Sunday, April 29, 2007

SWEET LEMON BROWN-BUTTERED APPLES


A very easy recipe, so come on have a go at this one. The apples both taste and look wonderful. The sauce in which they are cooked has a hint of toffee.
I must confess, I didn't make the lemon brown butter because there was plenty of sauce in the dish in which the apples were cooked. The recipe calls for red apples, but as you can see in the photograph mine were green, as these were the only ones I had in the house!!

MARIE CLAIRE - FLAVOURS DONNA HAY


ISBN 0864119925 - PAGE 50

SERVES: 4

4 sweet red apples, halved
60g butter, chopped
50g demerara sugar

lemon brown butter:
125g butter
2fl oz lemon juice
4 tablespoons sugar.

Preheat the oven to 180ºC/(350ºF)/Gas 4. Place the apples in a baking dish, cut-side up, and top with butter and demerara sugar. Bake for 30 minutes, basting frequently until the apples are soft.
To make the lemon brown butter, place the butter in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Allow the butter to slowly simmer until it smells nutty and has turned golden brown. Remove from the heat and add the lemon juice and sugar. Return to the heat and stir for 2 minutes.

Place the apples on a plate and spoon over the lemon brown butter. Serve warm with ice cream or Greek yoghurt.

Everyone will love these!

Saturday, April 21, 2007

FETA, TOMATO AND ROSEMARY FLOWERPOT BREADS


There is something wonderful about making your own bread and that 'thing' is talked about with passion in books dedicated to the art of breadmaking. Whatever that 'thing' is, it is individual to you, be it the kneading, watching the bread prove, the aroma from the bread cooking or a magnificent loaf of bread when it comes out of the oven.
Bread never fails to please, especially if it has been made by your goodself.

Andrew at SpittoonExtra is hosting the challenge Waiter there's something in my ............bread and this recipe is taken from the April 2007 Delicious Magazine.

Preheat the oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/Gas 7.

1. Take a 240g tub SunBlush tomatoes, drain, reserving 1 tbs oil and 8 tomatoes. Chop the rest.
2. Make the dough by sifting 500g strong white bread flour and 1 tsp salt into a large bowl. Stir in a 7g sachet of fast action yeast. Make a well in the centre and gradually mix in 250ml warm water, the reserved 1 tbsp oil, 2 tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary and the chopped tomatoes. Knead, then knead in 150g crumbled feta.
3. Shape into 8 balls and place into 7cm terracotta pots that have been oiled and floured, or cut out 9 inch squares of parchment and line the flowerpots. Prove for 30 minutes. Top with more feta and a reserved tomato, and push in a small, wet rosemary sprig. Bake for 25 minutes.

The advantage of using the parchment is twofold, firstly it makes removal of the bread from the pots easy and also the tomato doesn't slide off the dough onto the baking tray because the parchment stops this!!

These were very easy to make and tasted wonderful.

For further reading on bread I would recommend - Baking with Passion by Baker & Spice.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

SYRUP SPONGE


This challenge is to reassure Sam from becksposhnosh that English food is well worth consuming and that we have 'proper puddings' that are reassuringly comforting.
In the Cotswolds way back in 1985 The Pudding Club was set up for pudding lovers and is still going strong today. The Club meets at
The Three Ways House Hotel in Mickleton, Chipping Campden.
The Club's philosophy is 'A little bit of what you fancy does you good'. Wonderful words of wisdom.
All of the puddings are served with lashings of Bird's Custard and apparently they have got through hundreds of gallons of this!
I have made individual puddings, no doubt the Pudding Club would go for the large pudding option.

THE PUDDING CLUB

ISBN 0747220492 - Page 96

Serves: 4 to 6 people

Take 120g each of butter and caster sugar, cream until light and fluffy. Sift 120g self-raising flour and add this to the creamed mixture along with 2 beaten eggs, a little at a time, beating well. Put 2 tablespoons of golden syrup into the base of a buttered 1.1 litre pudding basin, and pour the sponge mixture over the syrup. Cover securely and steam for 2 hours. For the individual puddings use four greased 175ml pudding basins and steam for 45 minutes.
Serve with Syrup Sauce and custard.

Syrup Sauce - 1 dessertspoon cornflour, 150ml water, 2 tablespoons golden syrup, juice of ½ lemon.
Mix the cornflour with a little of the water, then add all the other ingredients. Heat in a small pan, stirring all the time, until the sauce thickens. Serve hot.

For further reading see English Puddings, Sweet & Savoury by Mary Norwak.

Barbecue Cooking

Well, we had our first barbecue last weekend, on a glorious sunny day. The husband chose the menu and of course, it had to be beefburgers, sausage and chicken. We went to the beautiful market town of Bridgnorth in Shropshire, where they have excellent butchers shops and market stalls selling top quality produce. After a short coffee break we then headed home to sort out the salads, vegetables and meat for barbecuing. Everything was fabulous.
Today the weather is again very sunny and so another barbecue is lined up. This time we have moved on, to something more adventurous. We are cooking several recipes from Barbecue by Eric Treuille and Birgit Erath. The rosemary peppered pork chops look enticing, along with chargrilled garlic potato slices, barbecued courgettes, onions and chargrilled bread with garlic parsley butter.
Also a pasta salad from Food Fast by Donna Hay.


Now what shall we have for dessert?

Saturday, April 07, 2007

MINI SIMNEL CAKES


Over the years I have always made a large Simnel cake, but this year I was tempted by the pretty mini Simnel cakes in the April 2007 issue of Delicious magazine.

Julia over at A Slice of Cherry Pie is hosting an Easter Cake Bake and these little cakes seemed perfect, with the pretty little flowers as decoration, especially as we are now surrounded by spring flowers.

175g butter, softened, 175g caster sugar, 3 medium eggs, 225g plain flour sifted, 1 tsp baking powder, 1 tsp mixed spice, 350g luxury mixed dried fruit, 100g chopped walnuts or almonds, grated zest and juice of 1 orange, 100g natural almond paste, cubed.
For the decoration: icing sugar to dust, 325g natural almond paste, yellow and green food paste colour.

1. Preheat the oven to 160°C/fan140°C/gas 3 and grease a 12 x 125ml muffin tin or mould. Beat the butter, sugar, eggs and flour until smooth. Add the baking powder, spice, fruit and nuts, orange zest and juice, mix well. Divide between the 12 muffins and push in the almond paste pieces. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden and firm. Cool for 20 minutes, then remove from the tin and place on a wire rack to cool.
2. Thinly roll out 250g almond paste. Press out 12 rounds with a 7cm plain cutter. Press on each cake and crimp the edges. Colour any remaining almond paste to make flowers and leaves.

Next time I make these I will alter them slightly by omitting the nuts and also only using 50g of cubed marzipan and not the 100g as in the recipe, this is because I found the ratio of marzipan to cake was too much.
These cakes are delicious and I will definitely make them again.
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