Saturday, 4 July 2015

Lavender Madeira Loaf




Flowers from 3 fresh (or dried) lavender sprigs
225g/8oz SR flour 
5ml/1tsp baking powder
Finely grated rind of 1 lemon
175g/6oz unsalted butter
175g/6oz caster sugar
3 medium eggs
15ml/1tbsp milk

For the icing
Flowers from 3 lavender sprigs
175g/6oz icing sugar
15ml/1tbsp lemon juice
10-15ml/2-3tsp water

1. Grease and line a 2lb loaf tin.  Preheat oven to 170'C.
2.  Sift together flour and baking powder.  Add the remaining cake ingredients and beat well, until smooth and creamy.
3.  Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes until firm and when tested with a skewer, is cooked in the centre.
4.  Allow to cool completely in the tin, remove before icing. 
5.  Mix together the icing ingredients and pour over the cake, allowing it to drizzle down the sides. (I don't usually measure my icing ingredients, but do it by eye.)

Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Rhubarb Crumble Ice Cream

Every year our rhubarb grows like a weed!  I make the usual desserts and jam with it and chop and freeze a lot of it for eating later.  I'm always on the look out for a new way to use the rhubarb and found this recipe, which I tweaked a little bit.  It makes approximately 2 litres of ice cream.  I found it a little sweet for my taste, but my menfolk declared it perfect!  This time I used plain white flour, but usually when making a crumble I use wholemeal flour as it adds a lovely nutty taste and that would work well in this ice cream too.
For the ice cream base
1kg fresh rhubarb, chopped into 2cm chunks
200g caster sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
700ml double cream
1 x 397g tin of condensed milk

For the crumble
200g plain flour
150g unsalted butter
150g light muscovado sugar
100g porridge oats
1 tsp ground cinnamon
a few drops of vanilla extract (optional)
1.  Place the chopped rhubarb in a saucepan with the caster sugar and cinnamon.  Add water to almost cover the fruit.  Bring to the boil and simmer until the rhubarb has completely softened.
2.  Strain the fruit through a sieve, reserving the liquid.  Set fruit to one side in a bowl and return the liquid to the saucepan.  Simmer until thick and syrupy.
3.  Pour the reduced liquid over the rhubarb and leave to cool.
4.  Preheat the oven to 140'C fan.
5.  Make the crumble by rubbing the butter into the flour.  You are aiming for fine breadcrumbs, but it doesn't matter if it is a little lumpy - mine was!
6.  Stir muscovado sugar, oats and cinnamon into the flour mixture.  Add vanilla if using.
7.  Spread out on a large baking tray and bake for approximately 20 minutes, stirring halfway though.   Remove from oven when crumble is golden brown.  Allow to cool.
8.  Whisk together the cream and condensed milk to the soft peaks stage.
9.  Into the cream, stir the rhubarb and 3/4 of the crumble mixture.
10.  Transfer into a freezable container(s) and sprinkle the remaining crumble mixture over the top.
11.  Freeze for 8 hours.  Remove from the freezer 5 to 10 minutes before eating to allow the ice cream to soften slightly.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Spicy Chickpea and Nut Roast

This recipe is a variation on my Festive Chestnut and Cranberry Loaf that I usually make at Christmas time.
2tbsp olive oil
1 medium white onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp cumin seeds
0.5 tsp ground cumin
0.5 - 1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
1 tsp ground smoked paprika
0.5 tsp dried thyme
100g frozen peas
200g mixed chopped nuts
240g tinned chickpeas, drained
1 carrot, grated
80g fresh white breadcrumbs
100g mature cheddar, grated
3 medium eggs, lightly beaten
100g goats cheese, soft or hard
seasoning

2 x 1lb loaf tins
Baking tray, lined
oil or butter for greasing plus greaseproof paper or silicon lining

1. Preheat oven to 190'C. Line and grease tins.

2. Heat the oil in a large frying pan and gently fry the onion, red pepper, garlic, cumin seeds, ground spices and dried thyme for a few minutes until softened.  Add frozen peas and stir until defrosted.  Set to one side.
3. In a large mixing bowl, stir together mixed nuts, drained chickpeas, breadcrumbs, grated carrot and grated cheddar.
4. Stir onion mixture into nut mixture and season well. Stir in the 3 beaten eggs.
5. Place half of the mixture equally into the base of lined tins and press down firmly with the back of a spoon.
6. Dot the mixture with pieces of goat's cheese, then cover with the remaining mixture, again pressing down firmly.
7. Place tins onto a baking tray and bake at 190'C for approximately 35 minutes, until lightly browned.
 8.  Remove from oven and loosen from paper with a palette knife.  Turn upside down onto baking tray and carefully remove paper from loaves.  Return to oven for 5 minutes, until golden brown.
9. Either serve immediately or cool and freeze in slices.  If freezing allow loaf to cool before cutting as it slices easily when cold.  To use from freezer, allow slices to defrost, then wrap loosely in foil and bake at 190'C for approximately 20 minutes.
 10.  I usually serve this hot with my spicy tomato sauce, but it would also be good thinly sliced and served cold for a picnic with a chutney.

Spicy Tomato Sauce

 2 tbsp olive oil
1 white onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
200g can chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato puree
1 tbsp light muscovado sugar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce (I use a vegetarian variety)
a few drops of chilli sauce (Tabasco or other)
2 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp mustard, smooth or wholegrain
salt and ground black pepper

1. Heat oil in a saucepan and fry onion and garlic over a medium heat until softened.
2. Stir in chopped tomatoes.
3.  Add remaining ingredients.
4. Simmer gently for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. 
 5.  The mixture can be blended if a smooth sauce is required or served as it is.
6.  Can be eaten hot or cold.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Chickpea and Lentil Burgers

1 400g tin of chickpeas, drained
1 390g tin of green lentils, drained
100g fresh breadcrumbs
6 spring onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbsp peanut butter
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp ground cumin
0.5 tsp cayenne pepper
salt and black pepper
75g mature Cheddar, grated
100g Stilton, crumbled
1 large egg, beaten
plain flour to dust

There are two ways of making these burgers.

If you like your burgers to have a smooth texture:-
1.  Place chickpeas and lentils in a food processor and chop with metal blade.
2.  Add chunks of bread and whizz into breadcrumbs.
3.  Add spring onions, garlic, peanut butter (smooth or crunchy), parsley, cumin, cayenne, salt and black pepper and process until smooth.
4.  Transfer ingredients into a large bowl and mix in both cheeses.
5.  Add egg and stir to form a dough.  You will need to use floured hands towards the end of mixing.

If you like your burgers to have a chunky texture chop each ingredient separately in the processor and combine them in a large bowl.
 6.  Dust your hands and a board with flour and form mixture into burgers.  This recipe makes approximately 11/12 burgers, depending on the size you prefer.
 7.  Place them on a floured tray and dust with more flour.
8.  Cover with clingfilm and refrigerate until firm.  (I made mine in the afternoon and we ate them in the evening.)
 9.  Cook until golden on both sides and hot throughout.  My husband cooked some of them on the BBQ and I cooked the remainder in the oven the next evening at 190'C for approximately 20 minutes.
This recipe could easily be adapted by changing the herbs and spices and/or replacing the Stilton with another cheese.  Another time I might try one of the following options:-
Feta and cooked red onions with thyme,
 Goat's cheese and cooked white onions with rosemary,
Mozzarella and sun-dried tomatoes with basil.
They could be spiced up with chillis or a curry powder.
Basically anything that you have in the kitchen.  I mostly make it up as I go along! :)

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Cheese and Herb Crackers

175g/6oz plain flour
0.75 tsp salt
0.75 tsp English mustard powder
75g/3oz unsalted cold butter, cubed
fresh herbs of your choice, chopped finely
17g/6oz mature Cheddar, grated
2 large eggs, beaten
mixed seeds or smoked paprika - optional for sprinkling

1.  Preheat oven to 170'C fan.  Grease or line two baking trays.
2.  Sieve together flour, salt and mustard powder in a large bowl.
3.  Rub in butter until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs.
4.  Add herbs and cheese.  I used 6 sage leaves and a small bunch of chives from my patio pots.
5.  Add enough of the eggs to form a soft dough.  I used approximately 1.5 of the eggs.
6.  Shape dough into a flattened round and wrap in clingfilm.  Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes.
7.  Remove dough from fridge and allow it to rest for a few minutes to soften slightly.
8.  Roll out on a lightly floured board to a thickness of approximately 3mm.
9.  Using a 5cm round biscuit cutter, cut out crackers and place on baking tray.
10.  Brush with remainder of egg and decorate if desired.  I put seeds on half of mine.
 11.  Bake for approximately 12 minutes, turning trays halfway through cooking, until golden and crisp.
 12.  Cool on wire racks.
Makes approximately 50 crackers.
 Great served with yet more cheese or as beer/wine snacks!

Thursday, 27 February 2014

Gluten-free Chocolate and Almond Muffins

I borrowed this book "Primrose Bakery Celebrations" from our local library and this is the first recipe I have tried from it.  If the rest are as delicious I will be buying this book!  I have slightly tweaked the instructions, but the ingredients are the same.
In the book the muffins are decorated with butter icing, but we have enjoyed them without it.


Makes 12 muffins

125g unsalted butter
125g dark chocolate (I used Dr O, as it claims to be gluten-free)
4 large eggs, separated
125g golden caster sugar (I used ordinary caster sugar)
125g ground almonds

1.  Preheat oven to 160'C fan.  Line a muffin tray with 12 paper cases.
2.  Melt together chocolate and butter.  I did this in my microwave on the medium setting, at 30 second bursts, stirring each time.  Set aside to cool slightly.
3.  In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks and sugar until light and fluffy.  I used my hand held electric whisk.
4.  Fold in ground almonds with a metal spoon.
5.  In a separate bowl (or processor) whisk egg whites until at soft peak stage.
6.  Fold cooled chocolate mixture into almond mixture.
7.  Gently fold in whisked egg whites, again with a metal spoon.
8.  Divide evenly between paper cases and bake for approximately 20-22 minutes.  Test with a skewer.
9.  Allow to cool in tin for 10 minutes, then remove to wire rack.  Can be decorated once completely cool.