Thursday, 6 November 2014

Cheese and Pickle Vegetable Patties

 You all want to come over for breakfast, don't you? 

Given my recent praise of the weather for its hot breakfast facilitating benefits, I feel it might be time to let you in on another of my winter morning food pleasures. But before we go any further I feel I should say that I am someone who doesn't recognize certain foods as being just for breakfast.

Actually, no, that's not quite what I mean. What I am trying to get at is that I don't believe breakfast has to be made up of what is commonly thought of as 'breakfast food'. I think this is because I spent nearly eight years as a flight attendant, and would frequently find myself wanting a bowl of noodles, or a burger, at, say, seven a.m.

Thus I regularly feast (in cold weather) on these vegetable patties first thing in the morning, and I eat them with eggs (sometimes poached, sometimes - as today - fried) and Branston pickle. I actually put Branston in them as well, which I know will cause some people to class them firmly as 'not breakfast food'. To them I say: "Fine. Enjoy your cornflakes. But consider these for lunch or dinner at least."

My favourite thing about these patties is their crisp and golden crust. But my second favourite thing is that you make them with leftover vegetables. In fact, sometimes I cook extra carrots, potato and swede just to be able to make these. They seem like the sort of thing I should have been brought up eating (but wasn't - which I think might be because there were five of us in the house, so there was never leftover anything), yet are interesting enough to eat that I would happily serve them to guests.

You could vary these endlessly: add chopped leftover green beans; use different herbs; coat them in breadcrumbs if you don't have cornmeal.They are so simple to make that once you have, they will soon become a part of your regular meals.



Have you got any similar leftover-based dishes you recommend? Leave a comment and I'll try them out!

Cheese and Pickle Vegetable Patties

You will need:

About 750g (raw weight) of potato, carrot, swede, sweet potato etc., cooked and cooled
2 tbsp flour
2 heaped tbsp Branston pickle
75g grated cheddar
approx 3 tbsp chopped parsley
chopped red chilli, to taste
5 tbsp cornmeal (polenta)


  1. Put the cornmeal in a shallow dish and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, mash the vegetables until smooth, though with a little texture remaining. Mix everything else in well, and season with salt and lots of pepper. 
  3. Form the mixture into thick patties - I make quite large ones - and dip each side into the cornmeal, coating the patties well.
  4. Heat a little oil in a pan and fry the patties for about three minutes each side. Serve immediately with extra parsley and chopped chilli. Delicious!
Delicious Delicious Delicious was commissioned to create a recipe with Branston.. My opinions are, as always, my own. 



Thursday, 30 October 2014

Breakfast and Multicookers

Breakfast does not get better than this!

I love this time of year for so much more besides the pumpkins and associated spiced lattes (pfft… whatever). Autumn is the time of year when breakfast gets interesting, and I start to fancy something other than the Bircher muesli my friend Clare has caused me to become slightly more than healthily addicted to. She calls it the 'summer porridge, breakfast of champions.' On the whole, I'd go along with that, except that compared to regular porridge, Bircher is like a bowl of nothing.

I love hot breakfasts! Or anything that isn't just plain cereal, which, though I love it, Bircher muesli kind of is. The only problem is that I don't always have time to make proper porridge in the morning, and even if I do, I can't always be bothered with the stirring. This is one of the reasons I have been loving tinkering with my newest bit of kitchen booty - the multicooker.


Whereas it looks like a rice cooker, the Redmond RMC-RM4502 actually does more than that. It bakes bread and cakes, fries, deep fries, stews and steams. Oh, and makes porridge - from oats, cornmeal, buckwheat, you name it, the Remond will cook it. I have really enjoyed using it in the kitchen because it has a time delay function, which means that I can go to bed knowing I'll wake up to a warming, healthy breakfast with no early morning prep. Doing my hair takes long enough, to be honest. As if I would be feasting on cornmeal and maple porridge of a morning if I had to actually cook it myself when I woke up!

(If only I had had one of these as a student! You know, I basically didn't eat breakfast for four years when I was at university. When you get up late and have to be in language lab for 9am, breakfast doesn't really feature in the day.)

I have also been baking in the Redmond. And eating the cakes for breakfast. I have found it makes really light and airy, yet moist, sponge cakes, like the ones Italians call 'pan di Spagna'. Perfect with a cup of coffee and a piece of fruit. Or just the coffee.


In fact, as you can see, the multicooker has basically been my breakfast saviour for the past few weeks. I think it's a great machine and am planning on trying some bread in it this weekend. I gave our breadmaker away years ago, as a single function machine that takes up so much room just didn't seem worthwhile. The multicooker is here for keeps though!


Cake can be a breakfast food too!

If you have a Redmond multicooker as well, give my breakfast recipes a try (as well as some of the 100 recipes that come with it!). They will make autumn and winter that little bit more delicious!

Creamy Maple Cornmeal Porridge with Brazil Nuts and Sultanas

You will need:

75g cornmeal (polenta - I always buy the coarse ground one)
500ml full fat milk
2 tbsp maple syrup
a handful of Brazil nuts, chopped
a handful of sultanas
soft brown sugar (optional)

  1. Place the cornmeal, milk and maple syrup in the machine bowl and stir well. Cook for 35 minutes on the oatmeal setting. Stir well and serve topped with nuts, sultanas and a sprinkle of soft brown sugar. Gorgeous. 
  • You could also top with cinnamon and walnuts, or some frozen berries.

Pan di Spagna (Breakfast Sponge Cake), my way

You will need:

200g self raising flour
6 eggs
175g caster sugar
zest of 1 lemon
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. First, beat the eggs and sugar until thick and moussey. This will take ages, and you will feel like your arm is going to fall off, unless you have the common sense to use an electric whisk. 
  2. Still beating, add the lemon zest and vanilla, then gradually the flour.
  3. Pour into the greased machine bowl (I used vegetable oil - a baking spray would be fine, or butter). Bake for 40 minutes on cake setting.
  4. Cool on a rack as you would a regularly baked cake. 
  • I have made this twice so far in the multicooker. Once with plain flour, and once with self raising. I know everyone says that you should always use plain flour when there's no butter in the recipe, but honestly, with the self raising you get a much higher rise. Don't listen to the books, listen to me! :)

Delicious Delicious Delicious received a sample multicooker courtesy of Redmond and was commissioned to write a recipe. My opinions are, as always, my own.

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

Pumpkin Spice Cake





It's that time of year again. Everybody has started screaming about #PSLs being available at that coffee chain that we keep supporting even though they don't pay their corporation taxes. I'm so over it.


Don't get me wrong: I love pumpkin more than you could ever understand. When I first found out about pumpkin spice latte, my heart skipped a beat (though I did think the idea of pumpkin and coffee sounded rather on the not delicious side of delicious). But here's the thing…

THERE'S NO PUMPKIN IN THE DAMN THINGS! It's pumpkin spice in the sense of 'spices that you might put into a pumpkin pie', not actual pumpkin-infused coffee drink.

I thought it was awful. Misleading. Wrong. And then it dawned on me last week that I could use the widely accepted deceit to my advantage, since I didn't actually have any pumpkin in the house and I wanted to bust out the Nordic Ware pumpkin loaf pan. (And why wouldn't I? Have you seen how beautiful this cake is?)

So there we go: pumpkin spice cake, without an ounce of pumpkin in it. Well, if Starbucks can do it with their lattes…

Try it. I'm not saying don't cook with pumpkin at all, but if you have this tin, it's a shame not to use it at this time of year. (I actually also use it for lemon drizzle year-round, but don't tell anyone.)

By the way, the almond extract is optional, but I have been tinkering about with my bottle of it ever since Fuss Free Helen turned me onto the stuff made by Steenberg's. I love the extra marzipanny depth it gives everything, but I know that not everyone is an almond lover, so you might just want the vanilla. Your choice.


Pumpkin Spice Cake

You will need:

200g plain flour
200g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
225g soft butter
4 egg whites (or 2 whole eggs, I just had whites to use!)
75ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and grease a standard sized loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, or a stand mixer (which is what I used), mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and spices. Add the butter and milk and mix until well combined. Beat for two minutes.
  3. Add the egg whites and extracts and beat until smooth (about another minute).
  4. Scrape into the prepared tin and bake for about 45 minutes. Rest for ten minutes in the pan and then turn out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
Delicious Delicious Delicious received three samples of extracts from Steenberg's Organic. No money changed hands, and my opinions are, as always, my own.

Thursday, 11 September 2014

Pumpkin Roll Cake




I am not even going to apologise for the lack of updates since July. On that matter, I will say only the following: my life has changed unbelievably since that last update, and there just hasn't been a single moment in my new life when, much as I love doing it, I have thought; "You know what? I really feel like writing a blog post."


Anyway…

I quit flying!

I know. I can't quite believe it either, but it is true. I gave it up. It was one of the hardest, most horrendous decisions to make of my life. I used to grumble about it often, but really, I loved flying, and I adored my colleagues. The problem, I thought (and still do), is that I was working for the wrong company. Doing something I loved alongside great friends was a fantastic way to spend seven and a half years (yeah, I did it for that long: my try-it-for-two-years-max experiment gave me almost a decade's worth of grey hair.), but it takes a lot to fly long haul, both physically and mentally, and I felt like my employers wanted too much and offered too little for me to stay there.

Life is like a pie. At least I think of mine like one. I want to share that pie out. Some goes to my family, I like to give slices to my friends and hobbies, and obviously, work gets a wedge as well. But flying wanted all the pie. All of it.

I also felt like I needed to change jobs, or I'd be a flight attendant forever. Which I know some people love, and have a great time doing, but I don't think that is for me. An amazing opportunity came my way, at a great organisation here in Cardiff, and I took it.

I work 9-5, in an office, and I have great co-workers. I am learning new things everyday, and I love it. I feel like my new employers took a huge chance on me, and I am determined to make sure they don't regret it!

The change was terrifying, but worth it. I'm stealing this next part from Niki Haris (you might need to Google her), but change is good: "Things that aren't changing aren't growing; things that aren't growing are dying."

So that's why I have been away. I've been busy changing. And it's been amazing.

Oh, and I made a pumpkin roll. Recipe here.

Be back soon. Promise!

Thursday, 17 July 2014

El desayuno: Tostada con tomate


OK, OK, I think we have established in the past that I am not a Spanish speaker, but after my recent trip to Malaga I have been inspired to try and recreate the super sensational breakfast I ate there every single day. And it sounds better in the original language - 'tomato toasts' doesn't really make me feel the least bit hungry, and I doubt anybody is really going to search for that on Google either.

(Just saying.)

Here's the deal: warm toasted bread, drizzled with peppery olive oil and rubbed with juicy, red, sun-sweet tomato. It's so much more than it sounds, and I happen to think it sounds pretty good actually. The way it's served at Dulces Dreams, the place I stayed in (and recommend to all), the tomato comes pulped in a little dish, along with bread, oil and salt, so that's how I have been making it at home too. To be honest, you could probably just rub a cut tomato into the toast and it would be less of a production, but some of us live for the drama, so don't hate me for adding an extra step.

I do think that good extra virgin olive oil is essential. It needs to be peppery and make your mouth tingle, otherwise it's just... well, oil. I've been tinkering with the new Gran Cru range from Filippo Berio, and think their Toscano is just perfect here. I know it's Italian, and this is a Spanish recipe, but let's be honest: who's going to know when it's on the bread and tomato? Toscano has pep, a lovely grassy colour and a nice fragrance too. A little sprinkle of sea salt on the top and you have a seriously delicious breakfast.

Unspoilt. Unadulterated.

The Gran Cru range also has oils from Sicily and Puglia, the different regions (goodness me, the temptation to use the word 'terroirs' runs high!) each offering something different in terms of flavour and colour. I recommend checking them out if you see them in your supermarket; the quality is really high, and good oil makes all the difference in your cooking.

Tostada con tomate

You will need:

(Per person)

1 white crusty bread roll
2 good sized ripe tomatoes
good extra virgin olive oil
sea salt

  1. Split the roll in half and toast the inside. I used my griddle, but the toaster would work as well. Obviously.
  2. While that's happening, either just slice the tomatoes to rub onto the toast later, or grate them using a box grater. 
  3. To serve, drizzle the toast generously with oil; top with tomato and sprinkle with salt. Eat. Repeat.

Delicious Delicious Delicious received a sample of oils from the Filippo Berio Gran Cru range.

Wednesday, 9 July 2014

Chocolate Cream Cake

 More deliciousness on Instagram.

There are times, despite the sunshine and good weather, that you just feel exhausted, grouchy and in need of the sort of food you never really need at all. I'm talking toasted cheese sandwiches,burgers and big slices of chocolate cake.

Like this one.

In the long-running battle of cake vs. frosting, I have always been, and remain, firmly entrenched behind the lines of cake. It's not that I hate icing, it's just that cake is better. Which is why this chocolatey little beast is exactly what I need a slice of right now. But after my grilled cheese. OK?

There's no typo with this recipe by the way: there is not meant to be any butter in it. The whipped cream acts as the shortening, and quite honestly, has enough butterfat in it (we're talking a whole pot's worth of cream here) that the cake tastes as if it were actually made by dairy cows themselves.

Which doesn't sound delicious, but trust me, this is.

You can also bake it in regular sandwich tins; they'll take about twenty minutes in the oven.

If you feel the need for more chocolate after enjoying this, try this flourless chocolate cake or even these fondants flavoured with orange. Maybe add cherries (this one also has no butter - score!).

Chocolate Cream Cake

You will need:

150g plain flour
75g cocoa powder
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
300ml double cream
225g caster sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C and grease and flour a 25cm bundt tin.
  2. Using a whisk, stir together the flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
  3. Whip the cream until starting to form stiff peaks; then add the eggs and sugar and beat until airy and combined. 
  4. Fold in the dry ingredients, pour into the prepared tin and bake for around 30 minutes, or until well risen and a cocktail stick inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. 
  5. Cool for ten minutes in the tin, and invert on to a wire wrack to finish cooling.

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Malted Banana Ice-Cream






As I sit here, on standby (FML, as the youngsters seem to be saying these days), I realise that it is the first of the month.


Will July be when I start blogging with the increased frequency that I used to? Will I go back to being the kind of nice, friendly blogger who comments on others' posts and engages in conversations on Twitter and Facebook? Well, we can hope. There are going to be big changes coming up anyway, so you never know!

I am freshly back from holiday, and suffering from the associated exhaustion that such a state entails. Am I the only one who thinks we should be entitled to a post-holiday holiday to get over the first? Maybe it's my age (I turned 32 last week).

I spent a week in Malaga, visiting a former flyer friend who just opened a hotel in the old town there. In actual fact, he was in Ibiza for most of the time we were in town, but nonetheless, I took the opportunity to eat as many local treats as one possibly can without the help of a guide (I manage that rather well!) and am going to try to rustle up some of them for these very pages.

One of my favourite finds was a local heladeria, which had such wonderful ice-cream I can hardly bear thinking about it. Thus, I have been in full chilled dessert making mode since coming back home. I have turned out fairly decent strawberry gelato, but the way I do it uses raw eggs and I know what you lot are like about raw eggs in food, having received a raft of emails about leaving them out when I shared my Alphonso mango tiramisu recipe years ago. So I am giving you an egg free malted banana version (which is inspired by a dessert let down I had recently in Bill's - does anyone ever come away from there feeling satisfied? I find it all style and no substance). You don't need an ice-cream maker: this is no churn. Hurrah.

Enjoy.

Malted Banana Ice-Cream

You will need:

1 tin of condensed milk (397g)
300ml double cream
2 ripe bananas, mashed
4 tbsp Horlicks, or other malted milk powder
2 tbsp vodka (optional, but keeps texture smooth during long storage in freezer)
  1. Whisk everything together until thick and airily creamy. Freeze. That's it.
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