Texas Brisket

Friday saw me going all Texan 😉 Well, nearly lol

Nigellas Texas Brisket promised so much. But, unfortunately, fell very short. Now that wasn’t Nigella’s fault…it was the lack of liquid smoke…although she did say in the recipe that you didn’t need it.

Nigella’s Texas Brisket

  • 3 medium or 2 large onions
  • 2.5kg piece of beef brisket
  • 4 tbls cider vinegar
  • 4 tbls soy sauce
  • 4 tbls liquid smoke
  • 4 tbls Worcestershire sauce
  • 4 tbls Steak sauce (i managed to get a Heinz one from Waitrose)
  • 4 tbls strong black coffee (espresso)
  1. Preheat the oven to 150 and get out a roasting tin for the brisket. It needs to be pretty deep, there was a lot of juice came out of mine.
  2. Slice the onions and arrange in the centre of the tin, to create an inion platform for the brisket to sit on.
  3. Place the brisket on top, fat side uppermost.
  4. Whisk together the remaining ingredients and pour over the brisket. Then cover with foil, sealing tightly and place in the oven for 3 and 1/2 hours.
  5. Remove from the oven and transfer the meat to a board.
  6. Transfer the onions to a blender with a little of the meat juices and blend until smooth. Then add back to the rest of the juices in the tin. Stir to mix
  7. Slice the brisket and place the slices back in the tin. Serve straight from there.


What you end up with is beef with a very tangy sauce. Especially as Nigella says to double the Worcestershire sauce quantity if you can’t find liquid smoke. No no no, i wouldn’t recommend that!

Will i be making this again? Probably not lol…but i might get some of that liquid smoke, just incase 😉


Franks in Blanks and Blueberry Muffins

Yesterdays dinner, Nigella’s Pigs in Blankets aka Franks in Blanks turned out to be a big hit with The Fam 🙂 Although i didn’t bother with the mustard dipping sauce (that she includes with the recipe) as i knew no one would like it lol.

Pigs In Blankets

  • 1 x approx. 425g packet readyrolled puff-pastry sheets (gives 2 sheets, each approx. 28 x 21cm), defrosted if frozen
  • 1 egg
  • 2 x 350g packet frankfurters (gives 20, but you only need 16)
  1. Preheat the oven to 220°C/gas mark 7. Roll out one of the rectangular puff-pastry sheets to make it just a little bit thinner, stretching the long side rather than the short side as you roll. Cut the rectangle into quarters, then cut each rectangle in half lengthwise, to give 8 small pastry strips in total. (Stay with me!)
  2. Beat the egg in a small bowl and paint each pastry section with the egg wash. Sit a frankfurter horizontally on the left-hand side of one of the pieces of pastry and roll it up until it just seals. Then do the same with the remaining 7 small pastry strips.
  3. Cut each rolled frank into 4 small pieces, pressing the pastry back around the sausage kitchen pickings | kitchen comforts if it comes loose. Then place on a baking-parchment lined baking sheet with the sealed bit down to prevent it springing open.
  4. Paint the franks in blankets with the egg wash, and put them in the oven for 15–20 minutes. The pastry should have puffed up a little and turned golden. You can get on with the other sheet of pastry while the first lot of franks are cooking and repeat the process with the remaining franks.


I served them with salad, coleslaw, potato salad and buttered corn on the cobs. There wasn’t one left over!

For dessert it was Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins.

Blueberry Cornmeal Muffins

  • 150g plain flour
  • 100g cornmeal
  • 2 tsp (10 mL) baking powder
  • ½ tsp (2 mL) bicarbonate of soda
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 125 ml vegetable oil
  • 125 ml buttermilk
  • 1 egg
  • 100g blueberries
  1. Preheat the oven to 400 F (200 C) and line a muffin tin with papers.
  2. In a large bowl, mix the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, bicarb and sugar. In a measuring jug or bowl, pour the oil and buttermilk and whisk or fork in the egg.
  3. Stir the oil mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients – remembering that lumpiness is a good thing when making muffins – and fold half the blueberries into your thick golden batter.
  4. Divide this batter between each muffin case (they will be about two-thirds full) and drop the remaining blueberries on top; you should have about 3 for the top of each muffin.
  5. Cook in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes, till a cake tester comes out cleanish (obviously it will be stained if it hits a berry). Leave the muffins in the tin on a wire rack for 5 minutes, then remove the muffins, in their cases, to the wire rack to cool a little (not too much) before you serve or eat them.


They weren’t very sweet, which, initially i didn’t think was a good thing (warm from the oven). But when i had one for breakfast the following morning i appreciated the fact that it didn’t give me a sugar rush lol


You Win Some…

You lose some…

That should be on a big sign on my kitchen door.

The last couple of days have seen my mood go from disappointment to nostalgia lol

Monday i made Nigella’s Chicken Cutlets, which were disappointing 😦 A shame, because if you Google them you’ll hear everybody raving about them. I don’t know what went wrong. Too much Thyme? Too much Celery Salt? The coating had an almost bitterness to it *sighs* I will try them again, but adjust the seasoning.


  • 4 chicken breast filet (boneless/skinless)
  • 284 ml buttermilk (1 pot)
  • fresh cracked pepper
  • 15ml (tablespoon) Worcestershire sauce
  • 75g breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon celery salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
  • 25 g of Parmesan cheese (grated)
  • 4 tbsp Oil for frying
  • 4 x 15 ml (tablespoon) fresh chopped parsley
  1. Bash the chicken breasts between 2 pieces of cling film using a rolling pin until they are thin, but still whole.
  2. Whisk the buttermilk (i used low fat plain yoghurt) with the Worcestershire sauce in a shallow bowl (or put in a freezer bag and mix). Then add the flattened chicken to the bowl (or into the freezer bag) and leave for at least 30 minutes preferably overnight.
  3. Mix the breadcrumbs, celery salt, cayenne pepper, thyme and Parmesan and in a wide shallow dish. Then lift out the buttermilky chicken and press into the breadcrumb mixture one at time and lay them aside onto a wire rack or plate. Pat the crumbs in nicely over the chicken to make sure you get a good coating.
  4. Heat the oil and fry bigger pieces for about 3 minutes per side and smaller pieces for about 2 minutes per side.
  5. As you remove the cooked chicken, blot them on kitchen paper.


I served them with veg and *drumroll* Nigella’s Rapid Roastini (the things that look like potato in the picture). These are in fact…Gnocchi, which you fry in olive oil, straight from the packet….WOW! They’re lovely and made up for the chicken not being great.
For dessert i did an apple crumble…but…i decided (don’t ask me why *shakes head* never again!!!!) to use Aunt Bessies ready made crumble mix…for speed and ease… BIG MISTAKE! Even The Hubster, who is a HUGE crumble fan thought it was horrible 😦
Then yesterday i did Nigellas/Ed’s Mothers Meatloaf. The Fam all thought it was great, but to me, it was like a big burger lol. Here in the UK we don’t seem to be that big on Meatloaf (or is that just my area of the UK), so I’m wondering how this version compares to a typical American Meatloaf? Anyway, it went down well and did at least look quite spectacular.
I served it with a buttery mash potato and gravy 🙂
For dessert i made A Birds Trifle. In the 1970’s & 80’s Birds Trifle was really popular, i didn’t even know they still made it. It was something we had in our house on a weekly basis (along with Instant Whip and Angel Delight lol). I thought my kids would love it….turns out it was only me and The Hubster who loved it and we ended up eating the whole thing between us lol
I didn’t even have a nice pretty bowl to put it in lol
Nostalgia over for another few years 😉
What dessert do you remember fondly from your childhood?

Meal Planning – 17th March

Last weeks meal plan was a bit hit and miss. A unexpected trip up to London on Friday and my sons birthday put paid to a couple of meals. Lets hope that this week i can keep on track a bit more.

Inspiration & Recipes this week come from Nigella’s Kitchen book.

  • Monday (tonight) – Chicken Cutlets with Rapid Roastini & Apple Crumble
  • Tuesday – Meatloaf & Trifle (not on the same plate obviously lol)
  • Wednesday – Pigs in Blankets and Blueberry Muffins
  • Thursday – Takeaway
  • Friday – Texas Brisket
  • Saturday – Greek Lamb Chops

I’ll try to do a couple of breads in there somewhere too.



Please pop over to Mrs M’s to see what everyone else is planning this week.

What are you planning to cook this week?

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 😉



Ham & Veal Pasta

Todays culinary delight was Nigella’s Baked Ham & Veal Pasta which gave me the opportunity to use my new food processor (yes! a HUGE success).

Unfortunately i wish i could say the same for the dish, it was basically….boring lol. I think the kids thought so as well because when i got home their plates (which they had kindly left on the kitchen side for me to clear up!) were still full 😦

  • 6 cloves of garlic
  • 75g pancetta, chopped roughly
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped roughly
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into chunks
  • good handful fresh parsley
  • 2 heaped tablespoons lard or 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon ground mace
  • 3 tablespoons Marsala
  • 325g veal, ground (i couldn’t find veal so used pork)
  • 95g unsalted butter, plus more for greasing and dotting
  • 95g Italian 00 or all-purpose flour
  • pinch mace, plus ¼ teaspoon
  • salt and freshly milled white or black pepper
  • 1.4 litres whole milk
  • 5 bay leaves
  • fresh nutmeg
  • 110g Parmesan, freshly grated, plus more for grating over later
  • 500g penne or rigatoni
  1. Put the garlic cloves in a small saucepan, cover with cold water, bring to the boil, and boil for 7 minutes. Drain. Put the pancetta into a food processor. Peel the garlic (just press them and the cloves wil pop out of their skins) and throw into the processor with the celery, onion, carrot, and parsley, and pulse until finely chopped. Melt the lard or oil in a heavybottomed frying pan and then, when it’s hot, add the vegetable mixture. Stir well over highish heat for a minute or so, adding the paprika, mace, and Marsala, then turn the heat down to low and cook, stirring regularly to make sure it doesn’t stick, for 15 minutes.
  2. While this is happening, put water on to boil for the pasta. When the 15 minutes are up, briefly turn the heat back to high, add the ground veal, and turn well for a minute or so before, again, turning down to low for 15 minutes. While this is cooking, get on with the béchamel.
  3. Melt the butter in a large saucepan, stir in the flour and pinch of mace, and cook for a couple of minutes, stil stirring, adding a fat pinch of salt and some pepper. Off the heat, slowly stir in the milk.
  4. When all the milk’s smoothly amalgamated, add the bay leaves and put back on a medium heat, stirring, until the sauce cooks and thickens, then reduce the heat to low. Although you want to cook this for  about 20 minutes, so it’s velvety, bear in mind that this is meant to be a thin, runny sauce. Toward the end of cooking time, taste for salt (though remember, you will be adding quite a bit of salty Parmesan later) and pepper and add, too, the remaining mace and grate in some nutmeg. When the sauce is cooked and the flouriness gone—taste after 12 minutes if you’re using 00 flour—turn off the heat and stir in the Parmesan, beating well with your wooden spoon to make sure all is smoothly incorporated. You should by now have started cooking the pasta. You want it slightly undercooked, as it will be cooked again in the oven. On the packages of penne I have at home, the instructions are to cook for 13 minutes; for this recipe, I drain them after 10.
  5. Butter a lasagne dish or any form of shallowish casserole and pour in about a third of the béchamel; don’t bother to measure, just make a rough estimate by eye. Add the drained pasta and turn wel to coat. Add the veal and toss wel again, then another third of the béchamel and give a good final mix, adding more salt and pepper, if necessary. Level the pasta in the pan and pour over the last third of béchamel. Let cool, then put, covered, in the fridge for a couple of days or so before baking, though of course you can put it straightaway in the oven to bake if you want (in which case it will need less time than otherwise mentioned).
  6. If you’ve fridged it, take it out and make sure it’s at room temperature before you bake it. Sprinkle with more Parmesan and dot with butter and bake in a preheated 375°F oven until golden and bubbly, about 40 minutes.

Well, needless to say, i didn’t fridge it…would that have made a difference?


I served it with some cheese and onion bread and a roasted pepper bread…both of which were much tastier than the pasta lol.

Oh well, it wouldn’t be an adventure without failure would it 😉

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!