Adjust my Duvet!

Just when I think the two year old cannot be any more demanding, noisy, runny roundy, throwy, jumpy, he adds another string to his bow. Every night for a week I have been woken by a demand to “Adjust my duvet!”. To give him a little credit he does  say it in a way that is firm but fair. Look mum your awake, I know I woke you but while you are here, can you adjust my duvet. I am living with a total diva. Elton John would not be so demanding…..

In between adjusting duvets, I dd a little bit of recipe testing this week and began working on Christmas to do lists. This is my first Christmas alone with the kids. Im  actually not stressed about it. Maybe I should be but somehow I feel that it is really important I live the reality of the situation. I could go to relatives and be amongst extended family. Its not something that I ever did before so I feel why do it now? Also to be honest the thought of eating anywhere else but at home on Christmas day seems like utter madness!

Actually when I look back on the last couple of weeks I have cooked quite a few new recipes. I spent a few days up in Glasgow visiting a friend. I do love Glasgow its dark gothic architecture. I found a great coffee house too and the thrift stores are amazing.  Anyway, whilst there I threw together a really lovely cabbage and chorizo dish. I served it alongside a basic spanish omelette. I finely sliced the cabbage and roughly chopped up a chorizo. The chorizo is cooked first in a saucepan with a little more olive oil then you would ususally use, as it forms the basis of the dressing for the cabbage. When the Chorizo has leached out its colour and crisped up a little I tip it out and throw the cabbage into the now paprika coloured oil with a table spoon or so of water. This cooks for a few minutes then I toss in the chorizo and season with salt, pepper, a dash of cayanne or paprika and a spritz of fresh lemon juice….Fab!

I also made a bakewell tart this week, but as I was about to do the filling realised I had forgotten to buy raspberries! I had some cranberries in the freezer left over from a shoot, so working on the principal that they are the same colour as raspberries. I threw put them in a saucepan with a little red wine (the remains of a bottle i had opened the night before) and some sugar. The combination of the sourish cranberries and the sweet almond tart, was divine. I made it again two days later and when I attempted it the second time I totally forgot to add the melted butter to the mixture. No worries just tipped the melted butter ontop of the pie (that was about to go in the oven) and mixed it in. Didn’t seem to affect the finish product at all. I will be making it for christmas day pudding….

I leave you with my cranberry bakewell tart recipe. Try not to forget the cranberries or the butter!

Have a wonderful week!

Rachelle x

 

The beginning of a fabulously simple Tortilla

 

Left over roast chicken, a bit of cheese and some left over cabbage and chorizo a quick Quesadilla lunch

Adjust my Duvet!

Cranberry Bakewell Tart

This recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawsons Raspberry Bakewell Tart. The Pastry is divine, if a little tricky to work with. Just patch it up if it breaks, I think the key is to leave it in the fridge for at least 20mins after you place it in the pie dish.

Ingredients

For the Pastry

  • 175g plain flour
  • 30g ground almonds
  • 65g icing sugar
  • 130g butter
  • 1 egg yolk
  • a little cold water if needed.
For the Filling
  • 300g frozen or fresh cranberries
  • 50mil red wine (optional use water if you like)
  • 200g icing sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 125g ground almonds
  • 125g butter, melted
  • 25g flaked almonds
Method
Turn on the Oven to 190C
First make the pastry, put everything in a food processor and pulse till the pastry comes together. Add a little water if need be. Cling wrap and place in the fridge for 15mins. Roll the pastry out and line a deep 26cm pie or quiche dish, then place back in the fridge and make the filling.
Place the cranberries into a sauce pan and add the wine or water and icing sugar. Then cook for about 10mins over a low/medium heat until the cranberries are beginning to burst open. Set aside.
Beat the sugar and eggs together and add the melted butter. Stir in the ground almonds. Take the lined pie dish out of the fridge, pour the cranberries into the bottom of the dish and then pour the almond egg mixture ontop. Scatter with the ground almonds and place in the oven for about 30mins. Check after 20 mins the pie should look golden and just the risen and fragrant.

 

 


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Run for Cover

The two year old has taken over. We are at his mercy. It is like living with a diminutive megalomaniac. Nothing is sacred, everything is thrown, broken, chewed and abused. The throwing, the throwing! Why oh why does he have to throw everything? The girls run for cover as soon as he has a toy in his hand. No amount of cajoling, bribing, asking nicely or just plain telling off will stop the madness.   The trouble is he is so cute, you have to forgive him within seconds…

Amongst the missile fire, I managed to bake a cake for the Pavlina’s birthday (the kids childminder) and I am pleased to say, all of the cake remained either on his plate or in his mouth. I made Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Malteser Cake. Its a staple in our house, I can practically make it in my sleep.

For Halloween the kids did a mountain of pumpkin carving and from the spoils I made a pumpkin cheese cake. I am not really a huge fan of pumpkin pie. As I am half American I feel I should attempt to like it but I find the texture quite cloying. I know a lot of recipes call for canned pumpkin, which is an ingredient that I have never really felt comfortable with.

I made a traditional biscuit base and then roasted squash with fresh ginger and brown sugar. I also added stem ginger too just to give it a bit of a spicy hit. I think this might become a part of our Halloween supper from now on.

I leave you with my recipe for pumpkin and ginger cheesecake and also a few photographs of my Thanksgiving side dishes which were featured in Fashion Affair Magazine this month.

Have a wonderful week!

Rachelle x

Butter wouldn’t melt…yeah right!

Naked Potatoes

Posh Green Bean Casserole

Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Malteser Cake

Pumpkin and Ginger Cheesecake

For the base

  • 200g digestive biscuits
  • 100g butter

For the filling

  • 500g pumpkin or squash peeled and roasted
  • 60g fresh ginger grated
  • 50g light brown sugar
  • 2tbs butter
  • 200g cream cheese
  • 100g stem ginger
  • 2tbs stem ginger syrup
  • 150ml double cream

Turn the oven on to 180c.

Peel and chop the squash roughly place in a roasting dish toss with the grated ginger, sugar and butter. Roast for 30 minutes until soft and cooked.

Whilst the squash is roasting put the digestive biscuits and the butter into a food processor with the blade attachment and whizz till the mixture resembles damp sand. Tip into a 9 inch pie dish and using your fingers or the back of a spoon press the mixture firmly down. Place in the fridge to cool.

Take the cooled squash and place in a food processor with the stem ginger and the ginger syrup. Puree and tip into a large mixing bowl. In a medium bowl whisk the cream to soft peak stage. Tip into the bowl with the squash add the cream cheese and mix thoroughly. Pour into the chilled biscuit base and using a spatula evenly spread the mixture over the base. Place in the fridge to chill for an hour or so. Serve with pouring cream.

 

 

 

 


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In Sickness and In Health

I’m sitting at the breakfast bar, having dragged my sick tired body out of bed. I have been floored by a horrendous virus. It literally knocked me sideways and I did not get out of bed for three days! Anyway I am actually out of bed. Its amazing, My lovely child minder (and nursemaid for the duration) is bustling around gathering coats ready for the school run.  Lola gives me a hug goodbye and then looks at me. “Mummy, when we get back from school can you not be wearing, socks, pants, vest…” she then gestures with a look of disdain on her face, “and this” “This” is a very comfy very oversized cardigan “Can you please wear a dress”

Having been told, I got dressed and stepped outside for the first time in days. It took me five times longer to do anything but I managed to shop for my Mexican Class.  I really enjoyed teaching this class. A really lovely couple who were enthusiastic and very able. We cooked an authentic chilli, no kidney beans in sight here, just good quality beef and a ton of Mexican dried chilli’s. Its so simple and so delicious when you make it you will not make chilli any other way.  We made salsa by charring the vegetables and the chillies and whizzing them with lime and garlic. Its surprising how different the salsas tasted when each person made their own. We also make Churros. Its a donut  Deep fried batter dipped in chocolate, how can that be wrong?

Due to my incapacitated state I haven’t really cooked anything this week. Next week I will be recipe testing and also baking a birthday cake for my childminder…Shhh don’t tell her.

I leave you with a recipe for chicken noodle soup..It was the first thing I ate when I began to feel better. It is totally simple and so comforting and f I am ever feeling, under the weather or in need of comfort this is the recipe I always turn to.

Have a wonderful week.

Rachelle x

A simple chicken quesadilla

Spicy charred veg salsas

Churros

 

 Chicken Noodle Soup

Not really a recipe more of a list of four things and you heat them up. Simple and restorative the best kind of healing food. This recipe is for one person.

Ingredients

  •  A handful of cooked chicken, shredded off the bone
  • Good quality chicken stock, but don’t beat yourself up if you use a stock cube
  • A handful of Gigli pasta noodles. You can use your favourite noodle.
  • Salt and Pepper

Heat up the stock in a small saucepan, add your chicken. When the stock is hot and simmering add the noodles. Simmer until the noodles are cooked. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

 


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