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My mum’s tuna bean bake, perfect student food

My boyfriend is a student living in a tiny studio apartment by himself. He likes his food but can’t be asked to cook so when I go to see him I like to cook some decent meals for him, to get him off the pasta diet. This backfired once when he said he was going to make dinner for a change and decided to make a curry… He boiled some milk in a pan, added curry powder, some rice and chicken. This was his homemade chicken korma. I don’t think that I have to tell you that it was not the best thing I have ever tasted, unfortunately he liked it and declared that he would take charge of the savoury stuff and I’d do the sweet things. Luckily, he seems to have forgotten about that and let me cook on my last visit. Once I had gotten over the pile of mouldy plates piled in the sink (ewwwwwww!!!) I took charge of the kitchen and made my mum’s lovely bean and tuna bake dish. I decided to make it because it’s nice and cheap, easy and does not require an oven, which my boyfriend does not have in his studio.

Ingredients

a tin of white haricot beans

a tin of canned tomatoes

a can of tuna

an onion

grated cheese

whatever takes your fancy to spice it up a bit !

Recipe

1. Cut the onion up into small chunks and fry them in a big pan.

2. Add the can of tomatoes and then can of tuna, aswell as anything else you might want to use.

3. Add the white haricot beans.

4. add the grated cheese and VOILA my mum’s tuna bean bake ! Yummy !

I am not going to put a photo on because, although this may be delicious it is unfortunately, not pretty.

Meggy x

A romantic night in

Valentine’s day was finally here for Moi and my boyfriend Gabriel, we decided to postpone Valentine’s day as he was still at school last week. I prepared my meal in my head again and again and hoped everything would go well… and it did! We had a lovely evening! The first course was roasted gnocci, the second course was a fabulous cornish pasty pie and the dessert was chocolate fondu (not really a proper dessert, I agree, but I don’t think we’d have been able to fit anything else in. Then we watched When Harry met Sally, which Gabriel was quite skeptical about at first because it’s a “girly film” but then he was laughing more than me when we watched it. The recipes that I used are a mix of Nigella Lawson, Delia Smith and me !

Rapid Roastini (or roasted gnocci), by Nigella Lawson

Serves 2

Ingredients

2 x 15 ml of regular olive oil

250 g of gnocci

Recipe

There are two ways to do this: you can either heat the oil in a large frying pan, put the gnocci in and fry for 4 minutes, turn them around and fry for another four minutes, OR you can bake them by preheating the oven to 200 C/gas mark 6, putting the gnocci in a roasting pan, add the oil and then bake for 20 minutes, stirring them after 10 minutes.

Voila, that’s it, simple!

Cornish pasty pie, by Delia Smith

Serves 6 people

I changed the ingredients a bit to make my pie as I didn’t have everything, I replaced the potato and turnip with 3 carrots. 

Ingredients

For the pastry

350 g plain flour

175 g lard

salt and pepper

cold water, to mix

For the filling

575 g chuck steak

1 large onion

1 medium to large potato

1 medium to large turnip

1 level tsp mixed herbs

To glaze

1 beaten egg

Recipe

1. Preheat the oven to 200 C/ gas mark 6 and grease a 10 inch (25.5) metal quiche tin.

2. Make the pastry first by cutting the lard up into small chunks and rubbing it into the flour, when the fat has been distributed evenly add the salt and pepper and some water to make it all stick together and make a ball. Stick it in the fridge while you prepare the filling.

3. Slice the steak into very thin strips, about 5cm long. Place the meat in a mixing bowl with the chopped vegetables, if you have used any thick vegetables, like potatoes or turnips, slice these as thinly as possible.

4. Roll out half the pastry, large enough to line the tin with 1/2 inch overlapping. Then layer the filling ingredients in it (or just pour it in like me). Season with salt and pepper and a sprinkling of herbs and finally sprinkle in a tablespoon of water.

5. Roll out the other half of the pastry and fit it on top of the pie. Seal the edges and make a steam-hole in the centre. Go round the edge with a knife which will give you lots of excess pastry to decorate the pie with. When your done, brush the surface with the beaten egg and then bake it in the oven on a high shelf for 15 minutes. Then, turn the heat down to 180 C/gas mark 4 and continue to cook on the centre shelf for 1  1/2 hours.

This is still good cold so don’t throw it away!

Chocolate fondu

Chocolate, melt, marshmallow, yummy!

Meggy x

Toffee caramel popcorn, by Lorraine Pascale

Me and my boyfriend (well me) decided to do a Disney night where we would watch our favourite Disney films. Unfortunately we couldn’t find all of them, the attic is a dark and scary place, so we made do with the ones that were within our reach: Snow White, Lady and the Tramp (one of my favourites), Fantasia (my boyfriend’s favourite, I was alright for the first 30 mins until I looked at the back of the DVD and saw how long the entire thing was) and Beauty and the Beast. What goes better with films than popcorn? I stumbled upon this recipe when I was flicking through Lorraine Pascale’s “Home cooking made easy” recipe book and thought it sounded fun and simple, which it is.

This is toffee caramel flavoured popcorn! YUMMY! Unfortunately we couldn’t fit it all in but you can store it for 2 days so we made it last.

Ingredients

1 tbsp sunflower oil

100 g popcorn kernels

100 g soft light brown sugar

100 g butter

150 g maple/golden syrup

Recipe

1. Heat the oil in a large pan over a medium high heat then add the popcorn kernels and give the pan a shake to coat in the oil.

2. Put the lid on and every 20 seconds or so shake the pan, when you hear the first pop shake more often. Turn the heat down when the strangely fun popping begins and enjoy yourself by watching the mini firework display (if you have a see-through lid of course). Keep shaking it every so often until only a few pops can be heard, take it off the heat and leave to stand for a minute or so, then take off the lid and leave the popcorn to cool.

3. While the popcorn is cooling, heat the butter, maple/golden syrup and sugar in a small pan over a low heat. Simmer for 2 –  3 minutes, stirring from time to time. Take the pan off the heat when the mixture is syrupy and smooth.

4. Pour half of the sauce over the popcorn, mix it around with a couple of wooden spoons until the popcorn is covered and then pour the remaining half in, again mixing it all around until the popcorn is covered.

5. Let the popcorn cool right down before you eat it, otherwise things will get seriously sticky.

6. If, like me, you didn’t manage to finish it all you can put it in an airtight container for up to 2 days.

Meggy x

Blondies, by Nigella Lawson

You may have been expecting a Valentine’s day recipe but, due to my boyfriend not being on school holidays yet, I am celebrating it next week instead and I will be cooking a 3 course meal and lots and lots of cakey snacky things to eat in front of a nice romantic film. Be sure not to miss that future post, either everything will go wrong or only a few things will.

These little treats are simply divine. Think of a brownie, then imagine it not brown and with oats et voila! Les Blondies! Nigella Lawson says that she came up with the name after baking some brownies then, a few days later, some of these. When I first made these we were amazed at how tasty they are, they’re everyone’s favourite cakey snack, even better than brownies! I have been meaning to show them to you, dear readers, for a while but I kept getting sidetracked. Once, I even got all the ingredients out and started weighing them, before realising that I was 150 grams short of oats. So FINALLY I have managed to make a batch, I highly recommend these to everyone, they are just so gorgeous.

Ingredients

200 g of oats, not instant

100 g of plain flour

1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

150 g of soft, unsalted butter

100 g of light muscovado sugar

1 x 397 g of condensed milk (my boyfriend has a strange fetish for this ingredient and insists on licking the can out when I’ve finished with it, which I find quite disgusting as condensed milk is good but mixed with other things, not by itself)

1 egg

1 x 170 g packet dark choccy chips

Recipe

1. Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4 and line a 23 cm cake tin or a foil tray, approximately 30 x 20 x 5 cm with foil.

2. Combine the oats, flour and bicarbonate of soda in a bowl.

3. In another bowl, beat or mix the soft butter with sugar until pale and airily creamy, then beat in the condensed milk followed by the oats, flour and bicarb mixture.

4. When these are well mixed, beat in the egg, then fold in the choccy chips.

5. Pour, or spoon, the mixture into your tin or tray and smooth it down. Cook in the pre heated oven for about 35 mins. When it’s ready it will be dark gold around the edges and coming away from the tin. It might seem squidgy underneath but fear not, this is normal. Leave in the tin until it’s firm then put it on a wire rack to cool. When it’s cool cut it up into squares, then devour it.

By the way, this lovely cake stands can be found on the Etsy shop Tour de Force, click on the link or on the button in my sidebar.

Meggy x

Sandra’s Gateau au Poire

My mum goes to her friends house once a week where they sew, drink tea and eat cake. Last week she came back raving about a cake that her friend had made and wanted me to make it. It’s a chocolate cake with pears, it’s a very very easy to make and it was very nice, it’s quite dry on the outside but nice and gooey on the inside. The recipe is a bit odd, the mesurements are in tablespoons,  it’s made with an entire packet of baking powder (about 11 grams) and only a tablespoon and a half of flour, I was very skeptical but followed the recipe and it worked!

This cake is perfect for when you don’t have a lot of time to cook.

Ingredients

3 eggs

6 tablespoons of caster sugar

1 and a half tablespoons of plain flour (I know it seems odd but trust me)

1 packet (11 g) of baking powder

150 g of dark chocolate

100 g of butter

a can of tinned pears, drain the juice first

A 20 cm cake tin

Preperation

1. Heat the oven to 190 C/400 F/Gas mark 6 then grease your cake tin and line the bottom with baking parchment.

2. Melt the butter and chocolate together in a saucepan and while it’s melting beat the eggs and sugar together in a bowl.

3. Add the baking powder and flour, still mixing, then add the melted butter and chocolate. Make sure everything is mixed together properly and then pour into the cake tin.

4. Put the pears ontop of the mixture, if they sink don’t worry, then put the cake tin in the oven and cook for 45 minutes. Check after 40, just to be on the safe side.

5. Leave to cool for 10 minutes then take it out of the cake tin, sliding a palette knife round the edges if it’s stuck, leave to cool for a little longer, then serve with a good cuppa tea.

Meggy x

Coconut and cherry banana bread

This cake may not be the prettiest cake in the world but it sure tastes nice! As the chef, Nigella Lawson, herself says in the recipe book Kitchen “to look at, I grant you, this is not a joyous creation, but it’s damp and luscious taste is all the more heightened for being unforseen” I just love the way she talks, everything sounds so amazing! It is a very simple cake that has a brilliant taste and it also leaves hardly any washing up as everything is mixed in the same pan!

Ingredients

125g soft unsalted butter, plus some for greasing

4 small-medium bananas (approx. 500g with the skin on)

150g of caster sugar

2 eggs

175g plain flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

100g of dried cherries

100g of desicated coconut

1 x 900g (2lb) loaf tin

Preperation

1. Preheat the oven to 170 C/gas mark 3. Put a loaf liner in your tin, or just line the bottom with baking parchment and grease the sides.

2. Melt the butter in a saucepan, take off the heat and leave to cool. Peel and mash the bananas in another bowl.

3. Beat the sugar into the cooled, melted butter, then beat in the bananas and the eggs. Fold in the flour, baking powder, and bicarb. Finally, add the dried cherries and coconut.

4. Fold well so that everthing is incorporated, then pour and scrape into the lined loaf tin and smooth the top.

5. Bake for 5o mins, but check after 45. When it’s ready, the cake will be coming away from the sides of the tin and will be bouncy on top. Leave it in the tin for 10 mins before transfering to a wire rack to cool.

Yummy yummy!

Meggy x

Spiced apple and raisin pie, by Delia Smith

After a huge amount of apples bought by my mum for an excessive amount of money (which doesn’t seem right to me…) my cooking thoughts have been revolving around apples and what I could do with them before they go out of date, even though my mum was told that they are magic apples that don’t go out of date for 6 months, I do not want any of them to go to waste, just in case. Half of them also taste like pears and the other half of lemons which is odd, but I won’t deny that they taste good. The first day I had a nice healthy salad with raisins and the normal apples that we need to use up before we start the “special” apples. Then I decided on an apple pie for saturday night, yum yum!

Delia Smith has been my parents cooking goddess since before I was born probably, we have loads of books by her and one has been used so much the cover has come of, been replaced, come off again, been replaced, etc. For me, she is like the fairy godmother of cooking. This was a very nice pie with spices, apples and raisins, my boyfriend was disappointed because he doesn’t like any of these things so he just had a bowl of custard but for those of us who have developed our taste buds beyond sweets and biscuits it was lovely!

Ingredients

For the pastry

110g of whole wheat flour

110g of self-raising flour

50g of margarine/butter

50g of lard

a pinch of salt

cold water, to mix

For the filling

700g of Bramley apples (or expensive ones that taste like pears in my case)

25g of soft brown sugar

1/4 teaspoon ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

75g of raisins

1/4 whole nutmeg, grated

To glaze

milk and caster sugar

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 6/400 F/200 C. Grease a 9 1/2 inch (24cm) pie-plate.

2. Quarter and peel the apples then slice them thinly into a saucepan and mix them with the sugar, spices and raisins. Sprinkle in the water and cook for 10 mins or until the apples are soft and fluffy. Next, empty the mixture into a bowl to cool.

3. Make the pastry by mixing the flours together and rubbing the fat into the flour with your fingers. Add some water and the pinch of salt and you should have a nice ball of pastry. If it’s a sticky lump (which is what I had at first) just add a bit more flour. Cut the pastry ball in half and roll one half out to a round then transfer it to line the pie-plate. Spoon in the filling, then roll out the other half of the pastry and cover the rest of the pie like a lid. Trim it and decorate with the spare pastry, brush with milk and sugar glaze, then place the pie on a baking sheet and bake for 30 mins.

Yummy yummy apple pie…

Meggy x

Chocolate digestive cheesecake with white icing

Another recipe that my Nan picked out over Christmas! This cake is very easy to make however, I have a few suggestions to make to Miss Lorraine. The biscuit base is very crumbly and she only puts it in a room to chill for 2 hours, which didn’t work. It was still quite runny and tasted too cheesy, but when I left the half that hadn’t been eaten in the fridge overnight the next day it was gorgeous! As you can see though the white chocolate design didn’t go as planned but I think it gives it a nice homemade look!

Ingredients

400g of chocolate digestives (I don’t think that 50g less would hurt though) crushed into fine crumbs

75g of butter, melted and cooled slightly

4 x 200g tubs cream cheese

icing sugar, to taste (I used about 25g)

400g milk chocolate (at least 35% cocoa solids), or a mixture of 300g milk and 100g dark chocolate (at least 70% cocoa solids)

1 tsp of vegetable oil

100g white chocolate

23cm springform tin

piping bag with a very small nozzle

Preperation

1. Mix the crushed biscuits with the melted and cooled butter squeezing them together with the back of a wooden spoon until everything is well incorporated. Put the biscuits in the springform tin and use something flat to make it nice and flat. (At this point Lorraine just leaves the biscuits but I think I would put them in the fridge while the filling is being made.)

2. Put the cream cheese and icing sugar together in a bowl and mix together gently. This should only take a few turns of the spoon.

3. Melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water, make sure the bowl doesn’t toch the water. You can also simply melt the chocolate in the microwave. Pour about a quarter of the chocolate into a jug, add the oil and put to the side. Before this is used again put it in the microwave for 20 seconds to warm it up a bit again, if you don’t have a microwave put a tea towl over it to keep warm.

4.  Add a large dollop of the cream cheese mixture to the chocolate mixture and stir to combine. Keep adding the cream cheese mixture, one dollop at a time, mix it like mad until the mixture until the chocolate mixture begins to look smooth and silky. At this point, tip all of the cream cheese mixture into the chocolate mixture and mix together until everything is completely incorporated.

5. Tip the mixture on top of the biscuit base and smooth the top.  Put the cheesecake in the fridge for 20 minutes or until the chocolate at the top is beginning to firm up a little.

6. Five minutes before the cheesecake is ready, melt the white chocolate and make sure the jug of milk chocolate is nice and runny. Remove the cheesecake from the fridge and quickly pour the milk chocolate ontop of it until it is completely covered. Now drizzle white chocolate lines across the top about 2cm apart so you have a grid. Using a cocktail stick drag it across the white lines (this is how Lorraine does it but you can do whatever you want). Leave the cheesecake in the fridge for 2 hours.

Meggy x

Black Beer Gingerbread

Last night we saw my heroine, Nigella Lawson, on the TV and she was doing a Christmas episode! She was throwing a cocktail for her glamorous friends in her beautiful house that was covered in fairy lights, and was making lots of snacky things to serve. She also made candles out of apples and cucumber which was (as she admitted) quite crazy but I liked it. One of the snacks she made was Black beer gingerbread, it looked very nice and my mum and I were drooling in front of the screen, you could almost smell the spices… So I made decided to make it!

Of course nothing goes smoothly in my kitchen. The first thing that I had trouble with were the measurements, which is in cups, but I soon got used to it.  Then I NEARLY forgot the golden syrup, so mum, who had been waiting for my mistake, swooped in and tried to take over. But everything was soon under control and the mixture was put in the oven.

Here is a picture of my gingerbread (that I tried to make look just like Nigella’s with the reindeer, snow and trees)! It is very nice! Even my boyfriend who doesn’t like spices likes it!

 

Ingredients

10 tablespoons of butter, plus some for greasing

1 cup of golden syrup

1 cup of dark brown sugar (packed) + 2 tablespoons

1 cup of stout

2 teaspoons of ground ginger

2 teaspoons of ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoons of ground cloves

2 cups of all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons of baking powder

1 ¼ cups of sour cream

2 eggs

1 rectangular aluminium foil pan, approximately 13 by 9 inches

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C/ 325 Fahrenheit and grease your foil pan
  2. Put the butter, syrup, dark brown sugar, stout, ginger, cinnamon and ground cloves into a pan and melt gently over a low heat
  3. Take off the heat and whisk in the flour and baking powder. You will need to get rid of any lumps
  4. Whisk the sour cream and eggs together then beat into the gingerbread mixture, whisking again for a smooth batter.
  5. Pour the mixture into your cake tin and bake for about 45 minutes, when it’s ready it will be gleamingly risen at the centre, and coming away from the pan at the sides.
  6. Let the gingerbread cool before cutting it into slices or squares.

Meggy x

Five-spice baked ribs, by Lorraine Pascale

My first savoury dish on this blog! My mum and I saw this being prepared on Lorraine Pascale’s tv show Home cooking made easy and I thought it would be nice to make because I like ribs but I don’t like to order them in restaurants because they are very messy and I end up with my face and hands covered in sauce, which is not a good look, so I thought that it would be good to make them myself and get messy in the privacy of my own home. Of course, the French seem determined to stop me from making anything properly and pretended not to know what pork ribs were. Even when I pointed at my ribs and said “these, but from a pig” the butcher I was talking to still said over and over again “that doesn’t exist”. Despite this discouraging conversation my mum went back the next day and bought a side of pork, which the butcher said he couldn’t cut up! Seriously??? Anyway, I cut it up with a meat cleaver into ribs sized chunks and voila! Maybe I should go back and show the butcher how to do it.

This is a really nice meal that isn’t too spicy, is very tasty and it’s good fun to make.

Ingredients

For the rub

  • 1 star anise
  • 1 tsp fennel seeds
  • few whole Sichuan peppercorns
  • 1 tbsp five-spice peppercorns
  • salt

For the ribs

  • 1kg/2lb 4oz pork spare ribs
  • ½ bunch spring onions, trimmed, chopped
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the honey glaze

  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • few squidges honey
  • 1-2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely chopped
  • 150ml/5fl oz soy sauce
  • 1lime, zest only
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds (optional, although I love them!)
  • 1-2 red chillies, deseeded, finely sliced

Preparation method

  1. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6. Line a large baking tray or roasting tin with aluminium foil.
  2. For the rub, crush the star anise, fennel seeds and Sichuan peppercorns in a pestle and mortar. Then add the five-spice powder and some salt and mix together to combine.
  3. Put the ribs into a bowl, sprinkle over the rub mixture and rub everything in. Tip the ribs onto the baking tray and spread them out in a single layer.
  4. Cook in the oven for 45 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, mix all the ingredients for the honey glaze in a small pan. Warm over a low heat until the honey is melted and all the ingredients are well combined.
  6. Remove the ribs from the oven, brush generously with the honey glaze, then sprinkle with the spring onions and season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. (Set the rest of the honey glaze aside for later.)
  7. Return the ribs to the oven and cook for a further 15 minutes.
  8. Once the ribs are cooked, remove them from the oven and tip them onto a large plate. Reheat the remaining honey glaze and serve as a dipping sauce with the ribs and a large green salad.

Meggy x