Tag Archives: Nigella Lawson

Obrigado Senhor McGregor!

Garden Of Plenty, Rocking Dog

Garden Of Plenty

After a day working with Young Carers it was lovely to find a wicker basket of loveliness at the Rocking Dog kennel. Again it came from Mr McGregor’s Patch. This time its contents were gathered together by the handsome Aderbal who has been lovingly helping to tend the vegetable plot this summer.

The fragrance of the sweet peas was so beautifully characteristic of an English country garden. With vintage china awaiting its journey back into the cellar after being hired for a tea party, I spied a teapot, just perfect for sweet peas!

As for the edibles, the beetroot, carrots, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers and beans, I will enjoy putting them to work in the next few days. Delicious!

Also in the basket, an intriguing list of ingredients written in Portuguese. The Kilner jar it transpired contained Feijoada, Brazils national dish. Traditionally this stew is made using a mix of salted, smoked and fresh meats including every part of the pig including ears, tails and snouts. Jerak beef is also mentioned in many recipes, Aderbal will need to enlighten me! Using Google I managed to translate the ingredients for my Brazilian neighbours stew. It includes pinto beans, bacon, smoked sausage and chimichuri.

Chimichuri (I love this word!) is a Central/South American marinading sauce for meat. It can also be used as a condiment, think South American pesto! There are many variations but parsley, garlic, crushed red pepper, oregano and oil are common ingredients.

As I have an empty basket to return, it will be good to see Mr McGregor’s patch sometime soon. Vegetable gardens and allotments are a real passion of mine together with washing lines! I will need to think up something very foodily British for my Brazilian neighbour.

In the Young Carers kitchen we were cooking up Veggie Enchiladas and Shortcut Meatballs with Roast Sweet Potato Wedges. Puddings were Roasted Peaches with Raspberries, and Pineapple with Garden Mint. These young ones were definitely well on their way to getting their 5 a day!

Thank you or should I say Obrigado Aderbal so much for your veggie kindness.

Flower Vessel, Rocking Dog

Flower Vessel

Perfect!, Rocking Dog


So Lovely!, Rocking Dog

So Lovely!

Recognise These Sr Rodrigues?, Rocking Dog

Recognise These Sr Rodrigues?

Iced Fabulous Flamingo’s Strutting Their Stuff

Iced Birdlife, Rocking Dog

Iced Birdlife

Another cake cooked up, baked, frou’d and about to be delivered. I don’t think the images convey the size of this confection, 15 inches/ 40 cm diameter. I bought the tins whilst on a trip to New York, so not your average tourist buying spree! These monster tins barely fit in my oven, so how I managed to fit them into my hand luggage is pretty bewildering. Needless to say it certainly wasn’t an Easyjet or Ryanair flight!

I used Nigella Lawson’s Chocolate Cherry Cupcake recipe from my well loved and splattered copy of The Domestic Goddess. When dealing with such a large cake this recipe works really well. It’s made in a large pan rather than doing batches in a mixer or beating a cake mixture by hand. Cakes into the oven, it was time to deal with preparing the decoration.

I had already thought up a cunning plan for the decoration and accordingly had bought a stash of frouing goodies. So how I tackled this cake….
1. Cut a piece of baking paper the same shape and size as the cake. This will give you a lay out sheet of how you want your cake to look.
2. I drew out my flamingo onto a piece of A4 paper of the required size (I Googled a flamingo image to help me)
3. Trace the flamingo onto the baking paper circle (as I wanted two flamingo’s on my cake I repeated my tracing)
4. Use the tracings as a template to model the fondant.
5. I made tutu’s out of pink net. Using running stitch close to one edge I then pulled the thread to create gathers. Stitch to close.

After cooling the baked cakes and then sandwiching the two layers with chocolate ganache, brush the cakes with warmed sieved apricot jam. Roll out fondant icing and lay on cake. Smooth and trim.

Carefully lay prepared fondant shapes onto cake and pipe detail and wording using royal icing. Decorate with sweets, ribbon, tiara’s etc.. Voila!

One slightly worrying prospect is a matter of interpretation. Andyman walked through the door and thought the cake read “flaming going” rather than my play on words “flamingoing”. Oops! As this cake is going into a school I might be kept behind and given a remedial English grammar lesson or…… blacklisted from ever doing a cake for them again (Yippee!)

To the lovely sixth formers at Colston’s Girls School use your study leave wisely, good luck with your exams, and enjoy your ball. The world is your oyster!

Have a really lovely weekend and I hope the sun shines wherever you are.

Oops! I Am Messy., Rocking Dog

Oops! I Am Messy.

Schoolgirl Sketch, Rocking Dog

Schoolgirl Sketch

Flamingo Evolution, Rocking Dog

Flamingo Evolution

Decorative Stash, Rocking Dog

Decorative Stash

Tiara Detail, Rocking Dog

Tiara Detail

Flamingo Frolics, Rocking Dog

Flamingo Frolics

The Rhubarb Glut. Homemade Ice Cream.

Delectable Dessert, Rocking Dog

Delectable Dessert

A little while before Christmas my beloved Kitchenaid Artisan mixer decided it had simply had enough! For a while at least I tried to soldier on without it….but whisking meringues by hand is no fun, Yorkshire Puddings definitely suffered and baking dwindled. An expensive Shopping trip ensued and of course there was the difficult debate of what colour to choose! Purchased 16 or so years before, my previous Kitchenaid came in two colours, white or black, and a much cheaper price tag! Somewhat boringly I chose a graphite matt finish machine but excitingly it came with the bonus of a free ice cream churning bowl.

I am not a new convert to making ice cream, in fact I have a dedicated ice cream making machine. It has given good service over the years churning out ice cream for various parties and weddings when I was running my catering company “Heaven’s Cake”. Favourite flavours have been Gooseberry and Clotted Cream, Brown Bread and Sour Cherry and Praline. I would often serve the ice creams in spectacular ice bowls which encased borage flowers, roses, herb sprigs, fruits and pansies.

My new Kitchenaid Ice Cream attachment is proving simple to use and produces wonderful smooth ice cream. Unfortunately the fit of the beater feels as if it’s a bit of a Friday afternoon bodge job….but i’ll forgive the annoying design details.

I personally love Skye Gyngell’s basic ice cream recipe. To that you can then add your own flavourings. The recipe can be found in Skye’s “A year in my kitchen”. This is a well used tome, with the pages almost automatically turning to Skye’s recipe for “Roast chicken and bread salad with sour cherries and roasted red onions”. It is utterly divine, and great to serve for an informal alfresco lunch or supper. You may be alarmed by the list of ingredients -but it is SO worth it!

As with most ice cream recipes a custard needs to be knocked up using egg yolks, cream, milk, sugar and a vanilla pod. This needs to be cooked very carefully otherwise the mixture separates and your ice cream won’t be so delectably smooth. If I see the custard getting a little bit hot and bothered I simply remove it from the heat, stir it, and return it to the heat when it has cooled a little. Poured into a plastic tub the custard then needs to be chilled thoroughly. Eventually the mixture can be poured into your just out of the freezer ice cream bowl, with the beater already going. After about 20 minutes the mixture will have really firmed up and you can add your chosen flavouring. A further few minutes churning and you’ll have soft clouds of ice cream. If you want a firmer ice cream the mixture can be boxed up and put in the freezer for a couple of hours. For the rhubarb ice cream pictured, Skye’s book gives the recipe for the rhubarb compote to add to her ice cream base. I reserved a little of the compote for drizzling.

To serve I made some simple coconut macaroons from Nigella’s “Domestic Goddess”. It proved an economical way of using up some of the egg whites leftover from the egg yolks needed for the ice cream. Gluten and dairy free, they are a good recipe to have in the repertoire. Approximately 10 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to cook they’re a doddle! Prior to baking I pimped my macaroons with some little flecks of 24 carat gold because I love a bit of bling to match the serving plate!

Feeling like summer already!

Skye And The Rhubarb, Rocking Dog

Skye And The Rhubarb

Magic Machine, Rocking Dog

Magic Machine

24 Carat Macaroons, Rocking Dog

24 Carat Macaroons