Monday, 29 July 2013

COCONUT RICE PUDDING

I make this rice pudding just in the pan, which saves having to turn on the oven in this muggy weather, and also makes it ridiculously easy. The result is a smooth, almost silky pudding, which the coconut flavour really works well with. Following the baking tradition of putting coconut and jam together, I like to dollop a spoonful of strawberry jam on each serving. All the flavours of a fantastic dessert.

100g pudding rice
400ml tin coconut milk
100ml milk
50g sugar
A good grating of nutmeg

Strawberry jam to serve (optional)

Bring all the ingredients, expect for the jam, to boil in a pan, then reduce the heat to low and leave to simmer for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure it doesn’t stick to the pan. When ready the pudding should be thick and gooey. Serve with a splodge of jam.
 

Monday, 22 July 2013

GOOSEBERRY AND LEMON THYME JELLY

Everyone knows that gooseberry and elderflower are a winning combination, and having had some gooseberries given, with no elderflower to go with them I had to stretch myself to find what else would match. Even though it’s used more in savoury dishes, the fragrant whack lemon thyme had really stands to challenge the elderflower, making this mega-easy jelly interesting, sharp and pretty grown up (I have just turned 21 this week, so that theme fits).

500g gooseberries, toped and tailed
750ml water

100g sugar
8 sprigs of lemon thyme

5 gelatine leaves, soaked in water
Bring the gooseberries to boil in the water with the sugar then add the fragrant leaves off of the lemon thyme springs. Simmer for about 10 minutes, until the gooseberries have broken down. Strain the liquid into a bowl through a sieve and, whilst boiling hot, beat in the gelatine leaves. Leave to cool for about 15 minutes then pour the liquid equally into 4 jelly moulds or glasses. You can choose how you want the jelly presented.

Refrigerate overnight or until fully set, but still maintaining the wobble. Either loosen with a knife and turn out to serve, or eat straight from the glass.
 

Saturday, 13 July 2013

CIDER AND BLACK TARTS

Inspired by a classic drink combination, these little blackberry tarts are spiked and glossed with cider for a rich and delicious summer treat. I soak the blackberries in a sweet apple cider until the colours run and you have a natural cider and black, and then reduce this down to make a punchy glaze for the tarts. I have a cake recipe like this, which uses a drink combination as a dessert, but much better things are happening to that recipe- I’ll reveal more in a couple of months.

150g plain flour
75g cold butter, cubed

4 tbsp water

100g blackberries,

200ml cider
75g sugar
Grease a 12 holed, small bun tin.
To make the pastry, either rub the butter into the flour, or blitz, until the mixture resembles bread crumbs. Add the water, little by little until a dough just about forms. At this stage, roll out the dough and cut 12 equal sized circles with a pastry cutter or knife, and press each down into the bun holes. Put in the fridge to chill. Whilst the pastry cases are chilling, soak the blackberries in the cider until the liquid is a deep red.  Sieve the blackberries, putting the red tainted cider into a pan make a glaze.  Add the sugar and bring to boil, allowing to reduce for about 10 minutes, until thick and glossy. Leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to fan160/180c/5.
Let the pastry cases warm for about 5 minutes then bake for 20 minutes or until golden and firm. Leave to cool on a wire rack.

Once cooled, brush the bottom of each pastry cases with the cinder reduction and fill with the cider plumped blackberries. Gloss the tops to finish. 
 
 

Thursday, 4 July 2013

MINTED VANILLA CAKE

I’m still on a quest for freshness in my summer baking and this time the key ingredient is mint, used to spike a simple vanilla sponge. To keep things light though, I top this cake with a minty meringue icing instead of my favourite drizzle or butter cream. On this cake it really works, adding a glossy and fresh finish to a summer treat.

225g butter
175g sugar
4 eggs
225g self raising flour
1 tablespoon vanilla
6 mint leaves, finely chopped
For the meringue icing
3 egg whites

125g sugar

Splash of cold water

1 tsp vanilla

3 mint leaves, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to fan150/170c/3. Line and grease a 20cm spring form cake tin.
Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Alternate adding the eggs and flour until a batter forms, loosen with a splash of milk if it looks too thick. Add the vanilla and mint leaves and mix until incorporated and flecked with fragrant green. Pour into the tin and bake for 40-45 minutes towards the bottom of the oven, or until risen, golden and a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Once baked, leave to cool on a wire rack before cutting in half sideways so you have 2 equal sized sponges.

To make the icing, roughly whisk together the egg whites, sugar and water in a bowl which will sit over a pan without releasing any steam. Fill the pan with boiling water and put on the hob to simmer then place the bowl on top, to create a bain marie/double burner. Allow the egg white mixture to gently heat while whisking throughout to cook the egg whites, it can take a good 5 minutes. Once hot, take the bowl off of the pan, add the vanilla and mint and use an electric whisk to whip up the egg whites. Keep whisking until thick and glossy, and the meringue starts to form stiff peaks. It can take a while.
Spoon half of the meringue on one of the cake halves then place the other on top. Spoon the remaining meringue onto the top of the cake, and swirl a little. Finish with a sprig of mint.