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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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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.

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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Strawberries & Cream Victoria Sandwich

14 Jul

IMG_20130714_150517[1]Strawberries are in season at the moment and along with the brilliant weather we seem to be experiencing here in the UK (even Wild West Wales is hot and dry, amazingly) they are in abundance and for once not about £4 for a punnet of tasteless watery stawbs.

Tesco got on the Wimbledon bandwagon and were selling punnets of British strawberries with ‘free’ pots of double cream.

Cream is such a treat (I once knew someone who ate a whole pot for their dinner, with nothing else out of guilt) and a perfect combination is with freshly whipped cream, in a classic Victoria sponge eaten outside with a glass of homemade (I need to get my mums recipe for this up!) elderflower cordial. How sophisticated eh!

 

 

IMG_20130714_150308[1]

 

The cake was made from the River Cottage’s recipe
Ingredients:
175g self raising flour
pinch of salt
175g unsalted butter, softened and cubed
175g caster sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1tsp vanilla extract (optional)
1 med pot of double cream
punnet of strawberries, washed
2 X 20cm sandwich tins

Method:
1. Preheat oven to 180C. Beat the butter to a cream, then add the sugar and beat until very light and creamy (this is the secret to a great sponge!)
2. Add the eggs, a little at a time in conjunction with a spoon or two of the flour to prevent curdling, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add the vanilla extract if using.
3. Sift in the rest of the flour and carefully fold it in. Divide the mixture evenly between the two sandwich tins and bake for around 25mins or until springy when gently pushed.
4. When cooked, leave in the tins for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
5. When the cake is cooled, whip the cream until stiff, slice the strawberries and spread the cream over one layer, and top with thinly sliced strawberries. Top with the other layer and arrange strawberry halves on top. Dust with icing sugar!IMG_20130714_150431[1]

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‘Homemade’ Pappardelle with smoked salmon, basil, cream cheese and lemon

9 May

With the attempt of getting rid of all my store cupboard essential before I move back to the UK I now only have wholemeal penne (due to my health binge a few weeks ago) or lasagne sheets as my pasta choices. I was craving a creamy pasta the other day, and with wholemeal pasta it’s just not the same. My white wine, cream cheese, lemon and basil sauce with smoked salmon just goes with linguine, tagliatelle or other pastas such as pappardelle. I don’t know why this is and I may sound like a massive fussy food snob and I am cringing slightly whilst writing this however it just doesn’t have that luxury feel about it when using other pastas (oh dear Phoebe what have you become…)

So. I went about making ‘home made’ parpadelle. Bit of a student invention but definitely worth keeping in mind – use lasagne sheets! Half cook them, take them out of your saucepan of boiling water onto a chopping board and use a sharp knife to slice them into three lengthways, pop them back to finish cooking (make sure they are not stuck together when you put them back in) – et voila, perfect parpadelle without the silly Tesco Finest/Sainsbury’s Taste the Difference etc etc prices you find it for in the supermarket.

Serves 1 – Image
70g lasagne sheets
60g cream cheese (low fat or full fat)
However much smoked salmon you’d like, cut into strips
A bunch of basil leaves
A few squuezes of lemon juic
1 shallot, chopped
1 tbsp white wine
Olive oil

Method:
1. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add a splash of olive oil and add your lasagne sheets. In a frying pan, heat up 1tbsp olive oil and when hot, add your shallots to soften for a few minutes on a medium heat.
2. After about 5 minutes, scoop your lasagne sheets out of the saucepan and transform them into parpadelle. Pop back into the saucepan.
3. Add your white wine to the shallots and let it evaporate slightly. Turn the heat to its lowest setting and add a few squeezes of lemon juice.
4. After your pasta is cooked, drain and add to the saucepan, now add your cream cheese and smoked salmon, thouroughly coating the pasta. Add your basil leaves and a few twists of black pepper.

Enjoy that it’s a lot more luxurious tasting than it actually costs…

p.s I am doing a student marketing campaign to encourage people to sign up to volunteer for various music festivals in the summer, if you could click on this link below you would be doing me a massive favour!
http://www.phansta.com/1140/27/view.html

Feta, beetroot, cherry tomatoes, olive, rocket and lentil salad (so healthy a cake must be eaten afterwards)

6 May

I’ve been eating so many salads recently as the weather has finally become what I like to call ‘beach hot’ (a temperature gauged on if it’s hot enough to go to the beach to sunbathe… thought it was quite good no!?) here in Nice, which is not a bad thing I suppose!

Perfectly balanced with the sweet beetroot salty olives and feta, earthy lentils, fresh rocket and a sharp wholegrain mustard,  olive oil and balsamic dressing (phew what a description). You can alter the quantities as much as you fancy, I’ve just given a rough idea as to how I assembled mine.

Image

Wholesome and filling enough for a satisfying dinner or a healthy lunch. Super quick to put together, no expensive or obscure ingredients to hunt down, no excuses not to make it. Many people on ‘health’ binges often eat plates and plates of salads, often loaded with creamy dressings, cheeses and bacon, which to be frank is just not going to make much difference, may as well just tuck into that carbonara.

Serves 1:
A tablespoon of crumbled feta
1 small beetroot
2.5 tablespoons cooked brown lentils (or whatever type you have, just not mushy red lentils!)
A few cherry tomatoes
A few handfuls of rocket
3/4 black olives, chopped

Method:
Wash all salady bits and dry well, chop up your olives and beetroot, half your cherry tomatoes, crumble your feta, make your dressing by using 2 tbsp good olive oil combined with 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar and 1tsp wholegrain mustard and assemble. Voila.

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p.s I am doing a student marketing campaign to encourage people to sign up to volunteer for various music festivals in the summer, if you could click on this link below you would be doing me a massive favour!
http://www.phansta.com/1140/27/view.html

Olive, chilli, oregano, basil and feta bruschetta

18 Apr

I had half a tin of plum tomatoes to use and half a baguette.

I hate wasting food – I will make a point of using something up. I bought a cabbage a few months ago, literally couldn’t get rid of it – genuinely thought it was growing in the fridge. So I would sneak it into pretty much anything much to Ollie’s amusement – Greek salad with a bit of shredded cabbage?! Why not eh!

Anyway this was one of those cases, storecuboard/fridge stables such as tinned olives, oregano, jarred feta cheese and chilli flakes and a few fresh basil leaves from my plant. (it’s laaaaavely weather here down in Nice so no dying plants for meeee!)

It was delish. Perfect for a quick, summery lunch!

Ingredients:
Half a baguette, sliced (get best quality you can… even if you don’t have a cheap artisan bakery at the end of your road… hehe)
a few black olives, cut into quarters
half a tin of tomatoes
teaspoon of dried oregano
salt and pepper
pinch (or more if feeling wild) chilli
feta cubes (however cheesy you’re feeling)
olive oil (I used basil infused)

Method:
1. Combine all ingredients except for the feta cheese and olive oil (and bread, obviously…) in a bowl.
2. Slice your baguette, drizzle over a little olive oil and pop under the grill for a few minutes.
3. Top  bread with the tomato mixture, sprinkle with the feta cubes then pop under the grill until the cheese starts to look as if it is melting slightly. It should smell deeelliiisshhh

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