29 April 2012

Almond and Hazelnut Brownies




Food and music have kept me comfortable, giddy and out of the rain this weekend. I sang so badly at a party last night, and then found myself munching on chicken nuggets. Not sure what possessed me to even grab one, I was looking for pitta and houmous but instead there was garlic bread and wrinkly sausages! Seriously a tip: garlic bread is a big no no at a house party.

Now I'm back in my union jack crazy bedroom, staring at the gooey brownie next to my mug of chai. There wasn't a specific album I listened to when making these tempting gorgeous brown bricks. I was switching between songs and then decided to put together a wee play list, so I could avoid getting the keyboard dirty. Something I haven't done for a very long time.


'The Sign' by Ace of Base
'The Rain' by Calvin Harris
'Best Of You' by The Foo Fighters
'We Found Love' by Rihanna and Calvin Harris
'Mercy' by Duffy
'Sound Of The Underground' by Girls Aloud
'Dirt Off Your Shoulder' by Jay Z
'American Boy' by Estelle Featuring Kanye West

 I'm sure you are itching to know how to make these succulent brownies. Here is the what,when and how.

Recipe for a 25cm square tin, makes 15 squares.
Ingredients:
300g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa solids)
250g unsalted butter
70g plain sifted flour
300g brown sugar
1 tsp almond essence
50g chopped hazelnuts
4 medium eggs, beaten.

Method:

: Preheat oven to 180°c.
: Melt the chocolate and butter in a large bowl over boiling water, be sure the water does not touch the bowl.
: Mix flour, baking powder, and sugar in a separate bowl.
: Once the chocolate and butter have melted, and is smooth, tip into the dry ingredients.
: Stir in the beaten eggs, and mix well.
: Slowly pour this mixture into the tin, making sure it's level.
: Set a timer for 23 minutes.

Serve with cream, ice cream or on their own when they are hot.
Can be stored in a tight tin for up to 3 days.

DONE!

Favourite Song:
ê 'Best Of You' by The Foo Fighters

24 April 2012

Blueberry, White Chocolate and Hazelnut Muffins





'Shine' by Estelle

Chosen because London has been grey most of the week, and I am so over it. If the sun is shy, then atleast Estelle can sing out loud in the kitchen to try and make it appear! Does anyone know what she is up to these days?

Midweek baking is always a bit of a luxury, normally I dust the flour off my shoulders on a Sunday, but today I wanted to use up some of my blueberries and make something blue and magical. I researched muffin recipes online and saw many methods, the two main questions were these- how do you get the rough muffin look and how to get them to rise so high that they burst over the tin? Paul Hollywood creams the butter and sugar first then suggests leaving the muffin mixture overnight, Jamie and Nigella seperate the wet ingredients then slowly mix them in with the dry. However, Mary Berry suggests rubbing the butter into the flour and Edd Kimber whisks the ingredients after mixing wet into dry for a short time. Who to follow? Who to trust? I had a whole lot of expensive blueberries I couldn't afford to waste! I then came across lovely Donna Hay who used oil instead of butter, she only stirs the batter, mixes wet into dry and uses a lot of self raising flour! Job done. Donna helped me with the basics of the recipe but obviously the time had come to Mita-fy it.
I think what inspired me to use white chocolate were the packets of milkybar buttons sitting on the counter, and staring straight at me was a succulent bottle of hazelnut oil. Holy oil from wherever you came from, this oil is off the hook. For those who are not familiar with my ridiculous jargon: this oil is well nice.
And there you have it, I knew blueberries and chocolate go well together and I am so over using vegetable oil in baking.

Go on, you know you want to try these out! Read the next 8 words carefully:

If I can do it so can you.

Remember I'm not qualified, didn't go to chef school, and haven't won a baking competition. I might not be selling myself here but after you have tasted these bad boys, you will trust my judgement on flavour just that tiny bit more. I suppose when I look at a recipe or method, I want to be able to trust who ever is recommending it. That's what I'm aiming for on this blog and on my food journey, whether I'm in a magazine, video, online or television - I'm aiming to build a platform of trust between my food and you.

Recipe for 12 muffins.

Ingredients:
375g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
150ml milk
1 large egg
3 small packets of milkbar buttons or 50g white chocolate chunks.
120ml hazelnut oil
300g fresh or frozen blueberries

Method:
: Preheat oven to 200°c.
: Put the flour and baking powder in one bowl.
: Put the egg, oil, and milk in another bowl, and whisk.



: Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients bowl and pour in the wet mixture. Do this in batches.

: Then stir in the blueberries and chocolate buttons. Don't whisk, only stir with a butter knife or a large metal spoon. Soon you will see the mixture looking rough and ready.
: Fill the 12 hole muffin tin generously.
: Bake for 25 minutes. For the duration I leaned against the oven and felt the heat on my back and just waited for the aroma of sweet hazelnut and that classic 'bake and cake' aroma. You must know what I'm on about, it's when you walk near a bakery.
: Once golden and the blueberries have turned a sexy purple colour, take out the oven and cool each one on a wire rack.
DONE!
Favourite Song:

ê 'American Boy' by Estelle featuring Kanye West

21 April 2012

Roasted Monkfish Wrapped in Bacon with Jalapeño Tartare Sauce



Listening to various tracks by Willy Moon.

This lunchtime I was watching Willy's video for 'yeah yeah', and I was mesmerised, he oozes so much confidence, got some random moves and my shoulders were moving to the beat without me knowing! After that, I peeked in my fridge and felt it looked a bit lifeless - bacon, lettuce, mayonnaise, jalapeños and capers. I envisioned a jalepeño tartare sauce but wanted to wrap the bacon around some fish.
Without thinking I grabbed £20, and cycled to Broadway market, went to Fin and Flounder and got myself a chunky piece of monkfish. Which didn't cost the full £20! Don't get me wrong this fish can be pricey but I deserved it after this week. I feel a bit sorry for monkfish, they swim with their mouths wide open and they aren't the most attractive fish in the sea. They are damn right delicious in this recipe!

Give it a whirl:

Recipe for 2 burgers:

Ingredients:

Olive bread or any bread/buns of your choice. I put a small lid on top of the bread and cut around it to make baps.
4 thick slices of unsmoked bacon, some fat removed.
2 medium fillets of monkfish.
1 sprig of rosemary leaves.
Black pepper
2 sprigs of lemon thyme leaves.
Fresh lemon
Romaine lettuce

Tartare it up:
3 tsp light mayonnaise
1 tsp capers
1 tsp jalapeños (about 6 sliced)
Half a tsp of wholegrain mustard
1tsp lemon juice
1 small onion chopped.

Serve with honey roasted parsnips and asparagus.

Method:

Preheat oven to 200°c.
: Prepare your chosen vegetables, if choosing potatoes, roast these first.
: Halfway through the roasting time of the veg, start on the fish.
: Flatten 2 slices of bacon on a chopping board, do this by using the flat side of a knife and pressing down firmly on the bacon.
: Rub the herbs and pepper on the bacon.



: Place one piece of monkfish in the middle, squeeze a generous amount of lemon ontop and wrap the bacon around it. Make sure you do this securely, seal the wrapping by tucking the ends of bacon underneath the fish. Repeat this step with the second one.


: Bake for 20 minutes on a lightly greased tray, when fish is releasing water and bacon is dark, then they are done. 
: Blend all the ingredients for the tartare sauce and refrigerate until ready to serve.

What I love about this recipe is that I didn't have to use salt. The bacon around the fish is salty enough, and the ingredients in the tartare are tasty just as they are!

DONE!

Favourite Song:

ê 'Yeah Yeah'



20 April 2012

Adidas Original Chips




'Lioness: Hidden Treasures' by Amy Winehouse

Another grey and yellow day in London, thunder, rain and sun. Then it starts all over again. Today the rumbling of the sky also made my insides roar and rumble, which meant time to get cooking! First I had to get a good song on; I saw 'Valerie on one of my playlists, and I automatically pumped up the volume and felt even more creative. There is something about this song that just hits the spot, you know the part when Amy sings, 'well sometimes I go out, by myself, and I look across the water'. That's me when I'm gasping for breath on a run, and look across the canal in Hackney, painting a picture in my head of what people are eating on the other side. 

Moving forward to my creative shenanigans, I'll keep it short and simple.

I used my cookie cutters on the few potatoes I had left and covered them with olive oil, salt, pepper, rosemary and thyme. Slice a potato vertically on its side, and cut out your desired shape. Bake for a minimum of 30 minutes at 200°c, test to see if soft.
Simple. As. That.

Who says potatoes just have to be cut long, wedge shaped, curly or smiley faced? Exactly, find an old school quirky cookie cutter, make some interesting shapes and get herby. Definitely a great activity for kids.
Have a super duper weekend.

xxxx

I think you know what my favourite song is :)

This time last year:

⤵ Bun love


18 April 2012

Double Chocolate Blueberry and Lemon Muffin Tops




Two shots I couldn't make my mind up about, so both are on since the cakes looks so damn pretty.



I am so annoyed. I typed this post late last night thinking it was all sorted and then realised my internet  connection was fluctuating and being a nuisance. Now I'll try not to make this post about how frustrated I am with the company Talk Talk. I will spare you the fury and try to capture last nights essence….

'Platinum & Gold Collection' by Next


A random album for a Tuesday, I know, but it's always on at the boxing club and makes me smile and skip just that tiny bit faster. You have to understand why I had to get it on in the kitchen, memories of ham sandwiches, salt and vinegar crisps and snickers at the lunch table at school, while I peered over to the boy who never looked at me on the opposite table. Despite the school crush, during this song I remember occasionally buying a snickers bar after school! Not the healthiest after school snack you can have, but it always tasted so good after hard day of reading 'Animal Farm' by George Orwell.


My baking frenzy has definitely calmed down after Easter, even though I love to bake I learnt I have to control myself and the use of the oven! And lets face facts, who is actually hungry for cake? It's a luxury mini meal with a cup of tea. Typing that I had a cup of tea ready and needed something to tide me over. I wanted to make muffins, but did not have a suitable tin to hand, so used a cupcake tin and created these beauties which are not as bulky, and halfway between a muffin and a cake.


▶ Recipe for 12 cakes or if you do have a muffin tin, this recipe makes 6 massive hefty muffins.

Ingredients:

125g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1 large egg
60g sugar
60g butter
100ml milk
100g smashed chocolate easter eggs, even the bits at the bottom of the box! Or you can use chocolate chips.
150g blueberries
1 tsp lemon zest 

Icing:
500g icing sugar
1tbsp water
pinch of lemon zest
Extra blueberries
Nutella or any chocolate spread.

Method:

Preheat oven to 180°c.
: Rub the butter in the flour and sugar until it looks like breadcrumbs.
: Pour the egg and milk, stir slowly.
: Add the cocoa powder, baking powder, zest, blueberries and smashed chocolate. Stir with a butter knife, cutting through the mixture so it can get the muffin cracked effect once baked. Try not to over stir, the aim is to under stir it.
: Scoop in the cases and bake for 25 minutes.
: Once risen and cracked, take out the oven and let them cool.
: Make the icing with the extra lemon zest, this is the ingredient that will give the muffin a bit of a pizzazz.
: Dip blueberries in Nutella to stick on top, just so everyone knows what's in the muffin.

DONE!



Favourite Song:

ê 'Wifey'




16 April 2012

Mitastrone Soup



'A Girl Like Me' by Rihanna

I have turned into a pure Rihanna - holic, I've been listening to her non stop today. Firstly her tracks kept me jogging, and since then I have been sieving through her albums and to my housemates dismay: singing along in the kitchen! I got all my vegetables out, laid them on the table and stared at them with joy, that's when I knew it was time to start chopping.

Recipe for my take on the Italian staple, minestrone. A budget loving big soup, great for warming up those aching muscles after a work out.

Feeds 5 adults.

Ingredients:

Dried oregano
400g drained cannellini beans
1 can of chopped tomatoes
2 medium squashed tomatoes.
300g smashed tagliatelle, and the broken bits at the bottom of a pasta bag!
3 stalks of celery, chopped.
2 large carrots, chopped.
1 medium onion, finely diced.
5 asparagus stalks.
Olive oil
2 garlic cloves crushed.
Salt
Pepper
500ml chicken stock

Method:

: In a large pot add 2 tbsp of olive oil and crushed garlic.
: Fry for a minute, making sure not to burn the garlic, then add the onions, celery, squashed tomatoes and carrots.
: On a very low heat, sweat these vegetables for a solid 15 minutes. 
: Add 2 tsp of oregano.
: Once these are soft, add the chopped tomatoes, and beans.
: Leave this for another 5 minutes, then season.
: Pour the chicken stock in and leave for 15 minutes.
: Meanwhile with the asparagus tips, chop half of the stalk and cut these into small chunks. I left the tips for another recipe that will show them off. 
: Taste the soup, if it's too thick for your liking then add a bit of water. Season if you think it needs it. 
: Tip in the pasta and aspargus tips, boil until pasta is done 2 minutes before it's time.
: Let the pot rest for about 2 minutes, then serve with extra oregano, basil leaves if they are handy, and parmesan.

DONE!

This time last year:




Favourite Song:



ê 'SOS'




14 April 2012

Rosemary Lamb Steaks in Redcurrant Gravy with Thyme and Mustard Mash.



'Age Ain't Nothing But A Number' by Aaliyah


This afternoon I played many of Aaliyah's tracks, but this album brought back the best memories. Also I had a talk with my best mate about the title of this album, as it was relevant to the topic of conversation. I wish I could type about men, relationships, fashion mishaps, nights out and all the other juicy gossip everyone might like to get their teeth into, but this blog is solely about food and music. Maybe one day I may reveal some funny stories, if they are linked in any way to food! 

The Lunch:

Lamb rump steaks with rosemary and garlic butter

Served with

Thyme and wholegrain mustard mashed potatoes

Covered in

Redcurrant, red wine and onion gravy

A perfect lunch menu for a lazy weekend chilling in. 

Recipe for 2 meat loving adults

Ingredients:

LAMB
4 lamb rump steaks (approx 400g in total)
2 cloves of garlic, grated.
20g butter
Salt
Pepper
Rosemary leaves off one sprig.

MASHED POTATOES
Désirée potatoes
100ml creme frche
Thyme leaves off 2 sprigs
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
Salt 
Pepper

GRAVY
225g fresh redcurrants
4 tsp Bisto gravy granules
Juices from lamb, once cooked.
Red wine (choose any that you would drink, my choice was Shiraz)
Water from boiled potatoes.
1 small onion, chopped.
Butter

Method:

: Peel and cut the potatoes in half, put in a pot of water and let them boil. These will take the longest. 
: Make the rosemary butter by grating the garlic and combining it with butter and chopped rosemary leaves. For a better result, put the leaves in a mortar and use a pestle to release their aromas. Mix all the butter ingredients well and add a pinch of salt and black pepper. Put to one side.
In a small pot put the redcurrants and one tablespoon of caster sugar, let this boil. Then strain this through a sieve, pressing down with a spoon to ensure you have all the sauce. Keep to one side.
Preheat the oven to 200°c.
Stab the lamb steaks so the butter can ooze in while cooking.
Rub the butter on the lamb steaks. 

: Place the lamb on the middle shelf, and cook for 12-15 minutes max.
 So once the potatoes are soft, drain and keep the water in a bowl (save this for the gravy and boiling preferred greens).
Mash the potatoes and add all the ingredients, taste as you go along to see if it needs seasoning. 

: Once the lamb is done, drain the juices in a small bowl. While it's resting for 10 minutes: time to make the gravy.
: Fry the onions in a small amount of butter, wait until soft then add the juices from the lamb, 150ml of water from the potatoes, granules, redcurrant sauce and 100ml red wine.
: Whisk and then simmer for a few minutes, until the alcohol has been burnt off. Taste after 10 minutes, and it would have completely changed!
: Boil asparagus in remaining potato water.
: Keep the gravy on a low heat. Warm plates in the oven.
: Serve up and eat up!

DONE!

Favourite Song:


ê 'Back & Forth'


Blackberry Upside Down Marble Cake



'Jagged Little Pill' by Alanis Morissette


An album chosen by Clare Tomes who came to visit me for the day. She was making me laugh so much whilst cooking! And that is definitely the best sound you should have in the kitchen. Clare said this album reminded her of a time when she was in her teens, and then I got a flashback to how innocent and slow time was back then. How great is the video to 'Ironic', I remember reenacting the car scene with my sister, and when I popped my head out of the window, a random guy splashed water from his bottle in my face. True story.

After our hefty, hearty and wholesome lunch I conjured up this cake that I randomly thought of this morning. It's sort of two cake ideas in one, the upside down philosophy of fruit, and a marble cake sponge. This way I didn't have to worry about a cake cooling down or even decorating the top, because the vibrant colour of blackberry was showing off. Served with vanilla Ben and Jerry's ice cream, both us ladies ate the first piece in complete silence with  'mmm' sounds here and there.

You should try this with any fruit that will go well with chocolate, such as:

Pears
Blueberries
Raspberries
Oranges

Recipe

You need:
 8inch cake tin

Ingredients:

200g blackberries, washed and drained.
120g caster sugar
120g self raising flour
70g butter
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
25g cocoa powder

Method:


: Preheat oven to 180 °c.



: Cream the butter and sugar until well combined, pale and fluffy. 
: Add the eggs.
: Add the flour and stir well.
: Divide the mixture into another bowl.
: In one bowl add the vanilla essence.
: In the other, the cocoa powder.

Method:


: Meanwhile line the baking tin, and dust over some plain flour.
: Scatter a tsp of sugar over the base and line the blackberries neatly.
: Take a large spoon from each batter and spread over randomly.
: Bake for 40 minutes until the cake has slightly risen.
: Turn over onto a cooling rack and peel off the greaseproof paper, revealing the succulent blackberries.
: Serve straight away with vanilla ice cream.

DONE!

This time last year:

⤵ Cereals..



Favourite Song:

ê 'Ironic'

13 April 2012

Breakfast Yorkshire Puds




'XX' by The XX

Last night's boxing class has left me with legs that feel like they are made from iron and a stomach made from concrete! The first thing I wanted to do this morning was get this album on, stay in bed and avoid the sit up in order to get out of bed.


  Sometimes when I have an idea I check online to see if it's been done first, and if it has I get a bit disappointed, but with so many exciting and adventurous foodies out there, there are blogs booming with talent. Last night when I typed a recipe idea into Google, Jamie Oliver was the first name that popped up. Now I just want to make clear that I am not a copycat and I wanted to eat a Yorkshire pudding for breakfast ever since I made my own last Sunday. When I saw Jamie had already come up with this genius idea, my heart sank a bit, but hey its Jamie Oliver, this chef can, and will come up with something original and crazy and people will try it. I saw the recipe title and then closed the Mac straight away. I got a lot of love for Jamie, but I am just as original. I rushed downstairs with the XX, and saw what I had: some sausages, beans, spinach, tomatoes, eggs and milk. And excuse the abbreviation but O.M.G, get your mouth around this and you will wish you had it on a Sunday morning, not with your roast!


Who am I kidding...Yorkshire puddings are great with roasts, but these are well nice with beans instead of gravy.


     Get the XX on, it's time to start cooking..
Yorkshire Pudding Mixit Recipe:

Ingredients to make 6 in a yorkshire pudding tin, or deep muffin tin.

250g organic plain flour
150ml semi skimmed milk
4 large free range eggs, beaten.
Salt
Pepper
Olive oil
6 Helen Brownings organic speedy sausages.
Fresh spinach washed.
A few jalapeños.
6 chestnut mushrooms cut in quarters, or whole button mushrooms.
3 tomatoes cut in quarters.
Baked beans


Breakfast Cookit Method:

 : Sieve the flour in a bowl.
: Add 150ml of cold water in a jug, add the milk and mix.
: Make a well in the centre of the flour and pour in the egg mixture.
: Then pour in the milk mixture, add a little at a time.
: Whisk until it has a smooth consistency, season with a pinch of salt and pepper and leave in the fridge for 20 minutes.
: Preheat the oven to 200°c and put the tin you will be using in for a few minutes.
: Take out and pour about a teaspoon of olive oil in each hole, pop back into the oven until the oil starts to smoke.
: Pour the batter in a jug so it's easy to pour in the tin, once the oil is smoking hot you have to work quickly and carefully. 
: Pour an equal amount of batter in each hole, then add a sausage, mushroom, and tomato quarter. I mixed it up a bit and added half with spinach and jalapeños, of course this is entirely optional and only if you like a bit of spice in the morning!
: Bake for 25 minutes, do not open the door at all during this time. Don't worry if they haven't risen yet, they will and when they do it will be beautiful. 
: After 25 minutes, they should be golden brown and quite tall, take out the oven and touch the tops to see if they are crispy.

: Serve with hot baked beans and a grand cup of orange juice.

Have a great Friday, the fun has just started on this blog, I feel this weekend is going to be all about MixitCookit.


This time last year:

Favourite Song:

ê 'Islands'