Thursday, 24 December 2009

Cherry and Marzipan Cookies

About 5 or 6 years ago I picked up a recipe card from my local Waitrose for Hazlenut and Marzipan cookies, which were divine.  They've been a favourite ever since, so when I was looking for something baked to put in our Christmas Hampers this year (along with lots of jams and chutneys including the bramble and apple jam I wrote about a few months ago) they were the natural choice. recipe file has gone missing!  Somewhere in the move from downstairs to up our filing cabinet has lost that one, oft used drop file full of my favourite recipes.  Oh no!  I tried searching on Waitrose's website but the recipe isn't up any more.  So the search was on for another cookie, which had to have Marzipan in it and after a few searches I came across Gastronomy Domine's Cherry and Marzipan Christmas Cookies.  Perfect!  Not only was it marzipan but I'd bought a pack of sour cherries having seen them in a few interesting recipes lately and could use those too.

One of the best things about cookie baking, for me, is that they can usually be made with gluten free flour without too many problems, so I altered the recipe only so far as to use Dove's Farm Gluten Free Plain Flour Blend in the place of regular flour.  I didn't have any trouble getting the dough to come together as the recipe suggests, in fact it was rather buttery, but I put this down to the difference in flours and put it in the fridge to cool. It had a good texture when it came out of the fridge, so I rolled it into balls and popped them on baking sheets.  Having read the comments on the original recipe post I kept a close eye in case they cooked quicker in my oven, and the first batch definitely did!  In about 10 minutes they were slightly overdone and very spread out.  Hmmmm.  The next batch went in on a lower shelf - better.  I turned the oven down and that improved things too.  Unfortunately I was a little distracted during the baking, so some batches got a bit overdone and were very difficult to get off the baking sheet.  The last batch however came out perfectly!

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Gingerbread House

This weekend we worked on our Yule gingerbread house, I wanted it to be ready for the Yule Feast we're hosting on the 18th.  Looking forward to sharing the delights of that night with you all!  I still had gingerbread dough in the freezer from the Haunted Gingerbread House I made at Halloween, so got that out of the freezer to defrost in plenty of time.

My SO decided that this was the day to give me an early Christmas present, and handed over a silicone baking mat for rolling out pastry etc. on.  It was perfect timing.  I was able to roll the dough out on the mat, cut out the shapes and then just flip the mat upside down to get the pieces onto the tray without any distortion from trying to lift them.

With the pieces baked, I took a chance on a new technique and used some meringue powder to make the royal icing which I coloured with paste colours in Christmas red and green.  The icing was a completely different texture to regular royal icing but it certainly did the job!

Our big innovation this year was the addition of boiled sugar windows, and a light inside.  You can make windows by putting boiled sweets in when you bake the gingerbread, but as I'm a fan of playing with sugar at high temperature I made my own.  I dissolved a cup of sugar in 1/2 a cup of water over a low heat, added a pinch of cream of tartar and then boiled it to 300 fahrenheit, added a little yellow food colour and poured the mixture into the good gingerbread pieces which I had laid down on a greased granite slab.  20 minutes later we had glazing!

The assembly went smoothly, it takes time but that's really just waiting time to let the icing dry between stages.  I do wish I'd had a smaller nozzle for my piping bag though, it was just a bit too big.  Ah well, it'll soon be Christmas and I have just such a thing on my list!

We added a few pre-bought decorations, and boiled up a bit more sugar to make a pond, stuck them all on and tada.  Very pleased with the result!  Full photos are here.

Friday, 4 December 2009

Snowmen cookies!

Another bake for the Tree Festival, this one for the kids.  Snowmen cookies!  Basic sugar cookies (I use this recipe, its a good one and makes a good quantity, cut out with a combination of my usual cutters and my fabulous Ikea Drommar set.  One larger circle, one smaller and a square put together to bake.  They're frosted with a royal icing type frosting and some basic black fondant for the hats, with chocolate chips for eyes.

Christmas Pudding Cupcakes

Wow, where did November go?  I may have to go and retro-blog some of Novembers cooking, although a few weeks were spent so full of cold I didn't have the desire to eat, let alone cook!  But here we are in December which of course means festive baking.  Each year at Haxby Memorial Hall, the fundraising team put on a Christmas Tree Festival.  Local businesses and organisations sponsor and decorate trees with prizes being awarded to the best, there is a Christmas Fayre and Father Christmas is in his grotto for the kids to visit.  Last year our business ( sponsored a tree as usual, and I decorated it entirely in edibles; candy cane cookies, popcorn garlands, gingerbread (of course!) and topped it with a boiled sugar topper.  I had some leftover mix from the cookies and made little Santa's hat cookies which went down a storm with the kids.  This year the tree is being decorated by my SO, leaving me to bake things for sale at the festival and I knew I wanted to make some cute bakes, as last years cookies went down so well.  I also knew I wanted to make cupcakes, because I had some nice Christmas muffin cases to use.  So the search began...but was rather disappointing.  Other than one recipe that suggested stirring some mincemeat into regular cupcake mix, most of the recipes were just for cupcakes decorated to be Christmassy.  Not what I was after.  But then I came across a recipe at BBC Good Food - Christmas Pudding Cupcakes.  Looked great and had that christmassy flavour I was looking for.  BUT, I didn't have all the ingredients needed in the cupboard, and no time to get to the shops to buy them so I made a few substitutions; soft cheese for sour cream and sweetened cranberries for sour cherries.  I had no custard powder, so added vanilla and yellow food colouring to the icing.

The cakes rose really well when baked, I could have made 18 with the mixture and still had good sized cakes; as it was I had to trim a bit off the top of each cake so it would stand straight when I turned them upside down.  The icing poured nicely over them, and I topped them with a rice paper holly leaf (painted with food colouring to get the green) and a piece of glace cherry for that holly sprig effect.

Friday, 30 October 2009

Breadstick Bones

I surfed a lot for ideas for Halloween food, and somewhere came across a picture of breadstick bones.  I think it was an american site and they used a pack of Pilsbury breadstick dough to make them with.  Well, that simply wasn't good enough, was it?  No!  So I surfed until I found a nice looking breadstick recipe on  I followed the instructions pretty much, though I skipped the middle proofing as it seemed a bit excessive to have 3 proofings!  To actually make the bones, I rolled each piece of dough (recipe divided into 32) into a string about 8" long, then tied a knot in both ends to achieve the boney shape.

It was only when I was almost finished that I realised I'd missed an opportunity to make some skull shaped ones as well, and stick olives in for eyes and mouth.  Oh year!

Sunday, 25 October 2009

Haunted Gingerbread House

Last year at Yule we made a gingerbread house, and whilst we were looking on the internet for inspiration I came across some really cool looking haunted gingerbread houses that people had made for Halloween.  So I was determined that in 2009 we would have one of these too.  So here we are, a week prior to our party, and I was ready to make it.  I found the excellent recipe and instructions we'd used to make the house last year (fantastic for first timers!  Although note that this makes enough dough for two houses in my experience.) and then went looking for some sites/blogs or hopefully templates to make our own.  But alas, other than this incredible house, I couldn't find anything that I liked.  Most of the haunted houses turned out to be from a kit (boo!) and in any case didn't quite look like what I wanted.  So I decided to be very brave and make my own.

I started out with a sketch of the house as I wanted it, then made templates so I could do check my measurements.  It looks pretty good I thought, so I went ahead and baked the gingerbread.  The baking part went smoothly (other than losing the corner to one piece) and I soon had some royal icing made and ready to put it all together.  Which is where it went awry!  I hadn't even thought what effect the food colouring would have on the icing, but I can now pass on the lesson that you cannot colour royal icing with regular food colouring.  Apparently you need special gel or paste colours instead.  If you add regular food colouring to the icing it just goes horrendously runny.  I made a second batch of icing, didn't colour it and voila, the house was put together.  Phew!

Day two was decorating day, out came the bags of Halloween sweets and the many packs of writing and coloured icing that we have in the cupboard.  We decorate a few apricots up as Jack-o-Lanterns, propped chocolate skeletons up by past cauldrons and generally had a grand old time decorating the house.  It was a family affair, with my (almost) 3 year old contributing as well as my SO and myself.  Fun!  The jars I'd used to prop up the walls had left some marks on the board, and this encouraged our creativity to find more ideas to put on the board and cover them up.  My personal favourites are the eyes in the cauldron, and the witches legs sticking out from under the house a la Wizard of Oz that my SO made.

The white royal icing was painted over with food colouring to blend it in with the halloween theme, and the imperfections really don't matter on a haunted house in the same way that they do with a Yule one.  We've got a great centerpiece for our Halloween Party food next weekend (so more blogging to come as we create those!)

Monday, 12 October 2009


My little boy, almost 3 years old, was watching CBeebies today when the new program 'I can cook' came on.  It's a good idea for a show, with a presenter and some kids making something to eat together; todays recipe was Easy Peasy Pizza (all the recipes from the series can be found here)  I quite fancied a pizza for lunch myself, so told my son he could make his own lunch which he was very excited about.  He loves to cook, and we quite often make cakes together on rainy days.

But if he was making his own pizza, what were his Dad and I going to eat?  Pizza seemed a sensible idea so we could share some of the prep, so to begin with I made a batch of gluten free flat bread, not quite as cooked as I would normally make it if I were eating it by itself.  I mixed up some pizza sauce with tomato puree, garlic, olive oil and balsamic vinegar diluted with water to the right consistency and spread that over the bread.  Then I added my toppings (today we had courgettes and red peppers) and finished with cheese.

Both pizzas went in the oven together and cooked for 10-15 minutes before we had a feast before our very eyes!

Now I think that looks pretty tasty considering it was made by an (almost) 3 year old!

I can testify that the adult version was really good though :)

Saturday, 10 October 2009

More cupcakes

I will, I promise, post about something other than naturally gluten free cupcakes soon.  It's just been the kind of week where comfort food was needed and boy do these cakes fit the bill.  Warm from the oven they are delightfully marzipan-ny and even cold (and the next day, they've never lasted longer than that!) they are a joy to the mouth.  For those of you who don't have to forgo wheat you probably won't understand me waxing lyrical about cakes you can eat the next day any more than you would have understood my rapture about the flat bread recipe, but believe me; the GF cakes that you can buy in the shops are dry and flavourless, often over sweet to compensate and don't last so to be able to home bake something so wonderful is a real treat.

Today I experimented with putting chocolate chips in, but the thin batter won't support them (I had tried with cherries a few days ago which wasn't a success either!) so I think these are going to be the kind of cake you flavour (or perhaps fill) rather than add things to.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Cupcakes take 2

To make 6 muffin case size cakes:

4 ounces of soft cheese
4 ounces of caster sugar
4 ounces of ground almonds
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon of baking powder

Cream the cheese and sugar together, then add eggs, almonds and baking powder and mix to a smooth batter.  Pour into cases and bake at Gas Mark 3 for 20-25 minutes.

These were far better in texture than the previous attempt, not greasy at all but deliciously moist.  What's more they were even better the next day, whereas making GF cupcakes with GF flour I've found they need to be eaten the day they're made (not just an excuse for gluttony, honest!)  I'm sure they can be improved on though, any suggestions?

Friday, 25 September 2009

The search for a naturally gluten free cupcake

Whilst drooling over the pictures on Sweet Sugar Sixpence's Facebook page, I saw that someone had asked if they did gluten free cakes.  They said they didn't.  Now I can see why, because these ladies make the most delicious, perfect, decadent cakes and why would they want to make a substitute that wasn't quite as good? (as GF cakes rarely are!)  Which got me to thinking about making a delicious, but naturally gluten free cake.  Not something made with crazy mixes of 'flours' but a cake that just didn't have wheat in it.

A few weeks ago I made a rather lovely apple and almond pudding, the topping for which was very cake like, so I used that as the basis for my first experiment.  2 ounces each of sugar, ground almonds and butter with one egg, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder and a dash of vanilla essence.  This made enough mixture for 3 muffin cases, just enough for a small trial, and I baked them at Gas Mark 3 for just over 20 minutes.  I tried to take them out at about 18 minutes but they were still a bit wobbly, and they sank considerably as I dithered with the oven door open so might have stayed more risen had I been more patient.  What I hadn't considered was that in the pudding the butter had melted down into the apple and sugar to make a tasty caremalised sauce, but in the muffin cases there was nowhere for it to go.  As a result the pudding topping was a good deal more cakey than the muffins which are quite greasy.  They taste amazing though!

I think they're a promising start.  My next attempt will be made using cream cheese instead of butter, as I've noticed a lot of low carb/gluten free recipes use this quite successfully.  Watch this space!

Sunday, 13 September 2009


I'm trying to eat low carb at the moment, and though I knew I was going to totally abandon the diet for the picnic today (mmmm cupcakes!) I did want to do myself a high protein dish to fill me up so I wouldn't eat too much else, and I settled on a frittata.  I will admit I wanted to make this so I could use me fantastic new Le Creuset omelette pan too!

I checked out a few recipes on the web but ended up winging it.  This is the rough recipe:

1 medium onion thinly sliced and caremalised.
1 red pepper, roasted and diced.
1/2 courgette, fried until brown.
A couple of large achocha, fried until brown.
A few slices of tomato
2 ounces or so of grated chese
6 eggs, beaten

I laid the tomato slices out in the bottom of the pan (the idea was to make an attractive top when the frittata was turned out) then mixed all the other ingredients together in a bowl and poured them on top.  I baked it in the oven at Gas Mark 4 for about an hour until the top was golden and it was nice and set.

Unfortunately when I turned it out the bottom hadn't browned at all, and it didn't look anywhere near as appetising as the top, so I flipped it back over before slicing.  In future I will start the cooking on the hob to brown the bottom too!  I'd also save the cheese for sprinkling on the top to make a cheesey layer as the flavour got a bit lost in the main dish.

Onion Bhajis

I was a little stuck as to what to make for a savoury offering to the picnic we attended today, but decided I've have a go at onion bhajis.  I googled, and the first recipe I came up with was Chef Jorjeena's baked bhaji's made with buckwheat flour.  Allergy friendly too, what more could you ask for?

I cook with my netbook on the worktop in the kitchen beside me, and I found it a bit tricky to keep scrolling up and down between recipe and instructions, so keep this in mind when you give it a try!  The recipe was fairly straight forward and easy to understand though some of the advice like "Cut the onions in half then cut into slices, not too thick nor too thin." were a bit imprecise.  Nevertheless after a short while I had a batch ready for baking.  It didn't /look/ promising, being rather dark brown and gloopy but I had read a comment on the blog where another reader had found their buckwheat flour was a different colour, so I ploughed on.  After the stated cooking time they still looked a bit pale, so I flipped them and cooked them for the same amount of time again; probably 20 minutes on total.  Fresh out of the oven they were tasty.

We also had them the next day, cold at the picnic and they were good.  I'd definitely give this recipe another go, although I might try it with gram (chickpea) flour instead as I wasn't convinced the buckwheat added anything.

Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes

Oh but these cakes are divine.  I first had them when a lovely colleague of mine, when I was working out of The Healing Clinic, brought them in to celebrate her birthday.  Pure indulgence, moist, intensely chocolatey with the sensual treat of chunks of cherry floating around.  Mmmm.  The friend mentioned that they were a Nigella recipe, so the next time I needed to make something fabulous, I googled and lo, my google fu was mighty and I found the recipe on Nigella's webiste.

Fabulously easy to make, they can be put together with a single saucepan and minimal faff.  Within the hour you have the most incredibly tempting cupcakes calling "Eat me!  Eat me!" from your cooling rack.  A little while longer and they are topped with an indulgent ganache and anointed with cherries.  Sinful!

The only negative aspect of the cakes this time around came from the Green & Blacks cooking chocolate that I used for the frosting.  A huge amount of oil separated from the ganache and had to be poured off; I've never had this problem using cooking chocolate before I can only put it down to the brand.

And again I must say that if you've found this post because you are looking for someone to make cupcakes for your, for your celebration please take a look at the website of the lovely Sweet Sugar Sixpence ladies.

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Carrot muffins with orange topping

What's not to love about carrot cake?  It's moist, sweet, packed with nuts and raisins and aromatic spices like nutmeg and cinammon.  And we all love cupcakes too, the decadence of a muffin case full of cake that's just for us topped with lashings of frosting.  Mmmm.  But so far I've been disappointed by recipes that claim to combine the too.  Until now!
In my vegbox this week from Riverford Organic, came a recipe idea for carrot muffins with orange topping.  Having a bit of a carrot glut I decided to give these a bash with a view to taking them to the 4th annual pagan picnic in Rowntrees Park, York tomorrow. I'm glad I did!  Just had a sneaky test cake (well the box I was going to take them in only held 9 cakes so we had one each!) and they're delicious.  Miniature carrot cakes, just sweet enough that even with a healthy dollop of cream cheese frosting they weren't too cloying.  The recipe is available here on the Riverford website.
Talking of cupcakes, if you've come across this blog looking for someone who can make you the most heavenly cupcakes for your wedding or other celebration, then can I point you to the beautiful (on the inside and the outside) ladies at Sweet Sugar Sixpence?

Friday, 11 September 2009

Poor old trout

My father in law knows a fisherman who sometimes has a lucky day on the river and gives us the extra trout.  I defrosted one this morning for dinner tonight.  Now, usually, I'm pretty good at filleting fish.  Not professional, but pretty good.  But tonight?  Oh dear.  My filleting knife could have done with sharpening I think; I had real trouble sliding it along the spine and ended up with fillets plus extra bits that I trimmed off afterwards.  Not a very tidy job!

I popped the trout in tin foil, drizzled the fillets with honey (local honey from near Scarborough) and added a few flaked almonds before popping in the over at Gas Mark 6.  Meantime I steamed some new potatoes, carrots, leeks and runner beans to go with.

To add insult to injury to the butchered trout I then overcooked the trout and the runner beans were too woody to eat.  Oh dear, not my finest kitchen hour but it was edible!

Food for free

We've been Riverford Organic customers on and off for years now; I say off, because when we first made the move from the beautiful south to Gods own country they didn't deliver in our area and we had to wait a couple of years for normal service to resume.  The boxes are the best quality from many different companies that we trialled, the food is always top quality and usually inspires me with oodles of ideas as I unpack the box on a Friday morning.

They also include a leaflet with the latest news from the farm, keeping you in touch with the problems facing farmers and the seasonality of food.  Today's leaflet was an interesting one.   In short, they think they're going to have too much food to go into the veg boxes this autumn, so they're offering customers the chance to purchase a box that will make dinner for 6-8, for an £8 donation to charity.  Full details are here.

I've asked on Facebook for dinner guests, got a few interested so far.  Should be a fun night, and a good way to try out vegbox cooking!

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Blackberry & Apple Jam

My in-laws were kind enough to buy me a jam pan for my birthday last year, which didn't get a lot of use in 2008 (other than some rather awesome beetroot chutney which I promise to blog about some time) but in 2009 it has been more often on the hob than off. I made batches of lush strawberry jam for Haxby Memorial Hall's Family Garden Party in August, and some Cherry Plum & Damson jam from fruit we'd found in the hedgerows (and damsons we bought from a roadside stall).

Whilst out geocaching, my other half had found a great brambling site just outside York, and so we decided we'd have a Sunday afternoon stroll to gather some fruit and make some jam. We duly brambled, with out little boy eating his own bodyweight in blackberries and still wanting more, and came home with just under 4lbs of the luscious fruits ready for jamming and a few elderberries to make up the weight. As we were getting out of the car our neighbour called out to us and spotting shortcakes blackberry face, offered us some cooking apples to go with them. One of the things I love most about living up north is the increased interaction with neighbours and the community.

My Grandmother used to work for Sphere books, and so as a child I grew up with the 'Good Housekeeping Family Library' cookbooks as my sources. Knowing my new found love of all things to go with boiling sugar (I also dabble in making home made boiled sweets), my Mum had passed on the 'Jams & Preserves' title from the series and I turned to this for a recipe. There I found one for Blackberry & Apple Jam. Perfect. A little preparation and boiling later and we had ourselves 10lbs of what looked like beautiful jam.

I tried it on toast for the first time today. Oh. my. gods. It tastes like a blackberry & apple crumble, full of fruity sweetness but with that delicious mouthfeel that only comfort food has. This is not M&S Jam, this is the best jam ever!


Pick over and wash 4lbs of blackberries, put in a pan with 1/4 pint of water and bring to the boil then simmer until soft. Peel, core and slide 1lb 8oz of cooking apples, put into a separate pan with 1/4 pint of water and cook until its pulpy like apple sauce. Add this to the blackberries, and put in 6lbs of sugar. Stir until dissolved as it comes to the boil, then boil at around 220 degrees until you reach the setting point (use the saucer test).

Get out and pick your berries before the season is over!

Monday, 13 July 2009


Croissants are something that I really miss since cutting wheat out of my diet some years ago. They do sell gluten free croissants, but they don't bear much resemblance to the rich, buttery, flaky and light wonder of a real croissant. I wondered if it was possible to make your own, and having had some success with the gluten free gobsmacked's sandwich wrap recipe I thought I'd try their take on croissants.

The recipe has quite a few stages to it,so I picked a Sunday when I'd have time to play with croissants on and off during the day. I used Dove's Farm plain flour mix rather than mixing my own blend, and used margerine rather than butter as I didn't have any butter in, but otherwise made it as listed. I think the margerine probably made it a little more difficult to handle as it was softer than butter, even when frozen. The rolling out and buttering was a particularly tricky stage, my pallet knife came in handy and they are not kidding when they talk about using lots of flour! I couldn't roll the pastry as thinly as suggested (see through) but it was pretty thin and difficult to roll into a croissant so they looked a bit tatty around the edges.

The result was tasty, but not a croissant :( Pastry like but not light and flaky. They had a cheesey flavour to them too, although they were very nice with a bit of chocolate rolled up. So overall a good GF breakfast bake, but a lot of faff to make and for me the result wasn't worth it. I might give them another try with butter in the future but it would have to be for a special occasion!

Thursday, 25 June 2009

GF Flat bread delight!

Long time no post! Life has been busy for us, but I just had to stop and share this fantastic site for any of you who have to cut wheat and gluten out of your diet for some reason. Gluten Free Gobsmacked is a blog written by a brave pioneer in the cooking of all things gluten free. I first came across the blog when looking for something interesting to eat for breakfast one day, and google turned up the GF Croissant recipe that I haven't got around to trying yet. Croissants are sort of my holy grail in GF cooking so I look forward to giving them ago when I have the time.

I've never been the sort of GF baker to mix my own flour blends, instead sticking to Dove's Farm Gluten Free plain and self-raising blends which work well for a lot of things; the exceptions being bread and scones (sob!) I thought I'd give the wrap recipe a try with it though, as some of the flours in the blend recommended on the site are hard to come by. To my delight, it worked a treat with the plain blend! I wasn't sure if I had spread it thin enough (about 5mm) and it rose quite a bit in the baking, but settled back down once out of the oven. It took a little persuading to come off the baking tin so I must grease and flour it more thoroughly next time, but after a few minutes it had settled down into a delicious looking flat bread. I cut it into four, and started making up a nice red lentil dip to go with it!

Reading my ecstatic tweets and status updates about the result, my SO came downstairs to investigate, tore a strip off and asked hopefully if this was his lunch. I told him no, he had to eat the shop bought bread :) I am just kidding though, I will share, this was really easy to make and I can see it becoming a regular fixture.

Next stop, croissants!

Monday, 6 April 2009

Pasta with Asparagus

One of the real joys of spring and early summer for me is Asparagus. We get it in our veg box, and we also sneak over to a farm in Sand Hutton that sells it fresh cut that morning - its wonderful! This week there was a bundle of the delicious green stuff in my veg box from Riverford (who I cannot recommend highly enough by the way, evey week they deliver me a box full of culinary potential and its a real treat to get to cook with such lovely ingredients) and I wanted to use it as fresh as possible, so tonight I went looking for an asparagus pasta recipe. What I found was the simply titled Pasta with Asparagus at

I adapted the recipe a little, of course, by using rice pasta spirals rather than angel hair pasta but also in the cooking directions. I cut the tips off the asparagus and put them to one side, fried the rest with some onion and the mushrooms before adding vegetable stock, the tips and finally a handful of frozen petis pois. Because I added a little too much liquid I thickened it with some cornflour. The result was a really tasty, low fat meal that had a good strong asparagus flavour. It went down well with the whole family and will definitely be one I add to my repertoire. For the carnivores amongst you, you might find it goes well with some nice streaky bacon bits or pancetta thrown in.

Monday, 30 March 2009

Peppered Mackerel and potato bake

With the cupboard looking a little bare, I googled for a recipe idea for smoked mackerel and potatoes and came across this Peppered Mackerel and Potato Bake at BBC Good Food.

This was a quick and easy supper dish, and I made it dairy free by substituting rice milk and a beaten egg for the cream. Simplicity itself, par boiled potatoes are sliced and fried with some onion then layered around flaked mackerel before the cream is added and the whole is baked for getting on for an hour. It smells great when its baking!

The serving suggestion of a green salad didn't appeal to my family, so we went with an accompaniement of petis pois and courgettes fried in olive oil and deglazed with a little lime juice. It was declared "Quite splendid" and not a scrap remained on plates!

Monday, 16 March 2009

Aubergine and Potato Bake

Tonight's culinary adventure needed to involve aubergines and potatos, and google was kind enough to provide a link to a recipe for Aubergine and Potato bake at

This was basically a moussaka/lasagne type dish and made vegetarian by leaving out the garlic sausage also omitting the cheese would make it vegan easily enough. The cheese did add to the flavours but I think it would have been tasty without it. It was quite time consuming to prepare, taking me an hour to get all the potato and aubergine slices prepared and the tomato sauce made, but I could have done this quicker if I'd used two pans; I was just being economical as my dishwasher is broken at the moment! Once it was layered up I baked it for 15 minutes without the cheese, then added it and baked for the remaining 15 before finishing it under the grill to get it nice and brown.

It was a very tasty dish with some nice flavours, filling and comforting, and would have been accompanied well by a salad and some nice foccacia or similar. I would cut the potato into thinner slices if I made it again, they were about 1cm thick this time and that made them a bit chunky.