Monday, November 20, 2006

Pear Tarte Tatin

I made this for the inlaws on Saturday night... It was fantastic. You will need a dish you can move from hob to oven. I have a le creuset tatin 10" dish...
Sweet shortcrust pastry
200g (7oz) plain flour
Pinch salt
125g (4 1/2oz) butter
50g (2oz) caster sugar
1 egg yolk
Tablespoon cold water
3 large pears
about 2oz Butter
3 heaped tbsp soft brown sugar

Make the pastry by sifting the flour and salt into a bowl. Add the butter, cut into small pieces and rub in with fingertips til it resembles breadcrumbs. Add the sugar, mix in and add the egg yolk and enough cold water to make a stiff dough.
Melt the butter in the bottom of the pan and add the sugar. Heat gently and allow the sugar to melt. Peel, core and cut the pears into quarters and lay across the bottom of the pan and sprinkle the cinnamon over. The pears don't need to cook at this point as they are soft enough to cook in the oven, and you don't want them too mushy. Roll the pastry out into a circle that is slightly bigger than the pan, to cover the pears. Lay it over the top and allow the edges to turn up the side of the pan. Be careful, the pan will still be hot. Put into a hot oven 200°C/390°F/gas 6 for about half an hour, or until the pastry is golden. Serve warm with crean or ice cream. Even better the next day for breakfast ;-)

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Lamb Pilaf type thing

I made this up to use up the last of a shoulder of lamb we had at the weekend. Its kind of a pilaf thing - but in no way authentic - it is just quick, easy and tastes quite good!

Some shredded lamb left over from a roast
1 Pomegranate
1/2 handful chopped mint
1 handful chopped spinach
1 lemon
brown basmati rice
vegetable stock

Put the rice to cook following packer instructions, cooking in vegetable stock reather than plain water.

Warm the lamb up in a saucepan with 1 crushed clove of garlic. if it is a bit fatty, fry it off so it is crispy...
get the seeds out of the pomegrante by cutting it in half and hitting the skin with a wooden spoon.
When the rice is ready, drain, and rinse. Put back in the saucepan and stir in the lamb, pomegranate seeds, spinach and mint and the juice of the lemon. Add a little black pepper.

Serve in bowls bowls with a little chopped mint on top.

Red Velvet Cupcakes

I made these yesterday for friends coming round. I decorated the icing with Chocolate chips. I now have some amercian cup measurers so I don't have to convert the recipes any more. This recipe does seem to use the maximum bowls and untensils possible but is very nice. Apprently you can get the red colour from beetroot powder - so I will get some of that next time, as I don't like using too much food colouring. I was inspired to try them after tasting Red Velvet Cake at the magnolia Bakery in NYC last year. They told me the colour was a reaction from the cider vinegar though - Fibbers! I got the recipe from

makes 36 cupcakes / 350 degree oven
3-3/4 cups cake flour

1/4 cups cocoa
1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder or 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
3 teaspoons cider vinegar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla essance
2 teaspoons red food colouring
2-1/4 cups sugar
3/4 cups butter
3 eggs
preheat oven to 350°F
sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder (or cream of tarter), and salt into medium bowl
whisk buttermilk, vinegar, vanilla, and food colouring in small bowl to blend
beat sugar and butter in large bowl until well fluffy, 3 minutes
add eggs 1 at a time, beating until well blended after each addition, about 30 seconds
beat in dry ingredients in 4 additions alternately with buttermilk mixture in 3 additions
scoop into cupcake tins
bake cupcakes until tester inserted into center comes out clean, about 20 minutes
cool in pans 10 minutes
cool completely on racks

Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting
12 ounces or 1-1/2 packages of Philly cream cheese

1/2 stick butter
3 cups sifted icing sugar
seeds of 1/2 vanilla bean
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
bring cheese and butter to room temperature by letting it sit out for 1 or 2 hours
sift powdered sugar into a bowl or onto parchment
beat butter and cheese at medium speed until creamy
add 4 cups of the sugar and beat until combined
add vanillas and beat until combined
add more sugar until you get to the consistency and sweetness you like

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Easy Bolognese

Stock pot on hob. Fry 1 Onion until soft. in same pot fry up one cut up rasher of bacon per two people until crispy. Brown mince in sauce pan. Add a little red wine until mostly burnt off. add chopped rosemary, passata, black pepper. put a lid on and simmer for as long as you can, min 30mins.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Paprika Pork

This is a great easy meal, that makes a change from the all the ragu sauce variations...
Serves 2
1 onion chopped
1 red pepper
300g diced pork or pork fillet, in medallions
1/2 carton passata
2 tsp ground paprika
sour cream
egg pasta ( papperelle is best)

1. Fry the onion in a little olive oil until soft and golden
2. brown the pork in the same saucepan, until its cooked through.
3. In the same saucepan add the pepper, cut in to rough diamond shapes
4. When the pepper has soften a little, pour in the passata, stirring in with the other ingredients, then stir in the paprika and black pepper to taste.
5. Add a lid to the saucpan, then simmer on a very low heat for 20 mins
6. Cook the pasta ( about 5-7 mins)
7. Serve the pasta under the sauce in bowls, with a dollop of sour cream on top.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Pasta with Smoked trout and sour cream

This is a great mid week meal - very quick and healthy, especially for kids as the trout is high in omega 3.... The measurements don't need to be that accurate, just what looks right...

serves 3-4

300g egg tagliatelle or papperelle
a small packet of smoked trout or smoked salmon ( lidl's is good quality and good value)
3-4 florets broccoli or purple sprouting per person
1/2 a packet of watercress, rocket and spinach salad
100ml sour cream
15mls vodka ( optional)
1 lemon
1/2 a packet fresh dill

1. Cook the pasta according to packet instructions, and start to cook or steam the broccoli for 7 minutes
2. cut up the trout and salad roughly
3.chop the dill finely
When the pasta is ready, drain, saving a little of the cooking water. put the pasta back in the saucepan with the broccoli, dill, chopped salad and trout. Stir in the juice of the lemon and the sour cream and heat gently. Season well with black pepper ( it should be salty enough from the fish). Add the vodka if desired and stir in. The vodka is not appropiate if this is cooked for children as unlike a lot of recipes it won't have a chance to burn off. You could however take out the childen's portions before you add it.

serve with a litle chopped dill sprinkled on top.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Apple Caramel Sponge

I had some cooking apples to use up and couldn’t face another crumble…
You will need
A 10 inch flan dish or tatin dish. I use a le creuset tatin dish
1 large cooking apple or 2 medium size
½ jar dulce de leche or condensed milk caramel
2 large eggs
4oz (125g) self raising flour
4oz (125g) sugar and a little extra for stewing the apples
4oz (125g) butter
Vanilla extract
1. Peel, core and cut up in to chunks the apples and stew in a saucepan on a low heat with sugar to taste until they are soften but still holding their shape.
2. While the apple is stewing, make up the sponge mixture with the eggs, flour, sugar and butter, mixing them together until a smooth mixture is formed.
3. Grease the flan dish.
4. Spread the apple chunks over the bottom of the dish evenly. Don’t worry if there are gaps.
5. In the gaps, pur spoonfuls of the caramel or dulce de leche, so there is some in every slice
6. Pour the sponge mixture over the top evenly.
7. Bake in the over at 180C for 15-20 minutes until the the top is golden and the sponge is cooked all the way through ( check with a skewer, it should come out clean).
8. Serve with ice-cream or cream…

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Yoghurt Cake

This is a fanastic cake to make with a toddler - it has no butter or marg, so you can pretend its healthy too!
One 125g pot of yoghurt, either plain or flavoured
Two eggs
One pot of sugar
Three pots of sef raising flour
3/4 pot of vegetable oil
A few drops of vanilla essence (optional)

2 table spoons cocoa (optional - if you want chocolate cake)
Preheat the oven to 180 celcius, and then grease a tin or some fairy cake tins for the mixture.
Pour the yoghurt into a large bowl and then wash out the yoghurt pot. Measure out a pot of sugar.
Fill 3/4 the pot with oil and add this to the bowl.
Add the pot of sugar, flour, cocoa,eggs and the baking powder. Mix it all up.
Now pour the mix into the container(s) of your choice and bake in the oven for about 10-15 minutes or until a light golden brown