Category Archives: Food

Cake For The Prodigal Son

Cake for the boy!, Rocking Dog

Cake for the boy!

My boy is home today and so I baked cake. His favourite is Carrot Cake, so I took out my favourite recipe by good old Delia Smith.

Easy to make, quick to bake and very moist and yummy to eat, it’s a winner! The cakes are baked and on leaving the oven have a citrus syrup poured over. Having cooled they are turned out of their tins and filled and topped.

Ms Smiths recipe includes a topping made from fromage frais and mascarpone, together with a little sugar and cinnamon. In my experience this proves to be very runny, so I use mascarpone with some full fat cheese, sugar, cinnamon and a little finely grated orange zest. I stir the ingredients together carefully, rather than whisking.

Frouing is optional but I have used some clementine halves and fresh bay leaves.

There are a bunch of skiers who will also no doubt enjoy thick wedges of cake as they wend their way through France by train. Thus the cake tin will soon be empty once again!

Whatever your plans are for the weekend have a lovely time and wrap up warm. I’m dusting off my sledge in the hope there’ll be snow!

Coffee & Cake

Coffee & Cake

Prodigal Son Pie, Rocking Dog

Prodigal Son Pie

Fast Food For Sunday Lunch

Fast Food, Rocking Dog

Fast Food

What could be lovelier than cooking for good friends, well that’s unless you hate cooking! Sunday’s menu was a little bit all over the place, part Spanish, Lebanese and Italian influenced. Shame on me, married to a Scot AND being Burn’s Night I should have been serving up Haggis, neeps and tatties!

However the menu was a starter sized portion of Tori Haschka’s Black Bean, Chorizo, Sweet Potato and Coconut Bowl followed by Yotam Ottolenghi’s Lamb Meatballs with Barberries, Yoghurt and Herbs served with rice. Pud’ was a Rocking Dog made up concoction which was well received. So here follows my recipe for a Limoncello Amaretti Mash Up!

Here’s how it goes- (based on 4 guests)

8 soft Amaretti
Limoncello (or other liquer of choice)
4 dessertspoons blueberry or blackcurrant compote/soft set jam
Small punnet blueberries or other soft fruit of choice
150ml double cream
150ml Mascarpone (I used a lighter version available in Sainsbury’s)
Finely grated zest of one lemon and a little of the juice
1 tbsp icing sugar
To decorate- a few blueberries and mint sprigs

* Roughly crumble amaretti into four wine glasses, sprinkle with a generous glug of Limoncello.
* Spoon a dessertspoon of compote or jam on top of the amaretti.
* Whisk Mascarpone, cream, zest and icing sugar together until mixture stands in soft peaks.
* Taste, and add in a little Limoncello and lemon juice. Taste again.
* Plop cream into the glasses – and leave in a heap rather than spreading.
* Decorate with mint and berries. I added a few baby Amaretti on mine.
* Place in fridge until serving.

I think these are best made on the day, so for all those neurotic fearful
entertainers they will HONESTLY only take 15 minutes and won’t require a hostess trolley!

…..and if you are not a pudding person (how often have I heard that said and then a guest comes back for thirds!) ….there’s always cheese.
Two pieces of cheese ( a lovely runny Chaource and a Montagnolo ) pimped within an inch of their lives!

How I love Sundays.

Pass The Cheese Louise !, Rocking Dog

Pass The Cheese Louise !

The Tale Of The Three Little Pigs

What's A Cookin' Piggy Cook? Rocking Dog

What’s A Cookin’ Piggy Cook?

…..So I’ll huff and i’ll puff and blow your house down….yes you get the drift! But no i’m not going to be talking about a story from childhood this morning, this blog is about 3 other little pigs!

The first pig is Piggy Cook which featured at many a Birthday party when I and my siblings were growing up. I think the fact that it was only bought out for high days and holidays means it has fared well over its 50 years. How ironic though that Piggy Cook is cooking bacon in his frying pan! With lighting effects, movement and noise it was and still is a real crowd pleaser.

The second pig is a Swedish pig. Translated, the Den Hariga Grisen Deli means The Hairy Pig Deli, and if you ever happen to be in Stockholm I can truly recommend it. Tiny, seating about 16 people it serves up the most delicious sausages, Glogg, charcuterie and Swedish beers. It has a gorgeous ambience with beams, open preparation area, misted windows and lots of wood (think Heidi’s cabin!). Very friendly staff and yummy food at reasonable prices together with the best Glogg make this a foodie destination to earmark. The little bread dough pigs which accompany the charcuterie platter are made by a retired Stockholm baker, charming. One word of warning do go to the loo before a visit to the Hairy Pig, they had to make a choice between a kitchen (essential for an eatery one supposes) and toilet facilities. It really is that small.

And finally the third little pig resides a little closer to home, that’s unless you’re reading this in Sweden. Yes the third pig is The Pig near Bath. However, there are other Pigs in the sty so to speak, including ones in the New Forest, and one in Studland, Dorset. Most interestingly one which is opening in the Alps, I might just take up skiing after all. Back to boring old Britain….The Pig at Bath is LOVELY, gorgeous food, fabulous decor, friendly staff and beautiful grounds to wander around. I could wax lyrical about the food but rather tire of reading the food critics pompously exclaiming dishes could do with a tad more seasoning etc… etc.. However…. I do have to say that the panna cotta was truly the best and possibly the most generous i’d ever tasted, and i’m a panna cotta expert witness!

So that’s the story of the three little pigs…. and they all lived happily ever after.

Have a wonderful weekend, wrap up warmly and drink some Glogg! Incidentally the Baileys still remains untouched, I can’t say that two weeks without alcohol has made me feel particularly invigorated, ecstatic about weight loss (?!) or given me the desire to walk around wearing a halo…BUT I am feeling pleased that Cancer Research (and my liver) will benefit.

But Where's Piggy Cook?, Rocking Dog

But Where’s Piggy Cook?

Hairy Pig Grub, Rocking Dog

Hairy Pig Grub

Charcuterie Pig, Rocking Dog

Charcuterie Pig

Bath Piggy, Rocking Dog

Bath Piggy

Fork To Plate, Rocking Dog

Fork To Plate

Divine Dessert, Rocking Dog

Divine Dessert

2015 Supper Versus Supper 1846 Style

Supper In A Jiffy, Rocking Dog

Supper In A Jiffy

Black Bean, Chorizo, Sweet Potato, and Coconut Bowl. This simple supper can be prepared and cooked in a jiffy and is truly delicious! taken from “Cut The Carbs!” by Tori Haschka. I estimate it’s a 10 minute prep’ time (as long as you have a good sharp knife to try and tackle the super hard sweet potato). Then it needs in total forty minutes to cook in the oven. Time enough to enjoy a glass of red and enjoy a spot of relaxation before the weekend begins.

For vegetarians the chorizo could be omitted and I think some cubed roasted halloumi would work well.

And the 1846 supper? I have finally made a start on transcribing an original 1846 recipe book. I bought it in St Peter’s St Peter’s Hospice shop in Cotham a few years ago, and it is truly one of the items i’d want to save if we ever had a fire (more likely a flood with a brook at the bottom of the garden!) I think it’s going to be an amazing, historical adventure with unknown ingredients, unfamiliar measurements and cooking methods. This little book with 141 recipe packed pages formed the basis of my daughter Sorrel’s university dissertation and it took her on a journey through the kitchens and dining in the 1800’s. It was fascinating.

The first recipe in this beautifully handwritten book has already had me foxed, simply deciphering the title. The internet has helped with being able to put in various permutations, and thus I think this first recipe is Frumenty. It is asserted that this is England’s oldest dish. Made from cracked wheat and milk it was sometimes served with meat, fish or venison. It formed part of the traditional Celtic Christmas meal and was often eaten on Mother’s Day. Servants were allowed to journey back to see their mothers on Mothering Sunday and were commonly served this dish to celebrate, and to sustain them on their journey back to their workplaces. In Victorian times it was served to Workhouse residents.

Frumenty features in Thomas Hardy’s “Mayor of Casterbridge” and also mentioned in Lewis Carroll’s “Through the Looking Glass”. Carroll wrote that frumenty was the food that snapdragon flies lived on- how romantic!

This first recipe is anything but cooked in a jiffy and involves wheat being beaten for several hours to remove the tough outer husks! We don’t know how lucky we are. I am looking forward to finding lots of hidden gems in this book, and wonder how many recipes I will actually want to try.

Whatever you are doing this weekend I hope it’s a lovely one and happy cooking!

Carb' Bible, Rocking Dog

Carb’ Bible

1834 Recipe Book, Rocking Dog

1834 Recipe Book

No Calorie Cakes

The No Calorie Doughnut, Rocking Dog

The No Calorie Doughnut

Yes NO calories, but completely tasteless and completely knitted! The fridge is cleared of almost everything naughty and the plan is to try and be good.

However, it is Andyman’s Birthday at the weekend and we have a lovely gift of money to spend on a meal. SO we are heading to “The Pig” near Bath, and yes we probably are going to be greedy little piglets! The food is really yummy as is the decor (sorry to be so superficial, for me that’s almost as important). It will be lovely to see “The Pig” in daylight, apparently the grounds are beautiful. There’s a kitchen garden, smokery, greenhouse and hens. I love the fork to plate ethos.

Back to knitted cakes. They, at grey times of the year brighten my kitchen under various glass domes. Bought in different places some cakes are hand knitted whilst others are store finds. Also pictured is a lead chocolate (a fudge perhaps?), an old shop display item. Definitely not one the Milk Tray Man drops in with!

Trying to be good I can definitely recommend one book “Cut The Carbs!” by Tori Haschka. Gorgeous recipes which are generally quick to prepare and cook, and are very flavoursome. I particularly love the Chicken San Choi Bow (page 96) and Black Bean, Chorizo, Sweet Potato and Coconut Bowl (page 82)

The Dryathlon continues in our household and the tempting Christmas bottle of Baileys remains untouched.

Cake Assortment, Rocking Dog

Cake Assortment

Knitted Wedge, Rocking Dog

Knitted Wedge

Lead Fudge, Rocking Dog

Lead Fudge

Carb' Bible, Rocking Dog

Carb’ Bible