Sunday, 26 February 2012

Weekend cooking...

I've done quite a bit of cooking this weekend, and most of it has been really very successful. As well as last night's banana ice cream triumph, I made a tofu pilaf for supper - which was based on this recipe, but I roasted the courgette with some tofu and used that instead of the tuna. I'll have to try it with the tuna at some point, though, and I reckon it'd be gorgeous with some baked cod.

Then this afternoon I was bored and I spotted this flourless chocolate cupcake recipe on Pinterest, so I decided to give it a go.
And the cakes turned out OK, but they weren't really chocolatey enough and the almond flavour really overpowered the chocolate. That might have been because I used almond oil as well as the ground almonds, but whatever happened they were just a bit nondescript. I've put them in the freezer for chocolate emergencies!

After that slight disappointment, I was a bit wary of trying another new recipe, but I decided to give it a go anyway and I'm so glad I did! I made some gorgeous mini tofu quiches, using this Fat Free Vegan recipe. They were so easy to make and absolutely delicious - I didn't have any peppers so I used onion and mushrooms, and I didn't have any herbs so I used some chilli flakes. I also used a whole pack of Cauldron tofu (which is just under 400g) rather than the 350g specified, but I added a little bit more almond milk when I was blending it (honestly, my little blender has been a real workhorse this weekend!) and it was perfect.
I had them with a big pile of garlicky sautéed leek and spring greens - my mum's dinner party staple when I was growing up was courgette and leek in garlic butter, and it really reminded me of that (without loads of butter, obviously!)

Apart from the cooking, it's been a glorious weekend weather-wise - and spring is starting to show itself, with these lovely crocuses in the park!

Saturday, 25 February 2012

Banana ice cream...

Thick, sweet, creamy, indulgent...except it isn't actually very indulgent, because that bowl of lusciousness was made with just one banana. Nothing else - just a banana.

I'm way behind the times on this one - this magic pudding has been all over the internet for donkey's years now - but I'd never tried it because I didn't think my pathetic little hand blender could cope. But then yesterday I noticed that the bananas I'd bought last weekend were looking seriously dodgy, so I chopped them up and put them in the freezer, one banana to a freezer bag, and then this evening I decided to give the ice cream idea a go. It's ridiculously easy - all you do is bash your chopped frozen banana up a bit (if you've got a rubbish little hand blender thing like mine) and then put it into a blender or food processor or the food processor-ish attachment of a hand blender, and you whizz and whizz and whizz. At first it'll look awful, but give it time and keep whizzing it up and all of a sudden it'll go creamy and light and it'll look like Mr Whippy ice cream. And it tastes amazing! One of your five-a-day, no added sugar,'s a miracle, I tell you. I'm going to keep a constant stash of chopped banana in the freezer from now on!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

WIAW: vegging it up!

I haven't done What I Ate Wednesday for ages, but I thought I'd try to get back into the swing of things this week! And it's Veg Month over at Peas and Crayons - luckily I think my food today was suitably veggified!

Today started off slightly differently - I usually have porridge but I decided to have a bit of a change and lighten things up a bit, so this morning's breakfast was a cherry Activia yogurt topped with Mesa Sunrise flakes. I'd been meaning to try them for ages and they're delicious!
I'd planned to have something boring like soup for lunch, but I ended up going to the lovely veggie restaurant around the corner with one of my bosses - I didn't take a photo of my lunch but it was pretty much the same as this:
Just replace the juice with half a bottle of wine...yeah, not quite as healthy! Wednesdays are usually running nights for me, but I've been suffering with a horrible cold for two weeks now, complete with a cough that makes me sound like a 60-a-day smoker, so I've missed loads of runs. I've been doing my long Sunday runs, but not the shorter midweek ones. Not good. I really wanted to give it a go tonight, but a combination of not feeling 100%, lunchtime drinking and a late finish at work meant that I skipped yet another run. I'm starting to get a little bit scared about how little time there is between now and my half-marathon on April 1st, but hopefully I can get back into training from Sunday onwards!

Anyway, as I'd had a big lunch I had a reasonably small supper - some of my nut roast from the freezer, with basmati rice and some tomato sauce left over from last night's savoury pancakes. I decided to add a bit of chilli to the sauce and slightly overdid it, but it was gorgeous nonetheless (despite being seriously un-photogenic!)

Tuesday, 21 February 2012

Pancake Day!

Yes indeed, today is Pancake Day (or Shrove Tuesday). So guess what I did? I made a quite obscene amount of pancakes, and then I ate them all.

My basic batter followed the recipe that my mum has always used - four dessertspoonfuls of flour, one egg and enough milk to turn it into a double cream sort of consistency. Then you swirl the batter in a hot non-stick pan - don't worry, the first pancake is always rubbish - and the trick is to wait until the edges have started to lift away from the sides before you think about moving or turning the pancake. We used to have pancake races at primary school, but these days I'm a bit more cautious and I prefer to flip my pancakes with a spatula rather than tossing them!

So I started off with savoury pancakes, which I baked like cannelloni - I fried up some mushrooms and spinach with garlic, black pepper and a tiny bit of pesto for the filling, then made some pancakes and rolled them up with the filling before baking them in my little Le Creuset dish with some tomato sauce (or passata) on top.
Yum yum! And then of course I had yet more pancakes, this time with maple syrup. You'll notice I make proper English pancakes - the thin variety, rather than the thick American sort - but having spent four years of my childhood in New England, I do like a bit of maple syrup!

And then I watched Blur performing at the BRIT Awards and wondered whether it might actually be 1995 again...but sadly Damon Albarn looks too old and they'd never let a 14-year-old rent a flat on her own, so it must be 2012 after all!

Sunday, 12 February 2012

Birthday cake!

It was my friend's birthday last month, but she was away, so she arranged a bit of a belated birthday celebration. And I thought she needed a cake, so I made a chocolatey confection topped with Smarties...
I just used my usual sponge recipe (weigh four eggs, then use the same weight of butter, sugar and self-raising flour) and replaced 75g of the flour with cocoa powder. Then I made a chocolatey chocolate ganache - I based it on a recipe I found in the Dairy Book of Home Cookery but essentially made it up because I didn't have enough icing sugar. It ended up being 130g of butter and 90ml of milk, microwaved until the butter melted, and then I added 100g of cocoa powder and about 150g of icing sugar and used my electric beater to beat it all together until it was smooth and lovely. It worked really well - I left it to cool for a bit and it went nice and thick and spreadable. Yum yum!

Saturday, 11 February 2012

More snowy photos!

We had another dusting of snow yesterday morning - just enough to cover the branches and make everything look like a bit of a winter wonderland! It was very pretty but I do hope things thaw out just a little by tomorrow morning - it's long run time again and I don't want to fall over!

Sunday, 5 February 2012

And here's the snow!

The running club officially cancelled this morning's outing, which I was pleased about - I think a few hardy souls have gone out for a long run anyway, but I didn't need much of an excuse to stay in the warm! I'm disappointed to be missing a run, but I'd feel a lot worse if I fell over in the snow and broke something, wouldn't I! So today will be all about soup and big mugs of hot Ribena.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Hello winter!

On Christmas Day it was 13 degrees and it's about 2 degrees and very icy! We're expecting snow any minute and it's absolutely freezing.

This morning I put my big snow boots on and walked to my Pilates class - a water main had burst just down the road, and I saw these amazing icicles!

Then I came home, dyed my hair and put on about twenty layers of clothing, before making a batch of Lorraine Pascale's pumpkin and rosemary muffins. I had half a butternut squash in the fridge, and happily it ended up being exactly the right amount for the recipe! They're cooling at the moment, and they look and smell lovely...
I'm meant to be going for a long run tomorrow morning (last Sunday I totally surprised myself by running 14 miles - that's further than I've ever run before!) but I suppose it depends on how much snow we get! I'll be keeping a keen eye on the running club's Facebook page to see whether we're going to brave it or not!
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...