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Wild garlic pesto recipe

18 Mar

I confess that I am addicted to wild garlic. When I saw this spring’s first leaves appear in a crate at Booth’s vegetable stall in Bermondsey, I made a beeline for it. As I’ve been busy, it’s been in the fridge for a week. I decided to make a wild garlic pesto, so I can keep some of this delicious taste of spring to hand, once the season is over.Image

For the pesto you will need:

  • 80-90 grams parmegiano reggiano, cubed
  • 100 grams pine nuts
  • 200 grams wild garlic (leaves and stems)
  • 120 grams olive oil
  • salt and pepper, to taste

I used my Thermomix for this, but you could use any food processor, adjusting for mixing times accordingly.

Cube the parmigiano reggiano, put in in the TMX bowl and grate at speed 8 for 10 seconds.

Add pine nuts and wild garlic, whizz at speed 6 for 10 seconds. Scrape down and repeat. Your pesto should look fairly smooth by this point.

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Weigh 120 g olive oil into a measuring jug, turn TMX to speed 4 and slowly pour in the oil. It should take about 40-50 seconds.

Add salt and pepper to taste. The pesto at this stage will taste pretty strong, like raw garlic. Hence you will want to cook it through a bit when you use it.

I made some tiger prawn linguine with mine, and mixed in the pesto to cook through a bit at the end with the pasta. Delicious.

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Festive cranberry sauce recipe

1 Dec

There’s nothing better than a homemade cranberry preserve to serve alongside your turkey, cockerel, goose or whatever fowl you may have on your Christmas table. This would make a lovely Christmas gift for friends or family too.

Cranberry sauce

Here’s an easy recipe that I’ve adapted for the Thermomix. If you don’t have a Thermomix, all you have to do is bung it all in a saucepan. I don’t really know why people go out and BUY cranberry sauce. I bought my fresh cranberries at M&S, Waitrose also sell them, and you can find them at markets as well. Any white wine will do.

Makes about 1L of sauce

Ingredients:

600g fresh cranberries
240ml or 210g white wine
240g caster sugar
zest of 1.5 oranges or 3 clementines (I used 1 orange and 1 clementine)

Method:

Put all of the above in your TMX bowl.
Cook at 100/20 minutes/reverse/stir speed/MC on
Taste to see if you want it sweeter. If you do, then add more sugar and put on as above for another couple of minutes.

If you are doing the saucepan version, this will probably take about 15-20 min as well, but you’ll need to stir every now and again to prevent it sticking at the bottom.

The cranberries after cooking in the TMX

Cranberries in TMX

Cranberries in TMX

Orange and clementine zest

Orange and clementine zest

Orange and clementine zest

The finished product:

Cranberry sauce

Cranberry sauce

cranberry sauce

Christmas Eggnog recipe

29 Nov

My family has been making this eggnog for as long as I can remember. It’s boozy and rich, and not for the faint hearted!  This recipe is adapted from the bible of Canadian cooking – the Canadian Family Cookbook. My parents managed to find an edition for me, even though it’s out of print.

It makes about enough for 25 small punchbowl glasses.

Ingredients:

6 egg yolks
2 cups caster sugar
1 pint or 568 ml bourbon or whisky
1 cup or 250 ml Jamaica rum
1 cup or 250 ml brandy
3 cups or 750 ml double cream
2 cups or 500 ml milk
6 egg whites

Method:

Using a stand mixer or hand mixer, beat the egg yolks with the sugar until it’s mixed together and very thick. Gradually add the liquors, stirring constantly, then blend in the cream and milk.

In a separate bowl, beat egg whites until stiff, not dry, peaks. Gently fold into the eggnog. Turn into a punch bowl, cover, and chill. Sprinkle with ground nutmeg when served.

Enjoy several glasses but don’t even think about driving afterwards!

Truffle Poutine recipe

28 Feb

A ‘posh’ twist on Poutine, the classic Québécois fast-food dish, with the addition of Italian black winter truffle.

Truffle Poutine

Ingredients

  • 300ml good quality beef stock
  • 200ml good quality chicken stock
  • 2 tsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 tsp truffle oil
  • 8g fresh black truffle
  • 1kg French fries or chips
  • 200g cheese curds
  • 2 tbsp cornflour (aka cornstarch) mixed in a little cold water

Serves: 3-4
Calories: lots

Instructions

First, catch your cheese curds.  Ideally you’ll want to smuggle them from Québec, like we did. They’re pretty hard to source in the UK, so you may need to make your own curd using rennet, raw milk and yoghurt. Do not substiute normal cheese for curd – that would be an a very poor approximation. Next, find yourself a truffle. We used Mister Truffle – they deliver truffles by the gram…

The quality of the gravy is important. If you can make your own from beef or veal bones, please do so. If you can’t, or you don’t have time, find some good quality ready-made stock. We prefer Marks & Spencer’s concentrate that comes in jars.  Finally, make some chips. We cheated to test this recipe out and used McCain oven chips. Not quite the real deal, but not too bad. French fries would have been more authentic.

Cook your fries, and meanwhile make the gravy by grating about 1/3rd of the truffle into the stock, adding the balsamic and the truffle oil, then bringing it to the boil. Add the cornflour in water to the stock and stir well to prevent lumps, until it’s smooth, thick and lustrous.

Plate up the fries and scatter pieces of the cheese curd on top.  Pour over the gravy, then shave the remaining truffle on top. The hot gravy should melt the curd, but if you want to help it along then 30 seconds in the microwave doesn’t hurt.

Lemon Fairy Cakes Recipe

11 Apr

Quick and easy fairy cakes for afternoon tea, or as an anytime treat. Makes 14-16.

Lemon Fairy Cakes

Ingredients

  • Cake Mixture
    • 125 g butter, softened
    • 125 g  self-raising flour, sifted
    • 125 g caster sugar
    • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
    • 1 tsp vanilla extract
    • 2 tbsp milk
    • zest of one lemon
  • Glacé icing
    • 100 g icing sugar
    • 2 tbsp lemon juice, freshly squeezed
    • food colouring, if desired

Method

Pre-heat oven to 190 C.

Cream butter and sugar together using an electric mixer, add beaten egg in small batches, then vanilla while still mixing.  Add lemon zest.  The mixture might look slightly curdled due to the citric acid in the lemon zest but don’t worry! Then add half the amount of flour gradually while mixer is on slow speed. Add the milk. Continue adding the rest of the flour until the mixture is smooth.  If you don’t have an electric stand mixer, a hand mixer with whisk attachment is fine or quick arm work with a wooden spoon or a balloon whisk.

Spoon the mixture into paper bun cases or if you are using a fairy cake tin, ensure the tin is oiled so they don’t stick.  Bake for 12 minutes or until risen and golden in colour.  Insert skewer and if it comes out clean, the cakes are done. Leave to cool on a rack before icing.

To make the icing, sift the icing sugar into a bowl and add the 2 tbsp of freshly squeezed lemon juice. You could make orange flavoured by using orange juice, or in theory any other sort of flavourings/extracts.  Stir until smooth.  I made my icing purple by adding a few drops of red and blue food colouring, that’s the fun bit!

Spoon the icing over the cakes and top with decoration(s), if using.  Allow the icing to set and then remove the external paper cases (if used).  Et voila, fairy cakes that your friends and family will love.

Notes:

I found that my paper cases didn’t fit the silicone tray I had, so I doubled up on the paper cases and put them on a baking sheet, which worked perfectly.  After baking you can always remove the other case.

To make icing the cakes afterwards a bit easier, don’t overfill the cases, but leave room for the cakes to rise.  Otherwise you will end up with a high dome on the cake, which makes it slightly more difficult for any topping like  a cherry or sugar flower to stay put.