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Musings on Christmas dinner

Posted by Gill Bland Tuesday, 8th December 2015

Christmas dinner - the most wonderful meal of the year?

I’m going to have come clean on this subject. I have only ever cooked Christmas dinner once. I massively over catered and I over cooked the veg. But, despite the spiced red cabbage mountain left after my attempt I’m not averse to the idea of trying again because you know what? I’m pretty certain that the cook is more critical on themselves than anyone else is of their cooking when it comes to Christmas dinner. In fact how about we don’t call it that? Let’s call it a turkey roast dinner to celebrate Christmas. It’s not your only dinner of the Christmas period after-all and there’s a lot more to Christmas than that one meal. 

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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!

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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! 

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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 www.talesofpiglingbland.com and I’ll write you a list...

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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. 

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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.

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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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Chocolate Popovers with Salted Caramel Sauce

Posted by Gill Bland Monday, 4th November 2013

Recently, two people have told me how they use to eat Yorkshire puddings with jam. We are so use to having our Yorkshire puddings with roast beef that this tradition seems to have got lost - or at least...

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Windfall Sausage Pie

Posted by Gill Bland Monday, 7th October 2013

How brave are you with windfalls? Do you play maggot roulette and risk not cutting them up first, or do you insist on peeling and dicing them to be totally sure? I definitely fall into that latter of the two categories, which is why stewed apple is my favourite way to make use of them...

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Blackcurrant and Chocolate Crumble Cake

Posted by Gill Bland Friday, 13th September 2013

Ah September - harbinger of autumn, end of long summer days and light salads, bringer of crunchy fallen leaves and comforting winter crumbles. Whilst we're not quite ready to give up our jackets and sandals for duffle coats and boots just yet, things are undeniably heading in that direction. Everyday that I wake up to sunshine feels like stolen bonus summer day....

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