Thursday, 25 April 2013

No bake cake: Raspberry & white chocolate mousse


150ml double cream, 30g white chocolate, 75g raspberries, 1 pancake.

Serves: 1 Preparation: 10 minutes

I was recently sent some of the lovely Abra-ca-Debora pancakes for a foodspiration challenge and had a lot of fun with the concept of "no bake cakes." My interpretation was to quarter the pancakes and layer with white chocolate mousse and raspberries, topped with whipped cream to form a single slice of cake. Abra-ca-FABULOUS.

1) Melt the white chocolate in a Bain Marie, then set aside to cool a little.

2) Whisk the double cream for approximately 2 minutes until soft peaks form. Separate a little out into a piping bag, then fold the chocolate in with the trest and continue to whisk until the peaks are stiff.

3) Using a spatula, spread the white chocolate mouse onto the pancake layers and stud with raspberries. Serve with a dollop of the whipped cream.

No bake cake: Strawberry ice-cream


Ice-cream: 500g strawberries, 175g caster sugar, 500 ml full fat milk, 500 ml double cream, 10 egg yolks. (makes 1 pint)
1 pancake.

Serves: 1 Preparation: 1 hour (+ 4 hours freezing)

I was recently sent some of the lovely Abra-ca-Debora pancakes for a foodspiration challenge and had a lot of fun with the concept of "no bake cakes." My interpretation was to quarter the pancakes and layer with strawberry ice-cream and strawberries, topped with whipped cream to form a single slice of cake. Abra-ca-FABULOUS.

1) To make the ice-cream, halve the strawberries, sprinkle with a little sugar and leave to macerate in a bowl. Pour the milk and cream into a saucepan and bring almost to the boil. Set aside to cool. and then take it off the heat and leave to infuse for 20 minutes.

2) Whisk the egg yolks and In a large bowl whisk the egg yolks and sugar until thick, then pour in the milk and cream whilst whisking. Return to the heat and stir the custard until it thickens. Set aside to cool.

3) Blitz the strawberries until pureed, then fold into the cool custard and freeze in your ice-cream maker (or in the freezer, whisking every hour to avoid crystals forming.

4) Slice the remaining strawberries and sandwich the pancakes between alternate layers of ice-cream. I cut out a block of ice-cream and sliced it to fit. Top with whipped cream and serve immediately.

No bake cake: Banoffee


200ml double cream, 30g butter, 60g muscovado sugar, 1 banana, 1 pancake.

Serves: 1 Preparation: 1 hour 15 minutes

I was recently sent some of the lovely Abra-ca-Debora pancakes for a foodspiration challenge and had a lot of fun with the concept of "no bake cakes." My interpretation was to quarter the pancakes and layer with toffee and banana, topped with whipped cream to form a single slice of banoffee cake. Abra-ca-FABULOUS.

1) Melt the sugar in a pan, then add the butter and 100ml of the cream. Stir continually until a caramel sauce has formed. Set aside to cool, then chill in the fridge for an hour to form the thicker toffee.

2) Peel and slice the banana into 1/2cm discs, then spread the toffee sauce onto the pancake and top with slices of banana. Layer with more pancake, toffee and banana.

3) Whip the remaining 100ml cream and pipe onto the top.

No bake cake: Lemon curd mousse


Mousse: 1 lemon, 150ml double cream, 1 tbsp icing sugar.
Curd: 4 Lemons, 4 eggs, 350g caster sugar, double cream, 8oz butter
. 1 pancake.

Serves: 1 Preparation: 1 hour

I was recently sent some of the lovely Abra-ca-Debora pancakes for a foodspiration challenge and had a lot of fun with the concept of "no bake cakes." My interpretation was to quarter the pancakes and layer with lemon curd and lemon mousse to form a single slice of cake. Abra-ca-FABULOUS.

1) To make lemon curd, see my previous recipe.

2) Zest and juice the lemon and whisk with the double cream and icing sugar until stiff peaks form. This takes about 2 minutes in a food processor with a whisk attachment or using an electric whisk.

3) Sandwich the layers of pancake with lemon curd and lemon mousse, "grouting" the edges to keep the shape when pressing down.

This can be served immediately or chilled for later.

Bean and feta chachouka


1 white onion, 1 can cannellini beans, 2 red bell peppers, 1 tsp smoked paprika, 100g feta, 2 eggs, passata.

Serves: 2 Preparation: 25 minutes

Chachouka is a North-African casserole - I remember strings of melting soft onion, spices and the sharpness of the saffron and tomato under creamy egg yolk the first time I tried it in Paris, years ago. This version contains cannellini beans and feta and is flavoured with smoked paprika flavour.

1) Slice the tops from the bell peppers and remove the seeds. Remove the portions of flesh from between the membranes and slice into strips. Roast in the oven for 15 minutes at 200 degrees, drizzled with a little oil.

2) Peel and slice the onion, then break into rings. Sautee in a little butter along with the spices on a medium heat for 15 minutes, then stir in the beans and enough passata to just coat the beans in sauce. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes

3) Stir in the feta and pepper, then transfer to an ovenproof dish. Press wells into the surface with a tablespoon and crack the eggs into them. Bake in the oven until the egg white has just turned opaque, then serve.

Friday, 19 April 2013

Roast pepper, tomato & mozzarella linguine


Linguine, mozzarella pearls, basil, parsley, olive oil, plum tomatoes, red bell peppers, 1 garlic clove.

Preparation: 25 minutes, plus marinating time

I can understand the concept of convenience food - opening up a jar of something and tossing it with some pasta, but shop-bought sauces make my soul and tastebuds wither away to nothing. I quite often make pesto or pasta sauces ahead of time to keep in the fridge, ready for a quick meal - and this luscious concoction of marinated peppers and tomatoes makes a wonderful quick supper.

1) Slice the top from the bell peppers, remove the core and seeds and slice between the membranes. Cut each pepper quarter in half.

2) Slice the tomatoes into quarters and remove the seeds. Roast the tomatoes and peppers in the top of the oven for 20 minutes until the skin begins to blacken. 

3) Add to a bowl with the olive oil, mozarella pearls, crushed garlic, parsley and herbs and leave to marinate for at least 1 hour but ideally overnight.

4) Toss with cooked liguine and serve

Pumpkin oil wedges


1 potato, olive oil, pumpkin oil.

Serves: 2 Preparation: 40 minutes

Pumpkin oil is made of dry roasted cold pressed pumpkin seeds which is evocative of sesame oil but FAR nicer. As a seasoning for potato wedges, it's one of the most decadent savoury flavours in my humble opinion.

1) Don't peel the potatoes, just halve them and cut into wedges by quartering each piece towards the centre.

2) Add to a bowl along with a drizzle of olive oil, pumpkin oil and a pinch of salt. Shake the bowl to coat the potatoes.

3) I find the best way to ensure a crispy skin without frying is to place the wedges skin side down on a foil covered baking tray and roasting for 40 minutes at 220 degrees.

Garlic bread strata


4 slices garlic bread (Garlic, butter, parsley, bread) 1 egg, 1/4 cup double cream, parmigiano.

Serves: 2 Preparation: 20 minutes

What do you do with leftover garlic baguette? In this house, there is very rarely any left over I'll be honest, Scott Pilgrim isn't the only person addicted to it. But, when I was pregnant I had gestational diabetes and had to limit my carb intake. This meant where previously I could cane half a garlic baguette, I had to stick to one or two slices maximum. Hence... leftovers. This also works the morning after a night before when you NEED a good breakfast and all you have is the remnants of the buffet table.

1) Place the leftover garlic bread in an ovenproof dish.

2) Whisk the egg and double cream together and pour over the bread. Top with grated parmigiano and bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 200 degrees.

Boursin bean pate


1 can cannellini beans, Boursin.

Serves: 5 Preparation: 10 minutes

Following on from my cannellini bean pate, this variation uses garlic and herb Boursin to flavour the bean paste. It takes 10 minutes to make and is utterly moreish. Best served with crunchy bread.

1) Drain the can of beans and simmer in hot salted water for 5 minutes.

2) Pulse in the blender, adding the Boursin after about 30 seconds.

3) Either serve immediately if you prefer this as a more spreadable mousse, or press into a suitable container and chill in the fridge to firm up and form pate consistency.

10 bean & chestnut stew

500g beans (I used black eyed beans, black turtle beans, butter beans, haricot beans, lima beans, pinto beans, red kidney beans, rose cocoa beans, alubia beans & mung beans), 415g chestnut puree, 200ml vegetable stock, pumpkin oil, white onion, garlic, olive oil.

Serves: 5 Preparation: 3 hours (plus 12 hours soaking)

If you are a vegan or a vegetarian, creating a hearty stew that can rival one containing meat is not an easy task. Nothing good ever came easy though, and hoo boy this stew is good. The richness of the chestnut forms a great thick gravy, and the pumpkin oil and garlic packs this with flavour, Plus... the protein from the beans will rival any cut of meat. This is comfort food at its best and super low maintenance to make.

1) Soak the beans overnight, ensuring that they are well covered in water otherwise as they rehydrate there won't be any liquid left to soak them in!

2) Peel and dice the onion and sautee in a glug of olive oil until the onions are soft. Drain any liquid left from the beans and add the beans to the onions, along with the vegetable stock.

3) Put a bulb of garlic in the oven, whole, and roast for 20 minutes at 200 degrees. Squeeze out the pureed garlic from the skin and add to the beans and onions along with a can of chestnut puree.

4) Allow to simmer for 2 1/2 hours, stirring frequently until the beans are cooked. Season to taste and serve with a drizzle of pumpkin oil. 

Quorn corn chowder with noodles


1/2 litre vegetable stock, 200g sweetcorn, 1 cup Quorn, 100g noodles, 1 red and 1 green chilli pepper.

Serves: 4 Preparation: 20 minutes

Corn chowder is a thing of beauty - sweet, spicy, light and cheap but nutritionally it really doesn't contain anything that makes a meal. I like to give it a protein kick with some Quorn "chicken" pieces and some noodles to 

1) Finely dice the chilli peppers and add to a pan

2) Add the vegetable stock and sweetcorn and stir through.

3) Simmer for about 5 minutes until the sweetcorn has cooked, strain the sweetcorn from the liquid before blending thoroughly and parsing through a sieve to separate the sweetcorn flesh from the skin.

4) Add the pureed sweetcorn back to the vegetable stock along with some more sweetcorn, the Quorn pieces and the noodles and simmer for 5 minutes.

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Salted caramel apple hummus


1 can chickpeas, 1/4 cup caster sugar, 1/4 cup muscovado sugar, 3 tbsp butter, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 cup double cream, 1 apple, 1 tsp cinnamon, 1 tbsp Rachel's Organic Greek Yoghurt.

Preparation: 20 minutes

My dear friend @Gazpachodragon's husband recently wondered whether sweet hummus would work. My immediate reaction was "it would be like porridge" and actually it kind of is. But a posh porridge and it's actually nice to dunk biscuits or fruit crudites into. Even better - this is perfect with a ham sandwich or with roast pork. It's a bit of a mind fuck but it works!

1) Melt 1 tbsp butter in a pan. Peel, core and dice an apple and add to the pan. Stir through and add the cinnamon. Leave to simmer for 5 minutes.

2) In the second pan, melt 2 tbsp butter and add the sugars. Stir through on a high heat as the sugar boils and begins to caramelise. Add the cream and turn down the heat. Add the apples and salt to taste, but I think 1 tsp is enough.

3) In a third pan, simmer the chickpeas in water for 5 minutes, then strain and set aside. You can shell the chickpeas by hand which I find very satisfying, but to save some time, shake them roughly in a bowl for a few minutes, fill the bowl with water and the shells will float to the top - scoop them off, strain the chickpeas again and you're done!

4) Pulse the chickpeas in a blender with the Greek yoghurt until they have reached a grainy, breadcrumb like consistency. Stir through the caramel sauce and apples.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Spiced apple pudding


Cinnamon & raisin malt loaf, bramley apple, cinnamon, muscovado sugar, butter, cinnamon, red wine.

Serves: 2 Preparation: 30 minutes

One of my favourite things in the world is cinnamon and raisin malt loaf. I have such a passion for the toasted cinnamony goodness, dripping with butter. Oh my! I had a flash of inspiration this morning when working on another apple dish and created this to use up the leftover apple and discovered this crispy, melty, spicy little pot of yumminess.

1) Thinly slice the malt loaf and press into a pre-buttered timbale case to form a shell.

2) Peel and core the apple and dice the flesh. Add to a milk pan with a teaspoon of brown sugar, a teaspoon of cinnamon and a teaspoon of butter. Stir through and cook for 5 minutes, add a tablespoon of red wine, cook for a further 5 minutes and then spoon into the malt loaf cases. Butter the malt loaf lid and press it down, butter side facing up.

3) Bake for 15 minutes at 180 degrees and serve hot.

Berry & rose crumble


Dried rose petals, butter, plain flour, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, caster sugar 

Preparation: 30 minutes

Following the astounding success of my lavender apple crumble, I wanted to continue to experiment with floral crumbles. If possible, this rose and berry combination, using my rose butter is even more fabulous. The sweet, full flavour of the berries and the delicate sweetness of the crumble is a definite winner.

1) Add the berries to a milk pan with a tablespoon of sugar and 1 tablespoon of water. Stir through for about 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and you are left with mostly intact berries, and a little sweet fruit juice. Take off the heat and spoon into an ovenproof dish.

2) Rub the rose butter into the flour until it resembles rough breadcrumbs, then top the fruit with the crumble and bake in the oven for 20 minutes at 200 degrees. This is perfect served with a little double cream.

Celeriac gratin


Celeriac, double cream, cheddar, salad onions 

Serves: 4 Preparation: 1 hour

Despite being a life-long loather of celery, I straight up adore celeriac. The acerbic taste and texture of celery is not present in cooked celeriac for me, it just brings woody notes to a dish and has a wonderful soft texture. This gratin is a fabulous alternative to potato and makes a fantastically comforting side dish.

1) Peel the celeriac with a sharp knife by cutting about a centimeter off both ends and sides, leaving a squareish core. Slice this into 1/3 centimetre thick slices and set aside.

2) Finely slice the salad onions and grate the cheddar. Assemble the gratin by pouring a little cream into the bottom of the dish and setting the first layer of celeriac into it. Spoon over a little more cream, grated cheddar and onion and then add another layer of celeriac, pressing each layer down firmly.

3) Top with a final layer of grated cheddar, cover with foil and bake in the top of the oven for 45 - 50 minutes at 200 degrees, removing the foil for the final 10 minutes.

Summer berry pudding


Blackberries, raspberries, pomegranate jewels, blueberries, sugar, bread 

Preparation: 10 minutes (+4 hours)

A summer berry pudding is the kind of traditional English dessert that everyone knows how to make, but it's fallen somewhat out of fashion. Goodness knows why because it's so quick and simple to prepare and absolutely delicious. I prefer mine to look marbled with juice rather than saturated with it because it's prettier, but this is entirely your call.

1) Add the berries to a milk pan with a tablespoon of sugar and 3 tablespoons of water. Stir through for about 5 minutes until the sugar has dissolved and you are left with mostly intact berries, and a sweet fruit juice. Take off the heat and set aside.

2) Cut the crusts from slices of bread and dip into the juice from the pan. Then line your pudding bowl with bread, assembling a square piece at the bottom, triangles at the sides and a circle set aside for the top. Press the bread firmly together so that it forms a solid case. I like to line my timbale cases with cling film first to make it easier to slide the pudding out, but I've never had one stick yet so this is again, your call.

3) Slice the pomegranate in half and hold over a bowl, fruit side down. Bang sharply with a wooden spoon to release the jewels. Alternatively, if the pomegranate is very ripe, it's sometimes as quick to just break it in half and peel off the membrane.

4) Stir the pomegranate jewels into the pan of fruit and spoon into the bread cases, pressing down firmly. Add the circle of bread to the top, then close the cling film up and press a saucer onto the top of the pudding bowl. Refrigerate for 4 hours, then open the cling film, put back on the saucer and turn the pudding out.

Mushroom crostini


Bread, mushrooms, vintage cheddar, 4 cloves garlic, 100g tomato passata, 30g basil, butter

Serves: 2 Preparation: 30 minutes

I am allergic to mushrooms, so they feature very rarely in this blog. Recently I bought some to make The Husband a mushroom scramble, and then had some extra to use up - crostini is the perfect quick solution.

1) To make the tomato sauce, crush 4 cloves of garlic and tear the basil. Simmer on the stove for 15 minutes and set aside.

2) Finely chop the mushrooms and sautee in a little butter until soft.

3) Slice the bread and top with a layer of tomato sauce, mushrooms and a little grated cheddar. I used Isle of Mull cheddar - the stronger the better here!

Leek & garlic sauteed carrots


3 carrots, 1 leek, 2 cloves garlic, butter.

Serves: 2 Preparation: 25 minutes

Sometimes, the greatest dishes are the simplest. This is the perfect side dish to  a roast dinner - meltingly soft carrots infused with the sweetness of leek and savoury garlic notes.

1) Peel the carrots and slice very thinly - about the width of a 10p coin. Slice the leek and then peel and roughly chop the garlic.

2) Melt a tablespoon of butter in a milk pan and add the garlic. When it begins to sizzle, turn the heat down low and add the carrot and leek. Stir through periodically and leave on a low heat until the carrots and leeks are soft, then serve!

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