Monthly Archives: April 2018

Thai Inspired Cod and Prawns in Coconut Milk

So simple, so wonderfully and aromatically flavoursome and so very fast with practically no prep either. What’s not to like for a fabulous mid-week supper?!!!

 Serves 4

 What you need…

 A splash of rapeseed oil

1 onion, chopped

6 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tablespoon ginger, chopped

1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced

1 stick lemon grass, bruised (bashed!), trimmed and finely sliced

4 kaffir lime leaves

½ teaspoon turmeric

400g can coconut milk

4 fillets of cod, chunked (pollack and hake work equally well)

225g raw, peeled prawns

1 teaspoon fish sauce

1 tablespoon lemon juice

Sea salt and black pepper

A good handful of fresh coriander, roughly chopped (to garnish)

What to do…

Heat the oil and sauté the onion for a couple of minutes before adding the garlic, ginger, chilli, lemon grass, kaffir lime leaves and turmeric. Stir-fry for a further 2 minutes.

Tip in the coconut milk and gently add the fish fillets, simmering for 7-8 minutes, until the cod is just cooked through.

To finish, tip in the prawns, stir through the fish sauce, lemon juice and then season with salt and pepper. As soon as the prawns turn pink, remove the lime leaves and then gaily and abundantly garnish your dish with fresh coriander before serving with steamed or boiled rice – absolutely delightful!

Inspired by…

Jane Plant

How easy…

So easy, so fast and so very lovely.

 

 

Nasi Goreng

An Indonesian dish that translated, literally and rather humbly merely means ‘fried rice’. But it’s soooo much more than that! Wonderfully aromatic with a lovely eclectic fusion of different textures and gently spicy flavours that wake up your taste buds and leave them zinging! A great brunch if you want to kick start your weekend or an equally lovely supper offering. I suspect that it also might be quite healthy – just a little bonus!

Serves 4

What you need…

A splash of rapeseed oil

6 shallots, finely sliced

6 garlic cloves, chopped

1 teaspoon shrimp paste

2 teaspoons tamarind paste

½ – 1 teaspoon crushed dried chillies (depending on how much heat you like)

1 thumb of root ginger, peeled and finely grated

1 lemongrass stalk, trimmed, bashed and finely sliced

2 large carrots, peeled and cut into fine matchsticks

150g chestnut mushrooms, cleaned and finely sliced

2 tablespoons kecap manis (Indonesian sweet soy sauce) or 2 tablespoons soy sauce plus 2 teaspoons soft brown sugar

900g basmati rice, cooked

6 spring onions, finely sliced

A large handful of coriander, roughly chopped

4 large, happy eggs

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

½ cucumber, sliced into batons

What to do….

Heat the oil over a moderate heat in a large saucepan, tip in the shallots and sauté for 15 minutes, stirring every now and then, until golden. Use a slotted spoon to remove from the pan and tip onto kitchen paper to cool and crisp up. Set aside.

Return the pan to the heat and add the garlic, shrimp paste, tamarind paste, crushed chillies, ginger and lemon grass and sauté for 2 minutes. Add the carrots and mushrooms and sauté for a further couple of minutes to soften.

Add the kecap manis/soy and sugar and stir in the rice until heated through. Chuck in the spring onions and coriander and stir through.

In a large frying pan over a hot heat, warm another splash of rapeseed oil and fry the eggs until just set (or in my case, get favourite son, Connagh, to fry the eggs whilst I finish off the main dish).

Season with salt and pepper and stir in the cucumber batons.

Serve this gorgeous rice dish in warmed bowls, topping the Nasi Goreng firstly with the crispy shallots and then a freshly fried egg – delicious!

How easy…

It’s not difficult at all but there’s a lot of prep here so my advice is to chop and slice everything in advance, set aside and then go and have a glass of wine – the actual cooking takes no time at all.

Inspired by…

Victoria Glass

 

 

 

Hazelnut and Parmesan-Crusted Chicken

Along the same lines as Chicken Kiev and Chicken Cordon Bleu, this absolutely delicious way of serving chicken is made fabulous by the ridiculous quantity of butter used to cook it! Ignoring any negative aspects of the butter mountain, it guarantees that this dish is truly scrumptious – perfect for perking up a mid-week supper.

Serves 4

What you need…

4 boneless chicken breasts, skinned

40g hazelnuts

25g Parmesan cheese, freshly grated

2 lemons, zested, then quartered

2 sprigs of thyme, leaves picked

40g panko breadcrumbs

75g plain flour

Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 eggs, beaten

250g unsalted butter!!!!!

What to do…

Put one chicken breast between two pieces of greaseproof paper and bash with a rolling pin until about 1cm thick. Repeat with the other three chicken breasts.

Pop the hazelnuts, Parmesan, lemon zest and thyme in your food processor and whizz to fine crumbs. Tip in the breadcrumbs and pulse to combine. Tip the mixture into a wide, shallow bowl.

Tip the flour into a wide, shallow bowl and season with salt and pepper.

Tip the beaten egg into a third wide, shallow bowl.

Heat the butter in a large frying pan over a high heat.

Dip each piece of chicken first in the flour, then the egg and finally the breadcrumb mixture and then put all four breasts into the hot butter and sauté until golden – about 5 minutes on each side – basting with the butter throughout.

Drain on kitchen paper and then serve, drizzling over the hot butter from the pan and squeezing over a little lemon juice – truly scrumptious!

Inspired by…

With that amount of butter it has to be James Martin.

How easy…

Dead easy and yummingly good!

 

 

 

Chocolate Lace-Decorated Favourite Cake

This fabulous cake is based on the sponge recipe I used to create my ‘365 celebration cake’ all the way back in November 2015: it’s really chocolatey and is made even more heavenly by the inclusion of a butter cream containing melted dark chocolate – delicious.

Celebrating Easter as well as my birthday, this cake had hidden in its depths mini chocolate Easter eggs but it was the decorative chocolate lace that was the real incentive to create this showstopper (if I do say so myself!) and now that I know how easy it is to make, it will of course be adorning many a cake!!!! A cake worth celebrating and worthy of any celebration!

Serves 16+

What you need…

1 x 20cm loose bottomed cake tin, buttered and lined with baking parchment

1 x 15cm loose bottomed cake tin, buttered and lined with baking parchment

1 deep cookie cutter (I used a 7cm-wide one but you could use a wider one if you wanted more sweets/eggs hidden in the cake).

340g unsalted butter, room temperature

340g caster sugar

6 eggs, lightly beaten

1 dessertspoon vanilla extract

140g milk

225g self-raising flour

85g cocoa powder

2 teaspoons baking powder

Pinch of salt

for the chocolate butter cream

100g dark chocolate (ideally 70% cocoa) broken into pieces

200g unsalted butter, room temperature

400g icing sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

for the hidden filling

Mini chocolate eggs, Smarties, chocolate buttons, jewelry – whatever you fancy!

for the chocolate lace

1 x kitchen thermometer

2 x10cm-wide acetate strips, cut so that they will easily go around each of 20cm and 15cm cake sponges

150g plain chocolate (70% cocoa solids), broken into chunks

What to do…

Preheat the oven to 180°c / 350° / gas 4 and turn your attention to the sponges.

Using a food processor, beat together the butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy. Whilst it’s still beating, add in the eggs, a little at a time, ensuring that each addition is thoroughly mixed in before adding the next. Add the vanilla extract and milk and whizz together.

In a large mixing bowl, sift in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Mix well. Then, tip in the ingredients from the food processor and, using a balloon whisk, fold together all the ingredients until they are thoroughly blended. Divide the chocolate sponge mixture between the two cake tins.

Bake the sponges in the oven for 45 minutes until the cake is firm and an inserted skewer comes out dry.

Allow to cool for 30 minutes in the tins and then turn out onto cooling racks to cool completely. (At this point, I normally wrap them in foil and freeze them until the day I need them).

Time for the buttercream. If you are doing it all on the same day, make the butter cream whilst the sponges are cooling.

Put your chocolate into a heatproof bowl and then into a steamer over a saucepan of simmering water. Gently melt the chocolate and then set aside until it is cool enough to touch.

In a separate bowl, sieve in the icing sugar and then beat together with the butter. Add the vanilla essence and then tip in the warm chocolate. Mix together using a small balloon whisk to ensure it is evenly and thoroughly blended. Set aside until you are ready to assemble the cake.

Take your larger sponge and cut it in half horizontally to create 2 sponge tiers. Lay one half on a serving plate. Use your cookie cutter to cut a hole in the centre of the remaining large sponge.

Spread butter cream evenly across the bottom sponge and then place the other half, with the hole on top. Also cover this one with a layer of butter cream.

Next, take the smaller sponge and slice it horizontally to create 3 sponge tiers. Use your cookie cutter to cut a hole in the middle of the bottom one and then place this tier in the middle of the larger cake, matching up the central holes as best you can (but don’t worry if they don’t match – no one will be able to see).

Spread butter cream across this sponge and then repeat the process with the middle smaller tier. Fill your stacked sponges with your choice of surprise (mini eggs etc), spread butter cream across this middle smaller sponge and then top with the remaining tier – assembly job done – the top and bottom sponges are ‘complete’ whilst the middle three have holes in them, now occupied by treats!

Spread butter cream evenly across the top and sides of the cake and then set aside.

To the lace! Break 100g of the plain chocolate into a bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir the chocolate until it reaches a melting point of 47c / 115f. Remove the bowl from the heat, add the remaining 50g chocolate and stir until the chocolate has cooled to 31c / 90f.

Place your strips of acetate onto a flat work surface.

Pour the chocolate into a piping bag fitted with a narrow nozzle or tip it into a squeezy bottle also fitted with a narrow nozzle. Let the chocolate fall out of the nozzle whilst swirling up and down the strips of acetate to create a lace effect. Leave to cool until just set and firm enough to then wrap around the two sets of sponge tiers (about 15 – 20 minutes). Walk off and leave the acetate on for 1 hour. Gently and patiently peel the acetate away, leaving the gorgeous chocolate lace decorating your gorgeous chocolate cake….et voilà!

Serve to a completely wowed group – the lace really does look terrific, then there’s the surprise of the hidden treats and then of course, there’s the most important bit – the fabulously luscious flavour!

Tip…

I make the sponges in advance and then defrost them the day that I want to serve the cake. This way, the kitchen doesn’t look like so much of a disaster area and I can devote my energies to the creative bit. Also, the sponges are much easier to slice accurately when they are defrosting.

If you replaced chocolate butter cream with white chocolate ganache to decorate the sponges, the visual effect would be much more dramatic. However, this was my cake and I don’t like white chocolate!!!

How easy…

It’s all easy but does take time – not one to rush, this one!

Inspired by…

The chocolate sponge and butter cream combination are now a favourite in the Duffield house and have been practiced to produce various creations during the last 2½ years. The lace can be attributed to the BBC and is used to create a Paul Hollywood/Mary Berry showstopper.