Thursday, January 31, 2013

Manolo Blahnik, Jimmy Choo and Roger Vivier - Not Just Yet!

I have been very touched by fellow bloggers asking about the state of my broken tibia and fibula.  Your kindness has meant a lot and thank you. So here is a quick update. I really don't like to whine on about it but NINE weeks later I am not quite ready to be sporting this delicious pair of Manolo Blahnik's....

Manolo Blahnik site 1

or these sparkly Jimmy Choo beauties.....


or even these coy little Roger Vivier flats....

No, not just yet.  Things are progressing though.  I'm out of my Frankenstein boot and into ......

my hiking boots!! with.....

a walking stick.... Well at least I'm upright!

I have to confess that my closet is not graced with a pair of Manolo Blahnik's, Jimmy Choo's or Roger Vivier's - but a girl can dream and quite frankly when I'm totally repaired and healed from this ridiculous situation I may just go out and buy a pair.  I can't wait! 

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Shakshuka, Baked Eggs in a Spicy Tomato Sauce.

This is absolutely my favorite lunch.  It's an Israeli dish made by poaching eggs in a tomato sauce with a hint (or blast if you prefer) of heat from a chili, topped off with some crumbled cheese. You can bend the rules a bit here if you want to, I happened to have some blue cheese crumbles in the fridge and used those but usually feta is a great option.  I love it smothered with fresh herbs but sadly I didn't have any and it was still delicious with a healthy sprinkle of dried thyme. Traditionally it's cooked in an earthenware dish but a frying pan will work fine too. Warm pita bread to sop up the juices is a great idea.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Apple and Blueberry Cobbler with Cinnamon Spiced Whipped Cream

One of the beauty of cobblers is that you can use almost any type of fruit depending on what's languishing in the fruit bowl.  Last night it was apple and blueberry freshened up with plenty of orange zest, juice and cinnamon.  In England we always referred to these desserts as crumbles and never use oatmeal.  I do love the addition of oatmeal which gives it a more crunchy and substantial topping.  Make sure you serve this with vanilla ice cream or plenty of whipped cream sprinkled with cinnamon. Leftovers, if there are any, make a lovely breakfast treat.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A "Cuppa" of Broccoli and Cheese Soup and My Blog Companion.

When I left home and went to London to seek my fortune I was fairly penniless.  My staple diet I'm ashamed to admit was "Cuppa Soup" which was/is a sort of dehydrated packet of soup. All you had to do was pour boiling water (which was free) over the granules in the plastic cup provided (no need to waste money on buying any utensils) and there you had a steaming cup of soup or some concoction that vaguely resembled soup.

Too many years to admit have flown by and here I am in America happily making my own version of Cuppa Soup.  The beauty of it is that it's really not much harder to make than the original dehydrated version and served in a handmade cup from a local craftswoman, the taste thankfully cannot be compared.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Chicken Casserole with Lemon, Garlic and White Wine.

I simply love this casserole, it's SO easy and SO delicious. The chicken is succulent, the sauce delicious and EVERYONE loves it. By everyone, I mean even the picky eater eats this up!  All you have to do is sprinkle it with spices, olive oil and lemon juice, put it in the oven and relax in front of the TV for an hour while it cooks. Honestly, what more could you ask for?

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Chocolate, Chocolate, Banana Bread and a Bouquet

A beautiful bouquet of whites. yellows and greens.

A slice of banana bread full of chocolate loveliness.

I was sent this treat of a bouquet, full of pretty uplifting colors guaranteed to lift one out of any winter blues.  

Even though this banana bread is baked in a loaf pan it really is more of a cake than a bread.  Then there's the chocolate - two additions, cocoa and chips, making it the perfect pick me up in the afternoon with a cup of tea rather than a hearty breakfast loaf.  As always with banana bread it's wonderful the next day. This was a hit with the girls, even the ones who don't like bananas!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Mushroom Omelette with Oven Roasted Tomatoes.

I once read in an Italian cookbook that if you have eggs in the fridge you have a meal.  The author  referred to the eggs as "pearls from the hen house" which I thought was a rather lovely way of describing them.  Well I had eggs, some mushrooms, grape tomatoes and some parsley.  Plenty of ingredients for a wonderful lunch.  I roasted the tomatoes at a high heat in the oven while I cooked the omlette then scattered them over the top with a sprinkle of parsley. The secret to a beautiful looking omelette is of course a non stick pan!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Chicken Soup with Vegetables and Mini Pasta Shells

In my current craze of slow roasting, yesterday I decided to slow roast a chicken.  I placed it in a roasting pan, poured a cup or so of water around it, added herbs, a cut up lemon, juniper berries, salt, pepper and cumin, covered it with aluminum foil and put it in the oven for 2 1/2 hours.  Well, it sort of poached/roasted - but it was the tenderest chicken I've EVER cooked.  The Jack Russell and I tore through a leg and thigh and just as we were starting on the second leg we remembered we needed the meat for the soup.  It was falling off the bone tender.  I'm ALWAYS going to poach/roast my chickens from now on.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Best Braised Beef Short Ribs in Your Life with Creamy Root Vegetable Mash

These are a treat.  Since I have been confided to the house with a pulverized ankle my cooking style has entirely changed.  I used to be in a tearing hurry ALL the time, no time to simmer or slow cook.  Now there's all day to simmer and slow cook and the results not only smell wonderful but taste pretty darn good too - these ribs are proof.  I braised them for about 3 1/2 hours on a low heat during the afternoon, whipped up some veggie mash (parsnips and potatoes and way too much butter) and had a happy family when they came home that evening. And the lovely thing about these luscious ribs is - they're SOOO easy to make.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Heavenly Chocolate Cupcakes with Mascarpone Frosting.

I made a tiramisu for New Year's Eve (that sadly I did not get to photograph) and fell head over heels with mascarpone cheese.  I'm already in love with chocolate and as they're such a perfect match it seemed only right to make a batch of cupcakes combining both.  After YEARS of experimenting I'm now pretty convinced that buttermilk is the perfect addition for baked goods, it seems to produce a more tender sponge than plain milk or sour cream in my opinion.  Don't you agree?

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Happy New Year with Pasta and Meatballs!

They may not be elegant but they certainly make a hearty and delicious New Year's lunch. With freezing temperatures and snow on the ground these bolster you up for whatever is coming your way in 2013!