Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Cinnamon scotch pancakes


100g Self Raising Flour, 50g
Caster Sugar, 1 tbsp cinnamon, 1
egg, splash of milk

Serves: 6 Preparation: 30 minutes

I have recently become obsessed with the combination of cinnamon and black cherries, and this recipe has been the ultimate Saturday morning breakfast for me. Thick, fluffy pancakes, loaded with the warmth of cinnamon and layered with the sticky sweetness of my black jerry jam - what could be better?

1) Crack an egg into a bowl and whisk thoroughly.

2) Sift the flour, sugar and cinnamon into the bowl, adding a splash of milk until the batter is thick, but smooth. Leave to rest for at least 10 minutes, preferably an hour.

3) Stir through and ladle a spoon full of batter into a hot pan. Using a spatula, work round the edges, then when bubbles begin to appear in the surface of the pancake batter, flip over.

4) Each side should cook in about 2 minutes, giving you light, fluffy pancakes. These can be eaten immediately or toasted later.

I served these layered with my black cherry jam.

Lemon & sultana scotch pancakes


100g Self Raising Flour, 50g Caster
Sugar, 1 egg, juice of 1 lemon,
2 tbsp sultanas

Serves: 6 preparation: 30 minutes

Before I learned to make Scotch pancakes in my teens, I remember my father buying lemon and raison ones from the supermarket. The few which were not tragically burned (my father cannot be trusted with a toaster), tasted lovely - but you will never know the true wonder of these fluffy, thick, amazing pancakes unless you make them fresh. I use sultanas, as I love the plump juiciness, and fresh lemon juice instead of the delicate lemon zest that a typical recipe will recommend. Give them a try!

1) Soak the sultanas in the juice of 1 lemon whilst you crack the egg into a bowl and whisk thoroughly.

2) Sift in the flour and sugar along with the lemon juice and sultanas and whisk into a batter. Leave to rest for at least 10 minutes, ideally an hour.

3) Stir through and ladle a spoon full of batter into a hot pan. Using a spatula, work round the edges, then when bubbles begin to appear in the surface of the pancake batter, flip over.

4) Each side should cook in about 2 minutes, giving you light, fluffy pancakes. These can be eaten immediately or toasted later. Best served with butter.

Spanish-style potatoes


5 small potatoes (I used Exquisa),
1 tbsp paprika, 
butter, 1 bell
pepper, 2 tomatoes

Serves: 4 Preparation: 1 hour

Potatas bravas, with that base of paprika and tomato, is the ultimate taste of Spain for me. Since becoming pregnant I have had to reduce my obsession with spicy food in order to avoid the dreaded heartburn, but I was surprised that taking away the heat of the chilli really didn't detract from the warmth and comfort of this wonderful dish. I served my leftovers the next night stirred through with kale and a dollop of Rachel's organic Greek yoghurt, and it was absolutely marvellous.

1) Slice the potatoes to 1/2 centimetre thickness, skins and all, then sautee in a little butter for 5 minutes.

2) Slice the top and core from the bell pepper, then cut into slivers. Slice the tomato into quarters, remove the seeds and core, leaving just the flesh and cut into slivers.

3) Stir the paprika, peppers and tomatoes in with the potatoes, season with a little salt, then transfer to a casserole dish with a lid. Bake in the oven for 45 minutes at 180 degrees, then serve.

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Roast peppers with lavender goats cheese


1 Bell pepper, lavender goats
cheese, lavender vinaigrette,
spinach, rocket, watercress

Serves: 2 preparation: 30 minutes

This recipe uses two of my recent lavender recipes - lavender goats cheese and lavender vinaigrette. It might sound like a whole lot of lavender... but you can never have too much. This is absolutely delicious, and such a lovely twist of the classic roast pepper and goats cheese combination.

1) Slice the tops from your bell peppers, remove the core and seeds, then slice between the membranes to leave 3 or 4 slices of pepper flesh. Discard the core, seeds and membranes. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes at 180 degrees.

2) Top a slice of bread with the roast pepper, and add the lavender goats cheese balls. Roast in the oven for a further 5 minutes, then dress with the salad and eat hot.

Lavender goats cheese


1 tbsp lavender, 1 litre goats milk,
7 drops vegetarian rennet,  
Preparation: 20 minutes, plus overnight.

If you have never made your own cheese... why not? It's super easy to make goats cheese and it's SO YUMMY. I love fresh goats cheese rolled in lavender to flavour it for cooking, but the flavour is so much better if you actually incorporate the lavender into the cheese. 

1) You need blood temperature goats milk (37 degrees) for cheese. If you have access to fresh goats milk 1 - I hate you 2 - this stage is not necessary.
I warmed my milk and lavender in a pan very slowly using a meat thermometer, but rule of thumb is if you put your thumb in and can't feel any change in temperature, it's OK. 

2) Stir through the vegetarian rennet, then leave in the pan for about 15 minutes to allow the curds and whey to separate.

3) Cut up the curd into small chunks, then transfer to a sieve lined with muslin. Tie the ends of the muslin together with a bit of string so that the curd is enclosed, then set the sieve over a bowl and leave overnight.

The whey will drain away, leaving soft goats cheese in the bundle of muslin. I roll mine into little balls, but you can keep this in a block in the fridge like any other cheese.

Avocado egg mayonnaise


1 avocado, 2 eggs.
Serving suggestion:
bacon, spinach, read   

Serves: 2 Preparation: 10 minutes

Being all pregnant and stuff, I cannot make my own mayonnaise as I'm not allowed unpasteurised, raw egg things. I know that I can buy pregnancy-friendly mayonnaise but it makes my soul die just a little bit. My solution was to puree some gorgeous creamy avocado instead. Oh so silky, oh so yummy and much better for you than mayonnaise as avocado is a Good Fat!
My darling hubby enjoyed this as part of his bacon sandwich.

1) Boil the eggs for 8 minutes, then remove the shells and cut into chunks

2) Halve the avocados and scoop the fruit from the shell, discarding the stone. Pulse in the blender until smooth, then season with salt and black pepper to taste.

3) Stir the eggs into the avocado and you're done!

Pancetta, leek & gruyere risotto


1 cup risotto rice, 1 cup cider, 1
white onion, 1 pint ham stock, 1
leek, 100g pancetta, 100g gruyere

Serves: 2 Preparation: 30 minutes

Piggy bits, leek and some sort of cheese have been combined many times in this blog. There is a good reason for this - it's delicious comfort food for people who eat meat, and what is more comforting than a risotto?! All risottos (no matter what the ingredients) can be made in 3 simple stages. The first is called tostatura - coating the rice in fat, the second involves cooking off some alcohol and the third involves releasing the starch from the rice one ladle of stock at a time.

1) Dice the leek and sautee in a little butter until soft. Add the risotto rice and stir until the rice becomes transparent, revealing a white dot in the centre and pour in the cider.

2) Once the alcohol cooks off, add the first ladle of stock and stir through.

3) Continue adding the stock to the risotto, one ladle at a time, adding the pancetta with the second to last ladle of stock.

4) Stir through the grated gruyere and serve.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Lavender vinaigrette


1 tsp grainy mustard, 1 tbsp
olive oil, 1/2 lemon, 1 tsp
lavender, 1 tsp honey (or agave syrup) 
Serves: 4 Preparation: 5 minutes

It's no secret that I love lavender, or that this Proven├žal glory features heavily in my cooking. The vinaigrette is one of the best loved French influences and adding lavender and lemon in place of herbs and vinegar gives this a really wonderful twist. Perfect with peppery salad leaves like rocket and watercress.

1) Add the honey into the lemon juice and whisk together - the fruit acid should help even crystallised honey break down and integrate well.

2) Grind the dried lavender in a mortar and pestle and add to the honey and lemon along with the olive oil and whisk thoroughly.

3) Toss your salad leaves in the dressing and serve.

Bacon croutons



Preparation: 20 minutes

Bacon has achieved cult status. Not only are people cooking with bacon in innovative ways (People I follow on Twitter have made bacon and maple cupcakes, whiskey bacon jam and bacon vodka), but sites like IWOOT are flogging Christmas products GALORE from bacon lip balm, bacon soap, bacon mints, bacon toothpaste and even bacon underwear.
I'm not a faddy or gimmicky person, I'd rather cook something because the flavours genuinely work. In this case, I think bacon croutons are a good nod to the bacon trend without actually selling out!!

1) Trim the fat from your bacon and roll it up tightly. 

2) Slice into 1.5cm rolls and skewer them tightly together onto a cocktail stick.

3) Bake in the oven for 18 minutes at 200 degrees until the bacon is crispy.

4) Serve hot or cold on top of your soup.

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