Wednesday, November 24, 2010


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
100g         semolina
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.



Manu said...

OMG everything seems to be so yummy! Please tell me more about those potatoes!!!

Chele said...

Wow, what a star filled lunch! Must get my hands on this book!

Unknown said...

Holy wow, when should O come over to eat all of this! YUMMM

Gloria Baker said...

Absolutely lovely and yummy recipes, please I want to know about Potatoes too! x gloria

Joyti said...

No wonder that you were excited about seeing the author, the food looks and sounds delicious. Especially the potatoes leon-alise. Yum...

Brownieville Girl said...

Manu, Gloria and Indie.Tea thanks - I will post the potato recipe next week (just have to make and write up my "We Should Cocoa" post first)

Chele - it really was a fantastic meal, the star spotting was just the icing on top!! I have to say that I am enjoying the book, well worth a look.

Jennifurla - come on over!

Unknown said...

I love Leon... always pop in when I'm in town... and your Casablanca cakes look exceptional... good stuff... really could do with that Sunday lunch now... even though it's not Sunday... does this matter?

Beth (jamandcream) said...

Wow I've only managed 2 recipes so far - and one was the muffins - loved them. Have to try those Museli bars

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

Bloomin' heck Brownievill Girl, you have cooked nearly the whole book! You are putting me to shame, but I am very, very impressed :)

Anonymous said...

oh yum that looks like an amaizing feast!! everything looks absolutely amaizing!!

Nessa Robins said...

Wow!! You certainly tried enough recipes from your new book! Everything sounds and looks delicious.

La Bella Cooks said...

My goodness, you have been incredibly busy and eating some incredible dishes. I am so envious! This sounds like an incredible cookbook. Jealous that you got to go to The River Cafe too ;)

Brownieville Girl said...

Dom - I could eat Sunday dinner every day!!!

Beth - I have a forest of post-it notes sticking out of this book - looking forward to trying them all!!

Jacqueline - Never!!! But thank you :-}}

BBKD - Thanks a million

Nessa - I love getting my hands on a new cook-book, and it was my mid-year (!) resolution to use them more.

Enjoyed it Bridgett. River Cafe was amazingly good.

beauty be told said...

Everything looks so delicious!

Zoe said...

That's lots of delicious food especially the chewy lemony little cakes :D

Jacqueline said...

Can you absorb calories just by looking at pictures? I feel like I put on some weight just by viewing all of this lucious goodness. How fun and fantastic!

Anonymous said...

All the food looks so good I am getting hungry.

laurie said...

My mouth is watering looking at all those photos!

Haddock said...

Tomatoes look the best.

From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

Wow, you really cooked up a storm. Everything looks amazing and I just had Thanksgiving Dinner yesterday. I really thought with all the cooking and baking I did this past week I was done for awhile, but your food looks so yummy!!!

Megan @ Foodalution said...

Hello! I love how you try out so many things from your cookbooks! Delicious and you are right - that beetroot carrot dish looks like it would be a knockout!

Loads of foodie love from Wisconsin! -

Anonymous said...

I don't make savory muffins enough...these look fantastic!

Brownieville Girl said...

Thank you so much, and belated Happy Thanksgiving to each and all :-))

Anonymous said...

Wow.... you are one fabulous cook!

Brownieville Girl said...

Thanks a million Moogie, what a lovely thing to say :-}}}}}}}}

Aron said...

Very mouth watering post you have posted. I am smelling this food in my home.Thanks for the post.