Thursday, 18 May 2017

Confirmation Cake

For my friends' beautiful daughters.

Inside are three layers of Rachel Allen's chocolate mousse cake - wheat-free so my friend could eat some of her daughter's cake! Crumb-coated in chocolate buttercream icing. All fondant cracks hidden by flowers and pearls :)

Congratulations to Isabelle and Anastasia.

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Piri Piri Chicken - Recipe

This is a fail-safe dish to serve at a dinner party. Impressive, yet relatively simple, and very tasty. It was somewhat of a prophesy that I decided to serve Piri Piri Chicken on the night Portugal won Eurovision for the first time. We love to get together with friends and watch the show whilst criticising and laughing with/at our European friends. Europe: for fabulous food, amazing costumes, and somewhat dubious music...
An advantage of this dish is that you can make it in advance, and then just stick it in the oven 45 minutes before you are ready to eat. It doesn't matter if it stays in a bit longer, in case you forget about it whilst downing Strawberry Daiquiris, and Prosecco, and enjoying some lighter European snacks such as olives and Padron peppers.
Have a go and let me know if you think this Piri Piri Chicken is a winner...
(Please excuse the rather drunken photography)
Piri Piri Chicken

Piri Piri Chicken

Prep Time: 15 mins plus marinating
Cook Time: 25 mins plus 45 mins

Serves: 4


2 peppers (red or yellow)
50 ml olive or rapeseed oil
4 red chillies, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, peeled and crushed
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 lemons, juice only
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
8 chicken thighs


Firstly, prepare the peppers. Heat the oven to 190 C. Slice the peppers into thirds and drizzle generously with oil. Roast for about 25 minutes.

Meanwhile, prepare the marinade. Using a blender (or a mortar and pestle if you wish to be more authentic), blend the oil, red chillies, garlic, oregano, paprika and chilli flakes to a smooth paste. Then add in the lemon juice, red wine vinegar, sugar, and salt and pepper if you wish.
When the peppers are roasted, you can remove the skin if it comes off easily but I usually leave it on. Roughly chop the peppers and add them to the blended mixture, then blitz it all again until smooth.

Place the chicken thighs in an oven-proof dish and pour over the marinade. Allow to infuse for as long as you wish - an hour is enough, but overnight is even better.

The chicken takes about 45 minutes in the oven at 190 C, so allow enough time for it to cook through. Turn it twice during cooking (if you remember) finishing with the skin side up so it get's nice and crispy before you serve with fries, salad, and/or crusty bread.

Saturday, 15 April 2017

Beano Birthday Cake

 12 years old.
Beano fan.
Happy Birthday to my boy.
I welcome comments on the state of Dennis. Was someone drinking Prosecco whilst making fondant figures?!!

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

Chicken Breasts with Chilli, Lime and Hoisin - Recipe

Another surprisingly easy recipe... A Thai-Chinese fusion, using whatever I could find in the fridge and store cupboard. I'm so glad I keep buying spices...

Chicken with Chilli, Lime and Hoisin

Marinading Time: as long as you wish! But anything from 30 minutes to overnight
Prep Time: 20-30 mins
Cook Time: 20-30 mins

Serves 2


2 chicken breasts
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 tsp light brown sugar
juice 2 limes
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp chilli bean paste/sauce
2 tbsp hoisin sauce
120 ml chicken stock or water

On the side:

4 stems broccoli
1 small onion, chopped
dash of soy


To prepare the chicken, use a sharp knife to cut deep slashes in a diamond pattern. Mix the garlic, sugar, lime juice, soy and chilli bean sauce together in a bowl. Place the chicken in a dish and pour over the marinade mixture. Leave to marinade as long as you can. 

Once you are ready to cook, heat some vegetable oil in a frying pan. Remove the chicken from the marinade and fry for about 5 minutes on each side, making sure it is cooked through. Once cooked, add the remaining marinade, along with the hoisin sauce and stock/water, and simmer for a few minutes.

Meanwhile stir-fry the broccoli and onions together in another pan. Once softened, add a dash of soy sauce.

Serve together with the sauce from the chicken drizzled over the top. With rice and freshly chopped coriander.

See more fantastic blogger recipes at #RecipeOfTheWeek:

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Friday, 7 April 2017

Carrot Cake with Orange Frosting - Recipe

I wasn't going to blog about this, because I thought it was a bit of a disaster when I made it. But the reactions I got from Himself (not a cake fan) and when I took it to work was so good, I thought I should try and remember how I did it! It's a good carrot cake!
When I whisked up the mascarpone, it went all curdled (due to the orange zest I guess), so I kept adding icing sugar until it came back together. It was still really runny, but I wanted to get it done, and we had a visitor, so with him watching, the disaster unfolded...
It was so runny it just seeped down through the cake. I mean, it looks fine in this photo, right? But 5 minutes later it was all over the cake stand! I kept re-loading it for a while but it didn't let up.
Had to cut a slice to try it, obviously, and even then the frosting cascaded down the centre!
So it didn't look good... But it tasted amazing. Which is why I needed to share it. Perhaps the whole drizzle effect kept it moist and fresh for longer! The frosting eventually hardened, so it was more presentable, and everyone loved it. 

The recipe is taken and adapted from Rhubarb&Rose's Decorated.

Carrot Cake

Prep Time: 20-30 mins
Cook Time: 50-60 mins

Serves 10-12

For the cake:
100 g pecans, roughly chopped (you can pre-roast them if you wish - 5-10 mins in the oven)
320 g golden caster sugar
180 ml rapeseed oil
3 eggs
225 g plain flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
3 tsp ground cinnamon
6-7 carrots, peeled and grated
Zest of half an orange (save the other half for the frosting)
 For the frosting:
1 tub mascarpone (~250 g)
Zest of half an orange
100 g icing sugar (plus more as needed)


Line a 18 cm cake tin and heat the oven to 170 C.

Beat together the sugar, oil and eggs, until pale.

Sift in the flour, baking powder, bicarb of soda, cinnamon and a pinch of salt, and beat until combined. Next, fold in the grated carrot, orange zest and chopped pecans.

Pour into the cake tin and bake in the oven for about 50-60 minutes - check towards the end with a skewer, it should come out clean.

Allow to cool, then turn out on to a wire rack.

For the frosting, beat the mascarpone with the orange zest in a mixture until smooth. Add the icing sugar and continue to beat. If it curdles, keep adding more icing sugar until it comes back together and is a runny consistency. If it becomes smooth and thickens, well done - that's how it should be!

Slice the cake in half horizontally, and then pour some of the frosting on top of the bottom half. Place the top half back on and then pour the frosting over the top and let it drizzle down. It may seep, just keep and eye on it and re-apply it if needed. If your frosting is nice and thick then just smooth it over the top as you wish.

Decorate with any leftover pecan nuts, if you wish.

Have you had any major cake disasters, which you managed to salvage?

Wednesday, 5 April 2017

Easy Mexican Beef Wraps - Recipe

Making a meal out of nothing seems to be a specialty in our house. Although Himself had cooked for the kids, there wasn't much left for our dinner. He'd cooked a huge batch of bolognese, ready to freeze in batches, so there was that, but it didn't appeal somehow, late on a Tuesday evening.

So I delved into the fridge to find what else was hanging around - some tortillas, cream (almost past its best), half a lime, bits of vegetables... so I thought I'd take some of his cooked mince meat and turn it Mexican. With spices from the store cupboard, and less than half an hour, here's how to make a delicious, quick, spicy, Mexican beef wrap:

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

Serves 2


300g mince meat 
1 small onion, chopped
half a pepper, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 fresh green chilli, chopped
1 tsp dried oregano 
1 tsp hot paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp dried chilli flakes
1-2 tbsp tomato passata
2 tortillas

To Serve:

1-2 dollops of soured cream (squeeze half a lime into 100ml cream)
Fresh coriander


Saute the mince beef until it is brown and cooked all over. Set aside.

In a clean pan, saute the onion and pepper for a few minutes until soft, then add in the garlic and chilli, and fry for one more minute. Then add back in the cooked meat.

Stir in the herbs and spices, and then add in the passata. Allow to cook down for up to 10 minutes, adding a little more passata if necessary, not letting it dry out. 

Warm the tortillas, then spoon the mixture in the centre. Add a dollop of sour cream, then fold and wrap the tortilla. Serve with another dollop of soured cream and fresh coriander.

Buen provecho!

Tuesday, 28 March 2017

Tredwells, Covent Garden - Restaurant Review.

Lunch date with Himself. It's not often we get to eat out together, sans bambinos, and when we do it tends to be a rushed lunch. This time we made a bit of an effort and met outside Leicester Square tube station. We had a gift voucher for Tredwells, and I'd booked the Star Deal through Bookatable, three courses and a dessert cocktail for £29 each. I checked via email beforehand and got a prompt and positive response. But we still had to get back for the school run...

When you want to try somewhere fancy, or even just famous (not always the same thing!), these star deals are a good way of doing it on the cheap. Obviously you don't get the full menu (though you can still have that if you are willing to pay more), and for a quick (ish) lunch in Covent Garden, it works well. 

We were seated upstairs in the mezzanine, overlooking the outside space, and Dishoom across the road. We watched as the queue there grew and grew, with someone offering aperitifs while they waited, whilst we sipped on our (non-alcoholic) drinks. Watching this clock too:

Tredwells is owned by Michelin starred chef and MasterChef presenter Marcus Wareing. He doesn't actually cook here, I'm assuming, but his name is enough to draw people in. Situated right in the heart of Theatreland and Seven Dials, and named after the Butler in Agatha Christie's The Seven Dials Mystery, it has a handsome, dark-tiled interior, with a laid back eclectic atmosphere, and superbly attentive yet unintrusive staff. The Star Deal menu offered four starters, four mains, and four desserts, with one of each incurring a supplement and sides were extra too. Essentially British dishes, each with some flamboyance. Below each dish is a recommended wine specific to that dish. If only it hadn't been lunch time...

Music Bread
We ordered music bread (also extra), doused with lemon and balsamic, which was an excellent start. Thin, crispy and infused with the sweetness of balsamic vinegar and a touch of lemon juice. Beautifully presented, I suspect it was named for the attempts to look like sheet music...!

Pork Belly and Ham Hock Raviolo, carmelised celeriac and mustard
Chargrilled Tardivo Radicchio, Sairass ricotta, nestle pesto
Starters were presented MasterChef style. Things I'd never heard of mixed with unrecognisable components. My pork belly raviolo was actually delicious, tender pulled pork inside a pasta square with sweet caramelised sauce and just a hint of a tang. Himself ordered the radicchio, not really knowing what it was.. he wasn't overly impressed! The nettle was slightly overpowering the rest of the dish, the radishes (I assume that's what they were) al dente and rather chewy, the ricotta quite bland. The salted slices of 'bread' were lovely though.

Chargrilled Lamb Chop, slow cooked shoulder, broad beans, mint
Slow cooked Sea Bream, lyonnaise leeks, parsley
Main courses appeared small, but actually were just enough when you're having three courses - as long has you have triple cooked chips on the side. The chips were very crispy and some were hollow inside, missing that fluffiness you expect. My sea bream was delicious, light and healthy, with green all over it. Himself was somewhat disappointed with the size of his lamb chops and complained that one was cut in half - turned out that was the shoulder part. Both were overcooked, he thought, not red in the middle as promised. The broad beans and mint sauce saved the dish though. You can't beat mint sauce.

Salted caramel soft serve, honeycomb

Orange blossom panna cotta, yoghurt mousse, almond cakes
Desserts are not usually our thing - I make them, but don't often eat them. As the portions so far were just-enough, (and dessert is included in the offer!) we went for a salted caramel ice cream with honeycomb and a chocolate mousse with orange blossom panna cotta. Rich and decadent, the mouse was not only pretty but scrumptious too, and the salted caramel - well, you cannot go wrong with that flavour. A perfect ending. 

Mini espresso martini

Finally a mini Espresso Martini each, and then back out to Covent Garden's tempting shops and home in time for the school run.

There are so many places to eat in Covent Garden, and although I may not return here (though maybe for the ice cream), it was a relaxed and reasonably priced lunch. For an evening meal I believe you can also avail of the Star Deal menu, pre- or post-theatre, so it's worth a visit for the prestige and the presentation. 

4A Upper St Martin's Lane, WC2H 9NY
020 3764 0840

Bookatable Star Deal: £29 per person for 3 courses and a dessert cocktail

Actual bill £77.

Square Meal Tredwell's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Sunday, 19 March 2017

Thai-spiced Salmon Fishcakes - Recipe

This recipe was torn out of a newspaper many years ago and has been splattered numerous times and it's faded from much use over time. I almost know it by heart, as I've made them so many times, but I like to keep referring to it, just in case I miss out any crucial ingredient! I've blogged it before, but it's been a while, so I thought it was time for a revival.

These are delicious. Not like the rubbery fishcakes you may order in a Thai restaurant, they are fluffy, flavoursome and fishy, served with the obligatory sweet chilli sauce.

Please make them. You will thank me.

Again, apologies for the poor photograph. Prosecco-fuelled hunger.

Thai-spiced Salmon Fishcakes
Prep Time: 30-40 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes

Serves 4 as a starter


Oil for frying
5 spring onions, finely sliced
2.5 cm fresh ginger, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
Zest and juice of 1 lime
2 x 170 g tins salmon, drained (you can also use crab, or a mixture)
85 g mashed potato
Handful of fresh coriander, chopped
A few drops of Tabasco (optional)
Plain flour
1 egg, beaten
Dry breadcrumbs

To garnish: lime wedges, salad, fresh coriander, spring onions


Firstly, boil and mash the potatoes, I used about 4 medium sized ones.

Heat one tablespoon of oil in a large frying pan or wok and sauté the spring onions for 1-2 minutes until they begin to soften.

Add the garlic and ginger and cook for about 1 minute more. Add the lime juice to the pan and quickly remove from the heat.

Place the tinned fish in a bowl with the mashed potato. Add the onion mixture, lime zest and coriander, Tabasco (if using) and season with salt and pepper.

Flour your hands and shape into 8 Fishcakes, or 12 smaller ones. Dust with flour, then roll in the beaten egg, and coat with the breadcrumbs.

Heat a little more oil and try the Fishcakes for about 2 minutes on each side, until golden brown.

Serve with a little salad, sprinkled with spring onions and coriander, and sweet chilli sauce. 

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Friday, 17 March 2017

Godiva's Atelier Easter Egg

'Atelier' is a French term for 'workshop' or 'studio', where a principal professional artist works together with students or apprentices to produce a piece of fine or visual art. This week, at the five Godiva Chocolate stores around London, executive chocolatiers Jean Apostolou and Ilse Wilmots made an appearance at each store to handcraft the delicate white chocolate butterflies as finishing touches to this year's Godiva Atelier Easter Egg. 

Standing 66 cm high (that's a small child), weighing about 13 kg (again, about two newborn babies) and with enough chocolate for about 70 people, this spectacular showpiece is actually on sale for a mere £1000!

Do you know enough people to club together to share one??!!

Godiva's Atelier Egg

See one of these five exclusive giant chocolate eggs at Godiva stores at Harrods, Selfridges, Regent Street, Covent Garden Market (below) or St Pancras International Station.

Me, I'm going to enjoy these, slightly smaller ones...

Wednesday, 15 March 2017

TWID - That's What I Do - Eating to Opera in Battersea - Restaurant Review

This was different. As I get older, I'm starting to admit to liking things I would never have dared to acknowledge in my twenties/thirties ... jazz with dinner, going to bed early, gin...
And now, Opera. I don't know anything about it. But after spending an evening at TWID in Battersea, I'm a convert. A gentle approach, with dinner and cocktails - not just sitting, watching and listening to a dramatic story told in song onstage. Okay, it was still dramatic, and, at times, slightly intrusive, but there were interludes where we could carry on with the dinner and cocktails and catch up on non-cultural gossip.

About a 10 minute walk from Clapham Junction, away from the buzzing Northcote Road bars, towards Battersea, lies a newly opened, refurbished, revamped theatre style eatery. With intimate velvet-curtained balcony booths as tables, all overlooking one table for 8 which doubles as a stage, for a full view of the singing Opera sensation who keeps us entertained and intrigued with Russian numbers, Italian numbers and even a couple of more familiar arias. Maintaining eye contact with each of the patrons, this tenor showed true passion for his talent and no sign of any reticence whilst we were eating...

Senor Tenor
Every evening a different Soprano/Tenor takes to the stage/table. As you enter, you may be serenaded immediately, if not then he will certainly come to your table at some point to bring the aria up close and personal. 4 sets with a 25 minute interval between each. Not to be taken too seriously, but with a certain amount of respect. This performer raises the roof and makes each of us patrons feel special.

Signature cocktails to start, of course. I can recommend the Rossini, strawberry with rose water and Prosecco, and the Elderflower Spritz, both light and fizzy. TWID also serve a range of traditional cocktails and will happily make up any requested.

To the food. Sharing platters - my favourite. Influenced by French cuisine but with a splash of international flavours. Lovely Luca, the manager, recommended each dish and he was tremendously proud of the food, eager for us to try everything.

First, scallops with crispy kale, raspberries and hazelnuts. Unusual combination but it worked superbly, the soft scallops set off beautifully with the crisp greens and the slightly acidic fruit.

Grilled aubergine, stuffed with goat's cheese and walnuts - again the nuts unexpected, but bringing out the full flavours of the aubergine and the cheese.

Aubergine with goat's cheese and walnuts
Beautifully tender lamb cutlets served with heritage beets and parsnip were exceptional, the vegetables perfectly roasted and tossed in some slightly exotic oils. Delicious.
Lamb cutlets

For round two, some sushi, some duck and some crab. The sushi was highly recommended by Luca, and it was indeed sublime. A terrine of sorts, with hints of wasabi and a tiny dot of soy sauce was all that it needed. 

The duck dish was also delightful, fat-free duck breasts served with turmeric spiced pickled cauliflower with an added sweetness of raisins and apples.  

Lastly, the crab, a soft grated dish with apples, fennel and basil. Most dishes were served with shaved parnips crisps, which gave everything an extra crunch. 

For desserts, we still felt light and not quite over-stuffed so we were recommended to sample the range of vegan, gluten-free, dairy-free and sugar-free desserts. Not exactly my idea of dessert, they were made from various fruits, with nuts and were probably designed to complement the light sharing dishes. Strawberry cheesecake, carrot cake,chocolate cake and mango cheesecake - I found them lacking in distinctive flavour and quite stodgy, so not quite my cup of tea. Instead we went back and ordered a  fluffy salted caramel cake and a traditional baklava... much better. However, as indulgent as that seems, for special dietary requirements, this place certainly delivers.

Salted Caramel Cake

Gluten-, sugar- and dairy-free Strawberry Cheesecake

This is a cosy, intimate, and yet interactive restaurant. Go along with an open mind, and get all your chatting done in between sets! It would be a fun work-do for example, or a destination romantic venue for couples. At weekends, once the Opera stops, a DJ set starts, so really it is an entire evening of culture, fantastic food and the chance to party the night away.


228 York Road, Battersea, London, SW11 3SJ
020 7223 2125

Meal for two with wine: ~£80

Thanks to CrispMedia for the (good) images.

Saturday, 18 February 2017

Kids In the Kitchen #3 - Cooking Chinese - Recipe

This beauty plopped through my letterbox this morning from Lee Kum Kee. Always a delight to receive a little freebie (hence the name, AnnieThing For Food!).

So what to make for lunch? Continuing with my effort to get kids cooking, and get my Kids In The Kitchen more, a really simple recipe card along with a quality packet of Oyster Sauce, and whatever I could find in the fridge, my 10-year-old and I rustled up Braised Chicken with Spring Onions in Oyster Sauce in less than half an hour for today's lunch.

She painstakingly cut up 2 two chicken breasts with a scissors, and placed it in a bowl with the Oyster Sauce, and a dash of sesame oil. While she was doing this, I put some spaghetti on, chopped up some spring onions and carrots into long thin strips. The onion chopping caused her to reach for a clothes peg to put on her nose, to stop the tears... all good fun.
Once everything was prepped, the sunflower oil was heated in my #SchoolOfWok wok, and the onions and carrots quickly sautéed. The marinated chicken was then added and stir-fried for about 2 minutes, then 2 tablespoons of water added in and fried for a couple minutes more until the chicken was cooked.
To serve, plonk the spaghetti/noodles/rice in a bowl, top with the cooked chicken and garnish with sliced spring onions. Eat with chopsticks.
'Let's have this for lunch every day, Mummy!'

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Kids in the Kitchen #2 - Junior Bake-Off

My daughter's friend hosted a Junior Bake-Off. Four teams each had to bake and design a cake. The results were truly astonishing - for children aged 7-11, with minimal help from adults...

As I couldn't be there for the day, I wrote out the recipe for a Victoria Sponge, and filled up a bag with all the equipment she would need. She chose her own coloured fondants, glitters, and decorations and I lent her my cake tool box. 

The adults who were there helped with weighing out, mixing, and obviously hot ovens, and clearing up. But they spent five hours, totally engrossed, and absolutely loving it.

An excellent idea for a party, methinks...

(Judging/winning using the discretion of a secret ballot;) )

Make-Up Cake (Victoria Sponge)

Unicorn Cake (Marble Cake)

Glitter Pinata Cake (Chocolate Cake)

Oreo Cupcakes
Well done to everyone involved, particularly the host in her very own Funktional Kitchen, and to those amazingly creative children - you are all winners!

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Valentine's Treats - Chocolate Covered Honeycomb - Recipe

As Valentine's Day approaches, much as I can't stand the clichés, I couldn't resist making something sweet and even quite cute to mark the day. I made these to bring around to a friend's house, for a multi-couples dinner, so we can all avoid following the hoards of enforced romantic nights out on Tuesday...
These are really easy to make, and taste almost like Crunchie bars. My first attempt was not so good - they tasted somewhat burnt, but the second time they worked beautifully.
Make sure you have everything to hand before you start, as once the mixture hits the right temperature, you need to move fast!
I recommend making them not too far in advance, and storing them in an airtight container in the fridge, so they don't shrivel up when you are ready to serve them...
Chocolate-dipped Honeycomb

Makes: 16-20 (depending on how you smash it up!)
Prep Time: 10-15 minutes (plus cooling time)
Decorating Time: 20 minutes (plus setting time)


150 g golden caster sugar
75 g golden syrup
2 level teaspoons bicarbonate of soda.

100 g milk/dark chocolate
80 g red candy melts
Heart-shaped sprinkles/confetti


To prepare, line a baking tin loosely with greaseproof paper. I used a 20 cm square one, but you can use a bigger one and get thinner shards.

Sieve the bicarbonate of soda into a small bowl so it's ready to chuck in when needed.

In a large saucepan (it needs to be large as the mixture will triple in size at least), slowly melt the sugar and golden syrup until the sugar has dissolved. You can stir it to prevent any crystallization. Bring it up to a boil and let it boil for about 2 minutes (no longer!) until it turns an amber colour, then take it off the heat.. If you have a sugar thermometer let it come up to 150 C then take it off the heat.

Off the heat, quickly add the sieved bicarbonate of soda and whisk it really fast. The mixture will rise up and create lots of air bubbles - whisk it well to absorb all the bicarb - you don't want it to taste soapy!

Immediately pour this mixture into your prepared tin and allow it to cool completely.

Once it's cooled, break it into pieces - you can try cutting it neatly but it's unlikely to work, it will just shatter into shards!

Naked Honeycomb

To decorate, melt the chocolate in a Bain-Marie, and dip each shard into the melted chocolate. Set aside on clean greaseproof paper to set.

Melt the candy melts, and add a little olive oil to make a smooth piping consistency. Make sure it's not too hot when you pipe, as it will melt the chocolate! Using a thin nozzle (or just the end of the piping bag snipped off) pipe heart shapes, fill them in, and allow to set. If you wish to stick on extra heart-shaped sprinkles at this point, or any other lovey-dovey stuff, go for it!

With any leftover candy melts, you can make little heart sweeties. Aw!!!

Monday, 30 January 2017

Meatballs with Tomato and Paprika Glaze - Recipe

Firstly, let me apologise for the rubbish photos. I was hungry. No way they are going on Instagram. Secondly, this recipe is blatantly lifted (with a few small adaptations) from Smitten Kitchen's gorgeous cookbook, one which I've had for quite a while, but somehow hadn't got around to using. What was I thinking? This is delicious! It takes a little bit of effort, but I didn't need to go shopping for any of the ingredients - once I spotted some minced beef in the fridge, I went rummaging for meatball recipes. Ms Pearlman came through for me with these beauties. A juicy meatball glazed with a smoky sweet tomato sauce. Delish. Scrum. Mmmm hmmm.

Tomato and Paprika Glazed Meatballs

Prep Time: 20 mins
Cook Time:  35-40mins 

Serves 4


For the glaze:

4 tsp sunflower oil
4 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tsp honey
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp horseradish sauce
Pinch of salt

For the meatballs:

chunk of baguette (~15cm)
1 medium red onion, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, crushed
Half a parsnip, finely chopped (here you can use any veg really)
600 g minced beef
1 tbsp tomato purée
1 tsp smoked paprika
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
120 ml milk
salt and pepper to taste


To make the glaze:

Combine all the ingredients for the glaze in a saucepan, and bring to a simmer, whisking constantly. Keep simmering and whisking for about 2 minutes then set aside.

To make the meatballs:

Heat the oven to 160 C.

Whizz up the baguette into fine breadcrumbs.

In a frying pan, sauté the onions, garlic and vegetables for about 15 minutes until very soft, seasoning as you go if you wish.

Add the breadcrumbs to a large bowl, mix in the cooked vegetables, and then the rest of the ingredients. Mix together well, then shape into 10-12 meatballs.

To cook:

Line a baking dish with tin foil, then place the meatballs so they are not touching. Spoon a teaspoon or so of the glaze on top of each one. Bake the meatballs for about 20-25 minutes until they are cooked though.

To serve:

Serve with mashed potatoes and drizzle with the juice from cooking. Don't bother taking any photos... just eat and enjoy. 


Friday, 27 January 2017

Chinese New Year Feast

 It's the Year of the Rooster. The Fire Rooster. So... chicken?
This is an amazing recipe from Chinese Unchopped, the first cookbook from Jeremy Pang of School of Wok. It's a rib recipe in the book, but I was fridge-raiding as usual, so I only had chicken, but it was still amazing. It's a mix of hoisin sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, rice vinegar and cola, and chicken... cooked on a low heat for about three hours, and then grilled (or barbecued, but have you seen the weather?) and sprinkled with spring onions. If you have store cupboard ingredients with a Chinese influence, then it's easy peasy to make. Check out Jeremy's book and I do believe there's another one in the pipeline. I, for one, cannot wait.
Served with some rice and a chilli-glazed cabbage dish (also in the book), this was surely a Chinese New Year feast, with very little effort, to kick off the Year of the Rooster.
 Gong Hei Fat Choi.