Posts Tagged With: cook

Did I Do That?

If there’s one kitchen task I’m utterly hopeless in it is baking. And yet, somehow, I managed to create this:


It’s a super chocolatey chocolate cake with a dark chocolate ganache filling (and a touch of Nutella), frosted with vanilla and Pomegranate buttercream.

This is the first time I’ve successfully baked and decorated a cake.

I’d like to thank Martha Stewart for the cake recipe, random websites for the crumb coating and buttercream recipes, my ingenuity for the idea to add pomegranate concentrate to some of the frosting, the Internet for its support, and my loyal dog Biscuit for keeping me company through this process. *bows to humbly accept award before thrusting said award skywards in celebration, silent tears rolling down face*

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I made risotto for the first time this week! It turned out great, especially for a first attempt. Here it is bubbling away:


I sautéed spring onions, sweet peppers, dried tarragon, mixed mushrooms and crushed garlic in a mix of Parmesan-infused olive oil and butter. To that I added my rice, and gradually ladled in simmering lamb stock. When the rice was almost done, I stirred in a tablespoon of double cream, a knob of butter, and grated some Parmesan liberally over the lot. Then right at the end I tossed in a healthy glug of white wine.

It was a meat-free meal, so I served it with tomatoes roasted with pesto, feta, black pepper, and lemon-infused olive oil.

Quick, simple, tasty. Bon appetite!


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Five Days With a Philips Airfryer: Day 4: Challenge!

I just gobbled down a ribbon of smoked trout like a penguin ingesting a sardine whole, then clapping its flippers in appreciative applause. That doesn’t really have anything to do with this blog post but that was a confession I felt I had to make. Now that we’ve got that out of the way…

Today I deliberately set out to challenge my loan Airfryer. I felt I had to do something vegetarian, but I don’t believe I’ve ever consumed fried vegetables unless they’re tempura (in which case deep-frying is sort of mandatory), so I settled on chickpea patties.

I’ve made chickpea patties before but I’ve never really been happy with the outcome. Apart from my first attempt which was a total success:


I am good, aren’t I?

I wasn’t going to be completely happy with some healthy, vegan lumps so I decided to top today’s patties with a yoghurt-based sauce (I wanted to use creme fraiche but my local Woolies was all out) and smoked trout ribbons, on a bed on baby lettuce leaves dressed in lemon olive oil and Parmesan, served with grilled prawns.


Let’s start win the patties. I broke out my food processor and whizzed up one shallot, half a green-pepper, and a jalapeño from my garden:



I then drained a can of organic chickpeas and tossed in the contents:


(How gross does the brine the chickpeas were preserved in look?)

I blitzed the whole lot then started rooting around on my cupboards for some semolina to act ad a thickening agent and add texture, when I found this:


I had completely forgotten that I had for some chickpea flour intending to make bhajias. I tossed a load of the flour in and blitzed it again. Chickpea flour has a rather strong flavour so I then added some semolina and regular flour to thicken the mixture. I also added salt, black pepper, garlic, dhania jeera, crushed chillies, dried tarragon and whole coriander seeds:


Once I had mixed up the whole lot I made up the patties. It helps to moisten your hands with some olive oil prior to forming the patties, as this stops the mix from sticking to your hands. I tossed the patties into the Airfryer and baked at 180° for 10 minutes on either side. Remember that you need to bake the insides of the patties as well as the outsides:

While the prawns were cooking, I deveined and cleaned the prawns that I had found in my freezer. I must confess that I started singing “Part of Your World” from The Little Mermaid out of sheer delight at finding the prawns in the “treasure trove” of my freezer. In hindsight, singing a tune from The Little Mermaid while slicing prawns open, ripping out their guts and hacking off their heads was a touch macabre. Perhaps I should have sung “Les poissons” instead.

Digression. I used a simple marinade of olive oil, Tabasco, a splash of lime juice and black pepper:


I’m going to go a bit faster cos I’m really sleepy right now. I took the cooked chickpea patties out, and while they didn’t look particularly appetizing they tasted AMAZING :


They kind of look like cookies, don’t they?

I then slid the prawns into the Airfryer at 200* for 4 minutes before serving:


So, how did it all work out? While the patties were delicious they were dry, and so I feel would benefit from frying in actual oil.

Conversely, prawns were made for Aifrying…or is that the other way round? It was quick, easy, effective, and I can’t imagine any other cooking method would work as well.

And with that I must bid you my adieus; join me tomorrow for the final Airfryer test!

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Five Days With a Philips Airfryer: Day 1 – Frozen

Nothing makes good taste better than fat. This truth has a sound scientific basis – fat makes food taste better because most flavours are fat soluble. Just think about it – butter, bacon, duck cat… fat is flavourful! But, alas, my consumption of fat-laden foods is limited by the need to fit into my clothes.

I’ve been lusting after the Philips Airfryer for a while now, but it doesn’t come cheap. I’m generally very skeptical about foods that claim to taste as good with less fat, so I ever got round to getting myself an Airfryer.

I mentioned this to a friend who happens to work at Philips, and she kindly organized a loan demo Airfryer for me. Wooooohoooo! I have a limited amount of time with the machine, so for the five days I have the Airfryer, I’ll blog my experiences with it. Good? Let’s go!

Now, you can’t claim to test food which should be fried unless you start with, well, fries. There are few things in this world that can bring a person as much joy as deep-fried potato strings. Being as busy as I am at work right now, I sadly didn’t have time to slice and fry the gorgeous yellow potatoes I have in my veggie tray right now.

So I decided – what better way to test the health benefits of the Airfryer than to “fry” up some convenience foods? Frozen fries out of a pack, frozen salmon out of a box, served with a lovely fresh salad.

This is really quick and really simple so pay attention. Dump the frozen fries and fish in the frying basket thingy:


Slide the basket into the Airfryer, time it for 6 minutes at 180* (there are pictures on the front of the Airfryer that tell you how long and at what heat to cook different types of food):


When it pings, take the basket out and shake the contents before sliding it back in for more cooking:


After a further 6 minutes it’s ready to serve:



I had mine with a salad of baby butter lettuce dressed with lemon olive oil from the tap at Food Lovers Market, Hillfox, balsamic vinegar and pomegranate concentrate. Oh, and a healthy dollop of All Gold tomato sauce.

So, verdict? I honestly could not tell that the fries had not been deep fried. Granted frozen chips are pre-cooked in oil so they weren’t completely fat-free, but they tasted waaaaay better than ghastly oven fries. In all – delicious, guilt-free fries. Happiness 🙂

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