A little February round-up

So another month has flown by and we’re now about to embark on March – what the actual what is going on with that?! How on earth is this year going so fast – crazy times indeed! As is the CBE way we need to round-up all our cooking, baking and eating loveliness in one post, so here goes!

We started this month with an awesome long weekend in the Peak District, which basically revolved around food… We started with a Wagamama’s, where we all tried something new, all of which were scrumptious. My dish was the Chicken Teriyaki, scrumptious! This was swiftly followed by (in no particular order) homemade lasagna, American sweets, coffee in our wellies, pulled pork, cooked breakfasts and pancakes, homemade veggie soup, doorstop sandwiches, a chinese takeaway, crisps, biscuits, bourbon brownies and a rediscovery of scrumptious Shreddies. It really was an amazing weekend of food stuffs!

Apart from a weekend of food in the Peak District our foodie month has been made up of:

  • Cooking a ham, chicken, leek, mushroom and mushroom soup pie
  • Blending tonnes of smoothies
  • Treating ourselves to a cooked breakfast (for lunch) after epic runs
  • Sampling our very first Chicken Balti Pukka pie at the football
  • Baking chewy chocolate chip and peanut butter cookies (recipe here)
  • Eating out at Bill’s, Wahaca, Nando’s, Del’Aziz and Camellia’s Tea House
  • Tucking into the biggest roast chicken with all the trimmings courtesy of the parentals
  • Being good and taking salads for lunch
  • Remembering how perfect an iced coffee can be with our first ones of 2014

Phew, what a month for food – no wonder I’m so exhausted after all of that lot! What about you what have been your top food moments from the last month?

– Fi xx

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A Sunday kitchen wishlist

Happy Sunday lovely people, I hope you’ve had a lovely day! We’ve spent the day running (an 11.2 mile half marathon training run), eating and being lazy – it was blissful! At the moment Lau and I are in the process of moving house. I say process, what I really mean is that we’re stressing out on how complicated it is to deal with estate agents and find something decent for our revised budget – check out this waffley post from last week to read more about my frustrations!
To cheer myself up during a stressful search I’ve taken to dreaming about my new kitchen. ‘Tis the only thing stopping my from losing my mind over this house search malarkey and also stopping me from calling it off when I remember we’ll have to get rid of our rhubarb and custard kitchen – sad face indeed as I love our kitchen, it’s my favourite room in our house. But I’m not allowed to get maudlin today, so let’s carry on with today’s post where I’m sharing some of the things that have made it on to my new kitchen wishlist so far…
kitchen wishlist 1

Teapot / Le Creuset Dish / Pearl Drop Plates / Kitchen Aid Mixer / Tea Towel

kitchen wishlist 2

 ‘Garden’ Cake Tin / Orla Kiely Jar / Gold Dipped Cutlery / Glass Jar / Salad Bowl 

So let’s discuss some of these items shall we… First up yes I am one of those people who dreams of owning a kitchen aid mixer. Deal with it! I just wish they weren’t so expensive as this metallic cider one is beautiful, and I don’t just love it because the colour is called ‘apple cider’ – honest! Also how did I not know there were purple Le Cresuet items in existence – I need!

I’m a big fan of storage items, so a few new jars would be good. I’m currently torn between Orla Kiely’s beautiful iconic jars or the glass/wood concoction – both so awesome. Also I need that tea towel in my life! And gold dipped cutlery, after all doesn’t everyone?

If you were looking for new kitchen items, what would be the first thing on your list…

Good luck for the next week.

– Fi xx

Granola

So confession time. I have a tendency to get into a bit of a rut when it comes to breakfasts and I become obsessed with one breakfast for weeks at a time. It usually revolves between Crunchy Nut Cornflakes, Sainsbury’s Oat and Raisin Granola or a Porridge pot with sultanas and banana. It gets so bad that sometimes I have to remind myself that other breakfast foods exist other than my current item of choice as otherwise I’ll be eating the same breakfast for two or three months at a time!

Recently I realised I was in a granola rut, yet I didn’t want to pull myself out of said rut completely, I just wanted to change the type of granola I was eating. Namely I wanted to make my own. Now I’ve made granola in the past (read about that here) and it’s really easy, so lord knows why I stopped making it but having decided to mix things up I stumbled across this recipe for peanut butter granola. My first thought on this? Oh my. I mean wow I love peanut butter but would never have considered it for a granola recipe. But as soon as I heard of it I was sold!

Having tried the recipe I have to say it’s the granola recipe to beat all the granola recipes ever. It’s so easy, so cheap and so delicious that I defy you not to love it! The combination of nuts and oats is just ingenious and it reminds me of oat and fruit cookies, you know those really brilliant ones that you used to get in Starbucks in the US. Simply amazing.

Do try it and may I suggest you add sultanas to the trays about half way through cooking as they really do add something amazing to the recipe. Then the only thing you have to work out is what to eat it with… My current favourite is simply with milk but natural yoghurt and raspberries is a close second! Enjoy.

– Fi xxx

Pulled Pork

A couple of weeks back it was Super Bowl Sunday and this just happened to coincide with our trip to the Peak District to see the littlest Evans. We decided to celebrate this serendipitous event by having an US themed dinner of pulled pork wraps and rice, followed by the American wonder that is the humble m&m. Before I go any further can I just say: bloody genius idea right there! That menu is basically heaven on a plate, well two plates.

Now pulled pork is a new thing for me, not eating it – I’m well practised at eating it and find it delicious. But when it comes to cooking pulled pork, actually creating that wonder from scratch, well that’s another matter. Thankfully the wonderful internet saved my bacon and after a few clicks we had a plethora of information at our disposal. Which we promptly ignored as we came up with our own way that didn’t include twenty-seven different utensils or six hours of cooking time – I’m sorry but I’m not well-known for my patience so that would never happen. Anyway our recipe is below, but before you get started just two useful bits of information you might want to bear in mind…

  1. Aldi sell pork shoulder for just £3.50 and it’s enough to feed three VERY hungry sisters, so you should most definitely check that out.
  2. When cooking in a new oven it’s probably best to check that you’ve turned it on properly and that it is not in fact cold 50 minutes after you start. Just a thought as that moment when you realise dinner will be a whole extra hour away is not the best moment of your life. Also the wise-cracks and teasing for the rest of the night – not fun.

Ingredients:

  • One pork shoulder
  • One onion (cut into eighths)
  • A bottle of Paul Newman’s BBQ sauce AKA the best BBQ sauce ever invented
  • 1 pack of wraps
  • 1 box of left over takeaway rice

And the method….

  • Pre-heat the oven as per the instructions on your pork (ours said 200°C)
  • Rub your pork shoulder with a spoon of BBQ sauce and place on the roasting tin surrounded by the onion
  • Cook the meat until it’s cooked as per the instructions (ours took two and a half hours)
  • Remove the pork and break it apart with two forks, it should pull apart really easily.
  • Throw the meat back into the roasting tin and add half a bottle or so of the BBQ sauce and give it a good old mix.
  • Bung (yes a technical term used by Michel Roux et al) it in the oven for another half an hour until it smells divine
  • Serve in wraps or on top of the rice and enjoy.

photo 1

photo 2

2014-02-02 20.46.21

So tell us have you ever tried pulled pork and was it a success? Don’t you just want to eat it everyday for the rest of your life?!

– Fi x

Smoothie making

Over the past couple of weeks both Fi and I have been having great fun with making smoothies. Fi’s had a smoothie maker for years and every now and again will get on the smoothie making bankwagon, but I’ve always shied away from it. Why? Well because most smoothie recipes I find seem to include banana and I loathe the taste of banana. So in the past I’ve just sat and watched while Fi makes her wonderful smoothie creations, and honestly her banana and berries smoothie always look so delicious and cheery until I taste it…

So yes that was our smoothie life, until we started half marathon training and Fi started making more and more smoothies and I got more and more jealous. And then I found the below on Pinterest and suddenly a whole world of smoothie opportunities was opened up to me.

source

Talk about a revelation!

So now I’ve been chopping fruit and blending ingredients most days and I love it. There’s so many options when it comes to making smoothies. The latest batch of ingredients can be seen below.

smoothie ingredients

What we ended up doing is splitting the ingredients into bags, each with enough fruit for one smoothie and then shoving them into the freezer. So then it’s easy to grab a bag, defrost it a bit and then blitz it with some milk/yogurt/water and a handful of spinach leaves. Oh and sometimes a sprinkling of oats too. Yum yum yum. How organised and healthy and delicious all in one go!

smoothies

If anyone’s got any lovely smoothie recipes then please do share.

Lau xx

Kedgeree

A few weeks month or so ago, whilst curled up on the sofa under my favourite patchwork quilt, I spotted an illustrated recipe for kedgeree in the January issue of Jamie’s magazine. I’ve never had kedgeree, in fact I can’t even say it properly {it’s ked-j-ree not ked-e-gree – who knew!}, but it’s been something I’ve always wanted to embrace as I just knew I’d love it. I mean rice, egg and fish – what’s not to love?

Anywho after reading just how simple it was I added it to January’s food list and last week we set about making it and obviously it was a bloody triumph! Not only is it easy-peasy, but it’s also cheap as chips (thanks to discounted fish) and unbelievably tasty. Kedgeree is now on my easy to do and to impress-people-with-list, so I’m going to share the recipe we used.

We didn’t follow Jamie’s recipe religiously (as we didn’t have all the ingredients) so we just used it as a guide. Annoyingly I can’t find Jamie’s original recipe online, but the one here is very similar if you want to get it straight from the horse’s mouth!

You will need:

  • 1 cup of brown rice
  • Two eggs (hard-boiled)
  • Lemon juice
  • 160g of Smoked herring
  • 1 tsp Garam masala
  • 1 Fish stock cube
  • Onion

And then follow these super simple instructions…

  1. Make up 340ml of fish stock
  2. Fry the onions with a little garam masala and oil
  3. Add the stock, a few drops of lemon juice and the rice and simmer on a low heat for 20 minutes until the rice is cooked
  4. Remove the skin and bones from the fish and chop up and add to the cooked rice mixture
  5. Add the two eggs and mush *technical term* into the mixture
  6. Mix everything together and EAT!

One thing I would say is that it could have been improved by the addition of some veggies. We were feeling lazy and couldn’t be bothered to go and buy anything, so just used what was in our cupboards – an onion – but I would definitely add spinach, mushrooms, peppers, etc in the future. Not just for flavour but so that it’s a smidge more filling. Not essential but worth bearing in mind.

– Fi xxx

Brunch at Tom’s Kitchen

Let’s jump back to the beginning of January when I wrote the below review of my brunch with my family at Tom’s Kitchen, over on This Rambling Corner. I thought that seeing as this here blogalog is all about food and eating I should probably share it on here too. So here we go. Enjoy!

This time last week I was well on my way to a perfect Sunday. I had met up with my sister and Dad and we were running around London (FYI I love this city). Our route went a little like this; along the Southbank, across the Millenium Bridge, around St Paul’s, through the city to Farringdon tube (it’s the oldest in London you know), down to Aldwych, into Covent Garden, across Trafalgar Square, into St James’ Park and through Parliament Square before crossing the Thames at Westminster and running past the London Eye back to the Royal Festival Hall. Wow I’ve exhausted myself just typing that! Anyway back to the point of this post… So after we ran our 5 miles we had a quick wash up and change into ‘normal’ clothes before we met up with the Mumbles and youngest sister, who had been reading and revising in the RFH while we were running. The five of us headed for brunch at Tom’s Kitchen at Somerset House (see there’s the point of the post!) for a final brunch before returning to work, university and general life things. It was so much fun. And that’s what I wanted to discuss today; the wonderfulness that is brunch at Tom’s Kitchen.

This was my second trip to Tom’s Kitchen and it was just as good as the first. We were sat at a lovely round wooden table with booth type seating and even though it was 11am the restaurant really wasn’t that busy so we were served really quickly. Which was perfect as I was starving! Tom’s Kitchen only serves brunch on a Sunday but the brunch menu is extensive. Obviously you get the usual brunch menu options; eggs, french toast and bagels but they also serve salads, steaks, crab cakes and risotto too. Like I said so much choice! I opted for the Eggs Benedict as it’s my favourite breakfast food ever and this time it didn’t disappoint. I mean is there seriously anything better than a doughy english muffin, runny orange poached eggs smothered in hollandaise sauce and salty crispy bacon? Nope I don’t think so. Add in some freshly squeezed orange juice and this is definitely the best way to refuel after a Sunday run.

The rest of my family went for Eggs Royale, Toasted Bagel with Smoked Salmon (x2) and Scrambled Eggs on Toast, based on the speed at which we all finished our food I think it’s safe to say that all the dishes were delicious. Next time I go I think I’ll try the bagel as it looked so good and the salad that came with it had the most delicious dressing (I stole my sister’s as she doesn’t do salad). Although saying that I did see another tables order of Belgian waffles and they also looked good. Hmm decisions, decisions, I think it’s safe to say that you can’t go wrong with the food choices here and that I should go there more often!

Below are a few pics of some of the food, I’m afraid I don’t have a photo of everything consumed as some people just ate too fast!

eggs benedict

toasted bagel with cream cheese and smoked salmon & berry smoothie

I think we can all agree that Sunday’s don’t get better than delicious brunches and energetic runs – at least in my humble opinion. But what do you think? Any lovely London brunch places that I must try? Or has anyone else ever been to Tom’s Kitchen and can recommend any of the other dishes there?

Laura xx

Brunch at Tom’s Kitchen was originally posted on This Rambling Corner on Sunday 12th January 2014