Wednesday, 30 March 2011

14. Smoked Haddock Kedgeree


Having been on the 'must-try' list for some time, there was no excuse to put kedgeree off any longer given my ease of access to great fish. Having looked at a couple of recipes we went for this one from BBC Good Food while adding the crispy onions on top from another recipe.

As suggested in the comments on this recipe i made a couple of tweaks; less salt, slightly more spices, add in peas, use the fish poaching water in the stock and serve with a side of spinach, if desired! Although the preparation can be a little bit time and pan consuming, once the haddock, crispy onion and spinach is ready it's quite a simple almost one-pot dish (see below). I have also been assured by a kedgeree connoisseur that it's pretty damn tasty!



N.B I have been informed by a few readers that i get so excited by wanting to get on with things that i often say how i 'can't wait to do this/that'. Reading back i think that 'often' is an understatement! Must try to refrain in future!

Monday, 28 March 2011

Cake


I got some really lovely things for my birthday (including some new cookbooks!) but one of the loveliest things to get is a homemade gift. Alongside some delicious lemon curd from my mum, there were a few cakes to get stuck into over the weekend!


Alongside a deliciously big and indulgent chocolate cake and Pin's brilliant (and secret!) multicoloured cake, i had some really tasty carrot cake muffin's from my friend Sam. Moist, light and surprisingly healthy feeling balanced off with the very naughty icing, i had to get the recipe and can't wait to try it myself! I've left it as written by Sam as i think it gives it a certain...quality.


Carrot Muffins

Dry stuff
280g Plain flour
110-140g Granulated white sugar (or soft brown)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarb of soda
½ tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon

Wet stuff
1 Egg
60-90ml milk or water
2 tblsp Honey
340g Carrot (finely grated or processed)
1 tsp vanilla essence
90ml Vegetable oil (or 85g melted butter)

60-85g walnuts or raisins (this is optional, personally I wouldn’t bother, there are enough ingredients in this thing already)

Preheat oven to 190/200˚C

Sift together all the dry stuff in a bowl.

In a separate bowl, beat egg with fork, gradually add the rest of the ingredients to this, keeping the order listed so the oil/butter is last

Chuck all the wet stuff into the dry stuff, stir only enough so it mixes in, add the nuts and raisins in if you’re using them when its nearly all mixed in.

At this point it will look lumpy and gross; that’s fine it’s supposed to. Spoon it into your tins or cases or whatever.

This makes enough for 10-12 big muffins, and the cooking time will be 20-25 mins.

(Icing – 60g Cream cheese, 110g Icing sugar and some vanilla essence)

Enjoy!

Friday, 25 March 2011

Salthouse


Last night i went to have a wee birthday celebration meal at one of my favourite destinations in Ipswich - The Salthouse Harbour Hotel.  A rather lovely bottle of Rioja was chosen to accompany the complimentary bread and olive oil they brought out, both very nice.


I normally have quite a conundrum when it comes to chosing just one starter and main off a menu, but it was actually quite easy for me this time. There were lots of amazing things to choose from but it had to be the squid for me- served on a tomato, coriander and chorizo cous cous, it was delicous. Despite being hot it was so fresh and light, a perfect starter. The similarly delicous salt beef with Suffolk Mud mustard and a soft boiled egg was the other choice for the table.



The mains of choice were: perfectly cooked venison steak with wonderfully soft and seasoned dauphinoise potatoes and a great selection of veg to match,  and salmon fillet on a crab and coriander linguine- deep flavour in the linguine with the salmon maintaining a fresh flavour. I sometimes find that salmon can become very heavy and greasy, so it was lovely to try some that was beautifully cooked.



The desserts were very hard to choose from though, there were at least five things that i wanted to eat. Luckily, the last thing on the list was a 'selection of nano desserts'. A quick enquiry later and puds were sorted. Hot chocolate fondant with white chocolate and hazelnut ice cream and the selection of nano desserts, both to share. From left to right the (not-so) nano puds were; sticky toffee pudding, lemon posset, brownie, blood orange jelly, vanilla ice cream and vanilla pannacotta. What i really enjoyed about having such a range of puds to eat was that with each mouthful of something different, the flavour really contrasted against the previous and made you appreciate exactly what it was you were eating. Plus, they were all bloody marvellous.



Despite getting towards full, a cheese board had to at least be considered...and the consideration quickly turned into definite choice! I went for the Appleby's Chesire, Ardrahan and Innes Log. Quite a good selection actually with one hard, one soft and one goat and all being very palatable! In particular, the Innes Log was heavenly- so soft and smooth with a lovely goaty tang while being delicately flavoured. Must buy some very soon! And just to top it off, the cheeses were served with slices of fantastic sour cherry and walnut bread.


Having seen off the Rioja, a little something extra was needed before finishing the meal. The cheese came with a glass of port and i went for a cheeky little glass of champagne as a refreshing and special end to a very special meal. Hopefully it won't be too long until i'm back at the Salthouse...i'd book again for tomorrow night if i could!

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Orwell


Today has been quite laid back and very enjoyable, mostly spent with a very good friend in very good weather. We went to the Food Hall so i could introduce her to the place (another keen foodie, it was an absolute must) and to grab some lunch. The views around the place are lovely, especially with the weather as it has been today, and i'd love to investigate the surrounding area to see what i could find. Apparently there's a church somewhere nearby from which you can see down over the Food Hall to the river. I must find a nice sunny day to take my camera and go walkabout.

Anyway, we had a pot of tea and scone each, which were absoutely delicious. The scones are freshly baked each day in the bakery and served with a good dollop of clotted cream and Tiptree strawberry jam. I probably could have eaten two if i wasn't going out for a meal tonight.



Monday, 21 March 2011

13. Caramel Shortbread


Shortbread:
115g butter
175g plain flour
55g caster sugar
Pinch of salt

Toppings:
175g butter
115g caster sugar
3tbsp golden syrup
400ml can condensed milk
100g plain chocolate
100g milk chocolate
50g white chocolate

Preheat overn to 180C and grease and line a 9x9 inch tin, or similar. Place the butter, sugar and flour in a bowl and rub together until the dough breadcrumbs and then comes together. Press the mixture in the prepared tin and even off the top. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and set aside when done.

Meanwhile, place the butter, sugar, syrup and condensed milk in a saucepan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves. Gently bring to a boil and then simmer for 6-8 minutes, stirring constantly, or until a thick caramelly colour has been reached. Pour over the base (this can be done while the base is warm) and make sure it's fully spread out before chilling in the fridge.

When the caramel is completely cooled, melt the milk and plain chocolate together in a bain-marie until smooth. Remove from the heat and repeat the process in a seperate bowl with the white chocolate. Pour the milk/plain chocolate mix over the caramel and smooth over. Then drizzle the white chocolate over the top. If you want a 'swirly' finish drag a toothpick or skewer through the chocolates to create patterns, otherwise just leave in drizzled lines. Leave to cool completely before cutting up into desired portions!

The basic parts of this recipe comes from Cookies and Bars written by Linda Doeser and is another volume in the 'Love Food' range. It's a pretty sound basic recipe for the caramel and shortbread and i just made a few tweaks, starting with adding some salt into the shortbread mixture just to give a bite of savoury against the huge amounts of sweet! Secondly, i altered the topping to a half and half mixture of milk and plain chocolate just because i don't like too much bitterness on top while not going too far the other way. I also like to finish with the marbled white as it gives it a slightly more pleasing look, but that's just aesthetics!

Overall, it's a straight forward and easy recipe but it's worth considering the ratios of the finished article- as can be seen, the caramel accounts for about half of the bar with the shortbread coming in second and the chocolate trailing behind in a sad third. I quite like the amounts, as did everyone who tried some, but if you prefer more shortbread or chocolate then it might be an idea to tweak the amounts for each layer!

Saturday, 19 March 2011

12. Crumpet


I got this recipe from Delia Online as it looked pretty simple and straight forward, which it was! It's quite simply a combination of flour, milk, water, yeast, sugar and salt with a bit of time for proving (ideal for getting on with some housework!) and then cooked in a few minutes on the hob.


The recipe calls for egg/crumpet rings to portion the batter into in the pan, but we didn't have any of these so made do with my mini egg frying pan! It worked well enough, although i couldn't get a flat and even crumpet finish as they would have either been huge or quite thin, so the edges petered out a bit. I'd say they turned out pretty good for a first attempt and considering that i didn't feel the dough had proved as much as it should (possible that the yeast was too old or the milk/water combination too hot to start with).

Quite scrumptious!

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

11. Chicken and chorizo jambalaya



2 chicken breasts, chopped
1 onion, diced
1 red pepper, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
75g chorizo, sliced
1 tbsp cajun seasoning
250g long grained rice
400g can plum tomatoes
325ml chicken stock

Heat a frying pan and cook off the chorizo until its oil has been let out then set aside. Cook the chicken for 5-8 minutes in the chorizo oil and then set aside with the chorizo. Fry off the onion for 3-4 minutes until soft then add the pepper, garlic and cajun seasoning. Stir the chicken and chorizo back in, with the rice, and the tomatoes and stock. Cover and simmer for 20-25 minutes or until the rice is tender.

Another quite quick and relatively simple recipe perfect for a busy evening in this winter/spring chilly time. I did alter the original from the Good Food magazine slightly to reduce the oil used seeing as the chorizo produces plenty of its own.

And for after dinner, a nice little surprise to come home to was a Graze box, complete with honeycomb flapjack. Delicious!

Saturday, 12 March 2011

Fennel


I got some delicious looking chorizo and fennel stuffed pork belly from work, and delicious it was! I slow cooked it in a low oven for about 2 hours to make the meat tender and cook off most of the fat. Served with some creamy mash and fresh beans, it was quite a lovey dinner...i'd love to try getting an un-cut roll and cooking it whole, then slicing bits off that to serve, if it would be possible. One to consider!


As a bit of pud i used up some hot cross buns and spelt bread by trying the 'spiced french toast' from April's edition of Good Food magazine. For two hot cross buns mix 1 tablespoon of butter with half a teaspoon of cinnamon. Beat together an egg, 50ml of milk and another teaspoon of cinnamon. Half the hot cross buns and spread the cinnamon-butter in the middle of each. Dip the buns in the egg mix and leave to soak appropriately for how eggy you like the bread! Heat a bit of butter in a frying pan and cook the hot cross buns for 1-2 minutes each side or until lightly golden.

Mine weren't exactly the neatest looking, but were still warming and yummy. Especially served with a drizzle (drenching) of maple syrup!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

10. Chorizo and Potato Quesdillas


350g potato
Half an onion, finely chopped
1 chopped clove of garlic
200g chorizo, chopped
Thyme
Salt and pepper
4 large flour/corn tortillas
400g grated cheese
Olive oil


Finely chop the onion and garlic and then dice the potato and chorizo into roughly 1cm cubes. Heat some oil in a pan and then gently fry off the potato for about 5 minutes, until just soft, then set aside in a bowl. In the same pan fry off the onions for a few minutes then add the garlic, chorizo and potato and fry for a further 5 minutes, or until the chorizo is done to your liking! Mix in the thyme and season, then empty into a bowl.

Wipe out the pan, or get a clean one, and place a tortilla in it. Spoon a quarter of the potato and chorizo mix onto the tortilla and spread out evenly across half. Top with cheese and fold into a half-moon shape. Put the pan on the heat and gently 'cook' until the tortilla is browned, then flip over and cook the other side. Repeat three more times until all the mixture and tortillas have been used!


There were two recipes that i wanted to cook from Thomasina Miers 'Mexican Food Made Simple' during my 52 recipe challenge, and it just so happens that they've fallen quite close to each other!

Overall, lots of chopping aside, this recipe is very straight forward and quite quick. One thing i would like to try in future versions is baking the potato in the oven. I found that with frying the potato in the oil and mixing that with very oily chorizo gave quite a greasy/heavy result. I'm imagining fully cooked potato from the oven being combined with the drained chorizo and onion mix just before it goes in the tortillas, and i think the result would be a bit fresher and lighter.

I served the quesadillas with some salad and soured cream- nice and fresh alongside the hot, spicy quesadillas.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Pancake


I have, of course, indulged in the yearly ritual of pancakes. Every year i find myself saying that pancakes should be cooked more often and then Shrove Tuesday suddenly comes around again and there hasn't been a bowl of batter in sight.

My absolute favourite topping has to be sugar and lemon, closely followed by a slug of maple syrup; delicious. Pin agrees with lemon and sugar being the no.1 topping but chooses butter and sugar as her second...not so sure about that one!

At work, we had a pancake themed display area with these recipe sheets printed out for people to take home. I thought i'd scan it in and present as is rather than copying it out, there's something a bit nicer about it. It did scan a bit short along some of the sides but it's still readable, which is a good job as it's a very nice recipe!