Mediterranean Stuffed Loaf

stuffedloaf1I 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.

stuffedloaf3Bread 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.

stuffedloaf2This 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.

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Chicken, Bacon and Leek Pie for Spring

 

Checken and Leek3I realise that I have slightly missed the window for this recipe. I began writing it only days before an avalanche of essays, dissertation stress and exams hit, only to be thawed by the summer sun of the last few weeks. Now I am free though I thought I would return to few of my favourite spring recipes which work had prevented me from cooking and sharing with you. Even if this one is a little heavy for the weather at the moment you can be guaranteed that rain is never very far away, especially in Manchester. Keep this one in the back pocket then for a rainy summer day, and enjoy!Chicken and Leek 1

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Lemon and Orange Polenta Cake

Polenta2For most of us, exams are finally over. It is such a relief, not just because I can throw out the ridiculous amount of useless dates, facts and quotes I had attempted to cram into my brain for a week but mainly because I had completely run out of clean clothes. The end of exam season means a return to sanity (to some extent). I no longer have to spend every waking moment, and a disturbing number of sleeping moments, reading or noting or listing everything I have ever leant over and over in my head until I go insane. I can wash my clothes, my bathroom no longer looks like a scene out of a horror film and best of all I have time to cook!

Polenta1When you are attempting to procrastinate, as all good third year students with dissertations currently are, the best thing to do is bake a cake. It takes a good long time, requires minimum concentration and allows for the spontaneous appearance of delicious baked goods. Unfortunately I am pretty rubbish at baking cakes but this recipe below is fool proof and the end result is delicious. Proof of this is in the lack of photographs of the whole cake; I couldn’t wait long enough to take a photo before I had some. It is a bit pricey with the polenta and ground almonds so I would only suggest making it if you already have one or both of these items or you are feeling particularly flush! Continue reading

Maple and Bacon Popcorn for Film Season

popcorn2I apologise one again for my lack of Internet presence over the festive period. I filled my days with Christmassy cooking crafting all of which I was to impart to my (limited) readership. Unfortunately, as is often the way, the time I spent doing these activities slightly ate into the time I was supposed to spend writing about them. Oh well, my blog posts, like the half-price decorations being snatched up all over the country, shall have to wait until next year.

My first recipe of the new year is a simple one but none-the-less delicious and cost effective. Especially for those of you who are, like me, indulging in a fit of cinema going, occasioned by the reappearance of slightly watchable films. From June to January there is a serious dearth of exciting cinema, and suddenly, as award season looms, like buses, all the good films come at once. As a result, this week I have been to the cinema twice in two days and I fully expect to do so again in the near future.

popcorn1If this habit is to continue, however, I will have to re-evaluate my snacking habits. Usually I like an Ice cream for the adverts and beginning followed by a small bucket of sweet and salty mixed popcorn, all washed down with a coke. Unfortunately, two nights of this would blow my food budget for the entire week (and my post-christmas diet obviously). As such I decided to have a go at making my own snacks for all those cinema lovers out there who don’t fancy paying four pounds for what is essentially a bag of sweet or salty air. Read on for my recipe for delicious maple syrup and bacon popcorn (and little overview of the films I saw, for anyone who is interested).

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Classic Fish Pie

P1030868It seems that in the last week the thermometer has plummeted. We were said to have had the warmest halloween ever and yet this week has seen me lusting after winter coats online as frost and fog has suddenly set in. This kind of weather is fantastic though because it excuses proper warming, filling dinners and allows any thoughts of weight-loss to be pushed out of the brain in favour of dreams of mince-pies and mulled wine.

Fish PieOne of my favourite winter-warmer style dinners is fish pie. Nothing fancy just classic, hearty, british food. You might think this a bit of a luxury especially those of you who are starting to feel the pinch in the no mans land between loan payments. But this is actually a fairly cheap dinner and you can get a few portions out of it so, if you’re not in the beans on toast stage yet, give this a go and it will definitely help you get through the next few hypothermic months! Continue reading

Cheesy Beef Hotpot

Hotpot1It seems to me, the toughest challenge faced by budding student foodies is finding as many uses for mince as is humanly possible. Chilli, lasagne, spag bol and shepherds pie are on the menu every otter night in unit up and down the country. Mince is such a good ingredient when you’re cooking on a budget, it is cheap and really adaptable.  Sometimes the old classics get a bit boring though so here’s a recipe for mince that is a bit different.

Hotpot2This recipe is really simple except, for any sauce- virgins out there, the homemade cheese sauce might prove tricky. You can obviously substitute this for something from a jar but white sauce is such a useful thing to learn how to make, you only need 3 ingredients, all of which most people will have in the house already. The quantities here are just guidelines really, I don’t normally measure it all out, you just need enough butter so all the flour is incorporated but no more. The key is not to get frustrated, if it goes wrong you can try again, it won’t break the bank! Other things to remember: just keep whisking and it should turn out alright and don’t use a non-stick pan because the whisk will scratch off the coating.Hotpot3 Continue reading

Barcelona Style Spaghetti Vongole

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Scroll down and you’ll see my review of my recent holiday to the beautiful city of Barcelona. One of my must-visit places is the Boqueria Market on Las Ramblas. This tourist hotspot remains a fantastic place to get fresh produce and is where I sourced my ingredients for the recipe below. I understand that clams are pretty hard to get your hands on but if you ever come across them buy them!! They are delicious and, as shellfish go, they are not the most expensive. They are also pretty easy to handle if you buy them clean.

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I can definitely attest to the simplicity of this recipe. I cooked it in the Airbnb flat I was renting. The kitchen was basic to say the least! This can be cooked entirely on a two hob stove using two pans. It is a bit nerve racking cooking something for the first time, especially when that something is alive when you start cooking it. Trust me if you follow this recipe it will work out fine!! This is the perfect holiday night-in recipe, especially if you are in Barcelona. The clams are easy to source as is the Cava, it is so so cheap and you can buy it anywhere. If you are not in Barcelona, as I imagine most of you aren’t, then a cheap wine will do the job, we were just feeling a little decadent.vongole2

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