Easter Seafood Fest!!!

For the Easter weekend, we took a little trip to Southend-on-sea and it was quite a seafood fest with a lot of indulging…. ๐Ÿ™‚

This is how it all began….

SATURDAY:

Fishermans Wharf

Lunch at Fishermans Wharf

Haddock Chowder soup

Haddock Chowder Soup

Bouillabaisse Seafood Soup

Bouillabaisse Seafood Soup

Mussels & chips, seafood platter!

Mussels & chips, seafood platter!

Dinner at Westcliff Hotel

Dinner at Westcliff Hotel

Pork Belly with mash

Pork Belly with mash and veg

Steak Fajitas

Steak Fajitas

A Prymid of Profileroles! Yum!

Got to have a dessert!!ย  A Pyramid of Profileroles! Yum!

SUNDAY:

Full English Breakfast!

Full English Breakfast at the Pavillion Hotel!

Osbourne Bros

Osbourne Bros – Leigh on sea

Half a pound of cockles for ยฃ2 - bargain!

Half a pound of cockles for ยฃ2 – bargain!

Anchovies with olives, cockles, whelk

Anchovies with olives, cockles, whelk

And, I brought a bag of mixed seafood to take home as they were so cheap!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

For tonight’s dinner, I had a go at making salmon en croute spinach using the Jus-Rolย  recipe on the packaging! Feeling absolutely stuffed from this weekend….. ๐Ÿ™‚

Got to make a a few trips to the gym next week!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Salmon en croute

Salmon en croute for dinner

 

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A Really Good Friday! :)

CIMG1933We spent this afternoon at the Easter Real Food Festival, so many interesting and colourful street food vans, I took a few pictures (Scroll down to the bottom) but if you want to take a look who’s exhibiting, click here.ย 

My lunch!

My lunch!

For lunch, I had a hog roast in ciabatta roll with apple sauce and rocket from ‘Love me Tender’ stall! They were also giving out free samples of the roast which attracted my attention, the meat was so tender and marinated! Delicious, all for a fiver! As my hubby is Catholic, on Good Friday, he is not meant to eat any meat so he was unable to taste this! He ended up getting a Mackerel bap with chips from ‘Bennet’s on the Waterfront’ stall which was very tasty! ๐Ÿ™‚

Hubby's lunch!

Hubby’s lunch!

Peggy Porschen parlour - so pink!

Peggy Porschen parlour – so pink!

We then popped into Peggy Porshen parlour in Belgravia for some tea & coffee and Champagne & Strawberry cake!! The pink icing was so soft and not too sweet, the cake was extremely yummy! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

Champagne & Strawberry Cake!

Champagne & Strawberry Cake!

Easter sweet treats for the kids!

Easter sweet treats for the kids!

As time is of the essence today! I made my nieces and nephew a tiny easter parcel filled with a chocolate bunny and sweet treats, I put them in cellophane bag which is great for gifts and tied a spring coloured ribbon!

All baked!

All baked!

We were going to my parents-in-law for dinner and I quickly made baked a batch of vanilla meringues and whipped up some double cream and prepared my strawberries! I like to ‘season’ the strawberries with a sprinkle of vanilla sugar and a bit of vanilla extract and mixing it altogether to enhance the flavours! ๐Ÿ™‚ So much to eat for dinner, as they cooked 3 different types of fish, salmon, fried fish and fish in breadcrumbs! My nephew, Kyle has a ‘unique’ appetite as he had boiled rice, sweetcorn and cucumber!!! He could just eat a stick of cucumber for dinner! Whereas my niece, Alyssa has got an adult appetite being only 9 years old! Sometimes, her dinner portions are bigger than mine!

Dessert! :)

Dessert! ๐Ÿ™‚

They helped me in plating up my dessert, Alyssa was spooning the cream and Kyle was putting the strawberries in everybody’s bowl so we all had the same amount!! It probably took me 2 hours from scratch to prepare everything for the dessert and it got demolished in 5 minutes!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

I got a feeling that this Easter weekend is going to be a very indulgent food weekend!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Going to be extremely stuffed….Wishing everybody a Happy Easter and hope you all enjoy the break!!!

Love me tender stall giving out free samples!

Love me tender stall giving out free samples of their roast!

Huge frying pans for the paella!

Huge frying pans for the paella!

Good Friday!

You can smell the popcorn as you passed this!

You can smell the popcorn as you passed this!

Good Friday!Good Friday!

 

 

A Celebration of Extraordinary Street Food!

Real Street Food Festival

Real Street Food Festival

In this week’s Time Out magazine, I spotted an advert promoting the Easter Real Street Food Festival at the Southbank Centre. They have been organising food festivals for 4 years now and it about creating a space and platform to celebrate and enjoy some of the best producers around. From hand-made chocolates to the finest artisan cheeses, chutneys, proper sausages, olive oils,ย charcuterie, regionalย specialitiesย and delights and the most creative street food vendors โ€“ the Real Food Festival celebrates the very best, passion-driven sustainably and ethically produced food.

It is free entry and there will be music performances, for more information, visit the Realfoodfestive website. It starts this Easter weekend – 29th March to 1st April, Queen’s walk, Southbank Centre from 12 onwards. I have never been to Street Food Festival before so I am feeling really excited as we are going tomorrow!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Apart from this festival, they also run food markets every weekend from Friday to Sunday at the Southbank Centre Square which I am hoping to go one weekend this year!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Hot Cross Buns – Easter!

My Hot Cross Buns! :)

My Hot Cross Buns! ๐Ÿ™‚

It is coming up to Easter this week and I thought I will have a go at making my own hot cross buns!! ๐Ÿ™‚ I took the recipe from BBC GoodFood website – click here. Although, my piping skills were not that great with the ‘crosses!’ as the flour paste just seem to spread everywhere on the bun! ๐Ÿ™‚

The hot cross buns turned out to be bigger than I thought! But, they do taste lovely with some butter! ๐Ÿ™‚

Dough mixture

Dough mixture

Mixed into a dough ball

Mixed into a dough ball

Scoring with the knife

Scoring with the knife

Piping the Crosses

Piping the Crosses

Devil’s Food Cake – Nigella

Devil's Food Cake! :)

Devil’s Food Cake! ๐Ÿ™‚

Last Friday for Red Nose Day’s auction at work, I offered to bake some one a cake of their own choice! I managed to get ยฃ16 for my bid and he wanted me to make a chocolate fudge cake!! As soon as he said that to me, I instantly thought of Nigella’s recipe for her Devil’s Food Cake!! I have made this once, last year and it was delicious!!! It does involve quite a lot of work as the instructions are quite long but it is worth it! Moist and rich but not too sweet as other chocolate fudge cakes and the frosting really does gleam – very devilish!!!

I remember taking some left over to my in-law’s house, the adults liked the cake but not my niece & nephew, I think it was that fact that it wasn’t sweet because dark chocolate is used and it gives a more bitter taste. Definitely suited more for adults I think! ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s the recipe for Nigella’s Devil’s food cake:

For the cake

  • 50 gram(s) cocoa powder (sifted)
  • 100 gram(s) dark brown muscovado sugar
  • 250 ml water (boiling)
  • 125 gram(s) unsalted butter (soft – (plus some for greasing))
  • 150 gram(s) caster sugar
  • 225 gram(s) Plain flour
  • ยฝ teaspoon(s) baking powder
  • ยฝ teaspoon(s) bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
  • 2 medium egg(s)

For the frosting

  • 125 ml water
  • 30 gram(s) dark brown muscovado sugar
  • 175 gram(s) unsalted butter (cubed)
  • 300 gram(s) dark chocolate (finely chopped)

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 180ยฐC/gas mark 4.
  2. Line the bottoms of both sandwich tins with baking parchment and butter the sides.
  3. Put the cocoa and 100g dark muscovado sugar into a bowl with a bit of space to spare, and pour in the boiling water. Whisk to mix, then set aside.
  4. Cream the butter and caster sugar together, beating well until pale and fluffy; I find this easiest with a freestanding mixer, but by hand wouldnโ€™t kill you.
  5. While this is going on โ€“ or as soon as you stop if youโ€™re mixing by hand โ€“ stir the flour, baking powder and bicarb together in another bowl, and set aside for a moment.
  6. Dribble the vanilla extract into the creamed butter and sugar โ€“ mixing all the while โ€“ then drop in 1 egg, quickly followed by a scoopful of flour mixture, then the second egg.
  7. Keep mixing and incorporate the rest of the dried ingredients for the cake, then finally mix and fold in the cocoa mixture, scraping its bowl well with a spatula.
  8. Divide this fabulously chocolatey batter between the 2 prepared tins and put in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.
  9. Take the tins out and leave them on a wire rack for 5โ€“10 minutes, before turning the cakes out to cool.
  10. But as soon as the cakes are in the oven, get started on your frosting: put the water, 30g muscovado sugar and 175g butter in a pan over a low heat to melt.
  11. When this mixture begins to bubble, take the pan off the heat and add the chopped chocolate, swirling the pan so that all the chocolate is hit with heat, then leave for a minute to melt before whisking till smooth and glossy.
  12. Leave for about 1 hour, whisking now and again โ€“ when youโ€™re passing the pan โ€“ by which time the cakes will be cooled, and ready for the frosting. It will really runny at first but it does thicken up after some time.
  13. Set one of the cooled cakes, with its top side down, on a cake stand or plate, and spread with about a third of the frosting, then top that with the second cake, regular way up, and spread the remaining frosting over the top and sides, swirling away with a pallet knife.
Before

Before

After

After

Chocolate Frosting ingredients

Chocolate Frosting ingredients

Chocolate Frosting

Chocolate Frosting

Icing the chocolate cakes

Icing the chocolate cakes

Birthday Chocolate Cupcakes for my work colleagues!

All packed and ready to go!

All packed and ready to go!

Last night after work, I decided to bake chocolate cupcakes for 2 of my work colleagues, Liz and Annette as they are working at our event on their birthday (today)! I thought it would be a nice surprise for them to receive a nice little treat from me as I was working aswell! ๐Ÿ™‚ In the past, I haven’t really been too pleased about my chocolate cupcakes as I always find them too dry and dense so I looked at my pile of baking books to see if I can spot any good recipes! I found the perfect chocolate cake recipe from ‘Cupcakes’ written by Primrose Bakery (Martha Swift & Lisa Thomas). I love this book because it gives you the basic recipes for general cupcakes ie vanilla, chocolate, lemon, carrot and then how you can evolve them with different flavourings and decorations. I have never been to their shop but planning to go this year to experience their wonderful cupcakes!!

Here’s their recipe for the Chocolate Cupcakes:

  • 115g good quality dark chocolate, 70% cocoa if possible
  • 85g unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 175g soft brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs, separated
  • 185g plain flour – sifted
  • 3/4tsp baking powder
  • 3/4tsp baking soda
  • Pinch of salt
  • 250ml semi-skimmed milk/full milk, at room temperature
  • 1tsp vanilla extract
  • Pre heat oven to GM5 and line a 12 hole muffin tray with cupcake cases. For me, I managed to bake 18 cupcakes with this batch.
  1. Melt the chocolate either using the microwave or in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave to cool slightly.
  2. Cream the butter and sugar together using an electric hand beater until pale and smooth. In a separate bowl, beat the egg yolks for several mins until it becomes a bit creamy. Then, slowly add the egg yolks to the creamed butter and sugar and beat well. Next, add the chocolate to this mixture and beat well.
  3. Combine the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. Combine the milk and vanilla in a jug. Add the flour mixture to the chocolate, butter and sugar, alternating with the milk and vanilla. Beat very well after each addition.
  4. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks start to form. Carefully fold the eggs whites into the main batter using a metal spoon. Do not beat or you will take all the air out of the cake.
  5. Carefully spoon the mixture out equally into the cupcake cases, filling them about two-thirds full. The batter will be of a fairly liquid consistency so take care when spooning out as it can end up being very messy! I used an ice cream scoop to do this.
  6. Place the trays in the oven and bake for between 20-25 mins for the regular size cupcakes or approx 15 mins for the mini cupcakes. Leave in their tins for 10 mins or so before placing on a wire rack to cool.

Chocolate Buttercream:

  • 175g 70% dark chocolate
  • 225g unsalted butter, at room temp (I only used 165g)
  • 1tbsp semi-skimmed milk
  • 1tsp vanilla extract, good quality
  • 250g icing sugar, sifted (I only used 150g)
  1. Melt the chocolate either using the microwave or in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Leave to cool slightly.
  2. Beat the butter, sugar, milk and vanilla with an electric hand beater in a bowl until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat until thick and creamy. If it looks too runny to use when trying to ice cupcakes or cakes, simply keep beating, this will thicken the icing and improve its consistency. Then ice the cupcakes and add any decorations of your choice! I still need to practice with using a palette knife to ice a cupcake as they are not the greatest!
My treat! :)

My treat! ๐Ÿ™‚

I must say, this is the best chocolate cupcakes I have ever made! The sponge was really light and soft and deliciously chocolatey!! ๐Ÿ™‚ Liz & Annette were both really pleased with their cupcakes and thoroughly enjoyed them! ๐Ÿ™‚ And, I also got my treat too!

Chocolate mixture & egg white

Chocolate mixture & egg white

Before

Before

After

After

Chocolate Cupcakes

Chocolate Cupcakes

All decorated!

All decorated!

For Liz

For Liz

For Annette

For Annette

A dish from Bogota!

Cazuela de frijoles

Cazuela de frijoles

Our friend, Heath is on an amazing trip touring South America for a month! I have asked him to take some photos of his food experience for my blog. I have never been to South America before and I am curious to know what kind of food are eaten over there.

In Bogota – Capital of Colombia, he came across a dish called ‘Cazuela de frijoles’. The name translates as a ‘Bean Casserole’ so one would think that it would be a vegetarian dish but no! It’s basically a thick soup of black & red beans, stacked high with bits of pork, chicken, sausage & slabs of avocado…with a side dish of rice and salad. All of this for ยฃ3!!! So cheap and high in protein with all the meat and beans!!! He did say ‘it was absolutely delicious!’. ๐Ÿ™‚