Sunday, November 28, 2010

Mini Black Forest Gateau




The high quality Morello cherries used in this recipe are steeped in Kirsch, they are a speciality ingredient idea - Griottines. The Kirsch Griottines and their liqueur have a 15% alcohol content.

The first maceration of the cherries in liqueur takes place within six hours of picking. After rigorous sorting, grading and de-stoning the Morello cherries are steeped in different liqueurs for successive maceration's over a six month period based on a secret recipe and age-old traditions. The last maceration provides the final touch of Kirsch, which is the hallmark of Griottines.

They are produced in France using a special type of Morello cherry, the Oblachinska, and are only found in the Balkans.

You can use the cherries in cakes, chocolates or desserts. I decided to bring a twist to the traditional Black Forest Gateau and made individual cakes. I lived through the Black Forest Gateau years and have to say, I still love it. Although my memories are tainted now, as I remember just how synthetic the gateau were, but you was very posh if you ate Black Forest Gateau! For me it's still a wonderful combination of flavours - chocolate cake, Morello cherries, Kirsch, softly whipped cream and good quality grated chocolate - heaven!

The Morello cherries can also be purchased steeped in Cointreau.

The Griottines can be purchased in red gift boxes, making them an ideal Christmas present for foodies.


Griottines can be purchased from delicatessens, fine food shops, farm shops or online at http://www.griottines.co.uk/.

Thank you Lotte.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Leon Book 2 - Naturally Fast Food


Leon are healthy eating fast food restaurants based in London. They have an array of awards, and a loyal following of clientele who appreciate food which is naturally full of flavour, goodness, tastes good and does you good too.

My son lives in London and always enthuses how, just by stepping over the Leon threshold he feels healthier, and describes Leon food as happy food.

With such encouraging words from my son, I purchased the first Leon Cookbook written by Allegra McEvedy, and my copy is now definitely well thumbed.

The second cookbook, Leon Book 2 Naturally Fast Food, is written by Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent. This is a quirky cookery book resembling a personal scrapbook.

The book is written in two parts. The first section is Fast Food, recipes that can easily be made in 20 minutes, including Saturday Pancakes, Jossy's Mystery Soup and Hattie's Sweet Onion Frittata.

I thought there was a printing error when I came to Page 192 for Upside-Down Apple & Cardamom Tart, but to my delight they had printed the recipe and photographs upside down! As a dessert lover I just couldn't resist making this recipe.


Another recipe from Fast Food is Coconut Chicken and Petit Pois Curry - a delicious curry made with coconut milk, tikka paste and nigella seeds. Great for a midweek meal and ready in no time at all.


The second section is Slow Fast Food, dishes to be made in advance and then reheated. I love the thoughts of Henry's 18-Hour Beef, Benny's Slow-Cooked Lamb or Bruno's Osso Bucco.

Also, there are sections devoted to preserving, ice creams, cocktails, 70's party food, just to name a few.


Don't forget to check out the back of the book too, there is a page called Drawers of Wishes - 'There is a chest in the Leon at Ludgate Circus with many drawers. No one knows quite how it started, but over the years it has filled up with the wishes of people who eat with us'.

Thank you to Fiona at Octopus Books for the review copy of Leon Book 2 Naturally Fast Food.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

JAMIE'S 30 MINUTE MEALS - CHICKEN PIE, FRENCH -STYLE PEAS & SWEET CARROT SMASH


My husband kindly bought me Jamie's book, although true to say, he didn't find that out until now! Cookery books are the equivalent of clothes that you bought ages ago and say you have had them for ages. Perhaps though, you can ask Santa to buy a copy and put it in your Christmas stocking.


There has been negativity in the press, even the BBC Watchdog television programme devoted air time(albeit with humour) to the question - can his dinners really be cooked in 30 minutes?

To be fair, I can't give the answer to this, because as usual, I was multitasking whilst cooking ie. emptying the washing machine, putting clothes into the tumble dryer, drying pots, loading the dishwasher and so on.

I didn't give consideration to making his dessert of Berries, Shortbread & Chantilly Cream because we were still ploughing our way through a dessert from a couple of days previous.

You want me to be honest don't you - I am not sure if I could prepare and cook all of this in 30 minutes, even if I had wanted to take up the challenge.I really like Jamie's new book and know I am going to cook a lot of recipes from it. Also, I have enjoyed his series of programmes to go with the book. He is a great guy and has enough passion and fire in his belly to encourage us all to get cooking.

Feedback on the book from young professionals I have spoken to, is they think he has possibly missed a trick by using so many ingredients. Unless you are a keen cook or have plenty of time, it's not always an easy call, and then there is the expense. Maybe, he should write a book using less ingredients, now there's an idea.


The chicken pie, french-style peas, sweet carrot smash is an incredibly tasty meal and I hope you are encouraged to have a go at this one. After all, it's great comfort food and who doesn't like a pie?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Hotel Chocolat Large Luxury Christmas Cracker


I was very excited to receive this Large Luxury Christmas Cracker from Hotel Chocolat.

My first thoughts are, forget buying the usual Christmas crackers this year and opt for this one instead. I am going to put mine on the table as a centrepiece and my guests will be more than delighted, especially as the cracker measures 64cm long. The cracker is tied in two places with beautiful gold ribbon and looks stunning.


The cracker contains 12 gold party hats and jokes, so there is no break with tradition, but instead of the usual plastic toys there are 40 decadent chocolates to share. The chocolates include smooth pralines, ganaches, champagne truffles, caramels and many more. The chocolates come wrapped in pairs, so there are no excuses for everyone not having a fair share of the cracker.

Hotel Chocolat have something for everyone this Christmas, they have Chocolates, Christmas Presents and Christmas Crackers.

Thank you Hotel Chocolat!

Sunday, November 07, 2010

STUFFED BABY SQUASH


I couldn't resist cooking this on my cedar wood baking plank to give just a hint of smokiness to the squash.



A small whole baby squash is a meal in itself and all you need for accompaniments are some sun-dried tomato bread and a spicy tomato sauce.

Serves: 4

You will need: 4 small squash about 350g each, 200g mixed wild and basmati rice, 60ml chilli and garlic oil, 150g grated Gruyere cheese.

1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/375°F/Gas 5. Pierce the squash in several places with the tip of a knife. Place the squash on a baking tray or oven plank and bake for 30 minutes or until the squash are tender. Leave to one side until cool enough to handle.
2. Cook the rice in salted, boiling water for 12 minutes or until tender, drain. Slice a lid off the top of each squash and scoop out and discard the seeds, also scoop out and chop the flesh.
3. Heat the chilli and garlic oil in a frying pan and cook the chopped squash for 5 minutes. ( Or, if using, transfer to the oven baking plank for extra smokiness and cook in the oven for a few minutes).
4. Reserve 4 tablespoons of the cheese and add the remainder to the pan along with the cooked rice, season. Mix well.
5. Pile the mixture into the squash shells and place in an ovenproof dish (or return to the oven baking plank). Sprinkle with the remaining cheese and bake for 20 minutes.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...