bread, food blogging, food photography, recipes, soup, thefoodygrail.com

Roasted Vegetable Soup with Savoury Croissants.

Vegetable soup.
Squash, sweet potato and roasted pepper soup served with savoury croissants. Finished with a warming chilli and garlic oil.

As the rustic shades of Autumn invade the last green remnants of summer, it’s time for a hearty and warming soup. Butternut squash, sweet potato and roasted red pepper make for a wonderful creamy soup. Served with a chilli- garlic oil and accompanied with  savoury croissants flavoured with anchovies and sun dried tomato.

Ingredients:

Soup:
1 butternut squash – peeled, halved, seeds removed and chopped into large chunks.
Note: Use other varieties of squash if you so wish – equivalent to one butternut variety.
1 sweet potato – peeled and cut into wedges.
1 large red onion – peeled, halved and cut into wedges.
2 roasted red peppers – skins removed.
2 sticks of celery.
1 dessert spoon of dried marjoram.
3 cloves of garlic
1 tabls red wine vinegar.
40g butter.
1.2 litres chicken stock or veg stock if you prefer.
10 sprigs or 3g of fresh parsley.
Drizzle of olive oil.
Seasoning – salt and pepper.

Garnish:
100ml chilli oil infused with 1 crushed clove of garlic.
5g chopped fresh basil.
Optional: 50g of grated Parmesan cheese.

Savoury Croissants:
227g strong bread flour.
23g unsalted butter.
1/4 tsp of salt.
10g or 3 tsps of easy bake yeast.
125ml warm milk.
1/2 a beaten egg – approx’ 27g
20g chopped anchovies.
30g sun dried tomatoes – chopped.
90g chilled butter – cut into small dice.

Method/cook:

Soup:
Set oven to gas 6 or 200°C / 400°F
Place your chopped squash in a roasting tray – drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and marjoram. (see image)
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Now place your sweet potato wedges and onion wedges into a roasting tray – drizzle with olive oil. Season with salt, pepper and marjoram.
Roast your squash, sweet potato and onion for 45 mins’ until lightly charred and soft.
In a large pan melt the butter. Add the chopped celery, roasted pepper and garlic – sweat until celery is softened. (see image)
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When celery is soft add the vinegar and reduce. Set aside.
Once the roasted veg’ are cooked add them to the softened celery and pepper. With the pan on a medium heat, further brown the veg’ by cooking for 10 mins’. (see image)
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Add the stock and parsley to the veg’ and simmer for 20 mins.
Once simmered, blend all the veg’ to a creamy soup. Season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Savoury Croissants:
Rub the 23g of butter into the flour. Mix in the easy bake yeast and salt.
Add the warm milk and form into a dough.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for ten minutes.
Once kneaded, place in a floured bowl and cover with cling film or a damp cloth. Leave to proof until doubled in size.
Note: The dough can be chilled in the refrigerator after first proof then rolled and formed the next day.
Once proofed, knock back the dough and knead for 10 mins’.
Combine the chopped anchovies with the chopped sun dried tomato – set aside.
Now for the rolling and layering of the dough.
Roll the dough into a 36cm x 21cm oblong. (see image)
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Place half the 90g of butter and half of the anchovy and tomato onto the middle third of the pastry. (see image)
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Fold the top third of pastry over the butter. (see image)
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Place rest of butter and the rest of the anchovy and tomato mix onto the top third of the pastry. (see image)
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Fold up the bottom third of the pastry. (see image)
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Turn the pastry clockwise one turn. (see image)
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Roll out the pastry to a 46cm x 14cm oblong. (see image)
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Fold the top third of pastry over the middle third. (see image)
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Fold the bottom third up over the top third. (see image)
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Chill the pastry for 30 mins’ to firm up the butter.
Once chilled, turn the pastry clockwise one turn. (see image)
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Roll out the pastry again to a 46cm x 14cm oblong. (see image)
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Fold as previously explained and chill again for 30 mins’
For the final roll, turn the pastry one turn clockwise.
Roll out to a 56cm x 17cm oblong. (see image)
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Once rolled, cut 8 – 10 triangles with a sharp knife. (see image)
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Roll each triangle up from the widest end. (see image)
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Place the rolled dough triangles on baking trays lined with parchment paper. Egg wash and leave to proof until doubled in size. (see image)
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Note: Make sure the points of the dough triangles are tucked underneath so that the croissants don’t unravel.
Set oven to gas 5 or 190°C / 375°F
Once proofed bake for 25 minutes until golden brown.
Cool on baking racks once baked.

Serving:
Serve your hot soup topped with chopped basil and a drizzle of chilli and garlic oil.
Optional: Grate over the soup with Parmesan cheese.
Accompany the soup with warm savoury croissants.
Enjoy!

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.