#28 FOOD NEWS: Squeamish? Turn away now!

Cakeageddon

Dead horse cake anyone? Oh yes, it’s that time of year when Miss Cakehead is on the rampage cooking up a sponge-based storm for Halloween. Standalone farm in Letchworth Garden City has been transformed into the stuff of edible nightmares!  An installation of live killer clowns, hanging dead pig cakes and spooky tunes promises to give every sense in your body a wake-up call. The best bit is when it’s all too much you can calm yourself by stuffing your face with cake (with or without chocolate maggots). From now until 1st Nov. For more info and to book tickets visit:

http://www.letchworth.com/heritage-foundation/artsandculture/cake

A sneak peek:

PIgs strip

Pig cakes from @tattooedbakers

skeleton dog cakes

Skeleton dog gingerbread from Jacqui Kelly of Totally Sugar

Rotting woman cake

Rotting sleeping beauty cake legs

guinea pig final strip

Gory guinea pig cakes from Angela Romeo @britaliankitchn

rotting rabbit

Dead rotting rabbit cake from themiragecakecompany.com

cupcakes crop

An assortment of gruesome cupcakes from Jacqui Kelly of totallysugar.co.uk

Town or country!

If you can’t make it to Standalone farm Londonites will pleased to know that Miss Cakehead hasn’t forgotten the capital – there’s an equally gruesome pop-up cake shop at The Den @ Hoxton Hotel (a brand new, suitably dark and mysterious room) where you won’t be disappointed at the twisted treats on offer! From now until the 1st Nov. For opening times visit http://cakeageddon.com/cake-shops/ 

 

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#27 FOOD NEWS: Recipes that rock with Blur’s Alex James

Every monday

Rock and cheese roll?

After  swapping rock and roll for making artisan, award winning, cheese. The bassist from Blur, Alex James has now teamed up with Australian chef, Matt Stone, for a second series of Recipes that Rock. There’s some humdingers (I think that’s good) as they travel across the Great Southern area of Australia. The ricotta, chilli and avocado combo was calling me with this little number – perfect for brunch with a kick:

Avocado, ricotta, fried egg & spelt flatbread

Final

Serves 4 with 6 flatbreads leftover (Note re. my pics: I halved everything to serve 2 then had 3 flatbreads leftover for lunches).

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For the flatbread
1.5kg spelt flower
900ml water
30g yeast
35g salt
2 tbsp flakey salt
Olive oil

Steps 1

1 Warm the water to be at blood temperature, then add the yeast and dissolve. Mix in the flour and 35g salt.

steps 2

2 Gather together, turn out onto a floured work surface. Knead for about 5 mins until the dough is silky. Place the dough into a bowl and leave to prove in a warm place for 40mins.

steps 3

3 Knock back the dough and portion into 10 balls, slightly smaller than a tennis ball.
Roll the balls out to circles about 1cm thick. Brush with olive oil and season with flaky salt. Cook on a chargrill [or griddle pan if it’s October and Blighty!] for about 5 mins each side.

For the avocado mix
4 avocados, peeled and chopped
250g ricotta
1 red chilli, deseeded and chopped, plus extra to serve (optional)
Zest and juice of 1 lemon, plus extra wedges to serve
1 cup mixed herbs: dill, parsley and mint, chopped
Olive oil
4 eggs

1 Place the avocado into a mixing bowl with the ricotta, chilli, lemon zest and juice and the herbs and mix well. Set aside.

chilli

2 Fry the eggs to your liking. Place 4 flatbreads on 4 plates. Make sure the avocado mix is seasoned with salt and olive oil, then spoon onto the flatbreads. Place a fried egg on top of each and serve with lemon wedges.  Serve with a side of chill (if using).

Britalian tip

No time to bake bread? Try serving on warmed sundried tomato ciabatta rolls. A match made in heaven. Available at Morrison’s for 35p each.

alt bread

For more Alex James & Matt Stone recipes tune into Recipes that Rock on Food Network UK, Freeview 41, freesat 149, Ski 248, Virgin 287.

#26 FOOD NEWS: Curry week meets chocolate week!

Every monday
We’re not only celebrating one of the nation’s favourite cuisines this week (besides Italian!) with National Curry Week but Chocolate Week also now joins this mid-October party! Here’s my 3-step Britalian guide to making this the hybrid week of all weeks.

1. THE RECIPE

Fruity chocolate ‘pizza’

pizza crop

Pizza gets a chocolate make-over! A delicate chocolate shortbread base, topped with sweetened mascarpone and piled high with fruit will guarantee smiles all round.

strip ingred

125g butter, softened
4 tbsp clear honey
50g caster sugar
150g plain flour
3 tbsp cocoa powder
250g tub mascarpone
142ml double cream
500g chopped and sliced mixed fruit (such as strawberries, kiwi, nectarines, banana – tossed in lemon juice and blackberries).
50g dark chocolate, melted

1 Preheat the oven to 180’C, 160’C fan, gas 4. For the base, beat together the butter and 2tbsp of the honey and the sugar until creamy. Sift over the flour and cocoa powder.

strip 1

2 Stir with a fork until the mixture starts to stick together. Gather the mixture together with your fingertips to form a ball of dough.

dough

3 Place the dough on a large sheet of baking parchment. Roll out to a 30 cm circle. Prick the dough all over with a fork, cut into 6 segments. Lift the baking parchment on to a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 mins until just firm to the touch; cool.

4 For the topping, place the mascarpone, cream and honey in a bowl; stir until smooth. Spread the mixture over the base. Arrange the prepared fruit on top; drizzle with melted chocolate. Serve within 2 hours.

2. THE BOOK

Cover

Whenever I’m with Southern Italians there’s always chilli oil, dried chilli or chilli powder to hand to sprinkle over anything and everything in front of you. So it wasn’t a surprise when I introduced Giuseppe to the great British tradition of an Indian take-away 9 years ago, you could see a spark of delight and hungry discovery in his eyes.

curry book

The beautiful book; Curry recipe collection by Sainsbury’s, is now firmly one of my favourite cookery books (although as the food editor I might be a teeny weeny bit biased!). Next time the Italians are over I’ll be making the chicken jalfrezi followed by the tropical pannacotta with coconut snaps. I will still, of course, have extra chilli to hand! Available in Sainsbury’s stores for £5.

3. WEAR THE T-SHIRT (Or couture dress!)

CHOCOLATE FASHION SHOW

Love chocolate? Now you can wear it! Stunning couture outfits inspired by chocolatiers such as Lindt, Paul A Young and Fruitful Blooms will be on the runway for the gala evening of  The Chocolate Show on the 16th October.

From the 17th-19th garments will be on display at the Olympia show in a dedicated exhibition from 5pm.

http://www.salonduchocolat.co.uk

CREDITS: Curry book photography; Jonathan Kennedy. I can’t claim the pizza recipe as my own, I tore the original version from Bella mag years ago – it’s an oldie but a goodie!

#25 FOOD NEWS: Cake & bake show, pork loin makeover and coffee machine mania!

Every monday
Top 3 Britalian finds: Cake & Bake show 2014

Cake and bake show banner

1: Choco passion – made in Italy

chocolate tools

Looking more like the rusty contents of a tool box, but with the crisp, crack of superior chocolate – a winning combo that screams, ‘Christmas pressie for dad sorted!’ A small spanner costs £2.99. www.chocopassionuk.com

2: Pig in the middle

Sausage rolls

The ‘Mediterranean plait’ sitting next to an ‘All day breakfast’ sausage roll at the Pig in the middle stand was enough to send my Britalian radar into overdrive. A fab savoury stand – great for balancing out the sugar high!

3: Sweet as sugar cakes

sweet sugar cakes crop

I fell totally head-over-heels for the Sweet as sugar cakes business cards – especially as there was one with a cakey-version of my favourite fictional Italian stallion (!), Rocky Balboa. With a Rocky-themed hen night to my name,  I’m now thinking my wedding cake could have been very different if I’d seen this a couple of years ago! Probably lucky I didn’t.

http://www.thecakeandbakeshow.co.uk/london/

Coffee machine mania

Coffee banner

So we’ve finally given in and bought a Magimix Nespresso machine but I wasn’t bargaining on along with the deal of £120 for the machine, 16 pods and a milk frother I would also get an obsession with coffee machines in general!

A must-see for…erm…other coffee machine lovers is the coffee machine at Cafe Vergnano 1882 on the Southbank. It looks like the Ferrari of coffee machines. I couldn’t stop taking pictures of it. A stylish coffee bar with a wonderfully welcoming atmosphere. And the coffee ain’t bad either! Well worth a visit.

Pork loin make-over: Pork valdostana

final pork - crop

Always up for a double whammy of pork – this recipe of pork loin wrapped in Parma ham, served with English garden runner beans (fresh from the freezer from Mummy ‘E’s’ summer crop) topped-off this Britalian feast.

Ingredients banner

Serves: 4
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 20-25 mins

1kg new potatoes, quartered
4 x 225g pork loins
8 slices Parma ham
Handful rosemary sprigs
4 thin slices of fontina cheese or Brie
2 tbsp seasoned plain flour
25g butter
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
6 tbsp red wine
Runner beans, trimmed, sliced on the diagonal and steamed

1 Preheat the oven to 220’C, 200’C fan, gas 7.  Par-boil the potatoes for 7 mins until softened, drain and set aside. Meanwhile trim the loins of most of that fat. Flatten the meat slightly with a rolling pin.

Wrapping banner

2 Place 2 pieces of Parma ham, slightly over-lapping on a work-surface or chopping board. Top with a small sprig of rosemary and a piece of fontina cheese or Brie. Place the chop on top and wrap the the Parma ham around the pork loin. Repeat with the remaining loins. Pick the the leaves from the remaining rosemary and set aside.

3 Dust the pork loins in the seasoned flour. Heat the butter and oil in a frying pan. Put the loins in the butter, cheese-side down and cook for 1 min. Turn over and cook for a further 2 mins, until browned.

meat banner

4 Pour the red wine over the loins and bring to the boil. Transfer the contents of the pan to a small baking dish and cook in the oven for 15-20 mins until the pork is cooked through.

potatoes

5 Ten mins before the end of cooking time shallow fry the potatoes with the reserved rosemary leaves until the potatoes are crisp, golden and cooked through. Serve with the steamed runner beans and the pork with the juices spooned over the top.