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I bought Noble Nourishment 😀  ‘Mon over to my new website;  if you could adjust your subscription settings, that would be fabulous! 

If you haven’t subscribed yet… well now is your chance 😉

To further entice you… I have just posted about my Steak & Guinness Pie.  Come have a swatch! 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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Still Alive

Hiya! 🙂

I’ve been studying hard for my exam on May 9th, so the blog has been neglected 😦 but I will be back!  I have plenty of recipes to share as soon as I can, including Nigella’s Meatloaf and Black Pudding Stuffed Pork!

See you soon x

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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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I am a Facebook fan of Garden Organic (who are The National Charity for Organic Growing), and they just posted a message, which popped up in my News Feed.  It says:  “We believe that every school should be a food growing school and that every child should have the chance to learn food growing skills”.

I think this is a wonderful idea!  So much so that I wanted to post a blog about it and raise awareness.  I remember when I was in Primary 2 and we had the sweetest teacher, Miss Patterson.  She taught us how to grow watercress and we were all so excited, watching these teeny shoots sprouting up from our little tubs of dirt. 

I don’t remember much from Primary 2, being 5 years old and all (I have trouble remembering a week ago, never mind 20 years ago!).  But the fact I can remember that speaks volumes!  Seeing progress and experiencing achievement works wonders for the little ego!

They have started a campaign, called “Every School A Food-Growing School”, with the aim of persuading the Department for Education to allow this to happen!

I had a look at their report and it says that teaching children food-growing skills can help encourage children to lead healthier lives, through physical activity outdoors and inspiring children to eat the fruit and vegetables they have grown.  It could also raise educational standards and improve behaviour, particularly for those less comfortable in a classroom setting.

Not only that, but it could teach children enterprise skills, such as organising the sale or donation of surplus produce, and build community spirit and a sense of citizenship, for example, linking up across the generations and supporting local charities.

Awww… little Apprentices! 🙂

For more information on the campaign, click here.

Do you already know of schools that have this initiative? 

On a completely different note, I spotted on the Garden Organic website that they are celebrating “National Potato Day” on the 30th January.  I’m shocked that I knew not of this, considering I am a complete tottie fiend!  I try to include potatoes in most of my meals to be honest, but I might try and do something a bit different, to honour such a celebration! 😉

Any suggestions?

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Spaghetti Carbonara

I received a lovely email recently, from a lady called Sharon.  She wanted to let me know about a local restaurant group: The Partner Venues.  They run four restaurants in the West End and Glasgow City Centre and give out a magazine, with recipes from the restaurants, to their customers!

I’d never heard of it, but was happy to receive a copy of the magazine to have a gander/drool over the recipes.  There are a few that I have my eye on, including the hot chocolate fondant recipe (I’m not even allowing myself the indulgence of that, till I’ve put some time in at the gym!).  One recipe stuck out for me though… almost as indulgent as the hot chocolate fondant, but also ridiculously easy looking to make.  And a dish that I’m a BIG fan of, in all it’s decadence… Spaghetti Carbonara.

I, along with many other people who don’t come from Italy, had been under the impression that there was cream in this dish.  I’ve definitely had it served to me in the past with cream in it, but this is considered Blasphemy in the Art of Italian Cooking.  The creaminess actually comes from the beaten egg & cheese that is mixed in at the end.

It’s such a simple dish, yet it is so flavoursome and rich.  Sharon said “Quite often people are scared to start cooking if they aren’t very confident in the kitchen, but we believe these recipes suit everyone.”  If you consider yourself an un-confident cook, then this one will certainly boost your ego!

I’ve just printed the recipe exactly as it shows in the magazine.  I used smoked bacon instead of pancetta, dried parsley instead of fresh, and trebled the recipe as I was making it for 3 (greedy) people.  The plates were all clean and I got lots of that wonderful praise I love so much 🙂

Have a go and let me know what you think!

Recipe – Spaghetti Carbonara

1 portion dried spaghetti per person

50g smoked pancetta

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 garlic clove

Handful of flat leaf parsley

1 egg

30g parmesan or pecorino

Salt and black pepper

Dice the pancetta, grate the parmesan,

finely chop the garlic and pick and shred

the parsley.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil with two

teaspoons salt. Add the spaghetti and cook

until al dente.

Heat a frying pan over a medium-high heat,

add the oil and the pancetta and fry until

lightly golden.

Add the garlic and parsley and cook for a

few seconds, then remove from the heat

and set aside.

Drain the spaghetti well, tip into the frying

pan with the pancetta, garlic and parsley,

add the beaten egg and half the grated

parmesan cheese and toss together well.

Season to taste with a little salt and black

pepper.

The heat from the spaghetti will be sufficient

to partly cook the egg, but still leave it moist

and creamy. Serve in warmed pasta bowls,

sprinkled with the rest of the cheese.

However remember it is important that you

don’t serve raw egg dishes to children, the

elderly or anyone who is pregnant.

 Enjoy! 😀 x

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Self Indulgence?

My poor wee blog, I have neglected you so. 

I even forgot your first blogiversary 😦  What an awful human being I am.  Let me get my paltry excuse out the way:  For reasons unknown, I was under the impression that my first blog post was the 12th January 2010.  It wasn’t, it was the 4th.  Deary Me.  Happy Belated 1st Birthday, Noble Nourishment. 🙂  It’s probably just as well I didn’t bother making any New Years Resolutions for 2011 (such as to remember birthdays and important dates this year).  Failure doesn’t bode well with me, whatsoever.

I realised the true “birth” date of Noble Nourishment, when I traipsed back to my first post.  I visited said post, in a bid to try and recapture some of that enthusiasm I started out with.  That is not to say I am lacking enthusiasm for my blog at this current time.  Quite the reverse.  My food obsession is going strong; my food photos are clogging up my memory card.  I even have a few draft posts lurking in my dashboard, waiting for the go-ahead.

So whats the problem?  Why don’t I just get on with it?  Everyone else’s blogs are positively blooming before my eyes, and it’s genuinely wonderful to see.  These blogs have been maintained consistently, with love and care, and the rewards and recognition are wholly deserved! 🙂  A classic example of putting effort in and being recognised for it.  This ethic is transferable for most areas of life, when you think about it!

Anyway, I digress.  My first post revealed the answer to my “problem”.  When I read back to why I set up Noble Nourishment in the first place, I wanted to be “making time for doing things I enjoy and not feeling guilty about it.”  That’s exactly what I’ve been doing recently; feeling guilty about making time for doing things I enjoy.  My objective from the beginning was to make sure I felt creatively Nourished aswell as nutritionally, so it’s disheartening (if not typical) that I managed to steer away from that goal for a while.

Have you ever read an interview with a successful artist/writer/musician, who said that their family/friends were really unsupportive of their ambition?  That they wanted them to get a “real job” working in an office or taking on a trade?  Well, I think I have my own little internal unsupportive character embedded in my brain, chastising me for my “Self Indulgence”, when I really should know better.  I’d say he looks like Jiminy Cricket, but less friendly, with no singing.

With my English Lit and Philosophy classes half way completed at uni, coupled with a backlog at work that would make your eyes water more than any onion ever could, I have actually started taking solace in things like housework (my mother will never believe it, though) and watching TV (which I rarely make time for unless it’s food related).  I have been doing lots of cooking, and happily taken my amateur photographs of said dishes under my poor lighting, with great haste (so as not to let the din dins go cold – BLASPHEMY!).  The hours I’ve wasted on Facebook instead of concentrating on more important things is nothing short of nauseating, and I resolve to be a bit more disciplined!  

My blog absence is also due to the effort I’ve been making to read more.  I am somewhat ashamed to say that I’d started seeking out books that I felt I should be reading, as opposed to my normal tact of simply reading the blurb and deciding if it’s for me.  When a third of your English Lit class say they “don’t read books” and another third are book snobs (I’m clearly tarnishing them with this brush in an attempt to disguise my blatant feeling of inferiority at having not read said books), it’s easy to see how I lost my way a bit.  It was turning my love of reading into some kind of chore.  If anybody wants to know how to suck the fun out of reading, then follow my previous example of choosing misplaced obligation over interest.  If you’re wondering what the other third of my English Lit class consist of, it’s for the classmates who have the self-worth to believe they are in neither of the former categories.  I’m happy to report I’m choosing books my way again.

As with reading, I’ve also managed to put a dampener on my writing.  With every day that passes, my ambition to be a writer is remaining unrealised, and I’m mentally beating myself up about it, instead of just bloody getting on with it.

So this is my official, written confirmation of getting on with it.  Please accept my thanks for reading to the end of this recipe-less post, and be assured that I have lots of tasty, easy, homely and bizarre recipes lined up for you to hopefully try out yourself and enjoy.  

Here’s to an excellent 2011, to you all 😀 x

“There is only one thing that makes a dream impossible to achieve: the fear of failure.”
Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist.

My “Garden” – Elder Park (it’s only pretty now that it’s STOPPED snowing)

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2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here’s a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 3,900 times in 2010. That’s about 9 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 41 new posts, not bad for the first year! There were 131 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 252mb. That’s about 3 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was May 7th with 54 views. The most popular post that day was One Sad Pie.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were facebook.com, ukfba.co.uk, WordPress Dashboard, mail.yahoo.com, and aweebitofcooking.co.uk.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for nutella cheesecake, noble nourishment, authentic shortbread recipe, nutella cheesecake no bake, and pork and chorizo casserole.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

One Sad Pie May 2010
16 comments

2

About January 2010

3

Nutella Cheesecake February 2010
8 comments

4

Chicken & Chorizo Risotto February 2010
23 comments

5

Nigella’s Chocolate Cheesecake October 2010
12 comments

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This little gem of a dish I present to you, was discovered on the increasingly life-critical entity that is Facebook, or as I affectionately refer to it: Procrastination’s Playground!  I hadn’t realised (until now) quite how much Facebook has completely and utterly indulged my food obsession (honestly, anyone who loves food will love this).  And after trying this stupendously tasty dish, I am eternally grateful. 😀

Although I occasionally whine about my Facebook page being dominated by needless weather reports or commentaries on TV programmes that I don’t watch, there is one topic that my friends consistently update (much to my joy):  what they’re having for their dinner! 

Some people get their kicks from finding out celebrity gossip, or who’s being booted off the X Factor stage (or jungle, or dance-floor, or ice-rink…).  But if one of my friends post about their Sunday Roast, you will be sure to find a wee comment from myself underneath, enquiring about the juicy details.  Sad, perhaps.  Even somewhat perverse, but I love it. 🙂

My friend Heather recently posted a status update about having made a big pot of Marsetti.  I’d never heard of it before (so googled it, of course!) and found loads of different recipes for it.  Heather was kind enough to give me her version, and I will certainly not be looking to adapt it; it’s perfect and ridiculously tasty.

Heather doesn’t use measurements, but here’s what I used if you need a guideline:

Ingredients (serves 4):

Penne pasta shells (enough for 4 people; I used about 400g)

2 onions, diced finely

250g button mushrooms, sliced thinly (for the mushie-phobes out there!)

500g lean beef steak mince

1 tin condensed tomato soup

1 tin condensed chicken soup

2 tbsp dried mixed herbs (a mix of thyme, marjoram, parsley, oregano, sage & basil)

2 bay leaves

50g mature cheddar, grated

First brown the mince, then add the onions.

Once the onions start looking transparent, add the two tins of soup, the mixed herbs and the bay leaves.  Let it simmer for 30 mins, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t burn at the bottom!

Cook your pasta according to the packet instructions in some well-salted, boiling water (I’ve started adding a touch of olive oil to the water too, after seeing Ina Garten do it on Barefoot Contessa.  I forget the reasoning behind it, but it’s your call whether you want to or not).

Take out the bay leaves and add your mushrooms to the mince:

Drain your cooked pasta, and take the heat off the mince.  Stir in the grated cheese (mmm… cheesy goodness), and season well with salt and pepper.

Stir in the pasta shells and mix thoroughly.  Then prepare your taste-buds for a treat. 🙂

This is so tasty, words do not do it justice!  It set me up nicely before attending my cousin Claire’s 18th birthday party (Happy Birthday, honey bunch!), and it was even more comforting the next day, when I was feeling rather tender and wanting to stuff my face!

Heather, I’ve got my eye on your “Chicken Divan” recipe next!

Enjoy 😀

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AWOL

Hiya 😀

Just wanted to let you know that I’m still alive.  I’m in the midst of beginning a part time uni course and work  has been snowed under!  I have still been cooking and taking photos, so when I next have spare time I’ll be getting them posted up! 🙂

I’ve been missing reading all my favourite blogs too 😦 I look forward to catching up on them all as well!

Speak soon and take care everyone!

Catherine x

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