Happy Christmas one and all

A quick message of festive cheer, hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season filled with family, friends and of course wonderful food.

We’re spending the day with my parents and Ryland’s sisters. My dad Robin will be spoiling us all with his wonderful food.

Today is not a day for moderation!

Enjoy. X

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Pie p@rn

Back in November Ryland and I went away for the weekend for his birthday to a nearby town called Alton. He wanted to take a trip on the ale train there. It’s an old school steam train which takes you around on a trip for about 3 hours to drink local ales. It had one of the carriages converted into a bar full of loads of barrels. Total heaven for Ryland as he loves good old English ale, not so good for me as I can’t stand the stuff. It’s ok I thought I can drink cider. But it turned out they only had one type, fair enough it is an ale train, but I didn’t like that one, in fact it took me the whole trip to finish one pint, pathetic! But we did get some very nice glasses to remind us of our trip.

Ale train glasses

And on the request of Ryland I did make some exceeding lovely pies, now here’s the pie p@rn…

I absolutely love pies, in all shapes and sizes. These ones are made with this recipe from the wonderful Delia Smith. I’ve made them a few times now and I always worry there doesn’t seem enough pastry but they always come out fine in the end. Well worth making for any trips out, or just staying in, they can be eaten anywhere.

A day out in foodie heaven

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Mrs Wilson in food heaven at the BBC Good food show

 

BBC Good Food Show, Olympia, London

Back in the summer Ryland bought tickets for my birthday¬†to the BBC Good Food Show. It seemed like it was a world away until the event, but as usual the time’s absolutely flown by. Before I knew it I was counting the days down.

To say I was excited is an understatement, I’d never been to the show before and Ryland had bought us front row theatre tickets to see Michel Roux Jr. cook.

We took the train up to London and arrived just after the show opened around 10am, I had wanted to be there when the doors opened but Ryland assured me that would be excessive. ūüôā

When we arrived we were still pretty early but the stalls were ready waiting for us. The show is made up of stands with food and drink from all around the world. Plus a huge array of kitchenware. My idea of heaven!

Lovely Italian products

Pulgia shop online

Our first tastes were from a lovely couple of men from Ryland’s home town, Reading. They distribute wonderful¬†Italian products from the Puglia shop online.¬†I¬†tasted, and then had to buy, some beautiful jars of pasta sauce, olive tapenade and marinated artichokes.

We spent the next hour looking around stalls, tasting lots of lovely samples and Ryland sampled lots of interesting whiskies and liquors, I wanted to wait until at least after lunch!

We were ready in good time for our visit to the theatre to see Michel Roux Jr. It was the first show of the day and we sat at the front as people streamed into the theatre all buzzing with excitement.

And Michel didn’t disappoint. He was absolutely lovely and really fun. He made oeuf alexander, I’d never heard of them.. they are¬†savoury choux pasty buns filled with scrambled eggs and Michele topped them with slices of chicken supreme pan fried with a port jus. It looked fantastic, just a shame we didn’t get to do any tasting! After the show we went down and queued to have Michel sign his new cook book for us, The French Kitchen. I was rather star struck and just managed to tell him that we enjoyed watching him in the theatre before giggling back off to Ryland.

We were now really hungry coming out of the theatre and found a stall selling wonderful bread. We bought some pancetta and butternut squash focaccia, needless to say we ate it instantly and it was gorgeous. I will be trying to recreate the recipe soon.

We had a lovely lunch and then we had tickets to the World of Wine experience at the show. It was brilliant! I love red wine, and this was a chance to wander around about 20 tables all full of fantastic wines from around the world trying any you fancy and talking to the wine specialists. We spent a long time with an Italian man tasting his wines and learning about where they had come from. I don’t mind telling you that after an hour of this (and some wine with lunch) we were pretty squiffy. It was in the words of ‘Miranda‘ such fun!

After this we spent the rest of the afternoon wandering around chatting to people and eating more and more delicious food.

What a fantastic way to spend the day. Ryland will be in the good books for a long time now!

 

Easy peasy palmiers

Spread the fillings nice and thick

Spread the fillings nice and thick

One of the easiest recipes you can make!

Last week I was lucky enough to go to an awards ceremony with work which meant staying away overnight. I had a great laugh with some lovely ladies, but was very aware all week that I also had one of my best friends and her new man coming to dinner the night after. So I knew I was going to have to do something easy. Instead of a proper starter I decided to make some palmiers.

They only took me 5 minutes to prep and then I could serve the lovely hot pastries with our bubbles.

You’ll need:

One pack of ready rolled puff pastry
A jar of wholegrain mustard
A jar of chilli pesto
Block of parmesan
One small egg beaten
Two baking sheets
Turn on your oven to 180c fan or 200c standard.

To make:

  • Roll out the puff pastry from the packet (always take it out of the fridge about 15 minutes before use) leave it on the grease¬†proof paper it came with and then cut it in half lengthways.
  • Take a good dollop of mustard and smear it all over one half of the pastry. Now do the same with the chilli pesto. Make sure both sides are covered with their fillings.
  • Grate the block of parmesan over each of the¬†pieces of pastry giving them a¬†good covering.
  • Next up you need to carefully take one of the long edges¬†of pastry and¬†fold it into the middle and then do the same with the other side. Keep doing this until the sides meet in the middle then do it all again with the other piece of pastry.
  • Now if you carefully move your pastry ‘sausages’ over onto one side of the grease proof paper you can cut it in half to line your baking sheets.
  • Now cut each sausage into small disks, don’t worry if they go a bit misshapen when you do this it won’t matter when they cook.
  • Once they are all ready give them a quick glaze with the egg¬†and put them in the oven for about 15/18 minutes, keep an eye on them as all ovens vary.

Palmiers can be made with pretty much anything you have in the fridge, you could even make some with chocolate spread for a teatime treat!

Wonderful Moroccan spiced rolls

I really love baking bread. I think there’s something magic in the way the dough rises. The smells that run from the kitchen through to the rest of the house are glorious.

A couple of years ago my parents bought me a wonderful book for Christmas called DOUGH by Richard Bertinet. It’s a fantastic book well worth buying. It comes with a dvd in which Richard shows you how to make bread in the classic French style.

I recently gave his Moroccan spiced rolls a go for a dinner date with my friend Becki. They went down really well.

DOUGH is a fantastic book and well worth the investment. You can take a sneak peak at Richard in action on YouTube.

 

Gorgeous chilli jam

Peppers and chillisWhile visiting my lovely friend Katie and her family we went past a market in Kingston and I got drawn over to a stall by its amazing red chillies. They looked so lovely I bought loads of them. I forgot about them for a few days, I suddenly realised they needed to be used quickly, so I decided to make some chilli jam. As with lots of my last minute recipes I had a quick look on the bbc good food site. I found this nice recipe which had lots good reviews so I thought I’d give it a go. Needless to say it didn’t disappoint! So far we’ve used it for a starter with grilled halloumi which was fab and with¬†lots of cheese and biscuits. I had too much for just us so some of my desk buddies also got some at work too. It keeps in sealed jars for three months, but I doubt if we will have any left by then. It’s definitely worth a try!

Chilli jam ingredientsBefore its blitzedChilli jam simmeringLovely jam with a kick