Author Archives for Cindy Duffield

Delightful Duck with Ginger and Lime Salad

A lively, fresh and tangy salad topped with succulent duck – ideal for a lazy summer lunch in the garden. And….so tasty, so easy!

Serves 6

What you need…

3 boneless duck breasts, about 250g each

Salt

A pile of your favourite fresh salad leaves, washed and torn

for the dressing

125ml olive oil

2 teaspoon sesame oil

2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

Grated zest and juice of 1 orange

2 teaspoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon fresh ginger, grated

2 garlic cloves, chopped

2 teaspoons light soy sauce

3 spring onions, chopped finely

1 teaspoon sugar

1 Thai chilli, finely sliced

What to do…

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

Wash the duck breasts, dry on kitchen paper and then cut in half.

Prick the skin all over with a fork and season well with salt. Place the duck pieces, skin-side down, on a wire rack over a roasting tin. Pop the duck into your oven and cook for 10 minutes. Tuner over and roast for a further 12 minutes or until cooked but still pink in the centre.

Meanwhile, make the dressing. Chuck all the ingredients into a screw top jar, pop on the lid and shake like mad.

Remove the duck from the oven, cool and then cut into thick slices. Add a little of the dressing to the duck to moisten.

To serve, arrange your salad leaves on a serving plate. Top with the sliced duck breasts and drizzle with the remaining salad dressing. Absolutely delightful!

Inspired by…

Carol Bowen, Thai Cooking (a VERY old book)

How easy…

Quick bit of roasting and a little bit of shaking: job done!

Light and fluffy Individual Cheese Soufflés

I have skirted around making soufflés until recently but had achieved success making sweet ones. For savoury ones though, this was a first and made with extra tips from James (Martin), they are absolutely heavenly! Unbelievably light and fluffy, gorgeously tangy and flavoursome, these lovely little soufflés are an absolute delight to make and to indulge in – so light and tasty, they’re gone in a flash. An ideal dinner starter or light lunch, served with a fresh green salad.

Serves 4 – 6, depending on the size of your ramekin dishes

What you need…

4 – 6 ramekin dishes, liberally and thoroughly buttered (this is key to helping the soufflés rise)

1 x deep-sided roasting dish

25g fresh Parmesan, finely grated

25g unsalted butter

25g plain flour

300ml semi-skimmed milk

75g mature Cheddar cheese, grated

75g Gruyère cheese, grated

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

Sea salt and black pepper

4 happy eggs, separated

What to do…

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

Divide the Parmesan between the ramekins and roll around the insides to coat the sides then tip out any excess and set aside to add to the sauce later.

Melt the butter in a medium-sized saucepan over a moderate heat. Tip in the flour and cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring the whole time, until a light golden brown. Gradually add the milk, again stirring the whole time until you have a thick, smooth sauce (I start off with a wooden spoon and then, when the sauce becomes looser, switch to a balloon whisk). Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a clean bowl use an electric handheld whisk to beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Set aside.

Back to your saucepan: stir in the Cheddar, Gruyère and remaining Parmesan together with the Dijon; then remove from the heat and season to taste. Use your balloon whisk to beat in the egg yolks.

Fill your kettle up with water and switch on to boil.

Back to the soufflé mixture: add half the egg whites to the cheese mixture and use the balloon whisk again to beat thoroughly to combine. Then, continue to use the whisk, but gently, to fold in the remaining egg whites, keeping in as much air as possible.

Pour the mixture into your prepared ramekin dishes, then smooth the top of the mixture with a palette knife, flattening it all the way across (I forgot to do this bit which is why they look the way they do!)

Put the ramekins into your roasting dish and half fill the dish up with just-boiled kettle water. Place in your oven for 8 – 10 minutes until risen, golden and wonderfully wobbly.

Serve immediately, diving your spoon into this delicious, tangy cloud of a dish – yummy!

Inspired by…

James Martin

How easy…

Really easy, quite quick and pretty foolproof, I’d say! The trickiest bit is photographing them before they start to deflate!!!!

 

 

 

Za’atar-Crusted Prawns with Bulgar Wheat and Herb Salad

This is a lovely, fast recipe, ideal for a lunch or supper with family and friends. I only came across Za’atar recently but I think it might be creeping into a few more recipes. It gives the prawns a unique aromatic and tangy flavour that worked really well with the bulgar wheat salad. Fresh, light and really quite lovely!

Serves 4

What you need…

24 large raw king prawns

4 tablespoons za’atar

½ tablespoon plain flour

Sea salt and black pepper

2 tablespoons olive oil

for the salad

120g bulgar wheat

Splash of olive oil

1 red onion, sliced finely

200g pomegranate seeds

6 cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped

½ cucumber, halved lengthways, deseeded and diced

A handful of dill, chopped

A large handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

A handful of coriander, chopped

1 handful of mint, chopped

Lemons wedges to serve

for the dressing

1 tablespoon orange juice

1 tablespoon lemon juice

5 tablespoons olive oil

1 teaspoon ground sumac

1 teaspoon runny honey

What to do…

For the salad, cook the bulgar wheat according to the packet instructions (mine was to put 600ml of water into a saucepan with the bulgar wheat, bring to the boil, cover and then reduce to a simmer for 15 minutes). Drain and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, heat the oil in a frying pan over a low heat and add the onion. Cook gently until the onion is just starting to soften, then increase the heat and allow it to brown just a little. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

Then make the dressing: tip all the ingredients into a screw top jar, pop on the lid and shake like mad. Set aside.

In a small bowl, mix together the za’atar, flour, salt and pepper. Tip in the prawns and mix together so that the prawns are evenly covered.

When you are about ready to eat, heat the 2 tablespoons of oil in your frying pan and sauté the prawns over a moderate heat until they are delightfully pink,

In a pretty salad bowl, tip the cooled bulgar wheat and onion as well as the pomegranate seeds, tomatoes, cucumber and herbs. Stir to evenly combine. Shake the dressing again and tip over the salad. Toss everything together. Divide the salad between 4 plates and then top with the za’atar-crusted prawns. Serve with lemon wedges. Enjoy this unusual and rather lovely dish.

Tips…

Most supermarkets sell pomegranate seeds, ready prepared.

Make the dressing in advance and keep in the fridge until needed.

Prepare the salad in advance and cover with cling film but don’t put the dressing on until the last minute otherwise the salad will go soggy.

What is Za’atar…

Usually a combination of dried thyme, sesame seeds and sumac but there are variations on the theme. I’ve seen it in lots of Middle Eastern-inspired recipes.

What is Sumac…?

A tangy lemony spice used often in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking.

Inspired by…

Leiths How to Cook

How easy…

Just an assembly job really and you can do most of it in advance.

 

 

Chilled Cucumber and Crayfish Soup

Delicate and delightfully refreshing, this velvety chilled soup is perfect for a summer lunch with friends. The light, subtle flavour of the cucumber is uplifted with lemon and chilli oils and the added luxury of crayfish tails makes this little number a surprisingly lovely addition to a sunshiny day! It can also be cooked a day in advance of eating – perfect for summertime relaxation with friends and a bottle of crisp white!

What you need…

2 x screw top jars with lids

500g hot water from the kettle

1 vegetable stockpot (I use Knorr)

4 tablespoons olive oil

Squeeze of lemon juice

1 teaspoon dried, crushed chillis

100g unsalted butter

1 onion, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped

2 cucumbers, halved, deseeded and finely diced

1 tablespoon dill, finely chopped plus extra to garnish

1 tablespoon fresh mint leaves, finely chopped

400ml full-fat natural, creamy yogurt

Sea salt and black pepper

240g crayfish tails (yum!)

What to do…

First make a vegetable stock by using a balloon whisk to help dissolve the stockpot into the hot water from the kettle. Set aside.

Next, into one jar pour 2 tablespoons olive oil and a good squeeze of lemon juice. Pop on the lid, shake like mad and set aside. Likewise, with the second jar, pour in two tablespoons of olive oil and tip in the chillis. Pop on the lid, shake and set aside.

To the main event: melt the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat, tip in the onion and garlic and cook gently for 6-8 minutes or until softened but not brown. Tip in the cucumber and again cook gently for another 5 minutes – the aroma is quite delightful!

Pour in the stock and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and cool for 15 minutes. Transfer to your blender, tip in the herbs and whizz until smooth. Set aside to cool completely and then gently stir in the yogurt. Season, taste and season again if necessary. Chill for anything between 2 hours and overnight.

When ready to serve, ladle the chilled soup into bowls, scatter in the crayfish tails, drizzle over the lemon and chilli-infused oils and garnish with a few sprigs of dill. Delightful!

Inspired by…

Waitrose.com

How easy…

Extremely and the fact that you can make it ahead is even better!

 

 

 

 

Dad’s Paella

There were several drivers for starting this blog and one of them was that hardly any of my dad’s recipes were retained and he’s no longer around to share them and, he was a great cook. So, to have family favourites photographed and typed up seemed like a good plan – not morbid – the kids and their friends are already delving into the list of nearly 300 recipes that have been published so far.

Anyway, all that aside, Dad used to make great paella and his recipe was actually retained. I have no idea whether it’s authentic but it’s oh-so tasty – intensely flavoured to savour the images of beachside chiringuitos basking in the Mediterranean sunshine – absolutely delicious!

Serves 6

What you need…

Splash of rapeseed oil

8 chicken thigh fillets

2 medium onions, chopped

3 cloves of garlic, chopped

1 red pepper, chopped

100g pancetta, chopped

70g chorizo, chopped (optional: I can’t stand the stuff so left it out)

4 large tomatoes, chopped

600ml hot water from the kettle

2 chicken stockpots

250ml dry white wine

2 bay leaves

Sea salt and black pepper

2 mugs long grain rice (about 450g)

Saffron

24 fresh mussels, cleaned

2 fresh squid, thinly sliced

500g clams (I couldn’t get fresh so used ‘Big & Juicy Delicious Clams’ by the Big Prawn Company, Waitrose)

250g raw king prawns

1 mug frozen garden peas

A handful of parsley, chopped

Lemon wedges, to serve

What to do…

First, make your chicken stock by using a balloon whisk to help dissolve the chicken stockpots into the hot water from the kettle. Set aside.

In a large frying pan (I don’t get on with paella pans – the rice always sticks) heat the oil over a moderate heat and then sauté the chicken until golden brown.

Chuck in the onions, garlic and red pepper. Add in the pancetta and chorizo, if using, and sauté until soft.

Chuck in the tomatoes, chicken stock, wine and bay leaves. Season with salt and pepper. Stir everything together.

Add the rice, some saffron, the mussels, squid and clams, if they’re fresh. If however you’ve bought pre-cooked clams like I did, hold them back until later.

Cook for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally and checking on how the saffron is colouring the rice, adding a little more if you would like a deeper yellow colour.

This is also a good time to pour yourself a glass of Rioja to enjoy, together with the fabulous cooking aromas, during the rest of the paella preparation.

Finally, add in the cooked clams, prawns, peas and parsley, cooking for 10 minutes or until the prawns have turned pink.

Serve flamboyantly if possible (I just feel that paella deserves some kind of a grand entrance) with lemon wedges to a group of chattering family and friends with several glasses of good Rioja!

Tips…

The quantity of mussels, clams and prawns is obviously taste-dependent. One of the joys of this recipe is that you can adapt the ingredients to suit your personal preferences, hence the many varieties of paella available.

My dad added to the bottom of the recipe, ‘Cooked lobster is supposed to go in this as well’, but I don’t think it needs it and that this is a flamboyant step too far!

Dad's Paella 2 w

Inspired by…

Dad

How easy…

Very easy and very relaxed to make as well as such a delight to enjoy.

Sensationally Sinful No Churn Coffee and Kahlua Ice Cream

Having experimented with three ice cream flavours last week, I went back and quadrupled the recipe for this one – seriously it falls under the heading of ‘stratospherically stupendous and sinfully good!’ I’m not joking – it’s also REALLY addictive (I can practically hear it whispering from the freezer, ‘have some more, you know you want to!’ Moving on to the practicalities, it’s also so easy and quick to make and the result is luscious, decadent, silky smooth and tantalisingly tempting! Make it once and you’ll be hooked!!!

What you need…

600ml double cream

397g (1 tin) condensed milk

4 espresso coffees/200ml VERY strong coffee (cold)

2 tablespoons camp coffee

4 tablespoons Kahlua/coffee liqueur

What to do….

Use an electric hand held whisk to beat the double cream to form soft peaks. Pour in the condensed milk and use a balloon whisk to gently fold it in so that it is evenly incorporated.

Pour in the cold espresso, Camp coffee and Kahlua and stir to incorporate. Pour into a plastic container, pop the lid on and stick it in the freezer.

Wait at least 6 hours. Go to your freezer armed with a sundae spoon and check them out. Invite husband and anyone else to do the same, proclaiming which one you prefer whilst continuing to taste-test. If there’s any left, serve in cones, bowls, casual or posh. Mostly, enjoy!

Tip…

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

Inspired by…

Mary Berry is responsible for the base no-churn ice cream. The coffee flavouring combination is a thing of beauty that woke me up at 3am one morning whilst I mulled over the ratios!!!

How easy…

Ridiculously which is worrying – I think a tub of this will be a permanent resident in our freezer!

 

Coffee & Kahlua Aff

Coffee and Kahlua Affogato

 

Simply dollop some of your coffee and kahlua ice ream into the bottom of a pretty glass and top up with a single, cold espresso (or hot if you want the whole lot to mix together to create some kind of a rather wicked cocktail!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

Salmon with Sorrel and Vermouth Sauce

This is a simple dish but the flavour of the sauce is absolutely incredible – on first tasting my words were, “ Oh wow, I wish I’d made more!’ I love salmon and I’m always looking for different ways of preparing it: this is going to be a regular – such a treat!

Serves 2

What you need…

1 x baking tray, covered in foil

200g salmon fillet, cut into 2cm-thick slices

1 shallot, chopped finely

75ml vermouth

75ml dry white wine

150ml double cream

Sea salt and black pepper

50g sorrel leaves, sliced finely

Your favourite salad leaves (I like a mix of iceberg, basil, rocket and chicory)

House dressing (see below)

For the house dressing

1 egg yolk

1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

2 teaspoons runny honey

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

150ml rapeseed oil

1 shallot, finely chopped

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1 tablespoon flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 tablespoon mint leaves, finely chopped

1 tablespoon basil leaves, finely chopped

1 tablespoon thyme leaves, finely chopped

Sea salt and black pepper

What to do…

First, knock up the fabulous salad dressing: place the egg yolk in a bowl with the mustard, honey and cider vinegar. Use an electric handheld whisk to beat together. Then, gradually add the oil, whisking the whole time, until the mixture is thick and creamy. Add the remaining ingredients, seasoning to taste, whisk to thoroughly incorporate and then pour into a screw top jar and pop in the fridge until needed.

When you’re about ready to eat, pop your salmon slices on the foil and set aside.

Heat a medium saucepan until hot and then tip in the shallot, vermouth and white wine, cooking for about 5 minutes until reduced by half. Add the cream and cook for 2-3 minutes until reduced and thickened.

Meanwhile, pop your salmon under the grill for 3 minutes, until just cooked through. Chuck all your salad leaves into a serving bowl.

Season the sauce to taste and then stir in the sorrel leaves. Divide the sauce between 2 plates and then place salmon slices on the top.

Drizzle some house dressing over the salad leaves and toss to thoroughly coat. Serve salad alongside the fabulous salmon and sauce. Absolutely fabulous!

Tips…

The only finicky element to this recipe is the preparation of the delightful salad dressing so I prepared mine in advance and chucked it all in a screw top jar to be kept in the fridge. The quantity made is double what is required so the remainder can be used for another salad – the dressing will keep in the fridge for a few days.

I struggled to find sorrel in supermarkets, but it’s dead easy to grow in the garden and has a lovely, unique fresh, slightly lemony flavour that’s great raw in salads.

Inspired by…

James Martin

How easy…

Once the salad dressing was sorted, dead easy and dead quick…and fabulously delicious!

Princess Birthday Cake

Well, this was waaaaaaaaay out of my comfort zone but I do like a challenge! Made for granddaughter, Georgia’s 3rd birthday, my first princess cake didn’t turn out too badly (although I was striving for a more refined look). The sponge was gorgeous (bit like the granddaughter) and the assembly and decorating job wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be given the fantastic stuff that you can now buy ready-prepared. But….working with icing is definitely not a natural gift for me

Serves 12 – 16

What you need…

1 x Barbie-styled doll (supermarkets sell cheap alternatives to the original)

1 x cake board

1 x deep, 15cm-round cake tin, liberally buttered and lined with parchment paper

1 x 1 litre ovenproof glass pudding bowl, liberally buttered and lined with parchment paper

1 x baking tray

1 x 6cm round cookie cutter

1 x icing bag fitted with a star-shaped nozzle

500g unsalted butter, softened

500g caster sugar

2 teaspoons vanilla essence

¼ teaspoon salt

10 large, happy eggs, lightly beaten

170g plain flour

200g full-fat Greek yogurt

500g self-raising flour

for the butter cream and decoration

250g unsalted butter, softened

500g icing sugar, sifted, plus extra for dusting

Pink food colouring

400g white ready-to-roll (fondant) icing sugar

500g pink read-to-roll (fondant) icing sugar

A fanciful collection of readymade flowers, cake decorations and glitter sprays!

What to do…

Preheat your oven to 160˚c/310˚f / gas 3.

If you have a tabletop mixer, that would be ideal; otherwise use a handheld electric whisk to beat together the butter, sugar, vanilla and salt until pale and fluffy. Gradually pour in the eggs, whisking the whole time and making sure that each addition is thoroughly incorporated before adding the next. (Add a little plain flour if it looks like the mixture might curdle).

Still whisking, add the yogurt. Mix the flours together and then tip them in, whisking until incorporated. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bowl, filling them both almost to the top. Pop them both onto the baking tray and then into your oven for 1 hour and 40 – 50 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out the clean and the sponges are golden.

Words of warning: the sponges rise massively over the top of the two dishes – don’t panic (as I did) – they’re supposed to!

Cool the cakes in their containers completely.

Meanwhile, make the butter icing by using a handheld electric whisk to beat the butter until really soft and then gradually whisking in all the icing. About half way through adding the icing, add a drop of food coloring – a little goes a long way. Add more nearer the end until you achieve shade you are looking for.

Back to the cakes: whilst still in their containers, trim the tops of the cakes level. Turn them out onto a board. Slice the pudding basin sponge into 3 layers. Slice the 15cm sponge into 2 layers.

Check your cookie cutter is big enough to go past the dolls hips and if so, use it to cut out a hole in the centre of each sponge slice.

Place 1 layer of the 15cm sponge onto your cake board and spread a little butter cream over the top. Add the other layer and again spread with the butter cream. Repeat with the three pudding basin layers, starting with the largest layer and ending with the smallest. Slather the whole sponge ‘skirt’ as it now is with butter cream, reserving a couple of large spoonfuls to use as ‘glue’ later.

Lightly dust your work surface with sifted icing sugar. Take 300g of the white fondant icing and roll out into a long strip, about 8cms wide. Attach to the bottom of the sponge skirt, pushing gently into the butter cream and leaving a ‘hem’ to spread out a little onto the board. Press a spoon right the way around the ‘hem’ to give a frilled effect (I did not master this!!!)

Roll out the pink icing to a 36cm circle. If like me, your circle isn’t very neat or accurate, use a large plate or round server as a template to cut around. Use your cookie cutter to cut a hole in the middle and then gently drape the ‘skirt’ over the cake (I folded mine in half to lift it from the work surface to the cake). This was the hardest bit for me – draping and arranging whilst trying to stop the fondant cracking or breaking. However, don’t worry if it does start doing that – you can use your decorative bits to hide pretty much anything!

Take the doll and tightly wrap her legs in cling film before inserting her into the cake. Make sure she’s standing up straight!

Use the left over white fondant icing to create a semi circle big enough to fit around the dolls waist and drop down over the cake skirt. Cut in whatever fashion you like and then ‘fit’ to the cake, using a little butter icing for glue if necessary.

Then, decorate to your heart’s content. I put the remaining butter cream in an icing bag with the star nozzle to create frills and swags and a waistband to hide tears in the fondant and clumsy joins; sticking flowers, silver balls and hearts wherever I fancied. I had also found a fabulous edible silver lustre spray that gave the pink dress a gently sparkly shimmer – very princessy! You can do as little or as much as you like here.

When complete, present your masterpiece to one very excited birthday princess and then….enjoy the spoils!

Princess cake 2 w

Inspired by…

BBC Good Food

How easy…

I struggle with icing and pretty cake decorating but I know it comes easier to other people. I spent a good chunk of the day, on and off, creating this and wouldn’t be in a hurry to do another one soon but hey, if you have the time and the patience, the recipient’s little face makes it worth the effort.

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