My Birthday…In Food Porn

Had a wonderful Birthday…Lunch at Laduree, evening meal at Dinner and a stay over at The St Pancras Hotel. Came home and demolished a whole box of chocolates lol 🙂








Am i all foodied out? Nah lol…i could do it all again tomorrow! 😉


Lemon Mascarpone Cake

Well, its been a while hasn’t it 🙂

Ive still been meal planning, still been baking, and starting tomorrow i’ll be back to blogging.

I posted a picture of this cake on FaceBook last week and a friend of mine asked for the recipe. I have to admit….i tweaked a Mary Berry *shock horror gasp* 😉



For The Cake

  • 2 small lemons
  • 275g softened butter
  • 275g caster sugar
  • 275g self raising flour
  • 2 level tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs

For The Filling And Icing

  • 1 bag icing sugar
  • 1 large tub mascarpone

To Decorate

  • 1 large lemon
  • 50g caster sugar
  1. Grease and line 2 round cake tins. Using a potato peeler remove the zest from the large lemon and cut into thin strips. Place the strips in a small saucepan with 25g of the caster sugar and a little boiling water. Boil for 1 minute. Remove with a slotted spoon and place on baking parchment on a oven tray. Scatter with the remaining 25g caster sugar and place in a low oven set at 110 for an hour to dry out. Juice the lemon and set aside for later use.
  2. Quarter the 2 whole lemons and place in a pan. Cover with water, bring to the boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain, reserving the liquid and remove any pips.
  3. Place the lemon pieces in a food processor and blitz to a smoothish pulp. Transfer to a small bowl. Add all the remaining ingredients to the processor and blend until smooth. Lift out the blade and stir in half of the lemon pulp.
  4. Divide the mixture evenly between the 2 tins and bake for 30 minutes or until golden brown (or it passes the skewer test). Leave to rest for 5 minutes in the tin then turn out and remove baking parchment. Cool on a wire rack.
  5. To make the mascarpone filling. In a bowl cream the mascarpone with icing sugar and the reserved liquid from the boiled lemons until you have the desired level of sweetness. Personal choice here people. Then add the reserved lemon pulp.
  6. Cut the cakes in half (for 4 layers) or just use the mascrapone to sandwich the 2 cakes together (as i did).
  7. Use the remaining lemon juice added to icing sugar to make a runny icing and pour onto the top of the cake and let it drip down the sides. Sprinkle with the crispy pieces of lemon zest.


I gotta tell you…this was scrummy! 😉

Victoria Sandwich – The Easy Way

Yesterday i made a Victoria Sandwich…the Nigella way… Throw all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz. TA DA! Instant cake mix lol



I was a bit skeptical, but, in for a penny and all that. This was the result…



Looks good, yeah, definitely…and goes down very well with a nice cup of tea.


Nigella’s Victoria Sponge 

  • 220g self raising flour
  • 25g corn flour
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 225g very very soft butter
  • 2 tsps baking powder
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 eggs ( i used medium)
  • 2-4 tbsp full fat milk

Theres no real recipe here…just bung it all in a food processor (apart from the milk) and blitz until all mixed. Add the milk while the machines running until the batter is soft and of a dropping consistency.

Pour into 2 cake tins that have been buttered and bake at 180 for 25 minutes, or until golden brown and a skewer inserted comes out clean.

I filled mine with buttercream and strawberry jam.

But i have to say…I’ve had better…I’ve made better lol…i think i’ll stick to the food mixer or a wooden spoon 😉



Stem-Ginger Gingerbread

I made this yesterday, but I’ve not been able to get on WordPress. Finally Googled my problem this morning (i just thought it was them and not me) and now i know how to clear my cache & cookies from my Mac lol…it seems to have done the trick 🙂

Ok, so yesterday i made Nigella’s Stem-Ginger Gingerbread…..mmmmmmmm! Im not sure if its better than Nigel’s one that i did a few weeks ago, i’d need to make both on the same day lol.

Heres the recipe which Nigella got from The Baking Book by Linda Collister & Anthony Blake

Stem-Ginger Gingerbread

  • 230g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground mixed spice
  • 110g butter; chilled and diced
  • 110g  black treacle or molasses
  • 110g golden syrup
  • 110g light or dark muscovado sugar
  • 280ml full fat milk; plus 2 tablespoons
  • 45g drained stem ginger; grated
  • 1  egg; beaten
  1. Grease a 900g loaf tin and line with parchment. Preheat the oven to 180°
  2. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and all the spices into a large mixing bowl. Add the diced butter and rub in with your fingers  until the mixture resembles fine crumbs. (I use my free-standing mixer, with the flat beater in place).
  3. In a small saucepan, melt the treacle with the syrup, then leave to cool to blood heat. Meanwhile, in another pan, dissolve the sugar in the milk over low heat, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add the grated stem ginger – it’s easier to use a drum grater – to the flour mixture. Then whisk or beat the milk mixture into the flour mixture and next whisk in the treacle mixture, followed by the egg. When thoroughly blended, the mixture should be a thin batter.
  5. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake for 1- 1 1/4 hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Start checking after 45 minutes. But be warned: the mixture goes very runny before it is ready. Don’t panic. The gingerbread will rise during baking and then fall and shrink slightly as it cools. Leave to cool completely in the tin, then turn out and wrap first in greaseproof paper and then in foil. Keep for a day before slicing thickly, then eat hungrily.

Keep for a day before eating? You must be joking lol…i had my first piece hot from the oven 😉


But the highlight of my day yesterday was picking up my most recent addition to my kitchen family…

photo-4 copy

Im so excited! I’ll be using it on Thursday for another Nigella dish!

Meal Planning 10th March

Last weeks meal plan went really well (which makes a change). I managed to cook everything on the list plus be treated to my sons White Chocolate Cheesecake…



and dineer cooked for me on Sunday by The Hubster 🙂



I spent yesterday afternoon sitting in the sun reading Nigella…looking for inspiration for this weeks meal plan which i hope goes down well…



  • Monday – Omelettes/Frittata’s (i can never really decide which they are lol) & Homemade bread
  • Tuesday – Pizza’s & Nigellas Stem Ginger Bread
  • Wednesday – Im up London all day so The Hubster is in charge
  • Thursday – Nigella’s Ham & Veal Pasta
  • Friday – Nigella’s Chicken Soup, Homemade Bread & Victoria Sponge
  • Saturday – Deli Meats & Homemade bread
  • Sunday – TGI’s (my sons Birthday on Saturday)

Im looking forward to doing some baking and i have a new piece of kit on order which i need to pick up on Tuesday…excited! 🙂

Please pop over to Mrs M’s to see what everyone else is planning for the week. Theres also a FaceBook page. Im off now to have a butchers 😉

What are you cooking this week?


I’ve been making Minestrone for years, and I can honestly say, hand on heart that every time I make it…it’s different lol

I tend to throw in what I have in the cupboards and today’s “version” included a squirt of Tomato Ketchup (because I only had 2 tins of chopped tomatoes) and macaroni along with chopped carrots, onions, celery, Savoy Cabbage, bacon, garlic, baked beans, tomato purée and chicken stock. All served up with a Ciabatta (from the bread machine), a bowl of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and a piece of Parmesan to grate over the top.

Could it actually be my signature dish? Going back to my Italian roots? 😉 My daughter seems to think so! She was stopped in the street recently by a film crew who asked her what her favourite meal in the whole world was…her response? “My mums Minestrone.” Praise indeed! The programme had something to do with Jamie Oliver, so let’s just hope he doesn’t ring me up for the recipe…I wouldn’t know where to start lol

Dessert was a Coconut & Lime cake which was lovely. It was made using the “all in one” method and instead of sugar used Condensed Milk (the remains of the can will be going on my porridge tomorrow!).

And then when The Hubster came home he handed me a bag…a Laduree bag *beams* So I now have 6 Rose Macaroons sitting in the fridge, so perhaps breakfast won’t be porridge after all tomorrow 😉

Do you think you have a signature dish?

Shep-Cott Pie

Ive always thought that the difference between a Shepherds Pie and a Cottage Pie was to do with:

  • The Meat (Lamb Vs Beef)
  • The other ingredients (Peas & Carrots Vs Plain)

But it seems there really is no specific difference between the two. So i guess i make Shep-Cott Pie rather than one or the other. Heres the one i made today…sorry i can’t be specific with measurements, but I’m a big believer in adapting recipes to what you and your family like. I tend to throw in things i have in the fridge, so when i make a meal, its never quite the same each time lol. I haven’t made one of these in ages…

Vikki’s Shep-Cott Pie 

  • Minced Beef
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 1 stick of celery, chopped
  • 12 fine green beans, chopped
  • Potatoes
  • Sweet Potatoes
  • 2 stock cubes
  • herbs/spices (depends on my mood lol)
  1. Fry all the veg (plus any herbs and spices you’re using) in a little olive oil until tender and throw into a casserole dish. Fry off the mince and add to the veg along with stock cubes and a little water. Bung it in the oven for an hour with a lid on (i like my mince to be meltingly tender but you could always just simmer it in a saucepan for 20 minutes). For a richer sauce add some Gravy Granules.
  2. While the mince is in the oven peel and quarter some potatoes and sweet potatoes (adjust ratio to taste) and boil until tender. Make into a creamy mash with butter or sour cream.
  3. Remove mince from the oven and spoon the mash over the top. Put back in the oven (without a lid) for 20 minutes until the mash is golden and crispy.


What i love about this recipe is that i can add anything to the mince…peas, tomatoes, broccoli, peppers or mushrooms. When the kids were younger i would grate the veg in so they couldn’t see it 😉

I sprinkled a little bit of Gruyere on top and served it with peas, home made bread and some gravy…real comfort food on a cold February night 🙂


For dessert, i finally managed to make my friend Sarah’s cake. The Marzipan & Cherry Cake recipe is on Sarah’s blog. Sarah, if you’re reading this, it was wonderful 🙂



Shepherd or Cottage? What do you call it?