Sunday, 9 September 2012

French Vinaigrette

I've always eaten a lot of salad. This isn't because I'm particularly healthy nor is it because I'm on a diet. As a child I was always confused when I heard people moaning about boring salad and what a chore it was to just have salad for dinner. I thought everyone had delicious homemade salad dressings. In fact as much as I enjoy crisp lettuce and juicy tomatoes, the best bit about a salad is definitely sopping up the dressing with some crunchy French bread.
I always have some of this french vinaigrette lying around, it's much tastier and cheaper than buying the ready made dressings from shops. I love it on all types of salads, I love dipping crunchy radishes into it and most of all I love drizzling it on a tuna salad sandwich instead of using butter or mayo.
The ratio of vinegar to olive oil is really up to you. My dad has always said 1 part of vinegar to 3 parts of olive oil, but I like mine a bit more tart (no tart jokes please!)... so I put roughly 1 part vinegar
Wholegrain or dijon mustard
Extra virgin olive oil
Red wine vinegar (can use raspberry or tarragon etc)
I tend to make this in a glass bottle because it looks nice, but if you just have a smidge of mustard left in a jar you can make it in that.

How to...
1. Put a generous blob of mustard in your bottle/jar/bowl.
2. Fill your jar/bottle/bowl 1/3 full of vinegar. Add salt and pepper.
3. Top up with olive oil.
4. Shake.
5. Pour.
This keeps for absolutely ages, but you'll end up using it all within 2 weeks.

While cooking I was listening to... Ready for the Floor by Hot Chip.

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Creamy Thyme, Mushroom and Bacon Smothered Crumpets.

I've just moved house and started a new job. I've finally got a kitchen which is easy to use (although it will take me a while to get used to where everything is) and I've unpacked all my bags. As anyone who has ever moved house will relate to, moving is one of the most stressful things. To make life a little more stressful I finished work on a Tuesday evening and had to move my stuff 150 miles across the country ready to start work at 8am the next morning.

I survived my first 2 days at work on a diet of soup cooked by my lovely new housemate, cereal and lots of salads in my packed lunch box. I promised myself a proper dinner today. Today I got up at a reasonable time (considering I finished work at almost 3am) and headed to town to stock up on the last little bits I needed. I lugged my shopping back which made me break a sweat and then continued to slog away unpacking the last of the bits I had sitting in a suitcase.

By the time I flumped myself on to the sofa I fancied something packed full of flavour but quick and easy to cook. I was tempted by another salad, but then I remembered how much I was looking forward to something hot and tasty.

I really love mushrooms on toast for supper but I felt that I deserved something a little more luxurious for my supper since I'd had such a busy week.

Ingredients (serves 1... just multiply up if you want more)

5-6 Chestnut mushrooms (you could use others, but these are tasty!)
Half a small onion sliced thinly
1 clove of garlic finely chopped
Small handful of diced smoked bacon
Creme Fraiche (I used 1/2 fat - my Dad would disown me if he knew)
Fresh thyme
Olive oil
2 crumpets

How to...

1. Slowly fry the finely sliced onions in a little drop of olive oil.
2. While those are frying slice up your mushrooms, like them best in little wedges.
3. When the onions are soft and starting to colour add the smoked bacon.
4. Once the bacon is beginning to cook throw in the garlic and 30 seconds later the mushrooms. Season with salt and pepper.

5. Add a generous pinch or two of fresh thyme. I like to just scrunch a bunch of thyme a couple of times and lots of leaves fall off.
6. When the mushrooms are cooked as much as you enjoy them add a big spoon of creme fraiche. Make sure your crumpets are in the toaster.

7. Heap the creamy mushrooms and bacon on hot crumpets and tuck in.

Whilst cooking I was listening to... You're Gorgeous by Babybird

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Banana and Nutella Bread

I am a self confessed cake addict. The first thing I did after my final exams last year as a reward was to go and buy myself a nice cupcake. Unfortunately others don't recognise cake as a food group and once an ex-boyfriend through out my 2 drawers full of mini-rolls as he was worried that I would become malnourished. It was a traumatic experience. In an effort to avoid that ever happening again I had to disguise my love of cake with fruit and vegetables. Carrot cake was my first love until a friend made me a banana bread.

It was moist, bananaey and just 100% cakey goodness. She used the Hummingbird Bakery recipe and it was pretty close to perfection. Unfortunately pretty close to perfection is just not enough for me, so I tweaked it... then I added nutella because the only thing that is better than perfection is perfection with nutella.

Ingredients (makes a whole loaf)

5-6 very ripe bananas
Jar of nutella
2 eggs
270g soft brown sugar
280g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1" grated ginger
1 heaped teaspoon ground cinnamon
Half a clove of grated nutmeg
150g unsalted butter

How to...
1. Mush the bananas in a big mixing bowl.
2. Melt the butter and preheat the oven to 170C (gas mark 3).
3. Put all the other ingredients except the nutella in with the bananas and mix well. There is no need to be delicate about this and add things in any order, just mix it up.
4. Grease a loaf tin with some butter and dust with flour.
5. Scoop all the mixture into the loaf tin.
6. Use a teaspoon to drop blobs of nutella throughout the mixture. This gives lovely gooey blobs of nutella in the baked loaf. Remember the rule; 1 spoon in cake, 1 spoon in face.
7. Bake for around an hr (it might need 10 mins more or less). When its cooked if you stab it with skewer it will come out clean.
8. Allow the cake to cool and either eat it all yourself or cut it into little squares and share.

Whilst baking I was listening to... Vanilla Twilight by Owl City