Wednesday, 22 May 2013
In May I seem to forget I'm a student. I go through a phase of buying fancy puy lentils and cuts of beef and sometimes even drink wine with dinner! Ok, so whilst this doesn't seem like a big deal, I've reached the end of the month with a pretty tiny food budget. No more wine, no more beef. It was nice knowing the life of luxury, even if only briefly. Dinner on Monday was a choice between 9p noodles and a Mötley Crüe of leftovers, including a couple of rashers of bacon, half a sweet potato and a huge head of broccoli. What can I say, I like a challenge much more than packet noodles... Thankfully, whilst browsing the wonderful Smitten Kitchen for inspiration, I found this recipe and the answer to my poor student food prayers. I've decided to bulk up the original recipe a little with some extras that were kicking around my kitchen and I think you can substitute practically any vegetables in, fritters are very versatile. Want potatoes or carrots instead of sweet potatoes? Sure. You've got a scarily huge collection of courgettes? Just sub out the broccoli. I believe in us, I believe we can be inventive with the random contents of our fridge and cupboards.
I've christened this recipe Bubble and Squeak Fritters because the whole idea reminds me of bubble and squeak. This way is just a little greener, a little lighter and a little neater.
These fritters are also awesome for working a little extra veg into your diet and they can be eaten for breakfast, lunch or dinner! Win, win.
For Bubble and Squeak Broccoli Fritters you will need (makes about 10):
1 large head of broccoli, chopped into small florets and steamed for 5 minutes
1/2 sweet potato, diced and boiled for 10 minutes
2 rashers bacon, diced and fried for 5 minutes
1/2 red onion, finely chopped and fried with the bacon
100g plain flour
1 clove garlic
Salt and pepper
Lemon wedges to serve
Lemon and garlic dip (serving suggestion):
6 good dollops of natural yoghurt
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 clove of garlic
Salt and pepper
Pinch of sugar
Begin by combining your sweet potato,
And your broccoli,
And the onion and bacon in a large bowl. Set aside.
In a separate bowl lightly beat the eggs and combine with the flour.
Add in chopped garlic and grated parmesan. Season well and mix together.
Add this to the vegetable and bacon mix and mash together until well incorporated. You should still be able to make out the pieces of vegetable, you don't want to mash up a mush.
Heat a pan of olive oil and dollop a tablespoon of the mixture in and flatten out. Fry for three minutes on each side and repeat this process until you have run out of mixture.
Make your dip by simply combining the yoghurt, lemon juice, finely chopped garlic, seasoning and sugar. Mix it all up and get ready to serve.
Stack high with slices of lemon.
Pour over your dip and get stuck in. Cutlery optional.
The perfect supper for using up leftovers. Oh heck, its perfect whenever.
Sunday, 19 May 2013
Indian food holds a very special place in my heart. A couple of years ago I didn't know how wonderful it was and never stopped to think there was more to it than the twist and pour of a shop bought jar. Oh my God, how my eyes have been opened. There is so much more to Indian food than Chicken Tikka Masala and overly garlicky jarred curry sauce, I just hadn't a clue.
So with my taste buds ready to be tantalized and my spice rack fully stocked, I started researching different curry recipes, different recipes I could make from scratch, play around with and fall for. Yes, I did just say I'd fall for a curry. Weird? Probably.
I've never really experimented with beef, it's all a little pricey if it goes wrong, so for this recipe I adapted a recipe from the trusty Hairy Bikers, that you can find here. Luckily, everything went smoothly and methodically and was a massive hit. So here I am, ready to share.
The reason I call this recipe, Beef Biryani, with extra love, is because this recipe takes a little time and needs a little care, but when its finished, you can tell a lot of love has gone into this dish, along with a hefty punch of flavour.
This recipe will take you a couple of hours from start to finish, so is perfect to impress on a special occasion or for a weekend meal. I think a vat of this stuff would make for a wonderful Sunday lunch, just with a little exotic twist.
For Beef Biryani, with extra love you will need (serves 2-3):
500g braising steak
3 onions, peeled
2 garlic cloves, peeled
thumb sized piece fresh root ginger
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp ground coriander
¼ tsp cinnamon
6 cardamom pods
1 tsp sea salt
¼ whole nutmeg, finely grated
100ml natural yoghurt
1 bay leaf
1 tsp caster sugar
170g basmati rice
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
20g flaked almonds
2 large eggs
freshly ground black pepper
Don't be put off by the long recipe list, there are lots of stock cupboard ingredients on the list that you probably already have.
Begin by trimming the beef of fat and cutting it into bite size pieces. Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a pan and fry the beef for 2-3 minutes until sealed. Make sure to season well.
Once the meat is sealed, tip the contents of the frying pan into a large saucepan. Set both aside and make sure not to wash the frying pan just yet.
Roughly chop 2 of your onions, the garlic, ginger and chillies and put into a food processor or blender.
Add 25ml water and blend.
You should be left with a smooth paste.
Now grind together the cloves, cumin, seeds of the cardamon pods, cinnamon, coriander and salt until you have a fine powder. Grate in the nutmeg over the top.
Add this powder to your onion paste and season with black pepper. Mix together well.
Heat the frying pan used for the beef with 2 tablespoons of oil and fry your spiced onion paste for around ten minutes.
Then add it to the saucepan with the meat along with your yoghurt.
Add 225ml water and stir together.
Pop in your bay leaf and leave to simmer for an hour and a half.
In about an hours time, you can start preparing your extras. Toast the almonds in a dry pan for 5 minutes on their own. Add in the sultanas for a minutes and then set aside in a heat proof bowl.
Thinly slice your last onion and fry for no longer than six minutes. Set this aside too.
Once the meat has been simmering for an hour and half, stir in the sugar and turn up the heat for ten minutes to thicken.
Now rinse your rice thoroughly and then put in a pan of salted water and bring to the boil for five minutes.
Drain your rice and add in the chopped coriander. Mix through well.
To assemble your Biryani, in a heatproof dish start with a layer of the meat, then the rice and then a scattering of the onions. Repeat this step once more until you have two layers. Fit the dish tightly with two layers of foil and bake in a oven preheated to 180c for 30 minutes.
Hard boil your eggs by putting both in a boiling pan of water for 9-10 minutes. Then rinse under cold water until cool enough to handle.
Peel off the shells, cut in half and then cut them into thirds.
Gently fluff your rice as you take the dish out of the oven and serve with scattered sultanas and almonds, sliced eggs and a few sprigs of fresh coriander.
The garnishing colours are beautiful, it all smells incredible and it tastes amazing.
You may want to serve this with naan or hungry mouths will keep coming back for more until they polish it off. This one is a definite crowd-pleaser, and the delicate balance of flavours makes every eater aware that they're enjoying a Beef Biryani, made with extra love.
Wednesday, 15 May 2013
First things first, let's talk about Cosmo. The nominations for the Cosmo Blog Awards 2013 are open. I love these awards and think they're a brilliant way for bloggers to be recognised for the hard work they put into the blogs they keep. I also think they're great for raising the profile of blogging in general, as you can imagine I'm a particular fan of this. So the Cosmo Blog Awards are on a roll and this year, I'd like to do a little post celebrating them (with cookies, naturally) and sharing some of the blogs I'm nominating.
Amongst others, here are a few new finds that I'm putting forward:
milk bubble tea - Becky has a rather lovely blog that I've nominated in the fashion category, although she posts about all sorts, including these awesome Oreo brownies. I love her photography and would trade in for her wardrobe any day. Don't suppose she fancies swapping for a few aprons covered in flour...?
Tiny Paint Pot - I've nominated Sam in the beauty category as she has a tonne of wonderful beauty posts with loads of tips and thoughtfully worded anecdotes. I also love her posts on her pets that are the cutest ever (check out this one), which is the cherry on top the cake for this blog if you're like me and follow @EmergencyPuppy on twitter...
More Than Toast - Another lifestyle blog. This one is on motherhood, so not conventionally appealing to me, but Alice's humour, stories and honesty is endearing and keeps me coming back for more. She is a seriously strong and stylish lady and her children are also adorable!
And finally, my three go to food blogs are Poires au Chocolat, The Londoner and Victoria Sponge Pease Pudding. All were nominated last year, and Emma of Poires au Chocolat won (hurrah!), but I reckon they all deserve another nomination this year.
You can vote for your favourite blogs here.
So, that explains the Cosmo. Now for Cookies. As I thought of writing this post I wondered what Cosmo readers and bloggers alike would appreciate, recipe wise. It only took a little while to decide on something...
Giant Triple Chocolate Cookies? Sold.
For Giant Triple Chocolate Cookies you will need (makes 12):
100g milk chocolate
100g white chocolate
300g dark or plain chocolate (whatever you can get your hands on)
90g unsalted butter
1tsp vanilla essence
120g light muscovado sugar
150g self raising flour
Begin by preheating your oven to 180c and lining two trays with baking parchment.
Now chop your milk and white chocolate and set aside. I like to chop my chocolate chunky (try saying that five times really fast...) so you're guaranteed to bite into a hunk of chocolate, whatever cookie you pick up.
Now chop 200g of your dark chocolate into even bigger chunks. Set this aside too.
Break up the remaining dark chocolate into a heatproof bowl over simmering water and melt until smooth and glorious.
Take off the heat and stir in your butter. Make sure it is chopped and at room temperature.
Stir in until smooth. If you're having a little trouble with your butter melting into the chocolate, put it back over the simmering water until you have something that looks like this...
Now stir in your vanilla essence and sugar. Make sure there aren't any lumps of sugar.
Sift in the flour and fold in gently.
Your basic cookie mix should end up something like this.
Now don't tell me you don't want to tarmac your drive in this stuff. I kinda do...
Add in all of the white and milk chocolate and half of the dark.
Shape into 12 little balls and space well apart. They will expand like nobody's business.
Wedge the rest of your dark chocolate on top of the cookies so they look like they're sporting a Lady GaGa-esque hair accessory.
Bake for 12 minutes until they just start to colour.
Cool whilst still on the baking trays and then attack.
Literally, it will be an attack. Congratulations for restraining yourself for so long!
If you like, stack 'em high like the awesome Joy the Baker does.
Sit down with one and a cup of tea and enjoy your favourite blog. Its a blissful thing to do. So many of my favourites are American blogs and I'd love to expand my UK reads, so if you know any great UK blogs, let me know!
PS, if you'd like to nominate Lottie's Little Kitchen for a Cosmo Blog Award, I'd be thrilled and you can do so here. Thank you, friend xx
Sunday, 12 May 2013
A couple of weeks ago something pretty amazing happened. I was selected to travel to Australia's Outback and complete a series of travel writing blogs. MAD, I know. If you follow me on twitter then you'll already know this, but I'd like to share the full story with you guys.
Back in January I entered a competition through StudentBeans.com to go out to Australia with Northern Territory australiasoutback.com, I didn't think much of it beside I love to travel and it would be a pretty incredible thing to do. A month or so ago, I was contacted and asked to provide details of this blog, my twitter feed and how I'd write up a trip. I sent over Lottie's Little Kitchen with fingers and toes crossed. Then, a couple of weeks ago I got a phone call that made me go so darn twitchy I nearly fell over. Northern Territory had chosen me to go to the outback and to write and explore with them. When I found out there was a mix of emotions...
Mainly a lot of 'aaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrgggGGGGGHHHHH!!', as you can imagine.
I'll be writing a series of blogs for StudentBeans.com and of course, I'll write a collection for LLK too.
I will be doing the Rock, Rail and Kakadu tour with STA travel. This tour is all about the natural beauty that Australia's outback has to offer. From Kings Canyon to crocodiles, I'll be getting all up in Australia's business.
|Photo by australiasoutback.co.uk|
|Photo by australiasoutback.co.uk|
Eeeeeep! I'm already in love with her.
I'm already out exploring and and experimenting with her.
Amongst other bits, I have had to get hold of some specialist equipment. The most important of which, is undoubtedly my new head net.
Fetching, isn't it?
Fashionistas, come at me.
I'm so excited to go, every time I think about it I get a bit jiggly. I can't wait to get out there and start sharing it with you guys.
Have any of you been before? Any tips you could share (read: let me know if everyone is wearing the head nets...).
|Photo by australiasoutback.co.uk|