Saturday, 15 February 2014

Rosemary lemon curd


4 Lemons, 4 eggs, 350g caster sugar, 8oz butter, rosemary.
Serves: 1 pint Preparation: 30 minutes (plus overnight)

Lemon curd is already glorious, so thick and silky with that most mouthwatering flavour, but adding rosemary to the mix gives it an almost undetectable extra dimension that seems to make it even more lemony somehow without being too tangy or bitter. This makes a wonderful present, as rosemary is a symbol of love and loyalty. (yes, I meant to post this before Valentine's Day...)

1) Measure out the sugar and pour over three sprigs of rosemary. Leave to macerate overnight.

2) Juice the lemons, pour into a pan then pluck the rosemary sprigs from the sugar and allow to infuse with the lemon juice for 5 minutes. 

3) Whisk the 3 eggs and one yolk together in a mixing bowl and set the bowl over a pan of boiling water to make a bain marie.

4) Add the rosemary infused caster sugar to the eggs with the rosemary infused lemon juice. Whisk until you cannot see any sugar grains, then add half of the butter and stir through.

5) Leave on the hob, whisking occasionally until the lemon curd is thick enough to draw a line through it with a spoon. Take from the heat and whisk through the remaining butter to make it glossy, then pour into hot, sterilised jars and allow to cool completely before consuming.

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Baby Breakfast Muffins

75g butter/oil, 125ml orange/apple juice, 1 tbsp cinnamon, 2 bananas, 2 eggs, 1 tbsp honey (or agave syrup), 1 tsp baking powder, 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 250g self-raising flour, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 100g dried cranberries, 100g mixed seeds.
Makes: 16 Preparation: 45 minutes

OK, so this is not a baby recipe. Shaddap, it's not. It's NOT OK. It's a recipe for muffins which are sugar free and if you want them to be, dairy free. Healthy seeded breakfast muffins that are totally delicious and I just happen to feed to my twelve month old son... 

1) Preheat the oven to gas mark 5/190 degrees and add the cranberries to the orange/apple juice.

2) Add the bananas, vanilla essence and honey to a blender and puree thoroughly. Add the eggs and melted butter/oil and pulse again until completely combined

3) Sift together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder and bicarb of soda, then mix in the seeds.

4) Pour the puree in with the dry ingredients, add the juice and cranberries and mix roughly.

5) Spoon into muffin cases and add to a muffin tin, sprinkling some extra seeds onto the top. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until the tops begin to colour and a skewer inserted to the middle cupcake comes out clean.

Aubergine & bean croquettes


1 can cannellini beans, 1 aubergine, 1 tsp paprika, 1 garlic clove, breadcrumbs, 1 egg, cooking oil.
Makes: 10 Preparation: 30 minutes

When Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty brought the charred aubergine into my life, I was a happy little bunny. Personally I prefer not to remove the burned skin as I think it adds so much gorgeous smoky flavour to the delicacy of the bean mash. If you liked my Butterbean Croquettes, you're going to love these!  

1) Using tongs, hold the aubergine over the open flame of your hob or a barbecue, turning around until the skin is evenly charred and the aubergine is softened.

2) Simmer the beans for 10 minutes in hot salty water, then drain and add to a blender along with the aubergine, 1 crushed garlic clove and the paprika. Pulse thoroughly until combined and season with salt.

3) Set out three dishes, one with a beaten egg, one with breadcrumbs and one to rest the croquettes on. Scoop out a handful of the mixture and form it into a ball, packing tightly - then roll out into a sausage shape or small bites as above.

4) Dip the croquette into the egg, then roll in the breadcrumbs until covered evenly. Either shallow fry or bake in the oven until the crumbs are golden and crispy, then serve hot.

Jack Daniels cranberry sauce


200g cranberries, 50ml Jack Daniels, 100g caster sugar.
Preparation: 10 minutes

Cranberry sauce is one of the easiest things to make, in that it takes all of 5 minutes, one pot and it goes with everything from rich meats to cheese. I quite often switch it around, adding orange juice and zest, or sweet spices but the day I added Jack Daniels was just about the best day ever. Here it is served with some roast duck - enjoy!

1) Add the cranberries to a pan along with the sugar and whiskey.

2) Crank up the heat high and stir until the sugar is dissolved, the berry juices have begun to burst forth and the alcohol has started to cook off (about 10 minutes.)

3) Spoon into a sterilised jar and store in the fridge.

Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Fine bean & beluga lentil salad


400g spinach, 100g garden peas, 1 tbsp almond butter, 200g fine beans, 200g beluga or puy lentils (I loveMerchant Gourmet's ready to eat pouches), 1 tbsp butter.
Serves: 4 Preparation: 30 minutes

After the excesses of Christmas, I always veer towards clean, green food. Lentils need not be boring however - this steamy hot salad has an irresistible gloss of silky almond butter, meltingly soft spinach and a crisp crunch of fine beans.

1) Roughly chop the spinach and fine beans and add to a pan with 1 tsp butter and 1 tbsp almond butter. Stir until the spinach has just begun to wilt.

2) Simmer the peas in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain and add to the pan along with the lentils. Add a little extra almond butter if you wish, season with black pepper and serve hot or cold.

Gnocchi with cashew & avocado sauce


Gnocchi: Potato, pasta flour, egg, plain flour.
Sauce: 4 tbs cashew cream, 100ml water, 1 avocado
Serves: 2 Preparation: 10 minutes (plus 1 hour for gnocchi, overnight for cashew cream preparation)

This is a combination of two of my recipes: gnocchi and cashew cream as a serving suggestion, but it's also a great way to use up a ripe avocado. If like me you eat them pretty much daily, there will always be one in your fruit bowl (ahem... bucket might be a more apt description in my case...) and this is a great, healthy supper with a protein-rich sauce.

1) My recipe for gnocchi here. If you would like to make this vegan, just omit the egg.

2) My recipe for cashew nut cream here.

3) Bring the gnocchi to the boil in a large pan of salted water. Once the little dumplings float to the surface, they're done.

4) Slice the avocado in half and use a tablespoon to scoop it from the shell. If the avocado is ripe enough the stone will pop out with a spoon but another good method is to prick it with a knife and pull it out. Pop into your food processor, squish through a potato ricer or mash with a fork/masher and add to the cashew cream. I like to flavour this up with a little mustard and salt sometimes but the delicate creamy flavour is lovely just as it is. Drain the gnocchi and stir into the sauce.

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