Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Peas, Watercress & Brown Shrimp on Toast

This is an adaptation of a Lindsey Bareham recipe that I tore out of a magazine a couple of years ago, and quickly became a favourite simple-yet-polished lunch in our household. As well as being relatively healthy and simple, with only a handful of ingredients needed, the blitzed watercress and pea mixture is really bright and fresh, and looks great on the plate. Despite being a good lunch dish, this would also work well in smaller quantities as a starter, or add more of everything to make into a light supper. If you can't find brown shrimps (Waitrose usually have a good supply) feel free to substitute them with prawns or crayfish. Although this is really quick to throw together it's worth noting that a good food processor or hand blender is essential to blitz your greens!

For two generous lunches you will need…

100g peas (fresh or frozen)
1 large handful of watercress
1 tsp Dijon mustard
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp cider vinegar
Salt & pepper

Knob of butter for the toast
2 slices of good sourdough bread
50-100g brown shrimps
Lemon to serve

You will need to…

- Cook the peas in boiling water, then drain and add to your food processor along with the watercress, mustard, olive oil and cider vinegar.
- Blitz until it becomes a thick herby sauce and season to taste. You might want to adjust the vinegar/oil balance too - I like it quite tangy.
- Toast your sourdough slices and butter generously.
- Spread with a thick layer of green paste and top with the shrimp. Serve with a wedge of lemon.

Enjoy! C x

Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Malteaser Cake

This Malteaser Cake is always a show stopper. During my cooking jobs in Scotland over the summer this cake was a favourite for afternoon tea, and I assure you it takes a very hungry army of people to demolish the whole thing in one sitting! Infact, it is so rich and chocolately that it could almost be served with cream as a pudding. I have enjoyed many an hour sitting aligning every malteaser to make this cake look symmetrical - the first time I made it, it certainly didnt look like my latest one in
these photos! 

To serve 12 hungry people you will need... 

For the chocolate sponge 

150g soft unsalted butter
250g caster sugar
150g self raising flour
100ml sour cream or double cream
4 medium eggs
50g cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder 
a pinch of salt 
1/2 a vanilla pod or a few drops of vanilla extract 

For the icing (these quantities ususally make a bit extra)

100g dark chocolate
550g icing sugar 
250g soft butter
2tbsps milk/water 

4x 135g malteasers (make sure you have enough or else you wont cover the whole cake!) 

You will need to... 

-Preheat the oven to 180C/gas mark 4 
-Grease and line two 8 inch loose bottomed cake tins
-Put the butter, sugar, flour, cream, eggs, cocoa powder, baking powder, salt and vanilla into the large bowl of an electric mixer and mix until smooth. 
-Pour the mixture into the two cake tins and bake in the oven for 25/30mins or until a skewer comes out clean, Leave to cool for a couple fo minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack.
- When the cakes are cool make the icing, First melt the dark chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water stirring occasionally. 
- Put the icing sugar in the electric mixer (no need to sieve if using a mixer) then add the butter and and milk/water until light and smooth. Then pour the melted chocolate in with the mixer still running. 
- Place the sponge on the plate you will be serving it on- it is difficult to move once you start covering the cake in malteasers. Then using a palet knife, spread the chococlate icing over the bottom layer before placing the second layer on top and covering the top and sides of the whole cake with icing.
- Then begin to stick the malteasers on, I find doing it in straight lines makes the neatest looking cake!

Enjoy, Z x

Tuesday, 16 September 2014

Blackberry and Raspberry Galette

With an abundance of blackberries growing in the hedgerows at this time of year, this rustic autumnal pud is a quick, easy and delicious way of using them up - get picking and you'll have yourself an (almost) free pudding! A galette is somewhere between a pie and a tart, though I'd argue better than either as it is freeform so doesn't require a tin or dish, and folding over the edges ensures maximum delicious crusty pastry. This one has a few raspberries thrown in as well but it works just as well with only blackberries, or some finely chopped apples instead.

To make a galette to serve four you will need…

100g plain flour
50g butter
1 dessert spoon icing sugar
A pinch of salt
3 tbsp cold water

300g fruit (blackberries, raspberries, chopped apple or a combo)
1 dessert spoon caster sugar 
1 dessert spoon cornflour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg for egg wash
A little extra caster sugar to sprinkle on top

You will need to...

- Make shortcrust pastry by combining ingredients in a food processor (if lazy) or by hand by rubbing cubed butter into the mixture of flour, icing sugar and salt until fine breadcrumbs form. Add enough cold water and combine until the pastry just comes together, then wrap in cling film and chill in the fridge for minimum 1 hour. 
- Preheat oven to 180C. Line a baking tray with greased baking parchment. 
- Place fruit in a bowl then gently stir in the cornflour, caster sugar and vanilla until combined - try not to squish the berries too much.
- Roll out your chilled pastry on a lightly floured surface to form a rough circle. Transfer onto the prepared baking tray.
- Spoon fruit into the middle of the pastry, then fold up the edges as pictured.
- Lightly beat the egg in a small bowl, then brush over the pastry and top with a sprinkle of caster sugar.
- Bake for about half an hour or until pastry is golden and crisp.
- Serve warm with a generous helping of single cream.

 Enjoy! C x