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Rocket and fennel salad with toasted seeds

20 Apr

There has been a fennel bulb languishing in the veggie tray for ages. It’s been there for so long, I can no longer remember my reason for buying it.

I now realise that it was  waiting for its moment to shine in this rocket and fennel salad with tahini-ginger dressing and toasted seeds.

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Hot cross bun and butter pudding

15 Apr

hot cross bun and butter pudding

Comfort food is having a bit of a moment around here, which makes sense. And things don’t get much more comforting than bread and butter pudding.

This one is made with a six-pack of hot cross buns that were inexplicably overlooked on Easter weekend. Continue reading

Chocolate chip cookies

13 Apr

chocolate chip cookies

This is a truly excellent chocolate chip cookie recipe. One of the things I like best is how a modest list of ingredients produces such a stellar result.

Even before these locked-down days, I’d come across a recipe with 250g best-quality chocolate, 4 eggs, two types of sugar, and bag of M&Ms thrown in for good measure, and think “of course that’s going to taste good – it’s a bunch of rich, sweet things mooshed together.”

We’ve made these chocolate chip cookies with plain and self-raising flour (no baking soda), wholewheat, and on one occasion khorasan flour. Dark chips, light chips, butterscotch chips or chopped baking chocolate. Whatever nuts we have on hand, or no nuts at all.

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Microwave banana pudding

13 Apr

microwave banana pudding

Microwave banana pudding has been a little spot of brightness in these worrying days, scratching a sticky toffee pudding itch we hadn’t known was there.

We’ve made this recipe from the BBC Good Food website four times in the past three weeks. It’s a great way to use up old bananas, takes 15 minutes start to finish, cooks while you have dinner, and tastes fabulous.

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Spiced plum muffins

21 Oct

spiced plum muffins

I make bran muffins most weekends, but occasionally I mix things up with lemon poppyseed or spiced plum muffins.

Plum and ginger always work well together. I love the extra hit the preserved ginger brings, but they are also nice without it. Continue reading

Warm cannellini bean salad

6 Jun

This warm cannellini bean salad is of those happy marriages of ingredients that are just meant for each other.

The combination of colours, textures and flavours – floury beans, silky rocket and salty pancetta, loosely bound in a lemony crème fraiche dressing – is a delight. Continue reading

Roasted kale, carrot and apple salad

5 Apr

Roasted kale, carrot and apple salad

I have a salad for lunch most days. When it’s cold wet like the last few days have been, I make it a warm one.

The kale is transformed by its time in the oven, softening and developing a deeper, woodsy flavour that contrasts nicely with the crisp apple and toasted seeds.

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Parsnip soup with sautéed greens

5 Mar

parsnip soup with sautéed greens

I’ve made this parsnip soup with sautéed greens so regularly for so many years, that it was a surprise to realise that it wasn’t on this website. Continue reading

Lemon poppy seed muffins

14 Jan

I almost always make muffins for breakfast on Saturday morning.

For years, my go-to recipe has been these blueberry bran muffins, but in last few months lemon poppyseed muffins have been giving them a run for their money. Continue reading

Trifle

22 Dec

I make trifle only once a year – over the Christmas holiday, when a big creamy, custardy, boozy bowl of indulgence seems like just what Santa ordered…;-)

This is a very different trifle to my Grandma Ivy’s, which calls for red and green jello, candied fruit and optional coconut macaroons(!).

(If I’m to realise my ambition of cooking every family recipe in Fern’s Food, I’ll have to give it a go some Christmas, but we’re keeping it classic this year.) Continue reading

Endive, pear, walnut and blue cheese salad

19 Dec

Endive, pear, walnut and blue cheese salad

This is one of my favourite winter salads, especially at this time of year.

Fresh and light without being worthy, endive, pear, walnut and blue cheese salad is nice counterpoint to the the rich food we’ve  been indulging in.

It’s also delicious, with each ingredient bringing something to the party. Continue reading

Waffles

5 Sep

waffles

This is Ten More Bites first-ever guest post, brought to you by my daughter Lyra:

Hello! This is Lyra, writing this blog post today about how to make waffles.

We love to make waffles for breakfast and so long as you have a waffle iron it takes no more then fifteen minutes.

P.S. this recipe makes six large waffles…

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Sweet potato fries

24 Aug

Sweet potato fries

When the girls were small, I’d usually have a bag of oven chips in the freezer to serve alongside fish fingers and peas when they had friends round for tea.

Now that our fish finger days are behind us, I almost never make chips (oven or otherwise), but I’ll occasionally rustle up a tray of sweet potato fries. Continue reading

Cornish pasties

13 Jul

Cornish pasties

I’ve gone for Cornish pasties to represent England in this year’s World Cup cook-off.

Yes, it’s a shameless crowd-pleaser, but I suspect that England needs all the help it can get – both in the kitchen and on the pitch.

Strictly speaking, if it’s not made in Cornwall, it’s not a Cornish pasty.

But if I’d made these in Penzance instead of London, I think they might pass muster.  Continue reading

Sweet potato, chorizo and red pepper

2 May


Sweet potato, red pepper and chorizo tossed in a simple vinaigrette is a very satisfying combination of ingredients.

I usually serve it as a simple, weekday dinner over couscous, but it also works nicely as a warm salad. Continue reading

Cream of cauliflower soup

5 Mar

cream of cauliflower soup

This cream of cauliflower soup has the silkiest texture. I sometimes omit the cream– replacing it with more milk – and it still comes out rich and smooth.

Horseradish combines beautifully with cauliflower. Along with the lemon juice, it adds a bit of heat and brightness to the mix. Continue reading

Broccoli spread

28 Feb

confit broccoli

I wasn’t sure what to call this broccoli concoction…

It started out as broccoli confit, but I’ve cut so much on the oil that the name no longer fits. I thought of broccamole, but decided the lack of avocados ruled that one out.

Patés are too smooth, dips are for dipping. Which led me to “spread” – so broccoli spread it is.

Whatever the name, it’s very moreish stuff. I serve it as an appetiser on toasted sourdough or crackers. I also eat it with a spoon straight out of the fridge. Continue reading

Cauliflower and white bean stew

20 Feb

Cauliflower and white bean stew

Cauliflower and white bean stew is a one of those no-fuss, mid-week meals I’ve been making for years.

There’s something vaguely Mediterranean about it – Spanish or maybe Greek – which can be played up by adding smoked paprika, or a scattering of crumbled feta. But generally I just make it as below.

It took awhile for the girls to warm to it (courgette has always been a hard sell for some reason), but they eat it happily now. Continue reading

Green beans with toasted almonds and lime

4 Feb

green beans with toasted almonds and lime

I love green beans, and have some great ways of preparing them – flash fried with garlic and chilli, steam-fried with mustard seeds and ginger, or tossed in an Indian-inspired dressing – but these green beans with toasted almonds and lime stands up to any of them.

The idea comes from my friend Debbie, who remembers being served delicious green beans dressed with lime when she was a student in Paris. Continue reading

Squid and fennel salad with croutons

27 Jan

Seafood fennel salad with croutons

Squid and fennel salad has become my go-to dinner party starter. Delicious and a little bit special, you can do nearly all the prep in advance, simply tossing the last few elements together when it is time to serve. Continue reading

Panettone pudding

19 Jan

panettone pudding

I’m not a fan of bread and butter pudding, though I’ve warmed to it somewhat over the years. (As a child, I considered it a personal insult when mum served it for dessert.)

And I’ve never seen the point of panettone – that overrated, inevitably stale and dry-as-dust, identity crisis of a cake-bread, whose packaging is the best thing going for it.

But bring the two together in the form of panettone pudding, and it really is a case of two wrongs making a right… Continue reading

Winter slaw with poppy seed dressing

15 Jan

winter slaw with poppy seed dressing

With its bright, contrasting colours, and pomegranate seeds twinkling like little gems, winter slaw is a pretty salad.

I can find pomegranate seeds annoying. The amount of fibrous pit you grind through to release the juicy flesh detracts from my eating enjoyment.

But those pits are of no consequence in this crunchy riot of texture and flavour. Continue reading

Celeriac and dill soup

11 Dec

celeriac dill soup

This celeriac and dill soup has a wonderful nutty taste and velvety texture.

I usually stir through a splash of cream at the end, which gives it an added richness, but it’s perfectly nice without it.
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Witches’ fingers

31 Oct

Witches fingers

Witches’ fingers are another standard item on our annual Halloween supper – along with the pumpkin soup with coconut milk, roasted pumpkin seeds and bloodsucking jellies.

I always steam a big heap of green beans to provide a nod in the direction of healthy eating (though I expect Adam and I end up eating most of them).

The original recipe is from Delicious magazine.
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Raspberry meringue roulade

18 Sep

Raspberry meringue roulade

I’ve seen recipes for meringue roulades over the years, but assumed they were well beyond my baking abilities. My efforts to produce a passable Swiss roll were hardly confidence building.

But finding myself with a quantity of egg whites that needed using, I decided to give it a go.

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Pork, chicken and cranberry pie

29 May

Pork and chicken pie

In the excitement of last year’s Great British Bake-off,  I rashly committed to baking all of the signature bakes.

Each week, I watched with growing dread to see what overambitious baking project I’d have to tackle next. I was fine with the drizzle cakeiced biscuits and Yorkshire pudding,  and managed to turn out a passable chocolate babka.

But the thought of making Danish pastries from scratch stopped me in my tracks for months.

However, I’m nothing if not an “completer-finisher” (eventually)… Since the show ended, I’ve gone on to make lemon meringue pie and Swiss roll. And at long last… pork, chicken and cranberry pie.

Strictly speaking, I seem to recall the brief was individual meat pies, but it seemed simpler to make one large pie instead.

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Kimchi grilled cheese sandwich

23 Apr

Kimchi grilled cheese

Kimchi and cheese probably seems  an odd combination to most people.

Even today, I doubt the average Korean family eats much cheese, and kimchi is hardly a store cupboard staple in Britain (though it certainly is in this British home).

But in this global world, these two unlikely ingredients have met and fallen in love. Kimcheeze anyone? Sorry…

In an attempt to raise the tone, I quote the famous gastronome Jean-Anthelme Brillat-Savarin:

The discovery of a new dish does more for the happiness of the human race than the discovery of a star.

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Hot cross buns

15 Apr

Hot cross buns – once an Easter-time treat – are available in the shops all year round.

I suppose it’s old-fashioned of me, but I prefer foods keep to their allotted place in the culinary calendar. Something special to enjoy at a particular time of the year – I don’t want mince pies in May, or hot cross buns in August.

The supermarket was selling four hot cross buns for less than a pound this week, so why go to the trouble of making them at home?

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Fennel and mixed leaf salad

16 Mar

Fennel and mixed leaf salad

With its croutons and shavings of Parmesan, this simple salad is reminiscent of a Caesar, but the fennel takes it somewhere new.

It’s a much fresher affair, and one of my favourite lunches when I’m working from home.

I keep the dressing to a minimum so as not to overwhelm the tender salad leaves. Continue reading

Root vegetable crumble

7 Mar

Root vegetable crumble

Root vegetable crumble is one of my favourite things to make in the winter. While both girls are affronted by the very concept of a savoury crumble, I love it.

When divided into six ramekins,  portions are definitely on the starter/lunch size. When I make root vegetable crumble for dinner, I serve it with lots of steamed vegetables or a big green salad. I’ve also made it in a shallow casserole dish. Continue reading

Roast squash and chickpea salad with tahini dressing

7 Feb

Roast squash and chickpea salad

This roast squash and chickpea salad with tahini dressing is becoming a favourite winter lunch around ours.

It’s lovely served with the squash still warm from the oven, and keeps well in the fridge. I bring it back to room temperature before serving, and freshen up the seasoning. Continue reading

Swiss roll

27 Jan

Swiss roll

It took a few tries before I got the knack of making a Swiss roll, and could tick the next item on the Great British Bake-off signature bake list.

A few things I learned the hard way:

  1. Unless you whip eggs and sugar together until they have tripled in volume, your sponge will resemble an omelette in texture. (That one went straight in the bin.)
  2. Do not over-cook the sponge, or it will not roll without cracking. (I converted that one into a flat, mangled Victoria sponge.)
  3. Do not over-fill the sponge (or spread the filling too close to the edges) – all that extra filling just oozes out the end of the roll (and was dolloped on top when I sliced and served it.)

The fourth one worked like a charm…;-) Continue reading

Lentil squash soup with turmeric and spicy onions

12 Jan

Lentil squash soup with turmeric

We usually observe the Italian tradition of eating lentils on New Year’s Day. Because of their resemblance to coins, lentils are thought to symbolise good fortune and prosperity. Worth a shot…;-)

Most often, I make Puy lentils simmered with carrots, onion and celery until soft, which I serve with sausages cooked under the grill. But sometimes I make lentil soup.

This lentil squash soup with turmeric is very different to my usual lemony red lentil soup. The addition of squash both softens and fortifies the slightly grainy texture of the lentils. Continue reading

Romanesco apple pecan salad

31 Dec

Romanesco apple pecan salad

This healthy, Christmas-y (not so often you use those two adjectives to describe a dish) romanesco apple pecan salad makes a refreshing change from turkey soup and turkey sandwiches at this point in the festivities.

And aside from steaming the romanesco, it takes only minutes to put together – another point in its favour.

I serve the dressing on the side – once it is mixed through the salad, the romanesco florets are less delightfully tree-like. If romanesco isn’t available, broccoli works too. Continue reading

Mango ice cream

16 Oct

Mango ice cream
I’ve had a large tin of mango pulp taking up precious space in the pantry cupboard for ages now. It’s been so long, I can no longer remember my reason for purchasing it. I’m thinking maybe cocktails…?

The other day, it occurred to me that it would lend itself nicely to making mango ice cream. To my surprise, none of the recipes I found used tinned mango, so I decided to go it alone.

I kept things simple – just mango pulp, double cream, lime juice, salt and Malibu liqueur (another thing that’s been taking up valuable shelf space for the last ten years.)

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Steamed vegetables with cheese

12 Oct

Steamed vegetables with cheese

On my work-from-home days, I often make a big bowl of steamed vegetables with cheese for lunch.

The idea for this dish came from some two-week, healthy-eating regime we followed years ago. Each day, you were presented with two choices of lunch – and whenever steamed vegetables with cheese was an option, I chose the other one.

Until the day I didn’t… and discovered that steamed vegetables with cheese is an immensely satisfying bowl of food. I’ve eaten it regularly ever since, with whatever vegetables are in season or on hand.

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Yorkshire pudding

28 Sep

Yorkshire pudding

When I was a little girl, my dad cooked a roast dinner every Sunday. Gradually, he stopped  – maybe roasts got too expensive, or family schedules too complicated, I don’t know. But I do remember years where Sunday night meant The Wonderful World of Walt Disney, roast beef, and bath-before-bed.

We were a meat-and-four-veg family  – typically potatoes, beans, corn and carrots, but sometimes squash, peas, beets, broccoli, spinach or chard featured instead. Whatever the vegetable, it was always boiled or steamed.

But I couldn’t have cared less about roast meat or boiled veg – for me, that dinner was all about the Yorkshire pudding. Never mind that dad’s Yorkshire puddings were often the size and density of hockey pucks – they were utterly delicious, and capable of holding a generous splash of gravy.

While I now know that airy puff is what you’re aiming for with Yorkshire puddings, I retain a fondness for the dense little numbers of my childhood. (I’ve noticed many recipes call for twice the number of eggs dad used, which would no doubt make a difference to the rise.) Continue reading

Chorizo-leek phyllo tart

13 Sep

Chorizo-leek tart

We ate this chorizo-leek phyllo tart a few times over the summer. I’d cook it early in the day – tarts and quiches benefit from having enough time to cool and rest – and we’d eat for dinner with a green salad.

I’ve experimented with adding goat’s cheese, sundried tomatoes, and sliced olives, but didn’t feel the tart was improved by it.

The chorizo provides ample flavour, and without cheese, the cream and eggs bake to a silky, custard-like consistency.

Sometimes simple is best. Continue reading

Grapefruit drizzle cake with yogurt icing

31 Aug

Grapefruit drizzle cake

The Great British Bake-off is back! Returning from a week in Girona a couple of days ago, we didn’t even unpack our suitcases before sitting down to watch the first episode. We have our priorities straight around here…;-)

“You are going to bake along with them again, aren’t you mum? You could do the technical challenges this time…” (While the thought of attempting my own Jaffa cakes is tempting, I plan to stick with signature bakes for another season.)

So, first up, drizzle cake…

Lemon drizzle is the undisputed champion of the drizzle cake world – a sweet-tart, sticky-soft, tea-time treat you’d have to go some way to improve upon. But having already written about my mum’s lemon bread, I decided to make a grapefruit drizzle cake instead.

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Sticky ginger cake with lemon icing

27 Aug

Sticky ginger cake with lemon icing

This lovely, slightly damp and sticky ginger cake is fast becoming a staple in our house. I love how the sharp lemon icing cuts the sweetness of the sponge.

The cake keeps really well, and is even more delicious the following day. It could well be even better the day after that, but we’ve never had one last long enough to find out…;-)

The original recipe is from the BBC Good Food website. Continue reading