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To Cook List

I have to admit over the last couple of months I have fallen into a bit of a foodie rut whereby instead of trying new dishes I am sticking to old favourites and dishes I know are going to be crowd pleasers.

@foodblog mentioned in one of her tweets about having a ‘To cook’ list and that got me thinking……

I love a good ‘to do’ list, I think it has something to do with the feeling you get when you can cross things off, so a  ‘To cook’ list of everything I would love to cook would really get me inspired.

At first I did not know where to start with this. I went to the cupboard and dragged out all the back issues I have of my favourite foodie magazines.

My initial idea was to start cutting out recipes but about ten magazines in I knew that that was not going to work (I am a hoarder by heart; I get it from my grandma).

The dishes that I have shortlisted are not necessarily hard or pretentious, to get on the list the recipe it just had to catch my eye as something that I and my friends would enjoy eating (something that we would be able to give the ‘Reallynicefood’ stamp to).

The big find for me has to be all the vegetarian dishes I discovered as it is  an area of cooking that I don’t venture into enough.

Anyway, now I am in the process of compileing my ultimate ‘To cook list’ so, if you have any dishes you think  should be on there, send me a tweet. I have to admit I cant wait to start cooking !

Once the list is compiled, I will upload it onto my blog and keep you updated on my progress.

Wish me luck !

Check @foodblog’s blog: http://www.ineedtext.com/FoodBlog/

Food and the royal wedding – What Kate and Will ate

I have been looking forward to Friday and the wedding of Kate and Wills with great anticipation. I felt that I (and I suppose everyone that was watching) felt connected to them in some way plus, you have to admit we all love a good wedding.

Since my own marriage proposal last year, weddings have been a hot topic in our household. I have to say that its not the dress I stay awake dreaming about, its the food that will be served on our day.

For me the food is the most important part of the day. Growing up wedding food was created with army precision. Church sisters would work around the clock to create a banquet of Jonny cakes, fried chicken, curried mutton and goat, coleslaw, gravy and piles of white rice. These particular dishes were traditional west indian favourites, recipes that have been passed down, generation to generation with love. The same love that all the sisters wanted to pass on to the couple.

Now I don’t suppose that Wills and Kate had the local sisters at Westminster abbey to cook up a feast but, looking at the menu served, there were lots of english favourites that Royal Chef Mark Flanagan had created for the occasion making the menu very down to earth (a theme that ran throughout the wedding).

As all the food used was sourced from royal holdings using UK based ingredients, the wedding reception I felt, was able to showcase the best produce that Britain has to offer and in some way was able to evoke happy memories for the couple.

I loved the groom’s cake (a very American tradition, i might add) of Wills favourite childhood Chocolate biscuit cake. As my other half is a massive chocoholic, I wont be telling him about this as it may give him ideas!

 

 

 

 

 

Anyway, just in case you haven’t seen the menu here it is:

— Cornish crab salad on lemon blini
— Pressed duck terrine with fruit chutney
— Roulade of goat cheese with caramelized walnuts
— Scottish smoked salmon rose on beetroot blini
— Miniature watercress and asparagus tart
— Poached asparagus spears with hollandaise sauce for dipping
— Quail eggs with celery salt
— Scottish langoustines with lemon mayonnaise
— Pressed confit of pork belly with crayfish and crackling
— Wild mushroom and celeriac chausson
— Smoked haddock fishcake with pea guacamole
— Miniature Yorkshire pudding with roast fillet of beef and horseradish mousse

Sweets included:

— Gateau opera
— Blood orange pate de fruit
— Rhubarb crème brulee tartlet
— Passion fruit praline
— White chocolate as well as dark chocolate ganache truffle

First BBQ of Summer

With all this sunny weather having a BBQ is inevitable. BBQs are, by far, one of the best things about summer (as long as the weather is ok).

Top ten tips on how to BBQ- “Really nice food” style

Decide on your fuel of choice – gas or charcoal

Ever since we invested in our gas BBQ it has been a lot easier to cook food and entertain at the same time.
Now, I know that I lot of people would say that not using charcoal is a cop out and having a gas BBQ is simply a glorified outside cooker.To be fair they may have a point but, over cooked burnt food is just simply not my style.

Plan ahead
You never know what the weather will hold on BBQ D day so prepare as much as you can the day/night before.

That way, if it rains or it’s a bit cloudy you only have to worry about the food that was bound for the BBQ which, in most cases, can be cooked on the grill or in the oven.

Lighten your load
Ask your guests to bring items for the BBQ with them. However, I must warn you, to be specific on what you want them to bring (unless you want to be drowning in burgers and sausages).

If you want to be in charge of the food ask your guests to bring a bottle or two.

Waiting game
There is always that bit at a BBQ when the food is cooking and everyone is a bit peckish. I always make sure I have a simple starter to whet the appetite. My favourite is a an antipasto platter of some selected breads, meats and cheeses. Crisps with a couple of dips is a good alternative too.

Think outside the box burger
Now don’t get me wrong I love having a burger and a sausage as much as the next person but as the summer progresses it’s easy to get bored of them. To keep it interesting, why not try doing marinated chicken, lamb kebabs, grilled halloumi cheese or , even fish.

Long drinks !
No BBQ is complete without a couple of long drinks. I always make sure there is at least a jug of Pimms and lemonade on the go. I add mint, strawberries and cucumber to mine, its gives it a real summery fruity kick to it.

Keep cool
There will never be enough space in your fridge for all the food and drinks at a BBQ. My tip would be to invest it a large bucket, fill it with water and a bag of ice from the supermarket. Remember to tie a bottle opener to the bucket, that way you will never loose it.

Spare a thought for the veggies
If you have veggies coming to your BBQ I would either leave a section of the BBQ meat free or buy a cheap disposal BBQ for veg only. With all the meat that will be around I think that its a nice touch.

A sweet ending
Last year we were invited to a BBQ engagement party. I knew that most people would opt to bring savouries so, I decided to make a dessert instead.

I made a Chocolate summer fruit pavlova and it went down a treat. One tip on making your dessert is to make sure it’s something you do it in advance. This way you can leave it in the fridge for the big reveal at the end of the night.

End on a high
When the sun is going in and the food has finished, don’t be afraid to bring the party indoors.

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