Friday, February 16, 2007

Rhubarb Meringue Puddings

This is a good midweek pudding, which could be made with most fruit.
Serves 2

230-55g/1-2oz sugar
4 sticks rhubarb, diced
1 orange
2 tbsp icing sugar
2 egg whites

1. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/Gas 7.2. Gently heat the rhubarb and sugar in a pan with the juice of half the orange and the zest of the whole orange until the mixture is soft and starting to go syrupy. Taste and sweeten more as necessary.
2. Pour the stewed rhubarb into two ovenproof ramkins.
3. Place the egg whites and icing sugar into a large clean bowl and whisk together to form soft peaks.
4. Spoon the meringue on top of the rhubarb and then bake in the oven for 3-4 minutes, or until golden brown.
5. Serve.

Chicken in Saffron sauce - Gallina en Pepitoria

This recipe is from "The complete spanish cookbook" by Jacki Passmore. It is good to cook for 4-8 people, and could be served with rice.

to serve 4:

1.5kg chicken
salt and pepper
90g plain flour
90ml olive oil
2 large onions
4 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
250ml dry white wine
450ml chicken stock
80g ground almonds
10 threads saffron
chopped parsley

1. Cut chicken into serving portions ( or get your butcher to), season with salt and pepper and coat lightly with flour.
2. Fry in the oil for about 10 mins until well coloured, then remove and pour off most of the oil.
3. Fry the onions until golden and soft;add garlic and bay leaves and fry briefly.
4. Add wine, stock, ground almonds and chicken, cover and cook over low heat for about 20 mins, stirring occasionally to keep the sauce from sticking to the pan.
5. Wrap saffron in a small square of aluminum foil and tast for 2 mins in a dry pan.
6. Grind in a mortar then add 2-3 tablespoons boiling water, stir well and pour over the dish.
7. Cook a further 15 minutes
8. Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle with parsley.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Valentine's chocolate truffles

I made these today....I made the white ones with Grand Marnier, and the dark chocolate ones with calvados....

175g white/dark chocolate, broken into small pieces
65g unsalted butter
45 ml double cream
1 tsp liqueur of choice

1. Put the chocolate, butter and double cream in a bain marie or bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water, making sure that the base of the bowl does not touch the water . White chocolate will separate if it is melted over too high a heat. Stir until the ingredients are melted and the mix is smooth.
2. Remove from the heat, add the liqueur and mix well.
3. Refrigerate bowl for several hours until set firm.
4. Remove from the fridge and pull off small pieces and roll into balls. Once the truffle mix becomes too soft to work with place it back in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill and set again.
5. Once the truffles are formed then they are ready to have the coating applied. Put the icing sugar onto a plate and then gently roll each truffle in it, alternatively lightly dust the chocolate truffles with sieved icing sugar.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Mango, raspberry and orange smoothie

I got a free bag of frozen mango chunks with a supermarket promotion. I wouldn't usually buy them, but they proved ideal for smoothies, as they cool the drink down without having to use extra ice. The smoothie is a really pretty sunset orange colour

1 bag of frozen mango chunks
1 orange ( I used a blood orange)
1 handful of raspberries

Peel the orange and blitz in a blender with the other ingredients until smooth. Enjoy!

The Best Brownies

These are the best brownies. They are so easy, and have just the right chewy consistancy...

150g Butter, Chopped
125 Dark chocolate, broken in to small pieces
3 eggs
375g sugar
1 tea spoon vanilla essence
125g plain flour
30g cocoa powder

1. Preheat the oven to 180C. Grease a 20cm square tin with oil, then line with greaseproof paper.
2. Put the butter and chocolate in a pyrez bowl and heat over a pan of water until melted and smooth. Don't let the bottom of the bowl touch the water. Remove from the heat and cool slightly.
3. Use a whisk to beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla together in a large bowl. Add the chocolate-butter mixture and whisk together. Stir in the combined sifted flour and cocoa. DO not over mix. Pour in to the tin and bake for 40mins until slightly risen and firm, but still squidgy in the middle.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Night and Day Cupcakes

I didn't have any icing sugar, so I had to improvise...luckily I had some mascarpone and white chocolate, and it all turned out fine....

6oz Butter/marg
6oz sugar
3 eggs
6oz self raising flour
50g dark chocolate
vanilla essence

100g white chocolate
250g marscarpone
100g/ml yoghurt

decorations ( I had some cute chocolates from a christmas hamper, minstrels or choclate buttons would look great too)

1. Cream together the butter and sugar
2. Add the eggs and sieved flours alternately , mixing in between, then add the vanilla essence.
3. put the half the mixture in to cake cases in cupcake tines, half filling each case...
4. Melt the chocolate, and mix with the remaining mixture
5. Top the cake cases with the chocolate mixture, making sure no vanilla mixture is peeping through
6. Bake at 180C for 15 mins or until a knife comes away clean when put in the middle of the cake
7. Leave to cool.
8. To make the icing, mix the mascarpone with a little yoghurt to loosen, then melt the white chocolate and stir in quickly and beat with a whisk until soft. it might become a little grainy, but this should smooth out when put on the cupcake.
9. put on the cupcake with a palette knife, keep dipping the knife in boiling water to keep the application smooth.
10. Decorate according to your whim ;-)

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Soda Bread

This recipe is the best, I tried a different one this evening and it wasn't nearly as good...I found it on the bbc website

225g whole wheat plain flour
225g white flour
10mL bicarbonate of soda
300mL (one half pint) natural yoghurt
150mL (one quarter pint) warm filtered water

1 pinch salt
This will make two small loaves or one large one.
Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F or Gas mark 6). Sift the flour (it's important to do this, as the bread can be a bit heavy) and mix in the raising agent, then stir in the yoghurt and warm water. Mix together well, then coat the mixture with more flour and liberally flour your work-surface. No kneading is necessary.
If making small loaves, divide the dough into two parts and make them into fairly flat oval shapes. Cut a cross on the top of each loaf. Place the dough on a floured tray and bake for 30 minutes, then turn down to 180°C (350°F or Gas mark 4) for another 20 minutes. To test if the bread is ready, tap the bottom of the loaf and it should sound hollow. Leave the loaf or loaves to cool on a wire rack.