Hello & welcome to my Blog.
I came up with the idea of this blog as I had been writing a cookery book for my Children after my eldest Son Simon left home and would ring me for all his favourite recipes. I thought that this way it would be easier to update & where ever they were they could cook their favourite recipes. This blog is that index card box of scribbled recipes, torn out recipes from magazines, lost somewhere in the house, all brought neatly together in one place.
What I didn't expect was the thousands of people that have looked at it since its creation, from all over the World, I have even created a Facebook fanpage so that I can chat to fellow foodies who have enjoyed the blog!
I really hope you enjoy the recipes, please feel free to post comments or recipes and I just want you to know that all recipes have been cooked time & time again by myself and all photographs, where possible, have been taken by me of the food that I have cooked.
I apologise in advance for any spelling mistakes or grammatical errors, I bake better than I write.
Monday, 21 January 2013
Well its been snowing and we have been having lots of fun sledging and with our new puppy, he has just loved the snow, so much so that we have renamed him 'The Snow Dog'. It is our first winter in our new house and not only is it really toasty, but also we back onto a park that has the perfect slope for sledging, where all the local children come to. Luca has been in heaven, we have not seen him for the last three days as he has spent most the time with his friends out on the slopes having a ball. Again proving that we were right to move into this house and that it really is all about location, location, location.
The only down side was that on Friday I was suppose to have my friend over for coffee and had made this really gorgeous Italian cake for us, the snow meant that she had to cancel and I had a whole cake to eat to myself, just looking at it I could feel the pounds piling on!
As much as I could of eaten the whole thing and loved having it for breakfast with my morning espresso, I did send half of it over to my Daughters boyfriends family, just to save myself a few pounds.
It is one of those cakes that you can not stop thinking about it, you know its there in the kitchen, you know you shouldn't really have another slice, but you just can not stop yourself.
It is a bit of a pain to make, separating the eggs, having to beat the whites separately and then having to fold them in, there is also a fair bit of weighing out to do and as you can see, it is an American recipe, so the measurements are done in cups and ounces, but it is so worth the effort, it is just delicious.
So I hope you have all enjoyed the snow, hopefully used it as an excuse to do lots of baking and I hope you are all toasty and warm.
1 stick margarine, (4 ounces)
2 cups flour
2 cups sugar
1 cup buttermilk
3 ounces flaked coconut, about 1 1/3 cups
5 egg whites, stiffly beaten
1/2 cup shortening (I used Crisco)
5 egg yolks
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans, or walnuts
1 package cream cheese, softened (8oz)
1 box icing sugar, (1 pound)
1/2 stick margarine, softened (4 Tbs)
1 teaspoon vanilla
Cream the margarine and shortening; add the sugar and mix well.
Add egg yolks and beat well.
Combine baking powder and flour, add to creamed mixture alternately with the buttermilk.
Stir in vanilla. Add coconut and nuts. Fold in egg whites.
Pour into 3 greased and floured cake pans, bake at 350F, 180 C for 25 to 30 minutes.
Frosting: Beat cream cheese until smooth; stir in sugar. Add vanilla and beat until smooth. Spread on cake layers; sprinkle top with chopped nuts.
Monday, 7 January 2013
I am trying to catch up with all the yummy recipes that I have cooked and baked lately, but not had time to get onto my blog, so today, after finally everyone going back to school, work and college and catching up with all the housework, ironing and washing, I have managed to find a little time to get a few recipes typed up and posted.
So far today I have posted a zingy lemon and thyme cake http://dianastaveley.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/lemon-thyme-cake.html and a fantastic Jamie Oliver crab bolognese http://dianastaveley.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/crab-bolognese.html ,that had this gorgeous salad served with it.
So here it is, crunchy fennel salad! I didn't think I liked fennel that much, but this salad is so fresh and palate cleansing, it makes you feel virtuous eating it and served with the crab bolognese really lifts the dish and cuts through the crab.
I liked it so much, that I have just eaten a massive bowl of it for my lunch.
2 little gem lettuces
2 bulbs of fennel (if making this with the Crab Bolognese you will have these left over)
1/2 bunch of fresh mint
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
With the fine slicer on your food processor, halve the fennel bulbs and trim the lettuces, then slice them in the processor and tip into a salad bowl. Rip off and slice the top leafy half of the mint, and add to the bowl with a pinch of salt and pepper, the juice of 1 lemon and a few shavings of Parmesan. Toss and finish with a drizzle of olive oil.
Of course if you do not have a food processor, just cut really finely using a sharp knife.
Its so simple and will go so well with many dishes, especially baked fish.
Even with Rosie acting as sous chef and the pans heated, kettle on, it took far longer than 15 minutes, but the recipes are yummy, full of flavour and use only the best ingredients.
One huge plus has been, that before Christmas, our trusty food processor died, much loved, much used and much missed, we hadn't got round to replacing it, but anyone that knows Jamie's recipes, knows, that you always require a trusty food processor, so let me please introduce you to the new member of the Gelsomina kitchen family....
Hubby and I have wanted one for such a long time, but thought it silly to buy one when our old food processor did the job just as well, and as anyone who owns one knows, they are a thing of beauty but they are not cheap. My old food processor had served me for over 10 years, but I absolutely love the new shiny beast that sits on the side in my kitchen and I hope we have many happy years together.
Anyway, back to the recipe, everyone knows that 90% of the time, we eat Italian food in our house, always on the hunt for new recipes, this crab bolognese appealed no end. Luca, Hubby & I all love crab and it didn't disappoint. The only downside, the lingering smell of fish in my kitchen!
So here's to many happy years of food processing with my beautiful new machine and I hope you enjoy this gorgeous recipe.
1/2 to 1 fresh red chilli
2 spring onions
2 cloves of garlic
1 heaped teaspoon fennel seeds
2 anchovy fillets
1/2 a bunch of fresh basil
2 bulbs of fennel
320g dried spaghetti
300g crabmeat (brown & white)
Halve the chill, carrot and trim the spring onions and put them into the food processor with the peeled garlic, fennel seeds, anchovies and basil stalks. Chop of and add the top stalky part of the fennel, reserving the bulbs (and any leafy tops), then blitz everything until finely chopped. The Magimix made very quick and easy work of this, Hubby was very excited! Tip into a casserole pan with 1 tablespoon of olive oil, stirring often. Meanwhile cook the spaghetti in a large pan of boiling salted water, according to the packet instructions.
Finely grate the lemon zest over the veg. Add the brown crab meat, a splash of white wine and the passata, then stir, cover and leave to simmer.
When your spaghetti has finished cooking, roughly chop the top leafy part of the basil and sprinkle most of it into the sauce with the white crabmeat, then squeeze in the juice of the zested lemon. Loosen the sauce with a little of the starchy cooking water from the spaghetti, then drain the spaghetti into a large serving bowl. Spoon the sauce on top and serve right away, scattered with the reserved basil leaves, mixing at the table, Jamie likes a little theatre at the table! Finish with a drizzle of olive oil. Serve straight away.
Serve with focaccia http://dianastaveley.blogspot.co.uk/2011/11/paul-hollywoods-focaccia.html and a crunchy fennel salad http://dianastaveley.blogspot.co.uk/2013/01/crunchy-fennel-salad.html .
Happy New Year to you all ! I hope you all had a very lovely Christmas and a wonderful New Year, if you have made resolutions I hope that they are going well and you are managing to stick to them. I never make any, as I know if I try to give up wine, cheese or cake I will fail miserably. I do set goals for the year, this year I am hoping to do some courses in soft furnishings, upholstery and furniture restoration. We still have so much work to do in the house and I am hoping by attaining these new skills it will help towards getting it finished. I hope !!!!
Anyway, on to my first recipe of the year for you. I have been meaning to bake this recipe for ages, after seeing it on Nigel Slater's TV program. I love a lemon loaf cake at the best of times, its just perfect served with a cup of tea after the school run, but the addition of the thyme really appealed to me.
So one weekend morning I got up inspired to make this cake, knowing we were going out for a walk with the new puppy, I knew that it would be just perfect for afternoon tea when we got back. Curled up on the sofa with Hubby, feeling restored after walk & some fresh air, it was just heavenly.
Its very simple to make and is really tangy & moist.
200g/7oz golden caster sugar
100g/3½oz plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
100g/3½oz ground almonds
4 free-range eggs
1 lemon, zest only
1 tsp thyme leaves
For the topping
4 tbsp sugar
2 large lemons, juice only
½ tsp thyme leaves
Pre-heat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3. Line a 900g/2lb loaf tin with baking parchment.
Cream the butter with the sugar in a food mixer until pale and fluffy. In a separate bowl sift together the flour and baking powder then mix with the almonds.
Lightly beat the eggs then fold them into the butter mixture in two or three sessions, beating them in thoroughly each time. If the mixture looks as if it is about to curdle, stir in some of the flour.
Grate the zest from the lemon and mix it with the thyme leaves. Pound the two together with a pestle, or some other heavy weight, and stir into the cake mixture.
Gradually mix in the flour, baking powder and almonds.
Spoon the cake mixture into the lined tin and bake for 45 minutes (if dividing the mixture into smaller tins reduce the time accordingly).
For the topping, dissolve the sugar in the juice of the lemons over a moderate heat and stir in the thyme leaves (a few flowers would be good here too). As the cake comes from the oven, spike the surface with a skewer and spoon over the syrup.
Leave to cool and serve in slices with thick yoghurt.