Tag Archives: recipe

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.

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Tiramisu Cake

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So George’s sister introduced us to our local Clandestine Cake Club. Each month they hold themed cake making/scoffing extravaganzas based on three simple principles:

1. You make a cake big enough to share
2. You get together and eat and share your cakes (and attempt conversations between mouthfuls of yumminess)
3. You take all sorts of cake home and get fat for the next week

This month’s theme was cakes based on other puddings or in other words, puddings masquerading as cakes. There’s no judging or egotism, just friendly people filling their faces as bemused members of then general public mosey on by. This tiramisu cake is based on the Smitten Kitchen tiramisu cake recipe, whose marsala cream is to die for. In fact, even if you don’t make the cake just make the cream and let spoon meet mouth.

Ingredients

For the coffee cake:

150g butter
120g sugar
150g self raising flour
3 eggs
1 tbsp baking powder
3 tbsp coffee essence such as camp coffee or very strong instant coffee

For the chocolate cake:

130g plain flour
40g cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
100g butter
2 eggs
120g sugar
120ml buttermilk (made simply by adding a tablespoon of lemon juice to milk and leaving for 10-15 minutes)
pinch salt
1 tsp vanilla essence

For the coffee syrup:

3 tbsp coffee essence (as above)
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp icing sugar

For the marsala cream:

250g marscapone
50g icing sugar
200ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp marsala wine

Method

Preheat the oven to 160oC/320oF/gas mark 3  as you prepare the cakes and grease two 23cm (or thereabouts) cake tins.

For each of the two types of cakes, mix the dry ingredients together in separate bowls (sieved flour, baking powder, salt, sugar, cocoa). Add the butter and mix with an electric whisk until each turns to a sandy consistency. Add the respective flavourings.

In a separate bowl or mug, gently beat the eggs for one cake and add to the mixture a bit at a time, whisking until incorporated. Repeat with the eggs for the other cake. The coffee cake mixture is now ready to be poured into the cake tin and baked for 20-30 minutes. To the chocolate cake mixture, add the buttermilk and continue whisking until it becomes smooth. Pour into the second tin and bake for 20-30 minutes.

When baked, take the cakes out of the oven and mix up the coffee syrup in a small bowl. Drizzle evenly over the cakes and leave the cakes to cool fully.

To make the marsala cream, (which by the way, is extremely versatile and I challenge you not to eat any before it sees your cake) begin by beating the marscapone with the sieved icing sugar. In a second bowl, whisk the double cream until it forms stiff peaks. Add around a quarter of the cream to the marscapone mixture and mix thoroughly. Add the rest of the cream to the marscapone and fold very gently, so as not to lose the air from the mixture. When evenly mixed, store in the fridge until you’re ready to assemble your cake…if you can manage to not eat it all first.

To assemble the cake, place the chocolate cake on a plate or tray (the chocolate cake is slightly more structurally sound thus it makes sense for it to go on the bottom). Cover with a thick layer of marsala cream. Place the coffee cake on top. Spread the remaining marsala cream over the top. Dust with cocoa powder in some kind of pretty pattern. And go and join your local CCC!

Tadaaah!

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

How to bake the World’s Best Brownie

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Brownies are great. Everybody loves a well baked brownie – you might know someone who doesn’t, but you only remember them because they are one in a million. This recipe is extremely versatile. It’s a rich, moist brownie that you can throw anything into to make it your own. The other great thing about this recipe is it is extremely difficult to get wrong – there is no danger of overmixing anything and it ending up as a chocolatey mess, and I have found that using the basic ranges of ingredients works just as well – just don’t tell anyone!

Ingredients

200g dark chocolate
250g unsalted butter (or baking spread/Stork)
300g sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
4 large eggs
80g cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
65g plain flour

Method

Melt the butter and chocolate  in a bowl above a saucepan of boiling water slowly. You can do this in a saucepan directly, but just be sure to do it slowly and keep stirring it regularly – it will be fine. Add the sugar to a bowl (or a large jug) along with the vanilla essence. Pour in the chocolatey buttery mixture and stir well. Add the four eggs and mix thoroughly until smooth. Sieve the flour into the bowl and beat until smooth and silky – you can try very hard – but I have never found it possible to overmix this – just beating it with a wooden spoon until smooth works just fine. Line a brownie tin with baking paper (neatly – this is the most important bit!) and pour in the mixture. Gently bash the tin on the worktop Bake for around 15 minutes at 170° until the outside is cakey and the middle is still a bit squidgy. As a general rule – check your brownie and if it wobbles when you shake it – it needs longer – ideally 5 minutes after the time it stops wobbling. There is a varying degree of squidgyness so if you’re into eating your brownie with a spoon – you probably want to leave it for less time – mine turn out quite sturdy, but moist in the middle. This advice becomes very important when you start adding things like raspberries and cheeseecake topping.

Optional extras:

You might like to try adding chopped nuts, chocolate chips, cherries, fresh raspberries (you can add frozen too – but you’ll need to substantially increase the cooking time) or chopped stem ginger. Add to the mixture at the end.

If dark chocolate is not your thing – this recipe works just as well with milk chocolate – just knock the sugar down to 250g and the butter down to 200g.

Adding a cheesecake topping and swirling it through the mixture adds a wonderfully simple, yummy extra. Mix 150g cream cheese with 60g icing sugar and a tsp vanilla extract. Beat in one egg and dollop on top of the mixture. Swirl through with a skewer or knife. Alternatively pipe it in lines and sweep the skewer through it in alternate directions for a posh pattern.

You could use this mixture to create a base for a normal cheesecake, or a triple layered brownie cheesecake. I would recommend halving the recipe and adding the cheesecake and raspberry cream layers according to the recipe here. You could just as easily add a non-baked cheesecake mixture to the top of a thinner brownie base and chill to set. Any other ideas for how to use this ultimate brownie recipe would be greatly appreciated – post ideas below!

For more of our brownie ideas and thoughts, see Our Quest for the World’s Best Brownie.

Curried Aubergine Pie

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Up until recently aubergine hadn’t really registered on my radar. I think before this month I’d only ever used one once, as a layer in a vegetarian lasagne. However I am now developing rather a taste for them, they’re excellent flavour carriers (they are the sponge of the vegetable world) and, so long as they’re not cooked to death, have rather an interesting texture. This recipe takes inspiration from one on BBC Good Food, but adds a few ingredients to really liven it up.

A note on my measurements. I use specific measurements in recipes to make it as straightforward as possible, however I for one never actually measure 2 tbsp tomato purée, I just put in what looks “about right”. Please go with whatever seems reasonable to you – if you really like ginger, add more ginger, if you don’t like ‘hot’ food, use less chilli!

Ingredients

1 large aubergine, cut into 3 cm cubes
4 large old potatoes, peeled and cut into 2 cm cubes
2 large onions, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
5 cm fresh root ginger, grated
handful curry leaves, finely chopped
1 tbsp ground turmeric
1 tbsp ground coriander
1 tsp chilli powder
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tins chopped tomatoes
1 tin chickpeas, rinsed and drained
salt and pepper

Method

Preheat the oven to 220oC/425oF/gas mark 7. Put the potatoes onto boil – they’ll need about ten minutes, though check every so often to make sure they haven’t gone to mush as potatoes are extremely variable I find. Drain and set aside when soft.

In a large saucepan gently fry the onions in oil until starting to go translucent, add a little water whenever they start to stick. Add the garlic, turmeric, coriander, chilli powder, tomato purée, ginger and curry leaves and fry for a further 5 minutes. The turmeric will give the dish (and your cooking utensil!) a wonderful ochre hue. I think that’s possibly the first time I’ve ever used the word ‘ochre’ in a sentence. Blimey, I’ve just done it again! Continue to add water whenever it starts to burn/stick.

Set aside roughly a quarter of the onion mixture before adding the aubergine and frying off on a medium heat for a further 5-10 minutes. Add the chopped tomatoes and chickpeas and reduce until ‘gloopy’ rather than runny. Pour the mixture into a large oven proof dish and top with the potatoes. Top with the onion mixture you set aside earlier – I smeared it all over to imbue (imbue! look at me and my fancy vocabulary today) the potatoes with the turmeric colour.

Bake in the oven for half an hour or until the top layer of potatoes is golden and crispy. No picture this time I am afraid!

J

Middle-East Feast

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We would certainly recommend this as a lazy weekend afternoon set of recipes. There’s nothing particularly difficult here, but it’s nice to get everything together in a leisurely manner – even factoring in time for a mid-aftermoon cocktail! Equally you needn’t cook everything here, feel free to mix and match as you see fit!

feast

Serves 4-5

Harissa Lamb Kebabs

Ingredients

400g lamb steaks, cut into inch cubes

Marinade

1 tbsp harissa paste
1 tbsp tomato purée
juice of one lime
2 garlic cloves, crushed/finely chopped
1 tsp cumin seeds, ground
a few cloves, ground
2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
salt and pepper

Method

Mix up the marinade ingredients in a bowl. Stick in the lamb and smush around till all sides of are coated. Cover with clingfilm and stick in the fridge. 15 minutes before you plan to eat, remove from the fridge and stick on a skewer, leaving a small gap between each cube. Stick under a medium grill for 10-15 minutes (or to your preference) turning every so often until the outsides are slightly charred and hey presto.

Oven-Baked Aubergine

Ingredients

1 large aubergine
1 onion, finely chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed/finely chopped
1 cinnamon stick
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tsp ground coriander
few handfuls of raisins
handful walnuts, chopped up

Method

Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/gas mark 6. Halve the aubergine lengthways and slash the cut side. Wipe all over with olive oil, stick in a roasting tin and season with salt, pepper and a little paprika. Cover with foil and bake for 35-40 minutes.

Meanwhile sweat the onions and garlic in a little oil, add the spices and cinnamon stick, raisins and nuts and a little water. Cook till the onions are translucent, adding water if things start to stick. Remove the aubergine from the oven, take off the foil, cover in the mush and put back in the oven for 5 minutes.

Flatbreads

See here

Hummus

Ingredients

1 tin of chickpeas
1 tbsp tahini
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper
1 tsp paprika

Method

Drain the chickpeas, preserving the water in a separate jug. Whizz them up with a blender until they are crushed, before adding the tahini paste, lemon juice, paprika and seasoning. Whizz a little more, a cautiously add bits of the chickpea water until you reach the desired consistency.

Tasty Tabbouleh

Ingredients

2 tomatoes, chopped
2 inch piece of cucumber, chopped
1 small red onion, chopped
1 large handful of herbs: mint, parsley, coriander, chopped
1 tbsp olive oil
juice of half a lemon
salt and pepper

Method

Add all the chopped vegetables and herbs to a bowl. Drizzle over the oil and lemon juice, season well.

Yoghurt, Two Ways

Ingredients

400g natural yoghurt
1 tsp harissa paste
1 spring onion, finely sliced
1 inch piece of cucumber, chopped
handful fresh mint, basil and coriander leaves, roughly torn
squeeze of lemon juice
pepper

Method

Add half the yoghurt to one bowl, stir in the harissa. Add the rest of the ingredients to a separate bowl, stir and that is essentially it! Time to enjoy all this incredible food!

J&W

Everything-But-The-Kitchen-Sink Chicken Stir Fry

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As I’m currently on Easter break I am home for a while which means I have access to many more (free) ingredients than I would do normally. Hence this stir fry has got everything I could get my hands on in! It could easily work with a lot fewer ingredients.

Serves 4-5

Ingredients

400g chicken breasts, cut into strips
1 large red onion, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, thinly sliced
½ broccoli, cut into small florets
handful red chard, leaves stripped from stems, stems sliced
½ karela*, cut horizontally into strips
1 red pepper cut into strips
1 cup of peas
handful peanuts
handful cashew nuts

*also known as bitter melon apparently, I picked one up in the supermarket because it looked interesting. This really is pretty bitter, though grated in the marinade it gets cooked through nicely and loses its edge much more than when left in chunks. If I use it again I think I will probably grate it all.

Marinade

6 spring onions, sliced
3 cloves garlic, grated
½ bitter melon, grated
thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, grated
3 tbsp soy sauce
3 tbsp tomato purée
2 tbsp brown sugar
½ tsp cinnamon
2 tsp chilli powder
3 tsp coriander
1 piece galangal, broken into a few pieces
zest and juice of ½ a lemon
zest and juice of ½ a lime
1 kafir lime leaf
handful fresh basil, torn up
handful fresh coriander, torn up
1 stick lemongrass, slightly crushed
glug sesame oil

Serve with noodles

Method

Usually I would advice cutting everything up first but seeing as your chicken is going to want to marinade for a while it makes sense to do the marinade first. Stick all the marinade ingredients into a large bowl. Give a good mix then add the chicken and smush around until everything is relatively evenly coated. Cover with clingfilm and stick in the fridge. I left mine for an hour or so. Go get cutting!

If possible get a wok, preferably one with a lid. (You could use a frying pan but it would have to be pretty mega). Toast the nuts for a few minutes then set aside. Fetch your marinaded chicken from the fridge. Heat a fairly large glug of oil (sesame if you have it, but this is by no means essential) over a high heat. Add the chicken and fry off for a few minutes, until cooked through. Remove and put to one side.

Put a saucepan onto boil for your noodles. Fry up the onions for 7-8 minutes then add a little water to the wok and throw in the broccoli. Stick the lid on and steam for 5 minutes or so. Remove lid, stir, add carrots and chard stalks, replace lid. After a further five minutes add the peas, chard leaves and re-add the chicken and nuts. Heat everything through while you cook your noodles. Depending on personal preference either add the noodles to the wok or just put them on a plate and add the stir fry on top.

J

what, no kitchen sink?