Peppers stuffed with spiced lamb

Since doing my Cordon Bleu diploma I've been finding dinner parties increasingly stressful.  I seem to feel that unless I have spent 12 hours cooking then I haven't really made an effort for my guests. Unsurprisingly this has resulted in me not enjoying giving dinner parties and so for the last one, Steve and I decided on an Indian menu using recipes from this blog.  Steve managed to cook a delicious meal for six people within 90 minutes while I had a manicure and pedicure in the next room.  Our guests had a fabulous evening and everyone raved about the food.  Steve can definitely do the cooking going forward!

This recipe is a great starter for a stress-free dinner party as it looks colourful and you can do most of the preparation well in advance.

Walnut bread

I created this recipe for pull-apart walnut bread as part of the menu for my penultimate exam for my Cordon Bleu Diploma last year.  It is incredibly quick and easy and the resulting bread has a fluffy, soft texture and a slightly sweet, nutty taste.  It's very versatile and goes well with a multitude of dishes including carrot soup, cheese boards and goats cheese terrines.

Sourdough tea bread

If you don't have a pet sourdough starter of your own, you can use the instructions here to create one.  It's really simple but don't be disheartened if it dies - I'm currently on my fourth starter and I'm sure it was nothing I did that led to the deaths of the previous ones.  Hmmm maybe my parents knew what they were doing when they wouldn't buy me a puppy.

This tea bread is sweetened by the addition of glace fruit and is a great mid-afternoon snack especially when served with butter.

Cluster beans with red potatoes

Please accept my profuse apologies for not posting for so long.  My poor, neglected blog has not been the focus of my attention for some time but rest assured it isn't dead.

When I first started this site, my intention was to document and share my family's recipes and prevent them from being lost in time.  I'm absolutely delighted to say that it has become so much more than that and not only has it developed my love of cooking (resulting in me doing my Cordon Bleu diploma last year) but has directly led to me making lots of new friends from around the world.

One such friend is Chetan who sent me this recipe for cluster beans with red potatoes.  Cluster beans (aka guar or guvar beans) have featured on this site previously in my mum's recipe for cluster beans with dumplings but Chetan's dish is entirely different in terms of both texture and flavour.  I've used Roseval potatoes as they have a delicate nutty flavour but any small red or white potato would be fine.