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)!

Sunday, 8 May 2011

Fashionable Food

Red velvet cake is a relatively new concept to me, and as fashionable as macaroons. The bottom line is that I think I like colourful cakes, so the idea of a shocking red cake intrigued me. So, today was the day. I obviously opted for the Nigella's Kitchen version, in cupcake form, rather than a larger cake.

Dry ingredients were plain flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and bicarb. In another bowl I creamed caster sugar, butter, red food colouring (you can use beetroot to do this too, but not for me), vanilla extract and buttermilk. I gradually mixed the dry and wet together with beaten egg and added cider vinegar. I poured the mixture between 12 cake cases and baked for 20 minutes.

The result was some rather topsy-turvy looking cakes - all different sizes. I do wish I had used muffin cases as I think they make for a more impressive cupcake but hey-ho. The frosting was butter mixed with icing sugar, cider vinegar and cream cheese. I decorated the cakes with chocolate sprinkles, but would have liked some red sugar, as suggested in 'the book', however, this delicacy was not to be found in your average supermarket on a Sunday afternoon.

We have had three of the cakes, and have delivered some to friends this afternoon as they are best eaten on the day apparently (we have a dozen). It would be rude of me not to have another tonight, would it not??

Goddess Mx

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Back from my blogiday!

Hello *meekly*. I have loved doing this blog, but am ashamed to say I have neglected it of late. My reasons for this are many, but probably foremostly because I am still looking for a job since being made redundant at the end of March. I naively thought that I could just trot merrily into a job of my pleasing, but it has not quite worked out that way and blogging whilst career-searching has seemed a bit of a luxury. However, here I am, despite still being jobless (well, I am working my best Joan from Mad Men impression now and again as a temp). I figured, with some gentle coaxing from Master M, that it is 'good to blog' so I'm going to try and get back in the zone. Another reason was a couple of friends have said to me recently that they have enjoyed reading my blog (yeah, I know as mates it is kinda their duty)!

Although I have been a bit bluesy, my cooking has continued, and yes all of the Nigella variety (with the exception of some Royal Wedding themed canapes and cocktails where I strayed to alternative recipes - shock). I don't want this to be a long 'un, and I have cooked up a few dishes, so I'll keep each one short...

During the Easter break, I delved into Nigella's Feast book for some inspiration for a Good Friday supper. I wanted to go for something that we could all eat as a family, and fish on a friday seemed kind of apt so opted for the Blakean Fish Pie (named after William Blake's sunburst paintings). This wasn't so different to the usual one I make with cod, haddock and salmon, topped with fluffy mash. The piece de resistance was the addition of plump king prawns, saffron and single cream in the sauce. The boys went out for an hour or so to allow me to prep, ready to whack the dish in the oven when we were ready for it. Good Friday dinner was had in the garden with peas, and my son's satisfying 'nomnomnoms' which is the best compliment really.

Next dish was a fresh salad to take to a friend's BBQ so Nigella's Summer did the trick, opened at The Rainbow Room's Carrot and Peanut Salad. On reading the recipe I had one of those freaky moments reading about the Rainbow Room, where Nigella's mother used to take her kitted out in full sixties Biba fashion. I had only just been speaking with friends about maxi cardigans (yes please) and fabulous floor-sweeping Biba dresses, selling at House of Fraser. Anyway, the salad comprises thickly grated carrots, salted peanuts, groundnut oil, red wine vinegar and sesame oil. Takes about five minutes but is a great accompaniment to all things barbequed.

Another weekend, another bank holiday, but with a difference. The Royal Wedding. Hoorah! Off I went printing off DIY paper union jack bunting (austere times), masks of the lovely couple to cut up, along with a search for the perfect playlist, red/white/blue balloons and UJ napkins. We had a british themed menu - homemade cheese straws, earl grey cocktails, raspberry champagne cocktails, cornish camembert for starter and Heston's trifle for pud. The main was from Kitchen - Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic (a classic French dish, but shhh, really wanted to make it). Olive oil was heated in a large casserole dish, chicken thighs seared and removed, spring onions and thyme browned along with 20 of the unpeeled garlic cloves. The browned chicken was returned and topped with the remaining 20 cloves, salt, pepper and vermouth, and oven cooked for 90 minutes. A really tasty dish, but the best bit for me was counting the cloves - bringing out my OCD! - and the delicious aroma spread throughout our house.

The next day, in a mildly hungover fug, Little M and I made Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins to take to a housewarming BBQ. I love making muffins because you can do it quite quickly and then feel suitably smug and domesticated. These had the usual plain flour, bicarb, baking powder, caster sugar and egg in. Veg oil was used, along with buttermilk, blueberries and polenta (cornmeal substitute). The cakes were great, although not 100% sure about the grainy texture.

After a day meeting Bob the Builder, Peppa Pig et al at Harewood House, Sunday night called for a curry, so I opted for the Thai Chicken Noodle Soup from Kitchen. Chicken stock was heated up in a big soup pot, and in went some coconut milk, fresh ginger, fish sauce, chopped red chilli, tumeric, tamarind paste, soft brown sugar, lime juice, cooked chicken, stir fry veg and noodles. Once piping hot, I ladled the soup into bowls and sprinkled with the magic that is coriander. Slurp.

Last night I made Poached Chicken with Lardons and Lentils. I really enjoy the texture of poached poultry so this was ideal. Garlic oil was heated in a casserole dish, followed by chopped carrot, leeks, parsley, lardons, dried mint, lemon zest, chicken thighs, puy lentils and water. I seasoned and then let the pot simmer away for 45 mins before dishing up our fare - really comforting, and great heated up again for lunch, as I have done today!

So there you have it. I am sure I have missed some recipes, which I might add at a later date. Not too much later mind! Good to be back.

Goddess Mx