Category Archives: Cooking

Delicious Austrian Cheesecake – Another Mary Berry winner

 

Published by Dorland Kindersley 2012

I’ve yet to try a Mary Berry recipe that doesn’t turn out well and the publishers, Dorland Kindersley, use an excellent photographer to illustrate her books.

I hate cookbooks without illustrations – I like to have some idea of what I am aiming for. Shame not all the recipes in her latest book Everyday are illustrated.

Josh fancied the recipe for a baked cheesecake in his newspaper. It looked a bit weird to me so I consulted my favourite Mary Berry book and found this recipe for Austrian Cheesecake.

Tastes as good as it looks

 

Delicious and nice not having a biscuit base. Not so clingy or filling. Freezes well – if you don’t scoff it all!!

 

 

Recipe Continue reading Delicious Austrian Cheesecake – Another Mary Berry winner

Another LAKELAND gadget – Nutri Snack Cake Baker

The green button lights when ready to cook

I’ve always been a sucker for kitchen gadgets and when we went to LAKELAND in the Centre Court mall, Wimbledon, to get some of their very good oven cleaner stuff, I couldn’t resist their Nutri Snack Cake Maker.

It has a very good non-stick surface

A small electrical gadget it bakes either eight small cakes or one approximately 13 x 19cm.

It comes with a few recipes.  I first tried the Lemon and Blueberry cakes. The recipe tells you to remove the partitioning tray and bake it as one cake but I found it difficult to lift out and transfer to a cutting board. Also I decided to reduce the amount of sugar so the cakes weren’t sweet enough and I used too many blueberries, left over from my fruit salad.

Delicious Pistachio cakes – and they only take 4-5 minutes to bake

The Pistachio cakes were the most successful. The change I made was not to grind the pistachio nuts too finely so that the cakes ended up with some texture. Josh though they could do with more cardamom – I’ll use ½ teasp next time instead of ¼ teasp.

We had the cornbread with my homemade chicken soup so I left out the chilli. I’ll try again with chilli and more sweetcorn.

For the calorie conscious each recipe comes with a calorie count and indication of fat, carbohydrates and protein and some recipes are gluten-free. Having lost so much weight when I was on a ventilator after my heart attack I am in the fortunate position of not having to watch my weight in case I put back some of the fat I lost. I do have to watch I don’t accumulate fluid though.

Altogether a success but it would be good to find some more recipes for the baker

Hairy Bikers’ Pea, Lettuce and Asparagus Soup

Fast Food Recipes

With the help of the Hairy Bikers’ series on dieting I lost several kilos so I now record their TV programs and I picked up this copy of their quick to make food.

We now have a family tradition of having soup on Tuesday evenings followed by a cheese plate and fresh fruit.

 

Pea, lettuce and asparagus soup

I’d begun to find ordinary pea soup a bit boring so I was pleased to find this more intriguing soup – pea, lettuce and asparagus.

I reduced the amount of peas in their recipe, used olive oil instead of butter and a swirl of plain yogurt rather than cream with chopped basil or mint.

Recipe

Continue reading Hairy Bikers’ Pea, Lettuce and Asparagus Soup

The Gorgeous Smell of Fresh Bread

70% Wholemeal loaf
70% Wholemeal loaf

It’s taken some time since my heart attack at the beginning of August to get back into everything I did before. Obviously, I tire more easily and it’s more difficult to concentrate.

But last week I settled down to refilling the freezer with a variety of home-baked loaves. Of course, it doesn’t taste as good when it’s been frozen but I always have a thin slice of one of the ends while the bread is still fresh and warm.

I still mix the dough in my good old Panasonic SD-ZB2502 bread maker but prove and bake the bread in my fan oven. I don’t like the tall slices you get when you bake bread in the machine and I think it tastes better my way.

The great thing about having lost so much weight, when I was unconscious and fed by a naso-gastric tube, is that I don’t have to watch what I eat as much. I still try to eat healthily, though.

Who’s coming to tea?

Cakes for tea
Cakes for tea

A friend I hadn’t seen for over 25 years flew in from Australia via Tokyo and came to tea. I had to make some fresh cakes – it wouldn’t do to get some out of the freezer for such a special guest.

I pushed the boat out and made blueberry muffins, pecan and coffee cake – our walnuts had gone bitter though the unopened packet was well before the Best Before Date – and my favourite poppy seed cake. Enough left over to freeze some for when Louise and her family come to stay.

Sevres Tea Set on disploay at the Queen's Gallery
Sevres Tea Set on display at the Queen’s Gallery

 

 

But I didn’t serve our tea on a magnificent Sevres set like this one on display in the Portrait of the Artist exhibition presently on at the Queen’s Gallery until April 17th 2017.

Sunshine and Showers and a Double Rainbow

Didn't realise thee was a double rainbow until I saw my photo
Didn’t realise thee was a double rainbow until I saw my photo. Just visible in the top right hand corner if you click on the image.

That’s what it’s like after you’ve had a heart attack, had stents inserted in two of your coronary arteries, needed an intra-aortic balloon pump and artificial ventilation – some sunshine, some showers and the occasional double rainbow. Good days and bad days and then the sun comes out and there’s a double rainbow.

Out of hospital a month now and trying hard to get back to a semblance of normality. Had to cancel my classes but still enjoy cooking even if I have to sit down during the preparation. Had a couple of trips to the supermarket with Josh but still get tired easily.

 

Gothenburg – a cook’s paradise

Our favourite cookshop
A cookshop a few metres from our hotel

Most of our favourite cookshops in London have vanished. John Lewis and Peter Jones still have respectable cooking departments, while those in most of the  other big stores have shrunk.

In contrast, not only were there large cookshops in the big stores within walking distance of our hotel in the centre of Gothenburg , but there were at least five independent cookshops full of ‘don’t need but must haves’!!

And even with the unfavourable rate of exchange the prices were quite reasonable . Perhaps in Sweden they don’t only sit glued to cookery programs on the TV but they actually cook!! Judging by the amount of space given to cake baking and decorating, the Swedes are into cakes and pastries in a big way.

A riot of herbs on our balcony

Flowering coriander
Flowering coriander

With all the wet weather we’ve been having, the herbs Josh planted on our balcony have gone mad – huge lovely sweet-smelling bushes.

The delicate white flowers of our coriander mean that we shall soon have to replant as once they have gone to see they will die. We will collect the seeds for next time.

I’m personally not that fond of the taste of coriander, but today I will use it to flavour my carrot and orange soup and for my Rogan Josh curry next week. Jane told me she adds fresh grated ginger to her carrot and orange soup – it certainly gives it a zing – so it’s part of my recipe now

Variegated thyme in flower
Variegated thyme in flower

We have two kinds of thyme – the variegated thyme is in flower – and we have both curly and flat-leaved parsley.

We mainly plant herbs bought in the supermarket but every now and again Josh scours the garden shops for more interesting varieties.

In the autumn, I pick big bunches and freeze them in little pots for when they have died back.

Recipe Continue reading A riot of herbs on our balcony

Apple and Walnut Strudel

Tastes as good as it looks
Tastes as good as it looks

I was taught to make proper strudel pastry, laying it out on a clean cloth and stretching it ever so gently until it was thin enough to read a love letter through. This recipe from the  Tesco Magazine takes a shortcut and uses ready rolled puff pastry.

The original Tesco recipe contained 4 dried dates.  But,  as they didn’t seem to add anything to the taste, and neither Josh nor I particularly like dates, and I had to buy a whole box, I will substitue raisins or sultanas in future. I have reduced the amount of sugar and lemon juice in my version of the recipe. Their recipe specified Russets, which are not always available, and I prefer the mixture of tart and sweet apples.

Recipe

Continue reading Apple and Walnut Strudel