Friday, 25 November 2011

Haggis and Acorn Squash Risotto

I shouldn't call it "risotto".  It's made with spanish paella rice instead of arborio or carnaroli. Nor did I use white wine, but english cider. I've also recently developed an aversion towards parmesan so I used manchego cheese, not to mention that I put haggis on top, but the cooking method is like a risotto so I suppose I can still use the name.

Don't give me that look. It really works, is amazing how versatile haggis can be! In fact, while we were eating this, we arrived at the conclusion that haggis is like bacon or ham, it goes well with everything.

Yes, it doesn't look that great on the plate, but it was rich, full of flavour and the squash worked really well with the salty spiciness of the haggis.

Here is how I made it (for 2)

120g short-grained rice
1/2 an acorn squash diced small
1/2 a leek finely chopped
1/2 an onion finely chopped
1 garlic clove finely chopped
1 1/2 litres of chicken stock
1 splash of cider
Grated Manchego cheese
Olive oil
A small knob of butter
Salt and black pepper
1 packet of sliced haggis

Bring the stock to a simmer in a saucepan. Put the olive oil in a separate large pan, add the onion, garlic and leek and cook very gently until soft. Now we can put the squash in. Cook altogether for about 15 minutes. Add the rice and turn up the heat, keep it moving.

In the meantime heat up your haggis in a pan.

Pour in the cider and keep stirring until it has evaporated. Add the stock to the rice a ladle at a time, stirring and waiting until it has been fully absorbed before adding the next. Continue to add ladlefuls of stock until it has all been absorbed. With this type of rice it takes about 25 minutes.

Turn off the heat, season well and add the butter and a handful of grated cheese stirring until it's all well mixed. Serve with the haggis on top.


Monday, 14 November 2011


I've got a lack of cooking mojo lately. I cook everyday, mostly simple things and when I cook something different I'm not entirely happy with the result so I don't publish it. I guess it's just a phase.

Good job that the people from La recepta del 15  always motivate me to try something new.  Their proposal for this month is bread.

After a few failed attempts I've chosen the fougasse. Traditionally, fougasse was used to assess the temperature of a wood fired oven. The time it would take to bake gives an idea of the oven temperature and whether the rest of the bread can be loaded.

It's quite simple to make although it takes time and practice to shape it nicely. I've got the time but, not the practice.

See, the onion one was the first one I made, the cherry tomato one looks nicer.

Here is how I made it (Richard Bertinet's recipe).

250g strong bread flour
175ml water
2.5g dry yeast
5g  sea salt

Toppings of your liking although I'm going to make them plain next time.

Makes 2
  • Preheat oven to its highest level.
  • Mix in the  yeast. Add the remaining ingredients and the water. Mix for a couple of minutes until the dough starts to form.
  • Transfer the dough onto your working surface. Continue to mix the ingredients by stretching out the dough and folding it over onto itself.
  • Keep working the dough until it comes cleanly away from the work surface and is not sticky.
  • Lightly flour the work surface, place the dough on the flour and form the dough into a ball.
  • Place the dough into a mixing bowl and cover with a tea towel.
  • Rest the dough for a minimum of an hour. Turn out gently onto a well-floured surface. Be careful not to deflate. Generously flour the top of the dough, cover with a clean tea towel and rest for five minutes.
  • Using a plastic scraper (or a thin wooden spatula), divide the dough into two triangles.
  • Make 1 large diagonal cut in each piece of dough, making sure you cut right through to the work surface but not through to the corners.
  • Make 2 smaller diagonal cuts on each side of the central one. Gently open out the holes with your fingers and shake off the excess flour. Add the toppings at this point if using.
  • Lift onto a lightly floured baking tray and slide onto the hot baking stone or tray in your oven. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until golden brown.

Sunday, 23 October 2011

14th of October - Chocolate tart

We went back to Spain last week. I wanted to celebrate my birthday with my family and it was going to be my last chance to see my sister with the bump before she delivered the baby.

We stayed just a few days and were very busy trying to see everybody. I didn't spend too much time with my sister, although she supposed to be due on the 7th of November, she started to feel Braxton-Hicks contractions so she wasn't feeling too well, but at least we'd get to have dinner all together at my parents' for my birthday!

My father and my sister have to be very careful with their sugar intake, they don't need medication, just to be careful with what they eat so I decided to make this dark chocolate tart, Jamie Oliver's recipe, but with fructose instead of sugar.

At nine o'clock that evening, we got a phone call from my brother-in-law telling us that my sister's waters had broken and he would keep us updated! My first reaction was to get quite upset. I was convinced that she would be twenty hours in labor and I wouldn't get to see either my sister or the baby as we were getting our flight back the afternoon after.

After an hour or so we got another phone call. Things were moving forward so they were taking her to the delivery room. Well, we couldn't do anything else, you never know how long these things are going to be, so we started dinner. After all, my parents live five minutes from the hospital!

Baby Emma arrived at 23:45 that night, the fastest delivery in history and the same day as her auntie Irma! I like to think that she wanted to meet me before I returned to Edinburgh.

She's tiny, super cute and I'm very happy she was born on the same day as me!

Here you have the chocolate tart recipe. I had to freeze half of the base dough, use half of the quantities or make two tarts!
325g unsalted butter
110 g fructose or 225g caster sugar
a pinch of salt
565g plain flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
3 large free range or organic eggs
65g cocoa powder
Optional.... zest of 1 orange

200ml milk
1/2 tube creme fraiche
30 g fructose or 65gr caster sugar
350g best quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken up
2 large free range eggs

First you will need to grease a loose-bottomed 28cm/11in tart tin with a little of our butter.
To make the pastry, cream together the butter, fructose and salt, then fold in the flour, orange zest (if using), eggs and cocoa powder.
When the mixture looks like coarse breadcrumbs, gently work it together until you have a ball of dough, then lightly flour it. Don't work the pastry too much, otherwise it will become elastic and chewy, not crumbly and short. Wrap the dough in cling film and put it in the fridge for at least an hour. Remove it from the fridge, roll out and line your tart tin with it and put it in the freezer for half an hour.

Preheat the oven to 180degC and bake the pastry case "BLIND" for around 12-15min or until its firm and almost biscuit like. Remove from the oven and turn the oven down to 170degC.

Meanwhile.... to make the choc filling, put the milk, cream and fructose into a saucepan and slowly bring to the boil, stirring gently. Take off the heat and add the broken chocolate, whisking until smooth, then add eggs and whisk again. Pour the filling into a jug. Put the pastry case back in the oven, carefully pull out the shelf and pour in the filling. Push the shelf back in and bake for 15min. It is cooked when the filling still has a slight wobble to it - remember it will keep firming up a little as it cools down.

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Escalope Sandwich

This month the lovely ladies from Film & Food have asked us to recreate a recipe that brings back childhood memories.

It hasn't been easy to choose just one. Fricandó (Catalan sort of stew), my Mom's rice, my Dad's fish stew, pasta... These were some of my favourite dishes. Any day we were having these dishes was a great one for me.

I've chosen escalope sandwiches because to me it tastes of holidays, trips, games and adventures. It's what my Mom used to prepare me for school trips.

I really enjoy eating it, but it has never been quite the same. The sandwich tasted nicer when I was little, maybe because I used to eat it outdoors or maybe because after a few hours "sweating" in my rucksack the flavours infused.

They weren't always made with llonguet rolls, but llonguets is a Catalan type of bread which is disappearing these days. When I was little you could find them everywhere and they were delicious!

Doing some research I found this recipe from Ma Petite Boulangerie, I made exactly what she says, she explains it very well and even has videos! Please, forgive me for not translating the whole bread making process. It's really hard work to keep up with the two blogs, the English and the Catalan one, but please, don't hesitate to contact me if you ever want to make llonguets, I'll email you all the details.

Escalope Sandwich

1 turkey breast fillet
1 egg whisked
Bread crumbs

Well, this part is easy. Some salt on the fillets, soak it in the egg, coat it with the bread crumbs and then pan fry until golden and cooked through. Eat with the rolls.

Sunday, 25 September 2011

Scottish Oatcakes

 I've made this recipe thinking about Stilton, I made this other recipe thinking about Stilton too... Yes, I think a lot about stinky cheese, I'm that type of person.

Store bought oatcakes are not bad, nothing special, just a thin, crispy vehicle for your cheese, your paté or whatever you like to eat with them. Homemade oatcakes have more bite, they are chewier, buttery, flavoursome and they look much nicer!

They are surprisingly straightforward to do. There's no kneading, no proving. Just mix all the ingredients until it comes together into a dough.

Stilton, I love youuuuuu

Recipe adapted from Delicious Magazine

60g Self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
125 gr oatmeal
50g cold, unsalted butter, cubed
2tbsp milk

Preheat the oven to 180C.

Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda, and a pinch of salt into a bowl. Mix in the oatmeal, then rub the butter.

Gradually stir in the milk and 60 ml cold water. Form into a ball of dough.

Halve the mixture. With floured hands, roll each section in turn into a cylinder measuring about 7cm long and 5cm in diameter.

Lay on a floured surface and with a knife slice into 0.5cm thick rounds. Pat them flatter with your hands.

Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden. Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Salmon with pomegranate molasses glaze

Pomegranate molasses is a thick, sour fruit syrup, which is used widely in Middle Eastern cookery particularly in Lebanese and Iranian food, where it's added to dishes to add depth of flavour or as a dressing.

 I'd been looking for pomegranate molasses for ages, but I couldn't find it, then the other day I came across with this post on my reader list.

A-ha! A homemade pomegranate molasses recipe! Really easy to make, just get yourself some good 100% pomegranate juice, sugar and lemon juice and the best part is that it keeps in the fridge for up to 6 months.

This is my first recipe with the molasses. A speedy, healthy, delicious, glazed salmon.

Pomegranate molasses

1 litre of 100% pomegranate juice
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/2 cup sugar

Place all the ingredients in a sauce pot (large surface area speeds up the reduction) and simmer at a  gentle boil.  It took me 1 hour before it was reduced down to 1 1/2 to 1 cup or thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, but it will depend on the size of your pot.  It should be a syrup consistency.  Remember when it cools it will become thicker. 

Glazed salmon

2 salmon fillets,
3 tbsp pomegranate molasses
Extra virgin olive oil
Lemon juice (from 1/2 a large lemon)
Salt & pepper

Put all the marinade ingredients in a bowl and mix them together.

Brush the marinade onto the fillet slices and marinate for 10-15 minutes.

Bake in a pre heated oven at 200°C for 5 minutes.  Then turn the grill on and increase the temperature to 250°C and cook for another 5 minutes.

I served with some peas and roasted cauliflower.


Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Messing with the national dish

I've made an awesome dinner and I took very crappy photos.

Dear fellow bloggers, what's your secret to take such pretty photos if it's already dark, dinner is ready, you want to eat it while it still warm and you are hungry?

I'm going to show you the photos anyway. Can you guess what we've had?

Haggis burritos!!!!

 I love haggis neeps and tatties, we have them at least a couple of times a month. They are cheap, local and easy to put together. Pure comfort food, but sometimes it's fun to play with the classics.

I don't know if I have any purist Scotish readers, and I don't wish to offend anyone. After all the only elements missing are the tatties, with the difference that the swede is in chunky oven baked chips format and the haggis is wrapped in a homemade flour tortilla.

This is what I did:

I chopped the swede like this.

Then I coated the chips in olive oil and placed them on a baking tray in a single layer and well seasoned. I cooked them for 1 hour in a 200C oven. I turned them once during that time.

In the meantime I made a quick simple guacamole:

2 ripe avocados
6 cherry tomatoes
1 spring onion
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 pinch of chili powder
1 pinch of salt
1 tbsp lime juice

Well, you know, mash the avocado, chop the tomatoes, slice the spring onion and mix with the spices, juice and salt. Easy peasy.

Then I made the flour tortillas. These quantities are for 4 people. I only used half of the dough, the other half is in the freezer.

Recipe adapted from orangette. I've tried a lot of tortilla recipes, but this is the ONE :

 4 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
 1 ¼ tsp salt
6 Tbs sunflower oil
1 ¼ cup boiling water

In a large bowl, stir the flour and salt together with a whisk. Mix in the sunflower oil until the mixture resembles a coarse meal. Stir in enough boiling water (about 1 ¼ to 1 ½ cups) that the dough holds together; you will want to begin by stirring with a spoon, since the water is scorching hot, but you should finish by working the dough with your hands.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead until smooth for 2-5 minutes. Form the dough into a ball, cover it with plastic wrap, and allow it to rest for 30 minutes.

Set a skillet over a  medium heat. Place the ball of dough on a lightly floured surface, and cut it into 6 wedges. Cut each wedge into 2 smaller wedges. Use a rolling pin to roll out a wedge into a very thin circle—as thin as you can make it.

Maybe you are like me. I can't roll out my dough into a nice circular shape. It doesn't matter, it's going to taste delicious anyway.

When the skillet is hot, but not smoking, cook the tortilla until slightly puffed, about 20-30 seconds. Flip, then cook for 20-30 seconds more, or until flecked with golden or brown spots. Place on a cooling rack. Repeat the process with the other wedges.

When everything was ready I grated some cheese (Edam was what I had in the fridge) and prepared the haggis. It comes already cooked so the only thing I had to do was to put it in a hot pan for a couple of minutes.

And Ta-da!

Haggis burritos! Serve with the swede chips on the side. Trust me, it is really good!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Pork Tenderloin Escabeche


Escabeche is a cooking technique to preserve food. Actually it's a type of pickle. Here you have the Wikipedia link for further information.

In Spain it's very common during the summer. It keeps well in the fridge, the flavours improve with the days and you can serve it cold so it's a very convenient recipe.

Everything can be made in escabeche. This is the first time I've ever prepared it and I've chosen pork tenderloin. I don't know why, but I've always thought that would be something long and complicated to cook. Not at all, it's surprisingly easy to put together and it cooks in 30 minutes, the only thing is that you have to wait until the day after to eat it.

This is what you need for 2:

  • 500 gr. Pork tenderloin
  • 1 onion
  • 2 carrots
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 dl. cider vinegar
  • 2 dl. white wine
  • 2 dl. chicken stock
  • 3 dl. olive oil
  • Flour
  • Salt
  • 6 black peppercorns

  • Season the meat, coat them with flour and shake off the excess.
  • Put the oil in a not too high saucepan and on a medium heat seal the tenderloin until it's slightly golden. Set aside.
  • Turn the heat down and sauté the sliced onion, sliced carrots, sliced garlic, the bay leaf and the peppercorns.
  • When the vegetables are soft add the meat, the vinegar, wine and stock.
  • Cover your saucepan and cook on a low heat for 30 minutes, turning the tenderloin once.
  • Let it rest in the fridge at least 24 hours.

Slice it before serving, eat cold or slightly warmed in a low oven. Mine was a little dry, but after I warmed it a little bit it was perfect.

Wednesday, 31 August 2011

Our first IPA

Just in case you didn't know, we were making beer.

Look at this. Not too bad, eh?

Here you can see my arms reflected on the glass. I've never said I could take photos

Last Saturday was the oficial tasting day. Obviously we didn't wait until Saturday, but trust me it's better to wait.

As good adopted Edinburgers (or whatever you call the citizens of Edinburgh) our IPA of reference is Deuchars and it's not a reliable beer. I mean that you don't always get a good pint.

Although our IPA is slightly cloudy we haven't had a bad pint so far, even when it wasn't quite ready to drink, but yes, every pint is different. It's because the yeast settles in layers, or something like that.

Final veredict: Oh yes, we've made some good beer!

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Beef and Guinness Stew

Mental note: If I want to post about something I've cooked, I shouldn't wait a month to write about it.

Well, the thing is that I spent a few months in Dublin 10 years ago (OMG) and I didn't have any beef and Guinness stew, but I've always wanted to try it.

I know, it's August (July when I cooked the stew) and probably where you live is sunny and toasty and the last thing you want to eat in summer is a stew. But hey, I live in Scotland, these rules are not applied here.

I love cooking stews, well, actually I love to make anything that takes time to cook. It gives me a sense of achievement and satisfaction. Because let's face it, you can spend time, money and effort on things, but not always the results are what you expected.

One thing is sure, get a few veggies, some good stock, wine, beer or whatever liquid you fancy to cook with, a cheap cut of meat and cook it until it melts. For sure your house will be filled with wonderful aromas, and you will get chunks of meat tender like butter and that liquid will turn into the most amazing liquor that's warm and rich. Hundred per cent guaranteed.

I used feather steak. A cheap and ugly cut with unappetising connective tissue in the middle, but that means it is perfect for slow-cooking.

Recipe adapted from BBC GoodFood

  • 1 large onions, diced
  • a few thyme sprigs 
  • 1 garlic clove , crushed
  • olive oil
  • 500g braising steak , cut into chunks
  • 3 tbsp plain flour , well seasoned 
  • A handful of quarted mushrooms
  • 250ml Guinness
  • beef stock fresh, cube or concentrate made up to 125ml (I used fresh chicken stock)
  • parsley, choppe (I didn't have any)

  1. Cook the onions, thyme and garlic with a little olive oil in a large casserole until the onion is softened and translucent. Dust the braising steak in the seasoned flour and brown in a hot pan with a little oil.
  2. When the beef has a good, even colour, add it to the pan with the onions and pour in the Guinness. Top up with the stock to just cover the beef.
  3. Cover and simmer over a very low heat or transfer to a 150C oven for 2-3 hours until the beef is meltingly tender (check after 2 hours). When is half way cooked add the mushrooms.Season to taste and add some chopped parsley.

    Friday, 19 August 2011

    Pear Butter

    What do you do with 3kg of pears?

    Paul, obviously wanted to make pie and he made a sort of covered tart tatin. He firmly believes that pie must have pastry on top as well as the bottom.

    I wanted to do some kind of preserve, something we could eat either sweet or with savoury stuff, but easy enough since I'm a newbie in the world of canning.

    This are the pears left after the tatin

    So I googled "glut of pears" and found this recipe. Pear butter? It was the first time I came across with this term, but I liked the idea, spreadable pear! Not exactly jam or sauce, but maybe closer to what I know as a compote. And you can have it on toast or with some roasted meat.

    The pears were quite small and on the under ripe side, but they were starting to fall off the tree so we decided to harvest them before the wasps arrived.

    That's the recipe:

    • 1.5kg of hard pears (peeled, cored and sliced)
    • 2 cups of water  (you can always add more if the mixture gets dry)
    • Juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
    • Half a tsp of freshly grated nutmeg
    • 1 cup of white granulated sugar

    1. Put the sliced pears, lemon juice and water into a heavy bottomed saucepan and heat gently until the pears soften completely. Stir every now and then to stop the pears sticking. 
    2. Puree the soft pears.
    3. Add the lemon zest, sugar and nutmeg. Stir well and let the mixture thicken over a very low heat. When the mixture can be heaped on a teaspoon I poured it into hot sterilised jars and sealed them with plastic lined metal lids immediately. Process them in a hot water bath for ten minutes.
    You can play with the flavours and the spices!

    Tuesday, 16 August 2011

    We are making beer!!

    Yes we are, it's happening right now while I'm typing this. There's a 5 gallon barrel brewing in our garage and it's exciting!

    We started six days ago and it's going to be Indian Pale Ale.

    For those who are not familiar with the IPA, basically it's pale ale (made with less roasted malts) brewed for export to India and other places of the British Empire keeping this name nowadays.

    We had to sterilise this huge bucket and the rest of the equipment, the best place was the tub.

    Then we had to mix the hopped malt with the spray dried malt extract.

    We poured the mix into the big bucket, added 6 pints of boiling water and topped up with cold water to 5 gallons. Then we stirred in the yeast, put the lid on and left it for 6 days.

    We left it fermenting in the lounge. Yes, where we watch telly, so while we were there on the sofa the bucket was making all this bubbly, gurgley, farting little noises.

    Yesterday was the 6th day, so with the help of a siphon and very sophisticated logistics we transferred the brew from the bucket to the pressure barrel and added more malt extract.

    Now we have to wait 16 more days, and the beer hopefully will be clear and delicious.

    5 gallons = 23 litres = Lots of beer!!!

    Sunday, 14 August 2011

    Peach crumble pie

    A quick post to introduce my proposal for the  la recepta del 15 challenge. This month is all about peaches!

    I've chosen this recipe because it's so easy to prepare and I had all the ingredients in the kitchen. It's like a double crumble to put it in some way. Actually it reminds to a German Streusel.


    For the filling:

    3 diced peeled peaches
    2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    ¼ cup all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon cornstarch
    1 cup granulated sugar
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
    ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

    For the dough:

    3 cups all-purpose flour
    1 cup brown sugar
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    ¼ teaspoon salt
    1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
    1 cup cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
    1 egg, lightly beaten
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Cinnamon and sugar-for sprinkling on top

    1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with cooking spray and set aside.

    2. For the peach filling- place the diced peaches in a large bowl and sprinkle with lemon juice. Mix gently. In a separate bowl whisk together flour, cornstarch, sugar, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour over the peaches and carefully combine. Set aside.

    3. For the dough-in a large bowl whisk together the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Cut in the butter with a pastry blender until butter is mixed in, but you still have small chunks of butter. Mix the vanilla and egg together. Add into the flour and butter mixture and combine. The dough will be crumbly. Pat half of the dough into the prepared pan.

    4. Spread the peach mixture evenly over the bottom crust. Crumble the remaining dough over the peach layer. Sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.

    5. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack.

    El vam menjar tebi tal qual, però amb un bon gelat de vainilla ha de quedar un postr la mar de complet.

    Wednesday, 10 August 2011

    Pull apart garlic bread

    I read many food blogs, I listen to several podcasts, I'm on Pinterest and it's all about pull-a-part bread these days so I had to try it myself.

    Is a really fun bread to make although not the most straightforward one, it's like playing tetris with dough!

    But believe me it worth the effort. I made a garlic herby version, but it can be made with cheese, olives, cinnamon, nuts, chocolate, fruit... OK, I have to stop now, I'm starting to drool.

    Because of the layers, the crumb is incredible tender, moist, light and very addictive. Trust me it's seriously good!

    The lavender it's not relevant, but it's from the garden and it smells lovely.

    Recipe adapted from here

    4 cups all-purpose flour
    a pinch of salt
    2 tsp of dry yeast
    1 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
    1/2 cup of olive oil
    1 tsp of dry oregano
    1 tsp of dry basil
    5 grated garlic cloves
    A pinch of salt

    I know, it looks messy, but aren't they the best things in life?

    In your mixer bowl cream the yeast with a little milk. When the yeast has dissolved pour the rest of the milk.

    Slowly add the flour mixing until the dough comes clean from the sides of the bowl.  Place the dough into a greased bowl and leave to rest at room temperature until it doubles in volume.

    When risen divide it into 12 balls and flatten them. 

    To make the filling mix the grated garlic, olive oil, herbs and seasoning and brush over the flatten dough. Seal the pocket with a fork or with your fingers and place it in a greased loaf pan. Do the same with the rest.

    Leave again to rest at room temperature for 1/2 hour and bake in preheated oven, at 190C, for about 35-40 minutes.

    Leave to cool a little and get it out of the pan.

    Saturday, 6 August 2011


    And here we have another recipe I fell for when I arrived here. Actually what it made me fall in love was the smoked haddock.

    In Catalunya we don't use to smoke fish a lot, of course you can find smoked salmon in the grocery shops, but haddock... I don't even know how to translate it in Catalan. What we've got is salted cod and you know what? I think it might work! So if anybody there is brave enough to try, please let me know how it has turned out.

    It is believed that the dish was brought to the United Kingdom by returning British colonials who had enjoyed it in India and introduced it to the UK as a Breakfast dish in Victorian times, part of the then fashionable Anglo-Indian cuisine.

    As you can imagine that's too fishy/spicy for my taste as breakfast, but I love it for supper! There are a lot of variations, but here you have the one I made earlier this evening.

    Ingredients (adapted from The Good Cook:

    • 40g butter
    • 2 tsp garam masala 
    • 250g basmati rice
    • 1 bay leaf
    • 1 lemon, zest only
    • 2 mild green chillies, seeded, chopped
    • 1 small piece fresh root ginger, finely grated
    • salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 375ml chicken stock
    • 400g un-dyed smoked haddock 
    • 2 free-range eggs, hard-boiled, peeled, grated
    • 2 spring onion sliced

      1. Preheat the oven to 180C
      2. Melt the butter in a large, heavy-based lidded casserole. Add the garam masala and allow to sizzle gently for a moment. Tip in the rice and stir around until the grains are well coated with this spicy butter.
      3. Add the bay leaf, lemon zest, green chilli, ginger and a touch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Pour over the stock, bring up to a simmer, then lay the fish on top, gently submerging it under the surface. Put on the lid and cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes.
      4. Remove from the oven, then leave to stand for 5-7 minutes without removing the lid; this is important - it allows the rice to finish cooking.
      5. Take off the lid, remove the skin from the fish and immediately add the chopped egg and onions using two forks, gently mix the rice, while also breaking the fish into flakes and mixing everything else in as you go. Remove the bay leaf and cover with a tea towel, clamp on the lid, and leave for a further five minutes to remove any excess steam. Mix again lightly.
      6. Serve and squeeze over a little lemon juice.

    Tuesday, 26 July 2011

    Your efforts will be rewarded... Well, not much

     I'm so excited, we've harvested our first crop!

    I know I know, it's not much, but it's a beginning. Now we know that we can grow stuff!

    How cool is that, uh? Look at the peas, they are so cute all cosy in the pod. The photo is blurry, did I mention how excited I was?

    There was enough for a light lunch. I wanted to keep the flavours of the veggies clean so I made a very thin omelette, almost like a pancake.

    I chopped the courgettes and pepper, I shelled the peas. It was hard try not to eat them all straight from the pod, so sweet!!!!

    A quick sauté, just until they got some colour. I added the peas at the very last moment.

    Added 3 whisked eggs, cooked it for 2 minutes on a medium heat and finished it off under the grill for 3 more minutes.

    Et voilà. Tender, sweet, fresh and delicious. So satisfying!

    Monday, 25 July 2011

    Liz's apple pie

    Ok, I'll try my best to describe her recipe. She wasn't very accurate with the mesuraments. Here we go:

    350 gr flour
    75 g margarine (feel free to use unsalted butter)
    2 cooking apples2 large handfuls of sugar1 splash of water
    1 pinch of salt

     Pre-heat oven to 200C. Cut apples into small chunks and cook them with a bit of water and sugar until they are soft, but not mushy.

    Meanwhile put the flour and salt in a large bowl and add the margarine. Use your fingertips to rub the butter into the flour until you have a mixture that resembles coarse breadcrumbs with no large lumps of butter remaining. Lift it up high and let it fall back down into the bowl, which means that air is being incorporated all the time, that is what makes pastry light.

    Using a knife, stir in just enough of the cold water to bind the dough together. I always thought a good shortcrust pastry should be made with iced-cold water and let it rest in the fridge for a while. You thought that too, don't you? She didn't bother!

     Take half of the dough and  on a floured surface and roll it out with the roller pin as thin as possible and transfer to a 18 cm pie tin. Fill it with the apple.

    Roll out the other half of the dough for the pie lid, trim the excess dough and press the edges all around with your fingers. Make some cuts in the middle of the pie so the apples can steam away. Decorate as you like and brush the top of the pastry with milk.

    Place the pie dish into the preheated oven and bake for 10 minutes. Remove it from the oven and sprinkle with granulated sugar. Put it back for 3 more minutes and it's done!

    I was sure we were going to eat uncooked pastry, but we didn't!!

    Sunday, 24 July 2011

    Soda bread

    I've been into making bread lately. I've made white loaves, wholegrain, I made my own starter for sourdough, we called "dough boy" (I killed it), I've made baguettes, rolls, buns, you name it.

    I spent lot of time, effort, flour and washing up liquid making bread. And you will say "oh that's OK because there's nothing like fresh baked homemade bread". And there's nothing like it until it gets cold.

    I don't know if it's because there's no preservatives or because I need to practice on my technique but after a few hours the bread it's like a brick and the day after it's not good even for toast! So all the mixing, kneading and proving just for a few hours of pleasure? C'mon, go to the shop, they have nice loaves ready to eat!

    But then there's the soda bread, no kneading or proofing needed, just mix all the ingredients and bake it! That's it!!

    Soda bread is delicious, really crusty, rustic and beautiful! It wont last longer than the other breads either but you have a fresh loaf in less than one hour!


    450g plain flour
    1 level tsp caster sugar
    1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
    1 tsp salt
    350ml buttermilk or sour milk

    Preheat the oven to 230°C.
     Sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour in the buttermilk . Using one hand with your fingers outstretched like a claw, bring the flour and liquid together. Do not knead the mixture or it will become heavy. The dough should be fairly soft, but not too wet and sticky.
    When it comes together, turn onto a floured work surface and bring together a little more. Pat the dough into a round about 4cm deep and cut a deep cross in it.
     Place on a baking tray and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, then turn down the heat to 200°C and cook for 30 minutes more. When cooked, the loaf will sound slightly hollow when tapped on the base and be golden in colour. I use turn it upside down for the last 5 minutes of cooking. Allow to cool on a wire rack.