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.

Sunday, 28 April 2013

Baked Camembert, Walnut and Mushroom Fricassee at Nelson Street Resturant

As you may or may not know, I detest mushrooms, but there are some exceptions such as when vegan Emma cooks them (she has a magical mushroom touch) and the other day when I went to take some pictures at the restaurant that my brother works at. While taking the pictures I got to try the baked camembert, walnut and mushroom fricassee. Well, I think the picture says it all, who wouldn't want to eat that! So I just thought I'd share this beautiful cheesy picture for your viewing pleasure! Enjoy.

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Sweet Potato and Aubergine Katsu Curry

Over the last 2 weeks I've been house/pug sitting for my mum's friend. It was like a dream because 1. I got to pretend to be a housewife 2. I got to look after Bentely the pug aka the cutest and most mischievous dog ever 3. She is a lovely, lovely lady who filled the fridge with vegetarian food for me! I was pretty excited about this fridge of food and what I could cook from it, but there was also something in there that I've never cooked with before, an aubergine. I know what you're thinking, Hef, you're a vegetarian, how have you never cooked an aubergine before. Well, I used to think they were a bit gross, bordering on mushroom territory (ewwww). So I wasn't really sure what to do with it. I thought about when I've eaten it in other meals and the one that stuck out was Katsu curry. I freaking love kastu curry, I could eat it all day every day and I've been wanting to make it from scratch for a while so I decided this was the perfect opportunity. I based the sauce on Gizzi Erskines recpie, but made it vegetarian and added some more veggies (why not, eh?). I tried making it twice this week, once frying the vegetables and once baking. I prefer them baked, so that's what I'm going with. Sorry for the not so great quality of the picture, Mr Hef told me to 'stop taking pictures and eat your dinner' and like a good housewife, I did (haha).

Serves 2

For the sauce

A bit of olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 carrots, chopped
1 tbsp plain flour
1/2 tbsp curry powder
300ml vegetable stock
1 tsp honey
2 tsp soy sauce
1 bay leaf
A large pinch of garam masala

For the vegetables

Olive oil spray
1 free range egg, beaten
100g seasoned plain flour
200g panko breadcrumbs (this is an estimation, I am extremely messy and get them stuck every where so you may need more or less)
1 sweet potato, peeled and sliced in to thin circly shapes
1 aubergine, chopped to the same width as the sweet potato

And some sticky white rice to serve!

  1. Start by pre heating the oven to 180 degrees and setting up your egg, seasoned flour and panko breadcrumbs in separate bowls then pop to one side
  2. Heat a little olive oil in a sauce pan, then add the onion and garlic and sweat on a low heat for 2 minutes. 
  3. Then add the carrot, pop the lid on and leave to soften, stirring occasionally. 
  4. While the carrot is cooking away, prepare a large baking tray by spraying with olive oil, then take your slices of sweet potato, first coating them in the breaded flour, then dipping them in egg, then covering them in the panko bread crumbs.
  5. Place each one on to the baking tray and spray well with the oil and pop in to the oven for around 30 minutes.
  6. Go back to your sauce and add the flour and curry powder and mix in well. 
  7. Slowly pour in the vegetable stock, bit by bit and stir well to avoid any lumps occurring. 
  8. Add the soy sauce, bay leaf and honey, bring to the boil and simmer for around 20 minutes. 
  9. After 20 minutes, remove the bay leaf from the sauce and add the garam masala, then pop in in to a blender and give it a good whizz so that there's no lumps left. 
  10. Remove the vegetables from the oven (they should be lovely and golden brown) and pop on to your plate with some sticky white rice, cover it all with the sauce and enjoy! 

Friday, 19 April 2013

Confessions of a Chocoholic Afternoon Tea, London Hilton, Park Lane

I'm not sure if I really believe in soul mates, but if I did Georgie would be mine (sorry Mr Hef). We are both boys under our super girly exterior (thats a bit of a lie, I look like a boy from the outside too), have oddly similar boyfriends and share a love of all things food and cake. I met Georgie when I started working at a chocolate shop in Southampton. She didn't like me because she thought I was trying to take her job, little did she know I was a massive slacker who was just there to constantly annoy her. Any way, this year for my Birthday Georgie got me the most awesome present, a chocolate lovers afternoon tea at the Park Lane Hilton Hotel in London. The afternoon tea started with with a super friendly man explaining all of the options on the menu. Georgie and I were happy to eat whatever they gave us (as long as mine was veggie!) and we started things off with a glass of champagne.

They then brought us an assortment of teas to look at/smell, which excited us both greatly. I went for an afternoon tea blend, I can't remember what Georgie had, because I'm useless. After we had our champagne and tea, it all started to get very exciting, we were presented with the most beautiful finger sandwiches I have ever seen. They were absolutely delicious and quite dainty, which luckily left enough room for the large amount of cake we would soon be eating.

After the sandwiches we were presented with a beautiful 3 tiered tower of scones, pastries and miniature fancies. I didn't manage to take a good picture of how beautiful it was, because, quite frankly I was too excited about eating it all (sorry). After getting over the excitement of the beautiful cakes, we went straight in with the warm chocolate chip, plain and fruit scones. Once again they were absolutely delicious and perfectly accompanied with jam, cream and the best chocolate praline I have ever tried. All the the cakes and scones are handmade at the Hilton and you can really tell, they we're light, fluffy and extremely fresh.

Then we got to the cakes. I don't even know what to say about them. Each one was unique and had an amazing flavour. I think my favourite was the raspberry and elderflower cupcake, mainly because anything containing elderflower is a winner in my books.

After we had devoured the first cake layer (which consisted of a battenberg, Sasher torte, raspberry and elder flower cupcake and a red velvet cupcake). We were ready to tackle the second (which consisted of white chocolate and cherry cheesecake and red velvet and orange tuile, Milk chocolate cremeux, pistachio macaroon with manjari chocolate filling, iced shortbread butterfly with an orange and chocolate profiterole, lemon and raspberry marshmallow cone and a meringue lolly). This layer was made even more exciting by the fact that the plate was made of chocolate. Yes! YOU COULD EAT THE FREAKING PLATE. We noticed that some of the other guests that were enjoying the afternoon tea were taking their left over cakes away in super cute little boxes, but Georgie and I aren't ones to be defeated by food. No! We ate the whole thing, well, we didn't quite manage to eat the whole chocolate plate, but Georgie took a bite. She's a real champion. 

Obviously I would recommend this to any one, it was the perfect way to spend an afternoon in London.  Everything was to such a high standard and tasted like heaven! If you're not convinced, here's a picture with Georgie and the chocolate plate. A CHOCOLATE PLATE!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Spicy Courgette Fritters with Lime and Coriander Tzatziki

Last week I got some courgettes in my veg box and although I eat them quite a lot, I couldn't decide what to do with them. Every time I opened the fridge, they were there, looking at me, making me feel bad about not eating them. So I took action and turned them in to fritters, mainly because my mum had brought me some spinach and pine nut balls and I couldn't decide what to do with them (I was obviously lacking inspiration last week). So I decided to make myself a small mezze of yummy things. Then I told my mum about my plans and she wanted some, then my little brother got involved and then I discovered that Mr Hef hadn't eaten and since he no longer lives with him mum and is useless in the kitchen, I feel like it's my duty to feed him. So the mezze ended up being giant, so big it took up my whole dining table! We had the courgette fritters, homemade lime and coriander tzatziki, garlic potatoes, spinach and pine nut balls, olives, hummus, sun dried tomatoes and spelt and rye bread. So if you're looking for something to serve them with, all of those options make a brilliant meal!

For the fritters:

2 courgettes
4 tbsp gram flour + a bit extra for coating
1 small chili, chopped in to little bits
100g vegetarian parmesan (they sell it in Morrisons now, yay)
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Lime and Coriander Tzatziki:

1/2 a medium cucumber
200g greek yoghurt
A handful of coriander, chopped finely
1 tbsp lime juice
Salt and Pepper
  1. Start by grating the courgettes and popping them in to a sieve over a bowl, place a heavy weight on top (I used a heavy bowl) and leave for 15 minutes to drain the juice out of them. 
  2. Pour the juice away, then transfer the grated courgettes to a bowl and add in the gram flour, veggie parmesan, chopped chili and a bit of salt and pepper and mix in well. 
  3. Put the mixture to one side to absorb the flour and other flavours, and start making the Tzatziki by peeling the cucumber. 
  4. Grate the cucumber in to a sieve over a bowl and repeat the process you just did for the courgette. 
  5. After 15 minutes pour away the cucumber juice and pop the cucumber in to a bowl, add the yoghurt, coriander, lime juice and a pinch of salt and pepper and give it a good old mix up, pop to one side. 
  6. Heat some olive oil in a frying pan (it needs to be very hot!) and take small handfuls of the courgette mixture, squash in to fritter shapes and dust each side with gram flour. 
  7. Pop the fritters in to the pan and fry until they are well done, flipping them over when nice and brown. 
  8. Move to a plate and serve with the tzatziki.

Monday, 8 April 2013

The Cake and Bake Show, Manchester 2013

So, this is my 200th blog post! When I started this blog I didn't even consider getting to 100 posts let alone 200, so today I feel proud. I think the best way to celebrate anything is with cake (or at least some kind of food) and luckily I was invited to the Cake and Bake show in Manchester last weekend. I really do have a massive soft spot for cake, so I've been excited about this for a while. I took my fabulous assistant Mike and we enjoyed a day of cake eating, chef watching, gingerbread decorating and a lot of shopping! There was a massive variety of stalls from cake accessories, pies, breads, brownies... really anything you can think of to do with baking!

Giant gingerbread house
There was also loads of stages with various demonstrations going on, so you can literally indulge in all things cake and baking all day long. Mike and I watched Paul A Young (I think he's amazing!) making mayan chocolate cakes and caught a bit of John Whaite talking on the Lakeland stage. Unfortunately Paul Hollywood wasn't doing any demos on the Sunday otherwise I would have been in the front row (what a silver fox).

The Ginger Bakers Stand

The show highlights for me were Paul A Young (obvs), Ginger Bakers Brownies, oh my god were they good, so good Mr Hef only left me a quarter of each!

More Ginger Bakers brownies, they deserve a second picture

The giant gingerbread house and the amazing pop corn from Joe and Seph's, all of the flavours I tried at the show were delicious, but I ended up buying some caramel and peanut butter and caramel and sea salt to take home. If you missed it, good news, the next show is in London in September and you can buy tickets here! If you like cake or baking I seriously recommend going.

Monday, 1 April 2013

Refried Bean and Scrambled Tofu Tostada

I didn't get the nickname Fatty Heffa for eating small portions of healthy food. No it came from being an actual Fatty Heffa. I used to run a lot, so eating a massive amount of food didn't feel so bad, but one day I stopped running and didn't start again, due to cold weather/being lazy/any other excuse I could think of. 3 weeks ago I started running again which means I can eat massive meals (horary!) and not feel guilty any more. One of my favourite giant meals is the Breakfast Burrito and seeing as I hadn't had one in ages I decided to treat myself. So I went to the shops and brought all the ingredients that I needed, happy and guilt free. When I actually came to make my burrito, disaster struck, I had accidentally brought some kind of child sized tortillas. There was no way all of my fillings would fit in to such a tiny tortilla, so I was left with only one option, tostada. This meant I could pile all of my tasty toppings nice and high on top of a crispy tortilla, if that isn't the breakfast of kings, I don't know what is. I like to make the salsa, guac and refried beans from scratch, but if you're in a hurry store brought is still yummy.

 Per serving:

1 small tortilla
1 small can of refried beans/home made refried beans
A splash of olive oil
100g tofu, drained
1 pinch turmeric 
1 pinch chili powder
A dash of soy sauce 
Raw homemade salsa (store brought is also good)
Raw homemade Guacamole (store brought is also good)
Extra corriander and chopped red chili to stick on top
  1. If you're making your refried beans, salsa and guac from scratch, start by doing that and put them to one side. 
  2. Splash a bit of olive oil in a pan and turn it on to a medium heat, crumble the tofu in and add the turmeric, chili powder and soy sauce and stir frequently.
  3. Spray the tortilla with a bit of oil then season with salt and pepper and pop in to a preheated oven for 5 minutes. 
  4. Reheat the refried beans in a sauce pan, then take the tortilla out of the oven, pop the beans on top, then the tofu, and the cover it in guacamole and salsa. 
  5. Sprinkle some chopped coriander and red chili on top and enjoy!

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