A full English breakfast is one of the world’s most glorious things. It is one of the only meals that is appropriate to eat “all-day” and it is pretty much the only thing that can truly help to cure a hangover. Whether you are a ketchup or brown sauce person, whether you love or loath black pudding and whatever accompaniments you think should be included, be they potato cakes, potato farl, tattie scones, oatcakes or lava bread, pretty much everyone loves a good fry up.
Having said that, there are some downsides to having a full breakfast every weekend. Aside from the inevitable damage to your coronary arteries, fry ups are a bit of a faff to make and they are not cheap either, due to the endless roll call of varying pork products required. For this reason, I have decided to lay off the fry ups for a bit and try out some lighter, cheaper and less complicated breakfasts for my lazy Sunday mornings.
This hash ticks all of the boxes, it is really cheap and quick and only includes one cancer bearing pork product, which must surely be a good thing. It is also entirely made up of stuff that most of us have lying around meaning that hellish, hungover/ half-asleep traipse to the local supermarket can be avoided.
Just as spring shows its first signs of bursting forth, and with easter just around the corner, I, much like Jesus Christ himself, have chosen to be born again. After 5 months maintaining the pretence of adulthood, with a real job and commuting and stuff, I have returned to Manchester and part-time work. This has allowed me far more time to both binge-watch Netflix, and re-indulge in everything to do with food.
To accompany my glorious resurrection, I chose to make something tasty and unhealthy as a shameless two-fingers to all of those seed-munching prigs who are smugly still sticking to their new-year’s resolutions. In all seriousness though, this recipe is not actually as bad for you as it looks, because nothing is deep fried. Neither is it that much of a faff to make and yet it remains a fairly decadent mid-week treat.
To accompany my crispy little chicken pieces, as the Americans call them, I made some coleslaw with all of the odds and ends I had in my fridge. It was pretty delicious but do not worry too much about sticking staunchly to the ingredient list, and certainly don’t go out and buy things especially.
Over the last few years, food fashion has shifted away from the quirky and sometimes crazy molecular gastronomy of the last decades to a focus on fresh, local produce cooked at its best. I am not about to don my wellies and skip off down a country path in search of dandelion leaves, although leaving a juicy blackberry on a bush is pretty much sacrilege. Really, though, this new fashion has had very little impact on the way I cook except that I have started to pay more attention to the ingredients of the season.
In part, this focus on seasonality is due to the fact that my parents have a vegetable garden, which provides me with a plentiful source of free food. However, if you grow it yourself, you can’t get asparagus in December. This puts me in a bit of a bind because the veg selection gets a little bit more limited at this time of year; there are only so many ways you can cook a carrot!
Beetroot is one thing that comes into its own in winter though and its earthy flavour is a really comforting addition to many dishes. This dish is a really simple mid-week supper that makes great use of seasonal produce. It’s warming and comforting without being too heavy, meaning it is a great antidote to the plethora of stews and pies and puddings that will have you heaving your gut off the floor come January.
I have been a bit rubbish at posting recently because, although I have still been cooking like crazy, having a full time job hasn’t given me much time to sit down and write. This weekend though I found myself with a bit of time on my hands and I thought I would make a proper lazy Sunday recipe and tell you all about it.
Bread is one of those things that most people don’t even attempt to make at home. People think it is too specialist, takes too long and involves too many annoying little stages. Well bread does take a very long time to make but it is not really specialist or fiddly. In fact, if you stick to a basic recipe it is pretty difficult to go wrong.
This recipe is a bit of a twist on a classic loaf. Stuffing a loaf like this means that it can become an entire meal rather than just a side dish. This bread is perfect thing for taking on a picnic or serving as a centre piece at a buffet or BBQ. This recipe is for quite a small loaf so double up the quantities if you are feeding more people. For the filling you can use pretty much anything, I chose these flavours to bring a bit of mediterranean sunshine to these gloomy November days but anything you have got in the fridge will probably work. Just avoid things that are quite wet because they will stop the dough from cooking.
I admit I have stolen this pasta cooking technique from Eat Like a Girl but I couldn’t resist sharing my own version of this amazingly simple dish. The more people that hear about this way of cooking pasta, the better because it is a cheap, quick and simple way to cook a fantastically delicious dinner.
I have gone for a super simple combination of flavours here but this would work with loads of different ingredients. I can’t wait to try it with mushroom and red onion, where the onion is fried along with the garlic and dried porcini stock is used instead of the water. I also think one with courgette, peas and mint topped with feta would be delicious.
I am not ready for summer to be over. I need at least another month of barbecues, sunshine and denial, meaning I am now desperately grasping at every last inch of summer I can get my hands on. This, of course, runs to food but I can’t quite bring myself to make a salad when outside the window monsoon season rages. Some dishes though, like heady saffron rich paellas or luxurious bowls of linguine frutti di mare, cannot fail to comfort and bring back memories of holiday bliss. Unfortunately though, unless you are a millionaire, they are somewhat decadent for a wednesday night.
This spinach ravioli on the other hand costs almost nothing to make and is just light enough to feel summery and exotic whilst being sufficiently warming and comforting to combat the chill of September. Making homemade pasta may seem a complete faff but hopefully my guide below will simplify it a bit. Having said that, if you don’t have a pasta machine don’t bother. Hand rolling pasta is best left to formidable Italian grandmothers and professional chefs. Continue reading
Since my highly successful croissant experiment I have begun to consider myself the Queen of Baking, the Baroness of Bread if you will. So I have decided to share my newfound expertise with all you lovely people. The important counterpoint being that I am actually not that good at baking/ know very little about it so have made the easiest possible recipe.
My Bubbly Risen Dough
The key with bread I have realised is patience. It takes a long tome to make and a huge amount of sitting around is involved but, if you have the time, the result is definitely worth it, so much cheaper than a supermarket loaf and so much more delicious.