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.

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Chocolate Cream (without gelatin) - easy

4 ozs. semi sweet chocolate or a good dark chocolate - melted
16 ozs. ( 2 Packs) Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1 pint (2 cups) Sour Cream (could use half sour cream and half double cream)
1/2 cup icing sugar
2 tsps. grated orange zest - or few drops of orange essence.
1 tblspn. chocolate liqueur or choc/orange liqueur (optional)

1. melt the chocolate in a bain marie and set aside to cool.
2. beat the cream cheese, sour cream and icing sugar until smooth.
3. Add the cooled melted choc, orange zest and liqueur and beat until blended.
4. Pour into one large bowl or smaller ramekins and leave, covered with Klingfilm, in fridge overnight - or about 10 hrs.

Nice served with a dark fruit compote.

(PS: photo above is not mine - but is very pretty.)

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Cheesecake Ice Cream

8 ozs. (1 package) Philadelphia Cream Cheese
1/2 cup of caster sugar
1 cup of plain Greek Yogurt (or sour cream)
1/2 cup of single cream
1/2 cup of double cream
1 - 1.1/2 tsps. vanilla extract
2 tsps. finely grated orange or lemon zest
12 small macaroons - crumbled,  or meringues - crumbled - optional

Using an electric mixer, cream the cream cheese (!)
Add sugar, pinch of salt - beat together for a few minutes until well combined
Add the yogurt - mix in thoroughly.
Gradually add the creams, the vanilla and the zest.

Chill in the fridge for about 45 mins. - until mixture is cold.
Either freeze in an ice cream maker or place in freezer and take out when just beginning to 'set' and  whisk so as to stop any crystals forming. 
Repeat this a couple of times.
On the last 'mix' add the crumbled macaroons/meringue pieces if wanted.
Store lidded in the freezer.

Recipe originally

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Storing fresh Corriander/Cilantro

Best way to store Corriander/Cilantro :
Dont wash until needed -
Place stems in glass/jar of water and cover with plastic bag - (keep in fridge)
Corriander can also be frozen in plastic bags (or ice cube trays) - 
these can be used in soups/stews etc. 
I found this information on the Internet, but I've also found that washed and storing it in a salad spinner (lidded) works well.

Saturday, 28 March 2015

Speedy Shepherds Pie - with Cooked Lamb

I bought a ready-prepared piece of lamb in red wine sauce and roasted it - I didn't think it was that good so I minced the meat in the food processor (saving the gravy).  I also had a pack of Ready-Mashed Potatoes  ...........  Perfect! ........  made a Shepherds Pie .........

Ingredients & Method:
1. Place the minced cooked lamb into your oven-proof dish.
2. Fry over some roughly chopped Chestnut Mushrooms and a small chopped onion - fry until just softened.
3. Add the layer of mushrooms and onion on top of the meat.
Season to taste.
4. Pour some (or all) of the sauce/gravy on top of the meat - depending how wet you like the dish.
5. Break up the ready-mashed-potato and fork it on top of the meat.
If wanted, pour a little melted butter over the potatoes and bake at approx. 190 deg.C until the mixture is bubbling and the potatoes are just 'tipping' brown.

Serve with a nice green veg such as sprouts - (this may be contraversial! :) ) and Heinz Baked Beans - (excellent).

PS: Apologies - this is not my photo - we ate it too quick!

Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Vegetarian Shepherds Pie with Sweet Potato Mash

This recipe is by Lorraine Pascale - 
looks like a lot of ingredients but also looked just delicious -
from the BBC programme The Hairy Bikers and Lorraine Pascale - - - super recipes.

Ingredients for filling:
1 tblspn. of oil
1 leek trimmed and finely chopped
2 carrots - finely chopped
150g (5.1/2 ozs) chestnut mushrooms - roughly chopped (not too small)
1 large garlic clove - finely chopped
3 fresh sage leaves and 3 springs fresh thyme leaves
1 x 400g tin of Puy green lentils - drained
1 x 400g tin of chopped tomatoes
300ml. (10 fl.oz) veggie stock
250ml. (9 fl.oz) red wine
1 tbls. Worcestershire sauce
1 tbls. soy sauce
1 tsp. chilli flakes (optional)
1 tsp. sugar (optional), honey or maple syrup
salt and ground black pepper

2 sweet potatoes (approx.500g. -  1lb.2oz. total)
2 floury potatoes (approx 500g in total) - cut into chunks
1/2 small cauliflower - remove leaves and separate into florets
knob of unsalted butter
salt and black pepper
1 tbls. grated parmesan (optional)

1. heat the oil in a frying pan over med. heat and add the leeks and fry for 4-5 mins. or just beginning to soften.
2. Add the carrots, mushrooms and garlic and continue to cook, stirring - 4-5 mins.
3. Add  the chopped sage and thyme and lentils, tomatoes, stock and red wine.  Stir together. Bring to the boil then reduce the heat until it simmers and continue to simmer for 18-20 mins.

4. Preheat the oven to 200C (180F/Gas 6)
5. Add the sweet potato chunks to a pan of boiling water and boil for approx. 8-10 mins. Add the cauliflower and continue to boil until the veggies are tender.  Drain and return to the pan.
6. Add butter and seasoning then mash until smooth.
7. Stir in the Worc. and Soy sauces, chilli and sugar - simmer 1 or 2 mins. adding a little water if the mix is too dry.  Season to taste.
8. Transfer the filling to an ovenproof dish and spoon over the topping and spread evenly.

9. Bake for 18-20 mins or until the topping is becoming golden brown and the filling is bubbling.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Easy Lamb Hotpot - All-in-one Dish

There are several methods of making this dish, the recipe I've given below is pretty straightforward, as you just layer everything into your casserole - without precooking anything.  However, you can cook the lamb stew in advance, and add sliced par-boiled potatoes on top afterwards and brown them in the oven - as per Jamie Oliver's version:

Ingredients: enough for 2 or 3 (or 4 smaller portions)
approx. 1lb. lamb steaks - trimmed and cut into bite-size pieces - (you can use any other suitable cuts)
1 large courgette
1 stick or 2 of celery
1 large tomato
3 or 4 potatoes
1 onion
1 large carrot
couple of garlic cloves - peeled and chopped
Try and cut the vegetables into approx. the same size chunks
handful of barley - if wanted
dried oregano, fresh rosemary (if poss)
salt and pepper

Lay the vegetables, except the potato and onion, on the bottom of your casserole.
Dredge a little flour over the top, some salt and pepper and the herbs.
You could also throw in a handful of barley - which is lovely with lamb.
Toss the lamb pieces in seasoned flour and place on top.
Add the potatoes and onions.
Pour hot water or stock over the top to just about cover - a little less is fine.
Season the top layer of veg.

I cover the casserole with a layer of either greaseproof or cooking parchment, then a cover of double-foil.  (A lid is fine :) )
1. about an hour at 190 deg.C
2. turn the oven temperature down a little and cook for another hour or so,
3. then you can just leave it in the oven at about 100 deg.C until you want it.  The longer it cooks - it's just fine.

If you find the gravy hasn't come out thickly enough for you - just carefully strain it off, add some slaked arrowroot or cornstarch and reheat it separately in a small saucepan - this should thicken it up to your taste.  Pour it back over the casserole.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Mashed Potato/cheese/onion - Very Quick Supper dish

Oven: 190/200 deg.C 
Approx. 20-mins to 1/2 hr. cooking time**
Buttered tin approx. 6" x 8" x 2" deep

1 or 2 packs of 'ready' mashed potato (400/800g.) (depending how much you need)
1 onion, peeled, chopped and sauteed in oil and butter (inc.clove of garlic if wanted.)
approx. 3ozs. (plus or minus) Cheddar Cheese - or hard cheese of choice - grated
1 large egg - beaten (if using 2 packs of potato - use 2 eggs)

Mix the mashed potato, cheese, onion and beaten egg together and season to taste.*
Place in the tin  and smooth out.
Add a little more grated cheese on top and bake until going golden -  still looks nice, without being too burnt!  - (timing isn't too crucial**)

* Before putting the mashed potato in, you could place, another cooked vegetable layer down, or .....
eg:  bacon bits (cooked), peas, baked beans, sausages - anything you may fancy as long as it's pre-cooked.

The potato cooked on its own will keep very well in the fridge (covered) and you could use it throughout the week - (until you get fed up with it that is).

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

Sake Lees


Having just found out what Sake 'Lees' is - I thought I'd blog it just in case anyone else was interested.........

"Also called sake kasu, the thick rice paste that’s left at the end of the sake-making process. Often used in Asia as a marinade for fish or meat, sake lees are given an unusual twist in Dufresne’s kitchen."

"Their deep umami flavor is reminiscent of miso, but sake lees have a sweetness and a lingering note of sake that makes their taste distinctive. They are available at many Asian specialty-food stores."

interesting video link with recipe: 

Thursday, 19 February 2015

Vinaigrettes and Mayonnaise and Oriental Dipping Sauce

Vinaigrette: (screw-top jar)
I usually use about
6 measures of oil (small cup, tablespoon, eggcup)  to one or two measures (same) of cider vinegar (or vinegar of choice)
Plus approx. a teaspoon of Dijon mustard - you can use mustard powder, but ready-made is better,
1 tsp. of sugar or some Maple Syrup
Salt and black pepper and a large squashed clove of garlic.
Shake the jar well (remembering to screw the lid on tightly!)
This will store in your fridge for ages.  You can use this as a basic vinaigrette and add other stuff to ring the changes.
You dont need to remove the garlic.

Sweet Vinaigrette: (screw-top jar)
1 cup of salad oil
1/3 cup of vinegar
1 tsp. salt
2 tablespoons (or more) sugar
1.1/2 tsps. dry mustard
a little ground black pepper
Mix and shake together well.
This is very good with finely shredded red cabbage.

Mayonnaise: (Liquidiser)
To make a light mayonnaise I use
1 egg (+ 1 extra yolk if wanted)
Salt, ground white pepper, clove of crushed garlic (optional)
Approx. a tablespoon of lemon juice or a good vinegar.
Blitz briefly.
Pouring a little oil at a time, (pouring through the lid of the liquidiser), blitz gently until you have the consistency you want.
I use either Sunflower Oil/Olive oil or a combination.
Taste and adjust seasoning - can also add a little Dijon mustard.

Basic Oriental Dipping Sauce: (screwtop jar*)
3 (cups/measures) rice vinegar
2           "                sugar
1           "                Soy Sauce
crushed garlic(optional)
Shake together.
*Beforehand, I sometimes pour boiling water into the jar and lid just to sterilise it.

Salad Cream Recipe