Recipes: No Chat
For the time being I am going to have all the original recipes here on a roll in chronological order. At some point I am probably going to have to sub-catergorise further, with drop down menus and parent categories etc, etc. I don’t know how to do these things at the moment, so when I am not baking, decorating, tutoring, organising offspring or blogging, you can imagine me battling with WordPress-behind-the-scenes, trying to make a shiny, sophisticated, professionally presented blog.
Veg Box Fruit Salad
1 Pear, 2 Oranges, a few grapes cut in half (optional), ½ grapefruit segmented (optional), some fruit juice (orange, grapefruit, tropical), Mint.
- Peel and chop a pear.
- Slice the ends and the peel and pith from a couple of oranges (stand the oranges, once the tops and bottoms have been removed, on a chopping board and using a sharp knife cut down round the orange removing just the peel and pith). Remove the segments of flesh with the knife by cutting adjacent to the segment membranes. This all sounds far more complicated than it actually is. Alternatively, peel oranges, separate segments and cut each segment in half.
- Add to the pear, along with any optional fruit.
- Add a little fruit juice or the juice released from the cut up oranges, or both.
- Add a small amount of finely chopped fresh mint.
- Mix together and eat at any time of day but particularly good at breakfast.
- Serves 1-2.
250g Rolled Oats, 50g Desiccated Coconut, 100g chopped mixed nuts (hazel, pecan, almond, brazil), 50-100g Seeds (pumpkin, sunflower, sesame, linseed), 75ml Honey, 50-60g Butter, couple of drops of Vanilla Extract, Dried Fruit (raisins, sultanas, cranberries, apricots, prunes, dates) to suit and chopped if nec, 2/3 tbsp Apple Juice (optional)
- Take a large mixing bowl add the rolled oats, desiccated coconut, chopped mixed nuts chopping roughly if whole and the seeds.
- To around 75g/ml of honey slacken it with a slug of apple juice and a drop of vanilla extract in a small bowl and combine with dry ingredients or,
- Warm the honey and a drop of vanilla extract with 50-60g of butter until the butter is melted.
- Combine with the dry ingredients.
- Once the dry is coated with the wet, spread evenly over a baking sheet and pop in a moderate to cool oven around 160-170°C/150°C fan stirring every 10 minutes or so for about 30 mins in total until it all appears toasted.
- Remove from oven and allow to cool completely on the baking sheet.
- Add dried fruit of your choice chopped up if necessary.
- Transfer to an airtight jar and it’ll keep for a couple of months.
Maple and Pecan Version
The Method will be the same and the ingredients, substituting the golden syrup for the honey, are as follows:
250g Rolled Oats, 50g Desiccated Coconut, 60-80g Pecans, 60g Almonds (still with the skins on for preference) and 30g hazelnuts all roughly chopped, 75ml Maple Syrup flavoured Golden Syrup and 50g Butter.
1 Onion, chopped, 1 Garlic Clove, crushed, 1 medium Potato, diced, 1 medium Celeriac, diced, 1 sliced leek, (optional), 1 litre Veg or Chicken Stock, pinch of Thyme Leaves, 2 tbsp Fromage Frais or Double Cream or Crème Fraîche, 1 tbsp Oil and a knob of Butter.
- Chop the onion, and fry over a medium to low heat in a reasonably sized knob of butter and a little oil until transparent.
- Add the crushed garlic, along with the potato and the celeriac, (and optional leek), cover and sweat for 10 minutes or so over a low heat.
- Then add the stock, bring to boil and simmer for around 20 mins until the veggies are tender.
- Blend, add a little thyme or chopped dill or parsley and a couple of good tablespoons or either, fromage frais, crème fraîche, or double cream.
- Season to taste.
- Serves 4.
Optional extras: ¼-½ tsp of truffle oil or garlic oil, or 15-25g of dried mushrooms soaked in boiling water for 20 minutes (add these, drained, with the stock), or 4-6 chopped field mushrooms (again add with the stock), or lemon juice to taste, or crispy fried lardons of ham.
Smoked Mackerel Paté
2 Smoked Mackerel Fillets, ½ cup Cottage Cheese, ½ cup Fromage Frais or Soured Cream, juice of ½ Lemon, 1 tsp or so of chopped Dill or Flat Leaf Parsley, Black Pepper.
- Flake the smoked mackerel fillets into a large bowl or food processor
- Add 125ml or 1/2 cup each of both cottage cheese and fromage frais or soured cream.
- Squeeze in a little lemon juice and either blitz in the processor, or if you want something less homogenous you can just mash it up with a fork.
- Stir in a sprinkling of finely chopped parsley or dill and a little black pepper and lemon zest.
Chicken Noodle Soup
1 Chicken breast, cooked, 2 layers of Sharwoods medium Egg Noodles (or equivalent), 1 litre of Chicken Stock, 2 tbsp Soy Sauce, 2 tbsp Mirin, handful of Peas, handful of Sweetcorn.
- To a saucepan add ½ – 1 chicken stock cube, about 800mls to 1 litre of boiling water, 2 tbsp each of mirin and soy sauce (reduced salt is fine), 2 layers of Sharwoods medium egg noodles, broken up a fair bit, a good handful of frozen peas and/or sweetcorn and cooked shredded chicken equivalent to a chicken breast.
- Allow the whole lot to come to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes or so until the noodles are cooked and the chicken is piping hot.
- Check the broth for seasoning, you can always add a little more soy sauce if necessary.
- Serves 2 (kids).
Edgy Beetroot Soup
1 Onion, chopped, 4 Beetroot, peeled and diced, 1 medium Potato, diced, 1″ piece of Ginger, grated, 1 clove of Garlic, crushed, 1 litre Veg Stock, 2 tbsp Soured Cream, 1 tsp Hot Horseradish.
- Wash 4 beetroot and peel with a potato peeler. Dice, along with a medium potato.
- Chop an onion and fry until transparent in a little olive oil, and then add the diced beetroot and potato and about 2/3’s of the grated ginger.
- Allow to sweat on a lowish heat for 5/10 minutes and towards the end of this time, add a little crushed garlic.
- Pour in 800 mls – 1 litre of veg stock, bring to the boil and cook until the veg is tender.
- In a separate small bowl combine 2 good tablespoons of soured cream and a teaspoon of hot horseradish and then add this to the soup and stir in along with the rest of the grated ginger. Season.
- Serves 4.
This has a very subtle hint of the ginger and horseradish, which can be left out all together or stepped up for more of a kick.
I’ll post this again for completeness, but I seemed to be concise and focused for once in the original post so it is a copy and paste job.
- Having purchased one of those vacuum packed joints from the supermarket, often around 750g, cut open the wrapper and remove making a note of the weight.
- Place joint in a saucepan and barely cover with cold water. Bring to the boil and then discard this just boiled water. Process removes scum and excess curing salt.
- Start again from cold, filling the saucepan so that it barely covers the ham again and return to the boil. This time round though reduce the heat so you achieve a vigorous simmer and cook for 20 minutes per 500g or per lb, so 750g one needs just 30 mins.
- Remove from the heat and you can either lift it out with a slotted spoon and serve slices of it immediately or leave it in the water for another 30 mins (keeps it lovely and moist) before draining the water in to a bowl (great stock!) or down the sink and allowing it to cool completely on a plate.
Once completely cold, wrap in foil and fridge where it should keep for up to 5 days.
My ‘American’ Pancakes
a generous ½ cup Self-Raising Flour (100g), pinch of salt, 1 tbsp (15g) caster sugar, 1 egg, ½ cup milk (125ml), a drop of sunflower oil.
- Put all the dry ingredients in a bowl, make a well in the middle and add the egg and milk.
- Whisk until you have a smooth batter.
- Heat 1 tsp oil over a moderate heat and after a minute, wipe the non stick frying pan with some kitchen paper, to remove the liquid oil or, use that oil spray.
- Dot single dessert spoonfuls of mixture around the pan. It will spread out, so to a say 22cm (9″) pan add about 3 dollops.
- Allow the mixture to cook until you can see bubbles popping on the surface of the cooking batter, then get a little palette knife or fish slice under the pancake and flip it over, give it another 30 seconds to a minute and remove to a plate and a slightly warm oven whilst you carry on with the next batch, wiping the frying pan carefully with the oily kitchen paper between each batch.
- Keep going ’til you have used up all the batter, you will probably end up with around 12 or so.
Vodka Orange Cocktail
Per drink: 1 shot of Vodka, Cranberry and Orange Juice in the ratio 1:2 (twice as much Orange and Cranberry), crushed ice, 2 tsp of Lime Juice
Combine, shake or stir and fill glass.
Per Drink: Cranberry and Orange Juice in the ratio 1:2, 2 tsp Lime Juice, crushed ice, Sparkling Water.
Place ice into a tall glass, add the Orange, Cranberry and Lime, stir, and top up with Sparkling Water.
Garlicky Breadcrumbs with Spaghetti
Ingredients (for 2 Adults)
200-250g Spaghetti, 2-3 tbsp Olive Oil, 1 tbsp Garlic Oil, 50g Breadcrumbs, ½ Red Pepper, chopped, 2 or 3 rashes of Streaky Bacon, chopped, a good handful of Rocket, Grated Parmesan, Black Pepper.
- Boil kettle full of water, empty boiled water into a saucepan, add a pinch of salt and a drop of oil and return to the boil.
- Add the required amount of spaghetti. Return to the boil and simmer for 9 minutes.
- Meanwhile in a frying pan add 2 tbsp of Olive Oil and 1 tbsp of Garlic Oil and once warm throw in 50g of breadcrumbs.
- Stir to coat in the oil over a moderate heat and continue to stir frequently until the breadcrumbs take on a toasted look and appear to have crisped up. Remove to a plate.
- Add a drop more oil to the frying pan, if needed, add a half a chopped red pepper and a couple of chopped up rashers of bacon or ham! Once all this is cooked through return the garlicky breadcrumbs to the pan to warm through too.
- Drain the spaghetti once cooked and just before the very last drops of water are gone return it all to the saucepan. Add a good handful of rocket and toss in the spaghetti until it starts to wilt. Add about ¾’s of the breadcrumb mixture and toss through too and then heap out into the bowls/plates.
- Garnish with the rest of the breadcrumbs, grated parmesan and freshly milled black pepper!
Filo Pastry Topped Fish Pie
600-800g ‘meaty fish’ cod, hake, salmon, smoked haddock, that sort of thing, filleted and skinned, a mixture is good.
150ml White Wine, Juice of ½ Lemon, 125g Butter, Salt & Pepper, 225ml Cream, 1 ½ tsp Dijon Mustard, 2 tbsp Dill or Parsley, 3 hard-boiled Eggs, 80-100g Frozen Petit Pois,defrosted, a handful of Baby Spinach Leaves, 1 Packet of Jus-Rol Filo Pastry, defrosted.
- Preheat oven to 200°C/Fan 180-190°C.
- Place fish pieces into the bottom of a wide bottomed, deep-sided frying pan or large saucepan and add the wine, lemon juice, seasoning and about 90g of the butter, diced. Cook, covered, gently over a moderate heat for around 10-15 minutes.
- Once cooked, transfer the fish to a pie dish with a slotted spoon, add the cream to the cooking liquor and continue to simmer the liquid for another 10-15 minutes until the sauce has reduced, thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon.
- Add the mustard and herbs and stir through. Remove from the heat.
- Roughly chop the boiled eggs and stir these and the peas into the fish mixture, gently. Add the cream sauce and finally stir through and tamp down the spinach.
- Melt the remaining butter in a nonstick saucepan, search for a pastry brush and set aside nearby. Unroll the filo pastry carefully, and separate the first sheet from the pile. Tear or cut this sheet into quarters and then scrunch each quarter up as shown in the picture and work your way across the top of the fish/veg filling. Cover the whole lot with the filo pastry sheets, you may or may not need them all.
- Once you have finished and have no gaps showing, brush the melted butter across the top of the whole lot.
- Bake for around 30-35 minutes, the top should be golden brown and the filling bubbling underneath.
- Serves 4.
150g Gram Flour, 220ml Water, still or sparkling, 1 tsp, heaped, Curry Powder, 1tbsp, chopped Coriander, 2 Parsnips, grated, ¼ Swede, grated, 3 tbsp Sweetcorn, around 250ml flavourless oil such as sunflower.
- In a large bowl whisk together the flour, water, curry powder and chopped coriander until you have a smooth batter.
- Add the grated parsnips, swede and sweetcorn and mix together. I got in there with my fingers and ended up with a sticky goo. Pick up heaped dessert spoonfuls of mixture and shape it into little loose patties.
- Into a deep sided frying pan (or deep fat fryer) heat 1-2 cms of sunflower oil and once hot (a test drop of mixture should sizzle) drop in 4/5 little patties and cook for 3 minutes per side. You want deep golden on both sides. Remove to a kitchen papered, warm plate and continue. Good with Chana Aloo.
- Serves 4.
Bread – Cottage Loaf Style
500g Bread Flour, (all white or 50/50 white/wholemeal or whatever you want really), 8g Easy Blend Dried Yeast, 1 tsp Salt, 1 tsp Sugar, 1 tbsp Olive Oil, and 320 ml warm water.
- Place all the ingredients into the bowl of a mixer. Switch it on with the dough hook attachment. Watch whilst all the ingredients combine and the end point here is a ball of dough attached to the hook whizzing round and the sides of the bowl are clean, if it doesn’t all combine add a little more water (anything up to 20-30ml), if you have added too much water, don’t panic, although the dough will be sticking to the sides of the bowl and the mixer motor will appear to be labouring, just add a little flour and all should be well. Once you are happy with consistency, let it knead for 5 minutes.
- Prove for 2 hours with a tea towel over the bowl.
- Knock back, which means sprinkle a little flour on the work surface and knead by hand for about 20 seconds, shape into an oval sort of shape, sprinkle a little flour on the top and make a couple of small slash marks with a knife.
- Plonk onto an oiled baking sheet.
- Preheat main oven to 220°C/200°C and if you have a top oven leave in there towards the bottom for 25 minutes. If no top oven, on the hob or next to will be fine with the tea towel over. After 25 minutes is up pop in the centre of the oven (minus the tea towel) and if you can, put some ice cubes in the bottom of the oven to create some steam and produce a crusty crust. Bake for about 30-35 minutes.
- Then remove and after a minute or two and using a tea towel pick up the bread and knock the bottom to check it’s cooked. It should sound hollow.
Minestrone Soup with hidden vegetables and Meatballs
1 Onion, small, chopped, 1 clove of Garlic, crushed, 1 Carrot, grated, 1 stick of Celery, finely chopped, ½ Red Pepper, chopped small, 1 tin of Tomatoes, 2 tsp Tomato puree, 1 pint Vegetable Stock, 1 tsp Sugar and optionally 2 tsp Pesto and the rind of the Parmesan (this supplies an excellent depth of flavour thing), a couple of handfuls of Rice, Macaroni or Couscous, 1 packet fresh Meatballs (Beef, Pork or Turkey), Olive Oil.
- Pre-heat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C.
- Into a reasonably sized saucepan add 2 tbsp olive oil and fry off a chopped onion gently for 5 minutes or so and towards the end of this time add a crushed clove of garlic, a grated carrot, ½ finely chopped red pepper and 1 finely chopped stick of celery.
- Cook gently for another 5 minutes or so and then add 1 tin of tomatoes, chopped ultimately, 1 squirt of tomato puree, 1 pint of vegetable or chicken stock (you may need a bit more), 1 tsp of sugar and optionally 2 tsp pesto and the rind-y end-y bit of the parmesan.
- Stir all that round and bring to the boil and then add either a handful or so of rice or macaroni and let it simmer whilst you cook the meatballs.
- With the meatballs think mini here as we are having soup not spaghetti, so cut each one in half and reshape and place them in a small roasting tin or baking sheet and pop in the oven for 15 minutes or so to cook. Beef and pork will cook in their own fat, turkey may need a drop of oil in the bottom. Everything should then be ready together.
- Back to the soup: fish out the parmesan rind, check the seasoning and add a little more warm stock or water if necessary to provide the right consistency.
If you need to produce a smooth puree then the tomato sauce minus the pasta/rice can be blended with a hand-held blender and couscous can be added with 5 minutes to go instead.
Ladle into bowls and ‘sprinkle’ with the meatballs. Supply grated cheese, parmesan or otherwise if you wish. To bulk this up a little more, we often have cheese on toast as an accompaniment rather than cheese sprinkled on top.
N.B. Whilst you can freeze or hold the soup in advance I would cook the meatballs at the point you need them, not ahead of time.
Ingredients (Serves 2)
Left over cooked Lamb (say 100g) but it really is not critical, 1 medium Onion, finely chopped, 1 tbsp Olive Oil, 1 clove of Garlic, crushed, 1 stick of Celery, finely chopped, 200g Risotto Rice (Arborio or Carnaroli), 600ml Lamb or Vegetable stock, 75g frozen Peas, 2 tbsp finely chopped Mint, a few good gratings of Parmesan, knob of unsalted Butter, salt and pepper, 1 glass of White Wine or 125ml Vermouth (Optional).
- Shred/chop lamb into bite size pieces or smaller.
- If you have any lamb gravy left over, pour/spoon into a saucepan and top up with water to give 600ml or 1 pint of stock. A vegetable stock cube will work here too. Get the stock simmering gently on the back of the hob.
- In a large, heavy bottomed saucepan, fry the chopped onion in a slug of olive oil. Cook gently to the transparent stage and then add the celery and included some chopped leafy parts too, cook that for a minute or two, add the garlic and stir round.
- Pour in the risotto rice and stir continuously until the rice is coated well with the oil. Add the white wine/Vermouth if using or start ladling in the simmering stock, a couple of ladles full at a time. Stir continuously and once the liquid has been absorbed, add a couple more, stir continuously and continue in this fashion for about 10 minutes or so.
- Sprinkle in your lamb, a good handful of frozen peas or so and a grating of parmesan and continue cooking in the gently simmering state for another 5 minutes or so until the rice, when sampled still has a little bite but appears to be almost done, the lamb is piping hot and the peas are tender.
- At this point check for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste, a knob of butter, a good grating of parmesan if you wish, and the fresh and finely chopped mint. Stir all that round for a minute or two and then ladle into bowls.
- Present the bowls with a little more grated parmesan and black pepper.
Biryani for Beginners
Stage One – The Tomato Sauce
¼ medium Onion, chopped, 1 tbsp flavourless Oil, 1 crushed clove of Garlic, good pinch Chilli flakes, ½ tsp ground Ginger, 1 tsp ground Coriander, 1 tsp ground Cumin, pinch of Asafoetida, 1 Red Pepper, sliced, 1 tin of Tomatoes, chopped, or ½ tin of Passata, a handful of Spinach leaves, roughly chopped, 1 tsp chopped Mint, salt and pepper.
- Heat the oil in a saucepan and add the onion, fry over a moderate heat until transparent and tinged brown round the edges, add the garlic, stir round for 30 seconds or so, add all the spices and stir again for another 30 seconds.
- Add the pepper, coat with the oil and spices and then add the tomatoes or passata, season, cover and simmer gently, stirring occasionally whist you make the biryani. If using passata you may need to slacken the sauce with recently boiled water from the kettle to prevent it from drying out.
Stage Two – The Biryani
350g Basmati rice, 800ml just boiled water, some left over roast lamb or chicken if you wish, chopped, ¾ Onion, sliced, 2 tbsp flavourless Oil, crushed clove of Garlic, 1 tsp finely chopped Ginger or ½ tsp of ground, pinch of Chilli flakes to taste, 1 tsp ground Coriander, 2 tsp Cumin, 1 tsp Turmeric, pinch of Garam Masala, 4 or 5 Mushrooms, sliced, juice of 1 Lemon, good handful of frozen Peas, salt and pepper, optionally 30g each of flaked Almonds, toasted and the soaked Sultanas, fresh Coriander to serve if you have it.
- Presoak the sultanas in a bowl of boiling water for 20 minutes or so.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 165°C.
- Using a flame and oven-proof dish heat the oil and fry the onion again gently until tinged brown round the edges, then add the garlic, ginger and spices except the Garam Masala and fry again for a minute or so,
- Add the meat, if using, and mushrooms and coat in the spices.
- Pour in the rice and again coat in the spices and cook for a minute stirring continuously.
- Add 600ml of the boiled water, stir again to combine and once the liquid is bubbling, season, cover and pop into the oven for 15 minutes.
- Whilst that is cooking, toast the flaked almonds in a frying pan without oil over a moderate heat, shaking the pan frequently. This only takes a minute or so then remove from the heat and set aside. Drain the sultanas and set aside too.
- Once the 15 minutes is up take the casserole out of the oven, stir the rice mixture which should look pretty much cooked, add the peas, lemon juice, Garam Masala and remaining 200ml of recently boiled water, stir through and return, covered, to the oven for 5 more minutes.
- Add the mint and spinach to the tomato sauce and stir through until the spinach is wilted. Check the seasoning.
- Once the 5 minutes is up, remove biryani from oven, fork through and add the almonds and sultanas if using. Sprinkle with fresh coriander.
Serve a bed of the biryani with a garnish of tomato sauce on top.
Stuffed Portobello Mushrooms
2 Portobello Mushrooms, Olive Oil, 25g Stilton/Dolcelatte/any easy melting cheese plus a small amount of Jarlsberg or 30g of Goats Cheese, chopped, 25g Walnuts, 1 tsp Parsley, handful of Salad Leaves, ½ tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, a few drops of Balsamic Vinegar or Lemon Juice.
- Preheat the grill on a moderately hot setting.
- Remove the skins from the mushrooms and place them gill-side down in a small roasting tin. Brush with a little olive oil. Pop under the grill for 3-4 minutes.
- Meanwhile in a bowl mix together the cheese, the chopped walnuts and some chopped parsley if available.
- Once the mushrooms are looking like they have softened and mushroom ‘juice’ is starting to run, remove from the heat, turn them over and pile on the cheese-y nutty topping. Return to the grill and continue to cook until the cheese has melted and is bubbling.
- Prepare some salad leaves and maybe some tomato and cucumber on a plate and drizzle no more than ½ a teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil over. Once cooked, transfer the mushrooms to the bed of lettuce and pour over the juices which will be running around the bottom of the tin. Squirt a little lemon juice over or, if you have used avocado in your salad, drizzle a little balsamic vinegar.
Purple Sprouting Broccoli Stirfry
2 layers of medium Egg Noodles, a handful of Purple Sprouting Broccoli spears, ends of the stalks removed, 3 Spring onions, chopped, 2 cm piece of Ginger, finely chopped, 2 cloves of Garlic, crushed, a few dried Chilli Flakes, 1 Carrot, finely sliced, ½ Red Pepper, sliced, 4/5 Mushrooms, sliced, 1 tbsp Sunflower Oil, ½ tbsp Sesame Oil, 25g Peanuts and/or Cashews, roughly chopped, salt and pepper, juice of ½ Lemon, 4 tbsp fresh Coriander, chopped.
- Start off by boiling the kettle and pouring about a pint of boiled water over the prepared broccoli spears in a saucepan. Place saucepan on the heat, return to the boil and then simmer for 2/3 minutes. Fish the spears out after this time and remove to a plate.
- Add the layers of noodles to the saucepan, return to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes or so.
- Meanwhile in a wok, dry fry the nuts over a moderate heat until lightly toasted and remove to a plate.
- Measure the oils into the wok and over a moderate heat fry the spring onions, ginger and chilli for a minute or two.
- Then add the garlic and after another minute the carrot, mushrooms and pepper. Stir fry that around for 2/3 minutes and then add the lemon juice, purple sprouting broccoli and 3 tbsp of the coriander. Stir again.
- Drain the noodles and divide between 2 bowls, give the vegetables a final stir, season if required and likewise divide between the bowls.
- Sprinkle with the nuts and the remaining coriander.
The Easiest Cheesecake in the World
200g of Ginger Nut biscuits, 50g Unsalted Butter, 2 x 250g pots of Mascarpone Cheese, 50g Icing Sugar, 2 Limes and a little bit of plain chocolate.
- Grease an 8″ cake tin either deep or a sandwich pan or a spring form tin, anything will do. You could use a 6″ one instead if you want smaller but deeper.
- Melt the butter in a saucepan and while that is happening blitz the biscuits to a fine crumb in a food processor. You can use a plastic bag and a rolling-pin to bash the biscuits to a crumb instead. Add the biscuit crumbs to the butter and mix with a wooden spoon to combine thoroughly. Then empty into the cake tin and spread and press to evenly line the base of the tin. Pop in the fridge for half an hour to set.
- Meanwhile make the topping. Into a large bowl empty the pots of Mascarpone, the icing sugar and the zest and the juice of the limes. Beat to combine with a wooden spoon.
- Once the base is set, remove the tin from the fridge and spread with the lime-y cheese topping and return to the fridge for a good couple of hours to chill.
- If you want to decorate it: grate on a little plain chocolate, or if you feel your culinary skills have not been flexed sufficiently you could make some chocolate leaves.
Now I should add a word of caution. This method uses actual rose leaves as a template. I have no idea from a ‘health and safety’ point of view whether this is acceptable. However if you want to have a go: melt some chocolate in a microwave on low for 30 seconds or so and stir to achieve a smooth molten loveliness. Pick 7 or 8 rose leaves and make sure that they are washed and thoroughly dried. You need to ensure some stalk is still attached to each leaf and hold onto that as you drag the underside of the leaf through the chocolate. Leave to set on a plate for an hour or two. Peel off the actual leaf carefully and use to decorate.
Carrot and Ginger Soup
You will need: 1 medium Onion, chopped, 2cm length of fresh Ginger or more if you like the flavour and zesty heat, grated or finely chopped, 1 medium Potato, roughly chopped, 6 or 7 medium Carrots, roughly chopped, 600-800 ml Vegetable Stock, juice of ½ Lemon, 1 tbsp of Oil, Salt and Pepper.
- Heat the oil in a large saucepan and add the onion, cook over a moderate heat until transparent, add the ginger and stir round for a minute or two.
- Add the potato and carrots and sweat gently with the lid on the saucepan for 5- 10 minutes.
- Pour in the stock and bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes or so.
- Once the vegetables are tender, blend the soup with a hand held blender for preference, check the seasoning, add the lemon juice and a little more stock or warm water to achieve a preferred consistency. Done.
5 Layer Mexican Dip
Ingredients (serves 2/3 as a starter)
A small tin of Refried Beans ( I used Discovery), 1 Avocado, juice of ½ a Lime, 12 Cherry Tomatoes, 1 Spring Onion, 150ml Half-fat Soured Cream or Crème fraîche, 2 tbsp chopped Coriander, 30-50g finely grated Cheddar, Tabasco Sauce, Tortilla Chips.
Start by spreading the refried beans over the bottom of the dish or bowl you are using, peel and slice an avocado and lay the pieces on top of the beans, drizzle the lime juice over. Cut the cherry tomatoes into quarters and slice the spring onion. Mix the tomato and onion together and spread over the avocado. Next, evenly dollop on the soured cream and sprinkle with the coriander. Finally distribute the finely grated cheese as the top layer and drizzle over some tabasco sauce. Position tortilla chips around the edge of the bowl and await the cries of delight.
To simplify this dish either for kids or for camping etc., replace the avocado slices with a tub of ready to eat guacamole and the tomato layer with a pot of salsa.
Basiled, Scrambled Eggs
Split a panini or thickly cut a slice of bread and toast. Meanwhile, crack two eggs into a smallish bowl and add 2 tbsp of milk, a pinch of salt and pepper and whisk to combine. Cut 4/5 cherry tomatoes in half and very roughly chop about 8 basil leaves.
Melt a knob of butter in a non-stick pan and add the eggs, stir around over a moderate heat with a wooden spoon until lumps start to form. Then add the tomatoes and basil and continue to cook until the egg sets to your preference. Spoon over buttered toast.
Ratatouille Style Prawn Curry
Ingredients (serves 2)
2/3 Spring Onions, sliced, 1 cm Ginger, finely chopped, 1 clove of Garlic, crushed, 1 Courgette, roughly chopped, ½ Aubergine, roughly chopped, ½ Green or Red Pepper, sliced, 1 tin of Chopped Tomatoes, 2 tbsp Rogan Gosh Curry paste, 250g Frozen Raw Prawns, a good handful of roughly chopped Spinach (optional), Salt, Pepper, Oil and a squeeze of Lemon Juice.
- In a medium-sized saucepan, heat 2 tbsp of oil and add the spring onions and ginger, stir round for a couple of minutes and add the garlic, give it another minute and then add the courgette, pepper and aubergine. Stir round and allow to sweat gently for 10 minutes or so. Stir from time to time and add a little more oil if necessary (the aubergine can really soak it up).
- Add the tomatoes and the curry paste and about ½ a tins worth of water from the kettle, stir to combine and allow to simmer for 15 minutes minimum, or longer if you wish, whilst you cook some rice. Keep an eye on the sauce, stir occasionally and add a little more water if required.
- About 5 minutes from the end of the rice cooking time tip in the frozen prawns and the spinach if using and turn the heat up slightly to bring the sauce back to a simmer.
- Stir frequently at this point, add some seasoning and lemon juice. Once the rice is cooked, the prawns have turned pink and the spinach is wilted, serve sauce on rice in the usual manner.
Butternut Squash and Garlic Risotto
Ingredients (Serves 2)
½ medium Butternut Squash, roughly chopped, 1 wet Garlic bulb peeled and sliced or a handful of washed Garlic Leaves, roughly chopped, 1 small Onion, chopped, 1 stick of Celery, chopped, 200g Arborio or Carnaroli Rice, 600ml of Vegetable Stock, a glass of White Wine (optional), grated Parmesan, knob of Unsalted Butter, Salt and Pepper.
- Bring 600ml of vegetable stock (use a stock cube) to simmering point in a saucepan on the back of the hob
- then fry off a small to medium finely chopped onion in a large heavy bottomed saucepan with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. Once transparent, add a sliced wet garlic bulb (prepare as you would a spring onion) if using and a finely chopped stick of celery.
- Stir that around for a minute or two and then add 200g of Arborio or Carnaroli risotto rice and stir again to coat the rice with the oil.
- Pour in a glass of white wine if you wish and then begin adding a ladle full or two of stock and stir regularly as the liquid is absorbed.
- Add half a chopped medium-sized butternut squash and some more stock and keep stirring regularly again until the liquid is absorbed. Continue adding stock and stir repeatedly for 10 – 15 minutes until the rice is almost tender.
- If using wild garlic leaves, you will need a good handful, washed and roughly chopped, add these now and allow to wilt. Grate in a little parmesan cheese and a knob of unsalted butter and continue to stir until everything is combined and melted. Check the seasoning and serve in bowls with additional parmesan grated over and a little black pepper.
If you feel you need to make this a little more substantial: diced bacon can be added with the celery, shredded, cooked chicken towards the end of the stock absorption process (check it is piping hot before serving) or steamed purple sprouting broccoli can be laid on the rice once cooked.
Beach Hut Caesar Salad
Camp style Caesar Salad; this is adapted from a Nigella recipe so she deserves all the credit. Arrange some salad leaves (Little Gem are good here) in a bowl and dress with Caesar salad dressing (we like the Pizza Express Light variety). Add to that handfuls of tortilla chips and grated Parmesan or any grated cheese.
The 5-layer dip original and simplified versions are described above.
Dillicious Pea Puree with Roasted Salmon
Ingredients (Serves 2)
2 Salmon fillets, skin on, Olive Oil, Salt, Pepper, Lemon Juice, 1 clover of Garlic, peeled, 200g Petits Pois, 4 tbsp Dill, chopped, a heaped dessertspoon of Yoghurt or Soured Cream.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C and prepare the required number of salmon fillets. Once up to temperature, place the salmon on an oiled baking sheet, season with salt and pepper and a little lemon juice and put in the center of the oven for around 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile peel a clove of garlic and place in a saucepan. Cover with 2 cm of just boiled water, return to and allow to boil for 2 – 3 minutes. Remove the clove from the water and pop ½ of it in a mini chopper or blender. (This gives flavour without all the bitterness of raw garlic).
- Cook the petits pois in the usual way. Drain and add the peas to the mini chopper along with plenty of dill sprigs. It’s hard to quantify exactly but keep going until you think you have enough for your own taste. You do need more to impart the flavour that you think. 4 tbsp minimum I would say.
- Also add about a tablespoon of lemon juice and a good dessertspoon of anything from 0% fat Greek yoghurt through to full fat soured cream. Blend to give a fairly smooth puree and then check the seasoning. Remove the fish from the oven and serve up on plates with a good dollop of the pureed peas.
Lemon Scented Butter Bean Dip
You will need (serves 6-8): 1 Garlic clove, 1 420g can Butter Beans, drained, 3 tbsp smooth Peanut Butter (25% less fat varieties work here), juice and rind of a small Lemon, 5 tbsp Olive Oil plus a teaspoon more for drizzling, salt and pepper, a pinch of Paprika.
- Place the peeled garlic clove in a saucepan and cover with 1-2 cms of recently boiled water and return to and boil for 3-4 minutes. Drain.
- Place the garlic, butter beans, peanut butter, lemon juice and rind and seasoning in a blender or food processor and blend until almost smooth.
- Gradually add the 5 tbsp of olive oil with the motor running, and continue blending until smooth. Transfer to a bowl and chill.
- Serve drizzled with Olive Oil, a few strands of lemon rind and a pinch of Paprika.
Good with breadsticks, vegetable crudities, pitta bread, all the usual suspects.
1 cup or 250ml Milk, 6 Eggs, 1 cup or 130g Flour, ½ tsp Salt, 1 tsp Vanilla, 1 tsp Orange zest (optional), ¼ cup or 60g Butter, melted, Sifted Icing Sugar for dusting
- Preheat oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C. Blend first six ingredients (milk to orange zest) in a blender. Be careful to see that any flour clumps get well-blended.
- Blend in butter a little at a time in order to temper the eggs.
- Grease muffin tins very well with butter and distribute batter evenly between 18 holes, slightly less than half-full per hole. Bake for 13-15 minutes, or until puffy and golden on top.
- Remove carefully from the oven and allow to fall back and cool down for a few minutes before carefully teasing away from the hole with a small palette knife or similar, arrange individually or together on a plate and dust liberally with icing sugar.
Borrowed from realmomkitchen.com. Bless them, although the recipe appears to be a traditional one.
Mediterranean Chicken Stew
2 kg of Chicken pieces, preferably on the bone and skin on, Salt and Pepper, 8 Bay Leaves, 2 Sprigs of Rosemary, 2 Cloves of Garlic, peeled, ½ bottle of Italian, French or Spanish Red Wine, Flour, Olive Oil, 6 Anchovy Fillets, a tin of Fragata Lemon Stuffed Olives, 2 tins of Tomatoes ultimately chopped, zest of a Lemon, 2 small or 1 large Fennel Bulb, sliced, 5-10g dried Porcini Mushrooms, soaked for 20 minutes in boiling water.
At least an hour before you plan to start cooking this marinate the meat in a large bowl with the wine, seasoning, bay leaves, rosemary and garlic. Cover and pop in the fridge.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160-165°C. Drain the chicken, retain the marinade, and pat dry with kitchen paper. Place on a plate and sprinkle with flour to absorb any residual liquid.
- In a large casserole (Le Crueset) add 2-3 tbsp of Oil and fry off the meat pieces, a few at a time, over a moderate heat until lightly browned on the surface all over, transfer to a new plate before adding the next batch to the pan.
- Once all the pieces are browned add a little more oil to the casserole and gently fry the fennel slices for a minute or two and then once they are tinged brown at the edges, return the meat pieces to the casserole along with the marinade, anchovy fillets, olives, tomatoes, and the soaked but drained Porcini mushrooms.
- Bake in the oven for 1 ½ hours for the chicken, but if you are adventurous enough to try rabbit it may take up to 2 hours.
- When you think you are nearly done, remove from the oven, skim off any fat and remove the bay leaves and rosemary sprigs. Then check the seasoning and add the lemon zest. Return to the oven for 5 more minutes.
Serve with bread and salad, beans or Jacket potatoes.
Fragata Olives are the tins of olives from Spain which are readily available in supermarkets, but any olives will do, a good handful.
A Very Patriotic Eton Mess
For 12 Meringues you will need: 3 medium egg whites, 120g Caster Sugar, Food Colouring Paste or Liquid
- Preheat the oven to 140°C/Fan 120°C. Line a baking sheet or two with greaseproof paper.
- Into a clean grease free bowl place the egg whites and whisk at a fairly high-speed until the egg whites reach the soft peaked stage (as you drag the whisk out of the foamy whites, peaks form, the tops of which flop over).
- Add a tbsp of the caster sugar and whisk that in well, again on a fairly high-speed. Add another tbsp of sugar and whisk well again. Continue until all the sugar is used up. You should have a lovely glossy stiff foam.
- Add a small amount of food colouring and fold in until spread evenly throughout the mixture. Obviously colour to your satisfaction.
- Spoon heaped teaspoonfuls of mixture onto the baking sheets leaving plenty of space in between each dollop and transfer to the oven. This quantity should provide 12 meringues. Immediately turn the temperature down to 120°C/Fan 100°C. Bake for 1 hour. Then turn the oven off and leave the door ajar until the meringues are cold.
They keep in an airtight tin for a week or two if you can resist them.
The Patriotic Mess:
You will need for 4 servings: 150 ml Double Cream and 150g or ml of 0% Fat Greek Yoghurt, 4 Blue Meringues, 400g Raspberries, washed, 2 tbsp Whisky, 2 tbsp runny Honey, a sprinkling of toasted Porridge Oats or Granola!
- In a bowl whip the double cream until stiff (use a balloon whisk).
- Fold the yoghurt, whisky and honey into the cream. Fold in the raspberries.
- Dollop single spoonfuls of the raspberry cream mixture into the serving bowls, crumble over the meringue, add another spoonful of the cream mixture and top with the toasted porridge oats or granola.
Rain Delay Trifle
This is a fantastic way to use up left over cake. Quantities of cake, fruit, custard and cream are not critical at all and will depend on the number of mouths you have to feed or possibly how much left over cake you have.
You will need: some plain-ish Sponge Cake, Jam, Strawberries, Pimms, Lemonade, Custard either bought or homemade and Whipped Cream.
- Make up the Pimms, 1:2 Pimms to Lemonade so stronger than normal. 2 shots Pimms and 4 shots Lemonade should be enough for a regular quantity of trifle (4-6 servings). Pour the Pimms and Lemonade into a saucepan and heat until boiling and then simmer for a minute or two to boil off the alcohol. Allow to cool a little.
- If your cake doesn’t already have jam in it, then make jam ‘sandwiches’ with it and then cut the sandwiches into fingers and arrange a generous layer in the bottom of your bowl, we used morello cherry jam but raspberry or strawberry would be fine too.
- Pour the cooling Pimms mixture over the sponge and let that soak in whilst you wash and slice up some strawberries (around 200g). Add them as a layer over the cake.
- Spoon on about 300-400ml of ready-made vanilla custard, for the size above, or make up some however you usually do having let it cool down to some degree before you spoon onto the strawberries. Cover with clingfilm at this point, to stop a skin forming if the custard is warm, and allow it reach room temperature then chill in the fridge.
- Just before serving whip up about 300ml of whipping cream and spread over.
- Decorate with whole strawberries or slices if you wish.
Watermelon and Broad Bean Salad
Based on the classic ham and melon Italian antipasta dish….
You will need for 1 serving: a thick slice of Watermelon, a handful of cooked Broad Beans, skinned, some Feta Cheese, diced, a couple of slices of Parma ham or prosciutto crudo, Mint, chopped, a sprinkle of Pumpkin Seeds, toasted, Lemon Dressing made with 3 tbsp of extra virgin olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice, salt, pepper, a pinch of sugar).
- Start off by expelling some of the pips from the melon, just the big ones, and then using a pastry cutter (around 5cm in diameter), stamp out two or three circles, arrange on the plate,
- then arrange the ham, shredded roughly, feta cheese, broad beans, mint, and toasted pumpkin seeds.
- drizzle over the dressing and you are ready to go.
Moussaka with Minimum Fuss
- 500g Lamb Mince, 1 medium Onion, chopped, 1 stick of Celery, chopped, 1 carrot, grated, 1 Aubergine, roughly chopped, Olive Oil, 1 tbsp Tomato Puree, ½-1 tsp Cinnamon, 250-300ml Red Wine, ½ tsp of chopped Flat Leaf Parsley, Salt and Pepper and a grating of Parmesan.
- 500g Potatoes
- ½ to ¾ pint of White Sauce made using 40g of butter, 40g of plain flour, ½ to ¾ pint of milk, a grating of nutmeg, salt and pepper
- By way of preparation, cut potatoes into large chunks and boil until soft, drain and set aside meanwhile fry off the lamb mince in a frying pan and put the roughly chopped aubergine in a colander and sprinkle with a little salt and leave in the sink to catch any moisture released.
- To make the meat sauce, fry the onion in a slug of olive oil and once transparent, add the celery and carrot and any other chopped veg you wish to add such as courgette and red pepper. Cook gently for 5-10 minutes and then add the drained lamb mince, the aubergine, tomato puree, wine, cinnamon, parsley and around 200ml of just boiled water so the consistency is not too dry. Stir around, bring to the boil and allow to simmer, stirring occasionally, whilst you make the white sauce.
- White sauce for anyone who needs reminding: over a moderate heat melt the butter and once completely liquid, add the flour and stir to form a paste. Cook for a minute or two and then away from the heat gradually add the milk, stirring well between each addition until you have a smooth sauce the consistency of single cream. Return to the heat and stirring all the time allow it to come up to boiling and simmer for a minute or two. Add the salt and pepper and the nutmeg, stir, and leave off the heat.
- Meanwhile, roughly chop about a third of the now cooled potatoes and add to the meat mixture and check the seasoning adding salt and pepper to taste. Thickly slice the rest of the potato.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/Fan 180°C. Into the bottom of a medium-sized oven to tableware dish, smear a spoonful of white sauce and then add a layer of potato slices. Pour in the meat sauce (don’t add all the liquid if it seems very liquidy, but you do want some), then another layer of potato and spread over the white sauce to cover the top. Grate a little parmesan cheese as a final flourish and then bake for 35-45 minutes until the top is crispy and brown and the filling is bubbling.
Chilled Thai Broccoli and Ginger Soup
you will need for 4-6 servings:
2 tbsp Thai Green Curry Paste, 1 can of Coconut Milk, 600ml of vegetable stock, 3 cm piece of peeled Ginger, grated, 2 freeze-dried Lime Leaves, 2 heads of Broccoli, washed and broken up into smallish florets, 2 tbsp of fresh Coriander, chopped, 1 ½ tsp of sugar, the juice of a Lime, plus a little zest to garnish.
If you have a recipe to make Green Curry Paste, then I strongly recommend preparing the paste from scratch. It is far superior to the bought stuff.
Once you have made the paste it is easy peasy.
- Pour the coconut milk and the stock into a heavy bottom saucepan over a moderate heat and add to that the curry paste, grated ginger, broccoli florets, kaffir lime leaves, sugar and half the lime juice. If you have not made your paste you may wish to add a tsp of fish sauce to supply a bit of saltiness. Bring to the boil and then turn the heat down and simmer, with a lid on, until the broccoli is tender.
- Add the remaining lime juice and stir in most of the chopped coriander and check the seasoning.
- Ladle hot or cooled into bowls and sprinkle with a little more coriander and the lime zest.