Posted by: Stephlechef | December 27, 2013

Christmas canapés 2013: part 3 – smoked salmon potato scones

A Scot recently introduced me to something like this, except the potato thing was fried, and it was much floppier than this. This thing turned into something much more resembling an actual scone… but was nevertheless equally delicious, if less potato-ey. Thanks to Sainsburys mag again for this one.



(some also topped with Xmas gammon as lil’ bro won’t eat fish)


Smoked salmon potato scones

This makes bajillions, could halve the recipe

300g mashed potato

325g self-raising flour

2 tsp baking powder

pinch salt

2 tsp ground black pepper

2 eggs

4 tbsp milk

crème fraiche and smoked salmon / cream cheese and ham / whatever


1. Rub the flour, baking powder, salt, black pepper and butter together, then mix in the potato, eggs and milk and knead until it comes together into a dough. Press flat on a floured side and cut out scones (I used about a 5cm cutter)

2. Lay on a floured tray and bake until golden on top and cooked through (I think mine took about 10 mins)

3. Split and leave to cool for a minute, then top with whatever you desire. Yum.


Posted by: Stephlechef | December 26, 2013

Christmas Canapés 2013: part 2 – pork with chilli dipping sauce

Pork with chilli dipping sauce

Simple “chilli” doesn’t really describe this yummy sauce, make it! Use it on noodles, pork, whatever. It’s good. All credit goes to Sainsbury’s magazine Dec 2013, but I can’t find a link- so here’s the (adapted) recipe.


500g pack Sainsbury’s basics streaky pork (it’s thick, like pork belly but cheaper) (they used pork belly)

75g caster sugar

1 red chilli, finely chopped

1 garlic clove, finely chopped

50ml white wine vinegar

1/2 tbsp Thai fish sauce

juice 1/2 lime


1. Fry the chopped chilli and garlic in a little bit of oil (just for a second to cook it off – you can skip this step, but I can’t stand raw garlic)

2. Put the sugar in a pan over a medium heat with 1 1/2 tbsp water and leave it to melt. Once it’s turned a caramel colour (it sometimes seems like you wait an interminably long time, but it happens quick so watch out for burnage), pop it off the heat for a sec and mix in the chilli and garlic (it will sizzle a bit)

3. Stir in the vinegar (as it’s caramel you might need to whisk the vinegar to encourage it) and cook until the super fume-y vinegar-y-ness has gone (about 1-2 mins)

4. Take off the heat completely and stir in the fish sauce and lime juice. Taste it and make sure it’s all balanced and nice, then leave to cool.

5. Rub salt into the pork fat, and then cut the pork into large cubes and lay on a tray (fat up, if possible, to make little squares of crackling). Grill until cooked (mine took about 10mins)

6. Serve hot, with cocktail sticks so you can pick up the pork and dip it in the yummy sauce… or just pour it… or whatever…

Posted by: Stephlechef | December 25, 2013

Christmas canapés 2013: part 1 – fig and taleggio bites

So I haven’t blogged in about 6 months. This is despicable. I couldn’t even do the cookie swap this year as I haven’t blogged enough. However, a new job, a new house, a new city and a new man could account for the fact I’ve been rather busy. Anyway, now it’s Xmas again I can cook again, so have some canapés 🙂

Fig and taleggio bites

I’ve never had taleggio before. I will be having it again, it’s delicious. If a recipe tells you to use either taleggio or mozarella, as I have seen before, ignore it; they’re not the same. It’s more like a camembert but less… French. The original recipe for this ( uses fresh figs, but when you send your parents shopping, you have to deal with what they buy you. Dried worked fine.


(I don’t know amounts… how many do you want to make? Lots? Then buy lots of stuff)

Bake-up baguette

Taleggio cheese

Dried figs

Chutney (I used a home-made apple and pear one)


1. Cut the figs into little pieces. Put the chutney and a squidge of honey in a pan and warm through until it’s all got a bit runnier, then put the fig pieces in and stir them around to coat them in it.

2. Slice the baguette into circles about 1.5cm thick and bake in a hot oven until crispy on both sides but not too brown.

3. Put a little blob of taleggio on each bit of bread and return to the oven until the cheese is so melty it’s on the point of sliding off the bread.

4. Fish out the fig from the chutney mix and put a piece on each round. Serve warm with extra chutney on the side for greedy pigs.

Posted by: Stephlechef | August 11, 2013

Cabbage rolls

Ok, so these have a slightly more wintery feel than the 25 or so degree weather we had yesterday, but they were nevertheless delicious, and nice and light for a whole meal with some bread.


I got inspiration for these from a couple of places around the internet (well, when your Dad says he’s going away and presents you with a home-grown cabbage to sustain you, what’s a girl gonna do?!). I’m pretty sure this is a sort of Hungarian-stylee food, however I’m also pretty sure that Hungarian food uses paprika, and my parents’ usually well-stocked spice cupboard had run out (of course, found this out halfway through cooking…, so I improvised. Try it, it’s good 🙂

Trans-European Cabbage Rolls (makes 4 – enough for one for a whole meal)

For the rolls:

4 cabbage leaves (I used white cabbage, but I imagine savoy would be good too, plus it would look slightly less anaemic)

Around 100-150g pork mince

A large handful of cooked rice

Salt and pepper



Pinch of chilli

Herbs – I used a mix, plus a pinch of fennel seeds

For the sauce:

Chicken stock, around 300ml made with 1/2 a cube

2 fresh tomatoes, chopped

A squidge of tomato puree

1 small onion

chilli powder/flakes

salt and pepper

Blanch your cabbage leaves for about 90 seconds each in boiling water (cut a line with a sharp knife down its vein first so that it doesn’t stay too tough) – do this one by one and lift them out with tongs afterwards – I then cooked my rice in the water to save wasting it 🙂

Rinse your rice to cold, and mix all the filling ingredients together (best to do this with your hands if you’re not too freaky about raw meat)

Make the rolls by squidging together a little sausage of the meat mixture with your hands, and placing it around the vein of the cabbage (yep, which has a line cut through it, I know). Fold in the sides of the leaf, then roll the veiny bit up, then roll up the whole leaf to seal in the meat. If the meat is squidging out, you’ve got too much in there. Pull a bit off, vaguely reform the sausagey shape and start rolling again. If you leave them sitting with the loose edge underneath, they don’t come unrolled.

Make the sauce by frying the onions gently until softened, then add the stock, tomatoes, puree and a little chilli if you like it spicy. Place the cabbage rolls carefully into the sauce. Simmer this for around 45-50 minutes. It’s difficult to actually stir the sauce without wrecking your carefully crafted rolls, so what I did was grab each roll with my tongs and gently wiggle it around the pan – that way you’re making sure stuff isn’t getting stuck and burned, without accidentally unrolling.

Serve the rolls and the sauce in a pasta bowl, with bread to mop up the extra. Yum.

Posted by: Stephlechef | June 4, 2013

Rainbow cupcakes

You make these cupcakes, you dance around your kitchen singing a made-up rainbow song with cake mix in your hair – and then realise that very soon, a very well-respected institution (well, perhaps not in the news this week) is soon to let you qualify as an educator of young minds…

Definitely not the first to make these ever, saw them on a video someone posted on Facebook, lay no claim to them but didn’t copy a recipe or anything… they are suuuuuper cute!



Please do take note of quite how sunny it is in England today. My ready-softened butter didn’t quite know what to do with itself, and started sliding off the cakes… this isn’t usual weather!


Rainbow cupcakes

For the base cake, I just used a simple sponge mix – this amount made 11 cupcakes


150g caster sugar

150g margarine

150g flour

1 tsp baking powder

3 eggs

dash vanilla extract


Cream the butter and sugar together, add the eggs with a spoonful of the flour, beat a bit, add the rest of the flour – kaboom! Done. Bake the cakes until they are cooked. At like 180c.


Let them cool down and do the fun bit.


Cut out circles of blue icing, stick them to the cakes with the culinary glue of your choosing (I used the last of my strawberry jam, but sparingly)… and then make some buttercream. This is easy enough to do by hand – but for some reason I seem to try every single time to do it with a mixer. And every single time I have to clean up an icing sugar explosion. Mix 1 part butter to 2 parts icing sugar, plus a bit of vanilla. You can also add a dash of milk if the icing is a little stiff (not an issue in lovely warm spring today!)


Pipe little “clouds” onto your cakes, cut a rainbow belt in half (can be purchased at Tesco) and stand it in the sides of the clouds. Voila. The cutest ever cupcakes. Done!




Posted by: Stephlechef | May 28, 2013

No-rise cinnamon buns

So as part of my newly-found time to cook, I made breakfast! I stole this recipe entirely from here so take no credit. The originals look a lot fluffier than mine – mine sort of came out like cinnamon scones. Which are very nice, but not very bun-ny. I made half the quantity, but still made 8 small-ish ones which fitted into a 6-inch round cake tin. I’d love to have the time to make proper dough-based cinnamon buns, but one step at a time, right?


Posted by: Stephlechef | May 27, 2013

Caprese salad

I’m back!! Have been ever so busy, but nearing the end of my course now, and finding that I have to re-find the will to do anything which isn’t work. Honestly, my first day off in weeks and weeks, I was so bored, because I didn’t know what it felt like to just not have anything to do. I’m sure I will figure it out during my extended summer holidays 🙂 And in the meantime, will get back to blogging!

This is one of my new favourite things to eat. As discussed, I am a very busy girly, and health kind of goes out of the window quite regularly. I am ashamed to say the McDonalds which is less than 5 minutes from my house sees me far more often than is acceptable. This isn’t exactly diet food, but it does make you feel good about yourself, and the world. And I think that makes it healthy enough. Delish.


I know I am usually all about the basics/cheap-o brands, but buying better really does make a difference here. I used Basics mozzarella here as am on a budget (hasn’t life just suddenly got really expensive?), but it’s made from cow’s milk and really doesn’t do the trick. Buy lovely red tomatoes, and make sure to get them out of the fridge a couple of hours before you make this, it makes all the difference.

Slice the mozzarella and the tomatoes, thick/thin as you like, layer them up as you wish, sprinkle with salt and pepper (really does bring out the flavours), “clap” a couple of basil leaves (like you do with mint when you make a mojito) and scatter over the top. Drizzle olive oil over… and voila! Serve with bread, or as a side dish for meat, or on its own, or with pasta………..

A nice alternative if you were having it at a BBQ or something would be to use cherry tomatoes and mozzarella balls. Just sayin’……………

Posted by: Stephlechef | January 1, 2013

Christmas dessert part 2 – raspberry meringue pie

So, it turns out my mum thought my beautiful opera cake was too rich. There is always one. So on boxing day I made an alternative dessert. (Also, I got a foodieperson blowtorch for Xmas, and really wanted to try it out on something!) Probably good, as we had a beef wellington from Sainsbury’s which was incredible… but ever so filling! This is a little lighter and less effort on the stomach. Plus, I made them teensy.

raspberry meringue 2

I made a basic shortcrust pastry recipe, and blind baked the pastry shells until completely cooked. Then I made this raspberry curd recipe here: (but I made a half batch, which was plenty for 12 little tarts) and filled each case with a spoonful of curd. I then made a meringue which was ok, but not worth sharing (experimenting)… but I suggest making something like this Swiss meringue as the eggs in this are pretty much cooked once you’ve finished whisking, and you can afford to just blowtorch away. Which is exactly what I did. Go!

raspberry meringue

Posted by: Stephlechef | January 1, 2013

2012 in review

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 6,300 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 11 years to get that many views.

Click here to see the complete report.

Posted by: Stephlechef | December 31, 2012

Christmas canapés 5 – prawn cakes

prawn cakes



Thai-style prawnie fishcakes

These are lush. Also lovely on top of a stir-fry.

Jooosh (blend) up some spring onions and ginger (fry them off a little to get rid of the very bitey taste) with prawns (try and get the water out of the prawns if you can – pressing them into a sieve works well) until you have a paste. If it’s quite wet, add a spoonful of flour. Shape into little cakes (I have one slightly bigger… don’t do that). Coat in flour, then egg, then more flour. Fry in a little oil until crispy around the sides, and serve with sweet chilli sauce. Yum.


And that is the end of my canapé story. Happy new year!


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