Tag Archives: Cookery

A f*ck it attitude, a feast and a fantatsic fundraiser

I’m so sorry that it’s been such a long time since I’ve posted anything! It’s been a very busy few weeks/ months! So where to start…

Ok maybe I should just get the worst over and done with… so the last I think I told you about treatment was that I had finished radiotherapy for my head and I was going to have a head MRI just to see that everything had gone to plan. I’m pleased to report that (touch wood) that all came back ok and it seems the radiotherapy is working it’s little magic ion/radon (I really have no idea what particle it is) backside off! So that’s a bit of a relief! However… and I know you were probably waiting for that bit because I am me after all… I also had a routine chest X-ray.

I’d kind of been struggling at college since the beginning of April, I was just feeling quite tired, coughing a lot and I was really quite breathless! Just getting to and from the train station was tiring me out (I did suggest to my parents that I should get a Segway but you can imagine how that went down!). Sorry, getting off topic. So after an X-ray up in London I always have my oncologist appointment with Dr Strauss and she is fantastic. She’s always been straight with my family and myself about treatment, cancer, side effects, etc. and that’s what we’ve always wanted. She’s been my oncologist from the very start and I couldn’t have hoped for a better Doctor!

So the X-ray, I wasn’t sure what to expect. I knew I’d had a few problems but to be honest I thought it was probably just a chest infection! However, that wasn’t the case. We sat down in Dr Strauss’ room and she immediately asked me how my chest was feeling. I explained to her what was going on and she didn’t look surprised at all. She then listened to my chest and I sat back down in the chair. She said there’s not really an easy way to tell you all of this but the bottom of your left lung has collapsed (the lower left lung is where the tumour is, in which I had to have the chemo for and radio for). She then went on to say that there was sign of tumour growth on the left side and also on the right side. And that the lower left side was blocked from a tumour. Well that explained a lot… and all this time I thought I had a cough not a collapsed lung!

Ok, think you’ll agree, not great news. Dad and I were both a little stunned. Dr Strauss said radiotherapy was out of the question however there was one chemo left that we can use but to be honest ‘it’s no miracle worker’ and she said she would be more worried to give it to me in the thought that it might make me weaker and give me more chance of infection then actually do anything for the tumours.

So I think we pretty much decided then and there between the three of us that chemo wasn’t worth it. Dr Strauss gave me all of the necessary paperwork to look over in case I changed my mind and she said come back next week, we’ll do some CT scans and discuss any other possibilities.

So that’s what we did, over the week, as a family we discussed the option of chemo and we put a lot of thought into it! Although at the end of the day, it was my decision. But you know what, I didn’t feel qualified! I know it’s my lungs and my life but I really was pretty 50% / 50% for a while! How do you make a decision like this at 19?!

So we went back the next week and the CT scans confirmed everything that Dr Strauss had said. We decided on no chemo and I was supplied with a double bag of medication – yes double bagged because there was that much! They even asked me for ID and to sign some statement!! But it’s ok, I didn’t have to pay 10p for my bags (sorry, thought I’d try to lighten the mood with that one!). So yeaaaahhh… I have loads of medications and I still have appointments up in London with Dr Strauss every 3 weeks or so, just to check in but other than that I’m not on any treatment for my lungs.

I know it’s not a nice subject but I’ve always been honest with you guys! I haven’t been given a time or anything – Dr Strauss literally said ‘how long is a piece of string’, which completely makes sense, No-one knows what can happen! We are in contact with the local Hospice and we’ve had a few conversations as a family up there which I’m sure you can kind of imagine the stuff we’ve spoken about.

And, you know what, I’m ok with discussing it all, I’m not going to curl into a ball and pretend it’s not happening, what’s the point in that? To be honest the thought of having to go through chemo for a third time was a little terrifying. And yes, I am happy with this decision, I know there’s going to be good days and bad days but I have so many good friends and family surrounding me that I feel pretty ready to take this on. I’ve been to college a few times and I’ve started just doing things I want to do, which quite honestly is eating loads of food, have fun days out with friends and family and just enjoying my life! How many people get the opportunity to just do whatever they want?! Whether I’m ill or not I’m gonna grab onto that firmly with both hands!

Anyway… I always was a strong believer of getting the worst bit over and done with first! Kind of like eating all of your peas before you eat the nice stuff on your plate for dinner. Sorry to any pea lovers out there!

Right, I WENT TO THE FAT DUCK! And it was bloody amazing! I went with my friend Kirstie, her Dad and his Girlfriend and I think we all had an incredible time. The restaurant it’s self was actually pretty hard to find. It’s in Bray, in Berkshire and it didn’t really have a sign or anything, just a woman standing outside what looked like a pub in a Victorian dress! We followed her in and stood in a mirrored room for a minute or so and then we were taken through to the dining room.

We started our meal with a small liquid nitrogen meringue, flavoured to a cocktail – I had Pina Colada. It was just like cold, pina colada air in your mouth, crazy! We then went onto a beetroot macaroon with a horseradish filling, which again was so light but the flavour came bursting through!

 

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The Macaroon

 

Next was a dish of a smoked salmon royale with a pea consommé and an artichoke sorbet. That was followed by a soup, this one was a real eye opener to me! It was a rabbit and mushroom soup that was served in a little clear teacup. The left half of the soup was cold and the right half hot, however, they both had the exact same consistency and flavour! Not going to lie, I was pretty mind blown!

Next on the list was a box of cereal… so I always remember my Nan and Grandad buying these little variety boxes of like 8 different cereals and you’d always eat coco pops first and cornflakes were always left last! So this was a similar idea but with completely new ‘cereals’. The cereals were flavoured as tomato, bacon, black pudding and the milk poured on top almost solidified to enhance that kind of salty, greasy fry up kind of texture – ok, I’ve made that sound disgusting but it was actually really good!

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Our cereals with our toy to build!

Our next adventure was sound of the sea! The waitresses brought out a huge sea shell for each of us with headphones in it playing ocean noises. And then a postcard was brought out to me, now beforehand Kirstie had been sent some questions through from the Fat Duck and one of them was what is your favourite childhood memory. I lived in Cyprus with my Mum, Dad and Brother from the age of 5 -9 and I said that’s where all my best childhood memories are. So on this postcard it had a picture of Cyprus and on the back it was addressed to me and said ‘Childhood in Cyprus’. So I was pretty in awe of that!

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Anyway, the dishes…the first dish had a sea foam with pickled herring, pickled octopus and samphire, and it was definitely fishy! The next were three little ice creams! The first a celery and watermelon rocket lolly, the second a smoked salmon, avocado and horseradish twister lolly and the third, a crab ’99’! Next on our seafood stop was a jellied crab sitting in a rock pool like plate. The waitresses poured over a crab consommé to melt the jellied crab and reveal some caviar and flaked crab!

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These are the ice lollies.

We then moved onto a forest theme, the first dish was a mushroom and truffle dish with lots of different textures but predominantly these flavours – now not being a mushroom lover this didn’t really hit the spot for me but the presentation and work that had gone into it was incredible! We then had the ‘Mock turtle soup’. This came in a clear teapot in which we had to dunk golden tea bags into a clear beef consommé which we then poured over what looked like a quail’s egg (actually an artichoke jelly) with some pickled vegetables and some smoked ham pieces. This was a fantastic dish and the beef consommé had such a rich flavour! Then a tiny toasted egg sandwich was served.

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Next we were given our ‘menus’. The starter was a cuttlefish cannelloni with textures off peas, the main was venison, which was so succulent it was almost melt in the mouth! The dessert was a selection of textures of dessert wines and grapes, I really enjoyed this! The textures of cold sorbet and a biscuit crumb with a caramel shard was perfect! Next we were served 5 little whisky jellies which varied from strength, well I ate them all so I think I might be a new whisky convert!

The light above us then changed to a night-light colour, to show we were reaching the end of our meal. We were given fluffy spoons that smelt like talcum powder and the dessert was served after we all had a malted milk meringue. The dessert was a malted milk crumb with meringues, a caramel filled marshmallow and a goat’s cheese sorbet and it was delightful!!

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Here is our dessert.

The last course was called ‘Kid in a sweet shop’ which was fantastic, a tiny little Doll’s House/ sweet shop was wheeled out and opened up to reveal lots of little drawers. So like I said before we had been asked a few questions and one of them was what is your favourite fruity flavour: Strawberry, Raspberry, Apricot or Blackberry. I said strawberry and was served 4 little strawberry sweets, some you could even eat the wrappers from! They were all lovely!!

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We had such a fantastic evening and even got to look in the kitchens at the end! We didn’t get home until about 1.30 am but I think it was worth it!

On Friday 22nd April we had our annual Teenage Cancer Trust Dinner! It’s always such a great night with friends and family and this year we determined to go bigger and better!! We managed to get the most amount of guests we ever had and this year we had some really generous donations of raffle prizes and auction prizes. I think we were all willing to really push it this year!!

I was in the pastry kitchen this year but I did sneak off for some peeps of what was going on in the main kitchen and the restaurant a few times – I’d decided I wanted to be a bit of a photographer, well that was my excuse and I was sticking to it!! We were really highly supported this year and with some new ideas like the ‘photo booth’ and Teenage Cancer Trust coloured pick ‘n’ mix sweets on the table, I think our guests were suitably wowed by the evening! With many saying it was the best menu and dinner that we had held!!

I think I enjoyed it most this year with many of my friends and my Boyfriend, Will’s friends being there too, it really was a fun night! I did a video this year instead of a speech which I think really took the pressure off! Also I was worried if I did a speech I would just cough all the way through!!

We managed to raise just under £5500 which is the most we’ve ever managed! This means over the past 3 years we’ve managed £15000!! I couldn’t be more thankful to all of the Chef’s, students and other fantastic people who helped out, and of course everyone who came to support us! The meal tends to sell out really quickly so this year I had some friends ask if there was a way they could donate to Teenage Cancer Trust so I have set up a Just Giving Page… feel free to take a look! Thank you so much to everyone who has already donated!

https://www.justgiving.com/Emstoasttoteenagecancertrust?utm_medium=email&utm_source=ExactTarget&utm_campaign=20160506_70371

Here are some photos from the evening:

So that is me for know, I’m sure you’ve had enough of me prattling on! I’ve already started the Bucket List but I think I’ll save that for my next post, hopefully I’ll have done some more by then too!

Over and out! For now!!

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Getting into the swing of things

I’ve been trying to get back into the swing of things and enjoy the summer. For Christmas I received a voucher for afternoon tea from some good family friends. Due to my treatment and stuff it had been really hard to fit in so we decided it could be an end of treatment treat! Last Tuesday Mum and I used the voucher at Hempstead House in Sittingbourne. It was fantastic, we had smoked salmon sandwiches, cucumber and cream cheese sandwiches, egg mayonnaise sandwiches (all without the crusts of course!!), plain scones, fruity scones (both served with clotted cream and jam), chocolate macaroons, strawberry tarts, mini chocolate orange cakes and tea! There was so much food but we couldn’t let any of it go to waste! We had a great time and I’d definitely like to do it again.

Last Friday night I went out for my first ‘drinking night’ since chemo and turning 18. I went with two friends to Canterbury where we ate at The Tavern (run by the Abode), as one of my friends works there. We had a fantastic 3 course meal and then drank quite a lot! It was a great night and the best thing was that I didn’t have a hangover the next day!

Last Saturday I went to a party, with some friends from my old school. It was a great night and really good to see everyone again. I’ve also been to a few BBQs on the beach recently with the same friends – it’s going to be pretty sad when most of them leave for various universities, however I’ve been told I can visit whenever and come and join them for their wild parties and nights out – as long as I teach them some recipes, other than beans on toast!

On Sunday I had an MRI scan on my thigh and pelvis up in London. I always get a little nervous for these scans but because they are so long (often over an hour) and you just lay there, they play music for you which makes it a lot more fun and often almost sends me to sleep! I should get the results this Wednesday.

This week has been very boring but relaxing. I attempted some more ice cream on my new machine. I tried to do peanut butter and chocolate brownie ice cream and lets just say it didn’t exactly go to plan! It’s a bit lumpy and heavy, but at least it tastes nice.

Today we are having another big BBQ for Nan’s Birthday, and we’ve probably got enough food to last for the next 3 days but never mind! We quite often have salad with our BBQs but I’ve got a bit bored of the same old salad, so I made up a green bean (Home grown by Nan and Grandad) and asparagus (Home grown by Morrisons!) Summer salad. It’s really easy and is just a bit different to the average salad. Here is the recipe:

Green bean and Asparagus summer salad:

Ingredients:

  • 10 Asparagus stems
  • 20 Green beans
  • 2 oranges
  • olive oil
  • wholegrain mustard
  • lemon juice
  • salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Boil a pan of water with a pinch of salt. Whilst the water is heating up, cut the asparagus and beans into 1 inch pieces.
  2. Once the water is boiled add the green beans and asparagus. Cook for about 4 minutes so the beans and asparagus still have a slight crunch, this will be a good texture against the soft orange later on. Leave the beans and asparagus to cool.
  3. Cut up the oranges, first cut off the top and bottom and then carefully cut the skin off the orange and cut the segments out.
  4. Make up the dressing, put a drizzle of oil in a small bowl, add a dash off lemon juice and about half a teaspoon of mustard. Mix up the dressing and add some salt and pepper – taste the dressing and add more seasoning or more of an ingredient to make it more to your taste.
  5. Pour the dressing over the beans and asparagus and add the orange segments. Mix it up and taste one last time to see if it needs any more seasoning.

An afternoon with Angela

I know I told you all about my hectic schedule last week, so I apologise that I haven’t had much time to update the blog recently.

So I’ll start off with my shopping trip and Nandos with Mum. I managed to buy about half of the shopping centre, however I’ve got my school prom coming up and we didn’t manage to find a dress. Although I have got some pretty good back-up options so I’m not too worried. Also I tried on heels for the first time since the operation, let’s just say I’m definitely going to need more practice!

Next was the trip to Angela Hartnett’s restaurant, Cafe Murano on Thursday. I started off the day meeting my friends Laura and Kirstie and after getting the back-pack changed and a cheeky KFC we all headed on the tube to Harrods, to stare at clothes and shoes we can’t afford, however we did get some free pieces of chocolate which makes it all better! We then headed off to meet Angela.

She’s a lovely and inspiring woman! We all spoke for an hour about everything from College to the Olympics. We also got to look around the kitchen and meet the Chefs. It really was a great experience and Angela also gave us some cookery books, which she signed. I can’t wait to go back when I’m more stable on my feet, so I can pick up some tips!

Unfortunately I was meant to be let out after my chemo on Saturday so I could go on a visit to Dingley Dell Pork Farm. Dingley Dell were kind enough to donate pork for the Teenage Cancer Trust Evening and they also want to treat me to a visit! However as I’m doing this clinical trial my blood results must be at a very precise level, and I was 0.01 off the perfect level. As you can imagine I was quite dissapointed as this meant I had to stay in for another day, and I didn’t get to go to the Pork Farm!! But hopefully we can reschedule.

On the upside, I did find out who got the book by Michel Roux for me! I need to thank Jatinder, one of my Dad’s work friends who organised the whole thing. It was such a lovely thought and really meant a lot to me!!

So this week’s recipe is Thai fish cakes, as I’ve realised how important a healthy diet is and I think fish plays a big part in a healthy diet.

Thai fish cakes:

Ingredients:

  • 200g poached flaked fish (I would go for cod or something like that, alternatively you could use crab meat)
  • 300g potato
  • Some butter
  • 2 spring onions
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • A red chilli (depending on how hot you want it, you could add more chilli, and add the seeds again if you want it to be hot)
  • 1cm ginger
  • A bunch of coriander
  • An egg
  • Some flour
  • 200g breadcrumbs
  • Salt and pepper

Method:

  1. Peel the potatoes and boil them until soft.
  2. Whilst the potatoes are boiling, finely chop the garlic, onion, spring onion, coriander and chilli.
  3. Cook the garlic and onion in some oil, but don’t let it colour. Cook until soft and then set aside to cool.
  4. Mash the potato with some butter and season.
  5. Grate the ginger and add to the potato along with the fish, spring onion, chilli, coriander, onion and garlic. Check the seasoning and if you’re happy with it, mould the potato mix into small patty shapes.
  6. Season the flour. Put the patties in the flour and make sure it is all covered. Whisk the egg and dip the patties in the egg, then cover in the bread crumbs. If you want the fishcakes to be extra crispy dip the patties in the egg and breadcrumbs again.
  7. Deep fry the fishcakes in oil until golden brown.
  8. Serve as a snack with a flavoured mayonnaise or serve with a salad as a meal.

Plans in the pipeline

So I’ve started 4b of chemo this week and I’m starting to get excited as that means only 3 more weeks of the brace and only about 2 and a half more months of chemo! Woohoo! Also I’ve found out that we raised a grand total of £4300 on the Teenage Cancer Trust Night – I’m overwhelmed with that so Yay!

So I’ve got lots coming up over the next month or two. 2 parties, a trip to meet Angela Hartnett, a trip to a fantastic pork farm, a look around the kitchens at the Hilton Hotel on Park lane (according to Monopoly that’s not as good as Mayfair but Monopoly always bored me anyway!), an afternoon tea, Prom and My 18th Birthday! Which will probably just end up as a BBQ or something!

Speaking of BBQs we had a fantastic one this week, as it was Mum and Dad’s 25th anniversary, we thought we’d celebrate at the weekend with a rather impressive BBQ. We had steaks, sausages, Chinese BBQ chicken, vegetable kebabs, new potatoes, potato salad, normal salad and some trout stuffed with fennel. It was fantastic and gave me a chance to use my new knife. In my last blog I mentioned that I was given, by Chef Oliver, a very sharp Japanese knife. I hadn’t used it yet as I didn’t want to ruin it or cut myself but I plucked up the courage. Now I can’t stop using it! When taking it out of the packaging I noticed that it was engraved with ‘Chef Emily Mackay’, not just my name, but Chef!!

So I’m going to give you the recipe for our Chinese BBQ Chicken especially with Summer just around the corner, not that you’d know it today!

Chinese BBQ Chicken

Ingredients:

  • 2 tbsp Ground nut oil
  • 2 tbsp Seasame Oil
  • 4 tsp minced Garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp fresh grated ginger (or cheats ginger if you’re naughty!)
  • 4 tbsp rice wine
  • 4 tbsp light soy
  • 4 tbsp clear honey
  • 4 tsp Chinese five spice powder
  • 2 tsp lime juice
  • 6 Chicken thighs (You could get breasts but it’s a lot cheaper to get thighs and I will try to tell you how to de-bone them, also we found the thighs really moist!)

Method:

  1. Start by taking the bone out of the thighs, maybe the first and second one will be hard and take a while but by the last one you will be able to do it with your eyes closed, NOT THAT I SUGGEST YOU TRY THAT!! Using a boning knife, on the flesh side slowly cut down the bone, following it from top to tail. Then slowly cut away the flesh from the bone. You’ll see half way down the bone, where it bends, that there is a knuckle. Try to cut around that carefully and keep the knuckle (the thick white circle-y bit) together with the bone. It doesn’t matter too much with this recipe as we will be removing the skin so making a few holes isn’t the end of the world, but if you want to get into good habits, it’s an idea to learn this now! Also if you want to make stuffed, boned chicken thighs with the skin on then you’ll want to use that technique. Slowly remove the bone out from the flesh and put in a bowl. You could use this at the end for chicken stock. Now I removed the skin from the chicken but I guess it’s down to preference. I didn’t think the chicken would stay moist with out the skin but I was definitely wrong! Now repeat 5 times!!
  2. Use all of the other ingredients to make the marinade in a large bowl. Stir the ingredients over and over again and throw the boneless chicken in. Again stir every ten minutes or so, just so it’s all coated.
  3. Cover the bowl and put in the fridge for as long as you like. We marinated the chicken for 2 hours just because we didn’t want too much of an over- powering flavour but it’s up to you.
  4. Now throw on the hot BBQ, it’ll probably take 10-15 minutes to cook and don’t be afraid of that charcoal colour on the chicken, as long as it’s not coated in it! This will oddly compliment the sweetness of the marinade. Serve with a little lime juice on top.

See, it’s not too hard!

My best cupcakes!

I love making cupcakes!

I think as a child you always have a memory of cooking, mine has to be fairy cakes. I remember how I would make the mixture, but never lick the bowl (Mum always had a thing about salmonella!) and as carefully as I could (which often meant the mixture would go absolutely everywhere) place little dollops of cake mixture into light pink cake cases. I would get up every five minutes to check them in the oven, eager to get Mum to take them out (I was far too clumsy to be trusted with taking something out of the oven!) just so I could ice them in bright pink and blue and cover them in hundreds and thousands. Then, of course, eat them!

To this day I think making cupcakes is one of my favourite things to do.

So I’m going to give you my best recipe! So far it’s gone down a storm with all of my friends and family, so hopefully it will do the same with yours!

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes:

Ingredients:

For the cake

  • 100g Butter/Margarine
  • 100g Caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 100g Self-raising flour
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 50g lemon curd

For meringue

  • 2 egg whites
  • 100g Caster sugar

Method:

  1. Turn the oven on to 190c.
  2. Cream the sugar with the butter/marg until light and fluffy, slowly add the beaten eggs and then fold in the flour.
  3. Add the lemon zest to the cake mix, just to intensify the flavour of the lemon throughout the cake.
  4. Divide the mixture between the cases, I normally get 8 out of this but it depends how big your cases are!
  5. Put the cakes in the oven, they should take 15-20 minutes. Take them out when they are golden and slightly brown and springy to touch. Another way to know they are cooked is to stick a knife in the cake and if the knife comes out clean, the cakes are cooked!
  6. Leave them on a wire rack to cool.
  7. Turn the oven up to 230c, ready for cooking the meringue!
  8. To make the meringue you’ll need an electric hand whisk or mechanical mixer. It will be very difficult to get the rise you want in the meringues by hand! Start whisking the egg whites (this will take about 4 minutes) until you have stiff peaks. Gradually add the caster sugar, still whisking, but be careful not to over whisk. You know have a meringue mix!
  9. Cut out a small hole in the top of each cake (like you would a butterfly cake) and fill with lemon curd, but don’t over fill! Then pipe (or dollop a spoonful of) the meringue on top of each cake.
  10. Put the cakes back in the oven for 2-3 minutes, depending on how you like meringue cooked (slightly coloured or completely browned!) take the cakes out when the meringue isn’t too wobbly and is slightly browned on top.
  11. Leave the cakes to cool.

There you have it, Lemon meringue cupcakes! They are next to my chocolate cupcakes in this photo, I made this batch for a friend’s summer party, I think the meringue looks better when you don’t pipe it to be honest! Or maybe I’m just a bad piper!!

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My Mouth!

Firstly I wanted to say a massive THANK YOU for all of the support that I have received over the past couple of days from everyone, its really been fantastic and I can’t say how much it means to me!

So thank you everyone!

On with the blog…

Unfortunately a side effect of chemotherapy is mouth ulcers. I don’t think I’ve ever had an ulcer before, so when I woke up at 2 am this morning with an ulcer I was a little scared!

However the first thing that crossed my mind (and I’m ashamed to admit this!) was why did my mouth really hurt and feel twice its normal size and what if I need one of those surgeries that you see on YouTube where the person wakes up and completely humiliates themselves by talking about riding unicorns over rainbows?! Knowing my family and myself I can firmly say that a) my video would be incredibly embarrassing and b) my Dad would have it on YouTube in a matter of minutes! There is no rest for the wicked!

Needless to say after some paracetomal and a good night’s sleep, I am feeling a lot better!

So I thought today’s recipe would be something that’s easy to eat (as I’m not completely recovered!) and something that’s easy to cook.

Chicken and chorizo risotto:

Ingredients:

  • 100g risotto/arborio rice
  • 3/4 pint veg stock
  • Some chicken (I like lots!) (Cooked)
  • Some chorizo (again!)
  • 1 garlic clove
  • 1 shallot
  • Dash of white wine
  • 10g butter
  • 1/2 a lemon
  • A small bunch of parsley

Method:

  1. Finely chop the shallot and the garlic. Paste the garlic by putting some salt on it and then squashing the garlic and the salt against the knife.
  2. Put the butter in the pan with the garlic and onion and sweat for about 5 minutes. Add the rice, stir in for a minute, then add the wine and cook off.
  3. Slowly add the veg stock, add when the rice absorbs the stock, this bit can take a while but it’s worth it!
  4. Once all of the stock is in add the chicken and chorizo, then taste the rice. It should be soft but still with a little crunch, however if you want the rice to be soft then just keep cooking!
  5. Add the lemon juice, this will contrast with the wine and chorizo, bringing the dish together and add the chopped parsley.
  6. Season to taste and maybe add some cream or butter!

Who needs a diet!

My First Blog Post!

I meant to start this on my first cycle of chemotherapy treatment but time flies even when you’re not having fun! I am currently starting my second batch of chemo so this isn’t too late!

My name is Emily, I am 17 and was diagnosed with osteosarcoma (cancer found in young people, normally in the leg or arm bones) on 18/11/13. My tumour (or Genghis Khan as we call him!) is in my right thigh bone and partly in the left side of my lower back. I know it sounds bad, but keeping positive is the first step to recovery! As an important person once told me ‘Challenge is inevitable, defeat is an option!’.

Now I know I’ve promised cooking as well as cancer, so I better live up to that! I study catering at college in East Kent (however I’ve had to defer for a year due to treatment). I go to a good college for catering, I believe it is quite well known by British Chefs, with Gary Rhodes and Nathan Outlaw previously being Catering students at the college.

The college has some fantastic connections, so I have had the chance to serve at Buckingham Palace and Windsor Castle, I’ve even spoken to Prince Phillip (he said I was doing a fantastic job handing out Petit fours, which I boast about all the time!).

I thought my blog could be a cookery blog as well as a personal blog, just to be a bit different! Hopefully both sides of the blog will be up to standard!

I thought I’d start off with a simple recipe that I made up as part of a college challenge, it is a tomato sauce that got me second place in my class! Its could be used just as a pasta sauce or chucked in with some cooked mince for a lasagne, I’ll leave it up to you!

So here is my (second place!) Chunky Cherry Tomato and Roasted Garlic Smoked Pasta Sauce:

Ingredients:

  • 600g Cherry tomatoes
  • 5 garlic cloves
  • 2 shallots
  • 100g parsley
  • 1\2 pint vegetable stock
  • Dash of white wine
  • 1tsp smoked paprika
  • Zest and juice of a lemon
  • Salt and pepper for seasoning

Method:

  1. Roast the garlic for half an hour at 180c.
  2. Get everything prepped (cut cherry tomatoes in half, roughly chop parsley, finely chop shallots).
  3. Sweat off the shallots with the dash of wine and some butter. Once softened add the cherry tomatoes, parsley, paprkia and the lemon zest and juice. Keep a lid and an eye on the pan, making sure nothing burns or starts to stick to the pan by stirring occasionally.
  4.  Slowly add the vegetable stock and then keep the lid off and leave to simmer for 10 minutes.
  5. Once the garlic is roasted add it to the sauce and try to keep all of the roasted juices to go in the pasta sauce. Leave to simmer for 5 more minutes.
  6. Using an electric hand blender, blend the sauce together, depending on the consistency you would like, blitz until chunky or smooth and if you want a more runny consistency then add more vegetable stock.
  7. Season to taste and feel free to add some butter for a richer, velvety texture.

I hope if you do try the sauce then it’s exactly what you want, but feel free to add and experiment and feel free to comment below if you try the sauce and if its lacking/overwhelming in something, constructive criticism is always welcome!