Courgette and Parmesan Chips

19 Nov

Courgette and Parmesan Chips

 

For some reason I am unable to do an Ocado shop without ordering about 10,000 courgettes. The other day I finally decided to do something other than fucking courgette pasta with them.

So:

  • One or two courgettes
  • 500g grated parmesan
  • A teaspoon of chilli flakes
  • Pepper
  • A tablespoon of olive oil

Heat your oven to about 200°c/gas mark 6. Mix the cheese, chilli and pepper together in a shallow dish. Marvel at how pretty it is and oooh isn’t cheese soft?

Courgette and Parmesan Chips

Cut the courgettes into rounds, you want them to be the thickness of around two pound coins. Toss them in the olive oil so they’re very lightly coated and then dip them in the cheese, gently pressing it in to either side so it sticks.

Place on a sheet of greaseproof paper on an oven tray and pop in the middle of the oven. After ten minutes flip them over. They’re done when they’re nice and brown.

If you’re a very good cook and food blogger you’ll forget they’re in the oven and they’ll look like this.

Courgette and Parmesan Chips

 

Eat.

Honey and Mint Slow Roast Lamb Shanks

17 Nov

Honey and Mint Slow Roast Lamb Shanks

Lamb shanks are absolutely my favourite cut of lamb. For me they have to be very, very slow cooked so the meat flakes straight off the bone and melts in your mouth.

My best friend Charlotte and I used to spend every Sunday of our late teens and early twenties in the Prince’s Head on Richmond Green, drinking lots of beer and gossiping. I would always have the honey and mint lamb shanks and the other weekend was feeling a bit nostalgic so gave them a go.

You need:

  • Two lamb shanks (one per person)
  • A nice handful of fresh mint
  • 4 tablespoons of runny honey
  • Salt and pepper

Finely chop the mint and simply mix with the honey and add a good pinch of salt and black pepper.

Honey and Mint Slow Roast Lamb Shanks

Put the lamb shanks in a roasting tray and bast with the mix.

Honey and Mint Slow Roast Lamb Shanks

Place them on their sides and cover the tin with tin foil (shiny side down, I mean, come on.) and pop in the oven on a very low heat (maybe 150-60°c/gas mark 2-3) for four to five hours.

Half way through take the lamb out and baste with the juices in the pan.

Honey and Mint Slow Roast Lamb Shanks

 

Leave to rest under the foil for 10 minutes and then serve. (Always good with hassleback potatoes FYI..)

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Perfect Yorkshire Puddings

14 Nov

Yorkshire Puddings

I love Yorkshire puddings SO much, but I’ve always been a little scared of them even though they’re actually incredibly easy. The only trick is making sure your pan is super hot.

This is Jamie Oliver’s Yorkshire pudding recipe, but I’ve added a pinch of nutmeg to jazz them up a little. (Because I totally know more than a professional chef, obvs.)

You need:

  • 100g plain flour
  • 100ml milk (I use skimmed because that’s what we have in the fridge)
  • 2 medium eggs
  • Few turns of salt and pepper
  • A small pinch of nutmeg
  • Vegetable oil
  • A cupcake tin

The original recipe says this should make 12 in a cupcake tin but I’ve found it makes about six. If you want to make more just double the recipe. Basically everything in this weighs the same amount – eggs are around 50g – so for each extra egg you add you need 50g more of flour and 50ml more of milk.

Whisk the flour, milk, eggs and seasoning together until you have a light, lump-free batter. Pour a tiny bit of vegetable oil into each dip in your cupcake tin and pop it in a pre-heated oven at 240°c/gas mark nine.

Leave the oil for a good ten to fifteen minutes to get it SMOKING hot. The only tricky bit now is whipping it out very quickly and pouring the batter into each hole, filling it up about half way. Do this as fast as you can and get it back into the oven. DON’T open the door! Just leave them be for about 10 minutes or until they’re golden.

Hassleback Potatoes

12 Nov

Hassleback Potatoes

I LOVE these Swedish roast potatoes. They’re very crispy and buttery and look pretty impressive. And let’s be honest, that’s the only thing that’s important.

Ingredients:

  • Potatoes, I mean…
  • Butter
  • Olive oil
  • Salt

You want to try and find proper, oval potatoes. But don’t worry too much if you can’t. They’ll still work. You don’t have to peel your potatoes either, leave the skins on if you prefer.

Pre-heat your oven to 200°C/gas mark 6.

Slice the potato into segments, cutting almost the whole way through, try and be as even as possible. A helpful trick to making these is using a wooden spoon: pop your potato on top and the lip of the spoon should stop you chopping through the bottom.

Hassleback Potatoes

 

Heat up a knob of butter and the same amount of olive oil in a roasting tray until sizzling, and then add your potatoes cut side down, turning them over and making sure they’re coated. With a spoon drizzle a little of the oil and butter over them. Sprinkle with salt and pop in the oven to cook cut side facing up. (I added some fresh thyme and rosemary to the tin.)

Roast for around an hour to an hour an a half, until they’re lovely, golden and crisp.

Orange and Dark Chocolate Florentines

11 Nov

Orange and Dark Chocolate Florentines

Everyone loves the Florentines from Fortnum & Mason, so to be a pain in the bum I decided to make some myself.  They seem to have gone down pretty well, and diminished in quantity rather quickly, so you’ll have to excuse the photos.

You’ll need:

  • 100g of runny honey
  • 200g of salted butter
  • 140g of light muscovado sugar
  • The zest of one orange
  • 150g flaked almonds
  • 4 heaped tablespoons of plain flour
  • Good pinch of nutmeg
  • 200g dark chocolate

Pre-heat your oven to 200°C/gar mark 6 and pop a large pan on a very low heat. Add your butter, honey and sugar and let everything melt together until the sugar has dissolved. Stir in your orange zest well so that you don’t have any big clumps of it and then stir in your almonds, nutmeg and flour until everything has mixed together and the nuts are coated well in the caramel.

Orange and Dark Chocolate Florentines

Line a large baking tray with greaseproof paper and spread over half or even a third of your mix. You want a very thin layer so go slow and let it spread out. Don’t just do what I did with my first try and shove the whole thing on there or you end up with something like a flapjack.

Orange and Dark Chocolate Florentines

Pop it in the over for about ten minutes, until it’s lovely and golden. Let it cool completely on the baking tray and then place another sheet of greaseproof paper over the bottom and flip it over onto a flat surface so the bottom is now facing up.

Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water or in the microwave and then spread a thin layer over the nuts. Let this set completely and then with a biscuit cutter punch out your florentines. Eat, be merry. You’re done.

Orange and Dark Chocolate Florentines

Three Layer Sponge

10 Nov

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I don’t have any photos of this really, as I was convinced it was going to be shit, but it was actually very.

I randomly found this recipe, and this is a lesson for everyone: always read things through before you start. It has no cooking times and I had to fiddle around with the amounts to actually have some cake. It also didn’t rise much at all which was a complete pain but meant that I could stack three of them up which looked fancy when it was sliced.

You need:

  • Five medium eggs
  • 340g self raising flour
  • 340g caster sugar
  • 340g unsalted butter
  • 200ml double cream
  • Raspberry jam

Butter three cake tins and line the bottoms with grease-proof paper. Pre-heat the oven to 160°c/gas mark 4.

Cream the butter and sugar together well and then beat in the eggs until combined. Whisk in the flour until you have a nice batter.

Put a third of the mix in each tin and bake for around 15 to 20 minutes or until they’re golden and a skewer comes out clean when you poke them.

This is when I decided this would be rubbish: SO FLAT!

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Let them cool completely and whip your cream until it’s very, very thick. Spread half of it over one of the cakes and then spread a thin layer of jam over the bottom of your next layer. Squish together. Add the rest of your cream on top, cover the bottom of the last cake with jam, plonk on top and dust with icing sugar. Do this neater than I did.

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It’s a very light, moist cake, and you won’t be able to stop eating it despite how much it pissed you off at first.

Spinach and Ricotta Ravioli

7 Nov

Spinach and Ricotta Tortellini

I know that the idea of making your own pasta is absolutely terrifying – I used to think it must be the most difficult thing in the world. Well, revelation: it’s so easy even I can do it. You don’t even need a pasta machine, though it definitely helps.

Pasta is utterly basic. A one person portion is simply 100g of 00 pasta flour (it’s incredibly fine), one egg and a pinch of salt. That’s it. Double the ingredients for two people, triple for three etc etc.

For this recipe you’ll need:

  • 100g pasta flour
  • 1 medium egg
  • Salt, pepper, ground nutmeg
  • Fresh spinach
  • Ricotta

Spinach and Ricotta Tortellini

Put your flour in a bowl and make a well in the middle. Crack in your egg and add the salt. With a fork mix together from the edges until it starts to form a dough. Knead for about ten minutes, until you have quite a rubbery, smooth ball of dough. Don’t flour your surface to do this – you don’t want to add any more to the dough.

Spinach and Ricotta Tortellini

Cover with clingfilm and leave for about half an hour, forty minutes.

Now, if you have a pasta machine, this is the easy bit. If you don’t, get ready to get rolling. VERY LIGHTLY flour a surface and roll the dough out into a rectangle – try as I might, I absolutely cannot do this neatly – and keep rolling. You want to get the dough paper thin. This seems impossible but it’s very elastic, and not prone to ripping. It tends to take me about half an hour of constant turning and flipping and rollingrollingrolling but it’s pretty satisfying when you’re done. And when you think you’re done, you’re not. Keep rolling. You’ll be layering two sheets of this on top of one another and if it’s too thick it’ll be gummy and gross.

In a pan wilt a load of spinach – always use more than you think you need as it’ll reduce in size massively. To do this all you need to do is pour over a tiny bit of boiling water, pop the lid on and leave for one or two minutes. With your hands squeeze out as much liquid as you can, and you’ll be left with a ball of lovely green… stuff.

Spinach and Ricotta Tortellini

Chop this up and stir into some ricotta with a good bit of pepper and a big pinch of ground nutmeg.

Once you’ve got your pasta thin enough cut into wide strips – like I said, I am incapable of doing any of this neatly, it is my cross to bear – and add a little teaspoon of your ricotta and spinach at intervals.

Spinach and Ricotta Tortellini

With your finger trace around the filling with a tiny bit of cold water, this will glue the pasta together. Very gently lay another strip of dough over the top and carefully squeeze any air out from around the spinach and ricotta.

Spinach and Ricotta Tortellini

Now either cut your pasta with a pasta cutter or a sharp knife. I used a biscuit cutter because I thought it’d look well professional. Ahem.

Spinach and Ricotta Tortellini

Use a bit of semolina to stop the ravioli from sticking rather than flour. You can either freeze them or pop them in the fridge for a day or two. Otherwise boil a large pan of salted water, add your pasta for a minute and a half to two minutes and serve. Make sure everyone knows you made it yourself because how impressive is that?!

Spinach and Ricotta Tortellini

Simple Lemon Dressing

4 Nov

I know this isn’t really much of a recipe but I ate this for lunch yesterday and it was tasty.

Mix a tablespoon of wholegrain mustard, two tablespoons of lemon juice and a good slug of extra virgin olive oil until it has emulsified and season well with sea salt and fresh black pepper. Eat with butter lettuce and avocado. Yum.

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Red Onion, Courgette and Goats Cheese Frittata

3 Nov

Red Onion, Courgette and Goats Cheese Frittata

This is great as a nice, light meal that will fill you up but not leave you feeling all sluggish. It’s great served with a big green salad.

You’ll need:

  • Six eggs
  • Two large red onions
  • Two courgettes
  • Goats cheese
  • Pepper

Grate the courgettes into fine strands and then squeeze as much of the water in them out as possible. While you’re getting everything else ready rest on kitchen roll to really try and dry them out.

Slice your onions and sweat them in a frying pan on a medium heat. You don’t want them to brown but you want them to soften.

Whisk the eggs, mix in the courgettes and the onions and add a good pinch of pepper. You could also add half a finely diced red chilli or a teaspoon of dried chilli flakes if you fancy a bit of heat. (I added some grated cheddar to mine too, because I am greedy for cheese.)

Get the frying pan hot, wipe with a tablespoon of oil and pour in your egg mix. Tear the goats cheese over the top and let the frittata cook on top of the stove for a while.

Red Onion, Courgette and Goats Cheese Frittata

Once the bottom has set pop the pan under the grill to set the top. Once everything is cooked put a serving dish or a plate over the top of the pan, flip over and it should slide out.

If you’re not scared of carbs you can add slices of (cooked) new potatoes to the mix to make it a bit more stodgy.

Red Onion, Courgette and Goats Cheese Frittata

Blueberry Cheesecake

31 Oct

Blueberry Cheesecake

I bloody love baked cheesecake and I bloody love blueberries. So this had to happen. I’m afraid I can’t for the life of me remember where I found this recipe as it was about seven years ago as I’m so up-to-date when it comes to blogging. I’ve made it a few times and it never fails.

I covered the top with my blueberry compote which I added a bit of gelatine to while it was cooking. It worked out quite nicely but I think that’s why it isn’t shiny. Slowly trying to work out how to change this. You don’t need to add the gelatine, but obviously it won’t set on the cake.

Ingredients:

  • 200g fresh blueberries
  • 500g low fat cream cheese
  • One tin (397g) of condensed milk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla essence
  • Zest of a lemon
  • 200g Digestive biscuits
  • 50g butter

Crush up your biscuits, either by going at them with a rolling pin or in a food processor until you have small crumbs. Heat the butter in a pan until it has melted, add your biscuits and mix it together well until you have a nice, sticky mix.

Butter the inside of a cake tin and then press the crumbs into the bottom, trying to keep it as level as possible. Really push down so you have a compact layer for the base of your cake. Pop it in the fridge for at least 20 minutes and pre-heat the oven to 170°c/gas mark 3.

In a large bowl whisk the cream cheese until it’s soft, this takes all of 30 seconds, and then add the condensed milk, vanilla, eggs and lemon zest and whisk again.

Pour into your cake tin over the base and then scatter the blueberries over the top. Try and make sure they aren’t all just in one clump.

Bake in the oven for around an hour, or until the top is firm. It’ll hopefully look something like this:

Blueberry Cheesecake

Let the cake cool completely before taking it out of the tin. I know. Sometimes I have to stop myself just putting my face straight in these things, but patience is a virtue blah blah blah.

Spoon over your compote and pop it into the fridge until it’s chilled and ready to eat.

Blueberry Cheesecake

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