Left over pesto put to good use

What do you do with left over pesto, that’s not quite enough for another lot of pasta? Pesto crusted salmon of course. 15 minutes in the oven and dinner is done. That’s the kind of meal I like to make.

Pesto crusted salmon with greens and potatoes

Pesto crusted salmon with greens and potatoes

All new adventures in cooking

I like to bake and I like to cook. Baking more than cooking. I find baking relaxing. Cooking feels more like a daily necessity for me. I do enjoy it, just not as much. Mostly because I’m stuck in a rut of just cooking the same old things every day.

Hopefully, not anymore. I want to try cooking new things. Not just mildly new things, but actually new things. Things I’ve never cooked before. First up was an aubergine parmigiana. Or egg-plant parmesan to you guys over the pond.

Used the recipe from Felicity Cloake over at The Guardian and it turned out pretty well. Needed a bit more seasoning. And I underestimated just how much effort was actually required. But I was quite happy with the results. Next time I might skip the breadcrumb-y/parmesan-y topping. And maybe not make it so deep. Scratch that, I like the layers.

My slicing skills need honing. Can not cut slices of aubergine all the same to save my life. Possibly a getting a decent knife will help there too. It’s all about practice though, right?

Been Baking!

I love baking. Well, maybe love’s too strong a word, but it’s fun and strangely relaxing. However the last few times I’ve done any baking I’ve made things where I’ve known the recipe so well I didn’t have to look at it. And I’ve tweaked it to my tastes and baking habits. Which is great, but felt it was time to bake something new.

My mum’s been at me for a while to bake bread. She kept saying to me over and over again how easy it is and how cheap it is and how good it tastes. I can’t disagree with any of those things she said. I came across a bread recipe which sounded incredibly easy and pretty much fool proof. For some reason I’m slightly scared of baking bread. I just know how wrong it can go!

I found this recipe for Ciabatta bread. 1 minute bread – how hard could it be? It really wasn’t that hard at all. Made the dough on Friday night and I was a bit scared as to how wet the dough was. It was pourable! But I kept the faith and the next morning I baked the bread and tadaa….

First time bread maker

I need to tweak the recipe a bit – add a bit more salt, add a few more herbs and add a little less water, but it worked out better than I thought and tastes really good! I was a bit of a doof and in my excitement of actually baking I put greaseproof paper down and forgot to put flour on it. Which led to the bread getting stuck to the paper. Not doing that again!

Next in my bake heavy weekend were some cupcakes. Chocolate cupcakes. I’ve got my ‘own’ recipe for double chocolate chip muffins. Really simple recipe where you shove everything in a food processer, blitz, pour and bake. This one’s a bit more complicated.

Chocolate souffle cupcakes with mint cream is the recipe of choice. Souffle do scare me. I’ve never done anything souffle-ish. I just had this image of it not rising/cooking and just coming out bleugh.

Pleasantly surprised that the recipe worked brilliantly. Again, I need to tweak a few things. Though I did have a few scares along the way, when the butter started separating from the melted chocolate mix and it really didn’t look good. Next time I need to add a little less coffee and try and grind the instant coffee a bit more – it just didn’t dissolve and some of the cupcakes have almost whole granules of coffee! Here’s how one of my cupcakes turned out:

Too good not to try

I’m surprised how light it is! Even a day later after everything’s sunk a fair bit. Very, very chocolatey. I might want to try using chocolate that’s a little less dark – even though I love dark chocolate, it’s very dark and rich.

Since spying that recipe on Smitten Kitchen I’ve seen a few more I feel the need to try. Though with the amount of time I spent in the kitchen this weekend I don’t think I want to do that level of baking for a while. But I want to try something new again!