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Triple berry pavlova

12 Sep

wpid-IMG_20130812_173919.jpgWith all the egg whites from my Key Lime Pie I made a while ago, I made a bucketload of meringues (hate anything going to waste!)

And so, a wonderfully crisp yet chewy inside pavlova base was created, and subsequently popped in the freezer to keep.

A few egg white’s and a bit of sugar expand to huge volumes when whipped a little. It’s surprising! I used a little less sugar than recommended as I don’t like them too sweet and sickly. They still come out with a great texture though. It’s important that they are whisked to as stiff as possible – do the upside down bowl on the head test! When cooking, ensure you resist the temptation to open the oven door whilst they’re cooking. In fact, leave them in the oven until the oven has completely cooled after you have turned it off.

Served with freshly whipped cream and fresh summer berries is a super quick amazingly fresh yet indulgent pudding.

 

 

wpid-IMG_20130812_173740.jpgMeringue:
Egg whites from 2 large or 3 medium eggs

75g caster sugar

1tsp white wine vinegar

To decorate:
3 small punnets blueberries, raspberries and strawberries

Small pot of double cream, whipped (or as much as you like really!)

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 110C. Line a baking sheet with greaseproof paper. Whip egg whites until very very stiff, add the sugar and vinegar and whisk again until just as stiff.

2. With a dessertspoon, put generous portions into a circular shape on the baking tray. There should be peaks around the edge of the circle, and it should be flat in the middle, which is where laden with cream and fruit!

3. Bake for about 3 hours. Wait to cool completely and then decorate

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Soaked Coffee and Walnut cake

7 Sep

wpid-IMG_20130812_174323.jpgNow, I must emphasise here that this is dedicated to my aunty Lynne. I had been meaning to make my coffee and walnut cake when she visioned for a good year or more (I know, bad niece). Anyway I finally made and and I would say it was definitely worth the wait eh ūüėČ

I used a classic all in one method by Delia Smith, then created a coffee syrup to pour over the two sandwich cakes as soon as they came out of the oven. When they’re still warm, it soaks into the sponge and is deeelishhhh. It was finished off with an indulgent coffee buttercream.

Ingredients:

220g Self raising flour
220g Butter, soft
200g Golden castor sugar
60g Walnuts, roughly chopped
1.5 tbsp Instant coffee mixed with 1 dessertspoon boiling water
4 Eggs
2tsp Baking powder

For the buttercream and syrup:
200g Icing sugar
125g Butter
35gSugar
1tbsp Instant coffee

Method:
1. Cream the butter and sugar together with an electric whisk until the sugar starts to integrate itself into the butter and it’s looking nice and creamy. Add all the dry ingredients and eggs and whisk to combine. Add the walnuts and coffee and whisk briefly to combine.

2. Pour the mixture into two greased and lined baking tins (a lot easier than into one and having to cut the cake in half!) and bake for approx 30mins at 180C.

3. Just before the cake is ready, make the syrup by dissolving the sugar and coffee with 45ml boiling water in a heatproof jug. Pour over equally when the cake is still in the tin pretty soon after it comes out of the oven (it will soak up a lot better)

4. Once cooled, make the buttercream by combining all ingredients and spread with a large knife. Decorate with a few walnut halves and enjoy for a pudding or an indulgent afternoon (or morning) tea.

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The Best Key Lime Pie ever

5 Aug

This recipe caught my eye ever since Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood claimed it was the best thing they’d ever tasted in three series of the Great British Bake Of. Well, it was about time I tried it!

It’s not the quickest dessert by any means but if you’ve got an afternoon to spare and are craving a bake that will last all week, look no further. This is a great pie, lots of flavour and zingyness, a perfect after dinner treat!

You are only ¬†required to use a few of the left over egg whites for the meringues, but don’t be wasteful – use them all up! I managed to get a pavlova base as well as a load more meringue nests out of the leftovers to freeze. As I didn’t have a blowtorch, I also piped my meringues onto a baking tray and baked them in a low oven the conventional way

Recipe is from the Great British Bake off Showstoppers book

Ingredients

For the sweet ginger pastry image
For the lime filling

Method

  1. For the sweet ginger pastry, sift the flour, icing sugar, ground ginger and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  2. Rub in the cubed butter until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
  3. Mix the egg yolk into the water and add into the flour mixture, stirring with your hands until the mixture just comes together as a dough. Add olive oil if the dough is a little dry. Wrap the pastry in cling film and set aside in the fridge for 20-30 minutes.
  4. Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas 6.
  5. Roll out the dough on a lightly floured surface to the thickness of a pound coin.
  6. Drape the dough over the rolling pin and use it to transfer the pastry to a 30cm/12in tart case. Press the pastry into the tin, ensuring there are no gaps in the corner. Allow the excess pastry to overhang the tin.
  7. Cover with clingfilm and chill for 20 minutes.
  8. Prick the bottom of the pastry case with a fork. Line the case with baking paper and weigh it down with baking beans, rice or lentils.
  9. Bake blind for 15 minutes, then remove the baking beans and paper and bake for a further 5-10 minutes. Set aside to cool on a rack.
  10. Reduce the oven temperature to 170C/325F/Gas 3.
  11. For the lime filling, in a large mixing bowl whisk together the condensed milk with the lime juice, lime zest, egg yolks until the mixture thickens. Stir in the chopped stem ginger. Taste the filling, and fold in some icing sugar, if needed.
  12. Pour mixture into the pie crust, smooth the top with a palette knife and bake for 15-20 minutes. The pie is ready when the filling has a slight wobble or when the temperature in the centre has reached 70C when checked with a probe thermometer.
  13. Set aside to cool for half an hour in the baking tin, then chill the pie in a refrigerator for as long as possible.
  14. Place the sugar in a heavy-based deep saucepan with six tablespoons water over a medium heat. Bring the mixture to the boil without stirring, brushing down any sugar crystals on the side of the pan with a wet pastry brush. Remove the syrup from the heat when it reaches 120C/248F (the firm ball stage).
  15. In a free-standing mixer, whisk the egg whites until stiff peaks form when the whisk is removed.
  16. While whisking, pour the boiling syrup onto the egg whites in a thin, steady stream, being careful not to pour the syrup on to the whisk as it may splash onto your hands.
  17. Continue to whisk the egg whites until the mixture is stiff, shiny and stable.
  18. Place the meringue into a piping bag fitted with a 1.5cm round nozzle.
  19. Once the pie is chilled, sprinkle the reserved lime zest and grated chocolate over the top of the pie.
  20. Pipe the meringue around the edge of the pie in generous swirls.
  21. Using a cook’s blowtorch, gently caramelise the meringue so that the top is light golden-brown.

Griddled Courgette, Garlic, Chili, Basil and Pistachio Tagliatelle with

2 Aug

IMG_20130802_225812My aunt and uncle provided us with a couple of lovely fresh courgettes from their vegetable garden – as they are having such a great season the best way to cook them at this time of year is simply griddled on the barbecue.
This dish was inspired by my favourite Italian restaurant in Nice – where a similar dish was by far my fave. Although they had the addition of scallops (which unfortunately are a bit of a luxury and not a simple dinner ingredient)

Dad was at the barbecue so it’s to his credit how tasty it was!
I always think you should alter any amount of ingredients to suit your tastes – if you fancy more basil or chili then go for it

Serves 2:
Ingredients:
150g tagliatelle (or linguine or spaghetti)
1 large courgette, cut into rounds
3 cloves garlic, sliced
1 fresh chili, sliced or a pinch dried chili
2 handfulls shelled pistachios
1 ball of mozzarella, teared
A good knob of butter
A few tablespoons olive oilIMG_20130802_225733
Salt and pepper
Around 10-15 large basil leaves, torn

Method:

1. Put your pasta water on to heat up. On a griddle pan or barbecue, grill your sliced courgettes, turning once after about 4 minutes, until they have lovely charcoal marks on either side. Keep on a heatproof plate in a warm oven

2. Start cooking you pasta – ensure you have a good glug of olive oil in the water to stop the pasta from sticking. Meanwhile, heat your olive oil in a large frying pan and add your garlic to brown, take off the heat and add the pistachios and chilli (they will cook in the hot oil even if it’s off the heat)

3. Drain your pasta, add with a good knob of butter to the frying pan with olive oil garlic etc, add the basil leaves and courgettes, season and give it all a good toss, add some more olive oil if needed. Serve and sprinkle over the mozzarella

Elderflower Drizzle Cake

30 Jul

Mum has been making elderflower cordial by the bucketload (ok I exaggerate, but she’s made a fair few bottles!) It is refreshingly summery and as it’s made with home grown elderflower, which tends to have quite a short season, it’s always a bit of a treat. I associate the taste with summer and so far, Britain hasn’t been having such a bad one.¬†IMG_20130728_211617[1]

 

 

 

Anyway, an interesting, summer take on the classic lemon drizzle cake proved to be a hit. We froze half and when thawed, the elderflower had really soaked into the cake and gave it a gorgeous light refreshing taste. A real summer hit, enjoy with a glass of Pimms or champagne if you’re feeling a bit wild.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe is from the Guardian IMG_20130728_213053[1]

Serves 6-8

225g butter, softened
225g caster sugar
4 large eggs
225g self raising flour, sifted

For the icing
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
100ml elderflower cordial
2 tbsp sugar

1 Line a loaf tin with baking parchment. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the eggs one by one. Incorporate the flour and mix well, until smooth and creamy.

2 Turn into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 40-45 minutes, until well-risen and golden brown on top.

3 Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, then prick all over with a skewer or fork.

4 Heat the elderflower cordial, lemon juice and sugar in a pan until hot, but not boiling. Drizzle over the cake, encouraging it to run into the sink holes. It should sink in and leave a crunchy crust.

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Salad Nicoise

25 Jul

 

Salade Nicoise

 

Quite honestly, I am a firm believer that ¬†the salad nicoise is your perfectly balanced healthy, satisfying meal. Packed full of goodness with protein-rich tuna and eggs, olive oil and seasonal vegetables, it leaves you feeling as if you could be sunning yourself in the Cote d’Azur (ok, so maybe not really… )

 

At this time of the year, if you can get the freshest¬† (preferably home grown or local) new potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes and french beans, it will be 10 x tastier. Costs are kept down if using tinned tuna however do be careful that it’s nice and sustainable.

 

And, if you have any left over – stick it in a French bread bun drizzled with olive oil and balsamic and have a pan bagnat!

 

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Serves 1

 

Ingredients:

 

Half a tin of tuna

 

Handful of good quality black olives (unpitted ones are the tastiest – avoid the cheap sort in brine, false economy trust me!)

 

A couple of tomatoes,  cut into wedges

 

A handful of cooked green beans

 

A few small new poatoes, steamed and left to cool

 

A few lettuce leaves of your choice

 

Anchovies (for a proper authentic salad, howevee they aren’t to everyones taste!)

 

A boiled egg, halved

A few tinned beans of your choice if you fancy (not really authentic I know!)

 

For the dressing :

 

One part balsamic or white wine vinegar to two parts good quality olive oil, mixed with as much mustard as you desire

 

 

 

Method:

 

Assemble all ingredients into a large salad bowl, serving the tuna on top and drizzled with the dressing. Eat with good quality French bread (make it yourself or go to a good bakery for a treat! )

 

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Matina – Bristol (Best ¬£4 lunch I’ve ever had)

18 Jul

image

During a weeks work experience in Bristol, I treated myself to the delights of the various food stalls in St Nicholas’s Market every lunch time (oh this girl knows how to party.)

The best so far (and by far) has to be Matina, a relatively new eatery serving Middle Eastern (Kurdish in particular) Naan bread wraps.

And these are proper wraps! A simple menu is perfect – they are so good no other choice is really required. The lunchtime queue speaks for itself. Handmade, fresh naan breads, cooked to order are filled with a choice of grilled marinaded halloumi and grilled Mediterranean veg, along with meat options of chicken and lamb. They are complimented with shredded red cabbage salad, tomatoes, coriander, pickles and spicy tomato sauce along with a fresh mint yogurt dip and humous.

It was so so so so so so tasty.

And at nothing on the menu over £4.50 you get a lot of tasty food for your money!

Head down for fresh, home made produce for a great value fulfilling lunch