25 Mar 2012

Smoked Haddock and Leek Risotto

I'm not one for take out meals but on occasions I feel lazy, can't be bothered, can't get into the zone and can't even think what to make. On these occasions I always feel guilty, but then I do have a husband to feed! Left to me it would be a plate of leaves and a spray of balsamic vinegar, but then as I said before, I do have a husband to feed, and I don't think he would be very impressed with a plate of leaves.

For all the above occasions risotto saves the day. Risotto fills you up and as long as you have some arborio rice, a glass of white wine and some chicken stock you can make a substantial meal. Hopefully, you will have some Parmesan cheese to grate over the risotto too.

Risotto isn't the prettiest of meals but taste wise it takes some beating. Risotto costs less than a take out, takes less time than if you have to fetch it and won't hurt your wallet either.

I have a clever kitchen gadget which makes mine in 25 minutes from start to finish, a present from my husband, and so on lazy days and can't be bothered days it's risotto for us.

This delicious recipe is from Olive Magazine and can be found on the BBC GoodFood website.

A few more lazy day risotto's:

Lemon Thyme, Prosciutto, Pecorino and Goat's Cheese Risotto
Porcini and Spinach Risotto
Nigel Slater's Leek Risotto with Parmesan Crisps

17 Mar 2012

Blueberry Streusel Scones

Blueberry streusel scones are a wonderful combination of flavours and textures. These scones aren't the easiest to make because the fruit has to be very carefully folded into the scone dough. The blueberries have to be fresh and not frozen, otherwise you end up with purple scones. I'm very gently letting everyone know this scone dough is very messy to handle.

I made my scones with plain flour and added a couple of teaspoons of baking powder but if you would like to see a scone with height, and who doesn't, then I think self-raising flour with maybe an extra teaspoon of baking powder will make a difference or simply keep plenty of height to the uncooked dough by making sure it isn't rolled out too thinly. The original recipe comes from the fabulous baking website Joy of Baking and uses milk or cream but my preferred method is to use half milk and half plain yogurt to give a fluffy scone. My photograph doesn't show the fluffiest scone, I think this was because I took the photograph outside on a freezing cold day and the scone almost instantly became frozen!

Reheated in the microwave the scones will become perfectly fluffy, and the cinnamon infused streusel topping remains beautifully crunchy. They freeze well and I think with a little tweaking, a good quality butter to spread on them and maybe a little blueberry jam, you have a very delicious scone.

This is the first time I have entered the Tea Time Treats monthly tea party challenge which is hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage, and Kate from What Kate Bakes. This months challenge is Scones sweet and savoury, and the host is Karen from Lavender and Lovage.

9 Mar 2012

Plum, Apple and Blackberry One Crust Pie

I really like these one crust pies, they always look so comforting and inviting. This recipe is by the Hairy Bikers' from their book Perfect Pies - some may say it isn't a pie because it hasn't got a lid but Delia Smith has a similar recipe in The Summer Collection, she also refers to this as a very easy one-crust pie, and so pie it is.

The pastry is brushed with egg and dusted heavily with golden caster sugar to give a sweet crunch when you bite into the buttery pastry. The mix of fruit is a perfect balance, but the recipe only gives 3 tablespoons of caster sugar to sweeten the fruit and I was a little concerned this was going to give a tart fruit mix. I used about 5 tablespoons of sugar and the sweetness was perfect.

The Hairy Bikers' omitted to say the size to roll out the pastry and so it was left for me to guess. Ha ha but I didn't, this is where Delia came in, in her book she says to roll the pastry out to a round of approximately 35cm and if you pile the fruit onto a 25cm circle and then turn the edges of the pastry up everything will be fine. The pastry needed a few more minutes to cook than the time specified in the book, but the buttery pastry was fabulous and the filling was perfect. A perfect pie for Mr W and myself, and so I'll give it 5/5.

The Hairy Bikers' have a huge smile on their faces on the front cover of the book and this book makes me smile too:) I don't normally give books a score but this one definitely deserves 5/5.

Book Recommendation: Tarts with Tops On, the title always makes me laugh, is written by Tamasin Day-Lewis, it is a brilliant book, well worth seeking out and I would recommend this book for more really good pie recipes.

4 Mar 2012

Creamy Haddock Gratins

I made four of these lovely little gratins and they were one of the best dinners we had this week. They were a bit of a faff to make and I seemed to use every basin and saucepan in the kitchen, I managed to run out of work surface and made a mess everywhere too. There wasn't a space in the kitchen to take the photograph of the gratins and so I had to run outside and photograph them, it was so cold outside they cooled down straight away, looked a little sorry for themselves and had to be rescued with a few grilled cherry tomatoes placed on top to cheer them up.

The lack of preparation was because I had planned to cook salmon but somehow the salmon managed to get lost. I know I bought it, I found my receipt - I looked in the fridge, the freezer, in the car....I can only think it must have got fed up and swam back to the river. Or, it's still in Sainsbury's, but I felt too embarrassed to ring up and ask if they had found some salmon hanging around. Mr W said forget about the fish, but how am I supposed to forget about the fish that somehow managed to get lost between the supermarket and home?

It's been a week of losses, Mr W lost the remotes to the DVD and the hifi, he also fell asleep in the cinema and he nearly lost me when he started snoring! I have also lost some Tupperware containers which I use to put small amounts of sauces into for the freezer. It's also been a week of frustrations, we have invested in new technical wizardry and I am now on techie overload.

Mr W thinks we may have entered a new chapter in our lives ...........

This recipe is by the Hairy Bikers from the television series Mums Know Best and is on the BBC Food Website.