Monthly Archives: February 2011

Fresh From The Oven: Challah

This month’s Fresh From The Oven challenge was hosted by Dom at Belleau Kitchen. He decided we should make Challah, a traditional Jewish bread served at Sabbath. The recipe below is adapted by Dom from his mother’s recipe. I found the bread very easy and quick to make. I adapted the recipe slightly as I read somewhere that Challah’s can have currents in them for special occasions so I added a handful of currents in, with a small a sprinkling of flour over them to stop them sinking into the dough. It was a good addition and my colleagues at work loved it.

Many thanks to Dom for hosting this month’s challenge :-)

Braided Challah Bread

(Recipe by Dom)


  • 1 sachet easy blend dried yeast
  • 1tsp clear honey
  • 8fl oz lukewarm milk
  • 50g melted butter
  • 16oz plain flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs lightly beaten – in separate bowls – one for the mix and one for glazing
  • Poppy seed or sesame seeds (optional)


  1. Combine the yeast, honey, milk and butter, stir and leave for 15mins to dissolve
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour and salt. Make a well in the centre and add the yeast mixture and one of the beaten eggs. Stir to make a dough. (It will be very sticky and will definitely need extra flour for kneading)
  3. Knead till smooth and elastic (a good 15 mins) then transfer to a clean bowl, cover and leave to prove for 1 1/2 hours.
    Grease a baking sheet. Knock back the dough and divide into 3 equal pieces. Roll to shape each piece into a long strip for plaiting.
  4. Lay 2 of the strips over the third to make a star shape and plait from the centre, tucking the ends under. Do this on the baking sheet, then cover with a tea towel and leave to rise for 30 mins.
  5. Brush with egg and bake in a hot oven at 190 for 35 – 40 mins or until golden and sounds hollow if you tap it.

When One Has Guests: Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer Competition

Since I was a child, I have loved the taste of ginger beer. It has been in same league as Dandelion and Burdock throughout my life. Therefore I was incredibly happy  when Crabbie’s released an alcoholic ginger beer not so long ago.  I love served in a long glass with lots of ice and a summer BBQ to go with it. I enjoy it in the winter too, without the ice and let the ginger warm me up.

I was recently asked by Jacqueline from Crabbies if I would like to help judge a competition they are currently having. I said yes straight away. The full details  of the competition are on the Crabbie’s blog here. However, what you have to do is to come up with a recipe using Crabbie’s Alcoholic Ginger Beer as the main ingredient and leave the recipe as a comment on the Crabbie’s blog by Friday 4th March. The person with the best recipe, decided by myself and the rest of the judges will win a cooking lesson in their own home and will host their own Crabbie’s dinner party. What a fantastic prize! I would like to win it myself. All the terms and conditions of the competition are here.

Good Luck Everyone

Happy Cooking! :-)

Jo Cooks: Go Green Week Cookery Demonstration

This is the second in my occasional series of video posts of me cooking in my kitchen. However, this time I am not in my kitchen. I am cooking in the food technology room at the University of Worcester. This was a special event for Go Green Week, a student action week to raise awareness of climate change. I told you about my then impending cookery demonstration here.  I made:

  • Local Vegetable Curry and Naan Bread
  • Roman style Vegetable Pizzas
  • Caramel Apple Meringues

The vegetables were kindly donated by Paul from Worcester Produce. The demonstration was filmed and edited by the wonderful Martin Duke. Thanks  to both of you for your help. It is much apperciated :-) You can download a PDF with my recipes on here: Cookery Demo Recipes Please note, you will need Adobe Reader or Adobe Acrobat to read and download the file.  I really enjoyed doing the demonstration and I hope the people who attended enjoyed it too. I hope you enjoy watching the video. Please let me know what you think. Below is a small selection of photos from the event.

Photo by Martin Duke

Happy Cooking! :-)

Winner of Forman and Field Valentine’s Hamper

A couple of weeks ago, I took part in Forman and Field’s Valentine’s Cook Off, where fellow bloggers and I were each sent a hamper of mystery ingredients and asked to create a Valentine’s Day menu with it. To spread the love around, each blogger who took part was given a Forman and Field hamper (worth up to £60) to giveaway to a lucky reader in time for Valentine’s Day.

Well, I am very pleased to announce that a winner has been chosen from all the valid entries using (to be classed as a valid entry, your comment needed to say something about your ideal Valentine’s food or menu) and the winner is Karolina from Senses In The Kitchen. Congratulations Karolina! Please email me your address, telephone number and whether you would like your hamper before or after Valentine’s day to asap please. Thanks to everyone who took part. I loved hearing about your ideal Valentine’s meal.

I will be back at the weekend with another video post: my first live solo cookery demonstration for Go Green Week!

Happy Cooking! :-)

Handmade Pasta

Last year I went to Loaf and did a handmade pasta course with Tom. Since the New Year, I have started making my own pasta on a regular basis and I now find it quite an easy and therapeutic thing to do. Some of the pasta I have made is above. It is hanging on the back of my kitchen chairs as I do not have a pasta drying rack. (Any recommendations for where I can get a good quality one are gratefully received.)  I am also trying to eat more fish and seafood too, so with one of my first attempts at handmade pasta, I decided to make a seafood sauce.

Handmade Pasta with Seafood Sauce

Ingredients (Serves 2)

  • 200g Tipo 00 flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 2 very fresh free range organic eggs
  • 1 salmon fillet, cut into chunks
  • 4 king prawns, peeled and de-veined
  • 2 squid, cut into rings
  • 10 mussels, cleaned (I used frozen cooked mussels that we out of the shells and reheated them in the sauce)
  • 1 tub/jar of passata
  • 1 /2 an onion or 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled and finely sliced
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian mixed herbs


  1. Put the flour in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Break the eggs into the well and mix with a fork until a dough starts to form. Once a dough starts to form, put your hand in and mix until you have a lump of dough.
  2. Put the dough onto the surface and knead until soft and silky. Use a dough scraper if the dough sticks to your surface. Put in clingfilm and leave to rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  3. Once rested, put the dough onto a floured surface and roll out into a roughly rectangular shape until about the size of an A3 piece of paper. The dough should thin enough to see your fingers through it.
  4. Lightly dust the dough with flour and pull one third of the dough furthest away from you to the centre of the dough. Dust with more flour and pull the third of the dough closest to you, towards the centre.
  5. Put this onto a chopping board and chop into long thin strips (about 0.3-0.5cm wide) using a a sharp knife.
  6. Pull the strips gently apart lengthways and put on a drying rack (or chair!) for a little bit to dry out.
  7. Put some olive oil in a pan and allow to heat up, add the onion and garlic and allow to soften. Add in some salt. Once softened, put the passata in, with some water otherwise the tomatoes will be to strong. (I usually half fill passata jar/tub with water to get measurement)
  8. Allow to cook for a few minutes until thickened and add in the dried herbs.
  9. Cook the pasta in a saucepan full of salted boiling water until al dente.
  10. Meanwhile, add in the salmon and mussels and allow to cook for a few minutes. Then add the king prawns and squid and cook until everything is ready. (Mussels shells should be open, discard any that do not, prawns should be pink, salmon should be pale pink and flaky and the squid should not be chewy).
  11. Drain the pasta and place in a big bowl. Serves lots of the sauce on top. Eat and enjoy with a glass of white wine.

Overall, I think this dish went quite well. Stuart and I both enjoyed it and I will certainly be making it again. Next time, I might add some lemon juice to the sauce to liven it up a bit and give it a kick.

Hope you are having a good weekend. I will be back during the week with the winner of the Forman and Field Valentine’s hamper. There is still time to enter here.

Happy Cooking! :-)

Go Green Week Cookery Demonstration

Next week is Go Green Week (7-14th February) which  is a student action week set up by People and Planet to raise awareness of climate change. This year’s theme is ‘Love Your Future, Love Your Climate’, as it falls so close to Valentine’s Day.  What does this have to do with food I hear you ask?

Well, it is estimated that halving your meat and dairy consumption could take 10% off each person’s Carbon footprint. (Source: People and Planet) To encourage  students to eat more local fruit and vegetables, I have been asked by the University of Worcester (where I work) to do a cookery demonstration to students and staff showing them what they cook with our fantastic local fruit and vegetables.

This has made me quite nervous as it is my first ever live solo cookery demonstration.  I do not have other people around me, like when I did the Masterchef Experience at the BBC Good Food Show here and here, and I do not have the ability to edit, like I did when I made my first cookery video a couple of weeks ago.  However, I have decided to give it ago and I will be making (with fruit and vegetables kindly supplied by Worcester Produce) the following:

  • Vegetable Curry and Naan Bread
  • Roman style Vegetable Pizzas
  • Caramel Apple Meringues

I am hoping that someone will be able to video the event for me so that you can all see the demonstration too.  I will be putting my recipes and pictures up as soon as I can after the event. If you would like to more information about what else the University of Worcester is doing to celebrate Go Green Week, please see here. If anyone has any tips for doing cookery demonstrations that would help a complete novice, it would be greatly apperciated.

Please do not forget that I am having a give-away of a Forman and Field hamper, which you can receive in time for Valentine’s Day. More information is here.

Happy Cooking! :-)

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