Tuesday, 28 January 2014

KIWI TARTE TATINS

I wanted to bring a bit of fineness to the blog today, and since I’m really heavy handed and impatience, I knew I wouldn’t be able to bring it with decoration, so I thought I’d chose something quite classy by nature; tarte tatin. Kiwi might seem an odd choice to top (or bottom?) these, but the sharpness really works against the rich pastry, and the colour makes them quite eye catching as well. I was quite proud of myself.

For the rough puff pastry
100g flour
Pinch salt
100g fridge cold butter
About 50ml cold water

For the Topping
4 ripe kiwis
50g sugar
50g butter

Mix the flour and salt in a bowl. Quickly grate in the butter, dipping the block into the flour to coat and stop it sticking to the grater. With a cold knife, mix the strips of butter into the flour then slowly add the water until a rough dough forms. You may need a little more, or a little less. Lay out a long piece of cling film and tip the dough onto it. Wrap the cling film around the dough, pressing together and flattening out slightly to form a rectangle. Cool in the fridge for half an hour.

Once cooled, leave the dough to warm for about 5 minutes then roll out on the cling-film (good, mess reducing tip), lengthways until tripled in size. You’ll need flour on hand because the exposed butter in the pastry tends to stick. Imagine the dough in thirds and fold the first one over the middle, and the remaining one over this. Do a quarter turn so that the layers are facing you (these are called book ends and you should always roll from these) then roll out in one, long ways direction until tripled in length again. Fold as before, wrap in the cling film then leave to cool once more for at least 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to fan200/220c/7. Have a 4, shallow holed medium Yorkshire pudding tin ready.

While the pastry is having its last cool, prepare the kiwis. Chop the ends of each then finely peel. Slice each in to circles, about the thickness of a £1 coin, then cut in half again into crescent-style segments. Place each segment onto a sheet of kitchen paper and cover over with another piece, just to draw out any excess moisture.

Make the caramel. Heat a frying pan to a medium flame then tip in the sugar and butter. Swirl around the pan until all melted and beginning to turn a dark amber colour. Once you’ve reached this stage, turn off the heat and pour equally into the bottom of each hole in the tins. Arrange the kiwi segments on top of the caramel, whatever pattern you desire. Don’t worry if the caramel has stiffened, it will melt again in the oven.

Remove the pastry from the fridge and roll out. Take a small plate, a little larger than the tin holes, place on the pastry and cut around, giving you 4 circles. Lay each pastry circle over the caramel and kiwis and tuck down the edges. Bake for 15 minutes until golden brown, and the caramel is bubbling up from underneath.

Once out of the oven leave to cool but only for a minute because it’s easier to turn the tarte tatins out when they’re hot. Ease the edges of each tarte with a knife if you think the caramel is make them stick then place a chopping board over the tin and flip upside down so that the tin is then on top of the board. Lift up the tin (using a towel) and reveal the 4 little kiwi tarte tatins. 


Tuesday, 21 January 2014

CARDAMOM COOKIES

Before I describe the cookies I’ll tell you a secret. I only realised after I made these that it’s actually cardamom not cardamon. Embarrassing story over, these treats are fresh and fragrant, with crushed seeds of whole cardamom and lemon. They have just the right amount of fragrance, not too perfume-y, as cardamom things can sometimes be. They’re cookies with zing. I reckon they should call it cardamum in the UK so we can call it cardamam in Yorkshire.

You can also watch this recipe being made in a new-style (under 1 minute) video. No more length shots of stirring and flat northern accents!

150g golden castor sugar
100g butter
2 eggs
The zest and juice of half a lemon
150g self raising flour
50g ground rise
8 whole cardamom pods, cracked to remove skin and the seeds ground in a pesle and mortar

Makes 10

Preheat oven to fan160/180c/4. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment.
Cream together the sugar and butter. Beat in the eggs then add the zest and juice of the lemon. Fold in the flour and ground rice until a thick dough forms. Finally add the freshly ground cardamom and mix to disperse.

Using an ice cream scoop, spoon 10 blobs of the cookie dough onto the baking sheets, leaving a reasonably large gap between each (they flatten and expand in the oven). Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden and firm, but still maintaining a little squish. This will make the cookies nice and chewy. Leave to cool on a wire rack before tucking into these fragrant little treats. 


Tuesday, 14 January 2014

A SWEET MORNING PINT

I’m doing something a little bit different this week, since I’m trying to be a little bit healthier myself in January. Don’t worry though its still a sweet and tasty recipe, just naturally so (which is better). My brother has got a new blender so every morning I’ve been making smoothies with it to kick start the day and I thought I’d share my favourite one so far. It has a few little different touches, firstly frozen berries to make it ice cold and refreshing. My second, and neccesarry touch is a chunk of root ginger. I can’t have a smoothie without it. The ginger doesn't just add heat, it battles the flavour of banana which usually overwhelms any other ingredient. Who would have thought a pint for breakfast could be so appealing?

I’ve mentioned my brother so I might as well link his new, vegan blog, completely different to mine, but featuring some seriously good recipes (I can vouch, I eat them!). Easy Peasy But Not Cheesy. Before he set up his blog he said he was going to make one to rival mine, force it to close. It’s a good blog but he’s not ginger, and won’t be posting anything bread related since he doesn't eat it. We have different audiences. I think I’m safe for a while.

2 ripe bananas
A handful of frozen raspberries
1 apple, peeled, cored and roughly chopped
Juice of half a lemon
A thumb sized piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
About 250ml water

Throw all the ingredients into a blender and turn it on. Blend until bubbling and thick- but not gloopy, add a little bit more water if it is. Enjoy

The easiest recipe I’ve ever done. 


Tuesday, 7 January 2014

AMARETTO SHOT POTS

Don’t worry, not all recipes in 2014 will be this scaled down, but for now I couldn’t imagine enjoying a giant pudding after the Christmas binge so I’ve tried to make sweetness more manageable. As it happens, these cheesecake-like desserts would be great for having mates round, maybe as a teaser dessert since they take no effort and look really cool. They’re not just smaller sample, they’re also lighter in general, using amaretti biscuits instead of digestive and crème fraiche instead of cream cheese. Spiked with a little almond liqueur though, they make for a mega rich few spoonfuls, just enough to satisfy without being sickly. These are a shot you will be able to face after New Year’s Eve. Just don't put them on your head after.

4 amaretti biscuits
4 tbsp crème fraiche
2 tbsp icing sugar
2 tsp amaretto (almond liqueur)

Makes 4


Crush the amaretti biscuits and sprinkle into the bottom of 4 shot glasses, leaving a few crumbs to decorate each top with. Press down slightly to compact them together. Mix the crème fraiche with the icing sugar and stir until silky then spike with the amaretto. Spoon this mixture into each glass, all way to the top, then sprinkle over the remaining crumbs. Pop into the fridge to firm up a little until you want to serve them. 




Wednesday, 1 January 2014

LITTLE PLUM PUDDINGS

Everyone always says they want to see in the New Year with lighter food, so I took that quite literally. These steamed puddings are really light and fluffy, but not much better for you I’m afraid, but you’ll forgive me because they’re delicious. I lightly stew the plums with a touch of spice, drawing out the flavours of winter, and then whip these into a delicate pudding. The colours of these are really interesting as well. They go a blue-y grey when cooked with a golden lid and specks of deep purple. Tell me that isn’t cool.

3 plums, halved and stones removed
2 tbsp sugar
100ml water
2 star anise
100g butter
70g golden caster sugar
2 eggs
100g self raising flour
¼ tsp baking powder
4 tbsp milk

Preheat oven to fan180/200c/6 and grease 6 small ramekins.

Put the plums, sugar, water and star anise in a small sauce pan and bring to boil. Turn the heat to a simmer and allow to stew for about 20 minutes. If it seems thick, add a little bit more water. Once broken down and mushy turn off the heat and remove the star anise. 

Cream together the butter and sugar with a whisk until soft and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs then the flour and baking powder. Loosen with the milk. Pour in the stewed plums and beat up well so the mixture is a light purple and speckled with little lumps of plum flesh. 

Spoon into the ramekins then cover each one with tin foil, wrapping it over the whole ramekin. Fill a deep baking tray half way full with boiling water (not higher than the ramekins) then place the ramekins inside. Bake for about 35 minutes, until golden on top, puffed up and springy. Turn out of the ramekins onto a small plate each to serve.