Tuesday, 28 August 2007

Happy 800th Birthday Liverpool

My, did they celebrate tonight. 20 minutes of fireworks set to music. Fantastic.

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday dear Liverpool
Happy Birthday to you!

And blogger now does videos!!...

For some more (& better) pictures you may want to have a look at Hubbys blog.

Pick-me-up Lunch

I've been full of a horrible cold all bank holiday weekend & I'm feeling no better (if not a bit worse) today. I've had to call in sick to work as I am not up for anything except dozing in bed & watching bad daytime TV.

So to make myself feel a little bit better I made my myself a traditional lunch for such occasions! Chicken sandwiches with Heinz Cream of Mushroom soup.
We have a birthday to attend later tonight - luckily I have to move nowhere as Liverpool is celebrating its 800th Birthday with a firework display right opposite our settee. How very kind of them, I dont even have to get dressed properly! With any luck some we may get some good pictures.

Sunday, 26 August 2007

Homemade Guacamole

Yesterday we picked up some tuna steaks for dinner and whilst we were in the supermarket we picked up some chillies, lime, lemons and avocado.

So I marinated the tuna in some chilli, lime juice & a dash of olive oil. And whilst that was sitting in the fridge I tried my hand at guacamole. Mr C has a strange relationship avocados as he doesn't like them, the taste or texture - unless its guacamole? Anyhow, I mashed down 1 1/2 avocado, added some chopped chilli & garlic, the juice of 1/2 a lemon and then seasoned with a little salt & pepper. After a few tastings & a few more drops of lemon juice I think it worked quite well. So after leaving it to infuse in the fridge I served it up with a tuna steak, a jacket potato and some salad.

We both enjoyed it and the Maris Piper potatoes were so soft and fluffy. Delicious with a slice of butter melted in.

Monday, 20 August 2007

Moist chocolate brownies

Thanks has to go to the lovely Jules at Trainee Domestic Goddess for firstly, finding this chocolate guinnessness that Hubby adores and secondly for converting the recipe from US to good old English measures.

I made the brownies yesterday & apart from them needing some chunky texture next time, they came out just as I had hoped.

I also bought a brand new silicone baking tin - its very flexible and I was slightly worried that when I picked it up full of runny mixture it would invert & land on the kitchen floor - but I was careful with my handling & it did the job very well indeed.
Recipe - Care of Trainee Domestic Goddess - link as above

Makes 16

4 eggs
5oz caster sugar
12oz of various chocolate - dark & milk
2.5 oz unsalted butter
4 oz plain flour
2 tsp cocoa
290ml Guinness
icing sugar

1) Preheat oven to 190oc and line 8 inch square baking pan with baking parchment.

2) Combine eggs and sugar. On a medium heat melt chocolate and butter until smooth. Allow to cool for about 3 mins.

3) Beat chocolate mix into egg mix. Sift in flour and cocoa. Beat until well combined.

4) Whisk in Guinness, then pour into pan. Bake for 25 min until a skewer comes out just abour clean. It will continue to cook slightly after being taken out of oven.

5) Cool on rack, then dust in icing sugar and cut into 16 squares.

Saturday, 18 August 2007

Creamy Chicken Pie

I've been wanting to make a pie for so long now, but as I don't cook much meat I've kind of put it off and my new Nigella pie dish has been patiently waiting in the cupboard.

Well last night we where in Tesco & I picked up Olive magazine and some corn fed chicken breasts. And it just so happened Olive contained the kind of pie recipe I've been craving.

Chicken breasts
8 shallots - 6 whole, 2 sliced
100g creme fraiche
2 1/2 Tablespoons sherry vinegar - I'd probably use a touch less next time
75 ml white wine
Small bunch chopped tarragon
1/2 teaspoon cornflour mixed with 1/2 tablespoon water
1 tablespoon olive oil
Ready rolled puff pastry

1. Heat oil in pan
2. Cut chicken into chunks & brown in heated oil
3. Once brown remove chicken & add all the shallots and cook for 8 minutes
4. Add vinegar & cook until reduced by half
5. Add chicken, wine, creme fraiche, tarragon & cornflour mixture - cook for 5 minutes
6. Add mixture to pie dish & cover with puff pastry (cut to just larger than the pie dish)
7. Cook for 25-30 minutes on 180°c
8. Let pie cool for 5 minutes before serving


Friday, 17 August 2007

I've been meme'd - here goes...

Thanks Ginger!

Four places you’ve lived
  • On the Wirral since I was born but have managed two houses (with family) & flat with hubby. Hoping I'll move to a house with hubby soon (anyone looking to buy a nice flat?!)
Four places you’ve been on holiday
  • France
  • Italy - Sorrento - love, love, love it
  • Italy - Florence -verrrrry nice
  • Antigua - our honeymoon -relaxing with a few cocktails & watching the sunset. Bliss
Four favourite foods
  • Bread
  • Cheese
  • Pizza
  • Chocolate
Four places you’d rather be
  • Scotland - somewhere in the Highlands
  • On a beach with a martian martini cocktail
  • In Venice or Paris as I havent managed to get to either yet
  • On a boat
Not the most exciting answers! But hey ho.

I tag:

Escape Crate
Girl With The Golden Touch
Gastronomy Domine
Kitchen Delights

Sunday, 12 August 2007

Cook Yourself Thin

You may, or may not have seen this new programme starting last Wednesday on Ch4. I would review it as 4 pretty girls, with apparently average sizes doing a cooking show in the style of Gok Wan

The main premise of the programme is to how to lose weight sensibly by limiting calorie intake but by eating your usual foods rather than making yourself think you are on a diet of ryvita and cottage cheese (yuk!). So being your typical female I watched them cook low fat versions of a roast dinner, chocolate champagne truffles (yes, really!) and some other bits and bobs.

I am slightly dubious of the outcome - a lady who followed their plans for 6 weeks + some more exercise who lost 9lbs but also TWO dress sizes?

Anyhows, I've caught the bug after pigging out for the last few weeks & I've joined the online version for £9.50 a month - initially for one month only as I want to see what all the fuss is about.

So far, the websites not telling me too much that is new (i.e. cut back 500 cals a day to lose approx. 1lb a week) but it does allow you to diary your foods every day & it works out how many calories you have consumed. Their database has most foods in it so you don't need to keep & read every food wrapper and you can make your own recipes up & it will work out the calories for you. My fiorentina pizza is approx. 800 cals which for a large filling pizza isn't too bad when you compare it with a processed shop bought one.

I'm going to try & keep it up for the first month & see how I get on. I'll report back soon!!

Sunday, 5 August 2007

Our trip to Nottingham

This post is a bit late!

Was a lovely one. We went away for a few days this weekend for a bit of r&r.

Hotel - QHotels - We'd never heard of them until I came across what appeared to be a cracking deal on a website I simply fell upon - activehotels.com (I would recommend this website, it gave us a much better deal than expedia would have). Back to the hotel, it was fab, gorgeous, comfy, friendly. I haven't a bad word to say about them at all. Room was very spacious, very modern, bed was very comfy & the bed linen lovely & soft. The bathroom was also spacious - a bath with shower over and a stand alone shower. It gets a full 5 stars from me.

Nottingham - it was surprisingly large and very nice. We spent most of Saturday morning wandering around and came across a shop called Chocolate Utopia (they do mail orders!) where we sat in with a coffee and mocha and sampled some of their delightful chocolates. Mmmm. We came away with a milk chocolate bar & small dark chocolate bar for us and a dark chocolate bar for a gift. Including the chocolates & coffees I think we spent about £8 in there - much better value for money than Hotel Chocolat (which is where we were going to buy the gift) & just as delicious.

The first night we ate at the hotel which was tatsy. We had taken up a bottle of champagne as it was our official 'getting together' anniversary. Very nice.

On the second evening we went to the Hard Rock Cafe! Not our usual dining experience but we'd never been to one and finding myself with the chance to sample some of Joe Perrys Mango-Peach Tango hot sauce, how could I resist?

The grub was your usual American fare & being a fussy meat eater I nearly always choose the veggie options - I did however, have to have the Chicken Quesadilla to sample Joe Perrys sauce.
The dish consisted of chicken & pineapple (of which I'm not a big fan) - but I have to say I actually quite enjoyed it. For the main the only veggie option was a burger. It was huge, even by my mammoth portions and I never seen so much cheese!
Again it was tasty but I actually think I enjoyed the Quesadilla slightly better. Washed down with two glasses of wine I was a happy but very full bunny.
Mr C's Burger & Chips
Coming back home on the Sunday we took the scenic route via Bakewell & picked up some of their traditional puddings. Mmmmmm.

Here's some other pics from our weekend...

Robin Hood

The Ducks enjoying the warm sunshine in Bakewell