Tuesday, 22 November 2011

ginger nut biscuits

With my recent attempts of making shortbread biscuits not being quite as successful as I hoped they would be I decided to try a different kind of biscuit: the ginger nut
And I promise you once you have made these you will never want to buy them again - they are so simple and absolutely delicious

250 gr (8oz) self- raising flour
1 tbsp ground ginger, or to taste
75 gr (3 oz) butter
125 gr (4 oz) golden syrup
125 gr (4oz) demerera sugar
2 tbsp milk


Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4

Sift the flour and ginger together in a large bowl. Add the butter and rub in to a fine breadcrumb.

Mix together the syrup, sugar and milk, add to the flour mixture and mix to a smooth dough.

Shape in to a roll and chill for at least half an hour, longer if you have time.

Cut into 5mm slices and placed on a greased baking sheet about 1 cm apart. Press down with a fork to get the stripey pattern,

Bake in the middle of the oven for about 15 to 20 minutes. Leave for a couple of minutes before transferring onto a wire rack to cool

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Food Bloggers Unplugged

I have been tagged by Linzi @LancashireFood to take part in the fun of #foodbloggersunplugged , the idea being to tag another 5 foodie bloggers to keep the initative on a roll. Sounds like great fun to me and enables us all to understand more about our fellow foodies, so I am happy to take part.
The questions we have to answer are as follows

1. What, or who inspired you to start a blog?
2. Who is your foodie inspiration?
3. Your greasiest, batter - splattered food/drink book is?
4. Tell us all about the best thing you have ever eaten in another country, where was it, what was it?
5. Another food bloggers table you'd like to eat at is?
6. What is the one kitchen gadget you would ask Santa for this year (money no object of course)?
7. Who taught you how to cook?
8. I'm coming to you for dinner what's your signature dish?
9. What is your guilty food pleasure? 
10. Reveal something about yourself that others would be surprised to learn?

Finally...tag 5 other food bloggers with these questions...like a hot baked potato...pass it on!
Use this home made expensive Food Bloggers Unplugged  logo (below) on your blog and link up with the hashtag #foodbloggersunplugged on Twitter.

So here goes 
1.What, or who inspired you to start a blog ?
My yoga friend Lindsey. I'd been following her blog for a while when we found out that we attend the same yoga class. She told me how the blogging worked and gave me real inspiration to try to write my own.
2.Who is your foodie inspiration ?
James Martin. I have followed his career right from the beginning. He has always put the emphasis on local & British produce, long before this became fashionable. I like his straightforward approach to food & easy to follow recipes.
3.Your greasiest, batter-splattered food /drink book is ?
James Martin - Collection. As a non-native to this country I viewed British food like it is perceived in many places in the world: have breakfast & afternoon tea, the rest is not worth talking about. This book has many great British classics in it and it has made me appreciate all the wonderful dishes Britain has.
4. Tell us about the best thing you have ever eaten in another country, where was it, what was it ?
So many food memories spring to mind. I had some fantastic food in France & Canada, but I think I will have to go with 't Veerhuis on the shores of the Oosterschelde in my home country Holland. Being as close to the water as you can get without actually being in it, the sea food at this restaurant is out of this world. I had the freshest oysters you can ever imagine, cooked kirkpatrick....my mouth is watering just thinking back at it.
5. Another food bloggers table you'd like to eat at is ?
@Janemorecakepls....her cakes look a picture. I wish I could bake like that
6. What would be the one kitchen gadget you would ask santa for this year ?
Woodburning pizza oven
7. Who taught you have to cook ?
I am mainly self taught, with my mum covering the basics.
8. I'm coming to you for dinner whats your signature dish ?
I don't really have one. I like to try new things, but it would be made with seasonal & local ingredients
9. What is your guilty food pleasure ?
Not sure what to put here! I don't think I have one. Food is always a pleasure to me and I never feel guilty about having a bit of what I fancy.
10. Reveal something about yourself that others would be surprised to learn ?
My food hell is carrots.

My bloggers I am tagging are (you must say this in a tension building manner)
  1. Elizabeth Auerbach - http://www.elizabethonfood.com/
  2. Jules - thebutcherthebaker.wordpress.com
  3. Rupert Parsons - http://www.womersleyfoods.co.uk/
  4. Judith Byrne - musingsofjude.blogspot.com
  5. Jane Huntley - http://www.morecakeplease.co.uk/

Sunday, 13 November 2011

salmon en croute

Being bored with always making the same thing with fish, this week I decided to try something a bit different. I had been reading about a venison wellington in a foodie magazine and thought maybe I could do something with puff pastry & salmon

Ingredients for 2 people:

2 salmon steaks or fillets, skins removed
100 gr spinach
100 gr of cream cheese
all butter puff pastry
salt, pepper & freshly grated nutmeg
1 egg beaten for glazing


Preheat the oven to 200C/400F/gas 6
Wilt the spinach in a pan with a little bit of water and a small knob of butter. This will only take a couple of minutes. Drain the spinach off and pat dry with some kitchen paper before chopping finely.
Mix the spinach with the cream cheese & season with some salt, pepper and a little freshly grated nutmeg.
Roll out the puff pastry and cut rectangulars out of this. Fold the pastry in half, and one of the halfs in half again, before cutting slits in the pastry about 1 cm/ 1/2 inch apart to create the jalousie effect.

Unfold the pastry and place the cream cheese mixture on the opposite half of the pastry. Sit the salmon on top of this and brush the edges with the egg wash.
Fold the jalousied pastry over the top, making sure that all the edges are well sealed. Brush withh the egg wash and place in the oven for about 25 minutes until the pastry is golden brown.
Serve with vegetables of your choice.

Saturday, 5 November 2011

Deep-fried crispy duck egg with duck confit salad

I am loving the new series of Great British Food Revival. To see Michel Roux Jr championing the British pear or John Torode telling us passionately about  Aberdeen Angus & longhorn beef. It  all is mouthwatering stuff. But there was one recipe that immediately shouted out to me: MAKE ME, MAKE ME. And here it is: James Martin’s deep-fried crispy duck egg with duck confit salad. I have “borrowed” this recipe from the BBC website, but made a few tweaks.

The duck egg with it rich yolk really makes it extra delicious. The original recipe also called for a handful each of coriander & peashoots, but I left these out. Coriander because I detest it, pea shoots because I couldn't find any.

For the duck leg confit

1 duck leg (or if making this for a main course, 1 duck leg per person)
Sea salt
A couple of sprigs of thyme
Duck fat

For the cripsy duck egg

2 tbsp of white wine vinegar
sea salt
5 free-range duck egg
freshly ground black pepper
115g/4oz plain flour
200g/7oz fresh breadcrumbs
vegetable oil for deep-frying

For the duck confit salad

125ml/4fl oz rice wine vinegar
2 tbsp sugar
2 large shallots, finely sliced
100g/3½oz cherries, stoned (in November cherries are not in season, so I used 100g of plums
2 tbsp sherry vinegar
50ml/2fl oz extra virgin olive oil
50g/1¾oz frisée lettuce
small punnet fresh cress
1 ready-made confit duck leg, meat picked from the bone and roughly chopped
4 slices streaky bacon, cooked until crisp between two baking sheets

Preparation method

The day before, weigh the duck leg(s) and sprinkle with the thyme and sea salt (15 gr per 1 kg of duck)
The next day wipe the salt of the duck legs and slowly cook them in the duck fat for about 2,5 hours. Leave to cool in the fat.

For the crispy eggs, bring a large pot of water to the boil and add the vinegar and a pinch of salt. Set a bowl of iced water alongside. Boil four of the eggs in the water for exactly five minutes then remove from the pan with a slotted spoon and transfer to the bowl of iced water.

Crack the remaining egg into a bowl and whisk in a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper. Place the flour and breadcrumbs in separate bowls and season each with a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Peel the cooled boiled eggs. Gently dredge each one in the flour until evenly coated, and then dip into the beaten egg and roll in the breadcrumbs to coat. Chill in the fridge until ready to cook. Reserve the remaining breadcrumbs.

Meanwhile, for the salad, place the rice wine vinegar, sugar and a pinch of salt into a pan and bring to the boil. Pour over the shallots and cherries and set aside to cool.

For the dressing, pour the sherry vinegar and olive oil into a jug and whisk. Place the salad leaves into a large bowl and flake in pieces of the duck confit. Strain off the shallots and cherries, add them to the salad with the dressing and mix well. Season to taste with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Just before serving, heat the vegetable oil in a deep-fat fryer to 180C/350F. Roll the chilled eggs in another layer of breadcrumbs, then deep-fry until golden-brown. (CAUTION: hot oil can be dangerous. Do not leave unattended.) Remove the eggs from the oil with a slotted spoon, drain on kitchen paper and sprinkle with a little salt.

Place the dressed salad onto plates in little nests, cut one crispy egg open at the top and place in the centre of each nest. Cut the bacon into small pieces, scatter it around the egg and serve with a little more dressing poured around.

Serves 4 as a starter