Monday, 30 April 2012

Rustic Pear Tart



I always feel like I’m cheating when I post a dessert recipe for Meatless Monday. I can’t honestly think of a dessert which contains meat and I’m sure it isn’t what the Meatless and Meat Free Monday founders had in mind. I just don’t have a new meatless main meal recipe to post today. Last week we ate meatless main meals three times but they were all meals I have posted before, with the exception of one, which is a ‘recipe in progress’ and isn’t quite ready to be shared yet. (If you are wondering, the two meals we ate that I have blogged were Chickpea and Veggie Couscous with Toasted Cashews and Vegetarian Pasta One Pot.) So a dessert it is. It’s meatless, and everyone needs dessert once in a while, but I still feel like I’m cheating! 

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Friday, 27 April 2012

The Gallery of Favorites April 27

Gallery of Favorites

Alea of Premeditated Leftovers and I want to welcome you to our weekend blog hop, The Gallery of Favorites, a place for you to feature favorite posts from your own blog. 


Although Alea and I both spend a lot of our time writing about food, we do have many other interests and know that our readers do as well. The Gallery of Favorites is a place for all bloggers - not just food bloggers - to share their ideas, interests and passions. Of course, recipe and food posts are very welcome too.


To see last week's features, and to share your own posts, please click here...

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Easiest Ever Red Velvet Cake



I intended to make a Red Velvet Cake so that I could join in the Cooking with Teeny party over at Rattlebridge Farm last Friday, but someone pressed the fast forward button on my life a few weeks ago and has yet to remove their finger. 

Despite missing the party, I was still determined to make the cake. You see, I’ve never made a Red Velvet Cake before, nor have I tasted one that was actually homemade. Red Velvet cake is only just catching on over here in England (I know, I can’t believe it either) so the only thing red velvet I have ever tasted was a few bites of the Red Velvet Cheesecake from the Cheesecake Factory in Boston. 

I had planned to use the gorgeous traditional Red Velvet Cake recipe in A Teeny Bit of Trouble but I never seemed to have the time I needed to devote to it. As if by magic, I came across a recipe for Red Velvet Cake that seemed too good to be true. It involved literally putting all the ingredients in a mixer bowl and turning the mixer on - kind of like a cake mix, but with more ingredients. I had my doubts about how well it would turn out. When it comes to making cakes, I don’t really believe in short cuts, but desperate times call for desperate measures, so I gave it a try. 

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Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Nigella Lawson at The Vogue Festival


One of the highlights of The Vogue Festival was Kirsty Young’s interview with Nigella Lawson. I’ve seen the lovely Nigella in person on two previous occasions and met her once at a book signing, and the thing that always strikes me is how consistently natural and relaxed she is. Witty and self-deprecating, she was the perfect choice to discuss what had to be an emotive topic, ‘Women & Food’.


To read more, please click here...

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

The Hearth and Soul Hop 24 April

Hearth & Soul Hop

Welcome to the Hearth and Soul Hop, the blog hop that shares food from the hearth to feed your soul. Recipes should include healthy ingredients and can be old or new recipes or posts. Articles on real food, slow food, foraging, herbal remedies, local food, sustainable food, organics, gardening or any healthy eating information written in a positive light are also welcome. 

To meet our two new co-hosts, see last week's featured recipes, and to share your posts, please click here...

Monday, 23 April 2012

Cheesy Roast Vegetable Pasta Bake



Ever have a recipe you love, but that you know has more potential? Not that you are going to stop making it, but you’d love to see what would happen if you gave yourself free reign to make it just that little bit more exciting? That’s what happened with my Spinach Florentine Pasta Bake. It’s a real family favourite but I knew it had the potential to evolve into yet another wonderful recipe if I just gave it the chance. 

I started by turning the whole thing upside down. No, not literally, that would have been messy - but by reversing the layers and adding some wonderful roast vegetables, I’ve created yet another meatless meal everyone loves. The extra veggies make it even more nutritious and filling, and although the original recipe is still very firmly placed in our vegetarian menu rotation, this one will be welcome at our table anytime. It’s also wonderful for midweek entertaining.

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Thursday, 19 April 2012

The Gallery of Favorites April 20

Gallery of Favorites

Alea of Premeditated Leftovers and I want to welcome you to our weekend blog hop, The Gallery of Favorites, a place for you to feature favorite posts from your own blog. 


Although Alea and I both spend a lot of our time writing about food, we do have many other interests and know that our readers do as well. The Gallery of Favorites is a place for all bloggers - not just food bloggers - to share their ideas, interests and passions. Of course, recipe and food posts are very welcome too.


This week Alea and I are featuring a post from Jenn of Bulldogs and Brown Sugar.


To read more and to share your posts, please click here...

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Orange Pecan Cookies



I’ve always loved baking. In fact, when I won the Art Award at primary school back in 1977 (which came with a small prize in the form of a bookstore gift certificate),  I bought the Betty Crocker Cooky Book with it. (That is how they spelled cookie on the front cover, with a ‘y’.) I remember choosing the book at The Provident Bookstore in Stanley Park Mall in Kitchener, Ontario. Most of our books came from the library so actually purchasing a book was pretty exciting. I’m not sure it was a book my art teacher would have had me to buy, but I was incredibly pleased with it. In fact, not only have I kept it all these years, I still cook from it. Of course the recipes are a little dated in some cases, so I do play around with them quite a bit, but it gives me a peculiar thrill to know that I am still baking from the very first cookbook I ever bought all those years ago. 

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Tuesday, 17 April 2012

The Hearth and Soul Hop with The 21st Century Housewife

Hearth & Soul Hop

Welcome to the Hearth and Soul Hop, the blog hop that shares food from the hearth to feed your soul.

We have some exciting news - from next week two new bloggers will be joining us as hosts! Please join us in welcoming Elsa of Elsa Cooks and Judy of Savoring Today.

To read more and to share your posts, please click here...

Monday, 16 April 2012

Asparagus Risotto Almondine



As many of you know, I’m actively trying to reduce the amount of meat my family eats, both for environmental and health reasons. Sometimes it is easier than others and one of the times I find it very easy is during asparagus season. I adore asparagus and will eat it served just about any way you can think of. I like to dip gently steamed asparagus spears in soft boiled eggs, bathe it in melted butter and use it in vegetable lasagna and pastas. My love affair with this gorgeous vegetable goes back to my childhood. My late Mom cultivated several asparagus crowns in our garden, and spoke fondly of her own childhood suppers of a plate of asparagus fresh from my Grandmother’s much larger garden crowned with gently poached eggs. There is nothing like freshly picked asparagus. It’s also a nutritional powerhouse - a good source of B vitamins and calcium, asparagus also contains folate, potassium, calcium and zinc. 

Because of the fond memories attached to it I consider asparagus comfort food, so it seems only natural to me to pair it with one of the most soothing foods on the planet, risotto. Whether you are cooking it or eating it, risotto is comfort food almost personified. The repetitive stirring required to cook risotto properly soothes the soul and the texture and flavour bring to mind both real and imagined nursery suppers. Despite a reputation for being time consuming, risotto only takes about a half hour to prepare. In fact, risotto is one of my go to last minute suppers. 

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Friday, 13 April 2012

The Gallery of Favorites April 13

Gallery of Favorites

Alea of Premeditated Leftovers and I want to welcome you to our weekend blog hop, The Gallery of Favorites, a place for you to feature favorite posts from your own blog. 


Although Alea and I both spend a lot of our time writing about food, we do have many other interests and know that our readers do as well. The Gallery of Favorites is a place for all bloggers - not just food bloggers - to share their ideas, interests and passions. Of course, recipe and food posts are very welcome too.


This week Alea and I are featuring a wonderful post about tradition and gratitude from Lisa of Happy in Dole Valley


To read more and to share your posts, please click here...

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Easiest Ever Shrimp Primavera



My son is on a trip to Italy with college this week, so yesterday my husband and I had a dinner √† deux. I wanted to make something special, but I didn’t want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen. As I had some raw shrimp in the freezer, I defrosted them earlier in the day so that I could de-vein them and have them ready. I also decided to use the fresh leeks I had in my organic vegetable box last Friday as well as a nice red pepper, but honestly, I think any colour pepper would be absolutely fine. Equally, I think a mild red onion would work in place of the leeks as well. 

This dish does fry in a bit more oil than I normally use, but it worked really well. I can get a very mild olive oil here that is great for frying, or you could use any other mild vegetable oil that is good at high temperatures (groundnut or sunflower would work well). I made this dish in a wok, but you could use a deep, wide frying pan if you don’t have one. 

Aside from the fiddly de-veining of the shrimp, the whole dish was incredibly quick to prepare, and as I had done that ahead of time, I actually had dinner on the table in less than 20 minutes. We enjoyed our Shrimp Primavera with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc and it made for a lovely relaxed weeknight dinner. I was incredibly pleased with how delicious this was, especially when it required so little effort! 

To read more, please click here...

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

The Hearth and Soul Hop with The 21st Century Housewife April 10

Hearth & Soul Hop

Welcome to the Hearth and Soul Hop, the blog hop that shares food from the hearth to feed your soul. Recipes should include healthy ingredients and can be old or new recipes or posts. Articles on real food, slow food, foraging, herbal remedies, local food, sustainable food, organics, gardening or any healthy eating information written in a positive light are also welcome. 

To see last week's featured recipes, and to share your posts, please click here...

Monday, 9 April 2012

Pizza Florentine for Meatless Monday



When we go out for pizza, it’s almost always to a branch of Pizza Express. In my opinion, this chain of restaurants is the best place to get pizza in England. Of course, there is no match for the real thing as served in Italy, but having been to Italy more than once, I can testify that Pizza Express gets pretty darn close. I’m a huge fan of their Giardiniera pizza, and my  husband almost always chooses their Pizza Florentine, featuring an egg in the centre surrounded by spinach. 

Now this may sound odd, but not only is the combination of spinach and egg a healthy one, it’s also very delicious. The Pizza Express Florentine also has olives, but as my husband really loathes olives (no, loathes is not too strong a word), he usually asks for red pepper instead. 

To read more, please click here...

Friday, 6 April 2012

The Gallery of Favorites April 6

Gallery of Favorites

Alea of Premeditated Leftovers and I want to welcome you to our weekend blog hop, The Gallery of Favorites, a place for you to feature favorite posts from your own blog. 


Although Alea and I both spend a lot of our time writing about food, we do have many other interests and know that our readers do as well. The Gallery of Favorites is a place for all bloggers - not just food bloggers - to share their ideas, interests and passions. Of course, recipe and food posts are very welcome too.


As spring is beginning to arrive in the northern hemisphere, Alea and I have chosen to feature two posts about this new season. 


To read more and to share your posts, please click here...

Carrot Macadamia and Cranberry Muffins


Photo credit Alex Harris

I somehow accumulated a lot of carrots in my crisper and I definitely needed a delicious way to use them up before they started to go floppy. Luckily I found a recipe for carrot and nut muffins in my Mom’s recipe box. However, it did have a lot of sugar in it (a whole cup of the stuff!) and when push came to shove it was just another carrot nut muffin recipe. I got to thinking about ways I could reduce the sugar - after all carrots are one of the sweeter vegetables - and make the recipe a bit more exciting. I had some macadamia nuts in my pantry, and beside them were a package of Craisins - sweetened dried cranberries. I won’t say that a lightbulb appeared above my head, but it was one of those wonderful moments when you just have a inkling something is going to taste good. Thankfully, the inkling was right!

I thought this recipe would make a more grown up sort of muffin - perhaps not the kind kids would love - but I was happily proved wrong when I shared these with friends. Even the youngest - age 3 - loved them! These Carrot Macadamia & Cranberry Muffins are crowd pleasers without a doubt. 

To read more, please click here...

Thursday, 5 April 2012

Ideas for Easter Brunch

I love the wonderful hope that Easter morning offers, the ultimate celebration of life and resurrection. And even though there are Easter Baskets, offerings from the Easter Bunny, Easter Egg Hunts and Easter dinner to look forward to, it's still lovely to start the day off with a relaxed Easter Brunch. Here are some recipes to inspire you. Some of them can even be prepared the night before and just popped in the oven on Easter morning. Choose a lighter option with poached eggs (easier than you think!) or just grab a coffee and a delicious muffin or a slice of coffee cake, leaving space for all the treats to come! 

French Toast Casserole
Basil Cheese Strata
My Mom’s Jam Muffins  
Carrot Walnut Bran Muffins
Poached Eggs

Lemon Blueberry Waffles Orange Pecan Waffles
Wishing everyone a very Happy Easter!

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The Hearth and Soul Hop 3 April 2012

Hearth & Soul Hop

Welcome to the Hearth and Soul Hop, the blog hop that shares food from the hearth to feed your soul. Recipes should include healthy ingredients and can be old or new recipes or posts. Articles on real food, slow food, foraging, herbal remedies, local food, sustainable food, organics, gardening or any healthy eating information written in a positive light are also welcome. 

To see last week's featured recipes, and to share your posts, please click here...

Monday, 2 April 2012

Ratatouille and How To Eat

Ratatouille is so versatile. You can serve it as a side dish, as a pasta sauce, or just on it’s own with some crusty bread on the side. I’ve even served it as a pot pie, similar to my Veggie Pot Pie. It takes a while to cook, but all the chopping and stirring can be very therapeutic in its own way. 

Although I have always loved ratatouille, it took me years to make it for myself. When I finally decided to try, I turned to the wonderful Nigella Lawson for inspiration. Nigella’s first cookbook, ‘How To Eat, The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food’, doesn’t always get mentioned very much any more, and it’s a shame because it is a brilliant book. 

To read more, please click here...