Food Glorious food.

I love food and it really is my life so it came as no surprise when I started gaining a few pounds. I’ve tried everything from the Atkins diet, personal training ( at £75 per hour – gulp) and punishing myself at the gym. My weight has always YoYo’d and my dress size usually varies between three/four sizes.  I decided to give Weightwatchers a try. I mean I love Oprah and I also wanted to be accountable. Meaning, I want to be weighed every week ( as hellish as that sounds) I think I have been really lucky in finding a fantastic leader( Ayse Hime) at a local group in Broxbourne. It’s given so much more than weight loss. I’m not on a diet, I have full control of what I eat.

I still have a long way to go but I have lost quite a bit of weight. I have times where I overeat, like this week for instance but I know it probably due to be really tired ( we have a new Shih Tzu puppy and he is like a little baby) 

I’m delighted, thrilled and excited to be in April’s Weightwatchers magazine. I can honestly say if you are thinking of joining DO IT!!! Honestly you will learn so much and meet some great people.

 

https://www.weightwatchers.com/uk/

 

 

My interview and recipes

I’m in Aprils Weightwatchers magazine


The best Christmas trifle ever

The best Christmas trifle ever

 

 

I love Christmas and everything involved. I love the build up and the festive feeling of December. I host the Turkey Tasting Theatre at the Ideal Home Show Christmas so you could say by December I am fully prepped with my Turkey skills. http://www.idealhomeshowchristmas.co.uk/london/page/88-theatre-acts/839-lisa-marley 

This year we were lucky enough to be sponsored by Campbell Bothers http://www.campbellbrothers.co.uk  They say: Campbell Brothers offer knowledge and experience through over 100 years working as butchers striving for butchery excellence and expanding into fish & seafood and produce to offer a full range of ingredients to professional kitchens throughout Scotland and North England. Despite the changing times and developments in technology and hi-tec production processes, Campbell Brothers have maintained their traditional values of quality product with a quality service.

Campbell brothers work with Copas Turkeys. http://www.copasturkeys.co.uk and Copas Turkeys supplied all the Turkeys at the show. As a chef I am lucky that I get to work with fantastic suppliers and I can honestly say Copas Turkeys are the best I have EVER tasted. FACT: Copas Turkeys are loved by some of Britain’s best butchers, farm shops, delis and food halls as well as a loyal following of home delivery and farm gate customers. Christmas is truly a day of celebration, relaxation and gaiety which is why, over the last fifty years, we have dedicated each year to producing the finest award winning turkeys in the land, just for Christmas.

 

The Turkeys are a wonderful flavour. Succulent, juicy and full of Christmas joy

The Turkeys are a wonderful flavour. Succulent, juicy and full of Christmas joy

 

Wonderful Copas Turkeys

Wonderful Copas Turkeys

 

We don’t get to see everyone at Christmas and I like to host few ‘Christmas dinners’ before the big day. The one thing I have learned is PREPARATION IS KEY. I made my herb butter two days in advance. I use the herb butter under the skin of the turkey as well as on top. 

Herb Butter:

250g salted butter

Handful sage, chopped

Handful Thyme, Chopped

100g Chopped dried cranberries ( soak in port for 24 hours )

Zest of three clementine

Seasoning

 

Squish and squelch all the ingredients together with your hands. Leave in the fridge but take it out the night before you are going to use it. I put it in the microwave for 20 seconds to soften it. You need it to be soft so you can smear it under the skin. I still had a few lumps in mine but that’s fine. When removing the skin from the breast I use a table spoon to gently ease it away. You may need to make a small incision with a knife to start.

 Halve an onion, apple and clementine and place in the cavity of the Copas Turkey 

 

The herb butter has been smooched under the skin

The herb butter has been smooched under the skin

I then use a lot of foil as I like to make an airtight parcel. Lay the seasoned Copas Turkey on sliced Onion, parsnip, garlic, carrots and potatoes. Add 400ml of white wine or chicken stock.

 

Season and wrapped up

Season and wrapped up

If you have a Copas Turkey you will be sent a pop up cooking timer. Insert your pop-up cooking timer at a point approx 3cm to the right or left of the front tip of the breastbone. The timer should not
touch any bone.

Follow the Copas Turkey PREPARATION tips 

pre-heat the oven to 230°C/450°F/Gas 8 (or 210°C for fan ovens). Cook your turkey at this temperature for the first 30 mins & then lower the oven temperature to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5 (or 170°C for fan ovens). Total cooking time will be approximately 30-35 mins per kg.
Weight Full Cooking Time Weight Full Cooking Time
2kg 1hr 15mins 7kg 3hr 40mins
3kg 1hr 45mins 8kg 4hrs
4kg 2hr 35mins 9kg 4hr 25mins
5kg 2hr 55mins 10kg 4hr 45mins
6kg 3hr 15mins 11kg 5hrs
Do not overcook your turkey – it should be moist & succulent. It will be ready when the juices run clear when tested with a fork (plunge into the deepest part of the thigh or breast), or when your pop-up cooking timer has popped! If using a thermometer, the internal cooked temperature will be 165°F/74°C.

If following my recipe – Approximately 30mins before the full cooking time, remove foil so the breast bronzes. Make sure you allow the turkey to rest.


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The best Brussels Spouts EVER 

I love this recipe and I hope you try it.

 Brussels Spouts puree

300g Boiled until soft

150ml Creme fresh

Pinch of fresh nutmeg

Salt and pepper

Blitz in a food mixer until a smooth puree is formed.

Brussels Sprouts & Chestnuts

300g Shredded brussels sprouts

100g Vacuum packed chestnuts, crumbled

100g Pancetta

Directions

Bring a large saucepan of waterloo the boiling add the shredded sprouts. Boil for five minutes android.

In a large frying pan, fry the pancetta until crispy. Add in the sprouts and chestnuts. Fry for five minutes whilst constantly stirring.

To Serve on warmed plate:

Drop and drag a large tablespoon of the puree then sprinkle on the brussels sprouts mixture.

 

 

 

I love this recipe

I love this recipe

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With Chestnuts

 

I like to roast my carrots and parsnips in a little olive oil and maple syrup. It really brings out the sweetness

 

I add a little Maple syrup and olive oil

I add a little Maple syrup and olive oil

 

I made the stuffing a few weeks before and froze it. It was delicious!!!

Stuffing:

400g Pork sausage meat

150g pancetta, fried

150g Chestnuts, tinned or vacum packed

Fresh sage, handful chopped

Fresh thyme, handful chopped

100g Port soaked cranberries

150g Mixed nuts, toasted 

Directions:

Mix all of the ingredients together and either roll into ball or put into a baking dish. You can freeze or bake on 170c for 4o minutes.

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I set the table with a few silvery decorations. It looked very Christmassy. 

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The sausage in blankets, bread sauce and gravy I bought. Don’t judge. They all tasted great and I did add the cooking juices to the gravy. The roasties were home made with duck fat. Super crispy and fluffy on the inside.

 

The Trifle 

 

 

 

 

The best Christmas trifle ever

The best Christmas trifle ever

 

Clementine prosecco trifle

Clementine prosecco trifle

The trifle does take a while to make but is worth it. Once a year you can pull all the stops out!

Profiteroles 

Line a baking  tray

Pre heat the oven to 200c 

Choux Pastry for the profiteroles:

60g plain flour, on parchment paper 

150ml water

50g butter

2 eggs, beaten

Directions:

Heat the water and butter until the butter melts. Do not boil as the water will evaporate. 

Turn off the heat and add in the flour. Quickly and firmly beat in the flour until a dough is formed and it comes away from the sides.

Beat in the egg a bit at a time ensuring it is fully incorporated before you add more. The paste should glossy.

Sprinkle a touch of water onto the lined baking tray. This will help create steam. Pipe onto a lined baking tray ensuring an 1 1/2 space between each profiteroles. 

Bake for five minutes at 200c and then turn down to 180 oc for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Remove from the oven and make a small hole in the back of each profiterole. Allow to cool and dry out.

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Filling 

300ml Whipping cream

Vanilla pod, de seeded 

Directions:

Whisk together the cream and vanilla seeds until soft peaks are formed. Pipe into the profiteroles. Line the bottom of the trifle dish.

Creme Patisserie with orange oil

4 Egg yolks

125g caster sugar

45g cornflour 

300ml full fat milk

200ml double cream 

2 Tsp of orange oil 

I vanilla pod, split lengthways and seeds removed.

Directions :

Gently heat the milk, cream, vanilla and orange oil in a heavy bottomed pan.

In a large bowl whisk together the egg yolk, corn flour and sugar 

When the milk and cream mixture is about to boil take off the heat and slowly pour half the mixture into the egg and sugar mixture stirring constantly. 

When incorporated pour back into the saucepan with the remaining creamed milk mixture. Place on a low heat and stir until thickened. Use a large whisk. 

Transfer back into the large bow and contact cling until cooled.

Once ccooled spread over the profiteroles in the trifle dish.

Place in the fridge.

Two stages complete of the trifle

Two stages complete of the trifle

Prosecco jelly

Bottle of prosecco

5 gelatine leaves

2 tsp of orange oil

Juice of 4 large oranges 

Segments of 4 clementines. Pith removed. 

 

Heat a bottle of prosecco

Heat a bottle of prosecco

 

 

Directions:

Boil the orange juice and then add the gelatine leaves. Stir until dissolved.

Heat a bottle of prosecco in a large pan and add in the orange gelatine 

Add in the orange oil

Allow to cool and slightly thicken

Pour over the creme pat in the trifle dish and add in the clementine segments

Place in the fridge to set overnight.

 

Italian Meringue;

4 egg whites

200g caster sugar

100ml water

Whisk the egg whites until soft peaks are formed

( Whilst whisking) In a heavy bottomed pan heat the sugar and water to 121c.

Gently pour into the margin and whisk until the cooled. The meringue should be glossy.

Pipe onto the jelly and use blow torch to brown slightly

 

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I made simple white chocolate decorations and added edible gold glitter. I use the pump action glitters from The Cake Decoration company http://www.thecakedecoratingcompany.co.uk

 

Please do let me know if you make any of these recipes.

Merry Christmas!

 

Lisa x 

 

@cocoabox TWITTER

@lisamarleychef Instagram

 

PS – We made a delicious Turkey Thai curry with the leftovers 

 

 

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I LOVE chocolate and I Love brownies. They are so easy to make and freeze really well.

Take a look at my new recipe. I think you will find it a hit! If you make the brownies please tweet a photo! @thecocoabox

 

Lisa x

 


Hosting the Super Theatre at the Cake & Bake show

Hosting the Super Theatre at the Cake & Bake show

A good time was had by all at the 2016 Cake & Bake show, London. I met some wonderful people including the Great British Bake Off winner, Nadiya Hussain. I always love working with Eric Lanlard as well as all the talented chefs. We have such a good time. Next stop is Manchester! Email me if you would like a ticket. Info@thecocoabox.co.uk

It is a wonderful day out.  http://www.thecakeandbakeshow.co.uk

 

With the lovely Nadiya Hussian at the Cake & Bake show

With the lovely Nadiya Hussian at the Cake & Bake show

 

Big crowds at the Cake & Bake show

Big crowds at the Cake & Bake show


Today is a very exchange day as I’m taking over the social media account of Weightwatchers UK. I love instagram ( I’m @Lisamarleychef) as so many talented people post beautiful cakes and bakes.

Please do have a look at weightwatchersuk’s Instagrams page.

I’m posting all my favourite things to eat in the day. It’s lovely to work with a fantastic community of people.

 

About to start some baking!

About to start some baking!

 

 

 

Avocado with smoked paprika on toast

Avocado with smoked paprika on toast


1.30 hours of Ashtanga yoga at a barn in the countryside.

1.30 hours of Ashtanga yoga at a barn in the countryside.

St Albans has lots of interesting walks

St Albans has lots of interesting walks

I do love Sundays. Me and the rest of the country. We are all looking for the perfect Sunday, so that can sometimes make it a nightmare. Pubs are so full that we tend to avoid them. However, the urge for a good Sunday roast and a long walk was too strong so I booked a 5pm lunch ( only time I could get at short notice) at  http://www.brunningandprice.co.uk/praewoodarms/ The Prae Wood Arms, in St Albans.  Firstly, I needed to do some Yoga. I go every Sunday to a barn in Hertfordshire where they teach Ashtanga Yoga. I go with my friend ( who also runs baby and mother classes ) Jeri,  http://www.mybabybrain.com/contact/

After Yoga and feeling very Zen, Nathan and I decided to do a two hour walk to try and burn off some of the calories we were about to consume. We parked in the Prae Wood Arms car park and set off.

The Prae Wood Arms

The Prae Wood Arms

It was actually quite hot but the public footpath ( we took the river walk) was beautiful.

Nathan in a field

Nathan in a field

 

St Albans has lots of interesting walks

St Albans has lots of interesting walks

The Old Mill. What a treat to find!

The Old Mill. What a treat to find!

I love bread and cake. No, really, I do… So this was a thrill to find. Also, I was ready for some sugar at this point. All this lovely fresh bread, made with flour from the mill.

Bread found at the mill.

Bread found at the mill.

You can walk around the mill. You get an information sheets and it gives you a bit of background. It's really interesting

You can walk around the mill. You get an information sheets and it gives you a bit of background. It’s really interesting

As they only accepted cash we went for a bit of bread pudding. 50p! Yes, 50p!! and so delicious

Delicious Bread Pudding and only 50p

Delicious Bread Pudding and only 50p

So, I would say if you are near St Albans, please do visit! http://www.redbournburymill.co.uk

We took a stroll back to the pub and had a fantastic Sunday Lunch. Yes, it was very busy but they have quite a few dining areas. The staff are supper friendly. Service was a bit slow but everything, when it arrived was worth the wait. Good prices for such lovely surroundings. It has fresh ales and a good wine list. I would go back.

A hearty roast beef dinner ( well, lunch)

A hearty roast beef dinner ( well, lunch)

 

My starter was a winner, simple but really good. Asparagus and crispy egg.

My starter was quite delicious

My starter was quite delicious

A waffle with toffee sauce ( we shared this, honest )

A waffle with toffee sauce
( we shared this, honest )

All in all a lovely Sunday.


Jul
22
A food lovers dream - Barcelona

A food lovers dream – Barcelona

AVECI HOTEL

The roof top pool and the Acevi hotel, Barcelona

I was pretty excited to be going to Barcelona for three days. I’ve never been and I had heard good things. http://www.ba.com were offering great deals on return flights from Gatwick, £140 return for two. I also found a great hotel on http://www.booking.com For three nights it worked out at £297. Yes, you can get cheaper but this was a lovely hotel with a swimming pool.   The deal didn’t include breakfast but to be honest I hate Buffett style eating and I like the freedom of trying new places everyday. The brilliant thing is, you can get a queso y jamón rollo, café fuerte (ham and cheese roll and a strong coffee) for three euro. It’s a great breakfast. the bread is fresh, the ham is off the bone and the cheese is delicious. Like most cities, you can spend as much or as little as your budget will allow.

 

TIP: If you don’t want to spend 100 euro on a round trip in a taxi from the airport, take the airport bus for five euro. It runs every 15 minutes, has zircon and is a great service. We did it ( & believe me, we are normally the ‘jump in a cab’ type of people) and it was perfect.

 

We were staying in the Eixample area of Barcelona. A fifteen minute walk from plaza catalunia. It’s a great area. Not as busy as central or old town Barcelona. Lot’s of amazing Tapas bars. We walked EVERYWHERE.

TIP: It might be best to avoid going in July. It was SO HOT. Walking all over a hot city had it’s challenges. However, we were determined to make the most of it, so we soaked up as much as we could.

BEST TAPAS IN EIXAMPLE AREA :

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The best prawns in Barcelona

The best prawns in Barcelona

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Tender meat with baked cheese on fresh, soft bread. SO GOOD

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Patatas Bravas at Cerveseria Catalana

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would also HIGHLY recommend     http://latavernadelclinic.com/eng/index.php

La Taverna del Clinic rossello, 155 – 08036 BCN

I can honestly say the service and food were outstanding. We had one of the best meals EVER. Please do try to go if you are ever in Barcelona. I am sorry to say the photographs aren’t as good as I would’ve liked, I didn’t want to use my flash.

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Look at the beautiful presentation

You can see the chefs working. They are artists

You can see the chefs working. They are artists

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The lobster was tender, tasty and perfect

 

Tuna belly.

Tuna belly.

Natalia recommend a wine for us. As you can see, it was perfect.

White wine chosen by Natalia

White wine chosen by Natalia

I started with a glass of Cava. The Cava in Barcelona is nothing like the Cave I have tired in the UK. I can honestly say, it’s the best Cava I have ever tried. Better than any Champagne ( albeit in my limited experience)

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Just walking around, trying out bars and cafes, we really got a sense of the city. We are huge food and wine lovers that we couldn’t wait for lunch and dinner. Seeing all the sights was a great way to work up an appetite.

Are Wales winning?

Are Wales winning?

My top sights to see:

  1. Palau de la Musica Catalana http://www.palaumusica.cat/ca/
  2. Casa Ballto https://www.casabatllo.es/en/
  3. Tapas in Eixample area
  4. The Food market http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/en/tour/barcelona-city-centre/guide-la-boqueria-barcelona.html
  5. The Sagrada Familia http://www.sagradafamilia.org/en/
  6. La Taverna del Clinic http://latavernadelclinic.com/eng/index.php
  7. http://www.barcelona-tourist-guide.com/en/tour/barcelona-city-centre/guide-la-boqueria-barcelona.html

  8. La Boqueria - I could move to Barcelona just of this

    La Boqueria – I could move to Barcelona just of this

  9. Delicious Tapas in Exiample

    Delicious Tapas in Eixample

  10. https://www.casabatllo.es/en/

    https://www.casabatllo.es/en/

Palau de la Musica Catalana

Palau de la Musica Catalana


In between recipe developing, whilst sat at my computer I love looking at different hotel offers. If you are flexible with your time (as we are, self employed, work most weekends etc) you can find some great deals.

The Hotel Du Vin hotels are beautifully decorated and we always get a warm welcome. We decided to take advantage of the settle in Sunday offer. Starting at £25 the deal is if you spend £75 or more in the bistro you get a room for £25 plus.

They say ‘Nestled in a valley in the Chilterns, you’ll find the delightful 12th century market town of Henley-on-Thames. And on the banks of the Thames itself, with the river gliding slowly by, you’ll find our Henley-on-Thames hotel. Behind the classic Georgian façade of this old brewery, you’ll find a typically warm Hotel du Vin welcome – a tranquil haven to moor the soul. A world-renowned centre of rowing thanks to the Royal Regatta, Henley has quaint architecture, quirky independent shops, and a peppering of museums and galleries. While the annual Festival of Music and Arts is always a cultural treat.’

It’s my good friend, Miceal Murphy’s birthday and as a birthday treat I have booked tickets for us to go to the Henley festival. As I’ve not been to Henley before, Nathan and I thought we would take a Sunday drive and have a look around. It’s only an hours drive from where we live ( traffic permitting) so within no time we were wandering around the pretty village. As ever, we stopped for a sharing board at Cote. Good value and delicious.

Address: New Street , Henley-On-Thames, RG9 2BP

Telephone:  01491877579
Email:  info.henley@hotelduvin.com
Utterly delish!

Utterly delish!

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I found this white house. I think I could live here. It was hidden away but I spotted it.

Lots of people enjoying the sunshine

Lots of people enjoying the sunshine

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We love a pretty vista

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Henley has a shop dedicated to Teddy Bears. This one was my favourite. What a cutie!

Henley is getting ready for the Royal Regatta

Henley is getting ready for the Royal Regatta

 

 

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After walking around for a few hours we decided to check in to the hotel. Hotel Du Vin really have got it nailed with the decor. It has a luxurious, opulent feel but also quite sturdy and comforting. We were upgrading to a superior room and it was beautiful. Huge, with a stand alone bath, air con, shower, mini bar, snacks, wifi. TV, Massive bed, dressing gowns.. I could go on!

 

Our lovely room at Hotel Du Vin, Henley on Thames

Our lovely room at Hotel Du Vin, Henley on Thames

Dinner didn’t disappoint. We ate at 6pm and the bistro was half full. It had a buzzy atmosphere but not loud.

We ordered fougasse to soak up the vino. In French cuisine, fougasse is a type of bread typically associated with Provence but found in other regions. Some versions are sculpted or slashed into a pattern resembling an ear of wheat

In French cuisine, fougasse is a type of bread typically associated with Provence but found in other regions. Some versions are sculpted or slashed into a pattern resembling an ear of wheat

In French cuisine, fougasse is a type of bread typically associated with Provence but found in other regions. Some versions are sculpted or slashed into a pattern resembling an ear of wheat

Nathans starter. Tender and melt in the mouth

Nathan’s starter. Tender and melt in the mouth

Carpaccio (UK /kɑːrˈpætʃioʊ/ or US /kɑːrˈpɑːtʃⁱoʊ/; Italian pronunciation: [karˈpattʃo]) is a dish of raw meat or fish (such as beef, veal, venison, salmon or tuna), thinly sliced or pounded thin and served mainly as an appetizer.

I enjoyed the walnut brioche muffin with pate. It was excellent.

Brioche is a pastry of French origin that is similar to a highly enriched bread, and whose high egg and butter content give it a rich and tender crumb

Brioche is a pastry of French origin that is similar to a highly enriched bread, and whose high egg and butter content give it a rich and tender crumb

My main was the braised lamb and Nathan went for the pork belly. TBH I preferred our starters but maybe we were so full by the time our mains came (We can’t resist warm bread )

Braised lamb with peas and carrots

Braised lamb with peas and carrots

Nathan's main - Pork belly and a creamy mash

Nathan’s main – Pork belly and a creamy mash

Here we are being slightly merry and very full!

Enjoying a lovely get away at Hotel Du Vin, Henley-On-Thames

Enjoying a lovely get away at Hotel Du Vin, Henley-On-Thames

I look forward to going back for the festival in a few weeks time.

 

Lisa x