Lemon Delicious

I’ve been struggling with the recipe from my PWMU cookbook, so I was happy to find this one works well!  (Makes a lot)

50g (1 ½ oz) butter
1 cup castor sugar
finely grated rind of 2 lemons
4 eggs, separated
1/3 cup self-raising flour, sifted
juice of 3 lemons
1 ½ cups milk

Preheat oven to 140-160°C and boil as much water as you can.

Beat the egg whites until stiff, then beat in 1/2 the sugar until the mixture is glossy.
Cream the butter with the remaining sugar and the lemon rind. Beat in the egg yolks and then the flour, lemon juice and milk.
Gently mix the lemon preparation into the egg whites and pour into an ovenproof dish.
Stand dish in a water-bath coming half way up the sides. Bake in preheated oven for 45 to 50 minutes until set and lightly browned.

Serve straight away with cream or ice-cream.


Cherry Heering: very cheering!

I just spent a few days work related at the Birmingham Good Food show & the discovery of the show was Cherry Heering – an absolutely awesome liqueur.  It tastes of black cherry with the stone (i.e. nice almondy notes) – quite viscous and very intense.  I’m thinking mixed with gin, OJ & soda (maybe a dash of lime) or just go for a classic with the Singapore Sling.  Anyway we’ve got through half a bottle playing around in one evening between the two of us, which is recommendation enough in itself!


Now to the ‘learn from my mistakes’ section

Sherry is never good in salad dressings.Okra is better cooked for a short period of time and hey, maybe that Jamaican goat curry just doesn’t need okra!

There is such a thing as too many chickpeas!

Relatedly, yes you can use too much saffron – if in doubt when the Moroccan tagine recipe says use 1tsp, just use a generous pinch of strands….

And getting back to my first serious cooking disaster as a 10 year old: 2min noodles cannot be jazzed up using mince meat & even freeze dried peas & tomato sauce won’t save your camping holiday meal from complete disaster!

Happy cooking!

Oh and getting to more recent culinary misadventures – does tinned tomato ever taste good?

And yes red wine spilt in the fridge & forgotten about can go mouldy & stink incredibly…..

Stay confident & pushy in job interviews – as soon as you lose the ‘I am your next…..’ you lose your edge 🙁


The ‘ok’ (Julian might debate this with me)

I am the first to admit that my ‘own recipe’ veg food is not always outstanding. However there is a certain male-female bias in how food should taste is my impression. I.e. men seem in general less keen on having a meat free night….. Anyway below are some of my more recent efforts.

Frittata, take 12 eggs, whatever veg you have left in the cupboard, slice said veg & microwave until done. Fry up some onions & garlic, chop some parsley, chives, thyme, oregano & whatever other herbs you have. Break half the eggs & whisk to mix with salt & pepper. Drain off any water on the veg & mix in with the egg – if there isn’t a good covering of egg on each slice of veg then add more eggs. Pack into greased baking tins (don’t use springform!!!), bake in a preheated oven say 160 deg for about an hour until they’re cooked. Serve with a salad.

Veg lasagne. Ideally make your own pasta & precook the sheets, however I realise Latina is easier! Roast whatever veg you have (ideally including tomatoes, root veg – potato, sweet-potato, parsnip), either cook some red lentils or use hommus. When the veg is cooked, mix with a 500g pack of creme fraiche & some herbs, season. Grease some loaf tins or other lasagne holder, if you have lentils mix with the veg, if you have hommus spread on the bottom sheet of pasta, layer otherwise as usual, using a quiet cheese (I found the feta a bit strong, so cheddar, mozzarella, gouda, etc.). Add some water if you’re using dried pasta, if you’ve made & precooked your own, it’ll be fine. Put in a preheated oven say 175 deg, check after 30mins to see how it’s going (the baked veges will mean that the whole thing is quite warm already) and make a judgement call on how much longer if any is necessary.


Laal Maas

my version

from Curry: fragrant dishes from India, Thailand, Malaysia & Indonesia, foreword by David Thompson

If you enjoy a curry from many different countries but don’t want to get too in depth I’d really recommend this book – great recipes, great photography, a good introduction to the different styles of curry. So getting back to Rajasthan (North India).

I made this last night, but didn’t have any yoghurt and used creme fraiche instead, which was just as good!

1tbs dried capsicum flakes (i bought by accident thinking they were chilli), 5-10 dried thai chillies, stalks off; 1.5tsp cloves; vege oil; 250 natural yoghurt; 2 tsp roasted cumin seeds (do under grill or in a frypan, careful not to burn!); 20g ground coriander (ideally you’d grind your own seeds in a mortar & pestle or a dedicated spice grinder); 1/2 tsp chilli powder; 2 tsp salt; 3 bay leaves; 10 green cardamom pods; 6 black/brown cardamom pods (necessary, they are a different species to the green & give a distinctive earthy note, you can get them in little delis, indian & asian stores); 2 heads of garlic finely chopped (trust me it’s good!); 250g onions finely chopped; 1kg goat shoulder in cubes (or lamb if you must!); 750mL lamb stock or water; finely chopped leaves of 1 bunch of coriander.

Set aside 2 chillis & soak the rest in water. Also set aside 6 cloves. Mix the yoghurt, cumin, ground coriander, chilli powder & salt in a small bowl. Heat some oil (1 tbs) in a heavy bottomed large pan, add cloves, bay, both cardamoms. WHen they begin to crackle & change colour add the garlic. Saute for 2 mins or until garlic changes colour, add the onions & cook until golden brown (10 min). Stir in meat & cook for a couple of minutes before adding soaked chillis with water & cook until the liquid has evaporated a bit (if possible) & meat browns. Add spiced yoghurt & cook 10-12min until liquid has evaporated. Depending on how much water evaporates, add some of the heated water/stoc, bring to the boil & simmer until the meat is tender (1-3h, depending on what you get, cooking in the microwave seems to tenderise quickly if you’re running out of time, not that I recommend this step ;-)) Now to boost the flavours, heat a small pan with another tbs of oil & fry the reserved cloves & chillis, cook 1-2mins until the spice smells good. Pour over the curry, sprinkle with the coriander leaves & serve with basmati rice.


Crumpets – this recipe actually works!

I’ve been trying with frustration to make a couple of crumpet recipes to work for a while now, but tonight by dint of completely misreading the recipe I managed to get it right!

The entire process takes about 3 hours (what with all the rising time!) but it’s really worthwhile.

So before I forget below is exactly how I made them:

2 tsp dried yeast

600g strong plain flour

2 tsp sugar

1tsp salt

800mL milk

later addition

1/2 tsp bicarb mixed in 1tbs warm water

I put all the first ingredients in my breadmaker on dough setting (using a mixer does the trick too). Then I let it rise for about an hour (it should be around double the size) & stirred in the bicarb in water & after a further hour of rising it was bubbly & about double in size.

I then heated a frypan with egg rings in it really hot, took it off the heat & greased the lot. Then poured about 2tbs of mix into the rings (so that it comes 3/4 of the way up the sides), put it back on a low-medium heat (3 of 8 on my stove). When top is almost set & all bubbly, flip, cook for a minute or so until slightly browned & put on a rack to cool. And continue with the rest of the mix.  Oh & if you don’t have rings that doesn’t matter – they just turn out irregular in shape & slightly thinner…

This made so many I’m going to be freezing, refrigerating & eating for about a week. I’m so excited that it’s finally worked!!!

OK just counted: 57 in total!!!


The Rolling Curry

For the past week I’ve been cooking another 2 curries (or curry & pilau) approx. every second day, which is working really well – we have at least 3 curries & a pilau for dinner each night and it’s fairly varied as we use up the older curries & add in the new ones.  And I don’t need to cook every night!


Things I learnt about business by observing my local drug dealer whilst riding through the park yesterday

1) have an exit strategy ready – trying to produce one when it is needed often leads to a shambles (& potentially arrest), the local drug dealer was standing on his bike, ready to go at the slightest whisper of ‘you’re nicked’

2) don’t get too close to your business partners or their failure may bring your business down too – he kept the buyer at arms length

3) be prepared – he wasn’t paying attention to what was coming down the bike path & was very surprised & upset by the sudden rattle of my bike rack – this lack of awareness of what is happening in his area could lead to him being arrested, just as lack of awareness of the mood of the population and what’s happening in the market can bring down your business


Turkey – but where are the gobblecocks???

Initially I was tempted to write off all Turkish food with the simple advice – just don’t go there! But then I remembered the sweets….. Each town seems to have it’s own specialty, whcih are all well represented in the Otogar (bas station), which was great! My absolute favourite was Bursa, home of candied chestnuts, mmmm…. Sorry i’ll try not to dribble on the keyboard! The main focus seemed to be little chocolates which were a paste of chocolate & candied chestnut with a piece of chestnut in the middle – divine! And the stall where I bought mine gave me not one, but 2 free as samples….. And then of course the candied chestnuts themselves!!!! (You may not be aware but in France/Belgium these little gems are valued higher than the best quality chocolates!) And when we moved onto other towns there was Safranbolu, specialising in saffron turkish delight, dried fig towns, fairy floss towns, wonderful!

Getting back to the savoury food though – it’s incredible how much tasteless white bread is eaten over there! Breakfast is an egg boiled for 20mins, bread, tomato, cucumber, olives & depending on where you are either local feta or some sort of spreadable abomination…. And dinner was meat. Barbequed. And more meat. And for our lucky vegetarian friend the odd vegetables cooked until their colour & texture changed….. For a few days it’s possible to live on gozleme (a dough rolled out really thin, filled with potato & chilli, or feta & mint, or of course meat, then cooked on a big shield shaped grill) and manti – turkish ravioli made from the same dough in yoghurt with a meat & tomato sauce on top, but even they pale after a while.

Though I suppose I should mention the amazing Roman etc. ruins (Troy & Ephesis), spectacular scenery (Cappadocia – it’s definitely worth the balloon trip!) and the beautiful (stone) beaches, as aside fromt he food it really is worth visiting.