So the new Lakeland catalogue arrived today! And I lay on the sofa cushions in the new flat and read the food porn. And I wanted this last time it came out, and I still want it now. It’s the most awesome spatula. You can take the temperature of the food, temper chocolate, boil sugar for sweets and make jam! It does everything! The thermometer even comes out so that you can use it on meat and stuff. Super!
£14.99, I shall be having one of those.

So the new Lakeland catalogue arrived today! And I lay on the sofa cushions in the new flat and read the food porn. And I wanted this last time it came out, and I still want it now. It’s the most awesome spatula. You can take the temperature of the food, temper chocolate, boil sugar for sweets and make jam! It does everything! The thermometer even comes out so that you can use it on meat and stuff. Super!

£14.99, I shall be having one of those.



(Fancy) Lemon Drizzle Cake

What do normal people do in the middle of the Saturday afternoon, in the pangs of a diet and the middle of a three week house move? Well I make cake. We had one lemon and, of course, no recipe books. All the books are at the new flat (except the one I’m reading ‘Desert Sons’ by Mark Kendrick), why oh why did I move all the books to the new flat. All we have left at the old flat is the TV, the sofa, the kitchen, the bed and the internet. Which is the main reason we’re still here at the old flat. Cris cannot survive without internet.

So having trawled the online recipe book known as Google and found nothing I really liked; I improvised. This is middle-of-the-afternoon cake making which only involves the scales in a cursory sort of way.

I made a straight Victoria sponge recipe (with a touch extra flour) and added half a lemon in rind and a big splash lemon extract (I love to cheat, and it’s concentrated). This brings us onto the fancy tin. I got this one from Lakeland (Heaven) for £7.99. They do a deep fancy tin too, which I would really like to have, but my kitchen is too small. Maybe once I finish moving…. I love the fancy tin, it makes decorating easy, although you can’t use it for anything you actually want to decorate. Once cooked cover with lemon drizzle icing made from the left over rind, the lemon juice and sifted icing sugar. If you use a whole lemon of juice it makes too much icing. But it fridges well.

Eat warm in the sunlight off tiny flea-market plates with a boyfriend. Any one will do!


Spanish Beef and Chorizo Stew

This is a recipe I adapted from a student. You can put pretty much everything in it, I often make it with pork, chicken or sausage meat. This one had:

4 peppers

4 bulbs of garlic (crushed)

2 packets of beef (turns out organic was cheaper)

passata

1 pint beef stock

5 sweet potatoes

1 butternut squash

Roast the vegetables with foil over the top for 40 mins, then add all the meat and peppers and roast again for half an hour. Finally add the liquids and stir everything and shove back in the oven for anywhere up to an hour.

Eat hot with really thick bread.


Cigara Borek

Cigara (sometimes cigarillo) are a Turkish snack/starter which we always order when we’re deciding what to eat. They are super easy to make.

You will need one packet of filo pastry (life is too short to make your own), three blocks of feta cheese and some mixed herbs (oe thyme if that’s what you have).

Slice the filo into triangles. Each sheet makes 4 triangles.

Break up the feta and herbs in a bowl with a fork. 

Place a small amount of the feta and herbs mixture at the widest part of the triangle. Fold in the ends and roll up. Wet the tip of the triangle in order to stick it down.

Now in Turkey and in houses where people don’t get fat, these are deep fried. In my house you put egg wash on them and bake them in the oven for 20 mins.

Enjoy all day.


Honey and Mustard Gammon
Soak the gammon for a least 4 hours in water to extract the salt. I always start the roast with foil over the top and leave it for about an hour (it was a big gammon), once that’s done you will need a point fork and some decent kitchen scissors. What you will need to do it carefully snip of the rind/skin but leave on some of the fat.
Mix wholegrain mustard and honey (we got local) in a bowl and spread evenly over the gammon. Roast without foil for 30 mins. Leave it to go cold before slicing. but slice it before the party.

Honey and Mustard Gammon

Soak the gammon for a least 4 hours in water to extract the salt. I always start the roast with foil over the top and leave it for about an hour (it was a big gammon), once that’s done you will need a point fork and some decent kitchen scissors. What you will need to do it carefully snip of the rind/skin but leave on some of the fat.

Mix wholegrain mustard and honey (we got local) in a bowl and spread evenly over the gammon. Roast without foil for 30 mins. Leave it to go cold before slicing. but slice it before the party.


Presenting Food

There is one major rule when catering and displaying food for a party or large group of people. There is no such thing as too much food. This was a buffet style thing so it’s all about displaying the food in an appealing way.

Try and put the big dishes at the back, and mix things up with the heights of the different dishes. Serve the small things up front and around the edges and in my world you do not need to have matching dishes. Make sure there are enough serving spoons and tongs to get at everything.


Meet Chinese Leaf Cabbage. If you’ve never tried one of these babies you really need to. Cris’s dad grew this one, which is awesome, and we ate it with soya sauce and cumin sees.

Meet Chinese Leaf Cabbage. If you’ve never tried one of these babies you really need to. Cris’s dad grew this one, which is awesome, and we ate it with soya sauce and cumin sees.


Cooking for Many

On Sunday I am making a buffet lunch for ten members of my extended family who are coming down for my brother’s wedding. Now a lot of the time most people don’t cook for more than maybe two or four, so cooking for many can seem a totally daunting task. The key to cooking for a lot of people (more than six in my book, and I’ll do food for up to 25) is planning.

Plan the menu at least a week before hand as it gives you plenty of time to change your mind and account for changing numbers of guests. Once you have your menu draw up a shopping list and try to work out how much of each ingredients you’re going to need. If in doubt, over-buy. It is much better to have a spare pot of cream than to run out half-way through a recipe.

The more space you can make in your kitchen and the more tools and utensils you have to your disposal the easier you’re job will be. However this will increase the amount of washing up to be done. Something else you can do is get a Kitchen Bitch. I have a Vinnie, but a good friend, relative or boyfriend will do just fine. Coercion is a good tactic, washing up in payment for food/money/sex.

Once you have your list to your shopping the day previous. If you really can’t do that then you really need to get up early and get the shopping in. You do not want to run out of time near the end of the day because you slept in and didn’t shop. Don’t be tempted, it never works.

Alrighty then, you got enough shopping, it’s nice and early and you can cook. If you’re doing a dinner then you can cook all day and no worries. The trick is knowing when everything needs to be done. If you’re doing a lunch then there is a lot of stuff you can cook and prep up the day before.

When ever you have a lot of dishes always start with anything that needs setting or chilling or cooling before assembly. This usually means that pudding comes first. Now, unless you cook for many often do NOT be tempted to make several dishes at once. There is little worse than pouring one mix into another and then realising that it’s part of a different recipe. However you can use preheat time and cooking time to start new recipes off.

Don’t forget to enjoy yourself, there’s a reason I get all stressed in the kitchen three hours before anyone gets there. Be dressed then and be calm and happy and enjoy yourself with people. No apologies, no excuses. Whatever you serve, smile and be happy with yourself.


So my brother is getting married and the day after we are having a big lunch for all the people left behind, the family who travel down to see the enormous frothy wedding.
Mum and I planned the menu, and then she keeps changing her mind, quiche has been replaced by a cold roast gammon, and yes, I will be doing the crispy top with honey, mustard and marmalade.
I have a lot of baking to do this week, which means there’ll be a lot of stuff for you guys.

So my brother is getting married and the day after we are having a big lunch for all the people left behind, the family who travel down to see the enormous frothy wedding.

Mum and I planned the menu, and then she keeps changing her mind, quiche has been replaced by a cold roast gammon, and yes, I will be doing the crispy top with honey, mustard and marmalade.

I have a lot of baking to do this week, which means there’ll be a lot of stuff for you guys.