Archive for the ‘Come Dine With Me’ Category

On Friday night, I went to a dinner party at my brother’s new house.  I offered to make the starter and bring it with me, as I had my eye on a particular recipe for what seems like years now.  This was the perfect excuse to make it!

I spotted the recipe when I was laying on the couch, one hungover Sunday, watching the Come Dine With Me marathon.  One of the contestants made “Terrine of Spring Onion and Chicken in Parma Ham”.  I drooled all the way through the program and vowed to make it one day.

Terrine is actually the name of the type of dish that it was traditionally cooked in, apparently.  I used to always think Terrines were a type of Pate, in my blissful ignorance! 🙂

I adapted the recipe slightly, by using Black Forest Ham instead of Parma Ham.  They had a special deal on in Lidl, so why not? 

I also amended the amounts to have enough for 6 servings.  I had a terribly idiotic moment, when I realised my loaf tin wouldn’t hold enough for 6 servings.  I went into a panic and started conjuring up these images of making individual parcels instead, using Tupperware dishes as temporary templates.  My friend Michelle took on the role of Oracle, by suggesting that I just use one of the bigger dishes in the cupboard instead of the loaf tin.  Crisis averted!  Silly me… *blush*.

Here’s my adaptation of Ingredients (Serves 6):

3 chicken breasts

1 chicken stock cube

4 eggs, beaten

1 bunch of spring onions, roughly chopped

150g self-raising flour

2 x 200g packs of Black Forest Ham (about 20 slices)

4tbsp milk

150g vintage cheddar, grated

Heres what I did:

First, I crushed up a chicken stock cube in a little olive oil, then rubbed it over the chicken.  I roasted the chicken in a preheated oven at 200 degrees for 40 minutes.

While the chicken was roasting away, I lined my baking dish with the ham.  It looks a bit obscene, somehow, doesn’t it?

I mixed the flour, eggs and milk together.  Then stirred in the chicken (which I’d cut into small chunks) and cheese.  I put half the mixture into the dish.

I sprinkled the spring onions over, then topped with the rest of the mixture and folded the ham over the top, sealing it all in.  I baked it in the oven for 1 hour at 180 degrees, covering it with foil after about 10 minutes, as I felt it was browning too quickly.

Some of the mixture managed to escape through the spaces in the ham, but I turned it out onto the chopping board and the underside was perfectly flat and sealed.

I made this ahead of the dinner party, and reheated it when we got there, in the oven at a low temperature for about 20 mins (whilst we had some tipples!).

I sliced the terrine into 6 pieces and served on a bed of rocket salad, balsamic vinegar and a dollop of tomato chutney on the side.  Everyone was starving so I didn’t have the nerve to faff about taking photos of it.  Apologies!

The main course was Steak Frites with Diane sauce, and we had Apple Pie & Cream for dessert.  It was phenomenal.

I started feeling bad about not having taken a photo of the end result, and my boyfriend said I should make it again and take photos.  Confirmation that he’d eat it again… I’m counting that as praise for the dish! 🙂

If you’re stuck for a tasty starter dish, you can’t go wrong with this one; its delicious and easy!

Enjoy 😀 x


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Well hello Stranger!  I’ve missed you all muchly! 🙂

It feels like an age since I last posted, or leisurely perused my favourite food blogs.  When I opened my Google Reader, there was the inevitable “1000+” declaration of unread blog posts waiting for me. 😦

I contemplated clearing out my RSS feed list, saving only my favourite food blogs (like this, this and this…), but as I leafed through each of them, I couldn’t bear it.  They are all too wonderful and I feel I would be depriving myself of wonderful recipes and enjoyment.  Nope.  No blog cull for Moi. 

As I said in my previous post, I have started evening classes.  One for Philosophy and the other for English Literature.  I am thrilled to say that both are going really well and it feels great to use parts of my brain again, that I’d left behind at college some years ago.

Last weeks English Lit class was focused on English Sonnets.  We analysed and discussed 6 sonnets, but one in particular stuck out for me, and I would like to share it with you. 

Shakespeare, Sonnets 130

My mistress’ eyes are nothing like the sun;

Coral is far more red than her lips’ red;

If snow be white, why then her breasts are dun;

If hairs be wires, black wires grow on her head.

I have seen roses damasked, red and white,

But no such roses see I in her cheeks;

And in some perfumes is there more delight

Than in the breath that from my mistress reeks.

I love to hear her speak, ye well I know

That music hath a far more pleasing sound;

I grant I never saw a goddess go;

My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground.

And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare

As any she belied with false compare.

At first, I felt outraged on behalf of this poor “mistress” who was paling beyond all comparison.  But then I realised, all these “ideals” (such as having eyes like the sun and snow white skin), were actually being mocked.  That being less than perfect was more endearing and special than any of these stereotypes. 

How utterly refreshing.  As someone who has recently cancelled her gym subscription due to lack of time to go (and feeling a tad out of shape now, huff), reading this was very comforting.  I hope anyone reading it now can also take some comfort, since I’m taking a leaf out of Shakespeare’s book and declaring perfection a falsity! 

Anyways… onto the grub!  I did this cheesecake at my Come Dine With Me night a while back.  I used ginger snaps for the base last time, which was gorgeously stunning, however, I decided to follow the recipe (almost) properly this time, and the results were excellent.  If you make this cake, prepare to be heftily praised! 🙂

This is a cake from Nigella’s website.  Find it here.


For the base:

150g x chocolate digestives

50g butter, melted


175g x chocolate, roughly chopped (I used Cadbury’s Dairy Milk mmmm)

600g x soft cream cheese

150g x caster sugar

1 tbsp x custard powder

3 x eggs

3 x egg yolks

142ml x pot of sour cream

½ tsp x cocoa (I used Cadbury hot chocolate powder to keep in line with the dairy milk)


75 g x chocolate (Dairy Milk, naturally)

125ml x double cream

1 x tsp golden syrup


Crush the biscuits to within an inch of their life (I used a rolling pin and plenty of aggression) and mix with the melted butter.  Press into the bottom of a springform tin, then shove in the freezer whilst you make the filling.

Preheat your oven to 180 degrees.

Melt the 175g chocolate (I melted it in a glass bowl, placed over a pot of boiling water, but you can microwave if you prefer).  Put aside to cool.

Beat the cream cheese (I used my hand mixer).  Add your sugar and custard powder and beat again.  Beat in your eggs, egg yolks and sour cream. 

Dissolve your cocoa powder in a few tbsps hot water.  Add that to the mix, along with your melted chocolate.  Mix it all into a smooth, even consistency.

Take the springform tin out of the freezer and line the outside of the tin with a good layer of clingfilm, and then another layer of strong foil over that. This will protect it from the water bath.


Sit the springform tin in a roasting pan and pour in the cheesecake filling. Fill the pan with just-boiled water, to come about halfway up the cake tin, and bake in the oven for 45 minutes to an hour. The top of the cheesecake should be set, but the underneath should still have a wobble to it.


Peel away the foil and clingfilm wrapping and sit the cheesecake in its tin on a rack to cool. Put in the fridge once it’s no longer hot, and leave to set, covered with clingfilm, overnight. Let it lose its chill before unspringing the cheesecake to serve.

To make the glaze, melt your 75g chocolate, then add the cream and syrup.  Take off the heat and whisk thoroughly, until it starts to look like a smooth sauce.  Resist eating it all with a spoon at this point. 😉

Nigella likes to “Jackson Pollock” the sauce over the cheesecake.  To be fair, this was my original intention.  I completely ballsed it up, however, hence my decision to just cover the entire surface of it with chocolate.

I sprinkled a bit too much cocoa powder over the top.  It’s not much to look at, admittedly.  But you and I both know that anything containing THAT much dairy milk in it is bound to be a success.


Enjoy! 🙂 And have a good weekend! x

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There is a popular UK programme called Come Dine With Me, where 4 or 5 people each host their idea of a perfect dinner party.  They are scored by the other competitors at the end of each evening and the winner bags £1000.  Looking at the variety of contestants, you can immediately separate the ones who are genuinely passionate about food, from the attention seeking reality show wannabes, who can’t even boil an egg.  If I were to enter the show, I would definitely file under the enthusiastic amateur category.  My twin sister and I love to watch the Sunday afternoon re-runs of the show (usually sprawled on the couch with a hangover), and she works with a couple of gents who also share a love of food.  So we decided to have our own Come Dine With Me competition.  

Saturday night was the first night.  My night.  The four of us had been casually flirting with the idea of a CDWM competition for months; so it was quite a shock when it was all set in stone and the first night was looming upon us, at a rate of knots!  My own menu had been changing several times a day(!), so when I printed them off, to roll into adorable little scrolls (tied with shiny ribbon), it felt so final and committal!  I’m happy to report that, if I had to do it again, I wouldn’t change a single thing!The key, in my opinion, of a successful dinner party (yes… listen to me preaching after ONE dinner party ha), is to prepare as MUCH as you can beforehand!  I felt quite guilty that I was away from my guests at intervals throughout the night.  However, it was mostly a case of reheating what I’d made earlier and putting finishing touches on things!This is how my menu read:  


Mini Welsh Rarebit Toasts   

Champagne On Arrival  

Cocktail – Strawberry Daiquiri  



Root Vegetable Soup  

Served with home-made crusty rolls  


Main Course  

Slow Cooked Beef Bourguignon  

Served With Dauphinoise Potatoes  

Sautéed Green Beans Infused With Garlic   



Chocolate Cheesecake With Ginger Snap Base  

Decadent “Crunchie Bar” Ice Cream  

The first thing I tackled was the beef bourguignon – TWO days before the event!  I wanted to marinade my meat in the red wine overnight.  The next day, I put it in my slow cooker for 8 hours, then I wanted to develop the flavours over the next day (I always hear that it’s better the day after it’s cooked, which was definitely true in this case!).  

I used this recipe with no changes apart from cooking it in the slow cooker – Beef Bourguignon Recipe  

I made my bread dough the night before, to let it chill in the fridge overnight.  It’s the first time I’ve done that (I usually just leave it a couple of hours) and I could definitely taste the difference; it was less stodgy and more flavoursome.  I used this recipe and shaped the dough into little roll shapes instead of one large loaf.  


After the champagne (when my friend Jayne sneakily popped by with her blender!), I made Strawberry Daiquiri cocktails (this served 4 and was repeated more than once, I’ll tell you!):  


rum 30ml


30ml lime juice  
20ml Grenadine  
6 ice cubes  

6 strawberries, sliced 





After my Welsh rarebit toasts (sorry, didn’t get a picture, will post the recipe if requested), I reheated the soup that I’d made earlier that day; served with my home-made rolls.  I got the soup recipe from this website.  Their recipes are amazing; I definitely want to try the carrot and cashew soup very soon!  


I made my dauphinoise potatoes (earlier that day), by thinly slicing 8-10 medium sized King Edward potatoes. I put them all in a bowl and added a generous pinch of salt, 3 cloves of crushed garlic and 600ml of double cream.  I mixed it all together by hand, then poured into a roasting dish.  I pressed down on the potatoes, right to the bottom of the dish, making sure they were all able to bind together easily.  I covered the top with foil and cooked for an hour and a half in the oven at 180 degrees.  When my guests were here, I preheated the oven to 200 degrees and took the foil off the dish.  I added knobs of butter sporadically over the dish and baked until the top went nice and brown (about 15-20 mins).  It’s taken me a bit of practice to get my dauphinoise potatoes right, but I will do it this way EVERY time from now on.  Every plate was cleared! While they were baking in the oven, I sautéed some green beans that I had marinated in 1 clove crushed garlic and a drizzle of olive oil.  This was also the point where I cooked my shallots and button mushrooms, to add to my beef bourguignon.  

Last, but not least, was my chocolate cheesecake.  I made this the night before, so it could chill in the fridge and set properly.  I drizzled some melted Cadbury’s Dairy Milk over it generously, and cut my strawberry into a little heart shape by hulling the strawberry then making little V shapes at each end!  

I based mines on a Nigella Lawson chocolate cheesecake recipe, however I substituted the digestives for ginger snap biscuits, and used Cadbury’s Dairy Milk Chocolate (instead of dark chocolate), to compliment the Cadbury Crunchie Bar Ice Cream.  


When I had served everyone the cake, I was subtly(!) reminded that there was supposed to be ice cream with it!! Hence the lack of photograph, but I did get to serve it in the end!  I got the recipe for my decadent Cadbury’s Crunchie Bar Ice Cream from here.  

My first dinner party was a resounding success in my eyes (I have nothing to compare it with yet anyway!) and I look forward to hosting many, many more (and posting about it on here of course!).  Just looking at the photos is making me hungry again!  



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