Category Archives: Fruit, Vegetables & Salads

Grapefruit & Ginger Cake

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The Sunday just gone marked our second attending at Leicester’s excellent Clandestine Cake Club, this time at Deli Flavour in the recently refurbished Silver Arcade. The theme this month was “Memory Lane”, though I must shamefully admit that the caked I baked has no link to memories whatsoever. I just fancied baking a grapefruit cake, so I err…did.

Before I divulge the recipe, I would like to draw attention to the fact that on 3rd May I shall be cycling 100 miles to raise money for Alzheimer’s Research and YoungMinds. Please follow this link if you would like to donate, which would make me and my little legs very happy indeed! In some crazy twist of fate I also believe this is our 100th post. Huzzah!

Ingredients

Cake

1 grapefruit
250g sugar
225g stork/butter/spread
3 eggs
300g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger

Icing

50g stork/butter/spread
200g cream cheese
300g icing sugar
zest of a lemon
2 stem ginger balls, finely sliced

Method

Boil the grapefruit in a pan for 20 minutes, drain the water, then repeat. (I must admit I don’t entirely understand the change of water but the recipe told me to so I did!). Leave the grapefruit to cool before removing pips and blending to a pulp (the whole thing, including skin).

Preheat the oven to 18ºC/350ºF/gas mark 4Beat the stork and sugar together. Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the pulp. Fold in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and ground ginger. Divide the mix between two well greased/lined 20cm cake tins. Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown. Leave in the tins for a few minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.

To make the icing, beat the butter and half the icing sugar together. Add the cream cheese, remaining icing sugar, zest and sliced stem ginger and beat until smooth. Keep in the fridge until the cake has cooled enough to ice it. Spread half the icing on each sponge, starting in the centre and spreading it outwards in ever increasing circles. For the bottom layer leave a 1-2cm gap around the edge so that when you place the upper layer on top the icing doesn’t splurge out. Place one on top of the other, decorate with a few strips of lemon zest. Share with friends at your local cake club!

J

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Red Onion & Rosemary Bread

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I couldn’t decide what kind of bread to make so just made up a basic bread dough while I mulled it over in my mind palace and came up with this bread bad boy. Boom.

Ingredients

400g strong white bread flour
7g instant yeast
7g salt
250ml lukewarm water
1 large red onion
1 garlic clove
small handful of rosemary sprigs
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tsp soft brown sugar

Method

Begin by making the simple bread dough. In a large bowl, weigh out the flour, salt and yeast – remembering to keep the salt and yeast on opposite sides. Mix in half the water with your hands, add the rest in smaller amounts until you get a soft, workable consistency.

Tip out onto a lightly oiled surface and knead for 5-10 minutes until elastic and smooth. Place in a large oiled bowl then place the bowl inside a plastic bag and leave to rise in a warm place for 1-3 hours or until the dough has doubled in size.

Meanwhile, slice the red onion into your preferred shape (I went for small, thin slices) and gently fry in 1 tbsp olive oil, with a crushed garlic clove and finely chopped rosemary for about 5 minutes, until softened. Throw in the balsamic vinegar and sugar and fry for a further minute.

When the bread has proved, tip out onto a lightly oiled surface and gently knead in the onion mixture. You might need a little more bread flour to offset the extra moisture. When the onion is evenly distributed, roughly shape into a rectangle and place in a deep, rectangular tray. Place the tray in a plastic bag and leave to prove once again in a warm place for around an hour.

Brush with about 1 tbsp olive oil before baking at 180-200°C/360-390°F/gas mark 4-6 for around 20-25 minutes until brown and hollow-sounding when tapped.

Enjoy with cheese, chutney or dipped in oil and balsamic vinegar. Scoffscoffscoff.

Carrot & Chickpea Burgers

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I don’t know about you but when faced with a bag full of carrots and not much else I struggle to think of anything other than ‘soup’. However a quick browse on the BBC Good Food website unearthed these burgers. They’re a little more faffy than standard chickpea burgers but they stuck together better than any I’ve previously made so I thought I’d share the method.

Makes 6-8 burgers

Ingredients

350-400g carrots, grated
400g tin chickpeas, drained/rinsed
1 onion, grated
1 clove of garlic, grated
1 tbsp tahini or hummus or maybe even…smooth peanut butter?
1 egg
80-100g breadcrumbs (1 thick slice of bread, grated)
1 tsp ground cumin1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground coriander
salt and pepper to taste
flour

Method

If you have a food processor (which I don’t!) add 1/3 of the carrot, the chickpeas, onions, garlic, spices, hummus/tahini/peanut butter and egg and blitz to a paste. If you don’t have a food processor stick them in a large bowl and use a stick blender to blitz. If you don’t have a stick blender then maybe this recipe is not for you…!

Add a little oil to a frying pan and fry the remaining 2/3 of the carrot for approx. 10 minutes. Add to the paste in the bowl  along with the breadcrumbs and stir together. Get a large plate and cover with a layer of flour. Use your hands to form the carrot mix into patties (eurghk, I hate that word) and place on the flour. Handling gently, flip over and coat the other side in flour.

Using the same frying pan, to save on washing up obviously, fry up the burgers for a few minutes on each side, until golden and crispy. Serve with salad, chutney, flatbreads, mayo, whatever!

No picture ’cause we too greedy. Sozz.

 

J

Roasted Squash & Blue Cheese Risotto

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For some reason risotto has never really appealed to me. This recipe has made me change my mind. And look, two posts in two days! Shocking.

Serves 4-5, or 2 with plenty of leftovers!

Ingredients

1 medium-large butternut squash, cubed (2cm)
1 large onion, diced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
300g risotto rice
1.2l vegetable stock
150ml white wine
100-150g blue cheese (we used Danish Blue)
few sprigs of rosemary
1 cup of peas
salt, pepper, basil, oregano

Method

Heat the oven to (200°C/400°F/gas mark 6). Coat the bottom of a roasting tin with some oil, couple of sprigs of rosemary and a sprinkling of black pepper. Add the butternut squash and turn over to coat. Stick in for 20 minutes or so, giving a good shufty every now and again.

Meanwhile heat up a tablespoon of oil in a deep pan. Gently soften the onions for a few minutes before adding the garlic. Stir often so that the onions do not brown. Add the rice and stir well, the rice needs to just gently heat up before you can add the liquid. Stick the kettle on to boil and make up the vegetable stock. After 2 minutes, add the wine – stir well to allow the rice to soak it all up. As the pan dries out somewhat, add a small amount of the stock (around 100-200mls at a time). Wait for the liquid to be nearly all soaked up then add another 100-200ml.

Keep adding stock like this and stir frequently. After half the stock has been added, throw in the herbs. After around 20 minutes, check to see if the rice is soft. Turn off the oven, take out the butternut squash and mash half, returning the other half to the oven to keep warm. Stir in the mashed butternut squash, peas, most of the cheese and heat thorough – you may need a drop more water depending on how saucy you like your risottos. If the rice needs a bit more time to cook, carry on adding small amounts of hot water until cooked, before adding the squash, peas and cheese. Don’t be afraid of adding more water if necessary – it’s really important not to let the risotto boil dry.

Serve in a bowl with a few cubes of butternut squash and crumble over the rest of the cheese. Enjoy your warming winter grub!

Picture to follow…!

J

Feta and Roasted Vegetable Bulghar-Wheat Salad

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This tasty salad makes a nice change from the old ham sandwiches. It’s really easy to make and lasts all week so I tend to make a huge tub of it on a Sunday and it will keep until Friday – not that it ever really lasts that long. It looks really posh too.

Serves: 6-8

Ingredients

1/2 butternut squash, diced into 1-2 cm cubes
1/2 courgette, diced into 1-2 cm cubes
1 medium sweet potato, diced into 1-2 cm cubes
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 cup of bulghar wheat
1 vegetable stock cube
handful spinach, chopped
100g feta
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp dried oregano
4 tomatoes, chopped
salt and pepper

Method

Heat the oven to 160*C whilst you prepare the vegetables. Throw them into a bowl and coat well in the sunflower oil. Add a teaspoon of each of the herbs and put on a baking tray in the oven to roast for 40-50 minutes until soft. Leave to cool.

Meanwhile, add the bulghar wheat to the a bowl and cover with two cups of boiling water. Add the stock cube and stir well. Cover with clingfilm and leave to soak for 10-15 minutes, stirring a couple of times.

When the bulghar wheat has soaked up the water, add the vegetables to it. Leave to cool before crumbling over the feta, adding the herbs and adding the chopped spinach. Chop the tomatoes and add to the salad. Season well and store in the fridge.

Spanakopita (Greek Feta and Spinach Spiral Pasties)

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More flipping swirly things! (Sorry)

Sadly, I haven’t ever managed to capture a shot of these little things. Once they come out of the oven, they are so elusive, you’ll be lucky if you can catch one for lunch the day afterwards. Inspired by a number of recipes, I have amalgamated the ‘best bits’ of each into this tasty concoction.

Ingredients

6 sheets of filo pastry (no, I don’t make my own – maybe one day I’ll give it a go)
1 bag of spinach (approx 500g)
200g block of feta
1 medium white onion
1 tsp garlic paste or 2 cloves of garlic, chopped finely
handful rosemary (fresh, chopped), or 2 tsp dried
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 medium egg
a sprinkling of plain flour
a little bit of milk

Method

Start by chopping up your spinach quite finely. Squeeze out as much of the water as you can from it, over a sieve to catch any bits you drop. This will seem tiresome, but it really is worth it. Grate the onion and similarly, squeeze the water out of that. Add the squeezed spinach and onion to a bowl. Crumble over the feta, herbs and mix well before adding 1/2 of the egg to bind it all together. Save the last bit of egg for later.

Open out your filo sheets onto a well-floured surface. Begin by brushing egg round the outside of the first sheet. Add 1/6 of your spinachy mixture in a long line along the longest edge of the filo sheet, leaving 1 inch around the edge clear (which should be covered in egg). Fold over the filo 1 inch lengthways and widthways, to fully cover the line of spinach and begin rolling the pastry to form a long sausage. Try not to catch any big bubbles of air.

When you have a spinachy sausage, brush one side of it with egg and use this as the glue to hold your spiral together. Roll the sausage around one end fairly tightly and use a bit of egg to glue down the last centimetre. You should have something that looks like this.

Brush the outside with egg and place on a greased tray. Repeat for the remaining 5 sheets of filo.

Bake in the oven at 160*C for around 20-25 minutes until golden brown and crispy.

Take a photo before they all get nommed.

Apricot & Rhubarb Galette

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Galette, it appears to be me, is simply a fancy-pants Frenchy-wenchy way of saying “tart”. This recipe is adapted slightly from the cherry galette Smitten Kitchen cookbook I bought my sister for her birthday. I’m sure this would work equally well with all manner of stone fruit; peaches, nectarines, plums et cetera!

In making this tart I managed to make the amateur error of halving all the pastry ingredients bar the water, which is possibly the worst thing to include too much of! Fortunately I managed to save it and just had an extra large tart. I mean galette. Which is no bad thing in my book! This pastry could be used for any manner of sweet tarts/pies.

Pastry

Ingredients

110g plain flour
55g ground almonds
½ tsp salt
½ tbsp granulated sugar
2 tsp cinnamon
110g butter, straight from the fridge
60ml cold water

Method

Sieve the flour, almonds, salt, sugar and cinnamon into a large bowl. Add the butter in 1cm cubes and rub in with your hands (or one of these bad boys) until the largest blobs are the size of a pea. Stick in the fridge for five or ten minutes before adding the water, a third at a time, stirring in with wooden spoon or spatula until one large clump forms. The quicker you work the better. Wrap in cling film and stick in the fridge for at least an hour.

Tart

Ingredients

1 lot of pastry
30g ground almonds
1½ tsp flour
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp granulated sugar
15 butter, softened
¼ tsp almond extract
¼ tsp vanilla paste
1 large egg, separated into white and yolk
300-325g apricots (approx. 10) halved and stoned
125g rhubarb (approx. 1 stick), cut into ½ thick slices
apricot jam
1 tbsp coarse sugar

Method

While the pastry is in the fridge add the ground almonds, flour, sugar and cinnamon into a bowl. Vigorously mix in the butter, almond extract, vanilla paste and egg white until smooth. Stick in the fridge if not using straight away.

Preheat the oven to 200o/400oF/gas mark 6. Flour a work surface and a rolling pin, fetch the pastry dough and roll out to a 30cm circle. Transfer to a baking tray lined with baking parchment or buttered greaseproof paper. Spoon on the almond paste and spread evenly, leaving a 5cm border. Layer on the rhubarb and apricots (not going over the border). Fold over the excess like so, it needn’t be overly neat.

Whisk the egg yolk with a teaspoon of water and brush the folded over crust, then sprinkle with the coarse sugar. Dollop a little apricot jam over the fruit and spread it best you can.

Bake for 30-40 minutes until pastry is golden brown, turning halfway through for even browning. Serve warm or cold, with custard or cream or vanilla ice cream or any combination!

tarte aux abricots