7 September 2010

Bournemouth Echo "Taste" Blog : Fuelled by food blogs ...

With apologies for repeating myself!  You can, if you so wanted, see the original blog posting - and all my other blog posts on "Taste", here.


It occurred to me, as I sat here making a little aide memoir of dishes I wanted to talk about, that very nearly the whole list has been provided by one food blogger or another. I’m not sure that it’s anything to brag about, but it does represent a change in my recipe-gleaning habits!

Firstly, the jewel in the crown of our new dishes this week, has been the singular success of hubby’s Bagel making enterprise. This follows a post by an Anglo/Canadian friend of mine on her blog where she details a successful recipe for Bagels. After a couple of very successful tries, Hubby thinks he has perfected the recipe  and we have (rather embarrassingly) been throwing mouldy bread away ever since.

We’ve had bagels with home made jam, cream cheese and smoked salmon, raisin & cinnamon bagels, cream cheese and ham, scrambled eggs, cheese and home made chutney (of more later) and even marmite. They are deliciously chewy, although toasting does reduce the chewiness, but increases the flavour. I doubt we will ever want for something to make a sandwich with, all the time the Bagel Baker is in session!

Secondly, I spotted a recipe for a healthy Sweet Potato & Carrot Soup from a Malaysian blogger friend. After collecting the necessary sweet potato and ginger, I made this for lunch on Saturday. I digressed a little from the original recipe, mostly because I didn’t have garlic oil to hand so fried off a little clove to begin with and, somehow or other, it seemed to make sense to add a small red chilli. For my taste, the end results were simply gorgeous - you felt virtuous as you ate it, but the chilli and ginger added such a multi-levelled warmth and kick, that it was a real riot on your tongue. Hubby opted for burgers that lunchtime, so he missed his opportunity, but Son reviewed it as follows. “A sweet soup to die for! It was mushy, but in a good way – and the chilli makes it soupy buenos!”. LOL So taken with it was he, that he wrote the review down, so that I wouldn’t forget it. *chuckle*

Photo c/o my inhouse photographer, Chillibob
Saturday afternoon was taken up with making Plum Chutney. (From James Martin, via http://www.goodfoodchannel.co.uk/). It is my first go at any kind of chutney, but having had such success with the small batch jam, I was filled with hope that the results would be good. I have to say, that apart from it being rather more “soupy” than I wanted, the flavours are terrific and it goes marvellously well with a lovely strong cheddar. In fact, we’ve got Pork Pie and Salad on the menu list for this coming week, purely so that we can have something to eat the chutney with!

It was remarkably easy to do, you began by sweating off a couple of chopped shallots, then you added the plums (500g in this case) which had been stoned and quartered, 100ml of white wine vinegar (I didn’t have white wine, so I used a mixture of 50ml Cider & 50ml Balsamic), 3 tbsp water (which I’d leave out, if I ever made it again), a half a teaspoon each of cinnamon and ground coriander, a small piece of ginger that had been grated, and 100g dark brown sugar. Stir until the sugar dissolves, then put the pan onto a high heat and bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 15 mins or so, stirring from time to time, until the mixture thickens slightly. I didn’t go for the sterilised jars option, I just put mine into a lidded dish and now it lives in the fridge. I doubt very much that it will last long enough to go off!

Considering we were economising last week – life gets difficult after the big gurgle of Direct Debits leaves the bank account – I think we did remarkably well for new taste sensations.

However, when it came to what to have for Saturday’s dinner everyone’s hand went up when asked “hands up, who wants Sausage & Mozzarella bake?”. It is such a ridiculously simple dish, this, but it is an evergreen that we simply don’t seem to be getting bored with. The original recipe was one of Jamie Oliver’s “Food for a Fiver” recipe cards produced by Sainsbury’s. However, I felt that the tomato sauce was a bit weak, so have broadened the flavours with the addition of a few extras.

So, what you do is firstly put the sausages into the oven to bake for 25 mins. You want them to be just browned, as they’re going to cook further in the casserole dish.

While they are cooking, put a large pan of salted water on to boil and then cook some 300g of broccoli florets for no longer than 2-3 minutes. Remove with a slotted spoon (reserving the cooking water for the Penne pasta) and place into the casserole dish. Place the pasta in to cook once the water is back to boiling.

In the meantime, heat up a tablespoon of olive oil in a high-sided frying pan and sweat off a chopped onion and a chopped chilli, adding a grated clove of garlic and some chopped (or dried) oregano when almost done. Add a tin of chopped tomatoes, a tablespoon of tomato puree, another tablespoon of tomato ketchup and a splash or two of Worcester sauce. You may need to add 100ml of water, depending on how juicy the tomatoes were. Allow this to simmer gently while the pasta cooks and you chop the part-cooked sausages into four.

Ultimately, combine the sausages, pasta, broccoli and sauce together in the high-sided frying pan, mixing gently to ensure everything is covered with sauce. Decant into the casserole dish, add a layer of sliced mozzarella cheese to the top and bake in the oven at 190deg for around 30 minutes or until the cheese is golden and bubbly.

If you’re feeding a number of people, you can include a green salad or garlic bread. However as it’s just us, and none of us need the extra calories, we don’t bother.

Now, apart from the Pork Pie idea, I’m clueless about what to serve on this week’s menu. So, I reckon I’ll have to have a look on some food blogs …. *chuckle*


  1. Yes.....Lovely.....!
    Reading through this again. Bit like those Soaps,
    (Not that watch such rubbish). On ALL week, then again on Sunday. They should be ALL banned in my opinion.
    But.....Just had a De-Frag, feel so much better now...! And got the crumbs out the keyboard!
    Clicked onto my two favorite Blogs, this one, and Westhill Farm.....Rosemary, and her Alpacas.
    Very near to me, at Ibberton. Lovely animals, bred for there hair of course, l'm not saying another word, she will kill me, if l mention food, and Alpacas....oooO! ;-)
    Love the review above Jenny, l've read it twice, made a cup of lemon tea, earl grey of course.
    Decided to read it again.....And reply......
    Though, have'nt said anything about food, have l.
    Well, l've curry for tea, one l made on Sunday, with some of the meat left over from the pigs head....! Oh! the pigs head, l hear you ask. Yes, ALL used up...Even the ears....Given to William...next door...Who is named after me....And he!....Is a Spinger, Gun dog....You should see him with a 4:10....lol.
    Even brings a rabbit round, in his mouth, first thing, that he's caught, up in the field. But only young ones, he can't catch the big ones, to fast.....So! that's breakfast sorted some mornings, with a bit of bacon...mmmM!
    My daughter, says that they'll lock me away one day.....I don't care, as long l can do the cook'in......Love Food...Love Cats...Love Pink.....! :)x
    auf Wiedersehen.....Sounds a lot nicer in Italian though.....Arrivederci....! Ciao...!

  2. Jenny, I'm so glad you you liked the soup. Great to add chili. Will do so next time :D All the food that you prepared look very delicious. You must be having so much fun over there :D Those freshly made bagels must be awesome....mmm. Thanks very much for the mention. Hope you have more fun cooking!


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