Upside-down cardamom and cinnamon peach cake

I gotta say, this has been a long time coming. Tarte tatin, and all things sweet that happen to be upside down and full of sticky, caramel-y goodness, has been on the list for SO long, even since I was a little girl. Upside-down tarts and cakes were some of my childhood favourites, and I would always beg my mother to make one for me, and she’d usually distract me with words of how difficult it was and the promise that I could get a bought one from a bakery instead (and she did hold to the latter one usually).

But there’s always something fun about managing to make your own! Yet, on the other hand, that caramel was always going to be a problem…burning sugar has always been something that came with a strong warning in our kitchen when I grew up (with good reason, of course). Perhaps I’ll graduate to a more traditional type of upside-down cake/tart, but for now, this one serves its purpose. And a great one at that.

This cake is sticky and gooey and sweet with the peaches and brown-sugar butter that cooks itself in the oven (no burnt hands here!), and the actual cake itself rich and spiced with cinnamon and cardamom, both of which lend another layer of warmth for a dessert that seems both perfect for warming up a cold autumn’s evening, or topped with ice-cream for the end of a summer BBQ. I guess the TL;DR version of it is that it’s just plain great.

Adapted from here.
Serves about 10
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Soy & ginger chicken wings with pickled radishes

They’re certainly messy, but I do like making (and eating) chicken wings. They feel a bit like bar food, but you can pick up a pack of like 20 of them for almost nothing here in England, and they make a great family lunch for all of us, and all things considered, don’t take all that long. I think they’re more popular over in the States, but the UK is slowly catching on in my opinion, since the town close to us has chicken wings popping up on menus all over the place these days.

(One thing that does confuse me though, is that I’ve seen the phrase “boneless chicken wings” (mainly on America-centric websites) and surely then it just becomes a chicken nugget?? It’s just one of those weird little things that niggle me ever since I’ve seen it)

These are just marinated and grilled in a simple soy, ginger, garlic and honey mixture, which is slightly salty and sweet, and served with a quick home-made radish pickle that pickles as you cook the chicken. Obviously, you’ll get the best results if you marinate the chicken wings overnight, but don’t sweat it if you find you’re starting barely an hour before you want to eat. Just make sure  to glaze the chicken wings constantly as you BBQ them (which I recommend over the oven, because that BBQ flavour is something you can’t cheat at).

Serves 2-3 as a light lunch. Read More

Beetroot-Yoghurt Chicken Kebabs with Mixed Vegetable Bulgur Wheat Salad

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I’ve not been all that well, and life being hectic hasn’t really helped. But oh well, I’ve got two holidays in the sun to look forward to; one with the family, the other with friends, so I’m trying not to complain too much. Once September rolls around, I’ll be living the easy life 😉

Until then, I’ve been pretty lazy, and this was kind of a clearing-out-the-fridge operation of a meal. I gotta say, I don’t think it looks all that bad considering the circumstances.

1bulgurwheatcloseup

We got yoghurt-marinated chicken (spiced with cumin and beetroot powder), bulgur wheat with lots of cracked pepper and a drizzle of yuzu juice (because I couldn’t find the lime juice…), caramelised red and white onions, BBQ-ed cherry tomatoes, and shredded mangetout, with a side of turkish yoghurt, dusted with cayenne pepper.

This was such a hit with the parents, and with the kids too (dinner evening at our house), though I think the girls mainly liked it because they saw the chicken was pink…

I mean I thought it kind of looked like tubby custard at first, though I have to say it did improve after cooking, and the colour deepened….

1bulgurwheatsideon

Any set of veggies would work well; hence why I mentioned I was clearing out the fridge with this, but the tomatoes do go really well with the yoghurt, so I recommend keeping them at least! Sweet potato/squash that’s been roasted would be pretty good too, or some lightly fried kale..
It would be super easy to change this to a vegetarian dish–just swap the chicken for quorn, or for pressed tofu (for the latter, skip the yoghurt marinade, and season with cumin, coriander seeds…whatever you fancy!)
Serves 3-4 as a light meal, but feel free to double or more as necessary.
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Grilled Watermelon with Cinnamon and Honey

watermelongrilled

This is just an easy-peasy delicious BBQ recipe, more like a laundry list than an actual recipe. Grilling watermelon changes its texture, like it’s been baking in a pie for about an hour or so–still solid, but slightly softer, and a lovely flavour that’s enhanced by honey, to add some sweetness, and cinnamon for a flavour kick.

watereeeemelon

The above picture is me trying out what this one recipe suggested; adding salt to ease out some water, letting it drain, then rinsing and patting it with towels. To be quite honest, I wouldn’t really recommend this strategy, I’d just go straight to patting it with some paper towel first. The whole process didn’t really seem to make much of a difference…

Serves 4

4 large slices of watermelon
4 tbsp of runny honey
4 tsp of cinnamon

Heat up the BBQ on high. On each slice, sprinkle over one teaspoon of cinnamon, and then drizzle over one tablespoon of honey.

When the BBQ is ready, grill the watermelon cinammon and honey side down first, about five minutes and hopefully, some grill marks should appear (or the honey will start to blacken the edges). Flip over, and grill for another three to five minutes.

Remove from the grill when marks have appeared on both sides, and the watermelon is softened. Serve immediately with a scoop of ice-cream.

grilledwatermelon

Portobello Mushroom and Peach Open Sandwich

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The first day of my vegetarian week is here today! They were meant to be fully vegan, until N wanted to add a slice of cheese to his, and I had to say, that sounded so good, I couldn’t resist when I thought of the combo of peaches and blue cheese! But, just ignore the cheese part and you can make it fully vegan, as intended 😉

I’ve been thinking about this combo for a while, and since the weather was fairly okay today, I turned on the BBQ for this super easy meal perched on top of crunchy pumpkin-seed sourdough toast, but feel free to swap for any alternative…some nicely toasted plain ole’ hamburger buns would be tasty too.

The pictures here are with the addition of mint, which after eating these, I personally found a strange addition (N’s suggestion, again), so I guess he gets one point for the cheese and one deducted for the mint! It’s nice he’s getting a bit more opinionated about food these days though, rather than simply choosing food on the grounds of whether it’s edible or not (if it is, then no fear, he’ll eat it). Not that I want him to get fussy, but I’d like a bit more of a response than just “it’s good” to absolutely everything!

peachandmushroom

I was really looking forward to these after lunch. You see, I was a lucky girl and was taken on a little day out at the coast, to Aldeburgh, where I was treated to a small lunch where I chose mixed seafood goujons and french fries (more on that later). As nice as it was, I felt so full and heavy afterwards, like a lump of fried fat. Not the nicest feeling. I think after listening to my stomach and avoiding everything it seems it can’t handle or grumbles at (beer, dairy, fatty meats, pulses and lentils, mayo, lobster…I add that last one unfortunately), and gorging on creative salad combinations instead for most meals, my stomach revolted at the sight of fried foods. Ugh.

In comparison, these open sandwiches were a perfect combo, but I may be a bit biased when something contains grilled peaches…
Serves 4

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