The last time we were in London, we went to The River Cafe (I would highly recommend it). The boys were beyond excited that Ronnie (Rolling Stones) Wood was sitting a few tables away from us. (they met him outside afterwards and he was really nice and talkative) - their excitement was nothing to their mothers!!! Allegra McEvedy was at the next table!!!! I was so tempted to spy on what she was eating - but didn't, I would hate to spoil anyone's meal by gawking over all the time!!
Being an Allegra fan I was delighted to be offered the chance to review the new Leon Book 2 Cookbook.
I have to say that I was disappointed to realize that Allegra was not involved in writing this book - but actually that is the only bad thing I have to say about it.
The layout is fun, scrapbook style in places, with loads of pictures of the different dishes. Brownieville Boy #2 was very taken with it, and said that he would love to try it out. It would be very good for advanced beginner cooks as it has plenty of easy recipes (omelets, the grill up), but plenty more for more adventurous and accomplished types.
The first recipe that jumped out at me was for these savoury muffins - George Pickard's Cheese and Ham Muffins (I know I said that I had only one negative thing to say about the book, but here's another - alot of the recipes have these types of titles - why??)
They went down a storm here, and were perfect served with a bowl of soup. I brought some to a friend who was working awful hours, she was delighted and demolished them with more cheese.
We then had a Leon inspired Sunday Lunch.
The Butterflied Leg of Lamb (which I didn't bother to butterfly!!) with mint sauce, was delicious. The mint sauce had just the right balance between sweetness and astringency.
Potatoes Leon-Aise, were very popular and I will definitely cook them again, although next time with less oil.
Probably my favourite recipe from the book these Carrots and Beetroots with toasted almonds were fantastic and well worth the little bit extra bother of roasting separately (carrots with honey and beetroot with balsamic vinegar), I have cooked them several times already.
Another winner these Hoppy's Leeks Vinaigrette were loved by all (well not the veg phobic one!!), great for preparing in advance too.
John's Broccoli with garlic, cashew (I used hazelnuts) and chili was lovely too.
These are Sally Dolton's Muesli Bars - moist and fat free (well other than the nuts and seeds), the dried fruit lovers enjoyed these. Quick to throw together and really healthy.
Sea Bass with Thai spices - I loved this recipe, it raised the farmed fish (which I normally avoid because it is so tasteless) to yummyhood!!!
My mother rang me the other night to ask if I had a cake in the house!!! A couple of her friends had invited themselves out for morning coffee (at least that's the story she told me!!!). I threw this Glasgow Banana Bread together in no time (although it took way longer to cook than specified in the recipe). When I dropped it over to her, she said that she would keep me some to taste it ..... I'm still wondering!!!!!
Turkey Bolognese, a nice healthy alternative to the usual.
Leon's Chicken Nuggets with roasted gnocchi (thanks Nigella!) - boy was I popular when Brownieville Boy #2 came home from school!!!
"Sun Dried" Tomatoes - taste as good as they look!!!
My walking buddies demanded (yes they are like that!!!!) that I post up the recipe for these Jossy's Casablanca Cakes (and yes we do go walking and then undo all the hard work by munching into whatever temptations come our way!!!!). These little biscuits have a lovely chewy texture and a light lemony taste - just right.
Jossy's Casablanca Cakes
50g almonds with skins - blitzed as finely as possible in the food processor. (I used ready ground almonds!)
1 lemon - zested
1 large egg
100g icing sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
extra icing sugar for dipping
Preheat oven to 170 C
Line 2 baking trays with baking paper/parchment.
Whisk the egg and icing sugar until pale (easy by hand).
Add the almonds, lemon rind, semolina and baking powder.
I added a little bit of lemon juice here - not in the recipe.
Sieve some icing sugar into a bowl.
With your hands (dampened helps) form small (walnut sized) balls of dough.
Dip each biscuit into the sugar on top side only
Place on the prepared baking sheets - leave some room for them to spread.
Bake for 10 - 12 minutes, until a very pale brown.
Using a palette knife remove them to a wire rack to cool.