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Wednesday
Dec192007

thai-flavoured party snacks

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we had a party last weekend – it was david’s birthday and we were in the mood for celebrating. we invited a few friends round and i knocked up some canapés.

the goats cheese and rosemary mini muffins were on the menu, along with a gruyere, sage and onion version. so too were these mini thai-style mini turkey meatballs. they, and some mini thai-style sausage rolls were the hit of the night and i’d thoroughly recommend them if you’re planning a party and need some nibbles. not least as they were both able to be made in advance and put in the freezer until party day arrived.

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Monday
Dec172007

goats cheese and rosemary mini muffins

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i’ve had a bit of a shopping spree recently and am the proud owner of a couple of silicon baking trays – one for madeleines and the other for mini muffins. i decided to give the mini muffin case an outing this weekend, reasoning that muffins would be more forgiving if the tray misbehaved.

as instructed i lightly greased them before use (this should now be unnecessary unless the muffin mix is fat-free) and apart from having to manoeuvre a floppy tray in and out of the oven, it was a great success.

the resulting muffins, which were baked naked (no paper cases), had a gorgeous slight crispy texture on the outside – a perfect contrast to the meltingly soft centres. these would be perfect for nibbles at a festive drinks party.

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Sunday
Dec162007

eyre brothers, london ec2

i’m in the early throes of a love affair - those heady days when i’m obsessing about the future despite the fact that we’ve only met once. but, given we were introduced by my lovely friend tom, whom i trust enormously, i know that it’s ok to go with my instincts. so my star gazing continues unabated and i ponder when we will meet again and how much time we can spend together...

the cause of my excitement? eyre brothers in hoxton. this sexy spanish restaurant is just fabulous and i really wish it was a little closer to home so that i could indulge myself and visit on a (very) regular basis.

while we waited for friends to arrive, david and i settled ourselves by the bar which was buzzing with the sound of spanish and british voices. we kicked off with a bottle of albariño de fefiñanes 2005, which was so good we stuck with it all evening, converting both an anti-white-wine and an anti-spanish-wine drinker along the way. our waiter was also delighted as it’s his favourite bottle on the wine list.

to start i had the grilled chilli and garlic squid which was served with lentils dressed simply in olive oil and lemon juice. the squid was beautifully tender and the punchy chilli and garlic flavours shone through, contrasting with the smoky blackened bits. other starters for our group, included an intensely fishy lobster, monkfish and pea soup, and migas a alentejana, a hearty mix of beef and pork, prepared using a red pepper paste, bay, garlic and white wine.

tom and i had preordered the pork and clams cooked in an alentejo cataplana (a lidded metal dish) which was a wonderfully rich dish full of chunky pieces of chorizo, meltingly tender pork and an abundance of clams. disappointingly, the flavour of the clams was difficult to identify amongst the rich porky-tomatoey sauce but overall the dish was delicious.

the grilled fillet of iberico pork had been marinated with smoked paprika, thyme and garlic and was full of flavour as a result. the spanish really know how to get the best out of pork, a meat that i have often found either bland or tough. the scallops and morcilla with peas was also excellent.

at this point i started to feel very full and gave up on the food, concentrating instead on a glass on pedro ximenez. well, i say concentrating, i did manage to have a taste of the praline cheesecake with pistachio sauce (a little too rich for me but david was very happy) and the quince tarte tatin (nice enough but not up to the standards of the stupendous apple tarte tatin we had at galvin’s)

eyre brothers is the kind of restaurant that suits any occasion: whether you’re tired and want to be in a comfortable, professionally-run and friendly place which serves good food and wine or whether you want to put your glad rags on and have a decadent and indulgent time. eyre brothers is firmly on my favourites list and i plan to visit regularly.

eyre brothers

70 leonard street, london ec2a 4qx

t - 020 7613 5346

www.eyrebrothers.co.uk

Friday
Dec142007

love food, hate waste

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the recently launched love food, hate waste website reminded me that here in the uk, a third of the food we buy ends up being thrown away. most of this is food that can be eaten, not just banana skins and tea bags.

for every three bags of food we carry home, we are effectively dropping one straight into the bin. as well as being a waste of money this is also a huge waste of resources.

as we approach christmas, a time when many of us are buying more food than usual, it is particularly important that we think about how to ensure that we are not wasting food

read more over at the daily tiffin, a blog that helps people have a healthy family lifestyle. i'll write about healthy eating, over at the daily tiffin, every fortnight.

Wednesday
Dec122007

smoked haddock chowder

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as the weather gets colder my thoughts are turning to warming dishes with gentle flavours. this smoked haddock chowder is a particularly good example of the sort of thing i want to eat and would be ideal for supper on a chilly day. i also think it would be really nice as a christmas eve meal.

the flavours in the chowder are perhaps all rather predictable, but what really lifts it and makes it so lovely, is the addition of freshly grated lemon zest, sprinkled over just before serving.

somehow the contrast of the rich creamy fish soup and the zingy tangy lemon really lifts the dish, emphasising the gentle wintry flavours while reminding us of the freshness of spring that will arrive in due course.

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