Rantings of an Amateur Chef

The local paper (Cleveland’s own Plain Dealer), for the last two years has come out with the top 100 restaurants in Northeast Ohio. When it first came out, my wife and I decided that every time we decided to eat out, we’d try to choose from the list until we had been to each of them. Our initial cut showed that we had already been to only 5 on the list. Pitiful. Shameful. For someone who loves good food, I was embarrassed. Then I looked at the list and determined that very few served chicken nuggets and realized that the last 15 years of my eating out was determined by availability of that single menu item. So began our quest.

We don’t eat out much, but really took the challenge to heart when we did. One of the restaurants on the list, in fact the one closest to our home (2…

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Strawberry Pepper

Once upon a time, I worked for a certain now-defunct investment bank. And for some reason, they assigned this lowly intern to one of those glass offices with a floor-to-ceiling window overlooking Times Square. The senior vice presidents crammed into their cubicles on my floor were not too happy about this.  I was not so happy about this either, primarily because my glass office was about 15 degrees cooler than the rest of the over-airconditioned floor.  I shivered in my suit jacket on “casual” Fridays in July in New York.

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Strawberry Pepper

Summer’s coming! Well for those of us living in the non-temperate Northern Hemisphere it is anyway. And with summer comes the bountiful fresh fruit and frequent summer barbecues. Usually when I go to a barbeque I’ll like to bring some sort of dish with substance, to show off the homemade veggie burgers and quiches, but sometimes, you just gotta be lazy. Let someone else do that work for you.

When that happens my go-to dish is often a fruit salad. Because they’re delicious and healthy and there’s almost nothing better than fresh fruit! And it’s really something you can’t have too much of.

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Lemon Drizzle Cake

The recipe and image are from BBC GoodFood.


225 g unsalted butter , softened

225 g caster sugar

4 eggs

finely grated zest 1 lemon

225 g self-raising flour

For The Drizzle Topping:

juice 11⁄2 lemon

85 g caster sugar


1. Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Beat together 225g softened unsalted butter and 225g caster sugar until pale and creamy, then add 4 eggs, one at a time, slowly mixing through. Sift in 225g flour, then add the finely grated zest of 1 lemon and mix until well combined. Line a loaf tin (8 x 21cm) with greaseproof paper, then spoon in the mixture and level the top with a spoon.

2.Bake for 45-50 mins until a thin skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. While the cake is cooling in its tin, mix together the juice of 1 1/2 lemons and 85g caster sugar to make the drizzle. Prick the warm cake all over with a skewer or fork, then pour over the drizzle – the juice will sink in and the sugar will form a lovely, crisp topping. Leave in the tin until completely cool, then remove and serve. Will keep in an airtight container for 3-4 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.

Iced Fairy Cakes

I just tried this recipe 2 days ago and it came out wonderful. I made a batch but can;t seem to upload the pictures so the picture of the decorated ones and the recipe is from Mary Berry. I just love her recipe’s. They are quick and easy(at least some are!)


Cake tin needed: a 12-hole bun tin

100g( 4oz) caster sugar

2 large eggs

100g (4oz) self-raising flour

1 level tsp baking powder

For the icing:

225g (8oz) sifted icing sugar

2-3 tbsp warm water

Sweets, to decorate


Step One

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees C/Fan 180 degrees/ gas 6. Place fairy cake cases into the bun tin, so that the cakes keep a good, even shape as they bake.

Step Two

Measure all the cake ingredients into a large bowl, and beat for 2-3 minutes until the mixture is well blended and smooth. Fill each paper case with the mixture.

Step Three

Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the cakes are well risen and golden brown. Lift the paper cases out of the bun tin and cool the cakes on a wire rack.

Step Four

To make the icing, put the icing sugar in a bowl and gradually blend in the warm water until you have a fairly stiff icing. Spoon over the top of the cakes and decorate with sweets then leave to set.
To make Orange Fairy Cakes, follow the recipe above and add the zest of 1 orange in step2. To make the icing, gradually blend 225g (8oz) sifted icing sugar with the juice of 1 orange until you have a fairly stiff icing. Spoon over the tops of the cakes.


{love+cupcakes} Blog

Most of us can probably remember hearing the sweet melody of the ice cream truck in the distance as it approached your street on a warm summer day. Your excitement would increase as its happy song got closer and you’d scramble to gather whatever money you could squeeze out of your parents or piggy bank. You’d fly out the door, hoping that you didn’t miss it and wait eagerly as it came to a slow right at your feet. You’d gaze at all of the pictures on the side of the truck, being careful to make the right selection. And with the exchange of some loose change, you’d walk away with the most wonderful, sweet, frozen confection on a stick that you could ever imagine. If you lived anywhere in LA, you may also remember the jingling bells of the Paletero (popsicle man) who pushes his cart filled with dozens…

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