31 August 2012

* Peanut Butter Chicken Curry

Peanut Butter Chicken Curry Recipe
I have a million food magazines that I'm trying to whittle down to about 500,000 and I found this recipe purely by chance.

I had to make it because it would use up some of the 500g tub of Greek yogurt I'd bought - *impulse purchase styley* - and the fresh coriander that was sitting on my kitchen window sill looking... well... notso fresh.

Plus anything with peanut butter in the recipe has to be tried at least once.

My first ever serious boyfriend - we dated for 6 whole weeks (get me!) - introduced me to peanut butter, cheese and branston pickle sandwiches. My GOD it sounded disgusting - like something that only a 16 year old boy would think up!

It wasn't.

It was heaven on a plate.

There was no turning back.

There's something deeply satisfying about sucking peanut butter from the roof of your mouth... three days after you've eaten it.

29 August 2012

* Penne with Smoky Bacon and Tomato sauce

Penne with Smoked Bacon and Tomato Sauce Recipe

Yet another meal with cheese on the top. There is a naked photo at the bottom of the page for food naturalists.

It doesn't look anywhere near as schmexy as this photo. This photo is VERY schmexy.

I like this photo.

It says "Eat Me."

That's what I did.

There was a brief scuffle just after I'd dished the pasta out and had grabbed five handfuls of cheese to shove in my mouth... Neil had wandered into the kitchen before I'd had a chance to shout "Come and geeeeehhhh-t iiiiittt!". He grabbed for the box of grated cheddar that I always have on hand... and the words "Step A-waaay From the CHEESE!" may have been used.

Bless him... Hubby does try to help with some addictions.

I stabbed him with the fork.

28 August 2012

* Porcini and Chestnut Mushroom Soup

Porcini and Chestnut Mushroom Soup Recipe
Yesterday was the August bank holiday in the UK so some of us were lucky enough to get a paid day off. Not that we could do much with it - the rain was absolutely chucking it down.

The cat kept wandering in and out and leaving little muddy footprints, like graffiti all over the place - *Archie Woz 'ere!*.

The dog was sulking in her basket because we had dared to take her out in it and GET HER WET... something that wouldn't have bothered her a couple of years back... and we were pretty much in the mood to curl up indoors and finally have a 'do nothing' day. A rarity, and not one that we always appreciate. Well...

Not one that I always appreciate. I get stir crazy while Neil just laps up the laziness of it. He's good at it. I could kill him.

I didn't kill him.

I made soup and pottered... but mostly I made soup... aaaaaaaaand painted my nails.

Shoot me.

Shoot me now.

27 August 2012

* Chicken with Creamy Apple Sauce

I tried sooooooooooooooooooo hard to get a decent photo of this dish, all plated up.

Didn't happen.

It's a GAWJUS sauce - sweet and sharp and savoury - but it's not exactly photogenic when you've gone a bit mad and smeared it ALL OVER EVERYTHING.

It was only supposed to be spooned - ceremoniously - over the chicken, but somehow it escaped the confines of my intentions and ended up being used as a gravy to cover my entire dinner. Same thing happened to Neil's plate.

I blame the chocolate brownies... I was thinking about how long it would be suitable to wait after dinner, until I could have another one. Did I actually - in fact - have to eat dinner to have a brownie? How many brownies were left?

What if I just licked one - pre dinner?

When I came to... it was too late. The sauce was on everything. There was nothing left to do but dig in.

24 August 2012

* Mocha Brownies

Mocha Brownies Recipe
I've not cooked these luscious brownies in FOREVER... simply because if I made them whilst Neil was at work - I'd eat the lot before he came home. He'd walk in the door and say "Ooooh, something baking?" and I'd have to lie and say "Nooooooo! I bought some food scented candles. Good aren't they?" Whilst surreptitiously swiping my hands across the work surfaces, checking for stray brownie crumbs... and licking the palms of my hands if I found some.

I'm really not very good at telling myself "No". It's like I have a panic button that says if I don't eat it all now, I may never eat it again. So there's some stuff that I have stopped cooking over the years - in case I end up actually living the *Thin Mint* scene from Monty Python's Meaning of Life... "Eeessa waffer theen!"

That said... I just had to. Just to see if I'd gained any control over my urge to consume these en mass. 

They've been sitting in their cake tin for the past couple of hours. 

There's drool EVERYWHERE!!!

22 August 2012

* Creamy Chicken Pasta Bake

Creamy Chicken Pasta Bake Recipe
This is my absolute FAVOURITE pasta bake. I think the cream in it hits my sweet tooth button, and of course it has oodles of cheese - and that hits the... cheese button.

It's one of those dishes that once you've cleared your plate, you'd like to go back to the beginning and eat it all over again. It's not too rich, or too savoury, or too cheesy. NOTHING is too cheesy. It's just right.

This is the yummy fare that we had for dinner yesterday.

Today I have been shopping for food (again) and have bought sooo much that I suffered a mental block over what to cook tonight. The cupboards are full, the fridge is sporting a new rainbow and the freezers have been propped shut with chairs.

It'll have to be fish finger sandwiches.

* Marinara Sauce

Marinara Sauce Recipe
I have to stop myself from calling this Pizza Sauce, it does so much more than that - but that really is what it is.

This is the type of sauce you can fiddle with until it's exactly as you like it. It's a topping for pizzas, and is lovely stirred through pasta, as well as spooned over chicken etc - it's fairly versatile and very easy to cook. 

I've been using this recipe almost as long as I've been using the basic pizza dough recipe. 

I've tried a few - some with fresh tomatoes, some with tinned - some with white wine, some with red, others with none. This is the one that I always come back to, it's simple to make and I always have all of the ingredients to hand. 

Although there may always be a bottle of *something alcoholic* in the cupboard, there's rarely wine unless it's been bought as a gift. Wine makes me stoopid. Very. This recipe doesn't have wine.

21 August 2012

* Basic Pizza Dough

Basic Pizza Dough Recipe
Sometimes you need a few basics in the background for when you want to make other recipes. 

Pizza dough is one of those, for me.

 It's much more versatile than you'd imagine, and - a bit like pastry - it comes in many forms. I know I have my own favourite way of making pastry (now that I know that I can) - I also have a favourite recipe for pizza dough. Something I have been making successfully for years. 

Possibly because I luuuuuurve pizza - I actually bothered to hunt down a recipe that worked for me. I have been as faithful to it, as I have been to mayonnaise and cheese (Okay, I have more than one food issue). It has never yet let me down. 

20 August 2012

* Easy Parmesan Chicken

Parmesan Chicken Recipe
So... the Smoked Haddock Chowder would have done a superb job of lining my stomach for the ensuing vodkafest... if only I hadn't been pouring my own measures.

When you've had a little drinkypoo or ten, making sure you only put a little bit of vodka in the bottom of your glass, becomes a very difficult thing to prioritise. By drink number 4 or 5, I was pouring out quadruple measures (possibly more) and wondering why everything was slightly tilted.

Everything wasn't slightly tilted. Only I was slightly tilted... it took until around 2.30pm on Sunday to recover. I have no idea how many people I upset. I don't want to know. I do remember that the band was good though, when we finally made it to the pub.

Dinner wasn't going to be anything too taxing on the brain. There were chicken breasts in the fridge and some parmesan (there's always parmesan). So it had to be parmesan chicken. Simples.

* Smoked Haddock Chowder

Smoked Haddock Chowder RecipeI've been going through my freezers just recently, in a bid to work out what we have that needs to be used up before it evolves... like the lone bratwurst sausage that has been a member of the family for the last five years (at least) - I couldn't possibly make use of it, but it did deserve a far better funeral that it got. We named him Billy and consigned him to the bin. 'Bye, bye Billy Bratwurst.'

I did - however - find lots of perfectly usable food. Mostly fish and chicken. I always have loads of chicken in all it's guises, and I have a tendency to buy fish because it's good for you - then not use it. I'm the only one that truly likes fish pie, and that's been about as inventive as it's got over the past few years. Though I'd like that to change.

I was going *out with the girls* on Saturday night, and thought a filling soup would do the trick before I went. Not enough to bloat me out, but enough to line the stomach for the vodkafest that was to follow. Well that was the plan...

17 August 2012

* Quiche Lorraine

Quiche Lorraine Recipe
Pastry and I - have been at war - since around 1995. I finally waved the white flag of surrender, about 10 years ago when my mum sat in my kitchen, giving clear directions on how to make pastry while I gave it one last shot... then sat back amazed at the end result and said "You're right. You can't make pastry!" I did tell her. She wouldn't listen. I had to show her. I was actually victorious in my proof of failure. "See, mum - I told you... hah!".


About a year or so ago, I had eggs, cheese and crème fraîche that needed using up and I had an urge to make a quiche, but had no shop bought pastry, so I thought "What the hell, one last try". It turns out that I had merely surrendered the battle and not the war. I won the war. I just needed a magi mix. I love my magi mix. My magi mix is my hero - when hubby isn't in the room, of course.

16 August 2012

* Ratatouille Hotpot

Ratatouille Hotpot Recipe
I spent the morning with my mum, shopping - and as usual I got sucked in by all the fresh fruit and veg on offer in the local supermarket. I KNOW I don't have room for everything in the fridge... I KNOW I'm going to struggle to use everything that I buy before it grows a layer of blue fur.... and I KNOW I'm still going to buy it - so why not just go ahead and get one of every colour?

I indulged myself.

I feel so bad. Not.

Mum has mentioned once or twice (or maybe a hundred times) in recent weeks, that she'd love a ratatouille. I absolutely LOATHE aubergines (eggplants) with a passion. Almost as much as I hate all things aniseed. When we were kids, my brother and I would pool the last of our 25p pocket money, and buy a Sherbet Fountain. I had the sherbet, he had the stick of licorice... Over the years I've discovered that there isn't much that I won't at least try, and even less that I actually don't like once I have tried it - but aniseed and aubergines along with rhubarb and cooked egg white, are among the things that I won't put in my mouth for anything but a bet.
... I'd bought enough multi-coloured veg to make Joseph and his Coat of many Colours look like an episode of Lassie in black and white (sad and lacking colour), that I decided to go ahead and ask mum to stay to dinner and make a ratatouille without the aubergine, and make it a type of Hotpot thingy (I was hungry). It worked. It was scrumptious. I'm gutted that there were no leftovers.

24th Feb 2013

Savannah at Hammock Tracks has invited me to a *link up* on her website, as an opportunity to share this recipe with her readers, and hers with mine! What a wonderful idea, and I'm truly honoured - thankyou Savannah :0D xx

This is Savannah's shared recipe... 
Grandma's Beef and Cheese Goulash 

14 August 2012

* Cappuccino Cake

Finally, a cake that my Kenwood didn't completely annihilate. Though I wasn't particularly sure at first. The description of the batter was *thick* and it was meant to be *smoothed out evenly*... when in fact it poured into the tin in a gloppy, shiny liquid mass, and evened itself out just fine thank you. No *smoothing out* was necessary. I panicked slightly, having had a spat of disasters in recent weeks - there was no way I could pass off yet another ruined sponge as my attempt at the worlds largest cookie.... only last week I'd had to pass off a deflated and sad looking loaf of bread as a savoury flat bread - but this was more the fault of the recipe that I followed, than something that I had done wrong. That time. I do find that many recipes are not tried and tested as they should be - and quantities are often either misprinted, or just plain wrong.

Also, I have a tendency to miss stuff out of a recipe entirely - I skip entire lines of ingredients then wonder why my buttermilk muffins resemble play dough, rather than delightfully fluffy, nommy little cakes - I forgot to add the butter. This time, with this cake... I very nearly missed out the sugar. It was only my knowledge of my own recurrent stupidity that made me triple check the ingredients list.

This one is a Mary Berry recipe, that I found on a leaflet in the Daily Mail. I'm a fan. Have been since childhood when I bought one of her recipe books for my mum, for her birthday... then pinched it. Happily The Great British Bake Off returns to our screens tonight - always a fun watch.

Right then, on with the recipe...

12 August 2012

* Butternut Squash Muffins

Butternut Squash and Walnut Muffins RecipeThese are a favourite in our house. I've always got a butternut squash or three, lying around. It's incredibly more-ish fair in any guise, and makes a change from carrot in cakes and bakes.

I've tried various toppings, with varying degrees of success. Soured cream icing was nice in theory but in practice it was more like dipping sauce... of course, I still put it on top of the muffins, regardless of it's lack of sticking power.

I eventually settled on a simple lemon cream cheese frosting, that has a certain *nominess* when you sink your teeth in for the first bite.

5 August 2012

* Enchiladas

Chicken Enchiladas Recipe
There's absolutely NO point in beginning this blog with a cooking disaster - I'd give up before I'd even begun. So... I'll start with one of my more constant successes - a dish that we eat quite regularly, when the boy is at his nan's - my own version of Enchiladas. It's not too spicy, as I like to be able to feel my lips after eating a meal, but it does have enough chilli to give it flavour and bite... and plenty of cheese.

First time I made this, I half heartedly followed a recipe on the internet, that only put the cheese on top of the finished dish before baking it in the oven... second time I made it, I wanted to use up some cheese, so I put it in the filling as well.



I stuck with the second version.

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