Saturday, 24 October 2009

Fairy Cakes

(How To Be A Domestic Goddess)

A rainy Saturday afternoon, a bored baby...what better activity than making fairy cakes?

Mummy measures out ingredients, small child tips them into bowl (mostly into bowl...), we share the stirring. Fifteen minutes in the oven and hey presto - twelve light-as-a-feather, fluffy fairy cakes and the kind of aroma that would sell your house in seconds (yes, I know it's meant to be baking bread but this is every bit as good).

Just one tip: do not answer the telephone in between icing and pouring on the hundreds and thousands. As I have now discovered, the result of this fundamental error is sprinkle-free cakes and small, brightly coloured sugar balls bouncing (in their aptly named hundreds and thousands) into the furthest reaches of the kitchen.

And now I am off to remove them from the toy bucket,,,

Friday, 23 October 2009

Hokey Pokey

(Nigella Express)

After trying to resist for too long, finally succumbed.

Three ingredients and three minutes seemed too good to be true for such a tempting looking treat. And it was...

Where did I go wrong? I measured with accuracy, buttered my foil diligently, melted, bubbled and stirred as directed. Only thing I can think is that I left the ingredients on the heat just a fraction too long. Won't go into too much detail, but essentially baby, nappy, and an odour that was masking the delicious smells wafting from pan. Couldn't I have waited those three short minutes to deal with it? Er - no.

Nonetheless, the mixture did what it said it would when I added the bicarb, and looked pretty promising as I poured it out to cool...

Turned my back for a minute and instead of the rich, crunchy honeycomb that tantalised me from Nigella's description was confronted by a sticky solid mass that refused to part company with aforementioned foil and would have been a challenge for even the strongest set of teeth.

Refusing to admit defeat, set about it with the rolling pin in the hope that bashing it would somehow turn it into the delectable chunks in the photo before me... Rolling pin simply stuck to it and was only released after soaking in copious amounts of hot water.

Next time will buy a Crunchie instead

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Cop Out...

So the experiment is not going as well as I'd hoped...

But my excuses are: not had time to shop for ingredients, two play dates today so on my knees, Masterchef final fast approaching within the hour

So M&S fish cakes from emergency freezer stash it is - with a resolution to do better tomorrow...

Wednesday, 21 October 2009


Am infidel.

Thirty minute window to create delicious patisserie for visiting neighbours and have gone for tried-and-tested Rachel Allen recipe.

If books could glare, "How To Be A Domestic Goddess" would be doing it right now

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Steak Slice with Lemon and Thyme

(Nigella Express)

The recipe - easy. The result - delicious. But, but...

Made this for the first time last week and it was fantastic. Aside from the fact that stray thyme leaves are still turning up all over the place despite copious sweeping, it went down a storm. As the word of Nigella is law, served it with the 'broccolini' she suggested (tender stem broccoli in Tesco-speak) and this was definitely a good move. Some roasted sweet potato (hey - all my own idea) set it off a treat. But by the time the meat had sat in the marinade for the 8 minutes suggested, then been sliced a la recipe it was somewhere between tepid and stone cold. Still delicious, but slightly odd with piping hot veg.

So tonight I tried again.

Inspiration - cover the marinating meat with foil to keep it toasty. Result - no difference at all.

How it all began...

Around three years ago, on a trip to New York, I bought a book called "Julie and Julia" to read on the journey back to Blighty.

Well, technically this is a lie: my deep-rooted aversion to aviation meant I was never actually going to read it on the plane. As we bounced over the Atlantic, I was far too busy squeezing the blood supply from my husband's hand or waving my arms about my head in a state of panic to think about holding a paperback. But the book was in my hand luggage so there you go.

"Julie and Julia" is the story of a blogger (Julie) who vows that over the course of a year she will recreate every single one of the 524 recipes in Julia Child's classic "Mastering the Art of French Cooking".

That sounds like fun, I thought. Not the French cooking per se, given I do not eat rabbits or lobsters or cream or oeufs en cocotte or half the other things necessary to complete the task.

So I considered the UK equivalent.

However, arriving at the conclusion that I could be faced with a year's worth of Fanny Craddock's "Common Market Cookery" I decided to abandon the project and grill, bake and fry my way through the works of Nigella Lawson instead.

I am aware that "Cari and Nigella" doesn't have quite the ring of "Julie and Julia", but as I am loathe to change my name to Nigel it will just have to do.

So - dietary exclusions and aversions permitting - this is it...
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