Lavender Mousse, Blackberry & Cinder Toffee Verrine

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (May 2018) and taken from Afternoon Tea at Bramble Cafe by Mat Follas the winner of MasterChef in 2009.

This is a mini version of the pudding Mat cooked in the MasterChef final. The flavours work together beautifully; the sharp blackberries in the base, the summery aroma of the mousse and the caramel crunch of the toffee, which fizzes when you eat it with the berries.

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Makes 4

For the blackberry compote:
150g blackberries
3 1/4 tsp caster sugar
1 tsp white wine vinegar

For the lavender mousse:
450ml double cream
50g icing sugar
Lavender extract

For the cinder toffee:
5 dessertspoons caster sugar
2 dessertspoons golden syrup
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

You will need:
4 verrine glasses, approximately 200ml each, to serve

Step One : For the blackberry compote, heat the blackberries, sugar and vinegar in a saucepan until the blackberries just start to soften and break up. Mash them a little with a fork, then spoon into four verrine glasses. Place in the fridge for 30 minutes to chill.

Step Two : For the lavender mousse, in a mixing bowl, whisk the cream, icing sugar and a few drops of lavender extract. Taste it, you should be able to just taste the lavender, but not overpoweringly so. Add a few drop more, as needed. Finish whisking until the cream forms soft peaks. Pipe or spoon into the verrine glasses on top of the compote. Tap the glasses on a flat surface to level the top of the cream, then chill in the fridge.

Step Three : For the cinder toffee, cover a baking sheet with greaseproof paper and put it somewhere flat and stable to minimise the risk of spillage, as the toffee will be very hot when poured onto the sheet. In a deep, heavy-bottomed saucepan, just cover the base with a little water, before adding the sugar and golden syrup. Have the bicarbonate of soda to hand and a whisk or silicone spatula. Melt on a medium heat until the mixture if turning a lovely caramel colour and smells of toffee. Add the bicarbonate of soda and whisk carefully, but quickly, to combine – the mixture will foam up to about five times its previous volume. Pour onto the greaseproof paper and leave to harden and cool.

Step Four : To serve, break up the cinder toffee – I place it in a resealable sandwich bag and whack it on a flat surface then sprinkle the shards over the tops of the verrines. Serve cool, but not cold.
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Strawberries & Cream Swiss Roll

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (May 2018) and taken from Afternoon Tea at Bramble Cafe by Mat Follas a new book by the Winner of MasterChef in 2009.

There are only three ingredients in a classic Swiss roll : flour, sugar and eggs. It can be a dry cake, so compensate with fresh fruit and indulge in a little extra cream.

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Makes 1 roll

For the filling:
200g strawberries
Freshly squeezed juice of 1/2 lemon
2 1/2 tblsp caster sugar
150ml whipping cream
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
6 tblsp icing sugar

For the cake:
200g eggs, lightly whisked with 150g caster sugar
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
150g plain flour
Icing sugar and fresh strawberries, to decorate

You will need:
45 x 30cm non-stick Swiss roll pan, lightly oiled and lined with baking parchment

Step One : Preheat the oven to 140oC / 280oF / Gas Mark 1. For the filling, hull and chop the strawberries. Put in a bowl and fold in the lemon juice and caster sugar. Leave for 30 minutes. Whip the cream, vanilla extract and icing sugar to a light, just setting, whipped cream. Chill in the fridge.

Step Two : For the cake, take the prepared Swiss roll pan, oil the top of the paper and lightly flour the paper and the sides. Put the eggs and caster sugar in a bowl and mix for at least 10 minutes with a hand-held electric whisk or in a stand mixer, until it has tripled in volume. Add the vanilla extract and whisk. Gently fold in the flour, one third at a time, until just combined.

Step Three : Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and use a spatula to spread it into the oven and bake for 12 minutes. Check the cake is cooked by touch; it should bounce back when lightly pressed. If it is soft or it ‘crackles’ when touched, put it back in the oven for 2 minutes more.

Step Four : Remove from the oven and leave to cool for 2 minutes. Cover a wire rack with some oiled and floured baking parchment and turn the cake out onto the rack. Leave to cool for 5 minutes, then peel off the baking parchment. Gently cut halfway through the cake, across the width on the short side, about 1cm from the edge to help it roll up.

Step Five : Starting from the side where you have made the cut, carefully roll up the cake and gently squeeze it to form the roll, before unrolling again in order to assemble the final cake.

Step Six : Finish the filling by folding together the whipped cream and strawberries. Plaster the mixture generously onto the cake, then roll up to make a Swiss roll. Trim the ends and dust with icing sugar.

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Chicken Stuffed with Mango & Ginger

Serves: 6

Ingredients:
6 chicken breasts
1 ripe mango, sliced
1 tsp root ginger, finely grated
Juice of 1 lime
2 shallots, finely chopped
25g butter
1 small carrot, chopped
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 tsp coriander seeds
3 cardamom pods
1 tsp cumin seeds
3 cloves
1 tsp ground cinnamon
225g crème fraiche
Salt and pepper

Step One : Preheat oven to 190oC/375oF/Gas 5.

Step Two : Slice the pockets of the chicken breasts to enlarge the cavities for stuffing, then season. Fill the cavities with slices of mango (reserving a little for garnishing) and half the ginger. Sprinkle lime juice over the chicken and bake in individual buttered tin foil parcels for 20 minutes.

Step Three
: Meanwhile, sweat the shallots in the butter in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Add carrot and garlic and remove from the heat.

Step Four
: In a grinder, crush the coriander seeds, the seeds from the cardamom pods, the cumin seeds and the cloves.

Step Five : Add this spice mixture, the cinnamon and the rest of the ginger to the pan. Stir well and then liquidise with the crème fraiche.

Step Six
: Return to the pan to gently reheat. Remove the chicken breasts from their parcels and pour over the spicy sauce.

Step Seven
: Garnish with mango, lime slices and coriander leaves.

Simnel Cake

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (May 2014) and taken from The Baker’s Daughter by Louise Johncox.

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Serves : 10-12

Ingredients:
225g natural marzipan
175g caster sugar
175g butter
3 eggs
225g plain flour
1/2 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Pinch of salt
115g sultanas
350g currants
75g mixed peel
50g glace cherries (chopped)
1-2 tblsp milk
4 tblsp apricot jam
1 egg yolk, beaten

For the yellow icing (optional)
85g icing sugar
1 tblsp water
2-3 drops yellow food colouring

Step One : Preheat the oven to 160oC / Gas Mark 3. Grease an 18cm round, 7cm deep cake tin and line it with baking parchment. Knead the marzipan on a board dusted with icing sugar until it softens. Divide into 3 equal portions. Roll out 2 of these into 18cm circles to fit the cake tin. Divide the remaining amount into 11 equal portions, roll these into 11 balls, cover with cling film and set aside.

Step Two : Cream the sugar and butter together. Add the eggs gradually, plus 1 tblsp flour if the mixture shows signs of curdling. Sift the flour, spices and salt into a large bowl. Add the sultanas, currants, peel and cherries. Mix the flour and fruit into the creamed mixture, adding a little milk, if required. Aim for a soft consistency.

Step Three : Place half the mixture in the tin and flatten. Place a circle of marzipan on top. Put the remaining mixture on top of this and smooth out. Put the tin on a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour, then reduce the temperature to 150oC / Gas Mark 2. Bake for 2 – 2 1/2 hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Once baked, allow it to cool completely.

Step Four : Preheat the grill to medium. Gently heat the apricot jam in a pan until it’s warm, or in a microwave for 1 minute until it’s soft. Brush the top of the cake with the warm jam. Place the second circle of marzipan or almond paste on top. Decorate with the 11 marzipan balls. Brush the marzipan with egg yolk, then place it under the grill until the marzipan colours, just a little.

Step Five : If you like, you can add yellow icing. Simply mix the icing sugar, water and yellow food colouring to decorate your cake.

Happy St Patrick’s Day – Irish Stew

 

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Recipe by Gary Rhodes and taken from Sunday Magazine many years ago!  

Serves : 4

Ingredients:

1 ½ lb (750g) middle neck of lamb, cut into cutlets
4 onions
1 lb (450g) potatoes
4oz (100g) unsalted butter
1 garlic clove
1 bouquet garni (1 bay leaf, 1 sprig each of fresh rosemary and thyme tied in a square of muslin) or bouquet garni sachet
2 ½ pints (1.5 litres) chicken stock or water
6oz (175g) carrots
6 celery sticks
8oz (225g) Savoy cabbage
2 tsp freshly chopped parsley

Step One : In a large pan, cover the lamb with cold water and bring to the boil. Drain off the water and refresh the meat in cold water. Drain well. Whichever, cut of lamb you use – for example, neck, scrag end or chops – you should always do this blanching process. It removes any impurities and gives the stock a cleaner, clearer finish.

Step Two : Slice the onions and then peel and dice the potatoes into 1 in (2.5cm) pieces. Melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the onions, half the potatos and the garlic clove.

Step Three : Add the bouquet garni to the pan and fry for 2 mins. Add the lamb cutlets and cover with the chicken stock or water. Bring the liquid to the simmer, cover with a lid and cook for 30 mins. The meat will be half-cooked and the potatoes will have started to puree and thicken the stock.

Step Four : Peel and dice the carrots and add them to the pan. Continue to cook the stew for a further 10 mins. Dice the celery sticks into 1 in (2.5cm) pieces and add to the pan with the remaining potatoes. Cook for 15-20 mins. At this stage, the potatoes shouldn’t be cooked until they’re pureed but until they’re just soft.

Step Five : Shred the cabbage, add to the pan and cook for another 2-3 minutes until the meat and vegetables are tender. Adding the cabbage towards the end of the cooking time ensures that you don’t lose the fresh flavour and that the stew won’t discolour. Season with salt and freshly ground white pepper.

Step Six : Remove the bouquet garni and garnish with the chopped parsley. Serve the stew in individual bowls or from one larg bowl in the middle of the table. You now have a complete meal but even so, I usually serve it with good crusty bread.

Orecchiette with Broccoli, Chicken Sausage and Harissa Paste

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (Spring 2019) and taken from Skinny Pasta by Julia Azzarello.

This dish is a healthier version of the traditional sausage and broccoli because it is made with lean chicken. It still packs a lot of flavour into one meal, especially with the zing of harissa and lemon.

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Serves : 4

Ingredients:
250g chicken sausages, removed from casings and cut into 2 cm chunks
320g dried orecchiette or 400g fresh
125g Tenderstem broccoli, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tblsp olive oil
2-3 garlic cloves, sliced
2-3 tblsp harissa paste
2 tblsp chopped parsley
1 lemon, cut into wedges
40g Parmesan cheese, grated

Step One : Saute the chicken sausage chunks in a non-stick pan for about 3-4 minutes, until cooked through. Drain on kitchen paper and set aside until needed. Bring a saucepan of water to the boil, add salt and cook the pasta for 1-2 minutes less than the packet states, or until just al dente.

Step Two : Add the broccoli to the pasta for the last 2 minutes of its cooking time. Drain, reserving a little of the cooking water.

Step Three : Meanwhile, heat a frying pan over a medium heat, add the oil and garlic and cook for 1 minute, then remove from the heat.

Step Four : Add the pasta, broccoli and sausage chunks to the pan and toss with the harissa paste and a little of the reserved pasta water. Serve in bowls with a squeeze of lemon and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan and parsley.

TNT-OFFER-2019

Gluten-Free Gnocchi with Roasted Butternut Squash, Brown Butter and Sage

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (Spring 2019) and taken from Skinny Pasta by Julia Azzarello.

The addition of pomegranate seeds rounds off the sweetness of the squash and nuttiness of the butter with just the right amount of acid and tang. Plus, it’s a lovely colourful garnish to lift the dish.

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Serves : 4

Ingredients:
300g butternut squash flesh, cut into small chunks
2 tblsp olive oil
2 tblsp butter
5 sage leaves, chopped
40g Parmesan cheese, grated
40g pomegranate seeds, to garnish

For the Gnocchi:
2 medium baking potatoes, scrubbed
1 egg, beaten
60-80g gluten-free plain flour, plus extra for dusting

 

 

Step One : First, make the gnocchi. Preheat the oven to 200oC / Gas Mark 6. Prick the potatoes with a fork and wrap them in foil. Bake for 1 – 1 hr 20 minutes, or until tender. Leave to cool slightly, for about 15 minutes, then scoop out the potato and pass through a ricer. You need about 400g. Mix in the egg and flour.

Step Two : Dust a clean worktop with flour. Divide the dough into four equal sized pieces. Roll each one out to a cylinder 20cm long, and cut into 2cm chunks. Make grooves on each piece using the back of a fork, then place on a baking tray dusted with flour.

Step Three : Bring a large saucepan of salted water to the boil and cook in two batches or 1 minute, or until they float to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon and set aside, reserving some cooking water. Leftovers can be kept in a sealed container in the fridge, or freezer for two to three months.

Step Four : Preheat the oven to 200oC, Gas mark 6. Toss the squash with half of the olive oil and spread out evenly on a baking tray. Roast for 30-35 minutes.

Step Five : Put the remaining oil and the butter in a deep frying pan and cook for 1-2 minutes until browned and it smells nutty. Add the gnocchi and saute for 2 minutes more, then add the roasted squash, sage and a splash of pasta cooking water and toss together. Serve on plates topped with grated Parmesan cheese and pomegranate seeds.

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Pea and Orzo Risotto

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (Spring 2019) and taken from Skinny Pasta by Julia Azzarello.

Orzo tends to be a bit starchier than other tiny pastas, so makes a lovely risotto. It is also easier than using Arborio rice, as you don’t have to stir it so vigilantly. The addition of pea shoots at the end gives it a sweet crunch.

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Serves : 4

Ingredients:
1 tblsp olive oil
1 shallot, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
300g orzo
100ml dry white wine
400ml vegetable or chicken stock
150g frozen peas
50ml single cream
50g ricotta salata or pecorino Romano, grated, plus extra for sprinkling
10g fresh mint, chopped
4 sprigs of tarragon, chopped
40g pea shoots, to garnish

Step One : Warm a large, deep pan, then add the oil and shallot and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for a further minute. Tip in the orzo and stir around for 1 minute more, then add the white wine. Once the wine has evaporated pour in the stock and bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer. The orzo should take about 9-10 minutes to cook, but keep an eye on it and stir it occasionally so it doesn’t stick to the bottom of the pan.

Step Two : When it is creamy and cooked, stir in the peas, single cream, grated cheese and herbs and cook for 2 minutes. Adjust the seasoning to taste. Serve in bowls, sprinkled with some extra grated cheese and the pea shoots.

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Courgette Ribbon, White Bean Smash and Pesto Bruschetta

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (Spring 2019) and taken from The Yoga Kitchen Plan by Kimberly Parsons.

Elevating toast to a nourishing light meal, this easy-to-prepare flavour hit is rich in protein and bursting with goodness. The vegan pesto is magic!

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Serves : 2

Ingredients:
1 large courgette, thinly sliced into ribbons
1 x 400g can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
4 slices sourdough bread, toasted
Sea salt flakes, to serve
2 lime wedges, to serve

For the Vegan Pesto:-
1 large bunch basil leaves, plus extra to serve
1 small bunch coriander
30g pine nuts or kernels, toasted
35g raw pistachio nuts
120ml extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to drizzle
3/4 teaspoon sea salt

Step One : To make the vegan pesto, place all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until smooth. Set aside.

Step Two : Place the courgette ribbons and beans in a large bowl, add a quarter of the pesto and toss to coat.

Step Three : Spread the remaining pesto onto the slices of toast and top with the courgette ribbons and beans.

Step Four : Drizzle with olive oil, scatter over some extra basil leaves and sea salt flakes and serve with lime wedges.

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Aubergine and Lentil Vindaloo

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (April 2019) and taken from Cooking on a Bootstrap by Jack Monroe.

If you don’t like aubergine, use mushrooms.  Lentils could also be kidney beans, baked beans, black beans, brown or green lentils, or yellow split peas – for protein.  The flavour speaks for itself, or rather shouts, sings and dances!IMG_1859

Serves: 2-4

Ingredients:
1 large aubergine or 2 small aubergines, diced
50g dried red lentils
3 onions, finely sliced
Oil, for frying
4 fat garlic cloves
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp cumin, seeds or ground
1/4 star anise, or 1/8 tsp fennel seeds
A good grind of black pepper
1-2 tsp chilli flakes
2 tblsp tomato puree
2 tblsp vinegar or lemon juice, fresh or bottled
A fistful of spinach

Step One : In a bowl, sprinkle the aubergine with a good pinch of salt, then set aside.

Step Two : Thoroughly rinse the lentils and place them in a pan.  Cover with water – no salt or they will take an age to cook – and bring to the boil.  When the water is boiling, reduce to a simmer for 12 minutes, until the lentils are soft.  Drain, rinse and set aside.

Step Three : Meanwhile, toss the onions into a large pan with a little oil and, over medium heat, soften for 10 minutes.  Add the garlic cloves, peeled but whole, and the aubergine, stirring to stop it sticking.  Cook for 15 minutes, adding more oil if needed.

Step Four : Add the cinnamon, cumin, star anise, or fennel, and pepper, but only half of your chosen quantity of chilli.  (It is easy to add, but difficult to temper down if you misjudge it, so I put in half the chilli to cook, and leave half to garnish.)  Stir well to combine, then add 200ml water to the pan, and crank up the heat to medium-high.

Step Five : Add the lentils, tomato puree and vinegar or lemon juice and stir.  Bring to the boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover, stirring slowly now and again.  It should take around 30 minutes to meld into glossy, orange goodness, and the liquid should thicken to an unctuous sauce.  If it is too watery, bring it back to the boil, reduce the heat and cook a little more.  Stir through the spinach a few minutes before serving.  This vindaloo is delicious with boiled rice, which makes it go further.

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