Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Hunters Chicken

Currently listening to: "Chop Suey" by Richard Cheese

How rubbish has the weather been this summer?! I can't remember the last day we had the resembled anything like summer but today dreadful, I daren't leave the house as I risk coming home looking like a drowned rat due to a sharp shower. I offered to cook for the family this week which gave me an excuse to use my new Spanks products.

Hunters Chicken

Serves 4

This is a pub classic dish which is so easy to make, but what makes this dish is the choice of ingredients.

4 Free range Chicken Breasts
2 Balls of fresh white mozzarella (sliced)
4 slices of Waitrose Palmer Ham (really spelt Parma Ham)
Spanks 'Gents Sauce'

Preheat oven to 200c. Once the oven is heated, place a slice of Palmer Ham (Parma Ham) on top of each chicken breast and put in oven for 30mins. Take out of oven and lightly over the ham in Gents Sauce. Cover each breast with the sliced mozzarella and grill 'till it has melted covering the whole breast.

Serve with seasonal veg.

Although the directions on the bottle of gents sauce says it goes well with strong cheese when used lightly in this dish it really helps bring out some awesome flavours.

For afters we had various cheeses with water biscuits and crackers. I used this opertunity to get out my other new spanks product "Apple, Raisin & Walnut Chutney". I'm not normally a big fan of chutney, nor am I a fan of cooked apple but this version really did take me by suprise. So much so we nearly finished off the whole jar in one night.

Anyway, I've also gone through a bottle of Spanks Tangy Tomato Ketchup in the past week but that's a story for another post!

P.S The Gents Sauce is a great hangover cure with grilled cheese on toast!

Monday, 18 August 2008

Chicken and Chilli Tomarto Pasta

Currently Watching: The British sailors clearing up at the Beijing Olympics!

It's been a frantic couple of weeks with me going on holiday then my computer quite literally blowing up! Anyway, I'm back now and loving following the Olympics.

I made this a few weeks ago using what I could find in the fridge...

Chicken and Chili Tomato Pasta

I made the sauce with cherry tomatoes as I love the sweet flavour of them in a sauce. Basically, boil 300g of cherry tomatoes per portion needed. I know it's a lot but they really do reduce quite a lot. Once the skins start to come loose drain and mash! Keep simmering...

Fry off chopped onion, chili, garlic and pepper then add to tomato sauce. Fry your desired meat (in my case Chicken) and add to sauce. Add spinach for the final 30secs of cooking. Season to taste and serve with pasta.

This is a very simple dish but full of flavour.

I've just taken delivery of lots of new Spanks products so expect some exotic recipes very soon!

Just thought I'd share this photo I took down Crosby beach of Anthony Gormley's "Another Place"


P.S Oh, please can everyone watch "Last Choir Standing" and vote for "Only Men Aloud"... I'm close mates with about half of the lads, and I feel they really do deserve to win!

Friday, 11 July 2008

International Inspiration!

Currently Listening to: "Shosholoza" - Black Umfolozi

Whilst looking at my visitor stats earlier I noticed an huge increase in international readers for my blog. As I looked at all the different nations I thought "What is the national dish of New Zealand?!" This gave me the idea to once a week attempt a different national dish, but I need your help!

Please can everyone leave a comment (or send me an e-mail) saying:

1) What country you come from

2) What you consider to be your national dish.

I will then work my way through this list week by week.

Hope to hear from you all soon!


Thursday, 10 July 2008

Not quite what I promised...

Currently watching: "Master Chef!"

As promised I am writing my 2nd blog of the day. However after deciding what to make for the starter circumstances changed and I was told to fend for myself on the condition I only used food in the fridge, rather then opting for the easy way out and heading straight for the freezer.

After looking at a nearly empty fridge for about 10mins I made one of my healthy favourites:

Cajun Salmon Caesar Salad (without anchovies because there weren't any in the fridge...!)

Caesar Sauce

Double Cream
Pinch of salt
a squirt of lemon juice
half a teaspoon of parmesan cheese

some crack pepper
2 teaspoon cottage cheese (this is my own personal twist, some people don't like this!)

This is a simple way to whip up a quick Caesar sauce:

Whip the Cream, salt and lemon juice together. One the mixture thickens a little mix in the rest of the ingredients.

Job Done!

The Rest of the Dish

Pre-oven to 200C, take a Salmon Fillet and dust with Cajun seasoning and place in pre-heated oven for 15-20mins (depending on size). Whilst the Salmon is in the oven make your salad...

I used half a baby gem lettuce, peppers, cucumber and baby tomatoes. With the baby gem Lettuce I tossed in a drip of Farrington's "Blackberry and Vinegar Dressing". I was introduced to this dressing by my sister sometime ago but haven't been able to buy it as it was only sold local to her. However much to my delight, last week my local Waitrose started selling it along side there other new British produce. Yet another success story for real British cottage industry food mixing it with the big boys!

Anyway back to the dish in question... make salad on a baby gem base and add sauce. Sit down and enjoy!

I'll blog again very soon - promise.

...and the worst food and drink gadget award goes to...

Currently Listening to: "Bernstien: Westside Story Suite" - Joshua Bell

I was browsing the newly redesigned Tastespotting.com and I spotted a post about the following invention:

Ladies and Gentleman I am proud to present the "Gourmet on a Grant Worst Food and Drink Gadget 2008 Award" to -

Wine Glass Holder Necklace

from wineenthusiast.com

Now I can sort of see the point if you're speed-wine tasting (like speed-dating but with wine. I'm sure they must do it in a America, if not I'm claiming the idea) and walking from table to table with the same glass whilst trying to write in your note pad. However the website is trying to sell it as a dinner party accessorise?!

"Keep your hands free at parties by keeping your wine close at heart! This clever little clip with adjustable strap holds a regular-size stemmed glass to your chest, giving you the freedom to snack and socialize as you sip!"

No prizes for guessing in what country the website is based that is trying to sell this gadget to make stuffing your face with free
canapés easier!

Also, isn't this invention particularly a bad idea for all you white wine drinkers out there? The glass will have more contact with your body, therefore warming your previously perfectly chilled measure of wine...

Anyway, must dash as I have the night off work tonight so I told Mum that I'd make a starter (which I will blog, honest) to go with the salmon that she's cooking for dinner tonight. Haven't even thought of what to make... Good job our Tesco is 24hrs!


Friday, 4 July 2008

New Job!

Currently Listening to: "Il Postino (main theme)" - Luis Enríquez Bacalov

Firstly I better start off with a HUGE apology as I haven't blogged for over a month... It's been a stupidly busy time for me recently, and because I'm living at home I don't cook as much as I do when I'm at uni.

Anyway, today I started a new part time job in a little restaurant called "Michael's". I initially applied for a job as waiting staff but they noticed on my CV that I had some kitchen experience so they offered me a job as Sous Chef. I obviously bit their hand off as the Chef -Patron (Michael Wichmann - it gets a bit confusing as myself the other assistant chef and the the chef-patron are called Mike) has worked at some of the worlds leading restaurants and has a couple of Michelin stars under his belt.

Well I thoroughly enjoyed my first shift and is by far the best kitchen I've worked in to date, all the food is prepared from fresh produce and there isn't a freezer in sight! I only took a picture of my first copy cat creation (Michael's signature desert) Chocolate Moose. Basically homemade white and milk chocolate mouse stacked and sandwiched between thin wafers of dark chocolate with a few raspberries thrown in for good measure. My decoration could do with a bit of work but I was generally pleased with this first attempt...

If anyone is up in Birkdale in the coming weeks for the British Golf Open it's well worth booking a seat in this great little place for some fantastic food (I know I'm a wee bit bias but hey!).

Speak soon


Tuesday, 27 May 2008

White fish?!

Currently Listening to: "Folk Song Suite" - by R. Vaughan Williams

Firstly I need to say a HUGE sorry for not posting of a while, but I've been über busy over the past month and haven't had the chance to cook anything new or exciting besides the odd BBQ!

Well, last night a mate invited me around to his house again and yet again he couldn't be bothered cooking so I had free range of his kitchen and ingredients. Unfortunately the only meat I could find was a Tesco bag of frozen fish quite ominously labelled "White Fish" and of which the ingredients were "White fish, water".

Now we're no sure what the fish was but it was quite nice considering...

Considering the lack of meat the cupboards were stocked quite well for veg so I ended up doing some roasted Med Veg with an orange and dill sauce. Now I know orange is never normally served with fish but it really did work well.

Cooking the fish

Especially when cooking from frozen I find the best way to fillets of fish is to blast them in the microwave for 1min 30s each side with a knob of butter and seasoning onto (obviously the timing is dependant on what power microwave you have and the sixe of the fillet) then I seal the pieces off by very quickly pan frying them.

The Med Veg

Med Veg is really very simple. Simple dice your veg (I usually use red & white onions, peppers, cherry tomatoes, courgettes, carrots and button mushrooms) in to big pieces and put into a deep roasting tray. Chop some tarragon and sprinkle over the veg, and then cover in olive oil. Put into a pre-heated oven at 200c and leave to roast for 20-25mins stirring at regular intervals.

Don't worry about making too much as it is always nice to eat the next day cold, and especially in a ciabatta roll with green pesto.

The Sauce

For the sauce I thought I'd experiment a bit by blending olive oil, with a bit of orange juice, Bols Orange Liqueur and some Dill and heating slowly in a pan. This was the most simple and impromptu sauce I've ever done but it really tasted great!

Yet again my mates were please with the ready steady cook style meal I cooked for them, I think it helped the meal was washed down with a nice bottle of Wolf Blass.

That's it for now; I promise to post again soon


Wednesday, 21 May 2008

More Charity...

Currently Listening to: "You can't always get what you want" - Rusted Root
As well as doing the Cardiff Half Marathon in October I'm also doing a Jailbreak next month...

This is how it works:
In a team of 3, we have to get as far away from RAF Woodvale (nr Liverpool) and back again in 60hrs without spending a single penny!

We get points for every mile travelled, task completed and pound donated. So, the further we get and more we rasie for "
Cash for Kids" the better the chance we have of beating the 9 other competing teams!

So please visit our online donation page to help us on our way. Also if anyone has any contacts in the commercial aviation field as we are trying to blag a flight out of the country...

You can also follow our progress on our Jailbreak blog.

I promise to blog some food again soon :p


Monday, 19 May 2008


Currently Listening to: "Drive" - Incubus

Just a quick blog to say sorry! I've been stupidly busy with composing and a part time job and seriously haven't had the time to cook anything blog worthy...
Although evenone at work keeps commenting on how adventurous my lunchboxes are!

Hope everyone is ok


Tuesday, 29 April 2008

Pre-run food: The ugly duckling of the food world!

Currently listening to: "Against all the Odds" - Phil Collins

As mentioned in previous blogs I'm doing a half marathon in October. Well training is in full swing now and I can comfortably run longer distances, all I need to do is bring the pace up to race speed... I'm at my parents this week so I have nothing to do so I'm going to have a go at a 9 mile run. When I was younger I was a member in the GBR Youth Sailing Squads and this taught me all I need to know about pre-event nutrition so I'm applying the same rules to my running, so for my lunch today I made a high slow release carb meal with a bit of saturated fat to help.

The theory is if I have this meal about 90-mins before I go on the run the carbs will start releasing energy shortly after I start and will keep releasing them throughout the run. I'll also take some bananas with me as a source of quick release carb.

Anyway enough of the nutrition babble...

Bacon, Mushroom, Chilli & Tomato Pasta

Now it doesn't take a genius to workout how i made this one!

Fry all together whilst the pasta is cooking!

Anyway, my 90-mins is up. Better go on this run :(

Tuesday, 22 April 2008

Naked Bolognese

Currently Listening to: "Queen Symphony - Mvnt 3" - Tolga Kashif

I woke up really early this morning (not like me) so my body clock is all messed up and I ended up having lunch at 11.20! Today I made a classic that I haven't made for ages Penne Bolognese, my housemates always comment on how it's the best Bolognese ever. Considering half of one of my housemate’s family is Italian and she spends most of her holidays in Southern Italy I think it's quite a compliment. Anyway enough bigging myself up...!

Today I made my "Naked Bolognese" which is my simplest yet most loved version of my recipe.

Normally I'd make my own sauce with fresh tomatoes but I hadn't got enough in to make a sauce so I went for second best, Tomato Passata.

  • Fry some very finely chopped (I used a blender to get them very fine) onions and one crushed clove of garlic.
  • One the onions and garlic are just about cooked add the whole carton of passata and break up an oxo cube into the mix.
  • Add a large pinch of oregano and chopped coriander, then leave to simmer for 5 mins.
  • Whilst the Sauce is simmering fry your mince with a splash of Worchester Sauce at the being and once the mince is starting to brown add the smallest splash of ruby port.
  • Mix the sauce and mince together then serve on any pasta.

The thing I've learnt recently with this recipe that less really is more, don't drown your mince in sauce, just use enough to cover the mince.


Sunday, 20 April 2008

Rocky Roadkill

Currently listening to: A choral piece I started working on today! Don't normally listen to my stuff after I've stopped composing for the day but one little bit is nagging me so i need to listen to it over and over to try and solve it! Anyway I've uploaded an extract of some of the piece, sorry about the high pitch buzz, windows movie maker is playing up. Please click here

Anyway; I've been using a lot of creative juices today whilst composing so I needed a HUGE sugar boost. Also we're my house is watching the BAFTA awards tonight (looking out for ex-college people in Cranford and Gavin & Stacey) so I wanted to make a snack for us to dip into all night...

Rocky Roadkill

My rocky roadkill is a variation on a rocky road cake; just replace the cherries and raisins with Jelly Babies! This makes it full of sugar so I also omit the the syrup that I normally use to make it more sticky.

700g Milk Chocolate
4 small bags of Malteasers
1 large bag of chopped Marshmallows
2 bags of Jelly Babies

Melt all the chocolate (I use the microwave, stirring frequently)
Cover deep baking tray with foil and pour 1/3 of the melted chocolate to cover the base.
Scatter the Malteasers, Marshmallows and Jelly Babies over the coated base and cover with the remaining chocolate.
Pop in the fridge for about 90-mins

Due to omitting the syrup the result is more like a Rock Road slab then a rocky road cake, still a great snack. In the past I've used chopped nuts instead of Malteasers and chopped fruit instead of Jelly Babies.

Hope you are all well.


Thursday, 17 April 2008

Sweet Jazz

Currently listening to: "Clocks" Coldplay & Buena Vista Social Club

It was my turn to cook for friends again tonight as we were going to a Buena Vista Social Club gig tonight and as all my mates were in work/lectures 'till late I made food so we could eat and get to the gig in time. If you've not heard the Buena Vista Social Club, you haven't lived!

Anyway, I thought I'd mess with some flavours today and for once it did work!

Honey, Stilton and Chilli Chicken

Now I know you're thinking I've lost the plot but this meal was really nice.

Firstly, roll some diced chicken in a tiny bit of tandoori spice mix, don't use much as you'll be adding more spices later. Then fry it off. When the chicken is nearly cooked, add two finely chopped chillis, garlic and the juice from a whole lime.

Once all of this is cook turn the heat to low and add a table spoon of honey. Mix well.

Now cover in stilton cheese sauce using my 'easy cheese sauce' recipe.

For extra flavour add a few dried apricots.


Australian style Thick-shake

Currently Listening to: "Hide & Seek" - Imogen Heap

It has been beautiful weather the past few days, so I've been working out in my "garden" on the laptop, whilst trying to catch some rays! I've been writing library music for the Welsh version of Songs of Praise this week - quite ironic considering I'm an agnostic non-welsh speaker!

Halfway through the afternoon today I really needed a sugar boost that was also nice and cold so I made a Thick-Shake. I picked up the "chilling thickening" idea whilst travelling Australia a couple of summers ago and decided to give it a go again.

Chocolate, Vanilla, Banana and Nutmeg Thick-Shake

Put 4 healthy scoops of vanilla ice-cream (I used Tesco Cornish ice-cream as it's gorgeous and cheap...), one large roughly chopped banana, enough chocolate milkshake powder (I use Milka powder, unfortunately you can only get it on the continent so i have to my Austrian friend to bring some over every time she flies home) and 1 pint of milk into a blender and blast repeatedly.

Pour into tall glasses and grate dark chocolate (Lidl do amazing 70% stuff) and nutmeg on top to taste.

Serve immediately

That really sorted me out for the afternoon.

Right, got to get back to my composing...


Tuesday, 15 April 2008

Ready steady cook stylie!

Currently listening to: "Somewhere - Westside Story" - Leonard Bernstien

I was invited for dinner round to a mates house last night on the condition I cooked from ingredients that they had in their cupboards. As ever I was in a pasta mood and made chicken, bacon and leek in four-cheese sauce.

I used this recipe that my Mum taught me, it's so easy and works better then more complicated recipes.

Easy Cheese Sauce

I table spoon of Corn Flour
½ pint Milk
Any cheese, and as much cheese as you want!

Crack pepper (to taste)

Add corn flour to milk, and bring to boil stirring continually
Add cheese, pepper and turn heat right down, keep stirring.
Stir ‘till all the lumps have gone and serve

I just butterflied the chicken and chopped it into strips to fry off. Then finely chopped the bacon, leek and garlic to add to the pan at the last minute.
Take off the heat and stir in the cheese sauce.

After the meal, one of my mates commented on how if he had that meal at a good Italian restaurant he would be sure to go back again!

Unfortunately I didn't have a camera with me so I couldn't take a pic :( so instead I've uploaded one of my random travel photos from Australia!


Wednesday, 9 April 2008

Getting better

Currently listening to: "Fratres- for Violin & Piano" (this clip is only the opening section of the piece)- Arvo Pärt

I'm finally getting better - YEAY! I've been to the doctor and I know it's nothing serious...

Also my appitite returned today - the last time I lost my appitite was when I was about 2 years old when on holiday in Gran Canaria, but thats another story. When I got home from the doctors I made myself a sort of carbonara. I used the cabonara bit of the resipie from a this BBC food page, however I used ham instead of pancetta and I also added garlic and sweetcorn.

Anyway, not really got much else to talk about after yesterday's rather lengthy blog!


Tuesday, 8 April 2008

too ill...

Currently listening to: "Cloudburst" - Eric Whitacre - I'm now addong hyperlinks of youtube videos of the more unusual pieces I listen to, as people keep asking me where they can hear some of the pieces I blog.

I've been ill for a few days now, since my housemate "cooked" a chicken curry... I used the word cooked in the loosest sense of the word! I normally have a strong stomach but for some reason this time something really isn't making me feel too well. My housemate seems to be fine, so it might just be a bug.

Fortunately his coffee making skills are a lot better then his curry! This week I got some more of that azorieblue coffee, Starbucks and Cafe Nero will never taste the same... I've been drinking it black Americana style (I usually have just a small dash of milk with any other brand of coffee bean) and it really is the most amazing thing since sliced bread, can't get enough of its natural smooth taste. Even my other housemate (the one who didn't try and poison me with bad chicken), who doesn't normally like coffee, drinks azorieblue. He's never liked the bitterness of coffee but he likes this stuff as there is still a slight bitter taste but also an unimaginable smoothness to it. It's beyond me how a company can make a coffee the appeals to both coffee addicts like myself, and coffee newbies like my other housemate. This is a sign of a truely great coffee.

When I’m better and feeling upto it, I’ll blog my Espresso Martini – it’s the sophisticated way to get a Vodka Redbull kick with out the horrid taste of red bull!

I haven't found
azorieblue in any shops in Cardiff yet, but you order through their website which is gonna turn into a lifeline for me when work loads start to build.

Anyway, time to make my lunch of rice, sweetcorn, pineapple and tomato ketchup. Sound's horrid, but it normally makes me feel better when I'm ill and tastes just like rice with sweet and sour sauce.

Sorry no original picture today... didn't think you'd want a picture of me lying in bed, so I nicked one off the
azorieblue website.

Thanks for reading, and a big thank you to all of you who have so kindly donated to
Sail4Cancer, they really are a great charity. Unfortunatly training for the half marathon has been off the adgenda for the past few days due to illness - such a shame!


Wednesday, 2 April 2008

Please help me raise money for a great cause...

Currently Listening to: "Chariots of Fire" - Vanglais

I lost a bet and as a forfiet I have to run the next Cardiff Half Marathon on 19th October 2008.As have to do it I may as well make it for a good cause so I'm running to raise money for the charity Sail4Cancer

To donate online please click here.

Sail4Cancer - As its name suggests, Sail 4 Cancer aims to raise significant funds for cancer treatment and research through the organisation of high profile sailing events. Sail 4 Cancer also provides sailing opportunities for cancer patients and their families, in the hope that their quality of life may be improved.

On another note, my eldest sister sent me a ration pack with a sample of Azurieblue coffee. Just want to say, I am a complete coffee freak but I think I've found my favourite blend, mmm...

Anyway, well done to everyone who spotted my April Fool post!


Tuesday, 1 April 2008


Currently Listening to: "This Fire" Franz Ferdinand

I think the picture speaks for itself:

My landlord is not amused.


Sunday, 23 March 2008


Currently Listening too: "Hamish" - Screaming Citizens (check 'em out click on the name!)

Well I'm back from yachting and still alive, although I came close to running us aground over a pretty famous sandbank! On-board we had a mother watch system which means one crew member is "mother" for 24hrs, duties include making sure the crew are all well fed.

For my main meal I cooked a variation on a dish I used to do in a bar I used to work in:

Chorizo, Spinach and Tomato Pasta

Sorry the pic is a bit dark!

This dish is really simple, just fry off slices of Chorizo Sausage, chopped onion, crush garlic (to taste). Once these are cooked, cover with a tin of chopped tomatoes and add fresh chopped coriander and a bit of black pepper.

Heat through then add a huge helping of spinach, stir in for 30 seconds, take off heat and serve. As you can probably see from the photo I forgot to add the spinach before serving the sauce so I parched it in a pan with water and served as a garnish!

As I do with everything, add a little gratted cheese...

I'm back home again for Easter weekend, but I return to my student digs on Tuesday so expect some more blogging towards the end of the week! HAPPY EASTER...

Thursday, 13 March 2008

This isn't tapas?!

Currently listening to: "So What" - Miles Davis

I was en-route to my weekly uni sailing club social when a mate calls to say its a tapas social - this is where someone hosts a house party and we all bring one tapas dish. Total disaster, at these types of socials I normally pull out all the stops and spend all day preping a couple of good dishes. However with so little warning I had to run home and rustle my dish up out of what I had in the cupboard.

Now I know it’s not tapas but it's all I had a lot of as it had to be for like 20+ people...

Like most students my cupboards were full of pasta and not much else, so I cooked off some pasta and made a quick Chilli, red pesto and tomato sauce to mix in. The result was pretty good to be fair and most people commented on how simple but nice it was.

I wish I'd taken my camera to the party as some of the food was rather special, I managed to get most of the recipes (the majority from various Jamie O books) so I hope to try some of them out soon.

This could be my last blog for a while as I'm going away yachting for a week and I won’t be near a computer, but I will return with lots of photos of what we cooked on-board. Cooking on board a yacht is usual quite fun (especially with the current wind and sea conditions), the hob and oven is on a gyro so it rocks with the waves and the cook has to be strapped on the kitchen (or "galley" if we're using nautical terms) to stop him/her falling over and burning ones self!

Anyway, speak soon...

Wednesday, 12 March 2008

Giant Jelly Tots!

Currently listening to: "School of Rock" - from School of Rock the film

Need a sugar rush?! Was a bit bored of work so ended up browsing the recently renamed "pimpthatsnack.com" to look at what crazy stuff people were making. I came across a "9-year old chimney sweep called Oliver...!" who had made Giant Jelly Tots. Realising I had all two of the ingredients in the cupboard I went about making these delights (unfortunately I only had strawberry jelly) :(

Tip: don't eat more then two straight after each other or you will be bouncing off the walls due to the amount of E numbers in the jelly!

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Bangers & Mash

Currently Listening to: "Pick up the Pieces" - Buddy Rich Big Band

How windy is it outside? Allsorts of random stuff flying down the street (including my house mates James and Hugh). Hope the wind is still up in the morning so I can go for a good kitesurf!

Anyway, cooked a house meal tonight so thought I'd blog it...

I'm sure we can all cook bangers and mash so I wont bang-on (bad pun, I know) with a patronising recipe, so all I'm gonna talk about is the mash.

I used to work in a sort of Bistro bar as a Chef (why they employed me with no official qualification I'll never know) and this is where I learnt to make amazing mash in many interesting flavours. Since then, mash has become one of my signatures but tonight’s was simple:

Firstly, I always leave the skins on give the mash texture. To make the mash creamy I added a splash of double cream and a knob of butter to add some flavour. Then I "seasoned to taste" with bit of salt, a lot of pepper and too much garlic... Mixed in some
Llanboidy mature cheddar, job done!

Post-pub food

Currently listening to: "Jeu du rapt" - Igor Stravinsky

I was walking back from the pub and much to my horror the local chippy had shut early, and because of the current extreme weather conditions I didn't want to walk the 400mtr round trip to the next fine takeaway establishment, so I briskly walked home praying I still had some food in the cupboard! Luckily I had some raw chicken left over after my previous "Spanks" dish, so I went about using some more presents from my eldest sister.

This time I used some of the "Thai Curry Paste" made by Cottage Delight (which is the parent company of Spanks) that my sister gave me for Christmas.

As per usual I didn't read the label or "recipe suggestion" and went about it my own way to make a curry sauce to accompany my poached diced chicken and rice. I simply, add a healthy dollop of paste into a hot pan followed by as much double cream as it takes to make a substantial sauce. Add more paste if needed…

Yet again this paste is full of great flavours and I can see an increasing amount of my loan being spent buying different products from both of these companies!

Monday, 10 March 2008


Currently listening to: "Nothing Else Matters - S&M Live Album" Metallica

OMG, this is my 2nd post today!

I had to post after having such a great lunch; my eldest sister gave me a bottle of Spanks Lime, Chilli & Herb Marinade as Christmas present. Well today I finally got round to trying it and it was amazing, so full of flavour.

The bottle recommends use with fish or lamb, but being a student all I had in was chicken, veg and pasta. It worked fantastically as a Chicken, Mediterranean style roast veg, and pasta dish...

Their website has a compendium of marinades, dipping sauces, dressings and many other great looking products. I'm going to order some seasonings and see what they're like... watch this space!

Crème Brûlée for pyrophobics!

Currently listening to: "Rotterdam" - Beautiful South

Sorry I haven't blogged for a long while... just have been really busy and living at home with my parents so didn't have the chance to cook much! However I'm now back in my student diggs so expect an avalanche of culinary delights over the next few weeks!

Anyway, it was Mothering Sunday a week ago so me and my sisters decided to put on a three course meal for the family. By the time my sisters had decided to tell me what they were planning they had already shot-gunned the best courses so I got lumbered with desert... This would normally be easy but my mum doesn't really do chocolate!

For full details of the whole meal see my sisters blog.

With the chocolate ban in place I set out to find a light quick and easy dessert as I knew the kitchen would be chaotic!

I ended up making Strawberry and Lemon Gratin, which looks Crème Brûlée and tastes like cheesecake. I found the recipe in the Sarah Raven Garden Cookbook which I can strongly recommend for quick and easy dishes.

Strawberry and Lemon Gratin

Serves 6

300ml double cream
300ml natural yoghurt
225g strawberries
grated zest of 1 lemon
caster sugar, to taste
lemon juice, to taste
115g demerara sugar
  • Whip the double cream to soft peaks (use an electric whisk, unless you want to do it by hand for a couple of hours!) and fold in the yoghurt, a few of the strawberries, and the lemon zest, with enough caster sugar and lemon juice to taste.
  • Fill the bottom of 6 ramekin dishes with the remaining strawberries and cover with the cream mixture.
  • Over this carefully spread the demerara sugar, smoothing it with the back of a spoon.
  • Put into the fridge for at least 2 hours to form a crust.
  • Enjoy...

I'm not normally a fan of light deserts but this dish was perfect considering the heavy main course.

More blogs to follow very soon...

Sunday, 17 February 2008

Easy Mushroom Pasta

Currently listening to: "At the River" - Groove Armada

It's Sunday, my cupboards are nearly empty and the corner shop is shut. So I routed around the kitchen to she what I could put together to make a decent lunch.

This dish is really easy and pretty quick to make as it needs nearly no preparation.


100g Pasta
1 can of condensed cream of mushroom soup
A handful of chopped mushroom
A small bit of garlic (any form is ok, paste, roasted flake or fresh cloves)
Two splashes of white wine
Mixed herbs
As much or as little cheese as you want

How to make it

1. Start cooking your pasta which ever way you prefer; I usual cook on the hob with (obviously) boiling water, a splash of olive oil and a pinch of salt.

2. Fry the mushrooms and add garlic once they start to brown.

3. Once all the mushrooms are brown lower the heat and stir in the condensed soup. DON’T NOT FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS ON THE TIN TELLING YOU TO ADD WATER!

4. Add your white wine and herb and continue stirring until the sauce looses all the lumps.

5. Drain pasta, and top with sauce, cheese and another sprinkle of herbs.

6. If you’re lucky enough to have ham or bacon in your fridge you can always add it to give your meal some more flavour.

Friday, 15 February 2008

Introductions and student kitchen etiquette!

Currently Listening to: "Heartbeats" - José Gonzáles

Firstly, I thought I better introduce myself on my first ever blog! Well, I'm a student Classical Composer and I have a passion for food and drink. Apparantly composers make good chefs, so I hope I don't disprove the theory by putting my culinary skills up in such a public domain!

As for drinking, I'm a typical student... only drinking on days that end in "Y", however I do have a taste for the less studenty tipple! As well as being a member of CAMRA (Campaign for Real Ale) I really enjoy drinking Port, Tanqueray Gin and Pussers Rum.

Student Kitchen Etiquette

  • Any food put on your shelf of the fridge is rightfully yours, even it was put there by an other flatmate by mistake.
  • One bottle of washing-up liquid has to last the whole flat one academic year, only use in emergencies.
  • Fire blankets make great tea-towels.
  • Cleaning rotas never work; if you let the pile of washing up grow someone will eventually crack and wash it all up.
  • If it's cheap then it's good, even chicken!
  • Best before dates lie, the food has at least 10 days of life left once the 'best before' date has expired.
  • All pots, pans and utensils are public property, sharing is good!