22 Aug 2013

Roasted Vegetable Lasagne

I enjoy vegetarian meals, and whilst I eat meat, it's great to have meatless days too.  I am a very fussy meat eater - for instance I will only buy sausages from my trusted butcher, I'd never eat a burger unless I make it myself, likewise with bolognese sauce, who knows what's hidden in that innocent looking sauce. I would never buy a sandwich which contains meat of any description.....yes I'm a very, very fussy meat eater.

The lasagne recipe is from BBC GoodFood website, I made a few substitutions, I'm not too keen on aubergines and used a couple of courgettes, red onions, yellow and red pepper and sliced chestnut mushrooms. Everything in the recipe is made from scratch including the tomato sauce, it's best to be prepared to spend quite some time in the kitchen but the result is worth it.  I served mine with a leafy salad and sundried tomato flatbread.

The original recipe includes a white sauce but I think a cheese sauce would have worked well. Have you made a sauce which tastes of flour?  Step by step instructions from WikiHow - show how to make a white/cheese sauce and how to avoid this problem.

17 Aug 2013

Raspberry, Chocolate and Almond Cake

It made a welcome change to make a cake that isn't either filled or covered in buttercream but we did serve the cake warm with double cream poured over, and very nice it was too.

Chocolate and raspberries go really well together, the cake will keep covered for a few days in the fridge. It slices well and will freeze too.

The cake testers gave this one the thumbs up.......

I'll let you take a peek behind the curtains of Kitchen Delights new kitchen sometime in September, the finishing touches are taking longer than we anticipated.

In the meantime to make this delicious cake -

You will need:

150g unsalted butter
150g caster sugar
2 large eggs
150g self-raising flour
50ml milk
150g ground almonds
135g dark chocolate chips
150g frozen raspberries
25g flaked almonds
Icing sugar
Double cream to serve

1. Grease and line a 20cm springform cake tin.
2. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
3. Beat the caster sugar and butter together until it is a light and fluffy consistency.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time and add a tablespoon of flour with the last egg, beating well.  Add the milk and keep on beating.
5. Sieve the flour over the egg mixture and fold in.  Add the ground almonds and chocolate chips and fold these in to the batter.  Now carefully fold in the frozen raspberries.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and sprinkle over the flaked almonds.
7. Bake for 60 minutes or until cooked through.  Cool and then release the tin and leave on a wire rack to cool completely.
8. Sieve the icing sugar and dust over the cake.
9. Best served with cream.

12 Aug 2013

Raspberry and Cream Pavlova Crown

This was our dessert after a lovely barbecue last night and was a great way to end the barbie. To give the outside edge of the pavlova some character I went round the edge with my thumb and turned some of the meringue casing over to the inside.  The filling is whipped cream and a small pot of thick yogurt mixed together and flavoured with a little vanilla extract, decorate the top with raspberries and a dusting of icing sugar to produce the raspberry and cream crown.

This was the perfect dessert to end our barbecue - I've adapted the recipe from the book which came with my new cooker. I thought I had better get busy practicing using the new oven, I have a couple of books to review and a husband to feed - the pressure is on.

Line a large baking tin with parchment paper.

For the pavlova:
4 large egg whites
250g golden caster sugar
2 tsp cornflour
½ tsp white wine vinegar
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC.
2. In a large bowl whisk the egg whites to the soft peak stage, add the caster sugar a teaspoon at a time whisking well all the time until the thick glossy stage is reached, about 10 minutes.  Whisk in the cornflour, white wine vinegar and the vanilla extract. Dollop the meringue into a 20cm circle and smooth the edges of the pavlova.
3. Turn the oven down to 150ºC and bake for 1¼ hours. Turn the oven off and leave overnight in the oven to dry out.

To decorate:
Small pot of double cream
Small pot of thick natural yogurt
1 tsp vanilla extract

1.  Whisk the double cream until the floppy stage has been reached now whisk in the yogurt and the vanilla extract.

10 Aug 2013

Banana Bread - Nigella Lawson Recipe

After cooling cover in cling wrap and place the cake in the fridge,
 slice and open freeze
Good news! I now have a working kitchen, now for the bad news, the kitchen is still to be finished. There is decorating taking place by my husband, a few more electrics to be fitted and various other bits and pieces.

I'm very pleased with the refit, it hasn't been fun being without a kitchen for a couple of weeks or so. I haven't a clue where anything is kept and I'm basically messing about all the time looking for stuff or moving things to another place.

The cooker is taking some getting used to but to be fair I haven't had much time to road test and get to know it.

Fresh from the oven
I thought I would treat my husband to one of his favourite cakes and make this lovely banana bread recipe by Nigella Lawson from 'How to be a Domestic Goddess'. I love the walnuts in the recipe, the heady vanilla extract and the rum soaked sultanas. Those forgotten black bananas in the fruit bowl are best for this to give the cake a light texture.

I've made this cake many times over the years and I definitely prefer to overcook the cake slightly to produce a crust which then softens as the cake becomes sticky. The perfect cake for slicing, lunch boxes and picnics.  This is quite a large loaf cake and I like to slice it and open freeze for another day - the cake is too large for us to get through and I've got my waistline to think of!

The banana bread recipe can be found on Nigella's website.