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Sea Bream en Papillote

Posted by Gill Bland Monday, 9th February 2015

When I was pondering what recipe to make on theme of “food to share with your valentine” I initially thought of a fondue. I like the idea of food where you can’t try to be on your best behaviour – you’re going to get messy and see the ‘real’ valentine, not the perfectly mannered dining partner you might encounter during a meal in a high end and terrifyingly well mannered restaurant. Fondue had one thing right and one thing wrong. Right – it’s easy to make, so one of you isn’t going to feel like they’ve been working away all evening when they should be relaxing. Wrong – I don’t know about you but a vat full of cheese is more likely to make me want to curl up under a duvet than engage in sparkling conversation (or whatever). So, here is my alternative suggestion for messy but tasty eating: Sea Bream en Papillote.


Sparklin’ Parkin for bonfire night

Posted by Gill Bland Thursday, 30th October 2014

Mr Bland, who is a Yorkshire-man by birth, first introduced me to Parkin. In Yorkshire parkin is a Bonfire Night tradition and I can see why. The best way to describe it to those of us more southerly born is that it’s a really dense ginger cake. It is warming and sweet but the addition of oats and treacle create a depth of flavour and density of texture that is perfect for keeping the cold at bay on a cold November night. It’s also sturdy enough to be wrapped up and shoved in a coat pocket for the walk home!


1 Pot Beery Beef Cobbler

Posted by Gill Bland Monday, 13th October 2014

With the launch of the new 60 cm Rangemaster I thought I would bring you a recipe that is perfect for the more compact kitchen. The tools for this dish are minimal (perfect when storage is at a premium) and yet you can easily feed a hungry crowd on it. All you need is 1 chopping board, 1 knife, 1 small bowl and 1 pot. Ideally the pot should be a cast iron casserole dish, which I would suggest is an essential item in any kitchen.



Baking with children. Make your own lunch.

Posted by Gill Bland Monday, 22nd September 2014

This month I thought I’d bring you a recipe that’s great for getting the children in your life enjoying the kitchen as much as you do.

Whether you’ve got children of your own and have just re-started the daily packed lunch production line, or are just temporarily taking the role of small-person supervisor and want an easy activity that has the added bonus of resulting lunch, this recipe is ideal. You’ll have the benefit of knowing exactly what your darling one is eating and they can get all nice and messy mixing and kneading the bread with their hands. You could even add spices, nuts, dried fruit, or other ingredients to jazz it up. I once had a lovely cinnamon spiced soda bread with dates and walnuts in it. I suspect that version would be more popular with the more mature section of the family though, especially if accompanied with some good cheese and wine! 


Stuffed Armenian Lavash

Posted by Gill Bland Monday, 18th August 2014

Originally I was going to bring you a recipe for pitta bread this month. I wanted something that could be filled with whatever is in the fridge and was easy to make fresh on the griddle. Then I thought about the amount of times I’ve made pitta bread since the first time … I’ve never made it again. Why? It’s nicer home made, that’s for sure, but it’s so cheap and so readily available that it’s just too easy to buy it instead. So I turned to my Armenian friend Briony to find out what their equivalent flat bread was. It’s called lavash (or lavosh) and is usually cooked in a tandoor oven where it is stuck to the side and falls off when it’s cooked.  I’m not sure how authentic my version is – it’s a combination of a variety of recipes I researched, but it’s easy, tasty, and versatile, and you can’t buy it in our local supermarket!


Pasteis de Nata - Cheating my way back to Portugal

Posted by Gill Bland Monday, 7th July 2014

Mr B and I went on our summer holiday last week. Three days in Lisbon and a couple inland near the Spanish border. I can thoroughly recommend it for sunshine, great scenery, lovely people, good food and a slower pace.  If are planning on going to Portugal, do get in touch through and I’ll write you a list...


Great Nanna’s Favourite Barbecue Sauce

Posted by Gill Bland Monday, 2nd June 2014

I am about to entrust you with something very special. I think every family has its own recipes that are handed down and have a special place in our hearts. My childhood memories of Barbecues revolve largely around excessive amounts of chicken wings in sticky chinese sauce, Spanish tortilla, rice and sweetcorn salad and this Barbecue sauce. I even have a dim recollection of mixing this sauce with the aforementioned rice and sweetcorn as a way of having more. That may be well a figment of halcyon-hazed memory, but it gives you some idea of the place that this sauce has in my heart. So, I pass this on to you in the hope that it will grace many-an indoor or outdoor Barbecue this summer and cause many-a tomatoey smile. It would make a great gift to take with you to someone else’s Barbecue.

Mum says she’ll collect the royalties at a later date. 


A thriftier, healthier bank holiday pizza night

Posted by Gill Bland Monday, 19th May 2014

Bank holidays – a bonus day – a day out with the family, at the garden centre, doing DIY, perhaps even at the beach. Whatever you do with your freebie holiday, there’s a strong chance are that by Monday evening you’re collapsed in a happy heap and that pizza menu is looking mighty tempting…. 


April Rhubarb and Custard Fool

Posted by Gill Bland Tuesday, 1st April 2014

More fool, you.

No, I’m not going Shakespearean on you, I’m giving you an instruction. I’m not a huge fan of whipped cream so when I read recently that the title “fool” may come from the French verb fouler (to press) and therefore the only requirement of a fool is that it contains pureed fruit, I thought it was time to have revisit fools for April. This recipe uses greek yoghurt for creaminess and thickens it with custard powder to add a bit of sweet-shop joy to the mix. You could go light on the custard powder and sprinkle with granola for a breakfast fool, or serve with cardamom sablé soldiers for a fragrant, summery dessert.


Dark Chocolate Marshmallow Cake

Posted by Gill Bland Friday, 14th February 2014

I wanted to cook Mr Pigling-Bland a valentine’s cake. Not wanting to second guess his stomachs deepest desires, I thought I'd ask him what his favourite cake was out of all the ones I've baked. Was it the one carefully iced to look like a painting by a favourite artist, or perhaps a skilfully piped cupcake? No, it was one of the messiest most embarrassing cakes that I have ever foisted upon his colleagues. It was a leaving cake for Mr B and his colleague that looked like a child had drawn on the top of it and where I ran out of icing to do the sides properly. So, maybe it's true when they say that it's the heart behind the baking that makes it taste good.

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