Double Chocolate, Brown Butter, Pretzel Cookies

 So, let me tell you about today.

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Today was the type of day that had me smashing the phone in the receiver, repeatedly. The type of day that turned my regular car journey into a particularly rough game of grand theft auto, the type of day that I cried on the way home, in the car alone, thinking about the first time I realised they were going to kill their mother off and sang David Grey on repeat at the top of my lungs. I dropped F bombs like it was my chosen profession and instead of going the gym, I came home to sit in stretch pants and a scowl.

When these days hit, and they do, I suggest you make these cookies. Cookies require no brain power, so even when you can’t think of anything other than going back to key the car that parked to close too you earlier, you can still make these.

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These cookies have two types of chocolate in them, the milk chocolate chips keep there shape, while the dark chopped chocolate melts and becomes all oozey and puddlely. They have pretzels, which adds chunks of salty crunch but the star of these mood enhancing cookies is the browned butter. Seriously, they should bottle this stuff up and sell them to hormonal women and long suffering people who are forced to interact with them. 

The butter goes an incredible warm brown colour, with a nutty buttery heavenly scent. It envelops you in a buttery cuddle and transports you whole new level. I can’t describe the smell. I would never do it justice. Brown butter is the bomb. The best F bomb I’ve ever dropped. 

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Double Chocolate, Brown Butter, Pretzel Cookies
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Ingredients
  1. 170g (1.5 cups) unsalted butter
  2. 200g (1 cup) light brown sugar
  3. 1 egg
  4. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  5. 250g (2 cups) plain flour
  6. 2 tsp cornflour
  7. 1/4 tsp salt
  8. 1 tsp bicarbonate soda
  9. 3/4 cup broken salted pretzels
  10. 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
  11. 1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate
Instructions
  1. To brown your butter, melt butter in a medium saucepan, once melted, turn heat up slightly to a low/medium heat. Allow to cook four 3 minutes, stirring regularly. Once foamy, keep a close eye on it, it goes from brown to burnt in no time. Lots of little brown bits will appear in the mixture, keep stiring and do not let them catch, once it smells all nutty (the most intoxicating smell you will find in a kitchen) remove from the heat and pour into a bowl to cool.
  2. Mix in sugar, vanilla and egg.
  3. Mix in flour, salt, cornflour and bicarb. Then add in the pretzels and chocolate.
  4. Line 2 baking trays with greaseproof paper and using an ice cream scoop, place scoops about an inch or two apart.
  5. Chill in the fridge for at least an hour, ideally 3 and upto over night.
  6. Preheat your oven to 180oC/Gas Mark 4/350oF
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes, till browned at the edge and soft in the middle. Do not over bake.
  8. Cool on the tray for 10 minutes then remove and eat.
  9. They should keep for up to a week but they will go far faster than that.
Notes
  1. Once scooped and chilled, you can freeze for 3 months. Bake straight from the freezer for an extra minute or two.
Adapted from Sally's Baking Addication
Pestosprouts http://pestosprouts.com/

Quick Leftover Fried Rice

This rice takes 10 minutes.

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Sure, I’m not going to win any nutritional awards for a plate full of white rice, but on a Monday night, when you’ve completed your first day back at work and sweated through an hour with an overly-perky, high-fiving gym instructor and are facing down another four days, this rice wins. Fiiiiine make it with brown rice if your going to bitch about it. 

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This uses up all the leftovers from the weekend. Rice from curry night; pineapple, since it’s still early enough in the week that you were organised enough to cut up fruit the night before; and peas from Sunday night Pie night. But use up all the stuff in your fridge that might be lying around, so play around with the ingredients. 

It’s so good, super easy and if you get someone else to make it it’ll be ready as soon as you get out the shower. 

Leftover chicken would be good in there too… As would lobster should you have this lying around in your fridge and be threatening to eat it with mash….Becky….!

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Leftover Fried Rice
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Ingredients
  1. 2 tbsp garlic oil
  2. 1 tsp fish sauce
  3. pinch ground white pepper
  4. 1 egg
  5. 5 cups (each cup is about 200g) leftover cold rice.
  6. 1/2 cup (125g) cooked peas
  7. 1/4 pineapple cut up into small pieces
  8. 1 green chilli
  9. Thumb sized piece ginger
  10. 1 Tbsp dark soy sauce
  11. 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  12. 100g roasted, salted cashew
  13. Corriander, chopped
  14. Chilli Sauce - optional
Instructions
  1. Heat a large wok on a high heat.
  2. Whisk the egg with the fish sauce and white pepper.
  3. Add 1 tbsp oil to the wok and once shimmering hot add your egg. It should cook in about 45 seconds if the wok is hot enough. Remove from the pan, and slice. Leave to one side.
  4. Grate the ginger and dice the chilli.
  5. Add the last tbsp of oil the wok and allow to heat to shimmering hot again.
  6. Add in the chilli and ginger, stir fry for 30 seconds.
  7. Add in your rice, stirring and breaking up as you go.
  8. Add in fish sauce and push the rice to one side.
  9. In the space, put your pineapple chunks and leave for one minute, they should catch and turn a golden colour. Mix the rice and the pineapple together, continuing to fry.
  10. Add in the soy sauce and a good couple of pinches of white pepper.
  11. Mix in the egg, cashews and the coriander and toss until completely combined and serve.
  12. I topped mine with chilli sauce. It was a very, very good addition.
Pestosprouts http://pestosprouts.com/
 

Please remember to be safe with reheated rice. Make sure it’s cooled quickly, kept cold and reheated thoroughly.

Vanilla Cupcakes

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Sex in the City not only brought the time consuming habit of comparing every relationship I had to that of Carrie and Big, wondering if I kept my clothes in the oven and only ate when out with friends if I could have the body of SJP and how I could have a witty and moving monologue that narrated my life and summed up my thoughts in a tidy conclusion at the end of everyday. It also brings years of vanilla flavoured disappoint after they made cupcakes cool and everyone in the world opened up a cupcake shop/stall/kitchen window. 

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Now, I’m not a cake fan really. Unless you’re going to trash it up and make it unmissable, I can happily live my life without cake. However vanilla cupcakes are different. They are a life staple, and normally decorated in a sickeningly sweet, upbeat girly fashion which I can not resist, and that my friends is were the disappointment lies, right there hidden in the cleverly decorated mildly vanillary sawdust. Always too dry or dense, the crumb too course or bread like and the taste non-existent, topped with either dry sugary icing or synthetic tasting whip…(?). They’re all looks but man, do they fall short in the under the hood. Like a playboy bunny, or a Kardashian. 

But these. These are what I’ve been spending all my hopes, dreams and spare change waiting to find. These are moist, vanillary sweet and full of cakey goodness, topped with creamy sweet colourful frosting, they ticks all the boxes. The Sophia Bush of vanilla cupcakes if you will. 

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These are easy and I can guarantee that even if your turning up unannounced/late (the the only way I ever turn up) you will be welcome should you be brandishing a box full of these.

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Vanilla Cupcakes
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Cupcake Base
  1. 290g (2 1/3 cups)Plain flour
  2. 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
  3. 1/2 tsp
  4. 180g unsalted butter at room temperature
  5. 350g (1 3/4 cups) caster sugar
  6. 2 large eggs
  7. 2 tsp vanilla extract
  8. 250ml (1 cup) whole milk
Vanilla Frosting
  1. 160g Butter
  2. 500g (4cups) Icing Sugar
  3. 60ml (1/4 cup) Double Cream
  4. Food Colouring - I used pink and purple colour paste
Instructions
  1. Pre-heat your oven to 350oF/ Gas Mark 4/ 180oC, and line a muffin tin with 12 liners. The mix makes 16, so you can just use the same tin, once the first batch has come out the oven.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. Leave to one side.
  3. In a separate bowl ,mix butter with a electric mixer, until creamy, about 30-40 seconds. Add the sugar and continue to beat until light and fluffy. This can take around 3 minutes.
  4. Crack eggs over a separate clean bowl, leaving the whites in the clean bowl and adding the yolks to the sugar/butter mix. Add in the vanilla and continue to beat until combined.
  5. Add in 1/3 flour mix and combine, add in half the milk, combine. Continue to do this until all milk and flour is combined. This should end with the flour mix being added in last.
  6. Wisk the egg whites until foamy, about 2-4 minutes.
  7. Fold these through your batter.
  8. You should end up with a thick, smooth, pudding like batter.
  9. I use a ice cream scoop to spoon the cake mix into the cake cases and bake on the middle self to 19 - 22 minutes.
  10. Remove from the oven, once the cupcakes spring back when touched, or a skewer comes out clean.
Frosting
  1. Mix butter with electric whisk for 1 minute, add in the icing sugar, little by little and once all in, add the cream.
  2. Mmix on high speed for 5 minutes, until light creamy and fluffy.
  3. Move half into a clean bowl and add in your indeviual food dolours. Mix untill the food colour is completed combined.
  4. Once your cupcakes are fully cooled, scoop a big blob of icing on top and with a palate knife spread it evenly over the cake. Cover with sprinkles and revel in the fact that you cupcake is worthy of a Sex and the City episode.
Notes
  1. *Make sure all your ingredients are room temperature, including your butter, milk, eggs and cream.
  2. *Because I used two separate colours, I needed a large amount of frosting so I could split them and colour them separately. If your just using one colour you may have a lot leftover, but to be fair, when it's good frosting, its always better to have too much that too little.
  3. *Keep the left over batter in the bowl, in a cool place until your ready to use it once the cooked cupcakes come out the oven
Adapted from Sallys Baking Addication
Pestosprouts http://pestosprouts.com/
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Peach Crisp

Today instead of writing something witty and mouth watering to go along with this crumble, I looked at an obsessive amount of photos of Kylie Kloss and Taylor Swift. This is how I spent a large proportion of my day.

So instead of telling you how incredibly fragrant and juicy peaches are at the moment, and how sweet and summery this pie is or how intoxicating the smell of peaches baking with sugary, buttery juices is, I’m just going to show you a picture of some peaches in a dish.

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 And a picture of a bubbly cooked crumble.

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If this is not enough to make you want to dive in head first – I suggest you head over here to look at Taylor Swifts legs instead.

This crumble/crisp is slightly different to your normal crumbles as the topping bakes up like a crisp and spreads slightly giving it a crust rather than a crumble. It’s made in the same easy way, rubbing butter, sugar and flour together but I think the increased ratio of butter to flour ensures spreading, while the addition of oats and sliced almonds ensures a terrific bite and chew all at the same time. I forgot my lemon juice, but I highly suggest adding it, while no-one else missed it, I think it would have cut the sweetness slightly.

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The topping seems like a measly amount and I was left doubting it would work, but with patience (which I do not possess) it does cover the peaches and bakes up to be the right amount. An absolute winner for a summery Sunday.

Four of us devoured this. It serves 8. And we’d just finished an enormous roast dinner of which I had 3 helpings. This says more about the crumble than the people. Honest.

 I adapted the crumble topping from Brown Eyed Baker and stole the peach filling from Smitten Kitchen’s Pie.

Peach Crisp
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Crisp Top
  1. 125g (9 Tablespoons) Butter
  2. 85g (2/3 Cup) Plain Flour
  3. 60g (2/3 Cups) Oats – not instant
  4. 135g (2/3 Cup) Brown Sugar
  5. 4 Tablespoons Sliced Almonds
Peaches
  1. 7 Medium peaches.
  2. 4 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
  3. 4 Tablespoons Caster Sugar
  4. 1/8 Teaspoon Cinnamon
  5. About three or four swipes over a grater of Whole Nutmeg
  6. Juice of 1/2 Lemon
  7. 2 Tablespoons Cornflower
  8. 1/8 Teaspoon Salt
Instructions
  1. Peaches can be a bitch to peel. The peaches for this need to be semi ripe, not over ripe and not under ripe – if your peaches are either of these then peeling them will be near impossible without crushing them to death. IF your peaches are slightly under ripe, which would be the better of the two to use, then put them in boiling water for two minutes and the skins will pop right off, don’t bother trying to use over ripe peach as they’ll just turn to mush. Just stick them in a smoothie and they’ll be. If however you get your peaches at the perfect ripeness – with just a slight give when pressed, means your skin will peel of nicely, and the stone will come out easy too.
  2. Preheat oven 180oC/gas Mark 4/375oF
  3. Cut butter into cubes and in a bowl, add all the crumble ingredients. Add in the butter and rub together until a sandy mix is achieved. Leave to one side.
  4. Cut peach in half, twist and pull part, peel skin off and remove stone. Slice each half into three or four slices.
  5. In a small bowl mix sugars, flour cinnamon salt, nutmeg and cornflower in a bowl until thoroughly combined.
  6. Mix the peaches into the dry mix, mix in the lemon juice and toss with hands.
  7. Put peaches into baking dish and cover with the crumble mix. Be patient – breaking it up and redepositing it so completely covered. It looks like its not enough but persevere.
  8. Bake in the centre of the oven for 30-40 minutes until golden and bubbling.
  9. Allow to cool to room temperature or eat mouth scorchingly hot – either way eat it with thick cream or ice cream and bask in how awesome summer time eating is.
Pestosprouts http://pestosprouts.com/

 

 

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
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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
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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
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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
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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.