Friday, 12 February 2016

Dutch Baby

One for the weekend breakfast. As it's Valentines Day weekend, I'll go so far to add as, one for the Valentines Day breakfast. Nigella Lawson is back, with a new book, new look and new approach on eating. Whilst some have not liked her latest offering, Simply Nigella, I am sold, especially as there is a whole chapter on breakfast. Now, if like me you have never heard of dutch baby, it's not dutch. Sorry to confuse you, dutch baby is an American creation of a baked pancake and topped with whatever filling you like. I enjoyed making this as it is incredibly simple, fuss free and the oven does the hard work, no flipping or turning over needed here. I've kept the topping fairly traditional, topping with berries, but I can imagine this would work with whatever fruit you have in the house.

Recipe for Dutch Baby
3 large eggs
1 x 15ml tablespoon caster sugar
150ml full-fat milk
100g plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla paste or extract
pinch salt
freshly grated nutmeg
25g butter

To Serve
Icing sugar
creme fraiche
maple syrup 1 x 25cm cast-iron frying pan or 1 x ska roasting tin approx 28 x 21 x 4.5 cm

Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7, and straightaway put your pan into the oven to eat up while you prepare the batter.
Beat the eggs with the caster sugar in an electric mixer until light and frothy. Whisk in the milk, flour, vanilla, sat and grated nutmeg and beaut until you have a smooth but thin batter.
Wearing a thick oven mitt, remove the pan from the oven and put the butter carefully into the hot pan or tin and swirl it to melt, then quickly pour in the batter and return it to the oven.
Bake until puffed and golden brown, about 18-20 minutes.
Serve dusted with icing sugar, and a tumble of berries.


Wednesday, 10 February 2016

We Love Kale Cookbook Review and Giveaway

A new month, another new cookbook to drool over. We Love Kale is a fabulous book which shares different ways to incorporate the leafy green vegetable oh so popular at the moment. Focusing on one ingredient throughout a cookbook can be tricky, but it can be done, as this book proves. I often worry when only one ingredient is the main star, there can be a lack of wow recipes in certain chapters, but  in this book, there are impressive kale recipes from breakfast and brunch, right through to bakes and desserts. The health benefits of kale are featured alongside 10 easy ways to include kale in your everyday meals.
Not meaning to sound biased, but I also like this cook book as it is written by bloggers, one being Karen Burns-Booth of Lavendar and Lovage, whom I have been following ever since I started blogging. I liked the range of recipes featured here, there are influences from around the world such as Spain, the Middle East, Taiwan, India and Vietnam amongst other countries. Also a handy symbol to let you know whether the dish is vegetarian, vegan, dairy-free, gluten free and wheat free (there are also recipes including meat).

Kale Shakshuka

Spicy Morrocan Kale and Rice Soup.

The following chapters are featured in this book:
  • Breakfast and Brunch - recipes that caught my eye include: Kale Shakshuka, Sweet Green Pancakes and Kale and Mushroom Breakfast Muffins.
  • Snacks, Appetizers and Drinks - recipes that I plan on trying include: Baked Kale and Artichoke Dip, Kale, Sweetcorn and Leek Fritters and Kale Dolmades.
  • Main Courses - stand out recipes include: Taiwanese Pork Belly Buns with Pickled Kale, Kale, Bacon and Egg Rice Bowl and Lentils, Caramelized Onions and Kale with Roast Walnuts. 
  • Soups, Salads and Desserts: recipes that caught my eye include: Spicy Moroccan Kale and Rice Soup, Hearty French Onion and Kale Soup and Vietnamese Chicken Salad.
  • Bakes and Dessert: the most intriguing chapter, recipes to try include Kale Tart with an Olive Oil Crust and Triple Rich Hidden Gem Brownies.
Recipe for Kale Shakshuka
Serves 3
Prep 10 minutes
Cook 35-40 minus

You will need
60ml olive oil
1 onion diced
1 red pepper, seeded and diced
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
6 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes
1 tin 790g chopped tomatoes
12 leaves cavolo nero, washed, de-stemmed and finely chopped
6 eggs
freshly ground black pepper
toast for serving

1) Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the onion, pepper and a sprinkle of the salt and cook for 5-10 minutes, stirring from time to time, until softened.
2) Add the garlic, cumin, paprika and chilli flakes and cook for a further 2 minutes, stirring the mixture frequently, until the spices are tossed and fragrant.
3) Add the tomatoes, kale, remaining salt and a few good grinds of black pepper and stir together. Simmer for 15 minutes, until the sauce is slightly thickened and the kale is tender. Remove from the heat.
4) Create a small divot in the sauce for each egg, and then crack the eggs into the pan. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the egg whites are set and yolks are still runny. Serve with toast. 

The lovely people at Apple Press are offering 3 lucky readers a copy of this fabulous book. To be in with a chance follow the bellow instructions.

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  • The competition will run from 10.02.16 - 13.03.16
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  • Apple Press are responsible for posting the cookery book to the winners.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Chicken Liver Pate

I love meat and have grown, through my love of food, a greater respect for animal products that I eat. I never really took the time to think of the process it takes to slaughter an animal, I knew it happened, but when you are buying chicken breasts, or the supreme cuts of meat from the supermarket, you can become desensitised with the process. I have adopted a "nose to tail" philosophy, in part inspired by April Bloomingfield's philosophy, in that no part of an animal should be wasted. Although this recipe is not her beloved pork, I've used an overlooked piece of chicken, the livers. Cheap, delicate and full of flavour, I used this part of the chicken to make the classic, chicken liver pate, with seasonal pears and a leafy salad. This dish would make a lovely lunch, or light evening meal. My pate lasted for 7 days in my fridge, so you can nibble your way trough this throughout the week. 


200g butter, (reserve half, 100g)
1 onion, skin removed and sliced.
1 apple, stem removed and diced.
1 tsp fresh age
400g chicken liver
2 tbsp creme fraiche
4 tbsp dark rum

Melt half the butter in a frying pan, and the onion and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring, until soft. Remove with a slotted spoon and add the chicken livers and apple, cook for around 5 minutes. The livers should  be brown on the outside and pink on the inside. Add the creme fraiche, sage and rum and cook for a further minute. Salt and Pepper to taste. Transfer 1/2 the chicken livers, apple and the 1/2 remaining butter to a food processor and pulse to a paste, add the remaining butter and pulse further - try not make this become too liquidy. Transfer to a sterilised jar and 3 tbsp of the butter in pan. Leave to cool and chill in the fridge.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Pink Clove Plus Harmony Printed Plunge Scarf Neck Maxi Dress

I discovered Pink Clove fashion brand by following other plus size bloggers on Instragram, who praised the brand for their affordable, fashionable and wide range of plus size clothes. I'm learning a lot more about the plus size community, which, on the whole, is a thriving and supportive community. I'm not too sure whether many would consider me to be plus size, I hover between a 14-16 depending upon diet (although more often than not  I'm a 16)  and can shop in "mainstream" and specialist shops high street shops.

I decided to treat myself to several items during the Christmas sale, this, 70's inspired printed maxi dress is one of them. As Pink Clove sizing starts at 16, that's the size I went for. Featuring a alluring plunge and trendy neckline, these simple touches compliment the printed colourful dress. I purposely brought this for a Bali inspired wedding and as seen in the photos I continued with the beach/boho look with a floral headband and chandelier earrings.

The dress is true to size, I would go so far to say it's a large 16, very roomy and the arms fit perfectly (I have big arms). My only thing which would need further consideration is the length, the model wearing the dress is 5'10. I'm 5'9 and I found the dress too long. I was reluctant to alter or send the dress back and wore it with gladiator sandals, which worked for me, but if you are shorter you are likely to be tripping over this. This dress is still in the sale and is retailing for the absolute bargain price of £14, which is half the recommended retail price.


Thursday, 21 January 2016

Creamy Avacodo and Date Dip

A new way to eat avocado. Avocado is most definitely in fashion, in vogue and in style. I've always eaten avocado as a child, but these were avocados imported from the Caribbean and just eaten sliced with a Caribbean dish. As I do every the first three months of the year, I dust off my cookbooks and start cooking from existing cookbooks that I already have. This recipe, from Sharron Salloum's fabulous Almond Bar cookery book, is a new way to eat avocado. 
Of course, I've had "smashed avo" but the combination of the creamy avocado with the sweet and sticky dates made this dip not only moreish but also magnificent. I also liked how the dates popped out in the bowl and appeared so inviting, I hardly wanted to share this with m family. Incredibly easy to make and even easier to eat, this is one you must try.  Whether you want to smoother on toast, eat as a dip or enjoy as part of a mezze, you will certainly enjoy.

Recipe for Creamy Avocado and Date Dip

Makes about 350g 
140g roughly chopped pitted dates
3 ripe avocados
140g tahini
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
juice of 2 lemons
Middle Eastern bread, to serve. 

Place the dates, avocado flesh, tahini, salt and pepper in a food processor and mix together until combined. Add the lemon juice and mix again. The mixture will thicken slightly, so add about 80ml water to thin it down to the desired consistence. Add more water if you like, but pour it in gradually so the dip doesn't become too runny. Taste and adjust the seasoning if necessary. 
Serve with fresh or fried Middle Eastern bread. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.  


Sunday, 17 January 2016

Pear and Date Bircher Muesli

I go through breakfast phases. I'm sure I've mentioned this before, where I go through cycles of regularly eating the same thing for breakfast. I'm kinda over the avocado on toast cycle (but I'm sure it will make a reappearance in the near future), I recently upgraded to callaloo, the wild form of Spinach grown in Jamaica  on toast. The breakfast phase which I enjoyed before the avo on toast phase, was the smoothies and juice phase. I think because of the summer fruits readily available, I quickly became very fond of this breakfast. But back to my latest breakfast phase, the Bircher Museli, created by the swiss doctor Dr Bircher - Benner for his patients as part of their therapy treatment. I have been topping my version of bircher muesli with the seasonal pear and dates with a drizzle of honey which is the perfect get up and go. I quite enjoy the soft, juicy and sweet texture of the pear, contrasted with the sticky dates.

Pear and Date Bircher Muesli.
Serves 1 
40 g porridge oats
1 tsp seasame seeds
120ml semi-skimmed milk
1tbsp apple juice
1 pear, stalks removed and sliced into bite-size pieces
5 dates, pitted
1 tbsp runny honey.

The night before, place the oats and sesame seeds in a cereal bowl, pour over the milk and apple juice, mix well. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge. The next day, remove the stalks from the pears and slice into bite-size pieces. Slice the dates and top the oats with the pears and dates. Drizzle the honey over the fruits and enjoy.

Wednesday, 13 January 2016

Simply Be 70s Inspired Lace Sleeve Swing Dress

My first fashion post for 2016 and I am heading slightly back in time with a 70's inspired lace-sleeve swing dress from Simply Be. It was the colour that drew me, I knew the bold burnt orange colour would compliment my complexion, so after seeing this dress online, I quickly snapped this up. Luckily for you, it's still available on sale for £10. I also liked the length, not too short that I felt too exposed and the cut, just above my knee, made the dress flattering for my pear shape. One thing which I was worried about, as with many dresses like this, is whether the sleeves will fit my arms. Sleeves, or to for a better word, tight fitting sleeves can be hit and miss on me. So, when this dress arrived, I did the arms test, I put my arms in the sleeve before putting it on fully and ta - da it fit. I liked the swing element too, as it accentuated my better bits. 

In terms of sizing, I'm wearing a size 16, which was a perfect fit. I wore my dress with clashing blue tights and ankle boots, a boho style headband and Pat Butcher style earring. I also think this dress would look fabulous with flip flops or heels for a summery feel.

Model wearing the Lace Sleeve Swing Dress. 

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