baking beans or rice. Bake the tart case blind in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
5. Remove the paper and beans and brush the pastry all over with beaten egg. Return to the oven for a further five minutes, until golden-brown. Remove from the oven and turn the oven temperature down to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
6. For the filling, beat the butter and sugar together in a bowl until pale and fluffy.
7. Mix in the ground almonds, then crack in the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition - don't worry if the mixture begins to split, just add a little of the flour.
8. Fold in the lemon zest and the flour.
9. Spread some of the jam generously across the base of the pastry, leaving a 2.5cm/1in gap around the edge.
10. Spread the filling mixture over the jam and sprinkle over the flaked almonds.
11. Transfer to the oven and bake for 20 minutes, or until set and golden-brown. Allow to cool in the tin before serving in slices.

My wife decided she'd like it Iced like the small ones you can get but I think it looks so good without it I'll take two photo's so you can decide.

Wednesday, 20 May 2009


Today was a day surfing the internet for somewhere to live as we've been given notice where we are.
After several dead ends and numerous e-mails i decided to opt for a rest in the kitchen.

Sticky Chicken wings is a simple recipe that I adapted from a good friend of mine.Her recipe was for salt and pepper chicken wings and although it was very nice I decided that I needed more depth of flavour.

Here's the recipe:-STICKY WINGS.

2 tablespoons Maldon Salt
4 Cloves of Garlic
1 Onion-roughly chopped
1” Root Ginger
2 tablespoons Muscovado Sugar
2 tablespoons pink or white peppercorns
60ml Olive Oil
2 tablespoons Lemon Juice
1 kg Chicken Wings

Makes approx 20,depending on the size of the wings

For this you’ll find a small food processor is great.Just put all off the ingredients in together and blitz for about 30 seconds and place into a resealable bag. Add the chicken wings and mix them up in the marinade,seal the bag and put in the fridge overnight or for upto 2 days.
Preheat the oven to Gas 7/220oC.Let the chicken come to room temperature and pour the wings with the marinade into a shallow roasting dish and spread them out. Roast for about 40 minutes,turning them half way through cooking.

Serve with napkins.(Believe me you’ll need them).

Sunday, 17 May 2009


Today being Sunday is probably my favourite day of the week.A traditional Sunday roast is hard to beat in my opinion.
So nothing changes there as today it's Roast Pork with all the trimmings.
I'll save you the bother of looking at a photo because they're all pretty much the same to look at.
Today however I'm attempting something that I have fond childhood memories of...
I'm using this recipe which I got from the Independent on line:-
Lardy cake
650g strong white-bread flour
2tsp salt
1tsp caster sugar, plus more to sprinkle
7g sachet of easy-bake yeast
400ml warm water
200g lard, softened
50g butter, softened
200g mixed dried fruit
75g mixed peel
200g granulated sugar
In a warm mixing bowl, mix the flour, salt, sugar and yeast. Add the warm water and mix to a soft dough. Knead the dough by stretching and folding it for about 10 minutes on a lightly floured surface.
Mix the lard, butter, fruit, peel and granulated sugar together and divide into three parts. On a lightly floured table, roll out the bread dough into a rectangular shape roughly three times as long as it is wide and spread two-thirds of its length with one batch (a third) of the lard mixture, then fold both long ends of the dough into the centre and firmly press the edges with your fingers or the rolling pin. Repeat this process twice more, using up the lard mixture. Put the dough into a shallow roasting or baking tin with enough room for it to rise again. Leave to prove again in a warm place for about 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 190ºC (fan-oven 170ºC)/375ºF (fan-assisted 340ºF)/ gas mark 5. Bake the lardy cake for about 45 minutes. Turn it out upside-down on to another tray or large dish and leave to cool a little. Sprinkle the cake generously with caster sugar. The lardy cake is best served warm, cut into generous squares, just as it is.

Friday, 15 May 2009

Today starts much the same as the rest. Struggle down the stairs munch on the painkillers and the other stuff,make a cup of hot tea and decide what to cook today to relieve the monotony of back pain.

I've decided that yesterdays bread although very nice wasn't particularly good to look at so another effort was required.

While waiting on the dough to prove I decided to experiment with some Orange and Walnut Muffins and this is the recipe i threw together.

200g/8oz Self Raising Flour
1 tspn Baking Powder
75g/3oz Caster Sugar
1 Orange(Zested and segmented)
1 Large Free Range Egg
100ml/3½ fl oz Milk
Small handful of roughly chopped walnuts

1)Preheat the oven to 220oC/425oF/Gas Mark 7.
2)Place all the ingredients except the orange and walnuts in a bowl and combine together using a whisk.
3)When everything is well incorporporated together slice the orange segments in half and stir into the mix gently.
4)Stir in the walnuts and transfer into paper Muffin cases which should be sat in your tins.
5)Sprinkle each with a little orange zest and place into the oven for approx' 15 minutes or until risen and golden.
6)Remove and place on a cooling rack.


Thursday, 14 May 2009


The day started with a mild panic once the painkillers had taken hold.
We had all but two slices, run out of bread.
I thought what the hell,it's not like I'm going anywhere or doing anything all day so into the kitchen I went.While waiting for the dough to prove I was able to make the Oatmeal Biscuits as shown above.

Anyway here's the bread.I didn't get a very good rise like I normally do.


...I woke up with the same agonising back pain and wondering what I could do to take my mind if it.
I decided on making a loaf of bread and doing some oatmeal biscuits.

5 oz Self Raising Flour,
5 oz Oatmeal,
Pinch of Salt,
3 oz Butter
3 oz Caster Sugar
Milk to mix.

1)Preheat the oven to 180oC/350F/Gas 4 and grease some baking trays/sheets.
2)Mix the dry ingredients and rub in the butter.
3)Add sufficient milk to bring the mix to a stiff dough.
4)Roll out thinly and cut into 7.5cm(3 inch) rounds.
5)Place on the baking trays and bake for about 15 minutes.

Wednesday, 13 May 2009


While the Muffins were in the oven for some reason I still had the urge to create something else and decided on some Choux pastry with which to make some Chocolate Eclairs which my wife adores.

And here they are filled with whipped cream and decadent.

The recipe I used is one from Simon Rimmer which is:-


For the eclairs
150g/6oz Butter
225ml/8fl oz water
225g/8oz plain flour,plus extra for dusting
6 free range eggs
pinch of salt
300ml double cream

For the sauce
100g/4oz Caster Sugar
100ml/4fl oz water
50g/2oz dark chocolate(broken up)
25g/1 oz butter

1) For the eclairs,place the butter and water into a pan and bring upto the boil.
2) Once the butter has melted take the pan off the heat and tip in all the flour.Beat well with a wooden spoon until the mixture comes away from the sides of the pan.
3) Beat in the eggs one at a time until fully incorporated.Stir in the salt.
4) Transfer the mixture into a piping bag and allow to cool for a few minutes.Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/Gas Mark6.
5) Pipe about 6 to 8 lengths of pastry onto a floured baking sheet.The pastry will double in size as it cooks,so give them plenty of space to expand on the baking sheet.
6) Transfer to the oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until they're golden and firm.
7) Remove from the oven and make a small slit in the sides of the eclairs to allow the steam out of them.
8) In a bowl whip the cream til it forms stiff peaks.
9) You now have a choice between slicing the eclairs and filling with cream or as I did make a small hole in one end and pipe it in.
10) For the chocolate sauce place the sugar and water into a pan and heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.Bring to the boil and boil for 4-5 minutes,or until it thickens.Take the pan off the heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
11) Add the chocolate and butter to the pan and stir well until the chocolate has melted.Allow to cool,stirring occasionally.When the sauce has has cooled and thickened,spread it on top of the eclairs and serve.


Well the day had to come for the Christening of my Mixer and that was earlier.

I opted for some Blueberry Muffins and as I've only 1 muffin tin I had to do them in 2 batches through the oven.

I was a little disappointed with the overall look as they didn't rise as much as my chocolate ones did and they've got one hell of a grip on the Muffin cases.

Tuesday, 12 May 2009

Tomorrow's choices .......

Well I have some decision to make because my friends on the BBC Food board have suggested either Pavlova,Bread or Muffins again.A friend of mine has also asked me to make some Kolaczki which is a Polish dessert.

Whatever i decide to do I'll post piccies and keep you informed.


My latest acquisition for the kitchen is a new 'Breville SHM2 Platinum Pro H' compact mixer.It came with two pairs of beaters and two dough hooks.
It's a lovely small machine with a 5 speed settings and even a boost if required.

Decisions,decisions....what do I use it for 1st.

Answers on a postcard/comment/e-mail please.

The most replies will be the thing I attempt.
Now I've done it......I could get anything now.

Sunday, 10 May 2009


Today we're opting for our main meal to be this evening instead of the usual lunchtime.
The main reason is my wife would like to have a couple of drinks this afternoon as she's not been out of the house this week apart from going to work.
While we're out I'll have some roast potatoes on the go to accompany my pancetta wrapped rolled turkey breast.
My wife being a veggie will have a nut cutlet as her main part which will be accompanied by the aforementioned potatoes,boiled mashed swede,steamed peas,carrots,sweetcorn and yorkshire puddings and sadly...veggie gravy.

Saturday, 9 May 2009

...AND THE NEXT.....

Well today is another day and messing about in the kitchen takes my mind off the pain I've got.Trawling through some kitchen porn(cookbooks) and I've decided more bread is required.I'm going to try to make some Garlic and Rosemary Focaccia.

I'll be using this recipe from Katie and Giancarlo Caldesi which I got off the BBC Food Website.My reasoning's Italian Bread so it makes sense to try an Italians recipe.

300ml/½ pint tepid water
1½ tsp dried yeast or 2 heaped tsp fresh yeast
500g/1lb 2oz '00' flour or strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
1½ tsp salt
3 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing
extra virgin olive oil, for drizzling
medium coarse sea salt
2 sprigs rosemary, torn into small pieces

1. Pour a little of the tepid water into a small bowl. Add the yeast and blend using your fingers. Leave the yeast for five minutes to soften and dissolve.
2. Mix the flour and salt together in a large mixing bowl. You may like to transfer your mixture to a pastry board or other flat work surface at this stage and prepare the dough there, in traditional Tuscan style. Otherwise, mix the dough in the bowl.
3. Make a well in the centre of the flour and salt mixture. Pour the blended yeast and water into the well along with the olive oil. Mix thoroughly. Gradually add the rest of the tepid water until a sticky dough is formed.
4. Transfer the dough onto a floured surface. Gather any stray pieces. Knead the dough for about 10 minutes, adding a little extra flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic and the dough no longer sticks to your hand. To see if it is ready, you can carry out the stretch test: pull off a piece of dough, it should be elastic enough not to break quickly when stretched out.
5. Next accumulate any stray ends and rough sections by 'chafing' your ball of dough. Hold it and curve your hands around it, use your palms to pull at its sides gently while you slowly rotate it, letting your little fingers meet underneath. Do this for five minutes. You should be left with a neat, smooth ball.
6. Oil a bowl and place the dough inside and cover with either oiled cling film or a damp tea towel. Leave in a warm place to rise until doubled in size - about 1½ hours depending on the room temperature.
7. Use your fist to knock it back, then knead it again for a further two minutes.
Leave to rest again, but only for 5-10 minutes.
8. Shape by placing into a shallow baking tray, using your hands to spread it out to a depth of about 1.5cm/¾in, then allow to rise again, covered with a tea towel, until doubled in size - this will take about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
9. Create a dimpled effect by repeatedly pushing your fingertips gently into the surface of the dough. Drizzle a generous amount of extra virgin olive oil evenly over the dough. Sprinkle over the sea salt and push the small pieces of rosemary into the dough.
10. Bake for 25-35 minutes or until the top is crusty and cooked through to the base. Serve.

In the end I opted to split the dough in two.
I've made a Garlic and Onion one and a Rosemary one.

With my wife being not only my guinea pig but also my critic I was pleased when she agreed both were really tasty and the consistency was lovely.

Friday, 8 May 2009


Well today I was looking for something to cook/bake that I haven't tried before.
Irish Soda Bread seemed like a good idea but then whilst making it I suddenly thought...............

'How am I going to know if it's any good as I've never even tasted it before?'

The recipe I used is a James Martin Recipe from the BBC Food Website.

Again whilst making it I hit another problem.I had no buttermilk and no assess to any so it was time to improvise and make a substitute.

I used instead of buttermilk I used 1/2 pint of milk with the juice of half a lemon in it and left it for 20 minutes.

The recipe is as follows with the substitute added:

170g/6oz self-raising wholemeal flour
170g/6oz plain flour
½ tsp salt
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
290ml/½ pint buttermilk

1.Preheat the oven to 400F/200C/Gas 6.
2. Tip the flours, salt and bicarbonate of soda into a large mixing bowl and stir.
3. Make a well in the centre and pour in the buttermilk, mixing quickly with a large fork to form a soft dough. (Depending upon the absorbency of the flour, you may need to add a little milk if the dough seems too stiff but it should not be too wet or sticky.)
4.Turn onto a lightly floured surface and knead briefly.
5. Form into a round and flatten the dough slightly before placing on a lightly floured baking sheet.
6. Cut a cross on the top and bake for about 30 minutes or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Cool on a wire rack.

and I've put 3 pictures on here so you can see how it turned out.


About Me

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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.