Tales from kitchen and cellar

Posts Tagged ‘eat’

Christmas Day Lunch

In drink, food, Food and Drink on December 20, 2012 at 3:35 pm

Check out my last post for The Wine Place…

Lots of great tips for the best roast potatoes and wine too match your turkey feast!

Read my blog here

 

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Christmas Breakfast with Bubbles

In Cooking, drink, food, Food and Drink on December 7, 2012 at 11:51 am

This week The Wine Place asked me to take a look at a wonderful English fizz,Brightwell Sparkling Chardonnay, and very delicious it was too.

I decided to pair it up with a scrumptious breakfast treat, classic Eggs Benedict.

Check out the combination hereeggsb

Autumn Leaf Cake

In Cakes, Cooking, food, Food and Drink on November 30, 2012 at 1:32 pm

Autumn Leaf Cake

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Here is a recent cake I made that was inspired by the falling autumn leaves. It was a time consuming cake but not difficult.

Make yourself a chocolate cake, there are enough recipes out there to suit you and coat the cake in two layers of chocolate buttercream. I made a chocolate ganache buttercream on this occasion.

You do need to buy fondant icing in at least two colours, here I chose pumpkin orange and caramel brown. You will also need some leaf cutters in at least three different shapes.

I used oak, maple and ash I believe!

Warm your fondant icing in your hand and kneed until pliable. You can then roll out a little sausage shaped length in two colours and twist together. Roll out to a good pound thickness and cut out your leaves. Do this in small batches so you get a range of marbled leaf shapes.

Leave to harden over a curved surface such as a rolling pin or wine bottle, leave some to dry flat.

When the leaves harden arrange at the base of the cake pushing into the icing to neaten the edge and in a pile on the top.

Enjoy!

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Perfect Pumpkin Paradise Soup

In Cooking, food, Food and Drink on October 15, 2012 at 2:17 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Spicy Pumpkin Soup

It’s my favourite time of year as Autumn’s glorious bounty of colours come into full flow what better way to celebrate this beautiful season than with a comforting, hot orange coloured bowl of pumpkin and chilli soup!

Quick, easy and a feast for the eyes this delicious soup will warm you to the bone and it’s cheerful demeanour will make you smile…

 

Ingredients

1 butternut squash or medium edible (not decorative pumpkin)

2 onions finely diced

3 garlic cloves finely chopped

2 red chillis deseeded and finely chopped

1 pint of vegetable stock

Olive oil

Soured cream (optional

 

Method

Preheat the oven to 200C, Gas Mark 6

Peel and chop the squash or pumpkin into 1 1/2 inch chunks.

Roast with a little olive oil in a roasting tray for thirty minutes, turning once during cooking.

In a large pan heat the olive oil and a little butter if you like and gently saute the onions until tender and soft.

Add the garlic and cook a little longer together with the chopped chilli.

Continue cooking on a medium heat adding the vegetable stock and cooked sqaush/beetroot.

Blitz in batches in a blender smooth or chunky. Add more stock or a little milk to thin if too thick.

This hot sweet, spicy soup is delicious with a swirl of soured cream and a chunk of warm  buttered soda bread.

Enjoy!

Decadent Orange Polenta Cake

In Baking, Cakes, Cooking, food on August 9, 2012 at 10:50 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Who doesn’t like cake? Sorry, don’t answer that! Very few at any rate and for those who are looking for something a little different to a classic sponge then this rich, sumptuous, glossy orange cake might be just the ticket.

Dense and delicious, rich and yummy this is a serious cake from Ottolenghi the cookbook. It’s a little effort but worth it.

Ingredients

50g plain flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

200g unsalted butter

200g caster sugar

3 free range eggs, lightly beaten

2 tsp orange blossom water

240g ground almonds

120g quick cook polenta

Caramel Topping

90g caster sugar

2tbsp water

20g unsalted butter cut into cubes

2-3 oranges

Glaze (optional)

3tbsp orange marmalade (shredless)

1 tbsp water

Method

Preheat oven to 170 Gas Mark 3

Take an 8 inch cake tin, grease and line the base and sides with baking parchment.

Place the sugar and the water for the caramel in a pan and bring gently to the boil, do not stir or the sugar will crystalise. After a few minutes the sugar will start to darken to a golden caramel. Remove from the heat and stepping back from the pan add the butter.

Pour the caramel into the base of your cake tin and swirl around so the base of the tin is fully covered.

Zest your oranges being careful not to remove the bitter pith and set to one side.

Carefully cut off the rind of the oranges and slice into 6 discs removing any seeds as you go along. Place the orange slices into the caramel and pack in tightly. Use an extra orange if necessary.

Start with the cake batter. With the help of a kitchen aid or electric beaters cream the butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy. Then add the eggs, orange blossom water and zest.

Fold in the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Pour in the tin and bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool for 5 minutes before turning out onto a plate. Leave to cool completely.

You can glaze the cake with some warmed shredless marmalade for extra shine. Serve with a little sweetened mascarpone for a sweet sharp twang.

Enjoy!

The Hinds Head

In Food and Drink on August 1, 2012 at 2:00 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When I set up this blog I was keen to advocate and extol the virtues of good home cooking, wine and other delicious drinks. This is still at the very heart of what I feel most passionate about but I thought it was worth mentioning a restaurant I visited last night, a kind of review if you like.

The Hinds Head in Bray, Berkshire is one of the jewels in Heston Blumenthals crown. A cosy, wood panelled pub which serves outstanding food and I’m reliably informed pretty good beer to boot.

It may not have the stratospheric glamour of its neighbour The Fat Duck and all the culinary artistry which is synonymous with Heston’s work but it does have all the sprinklings of magic in a more approachable and affordable manner.

Just a few highlights, my snails hash was a great starter and not for the cephalopod phobic. But I enjoyed every mouthful together with a tart pickle all served on toasted sourdough and garnished with celeriac ribbons and micro herbs.

My fish pie main was very much a homage to the acclaimed sand and sea made famous at The Fat Duck, beautiful pollock, salmon poached in a broth like sauce and topped with sand (some sort of fine breadcrumb) seaweed (dried) and sea (a light fishy foam)

My dessert was a take on a 16th century dessert a banana quaking pudding which in essence was a hot, set banana custard and was reminiscent of nursery meals, served with a caramelised banana on the side.

All in all it was delicious. So if you find yourself in the cute but eerily toytown village of bray and fancy a special meal that won’t break the bank do indulge if you can in some Hinds Head action.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Strawberry Meringue, Crowning Glory

In Baking, Cakes, Cooking, food, Food and Drink on July 24, 2012 at 7:57 am

Strawberry Meringue

Is there any finer pudding in these summer months than the crisp, chewy, light texture of home made meringue, whipped cream with fresh vanilla and the star of the show… the voluptuous strawberry.

This dish has great impact, the rustic wow factor and is every bit as tasty and gorgeous as it looks. I urge you all to go find the finest strawberries you can,  a good double cream and free range eggs.

Ingredients (serves 6 with leftovers)

4 fresh egg whites (large)

225g caster sugar

1 vanilla pod split and seeded

500 ml double cream

3 tbsp icing sugar

2 punnets of strawberries

 

Method

Preheat oven to 140 C, line 2 baking sheets with greaseproof paper and draw circles in pencil using a plate as a guideline.

Using a very clean bowl and electric beaters, whisk the egg whites until medium to stiff peaks are formed. Beat for a little longer then add 1 tablespoon of sugar then whisk again, repeat before adding the remaining sugar. Beat until thick and glossy.

Spoon onto your baking sheets and place on the bottom two shelves and bake for one hour, then turn the oven off completely and leave the meringue to cool overnight.

When you are ready to serve your meringue, wash, hull and chop your strawberries into quarters. Keep a few whole for decoration I usually set 7 aside. You can add a little sugar and cointreau to the strawberries if you like for added sweetness and kick.

Whip the cream with the vanilla seeds and icing sugar until thick enough to hold its own weight but still be spread.

Carefully remove the meringue from the greaseproof paper and using a large plate to serve keep your best meringue for the top.

Spread the cream on the bottom of the meringue, top with the strawberries together with any juice that has leached out, use a little of the cream to sandwich the top on carefully and decorate with the strawberries set aside using a little more of the cream.

It is very fragile at this stage but if it cracks don’t worry too much, serve and enjoy!

If there is any left you can pop it in the fridge and serve as an eton mess the next day, delicious.

 

 

 

Tarty Tarte Tatin

In Baking, food, Food and Drink on July 19, 2012 at 11:59 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tasty Tarte Tatin

This decadent tarte tatin really is as good to eat as it looks. Leave to cool slightly before tucking in so that the caramel starts to get a little tacky and sticks to your teeth before being washed away by the softness of the apple. Yum!

Ingredients

240g caster sugar

90 g unsalted butter diced

1 x 500g pack of puff pastry

2 pink lady apples

a little flour for rolling out

1 cinnamon stick (optional)

vanilla ice cream to serve

Method

Pre heat the oven to 200C/ 180 fan or gas mark 6

Take a heavy based  small frying pan and heat the sugar with a little water until the sugar dissolves and starts to caramelise, don’t stir as the mixture may crystalise.

Once the sugar has reached a dark caramel colour remove from the heat and add the sugar carefully so as not to splash yourself with molten liquid!

Roll out the pastry to the size of the frying pan around the thickness of a pound coin.

Peel and core the apple and cut each into four wedeges, arrange on top of the caramel place the cinnamon stick across the tart diagonally if using. Then tuck in the pastry just like a blanket and bake in the oven for around 40 minutes.

Leave to cool before turning out, and serve with a scoop of good quality vanilla ice cream and enjoy!

Sensational Strawberries

In Cooking, food, Food and Drink on July 17, 2012 at 1:14 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pick Your Own, while you can…

It’s that time of year when the call of the pick your own beckons, not everyone is lucky enough to have one to hand but I recently stumbled across Grays Farm nearby and had a great, nostalgic time.

Check out my latest blog for Get Wokingham

http://www.getwokingham.co.uk/blogs/andanotherthing/s/2117186_abbie_bennington_pick_your_own_takes_me_back_to_childhood

Maybe it will inspire you to hunt out your local PYO.

Taste the tropics…in a muffin!

In Baking, Cakes, Cooking, food, Food and Drink on July 10, 2012 at 10:58 am

Marvelous Muffins

Mango and coconut muffins

In this miserable summer weather a bit of baking always lifts my spirits and as I thought of hotter climes the idea of a totally tropical mango and coconut muffin recipe came to mind. We might not have the caribbean sunshine but we can certainly taste the tropics!

This recipe is a great basic guideline swap around the mango for any fruit you like, peach also works well. Buttermilk for me makes a muffin great and I am supremely confident that this is one of the best muffin recipes around.

Ingredients

Makes around 20-24 muffins

4 cups of plain flour

8 tsp BP

1 cup caster sugar

200 g melted butter

400 ml buttermilk

2 eggs

2 cups of  chopped fruit (I used mango)

1/2 cup dessicated coconut

2 muffin trays and cases

Method

Pre-heat oven to 160 C, Gas Mark 4

Line 2 muffin trays with muffin cases.

Sift the flour together with the baking powder sugar and pinch of salt in a large mixing bowl. In  a seperate bowl mix the eggs, buttermilk and melted butter. Fold them all together. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases and bake for Approx 20-25 min until risen and golden brown. Test with a skewer that comes out clean from the mixture.

Leave to cool a little on a wire rack, but try whilst still warm for the best taste. Enjoy!

I also have a new little friend keeping me company in the kitchen, I would like to introduce Maisie…