Thursday, 31 January 2013

Easy Broccoli & Blue Cheese Soup

After eating our way through two selection packs of cheese over the Christmas holidays we were left with some blue cheese... not sure why, I like blue cheese. But I thought I would use it to make broccoli and blue cheese soup as I'd never made that before.

I love this recipe because it was so quick and easy, and it's good for you. The broccoli and onion not only count towards your 5 a day - which I'm slightly obsessed with at the moment but they also have huge health benefits. Although it did break my hand blender so best to chop up your broccoli into small pieces.



1 large onion, roughly chopped
1 large potato, peeled and cubed
1 tbsp olive oil
1L vegetable stock
1 head broccoli, 300g, roughly chopped
100g blue cheese, such as Stilton, crumbed
Cook the onion slowly in a large pan until soft, then added the potato and stock and simmer for 10 minutes, until the potato is tender.
Add the broccoli and cook for 5 minutes, until just tender but still bright green. Add half the cheese and whizz with a hand blender until smooth. Season and serve with the remained of the cheese sprinkled on top.


Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Pink Lady Food Photography Competition

Today I entered five of my favourite food photos into the Pink Lady Food Photography Competition, which is currently taking place. I wasn't sure whether to enter or not as I'm not sure if my images really fit into their categories, so I ended up putting these into the Food Portraiture category. Fingers crossed, finalists announced in March. 












Monday, 28 January 2013

Food Photography Props

I'm always on the lookout for food photography props like pretty plates and cutlery in charity shops, here are some of my recent bargain finds.

Vintage lace napkin 30p and silver cake slice £1

Set of 5 silver cake forks £1


Tiny vintage salt spoon 50p

Sunday, 27 January 2013

The Best Chocolate Biscuit Recipe

 Last Christmas James bought me the fabulous Primrose Bakery cookbook and to my delight one of the recipes inside was for Afghan Biscuits, I hadn't seen, heard or eaten these biscuits for years.

When I was thirteen my first job was in a cake shop at the bottom of my road, called Cake Craft run by a guy from Australia. I use to ice the cakes and make the sandwiches. One of the things he use to  make was these traditional Australian biscuits, Afghan biscuits and I loved them. Full with lots of coco power and covered in 70% coco icing and topped with a walnut.

So when I saw the recipe in  the book it was the first thing I made and they tasted just as great as I remembered.



Biscuits
200g unsalted butter, at room temperature
75g golden caster sugar
175g plain flour, sifted
25g cocoa powder, sifted
50g cornflakes

Buttercream Icing
90g 70% coca dark chocolate
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
70g icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp semi-skimmed milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 walnuts to decorate

Preheat oven to 180c/gas 4. Line a baking tray.

Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric hand mixer, until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the flour and cocoa powder and beat again. Stir in the cornflakes with a spoon.

Put approx 2 tablespoons of the mix in neat piles on the baking tray, leaving a little space in between each one, and flatten them slightly with the back of a fork.

Bake for 15 mins, or until firm to the touch. Allow to cool slightly on the tray before transferring to a wire rack.

To make the icing melt the chocolate until smooth and a pouring consistency. In a separate bowl beat the butter, icing sugar, milk and vanilla together until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat until thick and creamy with and electric mixer. If it looks too runny keep beating - this will thicken it up and improve the consistency.

When biscuits are completely cool, ice with a spatula and decorate with walnut halves.






Saturday, 26 January 2013

Darling Pin Up Cards

I've done it... I tracked down the playing cards from my childhood. After a very long search I managed to find out they were from the 1950s and called 'Darling' playing cards. After I had the name I very quickly managed to find and purchased pack from ebay. They have beautiful illustrations of pin up girls on every card and the three jokers and I absolutely love them.

A very happy nostalgic purchase.





Friday, 25 January 2013

Jerk Sweet Potato & Black Bean Curry

I chose to make this recipe as part of my new healthy eating plan as it contained black beans that were on my superfoods list. It was really easy to cook and so tasty, I'll make this again.

Sweet potatoes count as one of your five a day and are full of vitamin A which protects your vision and boosts your immune system and black beans which are packed full of protein, fibre and flavonoids - an antioxidants that help your arteries stay relax and pliable.



1 onion finely chopped
2tbs oil
Small bunch of coriander chopped
4 tsp Jerk seasoning
400g chopped tin tomatoes
4 tsp white wine vinegar
3 tsp sugar
2 sweet potatoes, cubed
400g black beans
1 red pepper chopped
600g veg stock

Fry the onion and peppers for 5 mins. Add the jerk seasoning and half the coriander, fry for one minute.

Add the tin tomatoes, stock, vinegar and sugar, simmer for 10 mins. Then add the sweet potatoes and simmer for 10 more minutes. Add in the black beans and simmer for 5 more mins. Then cool and chill for up to two day.

To Serve heat through gently on the hob and scatter the remaining coriander.




Sunday, 20 January 2013

Snowing

We've had snow for about a week now and I've been taking photos every morning. On Friday we got let out of work at 3pm and I went for a short walk with James and took a few more. 

This is a little mixture of them. 













Saturday, 19 January 2013

Carrot and Lentil Soup

One of my other New Year Resolutions was to cook a new recipe each month. So far, this month Ive cooked three. This was my first, I'd never made soup before and found it incredible easy and surprisingly tasty... I thought due to lack of ingredients it was be tasteless but it was super yummy, quick and easy and very good for you. I will definitely be making this one again... regularly.


600g carrots grated
140g red split lentils
1Ltr veg stock
125ml milk
2tsp cumin seeds
pinch of chilli flakes
2tbs olive oil

In a large sauce pan dry fry the cumin seeds and chilli flakes for 1 min, then remove half the seeds and set aside for later.

Add oil, carrots, lentils, stock and milk, simmer for 15 mins until the lentils are soft, then blend till smooth.

Season to taste and sprinkle with the remaining toasted spices.



Monday, 7 January 2013

Jan Sales

Goodies from the sales...

Purse 70% off £3 Accessorize, Ring 50% off £2.25 BHS, Heart Tights 50% off £6 Accessorize.



Sunday, 6 January 2013

Book Ledge Project


Last week I decided the last step in transforming my kitchen from red accessories to mixed pastels was to change the picture of poppies, which hangs above my cookbook storage bench. I have been looking for a picture of pictures to replace it but never found anything I liked.

Then after receiving Sweet Treats for Christmas (from my wonderful boyfriend James) a beautiful cookbook, in a fabulous mint pastel green, I realised that what I should be displaying above my bench is some of my favourite cook books.

So at the beginning of the week I had the book ledge made to measure and on Saturday I put my DIY head on and put the shelf up... took me an hour but it was so worth it.





Saturday, 5 January 2013

Hemmed In

On Friday evening Sarah and I decided to take a little wander around MK Gallery, before going to the cinema. 

The gallery is currently exhibiting embroidery and needle work by local craft artists, organised by MK Embroiders Guild and Mr X - who also happens to be one of the head NSO in Roller Derby. 

These were some of my favourites.






Friday, 4 January 2013

Resolutions

One of my new years resolutions is to sell my unwanted items on eBay each month - a big contrast to last years resolution to buy a dress each month! So I am over the first hurdle, I have put my first item on, a very cute table and chairs that has sat in my outhouse since May after I replied it with my antique farmhouse table.

Since listing the item I have become addicted and I'm constantly checking to see how many watchers and bids I have. Currently 66 watchers, 8 bids, up to £45.99 and it still has 3 days 7 hours to go. Very exciting, a great resolution.


Thursday, 3 January 2013

Jelly On A Plate

Recently whilst working on a food shoot, I got to choose the food I wanted to shoot. As I'm usually shooting meat and fish, I thought it would make a nice change to shoot something a little prettier... I chose jelly.





Wednesday, 2 January 2013

Tuesday, 1 January 2013