20 Dec 2010

ICED CHRISTMAS TREE CAKE


Yet another Christmas cake! These cakes are now a tradition on Kitchen Delights and show just how easy it is to create your own iced Christmas cake, without having to use royal icing or spend hours and hours creating a masterpiece.

For this cake all I used was a couple of Christmas tree cutters, edible red glitter and stars, all of which are available from sugarcraft shops or online.

I would like to wish you all a Happy Christmas and New Year. I will be back in the new year with lots more recipes and photographs.

Thank you to all readers from around the world who have stopped by and looked at my food blog. Also, a huge thank you for leaving such generous comments.

1 Dec 2010

CHRISTMAS CUPCAKES


I've got the glitter bug! Ask me to make either a cupcake or a cake for Christmas and glitter always makes an appearance. It's something to do with my love of Christmas bling, which is perhaps the only time I can realistically get away with it.


My cupcakes are a vanilla flavoured sponge topped with lemon flavoured royal icing. The cupcakes were baked in gold foil cases and when the cupcakes have cooled down, the peaks are cut off with a knife to give a level cake surface. Smother the cupcakes in icing and leave to set.


Cut out some fondant icing shapes and leave them to dry for a while. Brush with a little water and dust the shapes with glitter. Now brush the underneath of the fondant shapes with water and place onto the cupcakes. Sprinkle with yet more glitter.

28 Nov 2010

Mini Black Forest Gateau




The high quality Morello cherries used in this recipe are steeped in Kirsch, they are a speciality ingredient idea - Griottines. The Kirsch Griottines and their liqueur have a 15% alcohol content.

The first maceration of the cherries in liqueur takes place within six hours of picking. After rigorous sorting, grading and de-stoning the Morello cherries are steeped in different liqueurs for successive maceration's over a six month period based on a secret recipe and age-old traditions. The last maceration provides the final touch of Kirsch, which is the hallmark of Griottines.

They are produced in France using a special type of Morello cherry, the Oblachinska, and are only found in the Balkans.

You can use the cherries in cakes, chocolates or desserts. I decided to bring a twist to the traditional Black Forest Gateau and made individual cakes. I lived through the Black Forest Gateau years and have to say, I still love it. Although my memories are tainted now, as I remember just how synthetic the gateau were, but you was very posh if you ate Black Forest Gateau! For me it's still a wonderful combination of flavours - chocolate cake, Morello cherries, Kirsch, softly whipped cream and good quality grated chocolate - heaven!

The Morello cherries can also be purchased steeped in Cointreau.

The Griottines can be purchased in red gift boxes, making them an ideal Christmas present for foodies.


Griottines can be purchased from delicatessens, fine food shops, farm shops or online at http://www.griottines.co.uk/.

Thank you Lotte.

13 Nov 2010

JAMIE'S 30 MINUTE MEALS - CHICKEN PIE, FRENCH -STYLE PEAS & SWEET CARROT SMASH


My husband kindly bought me Jamie's book, although true to say, he didn't find that out until now! Cookery books are the equivalent of clothes that you bought ages ago and say you have had them for ages. Perhaps though, you can ask Santa to buy a copy and put it in your Christmas stocking.


There has been negativity in the press, even the BBC Watchdog television programme devoted air time(albeit with humour) to the question - can his dinners really be cooked in 30 minutes?

To be fair, I can't give the answer to this, because as usual, I was multitasking whilst cooking ie. emptying the washing machine, putting clothes into the tumble dryer, drying pots, loading the dishwasher and so on.

I didn't give consideration to making his dessert of Berries, Shortbread & Chantilly Cream because we were still ploughing our way through a dessert from a couple of days previous.

You want me to be honest don't you - I am not sure if I could prepare and cook all of this in 30 minutes, even if I had wanted to take up the challenge.I really like Jamie's new book and know I am going to cook a lot of recipes from it. Also, I have enjoyed his series of programmes to go with the book. He is a great guy and has enough passion and fire in his belly to encourage us all to get cooking.

Feedback on the book from young professionals I have spoken to, is they think he has possibly missed a trick by using so many ingredients. Unless you are a keen cook or have plenty of time, it's not always an easy call, and then there is the expense. Maybe, he should write a book using less ingredients, now there's an idea.


The chicken pie, french-style peas, sweet carrot smash is an incredibly tasty meal and I hope you are encouraged to have a go at this one. After all, it's great comfort food and who doesn't like a pie?

18 Oct 2010

LEMON DRIZZLE CAKE - NATIONAL BAKING WEEK 2010


It's National Baking Week from 18-24 October and what could be better than a lemon drizzle cake.

As with most of the cakes I cook, this can be cut into squares and frozen. The cake defrosts perfectly. This is a very fluffy cake and instead of using the usual three eggs, this recipe uses only two and the juice of a lemon is used, giving a very lemony cake. Also the topping is just a little different from the usual lemon drizzle cake.

I know some people think baking is too time consuming, but you don't need any special equipment for this recipe, and even if you just throw everything into a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon for a couple of minutes, the cake will still be lovely.

Hope this has encouraged you to bake a cake this week!

125g butter, 175g caster sugar, 2 large eggs, 175g self-raising flour, 2 unwaxed lemons, 50g granulated sugar.

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4. Lightly oil an 18cm square cake tin and line with baking paper.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together until soft and fluffy. Beat the eggs, then gradually add a little of the egg to the creamed mixture, adding 1 tablespoon of flour after each addition.
3. Finely grate the rind from 1 of the lemons and stir into the creamed mixture, beating well until smooth. Squeeze the juice from the lemon, strain, then stir into the mixture.
4. Spoon into the prepared tin, level the surface and bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.
5. Using a zester, remove the peel from the last lemon and mix with 25g of the granulated sugar and reserve.
6. Squeeze the juice into a small saucepan. Add the rest of the granulated sugar to the lemon juice in the saucepan and heat gently, stirring occasionally. When the sugar has dissolved, simmer gently for 3-4 minutes until syrupy.
7. Price the cake all over with a cocktail stick, to allow the syrup to soak in.
8. Sprinkle the lemon zest and sugar over the top of the cake, drizzle over the syrup and leave to cool in the tin. Cut into squares.

4 Oct 2010

NIGELLA'S CHOCOLATE BANANA MUFFINS


Nigella has brought us some great muffin recipes to try at home and these in particular were met with a huge mmmm! Whose recipe is this, asked my husband - Nigella's I replied. My husband said he thought her double chocolate chip muffins couldn't be beaten but mmmmm.

I have frozen these and they thaw successfully, I've even thawed them and warmed them up in the microwave, although Nigella says to put them in the oven for a few minutes to warm.

Why not make some? You'll be glad you did!

This recipe comes from Nigella's new book Kitchen

29 Sep 2010

SMOKED PAPRIKA CHICKEN CIABATTA AND CHEESE COLESLAW



This meal took only 30 minutes or so to prepare and cook, and served with sides of potato wedges makes a substantial meal.

I always precook my potato wedges for 5 minutes or so, drain, return to the dry pan, and drizzle over a few tablespoons of olive oil, shake the pan to coat. Tip onto a tray and cook at 200C for half an hour or so, turning half way through the cooking time. Drain, season, serve.

For the Paprika Chicken you will need:

4 skinless chicken breasts, juice of 1 lemon, 1 tablespoon of smoked paprika, olive oil, 1 crushed clove garlic, 4 tablespoons mayonnaise, 8 torn romaine lettuce leaves or your lettuce of choice.

1. Cut the chicken breasts in half horizontally and lay each between two sheets of cling film. Bash with a rolling pin until about 1 cm thick.
2. Squeeze the lemon juice over the chicken and dust with the paprika. Season with salt and pepper, then drizzle with a little olive oil. Lay on a hot griddle pan and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until charred and cooked through.
3. Halve the ciabatta horizontally and lay, cut side down, on the pan for 1 minute. Mix the crushed garlic and mayonnaise and then spread over the cut side of each ciabatta half. Top with the lettuce and chicken, then season with a little salt and pepper. Cut in half to serve.

Cheese Coleslaw

400g white cabbage, 1 coarsely grated carrot, 1 halved and thinly sliced red onion, 3 tablespoons good quality mayonnaise, 3 tablespoons low-fat natural yogurt, 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard, 20g pack chives, 100g reduced-fat mature Cheddar (grated).

1. Cut the cabbage in half, then into quarters. Remove and discard the core, then thinly shred the cabbage. Put into a large mixing bowl. Add the carrot, onion, mayonnaise, yogurt and mustard. Snip in most of the chives.
2. Mix the coleslaw well, making sure all of the salad is coated in the dressing. Season, cover and chill.
3. Just before serving sprinkle over the grated cheese and the remaining chives.

Delicious!

13 Sep 2010

ROSEWATER CUPCAKES - National Cupcake Week


It's National Cupcake Week here in the UK from the 13 - 19 September 2010.

To celebrate this event, and for yet another excuse to make and eat a cupcake, I decided to add another posting to my flowers and cupcakes theme. A few weeks ago I made Hibiscus Cupcakes and also Lavender Cupcakes.

The inspiration for these rosewater cupcakes came from the pretty miniature rose bush in my garden. For the sugared rosebuds simply put an egg white wash on the petals and sprinkle with caster sugar.

For the cupcakes you will need:

A 12 hole muffin tin lined with paper cases.

115g butter at room temperature, 115g caster sugar, 2 eggs, 115g self-raising flour, 1 tablespoon rosewater.

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas 4.
2. Beat the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy, beat in the eggs one at a time. sift the flour into the mixture and fold in, then stir in the rosewater.
3. Spoon the mixture into the paper cases and bake for approximately 20 minutes until risen and golden. Use a cake tester or skewer to ensure the cakes are cooked. Transfer the tin to a wire rack and after about 10 minutes remove the cupcakes and place on the rack to cool.
4. When cool, remove the peaks off the cakes with a knife.

To decorate the cupcakes you will need:

12 pink rose petals, 1 beaten egg white, 1 tablespoon caster sugar, 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice, 145g icing sugar, pink food colouring.

1. Brush each rose petal with the egg white, sprinkle with caster sugar and leave to dry for about an hour.
2. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, add some of the lemon juice and stir until smooth. Add more lemon juice to make a smooth, spoonable icing.
3. Add a little colouring to achieve a pale pink frosting.
4. Spoon the frosting over the cakes and top each one with a sugared rose.
5. Leave to set before serving.

5 Sep 2010

GOAT'S CHEESE AND SALMON TART


This recipe is from Gizzi's Kitchen Magic, the original recipe title is Goat's Cheese and Pea Tart. I knew peas in a tart wouldn't be to my taste and left them out, I don't think the tart suffered from this exclusion. If you would like to include the peas, then 120g of fresh peas are added along with the onions, salmon and goat's cheese.


Slightly adapted recipe.

Serves: 6

A 17cm tart tin lined with shortcrust pastry and baked blind.

You will need: 2 teaspoons of olive oil, 1 peeled and wedged small red onion, 100ml white wine, 120g smoked salmon cut into thin strips, 100g soft goat's cheese, 3 free-range eggs, 150ml double cream, 30g grated Parmesan cheese, freshly ground black pepper, 1 tablespoon of chopped chives.

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/Gas 3. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan. Add the red onion and fry on a moderate heat for 5 minutes or until slightly charred but beginning to soften. Remove from the pan and put to one side.
2. Pour the white wine into a pan and boil on a high heat for 5 minutes, or until the wine has reduced by two-thirds and is syrupy. Pour into a mixing bowl and leave to cool for 5 minutes or so.
3. Scatter the red onions, smoked salmon strips and goats cheese into the cooked pastry tart. Add the eggs, cream and Parmesan to the reduced white wine and whisk together. Season well and stir in the herbs. Pour into a measuring jug.
4. Place the tart case on a baking tray and pour in the liquid - the mixture will come fairly high up the edge of the tart case. Place carefully on the bottom shelf of the oven, as the lower heat will stop the tart cooking too fast and prevent it rising like a souffle.
5. Bake for 30 minutes, or until the tart begins to turn golden. You will still have a little wobble but it should not be runny. Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack.

31 Aug 2010

FRESH RASPBERRY AND ALMOND CAKE


The last of the summer raspberries from my garden were used for this lovely cake-cum-dessert.

Homegrown raspberries don't come creepy crawly free like the ones you buy in the supermarket. My method is to put them onto a large inspection plate and then leave them for a while, I then transfer the picked over raspberries to another plate. You can't be too careful!


This cake can be either made by the all-in-one-method or the traditional creaming method. Either way, the cake will still be wonderful.

Either eat as is, or warm in the microwave and serve with Greek Yogurt or creme fraiche as dessert.


Makes: 15 squares.

You will need: 26x16.5cm oblong tin, lined with baking parchment.

175g softened butter, 175g caster sugar, 3 medium free range eggs, 175g self-raising flour, 125g ground almonds, 2 tablespoons of milk, 150g raspberries, 2 tablespoons flaked almonds, icing sugar for dusting.

1. Heat the oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas 4. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the eggs and then fold in the flour, ground almonds and milk. Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin.
2. Scatter the raspberries over the surface and press down lightly into the cake mixture. Sprinkle over the flaked almonds. Bake in the centre of the oven for 40-50 minutes. Check with a skewer to make sure the middle of the cake is cooked. If not return to the oven covered with foil for another 10 minutes.
3. Leave in the tin to cool.
4. Cut into 15 squares and dust with the icing sugar.

2 Aug 2010

LEMON THYME, PROSCIUTTO, PECORINO AND GOAT'S CHEESE RISOTTO


I can eat a bowl of risotto at any time of the year. It's quick, easy, filling and doesn't cost a lot of money. If I can't think what to cook or am pushed for time, these days it seems risotto is top of the list.

We seem to be having some summer weather this year and I am trying not to have the oven on for any longer than possible, because of all the heat it throws out into my kitchen. This year the majority of my cooking has been done either on the hob or outdoors on the barbecue.

Once you have mastered the base recipe for risotto, the possibilities for adding ingredients are endless, almost anything goes. As long as you keep your stock simmering on the hob whilst you are making the risotto and stir, stir, stir, to achieve a creamy rice - you can't go far wrong! Making this recipe was a good excuse to give my new pan a test run and it made the risotto perfectly.

Here is a useful link to the BBC GoodFood website showing how to make risotto.

The adapted recipe is from Jamie Oliver - The Return of the Naked Chef.

Serves: 2

You will need:

25g butter, 1 finely chopped onion, 1 crushed clove garlic, 150g risotto rice, glass white wine, 750ml simmering vegetable stock.
A handful of lemon thyme leaves plus some extra for decoration, 50g grated pecorino cheese, 75g crumbled soft goat's cheese, a few slices of prosciutto

1. Heat the butter in a wide shallow pan and cook the onion and garlic until softened. add the risotto rice and stir until coated.
2. Pour in the wine and bubble until it's all absorbed. Add the lemon thyme leaves. Gradually add the hot vegetable stock, stirring until the rice is tender but still has a little bite. Add the grated pecorino cheese.
3. Lay the prosciutto over the risotto, crumble over the goat's cheese and scatter over lemon thyme leaves.


22 Jul 2010

LAVENDER CUPCAKES


The inspiration for these cakes came from the wonderful lavender bush in my garden. I looked for recipes using lavender but as I am on a 'flowers and cupcakes' mission at the moment, Nigella's recipe in her book Forever Summer was perfect.

Nigella created these lavender cupcakes to raise money for the Lavender Trust, which is a charity for young women with breast cancer and was set up in memory of Ruth Picardie.


Whilst in the garden on a glorious hot and sunny day, I gained an unexpected 'new friend', a butterfly no less. As I started to cut a few lavender sprigs, he settled on the bush. He was a little camera shy and the photograph, unfortunately, doesn't show all of his markings.

For this recipe you will need to make some lavender sugar first. Simply put a few sprigs of lavender into some caster sugar for a few days and hey presto, lavender sugar.

For the cupcakes you will need:

125 g self-raising flour, 125g very soft unsalted butter, 125g sieved lavender sugar, 2 eggs, pinch salt and a few tablespoons of milk.

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C /Gas 6 and line a 12 bun muffin tin with paper cases.
2. Put all of the cake ingredients, except the milk, into a food processor and whizz, now blend in the milk.
3. Fill the cake cases and bake for 20 minutes or until cooked.

For the icing:
250g Instant Royal Icing, violet icing colour, twelve sprigs lavender

1. Cut the peaked tops off the cooled cupcakes.
2. Make up the icing with a little water to a thick double cream pouring consistency. Put some food colour paste onto a skewer and dye the icing to a pastel violet.
3. Spoon some of the icing over the top of the cupcakes. Top each of the cupcakes with a little sprig of lavender before the icing sets.

Cupcake on FoodistaCupcake

3 Jul 2010

PINEAPPLE HIBISCUS CUPCAKES


Australian Women's Weekly books are always a source of inspiration and this recipe came from The Complete Book of Cupcakes. I seem to be in cupcake mode again............

The flowers are made from thinly sliced pineapple slices which have been coated in sugar syrup and dried in the oven. I think the flowers are really pretty.

The pineapple carrot cake recipe they gave for the cupcakes wasn't great and I think a lemon sponge cake recipe to fill 12 cupcakes would be a better option, then simply top with lemon cream cheese frosting.

Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting:

30g unsalted softened butter, 80g softened cream cheese, 1 teaspoon finely grated lemon rind, 240g icing sugar, lemon juice

1. Beat the butter, cream cheese and rind in a small bowl with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, gradually beat in the sifted icing sugar. Add enough lemon juice to make a soft frosting.

Pineapple Flowers:

1 tablespoon caster sugar, 1 tablespoon water, 12 wafer thin slices fresh pineapple

1. Preheat the oven to 120°C/100°F Fan. Stir the sugar and water together in a small saucepan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved, boil 1 minute.
2. Brush both sides of the pineapple slices with the sugar syrup. Place the slices in a single layer on wire racks over oven trays.
3. Dry pineapple in oven for about 1 hour. Immediately remove the slices from the rack to prevent sticking.
4. Carefully shape into flowers by pinching the centre of each slice, dry over an upturned egg carton.

Cupcake on FoodistaCupcake

14 Jun 2010

MONMOUTH PUDDING


If you love Queen of Puddings, then I guess you will be a fan of this pudding. The only difference I can find between the two is, traditionally Monmouth Pudding has a fruit layer of cooked apples, peaches, pears, plums or rhubarb spread over the cooked breadcrumb custard. Also, I cooked the meringue at a lower temperature to give a crisp meringue.

This Monmouth Pudding has a layer of raspberry jam spread over the cooked breadcrumb custard and raspberries sprinkled over the jam. Also, the breadcrumb custard is made slightly differently. I used a good quality no sugar added jam, otherwise it would have been tooth achingly sweet. A modern twist on Monmouth Pudding and very delicious.

Serves: 4-6

For the pudding:

90g fresh breadcrumbs, 2 tbs soft light brown sugar, 450ml whole milk, 1 lemon zest only, 2 tbs caster sugar, 25g salted butter, 3 large eggs

For the topping:

175g raspberry jam
150g fresh raspberries
75g caster sugar
3 large egg whites

1. Preheat the grill to medium setting. Sprinkle the breadcrumbs and brown sugar onto a roasting tray and mix together. Grill the breadcrumb mix until the breadcrumbs are lightly toasted. Put on one side to cool.
2. Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/Gas 2.
3. Heat the milk, lemon zest, sugar and butter together in a pan over a medium heat. Stir until the butter has melted and the mixture is combined. Stir the toasted breadcrumbs and caster sugar into the milk mixture. Put to one side to cool for 30 minutes.
4. After the breadcrumb mixture has cooled for 30 minutes, whisk the egg yolks in a bowl until pale and fluffy, add them to the milk and breadcrumb mixture and whisk until combined.
5. Pour the pudding mixture into a 20cm ovenproof serving dish and bake in the oven for 50-60 minutes until the pudding has risen and is just set.
6. Spread the raspberry jam over the pudding layer. Sprinkle over the raspberries.
7. Whisk the egg whites until the soft peak stage, add the sugar a little at a time whilst still whisking. Continue to whisk until the mixture is glossy and stiff peaks form.
8. Spoon the meringue over the pudding and return to the oven for 40 minutes until the meringue is golden brown.


Thank you to Lisa and Tate & Lyle.

10 Jun 2010

BANANA BLUEBERRY CAKES


This recipe comes from my well used copy of Australian Women's Weekly Home Baked. There are plenty of recipes in this book for cakes, muffins, pastries and biscuits, such as Orange Poppy Seed Syrup Cake, Chocolate Butterscotch Cake and Hummingbird Cake.


An independent coffee shop near to where I live, make lots of cakes from this book, and there is nothing nicer than to go in for coffee and cake, knowing I recognize the cakes from this book. The cake lady, as I call her, always loves to discuss the recipes with me. The downside is, lots of the recipes are cafe size cakes, but they can easily be frozen in slices for another day.

You will need that last over-ripe banana from the fruit bowl for this recipe. These taste delicious warm and served with a dollop of whipping cream.

You will need:

125g butter, 125ml milk, 2 eggs, 200g caster sugar, ½ cup mashed banana, 225g self raising flour, 75g frozen blueberries

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 12 hole muffin tin with cases.
2. Place the butter and milk in a saucepan and stir over a low heat until the butter melts - cool.
3. Beat eggs with an electric mixer until thick and creamy. Gradually add the sugar, beating until dissolved between additions, stir in the banana. Fold in the sifted flour and cooled butter mixture, in two batches.
4. Divide mixture between the muffin cases, only fill three-quarters full.
5. Bake in the oven for 10 minutes , remove from the oven, press the frozen blueberries into the tops of the cakes. Return to the oven and bake for a further 20-25 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

7 Jun 2010

SMOTHERED PORK CHOPS WITH MUSTARD & THYME BUTTER. NIGEL SLATER'S - A GRATIN OF SPRING GREENS & ROASTED WALNUTS


A couple of postings ago I put out a request to ask if any of my readers would kindly email Nigel Slater's recipe for the above to me, well success, June promptly replied and sent the recipe across to me. Thank you June.

The first recipe is from a favourite cookery writer of mine, Diana Henry and comes from her recipe book Cook Simple.

It's basically an all-in-one recipe with just a few ingredients to make a delicious main meal. Potatoes, onion, an eating apple, Tamworth free range pork chops (yes, of the Tamworth two fame - can you remember the two pigs that escaped on their way to the abattoir, way back in 1998!) and dry white wine.

Nigel's Spring Green Gratin was served alongside, and this unlikely pairing was a match made in heaven!


For the Spring Green Gratin:

You will need: 500ml whole milk, 1 small onion, 2 cloves, 1 bay leaf, 6 peppercorns, 500g spring greens, 60g walnut halves, 25g butter, 25g plain flour, 100g grated Parmesan cheese.

1. Add the onion spiked with cloves, bay leaf and peppercorns to the milk, bring to the boil and then leave to infuse for at least 15 minutes.
2. Trim the spring greens, shred into wide strips then dunk into a large pot of boiling water and remove after 30 seconds and drain.
3. Toast the walnut halves in a dry frying pan until they smell warm and nutty.
4. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas 4.
5. Make the sauce by melting the butter, adding the flour and cooking for 3-4 minutes until pale biscuit coloured. Pour in the strained warm milk, stir until it thickens over a moderate heat. Simmer over a low heat for approximately 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the walnuts and half the Parmesan then season.
6. Put the greens in a medium size gratin dish, pour over the sauce and top with the rest of the cheese.
7. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the crust is golden.

Not a looker this one, but extremely delicious.

1 Jun 2010

Nigel Slater's 'A Gratin of Spring Greens & Roasted Walnuts'.

I have lost the recipe for the above, it was in the April 2010 issue of Sainsbury's Magazine.

Can anyone help me out on this please and email the recipe to margsblogspot@blueyonder.co.uk - I would be really grateful, because it is to be a blog posting, and also my husband has requested I make this again!

Thanks.

23 May 2010

ROAST CHICKEN WITH WARM VEGETABLES AND ROCKET CREAM


This recipe is by the trusted cookery writer Diana Henry and comes from her book Cook Simple. The last time I saw Diana Henry on television, she was one of the presenters on Market Kitchen, unfortunately she no longer presents on the programme, which is a great shame.

The rocket cream is a winner and a perfect match for the chicken and vegetables. Only a few good quality ingredients are required for this recipe and after a couple of hours you will be indulging in a delicious meal.

Diana has written some wonderful cookery books and this one is a firm favourite of mine. A taster of recipes from the book - Chermoula Lamb with Hot Pepper and Carrot Puree - Mackerel Fillets with Mushrooms, Parsley and Lemon - Salad of Seared Beef and Cashel Blue Cheese - Cassis-baked Fruit - these are "make me recipe" titles, and I just love them.

I have given the full quantities for the recipe, although for just the two of us I halved the amount of ingredients.

Serves: 4-6

You will need: 1 x 1.8kg roasting chicken, 300g cherry tomatoes on the vine, 600g small waxy potatoes, 200g green beans, juice of half of a lemon.

Rocket Cream: 125g mayonnaise, 100g fromage frais, 75g rocket.

To Serve: Extra-virgin olive oil, rocket.

1. Drizzle olive oil over the chicken and season. Roast in a preheated oven 200°C/400°F/Gas 6 for 1½ hours, or until cooked through.
2. Place the tomatoes in a roasting tin, season and drizzle with olive oil. Roast for about 25 minutes.
3. Whiz all the ingredients for the rocket cream in a food processor. Put into a bowl and place in the refrigerator.
4. Boil the potatoes until tender, then drain. Cook the beans in boiling water for 2 minutes to retain some crunch, drain.
5. Slice the potatoes. Place the potatoes, beans and the tomatoes into a bowl and toss them with salt, pepper, 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil and the lemon juice.
6. Serve the vegetables with chunks of the chicken, rocket cream, and some extra rocket would be good.

3 May 2010

INDIVIDUAL PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN PUDDINGS


I can't resist a good British Pudding and this is one of those puddings that has stood the test of time.

As a child I ate this at home, learnt to cook it at school, served it to my family and to this day it is still a firm favourite.

I have adapted this recipe from Good Food Magazine 101 Tempting Desserts.

Serves: 6

You will need: six buttered 200ml ramekin dishes.

For the topping: 100g butter, 100g light muscovado sugar, 2 tbsp dark rum, 432g can drained pineapple rings, 6 glace cherries

For the cake: 50g unsweetened desiccated coconut, 100g butter at room temperature, 175g golden caster sugar, 3 large eggs, 175g Self-raising flour, 2 tsp vanilla extract, 125ml milk.

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/Gas 4/Fan 160°C.
2. To make the topping, put the sugar, butter and rum into a pan and heat for 2 minutes, until the sugar has melted, stirring occasionally. Pour a little of the mixture into the bottom of each ramekin, then put a pineapple slice with a cherry inside on top.
3. To make the cake: put the coconut in a pan over a gentle heat, stirring often, until it begins to turn light golden brown, then remove from the heat and leave to cool.
4. Mix the remaining cake ingredients together until they are well combined. Stir in the cooled coconut. Spoon the mixture over the pineapple slices.
5. Place the ramekins on a baking sheet and bake for 25 minutes or until well risen and golden brown. If they aren't cooked cover with foil and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes or so.
6. Turn the puddings out, reheat any leftover topping and pour over the puddings. Serve with either custard or cream.

25 Apr 2010

SESAME CRUSTED SALMON STIR FRY


A very quick and tasty stir fry, with just a few simple ingredients, and dinner was served in just over 30 minutes.

Serves: 4

2 tablespoons sweet chilli sauce, 3 tablespoons teriyaki sauce, 1 teaspoon grated ginger, juice of half a lime, 4 salmon fillets, 1 tablespoon sesame seeds, 1 tablespoon sunflower oil, 380g pack stir fry vegetables, 300g noodles, ½ teaspoon sesame oil.

1. Heat the oven to 180°C/160°C Fan/Gas 4.
2. Mix the Encona sweet chilli sauce, lime juice, ginger and teriyaki sauce together, brush over the top and sides of the salmon then put on a lined baking sheet. Sprinkle over the sesame seeds and cook for approximately 15 to 20 minutes.
3. Heat the sunflower oil in a wok, stir fry the veg until tender. Sprinkle the sesame oil over the cooked noodles and add to the stir fry veg.
4. Divide the stir fry veg and noodle mix between four dishes and top with the cooked salmon.


I have been sent a variety of Encona Sauces and I am now really looking forward to trying them. The sauces are suitable for marinading, adding to a variety of cooked dishes or as dips.

Thank you to Encona and Lauren.

15 Apr 2010

CHICKEN CIABIATTA AND CHEESEBURGER AND CHIPS


The only thing I could rustle up for the blog this week is a chicken, bacon, avocado and lettuce number, but nonetheless, it is totally delicious. I almost forgot, I made the cheeseburger too.

If you have any teenagers at home this holiday, point them in the direction of the kitchen, and ask them to have fun making these instead of heading for the burger bar!

Absolutely no skill required for this and it's extremely filling too. Simply take a Taste The Difference Ciabiatta from Sainsbury's (if possible) and bake. Cook some streaky bacon on a griddle pan until crispy. Bash out a skinless chicken fillet and cook on a griddle pan - after it's cooked squeeze over some lemon juice and a few grindings of black pepper, cover with foil.

Take the cooked ciabiatta, split open and spread both sides with mayonnaise, place your chicken on top, layer with the bacon, sliced tomatoes, slices of avocado and top with crispy cos lettuce - then a dollop of mango chutney and a grinding of black pepper.

In the photograph there is no evidence of the bacon, mayonnaise or the mango chutney, I think they were all camera shy!

CHEESEBURGER & CHIPS


My recipe came from the BBC GoodFood website and is a real favourite of mine. I use a beefburger press gadget I bought years ago and it makes perfect burgers every time.

Spread mayonnaise on both the cut sides of the burger buns, put a piece of crispy lettuce on the base, top with the burger, slices of tomato and red onion and just because I love it, a dollop of mango chutney. Mmmm delicious.

2 Apr 2010

EASTER LEMON CAKE


A Slice of Cherry Pie is hosting her annual Easter Cake Bake Challenge and this is my entry.

The cake is flavoured with lemon zest and lemon juice and then topped with lemon flavoured and tinted icing. The inspiration for the all lemon cake came from the pretty miniature spring flowers in my garden.

I decided not to crystallize the flowers but to just brush and wash them under a running tap. Shake off any excess water and leave to dry on kitchen towel. Cut the stems to the required length and wire the stems of the flowers.

Here are my cakes from the previous Easter Cake Bake challenges.

Happy Easter.

28 Mar 2010

JAMIE OLIVER'S BUN AND BUTTER PUDDING


This is another of Jamie Oliver's Easter hot cross bun recipes and without any doubt his best to date.

I love Easter puddings where you make use of hot cross buns. This pudding is simply another variation of bread and butter pudding but with a Jamie twist. There are a couple of plus points about this recipe, both brandy and grated orange zest are added to the custard!

My ultimate bread and butter pudding is one with an eggy sauce layer in the bottom and so I removed the pudding from the oven after 30 minutes, checked that there wasn't too much sauce and then I put the pudding under a very hot grill to tinge the buns a slight golden brown. If you don't want the sauce layer then cook for about 45 minutes.

Slightly adapted recipe.

Serves: 6 people

600ml semi-skimmed milk, 600ml double cream, 1 vanilla pod, 4 medium eggs, 100g caster sugar, 6 hot cross buns, 3 tablespoons brandy, zest of 1 orange, icing sugar.

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/325°F/Gas 3.
2. In a pan put the milk and cream and bring just to a boil.
3. Cut the vanilla pod in half and scrape out the seeds, add to the saucepan.
4. Whisk the sugar and eggs together until light, now whisk in the milk and cream, remove the vanilla pod.
5. Halve the buns and spread with butter. Dip the buns in the mixture and place in an ovenproof dish. Pour over the cognac and the grated zest of the orange.
6. Pour the custard into a sieve held over the buns and now leave them to soak for approximately 15 minutes.
7. Put the dish into a roasting tin and half fill with hot water. Bake for approximately 40 - 45 minutes. When it is cooked the top will be slightly tinged and if you part some of the buns with a knife there should be a thick custard underneath. Check the pudding after 30 minutes cooking to ensure it doesn't overcook.
8. Dust with icing sugar.

Delicious!

21 Mar 2010

EASY CHICKEN CURRY


In the mood for curry but short of time - then maybe this curry is for you. The curry isn't too hot but you can easily adjust the amount of chilli and ginger.

The Very Lazy Ginger used in the recipe was comparable to fresh and is a great store cupboard standby. Once opened it can then be stored in the fridge for future use.

Whilst in the photograph I didn't show all of the creamy sauce, there is more than enough for two people. I served my curry with plain boiled rice and naans.

Serves: 2 people

2 chicken breasts (bone in), 2 tablespoons olive oil, 1 chopped onion, 1 crushed clove of garlic, a few julienned strips of Very Lazy Ginger, 1 medium sized red chilli (deseeded and finely chopped), 8 green cardamom pods, 1 teaspoon ground cumin, 1 tablespoon ground turmeric, 200ml chicken stock, 100ml natural yogurt, 75ml double cream, 1 tablespoon lemon juice, chopped coriander leaves.


1. Lightly brown the chicken in 1 tablespoon of oil. Remove the chicken from the pan.
2. Cook the onion, garlic, The English Provender Co. Very Lazy Ginger and chilli in the rest of the oil.
3. Take the black seeds from the cardamon pods and crush them with a pestle and mortar. Add the cardamom to the cooked onion, add the cumin and turmeric then fry over a medium heat.
4. Return the chicken to the pan and pour in the stock, bring to the boil. Cover with a lid and simmer gently until the chicken is cooked, which is about 30 minutes or so.
5. When the chicken is cooked through, turn the heat down, stir in the yogurt and cream. Gently warm through over a gentle heat, stir in the lemon juice and coriander.
6. Serve with boiled rice and naan bread.

Thank you Alex.

14 Mar 2010

PURPLE SPROUTING BROCCOLI, LEEK & ALMOND TART


This recipe comes from the BBC Good Food Magazine March 2010 and is by the talented food writer Celia Brooks Brown.

Purple sprouting broccoli has a very short season and so we need to make the most of it whilst it is around. I bought mine from an independent greengrocer, but if you are lucky enough to live in a market town, it should be more plentiful on the market stalls and not so costly. For this recipe you will only need a few spears of purple sprouting broccoli.

The tart was delicious and is on my 'make again' list for next year.

Serves: 6

You will need: 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil, 2 finely sliced leeks, 500g pack puff pastry, 1 tbs polenta or semolina, 6 trimmed spears purple sprouting broccoli, 150ml creme fraiche, 50g finely grated Parmesan, 2 egg yolks, 25g flaked almonds.

1. First heat the oven to 220°C/200°C Fan/Gas 7.
2. Heat up a frying pan over a medium heat and then add the oil. Now cook the leeks, with a lid on, stir occasionally until just tender which should take about 5 minutes. Put on one side.
3. Lightly flour a surface and roll out the pastry to a 26cm circle, drawing round a dinner plate or similar as a template.
4. Cover a baking tray with parchment paper and sprinkle with either the semolina or polenta, place the pastry circle on top. Score a circle about 2cm from the outside edge.
5. Now spread the leeks evenly inside the scored circle, bake for 10 minutes until the edges have puffed up. Remove from the oven and turn the heat down to 200°C/180°C Fan/Gas 6.
6. Bring a pan of water to the boil. Blanch the broccoli in the boiling water for 1 minute, drain and cool under running water. Drain thoroughly and arrange on top of the leeks.
7. Mix together the creme fraiche, Parmesan, egg yolks, salt and pepper, now pour over the veg.
8. Bake the tart for 15 minutes and then sprinkle over the flaked almonds, return the tart to the oven for a further 5-10 minutes, until golden.
9. Can be served either warm or cold.

9 Mar 2010

BANOFFEE PIE


I love desserts, and Banoffee Pie has to be one of my favourites. It isn't a dessert I make very often, but when I do, it's heaven.

Mine are individual pies purely because I like to give my cooking rings some work to do every now and again.

The only twist to this classic recipe is to put some ground ginger into the crumb base, not too much, otherwise it will overpower the pies.


Merchant Gourmet have sent me a jar of their very popular Dulce de Leche Caramel Toffee to use in a recipe and I couldn't think of anything better than this classic pie, also it's wonderful to eat straight from the jar.


To serve: 6 people

You will need: six buttered 9cm or 10cm metal rings.

4 bananas, sliced
1 lemon, juice only
150g digestive biscuits
75g unsalted butter, melted
½ teaspoon ground ginger (optional)
450g jar Merchant Gourmet Banoffee Toffee Dulce de Leche
284ml carton of whipping cream, lightly whipped
plain chocolate shavings, for decoration

1. Toss the sliced bananas in the lemon juice and put to one side.
2. Put the biscuits in a food processor and whiz to crumbs. Add the melted butter and ginger, if using, and process for a minute or so to combine.
3. Put the metal rings on to a sheet of baking parchment on a tray. Press the biscuit crumbs into each ring. You can now put the tray into the fridge for the crumbs to firm up.
4. Remove the tray from the fridge and put a layer of toffee sauce (how much or how little is up to you) onto the crumb mixture.
5. Top the toffee sauce with the banana slices.
6. Carefully remove the rings.
7. Pipe or spoon on the cream, sprinkle with chocolate shavings and chill.

Thank you to Merchant Gourmet and Rebecca.

19 Feb 2010

Chocolate Granola


Dorset Cereals have recently launched two new crunchy chocolate granolas, and both are a chocolate lovers dream.

One is Chocolate Granola made with Fairtrade dark chocolate, oats, sunflower seeds, barley flakes and coconut. The other is Chocolate Granola and Macadamia Nuts made with the same Fairtrade dark chocolate, oats, sunflower seeds and barley flakes.

These granolas make chocolate acceptable at any time of the day. You can have a bowl of granola topped with milk, yogurt, or for something more decadent in the summer, perhaps sit some strawberries on top. This week we have layered chocolate granola and Greek yogurt in a glass - simply yummy. The granola can also be eaten straight from the box, my husband has been pouring some into a bowl and eating it as a delicious snack, I have been stirring mine into natural yogurt .

Chocolate granola can also be used to make cookies, bars and cakes. The granola would also be lovely as a topping on cupcakes, simply crush the granola and scatter over either buttercream or icing.

Thank you to everyone at Dorset Cereals.

14 Feb 2010

BLUEBERRY AND APRICOT FLAPJACK PUDDING


For the flapjack lover, flapjacks scattered over a fruit based pudding, instead of the usual crumble mix, is a wonderful thing.

I used a mixture of small rolled oats, and added some jumbo oats for texture, the mix worked perfectly. Fresh apricots and blueberries would have been wonderful, but we are still waiting for summer to come and therefore, a tin of drained canned apricots and frozen blueberries were used.

This pudding isn't really a looker when it's served up and perhaps it would be best to cook it in small individual dishes. To be honest, it looked like a nervous breakdown on a plate when I served it up and to make matters worse, I topped it with a dollop of creme fraiche which my husband said just added to it's misery. It made us laugh though, which can only be a good thing.

Moving on from looks, the pudding is amazing, the apricot and blueberry combo is perfect, and the buttery, crispy oat topping on this occasion, left crumble in the shade.

Serves: 4 people

You will need: 75g butter, 75g golden syrup, 45g oats, 45g jumbo oats, a tin of drained apricots quartered, 100g frozen or fresh blueberries, 1 tablespoon light muscovado sugar.

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C Fan/200°C/Gas 6.
2. Gently melt the butter in a small pan with the syrup and then fold in the oats.
3. Arrange the apricots and blueberries in the base of a small shallow ovenproof dish.
4. Sprinkle the fruit with the sugar and then scatter over the flapjack mixture allowing some of the fruit to show through. Bake for 30 minutes until the top is golden and crusty.
5. Serve warm or cold.

FLAPJACKS


Preheat the oven to Fan 160°C/180°C/Gas 4. Line a 23cm square tin with baking parchment.

1. Gently melt 240g salted butter with 180g demerara sugar and 6 tablespoons golden syrup over a medium heat.
2. Stir in 350g rolled oats.
3. Put the mixture into the tin and press down. Bake for 20 minutes.
4. Leave to cool and cut into squares.


The oats used in the above recipes were supplied by Mornflake, who have brought out some new products for 2010 including, Mornflake Utterly Apple Oat Crisp Clusters, Lyles Golden Syrup Granola, Oatbran Flakes with Sultanas & Apple, Toasted Oatbran, Ready Steady Oats and Superfast Oats with added Wheat Bran.

Mornflake have recently been championed in the Guild of Fine Food's Great Taste Awards for its range of Extra Crispy Mueslis.

You can read more about Mornflake and their product range by visiting their website.

Thank you to Mornflake and Kate.