Makings Of You

Weekday meals are sometimes, not always, a total argh! I sometimes find myself thinking about what on earth I am going to feed these kids for supper as I am throwing them out of the car at the school gates and driving to wherever my work has taken me that day. I have pretty much given up asking Rufus or Tilda in the car on the way to school as their stock answers are “Sushi!” (Tilda) or “Duck and pancakes” (Ru). Now far be it for me to quash the culinary musings of my 6 and 9 year olds but even I am not up to making Sushi and Pekinging a duck after 4pm on a Wednesday.

Hence my recipe Chicken in a Pot. Oh yes its the antithesis of the children’s demands yet just as delicious and also means I just chuck everything in a pot and leave to simmer while I run around the flat, dealing with the usual end of the day dramas and chaos. Feel free to call it something a bit more glam like, Chicken a la Pot de Stock.

Chicken in a Pot

This is a staple in my house. It’s perfect on a week day when I have rushed home from work having picked up the kids. It is my favourite kind of cooking, throw everything into a stockpot and leave alone for an hour or so.

Ingredients

 As you can see, this is more of a guide then a recipe

  • 1 whole free range chicken
  • 2 sticks of cinnamon
  • A selection of chopped veg, carrots, onions, kale, or greens, tomatoes Pretty much whatever you wish to add that is handy in your veg box
  • A few cloves of garlic, peeled, left whole
  • A sprinkle of spices, I used sumac, mustard powder, chilli powder
  • A teaspoon of black peppercorns
  • A big pinch of Maldon sea salt
  • Chicken stock (enough to cover the chicken just over halfway)

Place all the ingredients in a stockpot, place on a medium high heat until the stock begins to gently boil. Lower the heat to low and put on the lid. Leave for half an hour then turn the chicken over and give the veg a little stir. The chicken should be cooked within an hour.

Place a fork between the leg and the body of the chicken and if you can pull the flesh off easily then the bird is cooked. Turn off the heat and leave to rest for 15 minutes

You can fork the chicken apart and serve this with a ton of buttery mash or some rice.


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Always In The Back Of My Mind

I’m sitting outside a little cafe in Islington, with the dog asleep at my feet drinking some very lovely Fentiman’s Ginger Beer, trying to figure out where to begin with the last two weeks of work and life. I have been juggling designing wedding flowers, recipes and helping organise and working on ScandiFeast. What a wonderful weekend that was. I will be posting photos very shortly.

From time to time I am invited to foodie events. I try to pick and choose the ones which I feel I have a strong interest in. Also childcare is obviously a factor so if I am going to go out of an evening, it pretty much has to be something that I can justify forking out for childcare.

I was lucky enough to be invited to Cafe Spice Namaste to spend an evening with Cyrus Todiwalla. Now I am not going to turn that down! Cyrus and his wife are wonderful hosts. They always make you feel like you are eating in their home. Cyrus spent the evening demoing and feeding us Lamb dishes. He talked about the small hold farms where he sources the lamb from and we also met an Irish now farming in the midlands sheep farmer and he gave a brilliant talk about the typical day of a sheep farmer. You could tell he totally loved his work.

One of the things I learnt was that lamb sales were lower then chicken, pig and cow. Oh and also its a generation thing. If you are over 40 then you would quite easily make lamb your meat choice but the younger generations don’t know how to cook it! That I found weird. Shoulder of Lamb, rub with olive oil, garlic and rosemary, shove in the oven for a few hours…Dinner!

Cyrus made the most delicious canapés with cuts of the lamb that you wouldn’t necessarily choose. Lamb breast was so tender and delicious. Oh and he made burgers with lamb mince and stuffed a piece of blue cheese inside before frying. He also seasoned the lamb mince and invited us to eat, lamb tartare. I cannot explain how delicious the raw meat was. So sweet and perfectly seasoned. He flash fried in minutes cubes of simply spiced lamb loin. It was tender and pink and blew away any myths that lamb has to be cooked for a long time.

I left stuffed and vowing to quiz my butcher about all the different cuts he can supply.

I leave you with a Cyrus recipe for blue cheese stuffed lamb burger and also a diagram showing you all the different cuts of Lamb and how to cook them. I found it really useful I hope you do too. I’m heading off to get some cuts of Lamb for the BBQ tomorrow.

Have a great weekend!

BlueCheeseStuffedLambBurger LambSheekKebabswithFruitWalnuts

BLUE CHEESE STUFFED LAMB BURGER

By Cyrus Todiwala

“Burgers might be an American invention or creation but the Kebab or Kavaab is very Indian, Persian, Turkish, Lebanese and so on. In India the burger would be actually a kebab of sorts.

I simply had to devise a burger with spices. It is simple to put together and just shows what you can do if you think just a little bit differently. So be brave and create – perhaps you will make many more combinations and bring out the best in the lamb you buy. Enjoy!”
Makes 6 burgers
Ingredients:

  • 675g lamb mince
  • 1 finely chopped medium onion
  • 2-3 cloves minced garlic                                                                                                                                                                                                1 x 2inch piece minced fresh ginger
  • 1 slender type minced green chilli (seeds included)
  • 1 tbsp ground cumin powder
  • 1½ tbsp ground coriander powder
  • 2 tbsp tomato purée
  • 3 heaped tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
  • 1 tsp Garam Masala powder
  • 1-2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp crushed black pepper

 

For the Stuffing:

  • 150g Blue cheese, crumbled
  • 2 finely chopped green chillies
  • 1 tbsp finely chopped fresh coriander
  • 2 finely chopped cloves of garlic
  • Rolls or bread, to serve

Method:

  • In a large bowl gently mix all the burger ingredients together. Divide into 6 evenly–sized burgers.
  • In a small bowl blend the stuffing ingredients together and shape into equal-sized balls to stuff the burgers.
  • Make an indentation in the centre of each burger with your thumb and fill with a ball of the cheese. Make sure the cheese is completely encased when you form the burger.
  • Cook on a prepared grill or barbecue for 6-8 minutes on each side or until any meat juices run clear.
  • Serve with your favourite bread or rolls with some sliced tomatoes, onion and lettuce and some relish.

 

By Cyrus Todiwala 2015 for www.tastyeasylamb.co.uk


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Don’t You Worry Child

Gosh well its been a crazy few weeks. I can’t believe how busy I have been with work and kids and divorce rubbish and Christmas and New Year and well you know..

November flew by and I think my son spent half of it wearing his Halloween costume! We finally  extracted Rufus from his Giraffe Costume after nearly 2 weeks of solid back to back wearing.  He finally allowed it to go into the washing machine when assured Giraffe would not get dizzy. Tilda did the honours holding the offending piece of material away from her muttering “this is sooo going in the wash”.

Halloween done and dusted and then we were hurtling towards Christmas. My ultimate favrouite time of year. I know I have said it before but my god I just love it. Its not just the food and the best excuse ever to spend 3 days cooking, baking and prepping for the best roast dinner ever. Its the fairy lights and the tree and children’s excitement. It is palpable..Plus the best threat ever for bedtime best behaviour…”Father Christmas is watching you”…Admitedly I do kind of start using that threat around the end of October. I took a ton of photos of the Christmas festivities and will upload them very soon.

Recently I was invited to meet an Atomic Kitten whip up some fabulous Florida Grapefruit inspired dishes. Liz McClarnon was really lovely and funny and what a great afternoon. We had a little segment the grapefruit competition and then Liz demoed 3 recipes, A Florida Grapefruit Fajita Platter with a fresh and sunny salsa, Honeyed Florida grapefruit with pancetta, goats cheese and pine nuts and also a fresh Florida grapefruit, lime and mint sorbet. All delicious and different.

All really simple to make and delicious. I learn’t loads about this delicious fruit. I know everyone thinks Grapefruit is bitter and needs to be slathered in sugar. I remember my mother religiously slicing hers in half every morning and shaking spoonfuls of sugar over it then placing it under the grill.

Florida Grapefruit however is sweet and juicy and easy to peel and delicious. Its in season from November to March/April.  Don’t get the ones from Cyprus or Turkey or wherever. It was a lovely afternoon and brought a bit of summer to a dreary winters day.

I leave you with a few photos of the event and also Liz’s recipes.

Have a wonderful Weekend.

Rachelle x

Liz chopping 2 copy Grapefruit segments copy Florida grapefruit salad copy Florida grapefruit fajitas copy Eating sorbets copy Liz and florida grapefruit fajitas copy

Liz McClarnon’s Florida grapefruit recipe

Honeyed Florida grapefruit with pancetta, goats cheese and pine nuts

Serves 4

Ingredients

6 slices pancetta
2tbsp olive oil
2 small knobs butter
4-5tsp honey
1 Florida grapefruit, peeled and segmented by hand (not a knife)
3tbsp balsamic vinegar
2tsp Dijon mustard
Handful of pine nuts
Salt and pepper
Bag of salad leaves
150g goat’s cheese, sliced
Method

1. Fry the pancetta in 1tbsp of the oil in a pan until nice and crispy, then place onto kitchen paper to drain off any excess oil.

2. Wipe out the same pan with more kitchen paper to get rid of the excess oil. Add the remaining oil, 1 small knob of the butter and about 2-3tsp honey. Mix it up a little, then add the Florida grapefruit segments to the pan (they need to be in their original segments and not cut to prevent them falling apart when cooking). Stir and make sure they are coated and caramelised (that should take about 4 min), then add 1tbsp of the balsamic vinegar. Put the segments to one side so you can use the pan again.
4. To the pan, add the remaining knob of butter, the remaining balsamic vinegar, the Dijon mustard, the remaining 2tsp honey, the pine nuts and season to taste with salt and pepper. Mix everything together and heat through for about 2 min.
5. Make up the salad: cut the pancetta into bite-sized pieces. Place the salad leaves onto four plates, then add the caramelised Florida grapefruit, the goat’s cheese, the pancetta and pour over the dressing to serve.

Per serving

341kcal

12g protein

26.4g fat

10.6g saturates

14.5g carbs

14.2g sugar

1.5g fibre

1.4g salt

22mg vitamin C

0.2mcg vitamin D

 

Florida grapefruit fajitas platter with sunny salsa

Serves 4

Ingredients

4tbsp squeezed Florida grapefruit juice

4tbsp fresh lime juice

Pinch of salt and pepper

1tsp all-purpose seasoning
2tbsp olive oil

1 red and 1 yellow pepper, seeds removed and cut into strips
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
450g lean beef, cut into strips
8 tortillas
1 avocado, peeled and stone removed

120ml reduced-fat sour cream
75g cheddar cheese, grated

For the sunny salsa:

3 tomatoes, chopped

1 onion, peeled and diced

2 mild chillies, seeds removed and finely diced

Fresh chopped coriander

½ Florida grapefruit, peeled and finely chopped

Pinch of salt

1tsp lime juice and water

1. In a large food bag, combine the Florida grapefruit and lime juices, salt and pepper, all-purpose seasoning and 1tbsp of the olive oil. Add the beef, seal the bag, and squeeze the marinade together so that it covers the meat. Put in the fridge for a few hours to marinate.

2. Add all the Florida salsa ingredients to a bowl, mix and set aside.

3. Heat the remaining olive oil in a skillet pan. Cook the peppers and onion until soft and brown, then add the beef strips and cook until browned. Place in a serving dish together.

4. Heat the tortillas according to the pack instructions.

5. Slice the avocado lengthways and place in a serving dish and put the sour cream grated cheese in dishes

6. Place everything on the table so everyone can dig in.

Per serving

721kcal

42.2g protein

27.5g fat

9.8g saturates

79.9g carbs

18.2g sugar

9.8g fibre

2g salt

158mg vitamin C

0.6mcg vitamin D

 

Florida grapefruit, lime and mint sorbet

 

Serves 6

Ingredients

200g sugar

Juice of 5 Florida grapefruit plus zest of 2

Juice and zest of 5 limes

1 bunch finely chopped mint, plus sprigs to decorate

Method

1. Put the sugar in a pan with 275ml water and bring to the boil. Then turn down the heat and simmer for about 5 min. Leave to cool.

2. In a bowl, mix the cooled sugared water with the Florida grapefruit and lime juices and zest, and the chopped mint.

3. Transfer to a freezer-proof dish, cover and pop into the freezer for 2 hours, stirring it about 3-4 times during this time.

4. Serve in glasses, decorated with fresh mint sprigs

 

Per serving

156kcal

0.4g protein

0.1g fat

0g saturates

40.8g carbs

40.7g sugar

0g fibre

0g salt

25mg vitamin C

Sponsored Post

 


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Friendly Pressure

My kids are being supremely wonderful this week. I know, I know, what the hell is going on? Tilda the “spanky one” keeps telling me that I look like Ariel from The Little Mermaid, and she told me that I was the prettiest mommy in the whole world. Ok you, what the hell are you after? Lola has decided that she is in charge of all the tidying of the bedroom. It is spotless, she even took all the clothes out of the drawers and refolded them and put them back, oh and sorted out the winter, summer clothes and put the summer clothes away! Ok that sounds a bit OCD. Should I be worried?

Its become a little easier in the last few months having all of them, The Ru has definitely turned into a little boy. Wants to be self sufficient, won’t allow me to help him out, unless under dire circumstances. When my children are getting on so well, I tend to want to spend more time with them. I know its stating the obvious and I know I am their sole carer (well I have Pav their nanny of course) but it just makes me want to treat them for being so bloody bearable. How do I do that?

Well they choose all the meals at the weekends and I make it so. Oh and my new, not very expensive at all and totally wonderful treat. Tad Restaurant which is literally in our front garden. My god how did I not go there before now? The food is really really good, fresh, healthy, beautifully grilled meats, the salads are divine. They do this roast onion salad, its big chunks of roast onion, in a pomegranate and a turkish sauce thing called Shaldam. Its a bitter, sweet, vegetable based sauce, or drink. I am not sure really, but after harrasing one of the waiters to get the recipe. I tried to remake it. It wasn’t right. I need to talk to the chef. I am so going there and refusing to leave until I get the right recipe. It is so good, If you are ever in Hackney. Go there, The Calimari is sublime. All the food is really really good. The staff are wonderful and the best bit. It is so bloody cheap. My kids eat the entire left side of the menu, 2 portions of calamari, a giant pizza, greek salad, a grilled meat dish, rice and then lots of side salads. I have one (really I do) glass of wine, the kids have a round of lemonades. £35 tops! Brilliant. So good.

As well as loitering with intent at our local restaurant, I have actually managed to do some cooking this week. Last weekend was a bit of a bake off. I made enough pizza dough to feed an army. I sent pizzas down the road to our neighbours. I turned some of the dough into an olive focaccia. One of my favourite breads to make. I turn the dough into an oval shape and dimple it with my fingers then pour a ton of olive oil on. More then you think is necessary. Keep pouring so the dimples are filled with oil. then dot olives all over the top, add some shards of rosemary and a good generous sprinkle of sea salt.  Turn the oven onto 170C and place the bread on top of the oven loosely covered to prove again. A second rise will make it light and the crumb will be perfect. Place in the oven for 35 minutes or until the bread is lightly golden around the edges and cooked.

Oh and PS I did harass the chef at Tad Restaurant. I have the correct recipe now. I shall practice this week and share next week.

Have a great week

Rachelle x

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As Deep as The Hue of Red Wine

I actually survived three weeks of being a full time mum. Its the longest I have ever had my kids with me, all the time. They were constantly around me. I was constantly around them. We all survived, just a few skirmishes along the way. Pavlina (their nanny) was on holiday for a couple of weeks. Then on the day she was due to return, I got the phone call, she was sick and couldn’t come into work for another week.  She was in tears, I was in tears, the kids were in tears. We finally managed to pull ourselves together and actually it was a fun couple of weeks.

I have been doing a bit of PR for a friend of mine who had his first solo exhibition at The Photographers Gallery. Beautiful exhibition you should go and see. Anyway I take the kids to see it. We leave and they literally drag me kicking and screaming into McDonalds. I caved.  I figured a meal in McDonald’s would give me some bonus mum points, of course I am deluded but one lives in hope.

As we are sitting in Mcdonalds I get a text from a friend. “Hey I am assisting on a shoot for Mcdonalds, I thought of your lovely kids, would you be interested?”  How bizarre is that? So a week later they turn up and photograph not only the kids but me too…I wasn’t expecting that at all!

I also wasn’t expecting a call from my brother inviting us up to Scotland for the week. The kids has the most wonderful time. We spent a day rock pooling and searching for mussels. I had visions of us collecting bucket loads of mussels and cooking them for dinner. Uhh well we found a few tiny ones and Bella found one full grown mussel. Pasta it is then.

I took a few pictures oh and I made a crumble which was divine. I realised as I was about to rub the butter in for the crumble top that I did not have enough butter so used the rest of a pot of creme fraiche instead. It was really really good. I leave you with that recipe.

Rachelle x

church beach tildajump crumble

Apple and Berry Crumble

I am totally rubbish at measuring out crumble topping ingredients. I usually look at the amount of fruit I have and the size of the dish I am baking it in and then take it from there. I don’t think you can have too much crumble, so inevitably I make too much. I use a mixture of flour and rolled oats, please use butter and not margarine, that stuff is pure evil as far as I am concerned. I also use regular eating apples, I guess because I always have them around and cooking apples are (in my opinion) an unnecessary  purchase.

For the Crumble:

100g of rolled oats

100g of plain flour

75g of brown sugar

100g of cold butter (cut into small cubes)

1 large pinch of Maldon sea salt

For the Apple and Berry Filling:

800 grams of eating apples (cored and quartered. Put in a bowl of cold water with the juice of one lemon)

350g Frozen summer berries

100 grams of caster sugar

Juice of a lemon

Method

Preheat the oven to 190.C/375.F/gas 5

Butter a large baking dish.

Make the crumble add the flour, oats, brown sugar and salt into a large (ish) mixing bowl, rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles damp sand.

Place the berries and apples into the buttered baking dish. Add a couple of nobs of butter too.

Sprinkle the crumble mixture on top.

Place in the oven and bake for 20-25 mins until the crumble is golden and the berries and apples are bubbling.

Serve with creme fraiche or cream or ice cream. I never have leftovers of this but if you are lucky to have some. Eat cold for breakfast!


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Would It All Make Sense

My god the last week or so has been a whirlwind of work, kids, socialising and sometimes all at the same time! I don’t really know where to begin. The kids and I have spent every spare minute that we have in the sunshine on London Fields. Last weekend was idyllic. Sunshine, picnics and cricket. I have no idea what the rules of cricket are, I have no idea what the game entails apart from hitting a ball and running around a bit. I just love the fact that lots of guys are dressed in white, it looks so good. Oh yeah and any sport that breaks for an hour or so for a giant lunch has my seal of approval.

I took the kids to Feast In The Fields at London Fields Brewery last weekend too. I love that venue. It has a really good atmosphere about it. Really friendly staff and also they have a totally rocking DJ. The music was brilliant. It took a while for us to choose what to eat. I had a selection of samosas and bhaji’s courtesy of Gupta. The kids ate burgers the size of their heads lovingly created by a fellow ginger from Beard to Tail and I also sampled some of the local beer and even though I am not at all a beer person, I must admit it was delicious. I could be converted.

Because I have been so busy (I was working on Valentine Warners new show coming up in September) and also because of the weather I have been creating lots of salady things. My addiction to rocket knows no bounds. I literally eat a giant bag a day. I cannot seem to get enough of the peppery yumminess. I seem to go through stages with food and recipes. I take one thing and try to make it a ton of different ways. I am in a hummus phase at the moment and have pretty much created a different hummus everyday. My kids are now kind of over it. I must admit I got a little carried away and made individual pots for each of the kids. They were not impressed. They looked so sweet, the hummus pots, not the kids.I made my usual base of chickpeas, preserved lemons, tahini, garlic, fresh lemon juice, coriander, cumin. Then I topped them with olive oil, toasted pumpkin seeds and smoked paprika.

I leave you with some photos of fun and frolics in the park, the end of year summer fete at the kids school oh and Rufus has found a new best friend. Pavlina’s friend Mike. In fact Pav and I fall of the edge of the world when Mike is around.

Love Rachelle x

cricket kidsmike pavru forpav ru tildaschool schoolbunfight Feastinthefields littlehummus

 


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If You See Her Say Hello

In the last couple of weeks I have realised that boy children are sort of like well, boy men! I feel  since he turned three he has decided to age mentally by about 20yrs. I have been working a bit more from home in the last week or so and if I even dare to get into a conversation with Pav (his nanny) he literally stands between us and shouts “Stop talking mummy and Pavlina, stop its not funny” Oh and he told Pavlina that he didn’t like it when we talked because we were “talking rubbish” Huh. Well excuse me Mr ‘I have slightly banged my knee and will act like someone has just cut my leg off for about 2 hours’!

I can forgive him though, he is surrounded by women all the time. Poor kid doesn’t stand a chance.  Last week I caught Lola painting his fingernails neon pink and green! Oh and lets just say he can walk in a pair of 4 inch heels like a pro!

Anyway aside from being bossed about and shushed by a three year old. I have had a really varied week or so.

I did a shoot with Phil Sills. His work is amazing and beautiful and I totally enjoyed the challenge of the day (slicing apple seeds in half and wiring them back into the apple). I also went to the last Street Feast with the kids inhaled pulled pork buns courtesy of Lardo. This in turn made me think of ribs, which in turn made me think of the fabulous butcher on Morning Lane. Halal meat and really reasonably priced and good quality meat. Off we tripped straight from Street Feast. Chicken wings and beef ribs were claimed.

I very rarely cook beef ribs. In fact I very rarely cook beef for myself and the kids and if I was to do a rib dish for the kids it would be pork all the time. I have done my research when it comes to short ribs.  Oh yeah Man vs Food…I am slightly addicted (I use the word slightly in the most untrue sense of the word). The trick with beef ribs is to make a rub. Then slow roast them uncovered for about 3 hours on a low heat 150C. Then make a BBQ sauce to coat the ribs when they come out of the oven.

I made a rub consisting of (you can do as you wish I just used what was in the cupboard and there are loads of recipes online). Mustard powder, sugar, dried thyme, smoked paprika, chilli powder, salt and black pepper. Quantities? I used less mustard powder and sugar then the rest of the ingredients…Sorry just taste it and amend if something seems a bit  too strong. You want a savoury sweetish smoky rub. Then coat the ribs and rub into the meat.

You can leave this rub on overnight give it at least an hour to flavour the meat. Chuck in the oven and then in a saucepan put a couple of cups of tomato ketchup, 2 crushed garlic cloves, a tablespoon of chilli flakes, two or three big dashes of worcestershire sauce, a tablespoon of dark brown sugar and a little water to loosen.  Simmer this gently for 20 mins or so. Coat the meat and then devour. Wonderful.

I leave you with some photos of said dish, well actually a photo of Tilda eating ribs. I wasn’t really happy with the photo I took of the ribs. I  also give you  my favourite recipe for Hummus. Make it and you will never buy it again..

Have a great week

Rachelle x

jammydodgers tildastreetfeast BBQWings streetfeast tildaribs

Hummus

I watched the Ottolenghi Mediterranean Feast episode where he is in Tel Aviv and the amazing hummus which is a million miles away from the dull grey stuff you buy here. My recipe is a kind of inspired by him and that program and as usual slightly improvised by what was at hand. Its good though. You can use dry chickpeas, I am sure purists would be horrified at my use of tinned. Whatever!

 

  • 1 tin of chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
  • 150 g light tahini paste
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 4 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon  cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon coriander
  • 100mil of ice cold water
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander
  • t tables spoon of sambal olek
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon of pine kernels (lightly toasted)
  • Fresh coriander finely chopped to garnish (optional)
  • Big fat pinch of sea salt

Directions

Place the chickpeas, tahini paste, lemon juice, cumin, ground coriander, crushed garlic, sea salt in a food processor. Whizz till all is combined into a thick paste. Then with the processor on pour in the water until you get a smooth paste.

Decant into a bowl and spoon the sambal olek on top of the hummus, sprinkle on the pine kernels and coriander then pour over a big glug of olive oil. Squeeze some extra lemon juice on top too if you wish…..I am writing this and now I am going to make it again…Its so good……Enjoy x


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If You Make It Rain She Will Be Under The Weather….

I am down one child this week. The Ru is with his father as his wonderful nanny Pavlina is on vacation. I am kind of getting used to having two children. Ooo having two is so easy! The girls are also “best friends” apparently. They are playing card games together and whispering conspiratorially. Hmm I think I should be concerned. It almost feels like the quiet before the storm…

The diversity of this weeks culinary creations has been spectacular. Mostly due to the random requests from the girls which I have been happily fulfilling as they have been so adorable.  I really am worried, this cannot be maintained….

I made twice cooked Szechaun pork and served it with noodles. I always use pork belly for this dish. I poach the belly pieces in water with roughly chopped (unpeeled) ginger, star anise, an onion (cut in half unpeeled) and some Szechaun peppercorns. After 20 mins or so I take out the pork cut It into bite size chunks and then throw a marinade on them. The marinade varies as to what elements I have in my cupboard, but the basis always remains the same. I always have in my cupboard, soy sauce, chilli oil, fermented black beans and sugar.  Thats the basis and then I throw in, sesame oil, more crushed peppercorns. maybe some fresh chilli, crushed garlic and crushed ginger. I marinate the pork for  a minimum of 20 mins.

I then fire up the wok and fry the pork (leaving the marinade aside) for 8 mins or so then decant and throw in some chopped veg, some cashews, the left over marinade and some pre cooked noodles, add a bit more soy if needed. Voila.

For dessert the kids requested crumble..Uhh ok, Szechuan pork and crumble has never really been on my list of great menus but I am here to serve (apparently). I leave you the recipe. I cannot recommend that you serve it after the pork dish but I won,t judge you either if you do…

Have a great week

Rachelle X

elderflowerpicking TwiceCookedPorkNoodles Brunch strawberriespeaches painparduecrumble crumble

Strawberry Peach and Almond Crumble 

(Serves 4)

I wanted to make a strawberry and rhubarb crumble but couldn’t find any rhubarb, I added whole almonds (which were therapeutically battered with a rolling pin) to the crumble mix. I am happy with the result, the kids were happy with the result, I served it with creme fraiche sweetened with a little icing sugar and vanilla extract.

Ingredients

  • 400g Strawberries (cut in half)
  • 4 large peaches (quartered)
  • 60g whole almonds (beaten with a heavy object till nubbly)
  • 220g oats
  • 200g plain flour
  • 3 tbs cold butter
  • 120g sugar
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • A few nobs of butter to go onto the fruit
  • fat pinch of sea salt

Directions

Turn on the oven 180C

In a medium size bowl place the flour, oats, almonds and salt. Mix really well then add the 3 tbs of cold butter, with your finger tips rub the butter in until a nobbly sand texture. Set aside.

In a 12 x 6 x 2 inch dish (you can do individual portions too) place your strawberries and peaches. I then take about a tablespoon of so of butter and mix it with the vanilla extract, then place nobs of the vanilla butter on top of the fruit.

Scatter the crumble mix on top and place in the oven for 25 mins until the fruit is bubbling and the crumble golden.

Serve with your a la mode of choice.

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I’m Running Catch Up With Me

Ok its been a bit busy over here. I have loads to talk about but will pace myself. The kids haven’t seen much of me in the last couple of weeks. I think that is probably a good thing, you know how absence makes the heart grow fonder and to be honest after half term I think we all needed to take a bit of time out.

My friend Uju and I have not been able to find the time to hang out at all in the last year and now it seems we are at every foodie event together! We were invited to an event hosted by Tribal Media. They were launching a new gluten free range of foods by Ilumi. We were given a cooking demonstration and we tried a selection of their products. I was really impressed. We ate Tom Kha Gai Soup, delicious. I also had gluten free pasta with meatballs in a tomato sauce and for dessert a chocolate brownie made by the Knead Bakery and non dairy vanilla ice-cream. The Brownie was totally delicious and you would not have known it was wheat free…I was totally impressed. Nuff said!!

So, not content with seeing Uju and having a little glass of wine too for that lovely evening. We hook up on the Saturday with the brood to check out Big Apple Hot dogs new venue at Off Broadway on Broadway Market. Her husband owns the company and they have pop ups all over the place. Check them out best hot dogs in town!  The kids were suitably furnished with theirs and Uju and I furnished ourselves with a cocktail or two…Hehe. Abe (Uju’s husband) said that we should come here every Saturday and call it the “Cocktail Creche” I like her husband!

Amongst all my social engagements (Ok two but that is unheard of over here) I did actually do some work. Had a shoot at Rasoi with Lisa Barber for a charity cookbook. One of three shoots that are happening over the next couple of weeks. I also managed to throw together a few half decent meals for the offspring.

Its summer (apparently) and as usual I start thinking about tapas and meze and summer holidays somewhere hot and Spanish food and then I realise I am bloody cold and need to make a stew! So I created a Spanish tapas inspired summery stewy thing. Butter beans, tomatoes, garlic, bratwurst sausages (ok not very Spanish but they were in the fridge). The kids especially Tilda mainlined it!

Its cheap to make and totally perfect for a summers winters day!

Have a good one y’all!

Rachelle X

Rasoi copy GlutenFreeMeet GF Brownie copy tilda2 copy TessaKiros Butterbeansausage

Bean and Sausage Casserole

As you can see from the photo I added eggs to this. You don’t have to. I would and did have this for breakfast well more of a brunch thing. I think I gathered inspiration from about 3 popular spanish dishes and then merged them. I soak an entire bag of butter beans to cook but please use a can if you wish. I just think the tinned ones don’t hold their shape as well. Plus when you cook your own beans you can add a load of flavour to the beans.

(Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups of butter beans (or use a can if you wish)
  • I can of chopped tomatoes
  • 4 bratwurst sausages (or any cured sausage of your choice the most obvious being chorizo)
  • I onion (roughly chopped)
  • 4 fat cloves of garlic (crushed)
  • Squirt of tomato puree or ketchup
  • 4 eggs (optional)
  • A handful of parsley (chopped)
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to season

Directions

I soak a whole bag of beans the night before then cook them as per instructions adding a chopped onion, bay, peppercorns, a carrot whatever herbs I have to hand. Then I store them in the fridge thoroughly dressed in olive oil and lemon juice. You can then use them as and when you feel. I chuck a handful in a salad, or they are great with roast chicken throw them in the roasting dish about 20 minutes before you take the chicken out.

Take a deep heavy pan with a lid and on a medium heat  add olive oil and  then chopped onion with a big fat pinch of sea salt. When the onion is translucent after 5 mins of so of cooking add the garlic, cook for another minute or two, then add the beans tomatoes, chopped up sausage, and tomato paste (or ketchup) stir and simmer gently with the lid on for about 20 mins until the tomatoes have lost their rawness and the sausage is totally warmed through.

Then crack your eggs onto the stew and season with salt and pepper. Put the lid on and cook for a further 8 mins with the lid on. When the eggs are cooked sprinkle the parsley on top and serve with warm butter bread..I want to make this again now!

 

 


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Taste The Air

How the hell did half term come around so quickly? I am totally tripping over children in my home. Its just not right. They should be in school 49 weeks of the year. I think three weeks holiday is ample. I had a long conversation with a friend of mine. We were wondering why no one has set up a kiddy hotel. You know kind of like a dog hotel but for kids. Just check em in and pick them up at the end of the week. How cool would that be? Hmmm…..

Well I have the joy of seeing the adorable creatures everyday of the week. The weather is not helping the situation much either. In the spirit of peace and harmony I decided to embrace the long weekend and try not to loose the will to live. I succeeded. It was the perfect weekend to teach the kids how to make me breakfast..What? Look there has to be some perks having 6 other hands in the house…Ok Rufus is kind of excluded, although he does clean skirting boards really really well. Oh and he loves to Hettie!

Lola eager and bossy..(hmm wonder where she gets that from) Took charge after I gave her a lesson on how to fire up the Bialetti. She was brilliant, although I have to light the stove which kind of negates the whole purpose of my plan but still its a start. They are great at doing toast and jam! I don’t really eat toast…Oh but Tilda does a mean scrambled egg. She is really good at it. Although cracking the eggs is proving to be a little bit tricksy, I told her to “Take control of the egg, you are in charge, do it like you mean it” She does the best egg cracking warm up I have ever witnessed….Still manages to get the entire shell in the frying pan though..

Having had a unbelievably horrible bug…(I will not go  into details but you can kind of guess one of two things happened or both)! I haven’t really been the most prolific cook this week. Although I would have to be in a coma for me not to cook anything.. It was The Ru’s birthday so at his bequest I made fried chicken..I will give you the recipe. I also baked this cake. It was divine. Seriously really good and light and amazing and easy.

Again I don’t want to go into detail but the reason there are no photos of said party food is that at the exact precise moment the food was ready and as I was about to hit the click button on the camera, Tilda presented herself as the carrier to the bug which ripped through my household like wildfire. Enough said..

I leave you with some random photos of stuff and a recipe for fried chicken.

Rachelle x

potp1 rulol tilda2 figs

Yummy Fried Chicken

For the love of god don’t go to KFC. This is sooo much better and healthier and yummier and all of the rest.  Great cold as well, but it never hangs around long enough in my house to go cold. I figure 2/3 pieces of chicken per person. Always better to make more. More is more after all..

Ingredients

  • 2 or 3 pieces of chicken. (free range legs and thighs)
  • 2 tubs of buttermilk (enough to cover the chicken in a saucepan)
  • Sunflower oil (enough to fill a deep pan one third of the way up)
  • 200g plain flour
  • 3 eggs beaten
  • 2tsp garlic salt
  • 2tsp celery salt
  • 1tsp black pepper
  • 3tsp cayenne pepper

Directions

Get a saucepan big enough to fit all the chicken in snugly. Trim off the excess fat from the thighs. Put the chicken pieces in the pan and cover with the buttermilk. If there is not enough to cover then add some milk. On a medium heat gently cook until the meat looks like it is beginning to pull away from the bones and is not pink at all by the bone. Turn off the heat.

Grab a wire cooling rack and some paper towel. Take out the pieces of chicken and place them on the rack to cool. Pat them down to get some of the buttermilk gunk off, (that sounds attractive)!  Right so now wash and dry out your big pan and fill one third with vegetable oil. Turn on the heat.

Put all the spices into the flour and mix throughly..Look you can judge how much flour you need add more if you have a lot of chicken pieces, you are going to double dip everything in the flour so always best to have more then you think. Add more spices if you add more flour. I mix it and taste the flour. You want it to taste more spicy and more salty then you think as frying will dull some of the flavour.

Put your flour in one bowl. Beaten eggs in another. Using on hand and one hand only (you will thank me) dip each piece in the flour, egg and then flour again.

Shake a piece of the gloopy egg flour off you fingers into the oil. If it sizzles gently on the surface it is ready for the chicken. Add the chicken in batches of 3 or 4. Not too much or you will cool down the oil too much and have soggy chicken.  Cook for a few minutes until the flour coating is bronze and crispy. Decant and season with a little sea salt. EAT NOW!

 

 


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