Hello and Welcome!

Hello and welcome to my blog.

This is my very first one, so bear with me and enjoy reading about my adventures cooking all of the recipes from Nigella Lawson's new book 'Kitchen'.

From time-to-time I may post about things other than cooking, after all, Nigella does sell a lifestyle that most women would like have a slice of, so I would like to share a bit of mine - not quite as glamorous but fun none-the-less (may I add that most of my ideas and thoughts revolve around food anyway)!

Just to set the scene a little, I am based in Yorkshire, live with my husband and gorgeous toddler who is rapidly approaching his second year. I work in the events industry and love music, books, fashion, culture and of course... food.


Goddess Mx (meant in the loosest possible sense, believe me)!

Thursday, 30 September 2010

Handbags, scarves and Pasta alla Genovese with potatoes, green beans and pesto

I always love the drive home from work. No matter how weary I feel after a hard day's slog, I never fail to be cheered up by the fancy dress parade in Leeds' student suburb which is host to an infamous pub-crawl. How can you feel fed-up when affronted by young lads walking up the road dressed in outfits as unoriginal as dressing gowns and slippers, through to camptastic Village People wannabes? However, yesterday it wasn't the outfits that made me smile, but my lovely son who was adorned with handbags and scarves when I collected him from nursery. How have Master M and I managed to create such an amazing little person? So, off we went home to raid my wardrobe for bags and scarves to continue the fun.

For dinner we had Pasta alla Genovese which is basically pinenut-free pesto with pasta, potatoes and green beans. It was a satisfying meal but I think the pesto was a tad on the bitter side, perhaps due to me adding the basil stalks. Oh well, I live and learn. Master M omitted the green beans as he considers them devil's food.

Tonight I am going to cook Chicken Tereyaki for tonight, and will prepare Saturday's Turkey Meatballs so that we can kick-back and enjoy 'Strictly' without having to think about prepping the weekend's food.

Before all that though, I am going to Waitrose which opens today - woo hoo! There are green banners enticing me there everywhere I look - railings, bus-stops, billboard advertisements. Was considering taking a last-minute day's annual leave just so that I could go but thought that a bit short-sighted. After all it can wait until lunchtime when I can drive over! Also, Nigella's 'Kitchen' is on tonight so the wait is nearly over. Have had a sneak preview of what she is cooking on the BBC website, none of which I have made yet. Think the highlight will be her Peanut Butter Cheesecake.

Until tomorrow.

Goddess Mx

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

(Just the right amount of) Sweet and Sour Chicken

So, after saying I wouldn't cook last night, I did after all and I think it was just what the Doctor ordered! My favourite kind of cooking is the one-pot variety where you just keep popping things in, a bit like a witches' brew. Very therapeutic. So instead of frog's legs and spiders (very apt on the approach to Halloween), in went red onion, chicken, red pepper, chinese 5-spice, beansprouts and waterchestnuts, among an array of other delights. I then left it to 'bubble, bubble, toil and trouble' while I tidied the day's chaos from the kitchen and prepared the rice.

Master M and I tucked in whilst watching the fifth episode of BBC drama 'The Deep', which was dissapointing and far-fetched in the extreme. Just as well we had a yummy dinner. The balance of sweet and sour was just right for me, gladly, after last night's fiasco of a meal. Master M gave it a 3/5 saying that it was maybe a bit runny, but I liked it that way.

Might do the pesto dish tonight. Will see where the mood takes me.

Goddess Mx

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

BBQ Mince - not for us...

Well, not much to say about last night's BBQ Mince. The mince was too sweet for me, and this is coming from someone who has a saccharine-sweet tooth. Also, I served the mince in a soft white roll, as suggested in the book, and the bread turned to mush, not nice. Let's save the sweet tastes for puddings, although I am not opposed to Sweet and Sour Chicken which is coming later in the week.

I have realised that if I continue - in my slightly OCD way - to cook every recipe in the order they appear in the book, this would mean a couple of weeks of pudding/cake every day which isn't beneficial for the old waistline. So, next week I am going to make a combo of main meals and puddings to break things up a bit. This week has been quite heavy on the meat after all. Think tonight I am going to have a night off cooking - shock horror! - as Master M is at footie again and I am going to have a humble pasta and pesto (of the jarred variety). I technically made two recipes for the Crisp Chicken Cutlet dish earlier in the week, preparing the accompanying salad according to the recipe.

Feeling a bit yuk today, as is Little M who is not quite himself. Think we need a bit of a treat soon. Just as well our local Waitrose opens in two days, in parallel with Nigella's 'Kitchen' TV series. Things are looking up, up, up (the things that amuse/entertain me are quite simple really)!

Goddess Mx

Monday, 27 September 2010

Crisp Chicken Cutlets and Cheesy Chilli (with a bit of X Factor thrown in for good measure)

Phew - Saturday was a bit of a mad one. Got up early as per the norm with little M, playing with trains and jigsaws. While shopping for all the vital ingredients for the week's menu, I was very nervous at the checkout waiting to hear the damage, but was pleasantly surprised at the £70ish pounds. Not bad for two people, and I did get lots of dried herbs, spices and oils that I wouldn't normally have to get so it should get less expensive as I go. As Master M went to the football, I had plans with my football widow friend and her son to go to the park. I remembered as I was practically leaving the house that I needed to marinade the chicken for my crisp chicken cutlets, so got the rolling pin out, bashed the chicken breasts flat and chucked them in a dish with natural yoghurt, milk and worcester sauce, all with little M on my hip taking it all in with goggle-eyes. He must have wondered what his crazy mummy was all about!

Fast-forward to dinner time and I fried the breaded chicken for 3 mins on both sides but don't think it was thin enough so the meat was still raw on the inside, while the coating was getting to the burnt stage. So, I cut the chicken into strips, finished it off and presented it as a salad, which was lovely. Also got Master M's seal of approval which means it must have been tasty indeed!

On Sunday we had an excellent day in rainy Hull as we went to The Deep, a spectacular aquarium that little M enjoyed running around in, not bothered about the fish so much as all the space to explore. We then ventured into Hull for lunch to avoid extortionate prices at The Deep, only to end up in M and S as Pizza Express, where we had wanted to eat, had closed eight months previously. Hull seems seriously short of good eateries so there is a definite niche there.

At home later after saying goodbye to Nana who had spent the day with us, little M went to bed and we had Cheesy Chilli which was tremendous. Comfort food at its best. Not much more can be better than snuggling up on an autumnal evening with a bowl of steaming hot bowl of chilli, oozing with Mozzarella, mildly salted tortilla chips and a dose of Simon Cowell et al.

I also got ahead of myself by preparing tomorrow's feast of BBQ Mince which I am unsure of to be honest. It has Jim Beam in it and all I can smell when I lift the pot lid is Bourbon so hope it doesn't overpower. I think we are having it with soft white rolls and more cheese (cheddar this time). Will let you know tomorrow.

Goddess Mx

Friday, 24 September 2010

Fritatta and Crust-Free Pizza, but not all in one night...

So, I had mentioned that I had to substitute the ham for my fritatta but I was really annoyed with myself when I got home and realised that I'd bought coriander instead of parsley - duh! Coriander isn't even an italian herb so I didn't want to use it at the risk of ruining the dish so I used some (very wilting in a pot) basil instead. Nigella wouldn't be impressed! Anyway the results were great and I went back for second helpings. Here is a photo which doesn't do the meal any justice. I need a food photographer to come and live in my house.

Today's challenge was easy-peasy and completely delicious. I am having such fun with all of this. I made crustless pizza which is basically made with batter instead of bread. This worried me due to me and Master M being hopeless when it comes to making Toad in the Hole, no matter which recipe we follow. The only difference with the batter is that you chuck in some grated cheese - divine. Watching through the oven door I could see the base bellowing to huge proportions and thought 'oh no, not again' but after I added the topping - more cheese and sliced chorizo sausage - put it back in to melt, and took it out again, it deflated just as quickly and looked superb (in my culinary expert opinion)! As satisfying as it was, as someone who does enjoy a good pizza, I like it the traditional way. Crustless pizza sounded like a healthy-option but it was actually quite heavy, although I think it might be just what is needed for Master M when he comes in from his booze-induced evening.

Tomorrow is crisp chicken cutlets, followed by cheesy chilli on Sunday. It is all quite like student-fodder at the moment which I am loving. I'll blog again when I can. Was going to do it every day but by the time I have shopped, cooked and all the other stuff daily life entails, it sometimes doesn't happen!


Goddess Mx

Thursday, 23 September 2010

And so it begins with a frittata party!

This is a first for me. I am not a particulary fabulous writer but feel I have to record a challenge that I have set myself, inspired by the film 'Julie and Julia'. I loved this film which depicts Julie Powell in 2002 blogging her way through cooking every recipe in "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" by Julia Child in one year.

I am a big fan of Nigella Lawson and can't contain the excitement every time she brings out a new cookbook/tv show. The problem is, how can I possibly fit in all of her recipes in one lifetime? Nigella has recently released 'Kitchen' which is advertised as a 21st version of her first book 'How to Eat'. I hadn't even made a decent start on 'Nigella Express'!

Well, I feel I have the solution. Like Julie Powell, I am going to cook one Nigella recipe a day, beginning today, 23 September 2010. There are 190ish recipes which should mean I should be finished the book in 6ish months and then can work my way through the rest of her books. Let's not run though before we can walk...

So, the first recipe is Mortadella and Mozzarella Frittata, which I have already had to amend slightly due to my local supermarket not stocking mortadella. Having googled for an alternative and finding out that this italian ham is a poor man's version of raw ham, I have just bought milano salami instead. Let's hope it works just as well. I don't intend to stick to the recipes religiously if I can't source ingredients as this just takes the fun away doesn't it and would mean I am doomed to fail from the beginning (literally).

I have entitled this post 'and so it begins with a frittata party' from Nigella's reference in Nigella Express for her frittata selection recipe. Think I will always associate frittatas with parties now for some reason! Let's hope so after tonight's effort. I am cooking for myself as Little M will be in bed, and Master M is not home until late. Looking forward to it!

Verdict will follow tomorrow, along with details of what I will be cooking on Friday.


Goddess M