Tag Archives: cookery

Homemade bread for Ploughmans lunch


Today I made bread for the first time. Just a simple white bloomer but it has given me the bug and I won’t be buying bread from now on (says she in her post first loaf glory).

First bakes rarely turn out well for me but this bread turned out better than I could have imagined. The house smells fantastic, the first warm slice with some cheese and red wine made a delicious Sunday supper and I’m looking forward to a Ploughmans packed lunch tomorrow.

Have you ever baked bread? Let me know what you suggest for round two!

Sunday Selection

What a miserable week it has been in London – the weather is rubbish at the moment. You can’t go anywhere without an umbrella yet you get an occasional taste of ‘summer’ for an hour or two each day. I wish we could have one warm and dry day so I could spend it on Hampstead Heath, reading the papers and eating ice cream.

If you do visit Hampstead Heath, try ParkGrid, a new way to find your friends that means no more walking around for hours on end trying to spot them amongst the masses – http://parkgrid.co.uk/

This is one of my favourite blogs of all time, and she’s just got back from a trip to the Amalfi Coast in Italy. Get ready to be jealous – http://www.jacquelynclark.com/2013/06/17/maiori-minori-the-amalfi-coast-part-i/

A recipe for a cauliflower crust pizza that I’m planning to try this week – http://www.eat-drink-smile.com/2011/04/cauliflower-crust-pizza.html

I was trawling through my bookmarks and found these 130 Years Of Brooklyn Bridge Photos, Decade By Decade – http://ny.curbed.com/archives/2013/05/22/130_years_of_brooklyn_bridge_photos_decade_by_decade.php

Have a great week!

ps do you prefer seeing the link in the body of the article?

Pinterest Finds: Cupcakes in Disguise

After a very successful Pinterest Finds last week, I’ve decided to continue with the food in disguise theme. Today I have a selection of cupcakes all artfully in disguise. Awesome.

Pinterest Finds: Food in Disguise

This week my Pinterest Finds are dedicated to food in disguise. Take a look at the images below, and you might think you are looking at Brighton Rock, Hot Dogs, Steak, Worms and so on. But trust me, you are not. Confused? Me too.

I can’t decide whether I love or hate food in disguise. In theory, I think it is a brilliant idea. But in reality… if I see something that looks like sushi, I want to eat sushi! And when it turns out to be cake – I can’t help feeling disappointed.

What do you think?

avocado, mozzarella, basil and tomato salad

Simple Summer Salad Recipe

Summer might be drawing to a close but for a delicious, light and easy to make salad, look no further than below.

avocado, mozzarella, basil and tomato salad


Beef tomatoes
Handful of fresh basil leaves
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar


Cut the beef tomatoes into slices. Cut the mozzarella into slices. (See, I told you this was simple). Scatter fresh basil leaves over your beautiful arrangement…

Arrange on plate, leaving room for a small bowl. Place small bowl at the centre of the plate and fill with good quality olive oil. Or bad quality olive oil. As always, just use whatever you have in stock. Pour in a dash of balsamic vinegar (some people might say it is an awful culinary crime to ruin good olive oil with balsamic vinegar, but I like it).

Season mozzarella and tomato with black pepper. Serve. Eat. Done.

Pinterest Finds: 10 ways with green tea

A few days ago I went on a Pinterest binge and stumbled (enjoying my mixed social media metaphors?) across hundreds of ways to use green tea. My mind was totally blown.

Although I love green tea and drink many cups of it a day, I have never thought about cooking with it. Now I have, you can expect some green recipes soon. Let me know if you have tried making any of the following, and if there are any I should avoid!

Source: epicurious.com via Carla on Pinterest

Source: momtastic.com via Carla on Pinterest

Fancy some more Pinterest Finds? Cupcakes, home libraries and bento boxes.

homemade apple pie

Homemade apple pies… in an apple

Who loves apple pie? I love apple pie! (to the tune of Kel’s who loves orange soda, obviously).

Now who loves apple pie without the arduous task of washing up the pie dish? That might just be me again. Plus how freaking awesome do these look? I got the idea from Pinterest a while ago and took a stab at making my own.

I can’t remember how. Which is pretty lame. But if you want the recipe enough leave me a comment and I will scramble through my recipe book (sheets and sheets of loose paper and napkins) to find it for you. I just got too excited seeing this snap again to hold off posting :)

homemade apple pie

homemade frappuccino alternative

Why spend a fortune on a Starbucks Frappuccino when you can make your own for pennies?

The best bit? You can add as much whipped cream as you want!

Firstly, this is technically not a Frappuccino. So I’m going to go right ahead and name it a Carlaccino. Whoever gets this to cotton on and trend on twitter will get unlimited Carlaccinos for life.

homemade frappuccino alternative

Why a Carlaccino? Well, I’m not great at following recipes. I take a look at them and think ‘bah, who needs to add that? I’m going to add some turmeric instead of vanilla essence and get this partaaay started’. Some of my culinary experiences have not turned out well, but every so often there is a gem of creation which makes experimentation worthwhile.

Today was one of those days. I took a walk into my hometown, and passing a Starbucks I fancied a frappuccino. However I really didn’t want to spend £3 on a drink I don’t even like that much. I find them watery, I don’t like the lumps of ice and the coffee is not strong enough for my liking. Plus, the amount of whipped cream on top is pitiful by my standards.

Feeling adventurous I toddled off home and decided to throw caution to the wind and pull out everything in the fridge or in the cupboards that appealed. This included:

  • A long tall latte glass that came in a Christmas gift set that never, ever gets used
  • A skanky straw from the back of an unused drawer
  • Whipped cream
  • Powdered milk creamer
  • Instant coffee (hey, I was feeling lazy)
  • Cocoa powder
  • Sugar
  • Splenda
  • Vanilla essence
  • Semi-skimmed milk
  • Soy milk

Firstly I boiled the kettle. Then in a mug I mixed together 2 tablespoons of instant coffee, a tablespoon of splenda, a tablespoon of sugar and a tablespoon of milk creamer. I filled the mug halfway with boiling water and stirred obsessively until the coffee granules disappeared. I filled the rest of the mug with cold water, gave it a stir and popped it in the fridge.

I then pulled out the blender, added 9 ice cubes, a drop of vanilla essence, about 100ml each of soy milk and semi-skimmed milk and the slightly less hot coffee mix. I then carefully pushed the pulse button on the blender a few times, and *ta-da* I had a silky smooth jug of Carlaccino goodness.

I carefully poured the mixture into my tall glass, reached for the whipped cream and piled it as high as it could go before toppling. I sprinkled on some cocoa powder, stuck in the straw and sighed with happiness.

5 minutes later it was gone and all I was left with was a whipped cream moustache.

For me, the secret ingredient was the soy milk. I can’t stand it in my tea but as it has a slight sweetness it went perfectly with the coffee. This was total trial and error and I’m sure you can make some variations on the above, cutting the ingredients considerably. Next time I will try it with proper coffee, soy milk, vanilla essence, ice and whipped cream alone.

Let me know if you have any tips or variations!

japanese food feast

Japanese Food

A few weeks ago I briefly blogged about the night we made Japanese food. This was fairly new turf for us – apart from a small amount of sushi making my previous forays into this area have not been incredibly successful. Think soggy gyozas and wet tofu. I still can’t cook tofu decently, but we did make an incredibly tasty feast (tofu / pak choi disaster aside). Here are a few more instagram pictures.

japanese food feast

The feast!

homemade japanese food feast

Sesame miso soup

homemade japanese food feast

Vegetarian gyoza with sweet chili sauce

homemade japanese food feast

Salmon sashimi

homemade japanese food feast

Aubergine with spring onions and sesame dressing. My favourite dish of the night – incredible flavours!

Pinterest Finds: Hot chocolate bar party idea

Source: fetefanatic.blogspot.com via Carla on Pinterest

This is enough for me to almost wish away summer so the winter can come. Got friends popping over in the evening for a drink? With just a little effort you could have a hot chocolate bar waiting for them when they come in from the cold. And the leftovers will keep you going for weeks!

What you will need:

    • Mugs
    • Hot chocolate powder (or make your own from scratch)
    • Cocoa powder, to sprinkle on top
    • Mini marshmallows
    • Long spoons
    • Whipped cream
    • Those divine biscuits in the photo! (Anybody know what they are?)