Grandad’s Apples

A couple of days ago, my other half visited his Grandad, fixed his un-broken internet connection and was rewarded with a Morrison’s bag full of apples from his garden. I’m a massive fan of using home grown fruit and veg and when I eventually live somewhere with a garden I’m planning on having all sorts growing, but for now I just have to settle for generous donations from friends, family etc.

So when the apples (and a few tomatoes) arrived I was over the moon. Crumble was the first thing that popped into my mind, as one of my favourite childhood memories is picking blackberries in the woods with my dad, then going home to bake an apple and blackberry crumble with them. However, I’d used all the blackberries I had collected last week making jam. I needed something new!

Fortunately, I have a vast collection of recipe books and decided Mary Berry (AKA my hero!) would probably be the best person to advise me on this. So after flicking through her ‘Ultimate Cake Book’ I found the recipe for Devonshire Apple Cake. Almond flavoured cake with a layer of apples in the middle – it sounded perfect. And it is! 

I’ve baked it this afternoon and my good eating regime has gone well and truly out of the window. But trust me, its worth it. And I’m going to have more with custard after my evening meal tonight 🙂

The recipe can be found on http://www.maryberry.co.uk

If anyone has any other, more unusual, uses for apples I would love to hear about them as I have a feeling there’s plenty more where these came from! 

xx

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The Egg Custard and the Kitchen of my Dreams

At the beginning of the week I visited one of my two closest friends. She’s lived away for a long time now and although we don’t see each other as often as we’d like, when we do it’s as if we saw each other the day before. Like me, she is a total foodie, but tries to watch her weight and be quite healthy too. However, her will power is about ten times the strength of mine 🙂

As her in-laws were away on holiday, we stayed at their place to house sit, but to me it felt more like a very posh holiday rental! So when I came to be left alone in the kitchen to make an egg custard, with fresh eggs from their very own chickens, I felt as if I was living the dream. Granite worktops, double oven and an island about the size of Great Britain itself….I was in heaven! Some of the magic must have rubbed off on my egg custard too, as it was the first one I’d ever made and according to my guinea pigs (aka friends) it was delicious. 

I was quite impressed with my psychic abilities too. I tweeted this photo to The Great British Bake Off before the pies and tarts episode, then when I watched it they too had to make a custard tart…..spooky! Theirs were all a lot fancier than mine!My first egg custard

 

This is the link for the recipe I used, although I have to admit I used shop bought pastry…. oh the horror!!!!

http://britishfood.about.com/od/adrecipes/r/custardtart.htm

Say ‘NO’ to Slimming World desserts!

After about seven months, I’m still soldiering on with the Slimming World diet and although I find delicious meals and savoury snacks easy to source, tasty desserts and sweet treats are a lot harder to find. For a a visit to a friends for dinner a while ago I made a vanilla and raspberry terrine, which was pretty much just layers of sugar free jelly and fruit, perfectly nice, but not the indulgent dessert you really want at the end of a meal. If you fancy having a go at it though, the recipe is on the Slimming World website, or I’m sure if you Google it it’ll be somewhere else on line.

If you’re in the mood for something a bit more calorific though a dessert I would recommend is caramel tart. I made this last night for a meal at my new house with a few friends and it went down a storm. It’s pretty easy too. The base is sweet pastry (if you want to make it even easier you could buy a ready made base) and the filling is a tin of condensed milk (if you’re like me and aren’t sure if evaporated milk is the same thing, the answer is no, condensed milk is sweetened and evaporated milk isn’t),a bit of butter and sugar all boiled in a pan (or blasted in the microwave, I wouldn’t recommend this though, as it bubbles over).

After leaving it to set in the fridge for a few hours, I drizzled dark chocolate on the top and piped whipped cream around the edges. And even if I do say so myself, it looked beautiful! The jelly terrine wasn’t a patch on this!

As I said, it went down a storm and even the piece I’d saved for my breakfast in the morning was snaffled by my other half…hmph!

Here’s the link to the recipe if you want to give it a try

 http://recipeyum.com.au/caramel-tart/

So say ‘NO’ to those Slimming World desserts, real ones are worth the extra calories 😉

 

 

Winteringham Fields Pics

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Watermelon and malibu shot with tapioca crackers and dill dip

Foie Gras with cherry

Foie Gras with cherry

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Tomato Gespacho

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Pork and smoked salmon ravioli with pea veloute

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Red snapper with a seafood cappuccino and tempura quails egg

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Rabbit 3 ways with courgette and foie gras

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Pineapple, white chocolate and lime ‘bomb’

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Chocolate and raspberry mousse cake with raspberry sorbet and ginger crumble

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After dinner tea and coffee with petit fours 🙂

Winteringham Fields

During the summer, one of my foodie friends was asked by her dad to look after his b&b in the tiny village of Thornton, Lincolnshire and she invited lucky me and another friend to stay for a couple of nights. She’d told us about a lovely place she had visited with her family a few months earlier and asked if we fancied splashing out a bit on a fancy meal….and of course we agreed!

Winteringham Fields is a restaurant and hotel in the village of Winteringham, not far from the Humber Bridge, owned by Colin McGurran (Yes, you have seen him on The Great British Menu on BBC2).
So after a pretty easy train ride from Newcastle for me and a rather stressful journey from Cornwall for our friend, we were all glammed up and ready to go!

We had chosen the seven course taster menu and had no idea what was on it, I was expecting posh, but not as posh as it actually was. Going through each course would take an eternity and I’m doubtful anyone would actually finish reading the post if I did that, so here’s a couple of highlights and general overview.

Firstly, I’m pretty sure there was more than seven courses, although what was classed as a course and what wasn’t is still a mystery to me. Not that we were complaining, everything was absolutely unbelievable! From a tomato that wasn’t actually a tomato to liquid pineapple and lime bombs, there were plenty of surprises in this meal too. I ate foie gras for the first time, which was probably my least favourite part as it stretched my morals massively, ate red snapper for the first time and ate a veloute for the first time. The veloute was made from peas and according to my ‘classy’ friend, it was the most pea-y thing she’d ever eaten! The pork and smoked salmon ravioli was also absolutely to die for!

As with most very fancy restaurants the portions weren’t massive, but you didn’t need them to be. Apart from the fact that there were SEVEN courses, the food was so delicious that I’m not sure my tastebuds could have handled much more. My only regret is that I didn’t attack (I mean order!) the cheese trolley, which must have had one hundred different cheeses piled onto it…not to worry, next time 🙂

Quick mention for the wine, the sauvignon blanc we were given was divine!!!

Take a look at the photos of the food I’m about to upload too, they were works of art!

Diet Entertaining

Ok, so entertaining, eating out and parties are a total nightmare when one is trying to lose weight. I thought the best way to combat this is to invite people to my place, that way I can be in control of the food that’s on offer. That was the plan last Saturday night and I was really pleased with the food (all slimming world recipes), shame I drank my own body weight (and about a weeks calories!) in wine!

My menu consisted of Malaysian yellow curry – made with chicken drumsticks, served with spinach and rice, and pork, prawn and chive dim sum served with sweet chilli sauce, scotch bonnet sauce, soy sauce and sesame seeds for dipping. And I have to say, it went down a treat. The dim sum was the star of the show though, I think if I’d doubled the amount I made there would still have been an empty plate (or bamboo steamer) pretty quickly!

It just goes to show (and I never thought I’d be saying this!) that eating healthily can be just as delicious as food with a massive calorie content….as long as you skip the wine!

Neither of these recipes are on the slimming world website, but they can both be found in their ‘Taste of Asia’ book, I’m sure they could be found online somewhere too, I’ll research it and post the link if i find anything.

Ps. Its my weigh in tonight, wish me luck 😀

 

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Birthday Bangers

So, yesterday was my good foodie friend’s birthday day out.

(It’s becoming a bit of a tradition for the three of us to have a day out doing something amazing for our birthdays. At the beginning of April I was treated to a fabulous champagne afternoon tea at Jesmond Dene House for my dreaded 30th – go if you get the chance, it was unbelievable!)

And this days main event was……a sausage making class!!! The innuendos were endless.

Apart from the rather kitch humour, it was actually a really fun activity to fill in an afternoon, as long as you’re not adverse to delving your hands into raw mincemeat! The group leader (the classes are run through the Northumberland Sausage company) was rather eccentric, but also very knowledgable about the company and the art of sausage making. He talked the group through the first batch of sausages, explaining how to use the machine and why a certain recipe was used (unfortunately the secret seasoning mix recipe was kept closely guarded, although thanks to my keen nosed friend I know that nutmeg features quite strongly). Once the first batch was complete, we were then let loose to create out own flavour combination – taking inspiration from the birthday girl’s Christmas stuffing mix, we chose date, garlic and onion. There was infinite combinations though, with ingredients on offer such as herbs, spices, black pudding, chilli, fruit and veg and even lavender, rose water and chocolate! (Not too sure about those last three mind!)

So all in all, a really fun foodie activity, but not for the squeamish or the prudish. I would definitely reccommend it to any foodies in the Newcastle/North East area.

And this morning will be the moment of truth, sausage butties for breakfast 🙂

Here’s the link for the Northumberland Sausage Company   http://northumberlandsausagecompany.co.uk/courses/

You can also get the courses a lot cheaper on Groupon or Living Social quite regularly.

 

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The ‘New’ Me

Since I last posted on the blog, I’ve joined Slimming World, lost over a stone and added lots of healthier recipes to my repertoire. This under no circumstances means that I’m now a raging health freak, but I was heavier than I’d ever been before and wasn’t feeling great about it. So I joined slimming world and here I am…

I have to say, the first thing I thought about losing some weight was ‘I can’t bear to eat salad everyday’ but I can honestly say that I’ve eaten just as well, if not even better, than before. I cook just as much and have tried so many different recipes. My favourite of which is Malaysian lamb rending…..it’s absolutely divine! The recipe is on the Slimming World website, it looks complicated as there are lots of spices but it’s much easier than it seems. And worth the little bit of extra effort…..did I mention it is delicious?

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Miami food tour

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Gelato 😀