Monthly Archives: May 2017

Festival of Food and Racing

So, went to Goodwood today for the Festival of Food and Racing. Had an absolute ball and the sun shone throughout. After sniffing and sampling a variety of wonderful foodstuffs and losing badly (but without rancour) at several races, we have returned home with three bottles of gin (cucumber, gunshot and twisted nose if you please), one Lancaster Bomber cheese (might refuse to share) two bottles of chocolate liqueur (one’s a present and the other one I might refuse to share) and a bottle of maple syrup……hmmmm, not exactly balanced but I feel a good night coming on….xxx

Yoghurt, Cardamom and Orange Panna Cotta

Not an authentic panna cotta but not quite a mousse either but it doesn’t really matter: it’s a set dessert that is a light, fresh moussy-panna-cotta thing that has a lovely fragrant and oriental twist to it with cardamoms providing a gentle nod to the Middle-East. Super easy to make and rather too easy to enjoy: I think it would make a perfect follow up to a highly spiced dinner, such as a curry.

Serves 4

What you need…

1 leaf of gelatine

200ml milk

½ teaspoon cardamom seeds, ground

175ml natural yoghurt

2 teaspoons orange zest, finely grated

Raspberries or strawberries to garnish

What to do…

Place the gelatine in a bowl of cold water and leave to soak for 5 minutes.

Place the milk, honey and ground cardamom seeds in a saucepan and slowly bring to the boil. Take the gelatine out of the water and squeeze out the excess water before dropping it milk mixture. Stir to dissolve and then set aside for 10 minutes to reach room temperature.

Tip the yogurt and orange zest into a bowl and add the milk mixture, whisking to incorporate it evenly. Pour the whole lot into pretty glasses or teacups and pop into the fridge to set for at least 2 hours. Serve straight from the fridge decorated with raspberries or strawberries. Enjoy this lovely light, fresh and delightfully exotic little pudding!

Inspired by…

Rachel Allen

How easy…

Stupendously!!!

 

 

 

Orange and Almond Cake with Grand Marnier Mascarpone Cream

So very, very moist having been drenched in Grand Marnier-infused syrup this cake has a rum baba texture and ooziness to it, but is intensely and deliciously orange-flavoured. Gorgeous! And served with the Grand-Marnier mascarpone cream, a heavenly delight. Oh, and it just happens to be gluten-free but you’d never know it!

Serves 8 – 10

What you need…

1 x 20cm round, 6cm deep baking tin, lined with baking parchment

2 oranges

6 happy eggs

250g caster sugar

1 tablespoon baking powder

250g ground almonds

Thyme sprigs, to garnish (optional)

for the Grand Marnier Orange Syrup

50ml orange juice (reserved from the oranges above)

50g granulated sugar

2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

for the Grand Marnier Mascarpone Cream

2 happy egg whites

500g mascarpone

2-3 tablespoons caster sugar (depending on your sweet tooth!)

2 tablespoons Grand Marnier

What to do…

The night before you want to cook the cake, pop the 2 oranges into a saucepan of water and boil with the lid on for 3 hours – sounds like an agg I know, but just stick it on the hob and go and watch your favourite TV shows. At the end of 3 hours, drain the water away and just leave the oranges in the pan to cool down overnight.

Halve the oranges and squeeze out the pips and juice (reserving the latter for later). Chuck your orange carcasses into the food processor and whizz until pulp.

Preheat your oven to 150˚c / 300˚f / gas 2.

Using an electric handheld whisk, beat the eggs, sugar, baking powder and almonds together for 2 minutes. Add the orange pulp and whisk for a further 2 minutes. Detach the whisks and rinse thoroughly – you’ll need them again in a minute.

Tip the mixture into your prepared baking tin and pop into the oven for 1 hour.

Meanwhile, make the syrup and cream. First, in a small saucepan heat 50ml of the reserved orange juice with the sugar over a moderate heat until the sugar has dissolved. Add the Grand Marnier, stir and set aside to cool.

For the cream, in a medium bowl, use your rinsed electric handheld whisk to beat the egg whites until stiff. In a second bowl, tip the mascarpone and caster sugar and whisk together. Add the Grand Marnier and whisk again. Gently fold in the egg whites until evenly incorporated – this creates a lovely, fluffy and light ‘cream’. Pop the cream into a pretty serving bowl, cover with cling film and keep in the fridge until needed.

Remove your yummy cake from the oven and allow to cool to the touch before using a skewer to gently stab the cake all over. Drizzle over the Grand Marnier orange syrup so that it seeps into the cake evenly. Try not to dribble in anticipation! Decorate with thyme sprigs, if using.

To serve, cut great wedges of this moist, oozy cake whilst still warm if possible and accompany with a generous dollop of the naughty cream – heavenly!

Inspired by…

The Daily Telegraph

How easy…

Easy, quick and unbelievably gorgeous in every aspect.

 

 

 

Prawn Saganaki Just for One

Tuesdays are chilled out days where I don’t usually cook (I come home from a lovely yoga session and am so relaxed, I’m practically horizontal) so on these days we break out and John and Connagh frequently enjoy ‘Charlie Bigham’s Chicken Tikka Masala’: unpack, whop in the oven, remove and serve. Dead easy. I’m not usually hungry so it works well. Anyway this week, I was in the mood for something tasty but quick and had a bag of prawns at the back of the fridge that needed eating up, so I rustled up one of my favourites, Prawn Saganaki, but….I didn’t have quite all the ingredients for original recipe blogged last year so made do with what was available and …… it was gorgeous. So, here is the adapted version, made exclusively for one!

Serves 1

What you need…

A splash of rapeseed oil

1 shallot, chopped finely

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 teaspoon dried crushed chillies

1 star anise

6 small plum ripe tomatoes, chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

200g raw king prawns

A dessertspoon of Boursin cheese (should have been Feta but didn’t have any!)

A small handful of parsley, roughly chopped

What to do…

Heat the oil over a moderate heat in a frying pan. Add the shallot and garlic and sauté for a couple of minutes until soft but not brown. Stir in the chilli and the star anise, then add in the tomatoes, season with salt and pepper, cover and simmer gently for 5 minutes.

Next, add in the prawns and cook for a few minutes until they are pink, stirring occasionally to ensure even cooking throughout. Remove the star anise.

Tip in the Boursin and stir until it melts and is thoroughly incorporated. Scatter the parsley on top. Serve immediately with a nice chunky doorstep of good, fresh bread – just yummy!

Inspired by…

The Traveller’s Table

How easy…

Soooooo happy that I happened upon the original ridiculously easy recipe!

Pasta with Courgettes, Lemon and Basil

Light, lovely, fragrant and beautifully flavoursome, this lunch or supper dish feels like a nod towards Spring and the promise of warmer days but is also wonderfully comforting because of the inclusion of the rich mascarpone, contrasting brilliantly with the lemon. Simple to do, lovely to enjoy, packed with flavour!

Serves 4

What you need…

450g your favourite dried pasta (I chose gluten-free fusilli)

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 medium courgettes, halved lengthways and then sliced thinly

100g mascarpone cheese

3 tablespoons milk

Zest of 1 small lemon, finely grated

1 tablespoon basil leaves, finely chopped

A large handful of basil leaves, roughly torn

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook your pasta as per the packet instructions (mine takes about 12 minutes).

Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over a high heat, tip in the courgettes and cook for 5 minutes or until softened and lightly golden. In a bowl, mix together the mascarpone, milk, lemon zest and the chopped basil. Scrape this little lot over the courgettes and toss together for a minute or so until the mascarpone has melted. Season to taste.

Drain the pasta and return to the pan. Pour over the creamy courgette mixture and gently stir to mix evenly together. Scatter over the torn basil leaves, give them a quick stir and serve. Marvel in how lovely it is to find a simple dish that packs such lovely flavours!

Inspired by…

Rachel Allen

How easy…

Simplicity itself!

Spiced Rhubarb and Brioche Bread and Butter Pudding

Just yummy! I mean REALLY yummy!!! The brioche is gloriously sweet and fluffy and the gently spiced rhubarb has retained just a little of its inherent tartness but is also sweet and simply delicious. We had seconds….and then thirds and still my fork lingered for yet more….!!!!

Serves 8 (or 3 greedy people with some leftovers)

What you need…

1.5 litre ovenproof baking dish, liberally buttered

400g ready-sliced brioche loaf

80g butter, softened

500ml jersey or full fat milk

4 large, happy eggs

50g golden caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste

2 tablespoons demerara sugar

for the spiced rhubarb

400g rhubarb, cut into 2cm chunks

½ teaspoon ground allspice

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

30g butter, cubed

50g light brown soft sugar

Juice and grated zest of 1 orange

What to do…

First, to the rhubarb, which you can do up to a day ahead. Heat your oven to 180˚c / 350˚f / gas 4.

Chuck the rhubarb into your baking dish together with the spices, butter, sugar, zest and juice. Give them a quick stir together and pop them into the oven for 20 minutes until deliciously sticky and caramelised. Set aside to cool.

To make the custard (which you can also do in advance and just keep in the fridge until you’re ready) use a balloon whisk to mix together the milk, eggs, caster sugar and vanilla bean paste in a large jug.

Spread the brioche with the butter and cut into triangles before arranging them in your baking dish. Evenly tip over two-thirds of the rhubarb and then two-thirds of the custard. Cover with cling film and pop into the fridge to let the custard soak into the bread for a few hours.

When you’re ready to bake, pour over the rest of the custard, scatter the remaining rhubarb over the top and then sprinkle with demerara sugar. Pop into the oven for 30 – 40 minutes until your gorgeous pudding is golden brown and the custard has set around the edges.

Serve with no delay, lovely and hot, gloriously sweet and fluffy with a little double cream or ice cream – heaven.

Inspired by…

Delicious Magazine

How easy…

Spectacularly and you can do most of it ahead of time so very relaxing if you’re sharing with friends.

Peach, Pancetta and Mozzarella Salad

An unusual, eclectic selection of flavours thrown together to create a simply fabulous salad that shouts ‘summer’ and ‘sunshine’! Perfect for an al fresco lunch with a crisp bottle of white – utterly delightful!

Serves 2

What you need…

A large handful of rocket

3 red chicory, leaves pulled apart

20g butter

3 ripe peaches, quartered

3 rosemary sprigs

90g pancetta slices

150g mozzarella, roughly torn

Handful of green olives (optional – I didn’t like them and left them on the side)

for the dressing

½ shallot, finely sliced

1 tablespoon sherry vinegar

1 tablespoon caster sugar

1 teaspoon wholegrain mustard

Small handful fresh dill, chopped

3 tablespoons olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

First, make the dressing (which can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days). Into a jug, tip the shallot, vinegar, sugar, mustard and dill and use a balloon whisk to beat together. Slowly whisk in the oil, season with salt and pepper. Check the flavour and adjust the seasoning if need be and then tip the whole lot into a screw-topped jar and pop in the fridge until needed.

To the salad: in a mixing bowl, chuck the rocket and chicory. Set aside.

In a large frying pan, melt the butter over a moderate heat. When it starts to foam, add the peaches and rosemary and sauté for about 6 minutes or until the peaches start to colour and soften. Season with salt and transfer to the mixing bowl.

Add the pancetta to the frying pan and cook for around 7 minutes until crisp. Remove from the pan and add to the mixing bowl with the mozzarella. Tip in the dressing and toss the whole lot together before decanting onto a pretty serving plate.

Serve this quite fabulous, unusual salad with warm, fresh bread – delicious!

Inspired by…

Delicious Magazine

How easy…

A little sautéing and that’s about it!

A Little Aside: Tenderstem Broccoli Gratin

When the kids were growing up, pretty much the only vege that they would eat was broccoli. So, on that basis we ate a lot of it; and I mean A LOT. Obviously, it gets boring consuming mountains of boiled broccoli and steamed broccoli so we’ve also had brocolli that’s been finished off with sautéed garlic and bacon; with garlic and anchovies; or par-boiled and then roasted in the oven with olive oil and garlic. As much as they were all lovely, it’s still broccoli at the end of the day. This recipe however takes it to a different level – the mini trees became mightily interesting, nestling is a smooth, creamy rich gratin – easy to make and lovely to enjoy, as a side or on its own.

Serves 4 as a side dish

What you need…

375g tenderstem broccoli

2 happy eggs, lightly beaten

220ml double cream

Splash of milk

Zest of 1 lemon, finely grated

75g Gruyère, finely grated

A handful of Panko breadcrumbs

What to do…

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

Blanch the broccoli in boiling water for 3 – 4 minutes, until just tender. Drain in a colander and run under a cold tap. Tip into an ovenproof dish.

In a jug, mix together the eggs, cream and milk. Pour over the broccoli then toss to coat. Mix the lemon zest, Gruyère and breadcrumbs and then scatter over the broccoli. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden and set. Serve piping hot and enjoy.

Inspired by…

Delicious magazine

How easy…

Really easy and beautifully different.

Spring Dinner for 4

Good friends coming around for dinner tonight and we’re really looking forward to catching up, sharing time, wine and food with them. The menu is a combination of some of my favourite dishes, tried out and enjoyed thanks to my blog!

Thai Crab Poppadam Canapés

Chicken Liver Paté with Brandy

Chicken Wrapped in Parma Ham with Mascarpone Peas and Rosemary and Garlic Parmentier Potatoes

The Yummiest Profiteroles (Connagh’s favourite, hence his quality control test here ‘Oh wow Mum!!!’

Light and Zesty Lemon Tart

Happy Friday! xx

 

 

 

 

 

 

Chicken Cordon Bleu

An absolutely scrumptious dish that hurtled into my kitchen all the way from the 1960s. Whilst our tastes in many things have changed, sometimes these older recipes are well worth revisiting – as is the case here. Essentially, cheese, ham and chicken….but the magic happens when the breadcrumbs encasing the chicken turn buttery crispy golden brown and the cheese just starts to melt. Connagh could barely eat his for going on and on about how wonderful it was – praise indeed!

Serves 4

What you need…

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

175g Emmental cheese, cut into 8 chunks

4 thick ham slices

75g plain flour

3 happy eggs, lightly beaten

150g panko breadcrumbs

Sea salt and black peper

125g unsalted butter

What to do…

Cut the chicken in half widthways, nearly all the way through. Lay a large piece of cling film across your work surface and then place the chicken on the top, opened out. Cover with another piece of cling film and then gently bash the chicken breast with a rolling pin until about 1 cm thick.

Discard the cling film. Take 1 chicken breast and pop two chunks of cheese on one half and then fold or wodge the ham on top before folding over the other half of the chicken breast to enclose the cheese and ham. Press down lightly. Wrap in cling film and pop in the fridge until you’re just about ready to cook.

Place the flour, eggs and breadcrumbs in three separate shallow bowls. Season the flour and eggs with salt and pepper and then dip each chicken breast in first the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumbs, making sure that it is evenly and thoroughly covered in each.

Melt the butter in a large frying pan over a moderate heat. When it has just melted, add the chicken breasts and cook for 5 minutes on one side and then turn over and cook for 5 minutes on the other. Baste the chicken with the melted butter as it cooks. The breadcrumbs should be golden and then, when you cut into the chicken, the cheese should just be starting to melt – thoroughly gorgeous!!!

Inspired by…

James Martin

How easy…

As with most recipes I choose: very easy and absolutely scrumptious!