Fruit, Nut and Cheese Salad

This reads like it could be an interesting salad, but when you see the ingredients lined up you realise it’s not!!

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I don’t remember the last time I bought peach halves!! I guess canned fruits were easier to get hold of back at the time of this book.

I was just having this myself and couldn’t decide whether to half or quarter it. I decided to half the peaches but quarter the cheese as 4oz of cream cheese seemed like too much for one!

So the cheese mixed with the walnuts and raisins looked ok, and the peaches are fine, it’s just when you put them all together that it looks totally random hence why I only have one photo!!!
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So this was ready in a matter of minutes and this was dinner! It’s a bit of a weird one to describe! Oddly the peach with the cheese, raisins and walnuts was actually quite nice, it’s just the lettuce that totally doesn’t go. I did eat the lot, and wasn’t until I finished that I decided the lettuce was out of place!!

Would I make this again? Doubtful!!

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Baked Mackerel with Orange and Lemon Stuffing

I do really like mackerel, I used to be slightly scared about cooking whole fish but after making the trout and almonds I’m slightly less afraid!

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I picked up the mackerel at my local fishmonger and he thankfully gutted them for me! I don’t quite fell confident enough to try that!

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The stuffing is simple enough, nothing fancy about that and all mixed together in a few minutes..

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I stuffed the fish as best as I could, but there did seem to be a lot of stuffing! I had halved everything as only bought 2 fish to share between the three of us. They are kind of bursting open…

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After just over 20 minutes the fish was looking cooked through and the stuffing looked cooked as well..

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Rather than have with an orange salad we were having oven baked homemade chips and some green beans. Sort of like a fancy fish and chips!!

I remember being young and freaking out over the bones in fish, so I did expect some objections from my daughter, but she loved it! I think she found it a bit of novelty pulling out the bones and counting them and then seeing the skeleton of the fish once we’d pulled all the meat off.

The flavour is good, I do love fresh mackerel, and the combination with the stuffing is lovely. The mackerel really goes with the citrus flavours in the stuffing.

Overall this was a lovely dinner enjoyed by all three of us.

Would I make this again? Yes, would be good to try on the BBQ!

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Sponge Cake

I actually made this cake yesterday but didn’t get round to actually tasting it today! It’s a fat free sponge recipe again, similar to the recipe used for the Swiss roll but slightly different egg to sugar and flour ratio.

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I make a lot of cakes but pretty much always use a basic Victoria sponge recipe, I did like the way the sponge turned out when I used the whisking method for the Swiss roll so was looking forward to this.

Started off whisking the eggs and sugar, this is what they looked like just as I started..

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Then after about 10 minutes of whisking which is a good workout for the arms it was looking light and creamy so I removed form the heat..

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Then I think I whisked it for another 5-10 minutes until it was cold and it changed consistency again and was really lovely and glossy looking..

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Finally I very carefully folded in the flour..

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I did follow the recipe and grease the tins and then sprinkle with flour and sugar. I always usually line my tins with greaseproof paper and was going to do that but decided to stick with the recipe and hope the cakes come out the tins ok! I maybe was a bit liberal with the flour but was really worried they would stick!

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I do have two 7 inch tins but they are slightly different depths, hoping this wasn’t going to affect the baking!

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After 20 minutes they were a nice brown colour and starting to shrink away from the sides so I removed from the oven. They haven’t risen as much as I expected..

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One of the cakes came out the tin no problem but I did have to use a spatula to get the other one out so am not sold on the flouring the tins technique!

I had some chocolate buttercream in the fridge so I sandwiched them together with that and the did a wee icing sugar design on the top to keep it simple.

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So I finally had a taste of this today and it is a lovely cake. It’s nice and light but almost has a bit of a chewy texture to it if that makes sense.

Would I make this again? Yes great recipe to use if you fancy a cake and have no butter!!

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Rhubarb Ginger Jam

I still have a bit of rhubarb growing in the garden, it’s not the best looking and wonder if it’s still growing because the weather is so mild. I decided to make this jam with it..

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My rhubarb is looking a bit thin, so think its perfect for chopping up and making jam!

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I started this last night and left the rhubarb overnight. I wasn’t sure if the alternate layers were crucial so I just stirred the sugar and rhubarb together. I did also wonder if I wasn’t meant to chop the rhubarb as nowhere in the recipe does it say that! I just thought I was meant to as I didn’t think it would breakdown completely!

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By the morning the sugar had pretty much dissolved and there was loads more liquid..

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I don’t have any muslin so I just bashed the ginger a bit but still keeping it whole and then I just threw that in the pan and planned to fish out at the end of cooking.

I was using preserved ginger rather than crystallised, and I think the last boiling stage took longer than 5 minutes, probably closer to 10. By then It was dark and sticky looking, pretty hard to tell if the rhubarb is actually clear!

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I used just over 1lb of rhubarb and ended up with 3 random sized jars.

I left this to cool and tried with some homemade bread and I really like it. It’s not overly sweet and the balance with the ginger is just right. I also really like the texture, it’s not completely smooth but just the right amount of chunks – in my opinion!

Overall another good jam!

Would I make this again? Yes, the rhubarb in the garden doesn’t look finished yet…

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Fried Liver, Chinese Style

So I thought I was maybe over my dislike of liver after the liver and onions so I thought I’d try this for dinner tonight..

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I was halving this recipe and bought half a pound of liver which only cost 67p from the butcher! It’s definitely a cost effective cut of meat. It still looked like an awful lot of liver for my liking!

So the recipe says it should be cooked in 7-8 minutes so I did all the prep straight after work and cooked a little later on. I wanted to let the liver sit in the sherry, ginger mix for a while to maybe try reduce the liver flavour of the final dish!

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Not thinking it looks very tasty right now..

I had bought a can of bamboo shoots, I couldn’t find them anywhere else in the supermarket. They were already sliced in the can which is handy!

I started cooking and was done in 8 minutes. Although nothing was looking very golden brown, everything just looked cooked!

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We just had this with some more stir fried veg, I probably should’ve served with rice or noodles but had a few odds and ends of veg to use up!

So how was this? Well am not sure I loved it! I think the liver was overcooked and not sure if that makes it even more livery if that makes sense! The dish as a whole is tasty, I could really taste the ginger which was good but you couldn’t tell there was sherry in it. We did eat it all and my daughter did try some but not sure she was a fan!

Would I make this again? Perhaps, I might cut the cooking back a bit and maybe try some soy suave in the marinade. It really is a cheap dinner so would love to love it!!

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Rissoles

I had to google these to see if they actually exist as a recipe and they do! Apparently they are like small croquettes covered in breadcrumbs or pastry and are often filled with meat or fish.

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I was starting with raw mince so I just dry fried that until it was all browned. Assumed that would be ok as they would be getting fried again anyway. I also forgot to get pickle which I was annoyed about as I love pickle and thought that would’ve been fab in these. Instead I added parsley, I was going to go for curry powder but am determined to use as much of my parsley as I can before the cold weather destroys it!

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I think it looks like stovies at this point, and I guess if you opted to use corned beef like the recipe suggests it would be even more like it!

I had to skip the rolling into a sausage stage. Only because my mixture was so hot. I suppose if you allowed the mince and potatoes to cool it would be easier to handle and shape. My mix was so warm and soft so I opted to quickly shape into cakes.

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Not looking terribly appealing at this stage! Then I got one of my many bags of breadcrumbs out the freezer carried on with that stage..

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I ended up with 10 fairly decent sized rissoles which was going to be way too much for three of us. I swithered over freezing some at this stage or cooking them all and then freezing. I opted for the latter and cooked them all now..

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I reckon they were frying for about 5-7 minutes on each side. I did think I may have made them too thick as the top and bottom of them did turn a nice dark golden brown but the sides were quite pale. I know they are cooked through anyway as the mince and potatoes were cooked first so don’t think that matters too much.

Some may look slightly darker than others, that was obviously intentional, but setting the smoke alarm off wasn’t!!

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We were having these with some of last nights leftover aubergine fiesta. These are brilliant! The outside is lovely and crisp and then the filling is quite soft but tastes great. I think they would taste even better with pickle but as they were with the parsley was fab. We all loved them, they are really filling and we managed two. My daughter loved them too but only managed one!

Would I make this again? Yes, great dinner but need to try with pickle!

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