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

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.