Tuesday 8 November 2011


Yes, pie. And you have to say it in a broad Yorkshire accent.

I've never been a big fan of offal. I wouldn't call myself squeamish, though I suppose I totally am, but offal just isn't my thing. I suppose my mother forcing me to chop up 3 pounds of liver so she could make paté didn't really help (thanks, mum). I mean, up until last week I wouldn't even go near a piece of meat that wasn't completely grey all the way through.

(I tried a piece of lamb that I'd just seared to put in a casserole. I am NEVER going back.)

Anyway, I was pootling around Tesco and I looked in the reduced section - I'm a student, so shoot me - and I saw a pie.

My curiosity overcame me. I knew, at that moment, I HAD to try kidneys.

(Also, it was 69p.)

It looked pretty nice when it came out of the packet.

But imagine my horror when I saw these words:

Minced! What's the point of that?! They sell a version that only has steak in, so it can't be for the squeamish. I suppose it simply says something about the quality of the kidneys, which I don't really want to think about.

Well anyway, I burnt it a bit, but it looked all right. I fried some courgettes to go with it - I have a new obsession with courgettes, having hated them for the best part of my life:

It was nice. And I know if my GCSE English teacher were to read this, she'd hang her head in shame. But I mean just that - it wasn't fab, but you know, it was okay. It said the gravy was thick and it was - a bit too thick.

But come on. It was a pie. And it was 69p. What's not to love?

On a scale of one to yummy? A 10.

Monday 24 October 2011



Okay, so I know sometimes people may disappear for a while due to being busy, or lazy, or just having nothing to write about. 'Well, Emily,' I hear you say, 'What's YOUR excuse?' And, to be fair, I've been gone 179 days. That's a LONG time.

Well, my excuse is all three really. I was working a ridiculous amount over my summer holidays, and was therefore too busy to be anything but lazy in the evenings, and too lazy to cook anything interesting. It was a vicious circle. But I've broken the habit and I'm back! Yay!

I did have some brief respite, and that was when my family went on holiday without me and left me at my grandparents' house (best thing they ever did).  Me and my nanny cooked lots of lovely meals, and since it was the best I'd eaten all holiday, I'll use it for my first post.

The first thing we had was this risotto that my Nanny's been going on about for ages - you make a plain risotto with vegetable stock, with some peas and courgettes in it - very simple and whatnot, but then you top it with this mixture of feta, black olives, and parsley.

It was absolutely delicious. Like, ABSOLUTELY. The tangy-ness of the feta went so well with the risotto, it was almost bizarre how delicious it was. And I always love olives. I keep forgetting to make it, but actually I have some courgettes that need eating up and loads of parsley in the freezer, so watch this space...

We had a pizza and some salad that I thought was pretty, it was so colourful....

The pizza was bacon and mushroom - I really liked it, it was fabulously cheesy and the crunchy bits round the edge were super. The mushrooms did go a little bit watery but frankly (and don't tell any Italians) I quite like a soggy pizza. And it wasn't even that soggy.

My Nanny has a recipe folder that I like to peruse, and this was one recipe that I'd always licked my lips over:

(I'm not quite sure what wrong with the picture. It went all grainy when I tried to upload it.) It's cod, on lentils and peas and bacon. Eee, by gum it were yummy.The lentils were especially delicious, and I'm going to try it with some salmon at some point soon.

Finally, I took my little recipe folder along with me in case there was anything Nanny wanted to cook. We chose a recipe that I'd copied out from somewhere ages ago; scallops with bean mash, roast tomatoes and bacon. (We like our bacon, have you guessed?) My Grandpa is on a low-cholesterol diet, and we'd just found out he could have shellfish occasionally, not never, as we thought before - so it was sort of a treat.

 We had it with some spinach and it was SO GOOD. The bean mash had anchovies and garlic in it so it was really savoury and yummy. I only with we'd roasted more tomatoes!

So there you go, that was about the extent of edible fun from my summer holidays, and I'm back now! Don't expect a post every day, I'm taking four subjects this year and I'm on three committees so I'm pretty busy. Also I'm skint, so I'm just having beans on toast or soup or pasta'n'pesto lots of nights. But I'll post as much as I can, and I promise I'll never disappear without explaining why again!

Thursday 5 May 2011

Sharrow Bay

For my birthday, my lovely mummy took me out for afternoon tea at the Sharrow Bay Hotel in Ullswater.  We'd done this once before, at the Miller Howe, a hotel that once had the legendary Nigel Slater in its kitchens; but I have to say Sharrow Bay blew it out of the water. (That's kind of a funny joke since they're both hotels on the edge of lakes. D'you see? You may laugh. I said, you MAY LAUGH. Thank you.)

First of all, I should say this was a surprise. But that's not really relevant so perhaps I shouldn't. Anyway, a long time ago, my then-boyfriend and I were looking round for a lovely place to eat for a sort of farewell meal before I went off to university, and we had looked at Sharrow Bay. (I bet you I get an email from him saying 'We had? I thought we went to Maccy Ds?' We went to L'Enclume in the end, just in case you were wondering. It was amazing. I only wish I had had a camera back then.) Where was I? Oh yes, Sharrow Bay. Anyway, it's in Ullswater, which I haven't really patronised very much except on Duke of Edinburgh expeditions. It's not really on the way to anywhere. The point is, I wasn't aware we were going to Sharrow Bay so I really was surprised when we turned into the drive. And WHAT a drive. I know this is a food blog, but there's going to be quite a lot of pictures of the place; I could say because it added to the atmosphere and therefore the enjoyment of the food (and I would be telling the truth), but really it's just because I fell in love with it.

We were a bit early, so we went for a bit of a wander down to the lake and through the gardens. They have these amazing old walled gardens and greenhouses where they were obviously growing vegetables and herbs (probably for the Michelin-starred retaurant, dahling).

It's just completely surrounded by natural beauty: the lake directly on one side and the mountains rising up behind it. I'm sorry to waft on, but it really was lovely.

Let's get on to the food, shall we? After all, that's what we are here and what I was there for.

To start, blueberry and apple tea, which I was sure I'd taken a picture of, but y'know, any cup of pink tea looks similar to another. I'm sure you can imagine one without much duress.

I love dessert forks.

Then the food started to come out. I'll say this right now - there was A LOT.

On the bottom tier, sandwiches (in order of deliciousness - and this is hard, they were all delicious): cheese savoury, tuna and cucumber, ham, coronation chicken (amazing) and smoked salmon.

On the middle tier, sultana scones, and date and walnut scones. We thought.

On the top tier, shortbread, Grasmere Gingerbread (kind of) and peanut butter biscuits.

My mum fell in love with the dish that held the butter - you can just see its little domed lid behind the scones. Inside were little curls:

Then came toasted teacakes (homemade):

And finally, cream cakes:

Just quickly, clockwise from the top - fruit tart (nice), some almondy thing (I didn't have any), chocolate cake (REALLY chocolatey), rasberry roulade (apparently nice), fruit meringue (yummy), and banoffee pie - my favourite!

Remember all that food was for two people. We were stuffed. And we took most of it home in a box.

So on a scale of one to yummy? Definitely a yummy. Thanks mum!

Tuesday 19 April 2011

Seven Vegetable Tagine

Hullo! What a fine day it is today. I even went bare-legged and I can happily say I haven't got hypothermia yet.

On Mothering Sunday (Yes, I know it was ages ago, I've been on holiday, all right?) I actually remembered, for once, and did something. I cooked! Now, I know what you're thinking. 'Gosh, Emily, what a hardship for you. How did you cope?' But really, you know, my mum's terribly fussy so it was quite difficult. She doesn't like meat or fish (apart from the occasional prawn butty) or anything excessively rich or cheesy, or anything vaguely oriental and soy-sauce-y. Now do you see? That's everything I love! How on earth do I cook something under those circumstances?

Handily, I was able to reach a fortuitous conclusion.  She loves curry. BUT. I was not going to cook curry. That would be too obvious. I went Morrocan. I plucked from the recesses of my brain a wonderful recipe I picked up when I was in Marrake -

Oh, all right. I just saw the recipe in Olive and thought 'Yeah. Okay. Cool.'

It worked out perfectly actually because in the end the spices smelled fairly similar to a curry (naturally she wasn't allowed in the kitchen) and so we led her down the wrong track. Do you see? My sister and I enjoyed it very much.

I'm not sure why the sugar's out.  But anyway.

I think the seven vegetables were potato, butternut squash, carrot, courgette, tomato, chickpeas and green beans. I think. I suppose I could just check on the recipe but that would be too easy.

It called for preserved lemon, which I didn't have. I don't think I've even ever seen them in a shop. But anyway, I found something - Oh! that's why the sugar's out! - that says you can sort of make emergency preserved lemon, as it were, by frying some sliced lemon in olive oil, salt and sugar. But I couldn't really taste it in the tagine, so I just shoved some extra lemon in too.

We had it with some couscous and some harissa and yoghurt.

It was a bit runny, but it was really good. And it tasted lovely with the olives in, as well.

It also made a fabulous soup the next day, whizzed up with some cream.

On a scale of one to yummy? A 17.

Friday 8 April 2011

Spring Snacks

I'm back! Well, I've been back for nearly two weeks, but I've been far too important and busy to update my blog. Honest. Also our internet died.

I have a surprising lack of photos. I'm not sure why this is. Perhaps I thought 'Shall I fetch my camera? Nah, I've taken plenty of pictures, and there'll be plenty of more opportunities...' nearly every time I ate. Though obviously I haven't written anything for two weeks so there are quite a lot; I meant relatively.

Anyway, I'll stop waffling now. It wouldn't make sense to sort these chronologically; partly because they're too erratic and partly I can't remember what I did every day. So we'll sort it into meals. Keeping up? (Also despite the title it isn't all snacks. Naturally. I just like alliteration.)


We ended up eating out a lot for breakfast. Now this is mostly because I love the idea of eating breakfast somewhere else. But it does have some reason behind it: my house is so far away from anywhere that you can't just hop on a bus or walk anywhere. On a weekday, your only hope of getting out of the house is to catch a lift with my mum or stepdad on their way to work. Obviously, they leave pretty early. So me and my friend usually fell out of bed and straight into the car - thus the need for breakfast whenever we got to our destination. Honest!

Breakfast in a box! The novelty of this was almost better than the actual thing, though it was pretty tasty either way.

Eggybread with maple syrup and pancetta. This was delicious and felt very posh, but there wasn't much pancetta. It was good anyway. Iveta had a smoked salmon omelette which was also delicious.

All day breakfast butty from Costa - mm, classy. Good though. Let's face it, when is breakfast bad?

Lunches and snacks

Gosh, I'm enjoying these little subtitles. It's almost like I'm writing something worthwhile.

Smoked salmon and Philly jacket potato: (You may have noticed by now my addiction to smoked salmon and bacon. Get used to it.)

Scampi and chips at Vinegar Jones. Oh yes. I know how to treat my guests.

Now this was silly of me. We went to a lovely little restaurant/café called Fat Olive for lunch and I foolishly ordered a steak sandwich. Now it was nice, and I do love Fat Olive, but I just don't really like beef. I still don't know what possessed me to point and say, 'I'll have the steak sandwich, please.' Oh well, I snuck it into my bag wrapped in a napkin and my stepdad enjoyed it later.

This is more like it - onion and goat's cheese quiche with salads. That red cabbage salad is amazing. I've been trying to work out the recipe for years.


Yes, that does mean an evening meal, not the drink. Nor afternoon tea, I'm afraid, despite my Englishness.

This isn't actually holiday food: this is what I had on our 'clearing out the freezer' supper. Chicken wings, a burger, fishfingers, smiley face, french fries and peas. Mmmmmmm, protien.

My first tea back! Toad in the hole made by my revered mama.

 And again, my mother's cooking - this time chicken tikka. Yummy scrumboes.

Sweet treats

Poached rhubarb and ice-cream. One of the only puddings I like - usually in restaurants I'll go for cheese over sweet things. And while we're on the subject, cheese with fruit in it is a travesty. I'm all for a wedge of Brie with grapes, or Lancashire and a Cox's Orange Pippin, or Stilton and pears; but fruit IN cheese? No. Just... no.

Sarah Nelson's Grasmere Gingerbread! There's nothing quite like it. Though that's not for lack of trying. 

This, too, is back in Glasgow - a student staple, apparently - five-minute chocolate cake. You make it in a mug in the microwave. Can you believe I ate this after our freezer-clearing fandango? I can't.

Well! I think that's enough for now. I'm boring myself, so God knows how you are. There's more but they deserve their own posts. It's been a good holiday so far!

Friday 25 March 2011

Spring Break!

I'm off on holiday!

Well, no, I'm not. But I am going home for the best part of a month, and my friend is coming with me for the first week, so I'm going to be a tourist with her. Thus, there will be no blog posts for at least a week - I'll be far too busy buying magnets and going on boats. Sorry! Well, I'm not sorry, but you  know. Standards of politeness and all that.

Anyway, here are some pictures of little snacks and meals that didn't deserve their own posts but ought to be here all the same.

Apple pie:

(Yes, that is a Kuhn Rikon knife. Yes, they are awesome.)

Tomato relish (this was to go with a curry but the curry went a bit wrong. That's why there was no post on Wednesday...):

Prawns, french fries, salad and garlic mayo:

Banoffee ice-cream with caramel sauce (this was amazing):

Lemon "souffle" (It was mousse.) - I didn't like this, but it looks pretty and my friends thought they were good.

Cheesy crumpet - best breakfast/lunch/snack/supper ever:

....Apart from this: a cheese, ham, and fried egg sandwich:

Pastrami and red onion pizza - this was surprisingly delicious:

And finally, a Belgian bun. I've never been sure what it is that's so Belgian about them, but they are delicious.

Have a lovely week!