Monday, 5 November 2018

Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding






Who doesn't like a lovely sticky toffee pudding? Here's a slight twist on the theme. This comforting pud includes apples and would be ideal for  a Bonfire Night treat.

Sticky Toffee Apple Pudding

Serves 6 to 8 people

Ingredients
85g butter, melted
140g self-raising flour
100g golden caster sugar
1 tbsp baking powder
200ml milk
1 egg, beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 Bramley apples (or other cooking) apples, peeled, cored and sliced
For the topping
140g dark brown sugar
50g pecan, roughly chopped

Method
1 Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Grease a 2-litre/3½-pint ovenproof dish lightly with butter. Tip the flour, sugar and baking powder, along with a pinch of salt, into a large bowl. Mix together the milk, butter, egg and vanilla extract and stir into the dry ingredients until you get a smooth batter. Arrange the apples in the dish, spoon the batter on top and smooth with a knife until the apples are covered.
2 For the topping, pour 250ml boiling water over the sugar and stir together until smooth. Pour the liquid over the pudding mixture, then scatter over the pecans. Bake for about 40 mins until the pudding has risen and is golden.
3 Use a big spoon to serve the pudding, making sure you get some of the gooey caramel sauce covering the bottom of the dish.

Serve with pouring cream, warm custard or vanilla ice cream



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Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Halloween: Graveyard Trifle



Halloween will soon be here. SPOOOOKKKKKKYYYYY!

If you want to impress/frighten your family, have a go at making this Graveyard Trifle. It looks spooktacular and tastes lovely.

This recipe came from via Tesco. There's there's very little actual cooking to be done - but there is a lot of assembling.

Graveyard Trifle

Ingredients
1 x 135g pack lime jelly
green food gel or colouring
425g (14oz) chocolate brownies
125g (4oz) jelly snakes (halved, if long)
500g (1lb) fresh custard
orange food colouring
1/2 x 225g pack soft-baked chocolate cookies
chocolate writing icing
3 rich tea finger biscuits
3 chocolate cornflake clusters
green sugar sand, to decorate (optional) Or can use Green Mini Sugar Balls 

Method
1 Break the jelly into a bowl, add 450ml boiling water and stir until dissolved. Add enough green food colouring to turn the liquid a vivid green; set aside to cool.

2 Crumble the brownies into the base of a glass trifle dish, about 8cm (3in) deep and 18-20cm (7-8in) wide. Press down with the back of a spoon to level the surface. Top with most of the jelly snakes, pushing a few close to the sides of the dish so they can be seen.

3 Put the custard in a bowl and stir in enough orange food colouring to turn it a pale tangerine. Pour it over the snake and brownie layer and spread level. Chill for 30 minutes, or until set. Spoon a little of the cooled liquid jelly over the custard layer to create a film-like layer; chill until set.

4 Carefully pour the remaining jelly over the top and return to the fridge for 4 hours, or until set. In a food processor, whizz the cookies to a fine crumb. Sprinkle over the top of the trifle for the 'soil'. Add the remaining jelly snakes, pushing the ends of each into the crumb 'soil' layer.

5 Decorate the rich tea biscuits with the writing icing to make 'RIP' or cross 'headstones' and push them into the trifle, positioning an 'earthy mound' cornflake cluster at the base of each. Sprinkle with a little sugar sand for 'moss', if you like.



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Friday, 28 September 2018

Apple And Vanilla Tart




A friend gave me a big bag of sweet and crisp eating apples. A few have gone into the fruit bowl but I used a few of them to to make a delicious apple and vanilla tart.

Apple And Vanilla Tart
Ingredients
375g pack puff pastry, preferably all-butter
5 large eating apples - Cox's, russets or Elstar
juice of 1 lemon
25g butter, cut into small pieces
3 tsp vanilla sugar or 1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp caster sugar
3 rounded tbsp apricot conserve 

Method
1 Heat oven to 220C/fan 200C/gas 7. Roll out the pastry and trim to a round about 35cm across. Transfer to a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
2 Peel, core and thinly slice the apples and toss in the lemon juice. Spread over the pastry to within 2cm of the edges. Curl up the edges slightly to stop the juices running off.
3 Dot the top with the butter and sprinkle with vanilla and caster sugar. Bake for 15-20 mins until the apples are tender and the pastry crisp.
4 Warm the conserve and brush over the apples and pastry edge. Serve hot with vanilla ice cream or crème fraîche.



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Saturday, 22 September 2018

Seared Salmon with Garlic Lemon Butter Sauce



Seared Salmon with Garlic Lemon Butter Sauce

For a dish so quick and easy to cook, this is quite special. The garlicky, lemony sauce is delicious and ideal for many types of fish that can hold their own with strong flavours.

Serves 4

Ingredients
4 (6 oz) skinless salmon fillets (about 1-inch thick)
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 tsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves , minced
2 fl oz chicken stock
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
3 tbsp + 1 tsp unsalted butter , diced into 1 tbsp pieces
1/2 tsp honey
2 tbsp minced fresh parsley
Lemon slices for garnish

Method
1. Remove salmon fillets from refrigerator and allow to rest at room temperature for 10 minutes.

2. Meanwhile prepare garlic lemon butter sauce: In a small saucepan melt 1 tsp butter over medium heat. Add garlic and saute until lightly golden brown, about 1 - 2 minutes. Pour in chicken stock and lemon juice. Let sauce simmer until it has reduced by half (to about 3 tbsp), about 3 minutes. Stir in butter and honey and whisk until combined, set sauce aside.

3. Dab both sides of salmon dry with paper towels, season both sides with salt and pepper. Heat olive oil in a (heavy) 12-inch non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat. Once oil is shimmering add salmon and cook about 4 minutes on the first side until golden brown on bottom then flip and cook salmon on opposite side until salmon has cooked through, about 2 - 3 minutes longer.

4. Plate salmon (leaving oil in pan) and drizzle each serving generously with butter sauce, sprinkle with parsley and garnish with lemon slices if desired. Serve immediately.

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Wednesday, 12 September 2018

Chocolate Beetroot Cake



Chocolate Beetroot Cake

There is plenty of beetroot around at the moment. This lovely vegetable is so versatile and really good for you. It's quite a sweet vegetable so, just like carrots, it makes a great ingredient for cake.

Here's a recipe that's soft, moist and really delicious.

Ingredients
olive oil
plain flour, for dusting
300g dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
250g raw grated beetroot
4 large eggs
150g golden caster sugar
120g ground almonds
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 tablespoon cocoa powder

Method
 
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas 4. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of a 20cm springform cake tin with olive oil. Cut out a circle of greaseproof paper, roughly the same size as the bottom of the tin, and use it to line the base. Dust the sides of the tin lightly with flour, then tap the tin to get rid of any excess.

2. Break 200g of the chocolate (reserving 100g for the topping) into small pieces and add to a heatproof bowl. Place the bowl on top of a small pan of simmering water over a medium heat, making sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the water, and allow to melt, stirring occasionally. Once melted, use oven gloves to carefully remove from the heat and put to one side.

3. Separate the eggs, placing the whites into a large clean mixing bowl and adding the yolks to the beetroot.

4. Stir the sugar, almonds, baking powder, cocoa powder and melted chocolate into the beetroot and mix together well.

5. Use an electric hand whisk to whisk the egg whites until you have stiff peaks. Use a spatula to fold a quarter of the egg whites into the beetroot mixture to loosen, then once combined, fold in the rest but try not to over-mix.

6. Add the mixture to the prepared cake tin and spread out evenly using a spatula.

7. Bake in the hot oven for around 50 minutes, or until risen and cooked through.

8. Allow the cake to cool slightly, then carefully turn it out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

9. When ready to serve, melt the remaining chocolate and drizzle over the top.

This is delicious served just as it is or with a dollop of cream, creme fraiche or natural yogurt.


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Monday, 10 September 2018

Lamb Braised in Beaujolais



As the days get chillier, here's a beautiful warming leg of lamb dish. The lamb comes out of the oven melt-in-the-mouth tender and the house is filled with the most mouth-watering aromas.

Lamb Braised in Beaujolais


Gas mark 8, 450ºF (230ºC)

Ingredients
1 leg of lamb, 5-5½ 1b (2.2-2.5 kg)
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 level teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
1 level teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary leaves
1 bottle Beaujolais
8 small carrots, about 8 oz (225 g)
2 turnips, about 8 oz (225 g)
8 small red-skinned potatoes, about 1½ lb (700 g)
4 small parsnips, about 1 lb (450 g)
8 shallots or small onions, about 8 oz (225 g)
3 large garlic cloves, unpeeled
a few fresh thyme sprigs
1 rosemary sprig
1 bay leaf
1 heaped teaspoon redcurrant jelly
salt and black pepper

To garnish:
2 level tablespoons chopped fresh parsley or 1 level tablespoon fresh thyme leaves

Method
1. Pour 3 tablespoons of olive oil into a shallow roasting tray and put it into the oven to pre-heat.

2. Meanwhile scrub the carrots, turnips, and potatoes; top and tail the carrots and turnips, leaving the carrots whole but chopping the turnips (with skins left on) into quarters, and cut the potatoes lengthways into 4 pieces (unpeeled). Now peel the parsnips and cut them into halves; and finally peel the shallots but leave them whole. Dry vegetables thoroughly in a clean tea cloth.

3. Remove the roasting tray and place over a direct medium heat on the hob and spoon the prepared vegetables and the unpeeled garlic into the fat. Turn them over to make sure they are well coated and return the tray to the top shelf of the oven for 25-30 minutes, turning them over half way through.

4. Prepare the lamb by placing it in a roasting tin and rubbing the joint all over with the remaining tablespoon of olive oil, salt and black pepper.

5. Remove vegetables from the oven and set aside. Place the roasting tin with the lamb in the oven, on the highest shelf that will take it, and let it start to roast for 30 minutes or until it has turned a good golden colour. Take the lamb out of the oven, then reduce the temperature to gas mark 3, 325ºF (170ºC) and spoon off any fat to use later.

6. Place the roasting tin over a medium heat on top of the stove, pour in the Beaujolais and baste the meat with it. Then sprinkle with the chopped thyme and rosemary. As soon as the wine begins to bubble, turn off the heat and cover the whole tin with a tent of foil (without it touching the meat). Fold the foil tight under the rim of the tin and replace it in the oven – on the centre shelf this time – and let it continue cooking for 1½ hours.

7. Remove the roasting tin from the oven and once again transfer it to direct heat. Carefully remove the foil and baste the meat well with the wine. Spoon the browned vegetables all around in the wine, season them with salt and black pepper and pop in the sprigs of thyme and rosemary and the bay leaf. When it has come back to simmering point, replace the foil and cook for a further 1½ hours.

8. Remove the meat and vegetables to warmed serving dishes, discarding the sprigs of herbs, then cover to keep warm. Place the roasting tin over direct heat once more and let the sauce reduce. Squeeze the garlic pulp out of the skins into the sauce and whisk this in along with the redcurrant jelly. Taste and season the sauce with salt and black pepper, then pour it into a warm serving jug.

9. Sprinkle the lamb and vegetables with the parsley or thyme and serve.



Here's another recipe for lamb - shoulder of lamb braised for six hours.  Find it HERE.







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Thursday, 30 August 2018

India Pale Ale Treacle Tart



There's a distinct nip in the air here in Devon although the sun is still shining. What could be better on a golden autumn evening than a lovely treacle tart and clotted Devonshire cream? This one includes IPA (India Pale Ale) which creates depth to the flavour.

Here's my tried and tested recipe. You don't, of course, have to have it with clotted cream, custard is a family favourite too!

Treacle Tart

Ingredients

Pastry
250g plain flour
125g chilled and chopped unsalted butter
75g icing sugar
2 egg yolks
Filling
700g golden syrup
50g honey
250g breadcrumbs
½ grapefruit, zest only
100ml IPA
3 medium eggs

Method

1 Put flour and butter in a bowl and rub together with fingertips until it resembles breadcrumbs. Mix in the icing sugar followed by the egg yolks. If the pastry feels too dry, add 2 tbsp water. Shape into a ball, flatten it out into a disc, wrap it in cling film, then chill for 30 mins.

2 Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface until big enough to line a 23cm fluted tart tin, about 3cm deep. Line the tin with the pastry, allowing the edges to overhang. Chill for another 30 mins.

3 Heat oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Line the tart with baking parchment and baking beans and bake blind for 20 mins. Remove the beans and parchment and bake for 10-15 mins more until the pastry is golden and crisp.

4 While the pastry is cooking, mix the golden syrup, honey, breadcrumbs, grapefruit zest, beer and eggs together in a large jug or bowl.

5 Lower oven to 160C/140C fan/gas 3. Trim the pastry edges, then fill with the treacle mixture. Bake for 55 mins-1 hr until golden.



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