Wednesday, 21 September 2016

Tomato Chutney

I HAVE loads of tomatoes at the moment and was looking around for a good tomato chutney recipe.
This one was easy and produced quite a few jars of delicious chutney. It's ideal for serving with all kinds of cheese. I used a "gert big dollop" (sorry I'm a Devon maid!) on a ploughman's lunch.



Makes about 1.5 litres / 2¾ pints

Ingredients

1kg ripe tomato, peeled and chopped
750g cooking apple, peeled, cored and chopped
375g light muscovado sugar
250g onion, chopped
250g raisins
1 green pepper, deseeded and chopped
2 tsp salt
½ tsp ground ginger
350ml cider vinegar

Method

Put all the ingredients into a large pan and bring to the boil over a medium heat. Stir occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Boil the mixture, uncovered, for about 45-50 mins until the fruit is tender and thickened. Cool, then transfer the mixture to a sterilised jar and seal.




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Thursday, 15 September 2016

Churros

WATCHING Great British Bake Off last night had an added poignancy knowing that this would be the last series on the BBC. I don't know what you think but I fear the much-loved, quintessentially British programme will never be the same again, especially without the irreverent Mel and Sue. It seems Mary Berry might not be crossing over either and Paul Hollywood is still making up his mind.

Last night it was Batter Week. I was entranced by the churros never having eaten them before. Here are a couple of YouTube videos showing you how to make them. Good luck!







The sainted Mary Berry's cookbook! Mary Berry's Absolute Favourites


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Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Mary Berry's Malted Chocolate Cake

Fans of The Great British Bake Off are no doubt fans of Mary Berry too. Here's a lovely chocolate cake of hers from Mary Berry's Absolute Favourites cook book. Mary said: "This cake is the perfect family treat, and a real crowd-pleaser. The malt extract gives a lovely creaminess to the sponge, while the malted chocolate flavour is echoed in the cake’s topping."

Mary Berry's Malted Chocolate Cake




Prepare ahead

The filling will remain soft and ready to use in a bowl covered with cling film for 2–3 days. The finished cake can be kept in an airtight container for up to a day.

Freeze

Freeze the cake and icing separately, then defrost at room temperature and assemble when ready to serve.

Ingredients

30g (1oz) malted chocolate drink powder
30g (1oz) cocoa powder
225g (8oz) butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
225g (8oz) caster sugar
225g (8oz) self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
4 eggs

For the icing

3 tbsp malted chocolate drink powder
1½ tbsp hot milk
125g (4½oz) butter, softened
250g (9oz) icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
50g (2oz) dark chocolate (at least 50 per cent cocoa solids), melted
1 tbsp boiling water
About 20 Maltesers, to decorate

Method

1. You will need two 20cm (8in) round sandwich tins. Preheat the oven to 180°C/160°C fan/Gas 4 and grease the tins with butter and line the bases with baking paper.

2. Measure the malted chocolate drink powder and cocoa powder into a large bowl, pour over 2 tablespoons of water and mix to a paste. Add the remaining cake ingredients and beat until smooth.

3. Divide evenly between the prepared tins and bake in the oven for 20–25 minutes. Set aside in the tins to cool for 5 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

4. To make the icing, measure the malted chocolate drink powder into a bowl, add the hot milk and mix until smooth. Add the butter, icing sugar and melted chocolate and mix again until smooth, then add the boiling water to give a gloss to the icing.

5. Place one cake on a plate and spread over half the icing. Sandwich with the other cake and spread (or pipe) the remaining icing on top, using the tip of a rounded palette knife to create a swirled effect from the centre to the edge of the cake. Arrange the Maltesers over the top and dust with icing sugar before serving.

Here's another wonderful book on baking:

Mary Berry's Baking Bible A comprehensive book on baking with 250 recipes







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Friday, 12 August 2016

Runner Beans Bonanza





PERSONALLY, I like my runner beans simply steamed and seasoned but if you have a glut you may be looking for some different ways of cooking them.

Here are a few fancy pants and simple recipes!

Runner Bean Ratatouille

This tasty ratatouille is by Riverford Organics. They have lots of great recipes on their site at www.riverford.co.uk

Ingredients

400g runner beans, topped, tailed and stringed
3 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely sliced
6 large tomatoes or 1x 400g tin tomatoes
1 tsp sugar
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, crushed or finely chopped
3 sprigs thyme

Method

If using fresh tomatoes, peel them by cutting a cross in the skin at one end and plunging into a pan of boiling water for 1 minute, until the cut skin starts to peel back. Remove from the water, peel and roughly chop.

Slice the runner beans diagonally into long strips about 1cm wide.

Heat the oil in a heavy saucepan. Add the onions and sweat until translucent and beginning to soften.
Add the beans, tomatoes, garlic, sugar and herbs.

Cover and simmer for 30-40 minutes until the beans are soft and the sauce is thick – if it is still thin, remove the pan lid and bubble until it reaches the right consistency.

Serve warm or at room temperature.


Garlicky Runner Beans

This is so simple. Fry some crushed garlic and red onion in olive oil until the onions start to caramelise.  At this stage you can some diced pancetta if you want to. Add prepared beans and fry until they start to turn tender but are still crisp. Season with salt and fresh ground pepper. The proportions are up to you. I use two garlic cloves and one onion to two big double handfuls of prepared beans.


Italian Runner Bean Salad

You don’t have to cook runner beans. They are perfect for a salad. Slice up young and tender prepared beans, add  pecorino or parmesan cheese to taste. Then add your favourite Italian dressing. Here’s a basic dressing recipe:

Ingredients

6 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 garlic cloves, chopped
1 teaspoon dried basil, crumbled
1/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
Pinch of dried oregano

Method

Combine all ingredients in small bowl and whisk to blend. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


Thai Chicken and Runner Bean Salad

For something more exotic and very tasty, this chicken and salad recipe ticks all the boxes. 

Ingredients

200g runner beans
1 red chilli, halved and finely sliced   
2 shallots, finely sliced
1 lemongrass, finely sliced
2cm piece ginger, shredded
2 cooked, skinless chicken breasts
small bunch mint leaves
large bunch Thai basil or coriander
1 lime cut in wedges to serve
 steamed jasmine rice
Coconut dressing
100ml coconut cream
1 garlic clove, crushed
3 tbsp fish sauce
1 tsp sugar
juice 1 lime
1 bird's eye chilli, finely diced

Method

String runner beans. Cut into strips using a bean slicer, or on the diagonal into 2cm pieces. Cook the beans in simmering salted water for 4 mins or until tender but still bright green. Drain and put in a bowl with the chilli, shallots, lemongrass and ginger. Pull the chicken breasts into shreds using your fingers and add to the bowl.

Make the dressing. Mix the coconut with the garlic, fish sauce, sugar, lime and chilli. Tear the mint and Thai basil over the chicken and toss everything together. Pile onto a plate and pour over the dressing. Serve with the lime to squeeze over and jasmine rice.




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Friday, 29 July 2016

Mason Jar Meals




If you're trying to lose weight and/or need a quick easy lunch to take to work, have a go at making Mason Jar Salads. These are basically salads in a screwtop jar which you can make in advance and store in the fridge. They will keep for three to seven days, depending on ingredients.

The principle is the same for whatever ingredients you use:

Layer One: Dressing goes on the bottom, so pour that in first.
Layer Two:  Next add any proteins or grains you want so they can absorb some of the dressing and provide a buffer for the next additions.
Layer Three: On top of those chunky foods, add in chopped veggies, fruits, cheeses, nuts, and anything else you want in your salad.
Layer Four: Lastly, add a handful or two of your greens of choice.

This is the basic recipe but there may more or fewer layers and different ingredients - it's all so flexible.

Here are a few recipes to get you started.

Mango and Greens Chicken Salad

Ingredients (per jar)

1 tablespoons honey mustard dressing
1/2 cup cooked chicken, cooled and diced
1/2 cup cooked green beans, cooled and cut into 1″ long pieces
1/2 cup mango, peeled and diced
1/4 cup avocado, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon toasted and chopped almonds or walnuts
1-2 handfuls of mixed greens or baby spinach

Method
1. Stack all the ingredients into your jar, starting with the salad dressing and ending with the greens. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
2. Pour salad onto a plate or into a bowl, then mix, eat, and enjoy!


Greek Salad

Layered them from the bottom up:
1. lemon vinaigrette
2. raw zucchini
3. kalamata olives
4. chickpeas
5. red onions
6. crumbled feta cheese
7. tomatoes
8. pine nuts
9. romaine hearts and baby spinach

Keep in mind these are versatile so you can swap anything you don’t like for something else or leave it out entirely.




 If all this sounds terribly healthy, then have a go at this breakfast Mason Jar recipe! Cook in a microwave.

Bacon And Eggs In A Mason Jar


Ingredients

2 raw eggs
fresh spinach
grated cheese
cooked bacon
seasoning

Instructions
Mix eggs, salt & pepper, spinach and cheese together in a bowl
Pour mixture into a mason jar
Cook in microwave for one and half or two minutes (checking often)
The egg mixture will puff up during cooking but deflate when out of the microwave, so don't freak out if you see it rise higher than the jar.
Top with some additional cheese and bacon crumbles



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Friday, 22 July 2016

Gratin of Chard and New Potatoes


My lovely neighbour, who is a brilliant gardener, dropped in a big bag of chard yesterday.  I love chard but it's not widely available in my neck of the woods so this was a real treat. Young leaves can be eaten raw in salads but the bigger leaves are tough before they are cooked.

My brother had given me some new potatoes so I rustled up this tasty Sophie Grigson recipe.



Gratin of Chard and New Potatoes

Ingredients

5 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for greasing450g/1lb ruby or Swiss chard, stems and broad ribs cut into 1cm/½in pieces, leaves finely sliced
salt and freshly ground black pepper
60g/2oz black olives, stones removed2 canned anchovy fillets, chopped
2 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
½ tbsp capers, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
400g/14oz new potatoes, scrubbed, boiled until just tender, drained and sliced
60g/2oz gruyère cheese, grated
30g/1oz parmesan, freshly grated

Method

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.

Heat two tablespoons of the olive oil in a wide, lidded pan and add the chopped chard ribs. Stir, then cover and cook over a low heat for four minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the leaves, stir, then cover again and cook for a further five minutes, or until just tender. Season with salt and freshly ground black pepper and set aside.

Place the olives, anchovies, sun-dried tomatoes, capers, parsley and two tablespoons of olive oil into a food processor and blend to make a smooth paste.

Lightly oil a 30cm/12in ovenproof dish. Place a layer of the chard, along with any cooking juices, and a layer of the cooked potatoes into the dish. Spread a little of the olive paste over the chard and potatoes and season with freshly ground black pepper. Continue to layer up the chard and potato, spreading more of the olive paste between each layer and finishing with a layer of chard.

Mix the gruyère and parmesan in a bowl and sprinkle over the top of the gratin. Drizzle over the remaining tablespoon of olive oil.

Transfer to the oven and bake for about 25-30 minutes, until the cheese is browned and bubbling. Serve hot or warm.

There are lots more delicious Sophie Grigson recipes here.


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Thursday, 21 July 2016

Home-Dried Tomatoes


Home-Dried Tomatoes


If you have plenty of tomatoes, this is a perfect way of preserving them. This simple recipe from Riverford Farm is for home-dried tomatoes. Use them instead of sun-dried tomatoes. They have a deep, intense flavour and are excellent tossed in a salad, baked in tarts or mixed with pasta. Dry as many tomatoes as you can while the oven's on; they keep well for at least six months.

Ingredients

4 tbsp olive oil
16 tomatoes
1 tbsp caster sugar

Method

Preheat oven to 150°C/Gas 2. Drizzle about half the olive oil over 2 baking trays. Cut the tomatoes lengthways in half, then slide the knife around the inside of each one and remove the pulp and pips.

Arrange the tomato halves on the trays so that they are close but not touching. Drizzle the remaining oil over the top and sprinkle with the sugar and a little salt.

Put the trays the oven and cook for about 45 minutes; the tomatoes should look shrunken and slightly coloured when they are done. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.

To store, pack the tomatoes into jars and cover completely with good-quality olive oil. They will keep for about 6 months without refrigeration.


I am a big fan of Riverford Farm. Their website includes lots of brilliant recipes (here). I have all their recipe books and dip into them often. Take a look at:
Riverford Farm Cook Book: Tales from the Fields, Recipes from the Kitchen
Everyday and Sunday: Recipes from Riverford Farm
Riverford Companions - Autumn and Winter Veg.;
Riverford Companion: Spring and Summer Cooking With a Veg Box






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