Ain’t Nobody

It’s been a while since I have sat at this keyboard. A symptom of what is going on in my life at the moment.  I have recently been diagnosed with MS which completely came from nowhere. One day I was fine – the next day my legs were a bit weird. Within a week I was having trouble walking!

Now there is never, ever a good time to be diagnosed with MS and I was in the middle of designing and installing flowers for two pretty big weddings. Luckily for me, I have a boyfriend who fought for me to be seen and treated as soon as humanely possible and at the moment I am pretty much symptom free. The weddings went really well and as long as I didn’t have to sprint anywhere, no one would have known.

When something like this happens, it takes ages to come to terms with not only the diagnosis but also the realisation or the fear, that suddenly people will treat me differently. I thought that if people knew, then I would no longer be hired. As a self employed mother of three, that is a pretty scary thought.

After much soul searching I just thought fuck it! I am not the first person to be diagnosed with this. I am pretty much ok, just residual numbness in my feet and somedays my legs feel weird but right now, I am ok. Its nothing to be ashamed of and I refuse to allow it to define me.

Another reason why I have been so tardy in updating my lovely blog is that for the last few months my staple diet has been pretty much mackerel and rocket! I could fill a book with all the different ways to cook and prepare mackerel. I figure that maybe the few readers that I have may soon get fed up with yet another mackerel recipe! Apparently oily fish is the way forward when you have a neurological disease. Rufus the 6 year old is the only one who seems to join me in my latest food obsession. His favourite breakfast is smoked mackerel with a scotch egg, from Lidl of course.

I promise not to leave it so long between posts and for now I leave you with my recipe for Banoffi Pie. I made this because the kids were complaining that I never make puddings any more. I told them I was trying to be healthy because well you know, I have MS!

“Well you don’t have to eat it mum” said Lola. Bloody hell the sympathy vote lasted about 3 days in my house.

I found Mary Berry’s recipe online and she makes the base from ginger biscuits. Sorry Mary but no, just no. It has to be digestives. She also put the bananas on top of the cream. I put mine underneath.  Please feel free to put your bananas wherever you see fit,

I leave you a few photos of a not at all low fat lasagne and even more unhealthy Nachos, which are becoming a Saturday night staple in my house.

Banoffi Pie

This is based on Mary Berry’s recipe. Its incredibly indulgent, not for the faint hearted.

FOR THE BASE

  • 65g (2 ½ oz) butter
  • 175g (6 oz) digestive biscuits, crushed

FOR THE FILLING

  • 100g (4 oz) butter
  • 100g (4 oz) light muscovado sugar
  • 2 x 397g (14 oz) cans condensed milk

FOR THE TOPPING

  • 300ml (1/2 pint) double cream
  • 1 large banana
  • a little lemon juice
  • a little grated milk or plain chocolate

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. FOR THE BASE: melt the butter in a small pan, remove from the heat and stir in the crushed biscuits. Mix well, then spread the mixture over the base and sides of a 23cm (9 inch) loose-bottomed fluted flan tin, pressing the mixture with a metal spoon to make it firm.
  2. FOR THE FILLING: measure the butter and light muscovado sugar into a roomy non-stick pan. Heat gently until the sugar had dissolved, add the condensed milk and stir with a flat ended wooden spatula, stirring continuously and evenly for about 5 minutes or until the mixture is a golden toffee colour and thick – watch like a hawk as it burns easily. Turn into the prepared crumb crust case and leave to cool and set.
  3. FOR THE TOPPING: slice the bananas and coat with a little lemon juice to stop them from discolouring. Layer them over the cold toffee. Whip the double cream until it just holds its shape and spread evenly over the bananas and cold toffee mixture, dust the whole pie with grated chocolate. Lift on to a flat plate and remove the ring. Serve very chilled.

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Made In The UK

I have turned back the clock in my house this week. I feel it is apt since this country seems to be going backwards…..Anyway.

It is officially 1976 in my house and I am revelling in such classics as Chicken Kiev and Crumble.

I have never made a Kiev before but then watched Tom Kerridge make his version and I was inspired. My love affair with Lidl is, as always burning brightly and all the ingredients were brought for under £6.

To prep the chicken breast fillets cut a pocket into the thick end of the fillets then fill a disposable piping bag with garlic and parsley butter and inject the butter into pocket.

Place breadcrumbs and 2 whisked eggs into two bowls. Dip the fillets into the egg then breadcrumbs and repeat so each fillet has a really good coating. Put the fillets in the fridge for at least 20 mins then gently fry in butter so they are golden brown on each side. I finished off the cooking in the oven set at 180C for 10 mins. Serve with steamed broccoli and a glass of Liebfraumilch!

I leave you with my crumble recipe and a few photos including one of the kids happy to be delivering said crumble to their uncle.

 

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Plum and Mango Crumble

Ok so this is not your usual combination for an autumn crumble but bear with me. Its good! Its surprisingly good, I wish I had added some gratings of fresh coconut to the crumble mixture and next time I will. I had promised the kids a crumble but there were no cooking apples in the grocery so instead picked up plums and a mango and a lime. I served it with fresh cream which I felt would suit better then a vanilla custard. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

Serves 4

Ingredients

  • A punnet of plums (not too ripe they need to hold their shape)
  • A lime
  • A mango (again not a super ripe one)
  • knob of butter
  • 100g rolled oats
  • 50g of butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 50g golden caster sugar
  • pinch of salt

Method

Turn the oven on to 180C and then take a saucepan and gently melt the knob of butter in it. Chop in half and de stone the plums, peel and chop up the mango. Don’t chop the mango too small. Add to the gently simmering butter. Then zest and squeeze the lime in. Cook for about 10 mins until the fruit is shiny and beginning to colour a little.  Set aside.

In a bowl add the oats, butter, flour and salt and sugar then rub together with your fingertips until the butter is dispersed through the mix.

In a heatproof bowl add the fruit and then top with the crumble mix.

Place in the oven and cook for about 20mins until the top is golden brown and the fruit is bubbling.

Serve with fresh cream or ice cream.

 


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Sour-dough Starter

I have been wanting to make a sourdough starter for years. I thought that it would be complicated and time consuming. How wrong was I! After a bit of research, I began the process of making a wild yeast starter. Now the first couple of attempts went in the bin as nothing seemed to be happening. Then I decided to not be so impatient and within a week, I made my first batch of sourdough which became pizza for the kids supper.

What You Need
Ingredients
Plain flour
Water

Equipment
500ml glass or plastic container (not metal)
Measuring cups
Mixing spoon
Cling film or a food bag

Instructions
Making sourdough starter takes about 5 days. Each day you “feed” the starter with equal amounts of fresh flour and water. As the wild yeast grows stronger, the starter will become more frothy and sour-smelling. On average, this process takes about 5 days, but it can take longer depending on the conditions in your kitchen. As long as you see bubbles and sings of yeast activity, continue feeding it regularly. If you see zero signs of bubbles after three days, take a look at the Troubleshooting section below.

Day 1: Make the Initial Starter

1 cup of plain flour
1 cup of water

Combine them in the container. Stir vigorously into a smooth batter. It will look like a sticky, thick dough. Scrape down the sides and loosely cover the container with cling film.

Put the container somewhere with a consistent room temperature, the same temperature that you would use to proof dough and let sit for 24 hours.

Day 2: Feed the Starter

1/2 cup water
1/2 cup plus a tablespoon plain flour

Take down your starter and give it a look. You may see a few small bubbles here and there. This is good! The bubbles mean that wild yeast have started making themselves at home in your starter. They will eat the sugars in the the flour and release carbon dioxide (the bubbles) and alcohol. They will also increase the acidity of the mixture, which helps fend off any bad bacterias. At this point, the starter should smell fresh, mildly sweet, and yeasty.

If you don’t see any bubbles yet, don’t panic like I did — depending on the conditions in your kitchen, the average room temperature, and other factors, your starter might just be slow to get going.

Combine the flour and water in with the starter. Leave again for 24 hours loosely covered.

Day 3: Feed the Starter

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup flour

Check your starter. By now, the surface of your starter should look dotted with bubbles and your starter should look visibly larger in volume. If you stir the starter, it will still feel thick and batter-like, but you’ll hear bubbles popping. It should also start smelling a little sour and musty.

Again, if your starter doesn’t look quite like mine in the photo, don’t worry. Give it a few more days. The photo I have taken is of my third attempt so please don’t panic it does work.

Add the flour and water for today. Stir vigorously until combined into a smooth batter and let sit for 24 hours.

Day 4: Feed the Starter

1/4 cup water
1/4 cup flour

Check your starter. By now, the starter should be looking very bubbly with large and small bubbles, and it will have doubled in volume. If you stir the starter, it will feel looser than yesterday and honeycombed with bubbles. It should also be smelling quite sour and pungent. You can taste a little too! It should taste sour and somewhat vinegary.

When I made my starter here, I didn’t notice much visual change from Day 3 to Day 4, but could tell things had progress by the looseness of the starter and the sourness of the aroma.

Combine the flour and water with the starter. Let sit for 24 hours.

Day 5: Starter is Ready to Use

Check your starter. It should have doubled in bulk since yesterday. By now, the starter should also be looking very bubbly — even frothy. If you stir the starter, it will feel looser than yesterday and be completely webbed with bubbles. It should also be smelling quite sour and pungent. You can taste a little too! It should taste even more sour and vinegary.

If everything is looking, smelling, and tasting good, you can consider your starter ripe and ready to use! If your starter is lagging behind a bit, continue on with the Day 5 and Beyond instructions.

Day 5 and Beyond: Maintaining Your Starter
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup flour

Once your starter is ripe (or even if it’s not quite ripe yet), you no longer need to bulk it up. To maintain the starter, discard (or use) about half of the starter and then “feed” it with new flour and water: weigh the flour and water, and combine them in the container with the starter. Stir vigorously until combined into a smooth batter.

If you’re using the starter within the next few days, leave it out on the counter and continue discarding half and “feeding” it daily. If it will be longer before you use your starter, cover it tightly and place it in the fridge. Remember to take it out and feed it at least once a week — I also usually let the starter sit out overnight to give the yeast time to recuperate before putting it back in the fridge.

How to Reduce the Amount of Starter:

Maybe you don’t need all the starter we’ve made here on an ongoing basis. That’s fine! Discard half the starter as usual, but feed it with half the amount of flour and water. Continue until you have whatever amount of starter works for your baking habits.

How to Take a Long Break from Your Starter:

If you’re taking a break from baking, but want to keep your starter, you can do two things:

Make a Thick Starter: Feed your starter double the amount of flour to make a thicker dough-like starter. This thicker batter will maintain the yeast better over long periods of inactivity in the fridge.
Dry the Starter: Smear your starter on a Silpat sheet and let it dry. Once completely dry, break it into flakes and store it in an airtight container. Dried sourdough can be stored for months. To re-start it, dissolve a 1/4 cup of the flakes in 4 ounces of water, and stir in 4 ounces of flour. Continue feeding the starter until it is active again.

Troubleshooting Your Sourdough Starter
No signs of bubbles or yeast activity after several days: Add a pinch of sugar next time you feed your starter — this can help kickstart yeast activity. Also, make sure your starter is being kept somewhere warm and stir vigorously when you stir in the fresh flour and water. If it starts to smell spoiled, discard it and start again.
Still no signs of activity! Something’s not going right. Discard your starter and begin again with a clean container. Use filtered water if at all possible. If it’s very warm in your kitchen, also be sure that the starter is not too hot — if you’re sweating, your yeast is also not so happy. Try to keep the starter around 70°F to 75°F.
There’s a thin layer of liquid on the top: This often happens if your water to flour ratio is off (too much water) or if your starter has gone too long between feedings. Just pour off this layer off and feed your starter as normal. Be sure you’re adding the right amount of flour and water (slightly more flour than water by volume) — weigh your ingredients if at all possible.
The top of my starter looks moldy or is tinged red: I’ve read in several places that it’s ok to scrape this layer off (or pour it off, if it’s liquidy), but personally, I’d discard the starter and start again. If you can’t bear to discard an old starter, try to scoop about 1/4 cup from the bottom of the container and use this to seed a new batch of flour and water.

Good Luck!

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Oops There It Is

Wow it’s been ages since I put fingers to keyboard. I have had my flower hat on for a few months. Which has been lovely.  I made a wedding in November which was (if I say so myself) really pretty. I designed centrepieces filled with white hydrangeas and tulips. The location of the wedding was a stunning Palladian mansion in the surrey countryside Botleys Mansion . The brides mother told me they wanted to hire me to cook the wedding breakfast too!  Even I realised that may be a little too much for me to take on.

Enough about flowers, let’s get on with the food. My daughter Lola turned 11 last week and as tradition goes, she requested her birthday celebration menu. She has been talking about her American roots lately probably because her new US passport arrived a few weeks ago. “I want fried chicken and mac ‘n cheese please”. Yep no problem. She also showed me a photo of a cake that she wanted. As far as I could tell it was a cake surrounded by Kit Kats, and then topped with skittles. I told her I would replicate but not with skittles, I would use M&Ms instead.

I made my ‘go to’ chocolate cake mix, to make a 3 layer sponge then a simple butter icing flavoured with a little cocoa, slathered the whole cake in icing, including the sides, then stuck Kit Kats around the edge and filled the top with said M&Ms and finished it off with a bit of ribbon. I thought it looked pretty good. Lola was pleased.

I leave you with a few pics from my weddings sandwiched between cake and fried chicken pics and a recipe for my delicious always juicy southern fried chicken.

Wedding photography by Faye Cornhill and John Sanders.

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Southern Fried Chicken

This recipe is my ‘go to’ for birthdays and picnics. The chicken is always juicy even when wrapped up and eaten room temperature on a sunny day. I usually serve it with a crisp red and white coleslaw with a squeeze of lime and some fresh red chilli.

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

For the marinade

  • 10-12 pieces of chicken (thighs and drumsticks)
  • 3 x 75ml pots of buttermilk
  • pinch of salt

For the crispy coating

  • 200g plain flour
  • 3 eggs
  • splash of water

Spices to add to flour

I leave the quantities of each spice up to you. I would suggest a couple of teaspoons of each.

  • Mustard powder
  • Garlic salt
  • Celery salt
  • Hot chili powder
  • Thyme leaves
  • Smoked paprika
  • Maldon sea salt
  • Ground black pepper

Sunflower oil for frying

Method

First take your chicken thighs and trim off any extra fat so the thigh is neatly covered with skin. Place the thighs and drumsticks in a bowl and cover with the butter milk and a pinch of salt. Place in the fridge for at least a couple of hours, better still overnight.

When you are ready to cook the chicken. Turn on the oven to 170C. Take a large deep cast iron saucepan and fill a third of the way with your oil place over a medium high heat.

In the meantime start coating your chicken. Take the chicken out of the fridge and with your fingers scrape off the excess buttermilk. Lay the chicken on a tray and then take 2 large bowls and in one bowl add the flour and spices, mix thoroughly. In the other bowl mix together the egg and water.

Using only one hand (or you will turn into a flour egg monster) pick up a piece of chicken, dip in the flour making sure the chicken is thoroughly coated, shaking off the excess, then dip in the egg, shaking off the excess then dip back into the flour. Place on a tray and repeat until all the chicken pieces are coated.

Take a piece of flour egg mixture which is stuck to your fingers no doubt and place it in the oil, if it sizzles gently then your oil is ready to use. If it sinks to the bottom, wait until it rises to the top of the oil and sizzles as this means the oil is not hot enough and you will get oily chicken, which is not good. Also if the batter sizzles violently across the top of the oil this means your fat is too hot so turn down the heat a little and wait for a few minutes.

Fry off your chicken pieces in batches of 3 for a few minutes until the batter is crispy and golden brown, remove and place on kitchen towel then into a roasting dish. When you have fried off all the chicken place in the oven for 20 mins until the chicken is cooked through.

Serve hot or room temperature. Delicious!


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I Do Believe In Magic It’s Plain To See

My new obsession for the summer is a small blue bucket! Most sunny weekends I can be found sat next to it on London Fields roasting marinated lamb ribs, chicken pieces and marshmallows for schmoores. I have to say my bucket BBQ was the best buy of the summer. I remember a couple of years ago, summer was a giant looming chasm of doom trying to juggle childcare, work and trying to figure out how to entertain the kids as I just could not afford to take a holiday with them. What I love about my kids is that their bar is so low for entertainment. A bucket BBQ and the local paddling pool and thats them sorted for the day!

The bar certainly was not low when Kikkoman invited me to an evening with ex Nobu chef Scott Hallsworth at his restaurant Kurobuta in Chelsea. Oh my god, the food was amazing we had so many small plates of delicately seasoned dishes. Tea smoked lamb, Nigiri and Sashimi, BBQ pork belly and lots more. What was really fascinating to me was the taste test of Kikkoman against another brand. You can really taste the difference. Kikkoman is naturally brewed for 6 months and when you taste it against other brands that process shines through. It has an umami unlike the others. In fact its so delicious we even had cocktails made with soy. The “Bloody Kik in the Pants” was the best Bloody Mary I have ever had! It had wasabi and cucumber and it was so delicious, I have posted the recipe below for you guys to try.

Inspired by my Kikkoman experience and armed with my blue bucket, I created a couple of recipes for lamb ribs and chicken pieces. I did the taste test with the kids who wholeheartedly agreed with me and then mainlined my bottle of Kikkomen in a couple of days Grrr!

I leave you with a few pics of my night and also my recipe for soy and spice rubbed lamb ribs. Oh yeah and thank you Kikkoman William loved the T shirt!

Have a wonderful week!

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Soy and Spice Lamb Ribs

I prefer lamb ribs to pork ribs when barbecuing, they cook faster. Also the fat melts and flavours the ribs and then drips onto the coals and creates a smoking effect. We eat them with a mountain of slaw and BBQ corn on the cob. I am seriously thinking about writing a Bucket BBQ Book! I am totally loving this way of cooking. Anyway I digress. The recipe is thus. Oh and marinate them for at least a couple of hours or overnight if you can be bothered.

Ingredients

For the dry rub

  • 1kg of lamb ribs, fat trimmed and scored
  • 3 tsp cumin
  • 2 tsp coriander
  • 2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 3 star anise
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • Large pinch of Maldon sea salt

For the sauce

  • 1 tbsp Kikkoman
  • 2 tbsp ketchup

Method 

Put the lamb in a bowl and add all the ingredients for the dry rub. Massage the spices into the lamb and leave for a few hours or overnight if you can.

Add the soy and ketchup and cover the ribs evenly.

Make sure your coals are hot, white and no longer flaming. Add the ribs to the BBQ and turn frequently until they are melty and brown and cooked through. Set aside for a few minutes to rest covered in foil. Oh and  don’t forget to tie the dog up if you have one…Epic fail on my part, upset kids, happy dog!

Bloody Kik in the pants Cocktail

This is so bloody yum and it packs a punch.

  • 50ml vodka
  • 50ml Tomato juice
  • 4 drops of Tabasco
  • Pinch of Shichimi salt
  • 10ml honey
  • 10 ml lime
  • 10ml lemon
  • 5ml Kikkoman soy sauce
  • 4 pieces cucumber 

 Muddle cucumber with the salt and Tabasco, pour rest of ingredients in and shake. Garnish with lemon wedge and the salt to present


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I Guess We’ll Just Have To Adjust

I can only apologise for my absence in the last few weeks. I have no excuse for my excuse really. Work has been mental, I have been organising the sale of a property and spending days painting and digging up my, totally ignored by tenants, garden trying to make it pretty again. I had a 2 day warning for a trip to New York for work and I actually have no idea where the month has gone.

Then half term just arrived without any warning at all. They get two weeks off! I mean what the hell is that about? Two weeks! After pulling myself together I sat them down and told them we would be holidaying in Hackney. Tilda told me that we are the worse “holidayers” ever and that she would be organising her trip to Disneyland without me.

I managed to ensconce the little darlings into the local adventure playground for the majority of the Easter holidays therefore allowing me to organise the Easter festivities. Which really means, I had time to cook up a storm.

Easter for me usually consists of slow roast shoulder of lamb, a ton of sides and a chocolate easter egg cake. This year I decided to go rogue. I cooked an Indian feast. I made a simple lamb curry which involves ground almonds and yogurt and all the usual suspects, cumin, coriander, garam masala to season at the end. I also made a chana daal and a sag paneer (cheese and spinach) dish.

No indian feast would be complete without raita and I also made a really simple onion chutney. Thinly sliced red onion and in a saucepan I placed equal measurements of vinegar and sugar and gently heated it until the sugar dissolved. I then added the onions and a few cardamon pods and also some dried sliced orange peel. I was going to make naan bread but the Turkish Supermarket near to me do such delicious home made naan, I brought a load and smothered them in garlic and butter!

I leave you with a few pics and also my recipe for chana daal and raita dip.

Have a lovely week!

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Chana Daal

(serves 6-8)

I’m not sure if this is authentic or not. All I know is that it is delicious and creamy and when I make it there is never any leftovers. I use a lot of ginger mainly because I love ginger, you don’t have to be quite so enamoured if you choose.

Ingredients

500g chana dahl

5 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
5cm piece of root ginger peeled and thinly sliced into matchsticks

1 inch piece of root ginger sliced in half
1 tbsp turmeric
4 small green chillies chopped
2 tbsp ghee or butter
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 tbsp cumin seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
1 tsp coriander powder
1 stick of cinnamon
Fresh coriander, chopped to garnish

Method

Place the daal in a saucepan and cover with water about an inch over the surface of the daal. Add a couple of the cloves of garlic and the 1 inch piece of root ginger and the cinnamon stick. You can add some vegetable bouillon or a stock if you wish, if not then season with some Maldon sea salt. Bring the saucepan to a boil then turn down the heat to a gentle simmer for 30-40mins. Keep an eye on it, stir occasionally and if it looks like the water is drying out then add a little it should be the consistency of lumpy porridge.

While the daal is cooking, gently fry the onions in the ghee or butter until soft and then add the rest of your garlic and ginger and the chilli and all the spices. When the daal is cooked remove it from the heat and take out the piece of ginger and cinnamon stick. Pour on the buttery onion mix and stir gently. Taste and adjust the seasoning if need be. I sometimes add another knob of butter at the last minute and then garnish with the coriander. Serve with your feast or on its own with naan bread. Yum!

Mint and Cucumber Raita

(Serves 6-8)

Fresh light and delicious. I could spread this on toast!

Ingredients

300ml of low fat plain yogurt
Half a cucumber – sliced in half lengthwise and the seeds scraped out with a spoon. Roughly chopped
6 sprigs of fresh mint – chopped
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon coriander
Pinch Maldon sea salt
1/4 teaspoon of garam masala

Method

Pour the yogurt into a bowl add all the ingredients except the garam masala. Stir and adjust seasoning if need be. Garnish with the garam masala. Serve.


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Coming Up Easy

The summer holidays have begun. Pav, the kids nanny left for her vacation. I resisted the urge to cling to her legs screaming don’t go don’t leave me pleaaseeee. I am actually surprised that my children didn’t do exactly that. After the five stages of grief passed, denial, anger, bargaining, depression and then acceptance. I decided to pull myself together and plan the next few weeks around the kids and summer and work and all that stuff. Luckily for me my dance card is getting quite full with invitations to fun things to do with the kids. My lovely friend Uju Mother and Shaker was hosting a bloggers network event at  The National Portrait Gallery. It was a wonderful evening getting to meet fellow bloggers and have a chilled glass of wine in the Late Shift Bar a cool relief from the temperatures outside. I had a glass of wine and chatted to Claire our NPG host while the kids never ceased to find travelling up to the first floor on the imposing escalator and then running down the stairs to have another go, entertaining. Claire filled me in on the summer family friendly activities which sound fab. The kids and I did a family trail finding paintings and then the kids decided that they needed a second dinner! They would not be convinced otherwise.

I am going back, I want to see the Virginia Woolf Exhibition and take a bit more time to see the wonderful BP Portrait Award exhibit.

We left and jumped on the 38 Bus, the kids were demanding Lahmacun. Its a cross between a flatbread and a pizza. Ok its a flatbread pizza, but without the tomato sauce. Right just Imagine a giant fluffy flatbread smothered in minced lamb and spices and then topped with shredded lettuce and saladness then rolled up.  The kids love it, you can buy it in Hackney for less then £2 and its a full meal in itself. Me being me, said ok but I’m not buying it. I want to make it. Big giant protests ensued. Rufus said my lahmacun would be “rubbish” Lola and Tilda tried to make some money from my “challenge” I told them if its not better then Tad’s I will give them donuts for breakfast for a week. Then realised maybe I have shot myself in the foot with that statement!

So I leave you with a few pics and a recipe for Lahmacun. Enjoy!

Visit National Portrait Gallery

National Portrait Gallery is at St Martin’s Place, off Trafalgar Square, WC2H 0NE (Charing Cross tube)

BP Portrait Award runs until September 21, 2014, admission FREE

Virginia Woolf exhibition  runs until October 24, 2014

Late Shift Events  run every Thursday and Friday until 9pm

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Lahmacun

This is not a traditional recipe at all. I totally made this recipe up. It’s somewhere in the ball park I am sure and it’s delicious and thats what really counts. I am lucky to live 5 minutes away from a fabulous Turkish supermarket, so I buy packs of 3 freshly made fluffy flatbreads for 99p. If you can’t find authentic turkish bread then just us flour tortillas, no big deal.

Serves 4 

Ingredients

  • 4 flatbreads (or flour tortillas)
  • 300g mince lamb
  • Half red onion (chopped)
  • 2 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • Stick of cinnamon
  • 2 tsp sumac
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp (or more if you like heat) of chilli flakes or cayenne pepper
  • Handful of cherry tomatoes cut in half
  • A squirt of tomato ketchup
  • Salt and pepper

Garnish with shredded lettuce, or any green you would like, coriander, mint, basil, spring onions…etc

Method

Take you flat breads and if you wish you can warm them up in a very low oven while you make the lamb mixture. In a glug of olive oil, fry your onions over a medium heat until soft. Add the salt and pepper while you are frying the onions. Then add the garlic, stir and add the cinnamon, sumac, coriander, cumin, chilli  and the lamb. Cook and stir until the lamb is no longer raw. Add the tomatoes and ketchup then turn down the heat and cover for 10 mins.  Taste for seasoning and then turn off the heat. Leave it for 10 mins to cool a little. Then spread the lamb mixture equally over the tortillas and sprinkle the garnish of your choice. Roll up and apply to face.

 

 


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Honey Now

First I need to apologise for being an absent blogger! I have not been neglecting my duties deliberately. Circumstances beyond my  control turned my life upside down and backwards for the last few weeks. I cannot tell you how happy I feel to be behind my Mac typing away.  My biggest obstacle appeared when I opened my Mac a few weeks ago to find the screen totally obliterated. After the initial horror and shock,  I then started the interrogation of the under 9s.  It wasn’t pretty. All of them denied all  knowledge of the incident and I for a very very split second wished that there was a 101 number for the immediate sale of your children. My Mac was returned to me on Friday, new screen and the children are no longer allowed to look at it let alone go within 20ft of it.

Luckily I had enough to distract me from my technical woes. I was invited to visit Feast In The Fields. A pop up event at London Fields Brewery. I had a much needed kid free day, so what did I do? I spent the morning making Jamaican patties and poaching a ton of chicken legs and thighs to fry up later. I call them Jamaican loosely.  The pastry was a traditional patty recipe but the filling was sort of more Moroccan influenced. I had quite a lot of veg in the fridge that needed to be used up, potatoes, carrots, onions, spring onions. Threw it all in a dutch pot and seasoned it with cumin, coriander, chilli, cinnamon bark, salt, pepper, sumac. Cooked the veg for 15 mins slowly then added a tablespoon of corn flower and a couple of teaspoons of vegetable bouillon and enough boiling water to make a bit of liquid for everything to braise in.

Armed with my Jaroocan Patties, I met Uju the fabulous Mother and Shaker and owner of Babes About Town and we headed to the brewery. This year seemed a lot busier then last year and it was great to see so many new foodie start ups. I chatted to the guys who just a few weeks ago launched 7 Bridges Deli. These guys smoke their own pastrami and make super stacked Reuben’s with delicious artisan rye and sourdough bread. I had to try some of the local beer. I really rarely drink beer, just a few times a year. I tried the Hackney Hopster and the Unfiltered. Both very distinctive flavours, nothing like that tasteless watery stuff you get on tap at your local. I had a really tough time deciding what to eat, but after sampling some very moreish smoked polish sausages from The Polish Deli London oh and the most fabulous mini canapé like pies from The Square Pie I finally decided to keep with my sort of moroccan theme of the day and try a wrap from Doukan, I was not disappointed. Spicy, juicy chicken with lots of fresh salad and hot spicy sauce.

Uju and the kids and I then spent the rest of the afternoon on London Fields with a bottle of wine and I ran home to finish frying off the buttermilk chicken I had made in the morning, as you do.

I leave you with a few pics. Im busy editing a few videos of Ru and I cooking some of our favourite dishes. I will be posting them shortly. I’m also designing my menus for a pop up restaurant this summer. Exciting times. I will keep you posted.

Have a lovely week!

feastinthefields feastinthefeildsmay feastinthefeids tildamay rumay jamacanpattiesMay

 

 

 

 


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