Tuesday, 4 January 2011

Inspiration Chain Winner And A Few Of My Christmas Pressies.

Happy New Year!

My lovely assistant, Adam, drew a name out of the hat for the winner of a copy of Appetite by Nigel Slater for The Inspiration Chain.

Well done to Hanna from Corner Cottage Bakery.  Hanna - if you could please email me your address, I will get Amazon to send you a copy of the book straight away.  I hope you like it.  Thanks to everyone who entered.

I got lots of foodie gifts for my Christmas - here is a wee snapshot of just a few of them.

I got three cook books - I Love Food by Clare MacPherson-Grant Russell, Yo Sushi and The Great British Book Of Baking.  Steve also got Dough by Richard Bertinet which you can also see in the photo.  I included it because I'll get to use it too.

The first of my cookbooks I have managed to use so far is I Love Food.  This is a cookbook by the Lady Laird of Ballindalloch Castle (about 1.5 hours drive from here).  It is a surprisingly down to earth and simple book.  She says on the back of the book "I love food but I am not prepared to spend hours slaving over the cooker.  For this "domestic goddess" the motto is very definitely "Taste, Ease and Speed"!"
Well, the book lives up to this.  The recipes all look to be very tasty and occasionally fancy but generally very quick and easy to put together.

The first recipe I made from it was Chicken filled with goat's cheese.  It took me about 2 mins to prepare and then 30mins in the oven.  A lovely, easy but tasty way to cook a chicken breast.

I discovered when we went to my Mum and Dad's for a meal on Hogmanay that my Mum also has the book.  She cooked our starter from it.  It was Haggis Mushrooms.  Now these were absolutely lovely but couldn't have been easier to prepare.  Portobello mushrooms stuffed with haggis, parmesan grated over the top then baked in the oven for 10 minutes and served with some salad leaves and a dressing.  I think haggis and mushrooms are a most wonderful combination.  I'll definitely be using this is a starter if I have people round.

I haven't yet had a chance to try the other books.

You can also see in the photo the lovely gift of a panforte and some peanut brittle that I received from Alex from Dear Love Blog.

For the recipe you can see her post here.  Her photos are much better than mine and really show the beauty of her panforte.
It is really lovely - you can really taste the figs through it as well as some generous spices but the best bit is the texture. Really chewy - you can really get your teeth into it but with the contrasting crunch of the nuts too - mmmmmmmm.  Brilliant with a cup of coffee mid morning or last thing at night.
Thanks Alex - very generous of you!


  1. Congratulations to Hanna.

    Lovely gifts. So funny your mum got the same cookbook as you - made me chuckle. I like the sound fo the haggis mushrooms, my have to make a veggie version.

    Also that panforte looks absolutely beautiful, so kind of Alex to spoil you. I'm bookmarking the recipe for come Christmas.

  2. Mangocheeks - I think it would be lovely as a vegetarian version - and I just can't get over how easy it is to do!
    I have been rather spoiled by other bloggers this year! ;-)

  3. I haven't heard of this book before - must look it up.

    Lovely prezzies.

    Happy New Year.

  4. So glad you enjoyed it. Happy new year. x

  5. Yum. Those haggis-stuffed mushies sound delish. But doesn't it take ages to make the haggis first?

  6. TwirlingBetty - we just buy the haggis. Haggis would, indeed be a real scutter to make and I don't know a single person who has ever made a real one. You can buy some really nice ones, though.

  7. I love chicken wrapped in bacon! makes it so juicy and savoury! haggis stuffed mushrooms sound too good.