Sunday, 29 November 2009
Friday, 20 November 2009
The sweet flesh of pumpkin goes perfectly with the sharp savouryness of goats' cheese. This is another recipe from Ottolenghi. This time a super easy pumpkin (or butternut squash) puff pastry tart with goats cheese, pine nuts and garlic. Perfect straight out of the oven with a simple salad and equally good at room temperature the next day. For an impressive starter, cut the pastry into squares to make indiviudual tartlets.
1 small pumpkin (about 1kg), peeled, deseeded and cut into quarters
250g puff pastry
100ml soured cream
100g goats' cheese
2 tbsp pine nuts
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 chilli, finely chopped
1tbsp olive oil
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
small handful chopped parsley
*Drizzle the pumpkin wedges in a little oil and season well. Bake in the oven at 200C for 30-45 minutes until soft.
*Once cool enough to handle, slice the pumpkin into thin slices.
*Roll the pastry out into a rectangle about 2mm thick and spread the soured cream on top.
*Lay the pumpkin slices onto the pastry and crumble over the goats' cheese. Sprinkle the pine nuts on top.
*Brush the edges of the pastry with the beaten egg and bake for 20-25 minutes until golden on top.
*Meanwhile, mix the oil, garlic, chilli and parsley in a bowl.
*Once the tart's cooked, brush the parsley dressing on top. Read more...
Sunday, 15 November 2009
Every so often it feels really good to eat a bowl of raw, shredded vegetables doused in an interesting dressing or perked up with some cheese or toasted seeds. The simple act of chewing your way through is enough to make you feel virtuous and purified. Perhaps even virtuous enough to squeeze in a sticky toffee pudding for afters?
This recipe came from Rick Stein's Far Eastern Odyssey - shredded carrot, mango and smoked mackerel with a spicy and sweet dressing of lime juice, palm sugar and fish sauce - all topped off with crunchy peanuts.
While it might sound like a strange combination, the flavours actually come together really well to create a colourful, light and refreshing salad. If you don't have palm sugar or Thai basil and don't mind veering from authenticity, then I imagine you could substitute honey for the palm sugar and basil for the Thai basil.
4 smoked mackerel fillets, broken into large flakes
1 green mango, cut into matchsticks
1 large carrot, cut into matchsticks
1 red onion, finely sliced
1 red chilli, finely chopped
small handful peanuts, roasted and chopped
small handful Thai sweet basil
2tsp palm sugar
1tbsp fish sauce
1tbsp lime juice
*Mix the smoked mackerel, mango, carrot, onion, peanuts and Thai basil in a large bowl.
*Mix the palm sugar, fish sauce and lime juice together in a separate bowl. Pour over the ssalad and toss together.
*Pile onto plates.
Monday, 9 November 2009
I had wanted to post this in time for Bonfire Night as the warming ginger in this cake seems to make it perfect for eating next to a bonfire, preferably with a mug of mulled wine in the other hand. Even though it's a little late, it's still perfect for perking you up in colder weather.
This started life as a Jamie Oliver recipe, but has since swayed quite a lot off course. Jamie's recipe is here, for my version, I added a couple of bananas I had lying around (they were actually snuggled up to the last of our green tomatoes in the hope that they might turn red) and cut down on the vast quantities of sugar and golden syrup. However, the finished result is still sticky and sweet and full of gingery kick. It's also firm enough to travel well as a little snack for the office, which is always good.
I also wanted to share a neat trick that I discovered recently. If you don't have a cake tester (who does?) then a strand of spaghetti works really well. Instead of huge dents left by testing with a knife, and I usually end up testing a few times, you get a barely discernible hole. Genius!
8 pieces stem ginger
4 tbsp stem ginger syrup
150g butter, softened
100g golden syrup
50g dark muscavado sugar
200g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp ground ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp soft brown sugar
Preheat the oven to 180C.
Put the stem ginger into a food processor and whizz until it's a paste.
Add the syrup, softened butter, golden syrup and sugar and blend until thick and fluffy.
Add the eggs and blend again until well combined and smooth.
Sift in the flour, baking poweder, ground ginger and cinamon and blend until a thick better forms.
Pour into a greased and lined loaf tin, smooth the mixture with a spatula and sprinkle over the sugar.
Bake in the oven for 50 minutes, or until risend and golden and a cake tester comes out clean.
Sunday, 1 November 2009
We culled our tomatoes plants this weekend and brought them inside in the hope that a little warmth might turn a few red. It felt like the true end of summer, winter coats and scarves are now being pulled on and the winter veg has started arriving. Bags of dark green curly kale, cauliflower, broccoli and squashes all turned up in our veg box this week.
One of the things I love about getting a veg box is the monotony. Believe it or not, receiving cauliflower for the third week in a row forces you to get creative and try new things. Last year it was toasted cauliflower florets with crème fraîche and pasta or silky smooth soups livened up with cannellini beans. This year, I have a feeling this will be our staple. A Jamie Oliver recipe from his jaunt around Italy. A rich, creamy risotto, packed with little cauliflower florets and a crispy anchovy breadcrumbs sprinkled over. Not only will this make you love cauliflower, you will want to go out and but more cauliflower so that you can make it again.
Not much different from a classic risotto, all you do is cook the florets in the hot stock and add them towards the end, breaking them into the risotto as you go finishing with plenty of butter and a little parmesan. For the crunchy chilli pangrattato, simply whizz stale bread with a tin of anchovies and a little chili, then fry until golden. The full recipe is here. Read more...