Archive for the ‘Home Baking’ Category

In my last post, I served my Balsamic chicken with Boulangère Potatoes.  It was divine!  As promised, here is the potato dish recipe, in all it’s glory.

Anyone who regularly reads my posts will know of my tottie addiction.  This is my healthy alternative to potato dauphinoise (wouldn’t it be amazing if we could have dauphinoise every day?  I’d probably never get fed up of it).

Recipes vary and can get quite fancy, but I prefer mines nice and basic.  Here is what I did:

Ingredients (Serves 4):

1kg potatoes, sliced thinly

2 onions, sliced thinly

300ml chicken stock

salt & pepper to season

a couple of knobs of butter for the top (optional)

I went to town with my Mandolin slicer again!  Theres something very therapeutic about setting upon a mound of totties with a sharp blade…

My layer sequence was:

1/3 potatoes

1/2 onion


1/3 potatoes

1/2 onion


1/3 potatoes

I covered it with stock, until it almost came up to the surface, but didn’t quite reach.  I seasoned once again, dotted a few wee knobs of butter over the top and covered with foil. 

Then I put into a preheated oven (200 degrees) for 45 minutes.  I removed the foil, then baked for a final 15 mins.

If I were cooking for one, I suspect I’d probably still make enough for four.  I wouldn’t even make an accompanying dish; a tray of boulangère totties and a fork = One Happy Catherine.

It tastes even better the next day, if it manages to last that long.  It freezes well too!

Enjoy! 🙂

In other news, I have decided to only post on Wednesdays from now on.  This is so I can work on my writing commitments (which I have viciously bestowed upon myself), but I hope to still browse my favourite food blogs throughout the week (usually in the depths of procrastination; we may be seeing a lot of each other).

Till next Wednesday then! x


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After many requests, I’ve finally got round to posting the recipe for these little delights!

Of all the things I’ve ever made, these Oreo Truffles have lavished me with the most praise!  I pinched it from the lovely Celine, who made them for us at a BBQ last year!

Celine made them in school (what school-aged obesity issue?), and they went down a treat.  We were all practically fighting for the remaining truffles (which disappeared rapidly, I tell ye).

I’ve only made these a couple of times and feedback includes: “I need these in my life”, as well as “they’re honestly the best things I have ever put in my mouth” *snigger*.  This is definitely one for indulgence; if you are on a diet I would look away now.  You won’t be able to “just have one”, I won’t lie to you.

Here are the Ingredients in all their beautiful glory (made 15 fat truffles)

2 packets of Oreos

230g bar of Dairy Milk

250g Plain Soft Cheese

Another recipe that calls for furious bashing… place the Oreos into a bowl and, with a rolling pin, unleash the fury.

Mix in the soft cheese thoroughly, then its time to get messy.  Roll them into truffle-sized balls and place on a flat tray (I used my chopping board), then put them in the fridge to set for an hour (or the freezer for half an hour).

Melt the Dairy Milk in a bowl over a pot of bubbling hot water.  Try not to eat it, lest you earn yourself a trip to the A&E.

Dip the truffles into the (cooled) chocolate, coating them nicely and putting back on the chopping board (or whatever you’re using).  Put in the fridge to set for another hour or so.

The final step is to sit back and accept the praise 🙂

You can dust icing sugar over it, to make it look fancy and “truffle-ish”, but I didn’t bother.

Do try them, you won’t be disappointed!

Enjoy 😀 x

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Don’t you just love those rare days, when you have absolutely nothing to do?  Of course, days like that don’t really exist.  But, if you’re anything like me, you can just procrastinate* and think up reasons why things can be left till tomorrow.  It’s about the only way I can allow myself to unwind (and doubles my stress when the other deadlines approach, but it always seems worth it at the time).

It was on a day like this, when I decided to tackle my Achilles Heel of the cookery world.  Something that I failed so miserably on at my last attempt, and filled me with shame in the knowledge that I’d fed it to people…

… my basic, run of the mill pastry pie.

After the eye-watering disaster of my previous pie attempt, I tackled the mission with my usual determined stubborn-ness.  This time it’s going to be a fabulous pie, goddamnit.  This time, it’s going to be a Chicken & Sweetcorn Pie.

First, I bundled up all my ingredients:

Ingredients (Serves 4)

3  chicken breasts (or 575g), diced

2  leeks, chopped finely (I don’t like big chunky bits, but it’s your call if you do)

300ml  boiled water with 1 chicken stock cube dissolved

340g shortcrust pastry (I used frozen and let it defrost at room temperature for 1 hour before use)

1 tin of sweetcorn, drained

1 tbsp dried thyme

1 tbsp dried rosemary

3  bay leaves

3 tbsp plain flour

30g butter

1 tsp dijon mustard

1 very heaped tbsp soft cream cheese

1 egg, beaten


I pre-heated the oven to 200 degrees.

Into a casserole dish, I put the chicken, leeks, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves and chicken stock.  I seasoned it generously with salt and pepper, stirred, then popped into the oven for 1.5 hours.

Taking the casserole out of the oven, I carefully sieved into a measuring jug (twas very hot), separating the juices from the filling.  I discarded the bay leaves and set both aside for the time being.

I melted the butter in a pan, then added my flour.  I stirred until it formed a paste (or a roux):

On a low heat, I gradually added the casserole juices and whisked, until it formed a smooth, thick consistency.

I added the rest of the casserole ingredients to the pan, along with the mustard and tin of sweetcorn.  I turned off the heat and stirred in a big dollop of soft cream cheese.

At this point, it’s important to taste it and season, if necessary.

I cut my pastry in two and rolled them out on a floured surface; into rectangle shapes just bigger than my pie dish.  I pressed the first layer of pastry into the dish, trying to make sure it came over the sides, and poured in the filling.

I placed the 2nd layer of pastry over the top, trimmed the straggly bits around the sides of the dish and embraced my romantic side with the leftover pastry.  Awww…

I brushed the beaten egg over the top and made two slits within the heart to let the air escape (that sounds incredibly violent and gory!), and popped into the oven (200 degrees) for 40 mins.

Ahhh the golden wonderment… shame I had to attack it with my knife!

You could easily make this pie ahead, at various stages (up until it’s been casseroled, or once it’s assembled but before it goes into the oven).

It’s also a great pie for using up leftover chicken – just skip the casserole part and saute the leeks & herbs until soft, then set aside and start at the roux stage.

I thoroughly recommend you serve it with some fluffy, buttery mash and honey glazed carrots.  Yummaaay!

 Enjoy 🙂 x

* don’t procrastinate.  It’s very, very, very bad for you.  I’ll tell you why tomorrow…

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Back in the 1920’s, there were a multitude of illegal bars operating, due to increased licensing costs.  These bars were called Speakeasy’s.  A Speakeasy establishment was apparently “high-class”, where I imagine the women wore flapper dresses and the men wore tuxedos and top hats… sigh.

The “lower class” version of a Speakeasy was called “The Blind Pig”.  Ironic, really, that there is a place in Glasgow’s pretentious West End, which dons that very name.  Irene and I went a few weeks ago, to get the “Afternoon Tea for Two”: The Blind Pig’s Cake Stand stacked with a selection of bespoke Dainty Sandwiches, Chef’s Homemade Scones with lashings of Jam & Clotted Cream and our fabulous assortment of cakes.

Of course, we made ours an alcoholic “tea” for two; served in a gorgeous Hendricks teapot and poured into matching tea cups!  We got a deal through Living Social, which was £14 for two (instead of £22). 

We were greeted with friendly smiles and told to pick any seat we wanted (there were hardly any people there!), so I opted for a seat in the corner that would allow me to take photos and not feel like some kind of food pervert.  We told the waiter-cum-barman what we wanted as we made our way to our seats.

It was a pretty long wait considering it was so quiet, but he did apologise and said the kitchen next door (in their main restaurant) was mobbed and they didn’t have a minute.  He presented us with our cake stand:

Half the sandwiches contained smoked salmon; the other half contained salad.  I’m not a fan of smoked salmon and can’t comprehend a sandwich without some kind of meat in it, so I nibbled at them huffily and eyed up the cakes.

I think this was carrot cake – it was the nicest of the three, if a little dry! 

This is the Chef’s Homemade Scones with lashings of Jam & Clotted Cream.  It takes joint 1st place alongside my first attempt at shortbread (the competition being “most likely to be used as an offensive weapon when flung at someones head”).

These little cakes were tasty enough, although they did have a bit of a staleness about them unfortunately 😦

The cakes and sandwiches, to me, were a bit of a disappointment.  Irene and I had been looking forward to this wee day out for a while, so it was a bit of an anti-climax… until…

The pièce de résistance – Strawberry Cream Tea Martini: Raspberry Skky vodka & strawberry bols liqueur, infused with a touch of double cream, strawberry & champagne jam and topped up with cranberry juice.

This was delicious, and lethal to boot!!  Definitely worth the £7 each as we got two cups full each (although theres no way I’d pay the full £22 for the package!).

Maybe we happened to catch The Blind Pig on an off-day with their Cake Stand, as I’ve heard so many good things about them.  The whole “cake stand & teapot cocktail” craze is all over Glasgow at the moment, and although many places are passionate about quality, I suspect others might be guilty of cashing in by jumping on the bandwagon half-heartedly.

At the end of the day, if I wanted to eat some solid scones I would have made them myself!  I’d go there again for the cocktails though! 😉

It has, however, made me want to buy a wee cake stand and have the girls round for some dainty sandwiches and cakes!  Join me, wont you? 🙂 x

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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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Lately, my baking attempts have resulted in disaster.  My “Chewy, Chocolate Chip Cookies” looked fabulous, but sadly could have been confiscated as an offensive weapon.

To add further insult to injury, my Brownies resembled a pool of brown mess with a tooth-breaking crust on top (which someone and their spoon went to town with… shame on you, Mother!  At least it tasted nice…).  Needless to say, those blog posts made the cutting room floor.

I’m more of a savoury person anyways (in taste bud only; not personality, I hope), so I was nearly resigned to the fact that I just could not bake sweet treats.  I had almost come to terms with it; flicking past the apple crumble and pumpkin pie recipes despondently… wondering what was so wrong with the chocolate muffins in McDonald’s, anyway?  Sigh.

But after reading this blog post the other day, I was spurred on to give it another shot.  I drool at every food picture at the best of times, but the craving for home-baked shortbread was overwhelming.

Having baked “shortbread” once before, I was apprehensive.  My last batch looked like a tray of sunken, week-old scones (hence the inverted commas in my description; shortbread it certainly was not!).  They didn’t even taste similar. 

BBC Good Food… your version of shortbread left me nothing short of disenchanted.  How could you?  I’m one of your biggest fans… sniffle. 😦  Thankfully, your abundance of other lovely recipes has mended our once broken relationship.

So; it was time to see if my next shortbread attempt would leave me crestfallen once more… 

I am happy to report; faith in my baking ability has been fully restored!  Of course it has! 🙂  I can safely say you won’t need to look elsewhere for an authentic shortbread recipe; this one is perfect.

I don’t (yet) have the adorable shortbread tin like Wendy’s; I just packed my mixture into two sandwich tins.  I was going to re-type the instructions here, but I followed every ingredient, measurement and method to the letter (a first for me), so if you want to try it, you’re best checking out the link above. 

Rave reviews all around from my samplers; I thoroughly recommend it to any bakers who have had a knock in confidence!

Enjoy 🙂

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