Monday, 13 July 2009

Bread for sharing

I made spaghetti and meatballs for dinner yesterday and thought it would be nice to have some home made garlic bread to mop up the sauce with. Ages ago when I first got my bread machine I trotted off to the library to look for books to inspire me to make lots of bread. One of the first ones I got was The Bread Machine Book by Marjie Lambert, which had a lovely selection of breads from around the world which I was keen to try, however the time came to hand the book back and I had made a few lovely loaves from the book, but not all of the ones I liked the look of.
Over a year later and I pop into a charity shop for a quick sweep of the books and utensils and what was on the shelf? The very same book a bargain at 50p, so this weekend I made the garlic and herb monkey bread and it was delicious.

It is really just a good bread dough with garlic added to it, then cut into little bits which are then dipped in garlic and herb butter and layered up in a dish/tin.
I would make it again as all the family enjoyed mopping up their sauce with it mmmmm delicious!

Wednesday, 8 July 2009

Cake and Candy

We have a fun day for the children at work at the end of the school year and there is always a cake and candy stall. I am also involved with the local scout troop and they were having their summer fete the next day so I had a bit of baking to get done that would be quick but also a bit different to the usual fairy cakes, crispie cakes and marshmallow top hats.
A local bakers makes a lovely cake which is full of digestive biscuits, marshmallows, cherries, raisins and chocolate chips which is rolled in dessicated coconut, it is delicious, but they charge over £1 for a small slice and I am sorry but I knew I could make something similar far cheaper and here it is, it is called fifteens, and I used chocolate digestives and about 6floz of condensed milk. You need to register to see the recipes, but there are some nice ones on the site which are ideal for cake and candy stalls.

Another thing I make is a malteser slice and one of the teachers always wants this one made so she can take some home as it is one of her favourites

The recipe for this one comes from a lovely book I was given a few years ago called the MUMs Cookbook. Anything I have made from it has been delicious and the book was put together for such a good cause, they have another one out now which I am keen to get hold of too.

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Mary Berry's Lemon Drizzle Traybake

I recently bought a second hand kenwood chef after seeing it on gumtree. It is about 30 years old, but had the liquidizer, mincer and the usual dough hook, k-blade and whisk attachments too, it even had a stainless steel bowl which instantly drew me to thinking about meringues and pastry!

I have wanted one of these for a long time, but the only problem is that my kitchen is tiny and it will have to live on the table in the living room - I must make a cover for it! Everything works fine and after blending some soup and making a great pizza dough, I thought it was only right to make a cake.

I am on a long journey to reach a healthy weight, but my OH is able to eat pretty much anything and not put on an ounce. He takes a piece to work each day (packed lunch) and I found this lemon drizzle cake recipe in one of the many books in my expanding cook book collection. I thought it would keep well because of the syrup poured on it while it was still warm. It is an all in one mix and took minutes to put together and the resulting cake is moist and delicious with a crunchy sugar top.Lemon Drizzle Traybake

Sunday, 14 June 2009

A little treat

Even though I am losing weight, getting on for 5 stones since Feb 08, I still love to bake and my OH had discovered he likes more and more sweet treats.
This is perfect for me as I get the pleasure of looking for recipes and baking them and he gets to eat them all, a bit like Jack Sprat and his wife!
I like there to be a nice balance between shortbread, caramel and chocolate, but this one I made is a bit ticht with the shortbread, never mind it is a good excuse to make it again!
Truth be told I have an old church cookbook and the recipes refer to big and small condensed milk and now we only get the one size in the shops so I had to mix and match the recipe.
This recipe is where I got the caramel from and I am sure will be a good overall recipe as hers always are.

Best laid plans

I have been really neglecting this blog lately, things have been busy recently and when you live in the UK you have to make the most of the weather we have, however unpredictable it is.

We had sports day scheduled at work and things were looking good on the morning of the event, but sadly when we got to the park to set up, the heavens opened and the rain poured down. Hopefully we will be able to go ahead this week.

I bought a copy of Good Food a few weeks ago and was drawn to this recipe. I only had chicken breasts and as I endeavour to follow the Slimming World food optimising plan, this fits in with an Extra Easy day. I cooked it for slightly less than the time stated and it was delicious.

Wednesday, 4 March 2009

Beauty is only skin deep.

Beauty is such a personal thing, often we do not appreciate the beauty of things around us. I have been trying really hard to support my local farmers market and buy all my meat - angus, buffalo, pork and chicken, from the local producers. The quality is fantastic and not that much dearer than the tasteless things you can buy in the big supermarkets.
My favourite thing though is the smell of this stall. Ever since I was a child I loved the smell of burning wood and have even been known to light a match just to get a whiff of the sulphur. As you approach the market you get the pleasure of the smell to guide you right to his stall where he has many barrels on the go and racks of fish waiting to be turned into a golden treasure.

I admit an arbroath smokie may not be the most beautiful thing to look at, but when you open it up on a cold Scottish morning and the juices ooze all over your cold fingers, begging you to lick the warm smoky flavour before you flake off a succulent piece of flesh with a golden coppery hue at the edge, you understand that beauty really is only skin deep because what lies underneath is so much more wonderful.

I bought two this time and devoured one for my breakfast while it was still warm, but the other one was destined for a different fate.

No recipe here, but a cheats version of kedgeree, and I use kedgeree loosely!

I used a pack of golden savoury rice and when it was ready, flaked the fish into the rice and stirred through to warm it up and topped it off with 2 boiled eggs chopped up, a delicious Sunday morning feast

Sunday, 22 February 2009

Oh my how time flies!

I can't believe how long it has been since I last posted, I had so many good intentions of posting but life just kept getting in the way. Things have been busy for me, like most people and making time to do this blogging thing has been difficult to find. I have been keeping up with as many of the blogs I enoy reading but there are so many out there I have had to say STOP! Take care of your own thing and the time will free itself up eventally.
I think when you work within the academic time frame your year seems to pass even quicker than normal. A hard lesson to learn is that time is precious and we have to make the most of the time we have and stop wishing or waiting our lives away.
All the old sayings are true "Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today" and "Time and tide wait for no man" these have rung far to true for me over the past few weeks, especially when you hear of people being given weeks to live or passing away suddenly.
I have tried hard to keep cooking as many home made things for the family as possible and this week I have been trying to plan a menu to help with the weekly shopping, I know it will take time to set up, but after the initial effort it should free up not only time, but that nescessary evil - MONEY.

Here is a picture of some lovely cookies I made last weekend for a birthday present, you can find the recipe here