12 January 2015

My new novel Sail Upon the Land

I am so glad you are finding my recipes useful. It is lovely that they have an afterlife. I must find the time to put up more, there are literally hundreds. If you like my recipes you also might like my new novel Sail Upon the Land which launched December 2014

12 August 2012

Cornish Fairings

For me being on holiday in a friend's house means lots of baking; a normally frivolous pursuit that I don't have much time for (except when auditioning for the Great British Bake Off...)

Among her grandmother's papers is this recipe for Cornish Fairings, sold in a debased form in tourist shops at great cost.

Beat together with a hand whisk, 2oz butter or marg, 2oz sugar, 2 and a half level tablespoons of syrup. Mix into 4 oz self raising flour, pinch salt, 1/4 tsp ground ginger, same mixed spice, same ground cinnamon (we also added allspice) and a pinch bicarbonate of soda. Beat butter and sugar mixture into the flour. It then says, roll into balls, but this proved impossibly sticky. My godson helped, and he is rather fastidious so we used a spoon.

Pictures and tastings to come....

Japanese Caramel

I found this intriguing dish in a parcel of old hand written recipes in my friend Susan's house. Never seen anything quite like it, and determined to have a go when the occasion arises.

2 oz sugar (it says 'loaf' which dates it!)
2 tblspns water for caramel
Make caramel in the usual way.
Line what she calls a 'centre mould' - ie a ring mould - with the caramel.
Then whip 3 egg white until stiff, add 4 oz of caster sugar, stirring in lightly.

You can't really see where this is going can you?

Well, 'stand in a meat tin with water for one and a half hours. turn out (I return it to the oven after turning out until it crisps outside, in slow oven, without the water. Fill centre with whipped cream.'

A bit like a sort of poached angel cake really. I would fill the centre with raspberries or similar as well as the whipped cream.

Amazing, eh?

25 April 2012

One Apple Tasted Fish Pie

Due to feedback I have had about people rushing to add capers to their fish pies, having read One Apple Tasted, here is the recipe. (I hope people aren’t taking some of the more misguided advice in the book too seriously - but everyone’s love lives should survive capers).
1 fillet of haddock (or other white fish au choix)
1 fillet of undyed smoked haddock
4 eggs (or 12 quails eggs, although this is not in the novel)
Bechamel sauce (made with flour, butter and the milk you used to poach the fish, plus a good slug of a gutsy white wine)
Mashing potatoes (I make mash with a hand or electric whisk - be careful to buy very floury potatoes such as King Edwards)
Milk, butter and fresh grated nutmeg for the mash
2 tblspns capers
Put the fish in an over proof dish and pour over milk to cover, add a bayleaf, a little sliced onion, a few peppercorns and even a little lemon zest if you fancy it). Poach in a medium oven until opaque and flaky. Hard boil eggs. Using your fingers, flake off the skin and bones and discard. Put the fish flesh in a pie dish. Peel and slice eggs. Scatter over capers. Make a Bechamel by melting butter in a small pan (or these days I do it in the microwave in a pyrex bowl), whisk in flour, then strained milk from fish poaching, and white wine to make a pourable sauce. Taste for seasoning and pour over fish, eggs and capers. Lift everything gently so as not to mush up, to allow sauce to seep down among the ingredients. Make mashed potatoes - boil til a bit soggy, drain, add milk, salt, butter and grated nutmeg. Beat with hand or electric whisk til fluffy. Carefully arrange over top of fish etc. Make nice peaks if you like. You can also sprinkle with cheese, but there is no need. This can be put aside in the fridge and then reheated through in oven or microwave (I use a combination grill/microwave for minimal time to add little toasty brown to potatoes and heat the middle through. Do not overheat.
Serve in hot dollops, with a sharp salad on the side. Dora served Smarties for pudding, and then they all went to the fateful masked ball at the Polish Club.

Go to www.oneappletasted.co.uk for more information about my first novel....

24 February 2012

My Light Keyes Lime Pie

Last night I decided to make key lime pie - I had no idea what it was, but thought it sounded delicious if possibly somewhat rich (being US based). I read various recipes, and it actually seemed very simple in its basic form, so I adapted what I read to suit what I had in the house.

2 egg whites whisked until quite stiff and glossy white
1 tin light condensed milk (much lower in fat)
3 limes  (take zest off with grater and squeeze thorougly)
Half a pack digestive biscuits
a dsstspn butter

Smash up or otherwise crumb the biscuits and combine with melted butter. Press the mixture around a pie dish or I used a shallow cake tin lined with one of those lakeland pleated tin liners for easy lifting out. Whisk eggwhites until stiff and combine with whole tin of condensed milk, whisk in the juice. Then stir in the zest. Pour this unctuous mixture into the crumb base and bake at 180C for about 20 minutes, until just firm to touch and very slightly golden. Eat cool or hot. Unbelievably good. Many sighs of pleasure around the table.

20 June 2011

Southern Fried Chicken

As we walked back from the rain drenched local carnival, we talked about what was for dinner. Small son said he didn't want a tray roast with vegetable and lemon, would I fry the chicken instead. So then I thought, what about the REAL thing that KFC tries to emulate?

Had some lovely Oakham free range chicken thighs thawed out. Drenched them in plain yoghurt mixed with a half tsp salt and five crushed garlic cloves, and left them to marinade for an hour or two.

Mixed flour with a teaspoon each of: herbes provencal, cumin, chilli powder, black and white pepper, ground ginger, freshly grated nutmeg. A dessertspoon of smoked paprika and a shake or two of dried basil, plus more salt. It's really up to you what you use, just don't use too much cumin as it is overwhelming and won't have the right US style nuance.

Then pulled each piece of chicken out of the yogurt and shook it a bit. Dipped in seasoned flour and fried three at a time in hot vegetable oil until golden brown and cooked through. The boys absolutely loved it. Gave a cold piece to Small to take in his lunchbox. He smiled at me brightly and said, 'Everyone will be so jealous, they'll think you've given me KFC! And then....' 'I'll tell them you made it!'

19 June 2011

Hanwell Chocolate Cake

Seized by a desire to make chocolate cake today:

For the cake:
200g butter
200g flour
1 bar dark chocolate (half is for the icing)
2 tblspns cream
3 eggs
200g self raising flour
chocolate or vanilla essence

Melt the chocolate with the cream in the microwave, careful not to burn. Beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy, beat in the eggs one at a time. Fold in the flour and half the melted chocolate plus essences. Grease and line two 8in sandwich tins. Divide the mixture between them and bang on the table to even out. Cook at 180C for about 25 minutes - check to see if they are cooked by gently pressing with your finger in the middle. Also the cakes should have shrunk away from the sides of the pans slightly.

Turn out and remove baking paper. Cool completely.

Rest of melted chocolate
200g icing sugar
100g unsalted butter

Now I made a mistake and tried to soften the butter in the microwave, where it promptly melted. So I beat in the sugar and chocolate regardless - the result being rather oily - and put it in the freezer to chill and set. Then when thoroughly chilled, I took it out and beat it with the electric whisk until it became paler and fluffy. Perfect chocolate butter icing in fact.

When the cake was completely cold, I sandwiched it with the icing and whirled the rest of the icing around on the top. The result was a light rich delicious cake.