Being new to the world of food blogging, imagine my surprise when reading the latest post from Ros at Living To Eat! I saw that she had tagged me for a food bloggers event – a themed event in which bloggers around the world take part and write a post about. How exciting!

This particular event was dreamed up by Angelika at The Flying Apple and she posed the question ‘Which menu would you serve blogging friends for a welcome dinner upon their first visit to your home?’. You can see Angelika’s post here.

Well I got thinking and here is the menu I came up with:

Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup
~~~
Beef Wellington served with new potatoes, sautéed buttered spinach
and a red wine jus
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London Cheesecake served with blueberry coulis
~~~
Coffee and Port

I decided to base my menu around the very English Beef Wellington; fillet of beef wrapped in pastry stuffed with pate and mushrooms. I’m afraid I would have to substitute shallots for the mushrooms though as Rob doesn’t like them.

The Roasted Tomato and Garlic Soup I’ve chosen for the starter has become something of a staple for me. I like making soup and do so often so it seems right to include it.

I’ve selected a dessert from my favourite food writer, Nigella Lawson. Her London cheesecake is heavenly and my standard cheesecake (and of course it has London in the title so I have to include it). I’d serve it with a blueberry coulis, because I love blueberries and I think it would work really well, giving a splash of colour and fruity flavour to the simplicity of the cheesecake.

I would welcome everyone with a glass of champagne. As we clinked glasses Nora Jones and Jamie Cullum CDs would be playing softly in the background. The lights would be low and the flickering candles would give a glow to the faces of my new foodie friends. The conversation and laughter would fill the room and the wine would flow all night long.

I’ve tagged Amy at Cooking With Amy to take part.

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I’m going by the old saying ‘Feed a cold, starve a fever’ and I think it’s working. I’m no longer sneezing or bunged up and I’m coughing much less. I do feel tired though. I wanted soothing food today and chicken casserole seemed the way to go – chicken has to be the perfect food to feed a cold.

But is there actually anything in that saying? Does it actually work? Well, back in 2002 Dutch scientists conducted an experiment to find out exactly that.

The results of the experiment showed that eating a meal boosts the type of immune response that destroys the viruses responsible for colds, while fasting stimulates the response that tackles the bacterial infections responsible for most fevers.

But Gijs van den Brink, who worked on the experiment, cautions that that people should not change their behaviour based on such a small study. Well maybe not, but it’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it.

Click here for the full article from NewScientist.com

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A Slice Of Cherry Pie has been up and running for a month now and I’m really enjoying writing it.

I’ve loved reading the comments and watching my traffic stats to see where in the world you all are and what’s bringing you here. There are so, so many of you!

I thought it would be nice to open a guestbook for you to sign your name and say hello as you stop by.

Just leave a comment against this post.

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I’m a big fan of one pot cooking, as you’ll see when I write more about what I’m cooking as the weeks and months go on. It’s easy and makes less washing up – and who couldn’t like a meal like that? But what I really love is the way the flavours mingle, that the dish can be varied as you like and that you can put it in the centre of the table for everyone to help themselves, with the dish bringing everyone together. One pot meals put me in mind of homely, old-style country cooking, which appeals very much to me.

If I’m perfectly honest though, the real reason for this one pot meal today is that I still have this cold and have developed a tiring cough, so I couldn’t be bothered with a traditional roast. I didn’t even parboil the potatoes, I just cut them into small chunks.

Smear the lamb with olive oil, a little fresh rosemary and crushed garlic. I used 3 cloves for half a leg. Crushing the garlic does make it very strong so use less if you prefer.

Peel and cut into small chunks whatever vegetables you want to put in. I used potatoes, parsnips and shallots. Add the vegetables to the pan with the lamb.

Drizzle the vegetables with olive oil and sprinkle the lamb with sea salt and pepper then roast at 225c. I cooked this for an hour, but the length of time will depend on the size of your lamb and how you like it cooked.

Halfway through cooking turn the vegetables and add 250ml of stock to the pan. I used beef but you could use any.

The rosemary and garlic infuses the oil which in turn flavours everything in the pan, making for a very fragrant and tasty roast.

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Autumn days when the grass is jewelled
And the silk inside a chestnut shell
Jet planes meeting in the air to be refuelled
All these things I love so well

Autumn is a wonderful time of year, full of visual and culinary opulence. As much as I love Summer I welcome the change Autumn brings and the fresher air after long, hot, sultry days.

I look forward to wrapping up in jumpers, curling up on the sofa when it’s dark and cold outside, watching fireworks light up the sky on bonfire night, kicking the red and gold leaves and, of course, enjoying the food.

Hot jacket potatoes, casseroles slowly bubbling in the oven, sticky sausages, warming soup and comforting puddings. There is an abundance of vegetables to choose from, the cooking slows down and meals become heartier and more homely. My kitchen never seems more welcoming than at this time of year.

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I have a cold and it was chilly and almost dark when I walked home from work so I wanted comfort food. I had risotto in my mind as I looked in the fridge and the courgettes seemed a good choice.

The sharpness of the lemon awoke my dulled tastebuds whilst the creaminess of the rice and parmesan soothed, with the courgette offering a fresh bite.

Recipe

Heat 500ml of vegetable stock and keep on a low simmer.

In a separate pan sauté one large shallot in butter until soft. Stir in 100 grams of risotto rice and coat well. Add a slosh of vermouth (about 50ml) and allow the alcohol to burn off then stir until absorbed by the rice.

Dice a courgette and add to the pan along with the zest and juice of about half a lemon. Now add the stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring the rice continuously. Only add another ladleful once the rice has absorbed the previous ladleful. Keep stiring and adding the stock until the rice is al dente (which means it still has a bite to it). You may not need all of the stock.

Take off the heat and stir in a handful of grated parmesan cheese and a knob of butter, then season and serve.

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