Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Still loving "Miss Dahl"...

So.... i bought her book.
You expected it of me, right? she is now my new best best friend, in my head. The book was worth it to me, just for reading all the personal stories of her life. I can believe it to be true - the travel, the modelling, the weight debate....
Mostly i love her book as it really is close to how i eat. Miss Dahl is a vegetarian and a food lover, like my good self. But she also appreciates (and cooks) good quality meat for those that she loves. So the recipes were all how i would cook.
MOST-est and BEST-est of all though, Sophie Dahl completely understands food in all its goodness:
Have you EVER cried when reading a cookbook? (not you MrsB, it is inevitable you have my gorgeous, soft hearted Love) imagine me in bed last night, reading this:
"...cooking and eating can be so simple, yet both can be a far reaching expression of love and humanity that is universal....
...The last supper, conjured after someone has died or left, that you play over again in your head: What did we talk about? What did we eat? How could we not have known that this was going to be it? Grasping the bones of the mundane and holding them close and dear"
"Grasping the bones of the mundane" writes Miss Dahl, "and holding them close and dear" this is exactly what cookery does for me. She says it so much better than I. And, when i find myself in a horrible dark place, that comes and goes - cookery is that precious mundanity that helps anchor me.
This morning i found myself alone and in need, so i made a batch of Easter Marzipan Cakes (from the wonderfully Motherly Nigella) and, for breakfast, some of Sophie's "Indian sweet potato Pancakes" pg.30 of the book

Some of you may squint at the idea of something curry-ish for breakfast, but i am made of hearty stuff! and i like the thought of a challenge...
I made these this morning and only deviated 'slightly' from the recipe by adding crushed corriander seeds - my dads voice in my head "why can't you follow the recipe as it is? why go adding bits it might not need?" well, it's not as if corriander is so far off the Indian / Asian Palette is it?

They were fresh and tasty - good for you and low in fats etc... as i am beginning to expect of Miss Dahl. But, you know me. They were a little bit too healthy so i added a generous soft slope of Cambozola blue brie on the side....
Taste = heaven!!
With a breakfast like that under my belt, i am either:
a) set up for a good couple of well fuelled hours...... or .....
b) salivating over what's for lunch!
I shall be watching her, tonight, 8.30pm, BBC2 (and Holby City on i-player later)

Monday, 29 March 2010


I love to eat them.
I love them moist and caramel-y with some sort of fruit in them.... And i have been making them since i was child (necking half the mixture before it was cooked) and playing 'cookery programmes' with my friend Debbie.
So, why, Oh why, Oh why, Oh why do i still muck them every single time??
Care to give me your recipe and method? for whichever i use - i am damned.....
Answers via the comments / on your blogs / via the heavens, however you please.... but PLEASE, help me!?

Wednesday, 24 March 2010

So, what did we think of 'the Delicious miss Dahl' then??

I read a book last year - - - it was massively long and such slloooooww reading. Nothing really happend in it at all, it never 'got' anywhere... and i couldn't decide how i felt about the characters... and it was a gripping and fascinating book.
I just couldn't form an opinion on it and i found that really frustrating... i OFTEN have an opinion.... on most things...!

I now have an opinion on Sophie Dahl:
I was ready to hate her - i promise i was. There was no room in my life for yet another staged celeb cook..... but i gave her a chance. I blanked my mind completely and i watched The Delicious Miss Dahl with a free and easy mind.
I loved it.
I loved the settings and the recipes. I loved her face and her talking. And most importantly of all, over everything - I wanted to eat the food she was making.
I cannot say fairer than that.
So, if you watched the show - and had one of those terrifying moments where you couldn't find your own opinion, please feel free to borrow mine...
I loved it - *fans this way purlease* xxx

Monday, 15 March 2010

Spanish Omlette by Senora B!

Mr B informed me today that it has been nine years since we, young, footloose and fancy free, hot footed it around Morocco and the Med, on trains, planes and automobiles....well mainly on Shanks' Pony!Some of the things that we ate on our travels, remain close to our hearts and tummies - shared memories!One of these wonderful things was Tortilla Espanola - Spanish Omlette. We ate it for breakfast, it was sold on train buffet cars in a hunk of crusty bread, with mayonnaise (inexplicably named a Bikini?!) and of course as one of the ubiquitous tapas...perfect beer food!

So of course, once back in Ole Blighty, I went about trying to recreate it, time and time again, to no avail! It just never even came close. Until that is, I happened upon a lovely Spanish (important!!) girls directions! I have made it this way ever since! It tastes exactly as it should and even a little better than most that is served up in the Tapas places along the high street (if I do say so myself...hee hee!)

I serve it up for picnics, summer lunches, it is great, cheap party food and goes a long way. Delicious! I have found my own way of cooking it, that has taken the hassle right out of the whole procedure! So here, in prep for the sunny weather and hopes for our own homegrown "Med" dinners, is Senora B's version of Tortilla Espanola!

Ingredients (serves 6 as a lunch)

1kg bag of waxy potatoes (use all, two thirds, half....according to how you like it...I tend to use all)
5 - 6 eggs
1 tsp of salt
3 tbls of olive oil
1 large white onionSlice the potatoes (leaving the skins on, much better for you and keeps your potato slices nice and solid) into 1cm thick rounds, half and slice up the onion. Into a large pan with a lid, glug in the oil, chuck in your salt (the salt is key to authentic flavour)! It seems a lot I know....I balk everytime, but you will be draining it off later and the oil adds flavour and prevents sticking! In go onions and potatoes. Coat in oil, then turn down the heat to low, put the lid on and allow everything to slow cook, checking every so often to ensure it isn't sticking and welding itself to your lovely pan! When a slice of potato will squish under your spoon, take off the heat and drain everything in a colander. Now whisk up your eggs. This is the point at which Senora B takes a sharp left hand turn away from convention! You can pour your eggs in, with spuds and onion and cook base on stove top and then finish in the oven....if you have a fabby pan, with good dimensions, small enough to make your omlette nice and thick (in my experience and opinion it should be at the very least be 4cm deep)! I don't. So I take this simply perfect detour! Take a cake tin (23cm?) in go the potatoes, onions and eggs! Cook in a moderate oven! Cook till golden! De nada!

I have a springform tin so I can pop it out and cut into cubes for picnic and wedges for lunches!

Easy peasy! If you closed your eyes, you could be at the bar, drinking cerveza and munching tapas, while the Med heat makes your soul smile!


Monday, 8 March 2010

Food for Friendship... *warning: this post contains Grief*

Hello MrsB *waves*
This is my better half, sat in Carluccios Manchester. Meeting up with FRIENDS for Afternoon Tea / Late lunch / Hot Chocolate, who knows what else. I find a lump in my throat, when i say - i have barely cooked a thing for the past few weeks.
My daughter commented "we haven't seen the Greengrocer Lady for a while"... i suppose because we haven't needed any fresh food.

I feel griefstricken when i think that, all my cooking efforts (it hasn't been an 'effort' but a delight) of these early weeks in 2010, have involved my Nanna.
The Lemon Cheese.... The Marmalade.... The Lemon Drizzle Cake... The place where she sat when i cooked a Birthday Dinner for my dad.... who knew i would miss her this much?
I was making her Chicken Soup, that never made that journey. My food comforted her but i couldn't sustain her.
I think our regular BIG STOVE readers, will giggle with me when they know: the last thing my Nanna ate was my Lemon Drizzle Cake... and we had a big plate of it served served at her 'parade party' (as my daughter beautifully named the Wake)

I didn't cook for a while after her leaving me :(
And then i went to stay with my friend, who met me at her door with ribbons and cupcakes. We met with other friends for food and chatting and later we made a big curry dinner together. It sort of broke the Grief Spell.
I think i can cook again now, but i might have to leave the Lemon Drizzle Cake to one side for a little while yet xxx