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Thursday, 15 March 2018

Amaretti Biscuits

You can never have too much chocolate (though I have given it up for March)

Leiths is more full on and my kitchenette more tiny than I could have imagined 6 months ago. After cooking all day and then going home to write time plans and read up on the next day's demonstration I'm afraid to say that writing more about food on my blog has rather flown out of the window. That doesn't mean that I've forgotten all about it and I am sorry not to have written sooner. The guilt that I haven't updated you has finally gotten too much and so here I am, hiding from the sudden cold snap and finally putting pen to paper again.

Sometimes the simplest toppings are the best

I've just finished my second term. I can't quite believe how fast it's going. Recently I had a Dem about setting up a catering business and must admit that I'm intrigued by the idea. While I do still want to work for a food magazine or two it would be nice to stretch myself by catering for small events. You heard it here first. If you want a willing if slightly green cook to impress then email me!

Fruit Tarts

My repertoire has expanded to include all sorts of recipes and ingredients that I wouldn't have gone near before starting the course. I can cook kidneys, mushrooms and prawns with aplomb  (I still don't  like eating them though). I've learnt the seasons for game, the coagulation temperature of eggs, and how to skin a rabbit (it just comes off like a glove). I have sipped wine, single variety olive oils and stock. I have scoffed all manner of tasty morsels in the name of education.

Game dem - not for the faint hearted!

Now we've improved and are more confident in our skills more freedom has been allowed with regards to what we cook. Recently there have been "Chef's Choice" veg accompaniments, biscuits, and tart toppings. I  believe this is leading up to a creative day with rabbit or duck where we have to use as much of the animal as possible to create something exciting. And beautifully presented of course.

Christmas poached pears with hazelnut praline and chocolate drizzle

I've been falling down on my presentation recently and no matter how hard I try or how happy I am with my plating the teachers always say something along the lines of 'that wasn't quite what we meant', or the killer comment 'it's just a bit rustic'. I'm learning to roll with the punches and take photos of how it's rearranged but would really like to get it right just once. If anyone has any tips or books that could help then I'd be most grateful.

Flatbreads with perfect griddle marks

Going back to the biscuits, they were to be served with blackcurrant ripple ice cream and I chose  to make sweet little amaretti. They went well with ice cream and would make a lovely bite to go with coffee or to give as a gift, wrapped up in cellophane and tied with a ribbon.

Amaretti and ice cream



Amaretti Biscuits


Oven 170*
Makes about 20

Prep time: 10 minutes
Cook time: about 30 minutes

Ingredients

2 large egg whites
caster sugar
ground almonds
1 lemon

Icing sugar to dust

Method

Heat oven to 170*
Sieve almonds
Zest lemon and add zest to sugar
Beat egg whites with an electric whisk until they hold medium-stiff peaks
Fold the almonds, sugar and lemon zest into the egg whites. They will look like the egg whites have lost all the air but don't worry about it
Dust your hands with icing sugar to stop the mix from sticking then roll the mixture into small balls (I weighed mine so they were all 20g but this isn't necessary, just try to make them the same size)
Place spaced apart on a baking sheet lined with baking parchment or a silpat (a reusable non-stick baking sheet cover)
Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the oven until golden brown, and crisp on the outside with a chewy centre. They'll come off the paper/silpat cleanly when cooked through
Leave to cool then serve with ice cream or coffee

My first (very boozy) Christmas Cake

Sunday, 24 September 2017

New Beginnings

Stop press. After years of wanting to go to Leiths School of Food and Wine, I start on Monday. I have my uniform, books, and equipment, now all I need is my timetable.

Text books for Leiths

Being completely honest with you, I don't know what form this blog will take while I'm studying there. I know I've been remiss in not posting much during my final year at Manchester, however, I hope that being surrounded by food will make it easier to write a quick post than when I was besieged by French essays. If you want more regular updates then check out my Instagram @GorgeousGateaux where there'll be lots of photos of my daily life.

Mustn't let my hand cramp

Just after my exams ended I attended the wedding of my friend Malyha and was honoured to make her wedding cake. It was a nerve-wracking exercise but, with the help of her family, I think we pulled it off and the cake made it the journey to London in one piece.

Saturday, 27 May 2017

We Won an Award!

As you might have guessed from the sudden trailing off of posts, my writing gig at The Mancunion has mostly come to an end. In fact, in less than a week my time at the University of Manchester will be over and then it's on to pastures new.

My last essay! And the most interesting

Currently I'm procrastinating grammar revision and thought I'd let you know about an exciting development. As you might know, Miriam and I are co-editors of the food and drink section at The Mancunion and a couple of weeks ago we won Best Section during the 2017 Celebrate Week Awards ceremony. This is quite impressive (and slightly surreal) when you consider the fact that we've only been editing the pages since January.


The award itself

Thursday, 9 March 2017

Porky Dreams at Lunya

I first wrote this review for The Mancunion but liked it so much that I thought I'd post it here. I'm trying to develop my "voice" as taught by Karen Barnes (editor of delicious. magazine) on the All Hallows Farmhouse food writing course I went on back in October. What do you think? Have I struck the right note or would my report card say "could do better"?


- - -

There’s a little hotel tucked in the hills near Ronda in Southern Spain that my parents have been going to since before I was even a thought. In fact, my grandparents stayed there the first year Molino del Santo opened. We returned last Easter for some much needed R&R and to enjoy their phenomenal food. It was there that, for the first time, I ate secreto ibĂ©rico, a succulent cut of shoulder from acorn fed pigs.

Friday, 3 March 2017

Mix and Match Stir Fry Ideas



How are you? This grey weather is getting on my nerves but the occasional bursts of sun and warmth remind me spring isn't too far away, and in fact it is now March! Today I handed in 2,000 words of my dissertation for feedback, which means I'm a quarter of the way through and it's all going well.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Rose Harissa Dal


Exam results are supposed to come out today but no one seems to know when so I thought I'd distract myself with a new post. Other than that, my week has gone well. I've finally put pen to paper on my dissertation (a comparison of French and English food magazines) and am looking forward to seeing where it goes. I went to an amazing pizza place in Manchester last week, Rudy's, which I cannot recommend enough. I'm beginning to visit the last places on my "to review for the top 10 piece" list that I've been working on since 2013! I plan on uploading it before I graduate (which is scarily soon; I only have 15 weeks until my time in Manchester is over) and then I can start one for London in my new Moleskine travel guide.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Classic Chocolate Cake

Get your chocolate fix with this strikingly simple chocolate cake. 


Who doesn’t love cake? This is a great basic cake recipe that everyone should know. I remember the first time I made a cake, my mum helped but didn't know what to do when the eggs curdled, so we rang my dad (who was at work) and badgered him to instruct us remotely. That cake turned out well and ever since I've remembered the mantra four, four, four, and two (4oz sugar, 4oz butter, 4oz self-raising flour and 2 eggs)  or six, six, six, and three (6oz sugar, 6oz butter, 6oz self-raising flour and 3 eggs) for a sandwich cake, ever since and it has proved invaluable when a cake is needed in short order.

Topping the cake with a simple ganache elevates a simple cake to a whole new level and will impress anyone.