Category Archives: Cookery & Food Blogs

Hot Dogs and Horse Lasagne.

Hot Dogs and Horse Lasagne.

This week I spent more time than usual staring suspiciously at the contents of my freezer.  I think I have a selection of fish fingers, turkey mince, beef mince, frozen chips, mixed frozen vegetables and a small chicken in there – but do I?  Could I really be storing an unusually large rabbit, frozen lumps of squishy multicoloured flavoured playdoh, minced monkey fingers coated with breadcrumbs and mechanically minced and reformed potatoes.  It’s anyone’s guess really.  Do I know where the food originated from?  No.  Did I even check the packets for ingredients before I bought them? No.  Should I be feeding them to my family?  Maybe not.

IMG_4562

This is a competition! Pls post a comment if you’d like the chance to win an afternoon defrosting this freezer. I shall keep you company and shout encouragement. I might even let you borrow my hairdryer if you promise not to electrocute yourself and sue me.  Tell your friends! This is a once in a lifetime competition, don’t miss out or you’ll be left in the cold. Ba-boom-tish!

It’s shameful really.  Here’s the sum total of my knowledge.  A little red tractor on packaging is good, I think it means that the food came from British farmers. And then there’s a long pause while I think for a while and drink tea……….nope, that’s it.  I know almost nothing else about food standards.  I hang my head in shame and remember that I fed my kids cheap chicken nuggets the day before yesterday. Bad, bad me.

Is it a tractor?  Is it a fallen over F?  Is the food safe?  Apparently so.

What the F are we eating?

Every now and then when I’m feeling very virtuous I’ll do a load of over complicated home cooking which is fun, but very time consuming and sometimes inedible.  This drives me to freezer fodder.  At least the kids eat it!  But then that is probably because they’re laden with salt, sugar and additives.  It’s lazy and bad for them.  I’ve always thought I should make more of an effort and I have to say this week’s food labelling fraud news has been a kick in the backside for me.  I really need to review what we buy, where it comes from and how it affects our health.

I copied this image from here: http://www.stuartwilde.com/2013/01/irish-meat-factory-closed-after-horsemeat-found-in-burgers/  I thought it summarised the situation nicely. Horse+Burgers=CarelessSupermarkets

I copied this image from here: www.stuartwilde.com thought it summarised the situation nicely. Horse+Burgers=Careless Supermarkets.  I hope Stuart doesn’t mind.

If we are what we eat, I don’t want any of us turning into processed lumps of pink reformed sausage meat.  Dearest Horace, I love you dearly, but if you want hot dogs (which very well could be reconstituted dogs if these revelations are anything to go by), you’ll have to buy them and cook them yourself.

Eating healthily can’t be that hard can it?  I have decided to make a few definite changes.

A) Find a practical easy to follow cook book with simple recipes in that don’t involve stupid exotic ingredients I can’t find – and use it!  (instead of just reading it).  This cookbook seems ideal, it works on the principle that anyone can learn to cook which is a good start as I’m no pro.

'Oh Ministry of Food, save me from Processed Food Hell!'  Kay kneels in front of the oven in mock prayer.

‘Oh Ministry of Food, save me from Processed Food Hell!’ Kay kneels in front of the oven in mock prayer.

B) Get registered with a veg box scheme so I know I’m supporting local farmers and that we’re eating seasonal veg that hasn’t been transported over from Timbuktoo.  This scheme seems like a good option:  Riverford Organic Farms

Seasonal, local and organic.  Doesn't get much better than that.  My Mother In Law gets swamped with pumpkins every now and then with this scheme, but she has the best pumpkin cake recipe in the world so I reckon this is still a practical option for us.

Seasonal, local and organic. Doesn’t get much better than that. My Mother In Law gets swamped with pumpkins every now and then with this scheme, but she has the best pumpkin cake recipe in the world which I plan to steal, so I reckon this is still a practical option for us.

C) Buy from a butcher rather than from a supermarket if at all possible.  I’m considering one of these grass fed, free range, ‘I’m having a really happy life right until someone shoots me with a bolt gun’ animal, meat box delivery schemes. (I’m not sure about these because they all seem very expensive.  This would mean we’d eat far less meat, because we simply couldn’t afford so much, but at least we’d know where it came from!  This is one company I’ve considered:   The Well Hung Meat Company

I'd feel so much happier knowing my meat was properly sourced.  Is this too expensive and 'posh' for the likes of us though?

I’d feel so much happier knowing my meat was properly sourced. Is this too expensive and ‘posh’ for the likes of us though?

D)  Processed meat is off the menu and in the bin.  If we want meatballs we’ll make the things.  They’re only balls of meat when all’s said and done aren’t they.

In summary!  If we do all of these things we will probably be a bit skint, but I’ll feel a whole lot  happier about what goes on our plates and in our tummies.   I’ll also have to invest in more time spent cooking, but so be it.  There’s no harm in trying.

I’ll be honest, this recent news story has really made me reassess our nation’s current eating habits and more importantly ours.  Perhaps it’s time for a change.

If anyone out there has had similar thoughts, I’d appreciate the feedback.  What do you do to ensure your family eats healthily?  Where do you shop?  What do you cook?  What do you look for on food labels?  How do you do this healthy eating thing?  I want to know because I think my lazy days of eating whatever falls off the supermarket shelf at the cheapest price are over.   I know I can’t be on my own here.

This is not a sponsored post and is nowt to do with with any of the companies mentioned on here.

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Ayr Food Bloggers Conference – I’m going!

Ayr Food Bloggers Conference – I’m Going!

Thanks to Sainsburys Family Blogger network I’ve been given a ticket to attend the Ayr Food Bloggers conference!  Can’t wait!  This weekend I’ll be staying with Elaine from the Fun-As-A-Gran  blog and meeting a load of other food bloggers too.  Soooo excited!  I’m now off to find some clean jeans, a nice shirt, charge the camera and my phone, starve myself in preparation for sampling some beautiful food and quadruple check the train times.  Wish me luck!  I’ll post about it all afterwards!

By the way, WordPress has decided to omit any spacing in the post below, can’t get it to stop it. Sorry. Professional as always! (blushes)

The select event is being held at Ayr Racecourse in one of their function suites on Saturday 1st September. Please feel free to take a look at their website for more information on the venue. http://www.ayr-racecourse.co.uk/conferences-and-events

The full day event will feature a spectacular local food tasting lunch with lots of opportunity to network with fellow food bloggers. We are on schedule to attract 25 participants, including food bloggers, restaurateurs and hotels reps all interested in food blogging. This is Scotland’s first Food Bloggers conference and we are capping the number of people attending to 25 to try and keep the conference as small, informative and intimate as possible. Attracting Food Bloggers from across the UK, the inaugural Taste Ayrshire’s Food Bloggers Conference will herald the beginning of the Taste Ayrshire week long Food Festival.

The agenda for the day is as follows:
9:30am:                              Arrival and registration
10.00am-11.00am:           Finding the best Produce and Showcasing Food for your Blog with Justin Galea.
11.00am-11.15am:           Tea/Coffee Break
11.15am-1pm:                   Using Social Media to Promote Your Blog with Colin Kelly.
1pm-2.30pm:                     Tour of the facilities followed by a cookery demonstration from Ayr Racecourse’s talented and entertaining Executive Chef, Donald McInnes.                                             Followed by a delicious plated lunch using the freshest and finest Ayrshire                                      local produce.
2:30pm-3.30pm:               Fine tune your Food Writing with John Cooke.
3.30pm-4.30pm:               Food Photography Masterclass with Darren McKean.
4.30pm – 5.30pm              Food Promotion with Christopher Trotter.
5.30pm-6pm                      Networking and Close
Some more information on the speakers:
A native Australian, Justin Galea was raised by his food-loving family who originate from Malta. He trained at Melbourne’s leading school for food, tourism and hospitality training gaining experience in the large range of restaurants in the sprawling city. In his early twenties, Justin gained his first Michelin experience at the Lynch’s Winter Garden Restaurant in Melbourne where he was one of the youngest sous-chefs. This is where Justin learned the Escoffier classics that continue to inspire him today. At the age of 23, Justin left Australia to travel and whilst in Scotland was recruited to join the world’s first golf resort, Turnberry. Starting as Chef de Partie but quickly promoted to saucier and later the fish station in the bustling Turnberry kitchens, he was then promoted to Sous Chef. After four years, he returned to Australia to rejoin his family, but he soon missed the creative buzz of Turnberry. He returned in 2008 as Chef de Cuisine and oversaw the hotel’s re-launch of its kitchens, recreated the food offering and preparing for the return of The Open Championship in July 2009. Now Turnberry’s Executive Chef, Justin oversees the full food and drink offering at the resort.
Colin Kelly is a broadcaster and journalist regularly seen and heard discussing gadgets and technology on television and radio. He’s best known for his time as resident gadget expert on STV’s ‘The Hour’ and has previously presented programmes on BBC Radio Scotland, Real Radio and Clyde 1. He’s been a newspaper columnist and is a regular blogger through his websitewww.colinkelly.net. Much of Colin’s work these days is with Hillington based digital consultancy NSDesign where Colin travels the country delivering social media training to a wide range of businesses and public sector organisations.
Hailing from Cape Town, but now resident in Edinburgh, John Cooke is a professional writer. John is one of the lead reviewers and section editors for The List Magazine’s Eating and Drinking Guide. John also writes regularly for The Larder magazine and its regional offshoots, covering a variety of Scottish foods and specialist producers, farmers and fishermen. John has been a judge at the Great Taste Awards and the One World Chutney competition and is part of Slow Food Edinburgh, promoting food that is ‘good, clean and fair’.
Darren McKean is a professional food photographer based in South West Scotland. A lifelong foodie, he is now on the final countdown to his 40th birthday. Together with his wife Fiona he runs Fiona McKean Photography. Darren’s interest in food photography was sparked whilst photographing weddings with Fiona. Says Darren, ‘some of the food was so impressive and I found myself drawn to photographing it’. He took the decision to concentrate solely on food early in 2011, with his first commercially styled shoot for an artisan bakery and he has never looked back.Darren has now worked with a range of food producers, suppliers and restaurants along with supplying a leading food imagery agency with his mouthwatering delights!
Christopher Trotter is a well known Food Writer and Consultant, with 5 books on cooking and food under his belt including ‘The Scottish Cookery Book’ and ‘The Whole Hog’. An acknowledged expert on cooking and Scottish produce Chris is currently working on his Food Tours, Cooking Classes and team building programmes using food and cooking in workshops. Chris has researched for major Food Guides and written for a variety of media including the List’s Fife Larder and the Fife Diet and is a regular on the BBC Kitchen cafe on radio.

Our Very First Harvest!

Our Very First Harvest!

We have owned the garden across the road for about a year now and I am proud to say, so far we have lopped a load of massively overgrown Christmas trees down and destroyed masses of bushes of unknown origin.  We are rocking the ‘Garden Thing!’ whatever that is.

As you can see our garden is beautifully manicured, well maintained and not at all rainforest like.

In addition to this, last year I had a load of peppers, cucumbers and other veggies in the polytunnel which Sweara (MIL) gave me.   I would love to say that they grew really well and we had a fantastic harvest and I spent many hours slaving over a hot stove making home made veggie curries etc ….but I can’t, because I didn’t, I murdered the plants instead.  In cold blood I’m afraid. I deprived them of human comfort and denied them water. I’m a plant killer.  Bad me.  Very bad me really.  My initial burst of enthusiasm was dampened by drizzle and laziness.  There I’ve admitted it.   I promise to try harder.

At least this year we’ve managed our first proper harvest!  It’s erm…potatoes.  Yes, I know!  Potatoes grow themselves really, and it’s not hard and it’s nothing to be really proud of, but goddamit I am proud anyway!  We grew something and now we get to eat it!  In yer face ASDA!

Sausage shouted ‘Potatoes-tatoes-tatoooes!’ hysterically quite a bit. He was very excited and sulked if no-one passed him any to put in the spud box.

I know a bag of spuds cost barely anything and the effort that goes into growing your own is hardly worth it really, but we get completely organic, home grown potatoes on our plates within hours of them coming out of the ground this way.  How cool is that!

Darlek shows off our very first harvest! Spuds, glorious spuds! *bursts into song*

I’ll admit finding finding potatoes with suspicious holes in and finding weird wiggly things in the spud box is a bit of a downer, but I’m willing to persevere with this regardless.  There’s something so rewarding about digging them out of the soil, I think it’s the remainder of the hunter / gatherer instinct.  I get the same satisfaction from picking berries and collecting eggs.

My parents used to keep hens until a fox massacred the lot of them one gory night.  I do like foxes, but I don’t like it when they mix with livestock very much.  I’ve toyed with the idea of chickens a lot recently, but I’m not sure if I could cope with Reservoir Foxes in my back yard if one of the blighters gets into the garden and has a feeding frenzy.  Maybe we will have feathered friends, maybe we won’t.

Apples of the earth! We have more Pomme de Terres than we know what to do with!

So what’s for tea then? Mashed spuds with a side order of chips? Or maybe wedges with boiled potatoes for pudding?

I do love that the kids got so excited about our very first harvest.  Sausage and Darlek both know exactly where potatoes come from, they’ve planted them, watered them and dug them up too. From what I can gather they really enjoyed the experience and I do hope that they continue to be enthusiastic about where their food comes from and pay attention to how it’s grown a little from now on.  If nothing else I’ll be happy if Sausage now knows potatoes don’t grow on trees and Darlek remembers that a single potato has the potential to grow and multiply itself many, many times.  It really is quite amazing that one single lonesome spud has the potential to reproduce itself so many times.  Nature is amazing, it’s easy to forget that sometimes I think.

Treasure! We found the spout of a tea-pot which I thought looked very much like a tiny brown leg. So it’s not a mahoosive slug, or a poo before you say as much.

After a lot of digging and muttering about mucky fingernails, we took a bag of them indoors and I washed them in the sink.  The colour of the water was disgusting, Sausage refused to put his hands in there although he did like plopping them in the water in the first place.  I decided to make boiled new potatoes to go with our erm…..supermarket bought pizza and beans out of a tin.  Classy meal eh!  Well, maybe not completely ‘In yer face ASDA!’, maybe just a quick ‘Ner-ner-ne-neer-ner!’ instead.

Tiny spuds! Some were the size of marbles and were actually cute. I’ve never seen ‘cute’ potatoes before.

Here’s the end result!  I know the meal itself wasn’t exactly nutritious and that Annabel Karmel would probably tut at it, but at least it included home grown, organic, freshly dug, cute potatoes!

I think the potatoes cancelled out the trashiness of the rest of the meal, or at least that’s what I told myself anyway.

So there you have it, our very first harvest.  From garden to plate!  I noticed the peas have grown too today, so we will be sitting in front of the TV snacking on crunchy pea-pods instead of popcorn very soon too.  I’m sure the kids will be overjoyed.  Maybe, maybe not.  Most likely I’ll resort to bartering, ‘If you eat three of those pea-pods, you can have some Coca-Cola.’  Well it’s a start isn’t it!

Organix

The Organix website shouts ‘Start a lifetime adventure with food!’ which I think makes a great opening line for this review.   We’re all good eaters at this house so we were all very pleased to be asked to try out some of their yummy grub.   My kids are definitely beyond weaning, which is really the target audience for Organix meals, but they’re not beyond appreciating decent food.   So we revved up our tastebuds and had a munch on some of these.  Here’s what we thought!

Nice packaging, convenient to store (doesn’t need refridgerating), looks wholesome. All good so far!

I think Organix meals are a great idea for parents who have limited time, but still want to make sure their kids are getting  ‘proper’ food.  When my two were younger I experimented with making my own baby food and toddler food, and although it is definitely a fun thing to try, if you’re surviving off a minimum of sleep due to teething and tantrums, it’s not always easy to get on with.  These meals, in my eyes anyway, are a guilt free short cut.  Check out the ingredients on the back, no strange sounding additives you can’t pronounce – all familiar sounding food stuffs which is reassuring.

If you made this meal yourself, I should imagine the ingredients would be almost identical.

Creamy chicken pasta! You can see all the meat and veg, no grey ‘mush’ here – nicely textured for a toddler to get their teeth into.

This looks like grown up food, but it’s just soft enough for kids to easily manage with their new grown teeth. It’s not cooked into soggy oblivion which helps get them used to eating ‘real’ food.

The above meals are for 1 – 3 year old children, they tasted nice, although a little bland for my two.  I suspect that’s a wise move though, my kids are older and have slightly more sophisticated tastes these days – younger kids need a while to adapt to strongly flavoured foods (I think so, but that’s just my opinion, if your child was raised on chicken curry, I take it all back!)

My question is, are these meals for chunky toddlers, or is it chunky food for toddlers? I think I’ve said ‘chunky’ too much. It’s one of those words that sounds daft after you’ve said it more than three times. Chunky-chunky-chunky!

Another question, were these crackers made from very small ‘mini’ cheeses, or is it because they’re mini and fit easily into a toddler’s hands?  Answers on a postcard please.

These were in the above packet, they reminded me of a well known brand of baked cheese mini biscuit things, but with far less salt and less strong cheese flavouring. They were very popular with the kids who ate a packet each in about 2 minutes.

Veg & Oat Bars, namely tomato and carrot. I’m so sorry, we all tried very hard to like these, they sounded so nutritious and looked moist and nommy. Unfortunately all the family found them a bit odd. It’s all a matter of taste though! Sorry Organix!

I don’t know why kids love this kind of bottle so much! Perhaps they remind them of baby bottles? My two merrily drank this stuff and said it was really nice. The ingredients again are nice and homely. No aspartame in evidence unlike other drinks I could mention.

These are very easy to eat, nice and crunchy, contain carrots of all things, and are very moreish. Ideal for packed lunches and devoured in seconds.  I can’t show you a picture of the snacks, because I got distracted for a minute and when I came back they’d all gone!

I saved the best for last. Personally I could live off this stuff, never mind the kids! It’s slightly gooey puree, that tastes of real fresh fruit. It’s naturally sweet without added sugar, and is a clever / sneaky way to get children to down one more of their portions of 5 fruit and veg a day. We all really, really loved this, brilliant squeezy packaging too which you can reseal if they don’t finish the lot in one go.

Organix have a ‘No Junk!’ policy, and I honestly did have a good look at everything we were sent, it seems they are doing a great job at keeping that promise.  (unless I’ve missed something, which I don’t think I have?).   I’ll admit not everything on here was to my taste or to my kids’ taste, but that’s just normal isn’t it.  I’ve slaved over a hot stove many an evening, only to have them turn their noses up at what I’d consider fantabulous food. Can’t win ’em all! At least you can be reassured that Organix consider and take your child’s nutrition seriously.

If you’d like to have a look around the Organix website, please click HERE.  Great for packed lunches, snacks, meals and weaning!

Organix sent me a selection of their products to review, no other financial reward was given.  I highly recommend the puree, we could have easily have got through bucketfulls of the stuff!

A Jubilee Cake!

A Jubilee Cake!

I have only ever made three cakes in my entire life, including this one.  This is how much of an amateur I am. I have made buns which are sort of mini cakes, but they don’t count really do they.

When Bart Spices asked me to make a cake I thought they’d simply gone off their rockers or something.  I can do basic savoury dishes, but cake?!!!  I sat staring at the email for a couple of minutes, tapping my fingers on the computer desk, drinking tea, thinking……dare I?  Obviously I’d have to blog it, however badly it turned out.  Well, in the end I thought I might as well live life dangerously and have a go!  What the hell, I had nothing more exciting to do on that day other than run the dishwasher with the knives and forks stuck in the rack thing the wrong way round.  (Very dangerous dontcha know!)

Can I just state, I’m not actually keen on royalty, but I am mad about cake and this is as good an excuse as any to indulge.

Here’s what I used for the sponge cake!

½ tsp Bart Bristol Blend Five Peppercorns
½ tsp Bart Ground Cinnamon
1 tsp Bart Ground Ginger
¼ tsp Bart Ground Nutmeg
2 tsp Bart Mint (Freeze Dried)
250g self-raising flour
¼ tsp salt
250g margarine or butter
250g Bart Vanilla Sugar
4 eggs, beaten and a partridge in a pear tree.

My sous chef and I prepared the cake tins:

I greased the cake tin, both sides of the greaseproof paper and my son. Think I may have overdone things a little.

I always think it’s best to include the kids when I cook, they like it and so do I, sort of.  Usually I end up yelling ‘Nooooo!!!! Not in there!’ and ‘If you don’t stop licking your fingers I’ll chop ’em off!’ and things like that, but it’s all fun. *ahem!*

Next I creamed together the butter and the Vanilla sugar (which in my case was sugar with a vanilla pod scraped into it).  I’ve never used a vanilla pod before, and I love them!  They’re rather reminiscent of tiny caviar eggs – not that I actually know what caviar looks like, it’s just a guess.

I christened my food processor! I’ve had it for two years, it’s been unassembled for one year and ignored for the other. To my shame up to this day, I’d only ever made one smoothie in it.

Then I added the four eggs to the mixture, along with all the dry spices.  I loved the look of the cake mix once it all blended in.  Despite being very wary of the mint and the pepper, it added a really nice christmassy mulled spice flavour. By this point I couldn’t wait to cook it!

It tasted as good as it looks!

Following this we poured it into 2 cake tins (ideally 2 cake tins, 20cm round), and sat licking the bowl whilst staring hungrily at the oven while it cooked for 20 – 25 minutes at gas mark 4 / 180C.  We left them to cool in the tins for ten mins, then tipped them onto a wire rack.  I did not bite a huge piece out of the side, it fell off. Honest.

Here are the cooked, cooled sponge cakes with the raw ingredients for the topping. Remember not to leave small children alone with a bowl of strawberries. They eat them when you’re not looking.

To help keep Sausage involved, I asked him to take the tops off the strawberries, so he ate about 4 of them without me realising.  While he was sneaky-eating strawberries I combined  250 g of cream cheese with 150ml of double cream and 100g of icing sugar until it was beaten to a delicious sloppy white fluffyish, gooey texture.

One cake tin was bigger than the other so I had to cut the excess off once I’d turned it into a cake burger…see next picture.

Then we got to the fun bit!  Sausage and I slapped the cream-cheese topping onto both of the cooled sponges and slithered a spatula over each side until reasonably smooth.  Half the remaining strawberries (some halved, some quartered) were liberally plonked on one half and then the other sponge was delicately sandwiched on top of it. I was delighted to see the cream cheese oozed out of the sides a little.  Obviously I had to tidy that up a little – and of course eat the excess.

Finally I put another load of cream-cheese on the top, smoothed it as best I could and then began decorating it.  Not meaning to ‘over-egg the pudding’ as they say, but it took me absolutely ages, I mean, it should go in the Tate gallery, no exaggeration at all,  it’s a work of art!  Please clap enthusiastically now.  Thank you.

This is meant to look like a Union Jack, I couldn’t manage the white stripes though. If anyone says it looks like a red ant I will sulk.

The sponge cake itself was a little dry once I sliced into it, but I think that’s just my oven and my rubbish baking skills.  It did however look amazing, just look at the sponge in the next photograph!  As for the cream-cheese, it is to die for!  Really sweet with a sour twang from the cream cheese! I could have eaten bowls of just the topping!

Note the green and black speckled spices in the sponge, they give a whole new twist to a basic victoria sponge recipe and look fabulous too :O)

To summarise!  Whoever said ‘All you need is love!’ was a fool.  ‘All you need is Cake!’ if you ask me.

‘Cake is the food of love!’ not music.

And the meaning of life is not 42, it is CAKE!

Many thanks to Bart Spices for sending me the ingredients and for taking a huge risk.  I think it was the PR equivalent of jumping off a really high building in a flying squirrel suit – it could have gone very, very badly!

If you’d like to visit Bart Spices website, please click HERE, they’ll be pleased to see you I’m sure!

Come Dine With Kay!

Come Dine With Kay!

 Turkey Meatballs & Chickpeas in a Piquante Pepperdew Stew!

This recipe is being entered in the Peppadew ‘I love British Turkey’ blogging competition.  Many thanks to my Mother In Law for the recipe, she is a far better cook than I’ll ever be.  Right, here goes nuffink!  Please click play on the link below, and use it as background music?  I’m trying to set a scene here…. ;O)

In the true spirit of ‘Come Dine With Kay!’ you have all arrived fashionably late…..bearing huge bottles of wine and gifts boxes of chocolates, lovely!  I’m wearing my best smart casual outfit (jeans and a clean T’shirt for once), and I must say you all look very swish too!  And wow!  Look at you! …..my goodness, you’re not shy with the sequins are you!

While I faff around in the kitchen trawling the fridge and the cupboards for ingredients, I would love you all to have a comfy seat in my erm…mostly immaculate living room.  Please make appropriate small talk and kindly ignore the towering pile of toys shoved into the corner.  I’d appreciate it if you could stop kicking the toybox and setting off the Zhu-Zhu hamsters.

First of all I’m going to raid the cupboards and the fridge for my ingredients and have a small glass of wine to steady my nerves.

Ignore the Basil, it just wanted to be famous so it barged in on the photo shoot.

Here I have fresh coriander, 400g of minced turkey, a tin of chopped tomatoes (with the same amount of water added), 2 sliced onions, 1 small chopped chorizo sausage, 2 mushed cloves of garlic, ground cumin, salt, pepper, olive oil, cayenne pepper, chilli flakes, a tin of chickpeas, paprika and last but not least Hot Whole Sweet Piquante Peppadew Peppers!

Right, so this is the bit where you wander around the house checking out if I’m a nutter or not.  Up the stairs you go, I’m happy here banging the cutlery about.  ‘Don’t worry about me!’ *Pours another glass of wine*

Oh no! I’ve forgotten to tidy away my antique, priceless, collection of silverware.  It’s all on display.  Silly me.

First of all I mix the garlic with the turkey mince:

Do I really have to stick my hands into that lot? *shudders*

Next I roll them into small balls, whilst giggling nervously and making a crap joke about small pink balls.

You have to have balls to attempt this kind of thing!

Then (whilst ignoring the bangs on the ceiling and the laughter from upstairs) I begin frying the chorizo in the pan until the fat starts to flow a little.

Why are they making such a racket upstairs and why did I choose a dish that spits fat at me all the time! ‘Ow!’  And my top is ruined!  Grease spots galore. Oops.

‘Ah, you’re all back!  Did you enjoy your tour?  So sorry about leaving the silverware out….’  *waits for complements*  *doesn’t get any*

‘What do you mean you went through my wash basket?!!!  Oh no, of course I don’t mind.  You’ve brought something down with you?’ *Kay lapses into a stunned silence as you (yes you with the sequins…)  wave around my all in one, fluffy, multi-coloured fish, fleecy adult-baby-gro outfit that I wear on very cold evenings and on camping trips*

‘No I don’t mind!  I said you could look around didn’t I! *smiles sweetly*

Kay thinks: ‘Well, it’s the burnt bits at the bottom of the pan for you milady!’

I return to the kitchen and begin shallow frying the meatballs in a glug of olive oil whilst swearing under my breath so my guests can’t hear me.

‘Where is my goddam spatula?!’ Fry meatballs till browned.

‘I’ll put on some music shall I?  Some nice relaxing classical music maybe?’

‘What? You prefer Guns and Roses?!!!’

Kay thinks: ‘Sequin top lady is cruising for a bruising, I might have to drop a meatball or two on the floor at this rate’ 

I have another slightly larger glass of wine and listen to the male guest with the blue spikey hair who is ‘art-critiquing’ my favourite sea-side painting.  I just like seagulls!  Get over it!  (I think this rather than say it because I’m trying to be nice and get more points)

‘Oh yes I agree, these sort of paintings are rather outdated, but I do like them!’ *stares daggers*

I return to the kitchen and:

Fry onions till translucent.

Return chorizo to the pan, add spices. 1tsp of cumin, 2 tsp of paprika, 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper or chilli flakes. Sneeze. Not on the food obviously.  Put this on a high heat for a couple of minutes.

Add chopped tomatoes with additional water. Splash my top even more.

You should all be slightly plastered now as I’ve kept the ‘Come Dine With Kay!’ evening rolling along nicely with the strongest red wine I could find at Morrissons.  Great!  I’m sober as a judge though.  *hiccups*

‘Would anyone like another glass?’ *fills everyone’s glasses to the brim*

Kay thinks: ‘Well, it if I get them drunk they won’t notice if the food tastes rotten.’

Add chickpeas, and a quarter of a jar of roughly chopped Sweet Hot Peppadew Peppers. Simmer for half an hour. Drink more wine to numb your tastebuds. Not sure how this will taste….

I’ve had to split up spikey haired bloke and you.  I think to myself, ‘Oh hell, I should have found a cattle prod as well as a decent recipe.’

‘Just come into the kitchen and sit down will you?’ ‘There’s no need to cry now…..I know your outfit is well…a little erm, showy, but the man has no taste!’  ‘I think you look lovely! Kylie carried the look off beautifully’ (about ten years ago, but I’m not going to say that am I?!

You stagger back into the living room, sloshing your drink onto my pastel blue carpet.  I begin to wonder if I’m seeing double, and the spikey bad-hair-cut-man is threatening to chew his own arm off (I think I’ve taken too long), and I think it’s time to serve up!  Brace yourselves! I proudly carry my prized praline Denby casserole dish into the front room.  I am showing off, but then this is the telly, I’m pulling all the stops out here!

Taaaaa Daaaaah!!!!!!! Thish ish a lovely dish innit! (slurs)

*hiccups*  *pours another glass* *downs in one* *fills glass again* *T’is nerve medichine you see*

There you go!  Plonks casserole dish on the table.  Knocks a few knives and forks on the floor. Ah well, a bit of dirt never did anyone any harm.  I pick them up and put them back on the table and sway slightly.

Dinner is served!

‘Well, tuck in everyone.  Let me know what you think!  It’s not like it took any effort or anything!’  Pitta bread goes nicely or you could add rice.  I chose pitta bread because I always make soggy rice and you can’t go wrong with grilling bread can you? Or can you?

‘Stop spitting out the hard bits of bread!  It’s just not nice!  Honestly I’m  not inviting you lot round again.  No, you can’t dip ZhuZhu hamsters in the food.  Oh for gods sake, I give up’

*********************End credits scroll down the screen******************

Narrator:  ‘Will Kay win or did the guests think her dinner was just a turkey of a meal?  Find out next week…..’

Narrator: ‘This dish features delicious moist turkey meatballs, complemented with a lip-smacking spicy tomato and hot sweet piquante Pepperdew pepper sauce. The chickpeas add an exciting slightly nutty contrast. Best enjoyed with a sensibly sized glass of red wine and good company.  Ahem!’

Best recipes of 2012

Not So Lucky!

Not So Lucky!

The other day I was lucky enough to win an Easter Egg from a company running a competition on Twitter.  I’m not naming the company because I’ve yet to communicate with them about this so we shall see how that goes first.

They sent me a creme egg sized Easter Egg, which was beautifully packaged, complete with a chocolate bow on the front of it, it looked delicious and I decided to save it for a special occasion.  Today my husband finished work and so we have a full week together, it’s the Easter hols so we get to spend time with relatives, and generally have a lovely relaxed time.  So I thought this evening I’d celebrate by eating my delicious, luxury easter egg.

I unpacked it, cradled it in my hands and bit the top off.  I peered in to see what was inside, it was supposed to be a milk Valrhona chocolate egg with chai tea ganache filling – and I saw this:

Two fluffy caterpillars?

Please do click on the picture to enlarge it.  The piece I’m holding has a very slightly green centre, and there are two ‘things’ inside the egg that look like fluffy caterpillars, and a third patch of white fluff too.  I’m presuming they’re mould and not wildlife.  Well I hope not anyway, as I bit the top off the egg and tasted something funny.  If I’ve just eaten a caterpillar I will be even unhappier than if it’s just mould – which is bad enough!

I know for a fact, being an expert on chocolate an’ all, that chocolate does not ‘go off’ it just loses colour and gets a bit dry and tasteless – it doesn’t go mouldy like this?   So what have I just eaten?  And will I be sick?!  I feel sick just at the thought of it.

Penicillin anyone?

I’m sat here with a glass of homemade rhubarb schnapps, swilling my mouth with it, desperately trying to get rid of the taste.  I have enough tummy problems already and I’m hoping that whatever it is in there is not going to make them any worse.  It’s probably like the sort of mould you get on bread, but I don’t really know.

I looked up a few links on mould and ganache, here’s an interesting link if you’d like a look : HERE – Check post 25 on there…..

The point I’m trying to make is that if you are a company that is aiming to increase your presence on Twitter and on social networks via blogging projects or through competitions…..please…..please…….double please…..check your stock!!!!  My mouldy cheese blogging exploits were bad enough, it puts bloggers in an awfully embarassing position.  It also makes people who enter competitions feel cheated and very negative towards the company itself.  Good news spreads quickly, bad news spreads quicker, and mould appears to spread even quicker than that.

Imagine if you had bought this for a child?

This is not a sponsored post, nor have I mentioned the name of the company.