My mad weekly kitchen diary

Just a weekly bit of fun whereby I can natter about any culinary ‘inventions’, successes and disasters in the kitchen.

If ever I talk about a dish that you want more info on, let me know and I’ll do my best to elaborate!

So… after an enforced break because I had to do the year end paperwork for the business I’m just pulling some meals I cooked from the last few weeks, hopefully the more interesting ones!

Larger image below
Larger image below


Any day

I have always wanted to make my own paella. I’ve been to Spain a lot, but only eaten proper paella once at a party. It’s difficult to order at a restaurant because you have to order in advance, and it’s for more than one person, but husb never fancied it. I dream of that one time I ate it as I love rice dishes! Anyway… I haven’t got a proper paella pan but I decided to ignore that point and use my super duper pan with ears (two teeny curved handles) instead.

I don’t know what I was searching for this day, whether I was looking at pans, or searching for a recipe, but I came across a paella pan site that had a really interesting recipe with very good instructions so I made plans to make it.

Firstly I blackened my own red peppers under the grill; then put them in a plastic food bag to steam for a while then peeled the charred skin off with my fingers when I could handle it. Some people rinse the pepper under the tap, but that must wash away a lot of flavour.

The recipe is long, so I won’t go into all of the detail because you can see it above, but I’ll mention any important stuff, first of which is… at the time I didn’t have paella rice… so I used carnarolli (risotto) rice.

I also paid particular attention to the ‘sofrito’ which, in all my years of hunting down paella recipes, has been missing, and I think is the key. I used thigh meat, which has much more flavour, and I resisted the urge to stir the paella when instructed not to when creating the ‘socarrat’ (not a rodent that plays football, it’s a crust that forms on the bottom), it felt like a long time, and I didn’t use foil because my pan has a lid.

The finished result was excellent, and I credit the detailed recipe instructions. I’m dying to cook the recipe again, and now I have paella rice too!



C wanted a pie on a Friday, and I like to do a curry on a Friday, so I thought I would make a lamb keema pie, a proper pie with a top and a bottom in a bid to accommodate the two thoughts. I made the keema using my special spice mix, and made sure I split the oil at each stage then when ready I cooled it; then filled the lined pie dish, adding a lid when it was full. When it was time I just shoved it in the oven for about forty minutes. I served it which Bombay mashed potatoes, and mushroom pea curry.

The pie was very tasty, but it was too dense, it was absolutely packed full of the keema, I needed to make more of a gravy, next time he can just have his English pie!


One day

Last week at some point I made Cumberland sausage toad in the hole. Now… don’t believe everything you read about toad in the hole, there’s not bread or fried eggs involved. Toad in the hole is sausages in batter!

Most people will buy bog standard sausages for this dish, but we believe it deserves award winning Cumberland sausage, so that’s what we used. If you’re unfamiliar with authentic Cumberland sausage, it doesn’t come in links, it’s just one long sausage that the butcher will weigh, cut, and then coil so we don’t need a really long bag and a lorry to get it home!

Anyway… I used a 5, 5, 8 ratio to make the batter. This was new to me and mixes metric and imperial. So (I think) it was 5 eggs, 500g flour and 8floz milk. She mixed metric and imperial so it would be easy to remember, but I can’t remember if the 8 is milk or flour, so that worked, didn’t it! Anyway… I made the batter beforehand, and added a little grain mustard for a bit of zing. Nearer the time I cut the sausage into large pieces, put them in a baking dish with a little sunflower oil, and roasted them for about fifteen minutes until the top of the sausages were starting to brown and the dish was very hot. I then whipped it out of the oven and poured in the batter as quickly as possible before shoving it back in the oven. It took about half an hour to cook, and was well risen and golden when I pulled it out.

I served the toad in the hole with vegetables and onion gravy. The batter was quite heavy, next time I’ll replace some of the milk in the batter with water, if I follow the 5,5,8 again.

Chicken, choizo, & roasted red pepper paella, lamb keema pie, Cumberland sausage toad in the hole.
Chicken, chorizo, & roasted red pepper paella, lamb keema pie, Cumberland sausage toad in the hole.


My mad weekly kitchen diary

When lots of wrongs make it right

I started pondering this when my head exploded for the 354466978th time because someone on a cookery programme pronounced chorizo ‘choritso’.

Obviously, they are ALL pronouncing chorizo incorrectly. If they don’t want to pronounce it correctly (choreetho), they could pronounce it in English (chorISo), which I can handle. But no-oo, they have to pronounce it like pizza. ITALIAN! Where did the Italian come from?? It’s a Spanish sausage, and we’re talking about many of my fellow Brits pronouncing said Spanish Sausage, Italian is not suppose to be anywhere near this convo!

Anyway… the reason for this post… after my head exploded for the 369966978th (what? I know the number’s different, I am exaggerating here! And my head didn’t actually explode either) time my husband uttered a very simple but ultimately chilling sentence, which shook me to my very core.

He said… I don’t know if I can even say it… He said…

“You do know if enough people say it, it’ll become the norm, therefore right…”

Aaaargh!! I cannot bear the thought!

Ponder once more! All of those people saying ‘Europe’ instead of ‘The E.U’ or ‘The European Union’ will be right? And those of us saying ‘The E.U’ etc. may be roundly mocked, even sneered at should we slip?

Ponder again the Spanish person living in Blighty who thinks that ‘Choritzo’ is the correct British pronunciation, so uses that, the incorrect pronunciation because that’s all she hears. This ACTUALLY happened.

I just can’t take it!

And ponder further… Does this apply to the written word?

Will ‘Your welcome’ become right, and ‘You’re welcome’ be wrong?

Will ‘Their/there doing very well in the match’ become right, and ‘They’re doing very well in the match’ all of a sudden be wrong?

Will ‘The other team are playing very well to’ become right, and ‘The other team are playing very well too’ now be wrong?

Will people look at my tweets, see ‘you’re welcome’, and roll their eyes? Will they have just rolled their eyes at me writing ‘roll THEIR eyes’??

It’s just all too much! Or should I cave and write ‘it’s all to much’??

Nope. Not going to cave.


When lots of wrongs make it right

I wish I had a ‘Room 101′ (Part 2)

I knew I would return to this topic, confirmed in my ‘previous visit’ to ‘room 101’. I imagine in a few years I’ll be on ‘part 156’!

So… My latest inductees to the Room 101 hall of infamy are;

The Pacific

We’d have to have a large Room 101 for the one you’re probably thinking of!I don’t know if this is just a Brit thing, or even a northern thing, but, let me be specific…

There is no context on this planet where the word ‘pacific’ replaces ‘specific’.


It also follows that I cannot ‘pacifically’ talk about this problem, but I can talk about it specifically.


The Pacific is and always will be an ocean, a beautiful one, so I don’t want to shove it into Room 101, but maybe the people who use it instead of specific could jump in…

The X

No, not a previous romantic attachment. The X. A rogue X.
The X that makes my nose itch when heard.
The X in question is the ‘X’ in ‘espresso’.
“What?!” I hear you say?
“But there’s no X in espresso…”

I knowwwwww.

It’s eSpresso, not eXpresso!!

I’ve heard ‘expresso’ on adverts selling coffee machines that make espresso. So you would think they would know. But no! Please get the actor to say espresso. Not. EXPRESSO!!!! Or, sell a flavoured water machine.

I’ve heard ‘eXpresso’ uttered on fictional programmes. Programme makers, either get your scripts proof read or make sure the actors can say espresso! Failing that, change the script to a flat white?!

Entering espresso into room 101 would be preferable to the rogue X, I’m sure!



Now, I love chorizo. I use it often, it is delicious, but I would rather have it consigned to Room 101 than continue to have this regular assault on my ear drums.

Everyone it seems uses chorizo, and talks about it, for the most part incorrectly. This must stop! Just today a British Chef on TV committed the sin of mispronunciation.


People of the UK, it’s NOT pronounced chor-IT-so. It’s pronounced chor-ee-tho.

Chorizo gate has even been debated on a programme called ‘Sunday Brunch’, where the lovely and talented chef Simon Rimmer says chor-ee-tho (thanks Simon), whilst co host Tim Lovejoy says chor-it-so (‘thanks’ Tim!). Tim stated words to the effect of “I’m English. I don’t say it the Spanish way.” Yet he says ‘tort-ee-ya’, not ‘tort-ill-a’, so his argument doesn’t stand up too well anyway (Sorry Tim)!

I would say to Tim that chorizo is a SPANISH sausage, not Italian. The word does not have two zeds, and again, not Italian, so surely is not pronounced like piZZa.

And if it must be pronounced the non Spanish way, then surely it is Chor-is-o? As it is written. If you want to pronounce it incorrectly at least pronounce it wrong right!

So please enter chorizo in to Room 101, or at least make it a law that you’re not allowed to buy, eat, or talk about chorizo if you can’t pronounce it…


Wait! Not all tweets! Just those that have incorrect use of to/too, your/you’re, and were/where, and while we’re at it we can chuck in to Room 101 those tweeters that retweet the tweets in which the eye crossing errors are located.

Every day my eyeballs are assaulted, and I don’t look at Twitter much, so I’m loathe to visit more often for fear of my eyeballs exploding!

Yes, I know it’s silly, and I may have rethought joining Twitter if I had realised how painful it would be to see these errors written down, but it is aggravating!

Maybe though, I should throw myself into Room 101 for not having the courage (or brazen pedantry) to ‘correct’ the tweeter…

Royal Fail Mail

See last but one post…

(Sorry to ruin the ‘wordy’ theme!)

I wish I had a ‘Room 101′ (Part 2)