Monday, 30 December 2013

Baked Cheesecake, Christmas-style

A little slice of dairy-deliciousness

I have a confession to make.. I don’t really like cheesecake. I don’t like cream, I don’t like cheese, I hate cream cheese.

Until. I decided to keep the Christmas spirit going, by making this festive version of a baked cheesecake. Instead of digestive biscuits only, the base is mainly ginger cookies. I used IKEA’s Christmas cookies: pepparkakor. They are delicious. I have never baked a cheesecake before, and this is testament to how fool-proof this recipe is. This fool NAILED IT.

Saturday, 28 December 2013


The shiny-ness is sugar. Delicious melted-in sugar.

Or, Swedish festive rice pudding.

Do you like cinnamon, vanilla sugar and milky creamy dessert rice?


As well as desperately clinging to the festive season, this is really delicious, and one of my boyfriend’s favourites. It’s best for breakfast, loaded up with cinnamon and sugar and extra milk on top. Although I didn’t leave him enough room in his bowl for milk, first world problems. Speaking of FWP, my camera battery was dead this morning, so these are phone quality pics I'm bringing to the world.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013


My favourites.

OH MY GOD. It’s finally Christmas again! And I have a mammoth post in celebration.

Tis the season to eat your weight in delightful foods and collapse in front of a Harry Potter movie. And Christmas dinner plays no small role in the development of your festive food coma. This year I couldn’t get home to the family shindig, so I set about making dinner for my boyfriend and I. And ended up making enough to feed my entire family, had they been here.

And if you want to eat far too much at Christmas, this is how you do it. Start with a plan of what you’re cooking and when you want to eat. If you’re as anal as me, make a damn schedule.

My festive menu:
  • Ham cooked in coke
  • Chicken
  • Pigs in blankets
  • Stuffing 
  • Roast spuds
  • Buttered leeks 
  • (and shhhh.. Shop-bought greens and mash.)

Saturday, 21 December 2013

Hungover Breakfast (Pancakes and Bacon)

Not the biggest stack in the world, but enjoyable nonetheless.

So, I woke up this morning feeling rotten, post staff party. I must have caught something..

Ahem. The only thing that got me out of bed was the thought of making something greasy and carbohydrate-loaded. I made this in a slightly zombie-like state, and it turned out to be quite restorative. It's the healing power of bacon!

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Individual Pecan Pies

I’m a bit late for Thanksgiving, but I had to give these bad boys a whirl. A pretty simple recipe, with a few adaptions. I suppose I feel I have the licence to do this because this recipe isn’t a part of my culture, so I don’t really have any expectations. That’s my excuse for potentially bastardising the beloved North American dessert, anyway. The dough isn’t overly sweet to make up for the sweetness of the filling. And these are totally, absolutely delicious. 

Having never had one before, I have no idea what they are meant to taste like. But whatever I made tasted awesome.

Monday, 16 December 2013

Chicken Enchiladas with Refried Black Beans

I am in love with Mexican food these days. Literally cannot get enough of it, where has guacamole been all my life?! However, as will become apparent, I’m really not a big red meat fan. I like putting chicken in EVERYTHING. And that’s how this meal came about. You don’t have to go with the beans, but you definitely should because they’re delicious. You can even find them in Tescos.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Sweet Potato and Lentil Soup

So many utensils

There is nothing better for me on a cold winter’s evening than hearing a pot of soup bubbling away on the hob, promising deliciousness and warmth to come.  Because I am *so* Irish.

This particular one is adapted from one of my favourite series’ of little cookbooks, the BBC Good Food Healthy Eats book. I don’t do diets, but I do do soup. And this was a revelation. Thick, silky smooth, wonderfully coloured and highly flavourful. My notoriously hard to please boyfriend even complimented it, which I am counting as a super win.

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Rocky Road

Packaged up, for the delight of others.

Adapted from a Nigella Express recipe.

I never thought that I liked marshmallows. I probably went through 24 years of my life not liking marshmallows. I foolishly thought that I didn’t like the texture. I distinctly remember calling them ‘too floofy’ and for years systematically picked them out of any fifteens that came my way. I wouldn’t have thanked you for a top hat.

Until I covered those suckers in chocolate and added a whole bunch of other tasty ingredients to the mix. They’re easy and delicious and EVERYONE LOVES THEM. Which is why we do this, right? No? Just me?

Sunday, 8 December 2013

Neapolitan Pizza, Kind Of.

Taken at a crafty angle so you don't see how non-circular it is.  Totally nailed it.
I love this recipe. It’s pretty easy to prepare it in advance as the dough needs to sit in the fridge for 24-72 hours. THE DOUGH NEEDS TO BE MADE DAYS IN ADVANCE. I’m only highlighting this because I don’t even want to count the times that I have started a recipe for the night’s dinner only to discover that it required careful and lengthy marinading.

Makes about 3 decently sized pizzas
Dough recipe
  • 3 cups bread flour
  • 2 tsp salt
  • 1.5 tbsp yeast (pretty much one 7 sachet of the dried stuff)
  • 250ml lukewarm water

Dough Method

To make the dough, place the flour, salt and yeast in a bowl and mix. Make a well in the middle and add in the water, stir well to combine. In the bowl, knead for a few minutes. Coat the inside of the bowl in oil and roll the dough around. Let rise in a warm place for about 8 hours, then divide into three balls, place in separate plastic food bags and put in the fridge. 

Leave in the fridge for 24-72 hours. WHEN READY TO USE, ALLOW TO COME TO ROOM TEMPERATURE (1-2 hours). Again, highlighting, because I have forgotten that morsel of information twice.

Pizza Sauce
  • 200ml tomato pasatta (sieved tomatoes)
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1tsp Italian mixed herbs, or fresh oregano if you have it.

Pizza Sauce Method

For the pizza sauce, place the above ingredients in a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Let simmer for a few minutes until thickened.

I am not going to tell you how to top your pizza. That’s sacrosanct to people.

My typical toppings:
  • Pepperoni and caramelised onions and peppers with mozzarella
  • Ham and pesto with regular cheddar cheese and mozzarella
  • Pesto, pepperoni and chillies with spicy Mexicana cheese 

To Assemble the Pizza

Oven at 230 degrees celcius

Preheat some baking trays in the oven, or use a pizza stone if you’re fancy.

To form the pizzas, roll out the dough balls into thin circles (if you can make a circle, more power to you, mine always end up slightly blobby). 

I always roll my dough out on a large tray to save on cleaning. Because I am an old lady.

Place on a square of greaseproof paper and add enough sauce to cover. Top with whichever toppings and cheese take your fancy and pick up using the greaseproof paper.

Place on top of the heated baking tray and cook for 10 or so minutes until the crust is golden and the cheese is bubbling.
Pesto, ham and onion (mine)

Friday, 6 December 2013

Mocha and Walnut Cake

The cut slice looks massive. I swear that slice was at least three portions. Okay, two.

So lets dive right in with one of my favourites. This is slightly adapted from a very lovely Nigella recipe. I want to *be* a domestic goddess. The 2 week old pile of clean yet unfolded washing on my dresser laughs at my hubris.

This cake is impressive. The kind of cake you bring around to someone’s for afternoon tea, when you want to make more of an effort than supermarket bakery brownies. It cuts into gratifyingly chunky slices, and it’s one of the most moist cakes I’ve ever made. A little tooth-achingly sweet, but what good cake isn’t?

I have been known to make this cake when I can’t figure out what to do with eggs which are about to go off. Or when there's leftover coffee in the pot.

Any excuse.

Ingredients for Cake:
  • 50g walnuts
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 200g plain flour
  • 2.5 tsp baking powder
  • 0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1-2 tbsp cold strong coffee
  • 4 large eggs

Ingredients for Icing
  • 300g icing sugar
  • 150g unsalted butter, softened
  • 15g cocoa
  • 1 tbsp cold strong coffee
  • Walnut halves, to decorate (if you have enough left-over. I didn't)


Preheat oven to 180 degrees celcius.

Grind the walnuts and sugar together in a food processor until crumbly. Add in the butter, flour, baking powder, bicarb and eggs. Process to a smooth batter, and add in enough coffee to give it a smooth, dropping consistency.

Divide between two lined cake tins and bake for 25 minutes. It is moist, so allow to cool for 15 or so minutes in the tins before turning out onto a cooling rack and peeling off the parchment.

While they are cooling, whip up the simple buttercream icing:

Cream the butter, and sift the icing sugar and cocoa powder. Mix well to the desired consistency, and add in the coffee. Take about a third and use to sandwich the two halves of the cake together, and use the rest to ice the top whichever way suits you. 

Throw a few walnut halves or pieces on top and you’ve got yourself a magnificent cake.

You don't make friends with small slices.

First Post!

The blog name hopefully says it all.

I love to bake and cook, and after much prodding from my boyfriend have decided to show the internet what I spend most of my down-time doing (apart from watching episodes of 30 Rock and identifying painfully with Liz Lemon). I live in Newcastle, originally from Belfast, and cook out of the small but perfectly formed kitchen in my flat. The one thing I would change about my kitchen is that I would LOVE a gas hob. Alas, it is not yet to be.

I suppose I cook a bit of everything, but you won't find many seafood recipes because I hate the smell of it cooking. And I don't do fruit-on-desserts. It's just wrong. Of course, the exception proving my rule is luscious banoffee.

I'm much better in the kitchen than writing introductions, I swear.