Monthly Archives: September 2017

End-of-Summer Pudding

Delicious, fresh and totally yummy: this stupendously easy pud is jam-packed with fruit and the flavours of summer-turning-to-autumn. A delightful Chambord-infused juice completes the joy and a dollop of crème fraîche is the perfect accompaniment. Seconds please!

Serves 6

What you need…

1 x 700ml pudding basin

6-8 slices stale sourdough bread, crusts removed

600g mixed soft fruit (I used strawberries, raspberries and blackberries)

100g caster sugar

2 tablespoons Chambord (black raspberry liqueur)

What to do…

Remove the stalks and/or stones from the fruit and tip into a wide heavy-based pan. Add the sugar, bring to the boil and then reduce the heat to low, cooking for a further 2 minutes or until the fruit is starting to soften and release juice.

Meanwhile, line the base and sides of your basin with bread to cover completely. Trim the bread if necessary so that the slices fit closely together. You should be left with 2 remaining slices, which will be used for the lid.

Use a slotted spoon to remove the fruit from its juices and pop the fruit into the basin. Measure out 4 tablespoons of the juice and tip it into a screw top jar. Set aside. Drizzle the remaining pan juice evenly over the fruit. Cover with the remaining bread (trim to fit). Wrap the whole basin in cling film and then put something heavy on the top (e.g. a small plate with a tin on the top).

Pop into the fridge chill and set overnight.

When you’re ready to serve, add the Chambord to the screw top jar, pop on the lid and shake like mad to mix together the liqueur with the sweetened fruit juice. Slide a palette knife around the inside edge of the basin, pop a serving plate on the top and then invert the lot – your gorgeous pudding will plop out delightfully onto the plate. Pour the Chambord-infused juice evenly over the pudding and serve this luscious pudding with a dollop of crème fraîche – just yummy!

End of Summer Pud p w

Inspired by…

Richard Bertinet, Delicious magazine

How easy…

Stupendously!

Absolutely OTT Six-Layer Chocolate Birthday Bonanza Cake

Six layers of really moist, chocolately sponge sandwiched together with fabulous butter cream that is in a luxurious league of its own because of the inclusion of melted dark chocolate: this cake, if I say so myself, is stunning – very yummy and very moreish. It’s also my favourite chocolate cake recipe that I use for pretty much all chocolate cakes (first blogged as the ‘365 Chocolate Celebration Cake). The silliness that is the decoration is just me playing with ready-made fondant, glitters, shimmers and other cake-decorating play things!

What you need…

3 x 20cm round cake tins (ideally loose bottomed) liberally buttered and lined with parchment paper

1½ x sponge cake recipe from the 365 chocolate celebration cake

2 x chocolate butter cream recipe from the 365 chocolate celebration cake

for the decoration

1500g Renshaw ready to roll (fondant) icing

A selection of edible shimmers, glitters, silver balls, whatever your fancy to create and an absolutely OTT cake!

Super-long cake candles (Amazon)

Cake Ice Fountain (Amazon, Lakeland)

What to do…

Follow the 365 chocolate celebration cake recipes to create three chocolate sponges and butter icing.

When you are ready to assemble the cake, cut each sponge in half horizontally. Lay one sponge onto your cake plate and slather in a little butter cream. Keep adding sponge layers with butter cream until all the sponge layers are used. Trim the edges of your six-layer sponge cake if necessary (mine weren’t even) and then slather the top and sides in butter cream, creating a smooth even surface and edging on which to drape your fondant.

Roll out 1000g of the icing to about the depth of a £1 coin and drape it over the cake, tucking and folding to fit – I find this bit particularly difficult and ended up having a couple of bits that wrapped around the side and then a jigsaw on the top – it doesn’t matter! Smooth the icing to the best of your ability.

Roll out the remaining icing and use a plate as a template cut around to make a circle to sit onto your jigsaw top. Use butter cream as a glue to stick the circle to the jigsaw top and then decorate as you see fit! (I went a bit mad!)

Allow 24 hours for the fondant to dry.

Serve to an unsuspecting birthday girl, don’t ask her to blow out the firework in the middle and enjoy this totally delicious cake!

Tips…

I made two sponges one day and then froze them once cold. I made the third sponge a second day and again froze it. The day that I wanted to assemble the cake, I sliced the sponges in half horizontally whilst still partially frozen – much easier to achieve a straight and clean cut.

Inspired by…

365 chocolate cake and ‘The Essential Guide to Cake Decorating’ book

How easy….

I’ve got the sponge nailed now. Me and fondant icing however…..work in progress…

A Little Aside: Crushed Garlicky Potatoes

Ooooooh, so lovely, these potatoes are just so scrumptious, I can eat them all by themselves. Infused with loads of garlic and olive oil with just a smattering of parsley to garnish – they are fab and really dress up the humble new potato, especially as they are coming to the end of their season.

What you need…

250g new potatoes

3 garlic cloves, chopped

100ml milk

100ml olive oil

Sea salt and black pepper

Squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Small handful flat leaf parsley, chopped

What to do…

Pop the potatoes into a heavy based sauce pan with the garlic, milk and olive oil. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place over a moderate heat and bring to the boil, cooking for 15-20 minutes or until the potatoes are soft and the liquid is largely absorbed.

Use a fork to roughly mash up – you’re not looking for smooth mash but more a rustic chunky affair. Squeeze in the lemon juice, tip in the parsley, stir together and then serve. Marvel that rarely before have potatoes been this wonderful and ever so slightly addictive! Yum!!!

Tip…

This recipe works equally well with other potatoes: you just need to peel them first.

Inspired by…

John Torode

How Easy…

Well, it’s not hard is it?

No Churn Lemon Curd and Limoncello Ice Cream

Wow! Lemon Curd and Limoncello Ice Cream – where to start?! This glorious ice cream is rich and creamy whilst also lemon-tangy and refreshing. It’s sweet but not too sweet and then we have the not insubstantial quantity of the fabulous Limoncello Italian liqueur running through it – this element tips the ice cream into the realms of grown up and quite sensational. Enjoy on a hot summers day or to conclude a lovely dinner. Or – in the name of the blog – at just after midday on a Monday!!!! Any excuse! It truly is scrumptious though and dead easy to make!

What you need…

600ml double cream

397g (1 tin) condensed milk

340g jar lemon curd (homemade or shop-bought)

180ml Limoncello Italian lemon liqueur

What to do…

Use an electric hand held whisk to beat the double cream to form soft peaks. Pour in the condensed milk, lemon curd and Limoncello and use a balloon whisk to gently fold them in so that they are all evenly incorporated. Taste. Add in a little more Limoncello if required (!)

Pour into a plastic container, pop the lid on and stick it in the freezer for at least 6 hours.

Tip…

Once out of the freezer, it takes about 10-15 minutes to reach the consistency whereby you can easily scoop it out.

Inspired by…

Sharron from our local village newsletter.

 How easy…

Easy and fast enough to create regularly and at the drop of a hat!

Watermelon, Feta and Olive Salad with Mint

A wonderful refreshing but satisfying salad that beautifully marries the earthiness of feta and olives with the bursting sunshine, juiciness and freshness of watermelon. A perfect light lunch or starter, the addition of aromatic, fresh mint just finishes it off. Very yummy and dare I say it, quite healthy too!!!!

What you need…

½ small watermelon, peeled deseeded and chunked

½ cucumber, peeled, halved lengthways, deseeded and sliced

200g feta cheese, chunked

90g pitted black olives

A small handful mint, chopped

for the dressing

4 tablespoons olive oil

Juice of ½ lemon

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

First, tip the dressing ingredients into a screw top jar, pop on the lid and shake like mad.

Tip all the salad ingredients, except the feta, into a pretty salad bowl, pour in the dressing and thoroughly mix together. Gently stir in the feta – too energetic an approach and the feta will crumble. Job done! Serve and enjoy this very moreish, rather gorgeous salad!

Inspired by…

Mary Berry

How easy…

Ridiculously!

Blackberry Jam Lattice Tart

A little blackberry obsessed, I’ve been gently but regularly foraging the locality, picking blackberries for tarts, ripples, sorbets or just for the lusciousness of grabbing a handful of fresh, free fruit. Anyway, as much as I like trialling different pastry recipes, sometimes I just want a quick tart made with cheat’s pastry! Whop it together, pop it in the oven and enjoy! This one didn’t disappoint – takes no time to make (unless you’re silly enough to plait some of the lattice topping – very relaxing though) and just a wonderful reminder of sun-warmed early Autumnal days.

What you need…

1 x 23cm loose-bottomed tart tin, liberally buttered and lined on the bottom with parchment paper

1 x 450g packet sweet dessert short crust pastry mix (I used Sainsbury’s)

9 tablespoons cold water

Plain flour, for dusting.

500g blackberries

450g jam sugar

Juice ½ lemon

1 egg, lightly beaten

Caster sugar, for sprinkling

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 200˚c / 400˚f / gas 6.

Put the berries in a large heavy-based pan over a low eat with the sugar and lemon juice. Gently heat and fold the sugar into the blackberries until dissolved. Bring the fruit to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally and let the fruit simmer for about 10-12 minutes. Allow your yummy jam to cool for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, use a fork to mix the water into your pastry mix to form a soft dough (delight in how easy this is!) Dust your work surface with the flour and roll out the pastry dough in a rough circle slightly larger than the tart tin. Drape the pastry into the tin, gently pushing it into the edges. Trim off the excess pastry, briefly knead the excess to form a ball and then roll out into a long, thin rectangle. Use a sharp knife to cut thin strips that will be used to form the lattice top.

Plop the jam into the pastry case. Brush the edges with beaten egg and then create your lattice top. I fiddled about with mine, weaving under and over but you don’t need to be that pedantic – create your topping as you wish! Brush the lattice work with beaten egg, sprinkle with caster sugar and pop the tart into the oven, baking for 30 minutes, turn the pie around and cook for another 5 -10 minutes, just to make sure that your tart is evenly golden all over.

Allow your lovely jammy tart to cool a little. If you can’t wait and want to indulge in your tart whilst it is warm, the jam will still be runny and oozingly gorgeous; if you allow it to cool properly, then you will have a set jam filling. If, like us, you dig in practically immediately and then return for seconds a couple of hours later, you get to enjoy both experiences!

If you’re luck enough to have a thermomix…

Use this marvellous little machine to make the jam whilst you’re faffing around with the pastry: chuck the blackberries, sugar and lemon juice into the mixing bowl and blend for 10 seconds/speed 6. Cook for 28 minutes/varoma/speed 1, inserting the simmering basket rather than the measuring cup to prevent splashing. Job done!

Berry Jam Lattice Tart w

Inspired by…

Delicious magazine

How easy…

Really easy, whether you use a saucepan or the thermomix and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with the occasional pre-made pastry mix!

 

 

Saturday Supper of Salmon and Med. Veg.

Lovely little supper of Salmon with Sorrel and Vermouth Sauce served with Summer Mediterranean Vegetables: both previously blogged and both lovely, especially the salmon dish)

Tip…

Use the search option in the top right hand corner of the website to type in each recipe to find the original blogs – enjoy!

Inspired by…

James Martin and Mary Berry, respectively

How easy…

Dead easy – perfect for a quick, sumptuous supper!

 

 

 

 

Porchetta Wellington

I can’t do Beef Wellington – it’s one of John’s ‘signature dishes’ and I wouldn’t dream of trying to emulate what is my absolute favourite of one of his dishes (I will blog it one day though). However, when I saw this in last Saturday’s paper, Sunday lunch was instantly sorted! And it didn’t disappoint – looks and tastes stunning – an absolutely great Sunday lunch for family and friends….that takes very little last minute effort and looks like you’ve spent hours slaving!!!!

Serves 6

What you need…

1 x 33cm x 25cm baking tin (or slightly bigger)

2 pork tenderloins (about 450g each)

Sea salt and black pepper

1 tablespoon olive oil

10 slices Parma ham

200g spinach, wilted and squeezed dry

2 x 375g ready-rolled packets all-butter puff pastry

1 egg, beaten

for the paté

100g unsalted butter

1 shallot, peeled and chopped

250g chicken livers, trimmed

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoons brandy

½ teaspoon English mustard powder

for the herb mix

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 shallot, peeled and chopped

4 garlic cloves, chopped

150g chestnut mushrooms, chopped finely

6 thyme sprigs, leaves picked

2 rosemary sprigs, leaves picked and chopped finely

1 teaspoon dried crushed chillis

Finely grated zest of 1 lemon

What to do…

First make the paté. Melt 60g of the butter over a moderate heat and then add the shallot and cook for 10 minutes, until softened. Tip in the chicken livers and garlic and cook, turning, for up to 5 minutes, until they are just pink in the middle. Tip in the brandy and the mustard powder and season with salt and pepper.

Pop the remaining butter into your food processor together with the liver mixture and whizz until smooth. Use a spatula to get every last morsel out of the processor and into a bowl. Cover with cling film and then pop in the fridge until needed.

Next, the herb mix. Heat the oil and gently fry the shallot for 5 minutes. Add the garlic, mushrooms and herbs and sauté over a high heat for 5 minutes. Add the crushed chilli and lemon zest, season to taste, cover with foil and cool. Pop in the fridge if you’re prepping this bit way in advance.

So, to the main event. Season the pork and rub with oil, then sear in a hot pan until golden all over. Set aside to rest and cool.

Lay out two overlapping sheets of cling film so they’re longer and wider than your tenderloins would be if laid side-by-side. Lay the Parma Ham slices across the cling film so they overlap to make a large rectangle. Spread with the paté, then place the tenderloins on top. Spread the herb mix evenly over the tenderloins and then cover with spinach.

Use the cling film to help roll up from one side to the other, creating a tight ‘sausage’ with the Parma ham encasing the tenderloins.

Unroll one sheet of your pastry, retaining the greaseproof paper that it comes with (no need to line your baking tin). Unwrap the pork and place in the centre of the pastry. Brush the pastry all around the tenderloins with beaten egg and then unroll the remaining pastry sheet, gently laying it over the top of the pork, pressing it around the edges. Discard the attached greaseproof paper from the top layer of pastry. Trim the pastry to leave a 2cm edge all the way around and seal the edges with a fork. Brush the entire wellington with the egg and then pop in the fridge for 20 minutes.

Preheat your oven to 200˚c / 400˚f / gas 6.

Bake your Porchetta Wellington for 45 minutes until golden. Rest for 10 minutes, sip wine, slice and serve to a deeply impressed group of family and friends – enjoy – it’s a great sharing dish!

Tip…

Make the paté and herb mix in advance, keeping them in the fridge until needed. Then, all you have left to do is a quick assembly job! (However, the paté will then be too hard to spread – I popped it into the microwave for 20 seconds – dead easy then!)

Inspired by…

Rosemary Shrager, The Big Family Cooking Showdown, Weekend magazine

How easy…

Not at all difficult (what a treat ready-rolled pastry is!) but it makes sense to prepare the paté and herb mix in advance.

 

 

 

Pineapple Steeped in Kirsch

I don’t suppose I can really call this a recipe, but it’s definitely worth sharing. This dessert is gorgeously refreshing and tangy BUT with a definite kick – the sweet, juicy flavour of the pineapple combined with the subtle (but extremely alcoholic) taste of the Kirsch cherry liqueur is simply sublime. A lovely dessert, summer or winter, but especially good after something really spicy, e.g. a hot curry.

What you need…

1 ripe pineapple

80ml Kirsch liqueur

Sprig of mint, to garnish (optional)

What to do…

Cut the pineapple in half lengthways, remove the flesh and discard the core. Chunk the fruit into bite-sized pieces. Tip the pineapple chunks into a bowl, pour over the Kirsch and cover with cling film. Give the whole lot a good shake and then pop into the fridge overnight to allow the wonderful flavours to develop.

Serve the Kirsch-steeped pineapple chunks on their own or with a dollop of double cream or natural yogurt. That’s it – couldn’t be easier and very well worth the minimal effort!

Tip…

You might want to shake the bowl every now and then whilst it’s ‘gathering’ in the fridge, just to make sure the Kirsch is evenly distributed.

A little bit about Kirsch…

Produced mainly in Germany, but also in Switzerland and the Alsace region of France, Kirsch’s full name is kirsch wasser (pronounced vasser), meaning cherry water. Originating from the Black Forest, in the Southern area of the country, it’s an eau de vie (a type of brandy) made by double-distilling the fermented juice of the sour morello cherry. As it’s not aged in contact with wood (barrels are coated with wax to prevent this happening), kirsch is clear in colour, and the flavour subtley hints at its cherry origins, rather than being sweet and cloying.

Inspired by…

Absolutely no idea! Have been knocking this little one up for years!

How easy…

Simples!