Sunday, 26 February 2017

Coconut Chicken Noodle Soup

This is a good dish to make to use up leftover chicken after a roast. This is especially true if you use the bones from a roast to make your own chicken stock for this.

Ingredients:

  1. 1.5 litre chicken stock
  2. 6 tbsp coconut milk powder
  3. 1 tsp fish sauce
  4. 4 tbsp lime juice
  5. 2 tsp ground ginger
  6. 2 tsp ground coriander
  7. 1 tsp dried chilli flakes
  8. 2 tsp sugar
  9. 150g mushroom duxelles, or cook one by frying the following until they start to brown:
    • 1 onion, finely chopped
    • 200g mushroom, finely chopped
    • 1 tsp dried tarragon
  10. 400g cooked chicken, cut into bite sized pieces
  11. 30g fresh rocket
  12. 3 or 4 blocks of rice vermicelli noodles

Method:

  1. Put everything other than the chicken, rocket and vermicelli into a saucepan and bring to a rolling boil.
  2. Stir well until everything is dissolved.
  3. Place a bit of rocket in your serving bowls and a block of vermicelli on top of it.
  4. Add the chicken and let it heat through. You can tell this by when the soup starts to boil again.
  5. Ladle the soup and chicken into the bowls.
  6. Wait for 3 minutes for the noodles to cook in the soup before serving.

Serves 3 to 4.

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Ginger Semifreddo

This only requires 3 ingredients, but gives a great looking dessert than you can easily make ahead of time.

Ingredients:

  • 300ml double cream
  • 225g jar of diced stem ginger, drained but keep the liquid
  • 285g Maderia cake, sliced into 4 thick slices

Method:

  1. Line a 1 lb loaf tin with cling film.
  2. Whip the double cream until it forms soft peaks.
  3. Stir in the drained diced ginger into the cream and mix well.
  4. Place a slice of Maderia cake in the bottom of use a third of one of the other slices to fill in the gaps.
  5. Drizzle half of the ginger liquid over the Maderia cake in the loaf tin.
  6. Spread half the whipped cream over the cake.
  7. Add another slice of cake and fill in the gaps with another third of another slice.
  8. Drizzle the remaining liquid over this latest layer.
  9. Spread the remaining cream over the slices.
  10. Top with the remaining pieces of cake.
  11. Fold over the trailing edges of cling film and place in the freezer for at least four hours.
  12. Remove from the freezer half an hour before you want to serve it.
  13. Slice into half inch slices and serve.

Serves 8.

Friday, 24 February 2017

Salmon Mouse Vol-au-vent

This recipe requires a 0.5 litre whipping siphon, but gives a light and fluffy mousse.

Ingredients:

  • a 500g block of puff pastry
  • 1 egg, beaten in a cup
  • 120g smoked salmon slices
  • 150ml fish stock
  • 150ml double cream
  • 1 tbsp white wine
  • freshly chopped chives

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees (or 180 degrees for a fan oven). Line a couple of baking trays with baking parchment.
  2. Roll out the block of puff pastry to about a few mm thick.
  3. Use a pastry cutter to cut out 40 large circles. Use a smaller pastry cutter to cut out a smaller circle from half of the circles.
  4. Put the whole circles on the baking parchments and brush with the beaten egg.
  5. Place the rings of puff pastry on top of each of the disks and brush the exposed pastry of the rings with beaten egg.
  6. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes and then leave to fully cool.
  7. Meanwhile, blend the smoked salmon and fish stock in a blender until a smooth paste.
  8. Strain the stock and salmon with a fine mesh and then pour into the whipping siphon.
  9. Add the cream and white wine to the salmon mixture in the siphon and screw the lid on.
  10. Charge with a single gas charge of nitrous oxide, shake well and chill in the fridge for at least two hours.
  11. When you're ready to serve, put the pasty cases on plates and fill with the mousse from the siphon.
  12. Garnish with the chopped chives and serve immediately.

Makes about 20 vol-au-vent.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Penguin Canapés

These are fun little canapés that are great for parties with small children.

Ingredients:

  • 50 pitted black olives, about 160g (or 350g in liquid)
  • 2 large carrots, peeled
  • 50g cream cheese
  • 25 cocktail sticks

Method:

  1. Cut a small wedge out of the front of half of the olives.
  2. Slice the carrot into 25 slices about 3mm thick. Cut a narrow wedge (for the beak) out of each slice.
  3. Fill the olives that have had the wedge cut out with cream cheese. Use a paper towel to wipe off any cheese that gets on the outside of the olive.
  4. Put one of the beak wedges of carrots in the end of an olive and put the olive on to a cocktail stick.
  5. Add one of the cheese filled olives and then finally a slice of carrots for the feet.
  6. Chill in a fridge until they are ready to serve to stop the cheese melting out of the belly.

Makes 25 canapés.

Wednesday, 22 February 2017

Chicken Satay

This is a simple canapé that requires very little preparation so means you can spend more time with your guests at the party.

Ingredients:

  • 500g chicken mini fillets
  • 4 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
  • 4 tbsp dark soy sauce
  • 150ml coconut milk
  • 8 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
  • fresh coriander leaves for garnish

Method:

  1. Put the fillets in a bowl with the chilli sauce and soy sauce. Mix well and refrigerate at least overnight.
  2. Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees (180 degrees for a fan oven).
  3. Mix the coconut milk and peanut butter in a bowl until it's a smooth paste. If it's a little too thick then add a little bit of water.
  4. Thread the chicken strips onto skewers and place on a baking tray.
  5. Put the baking tray in the oven and bake for 12 minutes.
  6. Transfer the skewers into a plate with the bowl of peanut sauce.
  7. Garnish with the coriander leaves and serve.

Makes 13 or 14 skewers.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Mushroom Stuffed Boneless Chicken

This is a recipe that I got from my grandmother who learnt it on a cordon bleu cookery course.

Ingredients:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 6 cloves of garlic, finely sliced
  • 500g mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 1 pot of chicken stock gel
  • 3 tbsp of dried tarragon
  • 1 whole chicken, about 1.2kg
  • 3 slices of prosciutto
  • 2 tbsp olive oil

Method:

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees.
  2. Fry the onion in the 1 tbsp of olive oil in a saucepan until soft.
  3. Add the garlic, mushrooms, chicken stock and tarragon into the sauce pan.
  4. Put a lid on the pan and cook over a low heat until it develops a good colour: about 30 minutes.
  5. While the stuffing cooks, remove all the bones from the chicken apart from the last gone of the wing and the last bone in the leg. There are many guides available.
  6. Taste the mushroom filling and season with pepper and salt as necessary. Remove the lid and let any liquid from the mushrooms evaporate.
  7. Spread out the deboned chicken and line the inside with the slices of prosciutto.
  8. Put the mushroom filling onto the prosciutto: depending on the size of the chicken you probably won't need all of it.
  9. Pull the edges of the skin together over the filling and place in a roasting tin, seem side down.
  10. Rub some olive oil over the skin of the chicken and season with freshly ground black pepper and salt.
  11. Roast in the oven for one hour and ten minutes.
  12. Let the chicken rest for twenty minutes before slicing and serving.

Serves 4.

Monday, 20 February 2017

Apple Poached Pears

These poached pears go nicely with a cream heavy dessert, such as semifreddo or pavlova.

Ingredients:

  • 2 pears, peeled, cut in half and cores removed
  • 150ml apple juice

Method:

  1. Place the pears cut side down in a small saucepan and cover with apple juice.
  2. Put a lid on the pan and bring to a simmer.
  3. Simmer for 20 minutes before removing from the heat.
  4. Leave the pears in the poaching liquid until you are ready to serve them.

Makes 4 poached pear halves.

Burnt Butter Microwave Siphon Cake

This is probably one of the most technological recipes that I've written up so far. The only unusual equipment it only requires is a microwave and a gas siphon, but I think it's a worthwhile trade-off for near instant cake.

Ingredients:

  1. 65g butter
  2. 3 eggs
  3. 30g caster sugar
  4. 4g salt
  5. 35ml milk
  6. 105g flour

Method:

  1. Put the butter in a small saucepan and melt over a low heat.
  2. Simmer the butter for 5 minutes, stirring frequently. This will cook the proteins a bit, giving them a nutty flavour.
  3. Allow the butter to cool.
  4. Mix the other ingredients in a bowl with a whisk and then add the butter.
  5. Whisk well and then pour into a 0.5 litre whipping siphon.
  6. Charge the whipping siphon with once charge of nitrous oxide and shake well.
  7. Chill the whipping siphon in a fridge.
  8. When ready to serve, put three holes in the bottom of a plastic or paper cup with the sharp point of a knife.
  9. Fill the cup one third full with batter from the whipping siphon.
  10. Microwave for 40 seconds.
  11. Remove from the microwave. Count to ten and then turn the cups upside down over a plate to remove the cake.
  12. Enjoy with a fruit coulis or on its own.

Makes 20 cups worth of cake (which is a phrase I never knew that I'd ever write).

Sunday, 19 February 2017

Pan Fried Breaded Brie

The inside of these pieces of brie is wonderfully melted, but the double breading helps prevent any leakage while frying.

Ingredients

  • 160g wedge of brie, cut into 6 roughly square pieces
  • 4 tbsp plain flour
  • 1 egg, beaten in a wide bowl
  • 125g breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp sunflower oil
  • 40g fresh rocket
  • 2 tbsp cranberry sauce

Method:

  1. Put the flour in a wide bowl and the breadcrumbs in a different bowl.
  2. Decide on which one of your hands will be 'wet' and which will be dry.
  3. Roll a piece of brie in the flour with your dry hand. Shake off any excess.
  4. Place the brie into the egg mixture using your dry hand (but don't touch the egg mix with it).
  5. Roll the brie around with your wet hand until it's fully coated in egg.
  6. Drop the liquid egg into the breadcrumbs with your wet hand.
  7. Use your dry hand to scoop breadcrumbs over the brie so that all the egg is covered before rolling it.
  8. Transfer back to the flour with your dry hand and give it another coat of flour, egg and then breadcrumbs.
  9. Place on a plate and repeat for the other pieces of brie.
  10. Chill the brie in a fridge for at least a couple of hours.
  11. Heat the sunflower oil in a frying pan on a high heat.
  12. Fry the breaded cubes, giving each side about 30 seconds to crisp up the breadcrumbs.
  13. Serve immediately with rocket and cranberry sauce.

Serves 2.

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.