Sunday, May 27, 2007

BREAD AND BUTTER PUDDING


Mary Norwak in her book English Puddings, Sweet & Savoury, tells us that this pudding has been popular for more than two hundred years and appears in many eighteenth-century cookery books. As with all old recipes, there are many variations.
Gordon Ramsay and Jamie Oliver lace their bread and butter pudding with Bailey's cream liquer, Gary Rhodes uses eight egg yolks and ½ pint of double cream. There are now recipes for chocolate bread and butter pudding. All of these variations have helped to re-invent the bread and butter pudding, by modernising this old nursery favourite.
On a personal level, I have been scarred for life, by being given badly made bread and butter pudding. The most common faults are the custard separating and currants having been placed on top of the bread and these have burnt during cooking. they then resemble rabbit droppings!!
This particular recipe, whilst not entirely traditional, is a good everyday bread and butter pudding, and one that even I will eat. On a light hearted note, if you look at the photograph of the slice of bread and butter pudding, you will see that there appears to be only three currants. I assure you that there were others and that these were hidden amongst the layers of bread and custard. I think this is possibly called uneven distribution!!
For this recipe you will need medium sliced bread that is about two days old. It is important to use full cream milk and also butter to spread on the bread, otherwise it's really not worthwhile making as it will taste just the same as the one put before you when you were a child and we don't want that - do we!!!


I have slightly adapted the recipe from the original.

HAMLYN COMPLETE COOK

ISBN 0600601986 - Page 501

SERVES: 4 (but I'm afraid to say, mostly 2)

40g soft butter
4 slices of medium sliced white bread, crusts removed
1 tablespoon of apricot jam
50g sultanas, raisins or currants
450ml full cream milk
2 tablespoons sugar
2 eggs, beaten

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.
2. Grease a 1.2 litre ovenproof serving dish with some butter.
3. Butter the bread and spread with the apricot jam. Cut the slices into small triangles. Layer 8 triangles of bread in the dish, sprinkle with the fruit, top with the other 8 triangles of bread.
4. Place the milk and sugar in a saucepan and heat to just below boiling point. Remove from the heat and whisk in the eggs. Strain the mixture over the bread and leave to soak for 30 minutes.
5. Place the dish in a roasting tin and fill with hot water to halfway up the sides, bake in the oven for 45 minutes, increase the heat to 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5 for a further 10-15 minutes until crisp and golden on top and just set. Serve at once.

Charbonnel et Walker



A funny thing happened yesterday. The post delivery van brought a parcel addressed to me and on the franking label it said Charbonnel et Walker. My husband said maybe they were sending me a product to review on my blog - no said I, my address isn't on there and they definitely haven't been in contact with me.

I opened the box and there in front of me was a tin of Chocolat Charbonnel and a Pink Marc de Champagne Bar!!!

Now, why me? Why should I receive such wonderful goodies! They even sent it straight to me from their store in Old Bond Street, London. It arrived without a compliments slip, not even a congratulations! you have won a prize slip.

Did I enter a competition in the distant past and have forgotten about it (then why should I remember - I have only ever won a prize a couple of times).

We had a large mug of the chocolate drink this morning and it was wonderful. The chocolate flakes are in a cellophane bag within the blue and white tin. Take four heaped teaspoons of the flakes and mix with the same of boiling water. Whisking all the time, top up with boiling milk.

I made this with semi-skimmed milk and it wasn't too rich. If you use full cream milk then I would recommend using a smaller mug and only using two heaped teaspoons of chocolate flakes. The chocolate drink was smooth and velvety in texture. It is made from 51% cocoa solids. This is a truly luxurious drink.



Pink Marc de Champagne Bar - I had quite a shock to see a bar of pink chocolate in front of me!

This is a soft centred chocolate bar with a champagne chocolate filling. Unfortunately, this wasn't quite the sort of thing I would normally go for and I could only manage a small piece - well ok I'll have some more later!!

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

MUSHROOMS WITH CHERRY TOMATOES



This recipe is very easy as lots of the best recipes are. These look stunning served with steak or poultry. Or, how about serving them on a thick slice of toasted bread with some of the cooking juices poured over.
I have cooked lots of sweet and savoury dishes from this book and find it is one of those books that you keep going back to, time and again. Good Housekeeping have some brilliant recipes in their books - try them for yourself.

GOOD HOUSEKEEPING NEW RECIPE BOOK

ISBN 0007116918 - PAGE 238

SERVES: 6 people (can easily be scaled down)

6 large flat or portabella mushrooms
oil for greasing
2 finely sliced garlic cloves (optional)
6 sprigs cherry tomatoes on the vine
3 tablespoons olive oil

1.Preheat the oven to 200°C/180°C Fan oven/Gas Mark 6. Put the mushrooms into a greased roasting tin, scatter over the garlic, arrange a sprig of cherry tomatoes - still on the vine - on top of each mushroom, then drizzle with olive oil.
2. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, then cover with foil and bake for 15 minutes.
3.Take the foil off the mushrooms and continue to roast, uncovered, for a further 15 minutes.

Fabulous.

Alligator the onion cutter



This piece of kitchen gadgetry should have come complete with ear defenders and a box of paracetamol. The noise it makes when you use it, even though it is totally manual, is unbelievable. How it passed any health and safety tests is quite beyond me.
I purchased this piece of equipment because I was fed up with onions making me cry!! It is truly horrible when that happens.
This is called an alligator because its jaws go snap!! quite violently I might add. When I use this I have to shut the window, kitchen and back door, because of the noise.
To use this you need a certain level of tolerance, a good sense of humour and be able to cope with the unexpected, for reasons I will explain.
To dice a carrot, cut the carrot into very thin slices and place them in the alligator one by one, otherwise the carrot gets stuck in the metal dicing plate. A certain amount of strength is required in order to carry out this task because you have to press down hard on its jaws. I have actually hurt my elbow doing this.
To dice celery, cut the celery into small pieces and then cut again, place one by one into the alligator to dice otherwise this will also get stuck in the dicing plate.
To dice an onion, again cut into fairly small pieces, otherwise this will also get stuck.
Are you now getting the picture?
The diced vegetables are supposed to go into a container on top of the alligator, this again isn't without its problems. Firstly, it is difficult to get the container to sit correctly on top of the dicing plate, secondly, whilst you are using brute force to dice the vegetables this makes the vegetable catcher come off. Therefore, the contents go in all directions!!
I'm sure there must be an easier way to dice vegetables......now, where's that knife?!!!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

SPATCHCOCK CHICKEN WITH LEMON AND ROSEMARY


This recipe is a particular favourite of mine. It can be cooked both in the oven and on the barbecue (It is best to cook the chicken in the oven before finishing on the barbecue). This is one of those never fail to please recipes, and so I think that makes it perfect.
We aren't talking about pretty here with this recipe, we're talking about a beautiful golden chicken that is moist and tastes delicious. When you put the chicken onto your table it really is a wow! moment. To see this chicken in all its glory click onto the photograph for a better view!

I have been asked about the pretty jug in the photograph. This was bought from Clive Ramsays Deli in the beautiful Scottish village, Bridge of Allan. Basically, this jug holds 'liquid gold'! We were looking around the deli and were literally seduced by the place. I bought lots of goodies and my husband also chose some things. The jug holds extra virgin olive oil. I went outside whilst my husband paid and when he came to me he had turned 'a whiter shade of pale', and said the bill was a lot more than he had expected! The culprit was the jug of olive oil. Being in holiday mode I hadn't paid much attention to the price, but I just loved the jug. I kept very quiet and hoped and prayed the contents were going to be OK. What a relief the extra virgin olive oil within the jug is fabulous and I use this specifically when I am making Nigella's Ultimate Greek Salad!!

NIGELLA LAWSON FOREVER SUMMER

ISBN 0701173815 - Page 136

SERVES: 4 people

When I have seen Nigella spatchcocking a chicken on television, she does it with a glint of mischievousness in her eye, and tells us how she loves a bit of DIY surgery!!
Anyway, this is how to do the spatchcocking, which is very easy. First take the chicken, breast side down, cut through all along one side of the backbone. Then cut along the other side of the backbone, remove this. Turn the bird the other way up and press down as you open it out. Hey presto! one spatchcocked bird.

It is best to marinade the chicken the day before you want to cook it.

1 spatchcocked chicken (2-2.25kg)
3 long sprigs fresh rosemary
juice of lemon, plus more lemons to serve
1 red onion
100ml olive oil
Maldon Salt

1. Put your spatchcocked chicken into a large freezer bag. Pull the needles off 2 sprigs of rosemary and drop them on top. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze the juice, put the empty shells in the bag as well. Cut the unpeeled onion into eighths and add these to the bag. Pour in the olive oil and tie up the bag and place in the fridge.
2.Take the chicken out of the fridge and let it come up to room temperature.
3. Preheat the oven to 210° C/Gas Mark 7.
4. Lay your chicken, skin side up on a tin lined with foil, along with the lemon husks and onion pieces, add the remaining sprig of rosemary torn into a couple of pieces, tucking them between the leg and breast. Cook for about 45 minutes, the chicken should be crisp skinned and tender.
5. Take the chicken out of the oven, cut the chicken into four pieces and arrange these on a plate, along with the onion, pour over any syrup juices from the tin and sprinkle with Maldon salt. Cut a lemon or two into quarters and scatter these around the chicken.
6. Serve with Nigella's Ultimate Greek Salad.

Since writing this post I have added two more Spatchcock Recipes:

Spatchcock Chicken with Gremolata served with a Wild Rice and Pepper Salad

Spatchcock Chicken with Lemon, Oregano and Paprika served with a Crunchy Rice Salad
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