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 …

Rhubarb and Raspberry Tart

Serves : 6

Prep : 40 min, plus chilling time;   Cook : 20 min

This simple flan makes a delicious dessert. Semolina sprinkled on the pastry soaks up the fruit juices

Ingredients:
Rich Pastry:
3oz (175g) butter, softened
6oz (175g) plain flour, sieved
2 tblsp (30ml) sugar
1 egg yolk
About 2tbsp/30ml water

Filling:
1 lb (450g) rhubarb, cut into chunks
3oz/75g caster sugar
1 tblsp (15ml) cornflour, blended with water
1 tblsp (15ml) semolina
4oz (125g) raspberries
1oz (25g) flaked almonds, toasted
8in/20cm loose-bottomed flan tin.

Step One : Make the pastry by rubbing the butter into the flour until it resembles breadcrumbs. Stir in the sugar, add the egg yolk, then start blending the mixture with a round bladed knife. As the mixture combines together add the water gradually to bring the mixture into a firm dough. Wrap in clingfilm and leave in a cool place for 30 minutes.

Step Two : Roll the pastry out on a floured surface and line the flan tin. Prick the base and line with greaseproof paper and baking beans. Chill in the fridge for 10 minutes.

Step Three : Preheat the oven to Gas Mark 4 / 350oF / 180oC. Cook the tart for 15 minutes, until golden, removing the greaseproof paper after 10 minutes.

Step Four : Meanwhile, place the rhubarb in a saucepan with the caster sugar. Add 3 tblsp (45ml) water and simmer for 5 minutes. Drain the rhubarb, reserving the juice.

Step Five : To make the glaze, mix 6 fl oz (175ml) of the reserved juice with the blended cornflour. Return to the saucepan and bring to the boil to allow the mixture to thicken.

Step Six : Sprinkle the semolina over the base of the cooked pastry case. Place the drained rhubarb in the tart, add the raspberries and sprinkle over the almonds. Pour over the glaze making sure it covers the fruit in an even layer.

Step Seven : Serve the tart warmed or chilled with crème fraiche.

Other Rhubarb recipes can be found here …

English Apple and Tipsy Bread and Butter Pudding

Serves 4

Ingredients:
175g (6oz) dry, crusty French bread, cut into bite-size pieces
3 English apples, cored and diced
25g (1oz) raisins
85ml (3fl oz) whisky
400ml (14fl oz) milk
Butter
4 eggs
100g (4oz) caster sugar

Step One : Preheat oven to Gas 5, 190°C, 375°F. Put bread, apple and raisins in a bowl, pour over whisky and half the milk and leave to soak. Butter 4 ramekin dishes.

Step Two : In a large bowl, whisk eggs with the sugar. Slowly whisk in rest of milk until smooth. Divide bread mixture between the ramekins, pour egg custard over each and bake in the oven for 30-40 mins. The custard should be just set and the top of the pudding golden.

Serve Warm.

Find more Apple dessert recipe’s here …

Almond and Cherry Florentines

Recipe courtesy of Easy Living

Makes about 30

Ingredients:
450g (14oz) cherries, stoned
1 tsp caster sugar; 220g (7oz) almonds
100g (3 ½ oz) unsalted butter, cubed
150g (5oz) brown sugar
175g (6oz) golden syrup
1 tsp Amaretto (optional)
100g (3 ½ oz) plain flour, sifted
2 tsp ground ginger
300g (10oz) good-quality dark chocolate, broken into small pieces

Step One: Heat the oven to 180oC (Gas Mark 6). Place the cherries on a lined baking tray and sprinkle with caster sugar. Bake in the oven for 50-60 mins, until the cherries are shrivelled and caramelised. Set aside to cool. Meanwhile scatter the almonds on a baking tray and roast for 7-10 mins. Coarsely chop half the almonds, saving the remainder.

Step Two: Melt the butter, brown sugar, golden syrup and Amaretto (if using) in a saucepan over a medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the flour and ground ginger. Line two large baking trays with baking paper. Pour half the mixture into the middle of one of the trays and, using a spatula, very gently spread the mixture out to form a rough rectangle about 2-3 mm thick, leaving a 5cm (2 in) border all around. Repeat with the second baking tray, then transfer both to the oven and cook for 5 mins.

Step Three: Remove and scatter over the cherries and all the almonds, then return to the oven and cook for 12-15 mins or until the mixture is bubbling and golden. Set aside to cool for 4-5 mins. Starting from the outside and working inwards use a cookie cutter to cut out rounds. Place the Florentines on a lined baking tray and chill in the fridge for 10 mins.

Step Four: Cover your work surface with foil (this makes cleaning up easier) and place two or three wire racks on top. Melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Remove the Florentines from the fridge and dip each one halfway into the melted chocolate, then place on a rack and leave for 15 mins. Chill in the fridge for 1 hour, or until the chocolate has set.

For other biscuit recipes:-

Orange and Grapefruit Bircher with Chilli

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (March 2018)

The chilli adds a subtle kick to this bircher, from Annie Morris’s book, ‘Spoon: Simple and Nourishing Breakfast Bowls That Can be Enjoyed Any Time of Day’ (Hardie Grant, £15), while the dense oats balance out the taste.

Makes 2 bowls

Grapefruit Compote Ingredients:

2 grapefruit
1 tbsp honey
1 cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
Juice of ½ lemon

Bircher Ingredients:

150ml orange juice
125g oats
100ml natural yogurt

Topping Ingredients:

Toasted flaked almonds
Dusting of dried chilli flakes

Step One: To make the grapefruit compote, peel the grapefruit and discard any pith.

Step Two: Segment the grapefruit using a knife to get the juiciest part of the fruit, leaving behind any pith, and reserving the juices.

Step Three:  Add to a pan with the juices and bring to the boil with the remaining ingredients.  Simmer gently for about 20-30 minutes, then leave to cool.

Step Four:  To make the Bircher, place all the ingredients in a mixing bowl and stir to combine.

Step Five:  Cover and place in the fridge overnight.

Step Six:  The next morning, divide the mixture into two bowls.  Serve with the grapefruit compote and a sprinkling of toasted almond and dried chilli flakes.

Fig Crostata with Rosemary Custard

Recipe courtesy of Psychologies Magazine (Spring 2018) and taken from a book called Feasting.

Figs are believed to have originated in the Middle East and have a strong presence in the Bible.  Showcase their sweet flavour and luxurious texture in this rustic crostata.

Serves 6-8

Ingredients:-

240g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
80g caster sugar
Pinch of salt
120g cold butter, cubed
2 egg yolks
90g semolina
8 fresh figs, sliced in half lengthways
1 egg beaten, for glazing
Icing sugar, for dusting (optional)

Rosemary Custard
750ml milk
2 rosemary sprigs
3 egg yolks
70g caster sugar
2 tbsp cornflour

Step One: Place the flour, sugar, salt and butter in a food processor and pulse until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs.  Add the egg yolks and 2 tablespoons of cold water, and blitz again until the dough comes together.  Tip the dough out onto a floured surface and shape into a ball, then flatten slightly.  Wrap in cling-film and rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Step Two: Preheat the oven to 200oC / 400oF / Gas Mark 6. Roll out the dough into a large circle with a 30cm diameter. Line a baking tray with baking paper and sprinkle one third of the semolina on top. Put the dough on top of the semolina and sprinkle the rest of the semolina on top of the dough.

Step Three: Arrange the figs on top of the pastry in an inner circle with a diameter of about 20cm. You should be left with a 10cm ring of pastry around the fruit. Fold up the edges of the pastry over the fruit. Glaze the pastry flap with the beaten egg and place in the oven to bake for 50 minutes.

Step Four: While the crostata is baking, make the rosemary custard. Pour the milk into a large saucepan over a medium-low heat, add the rosemary sprigs and warm through to infuse for 5-10 minutes.

Step Five: In a bowl, vigorously whisk the egg yolks with the sugar and cornflour to form a paste. When the milk is warm, remove the rosemary and pour 250ml of the warm milk into the egg mixture. Gently combine, then pour the mixture back into the saucepan with the rest of the milk. Stir continuously over a low heat until the custard thickens.

Step Six: Remove the crostata from the oven. Dust with icing sugar, if using, and serve with the rosemary custard on the side.