Wednesday, 14 January 2009

Birthday Dinner

Now, the purpose of this blog was to document my attempt at cooking - but as it's on the theme of food, I thought restaurant reviews would fit well too. So.. for my birthday we went to one of our favourites, Keats in Ampfield. It's an italian, and we took along 3 friends. So.. we've decided to score out of 10 for each course.

Friend H - Starter, Mozzarella Carozza 8/10; Main, Pollo Milanese 6/10 - comments, chicken was odd, and the pasta bland; Dessert, Black cherry cheesecake 8/10

Friend K - Starter, Garlic Bread 7/10 - comments, good but pretty average and a bit too "herby"; Main, Penne Pasticciate 8/10 - comments, tasty, good size portion, but basically a pasta bake; Dessert, Pavlova 9/10 - comments, docked one point for being expensive, but probably the best pavlova I've ever had.

Me - Starter, Mussels 8/10 - comments, I love mussels so I could have eaten about three portions!; Main, Chateaubriand 9/10 - comments, this is the best steak ever, it just melts in your mouth, and it comes with a decent portion of chips and veg; Dessert, Pavlova 8/10 - comments, I'm more of a fan of chewy meringues than powdery, but the taste was good.

Monday, 12 January 2009

Birthday baking

What I don't understand is that when you're growing up and you have a birthday, people bring you presents and bake you a cake. But when you get old and go to work, you have to bake lots of cakes and take them to work as a present for your colleagues. How is that fair?! Anyway, this year I turned 25 and spent the weekend before my birthday baking. I decided to make fairy cakes as they always go down well, and Ian wanted to make brownies, and I figured it was about time to try a new recipe. I found a recipe in a tiny little book that my mum had bought me - 'lemon crumble bars' - which looked good, and I figured it would make a change to the lemon drizzle that I'm always making. I followed the recipe exactly, and used a 9in square tin as it said, but the mixture hardly covered it. The bars tasted good, but I think next time I'll use a smaller tin to make the bars the right size and right ratio of crumble to lemon filling. Also, I'd probably make the filling a bit more lemony. I'd add the recipe but the book is sat on my desk at work, so will append it later.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

Steak Night

Over Christmas my mum annoyingly let slip that she used to cook my dad a steak every week, and Ian complained that he hardly ever gets steak. So, I promised Ian steak night before we went back to work and had the new diet. Now, when I make steak, it's a special occasion, so I do a starter, main & dessert. For starters, I decided to do baked camembert with little toasts as that usually goes down well with Ian. I'd picked up a lower fat camembert from waitrose so I stuck that in the oven like I normally do, and then when I came to slice the top off, I was a bit surprised to see something that looked a bit like a sponge! It was very disturbing looking, and we thought maybe if we put it back into the oven for a while it might sort it out a little. However, after about 10 mins more in the oven, it still looked the same, so we decided to give it a try. It tasted just like camembert - but had the wrong texture. So... this blog entry is not really about steak at all (although the steak was fab) but more of a warning to others - do not try and bake low fat camembert - the result is just too wierd!

Friday, 2 January 2009

Freezer Cooking

Having now found the cable for my camera, I can get back to blogging. At the start of the month I decided to have a go at cooking for the freezer. As it was my first attempt, I only made one recipe, lasagne, but I managed to make 4 portions to store in the freezer for the nights when we couldn't be bothered to cook. It's quite nice to be able to come home and have a nice home made meal, but with no effort, and hardly any washing up. Next time I try it, I'm going to make more lasagne, cottage pie, maybe a curry and some cookies.