Saturday, 25 May 2013

Cheese, Onion & Potato Pie

Yes I know this recipe has "winter warmer" written all over it but, even thought it's the end of May, it's not exactly toasty outside yet. Yesterday was grey, cold and rainy and that, combined with a two hour power cut around lunchtime, meant that by the time dinner came around I was ready for something warm and comforting.

Well, this is about as comforting as it gets. A big, warm, cheesy, mashy hug of a dinner that you could happily eat under the duvet with a spoon.

Cheese, Onion & Potato Pie
(adapted from In the Mood for Food, by Jo Pratt)

750g potatoes, peeled and quartered
40g butter
1 large onion, thinly sliced
100ml milk
200g mature cheddar or similar
1 teaspoon wholegrain or English mustard
salt and pepper
2-3 tomatoes, sliced (I substituted baby plum tomatoes on this occasion)
1) Preheat the oven to 200c/fan 180c/gas 6 and grease an oven proof dish.

2) Cook the potatoes in boiling, salted water for 15-20 minutes until tender.

3) While the potatoes are cooking, melt the butter in a pan and gently fry the onion for about 10 minutes until lightly golden. Add the milk and heat until just boiling.

4) Drain the potatoes, return them to the pan and mash them really well. Stir in the milk and onions, three quarters of the cheese, the mustard and season.

5) Transfer to the ovenproof dish, scatter over the remaining cheese and top with the tomatoes. Bake for 20-25 minutes until the top is bubbling and lightly golden.

Serves 2 generously

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Clandestine Cake Club - Bury St Edmunds - 18th May 2013

On Saturday 18th May the Bury St Edmunds Clandestine Cake Clubbers got together for their biggest meet yet. Sixteen of us gathered in the wonderful surroundings of the Greene Room bar at the Theatre Royal, a beautiful building in the centre of town.

Ready and waiting...

As May marks the first anniversary of me setting up the Bury St Edmunds cake club we celebrated with a Birthday Bonanza theme. We had a wonderful selection of cakes to choose from, with a definite emphasis on chocolate!

Here are some pictures of the fourteen fabulous cakes we indulged in (apologies to Nathalie and Ruth for the poor photos of their cakes - I must have been in too much of a hurry to tuck in!)....

Amelia's Carrot & Ginger Cake

Emma's Lemon Cake

Trish's Birthday Cake

Barbara's Chocolate Cake

Chrissi's Cartoon Birthday Cake

Rene's Chocolate, Date & Hazlenut Cake

Helen's Carrot Cake

Sophie's Devil's Food Cake

Pat's Raspberry Bakewell

Ruth's Chocolate Box Cake (front of picture - apologies for the blurriness)

Katherine's Cupcake Cake

Shauna's Brooklyn Blackout Cake (renamed the Grand Canyon!). As you can see from the picture Shauna's cake didn't quite turn out as expected but this just proved what the CCC is all about, ie sharing cakes and the stories that go with them even if things don't go to plan! Oh, and it tasted amazing!

Nathalies' Chocolate Amaretto Cake (at the rear of the picture)

My Chocolate Marshmallow Cake

A big thanks again to the Theatre Royal for being such welcoming hosts.

Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Oven-Baked Fish with Tomato & Parsley

At this time of year rather than thinking "what shall I cook for tea" I'm more often wondering "what can I cook for tea that goes with Jersey Royals". As a native (albeit it living overseas) I admit I'm bit biased but the annual arrival of these wonderful potatoes in the shops, like the asparagus and strawberries that are also beginning to appear, is cause for celebration. Their firm texture and buttery flavour are not to be missed at this time of year.

This particular recipe is a perfect partner for my favourite potatoes and comes from one of my favourite take-to-bed cookbooks (I'm surely not the only person who loves to curl up in bed with a pile of recipe books to leaf through!), Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros. A lot of the recipes aren't the sort of things I would usually cook but the layout and photographs are lovely and it's a great inspiration when I want to try something different.

The simple ingredients in this recipe and combine to provide some wonderful flavours and the colours are enough to brighten up the chilliest spring day. It's a great way of turning a plain piece of fish into something a bit special.

Oven-Baked Fish with Tomato & Parsley
(adapted from Falling Cloudberries by Tessa Kiros)

1kg/ 2lb 4oz firm white fish fillets cut into 6cm pieces
400g tin tomatoes with juice, chopped (or very ripe tomatoes peeled and chopped) - I used whole tomatoes but by-passed the peeling part
15g/1/4 cup chopped parsley
4 large garlic cloves, finely chopped
juice of 2 lemons
2 celery stalks, chopped, with some leaves
1 teaspoon sugar
3 tablespoons olive oil

1) Preheat the oven to 180c/350f/gas 4. Put the fish in an oven dish where they will fit in a single layer. Mix together the tomatoes, parsley, garlic, lemon juice, celery, sugar and olive oil and add seasoning to taste.

2) Pour over the fish so that all pieces are covered, cover with foil and bake for about 30 minutes.

3) Remove the foil, increase the heat to 200c/400f/gas 6 and bake for a further 40-50 minutes, or until the liquid has thickened and the top of the fish is golden in a couple of places.

4) Serve with new potatoes or some crusty bread.

Serves 4 - 6