In the mix: bloggers’ favourite spice mix recipes

While I love experimenting with different spices, I must admit to resorting to a handful of tried-and-tested spice mixes for many of our meals: garam masala for instance for curries, or ras-el-hanout for meat rubs. So you’ll see there was a fair bit of self-interest when I set Spice Mixes as the theme for the last Spice Trail challenge; I was after a little spicy inspiration for new meals to try out with different spice mixes I’ve never played with before. And as ever my fellow food bloggers didn’t disappoint. Here follows a sensational selection of spicy dishes that are guaranteed to get your own culinary creative juices flowing or, at the very least, your mouth watering…

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Overnight roast spicy lamb shoulder – perfect for the Aga

overnight roast lamb with ras-el-hanout2

One of the joys of being an Aga owner is being able to pop a dish, be it a joint of meat or a casserole perhaps, into the bottom oven (the simmering oven) and forget about for several hours or all day, or in this case overnight, and when you return, it has magically transformed into the most succulent and tender of feasts.

As it’s a rather fatty meat, lamb is perfect for slow-roasting, as the fat keeps the meat mouth-wateringly moist. This slow-roasted shoulder makes for a very special meal, and since a large joint of lamb isn’t particularly cheap, I’d save it for suitably special occasions or big family gatherings. But the beauty of it is that’s so incredibly easy to do, yet tastes a million dollars. And I reckon you do get your money’s worth. One shoulder of lamb served seven of us for Sunday lunch, with plenty of leftovers for a further two more meals during the week. Continue reading

Blenheim Palace Food Festival

Blenheim Palace Collage

The food festival season is truly upon us. You could probably spend every weekend from now until the end of the autumn at a different food festival somewhere around the country. And I for one intend to get to as many as I can possibly can.

I spent last Bank Holiday weekend in the Cotswolds, in the beautiful market town of Woodstock, home to the rather magnificent Blenheim Palace, residence of the 12th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill, which this year played host for the first time to its very own food festival. Continue reading

Springtime tagliatelle with chicken, asparagus and purple sprouting broccoli

tagliatelle with chicken asparagus and purple sprouting brocolli 3

When the first spears of asparagus appear in the garden or in our weekly vegetable box, there is only ever one way to eat them: simply steamed and served with melted butter and sea salt. There is something so beautiful in this simplicity, focussing completely on the heavenly fresh green taste of the fresh, crisp asparagus, it needs nothing else.

Then as the English asparagus season continues, the recipes become more varied and asparagus makes an appearance in all kinds of meals. We tend to eat as much of it as we possibly can this time of year. This easy pasta dish, which sees the asparagus partnered with tender stems of purple sprouting broccoli, also at its best in late spring, is a firm family favourite. Continue reading

Posh prunes and custard

posh prunes and custard 2

My blogging friend Janie from The Hedgecombers is off on an incredible road trip across Wales this month, discovering the best places to eat and drink in the country. Lucky bugger! While she’s otherwise engaged, she’s handed over the reins of her blog to some fellow foodies, including me.

My recipe for Posh Prunes and Custard has just appeared over on The Hedgecombers if you fancy giving it a try, and do check out Janie’s tasty offerings while you’re there. I’m sure you’ll be tempted by more than a few…

Calling all bakers: tell your best children’s stories in cake!

Official C&B Show logo

With four shows in four new venues, the Cake & Bake Show is bigger than ever this year, and includes a BAKING COMPETITION on the theme of ‘Children’s Stories’ taking place at each of the venues: Harrogate, London, Manchester and Edinburgh.

The Cake & Bake Show is calling on all cake makers to create a fabulous cake that is an interpretation of a children’s story. Each cake creation can be inspired from any children’s story or film, (there’s lots of inspiration in the cinemas this summer with new releases Minion, Peter Pan and Jurassic Park); or it can be a combination of your favourite characters or stories from over the years! Continue reading