Saturday, 26 March 2011

What's been going on?

Hi all,
Sorry I've been offline for soooo long!  And thanks to my friends for nagging me to start up again!
Well, you'll be pleased to know that I am in the final stages of editing my cookbook, and then I can send some chapters to some hand-picked and unsuspecting publishers!  I am also thinking about self-publishing so don't be surprised when you hear about a strange woman knocking on doors in Dorking trying to flog cookbooks..........
It's been a tough few months with the building of my beautiful extension (what a bedroom!) and Bob's dad passing over in October and then a very, very DULL winter.  Thank goodness for the sunshine, spring is here at last!

I have been increasingly drawn to raw food.  That is, food that hasn't had its nutrients stripped through heating, and I have found a wonderful author, Ani Phyo, who make the most delicious desserts (my passion after all!) which might sound a little weird if you're used to baking like me, but are amazing.  Just suspend your disbelief for a moment and make the Blueberry Cobbler!  Check out her book, 'Ani's raw food kitchen' on her website
I also am increasingly aware of food allergies in people, and especially children.  I have just been reading a blog by a mum from the US, Kelly Rudnicki,  whose children have multiple allergies.  She speaks of the hypocrisy involved even though differences are supposed to be tolerated and we are meant to be increasingly enlightened.  These differences mean people's lives.  Anyway, her blog is a good read and she has lots of recipe ideas for dairy, egg, nut free cooking.

I have also been cooking lots from Jamie's new book, 30 Minute Meals.  Now, a lot of people scoff because some of his meals have taken them longer than 30 minutes.  But I say his meals are delightful, delicious and as he already has Saintly Status, get over yourselves and try some of his ideas!!
Have fun this week!

Summer Berry Cobbler (serves 16)
This is like an upside down crumble and very lovely.  Stuffed full of antioxidants to help protect from cancer and heart disease.

1 cup pumpkin seeds, dry
1 cup almonds, dry
3/4 tsp sea salt
4 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pitted dates

Whizz all but the dates in a processor.  Add the dates until the mixture becomes doughy enough to press gently into a small pie dish.

1 cup blueberries
1/2 cup pitted dates
1/4 cup water, as needed

Blend the these with a little water until it becomes a thick, syrupy texture. 
To serve, pour the berry syrup over the crust and top with 1 1/2 cups of blueberries.  Will keep for two days in the fridge.

Cauliflower Cheese Macaroni
My book already falls open at this page - enjoy!

Hmm, don't have a picture, so take a look at some cheesy muffins instead!  Recipe next week!

1 large head of cauliflower
500g dried macaroni
250g mature Cheddar cheese, grated
4 thick slices of country bread
a few sprigs of fresh rosemary
2 cloves garlic, crushed
250g tub of creme fraiche
Parmesan cheese to serve

Boil the kettle.  Trim the cauliflower of the tatty leaves and the tough inner stalk, then quarter the head.  Put in a large saucepan, core down, with the pasta on a high heat.  Cover with boiling water, season with salt and cook according to the macaroni instructions.
Meanwhile, Process the bread, rosemary, ground pepper and a good drizzle of olive oil until you have a coarse breadcrumb consistency.
Drain the pasta , keeping 400ml of the water.  Tip the pasta and cauliflower into a roasting tray.  Add the crushed garlic to the reserved water and mix in the Cheddar, creme fraiche and season.  Mix well, breaking up the cauliflower as you go.   Sprinkle over the breadcrumbs and bake in a hot oven for about 12 minutes, or until bubbling.
Serve with some salad, with this dressing:

a small bunch of basil
1/2 a 30g tin anchovies (you can't taste them!)
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp natural yoghurt
3 tbsp red wine vinegar

Have fun this weekend!