Saturday, 27 June 2015

Strawberry rose´ jelly

Its strawberry time, its Wimbledon and just because I feel like eating strawberries I thought I would do something different with them.  Friends were coming to dinner and I wanted to make something special for desert and also something seasonal.

I came across this interesting recipe in one of the weekend magazine supplements, so credit should go to Rowley Leigh.





1kg strawberries as ripe as possible
1 bottle (750 ml) rose´ wine
90g light brown caster sugar
6 leaves gelatin
Creme´ fraiche, yogurt or ice cream to garnish





Wash the strawberries in cold water and pick out the best 2/3 of them to reserve.
Slice up the remaining fruit and mix with the sugar and leave for about 1/2 an hour


Meanwhile heat the wine in a saucepan to the point of simmering and pour over the fruit and sugar mixture.  Mix and put back into the saucepan and simmer lightly for about 30 minutes.

Soften the gelatin in tepid water for about 5 minutes, drain and add to the wine mixture and leave for a further 5 minutes.

Strain the wine over a bowl using a fine sieve or muslin over a colander, don't force the fruit through as it will turn the jelly cloudy.  Allow to cool but not chill.

This will make enough for about 8 servings depending on the size of the dishes.  Distribute the rest of the strawberries between the dishes and fill with 2/3 of the jelly mixture.  Leave in the fridge until almost set and add the rest of the remaining jelly.  Leave to set in the fridge for at least 4 hours or if you are making for a dinner party you could prepare the day before as they keep well in the fridge.

Serve with shortbread biscuits and your topping of choice.






Shortbread

The shortbread is just made for this dish and this recipe is extra light using some ground rice or cornflour.

100g softened unsalted butter
50g caster sugar
110 plain flour
40g ground rice or cornflour

Blend butter and sugar until fluffy. Add sifted flour and rice flour and a pinch of salt.
knead gently until it forms a paste.  
Turn out onto a sheet of greaseproof paper and roll into a cylinder about 7cm - 8cm in diameter and chill for at least 2 hours.
Line a try with greaseproof paper and cut the chilled dough into thin rounds, put on the tray and bake at 160C for about 20 minutes so the shortbread is just turning golden.  Allow to cool before moving as the shortbread will break up.  Its a really light and delicious recipe also from Rowley Leigh



Friday, 26 September 2014

Coffee and Cake in Budingen

Coffee and cake is a great institution and to have coffee and cake in Budingen in the Cafe Hexenstuchen is like stepping back in time.  It felt like being invited into the house of a friend with the luxury of having many wonderful cakes to choose from.  Certainly an afternoon of indulgence.  I know I sometimes digress from my usual cooking and recipe format but there are times when experiences like this should also be captured.

Budingen, city of frogs and good food is a showcase of German medieval history and 40 Km from Frankfurt.  This is a beautiful town with cobbled streets, coffee shops and a castle that was built in 1258



The Cafe Hexenstubchen means witches room, I am sure there must be a story here I just haven't found it yet












lets not forget the coffee













Good memories of a great day.

Monday, 21 July 2014

Muhallabiyya - a traditional Arabic dessert

Desserts based on rice, cornstarch, farina or semolina are very popular in the Middle East but are not necessarily intended as a conclusion to a meal but enjoyed when you feel in the mood for a snack.  They are fragrant with such flavorings such as cinnamon, aniseed, rose water or orange flower water and decorated with nuts and fruits.

Muhallabiyya is one such classic dessert, medieval in origin, which is both elegant and simple.  Its basically a milk pudding with rose water or orange flower water.




6 tablespoons of rice flour
4 cups milk
1/2 cup of sugar or more according to taste
1 to 2 tablespoons of rose water or orange flower water or half of each according to taste
crushed pistachio nuts or almonds

Heat the 3 1/2 cups of milk and 1/2 cup of sugar in a saucepan, stirring until the sugar dissolves, bring to the boil, and reduce the heat to a simmer
mix the rice flour with the remaining 1/2 cup of milk until smooth
add the dissolved rice flour to the heated milk and simmer, stirring constantly until the mixture thickens and coats the back of a spoon.
add the flower water and let cool for a short while and put in bowls and refrigerate for a couple of hours and then decorate

There are many variations of this recipe, cornstarch can be used instead of rice flour and also 2 small mastic crystals crushed to a powder with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar and added in the last few minutes of cooking




Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Summer chicken salad

The weather has been very kind to us so far this year and I have spend many a warm evening sitting in the garden with a chilled glass of white wine contemplating what we are going to eat.

I do drift towards salads but the ingredients have to be  simple and easy to prepare and cook, why waste all that good weather standing in the kitchen.  This dish can be either done on the bbq or in a griddle pan the choice is yours.

Marinade strips of lean chicken breast in lime juice, crushed garlic and a little olive oil, salt and pepper  for a couple of hours and roast over a hot gridle pan until brown and tender



Prepare a selection of mixed vegetables:

peppers
onions
asparagus
tomatoes
courgettes

Brush with oil and roast on a hot griddle pan turning frequently



add a dressing of balsamic vinegar and olive oil to the vegetables and some fresh herbs,  chopped mint and parsley.  I have all my herbs growing in the garden at this time of year and I am spoilt for choice





The colours are fantastic and its hard not to start eating.  To complete the dish add the cooked chicken


or serve without the chicken and add feta

Friday, 4 July 2014

Fish and more fish at Simply Fish

Yes its Brixham again and their fantastic fish.  If you love fish then there is nowhere better.  There is such a great variety its hard to know where to start.  We chose to look for the people who catch it and cook it, so we ended up at Simply Fish, and it was.

 With such a great menu its difficult to know where to start but I love scallops so that was easy







Monkfish tails with chorizo butter and samphire



Hake with mussels and cream sauce


Turbot with Pawns Thyme and mushroom sauce

 
a chilled  bottle of Sauvignon Blanc and a great view of the habour


There are many more amazing choices on their menu but they will all have to wait until the next time we go

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

Fish in Brixham

I love fish and one of the best places to buy and eat really fresh fish is Brixham.  All you need is some sun, local ale and a plate of the most amazing mussels that Brixham has to offer.

Cornish Pale Ale at the Old Market House on the Quay at Brixham








Mussels in white wine









and a great cup of coffee

Wednesday, 7 May 2014

Parsnip and Apple soup

It does seem a little out of season for this soup as I have noticed on all the good recipe books that its more of an Autumn dish, but I'm all for spontaneity.  I was also looking for something a little more exotic for lunch on a rainy day



Your ingredients
4 parsnips
2 apples, (a bramley cooking apple will give the soup more of a tang)
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic finely chopped
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon coriander seeds
about 6 cardamom pods
1 teaspoon turmeric
1.5 litres of good stock
olive oil for frying
salt and pepper


Put a couple of good tablespoons of olive oil in a saucepan and lightly saute the onions and garlic,
while doing this roast the spices in a pan until they change colour and grind in a pestle and mortar, not forgetting to take the pods off the cardamon seeds


Add the chopped parsnips and apple to the onions and fry for a further few minutes.  Add spices and stock and season.  Cook slowly for about an hour and liquidise.  Taste and adjust the seasoning. The soup is delicious, such an unusual flavour.