Roasted Winter Squash & Carrots Agrodolce…

Every so often I stumble across a recipe that I think sounds interesting, I make up and I promptly fall head over heels for. This absolute gem from the archives of Bon Appetit and the mind of Senior Food Editor Chris Morocco is one such example of my rampant, random, recipe obsession.

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Currently in the throes of a wintry obsession with roasted squash and carrots – honestly, I’ve years to make up for where carrots are concerned having only recently realised that my decades long avoidance of ‘squishy’ carrots has kept me from the perfectly caramelised vegetables which emerge after time spent in the oven – and needing to find as many ways to eat them as I possibly can, this tangy, spicy, sweet dressing is glorious in its complexity of flavours and simplicity of cooking. Read More

A cake to please your soul…and your skinny jeans…

When the cast of ‘Oliver’ exalted their love of food, glorious food and longed with waifish eyes for indigestion, I think the foodie inside us all agreed with them. Not about needing the Pepto Bismol perhaps but about the sentiments that food can trigger; the boys’ hot sausage and mustard might take you to a warm and cosy autumnal fireplace supper as the rain lashes down outside while cold jelly and custard may transport you back to your youth and Sunday lunch at your nan’s house.

And cake? Well it may not have been sung about by roguish scamps armed with a cheeky Cockney twang and a light fingered touch, but cake is responsible for triggering a multitude of sentiments. Often presented to mark a celebration or special occasion, cake is definite treat food. Think about it – most other foods have some health benefits. I mean you can even tout anti-oxidants as the reason behind your clinging onto a glass of Pinot Noir and a bar of 70% Green & Blacks if you feel the need but cake? Hard to justify the physical well-being that comes from a marriage of butter, sugar, eggs and flour.

Good thing then that we really don’t care! That’s right, we don’t even try to justify it because – just to clarify – we don’t care! Cake is good for the soul. It’s good for the spirit. It makes you happy be it dark, rich and fudgy chocolate layers, tangy, bright and crunchy-topped lemon muffins or a glossily iced and whiskey-scented fruit loaf and here’s a new one for the repertoire – a damply more-ish lemon blueberry yoghurt cake.

I promise I’m not going against everything I’ve just said and deliberately trying to be healthy here by hiding fruit in the batter – I’m just branching out with my baking tins, spatulas and whisk.

lemon blueberry yoghurt cake (2) Read More

Today’s creation is sponsored by the letters ‘B’ and ‘T’; all hail the beetroot and blue cheese tomato tarte tatin…

Let’s take a minute and have a spot of learning shall we?

A quick search on the internet reveals multiple definitions of a ‘tarte tatin’; an upside down tart and a classic French pastry dish are just two but I think the Guardian got it pretty spot on in their 2011 article about how to make the perfect version of it when they simply said it was a ‘glorious, sticky treat’. Ahhhh, those words alone make me want to stop typing, head to the kitchen and start banging about with pastry and tins while some jazzyily-Parisian dinner party music accompanies me.

Traditionally sweet, this is one of those dishes that also suits a savoury filling just as well. I consider it something of a cheat dish and by that I mean it’s looks are slightly out of sync with it’s difficulty rating. Of course if you make your pastry from scratch, that rating shoots up from a PG to an 18 but if, like myself and many, many, MANY chefs out there, you are using shop bought, that’s absolutely fine.

Just to compensate for how simple it actually is, I will of course have to post something next about a croquembouche or a consommé or a towering soufflé which will make both you and I dear reader, weep at the level of skill required…but later. Let’s not weep now unless it’s at the sheer and unmitigated deliciousness of this tart. Read More