Sunday, 27 March 2011

Yorkshire Puddings

Ive just posted a pic on twitter of my Yorkshire puds and thought, hold on Stace why dont you just blog them, so here goes.

Yorkshire puddings are the simplest thing to make its only 3 ingredients but its the method that really makes the puds special.

You need a scalding hot pan, im talking setting your smoke alarm off hot!

If your oven isnt great what i used to do when i lived at my mams (hers was rubbish) was put a piece of tinfoil over the door before i closed it to keep the heat in.  Worked every time.

makes 12
3 eggs
250g plain flour
300mls milk
1tsp salt.

whisk the eggs salt and flour together and gradually beat in the milk until you have a smooth batter.
You can make the batter in advance if you like, loads of people reckon its better if its been made in advance but i think its an old wives tale.
Pre heat your oven to its hottest setting about 30 minutes before you want to bake the puddings.
put around 1 tablespoon of oil in each hole of your tin and put it in the hot oven.
after 20-30 minutes of heating the tin and oil you want to transfer your batter to a jug so its easier to pour and working really quickly (close the oven door when your doing it to keep the heat in) pour the batter into the holes, it will sizzle up and splutter so be careful.
Put the tin back in the oven and close the door carefully, dont slam it, that might be another old wives tale but i always do it incase i knock the air out of the puddings.
Right so 20 minutes on the timer! carve your beef, warm your plates and bang! Right before serving get your burnishing yorkies out of the oven and serve immediately!


The origin of Stacie

Ive wanted to write this blog for ages but with the bakery expanding and everything else ive got on at the minute i havent had time to do it justice. 

Im now sat drinking rum looking through old pictures.

So heres how it all happened. To quote the Stanley Unwin narrative

Are you all seated too comfortable, too square on your botty? Then I'll begin....

Once upon a time in the land of dreams,
Where the sky was silky soft
and full of coloured dreams.
Deep inside a rainbow lived Happiness Stan,
in a small pictory of a chalifan

Ok ok they are the lyrics from Happiness Stan. My story begins slightly differently, however i would love to live in a rainbow..

So one day when i was 13 i turned on the radio and was mesmerised by a song that was being played, that song was Supersonic by Oasis, i didnt know it at the time but it was about to change my life.  I began to follow Oasis whole heartedly; I didn't have much money being only 13 so I read as much as i could about them in the papers and on the internet. I found out Noel was inspired by Paul Weller and The Rolling Stones, having never heard of any of them I again sought to find out everything i could about them and why Noel was so inspired by him. From Paul Weller I picked up on the Jam, and from the Jam I discovered Northern Soul music, from the Rolling Stones i picked up on RnB, it all came togeher really beautifully.

From then on, and by this time i was around 16 i became heavily engrossed in the lifestyle, music, scooters, and of course hair styles of the 60's and most importantly the mod movement! Mod to me is about more than how i look, its how i act, my morals, my personality and how i carry myself, like a religion. Theres no such thing as a weekend mod, someone who reckons they are is a half rate excuse for a mod. It really is all or nothing.

Just got to say this before i continue.  There is a very very specific difference to someone whos into the 60's and a mod.  Beehives are NOT mod, girls wore their hair short and neat and looked pretty much androgenous not ragged to death.  I like to blend elements of both as i love icons from the 60s such as Dians Ross, Dusty Springfield and Ronnie Spketor of course, afterall im more than a beehive. People get confused with mod as post 64 when the original mod movement was starting to become popularised, anything that was hip or new or fashionalble/trendy was described as mod.  Twiggy for example, she was mod as she was cool and in the press, she wasnt an original mod though, and i very much doubt an original mod girl would be seen dead with the heavy makeup she sported.

There has been a lot of twitter debate lately about mod and someone very ignorantly said, mod wasnt about outdressing eachother to see who could be the best mod, man that is the most uneducated thing ive heard since Kerry Katona was in the jungle.  To me thats PRECISELY what mod was about, they even had a term for it "topping up" where in conversation, one mod would top another mod up with more indepth knowledge of a subject the first mod brought out.

If you want to call yourself a mod, for me personally you have to be able to hold a discussion about the music, the club scene in the late 50s and the clothing details.  Thats it for me, i love scooters and have two lambrettas of my own but there are plenty of top mods without them.

So to continue, I began to backcomb my hair, and try to copy pictures i found on the internet of girls of the 60's.  I felt that i was already living as a mod and considered myself one so i might aswel start to dress like one.  To me, not dressing like a mod was strange.  Its hard to explain but my mam always said i was getting "dressed up" when i wore my 60s or mod clothing, but it wasnt dressing up it was just dressing normal.

My wadrobe consisted of old Levi 501s from charity shops, St Michael pencil skirts, knitted polos and Fred Perry.  I gradually began to have my own money, more disposable income and naturally the tailored clothes soon followed.  Mod isnt about brands or being flash, its not about spending £200 on a shirt or a skirt, to me its about making the best out of what you have.  Presenting yourself the cleanest, sharpest and proudest you can.  Thats just my perspective anyway. My nana gave me some of her old clothes, a herringbone knee length pencil skirt and an old Littlewoods polo, i felt a million dollars in the outfit but i bet it cost a few pence when she was a kid.

Dont get my wrong i havent always got it right, ive had some horrific fashion disasters, im talking cord flares with lambretta shirt complete with mod target, god im cringing now but fashion is trial and error and ive got there in the end.

When i moved to London in 2006 i was desperate to meet fellow mods, i used to go out by mysef on weekends to meet people (ive never been shy or retiring so i didnt mind going out alone)  Ive got a good few mates in London now which is brilliant.

Clothes wise i live in Fred Perry, John Smedley, half inch swen down turn ups, pencil skirts, 60s dresses, knitted polos and tailored trousers.  Ive got a banging pair of prince of wales with a faint red line.  The detail on them is really special.  I also love The Carnaby Streak for dresses.  Angela is a legend and makes me whatever i want.  She totally gets my vision and is a mod herself.

Ive popped a few pictures below some good some bad, this one in particular is when i started to wear my hair in what i call the bun beehive, which is the beehive i wear now.  This pic must have been taken in my early twenties and its of me and my best mate Leila. Look at how small the beehive is!

 The below dress, i got off ebay for about £3 such a bargain. a 60s look not a mod look.
 This below pic was taken around 10 years ago, i look SOOOOO young.  Im rocking a parka and a little beehive with a thick white hairband.  The patch on my chest is an original Wigan Casino patch.
 The below pic was taken when i was around 18.  Just to show Ive not always got massive hair.
 The below is me now, how im most comfortable, a John Smedley, turn up jeans, loafers and a little hive, this is my every day look, i LIVE in Smedley and Fred Perry, i also love window pane check shirts with v necks and two tone pencil skirts.  They are so smart.  Britac do the best shirts.  When i wear clothes like this i love loafers, ive got a few pairs of Bass obviously, im after a pair of Grensons at the minute, they are amazing but they only do mens in the style i want! So frustrating.
 The below pic was me when i first moved to London around 2005. Again with the white hairband which i constantly wore!  The dress is another ebay bargain, ive still got it in my wadrobe, i totally love it although its the most anti mod dress in the universe haha! Its paisley with gold brockade detail on the neck bottom and cuffs. You can see how young i look in this picture, compared to the one below which was taken last year.
 Again this is me now, wearing another vintage dress.   Hair is massive in this one.



This Morning herby stuffed pork belly

I love pork belly, its flavoursome and economical.  Try it here stuffed with fresh herbs, if you cant get fresh use dried herbs de province, you can get these in boxes from any supermarket.

If you want to watch a video of me making this dish click here.

For the pork belly:
1.5k of pork belly boned with the skin scored
A small bunch each of sage and parsley chopped or torn
Rosemary and thyme finely chopped
1 clove of garlic minced
1 large onion, diced finely and fried gently to soften
1 handful of breadcrumbs
1 egg yolk to bind the stuffing
Sea salt and pepper
A few splashes of malt vinegar for the crackling
Boiling water for the crackling

For the potato salad:
500g aprox of new or salad potatoes
a small bunch of chives
a few tablespoons of crème fraiche
1tbsp mustard (wholegrain, English or Dijon whatever you prefer)
salt and pepper

For the pork, lay the pork skin side down and season the meat with salt and pepper
In a bowl mix together the garlic, chopped herbs, breadcrumbs, onion and a little salt and pepper. If the mix is a little dry use the egg yolk to bind the mix together.
Press the stuffing mixture into the pork flesh and top with more whole herb leaves if you want to rev up the flavour!
Roll up the pork and secure with string, put the rolled pork in a roasting tin.

Now lets work on the crackling, the aim of the game is to open the pores of the skin to allow the salt to penetrate and crackle in the oven.
To do this we follow a few steps,
First pour boiling water over the skin and pat it dry.
Drain off the water. You only pour the water over to open the pores of the skin.
Pour over the vinegar and sprinkle with sea salt, and that’s it, guaranteed crackling every time.
Place in a hot oven (hottest it will go) immediately!
Roast the pork on full heat for 30 minutes to develop the crackling then turn the oven down to gas mark 2 and continue cooking for 2 hours.  After 2 hours turn the heat back upto full and roast the joint for the final 30 minutes to make sure the crackling is extra crunchy.
So in total the pork will take 3 hours to cook.  Its pork belly remember so long slow cooking will make the meat very tender. 

The potato salad couldn’t be simpler.
Boil the potatoes for 10-15 minutes until tender.
Drain well and put the back in the pan, crush lightly with a fork.
Add the creme fraiche, which will melt in the heat of the potatoes, stir in the mustard and snipped chives, season and serve immediately or eat cold.

Allow the pork to rest for 30 minutes before carving with the juices from the pan poured over.  Enjoy this delicious alternative to a Sunday lunch with fabulous cold cuts leftover for Monday’s sandwiches.

Sunday, 20 March 2011

Chocolate and banana muffins

These moist muffins are the prefect place to start if your a budding baker, muffins are the simplest thing to make, the trick is to leave the batter lumpy - you dont want to beat vigarously or the texture will be all wrong...

Makes 12
2 large very ripe bananas
200g plain flour
2tsp baking powder
125g caster sugar
100g chocolate chips
175ml milk or buttermilk
2 eggs
150ml vegetable oil or 125g of melted butter.

Heat the oven to 180C/Gas mark 4. Lightly oil the muffin tin moulds. Mash the bananas.

Sift the flour and baking powder into the sugar then add the chcolate chips so they get coated in the flour – this stops them sinking in the batter.

In a separate bowl, whisk the milk, egg and oil (or butter) together until smooth.

Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture, and quickly, lightly, beat in the liquid mixture, the mix should be lumpy thats fine. Fold in the bananas and spoon the batter into the muffin moulds.   Fill to the top.

Bake for 25 minutes or until risen and golden, and cool on a wire rack. Serve while still warm, or eat the same day.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

This Morning Steak and ale pie with thyme suet crust

This is the pie i last made on This Morning.  I love it best as a pie filling, however this steak and ale mixture can also be eaten on its own with some buttery mash or you can add a few dumplings to the pan for the last 20 minutes of cooking for a hearty winter stew.

It's so versatile and what's more it's economical too as all the ingredients can be bought for £5.

If you want to watch a video of me making the pie live on This Morning, click here

Serves 4
for the pie filling
800g braising steak, which is a really economical cut of beef
1 punnet of mushrooms (I like chestnut)
1 large white onion, peeled and sliced
1 clove of garlic, peeled and chopped
1 sprig each of fresh thyme and rosemary (or just one if that's all you have)
1 330ml can of your favourite ale (I like Newcastle Brown or Guinness)
½ pint of beef stock (or just a beef stock cube depending on how thin you like your gravy)
1 large carrot, chopped

Ingredients for the pastry
150g self-raising flour
75g beef suet
A few sprigs of thyme, chopped (dried is fine)
A couple of tablespoons of cold water (no more than 100ml)
1 egg, lightly beaten

Preheat the oven to 150C/gas 2.

Start with your veg. Put a little oil into a large ovenproof pan or pot and, over a medium heat, sweat the onions and garlic (sweating means cooking without colouring, which softens the onions and makes them sweet).

Once the onions are cooked and have turned a little see-through, turn the heat up and add the carrot, mushrooms and herbs.

Fry the veg over a medium-high heat for a few minutes to get a little colour on the mushrooms. Don’t worry about the onions; as long as you keep stirring they won’t burn.

Tip everything into a bowl then turn the heat up high and add the diced meat to the pan.

Season the meat and colour on all sides. Keep the heat high to do this. You want to get a good colour on the meat which adds flavour to the finished pie.

Once you have coloured the meat (it shouldn’t take long; remember you are just getting a colour on all sides, not cooking it) add the vegetables to the pan, stir to combine and, keeping the heat high, add the ale.

Stir everything together. It’ll bubble away but that’s good!

Now if you like a thick gravy just crumble the beef stock cube into the pan and, if you like a thinner gravy add the beef stock. It’s entirely up to you.

Put a lid on the pan and put it in the preheated oven, for anything between 90 minutes and three hours. The meat will be tender after 90 minutes but the longer you leave it the better it will be.

Take the pan out of the oven and check the juices. If you like the pie filling a little dryer, put the pan on the hob and, on a high heat, boil the mixture to reduce it. Keep an eye on the pan and turn the heat off when it reaches the consistency you want. It’s usually fine straight from the oven but some people do prefer a thick gravy.

You can make the pie filling the day before or even pop it in a slow cooker while you’re at work. It will keep for three days in the fridge.

Now you’re ready to make the pastry. First preheat (or turn up the oven, if you are making it at the same time as the filling) to 190C or gas 5.

Combine the ingredients in a bowl and add the water until you have a sticky dough.

Dust the dough with flour and wrap in cling film to rest for around 10 minutes. This relaxes the gluten in the flour and stops the pastry from shrinking.

Select your pie dish, something big enough for four servings, and lightly butter the dish including the edges.

Roll the pastry out on a floured surface (using a floured rolling pin and lightly floured hands) until you have a circle that will fit over the top of the pie dish. Roll backwards and forwards, never side to side, or you will get an uneven rise on your pastry.

Add the filling to the pie dish and fit the pastry lid, pressing down round the edges to seal it.
Roll up the edges of the pastry so that you have a thick crust. Don't trim it! Well you can if you want but I like the thick crust on the pie.

Friday, 4 March 2011


Ive been a scooter enthusiast for about 10 years, but have only got into the models and engines properly for the last few years.  Before this my knowledge was limited to the big hitters, the GS, SX TVR, SS90's and 180s etc etc.

However since Ive been riding again i have been learning about engines and how to carry out basic maintenance, I've watched the lads from the scooter club tinker around with the carburettor and the barrel and piston eagerly taking notes on what i actually do if i break down!

Scooter rallys are a big part of my social life.  There is nothing like the feeling of a ride out with a few hundred scooters, wind in your face. 

This is the helmet i have, its illegal to ride with but i like it for photographs etc. 

Below is my mate Marks series 1. My favourite Lambretta model.

This is my old GP 200, it was an Indian import and was lovely to ride very fast, but i didnt have a full licence so we had to sell it.

This is the scooter im currently riding, a Lambretta Li 125 series 3 special. 

Below is Harry from the clubs award winning automatic.

My dream Vespa below, a sportique, the paint job on this one is stunning, not sure who it belongs to but its a show scooter, i see it all over.

My mate Puds Lambretta heinkel.


This is the scooter MasterChef hired for me from Oxfordshire when i filmed the Womens Institute episode, they asked me to bring mine down but a little 125 going 300 miles would have taken me a year!!

One of my favourite pictures taken at the scooter club rally in the Summer, which was held at the old aircraft museum.  The bomber in the background flew in the Cold War.

Thursday, 3 March 2011

Squash and aubergine curry

I had originally intended to go a green curry but I was a few ingredients short, after a cupboard raid I decided on a veggie curry! Not something I usually try but the flavour blend of Asian and Indian is beautiful. It keeps really well in the fridge too.

Serves 4
vegetable oil
1 large aubergine, quartered lengthways then halved
1 large butternut squash, skin removed, chopped into chunks
400ml can of coconut milk
300ml vegetable stock
2 large onions, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
a thumb-sized piece ginger , peeled and roughly chopped
1 stalk lemongrass woody outer leaves removed and chopped
2 red chillies seeds removed and chopped
coriander stalks from a large bunch, roughly chopped use the leaves to garnish
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp turmeric

Sweat the onions down in a little oil until soft but not coloured.
Add the garlic, ginger, lemongrass stalk and chilli and stir to combine.
Fry the aubergine in another pan in oil, make sure the pan is very hot to ensure the aubergine fries and doesn't soak up the oil.
Back to the pan with the onions in, add the spices, turn the heat up and fry for a minute or so, stirring constantly so the spices dont burn.
Add the chopped butternut squash, the fried aubergine.
Add some salt and pepper, keep the heat high and add the coconut milk and the vegetable stock.
Simmer with a lid on for around 45 minutes.
Simmer without a lid on until desired consistency is reached. The longer you leave it the thicker it will be.
Add the coriander stalks to the curry just before serving and stir them in.
Serve with the leaves of the coriander thrown over and some fragrant steamed rice.

A glorious platter of beef, that costs less than you might think...

Every now and again you deserve something special, it doesn’t have to cost the earth but it has to be a one off delight for the senses! ALL of the senses!

This platter of beef from Donald Russell is just that, at its bones its simply 4 fat juicy steaks for 4 people but the presentation makes it look a lot more.

I serve this with garlic rubbed ciabatta bread, an olive tapenade, a huge rocket salad flecked with shavings of pecorino AND the piece de resistance, my slow roasted tomatoes, the quintessential side for the fabulous beef.

This recipe is merely my method to cook the perfect steak, but it’s a skill I can without arrogance say I have mastered and would like to share.  At the end of the day with beef this good you can’t go wrong…

Here goes…
A Donald Russell steak per person, we had the pleasure of a rump, a fillet, a sirloin and a rib eye.
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

For the black olive tapenade:
Around 100g of black olives
4tbsp of red wine vinegar
1tbsp of Dijon mustard
6tbsp of extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 clove of garlic

For the tomatoes:
1 large tomato per person
1 clove of garlic per tomato
Sprigs of thyme
Olive oil
Extra virgin ilive oil for drizzling
Salt and pepper
Balsamic vinegar

Start with the tomatoes, cut them in half, scoop out the seeds (the wet bit from inside) fill the hole with salt and pepper, a ½ clove of garlic, sprinkle with thyme and olive oil and roast in the oven on really low for around 1-2 hours.  Timing isn’t a big deal here you just want to cook them slowly to intensify their flavour.  Once they are cooked drizzle with the extra virgin oil and set on a platter ready to serve.

For the tapenade, blend the olives with the vinegar, salt and pepper, garlic and mustard.  Once that’s like a thick paste add the oil and mix together.  That’s it! Pop the tapenade in a ramekin ready to serve.

Ok so onto the steaks, the centrepiece for the platter.

Rub the steaks in a little oil, season with pepper – no salt at this stage.
Get a pan smoking hot, season 1 side (the side your going to place down on the pan) with salt and place the steaks in the pan, LEAVE THEM, step away from the pan and set a timer for 2.5 minutes.
After 2.5 minutes, season with salt on the side that’s facing up and flip the steaks and again leave them alone. Set a timer for 2 minutes.
After 2 minutes, turn the heat off, add the butter to the pan and baste the steaks in the buttery juices for around 30 seconds.

Remove the steaks from the pan and leave them to rest for at least 10 minutes.  This makes all the difference and the flavour will intensify and the steaks will be SOOO juicy!

The timings are for a standard 1 inch thick steak; if your steaks are thinner adjust the timings to cook the steak less.

The reason you don’t season the steaks with salt until the last minute is salt draws out moisture, if you season the steaks too early they won’t be as juicy J

Carve the steaks into thick slices and present on a wood board, or some slate, with the sides positioned around the beef!

When I made this the steaks were delicious, juicy, full of flavour, charred on the outside from the heat of the pan and knee quivering medium rare in the middle, the perfect black and blue steak! YUM!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

New shoes and a night out

Just won these little beauties below off EBay. £8 with postage.  Extreme happiness.  I have a few similar pairs (see the 2nd pair with silver buckle) but they have a silver detail so im always fussy about wearing them with a shade that doesnt match silver (its a mod thing)  For example i have this olive dress which i had made in the style of a Brutus trimfit shirt.  I wear a hankie in the pocket with a gold hankerchief pin, i can now wear these shoes with that dress as it will match the pin. Simple things like a gold belt buckle can now be accesoriesed properly.

As for my next  night out I will be headed to The Ham Yard held at The Brittania in EC3 where i'll be dancing to tunes like this i can not wait, im desperate for a dance!

Thinking of wearing my aforementioned Brutus style dress, fishnet tights, black loafers (not the above shoes they are no good for dancing) and a sheepskin jacket.

Anyone fancy it i'll be drinking up at The Enterprise in Camden before hand.