8.2.16

My Favourite Instagram Shot - Sfogliatella & Milk Fluff

My calendar is quite clearly divided - work is the first half of the week and the latter, more jovial Thursday & Friday are family days, when time is spent playing with my boys and embracing the toddler chaos. 

We often walk to a cafe, add another stamp to the loyalty card and give mummy her much needed caffeine hit. The rule is you can choose something to eat or something to drink but never both. (It sounds a bit mean now I'm writing it down). This particular morning the waitress had a soft spot for little Jasper so his warm nutella sfogliatella arrived with a cup full of milk fluff. His dream come true.

 


27.1.16

Sour Cherry Chocolate Puddle Cake

There are moments when one needs to don some trainers, an uncomfortably tight sports bra and run like ‘Forest G’ to make ourselves feel good.

There are other times when we need to eat a little chocolate, a little gooey chocolate. Once cut into, these adorable baby puddle cakes ooze warm, molten cocoa rivers filled with tart cherries. They are a synch to make and can be prepared in advance, ensuring a hot puddle cake is but ten minutes away, just in case you can’t find your trainers.



SOUR CHERRY CHOCOLATE PUDDLE CAKE

Prep Time – 10 minutes
Cook Time – 12 minutes

INGREDIENTS
25g Soft unsalted butter
150g dark chocolate
60g caster sugar
2 medium eggs
½ tsp vanilla essence
30g plain flour
40g sour cherries

1. Preheat the oven to 200C, gas mark 6. Grease and line 2 x 175ml individual daiole moulds.
2. Melt the chocolate and let it cool slightly. Cream together the butter and sugar, and gradually beat in the eggs and salt, then the vanilla. Now add the flour, and when all is smoothly combined scrape in the cooled chocolate, blending it to a smooth batter.
3. Divide the batter between the moulds and working quickly, place in the oven.
4. Cook for 12 minutes (14minutes if taken from the fridge) and leave sitting in their cases for a further two. Tip out the cakes onto small places and serve with double cream and a little fresh fruit.


NB – If you want to make these in advance, place the filled daiole moulds in the fridge at step 3.

17.1.16

Favourite Instagram Shot - Black Rice Pudding with Raspberry, Rose & Pumpkin Seed





I've had a big commission to finish this week, writing a good chunk of a gluten free recipe book. I've found it really challenging and not necessarily within my comfort zone, though it is these projects that push my food slightly further. My food ventures into new seasons using palettes and flavours that I haven't tasted before and in some ways, I feel invigorated. 

This recipe for a Black Rice Pudding was stunning in both taste and appearance. It was delicate and would sit pretty on a breakfast table. 


Black Rice Pudding with Raspberry, Rose & Pumpkin Seed

150g black rice
1 large ripe banana
100ml almond milk
2 tbsp agave syrup
1 tsp vanilla essence
150g raspberries
1 tbsp. lemon juice
8 tbsp natural yoghurt
1 tbsp. dried rose petals
30g Pumpkin Seeds 

1 Make the rice. On a high heat in a medium sized saucepan place the black rice, cover with water and bring to the boil. Once boiling reduce the heat and cook for 40-45 minutes, until just tender. Drain and allow to cool.

2 Blitz the banana, milk and ½ the agave syrup in a blender along with ½ of the cooked rice. Stir through the remaining rice and set aside.

3 Separately blend the raspberries, remaining agave and lemon juice to form a smooth consistency.

4 Spoon the sweetened rice in to the bottom of two glasses; add a layer of the raspberry coulis and finally dollop over the yoghurt. Sprinkle with the rose petals and pumpkin seeds and serve. 

4.1.16

An Ultimate Steak, Thyme & Celeriac Pie

So it's done. Christmas is officially finished. The boys are back at school, the tree is bound for the recycling and our truckle of cheese is on its final legs. For two weeks we resumed our perch on the family tree and stayed there, like dumpy birds, being fed and watered by doting grandparents.

And so to January where darkness still arrives not long after lunch and the family still need feeding, just perhaps not so often.

Here a recipe for the ultimate steak pie. The meat wallows in a sea of ale, chestnut mushrooms and sweet carrots for 3 hours before being baked with a sweet celeriac mash. My tip would be to invest in good quality beef and brown the meat over a high heat first, rather than just colouring it as this adds a far superior flavour. Though the most vital is long, slow cooking until the meat falls apart under the fork and you’re left with a spectacularly gelatinous juicy gravy.

Enjoy.


 STEAK, THYME & ONION PIE WITH CELERIAC MASH

PREP TIME - 30 MINUTES + 3 HOURS SLOW COOKING
COOK TIME - 35-40 MINUTES
SERVES 6

INGREDIENTS
600g braising steak, excess fat removed and cut into bite-size chunks
2 tbsp. flour
250g small chestnut mushrooms, wiped clean and sliced thickly
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 onions, halved and sliced
2 carrots, scrubbed and cut into 2-3cm crescents
2 sticks celery, cut into 2-3cm crescents
300ml brown ale
400ml beef stock
Leaves from 3 sprigs fresh thyme
1 tsp. English mustard
FOR THE MASH
1 small celeriac, peeled and cut into 3-4cm cubes
3 floury potatoes, peeled and cut into 3-4cm cubes
75ml semi skimmed milk
A knob of butter

1. Preheat the oven to 160C, fan 140C.
2. Start with an empty, deep casserole pan and add in the beefsteak. Sprinkle over the flour and give the meat a good stir until the flour disappears from sight.
3. Next add in the remaining ingredients needed for the filling; the mushrooms, garlic, onions, carrots, celery, ale, beef stock, thyme and mustard. Again, give everything a good stir so they are evenly distributed and season well. Pop the lid on and put the casserole in the preheated oven for 3 hours, occasionally stirring to make sure the bottom isn’t catching or adding a little water if you think the mixture is becoming dry.
4. Remove from the oven and allow your pie filling to cool. Transfer your stew to a 1.5 litre, ovenproof dish.
5. While the stew is cooking, make your mash. Simply empty the celeriac and potato into a large saucepan and fill with cold water. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are completely tender. Drain and mash, stirring in the milk and knob of butter. Season to taste.

6. When you are ready to cook your pie preheat the oven to 180C. Bake for 30 minutes until the top is crusty and golden brown and the filling is bubbling below. Garnish with a little fresh thyme before serving.