Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Recipe: Griddled Courgettes with Toasted Pine Nuts

I can't believe it! I REALLY can't! I have actually grown something that I have managed to turn into something! As mentioned in previous posts, I am not a very green-fingered girl, and although I have grown a few things before, usually they have never cropped enough to make into anything (Example: O.K guys so I have....3 cherry tomatoes and 2 strawberries......like I can do much with that!). However, these courgettes are really going wild. I grew these lovely things from seed and I can't believe how massive the plants are now! I am loving the look of our raised beds that the family got sorted a couple of months ago. We do have a tincy garden but those two raised beds are enough space to grow a few things. My three courgette plants are on the left, and on the right you can see the Kos and Iceberg lettuces that my dad grew from really little plants from the garden centre. We harvested one of the Kos's recently and it tasted great! On the far left you can see I have two tomato plants as well, I got them from little plants at a local hardware shop, they are called "Alicante". It's the first time i've grown normal tomatoes rather than cherry varieties, so im interested to see how they turn out. We also have various herbs growing in the beds, in the border and in pots. It's so nice when you are cooking just to head out to the garden and pick the herbs you want.

This is a close-up of one of my plants, you can see one of the courgettes on there (plenty of flowers too! Good sign). I got the seeds free from the BBC, with their "Dig In" Campaign, with a load of other seeds that I intend to have a go at next year, now that I feel confident enough with growing veg from scratch. THANK YOU BBC!!! They are a variety called "Black Beauty", and by the look of them, they are the usual ones that you buy in shops. I think I will grow them next year too, but maybe with another variety too, as I have a packet of yellow courgette seeds callled "Gold rush" and they look interesting.

I picked one from each plant, and according to what i've researched I should be able to get about 3 every week from now on, until the frost comes anyway. This is them with the courgette flowers cut off. Hah, you can really tell how scarily proud I am of this can't you? Haha!

So, in all this excitement I also bought a cast iron griddle pan from my local Kitchenware shop. I am following the instructions with it- I really hope it doesnt rust on me, cause one of my friends said they have bought several griddle pans over the years, cause all of em ended up rusting! Anyway, this recipe is scrumptious. My home grown courgettes tasted fantastic, and i feel that the other ingredients help bring out the flavour of the fresh produce, without overpowering it. I do love the courgette flowers as well, remember, they are edible, and rather delicious (particularly deep fried!). I served this as a side dish to my Caramelised Shallot tart, the recipe for which is on the site (you can find it under pastry or french in the index):

Griddled courgettes with basil and pine nuts (serves 2 as a side dish) costs £1.11 per portion

300g (About 3) courgettes, sliced into thin strips
Olive oil
Small handful fresh basil, roughly chopped
3 courgette flowers, cleaned and roughly chopped
25g pine nuts, toasted
Zest of 1 lemon
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt, pepper and sugar

1. Heat a griddle pan to a fairly high heat. Coat the courgette slices in olive oil and a little salt and pepper. In batches, griddle the slices of courgettes about 1-2 minutes on each side, and place into a bowl with a plate over it (this helps to cook the courgettes as well).
2. Once all the courgettes have been griddled, put all the other ingredients into the bowl, toss, season to taste, and serve.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Recipe: Indian Onion Salad and Mint Yoghurt

A few days ago I had my second dinner party! I utterly love dinner parties, because in general I just love cooking for friends. Although I cook for people all the time, in the restaurant, because I don't tend to get feedback and I dont know them, so it's more like catering for numbers rather than "real people". It was an Indian themed dinner party, for five (it was four originally but my boyfriend brought another friend from the pub so it was lucky I usually make a little too much!).

For starter I made my homemade mango chutney, homemade onion salad, homemade mint sauce and lime pickle, with loads of warm poppadoms from next door (we live next to an Indian take away which is very convenient!). For mains we had my Keema Matar and Mixed Vegetable balti with some spiced rice. And for dessert we had a "strawberry shrikhand", which is like an indian spiced honeyed yoghurt with fruit. It went down really well. Aaanyway, so I thought I would give you my recipes for onion salad and mint yoghurt, they taste really really good, and are very similar to what you get in Indian Restaurants, but even nicer!

Indian Onion Salad  (costs £1.09 if served for 2 as a side salad)

1/2 large white onion, diced
2 inch piece of cucumber, peeled, seeded and diced
4 ripe cherry tomatoes, diced
3 tbsp finely chopped coriander (leaves and stems)
2 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint (just leaves)
Juice of ½ a lemon
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste

1. Mix all the ingredients together, adjust seasoning to personal preference and serve.

Indian Mint Yoghurt (costs £1.76)
300g natural yoghurt
1 ½ tbsp mint sauce
1 tbsp smooth mango chutney
3 tbsp finely chopped fresh mint
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste

1. Mix all the ingredients together, adjust seasoning to personal preference and serve.

Recipe: Baked Feta with Grilled Pepper Salad


Nice and mediterranean, this dish is vibrant, tasty and very healthy. Peeling the skins off the peppers can be a pit of a palava but once the salad is made the nice roasty flavours you get from it is delicious. You can do the peppers under the grill like suggested, but if you have a blowtorch (which i do...somehwere....I think its up in the loft or something!) you can use that instead which is a bit of a quicker way to do it. I will say it serves 2 as a starter, but add a big slice of good crusty bread with butter on the side to mop up the salad juices, and you've got a fab light lunch.

Baked Feta with grilled mixed pepper salad (serves 2 as a starter)

The Feta
200g Feta
1 small green chilli, chopped finely
½ tsp dried oregano
Ground black pepper
Extra virgin olive oil

The Peppers
2 red peppers
2 yellow peppers
Extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
15g capers
Salt, sugar and pepper to taste

1. Put the grill onto a high heat. Put the peppers (whole) onto a tray lined with foil. Drizzle with olive oil and place under the grill. You should grill the peppers for about 6 minutes on each side. Do not worry if the peppers are slightly blackened as you can peel the blackened skin off.
2. Once the peppers are grilled both sides, put into a bowl with the lid on, to allow the peppers to “steam themselves”. Leave them for ten minutes.
3. Meanwhile heat the oven to 200C. Lay out a piece of foil on a baking tray. Place the block of feta, sprinkle over the green chilli, drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle some black pepper. Scrunch the foil up around the feta to make a sealed “parcel”. Place in the oven for 10 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, get the peppers out of their bowl and peel most the skin/ blackened parts of the peppers off (the peppers will probably be hot still- its good to have tough fingers!). Chop in half, remove the stems and seeds, and roughly chop.
5. Place the chopped roasted peppers into a bowl with the parsley, vinegar, capers, 2 tsps of extra virgin olive oil, and season to taste.
6. Take the feta out of the oven, open up the parcel, cut in half and carefully place the feta halves on 2 plates. Divide the pepper salad between the two plates and serve.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Review: Yen Sushi, Bath


I suppose that really this review is a little bit of a guide to “what to eat at a sushi bar if you don’t eat fish”. I do like vegetarian sushi but as you guys know, the only fish/seafood that I have like are mussels, or fish and chips. It’s not as if I didn’t desperately try to like it! I worked in a fish and seafood restaurant for three months to try and appreciate it, but nope, all gross. Especially whitebait, dear god how can anyone eat it? Blegh! Each to their own I suppose. Anyway, so I went to Yen Sushi, for a Leaving/Staff party. One of my friends that works with me (At River Cottage in Komedia, Bath) is moving to Japan, forever as far as I know, to teach Japanese children English, so that was a fairly damn good excuse for a bit of a work booze-up! I started off by ordering a nice cold asahi, which of course works really well with all the Japanese flavours. My friend Lottie started ordering little bottles of Sake as well, which is Japanese rice wine, although it’s much stronger than average wine. It’s traditionally served warm, and served in shot glasses, and slowly drank. I have tried it before when I used to work at Wagamamas, and I thought it was awful- but this Sake was REALLY nice. To be honest I expect the Sake they used at Wagamamas wasn’t very good quality.

Theres something that seems so nice and authentic about the restaurant, much more traditionally Japanese and cheaper than its more well known rival, Yo Sushi. Their main sushi chef seems to always be there, I do wonder some times whether he ever has a day off, he’s really nice and seems to love his work, which is nice to see. Anyway, so I grabbed the first scrummy looking thing going round on the “sushi-go-round”, which was this little plate of warm roasted aubergine in a sweet Miso dressing and toasted sesame seeds. They just call it Aubergine salad on the menu, but it’s so tasty and melted in the mouth- which is a hard texture to achieve with aubergine, as often it can go slimy, or can be too hard and bitter.

Very soon after I thought I’d be brave and order something from the hot menu (If you don’t know how it works in these restaurants, certain items on the menu just keep getting made fresh and put onto the sushi-go-round, and other things (usually the hot or ramen dishes) you order from the waiters/waitresses). I ordered the vegetable gyozas (dumplings), which came nice and hot and crispy which came with a nice tangy vinegar dipping sauce. They were quite nice, though I slightly prefer gyozas when they are steamed rather than fried. I think that may just be because Wagamamas has tainted me in that way, I must’ve had hundreds of their vegetable gyozas in the nine months I worked there. Cause at the end of the day if there were any chicken or vegetable gyozas left in the steamer, they would be staff food. Yum. But still, Yen Sushi’s vegetable gyozas were fairly good, but the vinegary dipping sauce was really zingy and scrumptious.

So, next thing I grabbed was this dish of two deep fried tofu steaks, with some spicy slightly sweet chilli sauce. I love tofu. I think that anyone that says that tofu is flavourless has never had a decent Japanese meal before. To be fair, most the time tofu is much nicer deep fried (as are a lot of foods! Hah!) but this dish was rather delicious . Not too spicy but just enough kick, and the chilli sauce didn’t taste like that over garlicky sickly sweet chilli sauces you get in bottles, it tasted fresh and home made. The tofu slices had a nice little coating, like a light batter I think, and it was nice and crispy.

If I could fill you in on the fishy delights of this sushi bar, all the guys at the party were raving about the Teriyaki Prawns and the Prawn Tempura Hand rolls. The prawns looked fresh with a sticky sweet looking glaze, and the tempura hand roll looks very impressive, a large tempura prawn wrapped in Nori (toasted seaweed) with rice and julienned vegetables.

To have with the sushi on the tables are the usual suspects (in terms of sushi accompaniments) pickled ginger, hot wasabi and Kikkoman soy sauce. So eventually, the meal ended in a bit of a rush, so I grabbed my last plate of food. It was called “Inari”, they are common in the ready made sushi you get from places like Marks and Spencers and PrĂȘt a Manger. It is sushi rice, wrapped in a thin layer of sweet tofu. They are delicious, I completely recommend them. Some of us in the group were rushing off so we could get to a local cocktail bar whilst they still had their 2 for 1 cocktails deal on, so I settled the bill.

I was a bit worried about how much the bill would come to, because last time I was at Yo sushi it was quite expensive, and I left thinking that I’d been ripped off a bit because they overcharged for drinks and for quite a few of their dishes. I thought it was really reasonably priced actually! I’d had 4 plates of food and 2 asahi (and some sake which actually our manager paid for, but the meal would still have been lush without it) and it came to £13.50 (I tipped them £1.50 so it came to £15)! I thought that was very reasonable actually. So much so that I think I’m going to make this place a little bit of a lunchtime favourite. Cheap, tasty, and somewhat healthy (things may be fried, but come on! It's Japanese food, it’s supposed to be very good for you).

I won’t tell you what happened after the restaurant, I’ll just say that much more alcohol was involved, it ended up rather late in a club, and I actually danced! That’s when anyone who knows me knows that i'm drunk, cause I just DON’T dance. Ugh. Embarrassing. Anyway, I would give the food a 9/10, and service-wise….erm…..it’s hard to judge it on service, as generally you grab the food yourself, but the waiters and waitresses were friendly enough, and quick enough bringing the drinks/hot food once you’d ordered them. However sometimes it was a little difficult to grab their attention when you wanted something, so often you would just have to get up and go to the till area to order things, which was slightly irritating. So, I would give the service 8/10, making the overall score 8.5/10.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Recipe: Sausage Rolls


I'm a little fussy about my sausages. Not a big fan of the plain pork sausages, and also sometimes i get a little nervous about what is put into them. I have watched tv programs where they show all sorts of aweful things manufacturers put into sausages! Anyway, Sainsburys Taste The Difference Cumberland sausages are really delicious, good quality, and the perfect size for this recipe. The parmesan adds an extra savoury element to these sausage rolls, which beats Greggs soggy flavourless offerings any time!! They are very nice cold as well.

Sausage Rolls (makes 4) 96p per sausage roll

1 sheet ready rolled puff pastry
4 Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference Cumberland sausages
1 egg, beaten (for brushing)
10g grated fresh parmesan

1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Roll out the sheet of puff pastry and slice into quarters (4 long rectangles). Snip the Cumberland sausage links, and carefully (using scissors is best) cut the skins off the sausages.
2. Lay one sausage out in the middle of each rectangle. Roll up, seal the seem and press down the edges of the pastry. Slice the excess pastry either side of the rolls, and make some diagonal slashes on the top of them.
3. Place the sausage rolls onto a lined baking tray, brush with the egg mixture, and sprinkle the parmesan evenly over the four sausage rolls. Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until flaky and golden.
4. Remove from the oven, and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Nice eaten hot or cold as a picnic item.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Recipe: Spicy Spring Green and Butter Bean Rice


Its hard to make this dish look pretty but it is so damn tasty, infact i'm eating more of it now as i'm writing this recipe up, its just utterly moreish. It's good for you as well, low in fat with plenty of fibre from the brown rice. Which hopefully makes up for the fact that i've eaten so much of it! It works fine as a vegetarian main meal, and I reckon it would also be nice on the side of grilled lemony pork chops. The recipe for dukka is on my mushroom and chickpea tagine recipe, it is a mixture of toasted cumin, coriander and sesame seeds, ground to form a powder.

Spicy Spring Green and Butter Bean Rice (serves 3- £1.36 per portion)

200g brown rice
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Knob of butter
1 large white onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, crushed
½ tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp dukka
200g ripe tomatoes, chopped
1 tin butter beans, drained and rinsed
280g spring greens, chopped
500ml vegetable stock
3 tbsp coriander, chopped
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
Salt, pepper and sugar
Natural yoghurt to serve

1. Cook the brown rice according to the packet instructions in salted water (this takes about 30 minutes). Drain and set aside.
2. In a large saucepan sauté the onion and garlic in the olive oil and butter, covered for about 10 minutes. Add the paprika and dukka, stir until the onions are all coated in the spices.
3. Add the tomatoes and cook covered for another 5 minutes. Add the butterbeans, spring greens and the vegetable stock and cook for 15 minutes.
4. Stir the herbs and cooked rice to the pan, and cook for about 5 minutes uncovered, until most of the liquid has been soaked up. Season to taste and serve with natural yoghurt and some more of the dukka sprinkled on top.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Recipe: Pistachio Kulfi


The Indian's really dont mess about when it comes to puddings. They put as much fat and sugar that they could possibly cram into them! Even their doughnuts (gulab jahm) are served soaked in sugar syrup! I love it all though, I think maybe because I love any desserts that contain cardamom. I think that the spice really lends itself well to sweet things. This is a recipe I orginially got from a magazine called "Dinner Tonight". I havent made too many changes, except upping the pistachio amount a little, and not serving it with pomegranate. Not a big fan of the little seeds. In stage one where I state "stir continuously on a high heat" I really mean it, the mixture catches and burns at the bottom of the saucepan very easily if you don't keep an eye on it! The ice cream melts fairly quickly so serve immediately in chilled bowls.

Pistachio Kulfi (serves 4) 81p per serving

1 x 400g tin evaporated milk
2 tbsp sugar
15g hulled unsalted pistachios, plus extra for garnish
4 cardamom pods
2 tbsp double cream
Fresh fruit, such as ripe mango, to serve

1. Heat the evaporated milk and sugar in a pan. Stir continuously on a high heat, making sure the mixture does not burn, for 10 minutes. Set aside.
2. Put the pistachios into a food processor and blitz until the pistachios are finely chopped. Get the seeds out of the cardamom pods and crush them in a mortar and pestle into a powder.
3. Stir the pistachios, cardamom and double cream into the evaporated milk mixture. With cling film, line a non stick loaf tin, and pour in the Kulfi mixture. Put in the freezer for a minimum of 5 hours. Remove from the freezer, pull the Kulfi out of the mould, peel off the cling-film and serve with chopped fresh fruit and extra pistachios.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Recipe: Chicken, Sweetcorn and Vegetable Soup


I really fancied a nice filling chicken soup this lunchtime. I find myself constantly dissapointed by tinned soups that are supposed to include meat, but actually don't. In one case, i bought a tinned chicken and vegetable soup, and i looked at the ingredients and it said 1% chicken!!! Thats just taking the mickkey!!! This is a really comforting broth, perfect with a big hunk of french baguette.

Chicken, sweetcorn and vegetable soup (makes 3 generous bowlfulls) £1.27 per portion

15g butter
1 tbsp olive oil
½ large white onion, diced small
2 celery sticks, diced small
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 chicken breast, diced small
340g tin sweetcorn, drained
1 small baking potato, peeled and diced small
700ml chicken stock
200ml whole milk
2 bay leaves
2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (plus extra for garnish)
2 spring onions, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook the onion, celery and garlic in the butter and oil, covered for about 10 minutes, or until fairly soft. Remove lid, and cook chicken for 5 minutes.
2. Add all other ingredients except the spring onions, and cook on a high heat for 10 minutes (making sure the pan doesn’t boil over, due to the milk).
3. Add the spring onions, and cook for a further five minutes. Season to taste, garnish with some more chopped fresh parsley, and serve.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Recipe: Spiced New Potatoes with Mayonnaise


This is such a scrumptious moreish side dish. I served these roasted potatoes alongside my cheddar and chive quiche, but this dish is also very good served at the beginning of a meal, as finger food. People can pick up the little potatoes and dip into the mayonnaise, or you can put coctail sticks into them to make it slightly less messy! Also, despite what a lot of people think, it is SO easy to make your own mayonnaise, it takes less than 5 minutes really, and it always tastes so good. The mayo recipe here is a good base recipe as well, if you want to make any special flavoured versions (Lime/ diijon mustard/ curry etc.)

Spiced roasted new potatoes with homemade mayonnaise (serves 4 as a starter) 83p per portion

For the potatoes

500g baby new potatoes
Extra virgin olive oil
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp Schwartz Fajita spice mix
½ tsp cumin seeds
½ tsp dried thyme
½ tsp garam masala
Salt and black pepper

For the mayonnaise
3 egg yolks
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 clove garlic, crushed
300ml olive oil
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste

1. Whisk the egg yolks, vinegar and garlic together. Whilst whisking gradually add the olive oil until you have a fairly thick consistency. Add plenty of salt, pepper, and a little sugar to taste. Put in the fridge until ready to serve.
2. Preheat the oven to 180C. Boil the potatoes in salted water for 7 minutes, then drain.
3. Put the potatoes into a roasting tin, drizzle with plenty of extra virgin olive oil, put all the spices, herbs, salt and pepper, and mix thoroughly to coat.
4. Cook in the oven for 25 minutes, stirring halfway through. Remove from the oven, put on a plate and scrape any leftover spiced oil from the roasting tin over them. Serve with the mayonnaise or as a side dish by themselves.

Recipe: Spinach and Red Onion salad


This is a very simple sweet zingy fresh salad, that goes well with almost anything. I served it last night on the side of chive and cheddar quiche. I would say it would also compliment mexican spiced grilled meats very well.

Spinach and red onion salad (serves 3 as a side dish) 39p per portion

100g baby spinach
½ red onion, sliced thinly
Juice from 1 lime
10g runny honey
½ tsp wholegrain mustard
3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt, pepper and sugar to taste

1. Place the spinach and onion in a bowl. Mix all the other ingredients together well, until the dressing is fully emulsified.
2. Pour the dressing into the spinach and toss. Serve!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Recipe: Cheddar and Chive Quiche


This is one of my mum's popular recipes, and she used to make it a lot when I was little. Nowadays im "a little funny" with eggs (the word is probably intollerant I expect!) so I don't eat quiche anymore, but trust me, this is delicious. It is also a very firm quiche, so it is very good to bring cold to a picnic as well. Tonight I made this for my parents and they had spinach and red onion salad, and spiced new potatoes on the side. This recipe also won me £250 of BlinkCollective vouchers!! Not sure what i'll spend it on yet!!!

Cheddar and Chive Quiche (serves 4) 90p per portion, £1.15 with side salad.

4 eggs
140ml semi-skimmed milk
210g grated cheddar
1 tbsp chopped chives
Plenty of salt and cracked black pepper
1 circular sheet ready rolled short crust pastry
Little bit of oil to grease

1. Heat the oven to 190C. In a bowl mix together the eggs, milk, cheddar, chives and seasoning.
2. Lightly grease a 9 inch flan dish, and put the pastry on it. Pour the egg mixture into the dish and place in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the top has risen slightly and turned fairly golden.
3. Allow to cool for about 10 minutes (it is best served warm).

Recipe: Green Pea Risotto with Roasted Tomatoes


Hoorah! My camera has finally been fixed! I have put up a photo of the carrot and red lentil soup now, and now i can post up far more recipes this month. Yesterday i was really in the mood for a risotto, but my dad said "i fancy something a bit more summery, a bit more healthy". So i thought i'd have a go at a nice fresh summery risotto, using herby and zesty flavours. The sweet tomatoes accompany the dish very well, and i think the colours in this dish looks great.

Green pea risotto with roasted tomatoes (serves 4) £1.63 per portion

For the risotto

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Knob of butter
1 large white onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic crushed
250g risotto rice
200ml white wine
700-800ml vegetable stock
3 tbsp chopped fresh basil
Large handful fresh mint, chopped
300g frozen peas
Zest of 1 lemon
Salt and pepper to taste
Goats cheese or parmesan shavings for garnish

For the tomatoes

4 large tomatoes, sliced horizontally
Sprinkling of salt, pepper and sugar
Sprinkling of dried basil
Drizzle extra virgin olive oil

1. Heat the oven to 160C. Place the halved tomatoes cut side up with the other ingredients on top, and put in the oven. Keep an eye on them whilst you are making the risotto, they take around 20-30 minutes.
2. Sautee the onion and garlic in the olive oil and butter for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add risotto rice, and stir to coat for about 1 minute.
3. Add white wine and cook for a further 4 minutes. Gradually add the stock and continuously stir for 10-15 minutes, or until the risotto is thick and the rice is “al dente”.
4. Meanwhile, put half the peas into a bowl and pour some boiling water over them (just until they go soft). Drain and then puree until fairly smooth in a food processor/blender. Set aside.
5. About 5 minutes to the end of the cooking time, add the pureed peas, the other frozen peas, lemon zest and chopped fresh herbs, and stir in.
6. Once risotto is ready, serve with the hot roasted tomatoes on top, and some sprinkled goats cheese or parmesan for garnish.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Recipe: The Perfect Pimms


Ugh....God, my camera is still broken (well apparently its actually how the computor reads the memory card thats gone all funny, I dont know, it's all funny technical mumbo jumbo to me). But i realise i had at least one nice picture from this year's Glastonbury festival, and in that picture i am enjoying Pimms O Clock in front of the VW Campervan we borrowed for the week. It was SO NICE not actually staying in a tent for once! And they are little tardises those campers, you see them on the road and you think they look tincy, but once you actually get in there is so much room! Aaanyway, it may be simple, but I know so many restaurants that do not know how to make a decent glass or pitcher of Pimms. And it's something you need to get right, because in my opinion this drink is essentially "Summer in a Glass"

The Perfect Pimms (makes 1 large pitcher) Serves 4, £1.74 per portion.

200ml PIMMS No.1
800ml chilled lemonade
Handful halved strawberries
1 nectarine, chopped
1 apple, chopped
1 orange, halved and sliced
1 lemon, halved and sliced
1/4 cucumber, halved and sliced thinly
large bunch of mint, ripped
Plenty of Ice
(Optional) Splash of Cucumber Vodka

1. Mix all the ingredients together and serve! If you feel like splashing out a little more the cucumber vodka really really works, trust me. You can order it online. There is a fair amount of fruit in it, but i like that cause i love eating the pimms soaked fruit after finishing the drink. And it is important to use lots of fruit and mint, because it marinades in the drink and makes it perfect. Pimms is also rather nice with ginger ale instead of the lemonade, with some sliced lime.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Recipe: Vanilla cupcakes with Pink Butter Icing


My Goodness Me! June has been such a busy month for me, hence the small amount of posts. I do apologise for this, but i've had all that exam malarky to be revising for and panicking about, and i have also been on my summer Holiday as well, often known as "Glastonbury Festival!" Also my camera has been acting up, and i don't really like putting my recipes up without pictures, so hopefully my dad will help me fix it. I will definitely be posting up much more this month.

Anyway, so rather rushed, just before heading off to Glastonbury (In a VW Campervan this year! Was Fab!) for nine days (I help out backstage at the Babylon Bandstand) I really wanted to make a gift for my friend's birthday. I decided to make cupcakes, and someone from the BBC food forums put me onto this fantastic recipe, from the Mail Online, a recipe from "The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook" by Tarek Malouf. Heres the link: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/home/you/article-1169988/Web-exclusive-food-book-week-The-Hummingbird-Bakery.html

All i have done to change the recipe is double it, change the method a little bit to make it less fussy (and not using handmixers- just brute force!lol) make the icing pink, and piped musical notes on to the top of them. My friend is a fantastic Jazz Singer (originally from Oklahoma!) hence the musical note motif.

Unfortunately I couldn't be there when they were consumed! But I have heard everyone at the party really enjoyed them, heres a picture of the Birthday Boy:

Vanilla Cupcakes with Pink butter icing (makes 24) 21p per cupcake.

240g plain flour
280g caster sugar
3 tsp baking powder
½ tsp salt
80g softened unsalted butter
240ml whole milk
2 eggs
½ tsp vanilla extract

The icing
500g icing sugar
160g unsalted butter (room temperature)
50ml whole milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
A few drops red colouring

For Decoration
Kraft Black decorating icing (with the writing tip)

1. Preheat the oven to 170C. Put the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and butter in a large bowl and mix together until you get a slightly sandy texture, and all the ingredients are fully mixed.
2. In a separate bowl mix the milk with the eggs and vanilla.
3. Combine both mixtures well. Spoon the mix into the cases (until about 2/3rds full)into a 12 hole cupcake/muffin tray and bake for 20-25 minutes, until golden and the sponge bounces back
4. Mix all the icing ingredients together, first the icing sugar, butter, and milk, and then the vanilla and colouring. You may need to add more milk, check consistency whilst you are mixing. It takes a while to mix the icing ingredients together to a smooth paste without the icing sugar going everywhere, but its worth it in the end.
5. Put icing into a piping bag (with a star tip) and pipe onto the cooled cupcakes. Then on top of the pink, carefully pipe the black writing icing into musical notes. Keep in the fridge until ready to serve!