Sunday, 22 January 2017

Punscherulle

I came across these when a friend at work mentioned them. The mix of chocolate and rum goes really well with the marzipan, but I'm sure a Swedish person would, quite rightly, claim that these are nothing like the original inspiration.

Ingredients:

  • 50g butter
  • 200g digestive biscuits
  • 2 tsp cocoa powder
  • 30ml rum
  • 225g marzipan
  • a few drops of green food colouring
  • 150g dark chocolate

Method:

  1. Put the butter in a bowl and microwave for 20 seconds to soften it.
  2. Put the digestive biscuits in a blender and blend until they are fine breadcrumbs.
  3. Pour the digestives into the bowl with the soften butter and add the cocoa and rum.
  4. Mix well until they are a fine, fairly crumbly dough.
  5. Put some grease-proof paper on a baking tray and take a large pinch of the mixture (about a 2cm ball) and shape into fingers of mixture in your hands before placing it on the paper.
  6. Repeat for the rest of the mixture, you should end up with 14 to 16 fingers.
  7. Chill in the fridge for at least two hours.
  8. When the couple of hours is up, put the chocolate in a narrow bowl (so it's easier to dip the rolls into it) over a pan of water and simmer on a gentle heat to melt the chocolate.
  9. While that is melting, kneed the marzipan with the green food colouring until it's well mixed. To prevent your hands getting stained, put the drops into the middle of the marzipan and fold it over.
  10. Roll the marzipan out using a rolling pin and a dusting of icing sugar until it is a few mm thick.
  11. Place one of the chilled fingers on the marzipan and roll it up while cutting a rectangle out to cover it in marzipan.
  12. Repeat for the remaining fingers. You'll need to re-roll out the offcuts of marzipan a couple of times.
  13. Dip each end of the wrapped fingers into the fully melted chocolate and place back on the paper on the baking tray to cool.
  14. After a few hours to cool, place in an airtight container and store in a cool dry place for up to a few days.
Makes about 14 rolls.

Sunday, 15 January 2017

Raspberry Cupcakes

The whole raspberries inside these cakes give them a nice hit of moisture.

Ingredients:

  • 180g butter at room temperature
  • 180g caster sugar
  • 180g self-raising flour
  • 5 tbsp milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 36 whole raspberries (about 150g)
  • 125g butter at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 4 drops of red food colouring
  • 250g icing sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Put 12 muffin cases into a muffin tin.
  3. Cream 180g of the butter with the caster sugar in a large mixing bowl until it's smooth.
  4. Add the flour, 5 tbsp of milk, eggs and vanilla essence and mix unto a smooth mixture.
  5. Put a little under a tablespoon of mixture into each paper case.
  6. Place three raspberries in the middle of each dollop of mixture.
  7. Put another almost tablespoon of mixture on top of the raspberries.
  8. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes, or until nicely browned.
  9. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
  10. In a fresh mixing bowl mix 125g of butter, 1 tbsp of milk, the red food colouring and the icing sugar until a smooth paste.
  11. Use a piping bag to pipe the icing onto each of the cupcakes.

Makes 12 cupcakes.

Saturday, 14 January 2017

Pork Pie

I used the cooking liquid from some sous-vide bacon belly, but chicken stock with some added gelatin works just as well.

Ingredients:

  • 125g bacon lardons
  • 250g 10% fat minced pork
  • 300g pork shoulder, cut into pieces under 1cm in size
  • 1 tsp all spice
  • a generous pinch of ground nutmeg
  • 10 leaves of fresh sage, finely chopped
  • Hot water pastry made with 400g flour, 140g lard and 155ml water
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 100ml of stock mixed with gelatin

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees Celsius
  2. Put the water on for the pastry.
  3. Tip the lardons into a mixing bowl and add the minced pork, should and spices. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Mix well.
  5. Line the pie dish(es) with the three quarters of the pastry.
  6. Fill the pastry with the filling and then use the remaining pastry to make a lid, keeping a little bit aside to make the plug for the hole.
  7. Use the end of a wooden spoon to puncture a hole in the lid after attaching the lid to the base with a bit of pressure between your fingers.
  8. Bake in the oven for 2 hours.
  9. 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time, you brush the egg wash onto the top of the pie to give it a good brown colour.
  10. Leave to cool before removing from the tin.
  11. Heat up the stock mixture (also known as aspic) until it goes liquid. Put into a jug and leave to cool until it's just about to set.
  12. Use a sharp knife to remove the plug from the lid of the pie and use a funnel to pour the liquid into the pie.
  13. Replace the pastry plug in the lid.
  14. Place in a fridge and leave to fully chill.

Makes two 10cm pies, serving about 5 people.

Sunday, 8 January 2017

Bacon, leek and cheese tart.

This is a quick and simple dinner is similar to flammkuchen, but with leeks.

Ingredients:

  • 3 leeks, outer layer and ends removed, thinly sliced
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 300g ready made puff pastry, either in a block or pre-rolled into a sheet
  • 4 tbsp cream cheese
  • 4 rashers of bacon, cut into small pieces
  • 125g Emmental cheese, finely grated

Ingredients:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius (reduce by 15 degrees if a fan oven).
  2. Put the leeks and olive oil in a large frying pan and fry over a medium heat until they start to soften.
  3. Lay/roll the puff pastry out onto a baking tray.
  4. Spread the cream cheese around on the surface of the puff pastry, keeping about an inch at the edge free.
  5. Put the leeks over the cream cheese, followed by the bacon piece and then finally the cheese.
  6. Fold up the edges of the pastry so that they overlap the filling at the edges.
  7. Cook in the oven for 20 minutes.
  8. Serve immediately and enjoy with a fresh tomato or leaf salad.

Serves 3 to 4.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Vegetable Terrine

This requires a little bit of time to prepare, but the layers of colour in the slices make it worth it.

Ingredients:

  • 320g frozen spinach
  • 2 red peppers
  • 2 yellow peppers
  • 2 large aubergines, ends removed and sliced lengthwise into 0.5 cm slices
  • 3 large courgettes, ends removed and sliced lengthwise into 0.5 cm slices
  • 1 large butternut squash, peeled, halved, seeds removed and sliced lengthwise into 0.5 cm slices
  • 100ml olive oil
  • 250g soft goats cheese
  • 12g fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 25g flat leaved parsley, finely chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
  2. Put the spinach in a saucepan over a medium-low heat an place a lid on it. Cook for 30 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, while you prepare everything else.
  3. Use a blow torch or a grill on high to char the outside of the peppers. Once they are charred, place in a plastic bag while still hot and tie a knot in the bag while they cool.
  4. Spread the slices of aubergine, courgette and squash on baking trays and brush both sides with olive oil.
  5. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes or until they start to colour.
  6. While the slices are roasting (unless you have a huge oven they'll take two or three batches), mix the cheese, basil and parsley in a mixing bowl before seasoning with salt and pepper.
  7. Use a tap of running water and your fingers to rub all the charred skin off the peppers. Slice the peeled flesh of the peppers into large but flat slices.
  8. Once everything is ready, lay it all out on plates in front of you.
  9. Line a 1 lb loaf tin with two long strips of cling film, one in each direction.
  10. Carefully arrange the slices of aubergine around the inside of the tin, making sure the edges poke out the top by about an inch, but that there aren't any gaps.
  11. Next place the various components into layers on the bottom of the dish in the following order (from first to last):
    1. red pepper
    2. courgette
    3. butternut squash
    4. spinach (all of it)
    5. yellow pepper
    6. goat cheese (you might not need all of it)
    7. yellow pepper
    8. courgette
    9. red pepper
  12. Fold the edges of the aubergine back over the top of the terrine, followed by the cling film.
  13. Place a large plate on top of the tin and about a kilogram of weight on the top of the plate.
  14. Put into the fridge with something under it to catch the liquid which will be pressed out.
  15. Leave to compress and chill for at least 12 hours and up to 48 hours.
  16. When ready to serve, undo the cling film, place a plate over the top, turn over and then gently tap the loaf tin to get the terrine to drop out.
  17. Slice with a sharp knife and serve with a spoon of sun-dried tomato tapenade.

Serves 8 to 10 as a starter.

Wednesday, 4 January 2017

Tuna Baked Peppers

This is a quick and simple recipe which is great for a mid-week dinner.

Ingredients:

  • 1 red peppers
  • 2 orange peppers
  • 8 cherry tomatoes, cut into quarters
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 2 tins of tuna, drained
  • 4 cloves of garlic, crushed in a garlic crusher
  • 40g Parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • a few tbsp of olive oil

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.
  2. Cut each pepper in half and carefully remove the seeds and white lump in the middle, but leave the stalk attached.
  3. Mix the cherry tomatoes, tomato puree, tuna and garlic in a mixing bowl and season to taste with salt and pepper.
  4. Fill each pepper half with the mixture and place in a high sided baking tray.
  5. Drizzle a generous glug of olive oil over each pepper and sprinkle over the grated cheese.
  6. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes.
  7. Serve on a bed of rice.

Serves 2 to 3.

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

Apple and Pear Tray Bake Cake


Ingredients:

  • 1 large bramley apple, peeled, quartered, cored and cut into 3 mm slices
  • 4 cooking pears, peeled, quartered, cored and cut into 3 mm slices
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 225g butter at room temperature
  • 280g caster sugar
  • 350g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 0.5 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 75g unrefined granulated sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (160 if it's a fan oven).
  2. Mix the chopped fruit with the lemon juice so that it doesn't go brown.
  3. Grease a deep baking tray (about 28cm by 20cm) with some extra butter and line it with baking paper.
  4. Mix the caster sugar and butter in a large clean bowl until they are a smooth creamy paste.
  5. Add the flour, baking powder, eggs, vanilla, nutmeg and cinnamon to the creamed butter and sugar mix. Stir until evenly combined (it's quite a stiff batter so it'll take a little bit of effort).
  6. Spread half the batter mixture over the bottom of the prepared baking tray.
  7. Arrange half of the apple and pear slices over the spread out mixture.
  8. Carefully spoon the remaining mixture over the top of the slices and spread it out. It's easier to spread it evenly (and right to the edges) if you dollop small spoons of it: about a teaspoon or half a tablespoon.
  9. Arrange the remaining slices of fruit over the mixture before carefully sprinkling the granulated sugar evenly over the top.
  10. Bake int he oven for 45 to 50 minutes, until it starts to brown a tiny bit but is still a little springy.
  11. Leave to cool for 15 minutes before carefully turning it out of the tin, removing the paper and slicing into squares.
  12. Store the squares in an air tight box or wrap them individually in foil.

Makes 15 slices.