May 28, 2014

These simple biscuits taste delicious, crumble into your mouth with the first bite and this recipe makes lots. Lots for sharing or for a sumptuous movie night in. 

Pistachios are a great nut, one of my favourites and I always enjoy the fact that you have to work for them a bit, prising open those shells can be annoying (and quite frankly painful after while) but they make you work for a delicious, very addictive, and pretty pinky green centre.

This recipe is from the cookbook that accompanies the book Chocolate. The author, Joanne Harris compiled all her favourite recipes from the book and more into this tiny little kitchen companion. A well worth purchase for any chocolate lover.

For these simple biscuits you will need..

120g of pistachio nuts (weigh them with shells on, before you shell them)
150g softened butter
75g caster sugar
200g plain flour
20g cocoa powder
1 egg yolk
icing sugar for rolling out and decorative dusting 

The dough is pretty delicate so it will be a mixture of rolling out with the help of a lot of icing sugar and pushing into shape with your hands. Then using a cutter of your choice. I chose a traditional one with a serrated edge, cut as many biscuits as you can fit out of your fragile dough. 

Bake in the oven at 180C for 10 minutes, depending on the tendencies of your oven watch them as they will burn easily and in a flash. 

Once done, leave them on the baking tray to finally set for about 10 minutes, then carefully remove and pile high onto a plate and dust liberally with icing sugar to enjoy with a big mug of tea. 

May 27, 2014

This is a really easy dip to make and it tastes like nothing I have ever eaten before, best served with some home made pita crisps. This recipe makes quite a lot but depending on how hungry you are, or how many guests you have over this can be demolished in an evening or kept in the fridge for up to three days.

The beetroot in this recipe makes the dip turn a delicate coral rather than the strong beetroot dips you can find out there. You can add more beetroot if you want a deeper colour.

For this delicious dip you will need..

250g cooked beetroot
2 cans of chickpeas
2 tbsp of tahini 
juice of two lemons
a good pinch of sea salt
a tbsp ground Cumin

Blitz all together and sprinkle some cumin over the top for effect! 

May 25, 2014

This smoky dip is the perfect start to an evening dinner party or to enjoy while watching a good movie with some home made pita chips. Chips and dip are a favourite and there is always an occasion to share and enjoy them especially if they are home made. I have never attempted baba ganoush before, really due to the fact that I never though I would get the right smokey taste. 

After charring my aubergines on the open gas flame until they were charred their smokiness was unmistakable and just as delicious as a shop bought version. 

Being by charring your aubergines until they are blackened and blistered. Cook them on the open flame for a good 5 to 10 minutes. 

Next place them in the oven for about 20 to 30 minutes until they are soft and gooey. Then cut them open and scoop out the smokey flesh and put it into a blender along with...

1/2 cup tahini
1 tbsp oil
1tsp rock salt
2 garlic cloves
handful of parsley

Once blitzed scoop into a big bowl and serve with some homemade chips. 

Delicious and you know exactly what you are eating, no hidden nasty ingredients. 

May 22, 2014

Watermelons are one of my favourite summer foods, they smell and taste of pure sunshine and as soon as they come into the supermarkets over here you know that summer isn't too far around the corner. 

This recipe is a beautifully refreshing summer time starter. But I think it also makes a pretty nice breakfast juice as well. 

The watermelon gives this summer soup a delicate light taste. I miss out the onions and garlic in the soup as I didn't want them to tarnish the sweetness of the watermelon and the cucumber. 

To serve 3 you will need... I just chucked all the stuff in so really just a mish mash of measurements and quantities. If you want to make more just double the recipe and use some of the leftovers for a juice the next day.

1/2 large cucumber 
1 baby watermelon 
1 red pepper
mint leaves
tbsp olive oil
juice of one lemon.

Start by chopping and dividing your watermelon...

Then put your watermelon, cucumber, red pepper, oil, salt, lemon juice and a handful of fresh mint leaves into the blender and blitz until smooth.

Next pass everything through a sieve, make sure you really work the pulp in the bottom as this will squeeze out all last drops of goodness into your soup.

Toast up some fresh sourdough toast, spread with butter and cut a garlic in half and rub it all over your freshly buttered toast. This gives you the garlic hit you usually find in a tradition gazpacho, but as a tasty alternative! 

For breakfast spread your toast with some jam or homemade lemon curd and wash it down with this recipie a breakfast alternative.

 Delicious either way and so so easy, yet impressive to serve to friends. 

May 21, 2014

A week ago my dad arrived back from Greece with a huge bag of Kumquats freshly picked off the one of the trees we have out there. I have been scouring around for interesting recipes for kumquats for the past few days and this morning stumbled across the most perfect recipe on a favourite blog A Brown Table.

I am not the best citrus lover, I strongly dislike grapefruit and have refused to each oranges for as long as I can remember. Lemons of course are a different matter, I can eat lemons with everything, fresh lemonade, lemon juice with water in the morning or the zest grated into a drizzle cake or a lemon and poppy seed muffin. But more adventurous citrus fruits are treated with caution. 

I was a bit dubious about Kumquats, they look like small oblong oranges, and therefore a no go. But they had traveled all the way back from Greece and they have the sweetest smell so I couldn't let them go to waste and you never know I may actually like them with quantities of sugar and crystallised ginger. 

After a lot of photography, as I felt they looked pretty good on my old enamel plate with the contrasting colours. its time to weigh them out and get preparing all the other ingredients. 

For a good tupperwear box crammed with sorbet you will need.

12oz fresh Kumquats
6 cups of water
2 cups of sugar
further 2 cups of water
grating of fresh ginger
half a cup of crystallised ginger.

First weigh out your kumquats.

 Then top to tail them and then slice them through the middle. They look pretty funky inside like a stick of rock you would find in a seaside beach sweet shop.

Once they are chopped put them in a pan with 2 cups of cold water and bring to boil. Once boiling discard the water and repeat with a further two cups and then repeat this once more until all 6 cups of water have been used. 

Then blend the softened kumquats into a pulp in the blender. 

Next put two cups of sugar into a pan with 2 cups of water, the fresh ginger and crystallised ginger. bring to the boil and then pour into a glass bowl over iced water and mix in the kumquats leave to cool for about 30 minutes. 

Then pour into an ice cream maker until formed in to a soft milky ice cream. Place into a bowl and serve.  

May 20, 2014

Up early the next day to enjoy the sunshine... eat ice cream and lounge in the lush green parks and meander up the river bank.

After a short wander we were in the Shambles. A beautiful street in York that might as well feature in Harry Potter. It likeness to Diagon Alley makes you feel as if you are immersed in a magical land.

A really beautiful street and well worth a wander down if you are ever in York.

Old timber house almost touch each other over the cobbled street and all the little boutique shops and restaurants blend perfectly into the ancient facades.

Once you make it through the shambles and along a few other pretty streets you turn a corner to face the Minster. A beautiful cathedral that has in recent years been cleaned so now it almost gleams in the early summer sunshine. Pretty impressive, you do feel somewhat small wandering around it. 

They have beautiful gardens around the back which get the morning sun and by midday are swarmed by people enjoying the glorious sunshine.

After a good wander, our bellies were grumbling so it was time for breakfast. We decided to go to Mannion & Co which was perfect last time I visited and didn't disappoint this time. 

I went for their 'very good bacon sandwich'..

and he went for Yorkshire rarebit. Melted cheese smothered over streaky bacon and served on sourdough. 

We spent the afternoon lounging in the Minster Gardens eating ice cream. A perfect start to summer. 

May 19, 2014

Arriving in York late, there was no time for exploring just time for a quick supper before heading to bed to get the most of the next few days, fresh smoothies and ice creams in the glorious sunshine.

Up early the next day we decided to pop to a breakfast stop that we hadn't tried before. Coffee Culture. This little lopsided medieval town house does a good hearty breakfast, and a deliciously creamy iced coffee. 

We clambered up the stairs to the top floor. Beautiful wooden beams and squishy sofas. Cute and cosy.

We both went for creamy iced coffees.

He went for a full english...

While I went for poached eggs on toast. 

Milk to top up our lattes were served in miniature milk bottles, a nice touch and we oooed over for a while!

After a wander around the town we headed back home and stopped for a smoothie on the way from the shambles kitchen. A small little kitchen, focusing on good street style food and the creamiest smoothies with avocados and the freshest frozen yogurt. 

A great little place for a simple breakfast and good mid morning smoothie stop to keep you going until lunchtime!

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