25 Aug 2007


Whilst admiring Scott's Strawberry and Champagne Jam on his site I noticed that he is hosting Weekend Herb Blogging. and my canapes made with basil pesto fit the theme superbly and so here is my entry for the above.
We had a 'bit of a do' this last weekend and I made a few canapes. These in particular were very popular. They were easy to make and big on taste.
Making pesto is a doddle - I used basil from my garden and there wasn't a cellophane wrapped package of basil or a jar of pesto in sight.
The book I took this recipe from is my personal favourite - the recipes are all 'do-able', the food styling and photography is amazing. Every photograph, on every page, jumps out at you and says make me.
If you are about to have a 'bit of a do' look out for this book - you'll be glad you did!


Eric Treuille & Victoria Blashford-Snell

ISBN 1405305134 - Page 44

Makes: 20

15g basil leaves, 2 tbsp pine nuts, 1 tbsp olive oil, 4 tbsp Parmesan cheese, grated, 200g puff pastry, 20 cherry tomatoes, each cut into 3 slices, salt, black pepper, 20 basil sprigs to garnish.

You will need a 5cm fluted pastry cutter.

Place the basil, pine nuts, oil and Parmesan in a food processor or blender and pulse to a thick paste.

1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC(400ºF)Gas 6.
2. Roll out pastry on a floured surface to 2.5mm thick. Stamp out 20 rounds with the pastry cutter. Place the pastry rounds onto a floured baking sheet.
3. Spread ½ tsp pesto onto each pastry round and top with 3 cherry tomato slices. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
4. Bake until crisp and golden, about 10 minutes.
5. Garnish each galette with ½ tsp pesto and a basil sprig. Serve warm.

Pesto can be made up to 3 days in advance. Put into a container, place a layer of clingfilm on top of the pesto and refrigerate.
Bake galettes up to 1 day in advance.
Reheat in a preheated oven 200ºC(400ºF)Gas 6 for 3 minutes. Garnish and serve warm.


22 Aug 2007


When I made the mini Victoria sponge cakes, posted below, I didn't get the chance to make the strawberry jam, Delicious Magazine made for the filling - but now I have triumphed and made two wonderful pots of fresh tasting strawberry jam.

Jam making can consist of two or three simple ingredients, but somehow they manage to terrorise me. I'm just not at ease when it comes to making preserves, even though I've read up on the subject.

When I look at my two jars of bright red strawberry jam, I must confess, I can't help feeling pleased with myself.

Unfortunately the strawberries didn't come from my garden, for the simple reason I have to share them with the squirrel. I've put netting over the plants this year, did this stop him - no! Now he just puts his teeth into them because he can't steal them, I think I would rather he stole them than left me staring at strawberries with teeth marks in them.

A slightly adapted recipe from Delicious Magazine August 2007


Makes approximately 2 x 1 lb jars

450g strawberries, hulled
500g preserving sugar
Juice of 1 lemon

1. Freeze 2 saucers.
2. Put the strawberries, sugar and lemon juice into a greased preserving pan over a medium-low heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil for 6 minutes. Remove from the heat. Put a spoonful onto a chilled saucer and push your finger through it - if it wrinkles, it's ready, if not, boil for another 2 minutes and repeat.
3. Stir in a small piece of butter.
4. Let stand for 15 minutes.
5. Spoon into sterilised jars. Cover jam with waxed discs. Moisten one side of transparent cover, place on jar damp side uppermost, secure over rim of jar with a rubber band.

11 Aug 2007


You've probably guessed by now that I love cooking from Delicious Magazine and here is yet another recipe that caught my eye. This recipe comes from the August 2007 issue.
I've used fresh strawberries and West Country double cream as the filling.
Delicious Magazine gave the recipe for strawberry jam to be used with the cream as the filling, and I will post the jam recipe very soon.
Baking cakes and desserts is probably my most favourite part of cooking and I seem to fall in love with anything and everything 'mini' in the baking and desserts department!

Serves 8

For the cakes:
170g butter, softened, 170g caster sugar, 3 medium eggs, 1 tsp vanilla extract, 170g self-raising flour.

For the filling:
284ml carton whipping cream, a large punnet of strawberries, icing sugar for dusting.

You will need 4 x 8-9cm straight-sided individual Yorkshire pudding tins or 8 round plain cutters, sat on a lined tray. The tins will need to be greased and base lined.

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/fan 160ºC/gas 4.
2. Beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Lightly beat the eggs with the vanilla, then gradually beat into the creamed mixture, adding a little of the flour. Sift over the remaining flour and gently fold in until just combined.
3. Divide evenly between the holes or rings, smoothing the surface. Bake for 20-25 minutes until risen and golden. Cool in the tins for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool.
4. Lightly whip the cream to soft peaks. Spread onto 4 sponge bases, top with quartered strawberries and sandwich with the remaining sponge discs. Dust each with icing sugar to serve. Each cake serves 2.