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Sunday Dinner

Not a recipe as such but we had a lovely sunday dinner today and I just had to post a picture (and most welcome it was too as we’ve been trying to cut back on eating meat recently).

Roast pork, crackling, roast potatoes, yorkshire pudding and creamed spinach.

If you try one thing here it must be the creamed spinach recipe from Smitten Kitchen. We filled our pancakes with it on pancake day too, its very versatile and yummy.

Valentines Giveaway Winner!

I am pleased to annouce the winner of my Valentines Giveaway!!

The Poppy Earrings go to Kirsty Ware.

Congratulations 🙂
I will be in touch via email too.

Thank you to everyone for entering, I will be sending out a newsletter very soon with a very special discount for my subscribers.


White Christmas?

Certainly looks promising. I went mad and took many many pictures of the snow today, I expect to be entertaining you with many more if this lovely weather continues.

I am certainly making the most of the macro function too!

roast tomato soup with tiny toasties

I wonder what percentage of tomato soup is made on a dreary Monday evening?

Yesterday was no except, rain, wind and getting dark early. I normally crave soup or stew on days like that, this time it was a rich tomato soup. I’d noticed several of my favourite food blogs had come up with tomato soup recipes recently along with the traditional American addition of grilled cheese (or cheese toasties) – which I’d never had before with it.

I like to roast my tomatoes for soup, it really brings the flavour out and turns not so special supermarket tomatoes into something wonderful. When I’m making a quick and cheap lunch soup I roast canned chopped tomatoes instead of fresh ones.

Roast Tomato Soup with Tiny Cheese Toasties

For Soup
6 large tomatoes – peeled (with a vegetable peeler or boil and peel skins off)
2 fat cloves of garlic
approx 200ml of chicken stock (I had some in the freezer that I’d made a couple of weeks ago)
1/2 red onion
splash of double cream

For Toasties
French stick

(You can also experiment with gruyere, emmental or even something like double gloucester)

For the Soup

Cut peeled tomatoes into quarters and add to a roasting tin with the cloves of garlic (keep the skins on the garlic, you want them to roast inside and become sweet and flavoursome) and a drizzle of good olive oil. Roast on high on the top shelf for approx 10 – 15 mins.
When they are ready mush them up with the back of a spoon. Take out the garlic cloves , remove skins and chop roughly.

Fry diced red onion in a little olive oil and butter until soft, add in garlic cloves followed by tomatoes. Simmer for a few minutes before adding the stock. Bring to the boil and then simmer slowly for 10 minutes. Blend and then stir in a little double cream once off the heat.

For Tiny Cheese Toasties

Cut french stick into as many slices as you’d like toasties, approx 1 inch thick.
Add a little english mustard to one side of each piece of bread.

Fry half the slices, mustard side up, in a little butter until brown on one side. Remove from pan and do the same with the other slices – this time layering with thinly sliced parmesan and cheddar, pop the first set of fried slices on top. Cook slowly until the cheese melts. I found a lot of american recipes use a weight to help the cheese melt, I used my heavy casserole lid.
If the bread starts to brown too much and the cheese isn’t melting remove the top layer and pop them under the grill to melt the cheese.

Ladle soup in to a big bowl and serve with the toasties. I guarantee this will warm you up from top to toe!


Perfecting Pastry with a Pecan Pie

I’ve never had much luck with pastry. My shells always shrunk or drooped in or didn’t cook enough or cooked too much. My pies and tarts sometimes tasted ok but they never looked neat and tidy.

I usually blamed it on my oven, its not the best and it has trouble keeping the right temperature.

But I think I just didn’t have the right recipe… or the right equipment. Yes I was guilty of trying to make a tart case with just a normal shallow cake tin.

I was almost about to give up and make a pastry case with a ready made shop bought shell (I know, shocking!) but I couldn’t bring myself to buy it. Instead I bought myself a proper tart case and found this recipe for the great unshrinkable tart shell.

It was indeed a great recipe, not too much hassle, the only thing you need is patience whilst the pastry cools in the fridge and freezes in the freezer. It did shrink a tiny bit but it didnt slump or flop and it stayed in shape to give a lovely pecan pie.

I follow A LOT of food blogs on my google reader, but strangely none of them came up with a recipe for pecan pie – is it such a given that everyone should know how to make pecan pie?
I tweeted it and the lovely Alice of Snapdragonbeads gave me her Mum’s authentic pecan pie recipe – (four large eggs, 2/3 cup sugar, 1/2 cup crushed pecans, drop of sherry or bourbon mixed in, I also added cinamonn and a dash of maple syrup).

Whipped it up and poured it into my tart case, baked it for 15 minutes and voila!

Gorgeous! The pastry turned out so well, crisp and sweet and cooked properly all the way round.

(as you can see I also sprinkled it with caster sugar before baking, it didnt really caramelise but it does taste nice! I would suggest using icing sugar or not bothering!).

Watch this space for more tart recipes now that I have found the perfect tart shell!


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