Frying Pan Pizza

 

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So on the weekend, two weeks before I step out onto a beach in a bikini I decided I would play a game of ‘I went to the shop and I bought’. You know the game. Where you say ‘I went to the shop and I bought a banana’ then next person says ‘I went to the shop and I bought a banana and a melon.’ This continues forever until someone misses and item and looses. It’s normally a car game and I normally loose. However this time I decided the game would just include me and it would be called ‘On The Weekend I Ate’. Do you see where this is going?

No?

Really?

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At the weekend I ate, a handful of peanut M&Ms, I ate a Sausage and Egg McBagel and a McHashbrown (everything from McDonalds starts with Mc, right? I ate/drank a green smoothie, I ate a five guys burger and chips, I ate a bag of tropical skittles, I ate a bag of pick your own Jelly Beans, I ate a bag of salty and sweet popcorn and I ate another handful of peanut M&Ms, then I ate a pizza. I ate some toast, I ate 3 servings of a roast dinner and I ate peach crumble.

Yup. In the space of 24 hours I won at life and at my own game.

The pizza, was unplanned. Like a happy accident. I had left over dough in the fridge. Leftover sauce on the hob and I may have pre-empted my accident by buying some mozzarella.

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If you look anywhere in the world of blogging you will be hard pressed to find anyone not have mentioned Jim Lahey’s No knead Pizza Dough. He has a book, all about bread, which doesn’t need kneading.. awesome right?

The pizza dough takes some planning. But that is all it takes. Effort is not required. You mix flour, water, salt and yeast and you cover it. That is your work for 18 hours. Then you take out your flour, throw some into your worktop. Tip out your dough, split it into 4, make each quater round ball shape and that’s it.

The idea of cooking it in a frying pan means the effort stays minimal and means you can have homemade pizza any night of the week, and Pizza is a great way to use up all the rubbish in your fridge and claim it as a special tea.

Basic Frying Pan Pizza
Yields 4
Make the pizza dough the night before and you can have pizza within 20 minutes on a work night.
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Prep Time
19 hr
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
19 hr
Prep Time
19 hr
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
19 hr
Pizza Dough
  1. 500g (3 ¾ cups) All Purpose Flour
  2. 1 ½ cups water
  3. 1/8 teaspoon dry active yeast
  4. 2 teaspoons salt
Basic Margarita
  1. 1 quarter pizza dough
  2. 60ml – 90ml (¼ – ½ cup) tomato sauce – this could be homemade if you've got some or just a jar of your favourite pizza sauce, or just pasata
  3. 1 ball mozzarella
  4. 100g (½ cup) grated melty stringy cheese – I used Edam
  5. ½ teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  6. A grinding of black pepper
  7. A good grating of Parmesan
  8. Teaspoon olive oil
  9. Few Basil Leaves
Instructions
  1. Mix flour, salt and yeast, and add the water. Mix until combined.
  2. Cover with cling film and leave for 18 hours.
  3. Flour a surface really well. If you think you've floured it well. Flour it some more. The dough is sticky. Toss the dough about so it's well floured. Split into four equal pieces. They weigh about 200g should you be anal enough to weigh it. I was. I don't even know who I am.
  4. Fold the top corner to the centre of each quarter, then the other corner to the centre then each bottom corner to the middle. Turn the dough, seamside down and shape into a roundish ball. Do this each quarter. Wrap in oiled clingflim. You can keep it in the fridge for three days or freeze it.
  5. When your ready to eat, allow your dough to come to room temperature if you've kept in the fridge and turn your grill onto high. Flour a surface again, and shape into a roundish shape about 10 inches big. You can use or hands, or a rolling pin.
  6. Heat a frying pan until hot. Real hot. Drizzle in some olive oil, and wipe it around the pan. Carefully put your dough in your pan and leave for 5 minutes, the dough will bubble. Add your sauce, cheese, chilli, pepper and basil. After about 5 minutes, put your frying pan under the grill –how long you leave it there depends on how hot your grill runs. I left mine under for about 8 minutes.
  7. Remove and leave for 3 minutes to cool slightly – cut and eat.
Adapted from Jim Lahey
Adapted from Jim Lahey
Pestosprouts http://pestosprouts.com/
I also ate Chinese food, so I lost my game. It definitely means however as I’m watching Crazy Stupid Love for the second time that I did win at life. Not so much at the bikini wearing. 

 

 

I left my heart with Five Guys.

I’ve been promising reports of foodie pleasures, forever. I spend an increasing amount of time letting others cook for me. I thought you should all know about them.

This week I found out the earth shattering news that Five Guys had made it’s Trans-Atlantic journey to the UK. Apparently, its been in London for a few months but in May it opened in the not so distant Manchester. The Trafford Centre to be exact. The day I learnt this was basically the best day of my life. My immediate drive to Manchester was halted due to a motorway closure. I think I was being punished.

We tried again yesterday and it was fully worth the wait. I don’t just mean the wait since Thursday but my life long wait to have a fast food place which offers filthy well made burgers. Not that I’d turn down McDonalds any time soon, but this, this is a whole world away.

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The burgers are made with fresh British beef, every morning, each burger is cooked to order and a normal burger is made with 1/2 lb of beef, the chips are cut that day and they even tell you which potatoes their using! You pick whatever fresh topping you like for the burger and your chips come in a sack. A. sack. of. chips.

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The burgers are what you would a expect from a 50′s diner, if you went after school wearing your boyfriends varsity jacket over your full skirted dress complete with a poodle on the bottom. The burgers are thick, meaty and juicy, filled with melting cheese (should you choose cheese. If you don’t, I don’t want to be your friend) and an abundance of various topping of your choice. I went for grilled onions, mushrooms, lettuce, pickles, jalapenos, mustard and relish. Dave had bacon, it was crispy, he was happy. It was incredible. Each bite was better than the last, the kind of burger that you never want to stop eating because it’s that good, despite your stomach tripling in size and you being ready to explode. The chips are crisp and salty and feel everlasting. Every mouthful was like a transportation to a place were life is good, people are friendly, food is fresh, big and tasty, and drinks are refillable. It was everything I’ve ever wanted and not one part of me was disappointed. We ate in silence only punctuated with me shouting ‘you’ve made a terrible mistake!’ to the people who walked passed in favour of one of the other barely comparable restaurants. The staff are friendly and explained the concept and portion size to those less obsessive than myself. I didn’t need to be told, I’d done my research.

To top it off, the soda fountain has 100 different drinks. ONE HUNDRED. Including Diet Dr Pepper and Diet Cloudy Strawberry Lemonade, which you can refill until you are no longer in control of your bladder.burger1

 

In a world where topping your burger with bigger and better things is increasing. A simple well made, old fashioned burger is a welcome treat. A step back to a slower, simpler time.

Should you need me, I’ll be in the 1950′s with the Five Guys. I full expect to see you there.  

 

I am fully aware that Five Guys opened in America in the 80′s. Let me have my dreams.

Turkey and Kale Meatballs

 

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The best way to get past someone who has been MIA is for them to give you an awesome gift and then you just ignore that massive gap they’ve in your lives. Right? Right.

So I did plan to make you pastrami as an epic present. But then for tea, I made the best meatballs I have ever tasted. And they are made from Turkey, and a whole 4 days quicker to make.

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Normally, I believe that Turkey is wrong. I buy it, freeze it and then bin it. It’s happened at least 7 times. But today, today I learnt I have been so wrong. More wrong than pineapple on pizza, or people who eat mackerel from straight from can with all its fishy oil on bread (I’m looking at you dad!) and even more wrong than people who don’t like fried chicken.

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These meatballs, are tender, garlicky and a little spicy and full of kale so technically they’re classed as a superfood. They are so flavourful, so much more tender than any beef meatball I’ve ever had.

The sauce is quick and easy, and you can make everything in one bowl and one pan. This tea has rendered me unable to even think about another tea this week, I would happily eat this every night.

Turkey and Kale Meatballs
Serves 4
The most tender, flavourful meatballs I have ever tasted. It doesn't harm there cheap, quick and borderline healthy either.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Meatballs
  1. 2 tablespoons olive oil
  2. 2 large handfuls kale - chopped with tough stalks removed
  3. 3 cloves garlic crushed
  4. Zest half lemon
  5. 500g/1lb turkey mince
  6. 3 tablespoons parmesan
  7. 4 tablespoons breadcrumbs - I used panko
  8. 1 egg
  9. 1/4 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
  10. 1/2 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  11. 1/4 teaspoon salt
  12. Really good grinding pepper
  13. Sauce
  14. 1 tablespoon olive oil
  15. 1 onion finely diced
  16. 2 cloves garlic crushed
  17. 400g tinned tomatoes
  18. 1 teaspoon sugar
  19. Juice of half a lemon
  20. 1/4 teaspoon salt Really good grinding of pepper
  21. Handful basil
  22. Pasta and Parmesan to serve.
Instructions
  1. In a large frying pan, heat one tablespoon olive oil and fry two cloves of crushed garlic over a really low heat so they don't colour, add kale and half the lemon zest. Sautee until soft. Remove from the pan and chop finely, removing any stalks that haven't softened.
  2. Mix all the remaining meatball ingredients including the reserved clove of crushed garlic and the rest of the lemon zest in a bowl with kale and roll into ping pong sized balls.
  3. In the same pan you sautéed your kale, heat other tablespoon of oil. Fry your onion until soft and add your garlic and season with a little salt and pepper, cook for one minutes, remove from the frying pan and heat your final tablespoon olive oil. Fry meatballs, without over crowding them - mine took two batched, until browned and cooked through. When there cooked, add all the meatballs back to the pan. Add in your garlicky onion mix back in and mix. Add in your tinned tomatoes, salt, sugar, lemon and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Roughly chop the basil and add that, stir and cook until just wilted.
  4. Serve with spaghetti and parmesan.
Notes
  1. You could bake/grill your meatballs for ease, but frying them wasn't a hardship really.
Pestosprouts http://pestosprouts.com/
 

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Cauliflower Cheese Fritters

I was once dating a guy who asked why the cheerleader in his media science class could eat KFC, McDonalds and Subway all day and not gain any weight, while I… couldn’t. My reply was something polite, maybe along the lines of him asking her and finding out. There may or may not have been some suggestion of him going to fuck himself, but who can remember……..? I like to think she had a sucky personality but was kindly informed this wasn’t the case…. more fucking of ones self was mentioned… maybe the fucking of her… like I said, who can remember.

Unfortunately we are not all media science studying, fried chicken eating cheerleaders. Therefor some self restraint and moderation is normally required.

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I am, however, unable to offer up any restraint or moderation when it comes to these. In fact I ate 13 of them when I made them. This may or may not have contributed to me vomiting into my hair several hours later. That or the gallon of this I drank. Maybe it was the Jaeger bombs…? Yeah probably the Jaeger. Which means you’re all set to eat 13 of these cheese dipped crispy cauliflower fritters worry free.

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They are basically little fried disks (?) of cauliflower cheese, so every bites gives you a crispy edge and a soft cheesy cauliflower filling, which is incredible dripped into one of the tastiest cheese sauces invented. The sauce would made a real good addition to lasagne.

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I’m not a 100% sure, but I imagine if you cook them, then cool them, you could reheat them in the oven to crisp them up and they’d be good to ago again… should you not want to eat them all an hour before you go to a party. Whatever….    

Cauliflour Cheese Fritters
Yields 13
Crispy, cheesy delicious fritters with a fantastic all rounder cheese sauce.
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
30 min
Fritters
  1. 1 large head cauliflour
  2. 1 large egg
  3. 50 - 100g (1/2 cup - 1 cup) strong cheddar cheese - grated
  4. 4 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  5. 1 clove garlic - crushed
  6. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  7. 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  8. 75g (1/2 cup) plain flour
  9. 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  10. Oil for frying - I used rapeseed
Cheese Sauce
  1. 125ml (1/2 cup) milk - whole milk or semi skimmed
  2. 1 tablespoon cornflour mixed with 1 tablespoon water
  3. 1/4 - 1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard - I can not use, say or think about Dijon with out thinking of Joey in friends offering Dijon for men.... with the cowboy? Todd? No?! I hateyou people with lives!
  4. 1/8 teaspoon chilli flakes
  5. 1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  6. 2 tablespoons grated parmesan
  7. 25g (1/4 cup) strong cheddar - grated
  8. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  9. 1/2 teaspoon pepper
Fritters
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 150oF/300oC/Gas Mark 2.
  2. Chop cauliflower into small florets. Boil in salted water and cook until just soft.
  3. Drain and return to the pan, once cooled slightly, mash with a folk. You want chunks but smallish.
  4. Whisk eggs in a small bowl and add to the cauliflower with cheeses, garlic, salt and pepper.
  5. Stir to combine and add in the flour and baking powder. Mix until fully combined.
  6. Heat a large frying pan.
Sauce
  1. Heat a milk in a small saucepan with mustard, chilli flakes and nutmeg until near boiling.
  2. Take of the heat and whisk in the cornflour paste.
  3. Put back on the heat and continue to stir until thick. Add in the cheese, salt and pepper.
  4. Stir until melted and remove from heat.
Fritters
  1. Add a thin layer of oil to the frying pan (I started the frying as the milk was heating) and allow to get hot - when you add in the cauliflower mixture it should sizzle.
  2. Scoop out even scoops of mixtures, using an ice cream scoop is good for this.
  3. Fry 3-4 at a time depending on the size of your frying pan. Flip after 3 minutes or when they are golden brown. Cook for a further 2 minutes and remove from the pan and place of kitchen paper to drain.
  4. You can keep them warm in the oven while you fry the rest.
Notes
  1. Cheese loves salt. #justsayin
  2. I made double this sauce recipe. It made way to much so I've done the math and halved it for you. Because I'm kind like that.
  3. You could add herbs. Soft ones, like parsley would be good.
Pestosprouts http://pestosprouts.com/
 

Lemon and Vanilla Pancakes

Ok, so we are all aware of my desire to travel around America. 

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This is not new information to anyone. What is new, are the new lengths I now appear to be willing to go to in order to find funding for a trip this year. It, however, seems no one else is happy to commit to the ideas:

Dave doesn’t want to sell the house (something about life security?).

My mum and Dad don’t want to cash in on their life insurance policy (selfish).

My sister seems to really like her son. He is, apparently, not for sale…..(I am a monster).

And no-one in work wants to buy any of my internal organs. How about external organs? Are these a thing? What are they going for on the black market now-a-days? (I want to travel is style.)

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So I’m stuck, and I feel a little lost. We’ve agreed that we will go in 2016 and drive the East Coast but that’s so far away. I have cravings like I’ve never had….and I have had major cravings in the past. But nothing like this.

I am not a high powered, high paid, quirky, emotionally unstable (too easy!) Boston lawyer who lives with her smart mouthed, big haired room mate.

I do not have five friends who spend all their time in my apartment in New York, which I can afford because my Nan’s lease is rent controlled.

Nor am I a girl with two guy friends who work in a pizza place.

It would appear however that I watched too much TV as a teenager and that I have lost the fingertip grip of reality my parents tried to instil in me. I just can not let go of the feeling that I should have been born in an American sit com.

People believe that they are born in the wrong time – me the wrong place.

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“So Jess, what would you do (WWJD) should you stumble across a big ass bag of cash?”

I would obviously hand it in. Then when they returned it to me as a reward for being so honest, I would go out for tea, because well… I’d be hungry from all the excitement… I would then travel through and across America and eat every where I could. I could cook with all the amazingly fresh farmer’s market produce. I would drink in the bars with my friends and I would cook all the food (all the food..? in the world..?) and have friends over and have BBQs and go pumpkin picking and we would dress up for Halloween. …and then, I remember.

The reason I love these shows. The reason I live my life consistently through them is because of the people. The friends, the families, relationships good and bad. The stories and situations they create. They all happen because of the people. The people make those shows I so desperately want to be a part of. If I upped and left – Dave under one arm and a puppy dog under the other, I wouldn’t have what those TV shows thrive on. Because they would all be here. Living the TV show life we created for ourselves right here. They would be going to pizza places, hanging round in each others places, and being borderline emotionally unstable with each other. Without me. Because I would be in America chasing the dream I have here, in a different accent. Slightly smaller and slightly more British but no less TV show worthy.

Todays after school special kids, is to take a minute, and realise you are exactly where you are meant to be, when you are meant to be there. So make pancakes and have your friends over and make TV worthy moments.

Lemon and Vanilla Pancakes
Serves 2
The lightest, fluffiest comforting pancakes I've ever had. They have a thin crisp exterior almost like a crepe and a fluffy centre. The lemon zest is bright and the vanilla is comforting. The best quick and easy breakfast.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
10 min
Total Time
15 min
Ingredients
  1. 130g (1 cup) plain flour
  2. 2 tablespoons sugar
  3. 1 teaspoon baking powder
  4. 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  5. Pinch salt
  6. 250ml (1 cup) buttermilk
  7. 1 large egg
  8. 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  9. 1 1/2 teaspoons Vanilla extract
  10. Zest of half a lemon
  11. 1 tablespoon of butter and 1 tablespoon of sunflower oil for frying
  12. Maple Syrup
Instructions
  1. Mix the dry ingredients in a small bowl so everything is combined.
  2. Whisk the egg, melted butter, vanilla and buttermilk together in a separate bowl, and stir in the dry ingredients until just combined. A few lumps is fine.
  3. Stir in the lemon zest.
  4. Leave for 5 minutes. The batter should look like a thick (maybe a bit lumpy) mouse. It should appear for want of a better word delicate.
  5. Heat a frying pan, I used non stick and melt butter and add the oil. Swirl around the pan and drain off the excess and keep.
  6. Scope 2 tablespoon amounts (I used and ice-cream scoop) into the frying pan and fry on a medium low heat.
  7. When the top starts to bubble the pancakes are ready to flip.
  8. Cook for another 1-2 minutes and keep warm in the oven on a low heat.
  9. Grease the pan again with the left over butter/oil mix and repeat the scoop, fry flip - keep warm routine until all the batter is gone.
  10. Pile on a plate, drown in syrup and inhale with coffee and banter.
Notes
  1. You could add blueberry's, raspberry's or even chunks of white chocolate, when the tops begin to bubble. Definitely add white chocolate chunks.
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse
Pestosprouts http://pestosprouts.com/
 

Also, do you think a rich American man will be willing to marry me and let me bring Dave and our puppy dog too? How many rich, single, relationshiply unconventional American men is this blog reaching? My guess is A LOT…..!! My dad has a saying about getting married and leaving out the sex… it’s normally said at inappropriate times to wildly inappropriate people, but I’m being to think it may have legs….

Spicy Fries Grilled Cheese

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There are days when it’s cold and raining when only things made of carbs and cheese will do. Today is one of these days. A day when the both voices in your head align and agree in union that the only thing suitable to eat is cheese. And bread. And spicy fries. And that all this should all be cooked in butter.  I suggest you eat these on the couch, in your jarmies, with a quilt while watching a film you already know the ending of just by reading the back of the box. Ideally it will have Jennifer/Reese /Sandra in it. They are goey, cheesy and spicy. You crunch as you bite through the crisp buttery toasty shell and then get oozy cheese that will drip down your chin and the spice….. ahh the spice it makes it. It just makes it.  Imagine dipping hot spicy chips into melted cheese…. Good right? Ok, now imagine that on buttery fried bread….. Yup. It’s real and it will complete you.

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 So recipe wise, it’s pretty simple so I won’t go into great depths of detail. It a pretty much grab and go.

Serves 2

 Pre-heat your oven to the highest temperature it goes to, mine is 240oC/gas 9. Cut 1 large potato and 1 large sweet potato into thin fries. Bring a pan of salted water to the boil and add in the potatoes, boil for 5 minutes. Drain, and sprinkle on 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon each of pepper, smoked paprika hot chilli powder, oregano and drizzle over 1 tablespoon olive oil. Mix to make sure everything is evenly coated. Bake for 20 minutes in the hot oven, turning half way through. Meanwhile, spread 2 tablespoons of butter over four pieces of really good thick bread, grate 2 handful of really good strong cheese, tear up 1 ball of mozzarella and crumble 2 tablespoons of goats cheese. Place the bread in the pan buttered-side down and put half of each cheese on top. Remove the chips from the oven, place half on top of the cheese. Add the second slice of bread, buttered side up, push down on the bread and fry over a low – medium heat until crisp and golden, carefully flip and fry on the other side for a couple more minutes. Remove from the pan and allow to settle before slicing. Repeat with remaining bread and cheese.

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Don’t bother with the rocket unless you’ve eaten four donuts…… Like me.

Lasange Soup

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My time is equally split between thinking about food (both my own food consumption and other’s) and TV relationships. The food thing, most of you understand..ish. The TV realtionship is a whole other matter. I live my life pretty much through TV, it hooks me and then that’s it really. I started watching The US Office. This was a mistake. I’ve just finished season 2. I’m not sure I’ve thought about anything else since I first saw Jim look at Pam. I have pretty much fully given up on real life. I live my life for Jim and Pam. The two of them have fully consumed me. Its possibly because I am fully in love with Jim…….he just loves Pam so much!.

So to sum up, I’ve lost it.

I’ve started thinking about Jim and Pam in real life. John Kransinski and Jenna Fischer – I know a lot about them. Like John went to high school with B.J Novak (Ryan) in real life. I’ve started to think they should be together in real life, dispite John (first name terms), being married to Emily Blunt who I also adore (she snook Donuts onto the set of Devil Wears Prada because they weren’t really allowed to eat on set), then I get myself in such a state I can only be calmed with more episodes of the office…..It’s a vicious cycle. It is, unfortunately, not the first time I’ve been in the TV trance. When I come around – hopefully I will - I am so disappointed by real life I immediately find a new show to live through.

Between my insanity through TV, I found a soup, which is lasagne. In soup form.

What do Lasagne Soup and I have in common? People think we’re weird. We are amazing. You should have us in your lives.

I’m comparing myself to soup.

Do you feel sorry for Dave?

Once you’ve tried this soup you won’t. You’ll realise what I lack in life skills, I make up for in soup skills…….It’s a taste sensation. The Jim and Pam of soups if you will (I know this doesn’t make any sense but they’re still on my mind).

It’s so fresh and flavourful, deep and warming. It’s not nearly as mad as it (or I) sound. It has spicy sausage with onions, and italiany herbs and spices, in a tomatoey based broth, with ricotta and parmesan on top. Simple.

Oh, and there’s pasta too!

Lasanga Soup
Serves 4
A hearty, warming, filling, soupy lasagne.
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
40 min
Total Time
50 min
Ingredients
  1. 2 tsp olive oil
  2. 4-5 really good sausages, not the ones that stay pink when you fry them. Ideally nice spicy ones from your butchers.
  3. 2 medium onions, diced
  4. 4 garlic cloves, minced
  5. 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  6. 1-2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes - depending on how hot your sausages are and how hot you like it.
  7. 1 teaspoon ground fennel seeds
  8. 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  9. 2 400g cans chopped tomatoes
  10. 1 Sprig Rosemary
  11. 1.5 litres (6 cups) chicken stock
  12. 100g (1 cup) small pasta shapes - some shops sell soup pasta.
  13. salt and freshly ground black pepper
  14. 4 tablespoons ricotta
  15. 3 tablespoons freshly grated parmesan
  16. zest half lemon
Instructions
  1. In a large heavy bottomed pan heat your oil.
  2. Remove the casing from your sausages and crumble into the hot oil. Fry, breaking up the bigger bit as you go.
  3. Once the sausages have broken down and resemble chunky mince add your onions.
  4. Season well with salt and more black pepper than you think you'll need. I'm talking hurt your arm from grinding amounts.
  5. Fry until the onions are softened.
  6. Add garlic and all the herbs.
  7. Add tomato paste and cook for 2 more minutes. If the paste starts to stick that's ok. Just don't let it burn. Brown = good, black = bad (clever huh?).
  8. Add in tomatoes and stock and cook for 30 minutes at a low simmer.
  9. Bring the soup up the boil and add pasta.
  10. Cook until the pasta is to your liking.
  11. Serve up in big bowls.
  12. Mix the ricotta and 2 tablespoons of the parmesan together with some salt, pepper and the lemon zest and spoon on top of the soup.
  13. Sprinkle over some more parmesan and inhale.
Adapted from A Farm Girl Dabbles
Pestosprouts http://pestosprouts.com/
I’m thinking about Jim.

 

Fight Back.

 

It doesn’t care what you look like. It doesn’t care if you party all night or are tucked up in bed before dark. It doesn’t care if your heart is kind or if you kicked a puppy in the park. It doesn’t care the colour of your skin or your weight or the size of your arse. It doesn’t care what type of car you drive or the clothes you wear. It doesn’t care if your old, nor does it care that you have children or how they behave. It doesn’t care how much money you make or how much water you drink.

It doesn’t care about the hurt and destruction it causes in peoples lives. The pain and loss it leaves behind.

Cancer has no care, no fear. 

Everyone wants to make a change. Wants to be the change that stops the hurt and the pain. Stops the loss and the fear and shows Cancer that it’s not in charge. We are.

Race for life does some fantastic research which makes Cancer quiver in its boots. Race for life has been going for years and this year I plan to conquer the 10k. Which is about 9.6k further than I normally run. July 5th 2014, I’ll be doing my bit to give Cancer the run around.

Please give what you can to this amazing charity that does genuine good. Don’t let it become to late. Don’t let it get to a point where you wish you’d of given something no matter how small to make a big change. If you don’t no-one else will. If you want something to change, YOU have to be the one to change it. You may not want to run, allow me to do that. You can follow my progress here, and my updates on twitter and Instagram. Running 10k, for someone who would rather sit and eat brownies is no easy task, but I can think of nothing more worth while. If we unite we can beat Cancer. Together. 

JustGiving - Sponsor me now!

If you’re the person kicking puppies with no desire to unite against Cancer, I suggest you still donate, just so you can see me get all vomity after running 6.2miles.

 

 

 

Bite-sized Chocolate Cream Pies

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Ok, so these little beauties haven’t photographed quite as well as I’d have liked. The reason is two fold.

1. I still have zero idea what I’m doing when it comes to my fancy pants camera.

2. I kept eating them with one hand while trying to photograph them with the other.

I made a big version for my sisters new years eve party and I am constantly looking for a new reason to make them. Luckily we had friends round for dinner the other week. Unfortunately they were far better at making 2014 healthy, than I was. So I decided that I would just make baby versions, because if its small its calorie free, right?

 The chocolate pudding isn’t hard to make, so don’t be frightened. Its just time consuming and you have to make sure you give it your full attention. I gave it so much attention when I looked to see were my puppy dog was she was 1 foot deep in mud in the garden and had dug up my freshly laid turf……. I looked at my muddy dog and my ruined garden and then I looked at my super smooth liquid heaven chocolate…….totally worth it.

The recipe is adapted from How Sweet Eats, the place I spend most of my free time, and I was scared making the pudding, but I didn’t need to be. Jess guides me to rich chocolate nirvana.

I made mine with digestive (gram cracker) base and plain whipped cream.

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You need to let them set before you add the cream or the cream sinks into the chocolate. This I can assure you is not a bad thing, if, like me, you plan to just crush them into your mouth. If you want to serve them to someone other than yourself refrigerate them before adding the cream.  I added a tiny bit of cinnamon to my base mixture and it brought all kinds of incredibleness from the biscuits. I could taste ginger even though I hadn’t added any, the base took on an amazing caramelised taste. Dave described them as biscuits on crack. I couldn’t argue…. I had a mouth full of chocolate cream pie base wedged in my mouth.

The whole process is time consuming but it really is worth it. If you want to make it like a big pie, use a 9″ loose bottom tin and bake the base for 9-11 minutes, also chilling the filling will take much longer. How Sweet Eats recommends 4 hours.

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Make sure when you whip your cream you don’t over whip. I’ve always been told to whip by hand. This is excruciatingly painful and hard work. But worth it. The cream goes from not whipped to over whipped in three turns of the whisk, so doing it by machine means its almost impossible not to over whip. I’ve got one lovely strong arm with Dwayne Johnson type muscles. This is unfortunate. Lightly whipped cream is definitely worth it though.

Bitesized Chocolate Cream Pie
Yields 24
Two bite chocolate cream pies. Sweet, creamy, chocolate and small enough that you can cram a whole one in your mouth, should you not want to be caught eating one before you've had your morning coffee.
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Prep Time
50 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
3 hr
Prep Time
50 min
Cook Time
8 min
Total Time
3 hr
Base
  1. 370g /13 ounces Digestive Biscuits (Gram Crackers)
  2. 140g /5 ounces Unsalted Butter - melted plus more for greasing the muffin tin
  3. 100g /1/2 cup Brown Sugar
  4. 1/8 teaspoon Cinnamon
  5. 1/8 teaspoon Salt
Chocolate Pudding Filling
  1. 200g / 1 cup light brown sugar
  2. 414ml / 1 3/4 cups cold double cream - I'd measure out 400mg then add in 1 tbsp more. Split the cream in half. Half for the chocolate filling and half for the top.
  3. 180ml / 3/4 cup buttermilk
  4. 20g / 2 tablespoon plus 2 teaspoon cornflour (cornstartch)
  5. 1/8 teaspoon salt
  6. 4 egg yolks
  7. 113g / 4 ounces really good chocolate, chopped - I used 3/4 Dark and 1/4 Milk chocolate
  8. 15g / 1 tablespoons butter
  9. 1 teaspoons vanilla extract
  10. Extra chocolate for grating over the top
Filling
  1. Add the sugar, half the cream, buttermilk, cornflour and salt to a large heavy bottomed pan over medium heat.
  2. Whisk continually until the sugar has dissolved and there are no cornflour lumps.
  3. Make sure to get right into the edges of the pan to make sure there is no sticking.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally, until it thickens a little.
  5. Turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  6. In a small bowl, whisk egg yolks and slowly pour in 1/2 cup (about 100ml) of the warm milk mixture into the egg yolks, stirring continuously. Pour the egg yolk mixture back into the saucepan with the milk and heat over medium heat, stirring constantly.
  7. Stir until it is combined and really think this should take around 2 to 3 minutes. Remove the mixture from the heat and pour it into a bowl. Stir in the chocolate, butter and vanilla until, chocolate is melted its all combined, and looks like a thick, shiny pool of chocolate. Cover with a piece of cling film, directly on top of the chocolate pudding and allow it to chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
Base
  1. In a food processor mix all the ingredients for the base until it a fine crumb. Try to smoosh (technical term) a small amount between for fingers, if it sticks together your good to go, if not add a tablespoon of water and blend again until mixed together.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180oC / 350oF or Gas Mark 6.
  3. Grease two 12 hole muffin trays (or do it one tray at a time) with a little melted butter,dish out the crumb mixture out evenly between a muffin tray. I used a teaspoon to push the crumbs along the bottom and up the sides of each hole.
  4. Bake in the oven for 6 - 7 minutes.
  5. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
  6. Using a butter knife, ease each biscuit case out of the tin and put on flat surface ready for filling.
Assembly
  1. Once the chocolate mixture is cool, top your biscuit bases with the chocolate pudding. I found a heaped tablespoon was enough. Place your now topped bases back in the fridge for a further hour.
  2. Whip the cream, best done with cold, cold cream and in a wide bottomed bowl.
  3. Top your pies with a tablespoon of cream and grate over some extra chocolate.
  4. Keep in the fridge until your ready to eat. Mine lasted until 10am the next morning. So I cant comment on how much longer they'll keep.
Notes
  1. It takes a while to make these, but it is a lot of it sitting in the fridge, so its free time really.
  2. I used a whisk and a spoon when making the filling. I whisk until no lumps and then use a spoon to get into the edges of the pan.
Adapted from How Sweet Eats
Adapted from How Sweet Eats
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Crispy Talapia Tacos

It’s 6 am. I’ve been trying to get up at 6am for about three months in order to exercise before I start my day. what actually ended up getting me up at 6am? These Cinnamon Rolls. It think we can official confirm Sugar Free January was an epic fail.

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I never really told you much about my honeymoon; I hate to bore people with my happy times. But it was fantastic, even if the fireworks in San Francisco did scare me on the 4th July, and even if were terrified after getting lost looking for In and Out Burger in Inglewood, LA at 10pm in the pitch black. The only downside was the traveling. I’m not talking the road tripping (sleeping), I’m talking about the flights to and from Vegas. The company we flew with are utter garbage and we were delayed 24 hours going, so we missed a day in Vegas and then on the way home they weighed our hand luggage so we were MASSIVELY over weight. I’m talking ‘open your cases in the middle of the airport and panic that we will have to leave all our things’ overweight. The couple in front of us had to pay £270 extra, luckily we had an extra case so we could just check an extra small bag. We were however slightly short on space so we had to through some things away….

I say, we. I mean Dave. I made Dave throw away his shoes. I however still managed to bring home a kilo of body scrub, 4 food magazines, three jars of Trader Joe’s salsa and a bag of mini chocolate chips…… I want to live in Trader Joe’s.

I tried to keep all the salsas for special occasions, like if the Queen came. Or Bradley Cooper. But it turns out that neither seemed in a rush to make an appearance so I let Dave open the Cowboy Caviar and the Roasted Garlic Salsas. We inhaled them. But I did manage to keep the green salsa for something fancier than just my fingers, and I made fish taco’s.

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Fish Tacos are amazing. Fresh fish, grilled, fried, or breadcrumbed and baked, in a soft mini tortilla with shredded cabbage and pickled red onions and a spoon full of tangy spicy salsa. There are few things better or more flavourful or refreshing to eat.

However when I mistakenly emailed my boss instead of Dave with the idea of fish taco’s I was met with a slurry of disagreement. Apparently they sound horrible. They are not. The people in my office are wrong. Fully wrong. The only way for me to prove this is for you all to make them. Then you can tell me they are in fact incredible and I will win. For once. Surely I’m due a win. A fish taco win.

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Ok they more I say fish taco the less appealing they sound. So make them quick before I start to doubt myself.

Fish Taco….

 

Oven Baked Crispy Tilapia Tacos
Serves 2
Fish Tacos are easy, quick and delicious.
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
15 min
Total Time
30 min
Fish
  1. 2 Talapia fillets - or other firm white fish - or Salmon if you wanted but if you use Salmon I'd just fry it and flake it
  2. 1 cup (200g-ish) breadcrumbs - I used Panko because they go crispy in the oven with much oil
  3. 1 tablespoon sesame seeds
  4. 1 teaspoon oregano
  5. 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  6. Salt and Pepper
  7. 1 tablespoon olive oil or a few sprays of spray oil
  8. 1 large Egg White
Red Cabbage and Onion
  1. 1/4 Red Cabbage
  2. 1 Red Onion
  3. 1 Lime
  4. Salt and Pepper
  5. 6 Small Wheat or Corn Tortillas
  6. As much of your favourite salsa you can fit into a taco
  7. Avocado mashed with salt, pepper and cumin - optional
  8. Jalapenos - Optional
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 425oF/220oC/Gas Mark, and line a large tray with baking paper.
  2. Mix all the fish ingredients in a bowl except the fish and the egg white.
  3. Cut the fish into chunky finger sized pieces and blot dry with kitchen paper.
  4. In a bowl whisk the egg white with salt and pepper until frothy.
  5. Season the fish.
  6. I tip my breadcrumb mix into a Ziploc bag and I tip my egg white into a separate Ziploc bag and then ad my fish fingers to the egg bag and shake until fully coated and then add them to the breadcrumb bag and do the shake and coat thing again. I saves messy fingers and loads of time.
  7. But you could go the traditional way of dipping the fish in the egg white and then dipping it into the breadcrumbs, up to you.
  8. Place on the baking tray making sure not to crowd them, drizzle on the oil or spritz with your spray oil and bake for 15 minutes or until lightly golden and crispy, turning half way through.
  9. While there baking, finely slice your red cabbage and red onion, juice the lime and stir to mix, season with salt and pepper.
  10. Heat through your Tortillas , 30 seconds in the science oven (microwave) should do it.
  11. When your fish fingers come out the oven, assemble. 3 stubby fingers per wrap, a couple tablespoons of cabbage, a smear of avocado, your smuggled into the country salsa and a couple of jalapenos. Fold and ate.
Notes
  1. The general consensus in work that these were basically a fancy fish finger sandwich. I denied it with venom, the they are kinda right. When I haven't been bothered to make the fish myself and we have really good fish fingers in the fridge or freezer I use those.
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