Thursday CANNOT come soon enough (i.e. drooooling over my cheese board)

At work… and there is a lot of it. In order to stop bouncing on my chair and googling ideal wine pairings for my cheese, I thought I’d share my cheeses for Thursday night’s cheese board. Figure I’d try and get it out of my system (so that I can go back to work).

First of all… I heart the cheese room at Jones the Grocer. I also heart the one at Galleries Lafayette BUT the Jones the Grocer one is bigger and their staff (at least the ones I’ve met) are very knowledgeable.

Yesterday after the gym – first time in weeks… because well all the christmas eating and drinking is definitely taking it’s toll 😦 – I headed to Jones at night. Good call, because parking was easy and I had the cheese lady all to myself!

Ended up coming away with:

– Stilton

– Truffled Brie de Meaux (can I just say that as she cut my piece and I could see all the ooooozzzzyyy goodness, it took A LOT of willpower not to eat it right then and there. This cheese will taunt me in my fridge until Thursday)

– Cantal (a very young one)

– Ossau-Iraty

Gah… I cannot wait to eat these.

Also, took A LOT of willpower not to buy out the room.

Fact: If I was rich, I’d be the size of a house. Then again…if I was rich, I wouldn’t have to work and I could spend 2 hours a day in the gym.. and eat… hmmmm…. anyways. :-p

Bring on the Christmas celebrations!! x

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Christmas menu for two!

So, this year a lot of my friends are travelling for Christmas. I’d LOVE to be in London for Christmas, but as this is my last Christmas (and my last couple of months) in Dubai, I didn’t want to travel. As a result of a lot of friends being out of the country, myself and M, decided to spend Christmas together – drinking champagne and watching cheesy Christmas movies.

However, just because alcohol and movies are the first priority, doesn’t mean the food isn’t important too!

Cooking Christmas food for two people is tough, because typically everything for Christmas is meant to be consumed by many many people. But I’ve managed to come up with an a-typical but with touches of tradition menu for 2. To be consumed over a 24 hour period. Note: X-mas is actually Sunday and I’ll be working. M is working Saturday(!) so the celebrations start Thursday evening and end Friday afternoon.

Thursday night (appetizers):

– Scallop, chorizo, and halloumi skewers

– Honey and mustard roasted chipolatas

– Smoked salmon blinis (or melba toast) with creme fraiche.

– Cheese tray + crackers and tomato chutney

– Champagne

– Candy cane cocktails

Friday morning (breakfast): 

– Chocolate chip pancakes

– Strawberries

Friday afternoon (lunch)

– Garlic butter roasted mushrooms with Linguine

I’ll do posts for the recipes after X-mas, but in the mean time if anyone wants ideas. This is my plan for Xmas for 2!


Hot apple cider

Another favourite drink. Hot apple cider. This is the perfect drink for winter and Christmas. It’s so warming and yummy and at least for me always makes me feel like it’s Christmas time.

Definitely good any time of the year though but especially when it’s cold. Dubai’s not cold so  I pretend! :-p

To make the drink:

Heat up green apple juice on the stove. Add half a lemon and a cinnamon stick. You could also add orange slices instead of the lemon. Let it simmer slowly on the stove but not boil. It is just hot apple juice at the end of the day but it is awesome!!


Candy Cane Cocktails

Tis the season! And I’m soooo excited. Unfortunately I’m in Dubai for the second time in a row BUT I definitely plan to make the most of it. I’ve had this drink idea rolling around in my head for about a week now, and have been trying to figure out how best to make it. Today I finally figured it out… candy cane sugar syrup! yum.

This is pretty much a vodka cranberry but with a peppermint twist. The twist being candy cane syrup. Other thoughts to make a peppermint twist: creme de menthe or peppermint extract.

To make the cocktail, mix: vodka, a squeeze of lemon juice, and some candy cane syrup. Add ice. Shake and strain into a martini glass. I’m not exactly sure of proportions because  I just mixed it, but my assumption would be (per a glass): 1 shot vodka, 1/2 shot candy cane syrup, and a big squeeze of lemon juice. Top the martini glass with raspberry/cranberry juice. Decorate with a short candy cane. I also tried to rim the glass with crushed candy cane powder but that didn’t work – for round 2 I’m going to blitz the candy canes in a mixer to a fine dust. That might work better than pounding with a pestle.

Candy cane syrup

1.25 cups boiling water

2-3 candy canes

lemon juice

mint

sugar

Add 2-3 candy canes to boiling water (break them into smaller pieces first) and juice from a quarter of a lemon. To the mixture add in some mint leaves and a little sugar. Let the mixture bubble until the candy canes are all melted. Strain into an airtight container.


Burrata with Bread from the Farmer’s Market

Burrata cheese is SO good it doesn’t need much, so this is less a recipe and more a PSA. IF you haven’t tried Burrata go and get some. If you’re in Dubai… the farmer’s market (Saturday’s at Garden Center) now sells freshly made burrata. (Thanks Foodiva for the tip!).

So in case burrata is new to you it’s basically buffalo mozarella with a creamy and curdy center – which is so yummy!

What I did for my lunch/dinner was to lightly grill some beautiful Italian potato bread (also bought at the Farmer’s market). I then brushed the bread with some quick homemade basil oil – which I made by pounding together a bunch of basil with some garlic, a green chili, sea salt and olive oil. I then topped the bread with some tomato slices.

I used the bread to scoop out the creamy center. YUM!!!


A promise is a promise! Mini-cakes for a friend’s birthday

I often post pictures of the food I make on my Facebook page. This has caused one of my friends to constantly ask me (jokingly) to cook something for him. I keep promising I will and despite seeing him every Tuesday for the last 3 years for rugby AND working in the same building as him I never did! Eeeeks. Till now. For his birthday I made mini cakes decorated with home-made vanilla buttercream frosting, blue glitter frosting, and mini m&ms. In other words… They looked like something a 2 year old would have done (as you can see from the one I made for myself on the left!)… BUT they tasted pretty darn good, were easy to make, and reasonably light (due to size NOT ingredients!)

So anyways… you ask mini-cakes… aren’t those just cupcakes? Well yes, but since I didn’t have wrappers and self-rising flour… they came out looking like mini-cakes rather than cupcakes… and so mini cakes it is! Sometimes a girl just gets lazy and makes do with what is already in the house…!  Besides…  I baked these things at 10 o clock at night AFTER work and football practice… going to the supermarket just to make traditional cupcakes might have taken things a bit far. lol.

To make 12 mini cakes / cupcakes you will need the following:

  • 1 and 1/3 cups flour
  • 110 grams butter
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • couple drops of vanilla extract

Butter Cream Frosting ingredients

  • 110 grams of softened butter
  • 3 to 4 cups of icing sugar
  • few drops of vanilla extract

Basically as always its pretty simple. In a bowl cream together the butter and sugar (helps if the butter is softened) – it should be nice fluffy. Then add in the eggs and stir. Then slowly add in the flour, and then a little of the milk, bits at a time. Finally add in the vanilla extract. Stir this all together until smooth.

Then pour into muffin holes, about three-quarters the way to the top, add bake for about 20 mins.

Let the the cakes cool – in the mean time get your frosting ready.

To make the frosting whip the butter a little and then slowly bit by bit add in the icing sugar until you have the right taste and texture. Finish with a little vanilla extract.

When the cakes are cooled decorate! I used mini m&ms and glitter frosting!

Enjoy x


Happy Blogaversary?! 1 year old today :-)

1 year ago today (November 17, 2010) I started this blog. The reasons I started blogging about my food were many, but here are the main reasons:

1. I LOVE food and I LOVE cooking

2. I had just ended a long on-off relationship and wanted to keep myself occupied

3. My friend who was meant to help keep me occupied that night (girl’s night out) bailed on me last minute

4. I wanted to!

So there I was on Thursday (our Friday) night with nothing to do and wanting to keep myself busy. The usual options were: call another friend and meet up, have a glass of wine and watch some telly, or read a book. None of these options appealed that night and I found myself with itchy fingers. No, not to text, call, or email him, but to return to a more lasting love… FOOD. :-p

The “immortal” words of my friends M + E came back to me (I know, I know I am NOT funny… but I do amuse myself) who said at a dinner party the week before that I should blog my recipes.

Now before this starts sounding like my blog was a last minute whim of the broken-hearted and friendless (of which I was neither and thankfully am still not), I had always thought about blogging but just had no clue where to start. Also the thought that I’d be terrible and no one would care crossed my mind a couple (hundred) times.

However, that night with M + E’s words ringing in my ears, I thought f**k it, it’ll be fun! It also seemed like a great way for me to document my recipes in an easily accessible format (as I have TERRIBLE handwriting!). My first post was posted in the EARLY morning Friday!

So I took off the party dress, kicked off the heels, poured myself a glass of wine and went to work. Till that date, I had never read a food blog, barely knew what WordPress was, and was a total blogging newbie. I had absolutely no clue (this state still exists), and if you read other people’s far superior blogs you’ll see the truth in those words. But the point is: it was easy. So easy and so much fun. That night I got to create a blog name, “design” my site, and start writing. I haven’t really stopped either.

Blogging about my food has caused me to think up new recipes and be more varied in what I eat (because I can’t blog about the same thing… or can I? Cheese toast, 100 different ways???). It’s also taught me so much about the on and offline world of food love, and shown me just how much passion there is out there. Just how amazing and dedicated people can be to food. I freely admit, I’m still such an amateur and before I started blogging, I didn’t realize quite how much there is to learn and discover. Being young(ish) this excites me… because I can see so many adventures ahead. Blogging has also introduced me to a whole variety of people on and offline that I otherwise would never have met and I just think how cool it is that something as small as a comment made at a dinner party and an unreliable friend! (lol) can be the start of a whole new set of experiences.

I genuinely love that I get to write down and share my recipes and that people read and engage with me over the stuff I write. Thanks so much to everyone who has visited the site and those who comment as well – I really appreciate it!

x