Monday 20 April 2015

Apple Cake ~ Secret Recipe Club Challenge 20th April 2015

This is my assignment with the Secret Recipe Club.The aim of the club is that you are allocated a blog from which you have to select a recipe and try it and blog about it. For the month of April my assigned blog was Get off the couch and Cook written by Sashi. The main focus of her blog is to create recipes that take less than 45 minutes to cook. Looking through the blog I noticed Sashi likes bacon a lot but being a vegetarian I was trying to find a recipe that would be suitable for me or one that I could adapt to make it vegetarian with minimal change. I spent quite a lot of time looking at all the recipes but finally chose the apple cake recipe that did not need any adaptation. My finished cake was delicious although it did turn out a little dense and did not rise as much as I had expected. We enjoyed it with some vanilla custard.

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Apple Cake
Moist apple cake, delicately flavoured with cinnamon
  • 6 Braeburn Apples
  • 2 cups Granulated Sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Ground Cinnamon
  • 3/4 cup Sunflower Oil
  • 3 Medium Eggs
  • 1 cup Orange Juice
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla Essence
  • 2.5 cups Plain Flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 2 teaspoons Baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons Granulated Sugar
1.Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Line and grease a 9 inch spring form cake tin and keep aside.2. Peel and slice the apples and place them in a large bowl with the cinnamon and 1/2 cup sugar.Toss and leave aside.3.In another bowl sieve the flour, salt and baking powder.4. In a jug break the eggs, whisk them and then add the vanilla, oil, orange juice and sugar and whisk together.5. Fold the wet ingredients into the flour very gently to form the cake batter, do not over mix.6. Spoon 2/3 of the batter into the prepared cake tin and smooth it out with the spoon. Add the apple slices and liquid from the apples and top the apples with the remaining cake batter.Smooth the top of the cake with the spoon and tap the tin slightly.7. Bake the cake in the preheated oven for 45 minutes until cake is golden brown and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean.8. Remove the cake from the oven and allow to reach room temperature in the tin. Once cake has cooled remove from tin and transfer to a serving dish.Sprinkle the remaining sugar on the top .
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 8 slices

An InLinkz Link-up

Submitting to:
Lets cook for Easter event by simplyfood

Bake Fest event by Cooks Joy and guest hosted by Mayuris Jikoni

Friday 17 April 2015

Lemon Panna Cotta ~ vegetarian

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Lemon Panna Cotta ~Vegetarian
A creamy and delicious citrussy flavoured panna cotta dessert.
  • 1 cup /250ml Double cream
  • 1 cup /250ml Skimmed Milk
  • 1 heaped tablespoon Agar Agar powder
  • 1.5 teaspoons Lemon essence
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon Zest
  • 3 tablespoons Sugar
1. Pour the milk into a heavy bottomed pan and bring it to a slow simmer. Add the agar agar powder and stir the milk until the agar agar has dissolved.2. Pour the milk mixture into a blender and blend it so that any agar agar remaining will be powdered and mixed with the milk fully.3. Transfer the milk back to the pan and add the sugar and stir the milk until all the sugar has melted.Add the cream and bring the mixture to a slow simmer again.4. Add the lemon essence and 1 teaspoon lemon zest and stir it into the milk and cream mixture.The mixture will start to thicken slightly, remove it from the heat and allow to cool slightly.5. Pour the mixture into serving glasses and garnish with a few lemon zest strands. Leave to reach room temperature after which chill for 2 hours before serving
Prep time: Cook time: Chill time: Total time: 2 hrs Yield: 4 servings

Submitting to :
Lets cook for Easter event by simplyfood.

Saturday 11 April 2015

Carrot and Cucumber Ribboned salad with Peanut Dressing

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Carrot and Cucumber Ribboned Salad
Wafer this ribbons of carrots and cucumber drenched in a delicious tangy and nutty dressing
  • 1/2 Cucumber
  • 1 Large carrot
  • 3 tablespoons Dry roasted peanuts
  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil
  • 1 Small Red onion
  • 1 Orange
  • 1/2 Lemon
  • 1/2 teaspoon Chilli Flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 1 tablespoon Honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon White wine vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons Dry roasted peanuts
1. Peel the carrot and slice it length ways into thin ribbons using a mandolin. Add the slices to a large bowl.2. Wash the cucumber and slice it into this slices length ways. Add to the bowl with the carrots.3.Peel the onion and slice it very thinly and add to the bowl.4.In a pestle and mortar coarsely grind the peanuts to break them up.Do not powder them they need to very very coarse.5.Crush the garlic and add it to the crushed peanuts, Extract the orange juice and the lemon juice and add it to the pestle and mortar6.Add the white wine vinegar, olive oil, salt, chilli flakes and honey to the pestle and using the mortar crush all the ingredients together.7. Drizzle the peanut dressing  on top of the carrots, cucumber and onions and toss them together to coat with the dressing.8.Transfer the salad to a serving place and chill before serving.
Prep time: Cook time:None Total time: Yield: 1 Plate

Submitting to:
In my VEG BOX ~ Garlic event by citrusspiceuk.

Monday 6 April 2015

Traverse 15~A bloggers conference and event.

I recently attended the Traverse 15 bloggers event which was hosted over three days at Kingston, a lovely market town south west of London. Traverse 15’s main focus was on travel blogging; however some food and lifestyle blogger friends and I decided to attend this event to broaden our horizons.

Friday Day 1
After checking into Hotel Antoinette, a short walk away from Kingston town, I met a bunch of friends for lunch to catch up with our news. After lunch, we decided to check out the town and did a spot of prop shopping before going back to the hotel to get refreshed and prepare for the evening activities.

Kingston is an amazing place by day with it has a large shopping centre and nearby historic places to visit. By night it turns into a gastronomical delight with its array of lovely restaurants lined by the riverside. We decided to have dinner at the Comptoir Libanais a magnificent Lebanese restaurant. The restaurant is beautifully decorated with stunning Middle Eastern props; there is also a selection of Middle Eastern groceries and spices for sale at the restaurant.

We decided to try a selection of dishes from the meze, so that we could sample a variety of different dishes. I must say the choices of vegetarian dishes on offer were excellent and I really enjoyed everything I tried.

After dinner we all made our way to All Saints Church for our first Traverse 15 welcome party and networking event. As we sipped chilled glasses of prosecco, we enjoyed meeting and chatting to new friends; this was going to be an excellent start to a fab weekend.

Saturday Day 2
Our venue for day two was Kingston University Business School. Registration started at 8.30 and it was a full day of work shops, lectures, panels and debates. We were initially concerned as to what we would learn from this travel conference; however our concerns were soon wiped out. In between the workshops and sessions we enjoyed cupcakes, coffee, lunch and drinks which kept us charged up throughout the day. The conference was very interesting and we gained a lot of knowledge from SEO to pitching to working with brands, accounting, photography and monetisation. It looks like future Traverse events will definitely be attended by food bloggers.

The day ended with a final recap of the day’s sessions and a very unique bar service, where drinks were ordered through tweeting! What a super end to a fantastic and educational day. Tired after the long day, we made our way back to the hotel to refresh before dinner and the Saturday night party at Kingston University Student Union. Sadly dinner at Little Italy in Kingston was rather disappointing and did not match the amazing experience at Comptoir Libanais the night before. However the Traverse 15 after party made up for it. It took me back years to my student days, drinking, loud music and fun!!!!

Sunday Day 3
Sunday morning was a day of experiences. Kingstonfirst had organised a wonderful selection of experiences in and around Kingston. These ranged from cookery classes to boat rides to Hampton Court, to beauty treatments and also historic guided tour walks. Sadly the weather did not work in our favour as it rained all morning and I was so glad that I had chosen to do the Thai cookery class at Busaba Eathai restaurant.

My friend Heidi and I made our way to the restaurant where we were greeted by Hesh, the senior Chef, at Busaba Eathai. After fuelling with hot piping coffee we donned our chef coats so that we could experience Thai cooking in a real working kitchen. 

This proved to be one of the best cooking masterclasses I have participated in. Being able to cook in a real working restaurant kitchen was a dream come true. I felt like areal celebrity chef in my white chefs coat!!  Hesh was an amazing teacher; the dishes we cooked with him were Pad Thai, Som Tam, Smoked Chilli Mushrooms, Thai Fish cakes and the Thai Calamari. The food we cooked for our lunch was packed with flavour and was so tasty it left a lasting memory on out taste buds.

After such an exciting cookery experience and elaborate lunch, it was time to enjoy a little bit of pampering and what better way to end a lovely weekend than to have a beauty treatment.  Heidi and I made our way to John Lewis Clarins department where we were greeted by our beauticians who pampered us with facial skin treatments and a mini back and neck massage. We left with a detailed personal beauty plans and samples of Clarins products so that we could continue to use the beauty regime our beauticians had prepared for us. It was a lovely relaxing way to end a really exciting, informative and fun filled weekend.

The organisers of Traverse 15 and Kingstonfirst did a fantastic job to make the weekend so successful. I am looking forward to next year’s event with great anticipation.

Friday 3 April 2015

Event Roundup ~ Lets cook for Mothersday.

Thankyou to everyone for sending in such lovely entries in appreciation for Mothersday. 
Here is the roundup:

Thursday 2 April 2015

Black Chickpeas and New Potato Curry

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Black Chick Peas and New Potato Curry
Chick Peas and Potatoes cooked in a spicy and tangy sauce.
  • 400g Pre cooked black chickpeas
  • 8 White Baby new potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Chilli powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Turmeric Powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Coriander powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Cumin powder
  • 1 teaspoon Lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon Jaggery
  • 1/4 teaspoon Mustard seeds
  • 1 tablespoon Olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons Passata (sieved tomatoes)
  • 100 ml  water
  • 1 tablespoon Fresh Coriander finely chopped

1. Wash the new potatoes and keeping the skin on cut them into small pieces.2. Open the 400 g tin of cooked black chickpeas and drain the brine out.3. In a sauce pan add the oil and heat it up on medium heat, when the oil is hot add the mustard seeds and wait for them to splutter.4. Add to the pan the passata, followed by the salt, chilli powder, turmeric powder,coriander and cumin powder and saute the mixture until all the spices infuse into the passata.5. Add the potatoes and 100 ml water and cook the potatoes for 7-8 minutes until almost cooked.6. Add the chickpeas, lemon juice and jaggery and cook the curry for a further 7-8 minutes until potatoes are fully cooked and the gravy has thickened. You can add a little more water if the curry appears dry.7. Turn off the heat and transfer the curry to a serving dish and garnish with the fresh coriander NB-If you are not able to get jaggery add 1/2 teaspoon of palm sugar or brown sugar. I used precooked tinned chickpeas in my curry, you can used the dry variety  which can be soaked overnight and cooked the next day in a pressure cooker.
Prep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: serves 2

I have had lots of questions as to where to purchase these black chickpeas. They are available precooked in tins in any Asian aisle of major supermarkets or Indian grocery stores.You can also purchase the dried version which would need to be soaked over night and cooked in a pressure cooker to get best results.
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