Monday, May 28, 2007

Elderflower Cupcakes

Elderflower is everywhere round by us at the moment, and in our ever present rainy weather you get a lovely scent when you walk past it. I decided to try making some elderflower cupcakes using the elderflower cordial I made the other day. I tried two different types of icing, glace icing and butter icing. I prefered the glace icing as the elderflower flavour came through better.

The Cakes

2 eggs

the weight of the two eggs of :

Caster sugar


Self raising flour

Elderflower cordial to taste.( you can buy this in most supermarkets if you haven't made it)

Glace icing

100g icing sugar

about 2 tablespoons elderflower cordial

Butter icing

100g icing sugar

100g butter

2 tablespoons elderflower cordial

To decorate - washed and debugged elderflowers ( or silver balls or sugar flowers would be good if you can't get hold of elderflowers)

Preheat the oven to 180C

Mix the butter and sugar in a bowl until light and creamy. Add one egg and half the flour, mix well, then add the rest of the flour and the other egg and mix until smooth. Add the elderflower cordial a tablespoon at a time, until you can get a faint taste from the batter, this will be a matter of personal taste. Spoon in to cake cases ( about 24) and cook for 15 mins or until risen and golden.

When cooled make the icing. For the glace icing sieve the icing sugar and add elderflower cordial a tea spoon at a time until you get a smooth paste. Colour as desired. For the butter icing, cream the sieved icing sugar and butter together, then add elderflower cordial to taste and beat until smooth.

Pull the little flowers off the stalks of the elderflower, checking for bugs, and sprinkle over the icing.

Friday, May 25, 2007

I've been tagged

I've been tagged by Sparx . I have to think of 10 interesting things about myself. I can't think of 10, so 5 will have to do.
1. I like the colour green
2. I'm a bit mad on cupcakes
3. I'm lefthanded so very clumsy
4. I love France
5. My favourite song in In my Life by the Beatles...

I tag: Anne, Estelle, Charlotte, Michelle and Helen....All who write blogs I really enjoy.

Elderflower Cordial

This is a Lesley Waters recipe, which i looked up after walking back from a birthday party today and seeing, then picking lots of elderflowers... If i try all the ideas at the bottom, I'm not going to have any left to drink!

20 heads of elderflower
1.8kg granulated sugar, or caster sugar
1.2 litres water
2 unwaxed lemon
75g citric acid
1. Shake the elderflowers to expel any lingering insects, and then place in a large bowl.
2. Put the sugar into a pan with the water and bring up to the boil, stirring until the sugar has completely dissolved.
3. While the sugar syrup is heating, pare the zest of the lemons off in wide strips and toss into the bowl with the elderflowers. Slice the lemons, discard the ends, and add the slices to the bowl. Pour over the boiling syrup, and then stir in the citric acid. Cover with a cloth and then leave at room temperature for 24 hours.
4. Next day, strain the cordial through a sieve lined with muslin (or a new j-cloth rinsed out in boiling water), and pour into thoroughly cleaned glass or plastic bottles. Screw on the lids and pop into the cupboard ready to use.
Cook's Notes: To serve Elderflower Cordial: Dilute the elderflower cordial to taste with fizzy water, and serve over ice with a slice or two of lemon, or a sprig of mint floating on top.
For something a touch more sprightly, add a shot of gin or vodka and a lemon slice, or add it to white wine and sparkling water to make an elderflower spritzer.
You might even try adding it to a marinade for chicken breasts. Try it in sorbets, or ice-creams, or just spooned over scoops of vanilla ice-cream, or use it to sweeten and flavour the fruit for a crumble.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Spicy Fish Stew

This is so quick and so easy! Low in calories too. A great midweeker! I am steadily working my way through the May Good Food Magazine, and this recipe is from there.

1 tbsp olive oil
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp ground cumin
½tsp paprika
200g can chopped tomatoes
1 red pepper, deseeded, cut into chunks
450g white fish fillets, cut into chunks ( I used coley)
handful coriander,
roughly chopped 1 lemon, cut into wedges

Heat oil in a saucepan. Tip in the garlic, cumin and paprika and cook for 1 min. Add 100ml water and the tomatoes. Bring to the boil, then turn down the heat. Add the pepper, simmer for 5 mins. Add the fish, simmer for 5 mins. Serve with coriander and a wedge of lemon

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Brioche Breadmaker Recipe

This is fantastic - it tastes really good. It is from "The Ultimate Breadmaker Recipe Book" by Jennie Shapter. I would even be tempted to cook it in the breadmaker too - I might try it next time.

2 tbsp milk
2 eggs
225g white bread flour
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp caster sugar
50g butter melted
1 ½ tsp easy blend dried yeast

Pour the milk and the eggs in to the bread machine pan.
Spinkle over the flour, ensuring that it covers the liquid. Add the salt, sugar and butter then add the yeast in top.
Set the bread machine to the dough setting and press start.
Grease a loaf tin or small tins
When the dough is ready put in your chosen mould and spread a glaze of egg yolk and milk on top and bake in the oven at 220C.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Hot Harissa Lamb with Couscous

I got this from the Good Food magazine, and have typed it in mostly so that I don't lose it! It really was quite delicious, though quite spicy. I served it with some chopped, fried red pepper too, and put some finely chopped fresh mint in the couscous.

4 tbsp Harissa paste
300g couscous
120g bag herb salad
4 lamb leg steaks
2tbsp demerara sugar
1. Spoon 1 tbsp harissa in to a jug, fill with 400ml boiling water, then pour over the couscous in a large serving bowl. Cover and stand for 5 minutes. Fluff up with fork, then empty the salad on top.
2. Heat a frying pan. Season lamb, then fry for 1 min each side. Mix sugar and remaining harissa, then spread over the lamb. Cook for 2 more mins each side, remove from pan and rest for 5 mins. Add a splash of water to the pan then boil to make a sauce. Slice lamb and serve on top of the salad with the sauce drizzled over.

Monday, May 07, 2007

Breadmaker Naan Bread

This is the best breadmaker recipe I've found for naan. I've tried several! Its adapted from "The Ultimate Bread Machine Cookbook" by Jennie Shapter. I served it with a chicken and lentil curry.

100ml water
60ml natural yoghurt
280g white bread flour
5ml cumin seeds
1 tsp salt
2 tsp runny honey
1 tbsp melted butter, and extra for brushing
1 tsp dried yeast

Pour the water and yoghurt in to the bread machine pan.
Sprinkle over the flour ensuring that covers the liquid completely. Add half the cumin seeds
Add the salt, honey and the tbsp melted butter, then add the dried yeast.
Set the bread maker to the dough setting and start.
When the cycle has finished, preheat your oven to the highest setting and place 3 baking trays in the oven to heat up. Remove the dough from the bread machine and place on a lightly floured surface.
Knock down the dough. Dived the dough in to 3 equal pieces.
Shape each piece in to a ball then roll out. A teardrop shape looks authentic. Sprinkle the rest of the cumin seeds on top.
preheat the grill to its highest setting. Place the naan on a the preheated baking sheets and bake the naan for 4-5 minutes until puffed up. Place the naans under the grill for a minute until the naans starts to brown and blister.
Brush the naan with melted butter and serve warm.

Garlic and coriander naan- add chopped garlic to dough before making, then layer fresh coriander in when kneading

Peshwari naan – sprinkle coconut and raisins on top before cooking then spread with butter.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Moroccan Chicken.

This is a quick chicken dish with Moroccan flavours - its not claiming to be a full blown, slow cooked tagine, but is great to get a North African Flavour in to your midweek! You can also make this in the oven, browning the whole chicken pieces,on the hob first. I tried it in the oven with whole legs of chicken and it was fantastic.
Serves 2

2 tbsp olive oil
2 skinned chicken breast, diced
1 leek, finely chopped, ( if you don't have a leek, use an onion)
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp turmeric powder
½ tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp tomato purée
75ml white wine
30g/1oz dried apricots
3tbsp fresh coriander leaves, roughly chopped. ( parsley leaves work as well)

1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan over a medium heat.
2. Add the chicken pieces and brown on all sides.
3. Add the leek and fry for 1-2 minutes.
4. Add all the other ingredients, except the coriander and stir well.
Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through.
5. To serve, pour into a bowl and garnish with the coriander.

To make a couscous that goes well with this, in the pan you cooked the chicken in, put some couscous ( use packet instructions for portion size), and add 1 and half times as much in volume boiling chicken stock. When the couscous is cooked, stir in the juice of a lemon, lots of chopped parsley or coriander, black pepper and chopped roasted veg ( peppers, aubergine, courgette).