26 Feb 2013

Stuffed Mushrooms with Leeks, Dolcelatte and Walnuts: Recipe

All photographs taken with the Nikon D3200                           
'Life's too short to stuff a mushroom' - does anyone still use this expression? In 1975 Shirley Conran, published the book Superwoman, aimed at busy women and gave advice about life using the phrase 'Life is too short to stuff a mushroom'........This recipe is definitely well worth the time spent making something tasty and inexpensive from just a few fridge and store cupboard ingredients.

Served with a simple risotto.
I placed a small amount of risotto on the plate for the photograph because it very quickly goes stodgy and doesn't like to be left hanging around, otherwise you may well end up eating it for pudding. After taking photographs, which as usual were taken speedily during cooking and serving, I topped the risotto with the remaining walnuts, Dolcelatte and thyme leaves, to give texture and interest.  I made a tried and trusted risotto recipe, used half the recommended quantities of ingredients and simply left out the bacon, leeks, Parmesan and chives.

The original recipe for the Stuffed Mushrooms with Leeks, Dolcelatte and Walnuts is from the Waitrose Kitchen Magazine - February 2013.

Adapted Recipe

Serves: 2

5 large flat mushrooms (chop one and leave the others whole)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp garlic oil
1 leek finely chopped
a few thyme leaves
25g Dolcelatte Cheese
25g walnuts chopped

1. Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Mix the olive oil and garlic oil together and brush one tablespoon over the whole mushrooms. season with black pepper.  Place on a roasting tin top-side down and cook for 10 minutes.
2. Heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a frying pan and fry the leek, thyme and chopped mushrooms for approximately 5 minutes until softened.
3. Divide the mixture between the four upturned baked mushrooms, top with cubes of  Dolcelatte cheese and chopped walnuts, season.
4. Bake for 10 minutes or until the cheese melts.

19 Feb 2013

Recipe: Chocolate Mint Aero Mousse

This is an exclusive recipe by Aero using their Bubbly Peppermint Aero and it is totally delicious.  The best way to describe the dessert is a mint chocolate biscuit in a glass. I'm sure Willa Wonka would have approved.

My dessert was made in 6 shot glasses and I also used natural yoghurt to keep those calories at bay....

Chocolate Mint Aero Mousse

Serves 4

Please note this recipe contains uncooked egg white.


120g Mint Chocolate Aero, broken into cubes
2 digestive biscuits, crushed
15g butter, melted
8 marshmallows
200g low fat natural yoghurt (or whipping cream)
1 egg white, whisked

1. Crush the digestive biscuits and add to melted butter and 1 crushed cube Mint Chocolate Aero, mix well and place into the bottom of 4 shot glasses.
2. Reserve another piece of Mint Chocolate Aero for grating.
3. Place the remaining Aero into a small bowl and microwave for 1 ½ minutes. (750w). Add the marshmallows and microwave for another 30 seconds.
4. Whisk in ¾ of the yogurt and then fold in the whisked egg white.
5. Pour the mixture into shot glasses and leave to chill in the fridge.
6. Once set, top with the remaining yoghurt and sprinkle reserved grated Aero on top.

I was kindly sent Aero bars to make this delicious recipe.

15 Feb 2013

Walnut & Rosemary Focaccia

After watching the TV programme Britain's Best Bakery, which Cumbrian celebrity chef Peter Sidwell co-hosted with Mich Turner (sugarcrafter extraordinaire), it inspired me to make a bread recipe from his book Simply Good Bread. The recipes in the book can be made using a bread machine or by hand.

I love homemade focaccia and walnuts in bread always work well. The dough uses a mix of strong white bread flour, OO Italian pasta flour and mashed potato from a baked jacket potato, this produced a very light crumb.

The baked focaccia is lovely dipped into extra virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Any leftover can be frozen away in slices - when you need to take any out of the freezer, defrost on a paper towel which will soak up any moisture and then refresh in the microwave.

The focaccia dough waiting to be baked.
The recipe can be found online at lovefood.com

12 Feb 2013

Pancakes With Fresh Orange Juice

Pancakes served with orange is a puzzle to those who have never heard of this or always use freshly squeezed lemons.  I'm never sure, do you put juice on the pancake first and then sugar, or is it the other way round?

This is how I have eaten my pancakes since I was a child. I originally come from Melton Mowbray in Leicestershire, I'm not sure if this is the traditional way to serve them in Melton Mowbray or indeed Leicestershire.

Listening to the afternoon presenter on Radio Shropshire he has said for a few days now that he has always eaten pancakes with orange juice and he too comes from Melton Mowbray.

Upon a little internet research there is an article regarding pancakes on the bbc.co.uk/Leicester information pages and one of the photographs shows an orange being squeezed over a pancake. They also suggest filling pancakes with pork pie, Stilton Cheese and Red Leicester, not sure about this suggestion though!

I always use Delia's recipe because I love the lace effect the pancake produces - I hope you try this way of serving pancakes next time you feel a pancake moment coming on.  Children love oranges squeezed over pancakes and it is far kinder to them than using lemon juice.

7 Feb 2013

Mary Berry's Gingerbread Traybake - Recipe

A traybake can be made in any square or rectangular tin and you can increase or decrease the quantities to your hearts content. I love a traybake because of its versatility.  A traybake doesn't have to be a cake, it can be a pudding too, cut into squares and open freeze for a rainy day. It was Mary Berry who back in the day first introduced me to the wonders of a traybake bake, and true to say it lost favour for many, many years.

Iced and decorated gingerbread.
The batter waiting to go into the oven for baking.
When I first married I used to watch her on TV (I was a child bride!),  I then went on to purchase my first cookery book, which was The Hamlyn All Colour Cookery Book and I can remember they updated this quite a few years after it first came out.  When Mary contributed to Home & Freezer Digest I used to buy this from the newsagents and can remember saving every copy.

I bought a copy of Mary Berry's Complete Cookbook and gave my children a copy of this too, to use for reference, and hopefully cook a few recipes.  My daughters husband uses this cookery book and makes a fabulous Potato Dauphinoise, another favourite is Potato Lyonnaise, he has also turned out a few memorable starters using recipes from this book.

Some of my Mary Berry cookery books - do you have a collection too?
There are a few recipes on my site that I have cooked from Mary Berry cookbooks and they are all delicious.  One of my favourites is her Lamb Tagine and this is one of the best tagine recipes ever. A couple of her books on my wish list are Mary Berry's Family Sunday Lunches and her latest cookbook, Mary Berry at Home.

The following recipe is taken from Mary Berry's Ultimate Cake Book - I always halve this quantity and use a 18 x 28cm tin.  Freeze un-iced.

Slightly adapted recipe.  For this quantity of mixture you will need a 30 x 23cm tin lined with parchment paper.

275g golden syrup
275g black treacle
225g dark molasses sugar
225g unsalted butter
450g self-raising flour
2 teaspoons mixed spice
2 rounded teaspoons ground ginger
4 eggs, beaten
4 tablespoons milk

For the icing:
225g icing sugar
2 tablespoons lemon juice
50g crystallised ginger finely chopped.

1. Preheat the oven to 160ºC/325ºF/Gas 3.
2. Measure the syrup, treacle, sugar and butter into a large pan.  Heat very gently until the butter has melted.  Remove from the heat and stir in the flour and spices.  Add the beaten eggs and milk, beat until smooth.
3. Pour into the lined tin.
4. Bake for 45-50 minutes until beginning to shrink away from the sides of the tin.
5. Cool in the tin.
6. When cold lift out of the tin and remove the lining paper.
7. Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, add the lemon juice, drop by drop and mix until smooth.
8. Decorate with the chopped ginger and leave the icing to set.
9. Cut into squares.

3 Feb 2013

Celery, Leek and Stilton Soup: Recipe

Celery, Leek and Stilton Soup
Now I'm an adult I like Stilton Cheese and any leftover pieces I freeze away for a rainy day. Stilton cheese, celery and leeks all get on well together and are amazing in any recipe.

A bowl of warm, comforting soup simply can't be beaten.  It's also the time of year when we are wall to wall with diets and exercise dvds - eat sensibly with good homemade food made from scratch, eat less and don't forget to eat a slice of cake every day, it always works for me.

Only if you must, the Stilton cheese can be left out of the recipe, but either way it will still taste very delicious.

Serves: 4

You will need:

25g butter
7 sticks celery - reserving the leaves.
1 large leek
1 onion
110g peeled potatoes
¼ tsp celery seeds
600ml semi-skimmed milk
250ml chicken stock
50g Stilton Cheese


1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan.  Chop the celery, leek and onion, peel and chop the potato. Add to the pan and cook on a medium heat for 15 minutes to soften.
2. Pour the chicken stock and semi-skimmed milk into the pan. Add the celery seeds and season.
3. Cook for 25 minutes or until the vegetables are cooked through.
4. Crumble half the cheese into the pan to melt.
5. Puree the soup with a stick blender until smooth.
6. Pour into bowls, garnish with celery leaves and crumbled Stilton cheese, if you like.