Tag Archives: recipe

Recipe: Waffles

6 Feb
Picture of a waffle

Don’t think about the calories…

It turns out Bird’s Eye weren’t fibbing when they told us all in the 80s that waffles are waffley-versatile. They are incredible for breakfast, for dinner, sweet, savory, sweet AND savory.

Truly, the only downside is that they compel me to consume a week’s allowance of butter in one sitting and they don’t seem to go especially well with veg. That aside, they’re fun, filling, freezable. All the ‘Fs’ basically. What more do you want?

To buy (for 6):

*Well you’ll need a waffle maker (mine’s a Gordon Ramsey one and is dead easy to use)  *250g plain flour   *1 dessert spoon of baking powder  *2 tablespoons caster sugar   *1 teaspoon of salt   *2 eggs   *450ml milk   *2 tablespoons vegetable oil   *spray oil   *toppings of your choice (I love bacon, maple syrup and M&S salted caramel sauce… not at the same time..although..)

To make:


Where the magic happens.

1. In a big bowl mix the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt.

2. Next mix the wet ingredients together – the eggs, milk and oil – and add this to the dry ingredients then mix until a smooth batter.

3. Heat your waffle maker as per the instructions and spray generously with oil.

4. Fill your waffle-maker to an appropriate level with the waffle batter, seal and cook for as long as you need (around 5 minutes in the case of a Gordon Ramsey waffle-maker).

5. Carefully open your waffle maker and gently ease the waffle out using tongs.

6. Serve the waffles so they’re hot and crispy and drowning in your favourite topping. You might want to serve alongside Buffalo chicken wings for a true Deep South experience or, if you’re about to run a marathon and need to carbo-load or don’t care much about debauched gluttony, try adding chopped-up cooked bacon to the waffle-mix AND popping a few rashers of cooked bacon on top. Hog-tastic.


Recipe: Chocolate Cat Cake. It’s purrrrrfect, etc.

2 Dec

We need to talk about Kevin

My boss turned 40 this week and it was only right that this happy day was marked with a cat-shaped chocolate birthday cake, right?  Our chum Laura christened him Kevin and at a cake-fest in the office, Kev bravely gave his life for the enjoyment of us hungry office-workers.  Way to go Kevin.

This cake is very simple to make and keeps for a few days if you don’t hoover it up before then.

To buy:

For the cake –  *200g plain flour   *200g caster sugar   *1 teaspoon baking powder   *half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda   *40g best-quality cocoa (I used Green and Blacks)   *175g soft unsalted butter   *2 large eggs   *2 teaspoons real vanilla extract   *150ml soured cream

For the Icing –  *150g icing sugar  *100g  soft unsalted butter   *1 teaspoon vanilla extract   *a few teaspoons of cocoa   *splash of milk

For the topping –  *Bassets Licorice selection

To bake:

1.Take all of the cake ingredients out of the fridge and allow to come to room temperature.  Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4/180oC / 160Oc fan and butter 2 20cm sandwich tins.

2. Now, in a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder and bicarb, cocoa, butter, eggs, vanilla extract and sour cream.  Use a food processor or a hand whisk and beat until it’s smooth and thick.

Feline hungry?

3. Divide the mixture between the two greased tins and spread flat.  Bake until a skewer comes out clean but the cake has a springiness to it.  Will take around half an hour or so but check regularly.

4. Remove the cakes from the oven and press and tap out onto a wire rack and cool entirely.

5. Place one of the cakes on a drum and cut 2 triangles out of the other cake.  Using cocktail sticks fasten the triangles (ears) to the other cake (face).

6. To make the icing combine the icing sugar, butter, vanilla and a splash of milk in a bowl.  Leave a small amount of the white icing in one bowl and transfer the  lion’s share to another bowl and add cocoa to taste to this batch of icing.

7. Using a palette knife cover the cake with the chocolate icing.  Then add some of the white vanilla icing to the ears and the middle of the cat’s face.

8. I used licorice to make the cat’s eyes, heart-shaped nose and whiskers.

9. Ice a birthday message onto the drum if you like.  Add a few candles and say a special wish for the birthday boy or girl. x

Recipe: Right Royal Knees-Up Cake

30 Apr

Let Them Eat Cake

There will have been – I predict – a gadzillion words written, a googol of photos published and an acre of bunting produced for Wills and Kate’s nuptials (there are about 50 articles on the Daily Mail website this morning just for starters) and aside from presenting an opportunity to examine and review what the Monarchy means in Twenty-First Century Britain, the relationship between the Church and State, on power and democracy … it was also a chance, as it always is, to eat cake.

I held a Right Royal Knees-Up at my flat yesterday with a bunch of friends where I live streamed* the Royal Wedding coverage, served Pimms, played ‘Pin the Crown on the Corgi’, continued to fill out my Panini Royal Wedding Souvenir Sticker Album, and lay on a spread.  (*Put the BBC news channel on my telly).

The centerpiece of my spread – just typing those words makes me giddy – was this Union Jack Cake, a jammy Victoria Sponge with a soft-cheese frosting and gorgeous summer berries on top.  It was a teeny bit fiddly to decorate but easy to bake and would would feed a couple of cricket teams with ease.  It is also, I can report, a marvellous pick-me-up breakfast if you have spent the night air-punching to power ballads as I did at Ultimate Power in Scala last night.  Food for thought, I am sure.

Pin the Crown on the Corgi

To buy:

*340g unsalted butter   *340g caster sugar   *340g self-raising flour   *6 eggs   *1 tsp baking powder   *1 tbsp hot water   *A jar of strawberry jam   *110g butter   *110g low-fat Philadelphia soft-cheese   *1 tsp vanilla extract   *fresh strawberries   *frozen or fresh blueberries and redcurrants   *white chocolate drops

To make:

1. Preheat the oven to 180c and grease your baking tin.  I only have one big square tin, so I had to bake the cakes in batches.

2. Cream the sugar and butter in a large bowl.

3. Break the eggs, one at a time, in a jug, beat, add to the sugar and butter and beat the mixture.  Add all of the eggs and then sift the flour, baking powder into the mixture.  Add the hot water and beat well.

4. Either divide the mixture between your tins or add half to your tin and bake until golden brown and cooked throughout.  This will depend on how deep your tin is.  My tins were very deep so it took about 25 minutes.  Simply check by piercing the cake with a knife or stick – if it comes out clean then is cooked.  If the cake is still wobbly then don’t even think about it!

Great British Bake

5. Turn out the cakes, once baked, and leave to cool on a wire rack.

6. Sandwich the two sponges with plenty of lovely strawberry jam.

7. To make the frosting, use an electric whisk to combine the cream cheese, the icing sugar and the vanilla extract, until it is smooth and peaks slightly.

8. Cover the cake with the frosting and use a palette knife to smooth and even it out.

9. Score the Union Jack into the frosting (I actually had to look at a flag I had bought to wave during the wedding as I am too much of a dimwit to remember what it looks like but I am sure you’re not such a thicko) and then use the fruit and chocolate to cover the cake.  This is fiddly work but not too tricky.  If you’re using frozen fruit then leave it to defrost in the fridge the night before hand and rinse well before placing on the cake as the juice could stain the frosting.

10.  Whether you’re a Republican, a Royalist or just plain greedy: tuck in.

P.s. thanks to Becky for creating the A-MAZ-ING Fat Corgi and Crown game.  He is lovely.

Recipe: Mince Pies

8 Dec


Iiiiiiiit's Chriiiiiiiiiistmas!


Rejoice, rejoice! It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Chocolate for breakfast? No problem. Endless days and long nights spent grazing on cheese and crackers?  Please, go ahead. Booze-guzzling whilst you’re still in your jim-jams? Oh do be my guest!  It, as the great Noddy Holder likes to say, is Chriiiiiiistmas.

And that means festive food. It means bread sauce and roast turkey, prawn cocktails with marie rose sauce, pigs in blankets, cold cuts and pudding doused with brandy butter. It means loose trousers and pounding headaches. On the downside it means horrendous Iceland adverts. But wait, it also means mince pies. And this recipe, from the Goodfood website is the most reliable I’ve found. Pastry can be a pain. Too crumbly, too dry, too sweet, too soggy. Well trust me, if I can get this right then anyone can!

To buy:

*225g unsalted butter, diced   *350g plain flour   *100g golden caster sugar   *1 jar of mincemeat   *1 egg, beaten   *icing sugar to dust

To make:

1. To make the pastry, rub the butter into the flour, then mix in the sugar and a pinch of salt. Combine the pastry into a ball – don’t add liquid – and knead it briefly. The dough will be fairly firm, like shortbread dough. You can use the dough immediately, or chill for later.


Mistletoe and wine

2. Preheat the oven to 200C/gas 6/fan 180C and grease a 12 hole baking tin.

3. Then press small walnut-sized balls of pastry into each hole and spoon the mincemeat into the pies.

4. Take slightly smaller balls of pastry than before and pat them out between your hands to make round lids, big enough to cover the pies. Top the pies with their lids, pressing the edges gently together to seal them.

5. Brush the tops of the pies with the beaten egg and bake for 20 minutes until golden.

6. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes, then remove to a wire rack. To serve, lightly dust with icing sugar. They will keep for 3 to 4 days in an airtight container.

Although it’s my Christmas lunch at work tomorrow so I confidently predict that these pies won’t keep past 11am…

Happy baking and Merry Christmas! x



Recipe: Chips. Just simple, frickin’ tasty, chips.

18 Sep

Daddy or chips?

 Unsurprisingly,  I spend a lot of my time thinking, talking and reading about food. Nigel Slater’s recipe books double as bedtime stories, Olive magazine keeps me company on dreary bus-rides home and over glasses of home-brew and super-strong party punch I natter with mates about London’s best cafes: the kind that chef-up breakfasts certain to slay even the gnarliest of hangover.

Early weekend mornings, late at night, and hunched over a bowl of soup in my lunch-hour I ogle other foodie blogs and marvel at how beautifully people are able to write about food – the passion they have for baking bread, tales of their sleep-encrusted early-morning trips to Billinsgate market, or eye-popping descriptions of the mountains of food scoffed in dusty Puglian streets or sunbaked vineyards in California.

It can make me feel overwhelmed:  the talent that other people have for cooking and writing about food. I am still a total amateur. An enthusiastic and terribly greedy amateur, but an amateur nonetheless. But that’s ok. What is cool is to have a go. To explore, experiment, indulge, satisfy, play and to even make catastrophic mistakes, which my gosh I do and do and do. My food hero, Nigel Slater, talks about not being ashamed to have guilty food pleasures and not to feel swept up in the pretension and snobbery that can disarm the budding gourmand and he is bloody well right you know. To quote another of my heroes, with food – as Jez from Peep Show would say – if it feels good, do it.

And these home-baked chips feel good. They taste good, and gosh darn if they don’t smell good too. Now that Autumn is wrapping us in it’s golden embrace, I am turning once again to comfort-food, to stodge and bowls of stew served with buttery, crusty bread. I can’t wait for roasted carrots and parsnips and hot chilli broths. On cold days I crave potatoes too. Pillowy mountains of mash or piping hot baked spuds overflowing with cheese and beans and cracked black pepper. And I never ever tire of chips. These chips take only a few shakes and are wonderfully spicy and hot. Ready to be submerged in mayo and eaten with greasy fingers. They taste good made with sweet potato too and it takes an awful lot of willpower not to make them if I ever find myself peckish with half an hour to spare.

To buy:

* A handful of potatoes per person   *A big glug of olive oil   *Loads of salt and pepper   *Lots of cumin   *Big pinch of chilli   *Huge pinch of paprika   *Another huge pinch of smoked paprika

To make:

1. Pre-heat your oven to about 200oC and grease an oven tray with a big glug of oil.

2. Wash and slice your potatoes into the size you like your chips. I like mine quite thin but tend to mix it up so that some are juicy and some are crazily crispy. I keep my skins on but you do whatever you jolly well like.

3. Cover the chips in oil and give them a good jiggle on the tray.

4. Now, in a Jason Pollock-esque fashion, throw the herbs and spices all over the chips, covering them in the fragrant cumin and beautiful paprika so that they look bright and beautiful. Season really really well with the salt and pepper.

5. Pop in the oven for about twenty minutes or so. Make sure you turn them over now and again and that there is enough oil to stop them from sticking to the pan.

6. Serve with mountains of mayo, dollops of ketchup, or your sauce of choice, bad telly or a terrible Nick Cage movie and a good friend.