All posts by Donna

Allspice Cake with Whole Pears

For something different this week, I made a cake, with the inspiration coming from Yvette van Boven’s book, Home Made Winter.  Her cover photo was reason enough for me to buy the book, and it is filled with lovely photos and recipes.  It does not, however have a recipe for Allspice Cake as hers uses cardamom.  And that was the first lesson I learned from this exercise – do not assume you have certain spices or herbs in the cupboard without actually looking! And so, without cardamom, and pears already poaching, I opted to substitute allspice instead.  Her original recipe can also be found at this website.

Allspice Cake with Whole Pears

I should note that I also did not add the white chocolate drizzle and although I did reduce the poaching liquid to make the syrup, the cake was moist enough without it.

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Rice and Smothered Cabbage Soup

Through the winter months, I get cabbage almost every week in my  veg box, so by this time of year, I’m in search of new ways to prepare it.  I found this recipe on  Orangette’s website and thought it sounded great, though it doesn’t look that exciting! The full recipe can be found here. It’s hearty and satisfying and the leftovers taste just as good (though they were more like risotto than soup). The cabbage takes a while to cook but can be done ahead of time; the soup itself only takes about 20 minutes.

finished soup

I used pointed cabbage rather than the recommended Savoy cabbage, but otherwise followed the recipe pretty closely (except I forgot the butter in the end).  Not sure I missed it, though I suspect it would taste a little bit richer with the butter included.

Cooking the cabbage

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Baked Fish with Courgettes

I’ve been wanting to do a fish dish for a while and have been searching for the right one – I don’t tend to cook fish at home very often, but I’ll definitely be making this again.  It was surprisingly tasty and a good way to use up some of my veg box courgettes and cherry tomatoes. The recipe can be found at House & Garden.  The site looks to have a lot of interesting recipes, so you may be seeing something else from there soon!

Baked Fish with Courgettes

For the fish, I used a hake steak from the local fishmonger, but everything else I had on hand.  A quick recipe that was easy to adapt for one person.

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Chicken and Leek Pie

Last week was British Pie Week here in the UK and although I’m a little late to the party, here’s a chicken and leek pie recipe that I tried, compliments of Nigel Slater via BBC Food.  The recipe can be found on here on the BBC website.

One of the first cookbooks I bought when I moved to the UK was Nigel’s Real Food, so I knew this was the right one for me  when I found it.

Chicken and Leek Pie

It’s probably more of a pasty than a traditional pie (what we Americans would call a pot pie) as it’s made with two sheets of puff pastry with the filling in between and then baked on a baking tray rather than in a pie tin. Easy, tasty and a good way to use up the leeks I keep getting in my veg box!

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Warm French Lentil Salad

When we were in Paris in late January, we happened upon the Maille shop, which sells all flavours of mustards and vinegars, including fresh mustard from a pump.  We ended up coming home with two ceramic jars of mustard – one with white wine and the other with Chablis and black truffles. Not that I need an excuse to use them, but any recipe that has Dijon mustard as an ingredient now gets a closer look.

I was in the mood this week for something fairly healthy but still delivered a lot of flavour and I think this lentil salad really hit the spot.  Not totally vegetarian because it does have bacon in it, but a relatively small amount. And it uses Dijon mustard.

Warm Lentil Salad

The recipe can be found at The Kitchn, a site which always has some interesting recipes and tips.  It might be better as a lunch but worked well as a light dinner. I really loved the fresh fragrance and taste of rosemary and sage and will definitely make this again.

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Mediterranean Shrimp Skillet

I didn’t expect to do another pasta recipe so soon, but I have.  I had a wine that I wanted to match so I went in search of a recipe that I thought would work with it, and it just happened to have pasta in it.

The wine I started with is a Rioja Blanco that is 100% Viura (many white Riojas are blends of Viura,  Malvasia and Garnacha blanca), base on a recommendation from a friend.

With the prawns and garlic, I thought this recipe would be perfect, from Iowa Girl Eats.

Mediterranean Shrimp Skillet

It was super quick to make, although I undercooked the tomatoes a bit (easy enough to fix for next time).  I made it again without the prawns and tomatoes, for an easy vegetarian meal (I also substituted the chicken stock with vegetable stock), and that was quite nice with both wines as well.

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Pasta with Hot Italian Sausage

I’ve been living in London for over ten years now and at this point, there are few things that I really miss, food-wise, from the US.  In part because most are more readily available than they were when we first got here – good burgers, for one.  I have been craving pasta with hot Italian sausage, which I’d make occasionally back in the US, but hot Italian sausage is not readily found in the UK.   So, with the powers of the internet, I found a few recipes and adapted them to make my own.  Fortunately, for this recipe, the starting point was to remove the sausage meat from the casing, so I didn’t actually make sausages, just seasoned the pork, then browned it, added onion, tinned plum tomatoes and some more herbs.

Pasta with hot Italian sausage

To me, this is the perfect comfort food and as it turned out, was just what I needed because as I was taking this photo (possibly before or after, it’s a bit of a blur), well let’s just say, tile floor: 1, red wine bottle: 0.

Fortunately, the bottle was already on the floor and just fell over, so while there was a big puddle of red wine and broken glass, splash damage was kept to a minimum.

So I cleaned it up and then ate the whole bowl of pasta. And  a little more.  And then I felt better. And that’s what’s so great about comfort food.

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Roast Chicken with Carmelized Shallots

For this week’s post, I was looking for an easy recipe that I could match with red wine, which I admit I much prefer to white.  We rarely eat red meat at home, so we’re building up a collection and I’m always on the look-out for something that will go well with red wine.  This has been on my list for a while, and comes from David Lebovitz’s site.  It’s a website I’m particularly fond of, and not just because he lives in and writes about one of my favourite cities, Paris.

Roasted Chicken with Carmelized Shallots

It’s easy and quick enough to make during the week.  I served it with a celeriac purée and steamed flat beans which, along with the shallots, came in this week’s veg box.

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Winter Squash and Chickpeas with Tahini Dressing

A few months ago, I started getting a weekly veg box from Riverford Organic Farms.  It was like getting a present every Monday morning, but  the pressure of not wasting all of these lovely vegetables was always on my mind.  Eat out tonight?  No! We’ve got cabbage and carrots that won’t eat themselves!

So when they invited me to a dinner where the food was made from that week’s veg box, I thought it sounded like a great idea.  And it was!  The food (all vegetarian) was delicious and one that really stood out was a slaw made with a tahini dressing.  So when I came across this recipe, I knew I had to try it. Not only did it have some of my favourite foods (squash, chickpeas, coriander), but it also had a very yummy sounding tahini dressing.

Winter Squash with Chickpeas

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