LAUNCH EVENT: Angela Campbell-Souter: The Private Hire Cook

20 09 2012

Please take the time to look at www.the-private-hire-cook.co.uk – 15% off all first-time orders

Angela has been cooking and entertaining for over 25 years and offers a wide range of services, including:

  • Private Dinner Parties
  • Lucheons
  • High Teas
  • Canapes
  • Shooting Party Lunches
  • Themed Banquets (world foods)
  • Picnic Hampers
  • Champagne Breakfasts and Lunches
  • Special Occasion Catering
  • Buffets
  • Consultancy and Advice
 

Angela is hosting a Launch Party on Friday 21st September, 5-7pm in the Barley Hall, York, to introduce herself and business to you.

Call by, gather some information and try a sample of canapes and a free glass of Prosecco.

Directions

 




Colourful sponge cake recipe – quick and easy

30 06 2011

I knocked out this cake the other night and thought I’d share it here. It’s a nice, quick, easy one to make and looks as though you’ve spent longer on it than you have!

Ingredients

For the cake:

For the butter cream frosting:

  • 5oz butter / margarine
  • 10oz icing sugar
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • Selection of food dyes

Method

For the cake:

Cream together the butter and caster sugar. One at a time, add the eggs and beat in. Gradually mix in the flour with a metal spoon.

Grease and line one 9″ or two 7″ cake tins. Pre-heat the oven to 180C.

Separate the cake mixture into a number of bowls, one for each colour you are going to use. Add a different colour of food dye to each bowl and mix in thoroughly. If you are feeling adventurous, add a different flavouring to each colour as well. One by one, pour the contents of the bowls into the cake tin. Do not stir the mixture once it’s in the cake tin.

Bake in the oven for approximately 30 minutes, until a wooden skewer poked into the middle comes out clean.

Allow the cake to cool before icing.

For the butter cream frosting:

Soften the butter by beating it. Once it is soft and creamy, gradually add the icing sugar, beating thoroughly to avoid lumps. Beat in one tablespoon of milk. If the mixture is too stiff, add a little more milk.

Separate the icing into bowls, one for each colour you are going to use, and add a little food dye to each bowl. Mix it in thoroughly to get a nice, even colour.

I iced this cake while it was still in the tin, to stop the icing dribbling down the sides. Obviously, this will only work if you have a cake tin with a removable base. It would not be advisable if you will have to turn the cake tin upside down to get the cake out! In the latter case, you could tape a piece of paper or cardboard around the upper edge of the cake to hold the icing in place until you are ready to serve.

One by one, pour the bowls of icing onto the cake, arranging the colours as desired.





Weekend in pictures

26 06 2011

We’ve had a bit of garden waste kicking about for a while, waiting for the opportunity to burn it. We wanted to burn it on the herb/veg bed so we could dig the ash in. Friday night turned out to provide the ideal opportunity. I’d been hoping the 24th might be a possibility and, as it turned out, it was raining a bit as it came in dark, so no one was sitting out in their garden or had washing out. The wood was really dry, so went up very quickly and didn’t burn for too long. We went out and sat under a tree with the two dogs and one of the cats and watched the fire – it was great.

Last night, I made these Chocolate and Peanut Butter Squares. They are milk chocolate and double cream on top and white chocolate and peanut butter underneath. I left them in the fridge overnight and they were still a bit sticky this morning, although they had set enough to hold their shape. Next time, I’ll use less cream and peanut butter and hopefully that will make them set a bit harder. They taste great, though 🙂

This morning, I discovered that Candy had tidied herself neatly away in the larder.

It’s been really hot today, so I took a few pictures while I was out this afternoon. I don’t have a camera – I just use my mobile phone, so they’re not great quality and I’ve not a lot of settings I can change on the camera, but I like playing about with it nonetheless 🙂





Camping Tips

24 06 2011

So, the summer holidays are almost upon us and, for those of us trying to stick to a budget, camping is probably somewhere on the agenda.

I’m really not one to try to take all my home comforts camping with me; all I want when I’m camping is somewhere to sleep, eat and have a drink. The first two turned out to be somewhat problematic the last time we went.

The problem with sleeping turned out to be the thing we thought would help the most: an air mattress. While it kept its word and protected us from bumps in the ground, it also indulged in some pretty base treachory, which took the form of wobbling, tipping us into the middle and causing each of us to bounce up and down every time the other moved. Perhaps it would have been less trying if it had been for one person. We ended up deflating it and using self-inflating roll mats instead. They were fantastic but, to be honest, a good layer of blankets and clothes would have done as good a job.

Another caveat is temperature. It can be pretty hot in a tent when the sun’s been on it, but the temperature can seriously drop in the night. I particularly dislike having hot feet in bed and find they get far too hot in sleeping bags, so I prefer multiple layers of blankets. Layering provides good insulation and it’s easy to add and shed layers as temperature dictates.

I’d love to hear about your camping experiences:

  • What is your must-have camping item?
  • What have you learnt the hard way?
  • Why do you like (or dislike!) camping?
  • Do you have a favourite camping food or drink?
I’m afraid to say we also had problems with eating, as our camping stove set fire to itself within 5 minutes of switching it on. I’ve just stumbled upon this video, which shows you how to make a camping stove from various materials. I’m itching to give it a go!


Click here for a slightly more complex version





Hybrid Hotpot Recipe

23 06 2011

Last night I was meant to be doing Lancashire hotpot, but I didn’t have half the ingredients, so I made a rather more frugal version and thought I’d share it here.

Ingredients

I used 500g mince and the same volume of cooked porridge to feed 6.

Method

Brown the mince by frying in a fairly deep pan; I used a wok. Chop the onion and add to the mince. While the mince and onions are cooking, boil some porridge and then rinse thoroughly with boiling water to get rid of the ‘gloop’, leaving only the oats. Add this to the mixture in the wok.

Mince, onion and porridge

Add hot water to partly cover the mixture. Stir in gravy granules and sage to taste. Leave it to simmer.

Pre-heat the oven to 190C. Grease an oven-proof dish and line the bottom with thin slices of potato. Pour in the filling, then cover with another layer of potato. Brush the tops of the potato slices with butter / margarine and bake in the oven until the potatoes go crispy and golden brown on top.

Before baking

After baking





Fish Pie

21 06 2011

We’d not had much fish recently, so I did a fish pie at the weekend.

Ingredients

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180C.

Par-boil the potatoes for mashing. While they are on, grease an oven dish and flake the fish into it. Boil the onion and peas together and add to the fish.

Make the parsley sauce by bringing the milk to a simmering point in a pan, then adding the onion, parsley, flour and butter. Do not combine the flour and butter before you add to the milk! Keep stirring the simmering mixture until it thickens up. You can either pour the mixture straight into the oven dish or strain it first.

Mix the contents of the oven dish together well and spread evenly.

Mash the potato with a couple of tablespoons of milk and cover the fish with it evenly. I find the easiest way to do this is by taking a spoonful of mash and smoothing it off the spoon onto the pie with the back of a fork. Spread the top with a thin layer of butter/margarine. Grate cheese evenly over the top of the mash and put the dish in the oven for about half an hour.

When it’s done, the top should be golden and crispy and the fish should be thoroughly cooked.





Toad in the Hole Recipe

3 06 2011

Last night’s tea was toad in the hole. It’s a fairly simple dish and is nice in that you can bung it in the oven and leave it for half an hour.

First, pop some sausages in the grill. Pre-heat the oven to 200 C. We’re lucky in that our grill also functions as an oven, so I just use that once I’ve finished grilling. While they’re cooking, make up the batter. To do this, mix together 6 oz plain flour, a large pinch of salt, some thyme, some black pepper and 6 eggs. Whisk in 3/4 pint of milk. Some suggest it’s worth leaving the batter to stand for a period of time, some recommend half an hour, others up to four hours. Personally, I just leave it to stand until I’m ready to use it. Grease an oven-proof dish and tip in the mixture. Slice up the sausages and drop them in, spreading them evenly. Put it in the oven and leave it for around half an hour or until it’s puffed-up and golden-brown on top.

Batter

Sausages under the grill

Toad in the hole








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