Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Blueberry Cake

Oven: 180 deg. C : 350 deg.F - approx. 35 mins (or longer)
3/4 cup of sugar
1/4 cup of softened butter
1 large egg
1/2 cup of milk
2 cups of Plain flour
2 tsps. baking powder*
1/2 tsp. salt
2 cups of Blueberries - more or less :)

1/2 cup of sugar
1/3 cup of flour
2 tsps. cinnamon
1/4 cup of softened butter

1. Mix together the sugar, butter, egg, milk, flour, baking powder and salt.
2. Fold in the Blueberries
3. Pour the mixture into a 9 x 13" or 8 x 11" baking dish (loaf shape tin is good too)
4. Mix the topping ingredients together and crumble over the cake batter.
5. Place in the oven and cook for the 35 mins - check the cake with a skewer to see whether it is cooked through. The original recipe said 35 mins but I baked mine for longer.

* This American recipe originally came from www.madetobeamomma.com/category/recipes
and is called "Blueberry Buckle" - I have tweaked it slightly, and in fact had a little accident when I was making it!   .........
After it had been in the oven for a few minutes, I realised I hadn't added the baking powder!  I 'speedily' managed to scoop out the batter into a bowl, added the baking powder - mixed it together again, (gently), and stuck it back in the oven!  Unfortunately the topping got mixed into the batter as well, but the cake turned out beautifully!

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Quiche/Flan - no pastry required :)

Oven: 180C/ : 160(fan) : (Gas 4) (preheated)
butter for greasing dish
small amount of oil and small knob of butter
3 rashers of streaky bacon - chopped
4 or 5 sliced mushrooms
4 spring onions - trimmed and sliced
250ml evaporated semi-skimmed milk (canned) OR milk and double (thick) cream mixed.
3 large eggs
75g hard cheese - grated

1. Grease a round flan dish - 19-21cm - (not loose bottomed)
2. Dry fry the bacon in a non-stick pan for a couple of minutes. Set aside.
3. Lower the heat, add the oil and butter and saute the mushrooms and onions for a minute or two. Set aside with the bacon.
4. Beat together the evaporated milk and eggs and add the bacon, onions, mushrooms and cheese.*
Season to taste, dont oversalt, as the cheese may be quite salty - - mix well, taste and pour into your greased flan dish.
5. Bake for approximately 20 - 25 mins. until just set and golden.

This is nice eaten cold with a green salad and vinaigrette.

*maybe some fresh breadcrumbs on the base - and of course omit the bacon for a Veggie Quiche.

Monday, 14 July 2014

Marinated Turkey Breast - Ottolenghi recipe

Ingredients: serves 4 - 5 people.
1/2 turkey breast - approx. 1 kg. - (free range if poss.)

1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
125ml. white wine
60ml olive oil
60ml. lemon juice
1 crushed clove of garlic (peeled)
4 tblspns. fresh chopped corriander
4 tblspns. fresh chopped parsley
4 tblspns. fresh chopped mint leaves

1. place all the ingredients - (except the turkey) into a food processor and blend for a minute or so until smooth.
2. Place the turkey into a non-metallic container and pour the marinade over. Make sure the meat is covered with the marinade. Cover and leave in the fridge for 24hrs.

3. Preheat the oven to 220C, remove the turkey from the marinade*, but retain the marinade for later to make the sauce.  Roast the turkey for 15 mins, then reduce the oven temp. to 180C and cook until for approx. another 30/45mins.  Cover with foil when done, leaving it in the oven,  - making sure it is cooked through.

4. *Heat up the turkey marinade, simmer for about 1/4 hr. then reduce the liquid by about half.  Taste and season if necessary.
5. Remove the turkey from the oven and let is rest for about 10mins, then slice thinly and serve with the warm sauce.

If serving cold, leave the meat to cool completely, then slice.  Adjust the seasoning of the sauce once it is cold, and serve the sauce on the side.

This recipe is c/o Yotam Ottolenghi

Monday, 7 July 2014

Leeks with Tomato Vinaigrette - very easy

6-8 leeks (small/medium)

Wash the leeks well, cut in half if large.
Cook them in boiling water for approx. 10 mins - make sure they are nice and soft, otherwise they can be a bit chewy. 
Refresh under cold water, drain, then place them on paper kitchen roll to absorb the excess water.
Using a sharp knife, slice them lengthways and place in a dish.

Tomato Vinaigrette:

2 tablespoons of fresh tomato pulp (skin a large, fresh tomato, then liquidise)
or 1 tblspn. tomato puree diluted with 1 tablespoon of water
2 tablespoons of red wine vinegar or cider vinegar+tablespoon of honey
4-5 tablespoons of oil
salt, pepper to taste

Liquidise all these ingredients together so you have a nice smooth sauce.
Taste and adjust seasoning if necessary ..... do be careful when tasting, in case you have too much vinegar!

Carefully spoon the vinaigrette over the leeks, while still warm.

These leeks can also be served hot - very nice.
and are lovely served with cold meat, chicken or fish, and also as part of a buffet table.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Ice Cream - Vintage American Recipe from 1914

Chocolate Ice Cream* (American recipe from 1914)
1 pt (575 ml)  cream ..... (presume this is double cream)
1 pt milk
6 eggs
5 ozs. (approx. 130g.) chocolate
3/4 lb.  (280g approx.) sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon extract

1. "Melt the chocolate, adding the cinnamon extract. Cook the custard."
2. Custard: 
    Warm the cream and milk through
    Beat eggs and sugar together
    Pour the milk slowly, onto the chocolate, eggs and sugar, stirring, and bring gently to the boil - 
    constantly stirring until the custard thickens.

3. "Cool/chill the custard and freeze".
4. "Pour the chilled cream into the freezer.  Place the freezer in the pail and pack with ice nearly to the top.  Sprinkle coarse salt uniformly on the ice as you pack it into the bucket.  Cover and fasten the can and turn it slowly until it becomes difficult to turn.
Open the can and remove the dasher."
5. "Scrape the cream from the sides of the can.  Mix until smooth, close the can and drain off the brine.  Add fresh ice and salt, covering the entire can.  Wrap a blanket around the freezer and let is stand two hours".

In very hot weather renew the salt and ice three times and keep the blanket cold and wet with the brine from the freezer"

*Think making ice cream today could be a mite easier! :) - but the recipe looks good.

Sunday, 29 June 2014

American Pancakes

Ingredients: batter is best made in advance*
Dry ingredients:
1 cup of plain flour (cake flour)
1 tsp. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 tsp. baking powder

Wet ingredients:
1 beaten egg added to
1 cup of buttermilk (or yogurt and milk) and
1-2 tablspns. melted butter

1. Sift all the dry ingredients together in a large bowl
2.  Add the wet ingredients and mix well, but dont overbeat.

I left my batter in the fridge overnight, covered, but dont think it's necessary to leave it this long - probably *anywhere from 3-6 hrs. is ok.  If the mixture looks a little too thick, you can add some milk.

3. Using a large hot frying pan, place carefully in - ladlefuls of batter.

Just heat your frying pan - you dont need to put any extra fat in to fry the pancakes.  
(A non-stick pan is easy.)
Wait until bubbles rise to the surface of the pancake, and making sure the surface is almost dry, loosen around the edges with a flat knife, and carefully turn over with a spatula - cook for another minute or so and remove with a spatula.    

If you manage to have two pans going at once, you can obviously get more done.

The first lot - for some strange reason :) - dont come out as well as the rest of the batch! This seems to be a universally accepted  'rule' with most pancakes!!

These are really easy to make, and are delicious any way, but we like them with streaky bacon, Maple Syrup (and a little lemon juice).

Monday, 23 June 2014

Sponge Cake - small, quick-mix teatime sponge cake

Oven: 160 deg. C, 325 F. - 30 - 40 mins.
4ozs. (1 cup) self-raising flour - sifted with
1 teaspoon of baking powder
4ozs. (1/2 cup) soft margerine
4ozs. (1/2) cup of either caster or demerara sugar
few drops of vanilla essence
2 eggs

Raspberry (or jam of choice) for filling and sifted icing sugar for top

Grease and line a small tin (7" square or 8" round)
Place all the ingredients (except jam and icing sugar!) into a mixing bowl and combine well - dont overbeat.
If the mixture seems a little heavy, mix in a small amount of hot water.

Place in your baking tin, even out a little, and
Bake until firm to the touch, and going lightly golden.  Also the edges will have moved away from the side of the tin, when it's done.

Cool the cake on a wire rack, then slice carefully in half.
Place jam on the base and replace the top.
Add some sifted icing sugar over.
Serve ........... how you fancy.

This is a very easy spongecake, and you can add or fill it with lots of other stuff :)

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

White Gazpacho Soup (cold summer soup)

  • Ingredients:
    250g (9 ozs.) whole blanched almonds
    500 ml. (18fl.ozs) iced water, chicken or vegetable stock
    80g. (3ozs.) white bread - crustless and cubed
    2 cloves of garlic - roughly chopped
    50ml. (2 fl.ozs) olive oil
    50ml. (2fl.ozs) sherry vinegar
    salt and ground black pepper
    150g (5ozs.) golden raisins and/or chopped chives/slivered almonds/grape slices

    1. Place almonds into your food processor and blend until very fine.
    2. Add 50ml. of the water and blend to a paste.
    3. Add the bread and garlic and blend again.
    4. With the motor running, gradually add the remaining water, then gradually add the olive oil.
    5. Add the sherry vinegar and season to taste.
    6. Serve sprinkling a few raisins over each bowl. drizzle of olive oil and garnishes.

    Recipe (slightly tweaked) c/o Simon Rimmer

Monday, 9 June 2014

Chicken Casserole - from vintage Pressure Cooking book

While browsing though some old books, I found this second-hand (vintage) book and there are some really funny recipes in it.  The book was first published in 1948, when pressure cookers first came out, and they must have seemed magic!
There is a recipe in the book for something called "Matelote" which requires 1lb.liver or whale meat! - (not normally found too easily in Waitrose!)

Here's a fairly simple (and normal) Chicken Casserole recipe: (4-6 servings)

1 jointed chicken
3 skinned, deseeded and chopped tomatoes
12 pickling onions - whole
1 clove of crushed garlic
salt and pepper, seasoned flour
1 oz. margerine 
1/4lb. mushrooms
1/2 cup of white wine and 1/2 cup of water

1. Toss the chicken in seasoned flour
2. Melt the fat in cooker and fry the chicken joints until golden brown.
3. Add the mushrooms and brown slightly, the add the tomatoes, onions, garlic, liquids, and pressure cook for 20 mins.
4. Reduce the pressure with cold water and serve.

If you dont own a pressure cooker any more - (I dont) - just fry over the ingredients and either slow cook or bake in oven until done - - - serve with mashed potatoes.  
I would also substitute the margerine for either butter, sunflower or olive oil.

Friday, 30 May 2014

Asparagus - 5 ways of cooking

As Asparagus are in season at the moment (and are delicious) - 
here's a few different ways of preparing them:

1. Grilled:
1 bunch of Asparagus:
Trim the ends (peel if necessary) : heat your grill pan and lightly brush the asparagus with oil : grill for about 4 - 5 mins. until nicely charred - turning them.

2. Microwave:
Place about one pound of asparagus in a microwave-safe dish with 1/4 cup water : Cover and cook on high for 5-7 minutes. (check manufacturer's instructions for timing.)

3. Steaming:
Using a steamer basket above boiling water, or a saucepan containing about 1/2 cup boiling water : add asparagus and cover pan : cook until all pieces are tender, about 6 to 10 minutes

4. Roasting:
Line the asparagus spears side-by-side in a shallow baking dish.
Drizzle olive oil lightly over, adding ground pepper and some salt.
Roast at 180 deg.C (350 deg.F) for 10 - 12 mins. - depending on the thickness of the stalks.
Midway through roasting, shake the pan to roll the asparagus a half-turn.
Remove from the oven when the tips begin to go brown, and cool for a minute or two before serving.

5. Boiling:
Bring a pan of water to the boil, drop the asparagus in with a couple of bayleaves, and boil gently until tender - (to taste.) Depending on the size they could take approx. 4-5 mins or a bit longer - sorry cant be exact. 
Either test with a skewer or just cut a bit off and tast it!  Drain - serve hot or cold.

Simply served hot, + melted butter with crushed garlic added is delicious.
If serving cold, a good mayonaise is also great, and triangles of crustless brown bread and butter!

Storing them:
Wet a paper towel and wrap around bottom of the stalks.
Place in a plastic bag and put them in the coldest part of the fridge - (preferably the  crisper.)
Store for not more than 2 - 4 days.

Thursday, 29 May 2014

Apple and Raisin Cake - small cake and very easy

Oven: 160 deg. C - approx. 45 mins.
4 ozs. (110 g) soft margerine (Olio, Flora or similar - make sure it's ok for baking)
4 ozs. demerara sugar
2 medium eggs
4ozs. self-raising flour
1 sweet apple - peeled, cored and chopped
2 - 3 tablespoons of  raisins
1/2 tsp. vanilla essence
tablespoon or two of plain yogurt, milk or warm water*, if mixture is too thick

1. Cream sugar and fat together.
2. Beat eggs and add them one at a time with a small amount of the flour.  This should stop the mixture from curdling.
3. Add vanilla.  (A few drops of both vanilla and almond essence is also nice.)
4. Dredge the raisins in flour and add both to the mix with the chopped apple.  Stir in, adding either a little milk, yogurt or warm water if the mixture looks a little thick.
5. Grease and flour a smallish cake tin/dish and bake until cooked - test the centre with a skewer.
6. Leave to cool, remove and store in an airtight container.

While it's still warm you can drizzle some Maple Syrup over the top - - yummy.

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Lemony Chicken Burgers - home made

Ingredients and method for Burger  - using a Hand Mincer - 
Makes 2 x 6oz.  Burgers (approx.)
5 or 6 chicken thighs 
Remove bone, any gristle, skin, (discard or freeze for soup stock), Roughly chop chickenmeat - place in mincer using larger holed disc.
Adding grated lemon rind, fresh herb selection - marjoram, rosemary, corriander - (leaves only), salt and black pepper.
You can also use dried herbs if fresh aren't available.
Place chicken mince into a large bowl, add approx. a tablespoon of dried breadcrumbs.
Form into patties.

In another bowl mix together well: *
Lemon juice - 1 lemon (or more)
about a tablespoon of grainy mustard
small amount of olive oil
crushed garlic if wanted
large spring onion chopped
any extra grated lemon rind 
small amount of runny honey or maple syrup - to taste
salt, black pepper
Pour some of this over the burgers before cooking, and keep any left to heat through and pour on top, when serving.

I use an iron griddle pan, preheated but not greased.
Cook the burgers on one side until griddle marks show on the meat, then carefully turn over and cook the other side.  It doesn't matter if it looks slightly charred, as long as the burger is cooked through - (but not overcooked.)

Lovely served with home-made potato salad (Charlotte potatoes are good)  .... and anything else you might fancy!

* this can also be used as a marinade.

Friday, 16 May 2014

Rice Balls & Tomato Sauce

Ingredients for Rice Balls:
4ozs. of cold, cooked white rice ('sticky' is fine)
2 eggs
handful of chopped corriander or parsley
and enough dried breadcrumbs to make a nice 'balling' mix
grated parmesan (to taste)
salt, black pepper, pinch of  chilli flakes (to taste)

Seasoned flour to roll rice balls in before frying
Corn Oil for deep frying

1. Process the above (red) ingredients, plus seasoning together in the food processor until you have a nice mixture that you can roll easily into balls. Taste for seasoning.
2. Roll each ball into the flour - patting off any excess and deep fry until golden.  Drain on kitchen paper.

Ingredients for Quick Tomato Sauce:- made in the Micro
1 can of tomatoes
dried basil and oregano - approx. teaspoon of each - or to taste
little sugar
olive oil
small amount of chopped onion
crushed clove or two of garlic
salt and black pepper
and about a teaspoon of Arrowroot with a little water to add to the sauce - this just takes away the acidity.

1. Place all the ingredients into a micro bowl,  and zap for a good 10 mins - longer is fine. Stir after about 5 mins.
2. Taste for seasoning and while still hot, stir in the slaked Arrowroot.

Serve the rice balls either hot or cold with the tomato sauce - also either hot or cold.

These rice balls are also called Arrangini - Italian Rice Balls - you can also fill them with meat, cheese or veg. before rolling them into balls and frying - they are lovely as a snack, but even nicer in the tomato sauce or using it as a dip.

You can also make them all by hand, so that the rice isn't so squished as when using the food processor, and you dont need to roll them in flour - so there are several different ways of making them - but the basic ingredients are generally the same.

Tuesday, 6 May 2014

Red Onion Pasties and Gravy - easy

While watching Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall the other day - he made some delicious looking Pasties using leftovers.  I had just the right stuff in my fridge! and made a couple of lovely pasties - one with chicken & veg. leftovers and the other with some roasted lamb & veg.

You can make these using any chopped up leftovers, making sure the mix is wetted with some 'gravy', sauce or a little stock. Pile the leftovers into your pastry circles, fold over, seal and bake.
I prefer shortcrust pastry*, which I make using self-raising flour.

I also thought they needed some proper gravy - and made this onion gravy :

4 red onions - dont bother to peel
Olive oil, salt and pepper
knob of butter
some apple juice and a little water
honey  (or Maple Syrup)

1. Drizzle the olive oil and honey over the onions in an ovenproof dish.
2. Add the other ingredients - using enough apple juice and water to cover the bottom of the dish, plus little extra.
3. Roast the onions at about 180/90 deg. C, in their skins, until they are very soft.  (Test with a skewer.)
4. Remove the softest inside parts of the onions and place in your liquidiser, together with the cooking juices.You may need to add some more liquid/juice.
5. Liquidise until smooth, strain, and adjust the seasoning to your taste.
6. This probably wont need thickening, but if it does, use a little slaked arrowroot to the hot gravy.

This really is tasty and easy to make, and will go with lots of other dishes.

* Savoury Shortcrust Pastry - Using a food processor:
8 ozs. self-raising flour
2 ozs, butter and 2 ozs. white veg. lard (Trex)
Few pinches of dried Oregano and Basil, little salt and pepper
2-4 tablespoons of cold water - (more or less depending on your flour!)

Whizz until all the ingredients come together in a 'sort-of' ball.
Chill the pastry for about 20 mins, and roll out on Klingfilm, cut into circles.

Monday, 28 April 2014

Corncakes and Salsa

2.1/2 cups of water
2 cups of Masa Instantanea - precooked yellow maize meal (as above pic.)
salt and pepper to taste
1 small tin of sweetcorn - drained - (if wanted - otherwise make them 'plain')
amount of grated cheese - to own taste (cheddar or similar)
Corn oil for frying

Pour the water into a large bowl and add the maize meal, stir, then add the cheese and sweetcorn.
Stir well to combine, and as you stir, it will thicken.
Leave for about 5-10 mins. and stir again.
It should be a thick enough consistency to be able to roll (a rounded dessertspoonful) into a ball, flatten out a little and fry in hot corn oil.
Don't try and turn them over until one side is done -
when ready, lift around the edges slightly, and turn over using a flat, heat-resistant spatula.
Cook until golden, and drain on kitchen paper.

Ingredients for Salsa:

4 medium tomatoes, seeded and chopped (2 cups)
1 medium red onion, chopped finely (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup chopped green Pepper (1/2 medium)
1/2 cup chopped fresh corriander
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 large jalapeƱo chile, seeded, finely chopped (2 tablespoons)
Mix all the ingredients together in a non-metallic bowl - (glass, pottery)
- refrigerate and leave to 'blend' for a short time.

 Recipe for Sweet Potato Cornbread

Monday, 21 April 2014

Moroccan Chicken Pie with Filo Pastry

Oven: 180 deg. C 
cooking time: 30/35 mins.

Ingredients - serves 8
1 tablspn. olive oil
50g butter - melted
800g Chicken breasts (chunky pieces)
1.1/2 tsps. ground cinnamon
50g raisins
50g pine nuts
500g frozen spinach - defrosted and excess liquid squeezed out
200g filo pastry

1. Preheat oven and place a heavy baking sheet in there to heat.

2. Melt the oil and butter in a frying pan and add the chicken.  Cook for 3 - 4 mins. until opaque.

3. Add the cinnamon, raisins and pine nuts and season and mix well together. 
Remove from the heat and add the Spinach.

4. Brush one filo sheet with more (melted) butter and place inside a springform tin.  Leave the pastry hanging over the edge.  
Continue overlapping the sheets (greased) until only 2 sheets are left.  Keep these unbuttered sheets covered to stop from drying out too much.

5. Pack the chicken filling in the tin and gather the overhanging pastry over the filling.  Brush the remaining two sheets with butter and place these over the top.  Brush the surface with any remaining butter.  Melt a little extra if you run out.

6. Place on the preheated baking tray and bake for 25 - 30 minutes until the pastry is becoming golden.  (Cover with foil if it goes too brown).

Remove from the oven and leave in the tin for about 15 mins. before turning out and slicing (with a serrated knife).
Delicious served either hot or cold.
Serve in wedges with potato salad, tomato and red onion salad.

Recipe from Waitrose.

Friday, 11 April 2014

Potato and Mushroom Croquettes & Sweet Potato Kugel

1. Potato and Mushroom Croquettes
1.1/2 lbs potatoes - (not waxy ones) - peeled and chopped
1 onion - peeled and chopped
1/4 lb. mushrooms (chestnut pref.)
1 tsp. oil
1 tblsp. water
salt/pepper - to taste
1 cup of matzot meal (or cornmeal)
oil for frying (shallow)

1. Boil the potatoes until tender, drain and mash.
2. In a separate pan - pour in the oil and water, heat, and cook the mushrooms for about 3 mins.
3. In a large bowl mix the mashed potatoes, onions and mushrooms, (add the cooking liquid, if any, a little at a time for right consistency), seasonings and meal.
4. Form into croquettes / patties.
5. Fry for about 8 mins on each side.

2. Sweet Potato Kugel- this recipe can also be used as a 'Stuffing'

Oven: 190deg. C
6 small sweet potatoes - peeled and grated (or blitzed in the processor)
3 apples - peeled and grated (or blitzed)
1 cup of raisins
1 cup of matzot meal (or cornmeal)
2 tsps. cinnamon
1 cup of walnuts (optional)
1 cup of fruit juice or water

1. Mix all the ingredients together.
2. Press into a greased baking dish and bake for about 45 mins. until crisp on top.
3. Serve hot or reheated.

Wednesday, 9 April 2014

Cookies (made with oil) - Sephardic Recipe - very easy

Oven: 350 deg.F, 180/deg. C
Ingredients: - makes around 24 bix
5 cups of all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. of baking powder
1.1/2 cups of caster sugar
1 cup of vegetable oil
1 cup of wine
1.1/2 tsps of vanilla essence

1 egg - lightly beaten

1. Combine all the ingredients except the egg, in a large bowl and knead the dough until smooth.
2. Roll out the dough (either on klingfilm or lightly floured surface) to about 3/8" thick.
3. Using a round cookie (biscuit) cutter, cut out rounds and lay them on a lightly greased baking sheet.
4. Using a pastry brush, brush each biscuit with beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.
5. Bake until golden, approximately 20 mins.

Lovely served with tea or coffee.
Store in an air-tight tin.
Recipe taken from: A Pied Noir Cookbook (Chantal Clabrough)

Friday, 4 April 2014

Egg Flan Florentine - 1970s recipe - light lunch or teatime recipe

 This recipe is from 1970s Women's Weekly Magazine
(Popular Cook Book - 30p) !

Oven: 200 deg. C (400 F)
Ingredients: serves 4 - 6
6ozs. plain flour + pinch of salt - sifted together
(I like using self-raising flour, so the pastry case is softer)*
1.1/2 ozs. lard ...........  (use white vegetable fat such as Trex)
1.1/2 ozs. margarine .............  (butter)
Cold water
8ozs. frozen spinach (or fresh spinach of course)
2 ozs. butter
4 hard boiled eggs
1 oz. plain flour
1/2pt. milk
2 ozs. grated cheese

1. Rub the fats into the flour to make breadcrumbs - stir in enough cold water to make a soft dough.
2. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to fit a flan tin.
3. Place dough in your greased flan tin. Prick the base, cover the base with scrunched up foil and bake for approx. 25 mins until pastry is cooked.  (You can remove the foil for a few minutes, just to 'golden' it up.)

3. Cook the spinach (squeeze out excess water) and stir in 1 oz. of butter and spread on the base of the flan case. (I would sprinkle a little cornmeal or semolina on the pastry base before putting in the spinach).
4. Cut the shelled hard boiled eggs in half and lay cut side down on the spinach.

5. Melt the remaining butter, add the flour and slowly adding the milk - making your smooth sauce.
Pour over the eggs so they are covered.
6. Sprinkle the grated cheese on top and chill until required.

You can chill this and/or reheat under the grill - - or in the oven, (190 deg.C / 375 F for 20 mins)

* updated tips

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

Raspberry Frozen Yogurt - very easy - and very delicious....

 I found this recipe in this week's Mail on Sunday YOU Magazine -
 extremely simple and completely delicious :)
Ingredients: - 6-8 servings
4ozs. (125g) frozen (I used fresh) Raspberries
18ozs. (560g.) thick Plain Yogurt
4 tablespoons of Light Agave or Maple Syrup (I used Maple Syrup)
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract

1. Conventional Method:
Place all the ingredients in your Ice Cream maker and churn for 25 mins or until thick enough to freeze.

However - I didn't use an ice cream maker, I just whizzed all the ingredients together in my food processor, poured it into a container and removed it from the freezer every so often and stirred it up well.  Even if it doesn't lose all of the sugar crystals - it still tastes delicious as it melts!  (Will go extremely well as a pud after Mary Berry's roast lamb! :) )

Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Mary Berry's Slow Roast Lamb with Paprika Rub

  • 2.2kg/4.5lb whole shoulder of lamb
  • 3 tbsp Rosemary leaves - picked and finely chopped
  • 2-3 tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 tsp ground Paprika
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 Onions -  sliced
  • 1.2 litres/2 pint Stock
  • 2 tbsp Plain Flour
  • 1 tbsp Redcurrant Jelly
  • Gravy Browning (optional)

    1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7 (200C Fan).

    2. Put the lamb on a board. Mix the rosemary, oil and paprika together and season well with salt and pepper. Rub over the lamb on both sides.

    3. Put the onions and stock into a small roasting tin, put a rack on top then place the lamb on top.
      Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, or until brown then reduce the temperature to 160C/325F/Gas 3 (140C Fan). 
      Cover the lamb with aluminium foil and continue to roast for 3-4 hours, basting from time to time until completely tender and the meat is falling off of the bone.

    4. Remove the foil and place the lamb on a plate to rest while you make the gravy. Skim off the fat into a bowl. Spoon two tablespoons of the fat into a saucepan.

    5. Sieve the roasting juices and softened onion into a measuring jug. Add boiling water to the jug to make up to 570ml/1 pint of liquid. Heat the fat in the saucepan until hot. Add the flour and stir until smooth. Still over the heat, add the roasting juices and whisk until thickened and smooth.

      Add redcurrant jelly and salt and pepper to taste and a little gravy browning if too pale. Serve with the lamb.

      This recipe looks so easy and delicious.

Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Fish Pie - quick 'n easy

forgot to take a photo - so this is not my fish pie pic - but mine looks very much like this one :)
 There probably look like a lot of instructions here, but this dish is pretty easy to make.  
You can completely cheat and use all ready-made/bought in ingredients to make it even quicker.
This dish can be made in advance and kept in the fridge.  
Preferably use the same day as the sauce may separate.
Fresh Salmon - enough for 4
2 pkts. of smoked trout (approx. 4-6 ozs.)
1 pack of prawns - frozen or fresh - amount to your own taste
8ozs. chestnut mushrooms

1pt. milk (full cream milk is nice but not essential)
large knob of butter, and small amount of oil for frying mushrooms
salt and black pepper
few bayleaves - dried or fresh
dried or fresh herbs - oregano, small amount of basil and thyme
Approx. 3 packs (enough for your amount of people) of bought-in mashed potato - (or home -made)
2 tablespoons plain flour
1-2ozs. butter

1. Saute the sliced mushrooms in some oil and a little butter, add a small pinch of thyme - set aside. Reserve the liquid to add to the white sauce*.

2. Place the salmon in a buttered oven-proof dish, pour over the milk, add some knobs of butter, seasoning, and the bayleaves, cover and bake for approx.20 mins.
Baste - if the milk doesn't completely cover the fish.
Oven: 180/190 C.  (The fish can of course be cooked in the micro)

Remove fish from the oven, reserve the milk for the sauce, let it cool, remove the skin from the fish and discard, and put the pieces of fish into another buttered oven-proof serving dish.

3. Cut the prawns into pieces and scatter on top of the salmon - same with the smoked trout and  mushrooms.  Add some dried herbs and season - (salt to taste).

4. Make the *sauce: (in the micro) - stirring frequently -
In a large Pyrex jug (or other) pour 1pt. of milk - (using the milk from poaching the salmon and the mushroom liquid, if there is any) -  adding more milk to make up to a pint, if necessary.
approx. 2 ozs. of butter.
.... mix a small amount of this milk with
2 tablespoons of plain flour, salt and pepper (not too much salt as the trout may be salty) then add the creamy smooth mix to the larger amount of milk.  Stirring it in well.
Zap in the micro. Stir frequently until
The sauce is a nice, 'thickish' consistency - let it cool then pour over the cooled fish mix.

5. Place the mashed potato on top**, dot with some knobs of butter and
bake until the potato starts to colour on the tips, and you can see the sauce is bubbling. (approx. 180/90 C for at least 1/2 hr.)
Turn the heat down slightly while keeping warm.

**You can add grated cheese to the top of the potato, but I dont usually do this.
You can also add some lovely chopped corriander in with the fish.  I prefer this to parsley.

Tuesday, 11 March 2014

Cake Pops - Sweet Treats machine

I made these mini donuts with my Sweet Treats Cake Pop maker - makes 6 at a time.  They are really good and each batch takes 4 minutes.  The recipe for the batter and other mixes are in the leaflet that comes with the machine.

It looks like a toy as it's pink and cute, but I wouldn't advise children using this as it gets extremely hot - (burnt hand to prove it!)  However, I'm sure kids will enjoy making the batter and rolling the mini donuts in cinnamon and sugar :) - and eating them!

PS: have since bought a food syringe to inject 'stuff' into them :)
(eg. jam, chocolate, custard, cream, - endless list!)

Friday, 7 March 2014

Eton Mess Cupcakes and Fairy Cakes

Years ago we used to call these little tea cakes "Fairy Cakes" - and mums would make a batch of them in plain paper cases, and they were as light as a feather.  
Link here for a Chocolate Fairy Cake recipe.  
.... recipes are really easy to make with the kids

Oven: 190 deg. C : (375F) : Gas 5.
Ingredients: Makes about 20 cakes

Fairy Cakes with Sultanas
170g (6ozs) Self Raising FLour
115g (4 ozs) Butter/(Margerine) 
115g (4 ozs) caster or granulated sugar
2 large eggs - beaten
140g (5ozs) dried mixed fruit - or dried fruit of choice .... (I like sultanas)
a little milk if necessary
Paper Cases - laid out on a baking tray or inside bun tins

1.  Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
2. Add the eggs a little at a time - with a spoon of the flour - until well mixed in.
3.  Add the flour (keeping a little back to dredge the dried fruit with), then add in the dried fruit - and excess flour.

4. If the mixture is still a little thick, add some milk until you get a good 'dropping' consistency.  (This means that the mixture should plop off of a metal spoon spoon almost by itself, when you hold a spoonful of it over the bowl  (!) - but dont make it too loose).

5. Divide the mixture evenly into the paper cases and bake in the centre of your oven for approx. 20 mins until lightly golden - or test with a skewer, which should come out clean.

Allow to cool before decorating and eating.

Monday, 3 March 2014

Chicken (Sausage) Roll - easy

Oven: 180/190 deg. C
1 pack (approx.8) chicken sausages (I used Marks & Spencer's)
Remove the skins and discard, and place the sausagemeat in a mixing bowl.
Then ....
1 chopped leek (white part)
2 cloves of garlic - chopped
1 Spring Onion - (peeled) chopped
handful of pinenuts
Saute the above in about a tablespoon of oil and a knob of butter, until the leeks/onions are softened, cool, then add to sausagemeat, with
Handful of chopped fresh corriander
some grated lemon zest (optional)
2 apples - peeled and chopped
Mix together well.

8ozs. Self-raising flour (or Plain Flour + 1 large tsp of baking powder)
1 tsp. dried oregano
1/2 - 1 tsp. dried Basil
Pinch of dried Thyme
4 fl.ozs. Sunflower Oil
Plus enough cold water to make a nice dough - add a couple of tablespoons of water at a time.

Mix all the dough ingredients together (food processor is fine), 
Bring the dough together and roll into a rectangle on a lightly floured surface.  
Grease a flat baking tray, and move the dough carefully on to this.
Place the Filling along the centre of the rectangle, fold in the short side pieces, and bring up the long sides to cover, and pinch together.
Glaze with a beaten egg, and sprinkle some Sesame Seeds on top, if fancied.
Using a skewer, make a few holes in the pastry top, (in a pattern - maybe 3 each side) -

Bake for 1/2 - 3/4 hr. - check to see if nicely browned and you may see the filling bubbling through.
Leave to cool or get cold - I think this is nicer eaten cold.
Serve sliced with mustard and a lovely green dressed salad.

Great for a picnic, or just grazing from the fridge at weekends :)
I wrap mine in greaseproof paper and foil, and it keeps well in the fridge for a good few days.

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Banana Loaf with Golden Syrup

Oven: 180 deg. C
2 or 3 ripe bananas (peeled)
30g (2ozs) Butter
50g. (2ozs) Demerara Sugar (or Barbados)
1 large  egg
75g (3ozs) Golden Syrup (or clear honey)
225g. (8ozs) Self Raising Flour
(large) handful of sultanas (or raisins) 
butter for greasing baking tin.

I made my loaf using my Kenwood - but it can be made in a regular food processor 
or, of course by hand.  Dont overbeat the ingredients.

Grease and flour a loaf tin.

1. In a saucepan, melt the butter, sugar, and golden syrup together, stirring, then leave to cool.
Make sure the sugar has melted and isn't 'grainy'.  Stir it well.

2. Place the bananas into your Kenwood bowl and mash - then beat in the egg.

3. Sift the flour into a separate mixing bowl, adding the raisins or sultanas - mix together.

4. When the butter mixture is cool, add to the bananas and mix together.

5. Fold in the flour/sultanas.

6. Turn into your baking tin and - just tap the tin gently, on to your working surface, to even out the batter - then bake until firm to the touch - approx. 1/2 - 3/4 hr. - just test the centre with a skewer to make sure it's cooked through.  If it is browning too quickly, place a sheet of tin foil over the cake until done.  You can leave this in the tin until it cooled, just loosen the edges using a knife.

When cooled, eat spread with lovely butter (or Maple Syrup) - deelicious

Saturday, 15 February 2014

Apple and Blueberry Crumble with Coconut - easy

This recipe really doesn't need exact measurements of fruit - 
Oven: 180/190 deg. C- 1/2 hr to 3/4 hr should be fine - longer is ok.
Ingredients for the Crumble Mix:
8ozs. flour
4 ozs. butter
2-3 ozs. sugar
1-2 ozs. dessicated coconut

I use my food processor and crumb the butter and flour, and add the sugar and coconut. Mix together and set aside.

2 supermarket-sized packages of Blueberries (approx. 1lb. - more or less) - rinsed
4 - 6 peeled, cored, and chunkily chopped apples - cooking apples or sweet eaters are fine - use less sugar if using sweeter apples
approx. 2 tablespoons of sugar and a little cinnamon - sprinkled over the fruit.
NOTE: If the fruit is sweet - I have made the filling with just the fruit and no extra sugar on it.
Small amount of water (about 1/2" to 1") or apple juice, in the base of the dish - 
(the amount of liquid also depends on how juicy the fruit is, but on average about 1/2" is fine.)

Butter an ovenproof dish and place the fruit inside
Sprinkle some sugar, if using, over the fruit, then the Crumble Mix.
Bake - I've found it is better if not overbaked and although the juice is bubbling through the crumb, the fruit is still fairly whole.

If you have any spare crumble mix - this freezes very well.
 Bake until the juices start to bubble through the crumble mix, and the crumble is beginning to colour.
Serve with pouring cream, custard or Ice Cream

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Beetroot and Orange Salad (Ottolenghi's - slightly adapted)

Ingredients: - serves 2 - 4
4 cooked beetroots (remove hard ends) and cut into nice chunks
2 small oranges - peeled, de-pipped and roughly chopped
1/2 red onion - peeled, 1/4'd and finely sliced
Small amount of Feta
chopped corrander - for sprinkling over before serving

1 tablespoon of preferably fresh Orange Juice - use remaining juice from above oranges plus some extra
1 tablespoon of Honeygar - (cider vinegar and honey ready-mixed)
3 tablespoons Sunflower Oil
Salt and Black Pepper

Place the veggies in a bowl,
add the crumbled Feta,
shake and mix the dressing ingredients together in a (lidded!) jar and pour over the top.


Monday, 3 February 2014

Fruit Loaf - Super and Super Easy

This recipe is almost fat-free - apart from the egg of course, but no other fat is added.
Oven temp: 180 - 190 C. or 325 F.
Time: approx. 45 - 50 mins.
2 cups mixed dried fruit
1 cup brown sugar (you could use half soft brown and half Demerara - or any mix you like really)

1 cup of hot strong black tea
1 tablespoon of Molasses (Black Treacle) - optional but is good.

1 egg - medium or large
2 cups self-raising flour - sifted

Place first 4 ingredients into a bowl, stir well to dissolve sugar and leave (covered) overnight.

The next morning - stir in the beaten egg and sifted flour.
Mix well, pour into a baking tin - leaving at least 2" from the top. This will ensure that the top of the cake doesn't brown too quickly.

Test with skewer to see if cooked after about 1/2 hr. if you have a fan oven.  When cooked through, the loaf should be firm to the touch in the centre.

Cool and eat slices spread with butter and/or jam, - - - - - yum!

This also keeps really well in an air-tight container.

Sunday, 2 February 2014

Indigo Rose - Purple Tomato

This beautiful looking purple/black tomato comes from Oregon
I've bought some seeds - so fingers crossed it turns out as well as above pics :)

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Chicken Pie with Leftovers - very easy

(cute pic - - - - - sorry chick!)
Oven: 180/190 - approx. 45 mins.
your leftover chicken, (skin and bones removed) and cut into bite-size chunks - if making a smaller pie, adjust the amount of sauce poured into the pie, according to the amount of chicken/sausages put in.
3 or 4 sausages - cooked and cut into chunky slices
2 celery stalks (peeled if necessary), thinly sliced
1 onion - peeled and chopped
approx. 8ozs. chestnut mushrooms - quartered - (remove end of stalk if dry)
Some teeny corn on the cobs - sliced or 1/2 cup of sweetcorn.
clove of garlic - peeled and chopped

1/2pt. chicken stock, 1 rounded tablespoon of  plain flour and approx. 1.5 oz. of butter,
(seasoning if needed)  - this sauce is for inside the pie.
- double this amount if you want some extra sauce for pouring when serving.

Block of ready-made Puff Pastry - the rolling-out-type-pastry seems to rise better than the 'sheets'.
1 beaten egg for glazing pastry.
Sunflower or Olive Oil for frying the veg.
Seasoning - if using bought stock cubes or the jellied ones, check for seasoning as they are usually salty.

A. Place the chicken and sausage pieces into an oven proof pie dish.
1. Using approx. a couple of tablespoons of hot oil, saute the celery, onion and garlic until softened and add to the chicken/sausages.

2. Saute the mushrooms and teeny corncobs  (if using) until 'just' done and add to the chicken - with the sweetcorn.

3. Make sauce: Place all the ingredients into a micro jug, zap and stir often until the sauce has thickened. Cool or let this go cold.
Pour over the chicken.

4. Cut a small thin slice of pastry off of the block, and roll, by hand, into a long thin sausage that will fit around your dish.  Brush the dish with eggwash and stick the strip around the dish.
Roll out your pastry to fit the dish, place on top of the 'strip' then trim off any excess. Crimp the edges of the pastry or use a fork to make a pattern and to press the pastry on.
TIP: Roll out pastry on Klingfilm stretched out on to your working surface - very lightly floured  

Make a few skewer holes in the pastry lid and decorate with leftover pastry if wanted.
Brush with beaten egg and bake until beautifully golden and puffed.

This is a pretty adaptable recipe. You can add in anything you fancy really - it can be made in advance and at different stages, but make sure all the ingredients are cold - (eg. cold sauce - not hot - poured over the cooked chicken/sausages).

Apologies for not having a photo, but I didn't think to take one before we ate it!
(It did look lovely! :) )

Saturday, 25 January 2014

Aubergine KuKu - Ottolenghi's - Iranian (Baked Omelette) Recipe

preheat Oven: 190 deg. C
120ml sunflower oil
3 medium onions - peeled and sliced
3 medium aubergines - peeled
5 eggs
2 tblspns plain flour
1.1/2 tsp baking powder
25g parsley, chopped
1 tsp. saffron strand - dissolved in 1 tbl. of hot water
3 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
20g dried barberries
1/2 tsp. salt
black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a heavy based pan and saute the onions over a medium heat, until softened but not browned.
2. Cut the aubergines in two widthways and cut each half into 1cm. thick slices, then each slice into 1cm strips.
Add these to the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for around 10 mins. until the aubergines are completely soft. (Adding little more oil if needed). Set aside to cool.
3. In a large bowl whisk the eggs together with the flour, baking powder, parsley, saffron and its water, garlic, salt and pepper.
Once smooth fold in the barberries and the aubergine and onions.
4. Brush a 22 cm spring form tin with plenty of oil line with greaseproof paper and brush the paper with more oil.
Pour the egg mixture into the tin and bake for 30-40 mins. until golden brown and cooked through - test the centre with a skewer.

Remove from the oven and cool.
Serve warm or room temperature, sprinkled with chopped parsley.
It will keep in the fridge for a couple of days.

Friday, 24 January 2014

Chocolate Biscuits with Marshmallow or Chocolate Cream fillings

Choc Bix before filling :) - they bake slightly darker - my photo came out a little bright!
Ingredients for Bix:
5ozs (75g) butter
5 ozs. caster sugar
2 yolks
9 ozs. (250g) SR Flour
1oz. (25g) cocoa powder  (1 good tablespoon)

In a food processor, process all the above ingredients until blended (almost) together.  Dont over-process the dough.
Knead together, lightly, cover, and leave in fridge for about 20 mins. or longer.

At this stage you can 'sausage roll' the dough in Klingfilm and either keep it in the fridge or freeze it.

When ready to use : either cut very thin slices off the roll and place on a greased baking tray - they dont spread too much when baking.  OR
Roll out on a lightly floured surface and cut into shapes
bake at 190 deg.C for about 10mins.

These are lovely just baked and still warm - they go crispy as they cool.

Marshmallow Filling: - this can also be made in advance.

250ml (9fl oz) double cream
·  55g (2oz) marshmallows
·  250g (9oz) good-quality dark chocolate, chopped

Heat the cream and marshmallows until the cream is just boiling and the marshmallows have melted, stirring continuously ..... The filling can be used as is
Otherwise you can add the chocolate:
Pour over the chopped chocolate and mix gently until smooth, thick and glossy
It will thicken as it gets cold - (leave covered in fridge.)

Another (Buttercream) filling:
1.1/2 ozs. butter
1.1/2 ozs. icing sugar
1 dessertspoon of cocoa powder
Cream all the ingredients together