I’ve cooked this recipe far too many times in the past couple of weeks. With revision STILL on the go it is a fresh but really satisfying meal which is also a hopeless attempt at consuming some more oily fish to fuel my brain! I’ve been unhelpfully vague in the method as all depends on the rice, coconut milk and salmon you use which will vary the cooking time and the quantities a little. The timings will vary but use your instincts and aim for a crispy skinned dark soy salmon that is moist and just cooked with a creamy coconut rice. You may not get the timings perfect on the first shot but I guarantee you’ll make it again to get it right!
- 1 can coconut milk
- 4 oz brown/wild rice
- 2 salmon fillets
- 1 tbsp dark soy sauce
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp runny honey
- 2cm grated ginger
- 1 lime, zest and wedges for serving
- Scattering of sesame seeds
- Mix the soy, oils, ginger and honey together and leave the salmon to marinade in the mix for at least 1 hour in the fridge.
- Bring the coconut milk to the boil with a small cup of hot water and simmer the rice gently for about 20-25 minutes until cooked. The coconut milk you use in terms of thickness will vary so top up with hot water if it starts to look dry or if it is a thick variety, dilute down. What you’re aiming for is for the rice to cook in the time that it takes the coconut milk to reduce so you should end up with a creamy rice. If it is still looking drowned towards the end of cooking, turn the heat up and simmer more strongly. I like to use brown rice for its nutty flavour and texture.
- Once cooked, stir in the grated zest of the lime and keep warm.
- While the rice is cooking, preheat your grill to high and (skin side up) grill your salmon for about 5 minutes depending on thickness, until just cooked and moist with a dark soy crisp skin.
- Simmer the remaining marinade in a saucepan to warm and thicken.
- Serve your salmon on top of your coconut rice drizzled with a little of the warm marinade. Scatter with a handful of sesame seeds and a wedge of lime for squeezing. Serve with steamed broccoli.
This is quite a rich ice cream and a dessert in itself. The apple puree is really deep in flavour and if cooked down a little more and thickened it would make a beautiful apple ‘butter-come-jam’ for topping toast and croissants! Goes really well with some simple hazelnut and vanilla shortbread.
- 1 can condensed milk (alternatively make a custard base but this recipe requires no churning)
- 300ml single cream
- 4 large crunchy apples
- 100g soft brown sugar
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1/4 tsp mixed spice and ground ginger
- Pinch of nutmeg
- 125ml water
- 50g oats
- 50g plain flour
- 50g soft brown sugar
- 60g chilled, cubed unsalted butter
- Start with the spiced apple puree. Core and chop 3 of the apples into chunky slices. Add to a saucepan with the water and bring to the boil. Then simmer gently until the apples break down and look a bit like apple sauce.
- Add the sugar and spices to the hot apples and mix. Transfer to a blender and puree. Have a taste, add more sugar to your liking depending on how sweet your apples were, or lemon juice for a bit of sharpness. Remember when you add purees to ice cream they should always be a little bit on the sweet side as that way they will taste fine when frozen.
- Leave to cool.
- Mix the crumble ingredients together until you have chunky breadcrumb-like texture. Transfer to a lined baking tray and bake for about 10 minutes in a preheated 170°C oven keeping an eye on it. Don’t worry as the mixture will most likely melt into a big slab. When its golden brown leave it to cool and crisp and then you can crumble it into pieces.
- Cube the remaining apple into small dice and saute in a little butter to soften. Leave to cool.
- Mix the condensed milk and the cream (or alternatively for a proper ice cream make a custard base. The benefit of the condensed milk is there is no need for any churning) and add the apple puree. Keep some reserved if you want to ripple some through the cream before freezing.
- Scatter some crumble and some of the cubed apple pieces into your container of choice and top with some of the mixture. If you want to ripple some puree through, do this now. Scatter with more crumble and apple pieces and repeat. Finish with a scattering of crunchy topping. Freeze until set (it will have a soft scoop texture) and enjoy!
I still remember the first time I took an unexpected warming sip of a Bristol ‘Boston Tea Party’ Chai latte on a snowy cold day…it was delicious and I have never been able to enjoy it quite as much as then. But I love chai and I love cake….need I say more?
I did I bit of research and found that ‘apparently’ the best way to infuse your tea of choice into a cake mixture is to infuse it into the melted butter. So I thought I’d experiment…. Even if this proves unnecessary, it certainly produced the most delicious smelling, chai-scented, nutty brown butter which would certainly make a great addition to anything baked. And if you can handle the cinnamon overload, this would be insane with my Apple Crumble Ice Cream
1 sturdy loaf
- 150g butter (plus about 30g extra)
- 150g golden syrup
- 150g soft brown sugar
- 200ml milk
- 5 ‘teapigs’ chai tea bags/ 5 tbsp loose chai tea
- 250g plain flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tbsp mixed spice
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 2 crunchy apples, peeled, cored and cubed into chunks
- 2 tbsp chai seeds (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Melt the butter in a pan the add the contents of the chai teabags. Warm briefly and leave to infuse to 5 minutes.
- Sieve the infused melted butter into a clean pan pressing the flavours out of the strained tea which can then be discarded. Weigh the melted butter and top up to 150g. Add the sugar and syrup and melt everything together.
- When melted, add the milk and leave to cool
- Weigh out the flour and add the mixed spice and baking powder. Make a well in the centre and add the cooled sugar mixture. Stir gently to combine.
- Add the beaten egg and mix. Stir in the apple keeping back a handful for garnish.
- Pour into a lined loaf tin and top with a few chunks of apple. Scatter with the chai seeds for a crunchy topping and bake for about 50 minutes until cooked.
- Serve with a steaming cup of chai and some mascarpone smothered on top if you like.
Alternatively try it with pears? This loaf recipe would also be brilliant with ground ginger (minus the chai) and some preserved ginger pieces for a lovely ginger loaf.
These have been adapted from Jamie Oliver’s interpretation of the Portuguese custard tart or- ‘Pastel de nata’. It seemed like a good way of using up a slab of puff pastry and an egg whilst keeping my mind sane and grounded during all this revision…
- 1/2 block puff pastry (about 250g ish)
- Pinch cinnamon
- 1 egg
- 120g creme fraiche
- Zest of 1/2 lemon
- 5 tbsp caster sugar
- Seeds from 1/2 vanilla pod/ a splash of vanilla extract
- Small pinch of lavender flowers
- Preheat the oven to 200°C. Roll out the pastry into a rectangle, about 1 pound coin thickness and about 25cm long. Scatter with the cinnamon and roll into a swiss roll shape down the long side.
- Cut into 6 rounds (they should look like uncooked danish pastries) and then liberally press each into a a non-stick or greased muffin tin pushing the pastry down in the middle and up the sides, squashing it to mould it into the tin. Bake for about 10 minutes until just going golden. You may need to use the end of a rolling pin or something round to press the middle down if it puffs up while cooking.
- Make the filling by mixing the beaten egg, creme fraiche, 1tbsp of the caster sugar, lemon zest and vanilla in a bowl.
- When the pastry seems to have cooked enough pour in the filling and cook for another 10 minutes or so until set with a slight wobble. Remove from the oven and quickly make the caramel.
- Melt the meaning sugar in a dry frying pan until beginning to melt. As soon as it begins to turn golden and liquidy, remove from the heat, add a scatter of lavender flowers and then quickly pour or spoon generously over the top of the tarts before the caramel becomes to hard. Allow to cool and harden.
Only a few weeks after returning from my gap year travels I was disappointed in myself that I had gone all my (then) 18 years and one hearty gap year without ever having been to Italy! Venice and Florence had always been on my list of destinations……the land of food. So a quick ticket and a hostel bed later I found myself in the middle of Italy with a heavy bag and apron for company. Naturally with my priorities in the right place) I had both a Venetian and Tuscan cookery class booked and under my belt.
If I’m honest, I’ve never been a huge pasta fan but what could be better than making it yourself in the sunny Tuscan hills? I spent what has to be the most charming, authentic and relaxing day in a Tuscan cookery school just outside Florence on their magical estate. With wine in hand on arrival (their priorities were right) I cooked a 4 course meal using wines and rich olive oils from their own estate and learned how to make pasta. It was a day to remember. (For details see below).
However, not being a pasta fan I have not revisited the pasta section of the charmingly translated and authentic cookery book from the school- until now. I thought I’d deviate from the traditional spinach and ricotta variety I made in Florence and invented my own. For pasta lovers, making it could not be easier- I don’t even have a pasta machine! Whilst I would recommend one, as rolling it to a thin consistency did shamefully strain and unearth some hibernating arm muscles, but it was delicious. Fill your ravioli with whatever you like and coat in any sauce that takes your fancy! I’m now off to re-make the other dishes I so greedily enjoyed back in those sunny hills….watch this space
- 200g ‘OO’ flour
- 2 eggs
- Pinch salt
- Small handful of chopped dill
- 2 salmon fillets, smoked (Mine were raw but lightly smoked which was a nice addition, alternatively used precooked smoked trout for the same texture and flavour but non-smoked salmon fillet work fine also)
- 2 heaped tbsp creme fraiche/ricotta
- 1 lemon, zest and 1 tbsp juice
- 25g butter
- 1 tbsp capers
- Bunch of asparagus, chopped
1. Start with the pasta. Make a heaped mound of flour on a clean surface and make a well in the centre. Break in your eggs and a pinch of salt. Use a fork to whisk the eggs in a circular motion and then gradually bring in the flour from the sides bit by bit to incorporate it into the dough2. Once it has all be added (its may need a splash of water or wine to add a bit more moisture) knead into a ball. Add the chopped dill and then knead with the heal of your hand for a good 15-20 minutes until the dough is really smooth and it feels elastic.
3. Wrap in cling film and rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, cook the salmon in a hot oven for about 10 minutes until just cooked but still moist. Discard the skin and flake into a bowl with some seasoning, the finely grated zest of the lemon and a squeeze of the juice. Leave to cool before stirring in the creme fraiche.
5. Once the dough has rested, remove from the fridge and use either a pasta machine or some elbow grease and a rolling pin to roll out so it is really thin.
6. Cut out circles with a pastry cutter and spoon teaspoons of cold salmon into the middle. Fold over into a half moon and sandwich together and seal with a fork.
7. Place onto a lightly floured/.polenta coated plate.
8. Cook your asparagus spears for a few minutes and then drain and keep warm. Additionally, heat a splash of oil over a high heat and fry the capers until crisp and drain on kitchen paper.
9. Bring a large heavily salted pan of water to the boil and drop in your pasta. Simmer briskly until cooked to your liking (about 3-5 minutes depending on the thickness of the pasta) and they will rise to the surface when they are nearly ready.
10. Meanwhile, heat the butter in a large frying pan on a high heat. When it starts to sizzle, stir and allow it to turn a brown nutty colour and release a nutty aroma. Remove from the heat and stir in the lemon juice
11. Drain the pasta and serve, with the asparagus spears and drizzle generously with the lemon butter sauce. Scatter with the capers and a grating of lemon zest.
The cookery course I did in Florence was ‘The Good Taste of Italy’ day course found here. I didn’t stay in the accommodation on the estate but I wish I had, its worth a look as they also do cookery holidays where you are housed in their stunning villa and fed silly.
The Venetian course I did was outside of Venice and was very different. It took a more homely and casual approach set in the house of an Italian Mama. Advertised to teach you to ‘cook like an Italian Mama’ it was certainly the most authentic course I could have done and there were only 3 of us in the class. After being collected, we shopped for our ingredients and picked our vegetables and herbs form their own healthy allotment before being welcomed generously to their kitchen to cook up a feast.
This week I am wholeheartedly and gratefully embracing the warm sunny weather we’ve been having after a looooooooong refreshing and bracing spring. I can start work on my tan which currently can only be compared to a Farrow & Ball white paint chart where I am bordering the ‘Wimborne White’ with an aim of becoming more in keeping with a natural shade of ‘Cat’s Paw’. I love the excuse to bring out all the flavourful salads I crave which just don’t meet the winter demands….
Minty Cous Cous Salad (adapted from ‘What Katie Ate’)
- 1 tsp ground cumin
- 100g giant cous cous
- 200g cous cous
- 100g pumpkin seeds
- 60g pine nuts
- 100g flaked and/or whole almonds
- 2 courgettes, peeled into ribbons or sliced thinly with a mandolin
- 4 spring onions, chopped
- A generous handful of chopped mint, basil, parsley and coriander or a mixture of these herbs you prefer chopped finely
- Light vegetable stock
- Handful of rocket, watercress or leaves
- 1 lime
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Halloumi to serve
- Heat a splash of oil in a pan and add the cumin to fry for a minute. Then add the giant cous cous and toast until fragrant for a few minutes.
- Add a good splash of stock to cover and cook the cous cous for about 15 minutes until soft. Drain.
- Toast the pumpkin seeds, pine nuts and flaked almonds in a dry pan until fragrant.
- Add another splash of oil to a hot frying/grill pan and add the courgette strips and char for a few minutes until crisp.
- Season the small grain cous cous and add a knob of butter. Pour over 300g of stock, cover and allow to absorb. Then using a fork, fluff up the grains.
- Now to assemble, combine the giant drained cous cous and the fluffed cous cous. Add the courgette ribbons, seeds and nuts, a generous handful of the herbs and the salad leaves
- Add a squeeze of lime and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to loosen and scatter with the spring onions.
This is delicious served with some fried halloumi and a minted lime yoghurt and flatbreads and a lovely addition to a BBQ.
One of the reasons I have a huge but justified love of Jamie Oliver is his casual, instinctive and rustic approach to cooking which is what inspired me at a young age to cook. This recipe is just those things, rustic and casual and can be instinctively thrown together with a few alterations in flavours or ingredients that you love. Using his basic concept, I tweaked a few bits to make it the perfect starter at a recent dinner party. If you’ve got guests who enjoy fish, nothing excites and pleases them more than being presented with a platter of succulent shellfish with a tangy dressing and lemon for all. This is light and perfect to kick start the meal although in greater quantities it was all agreed we could have eaten it for mains as well…..
(Serves 6-8 as a sharing starter)
- 2 small cos lettuce
- 2 red chicory
- 1 punnet cress
- 1 large handful chopped dill
- Celery leaves from celery tops
- 2 ripened avocados
- 2 slices of stale bread, cubed into croutons size
- 400g cooked, juicy prawns
- 200g brown shrimp
- Crevettes (enough for one each)
- Green lip mussels (enough for one each)
- 200ml ‘Big Tom’ spiced tomato juice
- 2 heaped tbsp mayonnaise
- Juice of 1 lemon
- 3 heaped tsp creamed horseradish
- Salt and pepper
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Splash of vodka
- Clip the leaves off the lettuces so that you get ‘edible cups’ from the leaves to nestle your prawns and dressing. Scatter these over a couple of serving dishes.
- Scatter the prawns and brown shrimp over the top filling the cups.
- Make the dressing by placing the big tom juice, mayonnaise, lemon juice, horseradish, vodka, a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and some seasoning in a processor and blend to combine. Taste and add a touch of whatever it is lacking for your tastes like Tabasco. However, make sure it is a bit too punchy and a bit over the top as when it is combined with everything else it will be blunted slightly and hold its own.
- Get a griddle pan on a high heat and drizzle with olive oil. Cut the avocados into thick slices and char on the griddle, seasoning generously with salt and pepper, for a few minutes each side to warm through and soften. In another pan, heat some more oil and add your cubed bread with some seasoning and fry until golden and crisp. Drain on kitchen paper.
- Scatter the hot avocados and croutons over the salad and prawns. Drizzle with the Bloody Mary dressing and scatter with the chopped dill, cress and celery leaves. Place the crevettes and mussels boldly on top and serve with lemon wedges as a sharing platter for an indulgent starter or light lunch…..
Today I wish I was in France….on a sunny beach in Cannes, drinking French wine and tanning on the golden sands…..Damn I am in cold England revising for some pretty impossible approaching university finals with no current future job prospects lined up and ready….anyone looking for a keen foodie employee? I can make a good cuppa….???
That leads me onto these madeleines which are the perfect match to a comforting brew. The French atmosphere was easy to implicate by the simple addition of a batch of these light and sweetly spiced French madeleines (However you will need a madeleine tray mould experience France this way…). And to add another shine to my day, my mum’s return from the supermarket with a bulging bag of obese and bearded mussels and some skinny frites was enough to satisfy my French envie. After recently making some ‘Carrot Cake Ice Cream’, I was inspired to make something to pair with its creamy flavour which resulted in these spiced madeleines coated in a crunchy cinnamon sugar. Ok so I’ve probably created an American ‘doughnut-style’ finish to what is essentially a classic French treat which I’m sure any Parisian would never admit to approving of. However, revision depression called for it…..icing sugar is your nest best thing….
Makes about 12
- 100g unsalted butter, melted
- 100g caster sugar
- 100g plain flour
- 1 level tsp baking powder
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- 1 tsp ground ginger
- 1 tsp mixed spice
- Grated zest 1 orange
- 50-100g cinnamon sugar (made with a ratio of 1 large tbsp: 300g golden granulate sugar)
- Whisk the eggs and the caster sugar together until pale and creamy.
- Add the flour, baking powder, spices and orange zest and lightly whisk in with the melted butter to prevent overdeveloping the gluten.
- Set aside in the fridge for anywhere up to 3 hours. Apparently, the longer you leave the batter to chill the better as it chills and hydrates the flour. This helps to give you that bump on the back that is characteristic of a madeleine.
- When ready to cook, preheat the oven to 200°C. Grease your madeleine tray with a little melted butter and a dusting of flour if it is liable to sticking..
- Fill the moulds making sure you don’t overfill. The mixture will settle into place in the oven so don’t worry about smoothing them out.
- Bake for 8-12 minutes depending on how big you made them and how large your madeleine pan is.
- Once golden and cooked, remove from the oven and, while warm, coat in a generous blanket of cinnamon sugar and then leave to cool on a wire rack before eating.
In case anyone was wondering where the cake stands were from (from recent photos) I make them…..if anyone wants one, let me know and I can make them to order.
Serve with a strong cuppa or with some carrot cake ice cream
After my frequent delicious sessions of ice cream making I always find myself making macaroons with the surplus of egg whites that sit patiently in the fridge, aging unnecessarily but making them (apparently) all the better for creating the perfect macaroon. I’d hate to see them be turned into a batch of brittle powdery meringues which are one of my foodie hates. So before they could be whisked up into a stiff peaked meringue hell I stole them for some macaroon experimenting. Results….a cheeky invented edible ‘mocha macaroon’ which was much more satisfying than an expedition to Costa! (I would just like to add that although I hate meringues, my mum’s version are great if there are ever to be any knocking around and would categorically NOT be powdery or brittle). Now with my back covered……..
- 60g egg whites (about 2)
- 40g caster sugar
- 50g ground almonds
- 110g icing sugar (minus 2 tbsp)
- 12g Green & Blacks cocoa powder
- 75g unsalted softened butter
- 80g icing sugar
- 1 tsp coffee dissolved in 1 tbsp boiling water, cooled
- Preheat the oven to 170°C and line a baking tray with parchment
- Blend the ground almonds, icing sugar and cocoa together in a food processor until fine and then sieve.
- in another bowl, whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form, then add the caster sugar a spoon at a time until glossy stiff peaks form.
- fold in 1/3 of the almond mixture to loosen it. Then fold in the rest, being gentle not to knock the air out.
- Spoon into a pipping bag with a round ended nozzle and pipe consistent circles of mixture evenly. Give the tray a sharp slap on the surface to level them and leave for 20 minutes, uncovered.
- Bake for about 12 minutes. They are ready when they come away easily from the tray. Leave to cool.
- Make the buttercream filling by combining the ingredients in a processor and then spooning into a smaller piping bag.
- When cool, pipe small amounts onto macaroon halves and sandwich together!
This recipe (that is religiously made every year on Christmas eve in the Wardlaw house), is courtesy of Delia and has always been the most deliciously simple combination. For some reason we didn’t make it this Christmas eve, so feeling cheated I found myself whipping out a batch for a warming lunch in this Christmas provoking weather….
- 2 eggs
- 75ml single cream/creme fraiche
- 1/2 tsp mustard powder
- 75g Gruyere cheese, grated
- 25g butter
- 2 onions, finely chopped
- Cayenne pepper
- 175g flour
- 75g butter
- 50g cheddar cheese, grated
- 1/2 tsp mustard powder
- For the pastry, rub the butter and flour together and add the cheese, mustard and cayenne pepper. Add enough water to bring together to form a dough and then wrap and rest in the fridge for 20 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease some small tart tins. Roll the pastry out thinly and line the tins. Bake the cases blind with baking beans and parchment for about 15-20 minutes until turning a pale brown. Remove the beans/parchment for the last 5 minutes to cook the base. Leave to cool in their tins while you do the filling.
- Melt the butter in a frying pan and sweat the onions until soft and beginning to turn a golden colour. Do this slowly to get a good flavour (about 20-30 minutes). Set aside.
- Mix the eggs, cream and mustard powder together in a jug adding a pinch of cayenne according to taste.
- Fill the tart cases with the onion and grated gruyere and fill with the egg mixture. Scatter over a pinch of cayenne pepper.
- Bake for about 15-20 minutes until set. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly before tucking in.
I made a tomato salsa to top mine by finely chopping a mixture of coloured cherry tomatoes, some bruised thyme leaves, salt and pepper and a good glug of extra virgin olive oil. Leave to infuse and serve at room temperature atop your tarts with a green salad.