Thursday, 27 November 2014

The days are getting colder.........{Stuffed Pumpkins and Baked Cod)

I swear it hasn't stopped raining in London/ Kent the last few days. I'm kind of over grey skies and drizzle, and I'm a self confessed rain lover. I don't know it's all a bit melancholy. Still December is just around the corner and then the dark nights become more magical and there's the end in sight to the exhaustion of work as we have the Christmas holiday to look forward to.  On these dark and cold autumn nights we need food that will nourish and warm us. These pumpkins are a great side dish although we sometimes have them on their own. I did them with cod this time as I like cod and chorizo - they go well together. If you are vegetarian feel free to omit the chorizo the stuffing will work just as well without it

Stuffed Pumpkins and Baked Cod

1 medium pumpkin, cut in half and de-seeded
1/2 aubergine, diced finely
1 small onion, diced finely
1/4 orange pepper, diced finely
50g chorizo, diced finely
3 tbsp. breadcrumbs, I used panko
50g blue cheese, gorgonzola works well here
sprinkling of grated parmesan or cheddar
2 pieces of fresh cod
couple of lemon slices

take the two halves of pumpkin rub them all over with olive oil and bake for about 30mins. in a pan cook the onion and pepper with chorizo, remove from the pan and add a couple of glugs of olive oil and then cook the aubergine. once the aubergine is cooked then add the bread crumbs and the other already cooked ingredients. take the pumpkin from the oven and scoop out the flesh so there is a cm left(this will help you pumpkin remain sturdy) add the flesh chopped up a bit into your stuffing mix and crumble in the blue cheese. give the stuffing a good mix and then stuff the pumpkins, top with grated cheese and cook on a medium to high oven for approx. 45mins until lightly brown on top. I cooked the cod in a bag made from greaseproof paper (as I did in this recipe here) I just seasoned the fish well and laid it on a couple of slices of fresh lemon, wrapped it in its parcel and cooked for around 25mins.

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Baking for Builders.........{Snickerdoodle Cookies}

H recently got a promotion and on his last day I sent him off with a batch of snickerdoodle cookies. Snickerdoodles are a wonderful sugar and cinnamon cookie that whenever H takes these into work they are always a hit! We love their cinnamon delicate taste. I always have the ingredients in the cupboard and they are very simple to make. When I first made these and was looking at various recipes I noticed there is a bit of a debate whether they should be soft, dense, thick, chewy, crisp.... mine are how I like them crisp with a slight chew, I am by no means saying that they are traditional but I like them just the way they are! 

Snickerdoodle Cookies 

140g caster sugar
120g light brown sugar
120g salted butter, make sure it is at room temperature
1 egg, beaten
200g flour
pinch salt
1 TBSP cinnamon
1 TSP bicarbonate of soda
about 4 TBSP of granulated sugar and 1 TBSP cinnamon for coating the biscuits

preheat oven to 180oC and line a couple of baking trays with greaseproof paper. cream together the butter with the two types of sugar. add in beaten egg and mix well. in a separate bowl mix together the flour, salt, cinnamon and soda - you could sieve this if you want but I rarely bother sieving these days as flour is so processed. Add the two mixes together so it is a firmish dough. put the granulated sugar and cinnamon in a bowl, take a small piece of the dough (about the size of a walnut) and roll it in the sugar. place on baking sheet,. make sure the cookies are spaced out as they spread a lot. bake in oven for 8-10 minute until they are lightly brown.  

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

How do you like your eggs in the morning?......... {huevos rancheros}

Sunday mornings are usually spent in bed and lets be honest quite often with a slightly sore head from the night before. H usually loves one of my bacon sandwiches on a Sunday morning but recently we have been a bit more health conscious so said sandwich have kind of come of the menu. Instead this weekend I rustled up some Mexican Eggs (Huevous rancheros) which are so tasty with a real kick and totally get rid of any lingering hangover. There are a number of recipes out there for Huevous rancheros and this mine. Enjoy. By the way - this recipe works best when you make it listening to the soundtrack to Chef. 

Huevos Rancheros

handful of chorizo, diced 
1 small onion, diced 
1 green chilli, finely chopped 
1/2 red chilli, finely chopped 
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped 
2 tomatoes, diced 
1 tin chopped tomato
handful of coriander, chopped 
1 tsp smoked paprika
a little grated cheese 
tortilla wraps, I used wholemeal 

fry off your chorizo for a couple of minutes and then add the onion and chilli and a bit of oil if it needs it. cook until soft. add in the garlic and after a few minutes add the fresh tomato. cook until the tomatoes have soften and add the tinned tomato along with the paprika and 2/3rds of the coriander - as always when using tinned tomatoes add a tsp of sugar and season with salt and pepper. allow to simmer for 10 minutes. in the meantime fry as many eggs as you need. brush your tortilla with a little oil and place in hot frying pan and allow it to puff up on each side. place your tortilla on the plate, add a couple spoonful of the tomato mix, squeeze over some lime juice and a sprinkling of cheese. top with the egg, another squeeze of lime and some coriander. 

Monday, 10 November 2014

A week away......

H and I had a lovely week away staying in Norfolk in a little cottage by the sea which was lovely and peaceful and relaxing. Now I am back at work and have so much to do! so this post is just some photos of our time away, oh how I wish the time hadn't passed by so quickly!  

As you will see we did lots of eating on this trip! 

Saturday, 1 November 2014

To My Birthday Boy

Dear H

So it's your birthday and your another year older and the age gap between us widens that little bit more for a few months at least...... 

a year ago today we were still at the very beginning of our adventure together - look at us now, living together and about to let a cat into our lives..... who'd have thought it although I think we both knew how we wanted our story to develop

I'm so proud of you for getting your promotion recently and I'm excited for you as you start your new job when we get back from holiday..... You work so hard and I'm pleased your talents are being recognised

I can't for this week off we have together and I'm so looking forward to our mini break to the cottage in Norfolk, lots of walks, cozy nights in and visits to traditional pubs! I think we are both so ready for some R&R .........

I love celebrating your birthday because it's a celebration of the kindest, most handsome, special man I's not a lie that everyone we meet loves you and i know how very lucky I am that you made the choice to love me.......... love is a choice and for us it wasn't the most obvious choice but the best decision i ever made was to persuade you to give me a chance - to look beyond the age and see the possibilities in store for us...... 

so thank you my darling one, thank you for loving me the best and for your patience with me as I adjust to this new period in our relationship......thank you for bringing me a cup of tea every morning........thank you for always being on my team and being my number one supporter.......thank you for endless cuddles and kisses....... thank you for taking me on walks and buying me red wine......thank you for embarking on dry January with me.......thank you for making me laugh every day and ironing my clothes.......thank you being the person by my side. 

I truly am the luckiest girl to have found you. 

Happy Birthday, I love you.