Prawn Tagine & Tomato Bread

A few months ago my mum and I went away for a weekend break to stay on a farm in the gorgeous Yorkshire countryside. We stayed in a lovely little cottage, went for long country walks and ate chips in the local pub, it was bliss!

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On the way we visited some friends and they took us to the Jordan’s mill where I went a bit mad and bought lots of lovely produce; jams, oatcakes, spices, and two bags of bread flour. I couldn’t resist the tomato and garlic or the multigrain flour, so obviously bought both!

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Last week I attempted to recreate a dish that I had at Honey & Co a few weeks ago: Prawn and Orange Tagine, which I served alongside some homemade tomato and garlic bread. I fried onion and garlic with cumin, coriander and turmeric spices, added orange juice and chopped tomatoes and let it simmer. When it had reduced down I added the prawns and slices of orange until everything was cooked through and delicious.

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To go with the tagine I baked a loaf using the tomato flour so we had something to dip in the orange sauce. The loaf had a good strong crust but I need to work on getting the crumb right, it was still a little doughy at the edges but the middle was getting there! I just need to keep practising, next up: a multigrain loaf

Oh, and Honey & Co was amazing! I’d recommend it to everyone! Such friendly service and the food was incredible – it’s small so make sure you book!

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My First Attempt at Soda Bread with Mostly the Wrong Ingredients….

Soda bread, for me, is a bit like olives or red wine – it has one of those tastes that I associate with being a grown up; that once you become a grown up your taste buds will suddenly change and you’ll love to eat all these things that as a child you found revolting!

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My dad loves soda bread so we always had it in the kitchen; it was always sitting there in the bread bin when all I craved was a nice squidgy soft white loaf or perhaps an English muffin or bagel. Over the years I tried soda bread, often as a last resort to help me get my marmite fix but I just didn’t get it; why was it so cakey and oddly sweet?

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Fast forward a few years and I’m at the Guinness brewery in Dublin, specifically sitting in the cafe of the Guinness brewery, and I am marvelling at how delicious the soda bread is that they’ve served alongside the shepherd’s pie. Now I’m sure this had nothing to do with the pint I had just finished, but was all to do with how I finally understood the need for the slightly stodgier consistency and the sweetness and nuttiness of the soda bread. It perfectly complimented both the beer and the pie and was part of one of the nicest lunches I’d had in a long time.

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It’s been a while since our trip to Dublin but I’ve finally gotten round to giving soda bread a go. Except I had all the wrong ingredients! I couldn’t find buttermilk so I bought whole milk and I didn’t pay attention to what kind of flour to use. In the end the loaf came out ok but I think the consistency was slightly too cakey, even for this type of loaf. I also need to add a bit more salt next time. It looked good though!

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Foodie Heaven

We had blue skies and sunshine in London today, albeit the temperatures were still a bit nippy, but it was a perfect day for a trip to one of mine and Tom’s favourite London places – Borough Market. It’s foodie heaven, and although on a Saturday it’s a huge tourist spot, I love it! You can get pretty much anything you want at Borough, be it artisan bread, guinea fowl, Belgian beers, fresh fruit and veg or the biggest blocks of chocolate you’ve ever seen – it caters for anyone! Tom and I like to go to Borough most weekends, it’s so nice to have such a great source of food so close to our flat and it’s a nice place just for a wander.

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Today we got there fairly late on in the day but got stuck straight in trying different cheeses, chorizos and hams, olive oils and dips. For lunch we had Boston Sausage hot dogs sitting in the sunshine by the Cathedral and I had a cup of hot apple, pear and elderflower which was delicious, especially in the cold weather!

This weekend we bought Comté cheese, garlic stuffed olives, kalamata olives, some fresh crusty bread, an artisan sausage roll, strawberries, rhubarb, some beer and elderflower wine. I could have bought so much more, the chocolate brownies and salted caramel ice cream always take my fancy but I controlled myself – I’m sure it won’t be long until we visit again!

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Rolled Bread from Jamie Oliver

My Aunty and her partner came over to visit us in our flat this weekend and I wanted to make something a bit different for brunch to the usual bacon, eggs, sausage etc that make up our classic Full English.

Over Christmas, Tom’s mum Sue made this delicious brunch-inspired bread from a Jamie Oliver recipe – rolled bread of parma ham, with cheese, eggs and basil. I thought it would be perfect for a wintery Sunday brunch and so I decided to give it a go.

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Jamie’s recipe can be found here. It uses a basic bread recipe for the dough, which you then roll out to a metre long (or so, can be smaller), rectangle. Then you fill the middle of the rectangle lengthways with the ingredients. I laid out the parma ham, then spaced out the hard-boiled eggs, scattered over the chopped sundried tomatoes, grated over some cheese, and drizzled with olive oil and then some salt and pepper. I forgot the basil leaves, but I don’t think this mattered too much. Once you’ve added all the filling, roll the dough over so that everything is rolled up and then bring the two ends together to meet, in a circle shape. Leave the dough to rise and then bake at 180 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

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I think it’s best to eat the bread fresh out of the oven, when it’s still hot and the cheese is all melted. We served our loaf with a simple green salad. You could always add some olives to the middle of the bread or anchovies, to give it a saltier kick, or you could try a sweet version, and add chunks of chocolate and raisins to the middle, for a melted, gooey chocolate loaf.

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A Very Gastronomic Week – Part 1

Last week it was Tom’s birthday and to celebrate we had quite the gastronomic week! On Monday we went to one of our favourite restaurants – Lily’s Seafood, Grill and Bar which is just off Clapham Common and on Thursday I took Tom to Maze, Gordon Ramsey’s restaurant on Grosvenor Square. Both meals were absolutely delicious and so I am going to write a post about each, starting with our meal at Lily’s.

Our first taste of the food at Lily’s was last year at Jamie Oliver’s Feastival on Clapham Common. Loads of restaurants and food outlets were there, dishing up their specialities and Lily’s offered mackerel and salmon along with delicious home-made bread and butter. It was a simple taste but the fish was so fresh and the flavours so good that it really worked well, and we decided we definitely had to go there for dinner sometime.

Tom at the Feastival!

Lily’s is great for seafood but it also does a delicious chicken escalope and tasty pasta dishes, so even if you’re not a fish fan I’d definitely recommend it! Their speciality dish is probably their seafood platter – a two-tiered, ice filled platter which comes full of fresh fish – mussels, clams, prawns, mackerel, half a crab and half a lobster, along with bread and dipping oils and butter. Normally we wouldn’t be able to afford this dish, and we usually look longingly at it as it goes past to other diners, but luckily for us, Groupon were doing a deal, the seafood platter for half price – suffice it to say, Tom and I leapt at the chance!

Lily’s seafood platter

We ordered some french fries to go with it and then got stuck in! I’d never had lobster before and wasn’t exactly sure what to expect but I am now without a doubt a massive lobster fan! It was fresh and full of flavour, similar to crayfish but sweeter and meatier – it was utterly delicious!

The service at Lily’s was really nice, they didn’t fuss over you and keep coming back asking if everything was alright with the meal, and when I told them it was Tom’s birthday they put a candle in his dessert for him and everyone wished him a Happy Birthday. We always enjoy our food at Lily’s and this meal was no exception! Hopefully Groupon will do another seafood platter deal soon!

A Delightful Dinner Party

Firstly, let me apologise for my long absence from WordPress – it has been one of those times when there just seems so much to do that baking, and consequently blogging, have taken a back seat. It has been a time of both good things and sad things but I am back now and ready to bake! As I write this there are earl grey cupcakes baking in the oven (see my next post for photos!) and I am looking forward to getting back in the swing of things.

This long-awaited post is about the dinner party I had quite a while ago now but I have the photos and the time now to do the post justice.

I posted a while back about the menu I was going to cook for a dinner party for the lovely girls I work with – and I have to say it was the smoothest, tastiest bit of cooking I have ever done…not to blow my own trumpet but I was pretty pleased with myself!

I altered the menu slightly, changing the soup from spiced carrot & lentil to a creamy, roasted butternut squash and sweet red pepper soup, but the rest of the menu remained the same: roast chicken breast stuffed with marscapone and home-made pesto, rolled in breadcrumbs, served with roast potatoes and vine tomatoes, followed by white chocolate and cranberry cheesecake and strawberry daiquiri cupcakes.

I prepped the soup the night before, giving myself more time the next day to have a bit of a lie in before making the rest of the dinner!

Our flat is quite small for dinner for 6 people so it was a cosy evening, but the food was tasty and the conversation hilarious so it was an all round success!

Pink lemonade cocktail

Home-made bread rolls

Butternut squash soup, with pumpkin seeds, crispy bacon and creme fraiche

Crispy breadcrumb coated chicken stuffed with pesto and marscapone, roast potatoes and roast tomatoes

White chocolate and cranberry cheesecake 

Strawberry daiquiri cupcakes

Plaited Loaf with a Spoonful of Honey

Tonight Tom made his world-famous . . .ok . . . family-famous chili for dinner – it’s delicious and he is becoming a true pro at making it! We usually have a few dishes of extra toppings to go with the chili; cheese, sour cream, tortilla chips and bread for dunking; you’ve got to mop up the scrummy chili sauce, it can’t be left to go to waste! Unfortunately, we’d run out of bread but everything was ok, I had some of my amazing mixed grain wholemeal flour left – luckily the perfect amount required to make a plaited loaf from the Great British Bake Off cookbook.

I’ve been excited by the prospect of making this recipe as it looks so rustic and delicious – the recipe uses wholemeal bread flour mixed with hazelnuts, apricots and honey, however, my luck with ingredients didn’t go that far, so I just used the flour and honey. The loaf still tasted amazing but I will try the full recipe next time as I think it will be even better!

The honey in the recipe adds a delicious sweetness to the loaf which I can imagine is complimented really well by the hazelnuts, but it isn’t too overpoweringly sweet so would go well with cheeses and chutneys or, as we used it, chunky bread for dunking! Other flavours that would work well in this loaf recipe are a good strong cheddar with roasted red onion, cashew nuts instead of hazel and olive and sundried tomatoes.


 For the full recipe see The Great British Bake Off How to Bake cookbook – it’s worth investing in, it has so many easy to follow, delicious recipes and it just looks gorgeous!