Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Let's Do Brunch with The 21st Century Housewife




Thank you for joining us for Let’s Do Brunch, the recipe exchange for breakfast, lunch and brunch recipes. My co-host, Chaya of My Sweet and Savory and I always enjoy the great inspiration we find when we visit your posts!

Thank you to everyone who contributed last week. There was definitely some great brunch inspiration! 

To see last week's featured recipes, and to share your own, please click here...

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Made In Provence



Made in Provence is a delightful company that provides everyone with the chance to experience a little taste of Provence. Offering traditional and authentic handmade specialities, the Made in Provence range includes jams, chutneys, honey, nougat, and other treats, as well as beautifully scented soaps, lavender bags, organic shower gels, natural candles and home fragrances. Their products are sourced from small established artisans in Provence who believe in traditional craftsmanship and are passionate about their culture and history. 
I met Christine Vidal, the owner of Made in Provence, at Masterchef Live and was interested to learn more about her very interesting business. To read more, please click here...

The Hearth and Soul Hop

Hearth & Soul Hop


Welcome to another Hearth and Soul Hop, the blog carnival for and about food that nourishes both body and soul. 
We share links to Hearth and Soul entries at our Hearth and Soul Facebook Page and Pinterest Boards, and please do come and follow us on Twitter  @HearthNSoulHop.
Thank you to everyone who shared recipes with us last week. I enjoyed reading all the posts I visited and found some great recipe inspiration as well. 

To read more, and share your recipes, please click here...

Monday, November 28, 2011

Creamy Stuffed Leeks



I saw a recipe similar to this in BBC Good Food’s Christmas Vegetarian issue and could not resist trying it. We love leeks, and they really are much easier to prepare than many people think. 
Good Food’s recipe was presented as a vegetarian main course for one, so I increased the quantities to serve 2 or 3 and got a bit more imaginative with the filling (the original main ingredients were simply couscous and leek). The recipe did suggest that you might be able to push the middle of the leek out and stuff it without making a vertical cut in the leek, but one attempt at this convinced me that life is definitely too short! Making and a vertical cut down the length of each leek makes this dish much easier to prepare and when the dish is cooked you honestly can’t see how you stuffed them. 
This time of year, the outer leaves of the leeks can be quite tough, so I recommend you remove the outer two or three layers. I didn’t do this the first time round, and I had to use a steak knife to cut into the leeks! Subsequent versions of the recipe were much more tender with the outer layers removed. 
Adapted from BBC Good Food Christmas Vegetarian December 2011
3 to 4 large fat leeks, trimmed and washed
2 tablespoons finely chopped red pepper
2 tablespoons finely chopped mushrooms (about two large mushrooms)
2 tablespoons butter
1 small clove garlic
2 tablespoons white wine
¼ cup couscous
¼ cup vegetable stock
½ teaspoon dried oregano
a pinch or two of freshly ground pepper
¼ cup plus 1 tablespoon vegetarian Parmesan style cheese
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons double (heavy) cream 
Preheat the oven to 400 F or 200 C. 
Wash the outside of the leeks, remove the very bottom and cut the dark green part off the tops. Make a vertical cut halfway through each leek from top to bottom. Rinse between the layers, but keep the leek together. Drain slightly and pat dry. 
Discard the two or three tough outer layers of the leek, leaving enough layers to stuff. Remove the very centre layers of the leek, leaving a good few layers to make the outer tube. Finely chop the inner layers of the leek. 
Preheat the oven to 400ºF (200ºC) or 375ºF or 180ºC for a fan oven.
Melt the butter in a medium saucepan with a lid over medium heat. 
Add the finely chopped inner layers of the leek to the pan together with the chopped red pepper and mushrooms. Sauté gently for about 10 minutes until everything is nice and soft. 
Add the garlic, oregano, pepper and the wine and cook for one minute more. Stir in the couscous and the stock, remove from the heat and cover with a lid. Let sit for five minutes. 
Fork through the couscous and vegetable mixture. Still using a fork, stir in the 2 tablespoons of cream and the one tablespoon of the parmesan style cheese. Taste for seasoning and add salt and more pepper if necessary. 
Carefully open the whole leeks and stuff them with about 1 to 2 tablespoons of the filling.  Shape the outer layers back around the stuffing tightly. Cut each leek in half and place in a large casserole dish. Fit the leeks in snugly, so they help hold each other together. 
Pour the ¼ cup cream over top of the leeks and sprinkle the ¼ cup Parmesan style cheese over the top. Bake the leeks for 25 to 30 minutes, until the leeks are tender and the sauce is bubbling. 
Serve with a lightly dressed salad and warm rolls. 

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Gallery of Favorites #15

Gallery of Favorites


Alea of Premeditated Leftovers and I want to welcome you to the fifteenth edition of our weekend blog hop, The Gallery of Favorites. 



The Gallery of Favorites is a place for you to feature favorite posts from your own blog. Although Alea and I both spend a lot of our time writing about food, we have many other interests and know that our readers do as well. The Gallery of Favorites is a place for all bloggers - not just food bloggers - to share their ideas, interests and passions. 

To read more, and to share your posts, please click here...

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A Case for Thanksgiving


There is no official Thanksgiving in the United Kingdom. There is a Harvest Festival celebration here in October, but as a religious festival many people are unfortunately barely aware of it. It also focuses on the harvest, which of course benefits us all, but does not bring a broader attitude of gratitude into the mix. I think this is rather sad. In the modern world, assailed by advertising and the media, it’s easy to be swallowed up by the culture of “I want” where our day to day blessings are simply ignored. Without some sort of official corporate non-denominational celebration of gratitude for our blessings, there is a risk people rush discontented through their lives completely oblivious of all the things we have to be grateful for. 

To read more, please click here...

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Let's Do Brunch



Thank you for joining us for another edition of Let’s Do Brunch, the recipe exchange for breakfast, lunch and brunch recipes. My co-host, Chaya of My Sweet and Savory and I always enjoy visiting your posts, and often discover new blogs and make new friends as we visit.
Thank you to everyone who contributed last week. I must apologise as I am still working my way through commenting on many of the posts, but I have thoroughly enjoyed visiting them all. 

To see last week's highlighted posts, and to share your recipes, please click here...

Twelve Colorful Things by Heather Tietz



Looking for a wonderful picture book for the little ones on your Christmas list this year? I’ve found a beautiful book by Heather Tietz that reminds me of my childhood favorites. 
Entitled Twelve Colorful Things, Heather’s book explores the nature of giving and kindness through twelve months, twelve colors and twelve numbers. 

To read more, please click here...

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

The Hearth and Soul Hop

Hearth & Soul Hop


Welcome to another Hearth and Soul Hop, the blog carnival for and about food that nourishes both body and soul. 
We share links to Hearth and Soul entries at our Hearth and Soul Facebook Page and Pinterest Boards, and please do come and follow us on Twitter  @HearthNSoulHop.
Thank you to everyone who shared recipes with us last week. There were some wonderful posts, including some excellent Thanksgiving recipes. 

To read more, and to share your recipes, please click here...

Monday, November 21, 2011

Meatless Monday - Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls


My Mom used to make delicious cabbage rolls. They were the perfect comfort food on a cold day, steaming hot from the oven, covered in a delicious sauce. I remember her showing me how to make them one wintery afternoon well over twenty years ago, but for some reason I never attempted to make them on my own. I still haven’t actually attempted my Mom’s meaty version, but a few days ago I used what I remembered her teaching me to create a vegetarian one. It was so successful I will be attempting a version closer to hers very soon, but for the moment - and perfectly appropriate for Meatless Monday - here are my Vegetarian Cabbage Rolls.

To read more, please click here...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Stir Up Sunday

Photo Guy Harris
Christmas pudding is the classic Christmas dessert in England, and it is traditionally made today, on Stir Up Sunday. Stir Up Sunday is the last Sunday before Advent, informally referred to as such because of the words in a prayer said in Anglican churches on this day - 'Stir up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may of Thee be plenteously rewarded, through Jesus Christ our Lord'. 
To read more, and for Christmas pudding recipes, please click here...

Friday, November 18, 2011

The Gallery of Favorites

Gallery of Favorites

Alea of Premeditated Leftovers and I want to welcome you to the fourteenth edition of our weekend blog hop, The Gallery of Favorites. After you link up your post, Alea and I would like to invite you to visit our Facebook pages and share a link to your blog or Facebook page. You can find me on Facebook at The 21st Century Housewife and you can find Alea at Premeditated Leftovers .

To read more and to share your posts, please click here....

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Masterchef Live


With celebrity chef Michael Caines
photo credit Guy J Harris

Every year in November, Masterchef Live comes to London. It’s a wonderful show, an amalgamation of all things foodie.
We arrived early and enjoyed refreshments in the VIP lounge before heading off to explore. Masterchef Live is a great place to discover some of the UK’s wonderful artisan producers. I found some really interesting new companies and products to share with you over the next few weeks.
A relaxed and entertaining ‘wine walk’ with celebrity wine expert Joe Wadsack was a great opportunity to discover some new-to-us wine producers and learn a bit more about some of our favourite grape varieties. 

To read more, please click here...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

An Exciting Opportunity from Cafédirect


Cafédirect are giving everyone in Britain a chance to try their hand at Food and Coffee Matching. It’s perfect for anyone addicted to the Great British Bake Off or who fancies their chances on Come Dine with Me. 
You could win £500 to spend at the famous London cookery school L’atelier des Chefs, plus travel and a night’s accommodation in London for two. The winner’s recipe will also become part of a limited edition Coffee and Dessert Matching Cookbook.

I am very pleased to have been asked to be a judge for this exciting competition. I’m being joined by Andre, the Head Chef at L’atelier des Chefs and Thierry, Cafédirect’s own coffee expert.

To read more, please click here...

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

The Hearth and Soul Hop

Hearth & Soul Hop

Welcome to another Hearth and Soul Hop, the blog carnival for and about food that nourishes both body and soul. 
We share links to Hearth and Soul entries at our Hearth and Soul Facebook Page and Pinterest Boards, and please do come and follow us on Twitter  @HearthNSoulHop.
Thank you to everyone who shared recipes with us last week. There was some great holiday inspiration. Highlights from my visits to hop contributors include:

To read more, and to share your recipes, please click here...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Peanut Butter and Honey Slice and Bake Cookies


Photo credit Alex J Harris

Ever had a peanut butter and honey sandwich? Remember how good they taste? Well, even they don’t taste as good as these cookies! This is the second of the Slice and Bake recipes I was working on a couple of weeks ago, and is based on a recipe my Mom shared with me when I was a little girl. 
These cookies are lovely and moist, almost cakey, with a soft peanut buttery goodness that is dangerously addictive. I used smooth peanut butter and added chopped peanuts, but if you didn’t have any peanuts to hand you could use crunchy peanut butter instead. Although I might still add peanuts, but that is because I love them. They remind me of my wonderful late Grandpa, who always had a dish of salted peanuts on the side in the living room. I was given the dish after he died, and I only ever put peanuts in it. It just doesn’t look right if I use it for anything else, and I love how it brings back my happy memories of him.  

To read more, please click here...

Friday, November 11, 2011

The Gallery of Favorites #13

Gallery of Favorites


Alea of Premeditated Leftovers and I want to welcome you to the thirteenth edition of our weekend blog hop, The Gallery of Favorites.
Today is Remembrance Day here in the UK and in Canada, and the US are marking Veteran’s Day. I wrote a post last year that sums up my feelings about these incredibly important commemorations of our service personnel, past and present - those who gave their lives, those who survived, and those who still give their all today to keep us safe and free. At 11am today I will be remembering them all, past and present, with two minutes of silence, and thinking about the huge debt of gratitude I owe them and their families. I hope you will join me in your own moment of remembrance today.
The Gallery of Favorites is a place for you to feature favorite posts from your own blog. Although Alea and I both spend a lot of our time writing about food, we do have many other interests and we know our readers do as well. The Gallery of Favorites is a place for all bloggers to share their ideas, interests and passions. 

To read more, and to share your posts, please click here...

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Vegetarian Pasta One Pot


Yesterday I found myself with a fridge full of gorgeous vegetables but very few ideas about what to cook for dinner, so I decided to make an old standby -  ‘Pasta Thing’.  I just start with whatever is in the fridge plus a bit of dried pasta and see what evolves. It’s usually a pretty successful undertaking, and this time was no exception. It was so easy and cleanup was a breeze because I cooked the pasta in the sauce all in one pan. Dinner was on the table in only a little over half an hour, and everyone enjoyed it so much that there were intense negotiations about who got to eat the leftovers for lunch today!  

To read more, please click here...

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Let's Do Brunch


Chaya and I want to welcome you to Let’s Do Brunch, the recipe exchange for breakfast, lunch and brunch recipes, and also to thank you for joining us. We always enjoy visiting the recipes that are linked up each week, and often discover new blogs and make new friends as we go. There is a wonderful blogging community out there and we are so grateful to be a part of it. 
Thank you to everyone who contributed last week. There were some wonderful recipes. To read more, and to share your recipes, please click here...

Raspberry Almond Tart


I’ve been making this recipe for years, and I was thrilled when Olive magazine chose it for their Reader issue in August of this year. You can make it ahead and freeze it, but I prefer to serve it on the day I make it. It’s incredibly easy to put together - you don’t even have to roll the pastry! 

To read more, please click here...

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

The Hearth and Soul Hop

Hearth & Soul Hop


Welcome to another Hearth and Soul Hop, the blog carnival for and about food that nourishes both body and soul. 
We share links to Hearth and Soul entries at our Hearth and Soul Facebook Page and Pinterest Boards, and please do come and follow us on Twitter  @HearthNSoulHop.
Thank you to everyone who shared recipes with us last week. There were some wonderful posts. Highlights from my visits to hop contributors include:

To read more and share your recipes, please click here...

Homemade Slice and Bake Cookies


Photo credit Alex J Harris

I dream of being a domestic goddess, serving hot, fresh cookies to my guests. Truth is, that doesn’t happen very often. First of all, there’s the fact that I’m a messy cook, so if I want to impress with hot cookies, I’m going to have to sacrifice the neat kitchen I like to show my guests. Then there are those days when I just don’t have time to bake and end up serving store bought cookies. Don’t get me wrong, they can be very nice, but when people know you are a food blogger, they expect a little more. Frankly, I expect more of myself. 
What I wanted to develop was a slice and bake cookie that I could make myself from scratch, and keep in the fridge, or even long term in the freezer. I wanted to develop a dough that would roll into a nice log shape, and after chilling or freezing, slice and bake like the ones the Pillsbury Dough Boy makes. And last week, I decided to do it. 

To read more, please click here....

Friday, November 04, 2011

The Holiday Edition - The Gallery of Favorites

Gallery of Favorites

Alea of Premeditated Leftovers and I want to welcome you to the twelfth edition of our weekend blog hop, The Gallery of Favorites.
The Gallery of Favorites is a place for you to feature favorite posts from your own blog. Although Alea and I both spend a lot of our time writing about food, we do have many other interests and we know our readers do as well. The Gallery of Favorites is a place for all bloggers to share their ideas, interests and passions. 
This week we are hosting a themed Gallery of Favorites. Please share your holiday tips, recipes and ideas. Posts from your archives are welcome as well as new posts. Of course, posts on all topics are also very welcome as usual.

Thank you to everyone who shared posts with us last week. This week Alea and I want to feature two posts, both of which would make fantastic homemade Christmas gifts.  


To read more, and to share your posts, please click here...

Thursday, November 03, 2011

It's National Housewife's Day

It’s National Housewife’s Day in North America today, and that makes it the  perfect day to celebrate the many women who make housewifery their full or part-time career. 
Being a housewife today is very different than it was when most of us were growing up, and miles away from the stereotypical 1950’s housewife portrayed in the media. Today, we are empowered professionals - project managers, diplomats, child care workers, nurses, psychologists, chefs, chauffeurs, interior designers, party planners, financial managers, social secretaries, electricians, repair people, travel consultants and change management experts all rolled into one. It’s the most fulfilling career I have ever had. 
When I first started The 21st Century Housewife website back in 2002, I wrote a piece called Secrets to Being a Happy and Fulfilled 21st Century Housewife. It’s still on the website, and I think it is just as relevant today as it was ten years ago with lots of hints and tips to help housewives today really enjoy what they do. To read it, please click here.
Happy Housewife’s Day!

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

A Very Posh Pudding


If you are thinking of making a traditional British Christmas Pudding, now is a great time to do start. There are those who would argue with this, citing Stir Up Sunday (on 20th November this year) as the day for pudding making. However, many of the British cooks I know don't stick to this custom, as Christmas puddings improve with keeping - in some cases, the more, the better. The flavours mingle and intensify, making a traditional pudding the dessert most British families would not be without on Christmas Day. 

I say this, rather controversially, as someone who does not generally like Christmas pudding. I find the texture of most Christmas puddings very heavy, and the flavours quite strong. However, once in a while I come across a pudding that tastes ambrosial- light, fragrant,

To read more, please click here...

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

The Hearth and Soul Blog Hop

Hearth & Soul Hop

Welcome to another Hearth and Soul Hop, the blog carnival for and about food that nourishes both body and soul. 
We share links to Hearth and Soul entries at our Hearth and Soul Facebook Page and Pinterest Boards, and please do come and follow us on Twitter  @HearthNSoulHop.
I found lots of great recipe inspiration at Hearth and Soul last week. My highlights from visits to contributors include:
Wonderful butter-free, gluten-free, vegan treat - Indian Cashew Fudge
Perfect for holiday entertaining - Warm Blue Cheese Bacon Dip
Wholesome, homemade, freeze-able Pita Pockets

and comforting and delicious Italian Sausage with Bow Tie Pasta
To read more, and to share your recipes, please click here...