Friends of mine are constantly sending me pictures of the delicious meals that they have been cooking. I do the same. There is a real sense of pride and achievement when you cook something which tastes and looks wonderful. Unfortunately, a lot of the time there is no one around to fully appreciate it! This blog is for people who want to share their culinary triumphs with everyone else. Email me the recipe and a photo of the finished product on

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Kate's Chorizo and Bean Stewy Soup

1 carrot
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 celery stick
400g tin tomatoes
Vegetable stock
Cooking chorizo
400g tin of cannellini beans
1 tsp fennel seeds
3/4 bay leaves
1 tsp paprika

Finely chop the garlic and thinly slice the carrot, celery and onion. Heat some oil in a pan and cook the garlic, onion, celery and carrot until softened. Add the tomatoes, half a small jug of vegetable stock and the spices and bay leaves. Whilst simmering, fry the chorizo in a separate pan and then add it (with yummy chorizo juices) to the stew with the cannellini beans. Simmer and reduce until thickened (I think kate left it simmering for about 2 hours on a very low heat).
This was made in Kate's new Le Crueset which, according to Kate, hugs the dish and makes it feel happy and tasty.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Suckling Piggies and Other Thingies

Saturday night was the culmination of 21 years of devout piggy worship. It took place at St. John restaurant in Smithfield. A Curtis family celebration is first and foremost about one thing... Food. You have to order the pig a month in advance, which my sister took upon herself to do. I should clarify that I come from a family of complete pork fanatics. From the sweet little piggies running around in a pen to the scrumptious meat, I can safely say the Curtis family love everything about pigs. We love pigs so much that we found a pet that is as close to a pig in appearance as possible (Agnes, an english bull terrier. We have often talked about which part of Agnes would taste the most delicious).

My sister Lucy instructed me to visit the St. John's website and help her choose the starters for the night. The menu on the restaurant's site was titled 'Feasting', a great start. We ended up choosing Roast bone marrow & parsley salad and Whole crab & mayonnaise. They brought the bone marrow and crab out on huge platters (why does food look infinitely yummier on a platter?). Before the meal I had in my mind an image of literally picking marrow from a cows bones... And that is exactly what we did. It turns out bone marrow spread on toast with a sprinkling of salt is quite the most delicious thing. The crab was equally yummy. It was served whole which meant a considerable amount of snapping and cracking and picking and, at one point, actually sucking crab flesh from a claw, the whole messy process making it even more tasty.
The suckling pig was then brought in to loud cheers and much drooling. It was when I thought how delicious the pig's head looked that I realised I really do have no qualms when it comes to eating pigs, however sweet they might be. The head was cut off and placed ceremoniously in front of my sister, far better than any birthday cake I've ever seen. No one seemed particularly surprised when Lucy started nibbling the ears as we sang happy birthday... The look of pride on my father's face was immense.

Unsurprisingly, a whole pig which has been roasting for 10 hours is completely delicious. Thank god for my supreme gift of a second 'pudding' stomach. A gift I know many of my friends are blessed with. After the pig had been demolished and swept away to be wrapped up into a mouthwatering doggy bag, the waitress brought in the puddings on yet more platters. Sticky toffee pudding and profiteroles. Too much? Almost. There was a considerable lull in conversation after a few minutes as people realised the extremity of what we had taken on. Bone marrow, crab, a whole pig and two puddings. Greediness is a trait which is prided in our family. Holding back is frowned upon. It is safe to say I am very proud to call myself a Curtis.

Monday, 10 October 2011

Chicken Pie (Flora Davidson)

1 chicken
720ml chicken stock
125ml cream
1 onion, sliced
1 carrot, sliced
100g smoked streaky bacon
50g butter
75g flour
packet of puff pastry
1 egg, beaten
salt and pepper

Poach chicken in 1 litre of water. Add carrot and onion and bring to the boil and then simmer for 45 minutes. Take the chicken off the bone and break it up into fork size pieces. Sweat onion and bacon until soft, then add flour and cook for 2 minutes. Gradually stir in 750ml of poaching liquid (stock) and simmer for 2 minutes. Stir in cream and season. Fold in chicken pieces and pour into pie dish. When cool, cover with puff pastry and glaze with the egg. Cook for 30 minutes until pastry is golden.