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.

21 Aug 2013

One Bowl Baking - Book Review

It takes only 15 minutes to make the majority of recipes from this cookery book and no fancy kitchen equipment is required other than a set of scales for weighing out.  Simple to follow recipes and baking from scratch to produce delicious cakes and bakes.

One bowl baking cuts down on unnecessary equipment, less washing up and is a shortcut to making delicious bakes.

There are over 100 recipes in the book with chapters covering muffins, scones, cookies, cupcakes, bundt cakes, party cakes, cheesecakes, tarts, puddings and dessert.  Chapter 1 - Good Baking - is a guide to suggested baking tools, knowing your ingredients and how to use the recipes in the book.

A few of the recipes which caught my eye are Peaches and Cream Streusel Muffins, Juicy Mango-Raspberry Crumble Tart, Glazed Coconut Bundt Cake and Whoopie Pie Trio.  There are lots of hints and tips with each recipe regarding ingredients, cooking and storing.
Delicious Orange-Blueberry Scones
My orange-blueberry scones are perfectly delicious and I loved the use of flaked almonds as a topping. They were quick and easy to make which means less time spent in the kitchen. The scones will freeze too.

This is a useful cookery book and one to turn to when you want to bake something just a little different and with great recipe titles too.

The author, Yvonne Ruperti was a recipe developer for Cooks Illustrated and is a professional pastry chef and recipe developer.  She splits her time between Singapore and New York city.

All of the recipes are in cups, ounces and grams.

Price £14.99
Available 12 September 2013
Perseus Books UK

Thank you for the review copy.

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.

6 Aug 2013

Truffle Rolling Workshop at Rococo Chocolates - Review

 Rococo Chocolates in Knightsbridge for fabulous chocolates, cafe and chocolate classes
Kitchen Delights London Reporter - gets very messy making posh chocolate truffles.......

A few weeks ago I was watching TV at home and there was a celebrity who had been challenged to make chocolate truffles at home with her girlfriends. It was very silly to watch and a rather messy affair!

Fast forward two weeks later and I find myself sitting in posh chocolate shop Rococo in uber-posh Knightsbridge about to master the art of truffle making.  Julie who was leading the course that morning welcomed the six of us in the cafe area and served up hot chocolate, a marshmallow to nibble on and gave us a brief history of Rococo and the chocolate making process.

Once you’ve mastered the workings of a cocoa bean, it’s then time for the really fun bit and we all headed down to the kitchen to make chocolate truffles.

As you enter, there is a small prep area and table to gather around. Donning a pair of rubber gloves and an apron (all supplied) you then mould the ready-made ganache into small balls using the heat and pressure of your palms. I noticed that depending on how hot your palms were had a direct impact on the texture. So yes you guessed it - the hotter your hands - the gooier the balls!

It was comical rolling out the balls with lots of laughter from the group. When it comes to coating the truffle balls, you will team up with a partner who will lightly cover the ganache balls in tepid chocolate whilst the other person gently dusts them in cocoa powder.

Once finished, the truffles need to be given time to dry so we went back into the shop and sipped on white tea from the King’s Road (surprisingly nice and a good palate cleanser) and Julie supplied three different types of chocolate for us to try.  Honestly, it was such a chore tasting the chocolate and guessing the subtle flavours!

All that was then left to do was head back to the kitchen, scoop up the truffles and pack them into a gorgeous Rococo box. We were also given more truffles to take home and treated to 10% off everything in the shop for that day which I’m pretty sure you’ll use!

So if you fancy a treat with a friend and want a fun time – this workshop will be hard to beat. It was just over an hour and a quarter in length and cost £65. With lots of other upcoming events to choose from, just visit http://blog.rococochocolates.com/

Thank you for the fabulous truffle workshop.

3 Aug 2013

Judge Induction Cookware - Review

Red pans look fabulous in the kitchen and the colour red is now firmly established as a classic. 
This brightly coloured induction cookware is perfect for all hobs and will brighten up the kitchen. Practicality as well as good looks is important and I like my pans to perform well too.  They have an enamel coating on the outside and the inside has a Teflon Classic Non-stick coating - easy cleaning on both the inside and outside of the pans makes washing up so much easier. The pans are dishwasher proof but I prefer to wash mine by hand, these pans only need hot soapy water and a washing up brush to clean them.

The phenolic handles on the pans are oven safe up to 180ºC which is a really useful feature and only one pan is required to brown the meat in the pan on the hob and then continue cooking in the oven.
The pans look great on an induction hob but are suitable for all hobs.

Tried and Tested:  The pans performed well both on the hob and in the oven. Cleaning is quick and easy.

20cm Saucepan with Lid £18.96
20cm Fry Pan £12.48
22cm Casserole with Lid £16.44

The pans come with a 5 year guarantee and are available from Amazon and all good cook shops.

Available in red, black, vanilla, white, cream and green - to view more of the range please visit www.judgecookware.co.uk

Thank you Judge Cookware and Pam for the review samples.

1 Aug 2013

Dine In Contemporary Bread and Oil Board Set by Sabichi - Review

Board measures 485 x 115 mm
One of the things I enjoy most when I go out for a meal is dipping into the oil and balsamic vinegar bowl which has been brought to the table with lots of fresh bread.

The new dining out is dining in and these days we all try and take dining in to another level, it's not just about the food we serve but the serve ware we use too.  We all like to have a smart look to the dining table and the Dine In range from Sabichi is contemporary in style and the white porcelain set against rich Acacia wood is truly stunning.  This set is a great gift idea too.

The ceramic bowl is dishwasher and microwave safe.

Dine In Bread and Oil Board Set £14.00 - is part of the Dine In Collection.  Available from Sabichi Stores and www.sabichi.co.uk

Many thanks to Pam and Sabichi for the review sample.