Who needs a takeaway?

Well, we all do sometimes so don’t throw out your menus just yet.

The following recipe isn’t a super speedy one but it is easy to assemble in advance . I tend to get it all ready in the morning then leave it in the fridge . It’s another Smitten Kitchen recipe, they call it a Chicken Tikka Bake but to me it tastes like a very flavoursome generic Indian curry not particularly tikka like in taste or colour. I have tweaked it a fair bit, here is the original recipe though if you want to have a look.

This is MINE below – choose me , choose me!

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For the chicken
1 big thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and minced  – I use a microplane and grate it
4 cloves of garlic, minced or pressed
1 fresh green chilli ,seeded and finely chopped
1/2 cup natural yoghurt
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
3/4 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon garam masala
4 chicken thighs, 4 drumsticks , if you want leftovers add some more (all skin-on, bone-in)

For the vegetables
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 packet of tender stem broccoli
1 medium cauliflower, cut into florets
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cumin seeds

To finish
A small red onion
1 Lemon
Dollops of yoghurt
A few tablespoons roughly chopped coriander, parsley or mint, or a mix therof

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Start by putting all your chicken ingredients excluding the yoghurt and chicken into a pestle and mortar, give it a good bash then add the yoghurt and mix thoroughly.

Place the chicken in a seal proof bag with the mixture and leave to marinade in the fridge for as long as possible – minimum 1 hour.

You don’t need to see a picture of the chicken in a bag!

Next, take a large roasting pan and place the cauliflower and broccoli in and toss with the oil, salt and cumin seeds.
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Preheat your oven to 180ºC

Take the chicken and nestle it amongst the vegetables, I usually put a bit more cumin and salt on before it goes in the oven.

Bake for 20 minutes then move everything around and bake for another 20.

Whilst it’s in the oven finely slice the red onion and give it a squirt of lemon juice and sprinkle with salt.
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Remove from the oven and sprinkle over the onion slices, dollop on the yoghurt and scatter the herbs. It’s very juicy and is great on it’s own. Wonderful with flatbreads or pitta cold the next day, although I doubt there will be any left!

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Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Denny x

Oreos aren’t the only cookies

My children love Oreos, double stuffed if possible, in cakes, in brownies or straight up. I’m too scared to look at their nutritional values ( zero I would imagine) but a little of what you fancy and all that. I love biscuits but I’m more of a shortbread gal and can easily pass on an Oreo.

Therefore, I was very happy to oblige when asked to make some. My kids know by now that baking is not one of my strong points, not through lack of trying over the years but nothing ever looks as it should, but generally speaking I get the taste about right.

The recipe I followed is from the excellent Smitten Kitchen website, beautifully shot and so delicious looking it makes you want to lick the screen.



This is all I needed for the cookies.

I forgot to put the sugar in the photo! I used caster sugar and only 1 cup as the icing is incredibly sweet.
1 1/4 cups (155 grams) all-purpose flour
1/2 cup (45 grams, but cocoa weights can vary greatly) unsweetened Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 to 1 1/2 cups (200 to 300 grams) sugar [see recipe note]
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons (1 1/4 sticks or 140 grams) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1 large egg

Set two racks in the middle of the oven. Preheat to 375°F.(180 c)

1.In a food processor, or bowl of an electric mixer, thoroughly mix the flour, cocoa, baking soda and powder, salt, and sugar.

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2.While pulsing, or on low speed, add the butter, and then the egg. Continue processing or mixing until dough comes together in a mass.

3.Take rounded teaspoons of batter and place on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet approximately two inches apart. With moistened hands, slightly flatten the dough.


4.Bake for 9 minutes, rotating once for even baking. Set baking sheets on a rack to cool.

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For the filling:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick or 55 grams) room-temperature, unsalted butter
1/4 cup (50 grams) vegetable shortening
2 cups (240 grams) sifted confectioners’ sugar
2 teaspoons (10 ml) vanilla extract

To make the cream, place butter and shortening in a mixing bowl, and at low speed, gradually beat in the sugar and vanilla. Turn the mixer on high and beat for 2 to 3 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.

This starts off looking disgusting but gets going after a minute or 2.

To assemble the cookies, in a pastry bag with a 1/2 inch, round tip, pipe teaspoon-size blobs of cream into the center of one cookie.

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My icing bag the split so I just spooned the icing on!

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Place another cookie, equal in size to the first, on top of the cream. Lightly press, to work the filling evenly to the outsides of the cookie.

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Continue this process until all the cookies have been sandwiched with cream. Dunk generously in a large glass of milk.

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Well it would be rude not too.

I’m officially converted – sorry shortbread!


Wake up and smell the coffee


First thing I do in the morning is make coffee, it is my daily ritual. When feeling particularly virtuous I neck a glass of tepid water and a slice of lemon beforehand.

When I first worked in an office in the mid eighties everyone drank Nescafe. You could get decent coffee from small Italian sandwich shops but it wasn’t until the likes of Starbucks opened in 1998 that I really discovered coffee.


Obviously Walter has just had a cup of my coffee! Continue reading

Thai Me Up Thai Me Down


Now, I’m no Delia but as I have a husband and kids that need feeding I do try to cook different meals so we don’t get too bored (pasta pesto anyone? – yes I know it’s not real cooking!)

As a busy mum I don’t have much time mid week to spend cooking.
Therefore, I always have my eyes out looking for recipes that I can prep beforehand and then cook quickly.
So when I spied a delicious looking Thai Beef Salad in Madeleine Shaw’s book  “Get the Glow” . I thought it was worth a try.
This is what I’m going to recreate.


So I chop and crush and whisk a bit and end up with my prep.

Pretty professional looking? After searing the steaks and assembling mine looks like this……..
Hmmm? Ok, it is more of a nod to the original but was packed with flavour and tasted perfect.
Hubby agreed too.
Yes, I know it is a lobster and I didn’t serve any crustaceans but I had to work with what I had – am going to check out Anthropologie  right now.

Continue reading