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Coconut-Mojito Ice Lollies

IT’S GETTING SUNNY AGAIN.

The 3 times a year that it actually is scorching hot in Britain are my favourite kind of days. Especially on a weekend. Being woken up by the sun streaming through the window, birds chirping, knowing you have absolutley NOTHING to do today apart from to decide on the outfit you’ll wear for sunbathing, getting out your deck chair/beach towel and laying down to feel that amazing warmth all over your back that just makes you smile for hours…


There’s always one problem though. You get too hot. And you need a drink. Or an ice lolly/cream – and you really want a beer but there’s about 90 seconds exactly that it will stay cold for and there is nothing worse than warm beer. A bottle of water really isnt cutting it and you start going back and forth to the fridge freezer to (check on your tan, obvs) and to try and decide if you should just bring the bag of ice outside to sit your juice in, or you in, and can you REALLY stomach another Magnum as you’ve had three already?

Well, this solves all problems. If you’re having your mates over for sunbathing time in the garden, they’re going to want drinks, and ice, and lollies. This hits all three.. (Ok who am I kidding, I sunbathe ALONE and totally had four of these myself the other day, no judging)

Coconut-Mojito ice lollies. (Or popsicles if you’re that way inclined.) I blooming love coconut, it’s my absolute fav flavour on earth. Mix it in a drink, or with chocolate, or even in a CURRY and it makes everything taste amazing. So rather than using traditional rum for my mojito lollies, I used coconut rum. You could use any type/flavour you like (I recently found passion fruit rum and am dying to taste that bad boy) These are so easy to make, but make them in advance so you can freeze them overnight.

I also found these amazing ice lolly moulds from Matalan, (I KNOW right!) Super cute and exactly the right size for a good ‘cool-down’ period. Try it out!


Baked Gnocchi with tomato, chilli, bacon & garlic

I’ve needed comfort food these last couple of weeks. Not only have I been having zero sleep, but planning a wedding takes up ALL of your time. Like, ALL of it. And not only that, but 110 dresses later and I still haven’t found “The One”. Does that “one” dress even exist?? If it does, it has avoided me as of yet.

I will find you dress, and you will be mine.



Anyway, so I needed some cheering up. I decided that the Wedding healthy eating phase would end dramatically and I would just eat something I liked. Like those little filling shapes of joy (aka gnocchi) and smother it in a creamy tomato sauce and lashings of mozzarella.

It was amaze.

NB – Since writing this post I have actually now FOUND the dress. So this must actually work!? Right??

 

 

Ingredients Needed:

Serves four.

    • 500g of ready made gnocchi
    • half of 1 large white onion
    • 3 small chillies (I used the pickled kind)
    • 5 slices of thin, streaky bacon
    • 1200g of tinned, chopped tomatoes
    • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
    • 5 fresh large, basil leaves
    • 250g hard mozzarella cheese
    • 2 table spoons of extra thick cream

 

 

Method

      1. Preheat the oven to a high heat. Chop your onion, garlic and chilli and place them all in the pan. Add the oil and the bacon and fry on a medium heat until your onions start to brown and the bacon is done and starting to crisp.
      2. Next, add all of the tomatoes in one go. Add a pinch of salt and the basil leaves. Stir, stir, stir and cook for 20 minutes.
      3. Add two tablespoons of that amazing cream that you just want to stick your face into and stir again. Keep stirring until it all mixes together, then simmer for 10 minutes. Whilst you’re doing this boil the gnocchi. Place them in hot water and when they float up to the top fish them out and add them to the pan. Keeeep stirring.
      4. Once all the gnocchi is in the pan and thoroughly coated, fill up your oven proof-dish half way and add the cheese so that it covers the top. Then add the second half so that the dish is totally full and cover the top with cheese again. Place in the oven until the top of the cheese starts to brown.
      5. Once out of the oven leave to stand for 5 minutes. Then, enjoy.

 

 

Pizza Party. Italian style.

You know when you and all your friends are sitting in a pub/bar/friends garden/someones living room and chatting away and the conversation turns to ‘If you were going to die tomorrow and you could only eat one more meal, what would it be?”

And everyone says “Tartar of Kobe beef with Imperial Beluga caviar and Belons oyster” or “Supreme of pigeon en croute with mushroom sauce and cipollotti” or “Imperial gingerbread pyramid with caramel and salted butter ice-cream”. And then you say “Pizza” – and everyone stares at you like you’re deranged.

I’m not talking microwavable Chicago Town, or a Deep Pan Super-Supreme from Pizza Hut here. (Mum’s fav. Sigh.)


I’m talking homemade, from scratch springy dough with slight crispiness around the edge from Tuscan Olive Oil. A tomato base infused with lemon, bell peppers and fresh rosemary stalks, fresh, soft buffalo mozzarella, dripping from your pizza slice, Full flavoured delicately thin strips of Parma-Ham, fresh hand-torn basil, and sprinkled with deep sea salt flakes.

That’s what I’M talking about.

And that’s what I made. Pizza is SO incredibly versatile and it’s always, ALWAYS worth making from scratch. Invite all your friends round and have a pizza party. Then you’ll see them change their “Last Meal” answers before you can even get one of these babies out of the oven. Mama Mia.



Ingredients Needed:
Makes 2 Pizzas

  • 500g of strong white bread flour
  • 1 packet of dried yeast
  • 450ml of water
  • 1 can of chopped tomatoes
  • 3 full sticks of rosemary
  • Sea salt
  • Full flavoured parma-ham
  • 1 large ball of fresh mozzarella
  • Fresh basil leaves
  • half a teaspoon of salt

 

Method

      1. Make your dough the morning of. Take a large bowl and pour in the water. Then add the yeast, the sugar and a pinch of salt and mix with your fingers. (This way you can check that all the yeast has mixed in) Add a quater of the flour and mix. Then the next quater, etc etc – until a sticky dough forms.Sprinkle with flour and place a tea-towel over the top, and leave in a warm place until risen by double at least.
      2. Next, make your sauce. Take the can of tomatoes (or passata if you prefer a stronger taste) and mix in some tomato paste. Add a spinkling of oil and some salt and then take a potato masher and make sure there’s no large bits of tomato left. Add the rosemary, cover and leave in the fridge until ready to use.
      3. When you’re ready to make the pizza, preheat your oven to the highest setting it can go, the hotter the better, and place your pizza stone (or tray if you don’t have one) in the oven to also heat up.
      4. Take half the dough and roll it out to a pizza size, as thin as you like. Take your pizza stone/tray out of the oven and place your dough on top. BE CAREFUL. Take a ladel-full of the sauce from the fridge and spread it out evenly. Place back into the oven for 5 minutes.
      5. After 5 minutes and your dough has started to cook, bring the pizza out of the oven. Take half the cheese into your hand, over a seive (Messy part) and squeeze. Squeeze it into the seive and try and get out any excess moisture.Then sprinkle half of this over your pizza. Place back into the oven for 5 minutes.
      6. Next, take the pizza out of the oven (you’ll have strong arms) drizzle with a little olive oil and place on the rest of the cheese from the seive and the parma-ham and torn basil. Place back in the oven for 5 minutes. Then Slice, eat, and enjoy.
      7.  
         
        PS – I totally recommend having this with barefoot white Zinfandel, no – they haven’t paid me for this, or even sent me anything, but I utterly adore this wine, and you’re missing out if you’ve never tried it!
         
         

Cherry Pie

Worst kitchen jobs ever;

3. Potato peeling
2. Cleaning up the mess you’ve made

And the worst ever;

1. Cherry pitting – WITH NO CHERRY PITTER.

Seriously I thought I was going to be there for the rest of my life. I don’t live in a country where you can readily buy cans of readily pitted cherries that aren’t covered in syrup – so I decided to go the whole hog and de-stone 700g worth of cherries, with a knife.

Not only was I completely covered from head (literally, I had cherry all over my face) to toe (SO many slipped out of my hands and onto the floor – I’m genuinely surprised I didn’t lose a finger, or an eye) but there was cherry juice EVERYWHERE. It looked like a scene from CSI. Never again. For the love of God Alex, buy a cherry pitter.




Other than that, this turned out well. Except I made my pastry too thin (booooo) so it was a bit feeble looking. But hey the filling is the best part so who cares (yayyyyy)

You can’t beat a hot cherry pie covered in sugary whipped cream. Can you?


Ingredients Needed:

    Adapted from BBC Good Food

    • 1 CHERRY PITTER – PLEASE
    • 500g of Shortcrust Pastry (I got my recipe here)
    • 700g of cherries
    • 2 granny smith apples
    • 100g caster sugar
    • 1 tbsp cornflour
    • milk

     

    Method

        1. Make your pastry. I made mine using this recipe here.
        2. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and line your pie tin with the pastry. Add baking paper, your baking beans (I used rice) and bake for 15 minutes. Take out your beans/rice and the paper and cook for 5 minutes. Keep an eye on it though. Remove any excess pastry.
        3. Pit your cherries (sob) and core your apples. Chop the apple into small pieces and mix in an oven proof dish with the cherries. Mix in the sugar. Cover with foil and place in the oven for 25 minutes.
        4. When done, drain the juice into a saucepan and set the fruit aside to cool. Take 3 tbsp’s of the juice from the saucepan and mix with the cornflour in a bowl until thickened. Then add this paste into the saucepan with the rest of the juice. Mix, and then cook the juice at a simmer until it all thickens.
        5. Place the now cooled fruit into the pie base and cover with the thickened juice. Cut out a pie lid and place on top. Crimp if necessary. Make cherries for the top. (This is necessary) Make two small slices in the lid to let air out. Brush with milk and then sprinkle with caster sugar.
        6. Bake for roughly 20mins – 30 mins. Make sugared whipped cream, and enjoy.
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