Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Dauphinoise Potatoes



WE were invited to dinner at the sister-in-law's on Saturday evening - and very nice it was too. Accompanying her main course of pheasant and veggies was a  big dish of dauphinoise potatoes. Delicious.

I always use Delia Smith's recipe; it seems to be foolproof. The better half likes his pretty garlicky so I always add an extra clove.

Dauphinoise Potatoes

Serves 3-4
Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 2, 300°F (150°C)

Ingredients
1 lb (450 g) good-quality potatoes (King Edward or Desirée)
1 small clove garlic, crushed
5 fl oz (150 ml) double cream
5 fl oz (150 ml) milk
freshly grated nutmeg
1 oz (25 g) butter
salt and freshly milled black pepper



Method
First, peel the potatoes and slice them very, very thinly (a wooden mandolin is excellent for this operation, if you have one), then plunge the potato slices into a bowl of cold water and swill them round and round to get rid of some of the starch.
Now dry them very thoroughly in a clean tea cloth. Then in the gratin dish arrange a layer of potato slices, a sprinkling of crushed garlic, pepper and salt and then another layer of potatoes and seasoning. Now mix the cream and milk together, pour it over the potatoes, sprinkle with a little freshly grated nutmeg, then add the butter in flecks over the surface and bake on the highest shelf in the oven for 1½ hours.
 










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Monday, 8 January 2018

Squash Bolognese


 

 Squash Bolognese

 

IT'S NewYear so my thoughts have turned to dropping a few pounds (OK, lots of pounds!) and getting fit. Have you been watching celebrity chef Tom Kerridge on TV? He lost a massive 12 stone - he was 30 stone to start with - by giving up the booze, cutting the carbs and exercising more. Sounds a sensible regime.

Cutting carbs can be hard if you love your pasta. But I have found one way to do it fairly painlessly. My sister gave me a spiralizer for Christmas and I have been spiralizing everything - better not stand still for too long in my kitchen or you'll end up in a salad!

Spiralized courgettes (courgetti) or butternut squash (boodles) make a perfect base for pasta dishes. If you really can't give up pasta completely, replace half the pasta with courgetti or boodles. You don't have to have a spiralizer - you can use julienne veg or shave ribbons with a peeler.
 

Below is a very simple, low calorie bolognese recipe from Slimming World. Use a mound of spiralized vegetables as a "spaghetti" base. I used boodles which I placed on a baking sheet, drizzled with olive oil, and sprinkled with salt and pepper and a few dried herbs (I used an Italian herb mix). Toss these ingredients, spread them out and bake in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes at 200C.  

Bolognese Sauce
Serves 4
Ingredients
Low calorie cooking spray
2 shallots, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, crushed
350g lean beef mince (5% fat or less)
225g button mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
280ml beef stock
1 level tbsp Worcestershire sauce
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Method
1. Spray a pan with low calorie cooking spray and cook the shallots and garlic for 2–3 minutes until just softened. Stir in the mince and cook for 2–3 minutes until browned.
2. Stir in the mushrooms and cook for 1 minute. Add the chopped tomatoes, stock and Worcestershire sauce. Season lightly and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 15
minutes until reduced and thickened. Check the seasoning.


Divide your boodles between four plates and top with the bolognese sauce.


Here's a wonderful spiralizer which has received excellent reviews.
 


To take a look at lots more spiralizers, click HERE and put SPIRALIZER in the search box.



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Thursday, 2 November 2017

Sweetcorn and Courgette Fritters with Poached Egg


SOME of you may have gone vegetarian for November in aid of Cancer Research (details here). If you're not used to vegetarian cookery, here's a simple but delicious recipe, courtesy of the BBC.


Sweetcorn and Courgette Fritters with Poached Egg





Serves 2

Ingredients

198g can sweetcorn, drained
2 spring onions, finely chopped
50g courgette, grated
1 tsp smoked paprika
50g self-raising flour
5 eggs, 1 beaten, 4 for poaching
40ml milk
4 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
juice 1 lime
1 tbsp vegetable oil
mixed leaves, to serve

Method
1. Mix the sweetcorn, spring onions, courgette, paprika, flour, beaten
egg, milk and some seasoning in a large bowl and set aside.

2. Put a large pan of water on to boil. In a bowl, mix the chilli sauce
with the lime juice and set aside.

3. Heat the oil in a large, non-stick pan and spoon in four burger-sized
mounds of the fritter mixture, spaced apart (you may need to do this in
two batches). When brown on the underside, turn over and cook for 3
mins more until golden.

4. Meanwhile, poach the eggs in the simmering water for 2-3 mins until
cooked and the yolks are runny. Remove with a slotted spoon. Serve
the fritters topped with a poached egg, mixed leaves and a drizzle of the
chilli dressing.



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Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Autumn Salad with Pears, Devon Blue Cheese and Caramelised Walnuts


Devon Blue Cheese
I HAVE recently discovered Devon Blue Cheese and I am already addicted!  If you're a blue cheese fan, you'll love this moist, slightly crumbly cow's cheese.

It is made by Ticklemore Cheese in the South Hams, Devon.

Having enjoyed it with crackers and home-made bread, I cast around for some recipes using this delicious cheese.

I came across this autumn salad recipe on the Yeo Valley Farm website.  It's lovely and ideal for this time of year as the autumn evenings are drawing in.

I live in North Devon and discovered they sell it at The Cheese Larder in South Molton. But search the internet and you will find many places that sell it. If you have difficulty sourcing it, you can buy it by mail order.

 Autumn Salad with Pears, Devon Blue Cheese and Caramelised Walnuts


Ingredients
2 ripe but firm dessert pears
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 small heads green chicory,
broken into separate leaves
2 small heads red chicory,
broken into separate leaves
40g watercress sprigs
50g radicchio leaves (optional)
100g de-rinded Devon Blue cheese
The seeds from 1/2 a pomegranate

For the caramelised walnuts:
100g walnut halves
2 tbsp clear honey

For the dressing:
1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
1 tsp clear honey
1 tsp walnut oil
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the caramelised walnuts, preheat the oven to 180°C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Scatter the walnuts over a lined baking tray, drizzle with the honey and roast for 8-10 mins until toasted and caramelised. Leave to cool, then break into small pieces.

For the dressing, whisk together the vinegar, mustard and honey, then gradually whisk in the oils. Season well with salt and black pepper.

Slice the pears away from the core, toss with the lemon juice and set to one side.
Toss the salad leaves with 2 tbsp of the dressing and divide between plates. Tuck the slices of pear and cheese in bet ween the leaves and scatter over the walnut s and pomegranate seeds. Drizzle a little more dressing over and around each plate and serve straight away.


  • Incidentally, this is a delicious salad dressing that can be used in just about any salad.


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Monday, 17 July 2017

Summer Salads



I hope you've been enjoying the warm weather. It's been glorious here in Devon and we've taken the opportunity to eat in the garden as much as possible. Salads are, of course, always popular when the sun is shining and they go well with anything you may have cooked up on the barbecue. 
Below I have added a few of my favourites. I haven't given quantities as it's all a matter of personal taste. These are merely ingredients that go well together. Add your favourite dressing and you're away!
Chicken, Walnut and Apple
Mixed salad leaves, plus cooked chopped chicken, sliced apple¸ and half a small tin of butter beans (add fresh coriander and spring onions – optional). Sprinkle walnuts.
Goat's Cheese, Beetroot and Mint
Mixed salad leaves plus sliced goat's cheese or Halloumi, sliced cooked beetroot (preferably not pickled) and fresh mint leaves (add few cooked or soya beans – optional).
Smoked Salmon, Lentil and Avocado
Mixed salad leaves, half an avocado sliced and smoked salmon with lots of lemon and black pepper. Serve on lentils with a little horseradish plus mayonnaise.
Smoked Mackerel, Fennel and Grapefruit
Add to salad leaves smoked mackerel fillets, sliced fennel and grapefruit slices - and serve on some ready cooked quinoa if you like.
Aubergine and Hummus
Mix cooked aubergine, olives with sliced beef tomatoes and rocket. Add marinated or fresh peppers and a scoop of hummus (homemade with coriander or basil ideally) – serve with pine nuts.




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Friday, 21 April 2017

Carrot And Walnut Cake



I love carrot cake and this is one of my favourite recipes. It comes via Delicious Magazine and includes sultanas, walnuts and desiccated coconut.

Carrot And Walnut Cake

Ingredients

Sunflower oil to grease
250g unsalted butter, softened
250g caster sugar
4 large free-range eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
250g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tbsp mixed spice
50g desiccated coconut
75g sultanas
50g walnuts, roughly chopped
100g carrot, grated (about 1 large carrot)
Edible flowers to decorate (optional)
For the cream cheese icing
150g unsalted butter, well softened
450g full-fat cream cheese (we like Philadelphia)
150g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Finely grated zest 1 lemon

Method

1. Heat the oven to 180C/fan160C/gas 4. Lightly oil and bottom-line 3 x 20-cm sandwich tins. Cream the butter and sugar together in a large mixing bowl until fluffy and light. Add the eggs one by one, beating well after each addition, then beat through the vanilla extract. Fold in the flour and baking powder with a pinch of salt, then fold in the mixed spice, coconut, sultanas, walnuts and carrot.

2. Divide the mixture between the tins, then bake for 20-25 minutes until risen, springy and a skewer pushed into the centres comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn out onto wire racks to cool completely.

3. Meanwhile, make the icing. Beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth, then gradually beat in the icing sugar. Stir through the vanilla and lemon zest, then chill until ready to use.

4. To assemble the cake, put a cooled sponge on a serving plate (if it has risen a lot you may need to slice off the top or put the sponge upside-down), then spread over a thin layer of icing. Top with another sponge, then repeat with another layer of icing. Top with the third sponge, then use the rest of the icing to completely cover the cake. Decorate with the edible flowers (optional) and serve immediately.

MAKE AHEAD The iced cake will keep for up to 2 days in the fridge. Freeze the cooked, un-iced sponges for up to 3 months, well-wrapped in cling film. Defrost completely to ice and decorate.



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Friday, 31 March 2017

Wensleydale Tarts and Purple Sprouting Broccoli

SPRING is here and the weather is improving. Among the best ingredients in April is purple sprouting broccoli and here's a lovely, tasty recipe from Delicious Magazine.

Wensleydale Tarts and Purple Sprouting Broccoli



    Serves 6
    Takes 25 minutes to make, 35 minutes to cook, plus chilling and cooling
   
Ingredients

    12 small spears of purple sprouting broccoli
    2 tbsp olive oil
    2 banana shallots, finely sliced
    3 large free-range eggs and 2 yolks, beaten
    250ml double cream
    150g wensleydale, grated
    35g cream cheese
    Green salad to serve

For the pastry

    300g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
    80g shelled walnuts, whizzed in a food processor until finely ground
    ½ tsp fine salt
    120g chilled unsalted butter, cubed
    Finely grated zest of 1½ lemons
    1 medium free-range egg yolk
    2 tbsp ice-cold water

Method

  1. To make the pastry, put the flour, ground walnuts and salt in a food processor and pulse to combine. Add the butter and pulse until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  2. Add the lemon zest and egg yolk, then pulse, gradually adding the water until the mixture just comes together. Tip out on to a lightly floured surface, bring together with your hands, then knead briefly. Shape into a disc, wrap in cling film, then chill for 15 minutes.
  3. Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of a pound coin and use to line 6 x 12cm fluted tart tins (see tip), pressing the pastry right down into the tins and into the sides. Chill for 10 minutes.
  4. .Line the tarts with baking paper and fill with baking beans or rice, then blind bake for 15 minutes. Remove the paper and beans/rice, then bake for 5-10 minutes more until golden. Remove from the oven. Reduce the oven to 180°C/fan160°C/gas
  5. Meanwhile, blanch the broccoli spears in salted boiling water for 3 minutes, then drain and refresh in ice-cold water. Heat the oil in a pan and gently fry the shallots for 10-12 minutes until very soft and golden.
  6. Whisk the eggs, yolks, cream, wensleydale and cream cheese in a jug, then season. Divide the shallots equally among the cases. Divide the broccoli spears, broken into smaller florets, among the tart cases, then pour over the egg mix. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden and just set.
  7. Take out of the oven, allow to cool for 5 minutes, then remove from the tins and cool to room temperature. Serve with a few green salad leaves.
Tip: When lining the pastry cases, let the excess pastry hang over the sides. This stops the cases shrinking. After blind baking, trim off the excess with a serrated knife before you add the egg mixture.
   
You can freeze the finished tarts. Reheat in the oven from frozen for 15-20 minutes.
  

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