Archive | October, 2010

Hot Chocolate Melting Centre Puddings

20 Oct

Okay this is the easiest most delicious dessert you will ever make. Your friends will adore you and moan with pleasure when they eat it. The top is cooked and underneath is a molten chocolate pool of heaven. Honestly it is the best reaction I have ever had from a dessert and it’ sooo easy….

Hot Chocolate Melting Centre Puddings Recipe

Serves 4 Vegetarian

  • 130gr plain chocolate 70%
  • 125gr butter
  • 3 large eggs
  • a few drops of almond extract (optional)
  • 175 gr sugar
  • 40 gr plain flour

Chop the chocolate and butter and put it in a bowl over a saucepan with 5 cm simmering water in the bottom. (Don’t let the bottom of the bowl touch the water). Whisk occassionally until melted.

Meanwhile in large bowl whisk the eggs with the almond extract (If using) then whisk in the sugar and flour until just blended. Then whisk in the melted chocolate gradually.

Grease four small ramekins with butter then add a little  flour to cover the butter & shake out the excess. Pour the chocolate mixture into the ramekins. You can keep them in a cool place now until you need to cook them.

Preheat the oven to 200 degrees and cook them for 10 – 12 minutes until the tops are firm & slightly cracking.

Serve immediately with a scoop of  chocolate chip ice cream on top that will ooze into the hot chocolate centre when you break into the pudding. This really is the best…

As you can see I didn’t have time to take a photo I was somewhat distracted and too slow! This is the best I could do, you will have to try it for yourself………

My Macaroni Cheese

20 Oct

This has to be my favourite comfort food dish of all time. Not the most exciting I know but with the addition of garlic spinach, nutmeg & your favourite three cheeses this really is heaven. We had our friends Tim & Tony for dinner on Monday night which is their only night off from the restaurant so the last thing they want is a posh dinner, and also Tim is the fussiest person in the world when it comes to food. The Menu had to be easy, delicious, comforting, and prepared ahead. There is no way I am going to stand around cooking while everyone else is chatting & enjoying themselves and besides our dining table is in the kitchen and I can’t handle people seeing the mess… So the menu was: 

Roasted Tomato & Red Pepper Soup with Garlic & Parmesan Bread

Macaroni Cheese with Three Cheeses & Garlic Spinach

Hot Chocolate Melting Centre Pudding with Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

All three of theses dishes are easy to make and real crowd pleasers, the perfect combination of comfort and joy !! I’ll start with the macaroni cheese…

Macaroni Cheese with Garlic Spinach Recipe

Serves 4 Vegetarian

  • 500gr dried macaroni (I used penne rigate because I prefer it)
  • 1 bag fresh spinach (about 300 gr) any tough stems removed
  • 1 tbsp butter & a little olive oil(to cook spinach)
  • 2 or 3 cloves garlic chopped finely
  • 50 gr butter (Plus extra for buttering dish & for the top)
  • 50 gr flour
  • 250 ml milk (I use goats milk) you may need more
  • freshly grated nutmeg about 1/2 tsp
  • a pinch dried chilli flakes (optional)
  • salt & pepper
  • 150gr grated cheese (I used a mixture of mozzarella, cheddar & parmesan) you can use whatever your favourite cheeses are.
  • 1 tomato thinly sliced
  • about 25 gr breadcrumbs & extra grated parmeasan for the top

Put the butter, olive oil & garlic in a large pan with a lid and cook on a med heat for 1 – 2 mins until the garlic is soft (not browned). Then add the spinach stir a little & put on the lid for a minute. Stir again and replace the lid. Repeat until the spinach has wilted, add salt & pepper, turn off the heat & put the lid back on.

Meanwhile cook the pasta in boiling salted water for 3 minutes less than the packet says beacause it will continue to cook in the oven. Drain and set aside.

Melt the 50gr butter in a saucepan over a med heat then dump in the flour, stir & cook for 1 minute. Add the milk bit by bit stirring to incorporate each time until you have added it all and you have a smooth white sauce the consistency of thick cream. You may need to add more milk. Add the nutmeg, chilli flakes if using & salt & pepper, stir to combine. Take the pan off the heat and add the cheeses one by one stirring to melt.

In a large bowl combine the pasta with the cheese sauce, stirring to coat evenly then add the wilted spinach and garlic with slotted spoon (you don’t want the green water that has come out of the spinach), then stir to incorporate the spinach. Taste for seasoning you may need more salt, pepper & nutmeg.

Butter a large baking dish then sprinkle it with breadcrumbs. (It stops it sticking and creates a base). Pour the pasta into the dish making sure it’s even. Top with the sliced tomato,sprinkle with breadcrumbs, grated parmesan and dot with a little butter.

Ready for the Oven

If you are making this ahead, cover it and put it in the fridge until you need it. Preheat the oven to 190 degrees and cook for 35 mins until browned. If you are cooking it straight away (as it is still warm )you will only need to cook it for about 20 mins until browned or even put it under the grill for 10 – 15 mins.

I think they enjoyed it !!

The recipe for Hot Chocolate Melting Centre Puddings follows….

Roasted Sweet Potato & Halloumi Bake

17 Oct

This is a Nigella recipe that I tried out for dinner last night. I was looking for something to do with sweet potato that isn’t really sweet, a lot of recipes seem to go down that cinnamon route which I find too sickly unless it’s a dessert of course! This is definitely worth trying as a midweek dinner as it’s really easy, you just put everything in on baking dish and leave it. I have changed the original slightly by adding tomatoes make it more juicy and added a bit of dried chilli, fresh thyme & rosemary for flavour..

Roasted Sweet Potato & Halloumi Bake

Serves 2 or 3 Vegetarian

  • 1 large sweet potato washed & cut into 2 or 3cm chunks
  • 1 large potato cut into 2 or 3 cm chunks
  • 1 red onion peeled &cut into eighths
  • 2 small red peppers deseeded & cut into 2 cm squares
  • about 6 cloves of garlic unpeeled
  • 2 tomatoes cut into eighths
  • 3 or 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
  • a couple of sprigs of fresh thyme leaves
  • salt & black pepper
  • about 125gr halloumi sliced thinly
  1. Preheat the oven to 2oo degrees.
  2. Put all the veg in a large ovenproof baking dish, drizzle with the olive oil, sprinkle with the herbs, chilli, salt & pepper. Then toss it all together with your hands so it is evenly coated.

Ready To Bake

  • Roast in the oven for about 45 mins until the veg is tender & slightly browned.
  • Turn on the grill or turn the oven up to high then put the sliced halloumi evenly over the veg.
  • Put under the grill or in the very hot oven for 5 to 10 mins until the hallomi is has melted & browned

Serve & Enjoy!

This does make quite a lot so you will probably have some leftover, I used mine to make a sweet potato tortilla for lunch the next day.

Roasted Sweet Potato Tortilla Recipe

serves 2 vegetarian

  • leftover roasted veg 
  • 4 eggs
  • milk
  • grated parmesan
  • salt & black pepper
  • parsley & thyme chopped
  • shaved parmesan
  1. Just heat some oil in a large frying pan and add the roasted veg.
  2. Meanwhile crack the eggs into a measuring jug and top it up to 275 ml with milk, whisk together, add the grated parmesan, salt & pepper and whisk again.
  3. Pour this mixture over the veg and cook on medium low with a lid on for about 10 mins.
  4. When the eggs are nearly set sprinkle the chopped herbs over the top and put the lid back on for a minute.
  5. Serve topped with shaved parmesan

Burmese Noodle Curry Recipe

15 Oct

Burma is bordered by India, China & Thailand making it’s cuisine an eclectic mix of Indian spices, Chinese noodles & soy sauce & Thai flavours. When we had the restaurant every Wednesday evening we had “A Culinary Journey Through India & Asia” where we visited a different country or regions cuisine every week. It was extremely popular and the currrent owners Tim & Tony have extended it to the world! The Asian nights were a great opportunity for us to try new dishes, the most popular of which we would incorporate into the menu. One of these dishes was a Burmese Chicken Noodle Curry which was a favourite with many customers. I have used the same flavours in this vegetable version.

Burmese Vegetable Noodle Curry

Burmese Vegetable Noodle Curry Recipe

Serves 2 or 3 Vegetarian

  • a big handful of mixed mushrooms (I used Shitake & Oyster mushrooms)
  • 1/2 courgette shaved into fat ribbons with a peeler (or chopped finely)
  • a handful of finely sliced cabbage
  • 1 tbsp Thai curry paste (I used Matsaman curry paste from Cock Brand because it has a yellow colour & more Indian flavour)
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp curry powder
  • 1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce (I use Kecap Manis because it has sweeter flavour)
  •  1tsp brown sugar (or palm sugar)
  •  250 ml coconut milk
  •  25o ml water (or veg stock )
  • 160 gr dried wheat or egg noodles
  • 3 tsp sambal oelek (an indonesian chilli paste) you can use whatever you have to your taste.
  • fresh lime juice & lime wedges to garnish
  • a handful of chopped coriander
  • spring onions finely chopped to garnish
  1. Heat some oil in a wok or large frying pan. Add the mushrooms, cabbage & courgette & cook over a medium high heat for about 2 mins.
  2. Add the curry paste, powder & turmeric and coat the vegetables then add the soy sauce, brown sugar & coconut milk. Leave it to simmer for 2 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile cook the noodles according to the packet instructions, drain, rinse under cold water and set aside.
  4. Add the water or veg stock to the curry and bring back to the boil, add the sambal oelek (chilli sauce) and check seasoning you may want to add more soy sauce or sugar.
  5. Add the cooked noodles to the curry and toss to coat & warm through
  6. Add the juice of half a lime and the some of the fresh coriander. Check again for seasoning.
  7. Serve in bowls garnished with lime wedges, chopped spring onions & the rest of the coriander.

This really is a deliciously different and easy curry to make. You can use whatever vegetables you like or have, but the it is nice to have something with a bit of crunch like the cabbage to give a contrast to the gorgeous slippery noodles.

The Washer Up said this is one of the best things I have ever cooked, so give it a try you can also add some prawns & fish sauce or chicken if you are that way inclined.

Greek Stuffed Cabbage Leaves

14 Oct

 I know I’m kind of overloading you with cabbage recipes but I’ve still got half left -they really do go a long way! This recipe is adapted from a Delia Smith recipe (We love Delia!). I have changed it & added a few more flavours to the stuffing including Feta, cumin, oregano, hazelnuts, cinnamon & dried cranberries (because Ididn’t have any raisins). The result is a slightly sweet but savoury delicious filling. This recipe is supposed to be for two people but I ended up with a huge amount of the rice mixture left so I have added on another of my favourite leftover recipes underneath…

Stuffed Cabbage Leaves in Tomato Sauce

Greek Stuffed Cabbage Leaves with Fresh Tomato Sauce Recipe

serves 2 plus extra vegetarian, adapted from a Delia Smith recipe

  •  about 6 to 8 whole cabbage leaves (Discard any yellow outer leaves)
  • 1/4 cabbage finely sliced
  • 350gr ripe tomatoes chopped (I chopped 1 large tomato & added a handful of cherry tomatoes)
  • 2 small cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/2 tsp dried mint
  • salt & black pepper
  • a drizzle of chilli oil (or olive oil)

For the Stuffing

  • 15o ml brown rice 
  • 1 red onion chopped
  • 1 tsp  ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 30 gr pine nuts
  • 30 gr hazelnuts  (or pistachios)
  • 50 gr dried cranberries ( or raisins)
  • 100 gr greek feta
  • a handful of fresh mint chopped
  • salt & pepper
  1. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a frying pan, add the onions and cook over a medium heat until lightly browned then add the cumin, coriander, cinnamon & oregano, stir to combine.Then add the rice and coat in the spice oil.
  2. Pour 300 ml of boiling water into the rice, add salt, stir, put the lid on and turn the heat down to low. Allow the rice to cook for about 30 mins until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is cooked. You may have to add more boiling water if the rice is not cooked and all the water has been absorbed.
  3. Meanwhile toast the nuts in dry pan until slightly browned. Don’t take your eyes off them or they will burn! Leave to cool.
  4. With each of the whole cabbage leaves, make a v shaped cut to get rid of the hard stalky bits, and cook in boiling water for 4 mins. Take the leaves out with a slotted spoon, drain in a colander and rine under cold water. Then add the sliced cabbage to the boiling water for 3 mins. Dry the whole cabbage leaves on a clean tea towel. Drain the sliced cabbage, rinse in cold water and set aside.
  5. When the rice is cooked leave to cool slightly before adding the sliced cabbage, nuts, cranberries, crumbled feta & chopped mint. Season well with salt & pepper.

Stuffing Mixture

 6. Lay your first cabbage leaf out on a board and place a heaped tablespoon of the stuffing mixture in the middle. Roll it up like a cigar and tuck the ends under. Repeat with the rest of the cabbage leaves and arrange the cabbage rolls(with the tucked under bits on the base) in a baking dish. Don’t worry if there are a few holes in your leaves it still works look at mine !! 

 

Stuffed, Rolled Cabbage Leaves

 

7. Season with salt & pepper and cover with the chopped tomatoes, chopped garlic, oregano & mint.  Season again and cover with foil or a lid. 

 

Ready To Bake

 

8. Bake in a preheated oven 190 degrees fro 25 to 30 mins, then take of the foil and put back for another 10 mins. 

The Finished Dish

As I said above I had loads of the rice mixture left over so I made some stuffed peppers for lunch today. Just slice the tops off of the peppers and romve all the seeds and membrane.

Stuff the peppers with the rice mixture top with some more crumbled feta and a little dried mint, drizzle with olive oil and bake in a 2oo degree oven for 30 – 35 mins. I served mine with a rocket salad. 

 

 

Enjoy!

 

 

Ratatouille & Goats Cheese Tartlets Recipe

13 Oct

 

Ratatouille is another one of those forgotten 70’s/80’s dishes that got a bad reputation through over exposure and people making terrible versions with undercooked, too chunky, watery veg. The secret to delicious ratatouille is to chop the veg small enough and all the same size so it cooks down and to flavour it with lots of great seasonings.

Ratatouille & Goats Cheese Tartlets Recipe

Serves 2  Vegetarian

  • 1/2 pack frozen puff pastry (defrosted in the fridge overnight so it is still cold when you use it)I use Wrights which comes in 2 blocks.
  • 3 slices of goats cheese per tartlet (about 1/2 cm thick)
  • 1 or 2 tbsp olive oil  (to brush the tartlets)
  1. Preheat the oven to 220 degrees.
  2. Flour your board & rolling pin and roll out the pastry to about 3mm thick and cut out two circles from a side plate or bowl about 15 cm diameter.
  3. Score a frame of about 1 1/2 cm around the circle with a sharp knife (Do not cut all the way through) and brush the frames with olive oil or beaten egg. Prick inside the frame all over with a fork.
  4. Bake for 12 – 15 mins until golden brown and remove the middle circle of pastry so it looks like a big vol au vent. (More 70’s flashbacks!)

Scored Pastry Circles

Cooked Pastry Shells

Meanwhile make the ratatouille:

  • 1 red onion chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic chopped
  • 1/2 red chilli deseeded & chopped
  • 1 small aubergine diced (about 1cm dice for all the vegetables)
  • 1 red pepper diced
  • 1/2 courgette diced
  • 1 big tomato diced
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste
  • a handful of basil chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • a few sprigs of thyme leaves
  1. Cook the onion over a medium heat until translucent then add the garlic & chilli and cook for 2 mins more.
  2. Add the aubergine and red peppers, cook for a few mins then add the courgette, tomatoes, tomato paste & thyme leaves and simmer for about 10 mins until vegetables are tender.
  3. Add the basil, salt and pepper, stir to combine and taste for seasoning.
  4. Fill the pastry shells with the ratatouille ( You will probably have some left over) then top with the sliced goats cheese, drizzle with olive oil & bake for about 6 mins.

You can serve the tartlets with a rocket salad for lunch or I served them with some new potatoes for dinner. The leftover ratatouile can be used as a side dish, as a sauce for pasta, with a cheese omelette or on a toasted baguette with cheese…

Rustic Ratatouille Tartine

Fabulous Cabbage Recipes

12 Oct
 
 

We walk past these cabbages every day and see them growing. I love the silveryness of their leaves in the sun. After the rain we have had they are definitely looking ready to me so I am finally accepting it is now Autumn and am going to cook with cabbage tonight…

 
 
 

 

Our Broccoli & Cabbage

 

Indian Spiced Cabbage & Potato Samosas Recipe 
 Makes about 8 samosas Vegetarian/Vegan

Indian Spiced Cabbage Samosas wih Fig Chutney

 For the Samosa Pastry

makes about 8/10 samosas

  •  225 gr plain flour (I use wholemeal, you can use white or a mixture of both)
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tbsp olive oil or veg oil
  • 110 ml water (You may need a little more but start with this)
    1. Mix the flour, salt, cumin seeds & turmeric in a large bowl until combined.
    2. Add the oil & water, stir with a wooden spoon then use your hands to bring it together to form a ball of dough. (You may need to add a little more water if it’s too dry).
    3. Wrap the ball of dough in clingfilm and put it in the fridge while you make the filling.

    For the cabbage

  • 1/2 head cabbage cut in half & finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp punch pooran*
  • 1 small fresh chilli chopped
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • a pinch of dried chilli flakes
  • 1 clove garlic chopped
  • 1 tbsp ginger paste
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 1 tsp salt
  •  a squeeze of lemon/lime juice
  • a handful of fresh coriander chopped
  •  2 tbsp veg stock
  • some leftover cooked mashed potato or chopped cooked potato whatever you have.

*Punch pooran is a whole spice mix made up from cumin, fennel, fenugreek, black mustard & onion seeds. It gives a great rounded flavour to any indian dishes & is available from East End Foods.

  1. Heat the oil in a large frying pan or wok to a medium heat. Add the punch pooran, cooking until the seeds start to pop, then quickly add the rest of the spices, garlic & ginger cooking them for about a minute but do not burn them.
  2. Add in the cabbage and salt and stir to coat the cabbage in the oil & spices then add the veg stock to loosen it slightly and stir fry the cabbage until it is cooked how you like it. (I like it cooked but still a bit crunchy about 5 mins).
  3. Add a good squeeze of lemon juice & the chopped coriander and check for seasoning.

You can serve it like this as a side dish its delicious..

Indian Spiced Cabbage

4. Now add your cooked mashed potato or cooked chopped potatoes (As much as you like) and stir to combine well.

Cabbage & Potato Samosa Mix

5. Now take the dough out of the fridge, flour your board & rolling pin and start to need the dough for about a minute to make it stable.

6. Cut the ball of dough into quarters then into eights and roll out one of the pieces of dough to about 2 or 3 mm thick. Then trim it into a square about 10 or 12 cm.

10 - 12 cm Samosa Square

7. Now take a heaped tablespoon of the mix and put it on one half of the square, leave the edges clear

8. Now fold the empty side over the filling to make a triangle and press down the edges then seal them again with a fork.

9. Repeat with the rest of the pastry.

I baked mine in a preheated oven 210 degrees for about 10 – 12 mins. I brushed them with a little oil first & oiled the baking tray. You can deep fry them in hot oil for about 2 minutes on each side.

I served them with some of my fiery fig chutney (see recipe) but you can serve them with any chutney you have or a raita either way they’re great.

 I love potato, especially mashed potato, and I also love Indian food so this next idea is an Indian spiced version of Colcannon (An Irish dish with mashed potato & cabbage) or Bubble & Squeak, an English dish made with leftover potatoes & vegetables (usually Brussel sprouts or cabbage) which is made into patties and fried in a pan. Heaven….

Indian Spiced Bubble & Squeak with a Poached Egg

serves 2 vegetarian

Brunch Heaven
  • leftover Indian spiced cabbage (see above)
  • leftover mashed potato
  • 2 eggs
  • coriander or chives to garnish
  1. Mix the cold mash and cabbage together well

2. Press the mix into two chefs rings or cookie cutters to make patties ( Or just shape them by hand). Then heat some oil in a pan over a medium heat. Add the patties to the hot oil and cook them until well browned on both sides and hot in the middle

Bubble & Squeak

3. Meanwhile put a large pan of water on to boil with a squirt of vinegar. When it’s boiling turn off the heat, stir the water and carefully crack the two eggs into the water (Break them into the surface of the water). Put the lid on and leave them for 3 minutes.

Serve the poached egg on top of the Bubble & Squeak and garnish with chives or coriander. 

Enjoy!

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