Vlog!

So here it is, my first attempt at a video blog, I’ve been wanting to do one of these for a long time and finally realised I could just set up my laptop and use the webcam to film it – no this isn’t going to be nominated for a best filmography award, but it is a start.  It has taken a lot to get this far, every time I watch it I cringe and am truly  crushed by the often starring role of my big fat double chin!!!  ARGGHHH!!  But anyway, I’m 30 now and have to accept that I’m far from perfect and that my bum does look big in pretty much everything I wear (breaks into chorus of ‘I like big butts and I can not lie’).

So I hope you like it, please let me know, I’d love to hear what you think.  The recipe included is for a gram flour flat bread featured here and here with a dry potato and pea curry, very similar to the written recipes I’ve linked to.

Right so here we go (closes eyes, covers face and tries not to peek):

Thanks for watching and  let me know what you think by making a comment…

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Mackerel Fish Cakes (gluten free)

In a continued attempt to be more frugal I’ve been delving deeper into my  store cupboard lately and this week I found the ubiquitous mackerel.  I remember that for some reason mackerel fillets tinned in tomato sauce are actually cheaper than their brine or oil contained counterparts so it makes sense to add a bit of tomato to you life.

Mackerel is one of those amazinge eye sight strenghtening super food type things which packs an excellent omega 3 punch and in tins has to be the most penny-pinching way to enjoy a bit of this tasty, oily fish.  Another benefit of using the tomato clad mackerel is the wicked (did I just say wicked?) pink the fish cakes go inside and the fuzzy feeling you get when you realised you’ve smuggled another of your 5 a day into your dinner.  If you don’t have this wonderous ingredient in your cupboard but do have a tin of tuna then you could try this instead, if not then, onwards, my friends, the recipe is closer than you think…

Makes about 6  fish cakes which serves 2 with salad or 3 for people with small bellies

Ingredients:

  • 4/5 medium potatoes
  • A tin of mackerel in tomato sauce (you can use the oil or brine ones but drain them first and don’t expect that nice shade of pink I was talking about)
  • 4 spring onions, washed and chopped fairly finely
  • Salt and pepper
  • A handful or 2 of breadcrumbs (I always blend up any gf bread going stale and whack it in a big bag in the freezer)
  • An egg
  • 2 tablespoons of gluten free plain flour
  • Oil for frying

Method:

Boil and mash the potatoes, leave to cool.   Break up the mackerel into the potatoes, toss in the tomato sauce, add the spring onions season and mix.  Form into burger shapes and chill in the fridge for a while until set.

Lay out your other ingredients on plates or shallow dishes, whip the egg slightly to combine.  Dip and roll the cakes first into flour, then egg, and then into the breadcrumbs.

Heat a large frying pan.  Add about 2 tablespoons of oil (more if you can stand it).  Once the oil is hot, fry the fish cakes until golden on each side then serve with salad, or whack in bun for a full on fishy carb fest.

Potato Farls (Gluten Free)

Happy Valentines Day!  These farls or potato bread as it is referred to in our flat is a somewhat romantically inspired recipe as my partner is from Belfast and loves these as part of a traditional fry, unfortunately my lack of organisation ended up shoving a buttered one in his face before I deserted him for Brum today but the thought was there and he plans to cook himself a little fry with the leftovers later tonight.  I was also planning to be all sickly sweet and try to cut them into heart shapes but again due to time constraints I opted for the more traditional round and  wedges of farls, but it’s  not a bad idea to cut these into shapes as they are quite delicate and difficult to transfer and turn in one big round so I would in future, perhaps, do circles or cut into wedges or squares before cooking to save the faffing around with rolling pins and plates.  So in brief potato bread is my romantic gesture of the day – who said romance is dead?

Gluten Free Potato Farls

These are dead easy to whip up, I somehow managed to do these all whilst simultaneously packing bags for Brum, managing the screams of an excited toddler’s growing anticipation of grandma and grandpa arriving at the gates and leaving the biggest pile of washing up known to man for my dearest, I said it before but who was it who said romance was dead?

Right enough gabbling and onto the recipe…

Ingredients:

  • 4 medium sized potatoes ( rough unpeeled weight was 650g if you want to be precise but I don’t think you need to bother with something like this)
  • 3 big heaped dessert spoonfuls of plain gluten free flour ( I used Dove’s Farm)
  • A big (I mean it) knob of butter and more for serving

Method:

Peel, then boil the spuds until tender and mash the living daylights out of them, season generously, whack in the butter and mix.  Stir in the flour then tip out onto a floured board.  Now it is quite hot still but this is where I pretend like I have asbestos fingers (I don’t) and then realise I don’t and ‘ow OWWW!’ my way through a little knead to makes sure all the flour is incorporated, clearly it would be much simpler and pain free to let the damn mash cool first but what’s a little pain on the route to potato bread pleasure hey?

score the farl shapes whilst cooking...

Put a heavy based frying pan on the hob and set to medium.  Grease the pan with a little oil and then get onto rolling.  Flour a rolling-pin and roll out into a roundish looking shape, then transfer carefully to the pan ( this is where you could lose half the farl so I recommend a plate or a rolling-pin to help with the manoeuver) if it falls apart don’t worry it is easily squished together or made into smaller pieces, it still tastes great so worry no more.  Fry for about 8 minutes a side until deep golden brown then serve amongst a selection of your finest fried breakfast finery, on their tod with lashings of butter, or with jam as I guzzled down this morning or all posh with a twirl of smoked salmon and a big blob of creme fraiche.

Chorizo Bubble and Squeak

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I’m on a bit of a chorizo roll at the moment and I’m loving it.  I had this for lunch today in order to use up a rather forlorn looking cabbage and some of the chorizo used for last night’s tray bake. 

Ingredients:

6 smallish potatoes, boiled then mashed

1 onion, sliced

quarter of a cabbage, savoy, shredded

salt and pepper

olive oil

Method:

Soften the onion in some olive oil then begin to fry with the chorizo until starting to caramelize, add the cabbage and gently fry until wilted.  Mix the onion, cabbage and chorizo in with the mash,season,  leave to cool slightly then form into patties and fry in olive oil.  Served alone or with a fried egg or perhaps a little salad (the sunshine is out after all).

Tuna Fish Cakes and Basil Mayonnaise

I made this for lunch today.  It’s my first attempt at home made mayonnaise and I’m rather proud of the results and it wasn’t half as hard as I thought it might be (ok ok i did have a semi disaster as had hoped to make a lemony mayo but my first attempt was rather sour so I binned it and started again with a very nice sherry vinegar and it worked out!).

Ingredients:

As usual I’m not going to be precise, it depends how many you are making for so just add appropriate amounts and give it a go.

For the fishcakes…

Mashed potato

Spring onions, chopped

Tinned tuna, drained (dolphin friendly please!!)

Salt and pepper

Mix the ingredients together, form in to patties and fry off in a little hot oil.  Pop the oven on and put in there to ensure heated through. 

For the Basil Mayo…

1 egg yolk

Olive oil

a tablespoon or two of sherry vinegar

salt and pepper

About a tablespoon of shredded fresh basil

Whisk the egg yolk, vinegar and seasoning.  Slowly trickle in the oil whisking quickly, my dad always said figure of eight, but just keep whisking and slowly adding oil until thick and glossy. 

Add basil, stir, serve with your fish cakes.  We ate ours with a little tomato and basil salad dressed with some more of that delicious sherry vinegar.

Resolutions and a Recipe…

Farewell sweet friend...

Happy New Year! 

I’ve finally returned to the blog after a spate of seasonal lethargy and Christmas and New Year celebrations.

I’ve eaten very well over the holidays, was treated to a lovely Christmas dinner cooked by my dad and many other fantastic meals, in fact I didn’t do that much cooking at all.  Our Christmas meal was slow roasted duck and pork with all the trimmings, very delicious and all the better for being cooked by someone else.  What did you have on Christmas Day? 

In terms of resolutions, hmm I guess I’ll just have to accept I might break them but here we go:

  • No more Lindt Chocolate Truffles until December 2011 – these have become somewhat of an addictive opiate to me over the holiday season and as the last one in my possession was consumed about 5 minutes ago I will now solemnly promise, well I’ll try, not to buy anymore of these sweet, silky smooth chocolates until Christmas next year.
  • Try to rise above frustrating situations and people and make more of an effort to be cheerful, ha ha, lets see, in other words the dreaded positive thinking pledge, don’t you just love it!
  • Try to blog regularly
  • Find a fool-proof recipe for a chicken or lamb biryani and actually cook it rather than dream about it or attempt to guess the recipe and end up in disaster
  • Curb my new gluten free mince pie addiction, rather like the lindt chocolates after the last one is gone from the box I will really try not to let another package fall into my supermarket basket.

Right I think thats enough for now.  On to a recipe.

I tried my hardest to stay vegetarian for this one as Anna, i haven’t forgotten you!, requested it.  I’m sorry it’s nothing very elaborate or exciting but it was very tasty.

Spinach, Spring Onion and Potato Cakes (served with a poached egg and bernaise sauce)

Serves 2

7/8 Small potatoes or 3/4 big ones

2 Big fistfuls of spinach

A small bunch of spring onions (7/8)

Butter

Salt and pepper

Oil

Egg and Bernaise sauce to serve.

Method:

Boil the potatoes. Whilst pots are boiling, slice spring onions and fry gently in a pan.  Roughly chop spinach.

Mash the potatoes, add spring onion, spinach and a knob of butter and stir.  Put lid on and leave for a minute if spinach isn’t wilting well.  Season and stir together.  Let cool.

Form potato mixture into patties or cakes and fry off in a hot pan with a little oil.  Fry until golden and crispy on each side.

Serve with a soft poached egg and some Bernaise sauce. (I did’t make this, I didn’t have time but it would be super lovely if you did, if not though I thought the jar of sauce by Maille was perfectly acceptable!)

Cod with Crispy Chorizo and a Tomato Sauce

Serves 2

Ingredients:

For the tomato sauce,

  1. Tin of chopped tomatoes
  2. 1 onion, finely chopped
  3. 1 veg stock cube
  4. 1 teaspoon of sugar
  5. 1 desert spoonful of balsamic vinegar
  6. Freshly ground pepper

Method:

Soften the onions in a little olive oil until translucent (about 10min in pan, or 5 in microwave).  Add tinned tomatoes, vinegar, stock cube, sugar and pepper.  Simmer for about ten min then blend and set aside.

Other ingredients:

  1. 2 cod fillets or other chunky white fish
  2. About two inches of chorizo, chopped into little bits
  3. 4 Spring onions, sliced
  4. Mashed potato (potatoes, creme fraiche, butter, salt and pepper) to serve with.

Method:

Pan fry the fish about a minute each side (you will need to vary this depending on the size and thickness of your fish).  Place in the oven on top of a mound of mash on a very low heat.  Meanwhile fry the chorizo and spring onion quickly on a high heat until crispy.  Drain. 

Spoon tomato sauce around fish and mash.  Sprinkle with crispy chorizo and spring onion.  Serve.