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Spicy Garlic Prawns, Water Chestnuts and Bamboo Shoots with Ginger Pak Choi

A lovely, zinglingly spicy, flavoursome and fragrant Chinese stir fry that’s perfect for a family supper and super fast to throw together. Fabulous!

Serves: 4

What you need…

Splash of rapeseed oil

4 garlic cloves, crushed and finely chopped

Large knob of fresh root ginger, peeled and grated

½ teaspoon dried crushed chilli

450g raw king prawns, shelled

2 tablespoons Chinese cooking wine

1 x 225g can of water chestnuts, drained

1 x 225g can of bamboo shoots, drained

½ teaspoon sriracha chilli sauce (extra hot)

2 tablespoons runny honey

2 tablespoons low-sodium light soy sauce

6 spring onions, trimmed and sliced

for the pak choi

Splash of rapeseed oil

1 pinch of flaky sea salt

A few slices of peeled ginger (your preference)

300g pak choi, leaves separated and roughly torn

A tiny splash of Chinese cooking wine

1 teaspoon light soy sauce

1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil

What to do…

Heat a wok over a high heat until smokin’ and add the rapeseed oil.

Chuck in the garlic, ginger and chilli and stirfry for a few seconds to release their aroma.

Tip in the tiger prawns and leave to sear and brown for a few seconds, then flip them over and cook for 1 minute. Add the Chinese cooking wine followed by the water chestnuts, bamboo shoots and spring onions. Toss to mix together, then add the sriracha, honey and light soy sauce and toss for a few seconds to incorporate everything together.

Meanwhile, heat a second wok or frying pan over high heat and add the rapeseed oil. Give the oil a swirl.

Add the salt and ginger and stir for 3 seconds before adding the pak choi. Toss for 30 seconds.

Add a drop of Chinese cooking wine to create some steam to help steam-cook the vegetables.

Drizzle in light soy and toasted sesame oil and toss one last time, not overcooking the pak choi.

Tip…

Have someone else cook the pak choi – it all happens so fast and I certainly couldn’t stir and toss both dishes at the same time…might just be me though!!!!

Serving Suggestion…

A little steamed rice completes the dish perfectly

Inspired by…

Ching He Huang

How easy…

Very easy and super fast!

 

Cumberland Rum Nicky

Having seen this on last week’s Great British Bake Off, I had to give it a go and….and it’s absolutely delicious! It reminds me of mince pies but has a richer, boozier and sweeter flavour and is thoroughly moreish. And then there’s the rum butter – I didn’t have the full 75ml that Mr. Hollywood recommends and thank God – with just 50ml, it was still incredibly boozy and incredibly good – an excellent accompaniment to this fab pud! Definitely give this one a go!

Serves 8 – 10

What you need…

1 x 20cm pie dish, about 3cm deep, liberally buttered

for the filling

225g dates, coarsely chopped

100g dried apricots, coarsely chopped

50g stem ginger syrup, drained and finely chopped

50ml dark rum

50g soft dark brown sugar

50g unsalted butter, cut into 1–2cm cubes

for the sweet shortcrust pastry

200g plain flour

2 tablespoons icing sugar

100g cold unsalted butter, cut into 1cm cubes

1 large, happy egg, lightly beaten

1 teaspoon lemon juice

for the rum butter

100g unsalted butter, softened

225g soft light brown sugar

50ml dark rum

What to do…

Mix all the filling ingredients, except the butter, together in a bowl. Set aside

while you make the pastry.

Now, turn to making the pastry: tip the flour and icing sugar into your food processor and whizz together. Add in the cubed butter and whizz until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Tip the mixture into a mixing bowl.

Mix the egg with the lemon juice and two tablespoons of cold water. Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and pour in the egg mixture. Using a table knife, work the liquid into the flour to bring the pastry together. If it seems too dry, add a splash more water. When the dough begins to stick together, use your hands to gently knead it into a ball. Wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for at least 15 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Once the dough has rested, cut it into two pieces, roughly one-third and two-thirds. Roll out the larger piece on a lightly floured work surface. Line your pie dish with the pastry, leaving any excess pastry hanging over the edge. Tip the filling into the pastry case, spreading it evenly and dot with the butter.

Roll out the remaining pastry and cut it into eight long strips, roughly 1cm wide. On a sheet of baking parchment, use the pastry strips to create a lattice with four strips going each way, passing them under and over each other.

Dampen the edge of the pastry in the tin with water, then invert the lattice from the paper onto the tart. Press the ends of the strips to the pastry base to secure.

Bake for 15 minutes, then turn the oven down to 160˚c / 325˚f / gas 3 and cook for a further 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, for the rum butter, use an electric handheld whisk to beat together the butter and sugar, then gradually beat in the rum. Pop into the fridge until needed.

Serve the tart hot, with a spoonful of rum butter. Absolutely, fabulously delicious!

Inspired by…

Paul Hollywood and The Great British Bake Off

How easy…

Really easy and an absolute joy to make.

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!

 

 

 

 

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!

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.

soooo, just wandered out to the garage where we have two (yes two) American fridge freezers that accommodate the food mountain created by this ‘ere blog. Armed with a sundae spoon, I delved into three new tupperware pots that were filled with yesterday’s experiments: fresh strawberry ice cream, coffee & kahlua ice cream and rum & raisin ice cream. WOW!!!! completely blown away with the success of these no-churn, spectacularly simple ice creams and am concocting other flavours….will blog these first three tomorrow, which will, of course, require further tasting before my fingers hit the keyboard….xx

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

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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