Wednesday, 29 February 2012


If you were to ask me what I'd like for my last meal?  I'd probably choose a mushroom risotto.  I can't get enough of them and I love a bit of citrus fruit too.

I can only imagine what incredible flavours are bursting in the mouths of the patrons of Pierre Herme as they sink their Parisian ivories into his latest limited edition macaron.

To see more of the maestros confections visit


For me cooking means simplifying everything as much as humanly possible.  Preparation is an absolute must.  No one can turn out a beautiful meal amidst chaos.  So read your recipe and have all your ingredients to hand. 

When I first began cooking it was all very haphazard and onions which were meant to be sauteed would invariably end up on the wrong side of opaque whilst I searched for spices or prepared additional ingredients, that's why the guys on tv make it look so easy!

There a few gadgets in my kitchen that I turn to on a daily basis and are worth investing in if you plan to be cooking on a regular basis.  For a catering course (many moons ago, which was thwarted by youth and a placement, in which I thought was a fantastic restaurant but brought about my educational demise) I was told to purchase a set of chef's knives.  I still have the same knives today.  All I'll say is that they're older than my kids and are almost as cherished.

While we're on the subject of knives, there's also my mezzaluna.  I swear to God, use this to chop your herbs and chillies and I promise you'll never use a standard knife again!  You could pop them in your mini chopper, but it's so much easier just to grab and clean this.

Garlic is used in such a variety of cuisines, I go through ridiculous amounts of it.  Treat yourself to a decent crusher with removable plate,  again for easy cleaning.  I'm not averse to using Lazy garlic and ginger from time to time but my preference is always fresh.
And to get rid of all those garlicky, fishy and onion odours?  A wee steel egg.  Although to be fair, they can be banished by rubbing your hands over a piece of cutlery or steel utensil under cold water to the same end.



In his 18th consecutive year in his role as the Oscars 'chef de cuisine les etoiles', Wolfgang Puck served up another heavenly array of dishes with assistance from his chef partner Matt Encivaga and Executive pastry chef Sherry Yard.  90% of the menu was sourced locally, comprising of organic produce and sustainable seafood, with the exception of the Maine lobsters and French truffles and was washed down with some 1500 bottles of Moet Chandon.

Highlights included chicken pot pie with shaved black truffles, lobster tacos with tomato and pickled shallots, beet salad with pistachio butter, braised short ribs with parmesan polenta, lamb chops with a mint cilantro vinegar, lobster with curry ginger sauce, burrata and citrus balsamic, baked potato wrapped in gold with caviar and crème fraiche and all American favourite mac and cheese.

And for all those who didn't receive a hallowed statuette?

Their very own bitter sweet chocolate Oscar dusted in twenty four carat gold.


In these austere times it's always better to dine in, but there's nothing better than some downtime with a good friend, lounging about in gorgeous surroundings and puttin the world to rights whilst enjoying a tasty meal and cocktail to boot!  So when I spied a fab deal on offering a sharing platter for two along with a cocktail each for just a tenner at, I snapped it up and got straight on the blower to the Fabulous Baker Girl.

We don't get out much us two.  We actually tie our own apron
strings to the kitchen and anyone who attempts to detangle them is chased forthwith, usually with a sharp implement! 

 However in this wee nook nestled under Taylor Ferguson, we were met by very attentive staff and shown to our table tout suite which made us feel right at home.  For good measure we ordered our cocktails from the smiling waitress, a Cosmo for me and a non alcoholic libation for The Fabulous Baker Girl.

In no time at all, we decided on the Seafood platter and it was despatched to our table in minutes.  A huge bowl of green curry mussels, prawn and squid tempura, salmon skewers and flatbreads accompanied by a generous portion of coconut rice.  All absolutely delicious and in a perfectly judged portion.  Kuta we'll see you real soon.


Him indoors and the kids were famished and as usual I was harassed and running around in the hope of glamifying myself so as not to be shown up by The Fabulous Baker Girl who has ten years on me and looks like a cake has never touched her lips so I hid the takeaway menus and rustled up this wee curry for them.


  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 x 431g pack chicken fillets, cut into chunks
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2 tsp finely chopped root ginger
  • 1 red chilli, deseeded if you like, finely chopped
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 3 tbsp smooth peanut butter
  • handful coriander, chopped
  • salted peanuts, to serve
  • boiled rice, to serve

  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a casserole dish. Add the chicken and cook until lightly browned all over. You may have to do this in batches. Remove the chicken from the pan and set aside. Pour in the remaining oil and cook the onion for 5 minutes until softened. Then add the garlic, ginger and chilli and cook for another 2 minutes. Stir in the cumin and the ground coriander and cook for a minute more and then add the tomatoes. Simmer for 10 minutes, topping up with a little water if needed.
    Stir the peanut butter into the sauce until smooth, then return the chicken to the pan and cook for 5-10 minutes more until the meat is cooked through. Scatter over the coriander and peanuts and serve with some plain boiled rice, if you like.

    Thanks Tesco, you're not all bad. Scratch that, you are but I think I can sleep with a clear conscience having only stolen one of your recipes from a mag and not someones liberty. ;)

    Sunday, 26 February 2012



    Like many people who have tried this recipe, it's one of those I've heard about but have always been a little dubious about attempting.  J does a really good barbecue beef sandwich, which in the American tradition involves about 45 flavour combos and is slow cooked until the meat is mouth meltingly tender.

    I imagine this to be in the same vein.  We've overindulged a bit on beef and lamb lately so this will be a nice change, served with mash, green beans and on advice, some fruity jelly. Also it has minimal ingredients and I'm doing it in the slow cooker.  Perfect if you're a mum on the go like me!



    You may be thinking my pasta looks a litlle off colour.  I can explain.  For this dish I used Asda's garlic and basil linguine just to add another wee layer of flavour. Also you could pretty much throw in any seafood you desire, in this instance I've just used a bag of mixed seafood from the frozen section.     The sauce itself is really simple, sauteed onion, couple of crushed garlic cloves, a can of chopped tomatoes, a  teaspoon or so of paprika and stock of your choice just to keep it loose. Dress with either fresh basil or parsley. Most importantly, as Nonna always says, the pasta goes into the sauce with a little of it's cooking liquid and never the other way round.  Bueno appetito.x



    I don't bake but then even if I wanted to, I don't have an oven at present so...... 

    But I know someone who friend THE FABULOUS BAKER GIRL. Incidentally she is extremely well versed in so many areas I couldn't begin to list, so I'll simply refer you to her blog where you can fill your boots. x

    Pineapple cake but not as we know it!

    Taste the rainbow.
    Queen of hearts



    My gorgeous sister made these at Christmas, I have been planning to make them ever since.

    Last weekend Ellis and I made chilli, clove and cinnamon truffles, although I have to tell you I was a little disappointed.  Only in that I held back on the chilli after making beef rendang the previous evening and watching tears well up in both her and her fathers eyes on account of the chilli content!


    I love fish, not everyone does though. An earlier offering this week of Seafood Linguine was sniffed at by him indoors.  However the kids lapped it up and asked for seconds. This sunny Spanish offering has got my mouth watering and is on this weeks hit list and incorporates one of my favourite ingredients-paprika.

    I will serve it with some Pan Rustico, to mop up all that gorgeous sauce.


    Just amazes me!

    I hear ya.


    ''I tried to get on Ina (Garten)'s show. I tried to use my, well, you know....I say use what you have to make the world better or for yourself!  But eventually she just said ''I'm sorry, I only use my real friends on the show.''  I felt like, ''What are you saying? That we're not friends? I know everything about you!''

    Jennifer garner on how using her star leverage to get on the Barefoot Contessa show failed.


    So following on from my intro, I thought I'd share one of my favourite soup recipes with you.  It's really quick, satisfying and disappears quicker than a London looter in my house whenever I make a pot.

    Like all home cooks, I tweak quantities in recipes.  I still don't have the cheffy capability for increasing ingredients to serve huge numbers but as I don't plan to open a restaurant or appear on Masterchef, despite the Fabulous Baker Girl's attempts to persuade me otherwise, it's all just trial and error. 

    This recipe calls for tamarind paste (don't worry not that obscure) you can leave it out but it does make a difference.  If you're in the Glasgow area Seewoo supermarket is a veritable treasure chest for ingredients and at reasonable prices.  I love to just wander around looking at the cornucopia of supplies on offer but I digress and my love of Seewoo will be borne out in later posts.


    Serves 2

    750ml chicken stock
    1/4-1/2 red chilli, deseeded and very finely chopped
    1 small lemongrass stalk, outer leaves removed and finely chopped
    1 teaspoon tamarind paste
    1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
    handful of coriander, stalks left whole and tied in little bundle, leaves roughly chopped
    1 skinless chicken breast
    1 spring onion, finely sliced
    2 tablespoons of fish sauce
    1 1/2 tablespoons of lime juice

    Bring the stock to the boil in saucepan with chilli, lemongrass, tamarind paste, ginger and stalks of coriander.
    Once boiling gently lower the chicken breast into the stock and simmer for 20mins, covered. Turn the chicken over half way through the cooking time.
    Discard the coriander stalks and remove the chicken breast.  Thinly slice the chicken and add back into soup with the spring onions, chopped coriander, fish sauce and lime juice.
    Reheat and once piping hot, serve.

    *this recipe taken from cook yourself thin