Thursday, 29 May 2014

Strawberry Crumble and Custard

It's my BIRTHDAY! And, instead of a traditional cake, I present to you my latest food favourite.

You might say that I have a slightly obsessive personality. When I find a TV show I love I will watch old episodes over and over. When I hear a song I like I have been known to sing along on repeat for like an hour.

So too, with cooking. I find a recipe that I just love, and you better believe we’ll be eating it twice a week until my boyfriend begs for variety. And that is what I have done here, so there’s a good few photos from different forays into this crumble.

Individual version

Heart shaped version

Oval version
This crumble is AMAZING. I always feel guilty when I buy strawberries because it always seems like there’s a few bruised or hard ones left over that I don’t want to eat and end up throwing out. In this recipe, they are transformed into juicy, flavoursome bursts of summer. And the crumble on top is so nice that I pretty much use double what was suggested by the original recipe because, while fruit is nice, I am all about the crumble.

Never will you need to ditch those sad little strawbs again! And again, I have Nigella to thank. She’s got my back.

This is a double whammy post, brought to you by my two fave ladies, because the custard part is courtesy of Mary Berry.

She’s pretty much infallible, so of course she was the one I turned to when I wanted a classic, foolproof custard recipe. Custard from scratch isn’t so hard, it’s all about the heat. Keep it gentle, don’t let it boil! 

Honestly, I’m not a principled person in general. But I have my standards. And my standards basically consist of: don’t use premade custard. There’s no excuse for the packet stuff when it’s so simple to whip up a fresh, creamy batch of silky loveliness.

Sunday, 25 May 2014

Lamb Lasagne

New Year’s resolution FINALLY activated! Basically, I wanted to cook with a more varied meat selection. Lamb, bring it.

This is my first foray into the world of lamb, and I chose a simple way to start: lamb mince.  Recipe gratefully stolen from my aunt, who cooked it on a recent family outing and it went down a storm. Clearly, I had to try it out myself.

This is a great recipe if you’re not a fan of the creamy, occasionally stodgy, béchamel because it just leaves it out. Instead, you get a great meat ragu topped with some crème fraiche and peppers. Really scrummy.

The flavours from the lamb give a brilliantly exotic taste to the dish, and it is something I’ll definitely be making again. Leftovers are also a sheer delight, it reheats beautifully.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Swedish Summer Cake

So many strawbs..

Here comes the sun! Quick, run outside before it disappears again.

Probably my favourite thing about this time of year is the fact that big juicy strawberries are coming back into the shops. And I love cooking with strawbs. Of course, you can just wash them, dip them in sugar and eat straight from a bowl. Clearly that is perfectly acceptable.

But if you want to get slightly more impressive, look no further. This is a take on a traditional cake that you’d get in Sweden in the summer time, of course inspired from a delicious Nigella recipe. Incidentally, it comes right beside my favourite cake recipe of all time, coffee and walnut cake.

It’s a bit fiddly, and there are a few stages, but they are easily broken down into manageable parts. I think the hardest part is slicing the cake, and I did wimp out in the end and just slice it into two rather than the recommended three. But even if it breaks, or cracks, slather it with whipped cream and all will be well. That’s pretty much my life motto.

Slight confession: I was fairly tipsy taking these "sliced" photos

Friday, 16 May 2014

Beef and Chorizo Enchiladas

Mexican food is kind of my spiritual savoury cuisine. I only started making and eating it for reals a little while ago, aside from the Ol Del Paso fajita kits of my childhood. I am in a bit of a chorizo phase at the minute, and the only Mexican food that my boyfriend really likes is enchiladas, any rational brain would therefore come up with what follow. 

An aside, I don't measure out cheese ever, hence just calling it a handful here or there. Just listen to your heart (if it sounds clogged and like its begging for mercy, maybe hold back on the cheese).

The sauce is thick and delicious, and the addition of a touch of orange peel really makes it tasty and zesty. My mostest favourite ingredient, however, is the Sriracha rooster sauce. This is so delicious and versatile, it’s spicy with a depth to the heat and goes well on EVERYTHING. Makes grown men cry. And should be easily located in your local Asian supermarket. It will change your life.

One thing: you need a bigger rectangular dish for this than the one I used. I'm on it, the scouting mission for cut price Le Creuset has begun!

Monday, 12 May 2014

Banana, Hazelnut and Nutella Muffins

Do you ever just want to make something really tasty and filling, that is sweet but still flavourful?

Look no further than these muffins. No-one hates Nutella, and the banana and hazelnuts add a real depth of flavour, taking it away from being too cloying and sweet. I did eat one for breakfast. I don’t exactly recommend it, health-wise, but it was great.

I don’t trust muffins which use butter, because they are never quite moist enough. So when making a muffin recipe I am looking for oil/milk/buttermilk instead to get the fat/liquid content needed.


Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Thai red curry (with sweet potatoes)

Oh look, a chicken dish with sweet potatoes! That means you’re on my blog!

I didn’t plan to make this with sweet potatoes, but they were on offer in the supermarket, so I bought a ton and then had to use them up. You can use any vegetables in this really, I just love a green bean. You could also take out the chicken easily and make this a veggie dish.

I usually have issues with coconut milk, the last few times I have done a thai green curry it has curdled and split. Still delicious, but looks gross. That happens when you let the milk boil uncontrollably, so keep a close eye on it when letting it simmer and keep it at a medium-low heat.