Tuesday, 19 August 2014
Wednesday, 6 August 2014
Thursday, 26 June 2014
When you've had a massive French meal, the last thing you want is a big dessert. The slightly acidic yoghurt and crème fraîche mixture is complemented by the sweetness of the crème de marrons de l'Ardèche, a chestnut purée. Topped with the toasted walnuts for some texture, this is the perfect light and refreshing dessert for a hot summer's day.
Crème de marrons de l'Ardèche (chestnut purée)
I tend to use whatever type of yoghurt and cream is in the fridge for the base. Having said that, I avoid using sweetened yoghurts because the sharpness is needed to contrast the chestnut purée. I also refrain from using a majority of runny yoghurt in the mixture, as it needs to have a bit of substance!
Stir together whatever type of cream and yoghurts you have. If the dairy mixture is too sour, add a little sugar or agave syrup to taste.
In glasses or jars, add the creamy mixture until a third of the container is full. Layer about a teaspoon of the chestnut paste. Next, cover with more of the yoghurt mixture. Top with more of the crème de marrons de l'Ardèche- I squeezed it straight from the tube. Leave in the fridge to set a little.
In a pan over medium heat, toast the walnuts in no oil- you don't want to fry them. When they have browned but not burnt, remove from the pan onto some kitchen paper. The walnuts release oil when heated, but you don't want too much of this in the yoghurt. Bash the walnuts into smaller pieces, and sprinkle on the dessert.
To make the mixture even lighter transform the yoghurt into a mousse by folding in whisked egg whites.
If you're not too keen on nuts, layer lemon curd instead of the chestnut paste, and top with mango.
For a 'cherry bakewell', layer with cherry jam and top with toasted, flaked almonds or crushed amaretti.
Sunday, 2 March 2014
There are so many types of pancakes available: fluffy American pancakes, crepes, blinis, buckwheat pancakes... Buckwheat and I have never got on too well.
The first time I tried buckwheat was when my mother was looking for an alternative to rice and potatoes and bread. The result was that I chucked it into next door's garden (I was a rebellious youth \m/).
The next time I encountered buckwheat was in the form of soba. It was probably just the way I (over)cooked the Japanese noodles so that they were glutinous and sticky, but they didn't agree with me particularly well either.
Next was in the form of bread. Using a Kenwood bread machine booklet, I got used the recipe for a plain white loaf and used buckwheat flour instead. The only thing I can say about this is DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME!
Finally I came across buckwheat pancakes. The problem with buckwheat is often that it is too heavy, and weighs down whatever is being made with it. However in pancakes, if you beat whipped egg white into the mixture, you can have light and fluffy pancakes, or, if you make a mixture with solely the flour and milk, you can have a delicate crepe, like they serve out of foodtrucks in markets around Lille.
However this Pancake Day, I wanted to make a pancake which did not involve flour. Potato would be too heavy, carrot too watery, but banana... banana had the right substance for a thick pancake which could settle in the pan without clogging up your throat when you ate it. For these pancakes though, you cannot have overripe bananas, as they will not solidify enough.
You will need:
two bananas, pureed
a dash of milk
Mix all the ingredients together and fry over a medium heat in a lightly oiled pan.
Serve with butter, bananas and syrup - it can't be too healthy!
Other variations of pancakes I have seen but have yet to imitate include the ricotta pancakes served at The Hoxton Grill in Shoreditch (EC2A).
Thursday, 13 February 2014
|There was a bag inside this bag! Pass the parcel anyone?|
|Love-Me-Do Raspberry Fusion|
|Selection of filled chocolates|
The Caramel Gianduja was a pleasant surprise from the gooey caramel filling I had anticipated. The truffle filling had the texture of marzipan, whilst showcasing a praline-esque flavour. Top marks Hotel Chocolat!
The Passion Fruit Truffles were next to face my palette. The zingy passion fruit centre combined with the white chocolate casing was my favourite. It packed a punch of flavour without feeling like you'd been whacked in the mouth.
The Raspberry Smoothie chocolates were pretty decent too. Although I wouldn't agree it tasted like a framboise crush fresh out of the blender, I couldn't say that it wasn't tasty. The intense raspberry flavour contrasted well with the bitterness of the dark chocolate, leading to a symphony of flavours.
|Strawberry flavoured white chocolate.|
|Passion Fruit Truffles|
If you want to win someone over this Valentines Day, forget the red roses, get this! Nothing says I love you better than a selection of good-quality chocolate, and Hotel Chocolat's goody bag is the perfect answer to the Valentines Day question.
If you belong to the 'singles' category, don't fret. Not having a partner shouldn't spoil your Friday night. In fact, just think of the money you're saving from not having to buy for two, let alone eat over-priced, over-cooked steak in the West End. If your still not comforted by this, find a Ryan Gosling movie to eat you're chocolates with.
Disclaimer:this product was sent to me in exchange for a review. All thoughts and opinions are mine.
Tuesday, 24 December 2013
|Pulled pork, cheese, fried eggs (in a muffin) and AMAZING hash browns - £6.95|
Situated on Chalk Farm road, Porky's is not enveloped by the crowds of tourists flocking to Cyberdog, but it's still not entirely off the radar of the affluent north London familias. At ten thirty in the morning, every table in the cramped restaurant was being used, except for our one. We are placed in the cosy outside* area by a good-looking Nordic model. It's warm and the benches are not too uncomfortable.
"What's on the menu?" cries aged 4. "Are there pancakes?" aged 8 pipes up. "Don't like it" announces aged 4. (Bear in mind she'd just been deprived a doughnut.)
Straight-faced, the tall, Nordic model comes to take our order. Several of the dishes on the menu consist of an English muffin, fried egg, hash browns and some sort of meat, and at £6.95 I'm not complaining.
The pulled pork (my chosen meat) is tender and, well, pulled. It works nicely with the melted cheese and the runny egg yolk. The hash browns are delicious... Crispy and crispy on the outside, soft and fluffy on the inside, this is how hash browns should be.
The others are disappointed with their sausages in the Full English (chose the wrong dish, my friend), but the mushrooms are good (Full English ) and the bacon's alright (Muffin with bacon and sausage). Aged 8 is impressed, not least because of the saloon-style bathrooms.
Porky's is a nice place to have American/bbq-influenced food, but if you like to read the weekend papers with your breakfast, I suggest you find somewhere with more space. The meal's good, staff are okay, but aged 4 still wants a doughnut, so we head to Tesco.
*It's outside in the sense that you're sitting in a conservatory made with corrugated glass.
Sunday, 1 December 2013
400g whole cooked chestnuts
250g dark chocolate
150g unsalted butter
2 eggs, separated
100g dark chocolate
one orange - zest and juice
icing sugar, to taste
double cream, to taste
|It's nearly Christmas already?!|
Pulse the chestnuts until you have a fine crumb.
Melt the chocolate over a ban marie, and add the butter.
Beat the egg yolks with the sugar and add to the chocolate/butter liquid.
Whisk the egg whites.
Combine the chestnuts with your chocolate mixture, and beat in two tablespoons of the egg whites.
Gently fold the mixture into the rest of the egg whites.
The finished product should have a crumb when a skewer is inserted.
Melt the chocolate and add orange zest as well as the juice of an orange. I used clementines as I didn't have any oranges, but their flavour was not intense enough to cut through the orange.
Add icing sugar to taste. The cake is bitter, as is dark chocolate, so you need some sweetness!
Add double cream to thin the mixture, and dilute the intensity of the bitterness.
Spread onto the cake.
Serve a slice of cake with crème fraîche.
Tuesday, 26 November 2013
100g soft brown sugar
50g soft brown sugar
150g unsalted butter
250g plain flour
one teaspoon of cinnamon
half a teaspoon of ground ginger (optional)
half a teaspoon of nutmeg (optional)
one and a half teaspoons of baking powder
two eggs, beaten
one vanilla pod
three bananas, mashed
50 ml milk
a dash of orange juice
equal weights of butter and soft brown sugar (I used 100g of each and still had enough to fill a jar size 190g)
coarse sea salt - to taste
Preheat the oven to 200C and line two 18-20cm cake tins.
Cream together the butter and sugar.
Deseed the vanilla pod, and add to the butter and sugar.
Gradually beat in the eggs to the butter and sugar - if you do it too quickly, the mixture will curdle and separate.
Add half of the dry ingredients to the mixture and whisk.
Then add all of the milk and orange juice, and whisk.
Once thoroughly combined, add the rest of the dry ingredients.
Add the mashed bananas to the mix and stir together.
Pour into the tins and cook for 30 - 40 minutes.
As soon as they have both fully melted, take off the heat.
Then add the salt and cream, and stir.
Leave aside to cool and thicken.
When lukewarm, drizzle onto the cake.
|I topped the cake with extra pieces of cake.|
For texture, you could add toasted walnuts to the mixture.
Tuesday, 12 November 2013
Some days you just need to indulge. Butter, sugar, butter, sugar, cream... probably not for the fainthearted! This ridiculously rich caramel sauce can be used for banoffee pie, to drizzle over ice cream, or to eat straight out of the jar. Don't tell anyone I said that.
To make 3 small jars:
150g unsalted butter
150g soft brown sugar
half a teaspoon sea salt
a dash of nutmeg
80ml double cream
Aside from the cream, chuck it all in a saucepan and leave on a medium heat to melt.
When the mixture it is about half melted, add the cream.
Stir the mixture every now and then, to make sure everything is melting.
Once you have a glossy mixture, take off the heat and leave to cool.
As it cools the mixture thickens, so place into sterilised jars once the mixture has cooled down a little.
Remember to seal jars, or a skin might form over the mixture.
This can be stored in the fridge for three days
Tuesday, 29 October 2013
You have the sweeter varieties such as sugar pumpkins, small orange pumpkins best for puréeing and mashing, as well as the more salty/savoury ones, such as Japanese pumpkins which are dark green speckled with orange, and perfect for stir-frying.
When I made this recipe, I used the a small, orange "golden nugget" pumpkin, one of the most common types of pumpkin.
one small pumpkin
coarse sea salt
Preheat the oven to 240C.
Deseed the pumpkin and cut into slices with thickness of around 1 cm.
Line a baking tray with tinfoil and place the pupkin slices.
Sprinkle the pumpkins with the salt.
Sprinkle the pumpkins with freshly ground nutmeg and cinnamon.
Drizzle the oil over the pumpkin slices, and pop in the oven for around 25 minutes.
When the pumpkin is soft to the touch it is ready to come out.
These are perfect warm with a dollop of soured cream, or cold, when you get a chewy, toffee-like texture.
If you are using sugar, sprinkle demerara sugar on the pumpkins during the last 10 minutes of cooking.
|Roasted pumpkin #1|
one large pumpkin
juice of half an orange
boiled potato (if you want the soup to go further)
light brown sugar
pepper - to season
salt - to season
soured cream, to serve
Preheat the oven to 200C.
Cut a pumpkin in half and deseed. Set aside the seeds for the bread
Deeply score the pumpkin.
Sprinkle the cinnamon and sugar over the pumpkin, then generously season with pepper and salt.
Drizzle the pumpkin with olive oil.
Bake in the oven until the pumpkin flesh is soft - this should take about 30-40 minutes.
|Roasted pumpkin #2|
Serve with a dollop of soured cream.
|Probably best to keep an eye on the soup when heating...|
|With a dollop (or two) or soured cream|
For me, bread has always been one of those foods where the only quantities used are "a handful of this", "a dash of that", and "whatever looks right". Alternatively, start off with 50g flour per serving.
white or wholemeal flour, for a heartier loaf use rye flour
a teaspoon of yeast / 7g sachet
seeds, you can use the pumpkin seeds from earlier, along with sunflower seeds and sesame seeds
Mix together the flour and the seeds.
Stir the yeast into an espresso-sized cup of warm water. It's important to add this to the mixture as soon as possible, because the yeast immediately reacts with the water, and is at its peak to work with the flour.
Pour the yeast water into the flour until you have a dough begins to come together.
Add oil to the dough-ish mixture until you have an only slightly sticky dough.
Flatten the mixture, and add the honey. I used about three teaspoons worth.
Fold the dough into an envelope shape, so all the honey is in the middle. Like a card if we're going to continue with the envelope metaphor.
Work the dough, and add more flour if it becomes to sticky.
Put in a lightly floured bowl, and cover with cling film.
Leave to rest in a warm place until the dough has doubled. This is usually about one hour.
Once the mixture has risen, work it... Knock the air out of the dough.
Then leave to rise again for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 220C.
Place the dough into a lightly oiled tin, or freeform on a baking tray.
Brush the dough with milk or beaten egg (for gloss) and sprinkle with salt.
Put in the oven.
After 20 minutes on 220C, turn the heat down to 180C. Cooking the bread for a short time on a high heat allows a crust to form, but if it is too high for too long the top of the bread will be burnt whilst the inside will be underbaked.
The bread should take about a further 40 minutes to cook. The bread is cooked if you hear a hollow sound when knocking the base.
Saturday, 19 October 2013
one and a half medium-sized carrots, peeled and grated
Thursday, 17 October 2013
|Bread and butter pudding|
APPLE BREAD AND BUTTER PUDDING
bread* - I used rosemary and potato bread
butter, room temperature
2 egg yolks
150 ml double cream
100ml milk - you're using double cream and butter, so you might as well have full-fat**
2 apples, cored, peeled and evenly sliced
a big handful of raisins
dried apple, diced
more double cream, to taste
*it's best to use bread which is a couple of days old because it holds it shape hence not becoming soggy. As the Berry says, you don't want a soggy bottom...
**it's important to build up fat to insulate for the winter
|The first layer|
Spread the sliced bread generously with butter. Unless you're dairy intolerant, there are no reasons why you should compromise and use margarine.
|Jam-packed full of raisins|
Beat the egg yolks with the sugar until your mixture has doubled in volume and become paler.
Heat the cream in a saucepan until it begins to bubble.
When the cream begins bubbling, take it off the heat and add the milk to it.
Once it has cooled down a bit, strain into the yolk/sugar mixture, whisking the whole time.◇◇
|Sprinkling with sugar gives a brilliant toffee taste when cooked|
Place in a preheated oven on 200C and bake for fifty-five minutes. When you take the pudding out, it should have puffed up and become golden and firm.
For the sauce, use the ratio of 1 part cognac to 2 parts cream.
In a medium-sized saucepan over a medium heat, reduce the cognac until you have a thick glaze.
Add dried the dried apple and double cream to your reduced alcohol and on a low heat, let it cook for half a minute, and take off the heat.
|I would suggest that you don't put raisins on top, because they will catc,. And burn.|
Sprinkle the pudding with caster sugar and scorch with a blowtorch or grill for a crème brûlée touch.
Serve with lashings of sauce and a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream.
**Butter the tin as you would normally, then sprinkle sugar over. Shake out excess sugar so you have a fine sprinkling on all sides. This helps to caramelise the pudding, and adds to the toffee-apple taste.
◇◇ If your custard becomes scrambled eggs die to the cream being too hot or not whisking enough, strain the mixture through a sieve.
Thursday, 10 October 2013
PIMMS CAKE420g self-raising flour
400g sugar (I used a mixture of demerara and soft brown sugar)
two teaspoons of baking powder
120g unsalted butter, softened
strawberries, hulled and quartered
3 shots of Pimms
CREAM CHEEDE ICING250g cream cheese
40g unsalted butter, room temperature
350g icing sugar
one grapefruit, zest and juice
Butter two cake tins, and line the bases (this is necessary because the syrawberries will stick).
Arrange the strawberries throughout the tins.
Mix all the dry ingredients together with the butter. When you get a crumble-like mixture, add the milk whilst continually beating.
When you have a batter, add the Pimms and completely stir.
Pour the cake mixture over the strawberries.
Put in the oven and turn the temperature down to 170C.
Check the cakes after 35 minutes, and as a general guide, take them out of the oven after 50 minutes.
Leave the cakes in their tins for 10 minutes, and then turn out to cool on a wire rack.
Cream the butter, sugar and grapefruit zest.
Add the grapefruit juice to the butter cream, and then the cream cheese.
Thoroughly mix, but be aware that too much mixing results in a flat liquid.
If your icing becomes too liquidy, you can add icing sugar of corn flour, but you don't want an icing which is too sweet or bland.
Anyway, think of all the lovely produce in season...monkfish, pumpkins, game, apples, beetroots, wild mushrooms, celeriac, chestnuts. This season I will upload a tasty recipe using each one of these ingredients. Don't worry, it won't be all soups and crumbles- though you can't go wrong with either.
On other matters, this Camus' quote perfectly sums up my fridge at the moment.
'There was nothing but cheese'- Albert Camus
*If you're a Londoner, then it's the snow that comes in April.
Tuesday, 3 September 2013
Leave to process for 2-12 hours.
Rinse the anchovies to get rid of salt and pat them dry.
Generously cover with olive oil, white wine vinegar, chopped garlic, Mediterranean herbs, lemon juice and freshly ground black pepper.
Leave to marinate in the fridge for at least an hour.
Serve with freshly cooked bread to mop up juices, and a glass of chilled white wine or rosé.
Make sure the anchovies are very fresh, to avoid food poisoning.
It is easier to fillet the anchovies if you put them in the freezer for half an hour before filleting.
Thank you to S for the delicious recipe.
Monday, 2 September 2013
Deseed the melon and scoop the flesh into a blender.
Blitz the melon into a juice.
Add the cream to the melon whilst pureeing.
Serve chilled with Serrano ham.
Wednesday, 21 August 2013
1.5kg big tomatoes
1 large green pepper
1 thick slice of bread, no crust - this gives texture and consistency
1 clove of garlic
Cup of olive oil
Teaspoon of caster sugar
3 or 4 tablespoons of white wine vinegar
Dash of salt
|Freshly picked tomatoes from B's garden|
Blanch the tomatoes in boiling water for a minute, then put into iced water to stop them cooking.
Peel the skins and deseed. This gives the gazpacho a smooth texture.
Peel the skins of the cucumber, and deseed half of it.
Chop the cucumber and pepper, and blend with everything else.
Serve with ice cubes and a drizzle of chilli oil.
Thank you S for this recipe.
Tuesday, 20 August 2013
150g unsalted butter
6 eggs, separated
60g icing sugar
|Use sifted icing sugar and a template to create a pattern of your choice. We used a (clean) fly swat, although it looks a little like a wine glass...|
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Melt together the chocolate and butter in a bain marie, then add sea salt to taste. I used 5 grinds.
Beat the egg yolks and half of the sugar for one minute, then add to the chocolate/butter mixture.
Whisk the egg whites until you get soft peaks, then gradually add the rest of the sugar until you get stiff peaks.
Fold a third of the egg whites into the chocolate mixture, and then pour the mixture back into the egg whites. Don't pour from a height, because you'll lose the air you managed to trap.
Pour into your tin, and cook for 20 minutes (or a little less for a fondant type filling).
Serve with ice cream or white chocolate mousse, and a glass of nicely chilled Rivesalte wine.