Tales from kitchen and cellar

Posts Tagged ‘tasty’

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

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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!

leafcake2

Christmas Canapes, Wild Mushroom Arancini

In drink, food, Food and Drink on November 29, 2012 at 12:17 pm

In part three of The Wine Place’s Christmas drinks and nibbles series we look at party canapes and wine matches.

Check out these delicious wild mushroom arancini that are bound to get your party started…here

Christmas English Bubbles and Cheesy Gougeres…

In drink, food, Food and Drink on November 15, 2012 at 11:05 am

With the Christmas festivities just around the corner I’ve been looking into what party nibbles go best with a local English wine, Binfield Brut for The Wine Place.

Check out my recipe for Gruyere Gougeres….

Wild about Wild Mushrooms on Bruschetta

In Cooking, food, Food and Drink on October 26, 2012 at 6:16 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wild Mushroom Bruschetta

It’s not the first time i’ve mentioned that this is my favourite time of year and what better way to hunker down in the autumn evenings than to a light, delicious and simple supper of sauteed wild mushrooms, poached egg, rocket and parmesan on toasted bruschetta.

This delightful dish is tasty, quick and easy and would make a great starter, lunch or light supper.

Ingredients

Serves 2

Approximately 300g wild mushrooms (pick your favourite wild varieties and mix with chestnut mushroom or button too)

2 slices of good quality bruschetta style bread ciabatta or sourdough will do ( I chose an Italian style bread readily available in waitrose or other good supermarkets)

2 cloves of garlic, 1 sliced the other whole (or more if you’re in the mood)

2 handfuls of rocket

25 g grated parmesan cheese

3 slices of streaky bacon

2 free range eggs (poached ahead of time for 3 minutes in boiling water and left in iced water ready to refresh before serving)

olive oil

Method

Clean the mushrooms with a little pastry brush to be sure of removing any dirt or grit and slice together with the button and or chestnut mushrooms.

Fry the mushrooms in a little olive oil and cook down until they are no longer soggy in their own juices add the chopped streaky bacon and cook until crispy together with one of the sliced garlic cloves.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Toast your ciabatta or sourdough slices and rub with the garlic clove and drizzle with a little olive oil.

In a pan of boiling water refresh your poached egg or cook from scratch.

Layer the mushrooms, bacon and garlic mix on top of the toast, place the egg on top, scatter with the rocket and grated parmesan.

Enjoy!

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!

Figs Glorious Figs

In Cooking, food, Food and Drink on September 6, 2012 at 10:03 am

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Fabulous fig season is upon us, and these sensual little bulbs of deep crimson deliciousness are one of my favourite indulgences.

For this recipe I used green figs which were in season in Italy at the time but the dark emperor style purple of our native figs would work just as well.

Ingredients

Serves 4

6 ripe figs firm to the touch but not overly mushy inside

1/2 cup hazelnuts

1 cup caster sugar

A little honey for drizzling

Method

Toast the hazelnuts in a dry pan until the skin rubs off and they are a little golden in colour. Place to cool on one side

Next make the caramel, place the sugar in a heavy based frying pan and melt over a medium to high heat, as the sugar starts to melt and change colour swirl the pan gently to even out the colour. Once a medium caramel colour is achieved remove from the heat and throw in the hazelnuts.

Toss them in the caramel using a fork, don’t be tempted to put your fingers in, this is extremely hot!

Pour onto grease proof paper and leave to harden.

Heat up the grill and cut the top of the figs into a cross shape and squeeze to reveal their sumptuous insides.

Drizzle with a little honey and grill until they start to bubble and blister a little.

Break up the hazelnut caramel and sprinkle like a spiky golden crown in the centre.

Enjoy unadulterated or with a little creme fraiche for added mositure or serve alongside a plate of anti pasti meats.

Whatever the excuse get stuck into the figs while you can!

Blackberry and Pear Perfection

In Cooking, food, Food and Drink on August 28, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Blackberry and Pear Compote

It’s blackberry time! A little early you might think but cast your eyes in any nearby hedgerow and if you’re lucky you will indeed see little dark jewels waiting to be picked!

So if you do happen to come across some of these dark little beauties, (I found mine at the bottom of the garden) here’s what to do with them.

This simple dessert can also be added to your morning bowl of muesli or on its own with a little yoghurt, quick and simple it showcases the humble blackberry and all it’s rich flavouring and colour.

Ingredients

Serves 2

A generous handful or 2 of blackberries (careful not to pick them to close to a busy road for contamination purposes)

1 pear (I used conference)

1/2 cup of sugar

a little water

A dollop of greek yoghurt (optional)

Method

Wash the fruit and peel the pear, core and slice in to bite sized slithers.

Make a light caramel by adding 1/2 cup of sugar to a heavy based frying pan add a little water to cover the sugar and stir until the sugar has dissolved over a medium heat.

Once the sugar has dissolved increase the heat and leave until the sugar turns a pale golden colour.

Remove from the heat and add the pear and stir gently to soften through, then add the blackberries, heat again and add a little more water (careful not to splash).

Let the fruit sit in the juices which should have turned a deep red now. Leave until just warm before serving with a dollop of greek yoghurt and a sprinkling of broken biscuit like a ginger nut.

Serve 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…