Comeback post 

A comeback post finally 

Robertson and Turnbull may have been quiet on the blogging front but still busy busy with other things …. 

Making quesadillas for a start… 

making different options with cheese and apple for kiddios and a more spicy version for the adults wth jalapeños and Parma ham ( ideas from Annabel Karmel and Nigella Lawson) …

Hopefully starting up our baking challenges again …. 

Birthday cake bonanza

Birthday season in our house this month with 3/4 of us celebrating  

Baked 4 cakes as my daughter had two parties.

2 were chocolate cakes adapted from Lorraine pascale’s I can’t believe you made that from the book” Baking made easy” . This is basically a chocolate sponge filled and covered with chocolate buttercream. LorriNe uses plain flour in her recipes and adds own raising agent, usually baking powder. 

Decoration wise, for the first cake, I knew that princesses would be liked and these cake toppers double up as toys so why not? 

For the second chocolate sponge you see, I filled with raspberry jam for a change and simply topped with lilac sugar decorations, (from a Disney Frozen decoration kit), and happy birthday candles. This cake was for a 30-something man whose favourite cake is chocolate…..

The week later… The requirement was two cakes .. One for my 4 year old daughter and one for my 1 year old son.

On questioning her, my daughter had wished for a frozen cake and browsing the internet I stumbled upon a cake decorating company who personalise with edible rice paper. 

She also chose her brother’s cake- blue with sunflowers. 

Both these cakes were simple Victoria sponges with strawberry jam as a filling. The frozen cake was covered in vanilla buttercream as I thought this resembled snow and the blue cake was covered with ready to roll icing ( mixed a bright blue with a white) and dyed white ready to roll with yellow food colouring and used a sunflower stencil. The dying agent is very important in sugar craft which I found out the hard way – the liquid colouring causing the icing to come being soft and sticky… Black writing icing was used to create the centre of the flower. 

 
   
   

The best ( and probably not very healthy) French Toast

  

My memories of Fremch toast begin when I was a teenager on a family holiday in India.

My mum had to return to Scotland early for work commitments so my brother and I stayed back in India with my dad  for 6 weeks over a few winter weeks.

My aunt used to cook beautiful Indian meals when we missed my mum and it was at around 6 pm  every evening she would make rounds of hot French toast.

These tasted great and so when I saw Annabel karmel’s recipe for these in her finger food book, I couldn’t resist

These are a hit with the whole family with cream cheese and jam as a filling, they are really very sweet and luxurious tasting with the butter enveloping the bread.  

Very simple – strawberry jam, cream cheese sandwiched in bread, dipped in an egg mixture to which she adds vanilla extract and caster sugar! 

I just wanted to share what a success it has been – well liked from 11month olds to 36 year olds! 

Maybe a nice alternative to pancakes at the weekend. 

Xx

January is for enjoying

When most of the country is busy on a January health kick following on from festive indulgences I have embraced the Danish concept of “Hygge” meaning cost comforting times at home eating good food and fine wines.  

The past making was just one such night and got me in the mood for exploring different pasta types.  A couple I have found in our local M&S in the ” deli” section for locality based delicacies .  This unique section of the store hosts a wealth of different products . 

First up, some giant pasta shells

 
These were stuffed with minced sauce and layered with bechamel and spinach and baked topped with Gran Padano cheese

  
  
Who could resist.

Next up were these cute little pastas.  I thought on how to use them ( salad had been my first idea) but on a cold winters night only the following would do…. An Italian style Chicken stew. 

  
To make you need: serves 2;

a couple of diced chicken breasts 

Carrots – chopped / cubed

2 leeks

Litre chicken stock ( I used stock cubes) 

Wild mushrooms – I had yellow footed chanterelles and the meaty pied di mouton

The pastas – a couple of handfuls – any small and firm pasta would do ( I have to learn all the names)

I coated the chicken in a tablespoon of pasta flour, salt to taste, coarse black pepper and nutmeg and browned this off in a casserole before adding the veg, stock and mushrooms and sticking in hot oven for about 30 mins.  I added the pasta 10 mins before the end. 

Served by candlelight for the perfect hygge effect.

Pasta made perfect 

Well, I won’t say mine is perfect but I had a reasonable first attempted with a newly acquired pasta maker in the house.  I had always been put off making pasta ( imagined long hours kneading and rolling and drying and rolling) but this was surprising simple and a pleasure to make.  

I felt like a child when , having finally got the hand of feeding the dough in to the machine , I began to pull out fine strands of linguine to dry in the “Italian Kitchen” I couldn’t wipe the smile off my face.  And that was before I tasted it. 

   

  I served this up with fresh scallops and chorizo and little more.

   

  

Bubble and Squeak

I have never been a big fan of eating leftovers.  Scraps from the fridge ( tired veg and chunks of dry cheese etc) yes but leftover from the night before no.  However, what I dislike even more is scraping food into the food waste caddy.  I hate the food waste caddy concept.  Not that I’m against the environmental plus but I loathe the unhygienic element.  Smelly bagged little bins churning during the warmer months and lying cold and wet in winter .  As my cousin would term ” gaads ” ( southern Ayrshire word for disgusting) .  Turnbull shares my distaste.

Thus… I am beginning to cook less and re-use more.  

My mother has always been a big fan of leftovers …. Especially in the morning.  Her speciality is cold sprouts and tatties.  This year I took a leaf out of her book on Boxing Day and cooked up a version of bubble and squeak and I have to say it was mighty fine.

   
 
Bubble and squeak is a traditional English dish first recorded in 1806.  Traditionally it uses the left overs from Sunday dinner and is termed bubble and squeak because of the noise during the cooking process .  A great way to use up the leftovers and can be adapted to whatever is left.  Served here with eggs cooked in the pan and a hint of chilli. 

….Christmas come easy

….. And so October turned to November and then Christmas was full upon us.  Funny to think it was all over a month ago already .

A few festive preparations got us in the mood for Father Christmas and all his treats….
   
   
December is “mini-month”.  Everything mini appears in the supermarket.  My annual shop bought highlight , mini pies and sprouts washed down with a glass of prosecco.

Turnbull and I did have a set task for December , either to ice biscuits for the tree or make a ginger bread house .  My ideal was to create Biscuiteer style Christmas biscuits…..

  
Sadly, at 10 o’clock at night after a day at work  my icing skills had other ideas … Still tasty tho’

   
   

Robertson’s Big Catch Up…. October 2016

So….. looking back this morning I was shocked by the abundance of Turnbull posts and lack of Robertson! I apologise.  Lots of cooking has been happening in the Robertson Household and once again I will have to summarise in an attempt to catch up with Turnbulls Literary-culinary gems.  

First up….. In October I was very excited…. My Hero Nigella’s new  book was due out and I was very lucky to have a copy given to me by Turnbull. 

Inspiration was such for a good couple of weeks, tasting the nourishing delights from Simply Nigella.  The recipes quickly become a staple set of meals to brighten the working week .  

  

Some particular favourites;

 Coloured pretty bakes ….roasted curried cauliflower ….  
 Comforting bakes… Leek pasta bake  
Blissful bowl food… Ramen

 
And a cheeky burger anyone….

  
Just posting on these makes me want to delve right back in to Simply Nigella….. One complaint from Mr R….. Too many pomegranates in the recipes !!

Lamingtons 

This was a bake that I had promised my three year old daughter we would do together. And as these little ones don’t forget anything, after she reminded me for the 40th time, I felt I needed to set aside some time to do this with her properly.

We read about lamingtons together in a book I bought her ( in a Mary’s living and giving shop) named Santa koala. The book is set down under so we talked about wallabys, kookaburras as well as these little chocolate treats.

The recipe, I found on Jamie Oliver’s online library. And actually this section is something else I would love to explore in more detail. Entitled “Foodie World Cup”, it was published in June/ July 2014 when the Fifa World Cup was taking place. Even though Australia were not competing, it was included in he list of destinations and “lamingtons” was the food that was discussed. 

Jamie’s foodie World Cup series is brilliant and hopefully something Robertson and I will go back and discover as the inner geek in me rejoiced over the detailed description of different food items and the (his)stories behind them

Anyway,back to the lamingtons. They were a great little treat to make although had to be made in a few stages involving chilling in the fridge a couple of times – good way for three year old to learn about patience and good way to play with new Christmas presents to while away the time.

The most fun was the coating and dipping in chocolate and desiccated coconut… Well no, the most fun was eating them …