Tag Archives: food

September Cooking Challenge: Chai Pumpkin Spice Thumbprints

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The last recipe from my September Cooking Challenge is a dessert courtesy of food blog, Pass the Sushi. I did actually make these in September, just – so I successfully completed my September Cooking Challenge, go me! I probably shouldn’t have left this recipe until last, or I should have read the recipe more carefully as I didn’t realise that some of the ingredients couldn’t be bought at my local Tesco.

Pumpkin Spice Hershey’s Kisses for example are a Halloween/Thanksgiving themed seasonal American chocolate treat and are unavailable in shops around the UK. I spent a couple of hours searching the internet and finally found a UK-based website that sold American groceries and sweets, phew!

The recipe also called for chai concentrate which I’ve never seen in any of my local shops. I did a little Amazon search and found bottles of chai concentrate, but nothing smaller than a litre bottle which I thought would be a waste of money. I decided to improvise, I bought a box of chai tea and infused quite a few tea bags in water with some brown sugar to sweeten my concoction, I used this instead of chai concentrate.

The recipe was easy enough, mix everything together and leave to chill for an hour. Making the chai seasoning was fun and I had left-over for future recipes. The smell of the seasoning was gorgeous and filled up the kitchen, it did however make the dog sneeze! One thing I would say about the recipe is that when rolling out the cookies, be sure to leave large gaps between them on the baking tray. Mine mushed together a little and caused some of them to be oddly shaped, not the end of the world but just a little tip!

Also, after you place on the Hershey’s kisses after baking the cookies DON’T touch them at all for at least an hour. The recipe tells you this but I was curious and poked one which ultimately melted and lost its shape straight away. You’ve got to know your failures to know how to do it right!

So thankfully my final September Cooking Challenge recipe was a success and the cookies were spongy yet solid, spicy and sweet and the Hershey’s kisses added a lovely velvety pumpkin-flavoured finish. I’ll definitely be making these again, possibly for Halloween.

Thanks to all those who have been checking in to see my progress over September, hopefully one of the three recipes have appealed to you and inspired you to start your own cooking challenges! Please let me know if you cook any of the three recipes, I’d love to hear your experiences!

September Cooking Challenge: Baked Cheesburger Egg Rolls

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For my second cooking challenge of the month I decided on a recipe I found through Pinterest from a cute little mumsy food blog called Does Not Cook Well With Others. I picked this recipe purely because I thought my finance would absolutely love it and I thought I’d probably love it too. I mean it’s cheese, beef and pastry, what’s not to like!

So the recipe is pretty simple, it calls for cheddar cheese, red onion beef mince, worcestershire sauce, egg roll wrappers (I used filo pastry) and sesame seeds.

I’m proud to announce that my second September Cooking Challenge was not a disaster or a disappointment (like the last), it was really, really tasty! Making the filling was easy enough, it consisted of frying the mince and onion then combining that together with the grated cheddar, sauce and some herbs such as oregano and basil (my own addition to the recipe).

The only fiddly part was actually making the rolls. I imagine egg roll wrappers are a little thicker and sturdier than filo pastry so I eventually realised I had to be very gentle with the pastry in order to avoid it splitting and ripping. It look a while to get both the proportions right as well as the shape of the actual roll, I think maybe 2 of the 15 I made actually looked like they should. One thing I would say is that I overloaded the rolls with sesame seeds, which resulted in them falling off the rolls into the oven and creating a lot of smoke! I think next time I’ll put a tray underneath to catch the stray sesame seeds and potentially not use as many.

I’m so glad that this recipe worked out much better than my last cooking challenge as I chose both recipes because of their simplicity. It just goes to show that sometimes simplicity is the key! I served the cheeseburger rolls with a variety of dips and made a salad to go along side them to turn this into a main meal. Here are the dips I’d suggest go best with the rolls:

  • Barbeque sauce (plain and simple)
  • New Zealand’s Rocket Fuel Sauce
  • Burger sauce (basically french mustard, ketchup and mayonnaise mixed together)

I’m so so glad that this was a success, the crispy pastry worked so well with the juicy, tangy, cheesy filling and dipped in the sauces it made the perfect alternative to a spring roll! Next time I have a dinner party I’m going to serve these up to see what the larger public think, but go, spread your wings – make baked cheeseburger egg rolls!

Please give me a shout if you give this recipe a go and if you found different things that didn’t work or worked better! Thanks.  

September Cooking Challenge: Sausage and Red Pepper Quiche

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If you don’t remember, this month I set myself a September Cooking Challenge where I challenged myself to cook three different and never-tried-before (by me) recipes throughout the month.

The first recipe I decided to tackle is the Sausage and Red Pepper Quiche, mostly because it sounded like the easiest recipe and I wanted to ease myself in. I was drawn to this recipe because I’ve never had a quiche with sausage in it before and in fact I’ve never actually made a quiche from scratch.

So firstly the recipe has surprisingly easy and accessible ingredients, pretty much all you had to do was measure out the ingredients before mixing everything together at once and placing in the oven for 40 minutes. The recipe did call for a can of ‘cream of mushroom’ soup, no seasoning and loads of eggs, which I thought was a bit odd but I went along with it anyway.

Unfortunately I think the simplicity of this recipe is what lead to its inevitable demise, the quiche was just, boring. It was very, very bland and lacked seasoning, as I suspected. It also seemed that the egg-to-other-ingredient ratio was a little off, it was just a little too eggy. I realised half way through eating the quiche (I don’t like to waste food even if I don’t like it) that it seemed to be lacking something else as well. Usually when you buy ready-made quiche from the supermarket it has a pastry case and I think I’ve got so used to expecting the buttery pastry surrounding the quiche that I was felt a little disappointed when it wasn’t there.

On reflection I’d do a number of things differently to try and give this quiche a bit of a boost. Firstly I’d cut out the ‘cream of mushroom’ soup and use a selection of chopped wild and organic mushrooms so you can actually taste the mushrooms rather than them getting lost in the recipe. Secondly, the recipe called for mozzarella cheese but I couldn’t taste it at all so I’d go with a stronger cheese, perhaps just something as simple as cheddar. Thirdly I’d add some fresh basil to the quiche mixture and give it a hefty seasoning of salt and pepper. Lastly I’d add a pastry crust to the quiche, it’s perhaps not as healthy but adds much needed texture!

Overall I’m pretty disappointed with this recipe, especially considering that in terms of quiche it sounds like a really interesting idea but in actual fact is very rather bland and meh!

Next up, Cheeseburger Egg Rolls!

Adventures in Cooking

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Even if I haven’t blogged as much as I’d like to, I’ve still been cooking, always cooking! Here are a few of my recent(ish) adventures in cooking which a) turned out the way I wanted and b) tasted incredible.


I bet you’d like to know what everything is you nosey Parker you. Here’s what they are from the left, clockwise.

  1. Black Isle Blonde beer-battered fish and double-dipped chips, with mushy peas and lemon

  2. Tri-coloured Shepherd’s Pie with butternut squash and parsley potato mash

  3. Roasted duck leg with sweet potato mash, wilted spinach and marmalade glaze

  4. Fillet of steak with roast tomato and chips

  5. Chilli chicken nachos with a pincher of homemade mojito

  6. Umami Thailand Satay curry kit

Give me a shout if you want any of the recipes, sharing is caring!

September Cooking Challenge

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After an incredibly hectic August full of weddings, engagements, parental visits, comedy festivals and birthdays I’m ready for a quieter couple of months (phew). I’m looking forward to getting experimental in the kitchen again so I’ve given myself a little September Cooking Challenge to help me on my way.

Pinterest is great website for sourcing recipe inspiration, I’m a massive fan of Tastespotting and Foodgawker too. You can search specific terms or go to the general food & drink category and browse through the mouthwatering pictures. Once you’ve decided on the most delectable picture you can click straight through to the recipe, easy peasy.

I’ve challenged myself to three recipes; a starter, main and dessert. This will also give me a wonderful reason to blog at least three times this month, documenting my cooking challenge is the only way to prove I’ve actually made the recipes! So here goes it, I challenge myself to cook these three recipes in September (thanks for the inspiration Pinterest).

Starter: Baked Cheeseburger Egg Rolls

This recipe (and photo) is originally by Does not Cook Well with Others  and I’d like to try making it purely because I think my fiancée would love it.  The blog suggests that this is perfect party food so I might make it next time the boys are round watching football. The recipe looks simple enough, although I might attempt to make the egg roll pastry from scratch rather than buying it pre-made.

Main: Sausage and Red Pepper Quiche

I’ve chosen this recipe for a couple of reasons; Firstly, usually when I have quiche I’m really naughty and I just buy it ready-made from the shop. The Tesco Finest ones are particularly tasty and it always seems like such a mission to make quiche from scratch. Secondly, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a quiche with sausage in it before so I’m rather intrigued. This recipe (and photo) is originally from Pinch of Yum,  a cute foodies blog run by fellow pug lover Lindsay originally from America but blogging from Cebu City in the Philippines.

Dessert: Chai Pumpkin Spice Thumbprints

I’ve chosen this recipe because, come on, this recipe is incredible! I’m hoping if making these goes well I can serve them up at Christmas time, so this is a little practice run really. To be completely honest this recipe looks a little out of my baking league, I’ve only just perfected the art of baking bread and cupcakes so this might be a disaster. Nevertheless I’ll document this disaster in spectacular fashion, don’t you worry! This recipe (and photo) is originally from Pass the Sushi.  Now, where do I get this chai concentrate from?

I’ll document all my recipe-making attempts on the blog and I also promise to add them to my Foodie’s Dream Pinterest board for good measure. P.S. If anybody gives any of these recipes a go in the meantime, please give me a shout. Anyway, stay tuned!

Burgher Burger #7

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Last night was my first experience of Burgher Burger. I’ve mentioned this is a earlier post but for those of you that don’t know Burgher Burger is a guerilla dining experience where several different chefs produce a menu (including a burger, obvi) and host an evening at ‘greasy spoon’ cafes around Edinburgh, oh and the menu is matched with beer.

This is the third time we’ve tried to get tickets for the event as the tickets sell out in under a minute, the current venue only holds about 35 people so trying to get a ticket is pretty competitive! The evening was brilliant, the food perfect and the atmosphere buzzing, the beer was pretty gorgeous too (supplied by Harviestoun Brewery). Here is the menu, along with tasty, tasty photos.

Starter: Sweet corn, mussel and coriander chowder served with Harviestoun Bitter and Twisted

The starter was lovely and flavoursome, the peppery mussels and fresh coriander tasted great alongside the battered sweet corn rosti that was served on the side. It also went great with the citrusy Bitter and Twisted.

Main: Buffalo burger & mozzarella with marinated tomatoes, pesto, sweet potato chips and leaves served with Harviestoun Wild Hop IPA

Oh my gosh, this was amazing! The burger was perfectly rare, the chips were crispy and salty and the buffalo mozzarella was to die for. It doesn’t sound like the most exciting burger on paper but it definitely works, especially with the Wild Hop IPA which was fruity and fizzy!

Dessert: Edinburgh Mess served with Harviestoun Mr Sno’Balls

Plums, cream, nuts, milk – you can’t really go wrong here and served with one of my favourite dark winter beers. They did really well serving this dish as it wasn’t a huge portion and complemented the rest of the meal perfectly.

All in all my boyfriend and I had a really great evening and would definitely do it again, soon if possible! The food, service and atmosphere were all enough to make the evening a success! Thanks for a great night Burgher Burger!