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Planning weekend food…

It’s Wednesday and by this time of the week I am plotting the weekend’s culinary challenges…

I come from a family who has always loved cooking. We mainly made meals from scratch with fresh produce and to this day, this is still how I like to cook. My mother and father are at polar opposites of the cooking spectrum. This, amusingly, lead to quite a few ‘disagreements’ when they were still together. My mother likes complicated dishes peppered with obscure ingredients which take several hours to prepare. My father is at the other extreme, with quick but tasty and healthy meals – some might say slapdash at times! Both were equally delicious and appreciated.

I firmly sit in the middle – I like fresh, healthy and simple food because working full time does not allow me much time to make complicated dishes midweek. I also like to ‘feed’ people ‘real’ food – I am loathe to use the word ‘honest’ here or I would be in danger of sounding like an ‘on-trend’ food snob. It’s the mothering instinct – to me good food makes people happy and if I can make people happy, even for a brief while, then great!

Back to this weekend’s offerings, I have been toying with the idea of making pizza. I have a dough recipe (thank you Jamie Oliver) and need to acquire a pizza stone. Toppings will most definitely be of the seafood variety – my favourite.

I might also attempt to make Sticky Toffee pudding. When I arrived in the UK 14 years ago, it was the first dessert I tried. Switzerland didn’t have anything remotely similar so I was in calorie heaven!! I think it might be quite involved but I do like a challenge…

Welcome Grace Emily…

Dotty!Just wanted to congratulate my friends James and Justine on the arrival of their baby Grace Emily! Sent her a lovely little romper suit…

Also congratulations to Sara and Steve on the arrival of the handsome Jacob James.

My very first post…

Chinese DumplingsHaving shied away from having my own blog for the past year, I was finally inspired to start it after this weekend’s events… Who would have thought that making Chinese dumplings would be the catalyst? I have been a keen cook for years. This keeness has fluctuated depending on what has been happening in my day to day life but in recent months, I have had a guinea pig (sorry John!) willing to sample all my recipes. He’s not complained so far and long may that continue…

So back to those dumplings, the filling consisted of raw king prawns, Chinese wood ear mushrooms, ginger, spring onion and a dash of mirin and soy sauce. John and I carefully wrapped them in the gyoza wrappers he’d picked up at the Chinese supermarket and off we went… Served in a broth with spinach and spring onions, I am delighted to say that they were delicious. I was worried they might fall apart but they were a real success and have made it onto my ‘Make That Again’ list.

Another first attempt at something new this weekend was a dark chocolate tart. We struggled with the pastry. I’d run out of plain white flour so chanced it with some wholemeal flour. It was tricky to lay out but John was patient where I was ready to throw in the towel… we baked the pastry for 20 mins and then added this gooey dark chocolate filling made of 70% cocoa chocolate, eggs, butter and sugar… back in the oven for 20 mins et voilà… death by chocolate. I plan to bring the remainder of this decadent tart into work… it might earn me a few brownie points and some favours.