Saturday, 29 December 2012


Spätzle dough

Spätzle is always fried in butter, but toasted breadcrumbs give an extra delicate crunch.

Freshly cooked spätzle
Spätzle is a good carbohydrate to mop up thick sauces with

Use approximately 100g of plain flour per person, and 1 egg for every 3 people as a general guidelines...

Add a dash of salt to your flour, and add the egg.
Mix with your hand of a spatula until you have a soft and slightly (but not too) wet dough. If you were using a food processor, use the dough hook.
Remember you can always add more flour or tepid water to get the perfect consistency.

Using a spätzle press, press the dough immediately into boiling water. When the spätzle has risen to the top, it is cooked... this usually takes half a minute to a minute. Immediately drain and pat dry.

With some seasoned melting salted butter in a pan, add breadcrumbs and toss the spätzle in it until it is crisped and golden.

What is spätzle?
Spätzle are a sort of pasta/noodle/dumpling originating from the Alsace region of Germany. Its often served topped with melted cheese

Our Christmas Dinner

Iceberg lettuce with  celeriac remoulade, dressed grated carrot and apple*, radish and tomato

Red cabbage with balsamic and apple*

Wild boar and venison goulash with chestnuts*, onions and carrots

Freshly made spätzle

Chestnut jam, chestnut jam glazed mousse topped with crumbled toasted walnuts* and a morceau of orange and almond cake

*all items marked with an asterisk were foraged (mostly from Baden-Baden, Germany)

Orange and almond cake

Orange and almond cake

*sizing is not accurate; the orange is definitely not that big

This cake is an easy wheat-free bake, perfect as a light end to a meal.
a large unwaxed orange
125g ground almonds
3 eggs, separated
75g sugar
Preheat the oven to 200C and butter a cake tin.
In a large saucepan on medium heat with a few tablespoons of water, put the orange in, cover, and leave to simmer for about half an hour, or until the orange has softened considerably.
When the orange has softened, dry it and blitz it. Although the pith has a lot of fibre, it can give a slightly bitter taste.
In one bowl whisk the whites of the eggs until you have soft peaks.
In another bowl, beat the yolks and the sugar until the volume of the yolks has doubled.
Add the ground almonds and orange mixture to the sugar/yolk mix until thorougly combined.
Gradually, add the egg whites, but be careful to not knock out the air you have obtained.
Pour into the cake tin from a low height. If you pour it from high, air is lost from the mixture.
Bake for about 40 minutes, or until the top is golden and when the cake is pricked, the fork comes out clean or with a few crumbs.
Add baking powder for a higher rise in the cake.
As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, juice 4 large oranges. Reduce the juice in the pan till it is slightly more syrupy. Prick the cake with a fork several times, and drizzle the orange reduction over it. When you prick the cake, it absorbs more of the liquid.

Chestnut glazed mousse

Chestnut glazed mousse

Chestnut glazed mousse

350ml crème fraîche
400ml fromage frais
2 tbsp caster sugar (use icing sugar if you prefer a finer mixture)
a vanilla pod

half a jar of homemade chestnut jam

Whisk together the crème fraîche, fromage frais, caster sugar, and the seeds from the vanilla pod until you have a smooth mixture.
Generously decant into several pots- small jam jars would look nice.

In a small saucepan, heat the jam over a medium heat. When it has melted, pour it over the creamy mixture. However if your chestnut jam is more of a purée, immediately pour over the creamy mixture.

For extra lightness, whisk egg whites and add to the mix.
For a richer mixture, replace some of the crème fraîche and fromage frais for double cream.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Almond Tart with a Spiced Sauce

Possibly one of the crumbliest pastries ever?

Buttery and flakey!

Tart and sauce

It looks a tiny bit like a Crema Catalana...


150g plain flour
140g diced unsalted butter
35g caster sugar

Almond Mixture
110g ground almonds
100g caster sugar
3 eggs
70ml double cream
30ml milk

3 teaspoons of camp ( a coffee and chicory essence)
1/4 teaspoon of cinammon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons of caster sugar
40ml double cream
20 ml milk

Preheat a fan oven to 200°C, and butter some tins for the tarts- I used Yorkshire pudding tins which are quite flat, but give a very even bake.

Stir the flour and sugar together and rub in the butter until you have a crumble mixture. As this dough is very buttery, it probably won't need any liquid, but if it does, use an egg yolk or a few drops of milk.
Cover the ball of pastry dough in clingfilm, and leave to harden in the fridge.

Whisk together all the ingredients of the almond mixture until it is thoroughly combined and it has increased in volume slightly.

Roll the pastry on a floured surface to a thickness of about 0.75 cm.
Cut the pastry into shapes, place in their tins, and prick the pastry bases a couple of times.
Give the almond mixture another quick whisk in case the ingredients have separated, and pour into the lined tart cases. Pour the mixture to the same height as the pastry, or even a bit higher.
Bake in the oven until the almond mixtures have set and turned a golden colour.
Turn the tarts out onto a wire rack and leave to cool down.

Whilst the tarts are cooling down, mix together the cream, milk and camp.
Add the spices to the liquid and beat.
Pour the mixture into a presentable jug.

Serve the tart warm with the sauce as a dessert, or with a summer fruits compote for breakfast.

use chestnut flour in the pastry to make the tart even more nutty!
add poached cherries to the almond mixture
swap some of the ground almonds for polenta
add a drop (or two) of rum to the sauce

Orange and Armagnac Scones

Orange and armagnac scones

Ideal as a Christmas Eve treat


5 tablespoons of armagnac
10 tablespoons of raisins
the zest of two large Valencian oranges
235g plain flour
55g unsalted butter
35g muscovado sugar (caster is fine but muscovado gives a toffee-like flavour)
a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
milk (at least 120 ml)

a beaten egg

The night before you want* (*aim) to eat the scones, leave the raisins to soak in a cup of armagnac.

The following day, preheat a fan oven to 200°C and grease a baking sheet with a knob of salted butter.
In a reasonably sized bowl, rub together the flour and butter until you have a crumble like mixture.
Mix the sugar and the zest into the flour/butter.
Take the raisins out of the armagnac and gently pat dry- you don't want to squeeze out all of the juice, but you want to get rid of most of it.
Stir the raisins into the mixture, and once thoroughly combined, add the milk slowly.
Whilst you add the milk, continue mixing the scone dough. I use my hands, but its fine to use a spoon.
You want to achieve a soft dough and slightly sticky dough.

On a floured surface, gently tip out the scone mixture.
Roll the dough to an even thickness and use the cutters to press out shapes. Circle cutters are traditionally used, but for a minimalist scone I would suggest square cutters.
On your buttered tray, lay your scone shapes evenly spaced.
Brush your scones with the beaten egg, and bake in the oven for about 14 minutes- or until they have risen and the tops are golden.

Serve warm with marmalade and cream.

change the unsalted butter and raisins for salted butter, and served with an espresso chantilly
swap the raisins and sugar for manchego and rosemary

Monday, 15 October 2012

Rosemary Apple Charlotte and Milk ice-cream

4 small apples (washed and peeled -with the skins set aside for later- and diced)
dark brown sugar, or muscavado sugar (for a toffee, nutty taste)
100ml double cream
400ml milk (goat's milk or hazlenut milk would also work really well)
3 egg yolks (you could use the egg whites for a meringue or accompanying apple souflées
a few sprigs of rosemary
2 well-toasted (BURNT) pieces of toast.
a few speculos (speculos are french biscuits which you'd normally have with your coffee- they have a toffee-like sweetness yet the texture of a biscotti meets digestive)

Preheat the oven to 160C.
In a saucepan, add the diced apples, the rosemary, and a splash of water (or calvados if you want alcohol). Keep on a low heat and leave to soften.
In another pan, heat the milk until it begins to boil, then turn the heat down and add the sugar (stirring continuously). Then whisk in the egg yolks, constantly so you don't get scrambled egg. When it is all combined, add the cream and thoroughly stir. Pour the custard into the ice-cream maker (or into a covered tub and put in the freezer).
The apple should be softened by now, so take the rosemary out and add the speculos. Mush it a bit to get a thick consitency, but not too much as it's nice to have the odd lump. Pour the apple mixture into the ice-cream maker, or generously drizzle into your tub to achieve a ripple effect.
On a lightly oiled baking tray, put on the apple skin and leave in the oven until the moisture has started to evaporate. Then, turn the grill on to maximum, and keeping an eye on them (like I should have done better) wait for them to harden and crisp up a bit. It should take a minute at maximum. When they are perfectly coiffed, gently pat them dry with a piece of kitchen towel to get rid of excess grease.
In the toaster put in two slices of toast, and when they are reasonably charred, take them out and generously slice them so you get reasonable diamonds/slithers/any other pretty shape .
The custard should have solidified quite a bit by now, so add the toast to it, and then leave it in the freezer to set.

Serve with the apple crisps and perhaps a dark-chocolate sauce.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Tanzania and Madagascar: Rainbow Tours

On a relatively mild September night I find myself strolling the roundabout of Old Street trying to find the correct road to lead me to the Open Kitchen in Hoxton. Twenty minutes after marching in the wrong direction, I admit myself to defeat and ask a Travelodge for the way. Finally I arrive at my destination of The Open Kitchen half an hour early clutching an overflowing bag. Sometimes being too prepared can backfire, but not this time. Meeting the welcoming guys from Rainbow Tours I immediately felt comfortable in the vibrant surroundings.

Upon arrival I was offered red and white wine as well as canapés, which was sufficient to make anyone happy. The first blogger I met was Amy from London Food Adventures . Having a keen interest in food photography, she made me more determined to improve the standard of mine.

Based in the comprehensive kitchen above the restaurant, each blogger had their own area to work in. The chef Attoma Manji showed us the dishes and how to make them prior to us starting. On the menu was SamakiwaKakuango (steamed fish with fried onions), as well as a curry-like simply named Beef with Greens (Malagasy).

You could clearly see many bloggers' eyes beginning to water due to the dicing of the onions, but our tears soon evaporated when we smelt the ginger and garlic which we added to our sautéeing onions for the beef dish. We finely sliced the cabbage in the style of chiffonade to add to the dish later. Tearing chunks of fresh red beef, we browned them in the pan and then added beef stock. Water could have been used instead but beef stock just strengthens the meaty, hearty flavour. After the beef stock had reduced a little bit, we added rice, topped with some more liquid (Fiona from London Unattached added in some of her red wine to make a French- African fusion bourignon), poured in some chopped tomato and added the cabbage. You don't want to add the cabbage too late, because you want some crunch, but you still want it to soften. Once the rice is cooked it's ready to eat. Adding some chunks of cabbage at the end give another dimension to the texture.

The fish was a pretty easy dish to make too- the kind of meal you could make in less than 30 minutes. Once I had preheated the oven I scored my seabass - any firm white fish works well. Slicing red chilli, crushed garlic and olive oil, I combined it all together and stuffed into the fish. I left the fish to cook for 20 minutes whilst I made an accompaniment which didn't taste too disimilar to a cooked salsa.

I very thinly sliced three plump tomatoes with half a large onion. In a pan of hot oil, I chucked in the onions and left to soften till they had considerably decreased in size. Then I added the tomato with some very finely chopped parsley. Every now and then i'd add a bit of water and stir a little. When it had all reduced, I served it with the baked seabass.

Funnily enough, I actually have a slight Tanzanian heritage (one of the recipes is from Tanzania). My paternal grandad was brought up on the islands of Pemba and Zanzibar which belong to Tanzania, so I have slight links with the country which I hope to visit some day.

Although it was the first blogger event I have been to, I thouroughly hope to go to more... Not only do you learn to make foods you might not normally, you meet new people (like the lovely Maya from Brunch, etc. ).

PS.. Apologies for not posting for an eternity! I will definitely, definitely, definitely be posting very regularly from now on.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Fig and Marsala Ice-cream

Apologies for not blogging for a (very very very) long time! So hear is an especially tasty recipe.

I stayed in a region of Catalunia- near Perpignan, France- for two weeks during mid-August. Whilst  exploring a night time market in Céret, I came across a tiny stall selling figs and mini raspberries for a decent price of €2.50 a punnet. Unfortunately, the figs were relatively overripe, and a few already had slight alcoholic flavours in them, therefore I found it impertinent to use them and preserve their flavour as soon as possible.
As we were due to return to England only a few days later, we had various other items in the kitchen that needed to be used up. Essentially this recipe is just using bits and pieces from the fridge, so it is an ideal one to adapt to the ingredients you have available.


an overripe punnet of figs
half a large tub of crème fraîche
a pot of crème Anglaise (French custard) 
a few spoonfuls of greek yoghurt
5 tablespoons of marsala wine

Cool your ice-cream maker, or put a tub in the freezer.
Blend the figs into a pulp (I find when you have bits, it can be quite nice).
Once the figs look like a coulis, add the marsala wine, and blend again to evenly mix.
In another bowl, cream the crème fraîche, crème Anglaise and greek yoghurt into a smooth consistency, and then dribble in the fig/marsala liquid. Stir together until you have a purple liquid.
Pour into the ice-cream maker and leave to churn, or into the chilled tub and stir every now and again.
Serve with figs or biscuits- I used a bit of loaf cake.

To create fig and marsala ripple ice-cream, do not stir the fig/marsala liquid into the cream mixture once it has been poured in.
Add fig jam for extra flavour.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Banoffee Pie

2 bananas
397g condensed milk (or dulche du leche)
300g chocolate chip biscuits
35g unsalted butter
200ml double cream
giant chocolate buttons (or just chocolate) These were on special offer so...

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
In a pan on a medium heat, pour in the condensed milk and continuously stir until thickened. This should take about 20 minutes. Even if it looks wrong, continue stirring (and take off the heat).
Bash the chocolate chip biscuits until you have crumbs and stir in the melted butter.
Compress the biscuit-butter combination into a baking tin, and bake in the oven for 10 minutes until the base has hardened. When it has cooked, take out of the oven and leave to cool down.
Slice the bananas into about 1 cm thick.
Pour the cooled caramel onto the biscuit base, cover with chocolate chip buttons and arrange the sliced bananas on top.
Whip the cream into soft peaks and layer onto the banoffee pie.
Sprinkle a few more chocolate buttons on the cream to decorate, and leave in the fridge to chill.

Orange zest in the cream and caramel, and orange biscuits in the base.
You could melt the chocolate if you wanted to evenly use it.
Using softened icecream instead of cream.
Using custard instead of cream and sponge instead of biscuits to makea banoffee trifle.

Monday, 2 July 2012

Thyme Shortbread

Crumbly, rich and fragrant- delicious!

250g plain flour
130g butter
100g caster sugar (if you want an extremely fine shortbread, substitute with icing sugar)
a couple of sprigs of thyme

Mix the flour and sugar together in a cold glass bowl.
Pull the thyme leaves off and rub to release the flavour.
Add the thyme to the flour and sugar and mix.
Dice the cold butter and rub into the flour until you have a crumb mixture.
Cover with clingfilm and leave in the fridge to harden up.
After 20 minutes, preheat the oven to 200 degrees, and ten minutes after that, butter a tin for the shortbread.
Take the crumb mixture out of the fridge, and compress into the buttered tin.
Flatten the mixture so the shortbread doesn't rise, but don't push it down too much or it will become quite crisp when cooked.
After the shortbread has been in the oven for 10 minutes, turn the temperature down to 180 degrees, and leave to cook until golden and hard. This should take about 25 minutes.
Leave the shortbread to cool down and eat.
Store in an airtight container for 3 days.

Serve with clotted cream and a sprig of thyme.

Replace thyme with other flavours like: tea, mint, orange, chilli.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

Butternut Squash Soup

Halve a butternut squash and deeply score it.

Sprinkle some salt and butter over it, and generously drizzle with olive oil.

Bake in a preheated oven at 160 degrees for at least 2 hours until it is soft to touch.

In a pan, melt some butter and add 1 and a half finely sliced onions.

When the onions have softened and browned slightly, add 4 rashes of chunkily chopped bacon.

When the bacon has cooked, pour in a little grapefruit juice. You want some acidity to contrast the sweetness of the butternut squash.

Keep the pan on the heat until you have barely any liquid left.

When the butternut squash has cooked, scoop out the flesh and add to the onion mixture.

Reheat the mixture and blitz. If you want you can add cream to give a richer flavour, or serve with a little dollop of creme fraiche or youghurt.

I personally think thyme would work well in this recipe.

Courgette and Lime Cake

4 large eggs
200ml rapeseed oil - oil provides moistness and replaces butter
4 courgettes
280g caster sugar
450g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp sodium bicarbonate
zest and juice of 2 limes

500g icing sugar
zest and juice of 2 limes

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and grease 3 tins.

Grate the courgettes and add the lime juice and zest.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the rest of the ingredients, and then add the courgette-lime mixture. Even if the oil looks like too much, just keep stirring!

Cook for 30 minutes and then take out of the oven and leave to cool.

When the cake has cooled down, make the icing.

Zest and juice the limes, and then add the sugar. Beat until you have a strong consistency. If it looks like glacée icing, add more sugar... if it looks like fondant icing, add some more lime juice or water.

Spread the icing over the cakes, and leave to set.

Chocolate and beetroot cake

This is the truffle of all cakes. Dark, rich and indulgent it is everything your doctor wouldn't want you to have. Sorry doctors.
When I began thinking about possible vegetable combinations in cakes aside from carrots, I didn't immediately think to pair betroot with chocolate. However the sweetness of the beetroot works perfectly with the bitterness of the chocolate, bringing out a gothic and dark contrast, perfect for petit fours.
300g cooked betroot
200g dark chocolate (preferably at least 70% cocoa solids)
200g unsalted butter
140g plain flour*
8 tbsp strong coffee
2 tsps baking powder
5 tsps cocoa powder
5 eggs
135g caster sugar
50g dark brown sugar
200g dark chocolate
200ml double cream
25g salted butter
*For extra texture you could add 50g ground almonds.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees and grease 2 tins. I personally find rapeseed oil greases best because it doesn't have much flavour, it doesn't make the cake oily, and the cake doesn't break up when tipped out.

In a bain marie, melt the chocolate and butter. When they have melted, add the espresso.
Blend the betroot until it is mostly liquified. Small lumps are good because they give the cake texture.
Mix the dry ingredients together and add to the betroot purée. Vigorously stir, then beat in the eggs.
Add the chocolate-butter-espresso mixture to the other mixture and combine completely.
Pour the mixture into the tins and bake in the oven for 40 minutes.
When the cake is completely cooked, take out of the oven, and after 5 minutes, turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
When the cakes are at room temperature, you can begin the ganache.

Heat the cream in a saucepan until it begins to bubble.
As soon as it begins to bubble, take off the heat and stir in the chocolate. When they have combined, add a small knob of salted butter to the ganache and mix in. The butter gives the ganache a glossy appearance as well as strenghtening the richness, and the salt compliments the chocolate.
When  the ganache has cooled down a bit, pour over the cakes and leave them in the fridge to set.

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Chocolate cake

Chocolate cake

Chocolate Cake

150g self-raising flour/ 150g plain flour + 1.5 tsps baking powder
140g butter
100g sugar
3 eggs, separated
175g chocolate

180g chocolate
200g double cream
20g butter
a handful of chocolate mini eggs

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a cake tin (I use 23 cm).
Beat the yolks with the sugar and add the flour.
Melt 175g of chocolate and butter, then stir into the yolk mixture.
Whisk the egg whites into stiff peaks, and add to the mixture.
Beat the mixture until it has lost some volume, because you don't want a cake which is too airy.
Pour into the greased cake tin and bake in the preheated oven until a fork can be inserted and comes out clean or with a few crumbs (probably about 35 minutes).
When the cake has finished cooking, keep it in the tin for 5 minutes, then leave on a wire rack to cool down completely.
As soon as the cake has cooled down, put the cream in a saucepan and simmer.
As soon as the cream begins to boil, take off the heat and add 180g of chocolate and 20g of butter.
Leave the mixture to melt and stir making sure it's all combined.
Sprinkle half of the chocolate eggs onto the cake and cover with the ganache, and then immediately sprinkle over the rest of the eggs.
Leave the cake in the fridge for the coating to set.

Once the ganache has set, you could use 150g melted dark chocolate to layer over it. This would provide a hard topping and dark layer over the softer and lighter ganache.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Rocky Road (chocolate fridge cake)

This is a simple recipe where the amount of ingredients used vary to each person's taste. This is just my guidelines.

230g milk chocolate
4 1/2 tablespoons of golden syrup
50g unsalted butter (salted compliments dark chocolate best)
rich tea biscuits

Melt the chocolate, butter and golden syrup in a bain marie and stir until thoroughly combined.
Bash the biscuits into smaller pieces and cut the marshmallows up so that they are quite small.
Mix the biscuits and marshmallows into the chocolate mixture so that they are completely coated.
In a lined tin, put in the mixture and press so extra air is knocked out.
If you have any extra marshmallows, melt them in the microwaves for a few seconds and instantly pour over the rocky road. You can add biscuit pieces on top of this.
Leave in the fridge to firm.

Add raisins.
Use white chocolate.
Spice it up with some chilli.

To me this is a classic that is best kept uncomplicated.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Banana and coconut cake

3 over ripe bananas
200g plain flour
50g dessicated coconut
2 eggs
125g dark brown sugar
75g unsalted butter, softened
50g double cream
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinammon
1 tsp mixed spice
4 tbsps milk

115g unsalted butter
115g icing sugar
150g dark chocolate
3 tbsps milk
How to
Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy and add the cream.
Beat the eggs slowly into the butter-sugar-cream mixture.
Mash the banana and add to the mixture, beating until you have a smooth consitency.
Fold in all the dry ingredients until just mixed.
Then, add the milk so that the mixture is a bit thinner.
In a lined cake tin, pour the mixture and bake in the preheated oven for 50 minutes (or until cooked.
When the mixture is cooked, turn onto a wire rack to cool.

As soon as your cake is about room temperature (BUT NOT HOT), you can make the butter icing.

In a bain marie, melt the chocolate.
In another bowl, cream together the butter and icing sugar until pale and fluffy.
Add the vanilla extract to the chocolate and beat in the butter-sugar paste until it is all mixed.
Beat in the  3 tbsps of milk so you have a smoother consistency, and then spread over the cake.

Leave the cake in the fridge so that the icing can set and firm up.
Serve with a banana or coffee milkshake.

Beat the eggs in slowly because you don't want the mixture to curdle.
Do not overmix your cake mixture because then it will be dry when cooked.

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Engadiner Nusstorte

I'm in Germany's Black Forest, so it's only fair that I make a recipe from Switzerland.
Engadine Nusstorte translates as Engadine Nut-cake. Engadine is the area the cake is from.

300g plain flour
150g caster sugar
180g unsalted butter- cold and diced
1 egg + 1 yolk

200g granulated sugar (you could use muscavado or soft dark brown for a more chewy and bitter texture and taste)
225g walnuts- roughly chopped
110ml double cream
2-3 tbsp honey
2 tbsp water

Firstly you need to make the pastry:
Rub the butter into the flour, and once you have breadcrumbs, mix in the sugar, egg and yolk.
Wrap the pastry in clingfilm and chill in the fridge for one hour.

Then heat the sugar with water.
When the syrup is completely melted, stir in the walnuts.
When the walnuts are completely mixed into the syrup, add the cream and honey and bring to the boil (to thicken it).

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a cake tin.
Roll 2/3 of the pastry out and lift onto the cake tin- the pastry should go up 2-3 cm on the side of the tin.
Prick the pastry which is in the base of the tin.
Pour the mixture evenly, and the roll out the rest of the pastry to create a pie lid which you lift on top of the mixture.
Press the two patry layers together and paint with milk or egg yolk for a glossy topping.
Cook in the preheated oven for 50 minutes.

NB: as with many other ingredients, local is best. The walnuts we used in the recipe were from the Rhine meadows.


I'm sorry for not posting for ages! However, my next recipe should more than make up for it...!

Saturday, 4 February 2012

Sticky ribs

Nothing like sticky ribs in the Winter to remind you of Summer!

800g pork ribs (most people tend to use baby pork as they're more tender)
5 tbsp ketchup
2 tbsp rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp honey
2 tbsp reggae reggae sauce
3 crushed and finely sliced garlic cloves
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp herbs
4 tbsp orange juice
2 tbsp rapeseed oil
1 tbsp chinese five spice
1 tsp crushed chillies (optional)

Preheat the oven to 200C.
In a bowl, mix together all of the ingredients.
Rub the marinade all over the ribs and put in a hot baking tray.
Cook the ribs for an hour.

Try tea-smoking the ribs as well as using the marinade for a quirky flavour.
Put the ribs on a rack which is sitting on a baking tray with tea leaves. Rub the tea leaves before using.

Don't marinate the ribs overnight unless you have a subtle rub because there is not much meat on the bone, and the taste of the pork will be overridden.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Blueberry Tart

225g plain flour
110g soft brown sugar
110g cold unsalted butter
4 egg yolks

1 big tub of blueberries (I didn't have enough so I used some cherries too)

In a mixer, put in the butter, flour, sugar, yolks and mix until you have a dough.
Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill it for an hour.
Preheat the oven to 180C and grease a tart case.
In a saucepan, tip in the blueberries on medium heat. If they start to stick to the pan or dry, add a dash of water. Stir occassionaly.
When the blueberries have softened but are still whole, drain of water and take off the heat.
Roll out the pastry and line the tart case.
Spread ricotta over the base and tip the blueberries on to the ricotta-lined pastry evenly.
Cook for 40 minutes or until the pastry is completely cooked.
Serve warm with vanilla ice-cream.

Cheese and garlic mushrooms

You can use any kind of mushrooms for this, but I just used small ones so people can take a few as nibbles.

3/4 mushrooms per person OR 1 portobello mushroom per person
grated mozzarella
3 cloves of garlic
olive oil
fresh basil pesto

Preheat the oven to 200C.
Peel the mushrooms and twist the stalks out. Put the stalks on the side to use later
Peel the garlic cloves, crush them, and chop finely.
In a bowl, furiously mix together the garlic, ricotta and mozzarella.
Drizzle the olive oil generously in a baking tray and add the mushroom bases.
Spoon the cheese mixture into the mushrooms and firmly press the mushroom stalk into the mixture.
Cook in the oven for 20 minutes or until the cheese has completely melted.
Spoon the pesto on plates and sit the mushrooms on top.
Serve immediately.

This is a simple yet impressive recipe.
You can vary it by changing the cheeses; i.e. stilton for a more pronounced flavour.
You could even marinate the mushrooms, or deep fry instead of oven cooking!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Yorkshire Puddings

145g plain flour
4 eggs
200ml milk

Preheat the oven to 220C and add a little oil (preferably not olive oil) to your baking tray/ tins/ holder of batter, and put the tin in the oven.
Whisk together the flour and eggs until you have a mixture with no lumps.
Add the milk and whisk until your batter becomes even thinner.
Take out the tin(/s) and pour your mixture in.
Leave the Yorkshire puddings in the oven for at least 30 minutes, or until the batter is cooked.

In my opinion, a Yorkshirte pudding is an oven-baked pancake, or a savoury and blander clafoutis.

You can add seasoning to your mix to go with your meal.

As Yorkshire puddings don't have any flavours in them, you could actually make them sweet OR savoury (although traditionally they are had with your Roast dinner). For instance, you could fill an individual one with creme patissier and strawberries for a Summer twist.