Monthly Archives: November 2009

Sunday Brunch

I know it is the middle of the week and is early to be discussing weekend breakfast, but this is the first time in a while, I have had chance to post. However I made this omelette/frittata a couple of weeks ago and have been wanted to share it with you since.

I love getting up early sometimes on Sunday morning to have the house myself, have a cup of coffee, watch TV, do a little housework perhaps and enjoy breakfast in peace by myself. The other Sunday, peace and tranquilly was achieved and I was able to make my favourite omelette/frittata (not quite sure which one it is, please decide for yourself after reading the recipe.)

Spicy Sunday Morning Omelette/Frittata

Ingredients

  • Half an onion, chopped finely
  • 1 medium sized chili, chopped finely (with or with seeds, it depends on how hot you like it!)
  • 2 eggs
  • Ham, chopped into squares
  • Chorizo slices (I just used the ones from the supermarket – they are OK for this and pizza toppings – not much else)
  • Garlic and Herb cheese, broken up into rough chunks (I used Boursin but it’s up to you)
  • Cheddar Cheese, grated (my favourite is Cathedral City- however I have a sample of Kerry Low Low Cheese to try now so expect a post about this soon)
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Dried mixed herbs (any you like really. I used Italian mixed herbs)
  • Olive Oil

Method

  1. In a frying pan, put in a glug of olive oil and fry the onion, chili and a small pinch of salt until softened.
  2. Meanwhile, break the eggs into a jug or small bowl, whisk lightly and add the dried herbs and some salt and pepper.
  3. Pour into the frying pan with the onion and chili and turn heat down to the lowest setting. Allow to cook until the eggs are set on the bottom
  4. Add your toppings. Chorizo and ham first, garlic and herb cheese and top with grated cheddar.
  5. Put under a preheated grill until cheese has melted and bubbling. I enjoy leaving the garlic and herb cheese in chunks, as it doesn’t melt completely then as it can be quite thin and runny once melted. Then serve and enjoy with a glass of orange juice.

That’s it for now. Short post this time but I will be back with another post soon, either involving cheese or a joint post with my friend Marie about cooking for a crowd.

Happy Cooking! :-)

Biggest Baking Adventure Yet!

Owen's Cake

A few weeks ago, it was my friend Marie’s eldest son’s birthday. His name is Owen and he is 3 years old. Marie decided that she wanted to host a party for Owen and we would need to make a big cake for it to feed about 30 family and friends.

This sounded like a quite a large undertaking but I am always up for a challenge and agreed to help Marie make and decorate the cake. The first problem that we had was that neither of us, had a cake tin that large enough for us to make the cake. Then I remembered seeing a massive cake tin in Lakeland that might do the job. I ordered it and it came a few days later.

The second problem we had was getting a recipe to make a cake that big. We had already decided we wanted to make a sponge cake as it is what most kids seem to prefer. I asked the people of Twitter for help and eventually found a recipe from netmoms.com that would be able to do the job. We decided to double the recipe to begin with, but the resulting cake was quite thin so in the end, we doubled the recipe again and made a second cake to go on top. We used strawberry jam and butter icing as the filing for the cakes.

The final problem was actually decorating the completed cake. Marie and I were helped by my cousin Faye, who has been on a cake decorating course. Faye made Roary the Racing Car to go on top of the cake. It is fantastic as I am sure you will agree. Thanks Faye for your help. It is much appreciated. Marie and I did the rest of the decorating. One tip is to have some icing glue (thick icing sugar and water paste) to cover up any holes or texture problems in the icing. We cut the cake into a round as we cheated and brought ready rolled icing, which is only available in rounds for some reason. We used writing icing to add the other decoration. Overall, I think the cake worked quite well for our first attempt. What do you think? Comments, tips and suggestions welcome.

Madeira Cake Recipe (adapted from netmums.com)

Ingredients

Cake

  • 700g butter (softened)
  • 700g caster sugar
  • 12 large eggs
  • 1kg self-raising flour
  • 4 tsp baking powder
  • 12 tbsp milk

Filling

  • 1 jar of jam (your choice for middle and top of cake to hold icing on)

Butter Icing

  • 200g icing sugar
  • 250 g butter, softened
  • Ready Rolled Icing (optional)

Method

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Grease the cake tin, line the base and sides with greaseproof paper
  2. Put all the ingredients into a bowl or food processor. Mix until just combined (do not over mix)
  3. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and level the mixture out.
  4. Bake for 55-60 minutes or until golden and firm to the touch.
  5. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 30-40 minutes, then turn it out on to a wire rack and leave to cool completely.
  6. Repeat all steps to make second cake.
  7. Make butter icing while second cake cools.
  8. Place bottom cake on board and cover with jam and butter icing. Place second cake on top and cover top with jam, then put ready rolled icing on top (if using) and decorate to your heart’s content!

Happy Cooking! :-)

Christmas Pudding Challenge!

Matthew Walker 'The Pudding'

As I have mentioned many times in the past, I am a member of the UK Food Bloggers Association. A couple of weeks ago, a competition was put on the site from Matthew Walker – the world’s oldest Christmas pudding maker. They have been making puddings in Derbyshire since 1899 and their recipe contains the 13 core ingredients that represent Jesus and his 12 Apostles. They have since trademarked it has ‘Recipe 13: The Perfect Christmas Pudding Recipe’.

The aim of the competition is to create some alternative Christmas fare with Matthew Walker’s ‘The Pudding’ Christmas pudding as the main ingredient. My entries are below. I decided to do a Christmas pudding ‘bread and butter’ pudding and a Christmas pudding trifle. The reason why I chose these dishes is because, custard is a traditional accompaniment to Christmas pudding and there is chance that you may have both Christmas pudding and custard leftover from Christmas dinner.

'bread and butter' pudding

Christmas pudding ‘bread and butter’ pudding

Ingredients (quantities depend on size of serving dish and how much leftovers you have)

  • ‘The Pudding’ Christmas pudding, cut into slices
  • Butter (brandy butter if you like or have some leftover)
  • Custard (for a recipe see here)
  • Icing Sugar
  • Glacé cherries (optional – add a bit of festive colour)

Method

  1. Put Christmas pudding slices in a serving bowl or dish (one suitable for use in oven) and spread butter onto the slices
  2. Make custard and pour over the buttered Christmas pudding slices and put in oven about 180°c for about 15- 20 minutes.
  3. Allow to cool slightly and top with Glacé cherries (if using) and sprinkle with icing sugar snow. Enjoy!

Christmas pudding trifle

Christmas Pudding Trifle

Ingredients (quantities depend on size of serving dish and how much leftovers you have)

  • ‘The Pudding’ Christmas pudding, broken up into chunks
  • 1 tablespoon of brandy or other Christmas spirit (add more if you like)
  • Custard (see recipe link above)
  • Whipping cream
  • Glacé cherries (optional – add a bit of festive colour)
  • Grated chocolate, chocolate drops, hundreds and thousands – anything you like to decorate the top

Method

  1. Put Christmas pudding chunks into a serving bowl (I don’t have a nice trifle bowl so I used a normal Pyrex dish) Pour the brandy over it and allow it to soak it.
  2. Make the custard, allow to cool slightly and pour over Christmas pudding chunks. Allow to set in fridge
  3. Whip the cream in whatever way you want (hand power or electrical means) until it forms stiff peaks
  4. Pour over custard and allow it to set in fridge again and then decorate however you like. Serve and enjoy!

Overall, I think these recipes worked quite well. However, I made the custard a bit thin and it completely drowned the Christmas pudding in the trifle and with the cream on top, it looks like a big bowl of snow! I also slightly burned the ‘bread and butter’ pudding. I think with some slight refining these recipes would be suitable to be made for a Boxing Day buffet as dessert alternatives to use up the leftovers.  I welcome any suggestions for any improvements/refinements that could be made to these recipes. I enjoyed taking part in the competition, especially since my kitchen smelt of yummy Christmas pudding all afternoon!

Happy Cooking! :-)

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