Bilby Bites - the food blog from Bilby Marketing

Lamb Meatball & Egg Tagine

Saveur magazine has been a bit of an inspiration for me recently. I'm on their mailing list and regularly receive suggestions for 'simple' weeknight meals often showcasing unusual, world cuisine. This kefta recipe was on a recent newsletter. Whilst I think it might be bit of a stretch to describe this recipe as 'simple' in terms of weeknight cooking, it is very, very tasty and quite fun to put together on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon. I find making meatballs is quite therapeutic. What I love…

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Chorizo & Barley Soup

Warming soup with Emma's Bread

A couple of years ago, I took up a subscription to Saveur magazine, a US food publication that has been running since 1994. I have since let my subscription lapse, but I continue to get their e-newsletters and it keeps me posted on what food trends are happening in the States. Some of their recipes are a little intense with lists of ingredients as long as my arm and methods to match. The ingredients are sometimes a little obscure making it unrealistic for day to day cooking, but they are often…

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Strawberry Meringue Cake

Strawberry Meringue Cake

Meringue to me is the absolute crème de la crème of dessert ingredients. When you throw in fresh strawberries as this recipe does, well let's just say I'm extraordinarily happy. When I first came to the UK, I didn't understand the immediate need to check a dessert menu that so many Brits seemed to feel. I often met people who may not have removed their jackets or sat down in a restaurant, but they already knew what they were ordering for pud. I haven't fully joined this sweet obsessed group,…

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Chocolate and Banana Cake

Chocolate and Banana Cake

Now those of you out there that are a bit switched on, may have already noticed that I have posted a chocolate and banana mini loaf cake recipe previously, but I just couldn't resist getting this one to you as it differs quite a bit. I found it on the BBC Good Food recipe site and loved the idea of using sunflower oil as well as the addition of the beaten egg whites. A moist,…

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American Pancakes

Raspberry & maple syrup American style pancakes

When I was 17 years of age - oh, so long ago now - I had a weekend job at a department store and every Saturday when I had finished my 4 hour shift I had to pass both a café that specialised in pancakes, as well as a doughnut shop, on my way home. The café may have been called the Pancake House, but I'm not sure and I believe there is still a doughnut shop in the same place. The mixed aromas played havoc with my self-control and I would inevitably end up stopping for either a pancake or a doughnut.…

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Soft Gingerbread Cookies

A Pile of Christmas Biscuits

It's Christmas time! Well, it was last week. The time to eat, drink and be merry, or ... get excited about cooking and cram in as many complicated recipes into the days surrounding Christmas that you are so far from merry it's painful. On Christmas Eve I had planned to make these lovely gingerbread cookies, decorate them and make a Yule log with various household chores squeezed in between. I went to bed that night more exhausted than I think I have done on any Christmas Eve for the past 10 years.…

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Riverford Plum Upside Down Cake

Plum Upside Down Cake in all it's glory

For the past 5 years we have been buying a fruit and veg box from Riverford Organic and every week with the delivery they enclose a lovely newsletter with recipe ideas. Most of the time I just read over these, making approving noises, but rarely do I find time to actually make anything. Not so last week. I read over a recipe for Apple Upside Down Cake which looked easy and yummy. At the bottom of the recipe the line that clinched…

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Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie

Key Lime Pie has been on my 'must do' list for some time and I finally got my act together to make it a couple of weeks ago. I see ready made versions pop up in various supermarkets every once in a while, but it isn't a staple dessert in the UK like cheesecake, lemon tart, apple pie et al so you can't really cheat and buy one easily. In trawling the internet - well, searching on Google and hitting 'go' - the usual 3 million results came back, but it was Delia that grabbed my attention. Whenever…

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Raspberry & White Chocolate Cookies

Fresh raspberries

What can be better than a lovely, chewy cookie for morning or afternoon tea? American style of course. I've discovered about myself in recent years, that I don't really like very crunchy food. That may make me sound like an overgrown child, but so be it. For me the soft centre of freshly baked bread is the best bit; not the hard, crunchy exterior. I'm not a fan of hard granola bars or seeds - it seems like a lot of effort for not much reward. So, whilst I like a biscuit every now and again, I've…

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Poached Egg & Soda Bread

Beautiful poached egg yolk

The humble poached egg ... so simple and yet so tricky! In many ways, I'm a lazy cook. I like recipes that take a maximum of half an hour to an hour to prepare and so long as they cook by themselves they can take as long as they like after that. Delia Smith, Jamie Oliver and Nigella Lawson are three of my favourite cooks as their recipes are pretty much 'idiot' proof and always come out tasting fantastic. Sometimes though, I like to stretch myself in order to test my culinary boundaries. I have…

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Chocolate Chip Jaffa Muffins

Chocolate chip jaffa muffins

I love the combination of chocolate and orange. OK, it's not ground breaking, but it's a classic. I've always found too much chocolate on it's own to be very cloying so the addition of a tart, fruity element is always appealing. Think raspberry and chocolate or lemon and cream. Perfect. This is yet another yummy recipe from The Australian Women's Weekly cookbook Easy Baking. This is the third I have published and I'm starting to think that the publishers will stop me doing it soon! So far they…

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Lemon Curd Friands

Coffee & friands - a perfect match

Australia has a fabulous food culture. I lived in Sydney for 5 years before I came to the UK and would go out to dinner roughly 2-3 times a week during that time. Whenever I visit friends and family in Sydney now I try to take advantage of the amazing array of restaurants that are all over the city. I read Sydney based food blogs and try to keep up to date with what new restaurants are opening up, but it's hard to stay on top of this, when you are on the other side of the world. I've realised…

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Banana & Chocolate Mini Loaf Cakes

Banana & Dark Choc Mini Loaf Cakes

Whilst I was in Australia I searched high and low for some friand pans that didn't weigh a tonne; silicone would have been ideal. Friand pans were few and far between even in a country where friands are readily available in coffee shops and cafes, so I returned to the UK disappointed, but with a new cookbook containing several friand recipes. Friands, in case you haven't had the pleasure of coming across them, are small, moist oval cakes (almost bite sized) loosely based on French financiers and…

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Jamie’s Lasagne

Jamie Oliver's Lasagne

New Year's Eve has, in the past, been a complete non-event for me. Between the ages of 17 & 21, living in Sydney, I pretty much forced myself to go out and have a good time, like many other people no doubt. After a few years of utter disappointment amongst crowds of drunken people - goodness knows how anybody gets drunk at NYE when queuing for a drink at pubs and clubs takes up most of the evening - I decided that the only way I can enjoy myself is to be with good friends or at home with some…

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Portuguese Custard Tarts

Portuguese Custard Tarts

These cute little numbers are all over the web if you search for them and I've wanted to try making them for a long time, so here they are. This recipe was taken from Not Quite Nigella & slightly adapted, but NQN's original recipe was taken from somebody else so I'm hoping she won't mind me poaching it! They are quite easy to make and taste fantastic. I could even close my eyes and kid myself that I was sitting…

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Mexican Pizza

This recipe has been slightly adapted from Thomasina Miers's Tlayudas (Oaxacan pizzas) in her book Mexican Food Made Simple, which seems to be everywhere you look right now. I've always loved Mexican food, but it can be a tad too unsophisticated in it's fast food form and not that impressive when you are inviting people to dinner. I love fajitas like most people, but I wouldn't make them for guests unless they were very, very close friends or family and I was feeling particularly lazy. My Best…

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Roasted Vegetable Couscous Salad with Harissa-style dressing

Roast Vegetable Couscous Salad with Sweet Potato

Delia Smith has definitely got to be one of my food heroes (heroines if you prefer). When I arrived from Australia in the UK in 1992 I had not heard of Delia, but after a couple of years soaking up the culture and getting used to the different cuisine, I was hooked on her simple and fool-proof recipes. By simple, I definitely don't mean dull. To this day I refer to her website DeliaOnline.com whenever I want to find something different and reliable that isn't going to be ridiculously hard to re-produce.…

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Chicken & Chorizo Cassoulet

Chicken & Chorizo Cassoulet

It was a night like any other in the Bilby household. Having finished a day's work, I was less than enthusiastic about whipping up a meal, but wanted to eat something that made me happy. What a dilemma. I'm the kind of person who keeps a lot of beans, lentils and rice products in their store cupboard thank goodness, and it's on nights like this that I end up reaching for them. This recipe is a result of grabbing things randomly out of the fridge and drawers. I'm never quite sure what to do with…

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Spicy Sausage & Creamy Lemon Penne

Spicy Sausage & Creamy Lemon Penne

My favourite food magazine has always been Waitrose Food Illustrated (now Waitrose Kitchen). Any publication that wins awards for it's typography is OK by me. I have a background in typesetting so I'm partial to a decent bit of text layout and design. Over the years I have collected many of these magazines and the recipes are always beautifully presented and fairly easy to prepare. So, back to the food. This recipe combines a host of wonderful flavours including sausage, lemon, cream, Parmesan…

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Moroccan Chicken Pie

Moroccan pie straight from the oven

Cast your mind back to good ole February 2005 - over 5 years ago now. I can't quite remember what I was doing, but I know that I picked up a wonderful recipe card for Moroccan Chicken Pie from Waitrose that month, because I still have it now. I have always loved Moroccan food. It comes a very close 3rd behind Italian and Thai as my favourite cuisine. I have also always loved pies. There can be no better combination than the two of these for me. Some pies can be a little heavy so they are often…

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Chocolate Raspberry Brownies

Chocolate & Raspberry Brownies

Having just got back from Australia I am full of the joys of food. Whilst away I bought my BFF (Best Food Friend) a fabulous cookbook from the Women's Weekly range called Easy Baking. Women's Weekly cookbooks have been around forever and a day so I'm very familiar with them, but they have given their books a design overhaul in the last few years and they now look great. More Nigella, then Mrs Beeton shall we say. This one is full of slightly different recipes to those you might find in UK baking…

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Roast Duckling with Mushroom Risotto

Duck Risotto aerial view

Michael Caines is a West Country food legend - a 2 star Michelin chef who has an immaculate pedigree when it comes to producing very classy food. He is Executive Chef at both the Gidleigh Park Hotel and sister establishment the Bath Priory, as well as co-ordinating his eponymous restaurants at the Abode Hotels located in Exeter, Manchester, Glasgow and Canterbury. I came across this recipe in a booklet produced by Michael Caines Restaurants many years ago. It appealed because I think that a recipe…

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Warm Jersey Royal Potato Salad

Taken from a Waitrose Quick and Easy recipe card, this is a wonderful summer salad that is full of flavour and wonderful ingredients such as lardons, asparagus and of course, Jersey Royals. It's quite healthy, but doesn't leave you wishing you had eaten a burger with it. It's perfect for lunch, but if you aren't feeling up to preparing an extravagant dinner it will most certainly do as a treat for two!

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Chillies stuffed with Mushrooms & Spinach

Way back in February 1998 I came across this Nigel Slater recipe in the Sainsbury's Magazine. I have made this a few times and it is just the ticket for a cold winter evening. The spices and coconut milk give it a wonderful exotic Thai feel, but the large, mild Anaheim chillies are not very hot, so you can control the heat by reducing the amount of crushed chillies that Nigel suggests.

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Pork Belly Casserole

Just before Christmas my good friend JG gave me a book called The Green Kitchen, by Richard Ehrlich. Richard writes a regular column for The Times by the same name. The book offers techniques and recipes for cutting energy use, saving money and reducing waste in the kitchen. It also contains quite a few recipes, my current favourite being the Pork Belly Casserole. Pork Belly is not exactly the leanest of meat, but it makes for a fantastic winter warmer and the flavours are great.

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Sausage and Puy Lentil Casserole

Sausage & Puy Lentil Casserole

Who on earth doesn't like sausages? They are a serious weakness of mine. I know that some people have a problem with the horrid pink 'sausages' that contain very little meat and that is absolutely understandable, but with most good butchers and supermarkets now selling their own good quality sausages there is no reason not to give them a second chance. This recipe came from the Sainsbury's Magazine some years ago. I've made it on countless occasions and it never let's me down.

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Blueberry Trifle

Back in August 2005, I picked this recipe up in Waitrose. Primarily I was drawn to the preparation time which is 15 minutes - this will always turn my head. It is a bit of a cheat, but I think this is a huge positive. Don't think because it is simple it won't be delicious. This is a great Christmas alternative to traditional pud as it doesn't take long and relieves a little bit of the panic on the day.

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Spiced Coconut Lamb with Coriander

Taken from the Sainsbury's Magazine back in December 1999, this recipe is relatively easy to put together. The spices are subtle, making it mild, but still very tasty. I have made this on several occasions and enjoyed it every time.

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Gammon with Mustard Dill Sauce

Gammon Steaks with Mustard Sauce for 2

I am a massive ham fan, be that gammon, pancetta, bacon or any other variety. Back in February 1996, this little gem crossed my path in the Sainsbury's Magazine. I have made this time and time again, in fact just last night, and it is incredibly easy - yet another perfect mid-week meal. Serve this up with boiled baby new potatoes and salad.

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BBQ Chicken with Maple Syrup

This is a Delia Smith recipe that I have been cooking for the last 12 years. It was published in the 1997 Delia Smith Comic Relief Red Nose Collection of recipes and I instantly loved the sound of it. Anything that has maple syrup in it has got to be good. It is also in her Delia Smith: The Collection book so I'm sure that quite a few of you already know about it. It's a pretty straightforward meal that works any time of the year with rice, salad or vegetables.

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Cranachan with Raspberries

Cranachan is a traditional Scottish dessert, which I discovered for myself back in 2002. Obviously millions of Scots will be chuckling at my late introduction, but in case you haven't come across it yourself as yet, it's simple, special and definitely worth having a go at. I have made this whilst on holiday in a castle outside of Campbelltown for a party of about 15 as well as for a large wedding party and both times it went down a treat. It's an easy one for large groups. This recipe serves a…

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Lamb & Bacon Burgers with Curry Sauce

Nigel Slater is the man that needs to take the credit for this recipe. I found it in the Sainsburys Magazine in August 1997 and it was a firm favourite for a long time. This can work as a small, mid-week meal or a weekend feast as it isn't overly complicated to put together. It is spicy enough to be interesting, but not too much for those that like their food relatively simple.

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Schroeder’s German Red Cabbage

Schroeder's German Red Cabbage is a recipe I picked up out of the American cookbook of a friend. It is a recipe she would cook regularly around Christmas time and I loved it so much I had to have it. There is a German restaurant in San Francisco called Schroeders and I believe that this is their recipe. Anyway, this is great served with mashed potato and just about any meat you can think of although ham is my personal favourite.

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Pumpkin Filo Pie

The origins of this recipe are completely unknown to me now. Like most cooks I have recipes dotted all over the house, written in notebooks, shoved into folders and loose in drawers. I remember this to be a fantastic recipe with lots of my favourite flavours - cumin, goats cheese, sage and walnuts with a kick of chilli. To top it off it's very easy so makes a great mid-week meal that tastes special enough to feel like a treat.

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Greek Style Kohlrabi

I began looking for Kohlrabi recipes on the internet when I had my first one in a veg box about 3 years ago. I had no idea what to do with it so desperately needed some help. I apologise for not remembering where I found this, as I can't give credit where it is due, but I hope you enjoy it. The combination of fresh pears, dates and feta cheese is perfect.

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Festive Christmas Ham

I have been cooking this ham for nearly 10 years now and I still love it - I guess if you keep something special and only do it once a year you don't lose the magic. The glaze melts down into the Marsala and apricot sauce and the whole thing tastes incredible. I have to say a big thank you to Antony Worrall Thompson for this as it is a Christmas staple that I just can't do without.

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Beef and Ale Casserole

This is a wonderful winter dish that is fabulous served with creamy mashed potato and, if you are that way inclined which I am, a glass of red wine. It's not flashy or up to the minute, but more a traditional, cosy and reliable favourite that should go down a treat with good friends.

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Cantuccini Biscotti

Cantuccini Biscotti

My partner JC had got his hands on a brand new Gaggia Classic coffee machine and was seriously perfecting his Americanos and lattes, so I felt it only right that I find a decent biscotti recipe to complement said brew. This one is from chef Jim Fisher who runs cooking classes in the Dordogne. It worked well the first time and hasn't let me down since. I get very positive comments every time I dish them out.

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