GBBO Homage

  Well it’s that time of year again. September is here, it’s pouring with rain and I’m watching Series 7 of The Great British Bake Off. Not put off by the scandalous accusations of sexism and gender-stereotyping through use of coloured icing as part of the series launch, this year in a homage to GBBO I’ll be…

Dreaming of the Caribbean Sun

And so I start my much awaited holiday, a couple of weeks away from work with the family.  It’s day 1 and I’m dreaming of a relaxing break away from home, thinking about the Caribbean sunshine, warm golden beaches and a nice cool margarita.  Dreaming,  Dreaming…. In fact I’m sitting in the kitchen of an…

Soupfest!

OK, so you’ve probably noticed that the last couple of days has been a bit of a soup fest for me.  One of my wisdom teeth had an encounter with the dentist and lost, so I’m on a diet of ‘warm, soft food’ for the time being and was keen to make the most of…

What can I do with all of my pumpkins?

2013 has been the best year yet for growing pumpkins and winter squashes in my garden.  A combination of new varieties and proven old favourites, and what must have been perfect growing conditions has given me a mass of fruit to use over the winter.  If you’re like me, you’ll no doubt be wondering what…

Christmas Menu 2012

I seem even less prepared for Christmas this year than ever!  Knowing we had 9 hungry people again from Christmas dinner, both meat-eaters and vegetarians, I’d given the menu no thought at all, with the exception of deciding that we’d follow last year’s terrific turkey with another locally sourced free range one from our local…

Seasonal Beetroot and how to cook them

Beetroot is a much maligned and generally underrated vegetable.  It is incredibly versatile, given it’s sweet but earthy flavour, intense (and wide range of) colours and terrific texture, can be used from everything from chocolate beetroot cake to beetroot risotto, Super-nutritional sports drinks to ice cream.  A number of high profile celeb chefs have been…

Spices

You’ve heard it before, but it’s true. Generally spices are so much better if you grind them yourself. But it can be a real bind, especially if you don’t do a lot of cooking with spices. After all, do you really want drawers full of spices that you are probably never going to use? Wouldn’t…

Salt

Salt is a very important ingredient in spicy cookery. By cutting down on the recommended quantity, you will change the balance and effect of spices and strong flavours in the recipe. We should all be looking to decrease the amount of salt in our diets, and I like my meals no more salty than the…

Oil

You will notice that many of the recipes which involve frying off spices, particularly the Indian recipes, involve a large quantity of oil. Despite your health-conscious instincts, please do not cut down on the quantity of oil! It is essential to release and carry the flavours of the spices. Once cooked, any excess oil will…

Chilli

In most of my recipes, you’ll see I use chilli powder rather than fresh chillies. The only reason for this is for consistency – you can’t believe how disappointing a spicy meal can be if it’s either so hot you can’t taste it, or so mild that it has no effect. I’ve been caught out…