Man Food

IMG_2424I’m afraid I’ve never been the sort of girl who wins men’s hearts by baking them boxes of brownies, with loving little notes tucked inside. I don’t think I’ve ever even baked a boyfriend a birthday cake. For ages, in fact, I swore off cooking anything for a guy. Ever. This stance stemmed from having spent the better part of a year slaving away at an oven, thinking up different recipes every night (on a carefully balanced food budget), for the boyfriend I lived with when I first moved to London. I was so annoyed when we broke up, and I realised that he cooked and ate the same horrible pasta dish every day, without minding at all. Cooking for men, I decided, was clearly a pointless waste of time.

It didn’t take me too long to soften, however, when the present boyfriend came along. I’m afraid I’m very superficial when it comes to men and food, generally feeling one wants the type of guy who looks like he’ll tuck into a steak, rather than, say, a tofu curry. In fact, the first thing I made for my boyfriend was steak, and then I just kept on cooking it for him (it’s a good thing he likes routine). Sometimes, however, one wants to change things up a bit, and then I figure a meatloaf is a good way to go.

Meat Loaf (recipe adapted from Canadian Living Cookbook by Carol Ferguson)

750g minced beef

175ml rolled oats

1 onion, finely chopped

1 egg, beaten

1tbsp worcestershire sauce

1 tsp mustard powder

1 tsp Herbes de Provence

1 tsp salt

1 tsp pepper

50ml ketchup, mixed with 1 tbsp brown sugar

Combine all ingredients, apart from the ketchup and brown sugar (easiest to mix with your hands). Use your hands to shape into a loaf in a ceramic baking dish. Spread ketchup mixture on top. Bake at 180C for 50mins to 1 hr. Can be served hot or cold. Any leftovers freeze well.

This recipe is not guaranteed to win any hearts, but it’s certainly very enjoyable to make and eat, with or without a man involved!

Smile: It’s the Weekend!

I thought I would start a regular Friday feature, in which I share a few things that have kept me smiling through the week, and will hopefully see you smiling into the weekend!

1. Discovering new perfumes.

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I always seem to have sample files of perfume lurking at the bottom of my handbag. On a whim, I fished out Space NK’s Laughter Jour the other day and squirted it on my wrist. To my surprise, I absolutely loved it. It’s very light and fresh and perfect for everyday wear. Their Laughter Nuit is rather nice too, and suitably a little more glam.

2. Laughing out loud.

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This blog is hilarious. I discovered it just this week, as I’d heard great things about blog founder Esther Walker’s new cookbook. Having read the book introduction visible on the amazon preview, I immediately bought the kindle edition and searched google for the blog. I chuckled my way through past posts and will start the book asap. Walker has a wonderfully human and incredibly funny writing style that warms you to her instantly. The recipes look pretty yummy too!

3. Learning about wine.

pairing wine with food

I enjoy wine, although know hardly anything about it. Thanks to my (ever trendy) Grandmother, I discovered the brilliant Wine Folly, a blog about wine for novices and seller of some fantastic posters to further your wine knowledge.

Have a lovely weekend, everyone!

 

Honeycomb Bars

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Honeycomb Bars, recipe from Home Baking by Jo Wheatley

Before I moved to Kingston last August, I lived in a charming, but tiny, studio flat in Hampstead that had a kitchenette in which I could barely turn around, let alone swing a cat. I had two hobs, a microwave, a minute fridge and no oven. I became very good at making risotto and soup, but didn’t bake for 4 years. Now I’ve made the move into a much bigger flat, I’m in love with my (at least in comparison) gigantic kitchen and am taking enormous pleasure in cooking and baking as much as possible. My cookbook collection has grown exponentially, and I’ve delighted in taking inspiration from a wide range of cooking styles and cultures. As very much a beginner cook, however, I do also appreciate recipes that can be thrown together in minutes, with no real cooking required!

As someone who loves to entertain, I’m also very aware of being a good guest. If I can possibly find the time, I like to make something to bring along with a bottle of wine to a dinner party. Jo Wheatley’s Honeycomb Bars are wonderfully easy to make, can be prepared ahead of time and are a delicious treat to serve alongside after dinner coffee. I recently made them to bring to a friend’s, and they were much appreciated! Next time, I think I would make the bars with dark chocolate, as they were a little sweet for my taste, but kids would love them just as they are. These would also be great to bring along to a picnic, whenever we get some sunshine back!

Honeycomb Bars

100g unsalted butter, melted

25g soft brown sugar

3 tbsp cocoa powder

4 tbsp golden syrup

400g milk chocolate (or dark, if you prefer it less sweet)

200g digestive biscuits

8 Crunchie bars (I actually only used 7 as I, er, ate the 8th. If, like me, you have no self-control – fear not! You can always just add a few more digestives to make up the difference. Note: a Crunchie bar weighs 40g.)

30x23cm baking tin with a depth of about 4cm, lightly greased and lined with with baking paper

Put the melted butter, sugar, cocoa powder and golden syrup into a large bowl and mix together with a wooden spoon until well combined. Break the chocolate into pieces and melt in a heatproof bowl over barely simmering water (or I melted the chocolate in the microwave, keeping a close eye so it didn’t burn and remained glossy). Place the digestive biscuits and Crunchie bars in a ziplock bag and roughly crush with a rolling pin until you have bite sized shards in a variety of different shapes. Add to the bowl and mix together to combine. Spoon into the lined tin, press down firmly into all the corners and top with the melted chocolate. Chill for half an hour or until nearly set, then slice bars with a hot knife (dip knife into cup of boiling water). Return to the fridge to firm completely. 

Pop your squares into a pretty tin lined with paper and share them amongst your friends. Enjoy!