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This week has been busy busy. With our house move drawing ever nearer and Christmas just around the corner. There’s a lot of prep going on here!

fuity flapjacks

Never the less I made these flapjacks from Jamie Oliver. Seriously these are good. Definitely add the stem ginger that he says is optional. And I even added some of the stem ginger syrup. Delicious.

river cottage baby & toddler

If you have young children I can’t recommend the River Cottage Baby & Toddler Cookbook enough. It’s full of healthy recopies you actually want to cook and eat with your kids. I tried the roasted vegetable sauce with pasta this week. It has fennel in it which I love and butternut squash that my children love.

1/2 butternut squash

1 fennel bulb

1 large carrot

3-4 garlic cloves (though I only put in 2 because my kids don’t really like garlic)

2-3 tbsp olive oil

150ml – 200ml chicken or vege stock

salt and pepper

To serve; freshly cooked pasta & grated hard cheese (lots)

Preheat the oven to 190/gas 5. Cut the squash half in half and half again and scoop out the seeds. Lay, skin side down, at one end of a roasting tray. Trim, core and roughly slice the fennel and add to the tray. Peel and slice the carrot and add this too, along with the unpeeled garlic cloves. Trickle a little olive oil over the whole lot. Roast for 45-55 minutes, or until everything is very tender and starting to caramelise. Don’t forget to give it a stir half way through.

Now the original recipe tells you to scoop the squash flesh out  before blending but I just blitzed the whole lot, including the fennel and carrot. Squeeze out the garlic flesh and throw it in too. Poor in about 150ml of hot stock and blend to a thick, smooth puree. Add more stock or milk if needed and season. Serve tossed into hot pasta, with plenty of grated cheese on top.

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I’m desperately trying to get out of the ‘same old same old dinners’ rut, because I always seem to be making the same things! BORING! In a quest to fix that I’ve been trying some new recipes.

chicken tarragon

After having a chicken tarragon dish at a friends house the other week I thought I’d try my own. This creamy mustard & tarragon chicken was dead easy and super tasty. The kids were a little unsure of the sauce but they still ate it. I loved it! What a great combo of ingredients.

lambtagine

I’m also going to try and use my slow cooker more. I mean how easy is it to chuck a load of ingredients in a pot, leave it cooking all day and then come dinner time you’ve got a delicious meal ready and waiting. My type of cooking. This lamb tagine recipe isn’t specifically for a slow cooker but I just browned the onion, carrot and lamb before throwing everything else in for about 6 hours on low. We all really liked this, kids especially! Winner!

A new cafe in Peckham isn’t big news, they seem to be opening every other day now. But today I walked through Peckham Rye Station and saw a gorgeous looking space being fitted out in the arches next to the cycle hub. I saw a coffee machine. I saw exposed bricks. The builder mouthed through the doors it would be opening in 2 weeks. It’s the first sign of the regeneration of the new station area and I’m excited! Watch this space.

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I was totally inspired by the Great British Bake Off last week to make some macaroons, they were all over everyone’s biscuit stacks! Now I seriously LOVE macaroons and I thought how hard can they be? We’ll these little mouthfuls of joy took two goes to get right. But they were worth it.

I picked a recipe from Nigella’s ‘how to be a domestic goddess’ book. The first batch came out way to thin they were like biscuit crisps, I realised I needed to whisk the egg whites until they were super stiff. Once I’d cracked that though these were easy to make. Sorry Lauduree but I think I’m going to save myself a fortune.

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There’s another new addition to the Peckham coffee scene…. The Cinnamon Tree Bakery!

Housed on Peckham High St in an old corner pub they’ve nailed the Amsterdam coffee bar feel perfectly. And I have to say they do a mean flat white and some killer cookies.

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And WOW they also do ice cream sundaes. My prayers have been answered.

Welcome Cinnamon Tree Bakery

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I’m very excited about the new Peckham Refreshment Rooms on Blenheim Grove. It’s a bar and restaurant that’s open from 7am till after midnight. Yippeeeeeee!

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Opened by the same team behind Franks Bar this is a very welcome addition to area. We need a local restaurant that serves great food and we need a bar that’s for grown ups (sorry Bar Story but you’re full of kids).

I don’t think it’s going to disappoint. Food looked amazing when I popped in today. There was a lentil salad on the bar and homemade pizza. On the specials boards were gorgeous sounding sandwiches like fennel, salami and tapenade. The dinner menu can be downloaded here and is chocablock with sicilian aubergine and borlotti beans, duck confit and rosemary carrots, and for pudding how about a pot au chocolate. Yum.

I’ll report back when I’ve tasted it all.

Welcome Peckham Refreshment Rooms.

Forgive this post being 3 months late. Better late than never!

For Ivy’s first birthday party we had brunch for just a handful of close friends. It was perfect.

The night before we were up till the wee hours making pom poms.

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ivy birthday

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I made my mum’s banana loaf and a beautifully light white chocolate gateau.

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How hard is it to find a party dress that isn’t pink?

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This little girl. I love her.

Bank holiday weekend meant I got the chance to try a couple of new recipes. And with spring comes our favourite jersey royals and asparagus.

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This Waitrose tart was dead easy and really tasty for Saturday lunch.

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And then on Sunday I made *Jamie’s tray baked cod. I love a dish that not only looks and tastes great, but also gets cooked in one pan! Minimal washing up. Yes.

* Sorry this is the closest link I can find to the recipe I used from his app

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Watch out. There’s some good bacon about!

Flock and Herd’s ‘Treacle Back Bacon’ has won the Overall Champion Title at the South of England Bpex Butcher Roadshow. No idea what that is, but their bacon sounds amazing! Am going to get some this Easter weekend. Here’s hoping the weather turns (dear God) so we can cook it on the bar b.

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