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Vote YES to fairer votes on May 5th
Avoid discussing politics or religion, so goes the standard advice for dinner party etiquette. These are the topics which, particularly after a glass of wine (or five) can spark blazing heated rows and divide a otherwise amicable group. Keep conversation light, pleasant, peaceful, talk about mutual interests, hobbies, or if needs be the weather. Boring? Perhaps, but at least no-one’s likely to swear a blood feud and storm out of the room over a comment on how clement it’s been for this time of year. Continue reading

When you wish upon a blog…


When you wish upon a blog
Makes no difference who you are
Anything your heart desires
May come to you…

Yes, it seems that sometimes, in life as in Disney, wishes really do come true. There is a magical Fairy Hobmother currently watching over the blogosphere, granting wishes and leaving trails of appliance-based happiness wherever she lands. Continue reading

Squash Seed, Parsley, Chilli and Goat’s Cheese Pesto

Spaghetti with squash seed, parsley, chilli and goat's cheese pesto and roasted squash.

This was something I first tried a few months ago, it’s slightly less seasonal now but still just as frugal and you can always replace the squash seeds with pumpkin seeds from a packet.

Anyway, I’d bought a squash with the usual plans to roast and mix with pasta/risotto/whiz into soup, when a though occurred to me; could you eat squash seeds the same way you could eat pumpkin seeds? I couldn’t see why not, they’re basically just variants on the same fruit. So I Googled it, and according to the internet you can. Continue reading

Mayonnaise Brownies

Hellmann's "Posh Brownies"

I forgot to take a picture of my brownies so this is Hellmann's press shot instead. Mine looked exactly the same as this though, honest.

For many it seems the idea of brownies made with mayonnaise ranges from confusing to repulsive; although it of course doesn’t help if the person in question hates mayonnaise to begin with. Yet when you consider that the main two ingredients of mayonnaise are oil and egg yoke it makes perfect sense. I’ve seen these sorts of recipe before, which use mayonnaise to replace either the fat or both the fat and the eggs in baking but despite the obvious reasoning behind the substitution I’d never felt sure enough to try them. Why would you bother baking with something odd like mayonnaise when you could bake the normal way with butter or oil? Continue reading

Making do with what you have: not really bibimbap

Not really, but sort of, bibimbap

Sort of bibimbap ready to be stirred.

This isn’t my recipe for bibimbap and what I did doesn’t really constitute a proper recipe any way. I doubt even I would be able to replicate the random substituted ingredients if I made this again, let alone anyone else. If you want a proper recipe for bibimbap I suggest you follow Hollowlegs recipe that I adapted to make this version.

Rather than providing a clear and reliable recipe this post is here to show that you don’t have to follow a recipe exactly to make something that tastes good, and it doesn’t matter if you don’t have exactly the right ingredients or even equipment. Cooking, as with life, is all about doing the best with what you’ve got, and that is precisely what I tried to do here. Oh, and when in doubt consult the internet. Continue reading

Kenny’s Rhubarb and Ginger Jam

Forced rhubarb and ginger jam

Kenny's bright pink rhubarb and ginger jam.

About a month ago I posted about a breakfast event I’d attended at Fifteen London, where we were got to try the first of Kenny the Baker’s hot cross buns accompanied by some incredible Barbie pink forced rhubarb and ginger jam, that Kenny had apparently made the night before especially for us. So good was this jam that I ambushed Kenny on the way out and asked if I could please have the recipe to replicate at home, which to my delight he generously provided. As my original post was already getting pretty long though I promised I’d post the recipe up separately, giving me a chance to try it out for myself first too.

A few days later we received the date for our audit at work, a black hole of a deadline which progressively sucked in and consumed more and more of my free time the closer we got it’s event horizon. With the audit now passed though (hoorah!) I can finally get back to the business of catching up with my back log of posts, starting with Kenny’s rhubarb and ginger jam. Continue reading

Adventures into Oxtail Ragu and Polenta

IMAG1066

I didn't take a proper photo of this because I wasn't planning to blog it. Then I decided halfway through eating I would...which is why the photo looks like this.

I wasn’t going to post this recipe, because really it didn’t quite go to plan. Then I thought sod it, this blog is supposed to be about the cooking and crafting messes I get myself into, and that really ought to include the times those messes go wrong. At least then perhaps others might learn from my mistakes, even if I rarely do.

So, what did I do wrong? Well, buoyed by my recent slow cooking success with pork cheeks I’d decided to try my hand at some of the other less familiar, tougher cuts of meat. This time, my thoughts turned to oxtail; although I did almost switch to some less adventurous beef shin on the bone, my butchers didn’t have any in. Clearly I thought, the oxtail was meant to be. Continue reading