Thursday, 19 May 2011

Red, white and blue jellies.

(serves 2)

400 g strawberries, trimmed
85 g caster sugar
juice of ½ lemon
3 gelatine leaves
50 ml double cream
1-2 tsp icing sugar
handful blueberries

Place the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice in a pan with 100 ml water. Bring to the boil. Skim away any scum that rises to the surface. Press the mixture through a sieve into a measuring jug. You need 300 ml strawberry juice, add boiling water if needed. Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 minutes. Squeeze out any excess liquid and dissolve the leaves into the hot strawberry juice. Pour the jelly into serving glasses and leave in the fridge for at least 3 hours to set. Just before serving, whip the cream with ising sugar. Dollop over the jelly and sprinkle with blueberries.

(GoodFood, May 2011)

Thursday, 26 August 2010

Lemony red currant tea cake.

I found this recipe on this blog. We have both red and yellow currants in our garden, so I used a mix of both in this cake. It's a great cake which I will definitely make again. I think it would taste great as a dessert served with custard too.

16 oz of fresh red currants
½ cup plain yoghurt
¼ cup heavy cream

⅓ cup melted butter
1 cup sugar
1 beaten egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
the zest of 1 small lemon
1½ cup of flour

Whisk the yoghurt and cream together. Whisk in the butter. Add the sugar, egg and vanilla, then the dry ingredients. Fold in the lemon zest and red currants. Pour into a parchment prepared loaf tin and bake at 350°F (175°C) for about an hour. Cool on a rack.

Friday, 23 July 2010

Chocolate babka.

If you love Seinfeld as much as I do you probably remember the episode where Jerry and Elaine are supposed to buy a cake for a dinner party. They wanted a chocolate babka, but after a series of events ended up with a cinnamon babka instead (which is not a lesser babka). I thought about this episode the other day and became curious about what a babka is. After looking at a few recipes I became tempted and ended up choosing Martha Stewart's, and I really like it. I forgot about the twisting, but it still looks good and the taste is the same.

(3 loaves)

1½ cups warm milk
2 packages dry yeast
1¾ cups plus a pinch of sugar
3 whole large eggs
2 large egg yolks
6 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1¾ cups (3½ sticks) unsalted butter
2¼ pounds semisweet chocolate, very finely chopped
2½ tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tbsp heavy cream

Streusel topping:
1⅔ cups confectioners' sugar
1⅓ cups flour
12 tbsp unsalted butter

Pour warm milk into a small bowl. Sprinkle yeast and a pinch of sugar over milk. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. Whisk together ¾ cup sugar, 2 eggs and egg yolks. Add egg mixture to yeast mixture, and whisk to combine.
In the bowl of an electric mixer combine flour and salt. Add egg mixture and beat on low speed until almost all the flour is incorporated. Add 2 sticks of butter and beat until flour mixture and butter are completely incorporated, and a smooth soft dough that's slightly sticky when squeezed is formed, about 10 minutes.
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead a few turns until smooth. Butter a large bowl, place dough in bowl and cover tightly with plastic wrap. Set aside in a warm place to rise until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Place chocolate, remaining cup sugar and cinnamon in a bowl and stir to combine. Using two knives or a pastry cutter, but in remaining butter until well combined. Set aside.
For the streusel topping: In a large bowl combine sugar, flour and butter. Using a fork, stir until fully combined with clumps ranging in size from crumbs to 1 inch.

Generously butter three 9-by-5-by-2¾-inch loaf pans and line them with parchment paper. Beat remaining egg with cream and set aside. Punch back the dough, and transfer to a clean surfave. Let rest 5 minutes. Cut into 3 equal pieces. Keep 2 pieces covered with plastic wrap while working with the remaining piece. Roll dough out into a 16-inch square. It should be ⅛ inch thick. Brush edges with egg wash. Crumble ⅓ of the chocolate filling evenly over dough, leaving a ¼-inch border. Roll dough up tightly like a jelly roll. Pinch ends together to seal. Twist 5 or 6 turns. Brush top of woll with egg wash. Carefully crumble 2 tbsp filling over the left half of the roll, being careful not to let mixture slide off. Fold right half of the roll over onto the coated left half. Fold ends under, and pinch to seal. Twist roll 2 turns and fit into prepared pan. Repeat with the remaining 2 pieces of dough and remaining filling.
Heat oven to 350 degrees (Fahrenheit). Brush the top of each loaf with egg wash. Crumble ⅓ or streusel topping over each loaf. Loosely cover each pan with plastic wrap, and let stand in a warm place 20 to 30 minutes.
Bake loaves until golden, about 55 minutes. Lower oven temperature til 325 degrees and bake until babkas are deep golden, 15 to 20 minutes more. Remove from oven and transfer to wire racks until cool. Babkas freeze well for up to 1 month.

Thursday, 17 June 2010

Spring rolls.

Spring rolls are really easy to make and taste great. Just about anything can be used as a filling, so feel free to experiment with ingredients. Serve spring rolls as finger food (with a dip sauce) or as a whole meal with rice and woked vegetables.

(makes 30)

2 chicken fillets
2 carrots
¼ savoy cabbage
4-5 spring onions
4-5 garlic cloves
1 red chili
1 small red pepper
a small piece of fresh ginger
a handfull fresh coriander
half a packet of glass noodles
sweet chili sauce
lime og lemon juice
30 spring roll wrappers

Shred the chicken, savoy cabbage, spring onions, pepper, garlic and chili. Grate the carrots and the ginger. Prepare glass noodles according to packet instructions, then cut into smaller pieces. Fry the chicken and vegetables (not too long, they should be crispy). Stir in sweet chili sauce and lime juice to taste. Add glass noodles and chopped coriander. Season.
Place a spring roll wrapper in front of you. Put some of the filling close to one of the corners. Wrap the bottom corner over the filling. Fold over the sides, and roll it up. Seal the edges with a little water if necessary. Deep fry until golden brown and crispy. Drain on paper towels.

Try prawns, pork or duck instead of chicken, or use other ingredients such as cashew nuts, baby corn, zucchini, fennel, bean sprouts, water chestnuts or bamboo shots.

Philadelphia chicken

I found this recipe in the 2010 calendar from GoodFood magazine. I hadn't seen a chicken stuffed with cream cheese before, and I am glad I tried it because it's delicious!

400 g shallots
2 finely shopped celery sticks
3 finely chopped garlic cloves
handfull flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped
175 g Philadelphia garlic & herbs
a raw chicken
100 ml white wine
200 ml chicken stock
double cream

Finely chop three of the shallots, slice the rest.
Soften the chopped shallots, celery and garlic. Mix with the parsley, Philadelphia, salt and pepper. Spoon the filling under the skin of the chicken. Rub a little oil or melted butter nto the skin and season.
Soften the sliced shallots. Pour in the wine and simmer until almost evaporated. Pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Pour into an ovenproof dish and sit the chicken on top. Roast at 200°C for 1 hr 10 mins, covering the chicken with foil after 30 mins.
remove the chicken and let it rest. Tip the stock and onions into a casserole and bring to the boil. Stir in some double cream and season.
Serve the chicken and gravy with peas, spring greens and your choice of potato.

Tuesday, 15 June 2010


25 g yeast (or half a sachet of dry yeast)
200 ml warm water
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp coarse sea salt
350 g flour

2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp coarse sea salt
3 tsp fresh, chopped thyme or rosemary (or 1½ tsp dried)

Place the dry ingredients in a bowl. If using fresh yeast it should be dissolved in the water. Stir in the water and oil. Knead the dough until smooth and elastic. Place it back in the bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for about 40 minutes. Knead for a couple of minutes, put on a baking tray and flatten the dough until it's about 2 cm thick. Cover and let it rise for about 20 minutes. Use your fingers to make dimples in the dough, then brush with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and herbs. Bake at 200°C for 25 to 30 minutes. Let cool on a rack.

Chicken salad.

Salad is a great summer dish, especially when you don't want to sweat over a hot stove. I've left out the ingredient amounts because it doesn't really matter with a salad, you can just put in whatever you like or have in the fridge. This is just my suggestion for a salad.

lollo biondo
lollo rosso
feta cheese
pasta (I've used fusilli)
yellow pepper
spring onions
olive oil
lemon juice or vinegar
Dijon mustard

Cook the pasta according to the packet instructions, and let it cool. Chop up all the ingredients. Whisk the oil with lemon juice or vinegar, mustard, salt, pepper, finely chopped chives and parslet and crushed garlic. Dress the salad just before serving. If you like, serve the salad with fresh baked focaccia.