Friday, 27 April 2012

Strawberry and Kiwi Tarts.

I will admit that I hate kiwi but when I saw a picture of these I was so won over by the colours I had to try and make them. Despite not liking them personally I am reliably informed by the tasters present that this is a good recipe. I didn't bother with the food colouring if you want to see them with food colouring then have a look here Love and Olive Oil. Also I would suggest only putting the strawberries on top as you are about to serve as the colour from the fruit bleeds into the kiwi.

For base:
250g lemon biscuits
100g butter, melted

For filling:
4 kiwis pureed
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 1/2 tbsp lemon juice
3 eggs
3 egg yolks
100g butter
green food colouring, optional

Preheat oven to 175C. Break the biscuits up into a fine crumb, stir in melted sugar. Press the mixture into six individual tins or one 9inch tart tin. Bake for 4-5 minutes.

Put all filling ingredients into a heavy bottom pan and stir over a low heat for 10-15 minutes until the mixture has thickened. Don't let it boil. At this point add food colouring if desired. If the mixture has gone lumpy don't worry just put it through a sieve.

Divid the mixture amongst tins and leave in the fridge for 1-2 hours until set.

I have linked this up to Tinned Tomatoes Bookmarked Recipes.

Thursday, 26 April 2012

Flourless Chocolate Cookies.

I have newly discovered pintrest, well when I say discovered I mean joined I knew I would become addicted to it so have been studiously avoiding all enticement to join. If by any slim chance you are at all interested in the things I like my account is I found this recipe on pintest and was instantly intrigued, as I am always looking for good gluten free recipes. The recipe originally came from the blog Chocolate and Carrots. I will admit that the recipe does seem a little strange but stick with it these work. They fall somewhere between a cookie and brownie and are seriously dangerous 'The velveteen bow' ate four. I think they would delicious as a pudding with vanilla ice cream in the middle and served with soft fruit.

3 cups icing sugar
2/3 cup cocoa
1/8 tsp salt
4 medium egg whites
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups chocolate chips preferably dark as these are already quite sweet

Preheat the oven to 180C. Mix together the powdered sugar with cocoa powder and salt.
Whisk in the vanilla and egg whites. You should end up with a batter the consistency of thick brownie dough. Stir in chocolate chips. Spoon out large teaspoonfuls on to baking parchment, be aware that they do spread. Bake for 12-14minutes until the tops look like brownies and are beginning to crack. Leave them to cool completely on the baking trays. They should keep in an air tight container for three days, that is if they last that long.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Hungarian Pork Goulash.

'Oh I do have such an expressive eye brow don't I' had bought a rolled shoulder of pork from the reduced section in the supermarket. There wasn't room for it in the freezer and neither of us could quite face roasting it. So I found this recipe in my ginger pig book but it required belly of pork as well. A fact I was exceptionally happy about as it gave me a great excuse to go to our local buter Crombie's. Crombie's is a truly exceptional old fashioned butchers, where they are kind enough to sharpen my knives while I wait.  This recipe makes a really delicious stew which is full of flavour but much lighter than a beef of lamb stew. It was definitely better reheated the second time around as the spices had time to really come through, so I would advise making it a day ahead f you have the time or self restraint.

Serves 6

1.25kg shoulder of pork, skinned, and cut into 1inch pieces
300g pork belly, skinned and cut into 1inch
1 onion, diced
2 clove garlic
2 tsp sweet smoked paprika
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp caraway seeds
800g tinned tomatoes
300g jar of peeled, roast peppers or 3 peppers, chargrilled and peeled
2 tbsp sour cream
chives to garnish

Pre heat oven 180C. Brown off the meat on all sides, then add the onions and garlic and saute for 3 minutes. Add the spices and season, cook for a few minutes. Pour in the tomatoes and top up with enough water to cover the meat. Bring to boil, then put in the oven with the lid on for 2 hours. Cut the peppers into strips and stir in to stew. Return it to the oven for another 30 minutes. At this point I thickened the sauce with a beurre noisette as a thicker sauce was our preference but it was not entirely necessary.

Monday, 23 April 2012

Cinnamon Pull-apart Bread.

This is a recipe which I have been looking for an excuse to make ever since I first saw it on Joy the Baker. They say that you are either good at pastry or bread and I am definitely bad at the later. But practice does make perfect so I valiantly persist in my quest to best the bread.

This recipe was absolutely delicious; perfect for tea, with coffee or even at the end of a picnic as it would travel very well. I must confess that I freaked out somewhat at the quantity of sugar but bear with it, it works. You need the sugar to caramelise, separating the slices or it would meld into a normal loaf during baking.

My loaf was not as perfect as many other examples you will find on the internet, but tasted just as good. I will be making this again I am sure and will endeavor to make it prettier next time and take better photos. I am looking forward to moving out of a basement flat so that I don't have to take the majority of my photos under somewhat yellow artificial light.

Makes: one 9x5x3-inch or 2lb loaf
For the Dough:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 1/4 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 ounces unsalted butter melted
1/3 cup whole milk
1/4 cup water
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Filling:

1 cup granulated sugar
2 tps ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 ounces unsalted butter, melted

Mix together flour, sugar, yeast, and salt. Set aside. In another bowl whisk together the eggs and set aside. Add the melted butter to the milk.

Add the water and vanilla extract to the milk-butter mixture.  Now pour the milk mixture into the dry ingredients and mix with a spatula. Add the eggs and stir the mixture until the eggs are incorporated into the batter. Then knead until when you press your thumb into the dough it springs make and then into form a ball.

Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl cover and leave in a warm place for an hour or until doubled in size. Knock back the dough and knead for a minute or so.

On a floured surface roll out the dough until it is about a foot by a foot and a half. brush with the melted butter. Sprinkle over sugar and spices. Slice the dough so that you have 6x6 rectangles of dough. place these upright into a greased loaf tin.

Cover and leave the dough to prove again in a warm place for 30-45 minutes. Then Bake at 175C for about 30 minutes until the tops are medium to dark golden brown to ensure its cooked through. Mine was still slightly doughy in the middle so I would maybe suggest leaving it in the oven for closer to 40 minutes.

I have linked this up to Tinned Tomatoes Bookmarked Recipes.

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Seville Orange Marmalade.

Following the success of my christmas hampers last year I intend to make them again this year. However I thought that I would be a little more prepared this time and try to make things throughout the year rather then being limited by both time constraints in December and what ingredients I can get hold of. 

Therefore when I discovered seville oranges in my local green grocers I simply could not resist. For the princely sum of £2 I purchased a kilo of them. Anyone who knows me will attest to the fact that I am pathetically easy to distract, even at the best of times; so with great self restraint, but to my flatmates collective horror I froze my them, proceeding to take up the majority of our freezer space.

Society tells women that no matter how hard we try, we will all at some stage find ourselves emulating our mothers. On overhearing my father complaining about how my mother has filled her freezer with oranges that she is never going to get around to doing anything with I was filled simultaneously with a sinking feeling of panic and determination to do battle with marmalade! 

1kg seville oranges
1 lemon
2kg granulated sugar

Measuring 4 pints water into a pan. Squeeze the juice out of all the fruit. Add the juice to the water and place the pips and any bits of pith that cling to one side (don't bin them).

Cut the orange peel into quarters and then cut each quarter into thinnish shreds. As you cut, add the shreds to the water and any pips or spare pith to the pile you are saving to one side. The pith contains the pectin which will set your marmalade, so don't discard any and don't worry about any pith and skin that clings to the shreds – it all gets dissolved in the boiling.

Tie the pips and pith up loosely in the muslin to form a little bag, and tie this on to the handle of the pan so that the bag is suspended in the water. At this point I left it over night as I ran out of time to deal with it but this is not compulsory.

Next bring the liquid up to the boil and simmer gently, uncovered, for 2 hours until the peel is completely soft.

Remove the bag of pips and squeeze it between two saucers to get all of the juice and pectin out of it.. Then pour the sugar into the pan and stir it occasionally over a low heat, until the sugar has dissolved. Then increase to a high heat once the mixture begins to boil time 15 minutes.

Once it has boiled for this long test whether it has reached its setting point by spooning a small amount onto a cold saucer and let it cool for a few minutes in the fridge. Once it has cooled if when you push it gently with your finger it wrinkles across the top then you have succeeded. If not then boil it for a few minutes longer and try again.

Remove from the heat and scoop off any scum if their is any. Leave the marmalade to cool for 20 minutes or so before putting into sterilised jars as this stops all the peel from sinking to the bottom. This filled approximately 6lb jars.

Monday, 16 April 2012

Passion Fruit Souffle.

I usually indulge myself by introducing my recipes with some sort of uninteresting spiel about the history of or occasion surrounding the recipe. In this case I feel a picture says 1000 words and need I really say any more.

We used the recipe from the daily mail website by Daniel Bouluds he suggests making pear sauce to go with them which we didn't bother to make. If I were to make them again I think I would put a tablespoon of passion fruit curd in the bottom of each one or serve it with raspberry coulee.  

4 large egg yolks.
60ml passion fruit juice it is about 8 passion fruit.
4 large egg whites.
25g (1oz) sugar, plus enough to dust the inside of the ramekins.

Preheat the oven to 190C. Butter the inside and rims of 4 x 175g (6oz) soufflé dishes, and then dust with sugar.

Whisk together the egg yolks and passion fruit and set aside. Whisk the egg whites until foamy, increase the speed and gradually add the sugar, beating until the whites form medium-stiff peaks. Fold the meringue into the yolk mixture.

Bake the soufflés for 15-20 minutes, until puffed and lightly golden. They should be firm with centres that are still a bit wobbly.

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Rolled and Stuffed Lamb Breast.

The 'One with a thing for Men in Uniform' and 'The Musician' gave me the Ginger Pig Meat Book for my birthday back in February. I have been solemnly avoiding it as I needed to keep my head to the grindstone and I am already far too easily distracted. It is a wonderful book full of fascinating information as well as delicious recipes.

Instead of going out and painting the town red to celebrate the end of my dissertation, I thought I would splash out ingredients in order to cook something nice and christen my new cookbook, thereby killing two birds with one stone so to speak.

The first thing I would say about lamb breast, a cut I had certainly never heard of before, is that it is only really economically if you a serving a multiple of five. Butchers want you to buy the whole flank which comfortably feeds five or a greedy four. At approx £10 per kilo I don't think that it is too steep but understandably a bit of a pain if you are feeding a hungry six and have to buy two flanks, as I did. Cost issues aside I didn't mind cooking too much as it was just as good cold.

1 Lamb breast
100g Cheddar
150g Mushrooms
150g Spinach
1 Small onion
2 Cloves garlic
2 tbsp Flour
250ml Red wine
250ml Stock

Sweat off the chopped onion and garlic then add the mushrooms and fry them. Next add the spinach and wilt down. Set this mixture aside to cool. Once it has cooled stuff the lamb with it. The recipe says to roll it up in tinfoil until it looks like a sausage and that you don't need to tie it with string. However I have made this twice and you do get a neater, tighter finish which is easier to carve if you tie it up with string.
Roast in the oven at 170C for 2hrs. Once it has cooked take it out of the oven and set aside still in the tin foil to rest for 20-30mins. Use the roasting pan to make gravy whilst the meat is resting. Spoon off almost all of the fat leaving about 2tbsp. Stir 2tbsp of flour into the juices and cook over a low heat until the flour has swelled and become a light golden brown. Add the wine and stock in equal measures and bring to the boil. Allow it to thicken up slightly and season before serving.

I have linked this up to Ren's Simple and in Season.

Saturday, 7 April 2012

Plum torte.

I must admit that I am not  huge fan of plums. In Britain they are usually unripe and then rot in the fruit bowl before they ever get ripe. However they work fantastically well in this pudding as it doesn't matter how ripe they are. If you have ripe plums then use less of the demerara sugar. Once you have put the mixture and the fruit in the tin, it can be left in the fridge uncooked for up to twelve hours. It reheats well but won't freeze.

75g (3oz) soft butter
75g (3oz) caster sugar
100g (4oz) self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
zest of 1 orange
900g (2lb) plums, cut in half, stones removed
About 150g (5oz) Demerara sugar

Pre heat oven to 200C or for two door aga bake on grid shelf on the floor of the roasting oven.

Generously butter a 28cm (11in) about 4cm (1½in) ovenproof dish or deep loose-bottomed flan tin.

Measure the first six ingredients into a large bowl and beat until smooth.

Spread this mixture evenly over the bottom of the tin or dish. It looks as if their is never going to be enough but trust me their is. Arrange the plums on top, cut side up and sprinkle with the Demerara sugar to form a thick layer. Bake for 30 minutes, until golden brown.

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

Banana Loaf.

This is a recipe which is ingrained on my mind. At school we used to have fruit bowls in the boarding houses; in the bottom of which there was always a black banana or two, which everyone refused to eat. This offend me greatly so matron would provide me with the ingredients and I was regularly to be found in a free period, when I should have been studying making banana loaf. In a boarding house of sixty girls they never lasted long enough to get cold! Let alone toasted.

This original recipe which this is loosely based on comes from the magimix cook book, throw it all in and press on. It is therefore quite a forgiving batter so great for when you have small helpers. At the request of the Musician I have also included an optional extra 100g chocolate chips in this loaf.

225g Flour
75g Soft butter
175g Caster sugar
2 Large ripe bananas
2 Eggs
1 tsp Baking powder
2 tbsp Milk
100g Chocolate chips optional

Pre heat oven to 180C or 160C for a fan oven. This quantity fills a 2lb loaf tin. Grease the tin well and dust with flour. Mash the bananas. Stir together all ingredients and bake for 1hr or until a skewer comes out clean.

I have linked this up to Family Friendly Fridays.

Monday, 2 April 2012

Lemon and Blueberry Muffins.

For the last six weeks I have been conspicuous by my absence on all forms of social media. The only recipe I have blogged about in the last month was not even cooked by me! This morning I handed in my dissertation, all 14,588 words and 128 pages. Consequently baking shall now resume in ernest.

Anyone who has ever written a dissertation or the like, will agree that you have so much time and emotion turmoil invested in it, that when hand in day arrives you feel somewhat as if you are giving over a small child. I may have portrayed a calm facade to my flat mates, as I lay awake ever fearful of my recurring nightmare,  printers wantonly devouring my dissertation (the musician will attest to the fact that my printer and I are not the best of friends) but there are two people out there who know the truth. They found the process of my dissertation equally if not more trying than I did. They patiently attempted to explain the difference between a colon and semi colon, that the bibliography goes surname, initial. etc and that no my computer doesn't always know best when it comes to spelling. So in honour of my wonderful editors I thought that I would begin by baking something to post-able as a small thank you. Hence lemon and blueberry muffins.

1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 cup 
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries
2 large eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

This makes 12 muffins I would suggest using large muffin liners not cup cake cases as these do over flow slightly. Pre heat the oven to 190C. Mix all the dry ingredients and the fruit in one bowl. At this point you to have lined or greased your tins and be prepared to move quickly. Whisk together all the wet ingredients in another. Once you add the lemon juice to the milk it curdles don't worry its meant to. Add the wet ingredient into the dry, the mixture will start to rise slightly as the lemon reacts with the baking powder so you need to fold the mixture not stir and get it into the oven as quickly as possible. Bake for 20mins until golden brown on top.