Tag Archives: Cook

Decadence On A Shoestring

Bombay Sapphire

I tried, I really tried, to make this period of fiscal excellence last for a little longer, but for the next two days its back to the chopping board – vegetables and pasta.  I have no specific objection to pasta until I am left with no other choice.  Then I sulk, and dream of strolling around Waitrose without a care in the world like my doctor, who was in front of me in the checkout queue last week, and smiled cheerfully at me as she paid a bill for £177.

How?  Has she got twelve children? One trolley of food costing that much?  At least have some decorum and get some champagne and decent gin in there.  Two bags of Kettle Chips, (sea salt and balsamic vinegar), several bottles of Bombay Sapphire, a six pack of tonic water and three good bottles of Champagne.  Thats how you spend £177.

Anyway, I am currently making a shopping list for Thursday, and I will be back to make Decadence On A Shoestring an actual reality, without going anywhere near Waitrose.  Now I’m off to the doctor’s.  For my tea.

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Another Nigel Slater Success

I just had to share this, even though I only posted yesterday. It’s one of the most fantastic salad dressings I’ve ever had and it’s so simple to make.

With all credit to Nigel Slater, this is it.

Tarragon vinegar or white wine vinegar – 1 tbsp
Dijon mustard – 1 tsp
One egg yolk
Olive oil – 100 ml
Grated Parmesan – 3 tbsps
Lemon juice – 2 tsps
Thick slices white bread – 2
Olive oil for frying bread
One medium fennel bulb
4 large handfuls salad leaves – rocket, watercress
Parmesan shavings

For the dressing, whisk vinegar, mustard, egg yolk, olive oil and a grind each of salt and black pepper. Beat in the grated Parmesan, stir in lemon juice and put aside.
Cut the bread into squares and fry until golden. Mix salad leaves together with the fennel, add dressing and croutons and top with parmesan shavings.

I added finely sliced wet garlic and chopped chives to my salad. Also, having just bought some very good bacon, next time, I’m going to smoke a couple of rashers over hickory chips, cut it into cubes and add that as well. Bliss.

  • Toast (lacer.wordpress.com)

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Simple Things Are Best

Monkfish Presentation

Monkfish Presentation (Photo credit: Kevin H.)

Just a very nice supper this evening – monkfish fillet baked in foil with a tiny piece of fish stock cube sprinkled over the top, plus miniature potatoes and spinach.
Tomorrow is shopping day. My austerity episode is over so it’s all systems go. I’ve found a very nice Nigel Slater recipe for smoked herring, mixed with Parmesan, chives and double cream on sourdough toast so that’s my lunch sorted.  Now I’m just eyeing my recipe books so that I can plan dinner.  I bought a new one today,  just a little one in a bargain bookshop, called ‘Sauces – 100 everyday recipes’.  It has instructions for flavouring oils and vinegars which I know is pretty straightforward really, but it’s good to have a point of reference.  It also gives me a great excuse to buy those really nice glass bottles with stoppers.

English: this is a picture of self made pesto ...

This weekend is definitely going to involve making basil pesto.

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Giorgio Locatelli – `Made In Italy: Food And Stories’

Cover of "Made in Italy: Food and Stories...

Cover of Made in Italy: Food and Stories

This is a beautiful book, and exactly how a cookery book should be written.  It’s not just a collection of recipes and photographs of the results, but a whole story of where the chef grew up and who influenced him.  It documents the food he ate as a child and discovered as he grew up,  anecdotes of his family and adventures he’s been on, and how he became successful.

The photographs also help to tell the stories – it’s genuinely a pleasure to read and the recipes are fabulous,divided into seven sections:  Antipasti;  Zuppa;  Risotto;  Pasta;  Pesce;  Carne;  Dolci.

None of them are impossibly difficult, and the ones I have tried have produced meals that I could eat over and over again.  If I could reproduce one of the photos here I would – my all time favourite is a photograph of  pieces of focaccia classica on a wooden board – simple but beautiful and will, like all the others, encourage you to make it just so that you can taste how beautiful it looks!

If you are in the mood for buying a new cookery book, or asking for one for a present, I highly recommend this – you won’t regret it.


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Empty The Fridge

English: Tomato soup served hot or cold.

Image via Wikipedia

I had no idea what to cook  tonight.  I’ve had a horrible cold for two days and just couldn’t be bothered to go shopping so it was a fridge raid – not that there was a lot to go on.  Anyway, spring onions, half a yellow and a red pepper, cherry tomatoes, passata;  the remains of a bag of rice and a teaspoon of smoked paprika and I had , with the addition of vegetable stock, a very nice tomato soup.  And  it was ready in time for me to watch ‘Masterchef:The Professionals’. *mutters rude word*.

Gleneagles Hotel, Perthshire. Tourism is one o...

At the moment it’s the semifinals so there are two of the contestants in an incredibly upmarket restaurant, first cooking service and then for the head chef of the restaurant.  Tonight they’re at Gleneagles in Scotland, ( 2 Michelin stars and a swankygolf course. ), and they’re both getting their timings completely out.    Obviously, I’m so talented that I regularly serve an eight course dégustation menu whilst looking after hyperactive 2 year old octuplets and selling my Picasso collection to Sothebys over the phone.  God, I’m a legend.

Anyway, back to reality – (I think I need to cut back on the Lemsip) – tomorrow is bread baking  day, and I might just have to indulge in jam tarts and biscuits as well.  If I’m going to feel sorry for myself then I need to do it with plenty of sugar.  Roll on the weekend – Christmas shopping, via Waitrose…

Bye for now. *sniff*

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Sweet Tomato Relish

dried coriander seeds

Image via Wikipedia

Tomatoes Red Cherry 2120px
Image via Wikipedia

Had an afternoon in the kitchen and decided to try this recipe which I found online a few weeks ago.  It tastes really lovely but I would recommend, when it comes to adding the cane sugar, to do so gradually so that you can get the relish to the desired taste.  I just poured it in and to be honest, as good as it is, I would have added less.  Still, you live and learn.  I’m just waiting for it to cool down and then I’m going to have some with a big piece of Cornish Quartz mature cheddar – one of the best mature cheddars I’ve ever tasted.

So, here is the recipe, mind the sugar!


Sweet Tomato Relish

1.3 kgs cherry tomatoes

1 tsp fresh thyme, chopped

pinch of black pepper

125mls olive oil

250g chopped onion, red or white

450mls cider vinegar

25g crushed garlic

3 tsps sea salt

300g raw cane sugar

1 red chilli, chopped

1/2 tsp whole coriander seed

1/2 tsp whole cumin seed

25g tomato purée


Roast  the tomatoes with olive oil, thyme and black pepper for 30 minutes at 200°C, Gas Mark 6.

Meanwhile, cook the onion in half the cider vinegar for about 20 minutes, or until soft.

When soft, add the rest of the ingredients, plus the tomatoes.  Bring to the boil then simmer for 20-25 minutes until it reaches a soft consistency.


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The Lazy Cook

Cover of "Arabesque: A Taste of Morocco, ...

Cover via Amazon

I was so full of good intentions this weekend.  Lemon curd, tomato relish, caramelised onion chutney…. it was all going to be made – I even sterilised the jars in preparation.  I don’t really know what happened, but I ended up just lazing around, reading the papers and watching trash TV.  Anyway, tomorrow, I am going over to see my uncle and he, and my cousin, are great cooks.  So, hopefully, I will regain some inspiration and get up off my lazy backside to finish what I started!  I have a copy of Claudia Roden’s great book, ‘Arabesque‘, which I intend to take with me to read on the train.  It’s a bit hefty but worth the effort.  I can’t afford an ipad, and un

Lemon curd and tea

Image by shok via Flickr

til they bring out a Kindle in colour I am destined to lug books around everywhere I go.

So, hopefully, by the end of the coming week I will have a new recipe to post and some of my own photos.  Until then, hope you all have a great week.  Happy Hallowe’en!

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The Importance of Comfort Food

Yum :) We also had more breads from Greenlands...

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This isn’t just a blog on eating, as much as I love to talk about it!

My latest comfort food is Lamb Saag, although lamb is costing such a lot of money these days and I wonder sometimes if I don’t spend just a little too much money in the supermarket.  What I intend to do is to add recipes every now and again – if you feel like cooking them, knock yourself out!!


(serves 4 )

3 cloves garlic

2cm piece ginger

3 green chillies

1 large onion

750g diced shoulder of lamb

2tsp ground coriander

1tsp turmeric

2 cardamom pods, crushed

2 tsp ground cumin

4 large tomatoes

300mls lamb stock

200g spinach chopped

Puree the garlic, chillies, ginger and onion.

Brown the lamb, remove from pan.

Fry the spices for a few minutes, until fragrant, add the puree and cook for a couple of minutes.

Add the lamb, tomatoes and stock.  Stir, cover and cook for 45 minutes or until the lamb is tender.  Add the spinach 3 minutes  before the end of cooking.

Serve with naan or basmati rice.


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