January 2014 Eats

Hello lovely people and welcome to our little update on what foody delights have been occurring with us this month. Wow January has been a long month, but as you can see we’ve mainly managed to survive it by eating lots of yummy things! Yay to us right.

January Eats

Cooked
Kedegree
RSC#5 – Cod with bacon and a tomato sauce
Butternut squash pasta
Butternut squash risotto
Steak and potato wedges – the stuff of dreams!

Baked
Apple and Blackberry Crumble
Bourbon Biscuit brownies (as see on this rambling corner)
Avocado brownies
Bread & Rolls
Granola (coming soon I promise!)

Eaten
Dinner at Five Guys
Pizza and quiz fun at the Elephant on the Hill
Brunch at Tom’s Kitchen. Look out for a post about this soon.
Drinks at the Tinder Yard
Dinner at The Seahorse Pub (One of our favourite places ever – their sticky toffee pudding is to die for)
Lunch at Denbies Vineyard

What about you lovely people? What have been your food highlights this month?

Lau xxx

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Banana and Walnut Bread

So every now and again I have this grand plan that I’m going to eat copious amounts of fruit instead of the usual crap that has infiltrated my diet. When this happens I head off to the supermarket and stock up on apples, bananas and some more exotic looking/sounding fruit and make a pact to switch the chocolate for the fruit. And then 24 hours pass and my enthusiasm wanes and the bananas go brown before I remember they even exist. When this happens I tend to whip up my standard banana cake with cream cheese frosting, courtesy of the Australian Women’s Weekly Kids Cookbook that I’ve had for eons. But a few weeks back I decided I needed to try something new and step out of my comfort zone – I’m not a fan of such things if I’m honest! So I decided on a banana and walnut bread. Yes big things happening over her, I’ve added walnuts and made a bread instead of a cake – get me. Give me a day or so and I’ll be taking over the world with giant leaps like this!

So back down to it I decided on a recipe from DK’s Step-by-Step Baking book and I’m glad it’s the one I chose as it’s super-easy and has helpful instruction pictures. Phew! So here we go, here’s the recipe. First off you’ll need…

  • 375g strong white bread flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 125g walnut pieces (chopped)
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 ripe bananas (chopped, oh and peeled obvs!)
  • finely grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • 125 ml vegetable oil
  • 200g granulated sugar
  • 100g soft brown sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract

Now down to the method (it’s easy I promise!):
First off preheat the oven to 180oC and grease your loaf tins (2 x 1lb loaf tins)
Sprinkle flour into the tins and tap to remove all the excess flour
Sift the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt into a bowl and mix together.
Mix in the walnut pieces and create a well in the center

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Mash the bananas with a fork until they create a smooth paste and add to the beaten egg with the lemon zest

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Add the oil, granulated sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and lemon juice and stir together

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Pour 3/4 of the banana mixture into the well in the flour and stir well
Gradually blend in the dry ingredients, adding the remaining banana mixture until the mixture is smooth

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Spoon the mixture into the tins

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Bake for 35-40 minutes until the loaves start to shrink away from the sides of the tins and a skewer comes out clean
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Enjoy your banana bread and you know it’s fine to have for breakfast as it’s a bread AND it contains fruit – winning!

– Fi xx

October Foody Wonders

As another month draws to a close it’s time for the inevitable foody round up on this here bloggedy blog and let’s be honest it does seem to all be about the food recently, I think that’s due to the change of weather. After all all you want to do when it gets darker is snuggle up on the sofa with warming food and a hot chocolate, or is that just me?! So yes it’s fair to say that we’ve embraced that this month, particularly with the addition of Salted Caramel Hot Chocolates at Starbucks. Um can we just take a moment to ponder at the geniusness of this idea, someone knight that person ASAP. What a clever person!

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Anyway enough salivating let’s move on to the foodie delights that we experienced a couple of weeks ago in The Peak District as that was all kinds of awesome! We tucked in to Mum’s much lauded over homemade lasagne and of course exclaimed over the amazingly delicious proper Bakewell Tarts (we were in Bakewell after all so it would have been rude not too!). We also ate at a couple of delicious little spots whilst in the wonderful peaks; the first place that deserves praise is the picturesque Beehive pub which we stumbled upon after visiting the otters in Chapel-en-le-Frith. It was a lovely quaint pub with local beers and the most fabulous food. I had a platter which featured smelly stilton and the most delicious chicken liver pate I’ve ever experienced and Lau had a crunchy and creamy jacket potato piled high with prawn mayo – delicious! If you’re ever in that neck of the woods you simply HAVE to experience it. The other brilliant restaurant we experienced was a restaurant in Bakewell itself called The Pointing Dog and Duck. We had a three course meal, plus cocktails there on the Saturday night and the food was simply divine and incredibly good value too! I think the high points were the individual chicken, leek, mushroom and ham pie, the mojitos and the duck and potato hash which also included a deep fried egg. Simply a-maze-ing!

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So enough of the Bakewell reminiscing for one post! We have also been busy bees in the old rhubarb and custard kitchen and we’ve made the following: Oat and Banana Bites, Triple Chocolate Cookies, Pinwheels, sausage casserole (yes again!), Welsh Cakes (my favourite), Chocolate Tea Loaf Cake, Marshmallow Brownies, Peanut Butter Brownies (oh no scratch that earlier comment, maybe this was my favourite!) and our third RSC challenge. Phew what a lot of things! And unsurprisingly most of them are sweet things, oh well what can I say we both have serious sweet tooths!

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This month I also FINALLY experienced the wondered of Five Guys (not once but twice) whoopee! And can I just say – it absolutely lived up to my expectations it was scrumpdidliumptious and I can’t wait to go again. Their fries are delicious and so moreish and the addition of mushrooms to the cheeseburger? Bloody genius even if I do say so myself! We also discovered the GBK app this month so have been making the most of the free bits and bobs with that.Oh and Lau’s been revisiting our travelling month with the L&P from GBK, as she basically existed off of that when we were travelling!  Plus we were lucky enough to eat out at Bill’s (yes I may also have gone here twice, oops), Wembley for burgers (twice here as well – the second time was for the American Football and unsurprisingly they had upped the size of everything for the visiting fans), Nando’s (it had been far too long!), The Rochester Coffee Company, Manor Farm Barn and Le Pain Quotidian for a lovely breakfast treat. Note to self we should most definitely have shared one basket rather than having one each. But hey it was all delicious so I don’t regret any of it!

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Oh and I forgot to mention we tucked into a lot of seasonal delights, first up were the Screme Eggs, perfect Halloween fodder and then there were some Mousse Snowman – they’re new so had to be tasted! Then Lau discovered the wonders of Oat so Simple porridge pots, perfect when you’re in a rush but don’t want to be tempted by a chocolate croissant at your desk. Have you tried any of the flavours yet? I think the Apple and Blueberry is my current favourite, although it is a tough call!

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So there we have it a month of wondrous food, what lucky people we are and I wonder what delights we’ll receive in November. Personally I’m keeping my fingers crossed for the wonders of Christmas goodies. Can you really beat mince pies, gingerbread men, Starbucks Christmas drinks and sticky ginger cake? No I don’t think so either!

– Fi xxx

September aka the month we stuffed our faces!

As another month comes to an end, yes really we are now in October, it’s time for a moment to remember the lovely food we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy over the last month and really it’s been quite a month for both of us. It’s definitely the month that’s seen a move from salad and sandwiches to pastry, soup and marshmallows in drinks, which has cheered me right up. I am most definitely ready for this cooler weather and the beginning of my favourite season. So here are some of the things we’ve been enjoying in the foodie world over the last month…

  1. We had a lovely afternoon tea at the Palm Court at The Langhan Hotel, which was absolutely delicious and a real treat. I definitely recommend it to anyone who is looking for somewhere lovely for afternoon tea in London, it really was superb. And you get a LOT of food. We had jelly, champagne, tea, two scones each, eight sandwiches each and five different dainty cakes, plus we could have had many more scones or sandwiches. They were all of course delicious!
  2. We had a brilliant week away in Portugal in September, which meant lots of lovely Portugese treats – Ruffles, chocolate sandwich biscuits, club sandwiches and ice creams galore as is the usual way. Plus we visited some of our favourite eateries – Sandbanks, Maria’s and of course a trip to the Chinese for a takeaway. It had to be done.
  3. I finally made it to the MeatMarket this month for a double cheeseburger and chilli cheese fries. The burger was good, even if the number of toppings were a little bit excessive. As for the fries, yeah not really a fan. Oh yeah and also the next day I did not feel good, clearly something didn’t agree with me. I will most definitely be sticking to the Shake Shack or Five Guys from now on!
  4. There was one week this month that I think saw me eating Italian food four out of the seven nights, what a great week! One such night saw us celebrating Dad’s birthday at Casa Vita, a really lovely family run Italian restaurant. The food was delicious, as one expects at an Italian and it led to a discovery of baked avocado as an actual meal – how had no one told me about this concept before then?!
  5. Lau saw this post on A Rosie Outlook earlier so we simply had to give it a whirl ourselves, our version included a mix of tomato pesto and mayonnaise and a lot of veggie goodness. These really were delicious so I definitely think you should all get making them asap.
  6. Other trips out and about have included Zizzi’s, Yo Sushi and an awful lot of morning coffee. Oddly enough the venti sized coffees seem to be making an appearance, which is not ideal!
  7. As for other bits and bobs we’ve been baking (which you’ll hopefully see on the bloglet soon, if they’ve not yet been shared) and cooking. We had Focaccia, triple chocolate cookies, banana and oat biscuits and some serious easy and not to mention delicious sweet AND savoury pinwheels.
  8. September saw the second in our Ready Steady Cook Challenges, with Lau giving me the ingredients to work with this time. These included chocolate and mackerel. I’ll be updating on what I cooked soon I promise!

So all in all a pretty good month of foodie goodness for us in September I wonder what we’ve got to look forward to in October, I can hardly wait to find out! What about you, what were your favourite foody things this in September?

– Fi xx

Focaccia

A few weeks back, on a lazy saturday morning, I stumbled across the Hairy Bikers. They appeared to be living the dream as they baked focaccia al fresco in Venice. Yeah, like I said living the dream.
This got me thinking, why not try making focaccia myself? I’ve not really dabbled in bread making in the past, as you’ll see from the fact that our bread recipes have all been done by Lau. Case in point: here and here. Nevertheless I thought why not, it can’t be that tricky right?!

Well no it’s not tricky, but it is a bit of a faff isn’t it? I mean talk about needing patience (something I’ve always been in short supply of). From making the following focaccia recipe I’ve realised that I like a recipe that you make and then bake. None if this make a bit, leave it for a while, add something more then leave it a while longer and then oh look baking time. No that malarkey is far too much hassle for my liking! Even if the resulting focaccia is pretty darn scrummy. Anyway I followed a recipe I found online here. So what you’ll need is:

  • 2 tsp dried yeast
  • 475g plain flour
  • 75ml olive oil
  • 3 tsp sea salt flakes
  1. Start by putting 125ml warm water into a large mixing bowl with 1tsp of yeast.
  2. Leave for 10 minutes to bubble, before adding 75g of the flour.
  3. Stir together, cover with cling film and leave to stand for 45 minutes.
  4. In your second bowl mix the rest of the yeast with 250ml warm water.
  5. Leave to bubble for 5-10 minutes before adding to the first floury mixture.
  6. Add the oil, 2tsps salt and the remaining flour.
  7. Mix to a dough and knead for 10 minutes.
  8. Put in an oiled mixing bowl and cover with cling film.
  9. Leave in a warm spot for 90 minutes or until it doubles in size.
  10. Knock the air out if the dough and shape into an oiled shallow roasting tin.
  11. Cover and leave for 1 hour.
  12. Preheat a baking sheet in the oven at 220°c.
  13. Sprinkle the dough with the remainder of the salt.
  14. Bake the dough for 15-20 until the dough is golden and has risen.
  15. Eat, enjoy (and have a rest)!

– Fi xxx

A Kitchen DIY: Frosted Jars

Hello lovely people! We’ve got a slightly different post today, hopefully you don’t mind TOO much. 🙂

As well as being keen bakers and hopefully one day brilliant cooks (but let’s be honest that’s most definitely a work in progress!), Lau and I are also fans of crafty DIY things, which is what I wanted to share with you today. Yes I know this is a cooking, baking and eating related blog and not about crafty stuff BUT this DIY is kitchen related and involves the very things we eat all our yummy cooked food with – cutlery! Hopefully you’ll forgive this intrusions of craftiness because of the tenuous link!

Anywho, back to the DIY sharing. For the last six months or so we’ve been using three old glass jars for our utensils as they are the most perfect size for all our silverware and the old Coca Cola tin we used to use wasn’t working out. Whilst the jars are perfect in terms of size etc, they were a little VERY bland and dull, which is why last weekend we set out to improve them so that we wouldn’t be ashamed of our utensil pots – yes we were ashamed of them, we’re weird like that. Sorry!

So back to the actual DIY, it couldn’t have been simpler!

1.We washed out and dried our lidless jars
2.Then spread out the newspaper and sprayed each one with a smooth coat of etching spray, to give them all a frosted look

photo 23. Left the jars to dry for four hours
4. Stuck on the pretty shaped chalkboard labels [you might recognise the labels from our recent Kitchen Loveliness post here]. I’m really pleased with the labels, although I think my penmanship could do with some work….

And here are the finished jars in all their gorgeous frosted glory:

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Awesome right?! I for one am head over heels in love with them and find myself looking round the house wondering what other items I can frost or add stickers too. So far I’ve steered clear of our Kilners jars, but I fear it’s only a matter of time!

Happy cooking/crafting/DIYing, Fi xx

Picnic pickings

In the sunshine there’s nothing I love more than packing a picnic and sitting outside – whether at the beach or in the park. It’s pure bliss. Sadly during the most recent warm weather I’ve been incredibly busy so haven’t had time to get my picnic hat on BUT that doesn’t mean I’ve not thought about it! For my ultimate afternoon of picnicking I would require the following:

  • Homemade coronation chicken and a crusty French stick. AKA the food of the gods. Somehow this simple dish is like food heaven for me.
  • Leftover sausages. Preferably Bombay Bangers from the butchers in my parents village. Exceptionally tasty, even Lau (recent sausage convert) would agree.
  • Quiche or some form of eggy pastry. Goats cheese and egg puff pastry parcels are equally as scrumptious as a Quiche Lorraine.
  • Mint jelly sandwiches. Accompanied by some form of meat obviously, chicken, lamb or beef I’m not fussy. The mint is the key item in here.
  • Pesto and mozzarella rice. Literally those three ingredients, although Mary Berry’s pesto dressing is preferable to a jar of pesto. Scrumptious.
  • Cake. No preference on which. Just some form of cakes loveliness please.

And finally this amazing picnic rug to laze on – who knew they did a hedgehog print! Oh how I love Anorak’s products.

hedgehog rug