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Archive for January, 2010

As a teenager I had a pretty heavy addiction to peanut butter and jam on toast. Smooth peanut butter was my favourite, but I wouldn’t say no to smooth. My mum used to buy a lovely cherry jam with big glossy pieces of fruit that burst in your mouth. All of this topped off with a big steaming mug of tea.

I’d gotten past this addiction, (re-built my life, etc) until I saw this recipe for peanut butter and jam cookies. Now there’s every chance it will take over once more, in which case you will never hear from me again because I’ll be on the street all crazy-eyed, looking for my next PB&J fix and going altogether off the rails. But until that happens, check out these cookies …

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Sachertorte

When I crave chocolate cake, it’s rarely for those very light, fat free sponges that come out of the oven like huge chocolate clouds and don’t taste of all that much if we’re honest. What I crave are those dense, damp, heady kind of cakes. Turns out what I crave is a Sachertorte.

Does a Sachertorte qualify as a cake? Is a torte a cake? Hell if I know. I hadn’t even really heard of Sachertorte until a photo in my Green & Black’s Chocolate recipe book grabbed me by both eyeballs and I had to make it straight away. (more…)

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So after I bleated on and on about how I was going to start using my army of cookbooks, (and I mean really use them; staring at the pictures doesn’t cut it any more), I kind of didn’t. I ran straight off and pinched a this recipe for Arozz Verde Al Horno from the wonderful Tim of www.lottieanddoof.com fame. His result was definitely more attractive than mine (and infinitely better photographed), but I was pretty delighted all the same.

Working my way through the first few steps of this dish, I felt positively healthful. Filling the blender with all kinds of green stuffs just does that to me. I couldn’t get my hands on the epazote which Tim states in his recipe (boo! I so wanted to find this,) so I threw a little extra green pepper into the blender with the cilantro, chilli, garlic and chicken stock.

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Beginning.

Have you ever stood in the Supermarket, stared down into your basket of ingredients, and realised you’re preparing to cook the same old dishes for the billionth time? I do this pretty much every week.

That’s not to say there’s anything wrong with my old favourite dishes: a rich lasagne with a creamy béchamel, juicy roast chicken with a crispy skin, roast potatoes with golden skins and white, frothy innards .. these recipes come from  my parents’ kitchen, and boy, they’re lovely. They must be, or I wouldn’t insist on making them to death, right? But it’s turned into one hell of a food rut. One great big Groundhog Day of dinners.

There’s no real reason for it.  I have so many cookbooks that if I stacked them all up they’d be taller than me many times over, and I haven’t stopped buying them yet. (Two new ones arrived this week – do I need to see somebody?) The kind I like the best contain all the weirdo ingredients that I have exactly zero clue on how to use: rose water, semolina, saffron, black treacle, artichoke hearts ..

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