Category Archives: Fruit

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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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

Banana and Cinna-nom Muffins

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 This is a great way to use up those over-ripe bananas you have hanging around the kitchen. It’s taken from the Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook which I must say, reliably delivers some of the tastiest cake recipes of any book I own. Not too sweet, I imagine these are the type of muffins normal people would get away with eating for breakfast. I, on the other hand, have absolutely no qualms about eating any kind of muffin for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Nom.

ImageMakes 12-18 (depending on the size of your muffin cases).

Ingredients

350g plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 tsp salt
150g sugar
70g butter, melted
400g slightly over-ripe banana (approx. 3 large)
375ml butter milk (or milk with a teaspoon of lemon juice)
1 tsp vanilla extract (1/4 tsp paste)
1 large egg

for the cinnamon sugar:

3 tsp sugar
1/2 – 1 tsp cinnamon

Method

Add the dry ingredients – flour, sugar, baking powder, bicarb, cinnamon and salt – to a bowl. Mix to evenly distribute. In a separate jug, measure out the milk, add the egg and vanilla. Mix gently just to break up the egg. Add the butter and the milk to the dry ingredients and use an electric whisk on medium speed to mix them thoroughly. In another bowl, mash up the banana, leaving a few medium sized chunks. Add to your muffin mixture and beat to make sure it’s all combined.

Spoon into muffin cases and sprinkle over a bit of the cinnamon sugar for a slightly crunchy topping. Bake for 20-30 minutes at 160-170. If you have any cinnamon sugar left, sprinkle over the muffins as they come out of the oven.

Serve warm with tea if you can’t wait. As with most muffin recipes, these are better left for a day or so to mature – I find you lose less of the mix stuck to the paper.

I heard they freeze well, but I am yet to find out for myself.

W

Stilton, Apple & Walnut Flatbreads

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I decided (rather belatedly) that it should be my new year’s resolution to make sure I a) cook and b) blog a recipe once a week. So, I’m kicking off the year by using up the leftovers from our Christmas cheeseboard. We actually had so much cheese this year that we had a designated shelf in the fridge assigned to cheese.

I would probably serve these with salad, chutney and maybe some more Granny smith apples if you have any left.

Makes 6

Ingredients

250g strong white bread flour
5g yeast
5g salt
15g softened butter
25-40g stilton (depending on taste)
1 Granny smith apple (one large or two small)
12 walnut halves, approx
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper

Method

Make the dough by mixing the flour, butter, salt and yeast in a bowl with around 160ml cool water. The dough should be slightly stickier than you would usually work with. Work the dough in the bowl for a few minutes to stretch the gluten and when it is less sticky, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and work for 5-10 minutes until soft and elastic.

Leave to prove for 2-3 hours until doubled in size. Meanwhile, crumble the stilton, roughly chop the walnuts and chop the apple into very small cubes for the flatbread filling. Drizzle with a teaspoon of lemon juice to stop the apple from discolouring, add a pinch of salt and pepper.

Knock back the dough and divide into 6 portions. Shape each into a ball and roughly flatten. Place a spoonful of mixture into the centre of each disc and pull the edges over the top to seal in the filling. Roll out to around 15cm diameter.

Fry in a lightly oiled pan on a medium heat for 3 minutes on each side. Serve with salad and more apple.

Yum.

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Home-Made Christmas Mincemeat

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My recent mincemeat swirl recipe has been a huge success in our house. Not only have me and my house-mates now made around 5 batches between us, it has spread beyond – to family, friends, tutors…! We now consumed over 6 jars of mincemeat this year so I thought it was about time I branched out and came up with a recipe for my own.

This recipe has been adapted from lots of individual recipes online and from family and friends to get the best of both when it comes to taste and cost. All in all, this recipe comes in at around £5-7 (based on Morrison’s own brand ingredients, Dec 2012) but it makes a tonne of beautiful, home-made mincemeat, perfect for presents or just for your own personal (never-ending) stash of mince pies. Compared to other mincemeat recipes that use brandy or whisky to soak the fruit, this one not only gets bonus points for value, but the flavour of the mulled wine adds so much more to the mix too.

Unlike some recipes, this does not require any cooking, like jams or chutneys. However, for a more sticky, jam-like mincemeat, heating the soaked fruit and juices with 3 tbsp water, in a saucepan on a low heat for 20 minutes. This could be done before putting it into jars or using in your recipe. I would advise doing this if making open tarts or the mincemeat swirl recipe.

Makes approx 3-4lb.

Ingredients

1kg mixed fruit and peel (stuff from the value range is fine, we won’t tell)
180g vegetable suet
1 orange, zested and juiced
1 lemon, zested and juiced
500ml mulled wine (or red wine plus extra ground spices)
2-3 apples, chopped (bramley or eating – whatever you have around)
1-2 tsp ground ginger
1-2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
pinch of mixed spice

Optional:
150g brown sugar (will make it sweeter but will probably help it keep for longer)
75g almonds (or other similar nuts), chopped

Method

Chop the apple into small chunks. Throw everything but the suet into a large bowl and cover with clingfilm -alternatively, use a large saucepan with a lid. Leave in your kitchen overnight, at room temperature, stirring regularly to allow the fruit to soak up all the juice. In the morning, add the suet before spooning into jars.

Keep in a cool dark place. If you have time, your mincemeat will appreciate 2 weeks to allow the flavours to enhance, but if not, it tastes pretty good the same day!

In the unlikely event that you have any of this mincemeat left over after Christmas, it will probably keep for a few months, unopened. However I would be reluctant to keep it for more than 6 months due to the lower alcohol content in this recipe compared to standard ones using brandy or whisky without adding the extra sugar. But, your choice.

Pork, Pear & Parsnip Roast

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Fruit should not just be reserved for dessert.

I won’t lie, this is a little faffy – it was kind of on the hop and I haven’t really had a chance to perfect the method I’m afraid…if anyone has any ideas as to how to streamline it I would love to hear them! Having said that, for a roast this is pretty quick…

Serves 4-6

Ingredients

4 pork tenderloin steaks (approx. 700g), cut width-ways into strips – about 5 or 6 per steak
2 large parsnips, cut into wedges
2 large carrots, cut into wedges
3 large potatoes, cut into wedges
2 large onions, cut into wedges
3 large pears, cut into – you guessed it- wedges!
couple of handfuls of apricots

Marinade

2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
thumb-sized piece of ginger, finely chopped
100ml cider (roughly)
juice of 1 lemon
good glug of oil
good slug of golden syrup
handful fresh rosemary leaves, roughly chopped
handful fresh thyme leaves, roughly chopped
2 bay leaves, gently crushed
salt and pepper

Method

Chop everything first – vegetables then meat, just to be safe. This is where having a couple of assistants comes in very handy – so if you’re cooking for a group get them to earn their grub! Parboil the carrots, parsnips and potato for about 10 minutes, until they’re slightly tender (basically just make sure you don’t turn them to mush).

Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/gas mark 6. Get a couple of oven trays or large roasting trays out and put them in an easily accessible place. Mix up all the marinade ingredients (don’t throw away your lemon skins!) in a large bowl. Put a large frying pan on a high heat. Toss the pork in the marinade, give it a good rub around with your hands (just wash them afterwards, a’ight) and add to the frying pan. Seal the outside of the meat, turn the pieces over every now and again to make sure you get every side. You may need to do this in batches – add the sealed meat to one of the trays and repeat.

Repeat the process – marinade then frying pan – for the pears and onions, about 5 minutes should do it. Again, depending on the size of your saucepan you may need to do this in batches.

Drain your vegetables and add to the remaining marinade with the apricots. Give a good shufty then divide everything up evenly over the roasting trays. Pour over any left over marinade, another glug of oil, a good few twists of pepper, the bay leaves and the lemon skins, give one final shufty and put in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.

After 20-25 minutes, take out the trays, give a good shufty, return to the oven and turn up to 220oC/425oF/gas mark 7 for a final 10-15 minutes. Take out and serve – succulent meat, caramelised fruit, roast vegetables all in one incredible ensemble.

Sorry, no picture – couldn’t stop myself from getting stuck in!

Pear & Rhubarb Crumble

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So I am finally back at university after my 4 month summer…! Don’t get jealous now, I worked 8-5 every day, cycling to and from work, so I wasn’t dossing about. In fact university is somewhat of an easy ride in comparison! This year I am IN A HOUSE! Which, if you can’t tell from that exclamation, excites me greatly. This is the first thing I have cooked in my lovely new kitchen.

Being back at university, or more to the point in a city, means I get to indulge in one of my favourite activities: food bargain-hunting. You’d never guess which shop is the top of the pile when it comes to this particular sport: Waitrose. It’s a cheapskate’s paradise – they’re constantly reducing prices of going-out-of-date items all day, so no matter what time you go in you’re more than likely to find something. And if you time it just right, the patisserie/bakery mark down their fresh bread and cakes massively5p a doughnut? I’ll take 12 please! Having said all that, the rhubarb and pears for this recipe came from Sainsburys. 6 pears for 24p and 400g of rhubarb for 44p. Kerching. But I couldn’t mention the bargain-hunting without passing on my little tip.

But shhhh, it’s just between us, right?

Serves 6-8.

Ingredients

Filling

5 small pears, chopped
400g rhubarb (approx. 3-4 sticks), chopped
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger
sugar, to taste

Topping

225g flour
125g butter
60g sugar

optional:
handful chopped almonds/walnuts
couple handfuls raisins
couple handfulls oats
sprinkling cinnamon

Method

Preheat oven to 200oc/400oF/gas mark 6. Put the pears in a pan, add enough water to just cover them and heat to boiling then reduce to a simmer. Stir every so often until the fruit starts to soften. If you want your rhubarb as a sort of thick sauce add it when the fruit is harder, if you want the rhubarb to maintain some of its structure then add it when the fruit is softer. Once cooked/reduced, grate in the ginger and taste, adding sugar if the fruit is too tart.

For the topping, sieve the flour and sugar into a bowl and add the butter in small pieces. Use your hands to form crumbs, making sure there are no large clumps of butter. If your crumble is too “dusty” add a little more butter, if it is too clumpy add a tad more flour. Once you have reached the desired breadcrumb consistency and if you are including them stir in the s, raisins and oats.nuts

Pour the fruit into a large oven proof dish and tip the crumble on top, smoothing it across the surface. Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon and stick in the oven for half an hour, or until golden brown and bubbling.

Hey presto! Serve with custard. Or cream. Or ice-cream. Or be a fatty and do all three. Winner.

J