Thursday, 31 July 2008

Salmon with lentls, anchovies and capers

I got the idea for this recipe from a old issue of GoodFood magazine, it looked interesting and gave me the opportunity to use a box of Puy lentils that I bought a long time ago thinking they might come in useful. Well they finally did, at long last!
The idea is a simple one, lentils are cooked with garlic and sage which forms the 'bed' on which a fillet of roast salmon lies, this was dressed with anchovies, capers, parsley and lemon. I used roast tomatoes as a garnish as suggested in the recipe. I think it looks really classy and the tomatoes add a nice splash of colour where it could have looked quite dull.
Unfortunately it didn't really deliver on flavour which was surprising considering the anchovies and capers, I also thought the portions were way too small even after I had bulked it out with peas.
I think I will try this idea again but it need to have more flavour added and I've not quite worked out how yet...

Recipe here

Monday, 28 July 2008


Christina from She Runs She Eats tagged me with this MeMe, my first ever! so here goes...

1.Last Movie I Saw In A Movie Theater?
I think it was I Am Legend. It's a Will Smith film with zombies

2. What Book Are You Reading?
Down under by Bill Bryson

3. Favourite Board Game?
Once a year we play scrabble at Christmas so I suppose it could be that. Or maybe Monopoly...

4. Favourite Magazine?
Hmm... Cycling Plus is good or maybe a food magazine like Good Food

5. Favourite Smells?
Vanilla pods are amazing, fresh bread and I used to like the smell of petrol when I was little!

6. Favourite Sounds?
Riding my bike down gravel tracks.

7. Worst Feeling In The World?
Failing at something important or disappointing people.

8. First Thing You Think of When You Wake?
Food, food food! I'm normally starving when I wake up.

9. Favourite Fast Food Place?
I don't really eat fast food any more but traditional fish and chips is good.

10. Future Child's Name?
Erm... I haven't thought that far ahead!

11. Finish This Statement—“If I Had a Lot of Money, I’d…
Buy a castle in Italy, I love it there and castles are cool!

12. Do You Drive Fast?
I don't drive, I suppose I can cycle pretty fast!

13. Do You Sleep With a Stuffed Animal?
Haven't for at least 10 years.

14. Storms—Cool or Scary?
Who doesn't love lightening? cool

15. What Was Your First Car?
Never had a car but I would like a DeLorean like on Back to the Future, if I could time travel so much the better. A VW hippy camper van would be cool too!

16. Favourite Drink?
Coffee, coffee, coffee! It's all I drink.

17. Finish This Statement—“If I Had the Time, I Would…
Go travelling across Europe.

18. Do You Eat the Stems on Broccoli?
Yes, I eat all of it. I hate wasting things.

19. If You could Dye your Hair Any Other Colour, What Would It Be?
I have no plans to dye my hair, but I did dye it blue for a day once.

20. Name All the Different Cities In Which You Have Lived.
That's easy! Leicester

21. Favourite Sport to Watch?
Rugby, go Tigers!

22. One Nice Thing About The Person Who Sent This To You
I get lots of supportive comments from Christina which encourages me to keep Blogging.

23. What’s Under Your Bed?
A load of junk

24. Would You Like to Be Born As Yourself Again?
I suppose so, it's not that bad being me!

25. Morning Person or Night Owl?
Love the mornings, I'm normally up by 7

26. Over Easy or Sunny Side Up?
Over easy, I like dipping bread in the yolk.

27. Favourite Place to Relax?
Somewhere in the countryside miles from anywhere.

28. Favourite Ice Cream Flavour?
Ben and Jerry's, either Phish food or fossil fuel they're both really good

29. Of All the People You Have Tagged, Who Is the Most Likely to Respond First?
I'm going to guess Amanda from Mrs W's kitchen but who knows?

Mrs W's Kitchen
Simple Daily Recipes
Hopies Kitchen

Thursday, 17 July 2008

Yeasted pumpkin bread

As I've mentioned before I'm trying to use up all my frozen pumpkin to clear some space in my freezer (thanks for all the great ideas I plan to make some soon!). Well in our house we make almost all our own bread, normally just simple loaves with maybe a few seeds in. While I was searching for things to do with my pumpkin I came across this recipe for a loaf of bread made with pumpkin purée. I like to try new and unusual things and this sounded really interesting so, I gave it a go and the results were brilliant. It rose to a huge size, much bigger than I expected, this made for a very light loaf rather than the dense bread I anticipated. The pumpkin gave it an amazing orange colour and helped to keep it really soft. I decorated the top with pumpkin seeds (what else?) and this is the result.Unfortunately I can't remember where I found the recipe, if anyone can tell me I'll gladly credit it to them, but here it is:

Ingredients (for 12 rolls or 1 loaf):

  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons of good Active Dry Yeast.

  • 1 Tablespoon of sugar

  • 1/2 cup of 110 degree (Fahrenheit) milk

  • About 4 cups of flour (add more as you need when kneading)

  • 1 cup pumpkin canned or home-made

  • 1 teaspoon of nutmeg

  • 3/4 stick of butter

  • 1 egg, beaten a bit

  1. Mix yeast and sugar into the milk and let the yeast grow for about 10 to 15 minutes.
  2. Combine all the dry ingredients into a bowl
  3. Chop the butter into bits and mix it into the dry ingredients
  4. Add the egg, pumpkin and foamy yeast mixture
  5. Mix everything together until its all combined
  6. Next, take the dough and knead it on a floured surface (and keep it floured on top and bottom to keep from sticking on you and the surface) for about 10 minutes.
  7. If you are in a hurry you can skip this step but your rolls might not be as good. Set the dough in a bowl and cover with a tea towel for about 1 hour (or until it doubles in size). Indeed, I was in a hurry and skipped this step so please comment if you include it and let me know how it turns out.
  8. Punch the dough down and separate into 12 balls.
  9. Place the balls on an oiled baking tray (or use a springform pan or glass baking dish) and let them rise for another 45 minutes.
  10. Bake the rolls for 30-40 minutes or until they just turn golden at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Alternatively do as I did and put all the ingredients in a bread machine on the dough setting, then continue from step 8 onwards.

Friday, 11 July 2008

Let Them Eat Chicken (Sticky lemon chicken)

A couple of weeks ago I was asked by Kate of A Merrier World if I would like to take part in the blogging event Let Them Eat Chicken. The aim of this event is to raise awareness of the cruel conditions a typical supermarket chicken is raised in and to promote the free range alternative.The life of a standard chicken and a free-range one couldn't be more different. A typical broiler chicken is raised in dark sheds with very little room to move, they are packed in up to 20,000 very close together, the sheds are never cleaned during their short six week life.
A free range bird on the other hand can roam freely outside with plenty of space, these chickens are free to act as they would naturally and so are much happier. I believe that if we are going to raise animals for meat then we have a responsibility to treat them humanely during their life, that is why I only eat free-range chicken.
The issue of animal welfare is something I feel strongly about so I was very happy to take part. If you're from the UK you're probably aware of the recent campaigning on this issue by the celebrity chefs Jamie Oliver and Hugh Fearnley-whittingstall. The Chicken Out! campaign founded by Hugh Fearnley-whittingstall seeks to change the way we shop for chicken, it has an excellent website which clearly explains the reasons why you should buy free range.

To take part I was asked to cook my favourite chicken dish using free range chicken, I don't know what my favourite is but this Sticky lemon chicken is pretty good, the original recipe is by Gordon Ramsay, I was inspired to cook it after seeing a picture on the She Runs, She Eats blog.This dish is simple to prepare and tastes great, it is flavoured with lemon, honey and thyme, the sauce is reduced down to give a sticky and sweet coating. recipe here.

I hope next time you choose to eat chicken you think carefully before you buy, it may be slightly more expensive to go free range but at least you will know that your chicken has been raised humanely.

This article from the independent shows the conditions some broiler chicken are raised in:

Friday, 4 July 2008

Classic Pumpkin Pie

I made this pumpkin pie a few weeks ago now, in an attempt to clear some space in our freezer I have been trying to use up anything which has been lost down the back and forgotten about. These are normally either strange ingredients that no one quite knows what to do with or else they are unlabelled "mystery items" that are unidentifiable and have been there so long they are covered in a thick layer of frost!
In this case it is the former, pumpkin is an unusual ingredient in England, rarely used and hard to find in the shops (although squash is becoming more common it is still "exotic"). I happen to have a load of pumpkin that I grew myself, not knowing what to do with it I diced it and froze it, and the freezer is where it has remained ever since.I only know of one use for pumpkin and that is pumpkin pie, it is a great shame that this fantastic dessert is not more widely known in this country, I have never seen it for sale anywhere. So if you want one you have to make it yourself. The recipe I used is a photocopy from a friend of a friend and unfortunately I don't know who the original author is, needless to say it is a really good recipe that I have made a few times and it never fails.

If anyone has any other good uses for pumpkin please let me know, I still have plenty left!

Pumpkin Pie
You will need 1 9 inch pie crust and the following

  • 2 Large eggs
  • 1/2 cup of sugar
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground ginger
  • 1/8 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1 can (16 ounces) pumpkin or make your own pumpkin purée
  • 1 can (12 ounces) of evaporated milk
  • Heat oven to 425f
  • Beat the eggs in a bowl with a whisk then beat in remaining ingredients.
  • Pour into pie shell and bake for 15 minutes (to prevent spilling place the pie shell on the oven rack then pour in the filling).
  • After 15 minutes lower the temperature to 325f and bake for a further 45 minutes or until a knife inserted comes out clean.
  • Chill in the fridge for 4 hours and serve with whipped cream.