I love food. I love making and eating and talking about and writing about food. I love taking and looking at pictures of food. It’s sad but true that a happy night in for me can consist of nothing more than flicking through recipe magazines whilst drooling ( an attractive image I realise 😉 ) .
At the moment I am home based and so I’ve more time, than I have had in the past few years, to cook and bake. I’m planning to make the most of it, and use it as an opportunity to experiment with new things. I am fed up with eating and cooking the same selection of family meals and I want some new ideas. I want to reduce our family food waste, and I want to enjoy the cooking of our food, rather than it being a dull job I have to do each day.
I am a huge fan of the Sainsbury’s magazine for recipes. It’s my favourite for recipes for a number of reasons and consequently I will keep referring to it ! Disappointingly I’m not on commission 🙂 Why do I love it ? I have never tried something from it that hasn’t been delicious, the ideas are good, it’s seasonally themed and it’s really cheap to buy ( usually £1.80, but last month only £1). I’m also a Nigella fan, and I often use the BBC GoodFood website for recipe searches.
The rhythms of preparing and cooking food give me rest. There’s something in the methodical yet creative process that re-energises me .
So here are my picks of the week. I’ve written out the recipes in the way that I cook them, rather than an ingredients list and method. Let me know if you try any of them !
Beef, guinness and cheddar stew Method: Brown 900g beef in vegetable oil. Add a tbsp flour, 500g baby carrots and a bay leaf. Add 330ml Guiness, 450ml beef stock, 1 tbsp tomato puree and seasoning. Boil cover and cook for 2 hours. Before serving remove the bay leaf and stir in chunks of diced mature cheddar. Serve with mashed potatoes and greens.
Caribbean Vegetable curry Method: Heat coconut oil (3tbsp), add 1 onion, season. Cover & cook for 10 mins until soft but not browned. Add 2 crushed garlic cloves, 5cm peeled, chopped root ginger, 1 red chilli, cook for 2-3 mins. Add ground spices ( 1 1/2 tsp each coriander seeds, cumin seeds, mustard seeds, black peppercorns), and cook for 2 mins. Add 400ml coconut milk, a cinnamon stick, 1 tbsp light muscavado sugar, juice of 1 lime, 150ml veg stock, 700g chopped butternut squash. Simmer for 10 mins. Add green beans. Simmer for another 10mins. Fry 2 chopped red peppers for 4-5 mins then add peppers, 1 tin kidney beans, quartered baby tomatoes and some spinach to the curry. Cook for 2 more minutes. Season and serve.
Sesame Teriyaki chicken Method: Make a glass of 4tbsp dark soy sauce, 4tbsp clear honey, 2tbsp toasted sesame oil, 4 crushed garlic cloves, 1tbsp root ginger. Use chicken thighs and cut them in half before coating them with the glaze. Heat sunflower oil and cook the chicken in batches, burning after 3 mins once they have started to caramelise. Cook for about 8 mins total or until the sugars have darkened and become sticky. Take the glaze that is left and boil it, simmer for 3- 4 minutes until it has reduced by half. Sieve it and then drizzle over the chicken. Serve with rice and veg and scatter with sesame seeds to serve.
(left to right – Caribbean Vegetable Curry, Beef Guinness and cheddar Stew, Sesame Terkiyaki Chicken)
Best bakes – Coffee Cardamom and Almond friends, Doughnut Bread Pudding
Coffee, Cardamom and Almond Friands
I had no idea what friends were before I baked them, but it turns out they are kind of like a muffin but with ground almonds. Totally delicious.
Method: melt 175g unsalted butter. Set aside. Sift 200g icing sugar with 100g plain flour. Crush the seeds from 6 cardamom pods and add them to the sieved flour and sugar, along with 150g ground almonds. Whisk 5 egg whites ( bit wasteful on the yolks as I forgot to use them afterwards, so maybe buying ready prepared supermarket egg whites will be the way to go next time) with a balloon whack until frothy. Mix 2 tbsp instant coffee with 1 tbsp of boiling water and pour it into a well in the centre of the dry ingredients. Pour in melted butter and egg whites. Use a metal spoon to combine and then put into 1 doz muffin cases or a tray. Bake at 180 c for 15 mins until golden. Cool briefly in tin before placing on a cake rack.
For the icing melt 40g unsalted butter 25g soft brown sugar and 2 tbsp golden syrup and simmer for 1 minute. Stir in 25g sifted icing sugar, and drizzle the icing over whilst the cakes are warm.
Doughnut Bread Cake was a way of using up doughnuts leftover from a party. Made by the oldest and utterly delicious. The recipe is here on the Good Housekeeping website Doughnut Bread Pudding recipe
It is always lovely to eat things you haven’t made yourself, so here are the best things I’ve eaten in the past couple of weeks which have been made by other people:
Peanut Butter Brownie Cake ( from Wildwood Restaurant), Fruit salad lovingly prepared by my littlest ( including pears from our garden), and Swiss Roll made at school by the middle child.
I’m always on a search for good things to make so do let me know your favourite recipes and best food ideas, and also whether you’d like this to be a regular thing 🙂