Oozingly Gorgeous Baked Camembert in Bread

The 28th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is just luscious and always goes down a storm at informal suppers, encouraging primal behaviour of greedily digging in….again  and again…!

Unbelievably yummy, this makes for a fabulous starter or part of a picnic supper of patés and cheeses. Ridiculously simple, it also has the added benefit of bringing a bit of theatre to the table as the knife is inserted and melted Camembert oozes out. The addition of the herbs adds a lovely dimension to a cheese that is already a favourite.

What you need…

1 x baking tray

250g round Camembert

1 round loaf (e.g. boule)

2 sprigs rosemary, leaves picked

3 sprigs thyme, leaves picked

Sea salt

Olive oil, to drizzle

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 180˚c / 350˚f / gas 4.

Sit the Camembert in its packaging on top of the bread in the centre, using it as a template to cut around. Set the cheese aside and continue to cut the circle so that it is about 4cms deep. Pull the circle of bread out of the middle to leave a snug hole in which to place your Camembert (packaging removed).

Cut the removed bread into chunks and set all but 2-3 of them aside. Pop the 2-3 chunks of bread into your food processor with the rosemary and thyme and whizz to make crumbs. Stir in some salt (I use rock salt as I enjoy the crunchy chunks).

Put the bread onto your baking tray and sprinkle over the crumbs. Drizzle with olive oil and pop into your oven for 20 minutes.  Then, add the reserved chunks of bread to the baking tray, cooking for a further 10 minutes.

Serve the cheese with a ceremonious deep cut into the middle and then use the baked chunks of bread to dip into the oozing yumminess! Delicious!

Tip…

This dish also works spectacularly with Vacherin cheese, but it is only easily available a few weeks each year and is a bit pricey.

Inspired by…

Waitrose Weekend

How easy…

Cut hole in bread. Insert cheese. Sprinkle with bits. Bake. Dead easy!

Delectable Duck and Cherry Pie

The 27th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is such an unusual pie and so quackingly good!!!!!

The ‘ménage a trois’ that is duck, port and cherries is truly a harmonious one! The rich, tender, dark duck meat combined with the sweetness of the fruit is simply delicious and the thyme-infused pastry is light and crisp – a fabulous Autumnal or Winter supper treat that will bring cheer to the table, whatever the weather is throwing at you. Dive in!

Serves 6

What you need…

1 x 1.6 litre pie dish, lightly buttered

6 duck legs

600ml boiling water from the kettle

1½ chicken stock pots (I use Knorr)

25g butter

1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped

1 carrot, peeled and roughly chunked

1 celery stick, roughly sliced

3 tablespoons plain flour

200ml port

1 bay leaf

6 thyme sprigs, leaves picked

400g tin cherries in light syrup, drained

1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

1 happy egg, beaten (to glaze pastry lid)

for the pastry

400g plain flour, plus extra for dusting

200g unsalted butter, chilled and cubed

1 happy egg

2 tablespoons cold water

1 tablespoon thyme leaves

What to do…

First, the filling: preheat your oven to 180°c / 350° / gas 4.

Put the duck legs on a wire rack in a roasting tray. Roast for 1½ hours. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, make the delish filling. First, make your stock by combining the boiling water with the stockpot using a balloon whisk to easily dissolve.

In your food processor, finely chop the onion, carrot and celery.

In a large frying pan, melt the butter and gently cook the onion, carrot and celery, covered, for about 15 minutes, until soft.

Remove the lid, increase the heat to high, tip in the flour and cook for 1 minute, stirring like mad. Pour in the port and stock and chuck in the herbs. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 30 minutes to reduce.

Take off the heat, stir in the cherries and balsamic vinegar and set aside to cool.

When the duck is cool, remove the skin and roughly break up the meat. Wipe out your food processor bowl with kitchen roll to make sure there are no raw vegetable remnants clinging to the sides and then fit the blade and chop the duck so it’s quite fine but still in distinguishable pieces. I did this in three batches. Stir the duck into the sauce. Allow to cool for 30 minutes. Alternatively, if you’re preparing ahead, stick the filling in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble the pie – overnight works really well.

To the pastry: pulse the flour and butter in your clean food processor until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Use a small balloon whisk to beat together the egg and water and then tip into the processor with the thyme leaves. Pulse again until the pastry comes together. Tip out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a disc. Wrap in cling film and pop into the fridge for 30 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 220°c / 425°f / gas 7 and pop in a baking sheet.

On a lightly floured surface, roll out two-thirds of the pastry and line your pie dish, leaving the excess overhanging.

Roll out the remaining pastry and cut into 1 cm strips long enough to cover the pie dish.

Brush the pie rim with beaten egg. Tip in the filling.

Lay the pastry strips across the filling in a lattice pattern, gently pressing them on the pie rim to stick. Trim the excess pastry from the edge of the pie and brush egg over the pastry lattice to glaze.

Pop into the oven onto the baking sheet for 20 minutes and then reduce the heat to 200°c / 400°f / gas 6 for a further 25 minutes until golden brown and piping hot. Dive in and enjoy this lovely pie!

Inspired by…

Good Housekeeping magazine

How easy…

Really easy and you can go off and do other things whilst the filling is going through its various cooking stages.  The pastry topping takes a little time and you have to concentrate – look at mine: I was Skyping Maddie at the time and the latticework isn’t quite what it should be!!!!! I love the fact that you can prepare the filling the day before so if you’ve got friends coming around, you have very little to do for this splendid supper on the evening when you’re socialising.

Affogato al Caffe e Disaronno

The 26th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this cheeky little number makes for a very fast, very naughty little pudding – perfect if you have nothing to round off your Valentine’s dinner….or just perfect!!!!

Wow! This is just Naughty with a massively capital ‘N’.  Ice cream, Disaronno, espresso and chocolate: it tastes like the marriage made in heaven that would be Italy’s boozy trifle, Tiramisu and my favourite cocktail, Espresso Martini! Equally, we started off eating it with a sundae spoon and ended up drinking it! The biggest problem is that it makes you greedy to get the lot down as quickly as possible, so fantastically naughty, it is! Made in seconds, this could become a really wicked little habit! What can I say: you need to try it!

Serves 1 (but that would be sad: double up and share with your favourite person)

What you need…

1 scoop of vanilla ice cream (previously blogged and works brilliantly in this).

1 tablespoon Disaronno

1 shot freshly made espresso coffee (my way or cold for an authentic version)

1 teaspoon good quality dark chocolate, finely grated

What to do…

Wodge ice cream into the bottom of a pretty glass or small cup.

Pour over the Disaronno, then the espresso and then, sprinkle over the chocolate.

Immediately dive in with your spoon, marvel at the wicked gorgeousness of it, plunge in the spoon a couple more times before discarding it to drink the rest of your affogato! There’s probably a more elegant way of enjoying this but….this level of naughtiness deserves some gusto!

If you’ve elected for the ‘proper’ way of doing this – with a cold espresso – the obviously you can enjoy this little number with a little more decorum!

Tips…

If you are not quite as partial to Disaronno as I am, you could always swap it for Baileys.

There’s nothing to stop you mucking about with the quantities of any of the ingredients in this pudding-cum-cocktail.

Inspired by…

Gino D’Acampo

How easy…

Dangerously so!

Rhubarb and Vodka Love Potion

The 25th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this is one gorgeous cocktail, absolutely exuding romance and passion. I’m posting it today in case any of you romantics are looking for something a little different for Valentine’s day.

A deliciously delightful cocktail for Valentine’s day…..and for any other loved up days!

Serves 2 romantics

What you need….

Cocktail shaker or jug

2 stalks rhubarb, sliced (choose stalks as pink as you can find)

100g caster sugar

120ml water

100ml vodka

Juice of 1 lime

Juice of 1 large orange

½ a cup of ice

What to do…

Pop the rhubarb, sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Allow to boil for a few minutes until the rhubarb has broken down to a mush. Take off the heat and sieve the clear pink juice into a jug, leaving the mush behind. Leave to cool.

When you’re ready to indulge, add the vodka, lime and orange juices to the jug. Have a quick taste to see if you are happy with it or would like a little more of any of the ingredients. Put your ice in a cocktail shaker, chuck the cocktail ingredients in, pop the lid on and shake like mad. (If you don’t have a cocktail shaker, pour into a jug with the ice and stir; then insist that a cocktail shaker is a necessary addition to your kitchen). Pour into two gorgeous glasses, deliver to your soul mate and gaze lovingly over the rim of the glasses as you sip. Drain glass and wish you’d made double the rhubarb sugar syrup so that you could make some more!

Inspired by…

Rachel Allen

How easy…

Really easy, just remember to allow time for the rhubarb sugar syrup to cool down.

The Ooziest, Naughtiest Chocolate Brownies with Gooey Mars Bar Chunks

The 24thof 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this brownie recipe has it’s very own, rapidly expanding fan club – they are fab!

What can I say?! This version of ‘my’ original brownie recipe hits new heights in gorgeousness with many exclamations of delight going down with each mouthful as well as some rather unbecoming behaviour as more little squares of oozy naughtiness are scrabbled for and scoffed. Whilst the quest will continue in the name of research, I think I might have stumbled across the most sensational brownie recipe!

Makes 20 largish or 30 smallish brownies

What you need…

250g unsalted butter

200g 70% dark chocolate

80g cocoa powder, sifted

65g plain flour, sifted

1 teaspoon baking powder

360g caster sugar

4 large free-range eggs

3 Mars Bars, sliced into chunks

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 180°c / 350°f / gas 4.

Lightly butter and line a 24cm square baking tin with parchment paper. Roughly break up your chocolate and pop it into a large heatproof bowl together with the butter. Put the bowl over a steamer, sitting in a saucepan of simmering water. Melt the butter and chocolate, mixing until smooth.

In another bowl, thoroughly mix together the cocoa powder, flour, baking powder and sugar.

Take the melted butter and chocolate mixture off the heat and stand the bowl on a tea towel on your worktop (to prevent the bowl slipping). Add the dry ingredients to the bowl, mixing them in thoroughly.

Whisk the eggs and then tip them into the rest of the mixture, whisking them in until you have a lovely silky, glossy smooth mixture.  Tip in your Mars Bar chunks and gently stir them so that they are evenly distributed.

Pour your brownie mix into the baking tin and place in the oven for around 25 minutes. When done, your oozy chocolate brownie ‘tray bake’ should be slightly springy on the outside but still very gooey in the middle.

Allow to cool in the tin, then carefully invert the bake onto a large chopping board and cut into little or large chunky squares. Purely for quality control reasons, now is a good time to try one – just to make sure that they are OK – and ooooooooh, yummy, reach – not grab or scrabble – for another…

Inspired by…

The original brownie recipe was that of Jamie Oliver. However, the idea of including the Mars Bars was that of fellow foodie, Steve Gingell, whose son gave this version a bash – so pleased he shared!

How easy…

Child’s play. In fact, this seems to be a regular event during visits by grandkids and nieces – when do we make the brownies?!

 

Crab and Prawn Coconut Soup

The 23rd of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this soup makes for an absolute delicious starter. Since finding the recipe, I have returned to it again and again – it’s always received with much delight!

I love this crab and prawn coconut soup: it’s delightfully light, tasty and fragranced but also has enough about it to pass as a substantial starter or light lunch. The seafood flavours are beautifully emphasised by the influences of the lemon grass, fish sauce and coriander – it’s absolutely lovely and you can knock it up in a flash – definitely going on my ‘supper party starters’ list, so if you’re coming around, expect it – you’ll enjoy!

Serves 2

What you need…

Splash rapeseed oil

2 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

2cm fresh ginger, peeled and then grated

1 lemon grass stem, trimmed and sliced

Pinch hot chilli powder

200g cooked crab meat

500ml boiling water from the kettle

1 fish stockpot (I use Knorr)

200g coconut milk

1 tablespoon fish sauce

225g raw, peeled prawns

2 spring onions, trimmed and sliced

Juice of ½ lemon

Good handful chopped fresh coriander

What to do…

In a jug, pop in your stockpot and then pour in 500ml boiling water from the kettle. Whisk with either a fork or small balloon whisk to dissolve and then set your stock aside.

In a large saucepan over a moderate heat, splash in the oil and add the garlic, ginger, lemon grass and chilli powder.  Cook until golden. Tip in the crab meat, stock, coconut milk and fish sauce. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Add the crab meat and the prawns and cook until the prawns are just pink. Then add the spring onions, lemon juice and coriander. Enjoy this lovely, light fragrant soup – quite delicious!

Inspired by…

Rachel Allen

How easy….

Very easy, quick and simply delightful!

Parcels of Roasted Asparagus in Parma Ham

 

The 22nd of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, these lovely little canapés have appeared alongside many a drinks do with friends and always go down really well.

This is an ideal canapé to have with pre-dinner drinks, or perhaps to hand around as part of a canapé selection at a Christmas drinks party. These delightful little morsels are absolutely lovely, ideally accompanied by a rather pleasant glass of fizz.

Makes 10

What you need…

One flat baking tin, greased with olive oil

20 x  asparagus spears, trimmed

10 slices prosciutto di parma

Sea salt and black Pepper

Parmesan cheese, finely grated

What to do…

Poach asparagus in boiling, salted water for 2 minutes.

Drain and cool to the point that they are easy to handle.

Lay out one slice of Parma ham. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and Parmesan and then cut in half lengthways.

Using one ‘half slice’ of Parma ham, place two asparagus spears at one end and roll up so the Parma ham is the wrapping around your asparagus. Place on your baking tin.

Repeat until all the asparagus spears and Parma ham have been used up.

You can now leave them in the fridge for a couple of hours, enabling you to go and get ready for your guests.

When ready, pop the baking tin in the oven preheated to 200°c / 400°f / Gas 6 for 4-5 minutes and then serve. Absolutely delightful!

Inspired by…

I can’t quite remember – lots of people seemed to have included a version of this in their cookbooks but I think that Delia Smith was the original inspiration.

How easy…

Really, really easy and they can be prepared ahead of time – bonus!

 

 

Individual Vanilla and Amaretti Cheesecakes with Balsamic-Infused Strawberries

 

The 21st of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this little pudding tastes incredible, is dead easy and can be created in advance: of course it’s in the book!

I saw a version of these completely delectable little cheesecakes on Saturday Kitchen and thought that I must give them a go. Wow! The TV didn’t do them justice – the rich, smooth creaminess of the cheesecake is perfectly contrasted by the warm, sweet, lusciousness of the strawberries, their flavour emphasised by the sweet, rich balsamic vinegar (most unexpected).  They look fabulous, are so easy to make and taste out of this world!

Serves 4

What you need…

4 x chefs’ rings, 5.5cm diametre x 6cm deep (easily available online)

10 Amaretti biscuits

250g cream cheese

125g caster sugar

125g crème fraiche

240ml double cream

1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped out

for the strawberries

200g strawberries, hulled and quartered

2 teaspoons caster sugar

2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar (really good quality, thick stuff)

What to do…

In a large bowl, tip in your cream cheese, caster sugar, crème fraiche, double cream and vanilla seeds. Whisk until smooth and thickened up so that the whisks leave a distinct trail.

Place the chefs’ rings on a flat plate, lined with Bake O Glide or parchment paper. Spoon the cheesecake mixture into each ring, pushing the mixture down to make sure there are no gaps. Smooth off the top with a palette knife and pop them in the fridge for at least 2 hours to set. If you are having friends around for dinner, you can do this bit in the morning and leave the rest until you are about ready to serve.

Just before you are ready to serve, pop your Amaretti biscuits into a plastic zip-lock bag and using a rolling pin, crush them inside the bag to create a dusting.

Remove the cheesecakes from the fridge and set aside at room temperature for 5 minutes.

Place the Amaretti crumbs on a plate and then dip each of the cheesecakes in their chefs’ rings into the crumbs; then sprinkle Amaretti crumbs over the top so that each cheesecake is evenly covered.

Then, hold your breath (!) and lightly shake each cheesecake from the chefs’ ring onto its serving plate. Despite your total disbelief, it will gently drop down the ring and then plop out beautifully onto your serving plate….looking gorgeous!

Meanwhile, heat a saucepan over a high heat. Tip in the strawberries and sugar and cook, stirring continually for about 1 minute. Pour over the balsamic and cook for a further minute.

Spoon some of the strawberries onto the plate alongside the cheesecake. Absolutely delicious – the strawberries contrast the cheesecake perfectly, both elements enhancing the flavour of the other. Serve your vanilla and Amaretti cheesecake with balsamic-infused strawberries together with a wee glass of Disaronno Italian liqueur or a lovely little dessert wine to complete the indulgence! Yum!

Tip…

Chefs’ rings are almost like slices of metal piping you might expect on a building site! Another description would that of a cookie cutter, double the normal depth.

Inspired by…

Stuart Gillies, with James Martin on Saturday Kitchen

How easy…

Really easy, the only nervy bit is when you’re watching the cheesecake slowly drop through the chefs’ rings but be patient and it will be fine!

Delizioso Homemade Pesto


 

The 20th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this lovely pasta sauce is absolutely perfect for a light, tasty supper and is a regular in the Duffield household (and at Uni!)

This fits into the category of  ‘if it tastes THAT good and is THAT easy’, why buy ready-prepared! This is gorgeous and just shouts ‘fresh’ – it’s tangy and really, really flavoursome. It literally took about 2 minutes to make, including getting the ingredients from the fridge! As well as stirring through pasta (which is what it was made for) I can also use it with gnocchi, as a topping for Italian toasted bread, to top pizza or popped on a nice bit of steak……the list goes on. Give it a go – it’s really lovely!

Makes enough for pasta for 4 – 6

What you need…

Very large handful of basil

Large handful of flat-leafed parsley

40g roughly grated Parmesan

2 anchovy fillets

1 tablespoon capers, rinsed

1 garlic clove, roughly chopped

80ml olive oil

½ teaspoon sugar

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

Juice ½ lemon (optional)

What to do…

With the exception of the lemon juice, put the lot in your food processor. Whizz until a rough paste is created. Taste. Add more salt and pepper if needed. Whizz. Taste again. Add lemon juice, if liked. Whizz. Serve. Enjoy and feel jolly smug that something tasting this great requires next to no effort!

Tip…

Keep your pesto sauce in the fridge for up to a week (although other members of the household have a tendency to dig in with a teaspoon) or freeze for up to a month.

Inspired by…

Delicious magazine

How easy…

Ridiculously. You could almost do it in your sleep!

Spicy Gammon Steak with Mascarpone Peas

The 19th of 100 recipes chosen from the blog to go into my cookbook, this dish is supposed to be about the gammon but….it’s the mascarpone peas that steal the show – we’ve had them soooooo many times….and that was before I discovered that it was this dish that Gino D’Acampo cooked naked on This Morning! Hilarious – check it out on YouTube!

The name gives absolutely no clue as to how absolutely delicious this dish is. I loved it so much, I enjoyed it two days running!!! The gammon takes on a real razzle dazzle star quality and quite frankly, peas in mascarpone are going to be a regular event. Try this! It’s fast and fabulous – buonissimo!

Serves 2

What you need…

Splash of rapeseed oil

4 teaspoons salted butter

1 teaspoon dried crushed chillies

2 tablespoons fresh parsley, finely chopped

2 gammon steaks (choose thick, juicy ones – maybe 2cm)

160g frozen peas, defrosted

4 tablespoons mascarpone cheese

Sea salt and black pepper

Squeeze of lemon juice

What to do…

Heat half the oil and half the butter in a frying pan, add the crushed chillies and half the parsley. Then pop in the gammon steaks and cook for 3 minutes on each side. Transfer gammon and juices to a baking tray and pop in a low oven to keep warm.

Wipe out the pan with kitchen roll and return to the heat with the remaining oil and butter. Add the peas and cook over a high heat for 2 minutes, stirring continuously.

Season with salt and pepper, add the mascarpone, the remaining parsley and lemon juice. Stir the lot together and serve these party-dressed peas to accompany the razzle-dazzle gammon – that’s it – buonissimo!

Serving suggestion…

Red potatoes, sliced or chunked, tossed with olive oil, dried rosemary and chopped garlic and the cooked in the oven for 35 minutes: lovely!

Inspired by…

Gino D’Acampo

How easy…

Marvelously easy and it tastes like something that was meticulously created!

 

 

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