Dinosaur Kale Mac and Cheese

Because dinosaurs are cool.

Chili and Lime Black Bean Burger

The perfect vegan burger!

Beer Battered Halloumi

Nom, nom, nom.

Ginger and Chili Tofu

Crispy delicious tofu that's easy to make... say what?

Chocolate Cake Balls

Cakes, but not as you know them.

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Cheese, Wine, Cider and Beer

My friend paul messaged me last week declaring that he needed cheese and wine, so I thought we may as well recreate the time two years ago where we all ate too much cheese and felt super ill. Everyone brought different cheeses, so there were loads to try and probably far too much for 8 people. Jack brought babybels and cheese strings, he was also responsible for picking up plates, nuff said!
I picked up the Royal Windsor from Morrisons, I assume it's in because of the Royal Wedding, but I just wanted it because it was a weird colour! I also got some brie and smoked cheddar because those are my favourites. Then I went to Waitrose (super market of dreams) with Mike to get his cheese and the cheese counter guy was recommending us loads of cheeses and wine to go with them, although it fell on deaf ears because I was drinking cider and Mike was on the beers. Anyway this cheese guy was awesome, and told us that cheese was a more expensive habit than smoking and that he thought the recession was down to people quitting smoking because of the smoking ban. It's an interesting theory, he claimed it was becoming widely recognised.

It was a fun night, despite what this picture of everyone might depict. I only managed to take one and I cut Dreams and Phoebe out by accident! I can't wait for the next one, but I remember why I left it two years. Total cheese overload!

Friday, 15 April 2011

Simone's Frittata

Simone brought a new vegetarian cook book the other day and wanted to make a sweet potato frittata that she'd found in it. So yesterday we decided to make it for lunch, the only problem was that it didn't exist, we searched the book about 3 times and checked the index and it definitely wasn't in there! So instead we just invented a new one with the only things we had left in our cupboards (we're poor students waiting for the loan to come!) and surprisingly it was a success!

To make it we used:
A glug of olive oil
1 Sweet potato sliced thinly
1 Red onion sliced
1 Red pepper chopped
6 eggs
As much grated cheese as you like

Firstly we put a good glug of olive oil, the sweet potato and onion in a large frying pan and cook, covered on a medium heat for 10 minutes. Then add the red pepper, season well and cook for a further 10 minutes until all the vegetables have softened. Beat the eggs in a large bowl, pour the vegetables in and mix well. Then put all of the mixture back into the pan and cook for about 5 minutes. When the bottom is cooked place the pan under the grill to cook the top for a few minutes, when it's fairly browned top with the cheese (and black pepper if you want) and leave until the cheese is bubbling. Serve with some salad (if you have any) and enjoy!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Cake Pops/Balls

I'm a bit late jumping on the cake pop bandwagon, they even sell them in Starbucks now, but better late than never right? My mums having a bake sale at her nursery again next week and I thought these would be perfect for the kids!

I found the instructions on Bakerella but definitely wasn't brave enough to try the cupcake shapes yet, so me and Simone got to making some cake ball pops. We used a devils food cake mix and betty crocker chocolate fudge icing to make the inside. You could make your own cake and frosting from scratch, but the process is quite lengthy so I wouldn't recommend it!

After we cooked the cake and let it cool we crumbled it up and mixed the frosting in to make this weird mud like mixture and rolled it into balls. After that we chilled them in the fridge for about 3 hours, ready to be dipped in chocolate.

We tried our hardest to make the pops, but they just did not work! I think the balls were too big for the sticks so they just kept falling off. Only two of them actually worked so we gave up and decided to just makes cake balls instead!

These turned out much better and were easier to dip in the chocolate and cover in sprinkles!

It was a fun experiment and I hope I can make the pops work for next week, but I think I'll try smaller balls and bigger sticks!

Monday, 11 April 2011

Southbank Chocolate Festival

My first ever food related post was about the Southbank Chocolate Festival last year, so I thought it was only right to carry on the tradition and go again this year. I stayed with my vegan friend Emma at her house in Greenwich and promised to make her a nice vegan meal, we ended up having this...

What a good friend I am! But on to the Chocolate festival, last year was all about finding raw and interesting chocolates. This year though was all about indulgence, I decided that I could buy 3 things for myself (if I could I would have brought loads!) I ended up buying the Mocha Madness from Lucky's, Salted Caramel lollys from Paul Wayne Gregory (the guy at the stall said they we're the best confectionary in the UK, and since trying one of the lollys I agree) and a Raspberry and a Chocolate beer from Meantime. I know there's 5 things in the picture, but I'm counting the beers as 1, and the oreo cheesecake was for my boyfriend so it doesn't count :)

Every stall at the festival had something different and even though its small there is a lot to see! My favourites pretty much remain the same and for the same reasons, interesting products, good quality chocolate and attractive packaging! Even though I didn't buy from two of them, my favourite stalls were Lucky's

Artisan Du Chocolat
I finally got to try their tobacco chocolate and it was as good as I'd imagined, sweet with an unusual aftertaste!

and Rococco

So all in all it was an amazing day, the sun was shining and not only did I get to look at chocolate for most of the day but we also had a really nice walk along the Thames. As well as food and cocktails in Las Igunas! I will definitely have to carry on the tradition and go again next year. (sorry about the poor quality of the pictures, I couldn't be bothered to lug my slr around!)

Friday, 8 April 2011

Ways with Kale

I've been a bit slack on the blogging front this week, too busy enjoying the sunshine! Despite this I've been making a few different bits and as my dad took me to the farmers market in Olny on Sunday, I've been trying to use up all the goods he brought me. One of the things I got was a gigantic bag of red kale (seriously, it's bigger than my head) so I've been thinking of different ways I could use it and this is what I came up with!

The first recipe I tried I found on BBC Good food, it was quick and simple, which was perfect because I'd left cooking until about 9 o'clock at night! You can find the recipe here and it's also vegan (omitting the veggie parmesan I put on mine!)

I also picked up some Wobbly Bottom Farm piri piri goats cheese at the market because I though it would be great on a pizza. So I made an asparagus, kale and peri peri goats cheese pizza. I was going to make my own pizza bases, but I found some fresh ready made ones in M&s and decided to be lazy!

To make it you just need a handful of asparagus cut lengthways, a handful of kale, pizza bases, pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese and peri peri goats cheese. The steam the kale and asparagus for 1-2 minutes, while they're steaming cover the pizza base in sauce and then cheese. Take the kale and asparagus off of the heat, move on to some kitchen roll to remove excess water and place on the pizza. Top with the goats cheese (I also put some chili and garlic salt all over) and cook in the oven for 10-15 minutes.

The last thing I made was kale pesto, which was a bit weird, but worth a try! I wanted it on Gnocchi, but I couldn't find any on the night I was cooking so used some pasta instead. It was super easy to make so I will definitely try it again with Gnocchi.

Serves 2
30 g mug toasted pinenuts or almonds
50g of vegetarian parmesan
2 handfuls of kale,chopped, with stems removed
A glug of olive oil
A pinch of sea salt
Chili to taste

Grind the pine nuts and salt in a pestle and mortar. Blend the kale in a food processor until well chopped but not mushy and add to the pestle and mortar with the chili, olive oil and parmesan and grind until well mixed et viola! Alternatively you could just put it all in the food processor, I just wanted to play with the pestle and mortar.

So I feel I achieved my kaley goal, and it's also supposed to be a super food so I didn't mind adding it to a lot of my meals this week! If you haven't already tried Kale, then you definitely should, I've discovered that it's actually quite a versatile ingredient, and it's super cheap too!

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Asparagus and White Truffle Oil Risotto

I absolutely love white truffle oil, I discovered it when I went to Borough Market with Emma, we kept going around 'trying' it from all the different stalls and I decided I definitely needed to get some at some point (it's just ridiculously expensive!). I got some from Oil and Vinegar in the end but still hadn't really used it for cooking, just on pasta, with bread ect.

I couldn't really think of what to put it in and searching the internet didn't hold the answer either. So in the end I thought I'd just try it with risotto and as asparagus is in season in April I got some good British stuff to put in it too!

It's pretty simple to make and you can do it without the truffle oil if you don't want to get some!

1 onion chopped
40g butter
200g arborio risotto rice
100ml dry white wine
1 Litre vegetable stock
50g vegetarian parmesan (I used Sainsburys Italian hard cheese)
A bunch of asparagus tips sliced lengthways
A glug of white truffle oil

Serves 2

Heat the vegetable stock in a heavy based pan and leave on the heat while cooking the risotto. Fry the chopped onion in half of the butter for a few minutes until softened. Add the rice and white wine and cook until all the wine is absorbed. Then add a few ladles of stock, just enough to cover the rice and stir frequently until absorbed. Repeat this process until all the stock has been absorbed. When the risotto is nearly ready steam the asparagus for 3-5 minutes. Then when all the stock is absorbed add the asparagus, half of the parmesan and the remaining butter and stir well. To serve, drizzle with the truffle oil, sprinkle with the remaining parmesan and enjoy!

Tea Monkey Milton Keynes

Tea Monkey opened up in Milton Keynes this week and I've been wanting to go ever since I saw it was coming! It's nice to have something a bit different in MK because it's quite a commercialised place and you don't see a lot of unique businesses opening up. The actual 'shop' is lovely, they've not over crammed it with tables and chairs and with the modern decor it feels inviting and spacey, and it's in a great location opposite the tree! The staff were all happy and helpful (which after working in a shop for 3 years you really notice!) and the whole place had a great atmosphere!

...but too the good stuff! There were so many great teas on the menu and I couldn't decide for ages, but eventually went for a flowering tea because I've never tried one before. It had a nice delicate flavour, but the best part was obviously when the flower bloomed.

And of course you can't have tea with out cake so I went for the clotted cream and strawberry cheese cake, and I have to say it was one of the best I've had (and I eat a lot of cheesecake!). The clotted cream cheese part melted in your mouth and the strawberries were like an added bonus. My friend had a huge victoria sponge like cake and a different blooming tea, which were also amazing! I'm a big fan of different teas, so it's great to have a new place to stop and have a break while you're shopping up the city. I can't wait to go again and try my next one, I'd definitely urge any fellow Milton Keynesers to get down there and try something new!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Banana and Chocolate Bread

Armed with some ripe bananas and eggs from my mums chickens (I like using these because I know first hand that the chickens have a good life, despite being chased around by the children at her nursery!) I took on the challenge of my making first ever banana bread. I saw this bread tin with a promotional lurpak pack for only £2, so I couldn't resist buying it and trying out some new recipes.

I used this recipe from BBC food but also folded in about 150g of milk chocolate with the flour, because banana and chocolate make great partners. It was super easy to make and tastes and smells amazing, especially with a cup of honey and lemon tea.

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