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Salads and sausage rolls

I organised a baby shower for my best friend on Saturday. Lots or people contributed lots of delicious food and presents, we had a lovely set up under a gazebo in Brockwell Park and overall it was a beautiful day (albeit very blustery weather).

I contributed 2 salads and some sausage rolls. One consisted of lettuce cups, filled with cucumber, tomato and radish with a French dressing, and the other was a roasted beetroot, carrot and butternut squash, quinoa, kale, mixed seeds and herb salad which was served with a raita; The sausage rolls, to quote the mother to be were “off the hook!”. They had thyme in the sausage meat and parmesan in the pastry. All very nice if I do say so myself.

The savoury spread
Some of many cupcakes
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Dressing

Week 4, session 4

This session was all about dressings. The tutorial was for an emulsified French dressing which is a staple in my household any way but I’ve been supplied with many other dressing recipes which I am looking forward to trying out.

I served this on a mixed salad with tuna for a light lunch.

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Mashed potatoes!

Week 4, session 3

I’ve never been a huge fan of mash before but this recipe uses tonnes of butter so was bound to be delicious and requires passing the potatoes through a sieve. I really thought life was too short for such things but this was definitely worth it.

I served the mash on a bed of kale, topped with cauldron veggie sausages and red wine onion gravy – an oldy but a goody (and really irresistible).

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Roasted cauliflower and almonds, Moroccan chickpea stew and pork medallion

Week 4 session 2

Today in vegetables week we cooked roasted cauliflower. This was roasted with almonds and coated in beurre noisette and sherry vinegar. Such a yummy recipe!

I served this with a pork medallion and a stew of chickpeas, tomatoes and preserved lemons. Such good combos and I don’t know whether the cauliflower of the stew was the best thing. Pork was good, and I’m sure my partner would say this was an important component, but I could have done without it.

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Stir-fried broccolli with pan fried mackerel

Week 4, session 1

It’s vegetable week this week and today was stir-fried broccolli. Used the blanch-refresh method here and a quick stir-fry.

Whilst I didn’t learn anything from this session, this was actually very delicious so I’m happy that I got to cook this and it’s a quick and healthy after work dinner so tick on this front too.

I served this with pan fried mackerel which was a perfect pairing. Disappointed by the skin situation here, I’ve definitely done better, but was still tasty!

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Chicken and rosewater biryani

I’ve made this Rick Stein special a few times and just love it. It has fragrant flavours from saffron, rosewater and cardamom, which are my absolute favourite flavours and it tastes like Indian food too – like actual food you might eat in India, albeit somewhere posh in Mumbai, which is a life’s work to find in the UK.

Also, and this is not specific to this biryani, but the second best thing about this is the crunchy rice that forms on the bottom of the dish, all buttery from the ghee. When else is hard rice ever acceptable?

This does take a while to cook but I’ve wanted to make it for so long since I’ve started eating meat again that I gave in and spent my Monday evening cooking. Perfect timing because it’s been cold and miserable outside all day.

When I make this again I’ll make sure that there is more chicken inside (because I’m greedy) and there are more than 2 of us for dinner – it can feed 6 easily!

Served with cauliflower curry and raita
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No-knead sourdough

I made this over Father’s Day weekend so will honour him by retelling the Dad joke he made. When I told him that I was making this, he replied “you never need to make sourdough”. Bless him!

Anyway, this recipe is Feasting at Home‘s recipe and it’s really easy, much less time consuming and produces great results. It uses a cast iron casserole dish (Dutch oven) which luckily I have because I think it makes a massive difference! This was the best sourdough I’ve baked all lockdown (so… ever).

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Asparagus, prosciutto and pecorino tart

Week 3, session 2

The pastry for this recipe is so short and crispy. It’s great! The filling is rather rich though but I loved making this and will try this again with diffent fillings.

I’m excited about thinking about the possibilities – roasted med veg and feta; asparagus and smoked salmon; mushroom, broccoli and stilton…

What I learnt from this session is that you can add chopped up herbs to the pastry before bringing it together. It makes all the difference and I’m going to test my flavour pairing skills by matching herbs with fillings.

Will need to have a short (pun unintentional) pastry break first though for the sake of my waistline and arteries 😬

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Fruit tarts

Week 3, session 1

I was dreading this session as I’ve got no experience making pastry. This recipe for enriched sweet pastry was great though – easy to follow and well explained. Thanks Leith’s.

I forgot to add the sugar in the first batch of pastry so had to start from scratch which was really frustrating but it’s quick to do so not the end of the world.

The pastry cases (the lightest pastry cases ever) are then filled with sweetened mascapone cream and topped with berries . I’ve not actually eaten one yet as the remaking of pastry meant that I wasn’t finished until 10pm but I can’t wait to try one tomorrow.

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Scrambled eggs (more eggs)

Week 2 session 5 – the final egg session (I love eggs but I’m ready for a little break now).

Scrambled egg was on the agenda today. I’ve eaten a lot of grainy or rubbery scrambled eggs in my time so I can imagine this was quite an interesting session for some. I however, and my partner can attest to this, make great scrambled egg – creamy and baveuse!

I therefore didn’t learn anything from this session but I did get to eat scrambled egg for breakfast this morning which was a treat for a week day!

I did recommend in the session feedback that something more technical, such as hollandaise, might have been a good final egg session but I’ll see what response I have to this.

It’s pastry week starting tomorrow which I’ve very little experience with so I’m a little nervous. Watch this space…