Sunday, 16 January 2011

Time for Dessert?

Richard Corrigan always manages to hit the spot when it comes to great food you want to eat. Lasagna made for dinner this evening, and so to his fabulous book The Clatter of Forks and Spoons for some inspiration for afters. The choice...

Raspberries with Semolina
Serves 4


1 litre milk
100g semolina
125g caster sugar
1 vanilla pod, split open lengthways
200ml mascarpone or custard
400g raspberries

Easy to make, the perfect Sunday pudding...

Put the milk, semolina and sugar into a heavy-based saucepan, the scrape the vanilla seeds into the mixture and put the pods in as well. Stir gently and as the mixture begins to thicken, take out the pods and whisk vigourously until there are no lumps left and the mixture is thick.

Take off the heat and allow to cool, then add the mascarpone or custard to taste.

Divide the semolina between four bowls and scatter raspberries over the top. Serve immediately.

The Clatter of Forks and Spoons by Richard Corrigan is published by Harper Collins, £25. 

Monday, 3 January 2011

Happy New Grazing - eggy Nirvana

Welcome 2011 - after a month of eating out, cooking and baking it's back to blogging. Lots to share and write about over the next few days so stay in touch...

First off a fab little piece I came across from The Telegraph's Tried and Tested columns...

The perfect boiled egg - how to attain eggy Nirvana

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Where to eat in and around Covent Garden


Les Deux Salons

Situated in Covent Garden on William IV Street, Les Deux Salons is a spacious, traditional French brasserie open for lunch and dinner. On offer is delicious, simple food in comfortable surroundings , just like sister restaurants Arbutus and Wild Honey.

Les Deux Salons
40 – 42 William IV Street,
London WC2N 4DD
020 7420 2050

Hawksmoor Seven Dials

Located in the old Watney-Combe brewery, this restaurant is tucked down a quiet street 3 minutes walk between Covent Garden station and Seven Dials. It has a private dining room for up to 14 people and a bar for a casual burger and beer (or a few old school cocktails). Great steaks!

Seven Dials
11 Langley Street,
London WC2H 9JG
020 7856 2154

Will post reviews and pictures of the food very soon!

Friday, 26 November 2010

Friday night is baking night

Lime Drizzle Cake with Coconut Icing

I found this great recipe a few days ago and have been dying to try it out since. My brother is travelling now on his way to mine, having flown in from Ireland... so we'll be tucking in to a slice very soon.

If you want to make this cake - it's really easy - check out the recipe below. It's perfect for afternoon tea or a late night sweet treat!

Serves 8

For the cake

175g butter, softened
175g caster sugar
175g self-raising flour, sifted
3 eggs
Finely grated zest of 2 limes

For the lime drizzle

75g icing sugar
Freshly squeezed juice of 2 limes

For the icing

175g cream cheese
5 tsps coconut cream
2 tsps icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°C) or Gas 4.

Just out of the oven
Put the sugar, butter, flour, eggs and lime zest (holding some back for decoration later) in an electric mixer and beat until combined.

Spread the mixture evenly into the prepared tin. Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Meanwhile, to make the lime drizle, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and stir in the lime juice. Set aside.

Lime drizzle
To make the frosting, whisk the cream cheese, coconut cream and icing sugar in a bowl, then refrigerate.

Remove the cake from the oven and make holes in the surface with a cocktail stick. Spoon over the lime drizzle. Leave the cake to cool.

Ready to eat
Once cold, pop the cake out of its tin and spread the frosting over the top. Sprinkle with the lime zest.

From Weekend Baking by Sarah Randell
(£16.99, Ryland Peters & Small)

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Stir up Sunday pass you by?


It is coming to that time of year again when well-organised households will be planning to make their Christmas cakes and puddings – in fact we even have a national day for the deadline, Stir up Sunday (this year it was November 21). But if you miss this date don’t panic here's an alternative traditional fruit cake that can be made much closer to Christmas – Irish Porter Cake. Irish Porter Cake is the perfect foolproof alternative, it’s a little lighter and much easier to make than a traditional Christmas cake...and it’s every bit as delicious.
In Ireland, families have passed the recipe down through the generations and Irish Porter Cake is still a firm favourite today. The key is to use an Irish stout and whilst you can eat the cake the same day as baking it, it is recommended to leave it in a tin for a week before eating. All the alcohol in the stout is lost during the baking period and the result is a rich tasting, moist cake. If you want to be a little more creative, try dressing it with marzipan and icing.

Makes 1 20cm/8in cake

225g/8oz butter
175g/6oz brown sugar
300ml/1/2pt Irish stout
Zest of an orange
225g/8oz sultanas
175g/6oz raisins
50g/2oz chopped mixed peel
450g/1lb plain flour
1 level tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
100g/4oz glacé cherries
3 eggs, beaten

Place butter and sugar in a pan with the stout and melt over gentle heat to combine.  Add orange zest, sultanas, raisins and mixed peel.  Bring to the boil for 3 minutes.  Remove from heat and cool slightly.

Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg into a bowl and add fruit mix.  Stir in cherries.  Gradually add eggs, stirring well. 

Line the base of a buttered loose-bottomed 20cm/8in cake tin with greaseproof paper.  Spoon mixture in, smoothing over the top.  Bake in a pre-heated oven Gas 4 350F 180C for around 1 1/2 hours, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Baking tips not to be missed


Check right these amazing cakes by baker Louise Pain has just won gold at the Cake International Show in Birmingham for her fabulous wedding and novelty cakes. Louise, who is from Co Leitrim, made her first wedding cake for a friend only two years ago. Cake International has been running for over 10 years and now has the reputation as the Chelsea Flower Show of the sugarcraft Industry with entrants from around the world. Louise, who is in the process of starting up her own business Sweet Temptations Cakes, shared these top baking tips when we chatted today.


1. A good quality tin is a must - it will provide even heat and will give you the best results.

2. Once you have greased and lined your tin dust it with a little flour this will stop your cake from sticking.

3. Separating your eggs will give a much lighter texture. Add egg yolks to the creamed butter and sugar, then add your flavouing as normal but fold in your whisked egg whites (whisked to form soft peaks) alternately with your sifted flour.

4. When filling your tin with cake mix make a well in the centre to help your cake rise evenly giving a flat top for decorating.

5. And finally…have fun with it! Baking is making a big comeback and what better present to give to that friend or family member than a cake personalised to them and made with love.

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Chicken Salad at The Ivy

The Ivy - one of Britain’s most iconic restaurants - has been a favorite of Irish celebrities for decades including Pierce Brosnan, Liam Neeson, Daniel Day Lewis and Christine Bleakley. To celebrate its 20 birthday this month, The Ivy turned into a theatre for a week, with Academy Award winning playwright Sir Ronald Harwood’s play - Heavenly Ivy – being performed nightly. But for those of us who didn’t get a chance to go, here’s a taste of The Ivy from head chef Gary Lee, who shared his recipe for Chicken Salad when we caught up.

The Ivy’s Fragrant Chicken Salad with Coconut, Lime and Chilli

Serves 4


200g poached chicken (shredded)
4 sticks of spring onion (julienned)
1 bunch of Thai mint leaves (if you cannot find Thai mint, garden min will do)
Half a bunch of Thai basil
40g carrot (shredded)
100g beanshoots
40g mouli (white radish)

Coconut, Chilli and Lime Dressing

Juice of 2 limes
30-50g palm sugar (available at good oriental stockists)
1 red chilli (chopped fine)
1 green chilli (chopped fine)
10 large coriander roots
6-8 lime leaves (de-veined)
1 clove of garlic (crushed)
20g galangal (wild ginger) (chopped and crushed)
200ml seasoned coconut cream with salt & sugar
2tbsp fish sauce

To make the dressing, place the chilli, coriander roots, lime leaves, garlic and ginger into a pestle and mortar.  Pound this mixture until smooth then add the palm sugar and lime juice, check for seasoning and finish with the coconut cream.

Place the poached chicken into a bowl and add carrots, mouli, beanshoots and then all the herbs. Lightly mix these together & then add the dressing.

Garnish with some finely shredded spring onion & coriander.

It is imperative that this dressing is served at room temperature, so as to achieve maximum flavour, it is also important to remember that the coconut cream must not be too thick to achieve the desired consistency.


1-5 West Street
London WC2H 9NQ
020 7836 4751