Food. Travel. Recipes.

Saturday, 11 June 2011

Come Eat At My House! (Part 1)

A random thing me and my friends have started doing is Come Eat At My House - a slight variation on the television name for the programme where you basically, if you didn't know (!), go round people's houses and eat a three course meal. Now we didn't quite stick to the voting side of things, we all just ended up gushing about the food to be quite honest!

So the first person to host this was my friend Maz (or Marie). It was her idea in the beginning and she set up the Facebook page, where you can post your menus and basically whoever likes the look of the meal can go along. To be honest, she has mentioned these meals before in passing and I've always commented how lovely they sound, so I was excited for the meal.

Luckily the weather was lovely, and we all arrived to have a photo taken coming into the house (very Come Dine With Me -esque just sans the actual filming!) we all had drinks, and chatted in the living room while Maz got started on the food (wearing a really cool apron I might add!)

When it was ready, we all sat down for the starter; garlic mushrooms in a cheesy sauce on mini ciabatta slices with a rocket garnish.

The starter being prepared.

This was very yummy. I am a massive fan of anything garlicky, and garlic mushrooms.

Afterwards we all had a look round the house (even though we’ve all been round there many times before) and tried to comment on things Come Dine With Me style!

Next up was the main course, sweet chilli mediterranean vegetable pasta (with optional chicken). I loved the fresh bite of the red onion, juicy tomato and peppers mixed with the sweet chilli sauce, it gave a real tangy taste!

Finally, dessert. Toffee and Banana Cheesecake. Now I have to mention here that Maz herself was not too happy with the way it turned out as the bottom part of the cheesecake ended up breaking up slightly but I really didn’t have a whole lot to complain about, and nor did anybody else! Cheesecake is one of my all-time favourite desserts and even though I’ve said everything was “yummy” so far, I’m going to annoy everyone and just repeat myself again! This was very yummy! I thought the toffee sauce as well was really scrummy!

At the end of the night, we just chilled out, listened to the latest Chase and Status album and chatted, and messed around with cameras. All of us agreeing that Maz should really get top marks!

Who’s up next?!

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Homemade (easy!) bread!

This is a recipe I made waaaay back in January BUT at that point, I wasn’t blogging at all despite probably cooking more (think I’d lost the desire to blog a bit!) but now the desire is back especially as I am currently on holiday (but kinda feels like I’m at home just in a nicer place as staying in a house here) and I thought I had uploaded a few photos of what I wanted to post whilst I was here but I had not. Then I remembered THIS recipe! I really want to make it again soon as it was easy, and I know how annoying it is when you hear people say “oh that recipe is SO easy!!” when you’re thinking, “it REALLY isn’t! What are they on about…!” but for a bread recipe, this is. There is no faff, no waiting about. Just make the bread, bake and enjoy!

So it is a Nigel Slater recipe, a chef whose recipes I absolutely adore, I have one of his older cookbooks and am desperate to make a lasagne from it. Not that I have ever made a lasagne before, so that shall be an experiment! I also LOVED the television version of his autobiographical book “Toast”, cried a lot and was incredibly inspired by him and his huge desire to cook. Definitely want to read that as well!

So I am directly lifting this recipe from the BBC page where I found it, obviously I am not claiming it is in any way my recipe. It is just I have forgotten anything different I may have done, which was probably nothing anyway! I will insert photos of how I cooked it, as he said a casserole dish and I was unsure for a while as to what dish would be the best to cook it in from what I had, I eventually chose one and it actually turned out well.


225g/8oz wholemeal flour

225g/8oz plain flour

½ teaspoon sea salt

1 teaspoon caster sugar

1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

350ml/12fl oz buttermilk

Preparation Method

Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/ Gas 8. Put a large casserole dish and its lid in the oven to warm up.

In a large bowl, mix the flours, sea salt, sugar and bicarbonate of soda together with your fingers. Pour in the buttermilk, bringing the mixture together as a soft dough. Working quickly (the bicarbonate of soda will start working immediately), shape the dough into a shallow round loaf about 4cm/1 1/2 inch thick.

Remove the hot casserole dish from the oven, dust the inside lightly with flour the lower in the dough. Cover with lid and return to oven.

The bread should be ready after 25 minutes. Remove from the oven and leave in place for 5 minutes before turning out and leaving to cool slightly before eating.

...In other news this holiday is lovely, super relaxing with a LOT of lovely food, which I will be blogging about. I want to live here!

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Saturday, 4 June 2011

French Onion (Oignon!) Soup

I made this a little before I went on holiday, we had absolutely no food in the house, well by my account we had no food. Actually, when I looked hard enough there were enough ingredients to concoct a simple soup recipe. I first tried this when my sister made it, and intially thought it would be quite difficult, however when I actually looked at the recipe and had a go at making it, I was surprised that for something so tasty and rich, it requires very few ingredients. It does require time though so that could be seen as the downside, however its rich, buttery substance and overall simplicity in terms of ingredients does outweigh the one and only negative.

I used Sophie Dahl's "Voluptuous Delights", which I have mentioned before and there are definitely a few other recipes I want to make from it. I have a made an aubergine parmigiana from this cookbook before, which was absolutely delicious!

Now she insists that this isn't typical French onion soup, because of it not including the pile of bread and cheese on top. So we are working more with an onion soup but to me, it still seems full of depth, like a lot of French cuisine has.


3 large yellow onions (I use less if just cooking for myself, maybe 2 small onions.)
1 tablespoon of butter
Slug of olive oil
2 litres of stock - she says you can use a mixture of chicken and vegetable. However beef is the traditional choice. Despite this, I used vegetable! (I use less, again if just cooking for myself, maybe around a litre. Depends how much you want for leftovers!)
1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar (this can be an optional choice)
Salt and Pepper
100g grated cheese - anything melty and rich will do, Gruyère or Parmesan are the yummy choices she provides.

Preparation Method

Roughly chop the onions. In a large saucepan, melt the butter with a few glugs of olive oil on a low heat. Make sure it doesn't burn. Swish the buttery mixture around to ensure the bottom of the pan is covered.

Pour in the onions, mix them into the oil with a wooden spoon and sweat gently for about 40 minutes. Keep the saucepan lid mostly on and at a low simmering heat. Towards the end of the cooking, you can remove the saucepan lid and turn up the heat slightly, you want the onions to brown and caramelize.

When the onions look golden and brown, pour in the stock mixture. Turn the heat down low. Then, she adds the magic ingredient, as I would call it. Balsamic Vinegar. She is completely right in saying that it adds a sweet earthiness.

Let it simmer for another 15 minutes and season with salt and pepper if needed.

Decant into bowls and generously grate cheese over the top.