Friday, 29 January 2016

Brie (or Camembert) Cheese Tart - easy

I had some leftover cheeses in the fridge, and decided to try an experiment using them in a cheesey tart.  The first one I made with Camembert and Puff Pastry - was very good, I then thought I'd give the Brie a try - using more or less the same ingredients - which has also come out quite nicely.  (The above pic is using the Brie and just a shortcrust pastry base.)  This is really a fairly adaptable recipe, and will work with most soft cheeses.

Bought Puff or Shortcrust Pastry is fine
2 Camemberts or Bries
2 large eggs
150ml. double cream
150ml creme fraiche or plain yogurt
little Dijon mustard
black pepper
small amount of a blue cheese (grated) - optional

Oven preheated to 180/190deg. C
1. Line your oven-proof flan dish with pastry - either just the base or the whole flan tin shape (with sides), prick with a fork and bake for about 10-15 mins. Leave on the side while making your filling.  If using Puff Pastry, you may need to weigh this down when pre-baking, with greaseproof paper or foil and baking beans.

2. In your food processor blitz the cheeses, eggs, mustard, creme fraiche, black pepper and cream - process until nice and creamy.  Taste.
3. You can add a little grated blue cheese if you want.
4. Pour the filling into the pastry case and bake for approx. 20-30 mins until nicely golden.

I like this cold, but it's also nice warm.

this one is made with camembert and puff pastry

Thursday, 28 January 2016

Bakewell Cake - all-in-one - Easy

this is a Bakewell Tart (traditional) - link here for its history

My recipe is more of a sponge cake which has the 'Bakewell' taste ..........

Oven: 160/70 deg. C
Timing: approximately 45 mins. - do check with a skewer that it's cooked through.

4.5 ozs. (140g.) softened butter or Flora (for baking)
4.5 ozs. (140g) golden caster sugar
4.5ozs. (140g.) self-raising flour
2 large eggs
1/2 tsp. vanilla and 1/2 tsp. almond essence

Seedless Raspberry Jam

Beat all the ingredients, except the jam, together until nice and creamy.
If the mixture looks a little heavy - pour in some hot water (boiled) - just a little at a time until you have the right creamy consistency.
Prepare a cake tin, with either a liner, or greased and floured and pour the batter in - smooth it out (roughly) evenly :)

Place small dollops (teaspoons) of the raspberry jam on top - this will probably sink, but it doesn't matter.  If the jam is thin enough  - you could 'swirl' it through the batter.

Bake for approx. 1/2 hr and check the cake, then give it another 15 mins if not done - or until cake is cooked through - testing with a skewer.
The cake should just about be coming away from the edges of the tin.

Monday, 25 January 2016

Egg-Free Sponge Cake - Quick

Oven: 190 deg.C
Bake: approx. 1/2 hr - (40 mins if one larger cake is made)

6ozs. Plain Flour (175g) - sifted with 3 tsps. baking powder

2.1/2 ozs. (70g) butter, margarine or Flora
2.1/4 ozs. (60g) caster sugar

1/4pt. milk (150ml.)
1 tblspn. golden syrup (pour hot water on the tablespoon - it's easier to pour off the syrup)

2-3 tablespoons of jam of choice

1. Cream the fat and sugar together till light and 'fluffy'
2. Warm the golden syrup and milk - just enough to melt the golden syrup
3. Place the flour and baking powder gently into your bowl, (on top of the creamed fat)
4. Using an electric beater, add the liquid and whisk until you have a nice smooth creamy consistency.  Use a spatula to gather mixture together and make sure all the flour is mixed in. 
Line either 2 sponge tins or one larger tin
5.Pour in the mixture, and bake until firm - test with a skewer to make sure it comes out clean.
6. Cool.
If using one large tin, slice the cake through and carefully spread your jam on to the base.  Replace the top of the cake.  Using a little sifted icing sugar to decorate.

This sponge is easy to make - especially if you are out of eggs (or aren't able to eat them).  I think it has a slightly denser texture, but isn't bad at all for a quick cake! :o)

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Fish Chowder - or use Shrimps/Prawns

Ingredients: serves 4

Couple of tblspns. of Olive oil - or oil and a knob of butter
1 small Onion peeled and chopped
(thinly sliced white part of a small Leek if wanted)
1 stalk of Celery - peeled and chopped
1/2 lb. Potatoes (250g.) - peeled and roughly chopped
approx. 14 fl. ozs. Fish stock - home-made preferably but stock cube is fine
approx. 14 fl.ozs. Milk
couple of bayleaves, small clove of Garlic - crushed
approx. 12 ozs. - lb.cod or haddock
(including a small amount of smoked haddock if wanted) *
herb of choice - parsley, corriander, thyme - chopped


1. Saute the onion and celery until just softened
2. Add the milk,stock and potatoes and simmer until the potatoes are almost cooked.
............ you can liquidise the soup at this stage - (or once the fish is added).
3. Add the fish - - and simmer until the fish flakes easily and is cooked through.
This shouldn't take very long. (5 mins? depending on the thickness of the fish)

**Taste for seasoning and serve, garnished with fresh chopped herbs of choice.

You could also add some sweetcorn, peas and/or throw in a few ready-cooked prawns. The prawns work well.

*use recipe with prawns/shrimp instead of cod or haddock or a mix of cod and shrimp.
**Liquidise the soup to make it smooth.

Add a little cream to serve.

Little Tip: If you have lots of shells left from the prawns - dont throw them away - you can use these to make lovely fish stock.

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Season's Greetings
Have a lovely Christmas and Very Happy 2016

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Chocolate Salami - deliciously yum!

Ingredients for Chocolate Salami

300g dark chocolate
150ml Milk
75g golden syrup
140g unsalted Butter
1 egg, lightly beaten
200g (approx.) broken choc. Digestives or plain bix.
50g raisins (or dried sour cherries)
line a 23 x 13cm loaf tin with cling film.

1. Put the chocolate, milk, syrup, butter and a pinch of salt into a saucepan and very gently heat, stirring, until the mixture has melted and combined. Do not allow to boil.
2. Remove from the heat and stir in the beaten egg slowly.
3. Leave to cool, then gently stir in the biscuits, and raisins and pour into the loaf or spongecake-type tin tin
OR make into a roll on a large piece of klingfilm, twist each end (like a Cracker).
Chill for at least 4 hours.
Remove from the fridge 5 minutes before serving.(It goes soft pretty quickly).
This is just decadently delicious, and if it lasts more than five minutes - I'd be really surprised!

Monday, 7 December 2015

Mincemeat - quick, without Suet - suitable for vegetarians - lovely with vanilla ice cream too :)

1 cup  of sultanas 
1 cup of raisins
1/2 cup of currants
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 apple (sweet is probably better) - peeled, cored, grated or 'blitzed'
juice and grated rind of 1 lemon

Place all ingredients into large bowl and stir well together OR
place all ingredients into your food processor and blitz.  

I haven't used nuts in this recipe, but you could add blanched almonds - or nuts of choice.

I use a jam jar, pour boiling water (carefully) into it to sterilise - (lid too). Cool slightly.

Place Mincemeat Mixture into the jar and replace lid.

This will keep fairly well either in the fridge or frozen.

You can also add some alcohol to the mix - which will lengthen its life :) 

pic doesn't relate to recipe - but is pretty!

Boiled Fruit Cake - makes lovely and easy Christmas Cake - no sugar added

This pic does look like a bit of a 'lump' - but we ate the rest!  It does taste delicious!

1kg.mix of sultanas, raisins and currants (or mix of choice)
2.1/2 cups (625ml) fruit juice
2 cups of self-raising flour
tsp of ground ginger
tsp of cinnamon

if you like the mix sweeter - you can add honey or maple syrup (or sugar) - to taste, or use a sweetened fruit juice.

1. Place dried fruit and 2 cups of fruit juice into your saucepan.
2. Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 3-5 mins.  Remove from heat and leave to cool for about 2hrs.

3. Preheat the oven to 150 deg.C (fan oven) or 170deg.C conventional oven.

4. Line a 20cm. round spring form tin and set aside.
5. Sift the SR Flour and spices over the dried fruit mix and stir well to combine.  Use the remaining fruit juice if the mixture is too thick.
6. Pour into your tin and bake for about 2hrs. on the lowest shelf.
7. Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin.

8. Wrap in foil and keep in an airtight container for 2-3 days before slicing.
- you can also pierce the cake, when cooled and add some alcohol of choice :) 

Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Rice Pud Revival :)

If you've made some Rice Pud and find it has dried out a bit, the next day, just add it to a saucepan with some cold milk, bring gently to the boil, stirring, and it should be just fine.

Oven: 180/190 deg.C - couple of hours.
Recipe for Rice Pudding: serves a good 2 portions

1pt. (600 ml.) cold milk (Full Fat is best, but Skimmed is fine.)
1.1/2 ozs. (approx. 2 tblspns) Pudding Rice
same amount of sugar
a large knob of butter (optional - but nice) - plus some extra for greasing dish.
Grated Nutmeg - optional

1. Butter an ovenproof dish and place all ingredients in.
2. Bake for approx. 2hrs. although lower temperature and longer cooking time is fine.  Just check every so often to see it hasn't become too dry - if so, just add a little more milk.  It should be a nice sloppy, creamy texture :)

I love my rice pudding, served hot, with strawberry jam - lovely.

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

1970's Spag Bol

not quite sue about this recipe! but thought it might be fun to post it ..............

1lb. minced beef
1 packet of minestrone soup  :o( ?
1 pint of water
8ozs. spaghetti
Parmesan Cheese

1. Mix together the minced beef, minestrone soup and water, and bring to the boil, partially cover and allow to simmer for 25 mins - stirring occasionally.
2. Cook the spaghetti in boiling salted water for 15-20 mins (?) until tender, drain well and toss in a little oil.
3. Serve spaghetti with the Bolognese sauce sprinkled with Parmesan Cheese.

Actually the website is really interesting and has recipes from different ages.

Friday, 30 October 2015

Evaporated Milk Lemon Ice Cream - easy

1 can (13ozs.) evaporated milk - chilled in freezer for a couple of hours.
1 large metal bowl - chilled in fridge
1.1/4 cups of icing sugar (or little less if you dont like the ice cream too sweet)
1 or 2 tsps. good vanilla essence
1 lemon - finely grated rind

1. Pour the very cold evaporated milk into the cold metal bowl, and whip/beat until fluffy.
(- about a minute or less)
2.  Slowly add the icing sugar - 1/4 cup at a time, then add the vanilla.
3. Place the bowl (or smaller plastic bowl will do), in your freezer and leave for about an hour - then well whip the ice cream for a minute and replace into the freezer.
Repeat this 4* times.   The ice cream becomes thicker and creamier each time.

*I added the lemon zest on the 3rd beating - but I dont think it matters quite when you do this. 

I added the lemon zest as I thought the ice cream was very sweet, and this seems to cut into the taste a little more.   

Keep in freezer until wanted, then leave at room temperature until the ice cream texture is 'just right' - it is delicious.

Saturday, 24 October 2015

Potato Gnocchi - easy

approx. 500 grams nice potatoes that are easily mashed - leftover mashed potatoes are just fine - just alter the amount of flour used if you dont have the correct amount for this recipe.
approx. 200g. plain flour
1 large egg - beaten
sea salt, freshly ground black pepper

1. If starting from scratch - boil your potatoes till soft, drain then mash them.

2. In a large bowl, add your mash, beaten egg and about half of the flour,  plus seasoning.
Mix this into a firmish dough - adding more flour as you need, so that the dough is firm enough to handle and not too sticky.
Well flour a surface and knead the potato dough for a minute or so.

3. Meanwhile, place a large pan of water on to boil, and lightly butter a serving dish.

4. Break off a largeish piece of dough and roll into a sausage, roughly 1" in diameter.
Cut this into 1" pieces.  Repeat with the rest of the dough.

 5. Carefully drop them into the boiling water - a batch at a time.

7. When they've popped up to the top - leave them another few seconds, then carefully take them out with a slotted spoon, and place in your serving dish.
Taste one (or so) - to make sure they are nicely seasoned ...... :)

Serve either just with butter, or tomato or pesto sauce, and scatter some nice chopped green herb over the top - i.e. flat parsley, coriander, and also some grated parmesan/cheese of choice.

Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Apple Pie

220 deg.C for 20 mins. then  190 deg.C for approx. another 20 mins. till golden.

1.1/2 cups self-raising flour (or half plain and half self-raising)
1 cup of butter
1/2 cup of sugar
2 eggs

2 tablspns. jam of choice (apricot, plum etc.)

2 lbs. cooking apples - peeled and roughly chopped (better if they're smallish - they take less time to cook through - I use my food processor to chop them.)
3/8 cup (3ozs.) sugar - or to taste
1/4 cup of sultanas
juice and rind of 1 lemon
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 oz. flour
1/2 oz. melted butter
sugar to sprinkle

1. Rub the butter into the flour until breadcrumbs.
2. Add the sugar, then add 1 egg and 1 yolk and make into a stiff dough, - (save the spare egg white for glazing)
The pastry can be made in a food processor or using the dough hook in the larger kitchenaids.  You can wrap and chill the pastry while putting the filling ingredients together.
3. Divide the pastry into 2 - one slightly larger than the other.
4. Roll out the slightly larger piece  
(using kling film is good, but may need to sprinkle with a little flour).
Grease your dish/tin (approx. 9"x12"x1" deep) and place the pastry carefully inside, gently pushing into the sides.   
Dont worry about trimming it - this can be done when the lid is put on.
5. Spread the jam onto the base - carefully.

6. Mix the rest of the filling ingredients together and place inside the pastry.
7. Roll out the lid, wet the edges of the pastry base and carefully place the lid on top.  Trim.
Either crimp the edges together with your fingers, or use a fork.  Make a small hole in the centre.
8. Brush with beaten egg white and sprinkle with sugar.

Note: you could also cut out pastry circles, place in some of the filling, reseal the pastry - and have smaller pasties - but check the cooking times.


Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Beetroot Soup - easy and delicious .....

bunch of beets (about 4 or 5) - peeled and quartered* - can also add stems and leaves, if available, and they look fresh, but should remove these before liquidising, if they seem stringy.
2 sticks of celery  (peeled if stringy)
1 onion - peeled and chopped
1 large potato - peeled and chopped
Water - approx. 2pts. + some extra
1/2 cup of sugar
lemon juice - to taste
salt, pepper - season to taste

1. Place the first 5 ingredients into your saucepan.
2. Bring to the boil and simmer approx.40 mins - 1hr. until the beets and other veg are soft.
3. Add the sugar and lemon juice
4. Liquidise (add more water if necessary) and season well.  The soup should be beautifully creamy. 

Serve - Hot or Cold - with sweet or sour cream - Delicious!  and the Colour is beautiful :)
This soup keeps pretty well in the fridge for several days, and probably improves with age!

* I have made this soup without peeling the beets.  They are easier to peel when they're cooked, and once the soup is liquidised, it doesn't seem to have made much difference.

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Apple Cake (2)

Oven: 350 deg.F / 160 deg.C
Ingredients:                                                      Half Quantity:

3 cups of Self-Raising Flour                              1.1/2 cups
(or Plain Flour + 2 tsps. baking powder)             
1/2 tsp. salt (dont add this if using salted butter) 1/4 tsp.
2 tsps. ground cinnamon                                    1 tsp.
1 tsp. ground ginger                                           1 tsp. - didn't change this quantity)
1.1/4 cups of demerara sugar                             1/2 cup + half of 1/4 cup
3/4 cup of vegetable oil (sunflower is fine)       1/4 cup + half of 1/4 cup
8 tblspns. melted butter                                      4 tblspns
2 large eggs - beaten                                           1 large egg
2 tsps. vanilla                                                      1 tsp.
3 cups approx. (peeled and cored apples) - whizzed in food processor  1.1/2 cups
or coarsely grated apples
1 cup chopped walnuts, if wanted                      1/2 cup

1. Stir together the flour, (baking powder), salt and spices.
2. In a separate large bowl combine the sugar, oil, melted butter, eggs and vanilla and beat until blended.
3. Stir in the flour, apples and nuts, if using.  This mixture will be very thick.
4. 'Dollop' into your baking tin and gently smooth over with a knife.  Drop the tin gently on your worktop,  so as to even out the mixture. 
5. Bake for approx. 45 mins (maybe longer) - until the top springs back slightly and is nicely golden.
6. Cool the cake in the tin, and sift with icing sugar when cold.

I've been using paper liners so that I dont need to grease and flour the tins - this does make life a little easier, though you dont always get such a neat shape to the baked cake.


Saturday, 19 September 2015

Japanese Cheesecake


I found this recipe at "" and thought I would give it a try. It uses very little cream cheese (and, actually not a large amount of any ingredient.)

It tastes rather like a very light, fluffy omelette, rather than a solid cake.  Although it is a little moreish, I think I will stick to my traditional cheesecake recipe, but this was nice to try.

Oven: 175 deg.C - 20 mins. then 150 deg. C for about 15 mins.

3ozs. cream cheese
1/4 cup of milk (semi-skimmed is fine)
2 eggs - separated
1/4 cup of caster sugar (fine white)
1/3 tsp. Cream of Tartar
3 tablespoons of Plain or Self-Raising Flour  (I used SR)
1.1/2 tablespoons of Cornflour (Cornstarch)

1. Place the cream cheese and milk in a small saucepan, and melt over a gentle heat - stirring.  Set aside.

2. In another bowl, beat the yolks and half of the sugar until lighter and creamy.

3. Fold into the cream cheese mix and sift in the flour and cornflour - stir (or using an electric beater) - whisk till blended, but dont overbeat.
This really doesn't look as though it's going to be enough to make a cake - but it does.(!)

4. In another bowl, beat the egg whites until soft peaks, add the remaining sugar and whisk the whites until stiff peaks.  Fold into the cream cheese mix.

5.  Pour into a cake tin (I used a largeish one, as I didn't know how high this would rise)
and bake for approx. 20 mins at 175 C then lower the temperature to 150 C for another 15 mins.
When ready, the cake should feel 'firm' when gently touched - test with a skewer too, to see whether it comes out clean - then it is baked.
Leave it to cool in the tin.

I usually use paper cases, (as above pic.), so it's easier to lift the cake out, although I dont ever think the shape is as neat as just greasing and flouring and baking in the actual tin.

Saturday, 12 September 2015


This is both a Greek and Italian (and maybe from somewhere else) dish - 
it's easy, delicious and keeps really well (covered) in the fridge.
Just layer the ingredients (as per pic. below)
Quantities are not really crucial, you can make the size according to what you have. 

cooked Short Macaroni
cooked minced Beef or Lamb filling*
Bechemel Sauce**

In a buttered oven-proof dish ...... layer the Macaroni, meat filling and another layer of Macaroni on top. 
Pour lots of creamy Bechemel over it, a little grated cheese on top and bake until bubbly and just going golden.
That's about all there is to it.

1 onion, peeled and chopped - saute in a little oil until just becoming transparent,
Add the minced meat, some crushed garlic - to taste, seasoning,
and saute until the meat is nicely browned.
Add some skinned, chopped tomatoes and cook a little longer.  Stir together.
Taste for seasoning.
(Add any other ingredient herb/chopped veg. that's to your taste.)

**Basic Bechemel Sauce : (can make in micro)
You need lots of this, so increase the ingredients according to what you need.
5 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons flour
3 cups milk
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

If making this in the micro. mix the flour with some of the milk just to break up the flour a little - then add the rest of the ingredients and stir frequently between cooking, until sauce begins to thicken.  You can then add grated cheese if you want, or just use the sauce, well seasoned.

I've kept the Pasticcio for a week in the fridge, and just either reheated some in the oven, or zapped it in the micro.  I feel it's better reheated in the oven, but is ok done in the micro.

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Cauliflower Cheese - simple and tasty

!Plus Cheese!

Oven: 200 deg. C - Gas 7 - preheat
1 large cauliflower - broken into florettes (discard leaves)
500ml milk
4 tblspns of plain flour
50g butter
100gr grated strong cheddar cheese (or similar)
teaspoon of dry mustard powder or approx. teasp. of ready made mustard. 
3 tblspns of breadcrumbs - not essential - but good.
Butter for greasing baking dish.

1. Cook the cauliflower florettes for about 5 mins until just cooked through.  Drain.  Place into a buttered oven-proof dish.

2. Put the flour, mustard powder/mustard and a small amount of milk into a micro. bowl - mix until almost smooth (you may have the odd little lump - that's ok) : add the rest of the milk, butter and mustard or mustard powder.  Whisk together.

Place in micro, cook and whisk frequently until the sauce begins to thicken.  Remove from the micro and stir in the cheese.

Taste for seasoning.  If the cheese is salty - dont add too much extra salt.

3. Pour the sauce over the florettes, scatter the breadcrumbs over - with a little extra grated cheese, if wanted.  Bake until beginning to go slightly brown and bubbly.
Serve hot.

- you could add cooked macaroni to this dish. 
- you could also add the breadcrumbs into the sauce mix instead of sprinkling them on top.

Tuesday, 1 September 2015

Very Easy Apple Cake (1)

8ozs. sifted Self-Raising flour (or Plain flour and 2 tsps. of baking powder)
pinch of salt
1/2 - 1tsp. ground ginger
1/2 - 1tsp. mixed spice
2 eggs
4 ozs. demerara sugar
4ozs. butter - softened
approx. 3 apples, cored but dont need to peel - chopped fine in food processor
few drops of vanilla essence if wanted.

Round or Loaf Tin

1. Cream the butter and sugar
2. Beat in one egg at a time with about a tblspn. of the flour
3. Add in the remaining flour and spices and mix together - dont overbeat, but mix should be fairly nice and creamy.

If the mixture is a little too stiff for a 'dropping' consistency, add a little slightly cooled boiled water, small amount at a time.  Beat in.

4. Mix in the chopped up apple and spoon into your prepared baking tin.

I forgot to put my oven on (!) so I put the cake into a cold fan over - temp. about 150 deg.C - and baked it for approximately an hour - do check (with a skewer) though as ovens vary.

This cake is lovely warm, but just as nice cold :)

TIP: It's a good idea to use a good quality flour when baking cakes - it does make a difference.


Sunday, 16 August 2015

Potato Bread - German recipe

original recipe link
I love the Hairy Bikers German Potato Bread, but this recipe seems less complicated.

Potato - 1 Medium (Maris Piper pref.)
All Purpose flour -  1 and 1/4 Cups
Instant yeast - 1/2 tsp
Salt 1/2 tsp
Water -  2 - 3 tbsp
Oil - 1 tsp

Wash and slash the potato and cook in micro. for 4 mins.

Soak in cold water and peel. It will be fork tender, crumble in a mixing bowl.

Add flour, salt, instant yeast, oil. Mix everything well.

Slowly add water and knead to a soft dough. Then transfer to the counter and knead for another 10 - 15 mins, until the dough is very soft.

Let the dough rest in a well oiled bowl, loosely cover with klingfilm, for an hour or until it doubles.

Once it doubles, punch it down and shape it loosely into a ball. Do not handle the dough hard, just loosely roll it into a ball.

Grease a baking pan with oil place the ball of dough into it and let it sit for another 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 220 C, make some small (shallow) cuts on top of the bread.
Bake the bread for 30 minutes or until the top is well browned.
Take it out of the oven, remove the bread to a wire rack, let it cool completely.

Slice and serve with cheese or butter.

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Baked Barley

I dont know whether other people are the same as me, but I love the taste of cooked Barley - it's lovely in soups and stews (particularly lamb), and also apparently as good for you as oats - (re. cholesterol).  

I dont really like just boiling it - though I do use stock instead of just plain water - which I think is much nicer.  You can either add it to other dishes, have it as a side dish - definitely as part of a vegetarian meal, make veggie patties with it etc. etc.

I have to say - it probably doesn't look that appetizing when it's cooked, but  do try it, it has a lovely nutty flavour and is very easy to cook  .... it keeps very well (covered) in the fridge too.

Oven: 190 deg.C (fan oven)
Timing: approx. an hour - (depends on your oven - and the barley)
Baked Barley recipe:
Butter an ovenproof dish and put in 
1 cup of pearl barley
1 peeled and chopped onion +
Salt and ground black pepper - to taste
2 cups of 
hot chicken or vegetable stock plus about  
a teasp. of good mixed dried herbs.  

Stir together, then stir from time to time while cooking.
Check after about 40 minutes .... you may need to add extra hot stock if the barley isn't cooked through. Stir in some more hot stock and continue cooking. 
Taste the barley to see whether it's cooked through enough.

Monday, 13 July 2015

American Pancakes

Before - and After!
135g (4.3/4 ozs) plain flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tbls. (or more) sugar
130ml. (4.1/2 fl.ozs) milk
1 large egg - lightly beaten
2 tblspns. sunflower oil

little butter and oil to fry pancakes.

1. Add all the ingredients together and beat until lovely and smooth.  Let the batter - which is quite thick - rest for a few minutes.
2. Melt a little butter and oil in a non-stick frying pan - pour off any excess - but keep it for next lot of pancakes.
3. Pour a ladlefull of batter into the hot pan and cook until the top is beginning to 'set'.
Turn the pancake and cook the other side.  This doesn't take long - lift it gently to check if going golden - pancake should have slightly risen too.

Repeat until all the batter is used and you have a batch of delicious pancakes.
Serve with lots of maple syrup, fruit ..... anything of choice.
Very delicious.

Tuesday, 30 June 2015

Chilled Almond & Garlic Soup - Andalucian - delicious - Ajo Blanco

blanched almonds

recipe 1.
250g (9 ozs.) whole blanched almonds
500 ml. (18fl.ozs) iced water, chicken or vegetable stock
80g. (3ozs.) white bread - crustless and cubed
2 cloves of garlic - roughly chopped
50ml. (2 fl.ozs) olive oil
50ml. (2fl.ozs) sherry vinegar
salt and ground black pepper
150g (5ozs.) golden raisins and/or chopped chives/slivered almonds/grape slices

1. Place almonds into your food processor and blend until very fine.
2. Add 50ml. of the water and blend to a paste.
3. Add the bread and garlic and blend again.
4. With the motor running, gradually add the remaining water, then gradually add the olive oil.
5. Add the sherry vinegar and season to taste.
6. Serve sprinkling a few raisins over each bowl. drizzle of olive oil and garnishes.

Recipe (slightly tweaked) c/o Simon Rimmer

recipe 2.
250g blanched whole almonds
60g crustless, day-old white bread roughly torn up - soaked in the water for about 15 mins.
Picota (fresh) Cherries
750ml. water
1 large clove of chopped/crushed garlic
12 tblspns. extra virgin olive oil
3 tblspns. sherry vinegar (or to taste)
sea salt (fine)

green grapes - chopped
peeled apple - chopped (small pieces)
peeled cucumber - chopped - if wanted
20 Picota cherries - pitted and chilled
chopped fresh mint

1. Place the softened bread and water into your liquidiser, with the almonds, garlic and olive oil - blitz until smooth and creamy.
2. Season to taste with sherry vinegar and salt.
3. transfer to a lidded container and refrigerate until the soup is very well chilled at least 2 - 3 hours.
4. Ladle into pretty soup bowls and either serve the accompaniments separately in small bowls, or put a little of each on top of the soup, with a little chopped mint.

This is delicious and very refreshing on a hot summer's day.

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Nigel Slater's Veggie all-in-one Hotpot

Oven: 160 deg.C (140 fan oven) / Gas 3
3 tblspns. olive oil
4 sliced onions
1 aubergine - slice in 1/2 lengthways then into 1/2" thick semi-circles
1 courgette, sliced into 1/2" thick rounds
800g (1lb.12.1/2ozs.) tomatoes cut in half
1 x 400g tin of flageolet beans - drained
1 x 400g tin of haricot beans - drained
50g butter (1.3/4 ozs.)
1 large carrot cut into ribbons, using a veg. peeler or mandoline
2 cooked beetroots, sliced into 1/2" thick rounds
6 springs of fresh thyme, salt and freshly ground black pepper

1. Heat the oil in a lidded casserole - medium heat - add the onions and fry for about 4 - 5 mins. until they begin to go golden brown.

2. Add 500  ml. (18 fl.oz) water and bring to the boil, reduce the heat until the water simmers and simmer gently for about 20 mins. - until the water has all but evaporated.

3. Heat another 4 tablspns. of the oil in a separate p[an and add the aubergine in batches and fry until lightly coloured on both sides - 5 - 6 mins.  Repeat the process with the courgettes.  Set aside.

4. Add the tomato halves to the stewed onions, season well and cover the casserole with the lid and cook for 8 - 10 mins or until cooked through.

5.  Add the beans to the onions, then stir in the courgettes and aubergines.

6. Melt the butter and the remaining oil in a frying pan - stir in the carrot ribbons until completely coated in the oil then arrange them in a tangle on top of the casserole.

7. Cook the beets 4 - 5 mins, and arrange them among the carrots.
Sprinkle some fresh thyme over.

Bake the complete hotpot for 45 - 60 mins until the veg on top have turned crispy and the casserole has thickened.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Oven Fried Fish and No-Fried Potatoes

Oven: 200deg. C
4 skinless salmon fillets 
2 tblspns. (approx.) Olive or Sunflower Oil or Rapeseed Oil
3 tblspns. Green Pesto
800g Potatoes (peeled if wanted), sliced into rounds
1 stock cube
1 egg white
100g fresh breadcrumbs, matzot meal or fine cornmeal

1. Put the pots into a large saucepan of water with the stock cube, bring to the boil and cook for a couple of minutes then drain and leave to cool a little.
2. Put the egg white into a bowl and whisk until frothy, add the potatoes and oil and transfer to your baking tray.  Bake for 25 mins or until crispy.

3. Spread the breadcrumbs on to a plate and brush each salmon fillet with a thin layer of the Pesto. Dip into the breadcrumbs until evenly coated.
Transfer to a greased baking tray and cook in the oven for 7 - 8 mins (or little longer until the fish is cooked through.)

Serve with the potatoes, a nice green veg or salad and mayo - on the side.

Monday, 11 May 2015

Baked Custard - very easy

Oven 140 deg. C (ish)

400ml double cream
4 whole eggs - beaten
Few drops of a good vanilla essence
Maple Syrup or Honey to sweeten

Mix all ingredients together and place into a shallow ovenproof dish.
Place this dish into a larger pan and half fill with water.  (Bain-Marie)
Bake custard until set.(approx. 45 mins.)
Serve cold, with either stewed fruit or a fruit puree - (strawberries are delicious with this.)

You could also pre-cook some fruit then pour the custard over the top and bake.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Chicken Kashmir (sort of) - very easy

1 lbs. Onions - skinned and chopped
2 cloves of Garlic - skinned and chopped
large piece of Ginger - peeled and chopped or grated
4 chicken breasts - skinned and cut into chunks
1 tsp. salt 
1 tsp. paprika
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1 tsp. chilli powder
1 tsp. garam masala
8 ozs. fresh tomatoes - coarsely chopped or 1/2 can of toms.

3 tbls. butter or ghee
2 ozs. blanched almonds cut into slivers
plain yogurt
1 pt. water

1. Place first 10 ingredients into your saucepan, topped with the tomatoes.
2. Cover, bring gently to the boil then simmer gently for about 40 mins. - stir occasionally.  Make sure the onions are very well cooked down.*

3. Add the Ghee/butter, and the yogurt a small amount at a time - stirring to combine.
4. Add the water - stir well and reduce the heat.
5. Cook for another (approx.) 20/25 mins. - - until the chicken is really tender.

Adjust seasoning (salt and pepper) as necessary.

*I have cooked this up to stage 2. and it's very good.
Continue the cooking, (when not adding the yogurt), adding a little water if necessary, until chicken is very tender.
I served the yogurt separately with the curry, ........ and rice of course.

The nice thing about this dish, is that you dont have to fry over any of the ingredients in advance.

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Honey Bees + Scottish Honey & Whisky Cake & Honey Cake Recipes

The above is a link to a lovely site with tons of useful information about Bees, and also has a very nice recipe selection.

Recipe 1.
Scottish Honey & Whisky Cake

6 oz self-raising flour (or all-purpose flour with baking powder)
6 oz butter
6 oz soft brown sugar (light brown sugar)
3 beaten eggs
4 tablespoons whisky
Rind of a small orange, grated .... (can also use the juice instead of the whisky)

Ingredients for butter Icing:
6 oz icing (frosting) sugar
2 oz butter
2 tablespoons clear honey
Juice from a small orange
Toasted flaked almonds as decoration

1. Cream the butter and sugar together, add the orange rind and beat in the eggs, one at a time. 
2. Whisk until the mixture is pale and fluffy. 
3. Sift in half the self-raising flour (or all-purpose flour and baking powder) and pour in the whisky. 4. Fold in to the mixture and sift in the remaining flour and again fold in. 
5. Grease two seven inch sandwich tins and divide the mixture between the two, smoothing the tops. 6. Bake for 20/25 minutes in an oven at 375F/190C/Gas Mark 5 until the cake is a light golden colour. 

Turn onto a wire rack to allow it to cool.

Honey Butter Icing:  
Put the butter, honey and one tablespoon of orange juice in a mixing bowl.
Slowly sift in the icing (frosting) sugar and work the mixture till they are all combined. 
Use half the butter cream as a sandwich between the two halves of the cake and spread the rest smoothly on the top. 
Add the toasted almonds as decoration. 

Honey Cake - Recipe 2 (simple)
1.1/2 cups sugar

3 eggs

3 cups plain flour

¼ tsp bi-carb

2.1/2 tspns mixed spice

2 tsps baking pdr

¾ cup veg or sunflower oil combined with 1 cup warm honey & 1 cup warm water

1. Beat eggs and sugar till thick, yellow and creamy.

2. Sift dry ingredients and add alternately with the oil, water and honey mixture.  Mix well to combine.

Add a  handful of sultanas if wanted.  (Lightly flour the fruit before putting into the mix.)
The batter will be pretty runny – don’t worry this is fine!

Pour into a large greased and floured container – baking tin, roasting tin, glass dish etc.  Making sure at least 1-2” is left for cake to rise.

Bake at 325 deg.F. (Gas 3) or 170 deg.C. for approx. 1hr.

Check carefully in center to see whether cake is cooked through.

You can do this by very gently pressing the top of the cake or use a clean skewer.

If browned enough but not cooked through, lightly cover with large sheet of foil so it will continue to cook but wont brown further.