Technology is Leading a Revolt

…against me and against my laptop, hence my substantial absence. It is seriously kaput.

But, it’s been quite a food packed month and it’s been fun! I think i had my proudest moment when i made these cute aqua cupcakes.

Just good quality vanilla cupcakes with some super creamy vanilla icing. Maybe not the most exotic flavour in the world, but they were damn tasty!

And a follow up on my jam, it’s beautiful, maybe a little too sweet for me, i’ll use less next time. But it’s still lovely, I’m actually (almost) a bit reluctant to eat it. I want to preserve it in all its beauty. My first jam-making experience was a great success I think.
In other food-related news, it’s the start of a new academic year for me and my Bangor friends. So that means students, it also means communal cooking, which I love! I’ve tried my hand at some things i’ve not had for a good while: blackened Cajun chicken, with greek potatoes and roasted paprika peppers, that was pretty yummy. I also tried my hand at some canneloni just the other day, nothing majorly exotic, beef and parmesan, but it was quite tasty in the end, so much better than any of the rubbish you get from a jar. I don’t do things by half measures, so if you’re gonna do something, and you have the time and the money, do it properly. It is so much more rewarding.
Change is exciting. I’ll leave a recipe at the bottom of each of my posts from now on, so if you’re feeling a little uninspired for food and you happen to read my rubbish little blog, you can maybe try it out? You really don’t need to measure anything, you can change it to your tastes
Beef and Parmesan Canneloni:
with some cracking home-made garlic bread.
this feeds 4 medium sized portions.
300g lean beef mince
4 or 5 garlic cloves, depending on the size
1 small red onion
1/2 green pepper 
Small handful of grated parmesan (plus a little to sprinkle on top)
Canneloni pasta (about 12/13/14 tubes)
700g passata (either the big jars or 2 small cartons)
Small ball of mozzarella
1 Beef stock cube
1/2 small ciabatta loaf
1 tablespoon of butter (proper butter! Lurpak or the like)
Pinch of sugar
Olive oil
It’s a lot easier to do all your prep before cooking so you don’t have to faff around in the middle.
So, dice your red onion and pepper as tiny as you can, remember it’s gotta fit into the tubes so it helps the smaller it is. Also, if you have a garlic crusher, perfect, if not, just cut that too. I find it’s easier if you take the skin off the cloves, cut in half lengthways down the middle once so you have two flat sides to cut, slice into thin stripes, turn and cut into teeny tiny cubes.
Fry off the onions in a splash of olive oil on a medium heat until they’re softened, add the peppers, add garlic and cook for about 30 seconds, don’t overcook the garlic or have it on too high or the garlic goes bitter and tastes awful! 
Add your mince, the stock cube, about a tablespoon of oregano, paprika and cook until the mince is cooked through. Add the passata, the pinch of sugar (it balances out the flavours of the super tomato-ey-ness of it) and the parmesan and stir through. 
Get your oven proof dish, your canneloni tubes, a teaspoon and a little oil. Drizzle your oil over the bottom so it doesn’t stick and turn your tube so the bottom hole is covered by the the dish and spoon the mixture into your tubes and fill the dish. Leave a little sauce in the pan and cover the tubes with the last bit, tear up the mozzarella, chuck it on, and sprinkle a little parmesan on top. Cover your dish with foil and bake in a medium to low oven for about 40 minutes. Whilst you’re waiting for this to cook you can prep your garlic bread.
For this, it’s really simple, get the butter, soften it with a spoon, add crushed garlic (1 or 2 cloves) a teaspoon of parsley and a pinch of salt (a little for taste, but mostly to help tie all the flavours together). After that, cut your bread however you wish and spread it on. When the canneloni’s been cooking for 40 minutes, put the bread in and turn up the oven to about 190C degrees and take the foil off the top of the canneloni so the cheese can crisp up. Cook for another 20 minutes and then serve.
I’m sorry, I know I’ve gone on a bit, so I wholly forgive you if you’ve not bothered reading to the end!
But, go explore the exotic and the unusual, and if you find any interesting recipes, and you have time, please leave me a comment and tell me about it (and the recipe if you have it), I’d love to try it out!