Cooking Without a Kitchen Launches!

Books, Events, Recipes

The countdown has begun, it’s official, my book will be in physical, published and purchasable form ready for the London Art Book Fair next week!

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It is my first cookery book and it is called “Cooking Without A Kitchen”. Comprised of 20 recipes for dishes you can create without setting foot in a kitchen. The original idea was born out of too many business trips resulting in awkward dinners in hotel restaurants. I wanted to cook for myself, to unwind at end of the day. So, I set about creating meals in my room which were tasty, easy and didn’t make a mess or set off the hotel sprinkler system!

The idea grew to many more scenarios where you need to cook but can’t access basic kitchen equipment like an oven, hob or even microwave.

If you would like to find out more please visit the website of Pedestrian Publishing who are not only responsible for the publishing but all of the design as well; like the fantastic cover designed by Nina Vlotides and made from a hand screen printed tea towel!

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I would also be honoured if you would like to pop along to the London Art Book Fair where it first goes on sale. I shall be there at the opening event on Thursday 12th of September, 6pm at Whitechapel Art Gallery, London. It would be fantastic to meet fellow bloggers and readers.

If you can’t make it then don’t fret, the book will be on sale via Pedestrian Publishing and I will post information here and on my Facebook page when it goes live.

But for a little taster of what’s to come I have created exclusive recipes for a cocktail and a canapé which you could whip up away from your kitchen. The following recipes do not appear in the book or anywhere else, they’re just for my smashing blog readers without whom none of this would have been possible. Cheers! Xxx

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Canapé: Cinnamon Bagel with Goats cheese and Berries.
Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon of blackcurrant jam
1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
1 raisin and cinnamon bagel
Small piece of soft goats cheese (approx 50g)
Handful of fresh blueberries
Few fresh mint leaves

Kit:
2 Teaspoons
Scissors
Grease proof baking paper
Iron & ironing board*
Small bowl
Plate or board for serving

Method:
1. Mix the blackcurrant jam and balsamic vinegar together in a bowl and set aside.
2. Split the bagel in half using the scissors (you can use a knife or fancy bagel slicer but I prefer to carry scissors instead of knives if I’m out and about)
3. Lay the 2 bagel halves out side by side on a large piece of grease proof baking paper. Fold the paper over and seal with folds to make a parcel.
4. Heat the iron to its hottest setting and when it is up to temperature gently iron the parcel for around 5 minutes each side. This will warm the bagel halves and very lightly toast them.
5. Turn off the iron and open the parcel carefully. Use a tea towel to protect your hands as it will be hot. When the bagel is cool enough to handle cut each half into 8 pieces using the scissors.
6. Break the goats cheese into small chunks and use to top each of the bagel pieces.
7. Drizzle each canapé with a little of the jam and balsamic mixture and top with a blueberry.
8. Snip the mint leaves up into fine shreds and sprinkle over all of the canapés to serve. Enjoy immediately.

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Cocktail: Ice-lolly Fizz!
This is a sweet and silly cocktail which allows you to make something chilled and fizzy without a fridge or freezer (just need an ice cream van or a newsagents!)
Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 tablespoons of elderflower liqueur
1 fruit ice lolly (pineapple or lemon works best, not ice cream based ones)
Small bottle of sparkling wine such as cava, prosecco or champagne
2 sprigs of fresh mint

Kit:
2 champagne flutes, or plastic/paper cups if you’re outdoors
Tablespoon

Method:
1. Put one tablespoon of elderflower liqueur in each glass
2. Break up the ice lollies and put the pieces into each glass then top up with sparkling wine.
3. Garnish with the mint sprigs and the lolly sticks for stirrers and serve.

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* in this recipe I used an iron to toast the bagel but you can of course use a conventional toaster instead. If you do decide to use the iron you do so at your own risk and please note that using electrical equipment in a way other than which it was intended may invalidate and guarantee or warrantee you have on the product. Please also check with the owner of the iron and ironing board before you get cooking. Xxx

Going Live!

Events

Pan Roast Strawbs! Great British Chefs asked me to join in their live Google+ hangout on Thursday night. Chef Josh Eggleton was stationed in Stratford’s Westfield Centre demonstrating his dish of Pan Roasted Sweet Eve Strawberries, Spiced Eggy Bread and Warm Elderflower Cream. All I had to do was set up my webcam in the kitchen, log in to the hangout and cook along with Josh, sounds simple…

Ingredients were all good to go, particularly excited about using the elderflower liqueur and after scouring the neighbourhood managed to “acquire” a sprig of fresh elderflower! Ssshhh!
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Pots and pans all lined up ready…
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…now to precariously perch my laptop on a step ladder!
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At about 2 minutes before the cook-a-long was due to start my laptop decided not to recognise the ethernet cable so I had to rely on the wireless connection. My laptop is quite old (I won’t insult it too much in case it crashes whilst I type this) and the router is upstairs so let’s just say it struggled, so I wasn’t able to ask Josh my question live on air (they had to cut to someone else) the joys of live filming!

But, I did manage to finish my dish on time, whoop! If you want a giggle you can watch the whole thing here – Great British Chefs Google Hangout.

I’m the second one in on the bottom row (mostly in shadow, oops!)

I particularly loved making the Elderflower Cream, which was a Sabayon flavoured with Elderflower Liqueur. I had tried sabayon once in Paris (ooh err!) and just assumed it must be ridiculously complicated, but it’s not! Hurrah! There is now a danger that I might become a little bit obsessed with it and start serving it with everything!

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I must admit I did get Richard to do the blowtorch bit, simply because I was far too chicken! We don’t have a kitchen blowtorch so we were using his brother’s DIY one (don’t try this at home kids) it was probably more suited to doing something dangerous with roofing felt but it did the job of caramelising the sabayon beautifully, thanks Rich!DSC05087

Great British Chefs have uploaded a whole load of Strawberry recipes on their site worth checking out and I’ll let you know as soon as Josh’s recipe is available, blowtorches at the ready peeps!

Have a lovely, sunny weekend xx

The Trouble with Trousers

Events, Recipes

Taylor & NiceThis week Bradley Taylor & I have re-launched our catering business Taylor & Nice with a new Private Chef Hire offering. We’ve been booked to do some quite exciting events over the next few weeks, so we’ve been busy buying new chef jackets, plates and cutlery in preparation. I think I could lose whole days in cookware shops. I am completely obsessed with seeing pans in every possibly size – ranging right from dolls house scale to a saucepan I could probably install a kitchen and a couple of bedrooms in.

The only thing we’re struggling with is trousers. Here’s a venn diagram I’ve put together to explain what I mean:

trouble with trousers

Rant over, it’s back to the kitchen to get perfecting some of our recipes ready for our upcoming events. This week I have been putting the finishing touches on a recipe for a melon & ginger biscuit dessert.

Melon Curd

We’re serving this homemade melon curd with lemon posset, ginger biscuits, and fresh melon pieces but I’m sure it would be lovely on toast, stirred through yoghurt or in a tart.

Taylor and Nice biscuitsIngredients:

1/2 a Galia Melon, deseeded and chopped
juice of 1 lemon
200g of caster sugar
100g of unsalted butter
3 eggs and 1 egg yolk whisked together with a fork

Method

1) Put everything except the egg mixture in a heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water

2) Stir together until the butter has melted

3) Whisk in the eggs and keep stirring or gently whisking for around 15-20mins until the mixture thickens.

4) Take the mixture off the heat and allow to cool, don’t forget to remove any remaining melon pieces and discard them (or eat them, they taste a bit like stewed apple and custard) then put the curd in the fridge to chill and thicken up a bit more ready for spreading, or drizzling.

Melon Curd Breakfast

If you’d like to find out more about Taylor & Nice or you know where we can get catering clothes that don’t look like we’ve had little accidents and had to change, please get in touch via our website: taylorandnice.com

x

Foodie Penpals pt.1

Foodie Penpals

My latest foodie adventure has begun by signing up to be a foodie penpal via Rock Salt (who got the set up from The Lean Green Bean)…and it’s bloody brilliant! Basically, you’re added to a database of foodies. Each month the coordinator picks someone from the database to send you a parcel of interesting foodie goodies and at the same time you’re chosen to send a parcel to someone else. Then you get in touch (to say thanks or check it all arrived ok) and then blog about what you got. Easy.

A couple of weeks ago my first parcel arrived, it was like an early birthday present, with a card and everything! The lovely Teresa had neatly packed a wonderful mix of goodies and cooking ingredients and tucked into the card was one of her favourite recipes for me to try.

foodie parcel goodies

I made very short work of the nãkd. snack bars, and coconut macaroon, but I did then share the bombay mix with Richard so I’m not a total meanie.

The maize meal (fine polenta) was my favourite ingredient in the parcel because I’ve hardly ever used it but kept meaning to.

I was surprised how easy it is to make soft polenta and I followed this recipe which turned out great. I had planned to put any leftovers into an oven proof dish so they could set, allowing me to slice it and make polenta chips…but there were no leftovers 🙂

roasted tomatoes, olives and polenta

To go with the polenta I just grilled a few tomatoes, then at the end I threw in a few olives and a tablespoon of sundried tomato pesto, then returned to the grill just to warm everything briefly. Serve the tomato and olive mix over the polenta with some fresh basil and black pepper.

roasted tomatoes, olives and polenta

The rest of the maize meal was earmarked for Teresa’s recipe suggestion – Glamorous Raspberry and Polenta Cake by Jane Hornby.

raspberries

This is a great recipe to make all year round because it makes smashing use of frozen raspberries.

frozen raspberries

raspberry and polenta cake

slice of cake anyone?

raspberry and polenta cake

I can highly recommend the foodie penpal scheme as it’s as much fun packing up a parcel as it is receiving one – do it!

x

Foodie Penpals UK & Europe: http://thisisrocksalt.com/foodie-penpals/

Foodie Penpals US: http://www.theleangreenbean.com/foodie-penpals/

Anger Management Brownies

Cooking, Recipes

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I made these when I was very, very cross. In fact, I’m just gonna go ahead and say it, I had PMT. I was so grumpy, it was actually ridiculous. I shouted at a sofa, a laptop, my phone and Richard. Luckily he’s very patient and extremely understanding so just laughs at me when I lose my temper at everything! In return for his patience I shared my anger quashing brownies. I find that chocolate is good for when my hormones are on the blink and I add extra chocolate enhancing flavours like cardamon and coffee to make them even more consoling.

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Anger Management Brownies

Ingredients

100g butter (plus extra for greasing)
200g dark chocolate
4 eggs
200g golden caster sugar
1 teaspoon of ground cardamom
1 espresso (or 50ml of very strong coffee)
50g honey
1 teaspoon of rosewater
130g plain flour
1 tsp of baking powder
30g cocoa, and a bit more for dusting

Method

  1. Line a 20cm square cake tin (or similar sized rectangular one) with a piece of baking paper and grease well with butter. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Put the chocolate and butter in a bowl which is fitted on top of a pan of just boiling water, heat until both are melted.
  3. Whisk the sugar and eggs together until the mix has about doubled in size and is a lot paler than it was when you started whisking.
  4. Add the espresso, ground cardamom, honey and rosewater to the egg mixture and whisk again to combine.
  5. Now pour the melted butter and chocolate into the egg mix and whisk once more until smooth.
  6. Then fold in the flour, baking powder and cocoa and then tip the mixture into the prepared tin.
  7. Bake for 20-25 minutes. Don’t worry if it’s still quite wobbly in the middle, it will set more when it’s cold.
  8. Leave to cool (if you can wait that long) then slice into squares, dust with cocoa powder if you’re feeling fancy.

I like to serve mine (if I’m feeling particularly grumpy) with a good slice of action movie! Yippeekiyay!

Help wanted

Cooking

Firstly I wanted to say a big THANK YOU to all of the followers of this blog! Super chuffed that you’ve not only read one of my rambling recipe posts but that you want to read another one – you’re all 100% ace!

The next thing on my list of things to say today is sorry for not posting on Friday. It’s the one New Year’s resolution which I’m actually vaguely sticking to (with the exception of last week). Turns out that the excuse “my dog ate it” won’t wash with digital stuff… so the truth is that I was away in Nottingham last week having adventures; like interviewing a butcher, interviewing a pop-up restauranteur, attending a script read-through and baking a very wonky Tardis birthday cake – more on these things very soon.

And now (sheepishly) I need a big favour from you guys. Plans are afoot for a foodie podcast “Nice in the Kitchen” which I’ll be working on with the wonderful, magical Helen Piercy. There will be cooking, chatting, eating and general silliness which you will be able to download from the interwebs. We also want to do a Q&A section where I answer some of your food/cookery related queries. So if you’ve got a jar of onion marmalade in your fridge you don’t know what to do with or perhaps a recipe you’ve tried a heap of times but just can’t get right, (or any other food or cooking questions you can think of) – please do get in touch and we’ll read out and do our best to answer as many as we can during the podcast. You can leave your questions in the comments box or use my snazzy new contact form.

Thanks again, have a lovely week x

Nice in the kitchen

New podcast logo!

Twelfth Night

Events, Recipes

twelfth-night-poster

In case you don’t know my fella is actor Richard Kiess…although this month he’s been out so much I’m finding it difficult to remember what he looks like. By day he’s rehearsing for a show that’s going to Edinburgh this summer and by night he’s performing in Twelfth Night at the Lion & Unicorn. When we do see each other I get to help him with his lines (which is tremendous fun, especially when I get to do silly voices) and he has become an intrepid and knowledgable tester of my recipes…even if it means sitting outside in the freezing cold to eat a plastic plateful of artichokes (sneak peek to next week’s post!).

I know I’m biased but this Made in Chelsea inspired performance of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night is well worth a look (plug plug!) plus it’s great because each time he’s in something I get to meet the cast and go to the after show parties! It’s a very cool job but it’s full-on…this leads me seamlessly into a recipe for cereal bars! Richard assures me cereal is great at any time of day and I was interested to discover that actors consume lots of energy bars and sports drinks – not surprising having seen how physically demanding some roles can be.

Packed full of oats, very dark chocolate, pine nuts and dried cherries I hoped this homemade snack would at least make a change from boost bars & mountain dew.

Twelfth Night Bars

twelfth night bars

Ingredients

100g of oats

75g dried cherries

50g of pine nuts (toasted in a dry pan)

50g walnuts

1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon

100g fair trade dark chocolate (70-80% cocoa), roughly chopped

100g golden syrup

10og butter

100g light brown sugar

Method

1) Line a loaf tin with grease-proof paper.

2) Put the oats, cherries, toasted pine nuts, walnuts and cinnamon in a large heat-proof bowl and mix together.

3) In a saucepan heat the golden syrup, butter and sugar over a medium heat until the butter has melted, the sugar has dissolved and it’s starting to simmer.

4) Quickly pour the melted syrup mixture over the oats and nuts etc. and stir well. Throw in the chopped chocolate last and briefly mix it in (don’t stir too long otherwise the chocolate will totally melt and you want a few chunks in the finished bars).

4) Tip everything into the prepared tin and press the mixture down using the back of a metal spoon so that it gets into all the corners and is level on the top.

5) Leave to set for 2 hours or overnight and then slice into bars (makes about 12).

6) Wrap them up in foil and tissue paper and hand them out to hungry actors 🙂

foil & tissue paper

All wrapped up

Rich very kindly took a few snaps on his phone of the cast and crew backstage munching on the cereal bars…or posing with them…perhaps a bit of both!
the cast

Twelfth Night is on at the Lion & Unicorn until the 23rd of February but tickets are selling out so if you can’t get a seat there then they’re doing some extra nights at Canada Water Culture Space from the 26th of February – 1st of March 2013

x

Totally Tasteful

Events, Recipes

Paul Merrett at Totally TastefulOn Tuesday I attended the latest cookery masterclass (courtesy of Total Greek Yoghurt) at the very shiny cookery school L’atelier des Chefs, hosted by Chef Paul Merrett.
Earlier that same day I was at a conference so, (laden with laptop, overnight bag etc.) my plan was to split from the conference early, jump on a train home, dump work stuff, pick up my camera and put a brush through my hair to be back in town for the cookery class at half six! All went swimmingly with my plan, until our lift to Stratford-Upon-Avon station had to make what felt like an action movie style u-turn because the hotel receptionist hadn’t given us the best directions.

My colleague (and fellow conference escapees) made it to our train with moments to spare and swiftly our conversation turned from corporate to cookery. Then I think somewhere between Leamington Spa and Marylebone Raymond Blanc gets on the train and sits behind us. RAYMOND BLANC!!!! The guy next to him boldly blagged a handshake but I remained silently in my seat. I love Raymond Blanc’s cookery shows, they’re always full of wonderful recipes and tonnes of boyish enthusiasm…however, I didn’t think he’d have appreciated me introducing myself in the confined space of the train carriage. Maybe I’m just a wuss but what could I have said? – “hello Raymond Blanc, that’s right I know your full name because I have seen you on TV. I’m Miriam Nice, I hope you have a lovely time cooking things. I cook things too.” – Just awful. I’d die.

Train journey (and major over-thinking) done, bags deposited and camera obtained I arrived at L’atelier des Chefs and was handed a well needed glass of champagne.

Paul kicked off the cookery lesson by showing us how to prep a squid (which I am ashamed to say I had never done before).

SquidI’ve drawn out the key points from memory so do say if you have any top tips:

Squid prep
Phil, Laura, Yuri

We then had to get into teams to cook our meal. I was paired with a marvellous trio of bloggers; Phil, Laura and Yuri (pictured above) to make a starter of Squid & Chorizo with Chickpea Puree and Coriander Yoghurt

Squid and Chorizo on Chickpea Puree with Coriander Yoghurt

…followed by Herb Crusted Lamb with Baba Ganouche & Sweet Potato Salad

Herb Crusted Lamb with Baba Ganouche & Sweet Potato Salad

and a Rhubarb & Greek Yoghurt Syllabub for dessert:

Rhubarb and Greek Yoghurt Sylabub

The meal was Totally delicious (sorry, couldn’t resist) and as one of our team members was vegetarian we not only had enormous portions of lamb but a big slab of frittata too (thanks Phil!). Then, if we weren’t quite full enough, out came the greek yoghurt goodie bags of plain yoghurt and fruity split pots – that sorts breakfast for the rest of the week 🙂

These recipes and hundreds more can be found on Total Greek Yoghurt’s “Total Eating” pages at https://www.totalgreekyoghurt.com/total-eating

x

p.s The photographer (www.satureyes.com) asked me to pose for this one…

Photo by 'Satureyes'

Photo by ‘Satureyes’

Loads more photos from the event can be seen here on Total’s facebook page.

Trick or Treat?

Recipes

I felt strangely obliged to bake the treats for the trick or treaters this year instead of just picking up a pack of something at the shops. This was in part, due to the fact that I felt as a food writer I should make everything myself (one of many self inflicted pressures) but also the guilt I still feel for the year I completely forgot about it and had to resort to giving the kids unripe plums from the fruit bowl whilst fiercely crossing my fingers that the front of our house would escape a thorough egging!

The recipe I chose was this one for Sugar Cookies. It’s a great, basic biscuit recipe that makes a really large quantity from just 1 egg. The biscuits can be flavoured with nuts, fruit or chocolate chips before baking if you like and if you cut them out with fancy cookie cutters they hold their shape really well. Be warned, they are incredibly sweet so make sure you’ve got loads of people round to share them with.

Sugar Cookies

200 g unsalted butter, at room temperature
400 g plain flour

280 g caster sugar
¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
a pinch of salt
½ teaspoon cream of tartar

1) Rub the flour and the butter together with your fingers until it all looks like fresh breadcrumbs.

2) Mix the egg and the sugar together in another in a bowl with a fork and when it is really well combined add it to the flour mixture.

3) Add all the other ingredients and knead together with your hands to form a smooth dough.

4) Roll the dough out on a lightly floured surface with a rolling pin until it is about ½ a centimetre thick. Cut into shapes.

5) Place your biscuits on a baking sheet lined with a piece of greaseproof paper/baking parchment and bake at 150° C for about 15 minutes (until they are lightly golden at the edges – keep an eye on them).

6) Let them cool in the tin for a few minutes before carefully transferring them to a wire rack.

7) Decorate with icing or sandwich together with butter-cream.

I decorated mine with plain and coloured icing then topped with spooky decorations. To make the spiders and creepy crawlies pipe small “v’s” onto a piece of tin foil using melted chocolate to make the legs and leave to set hard. Ice the biscuits and set aside until almost dry. Top with a jelly sweet for insects or a chocolate for spiders and carefully peel the chocolate legs off the tin foil and stick into the biscuit.

It felt like a continuous stream of knocks and shouts all evening. After a rough count up I think gave out about 50 biscuits (which I had not anticipated) so I had to keep running to the kitchen to ice and decorate more to satisfy the seemingly ravenous ghouls and ghosts at the door. I finally collapsed on the sofa with a glass of wine at about 9 o’clock and considered possible holiday destinations for next Hallowe’en!