Reviews, recipes, ramblings and other gourmet bites. A food blog of indulgence...

Sunday, 24 October 2010

All grown up ...

Yesterday was a bread baking sort of a day. Matt was out climbing, and I knew that on his way back he would most likely nip to the shops to grab some food for dinner, and that that food would most likely include a large block of cheese.

So, I decided to bake something to complement said cheese (I assumed we'd be talking stilton here...I was right). A fougasse maybe...perhaps a rosemary and sea salt focaccia...

But then it happened, as I was flipping through Richard Bertinet's book of contemporary bread, Dough. Now, granted, this isn't one of my most well-worn cookbooks (for one thing, it doesn't yet have splodges and greasy butter stains on any of its pages), but I thought I'd read it pretty thoroughly. Apparently not. Yesterday I discovered a WHOLE NEW CHAPTER at the back, about sweet dough, and all the beautiful things you can do with it.

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Rising and falling

We have had a run of bad luck in the kitchen recently. First there was the apple cake that was ... erm ... accidentally grilled rather than baked (a delightful mixture of charcoal and raw cake mix ensued). There was the ill-fated batch of cornbread that was more like corn sludge - am still not sure how this happened, whether it was a bad recipe or, more likely, a bad chef (me) to blame. Then of course there was the unfortunate case of the curdled ginger ice-cream (the less said about that the better).

Then we come to Sunday night, and the sad tale of my cupcake tragedy. I had seen this recipe on the very lovely Smitten Kitchen and thought 'Good grief they look amazing.' This is because a) I have eyes and b) I am excited by cake.

Look at the link, go on. Then feel your mouth start to fill up unattractively with saliva! Are they cakes? Are they tiny tiny souffles? Does it matter when they're so amazingly light and filled with cream?

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Basil gnocchi with sage butter

Matt here,

This was a mid-week, tag-team effort - I made the gnocchi, Jen made the sauce.

The night before last we had sausage and mash (with onion and marsala gravy) which I will modestly claim was excellent, but that's another story. Anyway, halfway through peeling for the mash, I was thinking about what I was going to do with the other half of the potatoes that I didn't really need. Normally what happens is that I cook far more than I can eat (but proceed to eat them all nonetheless) whilst leaving a small handful of potatoes to go green and plantlike because I can never be bothered to prepare such a small number of spuds...

The solution was simple, peel all the potatoes, cook them and then keep enough for the meal and put the rest in the fridge to have as gnocchi the following evening. I accept that we're not talking Einstein levels of genius here, but still...

Well, it turns out that gnocchi is really easy, oddly satisfying and tastes great when home made. This recipe was adapted from the top 15 search hits on googling "gnocchi recipe" - the most relevant was probably the one on the BBC site, it inspired the basil.

Sunday, 10 October 2010

Desert Island Foods

I am frequently to be found accosting people I have recently met, and demanding to know the 5 books/films/songs that could sustain them on a desert island, should they be stranded there. (I'm aware that this is probably quite annoying, especially if in a party situation where I will undoubtedly be accompanying said question with wild gesticulating with a gin and tonic ...)

Anyway ... I really do find the answers fascinating, as they can give you a small snapshot of the way that person views the world - even if it's only a somewhat grainy polaroid of how they view the world at the particular moment I'm talking to them.

So...I wonder if the same applies to food.
Assume - and you'll have to indulge me with the lunatic scenario here - that you are stranded on a desert island. You're not allowed to spear fish from the tropical waters, or go foraging for nuts, berries or brightly-coloured fruit. You can't hunt wild pigs, or shoot birds from the trees with rudimentary whittled arrows. You can't light fires for cooking, or try sucking the nutrients out of seaweed in desperation.

Instead, you must rely on 5 food items, and only 5, to keep you going. These can be snacks, treats or full-on hearty fare, but they should be finished dishes rather than ingredients. They will be provided on tap on this island, by some mysterious-and-as-yet-unspecified benefactor.

What do you choose?

The Lizard peninsula in Cornwall, doing a fair impersonation of a tropical island.

Sunday, 3 October 2010

The rain rain rain came down down down...

It seems the times they are a-changing. Trainers have been swapped for snuggly boots, the central heating keeps turning itself on without being asked, food magazines are getting very pumpkin-centric, and you can spot the odd display of crackers, cards and Christmas lights in department stores (because apparently it does now take a full 3 months to prepare for Christmas....gah!) Summer and holidays really do seem a long time ago.

Especially, when the view from our living room window looks like this:

Any plans to go out yesterday evening were literally dampened, and we watched people scurrying around getting soaked to the skin. Two guys had obviously given up entirely and were ambling nonchalantly down the street looking like they'd been swimming in their clothes. Ah, October.

Bacon vodka...

Hi this is a really quick post to let you know about the first stage of a new jelly project.

The Bompas and Parr Jelly book previously mentioned has lots of great stuff in it, but naturally it was the bacon and cola jelly that really drew my attention. First step is to create bacon vodka, this is achieved through a process called "fat washing". There's an interesting thread on the possibilities of this technique here, apparently it takes at least two weeks so watch this space...

For efficiency, make this while cooking a bacon sandwich.  

200g Bacon (smoked and streaky)
200ml Vodka


  1. Fry the bacon.
  2. Transfer to a Tupperware container.
  3. Pour over the vodka, close the container and leave in a dark cupboard for two weeks.
  4. To be continued....
There are no pictures - it looks vile.