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 "" 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...