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 

Sunday, 19 January 2014

Amish Recipe - Sour Cream Cake - (no butter) - really really easy and quick!

I'm afraid my photo isn't that good, but this cake is really light textured, 
and VERY easy and quick to make.  
The fat content is made up by using full-fat sour cream (or Creme Fraiche)

Oven: 180/90 deg.C : 350F
Check with a skewer to see whether cooked through after 1/2hr - 45 mins.

2 whole eggs broken into a cup (dont beat them) -  then fill up the dry cup measure with either Creme Fraiche (full fat) or Sour Cream (also full fat), then beat together in a large bowl. **

3/4 to 1 cup of demerara sugar ........ (depending how sweet you like your cakes)
1 cup of self-raising flour (or plain flour + 1 teaspoon of baking powder sifted in.)
Pinch of salt.
Mix together well, but dont overbeat the batter.

Add 1 tsp. of vanilla to the batter.
Mix together and pour into an 8 x 8" greased and floured square tin or a loaf tin.
Bake until cooked through.

While still warm, drizzle a little Maple Syrup over the top .... as a glaze ..... but tastes good too!

This is an Amish Recipe taken from  Amish-Country Cookbook Vol.1, but I had adapted it a little.

** I personally preferred this cake made with the Creme Fraiche. 

Wednesday, 15 January 2014

Apricot Tansy - old English pudding

This is a sweet dish - but looks like an omelette - would make a quick pud.

50g (2 ozs.) unsalted butter
450g (1 lb.) fresh apricots, stoned and quartered (or 1 tin of apricot halves, drained)
75g (3ozs.) caster sugar + extra for serving
4 eggs + 2 yolks
2 tbls. double cream
75g (3ozs.) fine white breadcrumbs
pinch of ground Nutmeg
and Cream to serve

1. Melt 35g of butter in a heavy based frying pan, over a gentle heat and add the apricots, sprinkle with 50g of the sugar.  Cook gently until softened but not coloured.  (If using tinned apricots, cook until heated through.) 

2. Beat the eggs and yolks together with the cream, breadcrumbs, nutmeg and remaining sugar, and pour this over the apricots in the pan, into one thick layer.  Cook until golden brown underneath and turn out on to a plate.

3. Melt the remaining butter in the pan and carefully slide the Tansy back into the pan and cook the other side until golden (or place under a pre-heated grill while still in the pan - to save you turning it out).  Be careful that it doesn't burn.
Turn on to a warm plate, sprinkle with extra sugar and serve.

This recipe is from Great British Puddings - The Pudding Club 

Tansy tea was a cure for colds, and tansy puddings and cakes were commonly eaten during spring.  A tansy pudding was always part of Easter dinner. The young leaves were mixed with eggs, and this favorite dish was known as a tansy. It was eaten at Eastertime to celebrate the end of Lent and the return of eggs to the diet. It also was supposed to purify the body of bad odors after 40 days of salt fish

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Caulifower and Cumin Fritters - Yotam Ottolenghi

Cauliflower approx. 320g. - remove leaves and divide into florets
120g plain flour
3 tbls., chopped flat leaf parsley
1 crushed garlic clove
2 finely chopped shallots
4 eggs
1.1/2 tsps ground cumin
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 ttsp turmeric
1.1/2 tsps salt
1 tsp black pepper
500ml sunflower oil for frying fritters

Lime Sauce:
300g Greek Yogurt
2 tbls. finely chopped fresh corriander
grated zest of 1 lime
2 tblspns lime juice
2 tblspns olive oil
salt and pepper

1. Place the cauliflower florets in a saucepan of salted boiling water.  Simmer for 15 mins until very soft.  Dain and pat dry(ish).
2. Place flour, parsley,garlic,shallots, eggs, spices, s&p in a bowl and whisk together to make a batter.
3. When the batter is smooth, add the warm cauliflower and mix to break down the cauliflower into the batter.
4. Pour the oil into a wide pan to the depth of 1.5cm and heat.  When it's hot spoon in generous portions of the batter (approx. 3 tblspns of batter ea.)  Fry in small batches - they should take 3 - 4 mins. on each side.  Drain on kitchen paper, then serve with sauce on the side.

I think you could make these fritters with other cooked veg - i.e. brocolli, carrots, etc. - to choice - using up leftovers.

Recipe from: Ottolenghi The Cookbook ...... (lots of lovely recipes)

Wednesday, 1 January 2014

Salmon Fishcakes - very quick and easy

- you probably have most of the ingredients in your storecupboard/pantry......

Ingredients:- will make enough for about 4 people plus salads to serve or just have as a snack

1 tin of Alaskan wild salmon (213g approx.)
leftover mashed potato (approx. about same quantity)
1 beaten egg
Dried white breadcrumbs
Small amount of flour for coating the fishcakes.
Dried oregano/marjoram - teaspoonful
salt/ground black pepper
Rapeseed oil for frying

1. In your food processor - blitz the mashed potato till smooth.
2. Add the salmon (minus the liquid and boney bits), egg, seasoning and herbs.
3. If the mixture is loose, add enough breadcrumbs to make the mixture easy enough to roll into balls, but not too stiff.
4. Roll into largeish balls, coat in seasoned flour, reshape, and flatten out slightly.
5. In hot oil, fry each side until golden and drain on kitchen paper.

They are very nice cool or cold, but can be zapped in the micro, if you want them hot.

Tuesday, 31 December 2013

Galette des rois - French Christmas recipe

The Galette des Rois, or king cake, is a dessert associated with the Christmas season in European countries and with Mardi Gras in the United States. Its most notable feature is the hidden prize, usually a trinket figurine, in the cake. The person who finds the figurine in his slice of cake is dubbed king for the day and obligated to buy the next king cake.

Oven: 200 deg. C (fan 180 deg.c) 
Bake: 25-30 mins. until crisp and golden - serve warm or cold
400g ready-made puff pastry
2 rounded tablespoons of apricot jam
100g softened butter
100 caster sugar
1 lightly beaten egg
100g ground almonds
2 tablespoons of cognac or dark rum

1. divide the pastry in half, roll out each piece and cut into a 25cm round.  Put one round on a baking sheet and spread with the apricot jam leaving a 'naked' edge of about 2 cm.

2. Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then beat in the egg.  Stir in the ground almonds and alcohol.

3. Spoon the mixture over the jam, spreading evenly.

4. Brush the edges of the pastry with water and cover with the second piece.  Press the edges to seal.
Mark the top of the pastry from the centre to the edges, like wheel spokes, then brush with beaten egg.
Bake - as above.

Sunday, 29 December 2013

Lemon Meringue Pie - (inc. really quick recipe too)


I think after Christmas, although you dont exactly lose your sweet-tooth - it's nice to have something with a bit of sharpness .......... this is a 'proper' recipe but below I have given a really quick version.....

Oven: 180deg.C - preheated
Ingredients: makes 2 pies (or one really large one!)
Pastry: either use 'sweet' bought/ready-made pastry ... or ....
500g (1lb.2ozs.) fine plain flour
175g (6ozs.) icing sugar 
1 lemon - zest of
250g (9ozs.) butter - cold and cubed
1 medium egg + 2 yolks
1/2 tsp. vanilla essence

4 medium egg whites
100g (3ozs.) caster sugar

Lemon Curd:
3 egg yolks - left from the whites
50ml, (2 fl.oz.) double cream
450ml. (16fl.ozs) really good lemon curd - 'bought' is easy :)

1. Make the pastry: sift the flour and sugar and add the lemon zest.  Work in the butter until you have 'crumbs'.
2. Making a well in the middle, add the egg and vanilla together and pour into the well.  Gradually stir in the flour, taking a little more in the centre with each sweep of the spoon.
3. Loosely press out the pastry and divide into two balls.  Cover with Klingfilm and chill them for at least 1/2 hr.
*4. Roll out each ball of pastry and press into a tin, leaving a little overlap - bake blind, using some scrunched foil and baking beans, and bake for 10 mins.  Remove the foil/baking beans and cook for a further 15 mins.

5. Make the meringue - by whisking the (4) whites and (3ozs.) caster sugar until stiff peaks are formed.

Assembling the pies:
a) Whip the (3) yolks, (50ml) double cream and (450ml)  lemon curd and pour into the prebaked pastry shells.
b) Top the pies with the whipped egg whites - spooning them on, and smooth with a palette knife.
c) Bake for 40 mins. at 170 deg.C  and when cooked the meringue will be slightly golden on top and soft in the middle.

This recipe is from the Duchy Originals Cookbook.

 for a really quick version:
Oven: 190 deg. C - - 45 mins
1 pack of ready-made sweet shortcrust pastry + 9" shallow baking tin
approx. 8 tablspns. of ready-made lemon curd (or more :) )
Meringue: 6 egg whites, beaten to stiff peaks then + whisk/beat in 300g caster sugar - 
you should get a lovely shiny stiff meringue
   think it is a good idea to either pre-bake the pastry case, or partly pre-bake it or buy one ready made - roll out pastry , place in tin, trim overlap. (*If pre-baking - see above recipe).
Place lemon curd in pastry case, top with the meringue and bake -
serving warm or cold

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Mincemeat Cake

This is a very easy Mary Berry recipe and is lovely as a Christmas cake 
which you can make at the last min - and it keeps very well.

Oven: 160deg.C fan oven / 140 deg.C/Gas 3 - preheated
150g (5ozs.) soft butter
150g light muscovado sugar
2 large eggs
225g (8ozs.) self-raising flour
225g mincemeat
100g (approx. 4ozs.) currants (or sultanas)
100g sultanas (or raisins)
50g blanched or split almonds - if wanted

2 x 450g (1lb.) loaf tins or one large cake tin - greased and floured.

1.  Place all the ingredients, except for the blanched almonds, into a large bowl and beat well until thoroughly blended.
If the mixture is a little thick/heavy, beat in  some warm/hot previously boiled water - just enough to lighten the mixture a little.  This might not be necessary.

2. Turn into the prepared tin, place the almonds in a pattern on top - if using -  and bake for approx. 1.1/4 hrs.  Test with a skewer in the center to see whether cooked through.  If the skewer comes out clean, it's done.

3. Allow to cool in the tin for a few mins, then turn out on to a wire rack and cool completely.
Sift with icing sugar before cutting and serving.

You can either freeze these cakes - well wrapped - or keep in an airtight container for a good week.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Prune Pudding with Brandy Sauce - Christmas Recipe

1lb. (450/500g.) prunes - soaked overnight in strong (black) tea. (or ready-to-eat prunes)

3/4 lb (375g) flour
4ozs. (125g) suet (vegetable or meaty)
4 ozs. (125g) butter
Mix these 3 ingredients together.

4 eggs
4 ozs. (125g) sugar
1 tablespoon of marmalade
3 tbls. whisky 

1. Butter a basin well and place prunes around the sides.
2. Beat the eggs and sugar together well, add the marmalade and whisky, then the dry ingredients.
Mix well.  Pour into the basin.
3. Cover the basin with either foil (with a pleat) or double greaseproof paper - with a pleat, and steam for about 4 hrs.
Serve with Brandy Sauce, cream or custard.

Brandy Sauce:
55g (2ozs.) butter
55g. (2ozs.) plain flour 
570 ml (1 pt) milk
55g. caster sugar
4 tablespoons of brandy

1. Melt the butter and stir in the flour.  Cook for 2 minutes and gently stir in the milk.
2. Bring to the boil, stirring continuously, and simmer for about 10 minutes.
3. Stir in the brandy and the sugar and serve.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

Sticky Bun Pudding - very quick

Oven: 180/90 deg.C - aprox. 1/2 hr.
Ingredients for the Custard: This amount serves a good 4.
2 eggs
approx. 3/4-1pt. milk
2 ozs. of sugar (2 good tablespoons)

Bought spicey Sticky Buns - stale is fine.
and Jam of choice

1. Whisk together the eggs, milk and sugar.
2. Well butter a baking dish.
3. Slice the buns in half,  butter and jam them, placing them into your baking dish - butter side up.
4. Pour the custard over and leave to stand, so that the buns swell slightly - about 20 mins.
5. Bake until nicely risen and the custard is set - approx. 30 mins.
Best eaten hot with custard :) (or cream)

This is a basic recipe, but you can add things like apple/fruit compote, flaked almonds, etc.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Stuffed Aubergines - Spanish Christmas Recipe - Rick Stein's

Manchego - Spanish Sheeps Milk Cheese
Oven: 200deg.C : 400F
Ingredients: serves 4
4 aubergines
6 tbls. olive oil
4 cloves of garlic
1 onion - peeled and chopped
1 large red pepper - deseeded and chopped
1.1.2 tsps. cumin seeds
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp,. grated nutmeg
1 tsp. smoked sweet Spanish Paprika (Pimenton)
large pinch of crushed dried chillies
6 tblspns tomato sauce (Passata) - or 1/2 tomato puree  & water
3.5 ozs. Manchego (100g) - coarsely grated
Salt and black pepper
1lb.2oz. (500g) Lamb Mince - or Chestnut Mushrooms* - chopped

1. Cut each aubergine lengthways through the stalk, then score the flesh in a criss-cross pattern - don't cut through the skin. Place on a baking tray and drizzle about a tablespoon of olive oil over, some salt and bake for 30-40 minutes, until tender but not browned.

2. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan, add the onion, garlic, red pepper and spices and fry gently for about 10 minutes.  Add either the lamb or the mushrooms and fry until the meat is browned, and the mushrooms are just cooked through.  Add the tomato sauce and simmer for about 5 minutes.

3. Remove the aubergines from the oven and increase the temperature to about 220 C. Carefully scoop out the flesh from the aubergine halves, leaving about 1/2" (1 cm) thick, of the flesh remaining on the skin.

4. Stir the aubergine flesh in with the lamb/mushrooms, season to taste and spoon the mixture into each aubergine half and sprinkle with grated cheese.

Bake for 8-10 minutes or until the cheese is bubbling and golden brown.

*Mushrooms are my addition, and not in Rick's original recipe

Saturday, 30 November 2013

French Food Boxes

November food box
This Company will send you these lovely French food boxes on a regular basis, if you sign up, or you can order just one, which they can customise for you.
Super idea for a Christmas prez.
Check out their website with this link

Monday, 25 November 2013

Mushroom Soup with Chestnuts - made in the micro

approx. 8 ozs.(225g)  Chestnut Mushrooms - remove the dry end of the stalk and chunkily chop them - no need to peel if fresh.
1 oz. (25g) of butter
1 tbls. oil - sunflower or olive
1 small onion - peeled and chopped
1 potato - peeled and chopped
1 celery stalk - peeled and chopped
1 clove of garlic - peeled and crushed or chopped
Dried or fresh Thyme
Sand and Pepper
approx. 3/4 - 1pt. hot water + stock cube or use home made stock
1/2 to 1 pack of ready prepared Chestnuts (Gourmet) 

This can all be made in the micro:
1. Place the chopped vegetables, seasoning, herbs and garlic into a large pyrex bowl with the oil and butter.  Shake the bowl so the veg are lightly coated with the fats.
2. Zap in the micro - (covered) - until the veggies are just softened
3. Add the stock - to just cover the vegetables and zap (covered) again until all the veg are well cooked through, adding the Chestnuts, which you can 'crumb' in the food processor before adding to the soup.
4. Leave to cool, and for the flavours to infuse -  then liquidise, adding more stock or a little milk/cream if necessary.
Taste and adjust seasoning.

Serve with sweet or sour cream, and some finely chopped corriander, flat leaf parsley or fresh thyme leaves.

If you dont have a micro, then just saute the veg in the oil/butter, until softened, add the stock and continue to cook as above.