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Thursday, 30 April 2015

Hi And Bye: A Very Quick Recipe

Argh!!! Exam season is upon me and I have only got a week before a major deadline AND my French speaking exam. Scarily, in a month's time I shall have finished my exams AND be half way through my degree *cue manic nail biting terror*. This means that my recipes will be uploaded somewhat erratically as it will be a nightmare few weeks but I do have a few posts up my sleeve for you pre-written to avoid me stressing out too much. On a brighter note, I got 67 in my last essay, which is worth 40% of one module's final mark - for those of you who aren't familiar with university marking - one teacher said she'd only ever given 80 once before and that was because she couldn't have sat down and written a better essay herself. 67 is equivalent to a high 2:1, which is great. I also had a presentation to do on Wednesday, so hopefully that went well, I think it did but I won't get the mark for a few weeks.

Monday, 20 April 2015

Don't Say Never Trust A Skinny Cook: Spaghetti and Meatballs

The weather has been great recently and I'm making the most of it with recipes like this mediterranean chicken and my light butter chicken but sometimes, no matter the weather, I just want spaghetti and meatballs. You could make this and pretend that you're in Lady and the Tramp with some extra long spaghetti (like this (sadly out-of-stock) packet from - I love their descriptions!) or you could just enjoy it with a glass of kir, as I did. The other good thing about the weather is I'm going to the gym more regularly, funny how the lack of rain and wind makes me more included to venture out!

Friday, 17 April 2015

Simply Cook . . . Roast Potatoes

*This recipe first appeared on the blog in November 2014 and has been updated to launch my new page, "Simply Cook . . ."*

Liam, my flatmate, loves roast potatoes but they're never really made in my family - we have our own version that aren't crispy. I set out to find a recipe that was foolproof and tasty for him. There are lots of conflicting ideas (this won't be a classic recipe in terms of numbers and layout - you need to make as many potatoes an you want) but the basis is heating oil, or preferably goose fat in a roasting tin in the oven (200˚C) whilst parboiling floury potatoes cut to the desired size. Parboil them for about 8 minutes and then drain them in a colander, shaking them around to rough up the edges before tossing them in flour to help crisp up the edges. Carefully place them in the hot roasting pan and cook for 30-50 minutes (depending on the size you cut them), turning occasionally.

Cutting the potatoes

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Don't Say Never Trust A Skinny Cook: Bhindi Masala

I'm sorry about the radio silence - things have been a bit hectic recently, but I'm now back in Manchester and ready to give you a new recipe for Don't Say Never Trust A Skinny Cook. Yesterday *the day before yesterday now*, I had a couple of friends over for a meal so that we could all catch up after our holidays and before exams. I decided to make light murgh makhani and naan for us but then I realised that there weren't really any vegetables in the meal so I thought I'd find some okra to cook. Well, the only place I knew sold okra was in the centre of town but I didn't want to go there and so I searched high and low along Oxford Road for some to no avail. Fortunately for the okra plan (unfortunately for my timings) my phone had an issue, causing me to go it to town to get it fixed so I was able to buy okra. This curry is the result of that search. Bhindi means okra, in case that's not obvious!

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Scrumptious Sorbet

I love sorbets but have never been brave enough to make one before - my dad had told me I needed to stir it every 30 minutes until it had set and thought egg whites were involved. Well, the former is true, though it's more like every hour at the beginning, and the latter is not true in the case of this recipe. I took the plunge and made raspberry sorbet to end an Italian themed dinner party. It was the perfect finale: light, refreshing and yet full of flavour. The second sorbet I made was a week later as I spotted some blood oranges at the grocers and thought it might be nice to make something with them as they were in season. Finally, my third sorbet was made the other night, once again with blood oranges, when my neighbours here in France (salut!) came over for a thai meal.

It's a terribly easy recipe and can be adapted to lots of different fruits as suits your tastes. I will give the instructions for blood orange or lemon sorbet and for raspberry sorbet but you could change it to strawberry, blackcurrant or pretty much anything. If it's berries don't forget to add a little lemon juice to counteract the sweetness and that berries will take longer to make as they have to be blitzed and then strained, whereas once the citrus fruits have been tested and juiced they can be tipped straight into the sugar syrup.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Thai Green Curry Paste

Here's something tasty and satisfying for you to make over this Easter weekend. You can use it in this recipe and I've just realised I haven't posted my standard green curry recipe yet so I'll do that for next week and link it here.

So, curry pastes. They're so much easier to buy, right? Wrong. If you have a food processor (I have this mini Cuisinart one, that's great and under £25, (or it was when I got one for me and then one for my mum) it's currently £35 but still worth it, then it's so easy. All you have to do is buy the ingredients and shove them in the food processor before pressing the button with one hand and trying to cover your ears with the other! It's a noisy beast but small and useful and relatively inexpensive. I use mine for pesto and curry pastes mainly, and blitzing breadcrumbs. It is more expensive to make homemade curry pastes but, as with most things, tastes so much better. For the first time, I could see why it was called a green curry (and it wasn't because food dye had been added!).

All of the ingredients!