Gastronomically Terrific

January 31, 2016

Stilton and leek tarts

Filed under: starter, vegetarian — Tags: , , , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 2:13 pm

And so, on to the three courses I made for my dinner party in mid January… I had to pick vegetarian or fish courses, and make sure everybody coming liked what was on offer! So, for starters I chose this stilton and leek tarts.

The hardest part of this starter was making the cheese pastry. Not that this was especially hard, as long as you are used to making pastry! It took me 20 minutes or so rub all the ingredients together, roll out the pastry and cut out circles to line a yorkshire pudding tin.

The topping for the tarts is fried leek, topped with grated cheese and chopped parsley. An egg, cream and nutmeg mixture is then poured into each tart before being baked for 20 minutes. When I first poured in the wet mixture it spilled out the side of each tart a little (I had to cut the pastry rounds slightly smaller than recommended as I didn’t have a big enough cutter), and I was worried that the mixture would spill out over the sides once baked and look awful. It turns out I needn’t have worried – the whole thing rose (upwards, rather than outwards) in the oven, and they looked pretty impressive once baked. They tasted pretty good too!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Mary Berry’s Christmas Collection, pg. 39-40


July 1, 2015

Tomato tarte tatin

Filed under: lunch, Uncategorized, vegetarian — Tags: , , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 6:01 pm

I don’t have any photos of this, because life started to get a little fraught around this time – my mum came to visit for the week (which is why I made this tatin), then we went on holiday for a week, and then two weeks later we were due to go to California for the summer. So you’ll just have to take my word for it when I tell you that this looked, well, a little odd!

It did, however, taste pretty good, and wasn’t too hard to make. I fried up some onions and dark sugar, then removed them from the dish. I then placed tomatoes on the same dish, face down, and poured over the onions and some grated cheddar. I then whisked together 2 eggs and some mustard powder before covering the whole thing in puff pastry. In order to cook it, I then placed the casserole dish in the oven and baked it for 20 minutes.

Now, half of the tatin rose VERY high, in a slightly odd manner. Presumably something to do with how I whisked the eggs… either way, it tasted fine and made for a pretty decent lunch!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Hallelujah! Easter! By Wendy Dyer, Honor Harris and Judith Merrell, pg. 8-9

May 11, 2015

Creamy kedgeree

Filed under: main — Tags: , , — lawsonanna @ 10:54 am

Creamy kedgeree from aboveThis was a recipe I had planned on making before baby J appeared. It didn’t happen, so got forgotten about for a couple of months. However, I was still keen to make it as I thought that both I and the toddler would enjoy eating it. So when I had a spare day, I finally got around to making it for tea.

Creamy kedgeree is basically a risotto with fish added to it. You poach the fish, then cook some rice, vegetables and spices in the poached fish liquid. Once everything is cooked you add some peas and the fish itself and make sure everything is heated through. You also need to hard boil a few eggs for this dish to work…

… Because the fun part is making the dish look like a fish before you eat it. Put the rice mixture on one side of the plate, and add a slice cucumber for an eye, with a raisin on top. Then slice up the hard boiled egg and lay the slices out like the scales of a fish. Finally, we added two slices of apple to make the fish look like it had a fin.

Looks good, and doesn’t taste too bad (although not incredibly exciting). The toddler and I both ate it fairly happily!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Hallelujah! Easter, pg. 20-21

May 6, 2015

Wheaten loaf

Filed under: Cake, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 9:27 am

It’s been a while since I’ve posted here as I’ve been a bit busy – the last month has seen the arrival of our baby daughter, and the sleepless nights that have followed… however, I have managed to keep baking, at least some of the time!

I actually made this loaf before baby J arrived, but it has taken me two months to write and post about it (which is probably why I’m failing to find the photo I took – if I find it I’ll add it…). It’s an easy loaf to make, and surprisingly tasty considering it’s basically made with Weetabix and dried fruit. It’s another Hallelujah! Easter recipe, hence the simplicity. You do have to remember to soak the Weetabix and dried fruits in milk overnight, but other than that all you need to do is add egg and self-raising flour, and then bake in the oven for 1 1/2 hours. A lovely simple fruit loaf, which worked well in early March when I had very little energy or brain capacity. It was also a great thing to have lying around in the house with a new baby – a tasty cake treat which wasn’t chocolate, which meant I didn’t need to feel quite so guilty about eating it. It also contains plenty of fibre which I’m told is good for new mums!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Hallelujah! Easter, pg. 24-25

December 31, 2014

Aubergine five-nut roast

Filed under: Christmas, freezer, main, vegetarian — Tags: , , , , , , , , , — lawsonanna @ 10:14 pm

When the rest of us were eating our Christmas turkey, this was my hubby’s alternative. I actually made it about a month in advance, at the end of November, and just reheated it on Christmas Day – if nothing else, it saved on oven space!

The recipe itself isn’t too complex, but there are a lot of ingredients – so there’s a lot of grating, zesting and chopping to do before everything goes in the tin. Basically, you mix together nuts, cheese, breadcrumbs, parsley, egg, lemon juice and zest, onion, celery and garlic, then wrap it all in aubergine strips. It is then baked in the oven for about an hour.

Nobody except Dan actually ate this on Christmas Day (there was tasty meat on offer, after all), but I did try some a few days later when we were eating up the last of the Christmas dinner left-overs – and it tasted alright. Not like bacon-wrapped chipolatas or turkey tastes, but pretty good if you’re a vegetarian.

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: Mary Berry’s Christmas Collection, pg. 93-94

February 27, 2011

Griddled courgette quiche with cheese and rocket salad

Filed under: main — Tags: , , , , — thinkingdan @ 11:00 pm

This was our first go at Quiche from scratch, and it was pretty good.   We disagreed a little on whether it was awesome or just nice, due to the intensity of herbs used.  The main flavour here is rosemary, and you have to like a really intense hit – for me it was just a little too much.  We had a salad with it, which was about the best salad I’ve ever had.  It was only a rocket, grape and walnut mixture with a dressing, but somehow it worked really well.

Rocket powered salad makes a nice launch.

The Quiche first.  We bothered to make our own pastry, for two reasons: firstly, short crust pastry is the easiest thing in the world, and secondly this was “enriched”, so used half egg and half butter instead of only butter.  It gives it a slightly more solid texture and richer flavour.  The filling is a courgette, 3 shallots and 2 tbsp mixed nuts (though pine nuts are recommended) all griddled until brown, mixed with 2 small eggs and 75ml double cream and 1 1/2 tsp pesto and 1 tsp chopped rosemary.  (Admittedly, we used way more than this…)  You just mix the lot together, drop on the pastry, and bake  for 30 minutes at 200 degrees celsius.

Whoops, we forgot a sprinkling of parmesan… now I’m not going to lie to you, everything does taste better with cheese.  But in this case, we didn’t miss it.

On to the salad. This was supposed to be a main meal, with roast chicken in, but we just left out the chicken and it worked really well.  Rocket, celery, cucumber , spring onion, walnut, Stilton and grapes make up the bulk with the dressing being olive oil, sherry vinegar , mustard and mixed herbs.  I think the key is to go lightly with the strongly flavoured ingredients, since everything in here is actually quite interesting to eat in its own way.

Who made it: The both of us.

Recipe: The salad is “The daily cook book” by love food, september 8th.  The Quiche is from “the complete vegetarian cookbook” by Sarah Brown, page 255, with the pastry on page 254.

The sa

February 11, 2011

Baked cheese Frittata

Filed under: main — Tags: , , , , — thinkingdan @ 10:27 pm

This baked cheese omelette is based on a dish we made a while ago.  It is really easy but a very tasty way of making omelette.


Omelette should come with chips. Sorry, frittata should come with chips. That's what I said...


Its dead easy:

  1. Fry some onion, garlic, and whatever other veg you like: pepper, mushroom, beans, brocolli, chilli…
  2. When they are cooked, add spinach, and your favourite herbs: coriander, parsley, dill, etc.  Also add fennel seeds.
  3. Mix these in with 2 beaten eggs per person, mixed in with cheese – here we had about 50g of feta cheese.  Season…
  4. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 200 degrees.

That is it. Obviously any variation is fine.  Meaties can add bacon; whatever veg is in the fridge will work well.  I think some herbs or spices are important but anything goes – a curry style mix would also do well, with cumin, paprika and coriander.

Who made it: Dan and Anna

Recipe: Made up, but based on “the complete vegetarian cookbook” by Sarah Brown, page 180.

January 30, 2011

Kuku with spinach

Filed under: starter — Tags: , , , , , — thinkingdan @ 10:36 pm

Kuku is omelette gone coo-coo.  It looks like nothing else in the world, but works amazingly well and this may become a staple approach to eggs for us.


The recipe book says that kuku comes in many variations over the middle east, and as far as I can tell it is ordinary omelette but a) it is baked, b) it has a little spice in.  The one here, is most definitely not ordinary omelette since it contains the most pure green – which is, in fact, spinach.  Again, I strayed a little from the instructions (overspicing as I like to do) so I’ll give brief details.



300g spinach, 3 eggs, 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped mint, 1 tsp ground cumin, 100g feta cheese.


First, cook the spinach by placing it all into a large saucepan, alone, add a lid and put on a gentle heat.  The leaves quickly shrivel up, and with a little stirring the whole thing reduces about 10 fold.  Drain the spinach in a sieve or colander and squeeze out the extra water, then chop it up roughly.

Break the eggs and mix them up, trying not to beat them.  Add the spinach, chopped mint, crumbled feta cheese, cumin, salt and pepper to taste, then pour everything into a greased oven dish.  Bake at 180 degrees celcius for 25-30 minutes until just set.

The recipe book, no doubt following tradition, recommends serving this cold.  We did try that the following day and it wasn’t at all bad, but personally I prefer it hot.  The spinach forms an interesting base for the eggs, gently flavouring due to the long cooking time.  The feta cheese gives it a tang missing from simple omelette, and the mint and cumin make for a very flavoursome and different dish – no doubt you can make up the herbs and spices as takes your fancy.

Who made it: Anna and Dan jointly.

Recipe: “The complete Vegetarian cookbook” by Sarah Brown, page 181.

Quick Chocolate Mousse

Filed under: pudding — Tags: , , — thinkingdan @ 9:02 pm

This rich mousse is really easy to make, and for the lover of rich, dark chocolate is a great pudding.


Chocolate, in Mousse form


Actually, for me this was a little rich.  We used a rich, dark chocolate which is mixed in with (single!) cream, some raw egg and some Marsala.  That is all that is in there – but somehow, it tastes richer than the chocolate that went in!  Very strange. The egg doesn’t contribute to the flavour – it just makes it set in the fridge – and somehow the cream doesn’t take the edge off.

I think dark chocolate lovers would like this a lot more than I did, and perhaps I’d prefer it with milk chocolate.  But I do appreciate that there is no gelatine in it!

Who made it: Anna

Recipe: “The daily cook book” by Love Food, February 24th.

April 3, 2010

Leek and Fennel Frittata

Filed under: starter — Tags: , , , — thinkingdan @ 9:14 pm

This is basically baked omelette, which tastes very similar to the real thing and is much easier, at the price of slightly longer cooking time.

Omelette, but baked.

So for this we fry some onion, leeks and garlic, then add some fennel.  Add some dill when the vegetables have browned off then remove from the heat.  Then eggs and goats cheese are mixed in and the whole lot is baked in the oven for 30 minutes.

The taste is very pleasant, not complex but good and hearty, and the goat’s cheese gives it a pleasant tang.  Dill works quite well by giving an earthy gentle taste, although the smell will not please everyone! I’d recommend it and will be trying it again.

However, the key thing about the recipe is that you can basically do anything that works as an omelette hear, with the advantage that it cooks reliably in the oven instead of falling apart in a frying pan.  So when cooking for a lot of people this approach would be much better than the traditional one.

Who made it: Dan and Anna together.

Recipe: “the complete vegetarian cookbook” by Sarah Brown, page 180.

Older Posts »

Blog at