Plum Cake: Baking Mad

Plum Cake: Baking Mad

I am always looking for an excuse to bake and was very excited when the Baking Mad team approached me to try some of their recipes. I was sent a hamper of baking goodies, including Allinson flour, Nielsen-Massey vanilla extract, Billington’s caster sugar etc, all of which I frequently use in my kitchen. The website, which is from the channel 4 show presented by master patisiser Eric Lanlard, has a wide selection of sweet and savoury recipes for any occasion. I set my heart on baking the plum cake, using the last of this season’s delicious fruit. The recipe was very easy to follow, and resulted in a deliciously moist cake. I don’t normally get much of a rise in my cakes, but I followed the instructions, creaming the melted butter with the sugar; and folding whisked egg whites and the flour into the batter, and was surprised with the end results. I have made this cake three times now, and everyone has enjoyed eating this, always going back for a second helping. I am already eyeing up the spiced pumpkin bread on the Baking Mad page, so expect to see that on the blog soon.

Welcome Autumn With Chicken Pie

Welcome Autumn With Chicken Pie

Wow! Summer has been and gone far too quickly. And today marks the first official day of Autumn. I have no idea where the time has disappeared, but I am glad to be back on The Spicy Pear, sharing recipes that have inspired me and creating new ones. Before I share the recipe for this Chicken Pie, I wanted to say a big sorry to my readers for not posting anything for the last three months. It has been an incredibly hectic and stressful period for me, with family illnesses keeping me down, an exciting new job keeping me on my toes, and a holiday with the hubby keeping me sane. I have been overwhelmed with so much happening around me, and felt it best to take some time out, recharge, and make sure all the different balls I was juggling stayed up in the air. I feel much more settled now, and am bursting with new ideas for this blog. Expect to see more dishes for busy cooks; breakfast inspirations; lunch ideas; and dinner party feasts over the next few months. In the meantime, please enjoy this recipe for Chicken Pie created by one of my favourite chefs, Nigella Lawson. This dish is very easy to prepare and is just the thing for the colder months. It is my ‘go to’ recipe when I am in need of something indulgent, rich and comforting. The chicken pie is also perfect for when you have guests over and I am sure they will leave feeling suitably impressed. I hope you will enjoy this recipe as much as I do and please do drop me a comment to tell me how you found it, or just to say hi. I look forward to interacting with you all.

 

Rum and Almond Date Balls

Rum and Almond Date Balls

These soft and crunch rum and almond date balls are the perfect way to end a dinner party. Healthy and very tasty, the addition of spiced rum quickly transports me to an exotic island in the sun.

Prawn Curry With Panch Phoran and Pilau Rice

Prawn Curry With Panch Phoran and Pilau Rice

Today, I would like to share with you my recipe for prawn curry with panch phoran spices. Panch phoran translates to “five spices” and is a spice blend from Bengal. The blend is often used in curries, as a rub on meats or sprinkled over vegetables, and has a distinguished taste from garam masala, which is more commonly used in North Indian cooking. The five spices are either dry roasted or tempered (that is fried in ghee or hot oil until the mustard seeds begin popping) depending on how the blend is used. However, for this particular recipe, I dry roasted the spices and then ground them in a coffee grinder until they became a powder. It may not be the traditional way of cooking with panch phoran but it certainly was tasty. I hope you enjoy the curry too.

Closed Giveaway: Your Chance To Win A Tefal Optigrill

Closed Giveaway: Your Chance To Win A Tefal Optigrill

Happy December All! A couple of months back I was lucky enough to try out the new Tefal Grill, which has quickly become one of my favourite equipments in the kitchen. The grill’s automatic cooking sensor, has six settings to allow you to cook meat, poultry, fish, vegetables, bread etc, with no fuss and no bother. You can click here for my review on the Tefal Optigrill, along with my recipe for the deliciously healthy Tandoori Salmon with mango salsa. The Spicy Pear is giving one lucky a reader the chance to win the new sleek black Tefal Optigrill. For your chance to win, all you need to do is like The Spicy Pear Facebook page (click here),  Follow @thespicypears and  on Twitter, and leave a comment below telling us what you would create with your very own Tefal Optigrill. Please ensure you leave a valid email address with your comment.
Closed: Mint Masala Mussels & Giveaway Competition

Closed: Mint Masala Mussels & Giveaway Competition

A couple of months back I attended an “Evening of Flavour” event run by Loyd Grossman sauces, chef John Quilter – aka the “Food Busker,” and food trends agency The Food People. The event was held at the Underground Cookery School, where we explored upcoming food and flavour trends. At the start of the event we sipped on espresso martini’s, while learning about the key trends for 2014-15. These included small plate dining, Persian, Israeli, and Greek food, food mash-ups, and dude food. John Quilter created several dishes for us to sample, with one key ingredient, a range of Loyd Grossman’s cooking sauces. The Korean Fried Chicken, Lobster Thermidor Mac & Cheese, and Iberian Pork Schnitzel were my favourites from the evening.

An Evening at Le Restaurant de Paul, Covent Garden

An Evening at Le Restaurant de Paul, Covent Garden

One gloriously sunny Sunday afternoon a group of food blogger friends met up to try out the new restaurant opened by Paul bakery in Covent Garden. The evening was organised by the lovely Karen Burns Booth, who writes at Lavendar And Lovage, a beautiful blog full of classic seasonal recipes. I for one was very excited to attend, not only to catch up with my friends, but to also savour the delicious pastries on offer.

Tandoori Salmon With Mango Salsa

Tandoori Salmon With Mango Salsa

Tandoori salmon is one of my favourite dishes to cook during the week. I can pick up the salmon on my way home from work, coat the fish in the marinade and bake in the oven. No fuss, no bother. And while the fish is cooking, I quickly prepare the mango salsa. The sweet and sour flavours, in addition to the bright colours in this dish, make it perfect for summer.