christmas, desserts, food blogging, food photography, ice cream, sweets

Poached Pears in Blackcurrant with Chocolate, Pistachio and Sultana Ice Cream. Served with Parisian Scrolls, Whipped Cream and Caramel Nibs.

Poached Pears.
Pears poached in blackcurrant served with a chocolate and pistachio ice cream. Accompanied with Parisian Scrolls and caramel nibs.

Christmas is here…according to the supermarkets. Don’t remember retail festivities starting quite this early.
So here is another early Christmas dessert – poached pears. I adore poached pears, but not in red wine, so these are poached in blackcurrant juice. With typical festive spices, such as cloves and cinnamon, these sweet pears are a real winner for the holiday season.
Accompanied by a lush ice cream, crunchy Parisian Scrolls and melt in the mouth Caramel Nibs – that kids and grannies’ will fight for – it’s a dessert to please most families.
Everything can be made in advance giving more time – for kitchen slaves like myself – to enjoy the company of friends and family.

Ingredients:

Ice Cream: Makes approx’ 900ml.
200ml water.
100g sugar.
100g dark chocolate.
300ml Milk – I used lactose free milk.
150ml coconut milk – full fat tinned.
1 dessert spoon of cocoa powder.
2 dessert spoon of skimmed milk powder.
1 tsp vanilla extract or seeds from 1 vanilla pod.
1 tsp of ice cream stabiliser. (optional)
70g sultanas.
70ml rum or brandy.
60g pistachio nuts – crushed.
Tip: Tinned coconut milk contains creamy coconut solids and liquid. Use the creamy solids and make up the 150ml with the coconut liquid.

Parisian Scrolls: (makes 18-20)
130g caster sugar.
2 egg whites – equal to 80g.
65g warm melted butter.
60g plain flour – sieved.
1 tsp vanilla extract.
Pinch of salt.
20g melted chocolate. For dipping ends of baked scrolls – optional

Caramel Nibs: (makes 260g)
120g honey.
120g double cream.
50g golden syrup.
60g white chocolate.

Poached Pears: (Serves 6)
6 firm fresh pears – peeled with stalks still attached.
200ml water.
500ml blackcurrant juice/cordial with 50% juice.
Juice and zest of 1 lemon.
6 cloves.
3 cardamon pods.
3 star anise.
2 bay leaf.
1/2 cinnamon stick.

Method/cook:

Ice Cream:
In a small dish, soak the sultanas in rum or brandy – for at least 5 hours.
Add the water and sugar to a pan. Slowly bring to a boil. Once boiling simmer for 5 minutes to create a light syrup. Set aside to cool.
In a thick bottomed pan add the milk, coconut milk, cocoa powder, milk powder, vanilla and stabiliser. Bring to a boil then simmer for 3 minutes. Sieve into a clean bowl and set aside to cool.
Once the the milk mixture is cool add the syrup and any excess liquid from the soaked sultanas – don’t add the sultanas.
Churn the ice cream mix in an ice cream maker.
When your ice cream has formed, remove from ice cream maker and mix in crushed pistachio nuts and soaked sultanas. Freeze for several hours in a suitable container.

Parisian Scrolls:
Set oven to gas 5 or 190°C / 375°F
Melt butter and add vanilla. Set aside.
With a hand mixer whip the egg whites and salt to stiff peaks.
With a balloon whisk, fold the sugar, flour, butter and vanilla into the whipped egg whites. Combine thoroughly.
On a baking tray, lined with silicon paper, place 2 teaspoons of the mixture three inches apart. With the back of the spoon spread each portion of mixture out, using a circular motion, to a 10cm-11cm circle. (see image)

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Bake on the middle shelf for 8-10 mins’. The outer edges will bake to a rusty brown while the centers will be lighter in colour.
Remove tray from the oven, leave for 10 seconds then quickly lift each wafer, flip over and roll. The wafers are hot so asbestos fingers are required – no pain no gain. Set aside to crisp up on cooling racks. (see image) When cool, dip ends of scrolls in melted chocolate – this is optional.

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Tip: Perform a test bake or two to get your technique correct.
Don’t be tempted to over bake the parisian scrolls, as over baking will cause them to brake in the rolling process.
I usually bake two to a tray until all the mixture has been used up.
Store your baked and cooled Parisian Scrolls in an airtight container.

Caramel Nibs: (Sugar thermometer needed)
Note: When making this caramel never leave the pan unattended. It will boil over and burn. Take your time, lightly stir regularly once boiling.
Place the honey, cream and syrup into a thick bottomed pan.
Slowly bring to a boil then turn down the heat slightly.
Using a sugar thermometer, bring caramel to softball temperature – 116°C / 240°F
Once reaching the required temperature, remove from the heat and mix in the white chocolate. Pour the caramel into a heat proof tin/dish lined with parchment paper. I use an oblong dish that is 21cm L x 7cm W x 3cm D. (see image)

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Leave the caramel to cool at room temp’. Once cool, wrap in cling film and refrigerate.
When you are ready for serving with the ice cream etc; cut off small chunks/nibs with a sharp knife.  Use as and when ice cream is on the menu or you just fancy a, melt in the mouth, caramel hit.

Poached Pears:
Add the liquids, spices and lemon to a large pan.
Trim the bottoms of your peeled pears so that they will stand upright.
Place your pears into the pan with the other ingredients.
Bring the blackcurrant liquid to a boil and pop on a lid. Simmer the pears for 35-40 mins’ or until soft. Once cooked remove from the heat.
Place the pears in a clean dish and pour over the blackcurrant liquid. (see image)

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Leave to cool, then chill in the refrigerator.

Serving:
Now that all your prep’ is done it’s just a matter of serving as you see fit. The dessert can be plated for each individual or the poached pears can be presented in a serving dish with the ice cream and Parisian Scrolls offered on the side. Don’t forget your caramel nibs.

biscuits, food blogging

Orange and Cardamon Cookie Dunkers with a Chocolate Cream.

Orange, Cardamon and Chocolate Dunkers
Orange, Cardamon and Chocolate Biscuits – Made to Dunk.

Made for the ‘dunker’ and I am not talking Norwegian Hounds here.  If, like me, you like to dip your biscuits without the frustration of ‘biscuit subsidence’, give these hardy dunkers a go. With a crisp biscuit and an indulgent chocolate cream they are a delight to eat.

Ingredients: Makes 11 x 6cm biscuits.

Biscuit:
110g softened butter.
170g icing sugar – sieved.
210g plain flour – sieved.
1 tsp cardamon seeds.
Zest of 2 oranges.
Caster sugar for sprinkling over biscuits – before cooking.
Extra flour for rolling out biscuits.
Tip: If cardamon isn’t your thing, then replace with a teaspoon of ground coffee – delicious.

Chocolate Cream Filling:
200g dark chocolate.
40g butter.
60g icing sugar.
55ml skimmed milk.
20g cocoa powder.

Method/cook:

Biscuit:
Set oven to gas 3 or 160°C / 325°F
Thoroughly mix the butter and icing sugar.
Add the orange zest and cardamon seeds – mix.
Add the flour and make into a dough.
Set aside to chill for several hours or overnight.
Once chilled. Roll out the dough to 4mm in thickness.
Cut out rounds – I used a 6cm cutter – and place on a baking tray lined with parchment. Sprinkle each biscuit round with caster sugar.
Bake the biscuits for 15-20 mins’ on the middle shelf.
Onced baked transfer to cooling racks – leave until cool and crisp.
Note: The biscuits will be soft on the bottom when hot – they will firm and crisp up once cool.

Chocolate Cream Filling:
Place all the ingredients into a heat proof bowl and sit over a pan of simmering water.
When the chocolate and butter has melted, combine all the ingredients with a hand whisk. Remove the bowl from the simmering water and set aside.

Making the Biscuits:
Pipe the warm chocolate cream onto one side of the biscuit. Top with a second biscuit to create a biscuit sandwich. (see image)
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Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.
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Serving:
Serve with a cup of coffee or tea and dunk to your hearts content.
Enjoy.

desserts, food blogging, food photography

Citrus and Coconut Ice Cream Dessert with Crunchy Chocolate Oat Cookies.

Citrus, coconut and pineapple dessert.
Citrus and coconut ice cream with a pineapple-lemoncello syrup. Served with toffee-pineapple and chocolate crunch cookies.

This is a great dessert to share – especially if you’re the one with the biggest spoon. 
With a, cream free, palette cleansing freshness it’s a wonderful way to end a spicy meal. For a little twist, scroll down to see the plated version served with a ‘Spiced Milk Curd’. The hint of chilli will surprise and delight your dinner party guests… a real winner.

Ingredients:

Citrus and Coconut Ice Cream: (makes approx’ 600ml)
150ml skimmed milk or lactose free.
150ml Greek yoghurt.
150ml coconut milk – tinned, not fresh.
1 tsp vanilla extract.
1 tsp cardamon powder.
Juice and zest of two limes.
200ml water.
100g sugar.
1 tabls honey.
3 tabls lemoncello.
1 tsp ice cream stabiliser (optional)
Tip: When opening the tin of coconut milk, the creamy solids will usually have settled. Spoon out all the solids and make up to 150ml with some of the coconut liquid.

Crunchy Chocolate Cookies: (makes approx’ 14 cookies)
100g butter.
60g soft brown sugar.
1 dessert spoon of honey. (Use golden syrup or maple syrup if you like)
90g self raising flour – sieved.
100g porridge oats.
10g cocoa powder – sieved.
pinch of salt.
50g white chocolate for decoration.

Pineapple Syrup: (makes 120ml syrup)
200ml pineapple juice.
50g sugar.
4 tabls Lemoncello.

Spiced Milk Curd: (Optional, but this hint of spice works great)
200ml milk.
4-6 slices of fresh chilli, plus the seeds.
5 cardamon pods crushed.
1 tsp sugar.
1 tsp agar agar.

Citrus and coconut ice cream with spiced curd and pineapple syrup.
Citrus and coconut ice cream with spiced curd and a pineapple-lemoncello syrup. Served with chocolate crunch cookies.

Toffee Pineapple:
100g sugar.
2 tabls water.
Fresh pineapple cut into chunks – 4 chunks per person.

Garnish:
Zest of 2 lemons.
Drizzle of Lemoncello.
2 limes sliced and crystalised. (See below for recipe)

Method/cook:

Citrus and Coconut Ice Cream:
Combine the skimmed milk, yoghurt, coconut milk, vanilla and cardamon. Set aside.
Add the lime juice, zest, water, sugar, honey and lemoncello to a pan. Bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat and add ice cream stabiliser, simmer for 5 minutes or until liquid has reduced to 100ml.
Once reduced leave to cool and then combine with the milk mixture.
Churn in an ice cream maker until frozen.
Transfer to a plastic container and store in the freezer.

Crunchy Chocolate Cookies:
Set oven to gas 3 or 160°C / 325°F
In a pan, slowly heat to a simmer the butter, soft brown sugar and honey.
Once the sugar has melted remove from the heat.
Add the flour, oats, cocoa powder and salt.
Mix all the ingredients with a wooden spoon.
Take heaped dessert spoons of the cookie mix and form each spoonful into balls.
On a baking tray, lined with parchment, press each ball into flat rounds with the palm of your hand. (see image)
Bake on the middle shelf for 15-20 mins’
Once baked transfer cookies to cooling rack with a wide spatula/slice.
Once cooled drizzle with melted white chocolate.
Store cookies in an airtight container.

Pineapple Syrup:
Place all the ingredients into a pan.
Bring to a boil, then simmer until for 5 mins’ until reduced to 120ml.
Set aside to cool then chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Spiced Milk Curd:
Place all the ingredients into a pan and bring to just boiling, then simmer for 5 mins’
Strain the mixture and pour into a shallow square container/dish lined with cling film. Leave to set.
Once set, turn out the curd and cut into cubes. Set aside in the refrigerator.

Toffee Pineapple:
Dry your fresh pineapple chunks on kitchen roll. Set aside.
Place the sugar and water into a pan and gently heat to make a caramel. Note: (do not stir the sugar as the sugar will crystalise)
Once the sugar has formed a golden caramel remove from the heat.
With a fork dip chunks of pineapple into the caramel, one chunk at a time.
Place your caramel coated pineapple onto parchment/silicon paper.
Note: The toffee pineapple chunks need to be prepared just before serving as the toffee will begin to melt due to the moisture in the pineapple.

Crystalised Limes:
2 limes sliced.
200ml water.
100g sugar.
Sugar for sprinkling on cooked limes.

In a pan, bring the sugar and water to a boil.
Add the lime slices. Pop on a lid.
Simmer the lime slice until rinds are soft – about 40-60 mins’
Once the limes are cooked, remove from the liquid and place on a tray with parchment/silicon paper.
Sprinkle both sides of the limes with a generous amount of granulated sugar.(see image)
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Cover with cling film and leave in a cool place for several days. Note: don’t place in refrigerator.
After several days they are ready to eat. They add a nice contrast to sweet desserts as the rinds retain a touch of sourness.

Serving:
Arrange your pineapple and curd on a serving plate. Serve a scoop or three of ice cream. Drizzle with the pineapple-lemoncello syrup and Lemoncello. Sprinkle with lemon zest and a slice of crystalised lime.
Place a cookie on the side.
Enjoy the tang.

food blogging

Three King Pastries – Tarts and Muffins.

Christmas pastries

Already thinking of Christmas?

Well, I am the first to sigh when festive paraphernalia starts to appear on supermarket shelves in mid September. However, for the purpose of my blog, a bit of forward planning is essential to satisfy those looking for tasty festive recipes.

‘Three King Pastries’ – my own creation – are a moreish and moist sensation. Both the tarts and the muffins are topped with three succulent dates – hence ‘Three Kings’ – and coated in an apricot glaze. With a soft light sponge laced with festive spice, they won’t last long.
These festive pastries are easy to make and offer a real alternative to mince pies or even Christmas Pudding. The following recipe will make 6 tarts and 6 muffins.

Ingredients: Makes six 10cm tarts and six 7cm x 3cm muffins.

Sweet Pastry:
200g plain flour.
125g unsalted butter – cold and cubed.
50g caster sugar.
1 egg.
1/4 tsp salt.
Extra flour for dusting and rolling.

Sponge for both tarts and muffins:
220g self raising flour.
200g softened unsalted butter.
4 large eggs – beaten and at room temperature.
200g caster sugar.
1 heaped tsp of mixed spice.
80g chopped prunes.
Zest of 1 large orange.
18 soft stoned prunes. Cut in half if large.

Apricot Glaze and Garnish:
18 dates – halved and stoned.
225g or 4 heaped dessert spoons of apricot jam.
3 dessert spoons of water.
15g fondant icing.
Icing sugar for dusting before serving.

Orange Butter Icing:
50g unsalted softened butter.
80g icing sugar – sieved.
Zest of 1 orange.

Method/cook:

Pastry:
Beat the egg and sugar together until well mixed – set aside.
Add the salt to the flour.
Rub the butter into the flour to create a crumb texture.
Once all the butter has been rubbed into the flour add the egg and sugar mix.
Combine all ingredients into a dough, wrap in cling film and chill for several hours.
Note: This dough is quite sticky, so use a little extra flour to bring it all together. Refrigerate for several hours before rolling.

Rolling Pastry and Lining Tart Tins:
Grease your tart and muffin tins with butter.
Roll out a portion of the pastry to 3mm in thickness.
Place tart tin on pastry (see image)
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Cut around tin leaving a 2cm overlap to account for the sides of the tin.

Line your tart tins with the pastry circles. (see image)
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Continue to roll out the remaining pastry, cutting out circles and lining each tin.
Once all the tart tins are lined with pastry – chill in the refrigerator for 1 hour.

Sponge for Tarts and Muffins:
Cream the butter and the sugar.
Gradually mix in the beaten egg. Note: Eggs at room temp’ will lessen the risk of splitting when mixed with the butter. If your mix starts to split before all the egg has been added – mix in a couple of tabls’ of the flour.
Add flour and mixed spice into the butter mix. Combine with a balloon whisk.

Prepare Tarts for Baking:
Set oven to gas 7 or 220°C / 425°F
Pipe some of the sponge mixture into the lined tart tins and smooth with the back of a teaspoon.
Add three prunes to the top of each of the tarts. (see image)
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Bake for 15-20 mins’ until sponge has risen and golden brown.
The prunes will be enveloped beneath the sponge as the tarts bake.
Once your tarts have baked, remove from their tins and place on a cooling rack to cool.
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Prepare Muffins for Baking:
Mix your chopped prunes and orange zest into the remaining sponge mix.
Divide your sponge mix between your six greased muffin tins.
Bake for 20-25 mins’ or until sponge has risen and golden brown.
Once your muffins have baked, remove from their tins and place on a cooling rack to cool.
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Apricot Glaze and Garnishing the Pastries.:
In a pan, slowly heat up the apricot jam and water to a runny syrup/glaze.
Place three halves of your dates on top of your tarts and muffins.(see first image)
Spoon your hot apricot glaze over the top of each tart and muffin – including the dates. Set aside for the glaze to cool and set.
Roll out the fondant icing to 3mm thickness. Cut out star shapes with a star cutter.
I use a small star cutter for the muffins and a larger star for the tarts.

Orange Butter and Finishing off the Pastries:
With a balloon whisk thoroughly combine the butter, icing sugar and orange zest.
Pipe small swirls of orange butter on top of the muffins and tarts.
Pop a fondant star on top of the orange butter.
Note: I leave some of the pastries without the orange butter – they are just as nice and some people may prefer it without the added calories.

Dust with icing sugar and serve.

chicken, food blogging, food photography, recipes, salad, savoury, spices

Spicy Chicken Roulade with a Mango Salad and Dressing. Served on a bed of Quinoa.

Spicy Chicken Salad
Spicy chicken roulade with a mango salad and a mango and lemon dressing.

A quick and tasty chicken salad that’s perfect for an alfresco lunch or dinner.
The chicken can be served hot or cold and makes for a great picnic food also.
This is my first dish to incorporate Quinoa seeds. Quinoa is a wonderful, protein packed, alternative to rice and is gluten free. I will certainly be using it again as it went down well with my family of foodie guinea pigs – Quinoa originates from the Andes funny enough.

Ingredients: (Serves two)

Chicken Roulade:
1 large chicken breast or 2 small breasts.
30g unsalted butter.
Seasoning.
Juice of half a lemon.
For the filling:
2 cloves garlic sliced.
1 medium green chilli finely chopped.
15g fresh ginger chopped.
Juice of half a lime.
1 tsp ground coriander.
1 tsp ground cumin.
1 tsp ground turmeric.
1/2 tsp five spice.
1/4 teaspoon of coarse salt.
Pinch of black pepper.
2 tabls olive oil.
1 red onion finely chopped.

Mango Dressing:
140g of fresh mango.
Juice of half a lemon.
100ml warm chicken stock.
Seasoning.

Quinoa:
80g Quinoa seeds.
350ml chiken or veg’ stock.
Seasoning.

Garnish:
Fresh leaf salad.
10 Slices of red chilli.
4 wedges of lime.
Slices of fresh mango.
Sprigs of fresh coriander or parsley.
Drizzle of olive oil.

Method/cook:

Mango Dressing:
Put all the ingredients into a food processor and blitz until smooth.
Set aside in the refrigerator.

Quinoa: (I used tri-colour seeds)
Rinse the quinoa seeds in cold water.
Bring the seeds to a boil in the stock.
Once boiling simmer, with a lid, for 10 minutes.
Once cooked, drain, season and set aside.

The Roulade Filling:
In a pestle and mortar grind the garlic, chilli, ginger, salt and pepper.
Once ground, add the lime juice and the spices – combine and set aside.
In a frying pan, gently heat the olive and lightly fry the red onion until softened. Once the onions have softened, add your spice mix and lightly cook out the spices for 3 minutes. Set aside to chill in the refrigerator.
Note: A well chilled filling will be easier to roll later when forming the roulade.
Tip: Add a touch more oil if the pan becomes dry.

Prepare Chicken Breast:
Butterfly the chicken breast by slicing along its length. Only cutting halfway into the breast and opening out. (see images)
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Once you have butterflied the chicken breast, place it between two layers of cling film, or in a polythene bag. Flatten out the chicken breast using a rolling pin, meat mallet or tenderiser.  (see images)
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Don’t worry if the chicken breast has a tear or hole.
Once the chicken breast has been batted out, season with salt and black pepper. Now cover with a layer of your well chilled spicy filling. (see image)
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Roll up your breast meat and wrap tightly in a layer of cling film – twisting the ends. Wrap in a second layer of cling film and again twisting the ends. (see image)
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The roulade can be made in advance and stored in the refrigerator.

Cooking The Roulade:
Bring a pan of water to a simmer.
Place your roulade, in the cling film, in the simmering water and pop on a lid.
Simmer the roulade for 20 minutes.
I use a saute pan with a lid. (see image)
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The two ramekins stop the roulade from floating about in the simmering water – less risk of the cling film coming undone.
After twenty minutes remove the roulade, still in the cling film, and place in a cold frying pan. Leave the roulade to cool for 10 minutes then remove the cling film. Juices will run out when you cut the cling film.
Note: The roulade will contain juices that will run out when the cling film is removed. You want to retain them.
After removing the cling film, put the frying pan on a low heat and add the butter.
Lightly brown the roulade – being careful not to burn the butter.
Once the roulade has browned (see image) add the lemon juice and set aside to keep warm.
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Serving:
Serve slices of the chicken roulade on a bed of Quinoa.
Arrange fresh slices of mango with the salad leaves – spoon over some of the mango dressing.
Garnish with wedges of lime, coriander herb and slices of fresh chillis.
Drizzle with olive oil.

Enjoy!

baklava, desserts, food blogging, food photography, panna cotta, recipes, restaurant food, sweets, thefoodygrail.com

Wild Blackberry and Baklava Dessert.

Wild Blackberry Panna Cotta and Baklava Dessert.
Blackberry Panna Cotta with an Apricot and Nut Baklava.
Served with Whipped Cream, Sharon Fruit and a Blackberry Sauce.

British hedgerow meets Italian cream meets Ottoman delight.
Wild Blackberries are growing in abundance here in England at the moment. I don’t think I have ever seen so many fruits – it’s a bumper year – but a word of caution.
My first container was half full when an elderly lady appeared with three Great Danes…I will only pick fruits growing above chest height from now on.
After a few hours picking and culling the little black jewels, I put 500g of fruit to one side and froze the rest.
The recipe for today is a Wild Blackberry Panna Cotta with an apricot and nut Baklava. Served with whipped cream, Sharon fruit and a Blackberry sauce.
This dessert can be made in advance, chilled in the refrigerator and served when ready.

Ingredients:

Blackberry Panna Cotta: (makes 5 150ml desserts)
500ml double cream.
200ml skimmed milk.
1 tsp vanilla extract.
1/2 tsp agar agar or setting agent of your choice.
300g fresh blackberries.
70g sugar.
4 tabls water.

Blackberry Sauce:
200g fresh blackberries.
25g sugar.
Juice of 1/2 lemon.
2 tabls water.

Apricot and Nut Baklava: ( makes 20 x 25 tray bake)
15 20cm x 25cm sheets of filo pastry.
300g ground mixed nuts (100g each of walnuts, hazelnuts and almond)
180g melted butter.
150g dried apricots – pureed in a food processor.

for the Baklava syrup:
100g sugar.
210 ml water.
180g honey.

Garnish:
2 ripe Sharon fruits.
15 fresh blackberries.
125ml double or whipping cream.
10g ground and roasted mixed nuts. (optional)

Method/cook:

Blackberry Panna Cotta:
Add the blackberries, water and sugar to a pan and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, turn down the heat, add the agar agar, simmer for 4 minutes.
Next, blend the blackberry and agar agar mix then pass through a fine sieve. Set aside.
Bring the milk and double cream to just boiling. Thoroughly whisk in the blackberry and agar agar mix.
When combined, divide into five 150ml dariole moulds. Leave to set overnight.
When set, and ready to serve, loosen the at the edges then dip the moulds in hot water for 1 minute. Turn out your Panna cottas on to serving plates.

Blackberry Sauce:
Put all the ingredients into a pan.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 4 minutes.
Once simmered, pass through a sieve and set aside to cool.
Once cooled, chill in the refrigerator.

Apricot and Nut Baklava:
Set oven to gas 3 or 160°C/325°F
In your baking tray, place a single sheet of filo pastry and brush well with butter.
Do this with a further 4 sheets of filo – brushing each layer with plenty butter.
Now add a layer of ground nuts Approx’ 8 tabls’ and a layer of apricots. (see image)
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Add a layer of filo and press down. (see image)
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Now brush with butter and again add a further 4 layers of well buttered filo.
Add a further layer of nuts, followed by 5 more buttered layers of filo pastry.
Bake in the oven for 45 mins’ to 60 mins’ until golden brown.

Now make the Baklava syrup:
Place all ingredients into a pan, stir and bring to a boil. Boil for 3 minutes.
Once boiled, turn down the heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Set aside.

Once the Baklava has baked, cut into squares. Leave to cool and then pour over the warm Baklava syrup.
Leave to soak for several hours – preferably overnight.
(see image – minus a few irresistible squares)
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Serving:
Turn out your Panna Cottas on to serving plates.
Add two squares of Baklava.
Spoon on ripe Sharon fruit.
Top your Panna Cotta with whipped cream and Blackberry sauce.
Garnish with fresh blackberries.
Optional: top cream with ground and roasted mixed nuts.

Enjoy.

bread, broth, food blogging, food photography, oxtail, pickles, quenelles, recipes, restaurant food, savoury, soup, thefoodygrail.com

Glazed Oxtail with Prawn Quenelles, Oxtail Broth and Pickled Radish. Accompanied by Mini Miso buns.

Glazed oxtail in an oxtail broth.
A rich glazed oxtail dish with prawn quenelles, pickled radish and mini miso buns.

“Oxtail and Prawns!!” I hear you exclaim. The same indignation, to my choice of ingredients, was forthcoming from two family members. Not one to take umbrage, I set out to offer them the ‘proof in the pudding’ as it were.
Later that day, the soothsayers of culinary fusion were not only eating ‘oxtail and prawns’ but their negative words also.

Ingredients:

Oxtail: makes approx’ 1.5 litres of broth.
600g oxtail or 4-6 cuts of oxtail.
270g celery or 4-5 sticks – chopped.
150g red onion or 2 small red onions – chopped.
150g carrot or 1 large carrot – peeled and sliced.
50g unsalted butter.
1.2 litre of rich beef stock. One Knorr rich beef stock pot is fine.
1/2 litre of water.
3 tsps tomato puree.
2 bay leaves.
2 sprigs of fresh thyme.
2 tsps chopped parsley.
2 garlic cloves – sliced.

Glaze:
300ml rich beef stock. Half a Knorr rich beef stock pot is fine.
3 dessert spoons of honey.
2 dessert spoons white wine vinegar.
1 dessert spoon of light soy sauce.
Black pepper to season.

Prawn Quenelles: makes approx’ twelve if using teaspoons.
200g cooked prawns.
20ml double cream.
1 egg white.
1/2 tsp wasabi paste.
Seasoning – salt and pepper.

Pickled Radish:
4-5 radish sliced.
1 level dessert spoon of sea salt.
50ml white wine vinegar.
1 1/2 dessert spoons of sugar.

Mini Miso Buns: makes approx’ 12 buns.
200g strong bread flour.
125ml warm water.
1 tsp sugar.
7g fresh yeast or 1 dessert spoon of dried yeast or 1 tsp of easy yeast.
2 tsps ground coriander.
2 heaped tsps miso paste.
1 egg yolk mixed with 2 tabls of water for egg wash.
1 tsp of caraway or sesame seeds.
Extra flour for kneading.

Garnish:
1 spring onion cut in to fine strips.

Method/cook:

Oxtail:
Set oven to gas 7 or 220°C/425°F.
Place cuts of oxtail in a baking tray. Drizzle with oil and roast in the oven until well browned. Aprox’ 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
While the oxtails roast start to prepare the broth.
Melt the butter in a large pan.
Add the celery, onion and carrot to the butter and sweat until soft.
Next, add the tomato puree and cook out for several minutes.
Add the stock, water, herbs and garlic and bring to a simmer.
Once simmering remove from the heat.
When the oxtails have roasted, add them to the broth and simmer for 2-3 hours, or until the oxtail meat is tender.
When the oxtails are cooked turn off the heat and skim off any fat. Leave the broth and oxtails to cool in the pan. Once cooled remove the oxtails and set aside.
Season the broth with salt and pepper. Blend the broth with a hand blender and pass through a sieve. Set aside.

Mini Miso Buns: (Don’t add salt as the miso paste is salty.)
Firstly mix the flour with the coriander – set aside.
If using fresh yeast or active dried yeast, dissolve yeast with the warm water and the sugar.
After yeast has fermented, and frothed up, add to the flour and coriander. Form a dough and kneed for 5 minutes.
Place dough in a floured bowl. Cover the dough and leave to prove, in a warm place, until doubled in size.
Next, on a floured surface, roll out the dough to approx’ 13cm x 11cm. Spread with miso paste (see image)
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Fold the dough over a 1/3 (see image)
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Fold the dough over another 1/3 to create an oblong (see image)
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Spread more miso paste over the top half. (see image)
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Fold the bottom half of the dough up over the top half. (see image)
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Roll out the pastry to approx’ 20cm x 30cm. (see image)
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Roll up the pastry in to a sausage shape. (see image)
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Once rolled, cut in to 10-12 slices. (see image)
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Lightly dust each slice with flour and press down with the palm of your hand. (see image)
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Place your dough portions on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Brush with egg wash and sprinkle with caraway or sesame seeds. Leave to prove and double in size. (See image)
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Once proved, bake at gas 7 or 220°C/425°F for 20 minutes.
Once baked place on a cooling rack. (See image)

Once cooled, store the buns in an airtight container.

Prawn Quenelles:
Place prawns, egg white, wusabi and seasoning in a food processor.
Blitz to a smooth paste.
Add the cream and blitz until thoroughly combined.
Using two teaspoons, form quenelles with the prawn mix.
Steam the quenelles in a bamboo steamer over a pan of simmering water for 4 minutes. (see image)
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Note: If you don’t have a steamer, poach the quenelles
in simmering water.
When the quenelles are cooked, remove from the steamer, and set aside.

Pickled Radish:
In a dish, sprinkle the slices of radish with the salt.
Leave for 2 hours and drain off any liquid.
Rinse the radish in cold water and then dry.
Heat the vinegar and sugar in a pan. Once boiling pour over the radish.
Leave the radish for 1-2 hours to pickle. Set aside.

Glaze:
Set oven to gas 7 or 220°C/425°F
Place all the glaze ingredients in to a saute pan and bring to a simmer.
Add the previously cooked oxtails.
Spoon over the glaze and place in the oven to re-heat.
Cook the oxtails in the glaze for 35-40 mins. Baste at 10 minute intervals.
When the oxtails are heated, remove the pan from the oven, place on the hob, and continue to reduce the glaze for several minutes while basting the oxtails.
Set aside and keep warm.

Now that all the prep is done it’s time to put the dish together.

Re-heat the broth and the quenelles.
Place a ladle full of broth in to each of your warm serving bowls.
Place a glazed oxtail in to each bowl, followed by portions of quenelles and pickled radish.
Garnish with spring onion and drizzle with extra glaze.

Enjoy.

food blogging, food photography, steak pie, steak pudding, thefoodygrail.com

Baked Steak and Madeira Pudding with a Cauliflower and Mustard Purée.

steak pudding
Baked Steak and Madeira Pudding.

Steak pudding is a British classic. It can be baked, as in this recipe, or steamed.
Fit for any high class ‘gastropub’ this meaty main, with a rich gravy, will not disappoint.
Served with a cauliflower and mustard purée, roasted fennel, sweet shallots, Girolle mushrooms and a side of chunky fries.

Ingredients: (makes four puddings)

Beef Filling:
400g diced stewing beef.
50g seasoned flour.
500ml beef stock.
100ml madeira wine.
2-3 tbls olive oil.
1/2 onion – chopped.
3 button mushrooms – halved and sliced.
15cm stick of celery diced.
1 bay leaf.
1 tsp fresh thyme.
1 tsp fresh parsley.
Seasoning – salt and black pepper.

4 small pickled gherkins – diced. Set aside for later.

Suet Pastry:
350g self raising flour.
75g butter.
100g veg’ suet.
1 level tsp salt.
150ml cold water.
Extra flour for rolling out dough.
Extra butter for greasing moulds.

Roasted Shallots:
12 shallots – peeled.
Drizzle of olive oil.
Seasoning.
1 dessert spoon of sugar.
Tip: Trim the root end, don’t remove it, as the shallots will fall apart when roasting. You want them to keep there shape.

Cauliflower and Mustard Purée:
1/2 cauliflower – cut in to florets.
Seasoning.
Drizzle of olive oil.
2 tsps of English or French mustard.
Juice of 1/2 lemon.

Roast Fennel:
1 fennel bulb – sliced.
Drizzle of olive oil.
Seasoning.
2 tsps dried Marjoram.

Girolle Mushrooms:
20 Girolle mushrooms. Brush off any dirt and remove any stork ends that are blemished. Don’t wash them.
Knob of butter.
Seasoning.
Squeeze of lemon.

Chunky Fries:
3-4 potatoes cut in to chunky fries.
Vegetable oil for deep frying.

Fresh Fennel Herb and Thyme to garnish. Or just use fresh parsley.

Method/cook:

Steak Filling:
Set oven to Gas 4 or 180°C/350°F.
Coat your diced Steak in the seasoned flour – set aside.
In a sauté pan, soften and lightly brown the onion, button mushroom and celery in 1 tabls of oil. Once cooked, remove from pan and set aside.
Using the same pan add another tabls of olive oil and brown your seasoned steak.
Note: If the pan becomes dry add another tablespoon of olive oil.
When the steak has browned add the Madeira wine and flame to burn off the alcohol.
Tip: At arms length, tilt pan toward flame so that the Madeira catches light – be careful, as the flame will initially be vigorous before the alcohol burns off.
Now add the stock, herbs and seasoning. Stir and bring the contents of the pan to a simmer, pop on a lid and place in the oven for 2 hours to cook – or until the meat is tender.
When the meat is cooked, now in a rich gravy, remove from oven and set aside to cool.

Suet Pastry:
In a bowl mix the flour, suet and salt.
Now rub in the chilled butter until dispersed into the flour mix.
Add the water and combine in to a dough.
Now line the individual pudding/dariole moulds. I used 8cm x 5cm moulds.
Firstly, grease your moulds with butter.
Divide pastry in to four portions.
On a floured surface, roll out each portion of the dough to a 20cm circle. (see image)_V2A7660
Line each, greased, mould with a pastry circle. Press the pastry in to the bottom and around the sides of each mould. Remove any air pockets in the base. (see image)
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Trim off excess pastry and set aside to make pastry lids. (see image)
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Now roll out trimmed pastry portions to 15cm circles. Cut out pastry lids using a mould as a template. (see images)
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Chill your lined moulds and pastry lids for 1 hour.

Filling the puddings:
Remove the pieces of cooled steak from the gravy. Break any large pieces of steak in to smaller pieces.
Place pieces of steak into the base of your lined moulds – fill only 1/3. Top with a few chopped gherkins. (see image)
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Now add a dessert spoon of the gravy that the meat was cooked in.
Top with more meat and gherkins then finish with a dessert spoon of gravy. Keep the remaining gravy for serving later.
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Wet the edges of the pastry around the top of the moulds and top with pastry lids – press the edges to create a seal. With a knife, make two incisions in each of the the lids. (see image)
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Bake your puddings for 35-40 minutes at Gas 6 or 200°C/400°F.
Tip: The puddings can be prepared a couple of days in advance and baked on the day.

With the puddings made, the rest, being the veg’ and garnish, is very easy indeed.

Cauliflower and Mustard Purée:
Set oven to gas 5 or 190°C/375°F.
Place your florets of cauliflower in a baking tray.
Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
Cover with tin foil and roast in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until cauliflower is cooked.
Once cauliflower is cooked, blend in a food processor along with the mustard and lemon juice. Set aside.

Roasted Shallots:
Set oven to gas 5 or 190°C/375°F.
Place your peeled shallots in a roasting tray.
Drizzle with oil.
Season with salt and pepper.
Sprinkle with sugar.
Roast for 30-40 minutes until onions are soft and golden brown. Turn several times during roasting so that the shallots turn a golden brown all over.
Once cooked – set aside.

Roasted Fennel:
Set oven to gas 5 or 190°C/375°F.
Place slices of Fennel in a roasting tray. (see image)
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Drizzle with oil, season and sprinkle with marjoram.
Roast for 35-45 minutes.
Once cooked – set aside.

Girolle Mushrooms: (Cook these just before serving)
Lightly fry the girolles in butter.
Season with salt and pepper.
Finish with a squeeze of lemon.

Fresh Fennel Herb and Fresh Thyme for garnish.

Tip: The cauliflower, fennel and shallots can be cooked at the same time as the steak, at Gas 4 or 180°C/350°F. They will take longer to cook, as the oven temperature is lower, but it can save on the overall cooking time.
The vegetables can also be prepared and cooked in advance and warmed up at the same time the steak puddings are baking.

To Serve:
Put your fries on to cook in a deep fryer.
Heat up the gravy left from cooking the steak.
Tip: The gravy can be blended and sieved for a smooth texture – I prefer to leave it.
Spoon some of the hot gravy on to your serving plates.
Arrange your cooked steak puddings, cauliflower puree, veg’ and garnish.
Serve with a side of chunky fries and glass of red wine. Enjoy.

desserts, food blogging, food photography, lemon curd, mousse, shortbread biscuits, sorbets, sweets, thefoodygrail.com

Vanilla and Lemon Curd Jelly Dessert served with an Orange Sorbet.

Vanilla and lemon mouse.
A summer dessert with orange sorbet and buttery shortbread

A light vanilla mousse, layered with a tangy lemon curd jelly and garnished with slices of, Zespri SunGold, kiwi and a passion fruit syrup. With an orange sorbet accompaniment, it makes for a beautiful and refreshing summer dessert.
Lets not ignore the shortbread base recipe. It’s a, melt in the mouth, buttery sensation with enough to make extra biscuits – you can’t have enough shortbread…gone already.

Ingredients: (Makes four 9cm x 4cm round desserts or six rectangle 12cm x 4cm x 3cm desserts)

Shortbread: (for base and extra slices as accompaniment)
165g softened unsalted butter.
73g caster sugar.
225g plain flour – sieved.
20g cornflour – sieved.
1 tsp vanilla extract.
Zest of a lemon (optional)
1/4 tsp of salt.
Extra flour for dusting and rolling dough.
Caster sugar to sprinkle on uncooked shortbread.

Lemon Curd Jelly:
135g caster sugar.
2 large eggs
Juice and zest of 4 lemons – approx 130g – 135g.
1/2 tsp of agar agar or setting agent of choice. (equiv’ to 1 leaf of gelatin)
140g unsalted butter – cut in to cubes.

Orange Sorbet: (makes approx 450ml)
300ml fresh orange juice.
Zest of two oranges.
130g sugar.
200ml water.
1g silk gel (optional)
Note: Silk gel stops sorbets from becoming to icy/solid. Also less sugar syrup can be used in your recipes.

Vanilla Mouse:
170ml double cream.
120g cream cheese.
20g caster sugar.
1 tsp vanilla extract.
Juice of 1 lime
1 tabls water.
1/2 tsp of agar agar or setting agent of choice. (equiv’ to 1 leaf of gelatin)

2 egg whites.
40g caster sugar.
Pinch of salt.

Passion Fruit Syrup:
100ml water
2 dessert spoons of sugar.
1 passion fruit.

Garnish:
4-5 Kiwi fruits. Zespri SunGold are so sweet – they are ideal.
3-4 Passion fruits.
Fresh Cherries or summer fruit of your choice.
12 sprigs of fresh mint.

Method/cook:

Shortbread: (oven gas 5 or 190°C / 375°F)
Cream together the softened butter, sugar, vanilla, lemon zest and salt.
Combine the sieved flour and cornflour.
Make a dough by adding the flour mix to the creamed butter mix.
Bring all the ingredients together, wrap in cling film, and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Once the dough has chilled, roll out on a floured surface to 1cm in thickness.
Using your round or rectangle moulds – the same moulds you will use to set your mousse and curd – cut out your shortbread.
Use up all the shortbread mix by cutting further rectangles or rounds that can be served as a biscuit accompaniment.
Place your shortbread shapes on lined baking sheets, sprinkle with caster sugar, and bake for 10 minutes at gas 5 or 190°C / 375°F – middle shelf.
Tip: After 5 minutes baking, turn your baking trays so the shortbread at the front go to the back. Bake for the remaining 5 minutes. This gives your shortbread a more even bake.
When your shortbread is cooked, remove from the oven, and immediately, while still hot, re-cut the shortbread with your round or rectangle moulds. I have used both as an example. (See image)
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Re-cutting the shortbread is important, as the shortbread expands during baking and you want the biscuit bases to fit inside of the moulds.
Once cooled, store shortbread in an airtight container. Eat the trimmed pieces.

Lemon Curd Jelly:
Except for the butter, place rest of ingredients in to a thick bottomed pan and combine, thoroughly, with a hand whisk.
Note:
If using leaf gelatin – soak in a dish of water first before adding.
Put the pan over a medium heat and, while stirring, slowly bring the contents to just boiling.
Remove from the heat and stir in the butter.
Sieve the curd and set aside to cool.
Once chilled, store in an airtight container and refrigerate to chill.

Orange Sorbet:
Create syrup by bringing the water and sugar to a boil in a thick bottomed pan.
Once syrup boils add the orange zest and silk gel and simmer for 5 minuets.
Once syrup has simmered leave to cool.
Add the fresh orange juice to the syrup and strain.
Chill the orange and syrup mixture in the refrigerator.
Once chilled, churn in an ice cream maker and store the resulting sorbet in a freezer.
Note: If you don’t have an ice cream maker, place the sorbet mix in a suitable container and pop in the freezer. Stir the sorbet mixture every couple of hours until it creates a soft, but frozen ice.

Passion Fruit Syrup:
Bring the sugar and water to a boil.
Once boiling reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Leave to cool.
Add the seeds and juice from the passion fruit. Chill and set aside.

Vanilla Mouse:
Whip the double cream to soft peaks – set aside.
Mix the cream cheese, vanilla and 20g of caster sugar. set aside.
Place lime juice, water and agar agar in a pan and bring to a simmer. Once simmering take off heat and set aside. Note: If using leaf gelatin – soak in a dish of water first before adding to the warm lime juice.
Whisk egg whites, with a pinch of salt, until stiff peaks form. Then add the 40g of sugar to the stiff egg whites and whisk for 3 minutes.
With a hand whisk, combine the warm agar agar and lime juice to the cream cheese mixture.
Now add the whipped cream to the cream cheese mix and combine with hand whisk.
Now fold in the egg white mix until well combined.

Making the individual desserts:
On a baking sheet, place a shortbread biscuit in the base of your moulds.
Now pipe a layer of vanilla mousse in each mould – a third of the way up. (See image)
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Follow the vanilla layer by piping a lemon curd layer.
Now pipe a final vanilla layer, on top of the curd layer, and smooth with a palette knife. (See image)
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Chill your individual layered desserts for several hours to set – overnight if you can.

Serving/plating:

Once the desserts have set, carefully run a thin bladed knife around the edge of the moulds. With the mold still in place, slide a palette knife under the whole dessert and transfer to a plate. Carefully remove mould.
Garnish the top of each mouse with passion friut and mint sprigs.
Serve with slices of, Zespri SunGold, kiwi fruit, a scoop of orange sorbet and a drizzle of the passion fruit syrup.
I added a couple of fresh cherries, but any summer fruit will suffice.
Serve with extra shortbread biscuits.

Enjoy.

chocolate, chocolate cream, desserts, food blogging, food photography, ice cream, licorice, liquorice, recipes, restaurant food, sweets, thefoodygrail.com

Fruit Tart with Liquorice Ice Cream and Blackcurrant Jelly.

fruit tart with liquorice ice cream
Fruit Tart with Liquorice Ice Cream. Served with Chocolate Cream and Blackcurrant Jelly

A melt in the mouth sweet pastry filled with a tangy fruit compote and topped with a dark chocolate cream. But it doesn’t stop there; Jelly and ice cream will take you back to your childhood…Mmm liquorice and blackcurrant.

Ingredients: Makes 6 tarts.

Liquorice Ice Cream: (makes approx’ 500ml)
3 egg yolks.
75g sugar.
300ml whole milk.
30ml double cream.
20g skimmed milk powder.
1/4 tsp salt.
1 tsp vanilla extract.
1 1/2 tspns liquorice powder.
1 tsp liquorice syrup.
1g ice cream stabiliser. (Optional)

Pastry for tart cases:
200g plain flour.
125g chilled butter.
50g caster sugar.
1 beaten egg.
Pinch of salt.

Blackcurrant Jelly:
100ml blackcurrant cordial (50% juice).
100ml summer fruit juice.
1 level tsp Agar Agar or jelling agent you prefer.
Note: I prefer agar agar as it sets to a gel at room temperature and makes wonderful soft jellies.

Fruit Compote:
180g Frozen summer fruits.
3 dessert spoons sugar.
Juice of 1/2 lemon.
3 tbls of cold water.
1 heaped tsp of cornflour.

Chocolate Cream:
150g Dark chocolate (70% cocoa)
110ml skimmed milk.
35ml double cream.
1 1/2 tsps sugar.
1 tsp vanilla extract.

Garnish:
6 fresh strawberries
6 sprigs of mint.
Zest of 1 large orange.
Or use fresh fruits of your choice.

Method/cook:

Ice Cream:
Mix 2 dessert spoons of the sugar with the ice cream stabiliser. Set aside.
In a thick bottomed pan heat the milk, cream, milk powder, salt vanilla, liquorice powder and syrup to 82°C / 180°F. Note: Bring to a simmer if you don’t have a thermometer.
When the milk mixture has reached the required temperature, remove from the heat, and leave to cool for 3 mins’. Stir in the sugar and stabiliser mix.
With a whisk, cream together your egg yolks and remaining sugar in a heat proof bowl.
Now add your hot milk mixture to the egg yolks and sugar to create a custard – combine with a hand whisk.
Note: Make sure that your milk mixture isn’t to hot as it will scramble the egg.
Pour the custard back into your thick bottomed pan, and on a low heat, stir until the custard thickens. When the mixture coats the back of a spoon remove from the heat.
Note: If you have a thermometer. Heat and stir the custard to 60°C / 140°F and cook until the custard has thickened, about 5 mins’.
Strain the custard into a clean bowl and leave to cool.
Once cool refrigerate until chilled.
Once chilled, churn your custard in an ice cream maker.
Store your finished ice cream in a suitable container in the freezer.
Note: You can make this ice cream without the stabiliser but it will freeze to a firmer texture.

Jelly:
Heat all the ingredients to just boiling.
Pour the hot fruit liquid into an oblong mould or dish, lined with cling film. Pop any bubbles that may form. Set aside to set. (See image)
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Tart Pastry cases:
Rub the chilled butter into the flour and salt.
Combine the sugar and the beaten egg.
Make a dough by combining the the egg mix to the flour mix.
Wrap in cling film and chill until pastry is firm.
Note: Initially this pastry mix is quite sticky. Have some extra flour ready to sprinkle over your hands when combining into a dough. Refrigerate the dough overnight, if you can, as it will help when it comes to rolling out.
When the dough has chilled divide into 6 equal portions and roll each piece into a circle – large enough to line 10cm tart cases.
Line six 10 cm tart cases with pastry. Bake blind for 10 minutes at gas 6 or 200°C/400°F
After 10 mins’ remove tart case from the oven. Remove parchment and baking beans and bake for a further 5 mins’ at gas 3 or 160°C/325°F.
Once baked remove from oven and leave to cool.
Note: Baking blind – line uncooked pastry tarts with parchment and weight down with baking beans, dried peas or rice. This stops the bases of the tarts rising (See image)
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Fruit Compote:
Except for the cornflour, in a pan, heat all the ingredients to a simmer.
Mix the cornflour with 2 tabls of water and add to the simmering fruit mixture.
When fruit mixture thickens remove from the heat and set aside to chill.
Note: Don’t be tempted to add extra sugar to the compote. A slight tang or sourness is required to balance out the overall sweetness of the final dish.

Chocolate Cream:
Put all the ingredients into a pan and heat gently. As the chocolate melts whisk all the ingredients together until smooth.
Place in a clean receptacle to cool. Once cooled, place in refrigerator to firm to a piping consistency.

To serve:
Dust the edge of each tart case with icing sugar.
Half fill the tart cases with fruit compote. Top with a swirl of chocolate cream.
Turn out the jelly and cut into cubes. Arrange on the plate with slices of strawberry.
Tip: Strawberry slices will stick to the sides of the moist jelly cubes – it gives a little height and interest to the dish.
Pipe more chocolate swirls around the plate.
Place a scoop of ice cream topped with orange zest with your finished dish.
Enjoy.