Monthly Archives: July 2007

Forgotten Cookies

For the weekend Hubbie & I, plus my best mate and her husband went away camping in the Peak District. We recieved lots of camping gear for our wedding and this was the first opportunity we’ve had to try it out. Somebody was sure looking down on us as we hardly saw any rain for the whole weekend. On the Saturday night we went to the Manifold Inn which was opposite the campsite. The food was really good pub grub.
For the trip I made some Forgotten Cookies. Although they look a bit odd, they tasted delicious and went down very very well! They are called forgotten cookies, because you literally put them in the oven and forget out them.

Forgotten Cookies
Makes about 20
2 egg whites
120g golden caster sugar
120g pecans, roughly chopped
150g dark chocolate drops
1 tsp vanilla extract
1) Preheat oven to 180oc. Line 2 baking sheets with baking parchment. Whisk egg whites with a pinch of salt until stiff. Gradually whisk in the sugar until it looks like glossy shaving foam. Carefully fold in the nuts, chocolate, then vanilla extract.
2) Use a teaspoon to blob the mixture onto the baking sheet. Don’t make them too big, or they won’t cook completely in the inside.
3) Place the baking sheets in the oven. Then turn off the oven. Leave for atleast 3 hours (ideally over night) don’t open the oven until atleast 3 hours are up, or you’ll loose heat.
Our brand new shiny cooker arrived this morning and I’m looking forward to cooking with a decent cooker now!
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With the rain pouring down I decided not to go into town, but have a “duvet day”. Only once I opened the bedroom curtains did I have a bit of a shock! When we brought our cottage the searches did mention prone to flooding, but in the 2 years we’ve been here hadn’t seen any sign of floods…serves me right for thinking the summer holiday was getting a bit boring. It turns out the pond at the top of the hill has burt it’s banks and is flowing towards us.

I pulled on my finest pink floral wellies and headed outside. What’s nice about where I live is that when a crisis happens, be it a blackout etc.., all the neighbors come out and help. I was running around on “operation makeshift sandbag” while nextdoor was trying to locate the drains to check they were not blocked (he also got soaked thanks to some idiot in a 4×4 racing through the flooded road). At the worst point in our drive the water is about 7 inches deep. We also phoned the council over 2 hours ago, but there is still no sign of the sandbags. I bet if we had been council property they would have been here over like a shot. At it’s peak the water was about 1 inch from coming our house, it has subsided a bit, but there is more rain on the way. Friends are coming for the weekend so I hope it doesn’t get worse.

While one neighbor was making cups of tea I took out my treacle cakes.

Cauliflower Cheese Soup

Yesterday was a bit of a failed cookery day. Initially I was meant to make treacle scones, but was over enthusiastic with the black treacle and instead of a dough ended up with a cake-style mix so made some odd looking cup cakes. Then for tea I made saffron rice with chicken and peppers, Hubbie really liked it, but I thought it was tasteless and boring. I’ve promised hubbie that tonights tea will be tried and tested homemade beef burgers!

Today it’s quite cold and surprise, surprise it’s raining. This calls for good old soup with huge wedges of bread & butter.

Cauliflower cheese soup
Serves 6
knob of butter
1 onion finely chopped
1 cauliflower
1 potato, cut into chunks
500ml vegetable stock
400ml milk
100g mature cheese
1) Heat butter in large saucepan and cook onoin until softened. Add cauliflower, potato, stock milk and seasoning. Bring to boil and simmer for 30 min until cauliflower & potato is beginning to fall apart.
2) Mash with potato masher (or blitz if you don’t like bits) stir in cheese and serve.

This blogger formatting has a life of it’s own!

Veggie Bolognaise

I’m continuing my quest to get hubbie to eat less meat and more veggie. This time it was an interesting recipe I found online for veggie bolognaise. I really enjoyed it and the texture was quite a bit different to other veggi bolognaises. It made a huge portion and have frozen half of it.
Veggi Bolognaise
Serves 4 hungry people
1 onion
1 carrot
1 stick of celery
1 red pepper
1 glarlic clove
2 tbsp olive oil
100g red lentils
1 can chopped tomatoes
400ml vegetable stock
2 tsp mixed herbs
1 tsp ground cinnamon
salt & pepper
parmesan
1) Blitz onion, carrot, celery, pepper and garlic in blender. Fry in olive oil for about 7 min, or until soft.
2) Add tomatoes, lentils, veg stock, herbs and cinnamon. Simmer for 25 min.

Scotch Pancakes

I’m only 4 days into the 6 week summer holiday and already bored. I’m wanting to cook all the time, which isn’t good for my waistline! This morning I had a craving for Scotch Pancakes. I love these, especially when drizzled with a bit of golden syrup and they remind me of my childhood. These work best if the mixture is allowed to rest for atleast an hour (overnight is good). Give the batter a quick stir before you use it.

Scotch Pancakes
Makes about 10

135g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 tbsp caster sugar
130ml milk
1 large egg
2 tbsp melted butter (allow to cool slightly)
a good handful of sultanas/rasins
zest of one lemon

1) Sift flour, baking powder, salt and sugar into a large bowl. In seperate bowl lightly whisk milk and egg together, then add melted butter.

2) Pour milk into flour and mix using a fork until you have a smooth batter. Stir in the sultanas and lemon zest. Put in the fridge for atleast an hour.

3)Heat pan till medium/hot. If not using a non-stick pan melt a small amount of unsalted butter in the pan. Use a dessert spoon to blob some of the mixture in the pan. Wait until you see bubbles appear on the surface. Flip over. Cook until golden brown and risen to about 1 cm.

After my recent obsession with meringues I found these “Forgotten Cookies” on the GFM website and am going to give them a go sometime soon.

Meringues

Yesterday was my birthday and my best friend came up trumps by sending me some Hotel Chocolat marbles, which I seemed to have for breakfast, lunch and dinner with a cup of tea! For birthday pudding I made the meringues and turned them into a kind of Eton Mess. This was the first time I had made meringues and I was really pleased as to how they turned out. They were crispy on the outside and slightly chewy in the inside. I also used the vanilla sugar I made at xmas, and this gave them a nice hint of vanilla. No photo’s as I *cough* got bored waiting for the meringues to cook and cracked open a bottle of fizz.

Meringues
makes about 12 medium sized meringues

2 egg whites
100g caster sugar

1) Preheat oven to 100oc. Whisk egg whites in a dry clean bowl until you get soft peaks.

2) Whisk in half the sugar. It will thicken to the consistancy for shaving cream.

3) Fold in remaining sugar, ideally with a large metal spoon. Blob onto baking parchment. Bake for 1.5 – 2 hours until they are beginning to brown the surface is beginning to crack.

Roast Chicken

On Sunday I decided to loose my roast chicken virginity and attempt to cook a crown of chicken. I didn’t bother with a whole chicken as Hubbie & I wouldn’t eat the legs/wings. Chicken tasked delicious, but I wasn’t a big fan of my gravy. Also something went seriously wrong with my yorkie puds. Usually they turn out perfect, but this time they were greasy pancakes and my stuffing was mushy. I put it down to the fact of the oven being slightly cooler due to the chicken cooking.

Roast Chicken

Crown of chicken
75g butter
1 lemon
a few bay leaves
1 big onion
2 carrots
glass of white wine
seasoning

1) Preaheat oven to 230oc. Mix butter, pepper and a bit of lemon juice together and massage it under the skin of the chicken. Cut the lemon in half and squeeze juice over the chicken, place halves inside chicken cavity. Sprinkle a little bit of crushed black pepper and salt over chicken.

2) Peel onion and cut into 1/8. Chop carrots and place around chicken in roasting tin. Pour wine into tin.

3) Cook for 15min. Turn down to 160oc and continue to cook. (total time = 20 min per lb, plus and additional 25 min). Baste chicken every 20 min or so.

4) Once the chicken is cooked rest on a walmed plate for 15 min.

I was planning on making spicy lamb pies today, but I’m not feeling very well. It probably didn’t help that I had cheesecake for breakfast!

Blackcurrant Cheesecake

Today was the first day in ages where we have had remotely decent weather, so hubbie and I went to the PYO farm to get some raspberries and blackcurrants. Raspberries are my favourite fruit in the world and I could easily eat a punnet to myself.
Initially I was a bit stumped as what to do with the blackcurrants until I had a brainwave…cheesecake! Easy I thought, until I tried to find a basic cheesecake recipe without geletin. Even Nigella let me down, but good old Hugh F-W came to my rescue. I’ve tweaked his recipe very slighty so here is my version. Little did I know at this time there was a whole feature in this months GFM about making the perfect cheesecake, oh well!
Blackcurrent Cheesecake
(serves around 8)
150g butter, plus extra for greasing tin
180g (about 20) ginger biscuits, finely crushed
350g full fat cream cheese (low fat won’t work as well)
150g caster sugar (I used my vanilla sugar)
rind of 1 lemon
2 eggs
2 egg yolks
1 tsp vanilla extract
100ml double cream
250g blackcurrants
3 tbsp icing sugar
1) Butter base and sides of a 19cm diameter springform cake time. Wrap outside with tin foil.
2) Melt better slowly. Take of heat and add crushed biscuits. Mix well. Press crumbs into tin base. Chill for 1 hour in the fridge.
3) While base is cooling, preheat oven to 160oc. Beat together cream cheese and caster sugar until smooth and creamy.
4) Break 1 egg into bowl and mix until everything is well combined. Repeat with other egg. Beat in yolks one at a time along with vanilla and lemon zest.
5) Gently stir in cream. Pour mix onto chilled base. Cover the bottom and sides of the cake tin with foil. Stand cake tin in roasting tin. Pour hot (not boiling) water into roasting tin until it comes half the way up the cake tin.
6)Cook for 30-40 min. It is ready when firm around the outside and wobbles in the middle. It will finish setting as it cools down. Once the cheesecake is cooked, take out of the roasting tin and leave to cool on a rack
7) Place blackcurrants and icing sugar in a pan. Add a dash of hot water. Slowly heat up. The berries will eventually begin to break down and you are left with a compote. Pour over cooling cheesecake. Chill for atleast 2 hours before removing springform tin.
Oh spot the new posh plates we had as a wedding pressie!
Tomorrows challenge: meringues with the left over egg whites.

Veggie Burger

Hubbie is very much a typical bloke who only thinks a meal is a meal if it contains meat. I’m trying to get him to realise that veggie food can be just as delicious! Here is one recipe he really likes as they have quite a meaty texture.

Bean Burgers
(makes 4 small or 2 large burgers)

50g pine nuts
425g can borlotti beans, drained and rinsed
1 small red onion, finely chopped
2 tbsp tomato paste
85g fresh breadcrumbs
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves or 1 tsp dried
1 eg, beaten
sunflower oil, for frying
2 ciabatta rolls for serving in

1) Lightly toast the pine nuts for 2-3 mins or until golden. Remove from pan and set to one side.

2) Put the borlotti beans into a large bowl and mash well. (the more you mash the better the burgers will stick together.) Add the pine nuts, onion, tomato paste, half the breadcrumbs, the thyme and egg. Season to taste, then gently mix together until the ingredients are thoroughly combined.

3) With slightly wet hands, shape the mixture into 4 burgers. Coat the outside of each burger with the remaining breadcrumbs. Cover and chill in the fridge for at least 30 mins. (you don’t have to do this, but it helps to keep them together.)

4) heat a thin layer of sunflower oil in a large frying pan and fry for 3-4 mins each side until golden. Drain on kitchen paper, then serve in ciabatta and home-made chips.

Stir Fry Roast Beef with Hoisin Sauce

Hubbie and I have been away for the weekend with family. Ever so often we all meet up, drink lots of drink, eat lots of food and then all crash out at the house of who ever is hosting the party.
We were planning to have a BBQ, but with the recent weather being the way it is we decided it wasn’t the risk and cooked a mahosive hunk of beef. There was still some left over so we brought some back and I made a rather yummy stirfry.

Stir fry roast beef with hoisin sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp dry sherry
2 tsp sesame oil
1 garlic clove, crushed
1 ginger, finely chopped
200g roast beef, thinkly sliced across the grain
1 tbsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp sunflower oil
1 pepper, thinly sliced
140g mushrooms, sliced
3 tbsp hoisin sauce
Rice noodles, as side dish

1) Mix soy sauce, sherry, sesame oil, garlic and ginger in shallow dish. Leave for 5 minutes. You can use fresh sirloin steaks, cut thinly, just marinade for 20 min (or longer)

2) Heat wok, add sesame seeds and toast until golder. Tip onto plate.

3)Heat sunflower oill, add steak anmd marinade. Stir fry for 3-4 min. Remove beef with slotted spoon to leave marinade behind.

4) Toss peppers in marinade for 2 min, then add mushrooms and cook for a further minute.

5) Return beef to wok. Add hoisin. Stirfry for final minute. Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

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