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Monday, 31 December 2007

Best of 2007

best of 2007

I have made and posted many recipes in my first year of food blogging. It's been quite hard to pick one that is the 'best', but I've chosen Fresh Fruit Tart. It not only looked and tasted gorgeous, it required no cooking - which was handy as I was without an oven at the time!

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Sandra from Un tocco di zenzero and Zorra from Kochtopf have compiled a special a collection of foodblogger's best recipes of 2007 which can be found here. There are some truly magnificent dishes from around the world, take a peek and get some inspiration for next year!!

Tuesday, 25 December 2007

Merry Christmas With Some Mince Pies

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Merry Christmas!

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Just time to squeeze this in for the Mini Pie Revolution. The mincemeat is really easy to make and so much nicer than the shop-bought stuff. Use regular shortcrust pastry or a sweet one.
Here is the Mini Pie Revolution round-up.

Adapted from a Waitrose recipe

500g dried, ready-to-eat apricots
150g almonds, coarsely chopped
500g luxury dried mixed fruit
½ x 250g pack 'Atora' vegetable suet
Finely grated zest and juice of 2 oranges
Finely grated zest and juice of 2 lemons
250ml Grand Marnier or brandy
275g dark brown muscovado sugar

Finely chop the apricots and place in a large mixing bowl with the chopped almonds.

Stir in all the remaining ingredients and mix well Cover with cling film and leave to stand, stirring occasionally, for at least 2 hours or overnight.

Spoon into sterilised jars, pressing down well with the back of the spoon to ensure there are no air gaps. Cover with wax paper discs, seal with lid and store in a cool, dark place until ready to use.

(Printable Recipe)

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Pecan Pie Cookies

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Although I have been feeling under the weather these past few weeks I couldn't resist doing a little baking for Eat Christmas Cookies. This is an event being held by Susan at Food Blogga - which is a fabulous food blog with delicious photos that will have you licking your screen!
There have been many entries for the cookie extravaganza, with lots of new ideas from around the world and you can see the round-up here.

These are Pecan Pie Cookies and the recipe comes from the Land O' Lakes site. They are very easy to make, quite different from your usual cookie - and the filling is just the right amount for the cookies, I do hate it when you have a ton of filling left over!

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Pecan Pie Cookies
Adapted from Land O' Lakes

For the cookies:
1 cup packed soft brown sugar
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder

Pecan Filling:
1 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup soft brown sugar
1/4 cup double cream (heavy whipping)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat the oven to 350°F.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the brown sugar, butter, egg and vanilla extract together until creamy (I used a hand held electric mixer).

Beat in the flour and baking powder until well mixed.

Shape the dough into 1 1/4-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Make an indentation in each cookie with your thumb; rotate thumb to hollow out slightly.

Combine all the filling ingredients in small bowl; fill each cookie with 1 rounded teaspoon of filling.

Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool for 1 minute before removing from cookie sheets.

The cookies can be made ahead and frozen for up to 3 months.

(Printable Recipe)

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Tuesday, 11 December 2007

Prosciutto-Wrapped Figs

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Just in time for the Christmas party, salty nibbles with a tang - betcha can't eat just one! This recipe comes from Canapes, a lovely book crammed full of fabulous party ideas.

I'm thinking you could plate up 3 or 4 of them on some rocket leaves and drizzle with a little lemon/olive oil dressing, cracked black pepper and some extra Parmesan to make a fabulous starter.

This is my contribution to Waiting for Christmas 2007, being hosted by Francesca. Pop along and add a dish you might want to make for Christmas!

Prosciutto-Wrapped Figs
Adapted from Canapes by Eric Treuille and Victoria Blashford-Snell

5 ripe figs, quartered
About 10 very thin slices of prosciutto, cut into strips
3 oz Parmesan cheese
Black pepper

Use a vegetable peeler to make some Parmesan shavings. Place a couple on each strip of prosciutto.
Place a fig quarter on top and sprinkle with some fresh black pepper.
Roll up and place seam side down on a serving dish. You can secure with a cocktail stick if you prefer.
Sprinkle with some extra grated Parmesan just before serving.

Note: you can also use melon when figs are not in season and substitute blue cheese, or any other cheese, for the Parmesan.

(Printable Recipe)

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Menu For Hope UK Details

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I have been asked by Jeanne of Cook Sister, to promote the UK section of the fund raising exercise, Menu for Hope, and post a link to the prizes available.

Menu For Hope, for those in the dark, is a world-wide fund raising event where various prizes are put up for auction. It was the brainchild of Pim of Chez Pim and involves bloggers and other donors from around the world each give something to be raffled off online for the benefit of the UN World Food Programme charity.

This year’s campaign runs from 10-21 December and all the funds raised will be allocated to a school feeeding programme in Lesotho.

There is a hugly tempting array of prizes for the UK section. These range from food hampers and cookery books though to Dinner for two at Patterson’s restaurant in London and a Sourdough Bread Baking Starter Kit.

Anyone can buy tickets to try for one of these prizes -

1. Choose the prize or prizes of your choice from the main Menu For Hope site. (This is the global list of all prizes donated this year. Alternatively, you can see only the UK prizes on Cooksister or The Passionate Cook.) You must make sure to check the terms and conditions for the individual prizes BEFORE you bid, as some will come with restrictions regarding where they ship to or how long the prize is valid for.

2. Go to the donation site and make a donation. The hosts do not handle the cash at all - it goes directly to Justgiving to be passed on to the World Food Programme.

3. Please specify the prize code of the prize you’d like in the ‘Personal Message’ section in the donation form when confirming your donation. Each $10 you donate will give you one raffle ticket toward a prize of your choice. If you are buying more than one ticket, please indicate how you would like the tickets to be allocated. For example, a donation of $50 can be 2 tickets for EU01 and 3 tickets for EU02. Please write 2xEU01, 3xEU02.

4. If your company matches your charity donation, please check the box and fill in the information so we could claim the corporate match.

5. Please check the box to allow us to see your email address so that we could contact you in case you win. Your email address will not be shared with anyone.

Monday, 3 December 2007

Boqueria Market, Barcelona

Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the famous Mercat de la Boqueria, Barcelona's oldest and largest covered food market. The smells and sights of the fresh produce are amazing and this is where many of Barcelona's top chefs can be found, looking for the freshest ingredients for their restaurants.

Here are a few photographs of the produce, starting with the fabulous mushroom stall and ending with the dried fruits, nuts and sweets.

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