Wednesday, 21 October 2009

devonshire delights

i'm off down to devon for a week or so, and i'll hopefully have all sorts of delicious experiences to share with you all when i get back. i hope so. there'll definitely be some pasty eating, some scones and i expect also some crazy homecooking tales...

on the way we'll be stopping off near Bath, and maybe savouring something rather traditional and delicious. a bath bun perhaps, or maybe just a trip to the costume museum....not quite the same category, but equally scrumptious, don't you think?

now, i'll say cheerio, wish me safe travels and happy pasties!

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

chocolate truffles - a la ritz style

it's been a pretty posh week this week. i've taken a stroll around basildon park, where i had afternoon tea. not only was this the set for netherfield in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice, but it is an absolutely gorgeous house, with some very delicious cake choices. mmm. (see photos here)

i love looking around country houses, they are just so ornate and beautiful. if i ever got the opportunity to build my own house, it'd have tall ceilings and big windows just like basildon park. and the library there, oh my word. i'm starting a collection of folio books, but i've not nearly got as many as that library. i'm going to have to keep on going...maybe i'll get there some day?!

and then after that grand experience, i went to a truffle making workshop with the past patisserie chef from the Ritz. it was amazing! it was held near Salisbury Cathedral, which is a beautiful spot, totally stunning building. if you've never been, you should visit it. it'll take your breath away.

the workshop was awesome. 3 hours of pure chocolate heaven.

first we mixed and piped out the ganache...then once set, cut it up and/or rolled it into little balls.

then when those had set, we put the toppings on top. nuts, cocoa powder, more chocolate, vermicelli. yum.

then we spent a few minutes popping the finished truffles in bags and tying with copious amounts of ribbon. i had about 60 truffles to take home with me, and give to friends :)

what a gorgeous experience! unfortunately i can't let you in on all the secrets of perfect chocolate truffle making, as i paid for the secret. you'll just have to go to wiltshire and find out for yourself...

all i can say is that these are the healthiest chocolates (LOL) that i've ever had in my life, and the most delicious. and they don't seem to be lasting very long either. Ritz chocolates. How posh!

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

recent yumminess

i have recently been eating too many bad things. it's impossible to eat non-sweet stuff all the time, and like with ebay, i've recently become quite addicted...

of course, what i call sweet stuff isn't nearly as bad for you as regular sweet stuff, so it feels justifiable to me. but because i always make a healthy version, i eat more and so it becomes much less healthy.

portion size is not something that has stuck in my brain yet...i always eat what i'm given and i hate to see food go to waste. which is why it sucks that most sweet recipes feed a family of 6, and there's only 2 people in our house. oh dear. we just both feel the need to polish it off before it gets ruined, which is of course a few hours after i made it :)

plus, there's been a whole host of meetings and dinners where i've needed to take round some type of cake.

these cranberry muffins were made because we had cranberries, and there were more than enough for some smoothie, so my mum suggested muffins...although in reality these are actually cupcakes. they weren't bad. at all. and lasted just over 24hours.

we ate this last night, when my good friend emily came round to visit. we had a million apples, and i wanted to make a dessert that didn't cost so here you go, apple pie.

it was seriously good, and there's still half of it left. i think it would have been a bit much having all of it, as it's a pretty deep dish. although i am 100% positive that it'll be gone by the end of this evening. tasted delicious straight from the oven, with some low fat (Elmlea) single cream on top of it.

here's the recipe...

for the pastry
225g flour (i used about 100g gluten free flour, 50g plain flour and the rest wholemeal)
125g butter (i actually used salted, because that's all we had, and it tasted really good)
a pinch of salt
a sprinkling of sugar
for the apples
1.2kg apples (i used a mixture of cox and gala, which taste amazing when cooked, and hold their shape)
50g granulated sugar
1tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
juice of half a lemon

1. rub the butter into the flour, until it forms breadcrumbs. then add the sugar and salt. add 3 or 4 tbsps cold water to make it form into a dough. cover in cling film and refrigerate for about 30 minutes.
2. core, peel and roughly chop your apples. mix together with the sugar, cinnamon, cloves and lemon juice. make sure the apples are evenly coated.
3. take your pastry out the fridge and roll out until thin. coat your pie dish with pastry. Then fill with the apple mixture.
4. take the remaining pastry and create a simple lattice to cover the top of your pie. Coat with an egg wash (use one beaten egg, to create colour and shine, and a delicious looking dessert).
5. pop in the oven until golden, about 30 minutes, ish.
6. enjoy straight from the oven with some cream (or cream substitute, Alpro Soya Cream is delicious)

and finally, i want to ask, do any of you have an uncontrollable urge to finish everything?

Friday, 9 October 2009

what i ate yesterday

yesterday was a tasty day. i know i always say that, but i would only ever let you in on the tasty days...

it started with a fast, as i had to go to the doctors for a fasting blood glucose test (i'm diabetic, for those of you who didn't already know). and by lunchtime i wasn't particularly hungry, i guess its all the brownies and carrot cake cupcakes that i've been eating the last week!

but i did eat something of course. so at 12:30 i made a smoothie and had asparagus with a fried egg and small sprinkling of cheese. it was sooooooo good.

here's what i put in the smoothie: frozen raspberry and mango mix (defrosted slightly), yogurt, water, raisins, cashews, flaxseed, sunflower seeds, agave nectar, flaked almonds.

i didn't really blend it enough, so there was the occasional chunk of raisin, which was actually pretty good. but, we don't have a strong enough mixer at home to do anything more hardcore will never be smooth :(

then at about 2pm we went to watch a waitrose demonstration at my nearby store. we do this every few months, and i adore them. for about an hour or so, you sit and watch a professional chef at work, listen to their tips and taste what they have cooked.

yesterday's cooking was really good, the chef did four dinners based around the essentials items. the recipes are in the free 'seasons' book. she cooked, stuffed marrow, pizza with dolcelatte and figs, salmon with kale and potatoes and squash and lentil stew. all were delicious, and we also got to taste some chocolate cake from the new 'seriously' range, which was really really good.

i took a sneaky picture on my iphone whilst inside the demo room...

you always need to keep the recipe on your lap, so you can right down their suggestions, edits and so on. it's always so good to see something hands on, and it's a fantastic way to spend 1 free hour :) i might just make squash and lentil stew today actually!

Thursday, 8 October 2009

this weeks deliciousness

so there's been a lot of sweetness this past week...and a lot of tasty food.

last friday i went to a friends house, to which i had promised to bring brownies, so i made some pumpkin brownies, which went down a treat. they are the most moist and rich brownies you'll ever eat i swear. i used the recipe from the 'cook yourself thin' girls, i have the book (which is really good by the way) but you can find the recipe online too, click here for harry's spiced winter chocolate brownies.

i also made some delicious carrot cake cupcakes for a group meeting we had on tuesday, and these turned out to be so delicious i sneaked in 4 before the meeting began. i always feel like carrot cake is healthier...and though i did edit the recipe a little (find it on joy of baking) they still aren't the most virtuous desserts you could ever have! i did top them with cream cheese but by that stage they were being raced out of the door to the meeting so i didn't get a picture.

BY FAR THE BEST CARROT CAKE RECIPE EVER! add a little orange juice and change the types of flour for the best my opinion :)

i also made the most delicious sausage stew, to which i added a dollop of creme fraiche which made all the difference to the smoothness and flavour.

and the one disaster that i had this week was the stew i made yesterday, i added turkey mince which turned out to be a huge mistake. i have never used turkey mince successfully, and so if anyone has any good turkey mince recipes, do let me know! the only reason we had it in the freezer was because it was on offer at the supermarket, and i am now under strict instructions to never buy it again, even if it is substantially cheaper than all other meat.

anyway, i went to the hospital yesterday for a routine checkup and came out with a great plan to eat even more healthily than i already do. so for lunch today, we are having asparagus with scrambled eggs, followed by a raspberry mango smoothie. then for dinner we are having a vegetable stir fry. then tomo morning i will have summer porridge (i will have to share pictures of it soon!), followed by the leftover stew from yesterday and then moussaka for dinner...maybe? my food plans always change depending on my mood.

ps. we went shopping at Lidl's this morning, and bought loads of fruit and veg for only £17. bargain! i love that shop so much. so so much.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

new york city: things to eat

Let me start by saying that NYC is amazing! There are so many delicious places to eat...I swear you could eat somewhere different every night of the year (for several years!) And there are lots of healthy places to eat too, which is awesome :)

Before arriving in New York I had been trying to plan what I ought to try in the city, and I unfortunately didn't even get so far with my list at all, I saw the Magnolia Bakery, but didn't get to go in, I didn't have cheesecake or a bagel, but here's what I did have:

Starbucks - Yes, they do sell different things in different countries! I had a Tarragon Chicken Salad Sandwich, an apple fritter (not healthy at all, but I needed to try some sort of fritter before leaving the states), and a banana and chocolate smoothie with green tea matcha.

Given the choice, I'm not so sure that I'd go back here so frequently, there were so many other places to eat!! But it is great for people watching, which is fab pastime when you are bored :)

of course, if you're ever in manhattan, you have to try a gray's papaya, what a delicious bargain! grilled hot dog with everything please!

i love this last sign, i'm blatantly a real new yorker, i ate a frank every day ;)

then last but not least, fairway was right opposite our amazing hotel, which was awesome as it's potentially the best food market ever! well, it certainly runs a close second to Whole Foods anyway (there you can actually get sachets of maple almond butter, yep, no joke!) and I didn't get a chance to go to Dean & Deluca, which was rubbish, but there really wasn't time to do everything

we had a veg stir fry in our room one night, which was delicious and very filling, and fresh thanks to fairway!

and last but not least, outside fashion week, glamour were giving out cupcakes :)

Friday, 2 October 2009

san francisco - foodie central

i'm carrying on with the penultimate place on my trip, san francisco! (next comes new york!) i was so impressed by the sheer quantity of food places in san francisco, there's anything you could ever want to eat!

so here's some pictures of some of the things i ate in sf:

tuna salad sandwich, this was a pretty good sandwich.

on mission and dolores (i think) there's this amazing little arty cafe, which has a great atmosphere, i would highly recommend it's sweets. mmmm.

i've never seen a more beautiful board, have you? i got a veggie slice...i hardly ever have pizza, so i thought even my one slice for this whole year had better be the healthiest type!

Jamba juice are such a delicious company, i want to eat all their food.

we went out to a 50s diner for breakfast one morning, and this is what we got. can you tell? c had french toast with a side of bacon, and a side of omelette, and i had the pancakes.

we went for a meal out in china town which was tasty, and fun. it wasn't really new things to me, but it was nice. though i did try plum wine for the first time, which was tasty. chinese food is not something i usually eat a lot of, because of the preservatives and sugar content, but i do enjoy eating it :)

the fortune cookie factory...

a tea shop, with super delicious tea.

bread and cocoa, we went there for breakfast one morning, and i had oatmeal, what a delicious way to start the day!

Bristol Farms is so scrumptious, i could have spent a whole day looking at everything, and trying everything. next time i'm in san francisco, i'll be eating here the whole time i swear. it's on the bottom floor of the westfield shopping centre, and it's well worty a visit. i chose chilli and sourdough, as i wanted something hot and filling, and my was i satisfied.

we ordered room service just this once on our trip, because we could! i had a very expensive, but tasty banana, strawberry, yogurt and granola with hot chocolate. and charlotte had a cream cheese bagel and tea. what can i say. it was totally worth the expense!

so, overall, YUM! San Francisco is a delicious place to be!

Thursday, 1 October 2009

a little spanish lunch

Here's a little sneak peek at what I ate for lunch today. It was so delicious. Simple, but perfect. Onions, mushrooms, bacon lardons, spinach, salt, pepper, eggs. Mmm. Put em all together and what d'ya got? Spanish omelette of course! Seriously simple and yet scrumptious and filling :)