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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White Chocolate & Strawberry Tiffin

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

Delicious with coffee, these tiffins are fun to make with children. Be inventive with swirly toppings and fillings.

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Makes 18

Ingredients:
250g butter
120g caster sugar
6 tblsp golden syrup
200g milk chocolate
100g mixed dried fruit and nuts (such as almonds, sultanas and cherries)
100g fresh strawberries, chopped
450g digestive biscuits, crushed
450g white chocolate

You will need:
30 x 20cm non-stick brownie pan, lightly oiled and lined with baking parchment

Step One : Put the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a saucepan and warm on a low heat until melted, stirring to mix together.

Step Two : In a mixing bowl, grate 100g of the milk chocolate, then add the dried fruit and nuts, strawberries and crushed digestive biscuits. Pour in the melted butter, sugar and syrup mixture and fold together until thoroughly mixed, then spoon into the lined brownie pan. Smooth the tiffin base to make it level, then place in the fridge for 15 minutes.

Step Three : Melt the white chocolate by breaking it up and heating three quarters of it in a microwave on high, using a microwaveable bowl. Use the microwave in 10-second bursts, stirring the chocolate in-between, until it is all melted. Now, add the remaining quarter and mix together to form a smooth, just-melted chocolate.

Step Four : Remove the tiffin base from the fridge and pour the white chocolate over the top. Tilt the pan until the topping covers the tiffin base and is smooth and even. Now, melt the remaining milk chocolate in the same way (melting three quarters of it, then adding the final quarter at the end).

Step Five : Pour the milk chocolate over the white chocolate in thin lines Use a toothpick to drag the milk chocolate over the surface to form a pattern. Return to the fridge for at least an hour, before removing and portioning with a hot knife.

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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.

TNT-OFFER-2019

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.

Strawberry and Basil Cheesecake

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (October 2015) and taken from The Virtuous Tart by Susan Jane White.

By loading more fresh veg and nuts into us ladies, we’ll arm our bodies against The Ageing Process. This cake should help. Avocados and almonds are drenched with helpful fats and nourishing minerals needed to keep our toes tapping and skin flowing. Remember, the skin is your largest excretory organ. If you’re eating garbage, you’ll end up wearing it on your face.

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Serves : 8

Ingredients for the base:
1 1/2 cups (180g) walnuts
6 Medjool or other sticky dates, stones removed
touch of sea salt flakes

For the creamy centre:
3 ripe avocados, stones and skin removed (240g)
25g packet of fresh basil, leaves only
juice of 3-4 limes
4-6 tblsp raw honey
3 tblsp unscented coconut oil, melted

For the topping:
1 punnet of fresh strawberries

Step One : To make the base, blend the walnuts, dates and sea salt in a food processor (not a blender) with a splash of water. When it starts clumping together into a cookie dough ball, you’re good to go. Press into a 20 x 25 cm loaf tin. Bring the dough up the sides like a posh flan, making sure you support the elbow of the base – the part where the base meets the sides. Freeze.

Step Two : Meanwhile, get going on your ‘cheesecake’ filling. Puree the avocado flesh, basil, lime juice, honey, melted coconut oil and some Frank Sinatra at full speed until savagely smooth. A blender can be used for this bit.

Step Three : Taste. If it needs more zing or kick, add another squeeze of lime juice to the mix. If you prefer more sweetness to rock your taste buds, then add an extra bit of honey. Spoon the filling over the frozen base and chill in the fridge for 1 hour. It will last for three days in the fridge like this.

Step Four : Just before serving, slice a handful of fresh strawberries and scatter them over the top along with any stray basil leaves you find loitering in your kitchen.

Lemon Verbena Possets

Recipe taken from Clodagh’s Suppers: Suppers to celebrate the seasons by Clodagh McKenna published in Psychologies Magazine (February 2019).

lemon verbena possets

Serves : 4

Ingredients :
2 lemons
125g caster sugar
6 lemon verbena leaves
425ml double cream

Step One : Grate the zest of the lemons into a saucepan, then squeeze out and add the juice, followed by the sugar and lemon verbena leaves. Place the pan over a low heat and bring to the boil, stirring occasionally until the sugar has dissolved. Whisk in the cream and cook for three minutes.

Step Two : Divide the mixture between four small glasses or ramekins. Leave to cool, then chill in the fridge for two hours until set. Remove the possets from the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving.

Roast Chicken with Pomegranate, Pancetta and Brandy

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (Dec 2015) and taken from At Home with Umami: Home-cooked recipes unlocking the magic of super-savory deliciousness by Laura Santtini.

This is a real showstopper, especially if you are generous with the brandy.  Serve with basmati rice steamed with cardamom pods to make the rice extra fragrant.

Chicken and pomegranate

Serves : 4

Ingredients:
3 tblsp olive oil
1 medium chicken, jointed into 8 pieces by a butcher
3 shallots (2 quartered, 1 chopped finely)
1 bunch fresh sage
4 garlic cloves
30g dried porcini mushrooms, soaked in 250ml boiling water, drained and chopped
4 medium pomegranates
25g butter
100g pancetta
generous splash of brandy
250ml double cream
sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
basmati rice, to serve

Step One : Preheat the oven to 180oC (350oF) Gas 4. Heat the oil in a cast-iron casserole dish over a medium-high heat. Add the chicken and brown on all sides. Season.

Step Two : Once browned, remove from the heat. Add the quartered shallots, half the sage, garlic and the liquid from the mushrooms. Replace the chicken, cover with a tight-fitting lid and roast in a preheated oven for 1 hour.

Step Three : Meanwhile, deseed the pomegranates by slicing them in half and bashing them with a wooden spoon over a bowl so that the seeds fall out. Crush the seeds slightly with a potato masher to release their juices.

Step Four : Take out the chicken and pour the pomegranate juices into the pan, reserving the seeds for later. Pop the chicken back into the oven.

Step Five : Make the sauce. Heat the butter in a medium saucepan over a medium heat. Once it has melted, add the chopped shallot and cook until translucent. Add the mushrooms, the rest of the sage and pancetta, and cook until the pancetta begins to crisp and the fat melts. Once the chicken is cooked, pour off its sauce into the mushrooms pan. Cover the chicken with foil to keep it warm.

Step Six : Add the brandy and the double cream to the sauce. Simmer until the sauce has reduced enough to coat the back of a spoon, then pour it back over the chicken, sprinkle with the reserved pomegranate seeds, and serve immediately with bowls of hot basmati rice.

Turkey Rice Salad

Recipe taken from The Ultimate Christmas Cookbook

A delicious crunchy salad to use up leftover turkey during the holiday festivities.

Turkey rice salad
Ingredients:-
225g (8oz) brown rice
50g (2oz) wild rice
2 red dessert apples, quartered, cored and chopped
2 celery sticks, coarsely sliced
115 (4oz) seedless grapes
45ml (3 tblsp) lemon or orange juice
150ml (1/4 pint) this mayonnaise
350g (12oz) cooked turkey, chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Frilly lettuce leaves, to serve

Serves: 8

Step One : Cook the brown and wild rice in boiling salted water for 25 minutes or until tender. Rinse under cold running water and drain.

Step Two : Turn the well-drained rice into a large bowl and add the apples, celery and grapes. Beat the lemon or orange juice into the mayonnaise, season with salt and pepper and pour over the rice.

Step Three : Add the turkey and mix well to coat with the lemon or orange mayonnaise.

Step Four : Arrange the frilly lettuce leaves over the base and around the sides of a warmed serving dish and spoon the rice on top.

Christmassy salad servers …

Nut and Glace Fruit Ring

The cake can be made two or three weeks before Christmas. Store it in a tin in a cool place until needed.

Ingredients:-
4 tblsp rum, brandy or sherry
115g (4oz) glace cherries, quartered
115g (4oz) cup raisins or sultanas
115g (4oz) dried apricots, quartered
115g (4oz) prunes, stones and quartered
115g (4oz) stoned and chopped dates
115g (4oz) butter
115g (4oz) soft dark brown sugar
½ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp mixed spice
2 eggs, beaten
50g (2oz) ground almonds
115g (4oz) coarsely chopped walnuts
225g (8oz) self-raising flour

To finish:-
2 tblsp rum, brandy or sherry
4 tblsp apricot jam
Whole blanched almonds, split
3 glace cherries, halved
Few strips angelica

Makes 1 ring

Step One : The day before you want to bake the cake, put the rum, brandy or sherry in a large mixing bowl and add all the dried fruit. Cover the bowl with clear film and leave overnight in a cool place so that the fruit is well soaked. Meanwhile, grease a 23cm (9in) ring mould, with a 1.5 litre (2 ½ pint) capacity.

Step Two : The next day, preheat the oven to 160oC / 325oF / Gas 3. In a large mixing bowl, whisk the butter, sugar and spices together until they are light and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs, and then fold in the soaked fruits, with any of the remaining liquid. Mix the ground almonds and chopped walnuts into the bowl and sift in the flour and mix until combined.

Step Three : Spoon the mixture into the prepared cake tin. Level the top of the mixture with the back of a spoon and bake in the preheat oven for 1 ½ – 2 hours. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 30 minutes, then turn out on a wire rack and allow to cool completely. Brush the cake with the rum, brandy or sherry.

Step Four : Put the apricot jam in a small pan and heat it gently to melt it. Sieve the jam. Brush the hot glaze over the top of the cake. Arrange the nuts and fruit in a flower design on top of the cake and brush them liberally with more apricot glaze. The glaze must be used very hot, or the decoration will lift while you are brushing the jam over it.

More sweet Christmas treats can be found in this book …

Apple and Berry Crumble Tart

Serves: 6

Prep time: 20 mins;  Cook time: 1 hour;

Ingredients Filling:
675g (1lb 8oz) cooking apples
500g bag frozen summer fruits, such as raspberries and blackberries
75g (2 ¾ oz) caster sugar
Juice and rind of 1 lemon
10ml (2 tsp) arrowroot, mixed with 15ml (1 tblsp) cold water.

Ingredients Base and topping:
75g (2 ¾ oz) unsalted butter
75g (2 ¾ oz) caster sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
5ml (1 tsp) baking powder
75g (2 ¾ oz) ground almonds
225g (8oz) plain flour
2.5ml (1/2 tsp) ground cinnamon
8-12 whole almonds to decorate

Step One : Peel, core and slice apples. Place in a pan with frozen fruits, sugar, lemon juice and rind and 45ml (3 tblsp) water. Simmer for 10 mins, until fruit just softens. Add arrowroot and stir until thickened. Leave to cool.

Step Two : For base and topping, blend together butter and sugar in a processor. Add the egg, baking powder, ground almonds, flour and cinnamon then process until mixture is just crumbly. Turn into a bowl.

Step Three : Grease and line a 23cm (9in) loose-based tin. Turn out two-thirds of crumble mixture on to a floured surface. Knead together to combine. Use to cover base of prepared tin, pushing together any cracks.

Step Four : Spread cooled fruit mixture over base. Sprinkle over reserved crumble mixture. Decorate with almonds. Bake at 180oC/350oF/Gas 4 for 50 mins until pale golden.

Step Five : Serve warm or cold with crème fraiche.

Tip: As alternative fillings, use other fruits when they’re in season. Good combinations are apple and apricot or pear and raspberry.

Other crumble recipes …