The Roasting Tin By Rukmini Iyer Book Review…

February 8, 2019
The Roasting Tin cookbook by Rukmini Iyer displayed on a very large succulant!

My Mum Doesn’t Cook.

My Mum doesn’t cook.  Bless her over the course of my thirty something years I have rarely known her to make a meal.  It isn’t that she refuses to do it or delegates it to another family member, she just manages to hurt herself.  Every time! 

Just before I left for my Christmas holiday in Australia I walked around Notting Hill with Lucy and we spent time perusing the shelves of the beautiful Books for Cook’s shop.  I found Rukmini Iyer’s The Roasting Tin* full of delicious recipes that promised tasty, simple food made easily in one tin.  Purchased, I packed it in my overweight suitcase and together we made the journey to my other ‘home’.

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Picture is of my mums hands squashing garlic.  There is a oven pan full of fennal, lemons and spring onion showing the mid process of cooking.

My Dad Was The Cook In Our House.

Growing up my Dad was always the cook in the house.  He is one of those frustrating people who can look in a bare cupboard and rustle up a feast from three unlikely ingredients.  There was always a routine, a ritual for him when he came home from work.  Changing out of his army uniform, he was straight in the kitchen prepping dinner.  It was his way of destressing and throwing off the day.  Occasionally someone else would try and cook for the family. 

Dad, after many years, asked that I start making dinners to contribute.  Mum tried to jump in a few times too but quickly she would burn or cut herself and Dad would take over.  It was always a frustrating cycle with my Dad.  He didn’t want to make the dinner every night but he would interfere when someone else was doing it.  Always taking over!  Things haven’t changed now that my sister and I are adults except we are much more vocal! Get out!

This picture shows my sisters hands adding sea salt to chicken that is laying on top of the vegables in a roasting pan.
This images shows oil hving been added to the chicken and my mum lifting the pan to put in the oven.

Until My Mum Stole My Book!

I showed Rukmini Iyer’s The Roasting Tin* to my Mum when I arrived and she disappeared with it.  Hours later I found her on the back deck reading the cookbook like a bible, making notes and creating lists of food.  This, she declared, was what she was going to use to get herself back into the kitchen.  A week later, ingredients purchased, my sister and I sat at the kitchen bench whilst my Mum prepped and cooked dinner. 

Chatting about life and work we occasionally answered Mum when she asked about a cutting technique and I was happy to help when she preferred someone else cut the last bit of fennel.  We all agreed she was on a roll and this was the thing that would give her the most grief!  My Dad tried to cut in a few times but we told him to go away.  Mum was doing this and he had to let her!

This image shows my mum making the sauce to go with the roasted food.  There are vegetables scraps on the kitchen surface and the Roasting Tin cook book is open.

And We Feasted Like Kings and Queens!

Dinner that night was absolutely delicious!  We had the roast chicken with fennel and spice roast aubergines and potatoes, and my sister took a portion home to her fiancée.  A few days later my mum announced she was making dinner again and we had avocado and chicken salad.  Since I have returned she has also sent pictures of two more dishes.  And that my friends is how my mum started cooking again! 

Having pulled the pan out of the oven we slice a chicken breast to confirm if it is cooked.  Very slightly pink we put it back in.

The Perfect Batch Cooking Lunches Book.

Mum paid me for the book and I ordered a new one from amazon.  The first weekend I was back in the UK I made the chicken with fennel and roasted aubergine and potato portioned into 15 lunches!  It was easy to do on a Sunday afternoon whilst I played jazz radio and read my book. 

The ingredients for these two dishes cost me £30, I already had the spices, and that’s less than I was spending each week on take out lunches!  Throughout the book Iyer gives tips on how to replace ingredients and ultimately make your own roasting tins.  Perfect if the local supermarket doesn’t have something or you want to go on a food adventure.

Photo of the finshed chicken and vegetable dish with sauce in a glass jar redy to serve.  The Roasting Tin cook book is open at the page with the recipe.

If you are wanting easy recipes for lunches or recipes to bulk batch food Rukmini Iyer’s The Roasting Tin* is for you. Happy cooking! PF xo

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The Roasting Tin Recipe Book

My Families Banana Bread Loaf Recipe…

February 4, 2019
Banana bread loaf sliced on a chopping board.  A bowl of creme fraiche cheese and another of honey infused walnuts next to it.

Banana bread loaf, it is one of my favourite recipes and I used to make it all the time pre wheat intolerances. The perfect solution to using up browning bananas and in my experiance this doesn’t last long in the office! Over Christmas my friend Lauren visited Australia and commented that Aussies make the best banana bread. It’s true!

Today I am sharing with you my family recipe which I have perfected over 10 years including halving the amount of sugar! The recipe uses a food processor/blender to smash all the bananas together and then you just add from there. Don’t have a blender? No worries. Take advantage of your soft bananas and use a fork to squash them. Great for getting anger out!

If you want to jazz up your banana bread loaf serve it with creme fraiche cheese and honey. I love infusing walnuts with honey and drizzling this on each slice. So delicious!

Picture of all the ingrediants to make the banana bread loaf

What you will need…

  • Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius fan-forced. If you don’t have a fan-forced oven, preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  • Choose your pan. Traditionally banana bread is a loaf tin but if you prefer a cake shape go for it. I’ve also made little snack size versions and adjusted the baking time. There are no rules!
  • 2-3 large, over ripe bananas
  • 100g butter, softened (if using unsalted butter, add 1/4 teaspoon salt with the flour)
  • 1 cup of sugar (yes this is half the original recipe!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract (1 teaspoon natural vanilla essence)
  • 2 large eggs (we use eggs with a minimum weight of 59g)
  • 100ml (1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon) buttermilk. Buttermilk can be expensive and does go off quickly. Use normal milk or freeze portions of butter milk for a more cost effective banana bread.
  • 1 and a 1/2 cups self-raising flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Making your banana bread…

  • Place butter, sugar, banana, vanilla and eggs in a food processor.
  • Process for about 2 minutes. Scrape down sides of processor. Add buttermilk and pulse to combine.
  • Sift flour, salt (if using) and bicarbonate of soda together into a large bowl. Add flour mixture to food processor and process until just combined.
  • Pour batter into prepared tin.
  • Bake for about 50-60 minutes, or until a skewer or knife inserted in the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Picture of banana bread in the oven booking.

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Banana bread recipe pinterst image

Where Do You Want To Be In 10 Years…

January 30, 2019

Where do you want to be in 10 years time? Honest answer. I don’t know.

I was asked this on the weekend. I currently live in my 22nd house. I’m on corporate job 10 of 14 years. I am not married and there are no children. I live on the other side of the world to my family and routinly make new friends through social media!

10 years ago I had just left the UK for the third time and didn’t think I could return. Visa’s suck! I was studying my Masters and there was no way I could consider buying property. If you had told me I would graduate, buy a flat in Melbourne and fly to the UK a couple of years later I would have given you a massive hug!

Pretentious Fringe wearing her green coat standing next to a London Red Telephone box with the River Thames in the background.

It’s great to have goals and challenges but 10 years is too far for me. I think asking someone where they think they will be in 10 years is a anxiety instagating question. There are few of us who would be able to answer and with so many uncertainies these days I find it is a conversation killer. If you are curious about people’s goals and dreams rephrase your question to what are you working towards? Removing the time frame makes the question more open and kind.

I personally like 1-3 year plans. I’m thinking about this year which includes wedding celebrant training and exploration of the UK. There will be travelling to Australia for my sisters wedding and getting that last credit card paid off! Longer term I am saving up so I can potentially sell my flat and move. One day I would like to get a sausage dog and call him Henri. Ideally I would like to spend the three winter months our of the UK in a warmer climate! PF xo

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