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.

food blogging, food photography, pickles, recipes, restaurant food, savoury, terrine, thefoodygrail.com

Chicken Terrine with Sweet Pickle.

Chicken Terrine.
Chicken Terrine with Asparagus, Pistachio and Black Pudding. Served with a Sweet Pickle.

A moist Chicken Terrine, that is so easy to make, you won’t buy from the Deli’ ever again. For those that don’t like liver this Terrine is worth a try – as it doesn’t contain any.

Ingredients:

Terrine: Serves 8-12
Non-stick loaf tin with approx’ outer measurement of 25cm x 13cm x 6cm.
500g chicken thigh meat – (weight without skin and bone)
120g or 2 slices of black pudding – cut into small cubes.
1 red onion – finely chopped.
knob of butter.
1 large egg – beaten.
100ml double cream.
50g crushed pistachio nuts. (don’t grind)
1 tsp salt.
1 tsp black pepper.
Dessert spoon of chopped Thyme.
Dessert spoon of chopped Tarragon.
2 tabls Madeira wine. (optional)

For lining and layering the tin:
12-14 rashers of streaky bacon.
3 bay leaf.
1 medium carrot.
6 Asparagus spears.

Sweet Pickle:
100g cauliflower – break or cut into small florets.
5 radish sliced.
50g red pepper – diced.
3 spring onion – sliced.
100g cucumber – remove seeds and cut into thick slices.
Coarse salt.

For the pickle sauce:
250ml white wine vinegar.
2 tsps Tumeric.
1 tsp ground Coriander.
2 tsps English mustard.
1 tsp Mustard seeds.
1/2 tsp ground Cumin.
4 heaped tsps Cornflour.
80g of sugar.

Garnish:
Sprigs of fresh Dill.
1 large red or yellow pepper roasted – skin and seeds removed then sliced.
Fresh slices of crusty bread – toasted. Bread of your choice.

Method/cook:
Start by making the pickle first. Veg’ has to be salted for 24 hours.
Add all your prepared vegetables to a bowl.
Generously sprinkle with coarse salt and mix.
Add the veg’ and salt mix to a colander and sit over a bowl – cover with a cloth.
Leave the covered veg’ for 24 hours in a cool place.
After 24 hours rinse the salted veg’ in cold water. Set aside.
Now prepare the pickle sauce.
Mix the spices, mustard and cornflour with 2 tabls of the vinegar. Make a paste.
In a pan, bring the remaining vinegar and sugar to a boil – then simmer.
Add the spice and cornflour mix to the simmering vinegar – whisk until thickened.
Taste the pickle sauce. If more sweetness is required add a little more sugar, a teaspoon at a time, until you are happy with the flavour. 80g of sugar is usually enough, but everyone’s taste buds are different.
When you are happy with the sauce, remove from heat, and stir in your rinsed veg’ Place your Sweet Pickle into a sterilised jar or airtight container. Leave to cool.

Chicken Terrine:
Peel carrot and cut into 3 lengths. Cut each length into thin strips. Blanch in boiling water for 3 minutes. Cool and set aside. (see image)
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Blanch the Asparagus spears in boiling water for 3 minutes. Cool and Set aside.
Lightly fry the onion in the butter until soft.
Add the black pudding cubes to the onion and fry for 3 minutes. Set aside and cool.
Add your chicken meat to a food processor and blitz until smooth – about a minute.
Empty blitzed chicken meat into a mixing bowl.
Tip: Place your mixing bowl over crushed ice to keep the meat cool.
To the chicken, mix in the beaten egg followed by the cream.
Now add the salt, pepper, herbs, cooked black pudding, pistachio nuts and the Madeira – thoroughly mix. Set aside.
Line your loaf tin with streaky bacon, leaving a 5cm overlap all the way around. The overlap can be folded over to seal the top of the terrine later.
Time to layer your Terrine.
Put a layer of the chicken mix in the base of the loaf tin.
Now layer all of your Asparagus onto the chicken layer – lightly press down.
Add another layer of chicken mix over the Asparagus – smooth with a spoon.
Add your slices of carrot to create a layer of carrot.
Add the rest of the chicken mix over the carrot layer and smooth with a spoon.
Fold over the overlaps of streaky bacon, so the final layer of chicken mix is covered. Place 3 bay leaves on top (see image) and seal the top with a layer of tin foil.
_V2A6908
Cook your Terrine in a Bain Marie – see below.  Gas 4 or 180°C/350°F for 1hr 30 mins with the foil on. Then cook a further 30 mins’ without the foil.
Once cooked, remove the Terrine from the oven and cover with a fresh piece of foil. Sit in a clean tray and place a weight on top. I use an oblong glass dish filled with water. Use a brick if you have one. Leave to cool and refrigerate over night.
To turn the Terrine out, run a thin bladed knife all around the edge of the Terrine. Turn the Terrine over onto a board or plate and turn out – give a tap or shake (See image)
_V2A6922

Bain Marie method: Place your loaf tin, with prepared Terrine, in a roasting tray and top up with boiling water until water reaches half way up the loaf tin.
Tip: Place your roasting tray, with loaf tin, in the oven then add the boiling water – much safer than lifting a tray with boiling water sloshing around.

Serving:
Serve a slice of the chilled Terrine with your Sweet Pickle.
Garnish with slices of roasted red/yellow pepper and sprigs of fresh dill.
Toasted and buttered bread of your choice.
Tip: Pick some of the veg’ out of the pickle and blend the rest. It makes a great sauce.

cooking, desserts, food blogging, food photography, ice cream, recipes, restaurant food, sponge pudding, sweets, thefoodygrail.com

Ginger and Apricot Steamed Sponge with Irish Liqueur Ice Cream

Ginger and Apricot Steamed Sponge Pudding
Ginger and Apricot Steamed Sponge with Irish Liqueur Ice Cream.

Who doesn’t love a warm steamy pudding? I have been called a puddin’ from time to time (pudding originally from the Latin botellus, meaning “small sausage”) so, make what you will of that.

Ingredients: (Makes 6 – 8cm x 5cm puddings)

Sponge:
175g softened butter.
175g caster sugar.
175g self raising flour – sieved.
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda – sieved.
3 large eggs – room temperature.

6 individual pudding moulds – 8cm x 5cm.
Butter for greasing.
8 fresh ripe apricots.
50g stem ginger – chopped. (See recipe below or buy ready made)
6 tsps golden syrup.

Ice Cream: (for ice cream maker. I use a MEDION MD16223 maker)
150ml semi skimmed milk.
320ml double cream.
50g sugar.
50ml Irish Cream Liqueur.
Tip: If you want a stronger alcohol taste add more liqueur and reduce the milk by the same amount – ie: extra 20ml liqueur reduce milk by 20ml.

Stem Ginger recipe and stock syrup:
260g peeled fresh ginger – sliced.
400ml water.

Stock Syrup:
500ml water.
200g sugar.
1 slice of orange.
1 slice of lemon.
1 bay leaf.
3 cardamon pods.
3 cloves.
5cm cinnamon stick.

Method/cook:

Ice Cream:
Bring all the ingredients to a simmer – leave to cool.
Once cooled add the mixture to ice cream maker to churn.
After approx’ 50 minutes it will form a soft ice cream.
Transfer soft ice cream to a plastic container – with lid – and pop in the freezer for several hours.
Note: Ice cream made with ice cream makers still need to be popped into a freezer – don’t expect the ice cream maker to give you a finished product. Once the ice cream reaches an almost frozen state the mixing paddle will stop turning, but not all the mixture is frozen. Add this extra freezing time to your timings. Ice cream makers with integrated compressor are best.

Stem Ginger:
In a pan, with a lid, simmer the sliced ginger in the 400ml of water until soft – 40-60 mins’. Be careful that the pan doesn’t boil dry.
While the ginger simmers make the stock syrup.
Put all the stock syrup ingredients into a pan. Bring to the boil and simmer for 30 minutes.
When the ginger is soft add the stock syrup and simmer until liquid is reduced by half and syrup thickens.
Store in sterilised jam jars.

Sponge: 
Firstly prepare the pudding moulds.
Grease each mould with butter.
Pop a small amount of chopped stem ginger into the bottom of each mould.
Add a teaspoon of golden syrup to the bottom of each mould.
Slice 6 apricots and line each mould. (See image)
_V2A6300

Once the moulds are lined, prepare the sponge mix.
Crack the eggs into a dish and beat with a fork until well mixed. Set aside.
Seive the flour and bicarb’ of soda together. Set aside.
Cream butter and sugar with an electric whisk – or use a wooden spoon if you feel that you need a work out.
Once the butter and sugar are well creamed add the beaten egg a little at a time.
Once all the egg has been incorporated fold in the sieved flour and bicarb’ of soda.
Divide sponge mixture between the 6 moulds. (see iamge)
Note: Chilled eggs will cause the mixture to split, so use eggs that have been stored at room temperature. If the mixture splits before all the egg has been added, mix in a dessert spoon or two of the sieved flour – this should fix it.
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Cover each pudding with parchment paper and then a piece of tin foil. Secure with elastic bands. (see images)
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Note the fold in the parchment paper – this is to allow the sponges to rise during steaming.
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Steam the sponges for 35-40 mins.
To steam the sponges, line the base of a large pan with baking beans or a wire trivet.
Just cover the beans or trivet with water and bring to a simmer.
Add the sealed puddings to the simmering water and top up with boiling water so the level reaches half way up the pudding moulds. (see image)
_V2A6307
Put a lid on the pan and steam the puddings for 35-40 minutes on a low flame.
Once cooked, remove parchment paper and foil. Turn out onto plates and serve with the ice cream, fresh apricot slices and fresh cream.
Enjoy.

duck breast, food blogging, food photography, recipes, savoury

Duck Breast with Rhubarb and Orange Chutney

duck with rhubarb and orange chutney.
Duck breast served with spiced stuffed peppers and a rhubarb and orange chutney.

You’d be ‘quackers’ not to try this for yourself.

Ingredients:  (serves two)
2 duck breasts.
seasoning – salt and pepper.

Chutney:
1 stick rhubarb.
Juice of 1 large orange.
Zest of half an orange.
1/4 onion – diced.
1/2 clove garlic – crushed.
100ml chicken stock.
1 dessert spoon of mango chutney.
2 tsps sugar.
1 dessert spoon of olive/veg’ oil.
seasoning – salt and pepper.

Stuffed Mini Peppers:
8 mini sweet peppers – washed.
80g couscous.
110ml hot chicken stock.
1/4 onion finely diced.
1 button mushroom finely chopped.
1/2 chilli finely diced.
1/2 tsp turmeric.
1/2 tsp ground coriander.
1/2 tsp paprika.
4 dessert spoons olive/veg’ oil.

1 dessert spoon of mango chutney.
2 sun-dried tomatoes – chopped.
seasoning – salt and pepper.
drizzle of olive/veg’ oil for roasting peppers.

Garnish/salad:
1 bunch of watercress – washed.
zest of 1/2 an orange.
1/2 chilli sliced.
2 sun-dried tomatoes – sliced.
Drizzle of olive oil.

Method/cook:
Firstly prepare the stuffed peppers.
In a heat proof dish add your hot chicken stock ( bring the stock to a simmer) to the dry couscous. Leave to soak for ten minutes.
Add oil and spices to a frying pan and gently warm – don’t overheat as the spices will burn.
Add onion, chilli and mushroom to the warm spices and cook until onions are soft. Add a touch more oil if the pan becomes dry.
Once the onions are soft, add the contents of the pan, the sun-dried tomatoes and mango chutney, to the soaked couscous. Season with salt and pepper and thoroughly mix. (Keep the pan for cooking chutney as it contains a residue of flavour.}
Cut the top off the peppers – see image:

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Stuff the peppers with the couscous mix and place in a baking tray.
Replace the tops and secure with cocktail sticks.
Wrap a ring of foil around the peppers to keep them upright – see image:
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Drizzle your peppers with oil and roast for 30 minutes at  gas 6 or 200°C / 400°F.
When the peppers are cooked, carefully trim off any stalks from their bottoms. Keep warm.

Rhubarb and Orange Chutney: 
In the frying pan add the oil, onion and garlic – lightly fry until onions are soft.
Then, add the orange juice, zest, rhubarb, stock, mango chutney and sugar – place a lid on the pan and gently cook until rhubarb is soft.
Once the rhubarb is soft blend the ingredients and season with salt and pepper – set aside.

The Duck Breast:
Set oven to gas 7 or 220°C / 425°F
Score along the skin of each duck breast – 6 to 8 cuts on each breast.
Season each breast with salt and pepper.
Place both duck breast skin side down in a medium hot frying pan.
Fry duck breasts until skin is golden brown.
When skin is golden brown, seal the flesh sides of duck breast and place in pre-heated oven for 8-10 minutes – if you like your meat pink. 20 minutes for well cooked but not over done.
When cooked, leave to rest for 4 minutes before slicing.

Garnish/salad:
Mix together your washed watercress, orange zest, sliced chilli.

Serving:
Slice your cooked duck breast and serve with the stuffed peppers, watercress salad and rhubarb and orange chutney.
Garnish with slices of sun-dried tomatoes. Drizzle with olive oil.

Enjoy this simple but tasty dish.

desserts, food blogging, restaurant food, tarts

Custard Tart

Custard Tart
Deep Filled Custard Tart with Toffee Sauce, Glazed Bananas and a Sultana Syrup.

A wonderful dessert to follow a Sunday lunch.

Pastry: (for six tarts)
300g plain flour.
180g unsalted butter – cold.
1 large egg.
70g caster sugar.
2-3 tabls cold water.
Pinch of salt.

Egg Custard:
3 eggs.
30g caster sugar.
400ml whole milk.
1 tsp vanilla extract.
Fresh nutmeg for grating.

Toffee Sauce:
100g sugar.
300ml double cream.
50g butter.

Sultana Syrup:
200ml water.
3 dessert spoons of sugar.
bay leaf.
3 cloves.
slice of lemon.
slice of orange.
50g of sultanas.

Glazed Bananas:
3 small ripe bananas.
15g of icing sugar and some for dusting.

Hazelnuts optional.

Method/Cook:

Pastry:
Add flour and salt to a bowl and rub in the cold butter to a fine crumb.
Lightly hand whisk the egg and sugar together.
Add the egg and sugar mixture to the flour mix to form a dough.
If needed, add cold water, a tablespoon at a time, if the dough is a little dry.
Once the dough is made place in the refrigerator to chill – 1 hour.
Divide pastry into 6 equal portions.
Roll out each portion of pastry and line six round 9cm/3.5″ baking rings. I use non-stick egg rings with a depth of 4cm/1.5″
After lining rings with pastry ‘bake blind’ (see note) for 10 minutes at gas 6 or 400°F / 204°C. After 10 minutes remove parchment paper and baking beans and bake for a further 5 minutes.
Once tart cases are baked remove from the oven and leave to cool – do not remove the rings at this point.
Note: Baking blind. Line your uncooked pastry cases with parchment paper, bottom and sides, fill each ring with baking beans or dried peas. This stops the pastry from rising at the base and falling in at the sides.

Custard filling:
Lightly hand whisk the eggs and the sugar together in a bowl.
Heat the milk and vanilla in a pan until just warm.
Pour the warm milk onto your egg and sugar mixture and hand whisk together.
Transfer the mixture to a pouring jug and pour into your cooled pastry tart cases.
Once you have filled your pastry cases with custard, grate the top of each tart with fresh nutmeg.
Place in the oven and bake for 30 minutes or until custard has set. Gas 6 or 400°F / 204°C.
When cooked, remove from the oven and set aside.

Toffee Sauce:
Place sugar in a thick bottomed pan over a low heat – do not stir as sugar will crystallize before turning to a caramel.
When the sugar melts and starts to turn a golden brown remove from the heat.
Add the cream and butter – be careful at this point as the caramel is extremely hot and will bubble up as you add the cream.
On a low heat continue to stir until all the ingredients have formed a smooth sauce.
Note: On adding the cream, some of the the caramel will go hard and sticky. This caramel will melt as you stir cook the sauce out.
Once ready set aside.

Sultana Syrup:
Place all the ingredients except the sultanas in a pan.
Bring to a simmer and simmer for a further ten minutes.
Add the sultans and simmer until the liquid has reduced by half. Leave to cool.

Glazed Bananas:
Slice bananas into 5mm / 1/4″ slices and place on a non-stick baking tray lined with parchment paper.
Dust each slice with icing sugar and place under a medium grill until each slice turns a light golden brown. Or us a blowtorch if you have one.

To Serve:
Top your cooked tarts with a little of the toffee sauce and serve with the glazed bananas and sultana syrup. Dust with icing sugar.
Hazelnuts can be used to garnish for a little extra texture.
Note: The toffee sauce and syrup can be served warm as can the tart – enjoy.

bread, celebration, chocolate, Easter, food blogging, thefoodygrail.com

Chocolate and Orange Easter Bread

Easter Bread. Chocolate and Orange.
Chocolate and orange Easter Bread.

A sweet treat for Easter – or any occasion really.
This recipe is my own and, with a method similar to baking a Stollen, is very easy to make. It uses a simple fortified dough (containing eggs and butter) and takes little kneading. Give it a go.

Ingredients:

For the dough:
10″ or 25.5cm non-stick baking tin – greased and lined with parchment paper.
600g Strong Flour – plus some for kneading.
150ml warm milk – blood temperature.
200g unsalted butter – must be unsalted.
1 whole egg and 1 egg yolk.
2 tsps salt.
2 tabls caster sugar.
25g dried active yeast or 50g fresh yeast.
1 tsp vanilla extract.
Butter for greasing.

Filling:
180g Chocolate spread.
55g crushed Pistachio nuts.
Zest from 3 large oranges.

Glaze:
1/4 jar of Apricot jam.

Decoration:
1 packet of mini eggs.

Method:
In a large bowl stir 50g of butter into the warm milk.
When the butter has melted into the milk add the yeast, sugar and 2 heaped tablespoons of flour – taken from the 600g of flour that you have already weighed.
Tip: To remove any lumps of flour from the ferment – lightly whisk with a hand whisk.
Leave the milk and yeast mixture to ferment for 30-40 minutes. The mixture will bubble and quadruple in size.
In a second large bowl combine the flour, sugar and salt and rub in the remaining 150g of butter, until all the butter has dispersed into the flour. Make a well in the centre.
In a separate bowl lightly whisk, with a fork, the egg, egg yolk and vanilla.
When the ferment is ready add, with the eggs and vanilla, to the flour and butter mix.
Combine all the ingredients into a dough. Knead on a floured surface for 5 minutes.
Once kneaded, put the dough into a floured bowl, cover with cling film and leave to prove in a warm place until doubled in size.
Note: The first prove can take 2 hours.
Note: Unsalted butter is essential for the ferment, as salt will prevent yeast from activating.
Note: If you think that the dough is a little dry, add a touch more warm milk. If it’s to wet/sticky add a touch more flour.

Rolling the dough:

Once the dough has proved, roll out, on a lightly floured surface, into an oblong shape, approx’ 18″ x 13″ or 46cm x 33cm (see image 1 – below) and 1/4″ or 6mm in thickness.
Once rolled out to the required size, cover with chocolate spread and sprinkle with crushed pistachio nuts and the zest of the oranges. (see image 2 – below)
Roll up the dough into a sausage shape. Once rolled continue to roll the dough back and forth lightly stretching the length to approx’ 21″ or 53cm.  (See image 3 below.)
Once rolled to the desired length, trim 1/2″ or 1cm off each end.
Now, with a sharp knife, cut the dough into even pieces – approx’ 1 and a 1/4″ or 3.5cm in length.
Arrange the cut pieces of dough in a greased and lined baking tin. (see image 4 – below)
Cover with cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for 2 hours.
Once proved bake in a preheated oven on Gas 6 or 190°C / 375°F for 30-35 minutes.

Note: Don’t cram the baking tin with cut dough pieces – leave room for the dough to expand while proving. Any pieces that won’t fit in the tin just bake as separate buns and have with a cuppa’.

Glazing:

When Easter Bread is baked, remove from the oven.
Gently heat 4 tablespoons of Apricot jam in a pan until melted and liquid.
Remove the, warm, baked Easter Bread from the baking tin place on a wire rack.
Spoon the melted apricot jam over the warm bread, and using a pastry brush, make sure that the top and sides are covered with the apricot glaze.
Leave to cool, then store in an airtight container.

Decorate with mini eggs, if you so wish. Enjoy.

Image 1.                                                                   Image 2.
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Image 3.                                                                                          Image 4.
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bread, food blogging, soup

Celery, Leek and Potato Soup with Walnut Bread

Soup and bread.
Two for one – a tasty soup accompanied with a crusty walnut bread.

Whatever the time of year, I do like a warm comforting  soup.  I got to share a bowl with my neighbour today as we both put the world to rights – well it makes a change from talking about the weather.

Ingredients:

Soup: (makes approx’ 2 litres.)
2 1/2 pints or 1.420 litres of chicken stock.
50g butter.
1/2 leek.
1 onion.
5 sticks of celery.
5g fresh parsley.
sprig of fresh thyme.
4 medium sized or 800g of potatoes. Peeled and cut into quarters.
Salt and white pepper for seasoning.
Small pot of Crème Friâche.
Fresh parsley for garnish.

Walnut Bread: (makes a 10″ x 5.5″ loaf)
300g strong flour.
1/2 tsp salt
150ml warm water.
2 tsps. dried active yeast or 5g of fresh yeast.
55g crushed walnuts.
1 egg for glazing.
3g grated parmesan (optional)
Veg’ Oil for greasing tray.

Method/cook:

Soup:
In a large pan melt the butter.
Sweat off the celery, leek and onion until soft.
Add the potatoes, parsley, thyme and chicken stock.
Bring the contents of the pan to a simmer.
Once simmering, place a lid on the pan, and cook for 20 minutes – or until the potatoes are cooked.
When the potatoes are cooked blend the contents of the pan with a hand blender until smooth.
Once blended, season with salt and pepper.

Serve:
Serve with Crème Friâche and a sprig of parsley.

Walnut Bread:
Set oven to gas 8 or 230°C /450°F
Mix active yeast with 150ml warm water – leave to ferment for 15 minutes.
Combine flour and walnuts into a mixing bowl and make a well in the centre.
Add salt to the edge of the flour – not in the centre.
Once active yeast has begun to froth add to the flour and mix to a dough.
On a lightly floured work surface, need the dough for 10 minutes or until you have a smooth dough.
Once needed, place dough into a floured bowl.
Cover with a damp cloth or cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for 40 minutes or until doubled in size.
Once dough has doubled in size – need again for a further 2 minutes.
Shape dough into a slipper/sausage shape approx’ 8″ long.
Place shaped dough onto a greased and floured baking tray.
Brush with beaten egg, cover with a damp cloth or cling film, and leave to prove again until doubled in size.
Once doubled in size bake in the middle of the oven for 20-30 minutes.

Tip: Before baking, grate parmesan cheese over the top of the risen dough.

Note: If using ‘easy cook yeast’ follow instructions on the packet.

Grilled Cod.
food blogging

Grilled Fillet of Cod

A tasty grilled fish dish for lunch or dinner.
Like any fish dish – simplicity is best – let the main ingredient be the star of the show.

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Grilled Cod on a bed of spring cabbage. Served with crispy bacon and a light tomato puree.

Ingredients for two:
Two cod fillets – skinned and boned.
Fresh Tomato Puree:
3 shallots – peeled and chopped.
5  ripe tomatoes chopped – vine tomatoes are best.
30g of butter.
1 dessert spoon of tomato puree.
1tsp sugar.
Salt and ground black pepper to season.
1 tsp balsamic vinegar – optional.
Garnish:
6 green beans – topped and tailed.
1/2 savoy cabbage – chopped.
35g butter.
1 cup of water.
6 rashers of streaky bacon.
Fresh basil leaves as garnish.
2 wedges of lemon – optional.

 

Method/cook:
Set oven to gas mark 7 – 425f/220c

Tomato Puree:
In a pan sweat your chopped shallot or onion with the butter.
When the shallots/onion have softened, add the chopped tomato, tomato puree and sugar.
Place a lid on the pan and, over a low heat, cook for 30-40 minutes – stirring every 5 minutes to prevent the contents from sticking/burning.
Once the tomatoes have broken down to a soft puree blend with a hand blender and season with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Garnish:
Place your 6 rashers of streaky bacon on a non-stick tray and place a further non-stick tray on top of the bacon – place in the oven for 30-40 minutes or until the bacon is cooked and crispy. Check after 20 mins’.
Tip:Lay your bacon between two sheets of greasproof paper before placing between baking trays – this prevents bacon from sticking.
Cook your green beans in boiling water for 4 minutes – refresh in cold water, drain and set aside.
Add your chopped cabbage to a pan of boiling water – cook for 3 minutes. Refresh in cold water, drain and set aside.

Grilling Fish:
Turn on your grill to medium:
Grease a flat oven-tray with butter.
Place the fish on the tray and smear the fish with thin layer of butter.
Season with salt and black pepper.
Grill for 10 minutes or until fish is cooked – keep warm.
Reheat your tomato puree on a low heat.

Tip: Add a teaspoon of balsamic vinegar to your puree for a little extra flavour.

As the fish grills place 35g of butter into a pan with a cup of water.
Bring the butter and water to a simmer – add your beans and cabbage and season with salt and pepper. Heat for two minutes or when vegetables are hot enough to serve.

Remove bacon from the oven and it will crisp as it cools.

When the fish is cooked you are ready to plate. Enjoy.

desserts

Chocolate Mouse Cheesecake

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An indulgent chocolate dessert to grace any dinner party.

 

Recipe/ingredients:

You will need a 25cm x 6cm cake tin. Spring loaded if you have one, but not essential. Electric whisk and a balloon whisk.

For the chocolate cheesecake mouse:
200g dark chocolate – 70% cocoa.
3 large eggs separated.
200g cream cheese.
300ml double cream.
100g caster sugar. (Split sugar into two measures of 60g and 40g.)
1 and a 1/2 leaves of gelatin.
1 tsp vanilla essence/extract.
Juice of half a small lemon or a tablespoon of brandy.
1 tbls of cocoa powder for dusting.

For the base:
120g melted butter.
300g digestive biscuits.
5g of butter for greasing tin.

Method:

For biscuit base:
Grease cake tin with thin layer of butter, then line base and sides of tin with greaseproof paper.
Crush biscuits to a crumb by putting in a strong plastic bag and hitting with a rolling pin – or use a food processor.
Once the biscuits have been crushed place into a bowl and mix with the melted butter.
Put the biscuit mix into your lined cake tin. Using the back of a dessert spoon press and smooth the biscuit mixture down evenly to create your biscuit base.
Set aside in a refrigerator to chill for 1 hour.

For chocolate cheesecake mouse:
Put gelatin in a dish of cold water to soften.
Break chocolate, into heat proof bowl, and place over a pan of simmering water to melt.
Whip the double cream to soft peaks and set aside in a refrigerator.
Thoroughly mix cream cheese with 40g of caster sugar, set aside.
Over a pan of simmering hot water, whisk 3 egg yolks, vanilla and lemon juice (or brandy) for 5 minutes with an electric whisk. Be careful not to scramble the yolks.
Add softened gelatin to the egg yolk mix and continue whisking until combined and all the gelatin has melted.
Add the melted chocolate to the egg yolks, and using a balloon whisk, mix until all the chocolate is combined. Remove from heat and set aside. See Note.
In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks then whisk in 60g of sugar to create a meringue.
You are now ready to combine the cream cheese, whipped cream, and meringue to the egg yolk and chocolate mixture.
With a balloon whisk, combine the cream cheese and double cream together.
Now add cream cheese and double cream mixture to the chocolate and egg yolk mixture – mix thoroughly with balloon whisk.
Now fold in the meringue with balloon whisk. Once combined, pour into your lined cake tin and level off the surface.
Chill overnight and enjoy.

Serve with a fruit compote of your choice – I chose cherry.

Tip: Before removing from the tin, leave at room temperature for 30 minutes. This will prevent the tin dragging the sides of the cheesecake as you lift if off.

Tip: Dust each serving with cocoa powder.

Note: If your chocolate and egg yolk mixture splits, or becomes to thick, whisk over a pan of simmering water to loosen. Add an extra dessert spoon of lemon or brandy if need be, and all will be good.

Thanks for taking the time to read my blog.

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Honeycomb Dessert

Rich and sweet – as a dessert should be.  A great looking pud’ that can be made several days in advance, saving you time and effort.

Honeycomb / cinder toffee dessert.
A crisp brandy snap basket filled with honeycomb ice cream. Served with mini chocolate sponge squares, chocolate sauce and raspberries topped with lemon sugar.

Enjoyed this today after lunch – just having a lie down.

Honeycomb / cinder toffee:
100g caster sugar.
2 full tbls golden syrup.
1 heaped tsp bicarbonate of soda.
Oil for greasing

Ice Cream:
Recipe will make approx’ 2.4 liters of ice cream – when combined with honeycomb.
900ml of double cream.
150g sugar.
3 tbls cold water.
5 large egg yolks.
1 tsp vanilla extract/flavouring.
Juice of half a lemon.

Chocolate Genoise Sponge Squares:
4 eggs.
115g caster sugar.
90g plain flour.
25g cocoa powder.
55g melted butter.
1tsp vanilla extract/flavouring.

2 tbls apricot jam/marmalade.
1 tbls water.
50g grated dark chocolate.
raspberry liqueur or brandy.

Brandy Sanps:
50g brown sugar.
50g butter.
1 dessert spoon/50g golden sryup.
50g plain flour.
1/2 tsp ground ginger.
1tsp lemon juice.
1tsp brandy (optional).
Vegetable oil for greasing baking tray.

Chocolate Sauce:
100g dark chocolate – 70% cocoa.
160ml milk.
50ml double cream.
1 tsp sugar.

Raspberries and Lemon Icing:
Small punnet of Raspberries.
3 level tablespoons sugar.
Juice of half a lemon.

Cook/Method:

Plan ahead when making this dessert as the ice cream will need twelve hours in a freezer before it’s… well, ice cream. The great thing about this ice cream is that you don’t need an ice cream maker. Just follow the method and pop it in the freezer. In the words of Gordon Ramsey, “ice ∗∗∗∗ cream ∗∗∗∗ done.”

The chocolate sponge, brandy snaps and honeycomb can all be made several days in advance – store in air tight containers. “Put your feet up and have a coffee,”  what’s wrong with that Gordon?

The chocolate sauce can be made the day before and kept in a refrigerator – heat up and serve when needed. “Go to the pub for an hour,” no need for expletives here, Mr Ramsey.

The Raspberries with lemon icing, just make on the day you plan to serve.

One – Honeycomb:
Grease and line a 25cm x 20cm non-stick baking tin with good quality grease-proof paper. Extend the greaseproof paper beyond the edges of the tin by 2.5cm or 1 inch.
Have ready a balloon whisk.
Have ready a heaped teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda.
Put the sugar and syrup in to a thick bottomed pan. Place on a low heat and stir. Slowly melt the sugar and syrup until the grains of sugar have melted.
Turn up the heat slightly and cook the sugar mixture to a light caramel.
Remove from the heat and immediately add your bicarbonate of soda and quickly whisk.
Pour mixture into your greased and lined baking tin.
Leave to cool for 1 hour and 30 mins’.
When cold remove from tin, peel off greaseproof paper and store in an airtight container. Set aside to add to the ice cream later.
Note: I usually double the ingredients and save half of the cooked honeycomb as a treat – when I have been good.

Two – Ice Cream:
Note: Jam/sugar thermometer not essential for making the ice cream but handy if you happen to own one.
Whip the double cream until it turns thick and creamy – don’t over whip – set aside in refrigerator.
Put sugar and cold water into a thick bottomed pan. Place on hob on a low heat. Do not stir, let the sugar slowly melt to a syrup. While the sugar melts go to next step.
Add the five egg yolks, lemon juice and vanilla extract to a heat proof mixing bowl.
Place mixing bowl with egg yolks and lemon and vanilla over a pan of simmering hot water and whisk for 5 minutes with a electric whisk. Take care not to scramble the eggs. The mixture should turn a pale cream colour and thicken to ribbon stage. Remove from the heat and whisk for two more minutes – set aside.
Check your sugar. If you have a sugar/jam thermometer place in the pan with melted sugar and bring heat up to 230°f/110°c. If you don’t have a sugar thermometer turn up the heat to medium and cook the sugar syrup for 2 minutes – don’t let the sugar syrup colour.  The syrup should be clear and starting to produce surface bubbles as it simmers.
When sugar syrup is ready let it cool for two minutes then whisk sugar syrup into your egg yolk mixture. Whisk for 5 minutes until the mixture thickens.
Add your whipped double cream to the egg yolk and syrup mixture, and using a balloon whisk, thoroughly fold the mixture together.
Take your previously made honeycomb and crush into small peices. Fold crushed honeycomb into the cream mixture.
Pop the mixture into an airtight container and freeze for 12 hours.
Pat yourself on the back and have a cup of tea.

Three – Chocolate Genoise Sponge:
Grease and line a 20cm x 25cm baking tin with greaseproof paper.
Set oven to gas mark 6 or 400°f/200°c
Sieve the flour and cocoa powder together into a bowl – set aside.
In a small dish mix together the melted butter and vanilla – set aside.
Crack the eggs into a heat proof bowl, add the sugar, and whisk over a pan of simmering hot water, with a electric whisk, for 5 minutes.
When the egg and sugar mixture has thickened and increased in volume, to ribbon stage, remove from the heat.
Using a balloon whisk, gently fold half of your sieved flour and cocoa powder, and half of your melted butter mix into the egg mixture.
Fold the remaining flour, cocoa and melted butter into the egg mixture.
Pour sponge mix into prepared cake tin.
Bake at gas mark 6 or 400°f/200°c for 20-30 minutes on middle shelf.
When the sponge has cooled wrap in cling film and store in the fridge.

To make the sponge squares:
Cut as many squares of sponge that you will need – approximately three to five 2cm squares per person will be enough. Freeze any sponge that you don’t use.
Place your sponge squares on greaseproof paper and pour a teaspoon of raspberry liqueur/brandy over each one. Set aside.
Gently heat your apricot jam/marmalade and water until jam is melted.
Brush your sponge squares, on all sides, with the melted jam.
Roll your sponge squares in grated chocolate. Set aside in refrigerator until ready to use.

Four – Brandy Snaps:
Preheat oven to gas mark 4 or 350°f/175°c
Lightly grease, with oil, two upturned ramekin dishes.
Add Butter, sugar and syrup to a pan. Place on a low heat and stir until sugar grains have melted. Remove from the heat.
Add the brandy and lemon juice to the sugar mixture and stir.
Add the sieved flour and ground ginger.
Heat your greased baking tray in the oven for 3 minutes.
Once tray is heated, remove from the oven, and place two, separate, heaped dessert spoons of the brandy snap mixture on the tray. The mixture spreads as it cooks so place each spoonful far enough apart so that they don’t run into each other.
Place tray in oven to cook the brandy snaps – approx 15 mins’.
When the mixture has spread and turned to a golden brown, remove from the oven.
Leave the brandy snaps to cool for 30 seconds before attempting to lift them from the tray.
Using a palette knife, or wide metal scraper, carefully slide under the brandy snap. Lift brandy snap off the tray and drape over an upturned ramekin dish – mold the brandy snap over the ramekin to create the basket shape.
Once cooled and set remove the brandy from ramekin and store in an airtight container.

Tip: Loosen around the edges of the brandy snap first before sliding palette knife all the way under.
Tip: If the brandy snap becomes crisp before you have had the chance to mold it over the ramekin – place brandy snap back on the tray and put back in the oven for a minute to soften.
Tip: Use two trays and cook four brandy snaps at a time.

Five – Chocolate Sauce:
Break the chocolate into small pieces and place all the ingredients into a small pan.
Heat over a gentle heat until all the chocolate has melted into the milk and cream.
Simmer and lightly hand whisk until smooth. ( Don’t boil.)
Serve hot or cold.
When left to cool the chocolate sauce can be stored in the refrigerator in a covered receptacle.

Six – Raspberries and Lemon Icing:
Place 3-5 raspberries per person on greaseproof paper.
Place sugar and lemon juice into a pan.
Heat on a low heat while stirring.
The sugar will go cloudy and start to turn to a soft icing – if it goes hard add a tablespoon of water to soften.
Spoon a small blob of the sugar mixture on each of the raspberries. The sugar icing should be thick enough not to run off the raspberry and will set to a hard crust on the outside.

Serve.