Food. Travel. Recipes.

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Vintage china and tea sets

For quite a while now I've been in love with vintage china-esque tea sets, especially flowery ones. Then I watched Sophie Dahl's cookery show last night (which was very lovely by the way) and she had the most amazing, beautiful kitchen and house. It looked like the cutest little place, with an outside area she could relax in and a lovely little kitchen with a cabinet full of mismatched flowery china tea cups and plates.

I've seen a lovely one (above) on one of my new favourite websites, Love Miss Daisy.

I just long for the day of having my own house, with a beautiful old fashioned style kitchen of my own, with a rustic farmhouse table, flowery china tea cups and a lovely whistling kettle brewing on the stove!

Love FF x

Tuesday, 23 March 2010

Orgasmic Rocky Road Crunch Bars (Nigella Christmas Style)

These rocky road bars are absolutely delish, courtesy of a recipe from Nigella's Christmas Cookbook - Nigella Christmas: Food, Family, Friends, Festivities. My mum made these bars at Christmas, and I was debating which recipe to use as I wanted to make some and then I remembered this one and remembered it being a winner! It's an extremely easy recipe, so although I have had quite a few compliments on the bars, "orgasmic" being one, I can't take credit for it as the recipe and process of making it is that easy!

Here is Nigella's recipe (again, not claiming it's my own! especially as I've copied and pasted this one from a website!) :

Makes around 24 bars


250g/9oz dark chocolate, chopped
150g/5oz milk chocolate, chopped
175g/6oz butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
4 tbsp golden syrup
200g/7oz amaretti biscuits (I used rich tea as I couldn't find any amaretti biscuits in my local supermarket, but amaretti would be much much better!)
150g/5oz shelled Brazil nuts
150g/5oz red glacé cherries
125g/4oz mini marshmallows
1 tbsp icing sugar


1. Place the dark and milk chocolate pieces into a heavy-based pan. Add the butter and golden syrup and cook over a low heat to melt and combine.

2. Place the amaretti biscuits into a freezer bag and bash with a rolling pin to make crumbs of various sizes.

3. Place the Brazil nuts into another freezer bag and bash in the same way.

4. Take the pan of melted chocolate mixture off the heat and add the crushed biscuits and nuts.

5. Add the glacé cherries and mini marshmallows. Fold the mixture carefully to coat all of the solid ingredients with the syrupy chocolate mixture.

6. Pour the mixture into a 25cm/10in x 30cm/12in greased and lined baking tray and smooth the surface as much as possible (although it will look bumpy).

7. Refrigerate for two hours, or until firm enough to cut. Dust with icing sugar.

8. Remove the block of rocky road from the tray and cut into 24 rectangles.


Love FF x

The Delicious Miss Dahl

I'm quite excited because there's a new cookery programme on BBC2 tonight at 8.30pm called "The Delicious Miss Dahl". Sophie Dahl cooks up some delicious recipes and the first episode is called "Selfish" - about the delights of cooking whatever you want, just for one. (Kind of perfect for me in a way! I absolutely love being able to be selfish and cook whatever I want, just for me!)

However, I'm not always selfish when cooking as I also very much agree with her in how she thinks romance is linked to food. I think it really is and I have little ideas and stories in my head how certain recipes would go with certain romantical moments. Or even how some recipes fit perfectly with certain situations, not just romantic ones. I really relate to the idea of cooking out of love for others, like friends but also a loved one like a boyfriend or partner but then I can easily slip to selfish cooking, as I explained above, both are just so joyful!

Love FF x

Nigella's Potato and Mushroom Gratin (with lemon chicken)

So as I mentioned before, a favourite cookbook in my house at home is "Nigella Express". My mum has made some of the soups from the book, all of which are lovely and very easy to make! Nigella may use fancy ingredients, and sometimes the recipes are not that healthy, but they are lovely warming recipes to make for friends or for a dinner party and they're usually something quick to rustle up.

I have never made a gratin so I wanted to give it a go and I'm very glad I used this recipe because it was quite quick! There was a lot of chopping but after that it was very easy. I wish that I had taken a photo of the gratin all nicely cooked out of the oven in the dish I made it in but I just was excited to eat it so had spooned it onto our plates before I realised! So it looks quite messy in the picture sitting next to the rocket and the chicken, but it was lovely and well worth making if you want to make a quick dish that will look quite impressive! Another great thing about the gratin, is that it uses just full fat milk and not cream, so it isn't as fatty as a gratin could be!

Again this is Nigella's recipe, so I am not claiming it is my own! :


3 average-sized baking potatoes ( 750g) - thinly sliced

350ml full-fat milk

3 x 15ml tablespoons white wine

2 x 15ml tablespoons butter

2 teaspoons garlic oil (I didn't have any garlic oil, so crushed two cloves of garlic instead)

250g chestnut mushrooms - finely sliced

salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 220c and butter a shallow baking dish or gratin.

Put the sliced potatoes, milk and white wine in a saucepan and bring to the boil, season with salt and pepper to taste and stir occasionally. Then leave at a simmer while you get on with the mushrooms.

Warm the butter and oil (or crushed garlic cloves) in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the mushrooms and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened for about 3 minutes.

Pour the mushrooms and their garlicky, buttery juices into the pan of potatoes, stir to mix and pour straight into the gratin dish. Bake in the oven for around 45 minutes or until the potatoes and mushrooms are golden and crispy on top.

I also marinated a chicken breast in lemon and finely sliced garlic and cooked in the oven for around 30-40 minutes to go with the gratin and then arranged it on a plate with the gratin and a handful of rocket.


Love FF x

Muesli Bars à la Hummingbird Bakery

So, my housemate made muesli bars and I have said that I will write about her take on the recipe. So we both really enjoyed them but her problem with the recipe is that they came out quite syrupy and didn't hold together too well. These bars are just fridge bars but my housemate said that next time it'll probably be worth cooking them like flapjacks rather than fridge bars so they hold together better. However, even if they may have been a tad too syrupy, it tasted great in the bars along with yummy coconut, cornflakes and dried fruit.

Here is the recipe from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook: (again, not claiming that it's my own!)


325g unsalted butter

240ml golden syrup

250g soft light brown sugar

250g rolled oats

200g desiccated coconut

125g apricots

60g dried dates

135g cornflakes

135g sunflower seeds

60g dried cranberries

125g shelled walnuts, chopped

125g raisins

AND - a 33 x 23 x 5cm baking tray, lined with greaseproof paper

Makes around 12 portions

Put the butter, golden syrup and sugar in a large saucepan over medium heat and heat until melted and smooth, stirring occasionally.

Put the oats, coconut, apricots, dates, cornflakes, sunflower seeds, cranberries, walnuts and raisins in a large bowl and stir with a wooden spoon until everything is throughly mixed. Pour in the butter mixture and mix throughly until everything is well mixed and the dry ingredients are evenly dispersed.

Press this mixture into the prepared baking tray, using a tablespoon to flatten and compress it. Cover with a sheet of greaseproof paper, then a tray covered in jam jars or tins to apply pressure on the cake and compress it even more. Leave to cool, the refrigerate overnight. (or alternatively - try it in the oven, on 200c for 20 minutes!)

Happy baking!

Love FF x

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Potato & Mushroom Gratin (Nigella Lawson) and Muesli Bars (The Hummingbird Bakery)

Two upcoming recipes that I will be posting are a potato and mushroom gratin that I made from Nigella Lawson's "Nigella Express", a great cookery book and a staple in my house at home - my mum is always using it when she has friends over to cook for and I think it's great for a quick meal. I cooked that with some garlicky lemon chicken and some rocket. 

Next are (as I've mentioned before) muesli bars which my housemate made from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook.

Love FF x 

Sunday, 14 March 2010

New cookery book - Foods Of America

Had a lovely day with my mum for Mother's Day today, having lunch and shopping. She bought me a lovely new cookery book from Marks & Spencer, called the Foods of America. I am pretty interested in American food, there's something about the American diner feel to things, and delicious stodgy foods like maple syrup drizzled pancakes and burgers. I loved Jamie Oliver's America cookery programme; I just love how in one country there are so many diverse cultures, so many different foods and styles. I loved how he didn't just deal with food but with the people of the different cities, their lives and hardships and how food is incorporated into their daily life. I just think food is so special to helping to deal with problems which he showed in the New Orleans episode where he talked about Hurricane Katrina and how many people used to come together to eat big meals to help get by and deal with the problems of what the hurricane left behind. I also love the aspect of fusion foods of America, how there are so many different cultures from all over the world coming together to cook with different styles and ingredients. 

So, hoping to get some recipes out of this one! It also seems great for milkshakes, sauces, dips and cocktails! 

Love FF x

Rosie Lovell's - Raf Daddy's Groundnut Curry

Saturday night dinner for me and my housemate. I used another one of Rosie Lovell's wonderful recipes from Spooning with Rosie .

Rosie used a pumpkin in her recipe but I opted instead for sweet potato, to give the curry a bit more substance so we could just have it almost like a one pot dish instead of with rice.

This is a great recipe for when you're low on food as a lot of things can be found in the cupboard or can be bought relatively cheaply!

Obviously, as usual, this is Rosie's recipe, so I'm not claiming in any way it's my own!

Serves 2 people.


2 sweet potatoes

1 large onion

2 garlic cloves

1 red chilli

2 tablespoons olive oil.

1 teaspoon hot curry powder (I used medium)

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes

3 generous tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter

A few handfuls of spinach.

A generous pinch of white granulated sugar.

Black pepper.

Cooking the curry:

First, cut up the sweet potato into small pieces, sort of half the size of a potato wedge.

Slice the onion, garlic and chilli finely. Making sure to peel the onion and garlic and remove the seeds from the chilli. Open the tins of chopped tomatoes.

Warm the olive oil in a large saucepan on a low heat. When the oil is hot, add the sweet potato and onion. Let them sweat and then add the finely chopped garlic and chilli. Mix it around and let it cook for a few minutes.

Measure out the curry powder and cayenne pepper. Coat the vegetables with them and sweat away for a few minutes. Add the 2 tins of chopped tomatoes. Place the saucepan lid on top and let it simmer on a medium heat for 15 minutes, or until the sweet potato is cooked. Stir from time to time so there is no sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Skin a ladle of the sauce off the top of the pan and place in a measuring jug along with the peanut butter. Blend this together with a fork and then return the whole sauce to the pan and mix with the curry. Then add a few handfuls of spinach and the sugar. Add some water if it needs loosening. Replace the lid of the pan for a further 3 to 5 minutes to let the spinach wilt. Shower with black pepper.

Enjoy! Thanks again Rosie!

Love FF x

Tuna Steak WITH Gino D'Acampo's Cherry tomato and Anchovy Sauce and French Bean Salad with Mint, Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts

It's been a few days since my mad bout of posting lots. But it's the weekend and I'm a student therefore I'm either going out or in the library! Although I should be studying now I think I might update with a few of the meals I've had. This Friday night I cooked tuna steak for me and my housemate along with Gino D'Acampo's Cherry tomato and Anchovy Sauce and French Bean Salad with Mint, Goat Cheese and Pine Nuts.

I saw him make this on This Morning whilst I was bumming about at home, probably before a lecture. (Life of a student eh?!) Also during his cooking segment, there were other people all cooking the same thing at home at the same time as Gino, they had a wall of telly screens so he could watch them and tell them if they're doing the right thing. Thought that was pretty cool and also showed that what these TV chefs make on the telly isn't that hard!

So Gino cooked it with a crispy salmon fillet - whereas I had tuna steak in the freezer and I'm not a massive fan of salmon. The meal again, like Rosie's wasn't too difficult.

This is Gino's recipe - I am copying and pasting it from the website, so in no way am I claiming it is mine!

I am separating the recipe into 3 parts, since there are kind of 3 stages to it although done at the same time.

For 2 people.


200ml olive oil
1⁄2 red onion, finely sliced
4 anchovy fillets in oil, drained
400g tinned cherry tomatoes
3 tablespoons finely chopped
flat-leaf parsley
Salt and pepper


Heat 4 tablespoons of the olive oil in a medium saucepan and fry the onion until golden. Add the anchovies, cherry tomatoes and parsley, season with salt and pepper and cook, uncovered, over a medium heat for 10 minutes.

French bean salad with mint, goat cheese and pine kernels:

100g French beans (topped)
3 fresh mint leaves
½ garlic clove
1 tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
70g goat cheese
2 tablespoons of dry toasted pine kernels
Salt and pepper to taste

In a medium size saucepan, cook the beans in salted boiling water until al dente.

In the meantime finely chop the garlic and the mint together and place in a large bowl. Pour in the oil and lemon juice and mix until well combined.

Drain well the beans and add into the bowl with the dressing.

Season with salt and pepper and toss all together until evenly coated. Place on a serving plate.

Crumble over the goat cheese and scatter with the cooled pine kernels.

2 tuna fillet steaks.

For the timing of the meal overall, I would:

- Fill up a kettle to boil the water for the green beans.

- Place the green beans in a saucepan.

- Chop up the onion for the sauce, open the can of cherry tomatoes, open the tin of anchovies.

- Once the kettle is boiled, pour into the saucepan with the green beans and let them cook.

- Start frying the onion for the sauce.

- Get the grill very hot for the tuna steaks.

- Once the green beans have been cooking for a couple of minutes and the red onion has sweated and you have started adding the other ingredients to the sauce. Then place the tuna steaks under the grill, cooking for 5 minutes either side - or until it's cooked how you want it, here's a good guide for cooking tuna steak.

- Then follow the rest of the directions from Gino's instructions for the sauce and the green bean salad.

Plating up:

- Place the sauce onto a plate, place the tuna steak on top. Arrange the beans next to it.


Love FF x

Thursday, 11 March 2010

My Food Past...

 - scone making with the D sisters at home. 
 - beautiful meal of lamb with moroccan style potatoes - at The Swan in Lamport 
 - the most amazing burger I've ever had in my life - pork, lamb and beef burger. Cork & Bottle, Leicester Square, London 
 - most amazing chocolate pancake cake for my 21st birthday, thanks A! 
 - gelato italiano a Sirmione, Italia (con mia sorella) 
 - pizza con porchetta e parmigiano in Italia

 - jam tart making with one of my best friends from home (one of the D sisters) 

Love FF x

Wednesday, 10 March 2010

Rosie's recipe - pork chops with mustard and honey sauce and lemon smashed potatoes

My go at Rosie Lovell's recipe of 'fillet of pork with mustard and honey sauce and lemon smashed new potatoes' - I made a slight variation in that I cooked leg of pork steak instead of fillet of pork, I was cooking for my housemate - with who I alternate cooking with - I felt a fillet would take too long and a steak would be adequate for us. Both myself and my housemate try out new recipes, which is always fun! (Maybe there might be some future recipes from her too, with photos and the recipe, or just own recipe if it is her own creation) There also may be some cakes coming this way too!

I am pretty proud of the way this recipe turned out - it was a LOT easier than I expected and minimal dish and saucepan use - always good for a messy student house! Just a pan for the potatoes and a pan for the sauce, pork chops cooked under the grill and only various spoons needed for the different condiments used in the sauce.

Right this is my variation of Rosie's recipe - but it did come from her so in no way am I claiming it's actually mine!:
Ingredients: (for 2 people)
2 leg of pork steaks/pork chops/loin of pork chops

a small bowl of water - accompanied by a dessert spoon (to spoon into the sauce in order to loosen it)
1 dessert spoon grainy mustard
1 dessert spoon creme fraiche
1 dessert spoon runny honey
black pepper

lemon smashed new potatoes:
8 medium/small sized new potatoes
1 lemon
olive oil
black pepper

I started by putting the new potatoes in a saucepan and like Rosie said, immersing them in boiling water with a pinch of salt, then leave to simmer with the lid on. (I stuck the timer on for 20 minutes)

Meanwhile, I got out all the rest of the ingredients and turned the grill on so it can get to the hottest heat. My leg of pork steak was quite thick, so once the grill was hot enough (say after the potatoes had been cooking for 5 minutes) I stuck the steaks under it to start cooking.

I then left the potatoes to cook and the leg of pork steaks as well - but I turned the pork steaks midway through - say when the potatoes have been on for 10 minutes. Basically I cooked the steak each side for 10 mins on the highest heat, but you can cook it to however you see fit, as long as it's cooked properly, which as Rosie says is: not pink - as that is undercooked and not grey which is overcooked! Once the steaks are nearly done and the potatoes are near to the end of their cooking time, start the sauce.

Put all the condiments into another saucepan, so that is, a dessert spoon of grainy mustard, 2 dessert spoons of creme fraiche and 1 dessert spoon of runny honey. I used a whisk to mix the condiments together. I left the sauce for a couple of minutes whilst I sorted out the potatoes.

Check the potatoes are cooked throughly, and as Rosie says -if you stick a knife into the largest one and it slips off easily then it should be fine! Then I drained the potatoes and put the lid on again, and moved the potatoes about quite vigorously, to loosen the skins, and drizzled some olive oil into the saucepan (extra virgin olive oil would work even better as said by Rosie, but I didn't have any and it's a bit pricey for a student!) I then squeezed in one lemon, sprinkled some dried thyme over them and seasoned with salt and pepper and then left them with the lid on until I was ready to plate up.

Back to the sauce. The sauce may have thicken by now so to loosen it, I added some dessert spoons of water from a small bowl I had on the side, I added around 4 spoonfuls and whisked it until it came to a nice saucy consistency and then added black pepper.

Then to the pork steaks - make sure you check the steaks throughout cooking. But after 20 minutes under the grill at the highest heat, each side cooked for around 10 minutes - they should be cooked throughly - or just cut into them to check the colour (as mentioned above).

Plating up: I arranged some spinach on the plate on which I laid the new potatoes and then drizzled some of the lemony oily sauce from the saucepan. On the other half of the plate I placed the pork steaks and then drizzled the honey mustard sauce over them (as above in the photo!)

I hope that recipe, my way, makes sense. And thanks to Rosie for this fab recipe, I'll definitely be bringing others from her book to this blog!

Love FF x

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

La cuisine et toutes les belles choses

This is a start to a new blog for me! The last post was a spur of the moment thought whereas now I'm feeling pretty serious about continuing properly with a blog. 

The aim for me with my blog, is to show recipes I've followed whether it be cakes or meals accompanied by photos and with where the recipes came from. I will also include various items about my favourite chefs and recipe books and new cooking programmes coming up.

Also a bit rarer than the food posts, will be posts on music, films and clothes. Just me incorporating all my favourite things and passions in one place, a bit on the selfish side but hey, this is my blog! 

Love, FF 

Music: Hockey - Too Fake