Monthly Archives: November 2011

Roasted Cauliflower

Once again Smitten Kitchen came up with a complete corker of a recipe.  I absolutely adore this side dish, whether with a curry or as a side to a Sunday Roast.  I was never a huge fan of cauliflower, I mean I liked it but it never rocked my world.  This totally rocks my world.  Tasty and healthy and eminently scoffable, what more could you ask for?

I have to say, I go much more low key with it and leave the pomegranate etc out of it.  I have to admit, it doesn’t look half as good without but it is still just as delicious.  Sometimes I go the whole hog and use my red onion yogurt dip, other times I just add a pinch of salt to some yogurt and leave it at that.

Serves 4 as a side

1 large head of cauliflower
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp cumin seeds
300ml natural yogurt
pinch of salt
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
small handful fresh mint, finely chopped

– Heat the oven to gas mark 6.
– Cut the cauliflower into florets and then break the larger florets into bitesized chunks.
– Place the florets in an oven dish and drizzle with the olive oil.
– Toss to coat.
– Sprinkle over the cumin seeds and a good grinding of salt and pepper.
– Roast in the oven for 30 minutes.
– For the yogurt dip simply mix together all of the ingredients in a bowl.
– Serve with whatever you wish.



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Filed under Easy, Sides

Knit Your Own Yogurt

For years I had an aversion to making my own yogurt because my life already was a bit “knit your own yogurt” and I felt that it was just a step too far… however, when you desperately need 500ml yogurt for tomorrow’s dinner but only have 3 tbsp left there really are only 2 options.  Drive 20 miles to buy a tub of yogurt, or make your own.  No contest really.  And now that I’ve done it and found it to be so very simple, and cheap, let’s not forget cheap in these testing times, I’m certain I’ll be doing it again.

Makes 500ml yogurt

just under 500ml milk (whole, semi or skimmed all work)
25g milk powder (optional, makes yogurt thicker)
3 tbsp natural live yogurt

– In a small pan heat the milk to 46-49C.  You will need a thermometer, my sugar thermometer handily starts at 40C.  Or, until you can keep your finger in it for 20 seconds without it burning apparently.
– Mix in the milk powder until dissolved and no lumps.
– Add your yogurt to a 500ml thermos then, once the milk is at about 46-49C pour in the milk, screw on the cap and shape well to mix.
– Alternatively mix the yogurt and milk in a bowl, cover it with clingfilm, wrap it in a towel and put on top of a radiator.
– Then leave for 6-8 hours or overnight.
– The next day ip out the yogurt into a container and refrigerate.

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Filed under Basic, Easy

Children In Need 2011

Another year, another Pudsey Bake Sale to organise at the office!  This year we were bigger and better than ever! I recruited volunteer bakers from the whole office and I am so very very proud to say that we raised and incredible £173 for Children In Need!!!!  With more promised on Monday.

And yes, I wore those ears all day!  We had a fantastic spread, everyone was absolutely inspired! I made Marshmallow Crispies, Chocolate Brownies, Pudsey Gingerbear Biscuits and a special Pudsey cake!

I borrowed the tin from my mum who used it to make my 3rd Birthday cake and within 10 minutes of arriving in the office he had been sold to become someone’s grandson’s 6th Birthday cake!

To make your own Pudsey cake you will need a bear cake mould and make a simple sponge using 250g each of butter, sugar and self raising flour along with approximately 250g worth of eggs.  I made him lemon flavoured coz he’s yellow, of course he’s lemon flavoured! To cover him in buttercream you need 225g unsalted butter, 475g icing sugar, 1tsp vanilla and 2-3 tbsp milk and mix, mix mix! I mixed so hard I blistered my entire finger!

Huge thanks to everyone at the office for baking and eating, we smashed last year’s total of £123 and enjoyed every crumb!

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Filed under Cakes, Not Food

Stuffed Crust Pizza

I was hit with the urge to make stuffed crust pizza the other day.  You know, when you’re happily minding your own business, sitting in the office doing your filing and suddenly, BAM! The craving for stuffed crust pizza is such that you immediately start thinking and plotting and planning how to get it as soon as possible… oh, just me then? Anyway…

I took this craving and ran with it.  I whipped up the dough when I got home, used leftover Awesome Sauce as the pizza sauce (delicious but not perfect as it was a little wet as I’d feared) and raided the fridge for various toppings.  This was the happy result.

Makes 2 ~8″ pizzas

250g strong bread flour
4g fast action yeast
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp olive oil
150ml warm water
200g mature cheddar (I used Cathedral Mature Cheddar and may I say, yum!)
pizza sauce of your choice (I used Awesome Sauce)
toppings of your choice (I went with ham and mushroom and sausage and pepper)
mozerella and cheddar for topping (I urge you not to skip the mozerella!)

– Place the flour in a large mixing bowl.
– Add the yeast on one side and the salt on the other.  Mix each into the flour a little bit then mix the flour to thoroughly distribute each ingredient.
– Make a well in the centre then add the olive oil and almost all the water.  Keep back a few tbsp of water and only add if you need it.
– Mix the ingredients together to form a soft dough and knead.  Either use a stand mixer or a hand mixer with dough hooks for about 5 minutes or do it by hand and knead for about 20 until the dough is soft and springy.
– Grease a bowl with a little oil and lighlty oil your ball of dough too.
– Leave to rise covered with a towel in a warm place for at least 1 hour, until doubled in size.
– Heat your oven as high as it will go.  At least Gast Mark 7/210C.  If you have a pizza stone heat that, if not place baking trays in the oven to preheat.
– Knock down the dough and divide into two.
– Leave to sit for 5 minutes or so.
– Roll out the dough on a sheet of baking paper until about 9″ in diameter.
– Slice your cheddar into thin strips, about 1cm wide and tall and about 3-4cm long.
– Place the strips of cheddar about 1cm away from the edge of your pizza.
– Carefully fold the dough over the cheddar and tuck slightly under to totally enclose the cheese.  Pinch the dough together to seal.
– If you want a deeper crust pizza you can leave the dough to rise again for about 20 minutes before adding the sauce and toppings, if you’re hungry and impatient then you can add the sauce and toppings now.
– Once you have constructed your pizza to your liking use a splatter guard/chopping board/plate/something to lift your pizza up on its baking paper and slide it onto the preheated surface in the oven.
– Cook for 20 minutes or so until the crust is a golden brown and the cheese is all melty.
– Leave it to cool for at least 5 minutes before slicing and eating. Nobody likes that burnt roof of the mouth you get from eating hot pizza!


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Filed under Breads, Mains, Moderately easy

Spicy Sausage and Mushroom Pasta

Once again, I totally fail at writing up the posts for all the yummy things I’ve been cooking.  I’m going to try to be more organised about this but we may have to wait for the new year and resolutions before I follow through with that plan!

For now let me introduce a variation on one of my favourite themes: pasta, cream, mushrooms and bacon! There is very little that can go wrong with these ingredients no matter what you do, but when you add delicious sausage meatballs and a warm blush of chilli to the mix it is the perfect meal for a cold autumn night.

Serves 4

4 of your favourite sausages
2-3 tbsp olive oil
4 rashers of bacon, chopped or pancetta
150g closed cup or baby mushrooms, quartered if large
1-2 small red chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
200ml double cream
salt and pepper to taste
pasta to serve

– First remove the skins from your sausages and slice each sausage into 4, making little meatballs.
– Heat a few tbsp oil in a large frying pan.  Add the meatballs and cook over a medium heat until browned all over.
– Add the bacon and the mushrooms and cook until the mushrooms are just browned and the bacon is cooked through.
– Add the chilli and the cream and season to taste.
– Reduce to a low heat until the cream is heated through and just simmering.
– Simmer for 5 minutes until the cream thickens a little.
– Serve over pasta.


Filed under Easy, Mains