recipes etc.
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lemony chicken and peppadew pasta


despite the rapidly cooling weather i’m still, more often than not, in the mood for food with a bit of zip and zing to it. less warming soups and stews and more food flavoured with the freshness of green herbs and lemon plus the obligatory garlic and chilli.

this pasta dish is full of all those moreish flavours but is also hugely comforting on a cold grey day. i usually make it with fennel added to the mix but had forgotten to stock up this week. no matter, it tasted just as good but i now have the excuse to do a fennel version very soon.

this dish is my contribution to presto pasta nights, as hosted by ruth at once upon a feast. sorry for my lack of contributions over the past month ruth, i hope this makes up for it!

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daring bakers: bostini cream pie


mary from alpineberry chose this month’s daring bakers challenge – bostini cream pie. this is not a dish i’ve ever come across. nor do i know boston cream pie from which this recipe is derived.

in summary it involves making a vanilla custard which hopefully sets so that you can turn it out of its mould. this is then topped with chiffon cake (not heard of chiffon cake before? me neither – apparently it’s a light moist cake which uses oil as its source of fat) and a chocolate glaze.

the original recipe calls for 10 eggs, 80ml vegetable oil, 200g of each butter and chocolate plus almost a litre of double cream. this is definitely not a recipe for those among us who’re concerned with watching our weight! still, the rules of being a daring baker means getting on with it and following the recipe. i decided to scale everything back and made four individual bostinis.

so, how did i get on?

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daring bakers


the daring bakers are a wonderful group of food bloggers who, each month, are set a baking challenge which they will all attempt, often with varying degrees of success! the daring bakers was founded by lis from la mia cucina and ivonne from cream puffs in venice, and now has over 200 members.

i don’t bake that much but have, over recent months, been drawn to the variety of challenges that the daring bakers gave taken on – cinnamon buns, strawberry mirror cake, bagels, red velvet cakes and chocolate crepe cake. i have decided that i should join in.

each month, on the same day, everyone posts what they have made in response to the challenge – very limited deviation from the recipe is allowed but the results are always hugely different from one another.

tomorrow is the day when the daring bakers post their october creations (use this list of daring bakers to see how everyone got on) and will be my first contribution – come back and see how i got on!


chicken stuffed with basil, mozzarella and oak-roasted cherry tomatoes


if you ask a particular group of my friends what food they associate with me they will answer, in chorus, “foil parcels!” mention this to david though and he’ll look at you perplexed.

foil parcels were a regular feature when i moved into my flat about 5 years ago – money was tight and i didn’t have much spare cash for cooking implements and accessories so i regularly relied on foil for parcelling up portions of chicken or fish, with vegetables and other flavourings. i didn’t need baking trays, had minimal washing up, could cater to allergies and other food foibles with ease and i could actually cook fish without stinking the whole place out. Perfect!

it has been a while since i cooked in this way but i have recently revisited one of the dishes that i used to make in this way with great regularity.

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lemon, thyme & parmesan roast parsnips


roast chicken is a favourite meal for us. in the summer we ate this with salads and spinach pilaf but now the weather is changing it’s time to start thinking about more substantial accompaniments.

neither david nor i are big fans of potatoes so that obvious choice is out. however, these roasted parsnips were a good, substantial option, which, with some gravy to moisten them, were particularly delicious.

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