Welcome to my 'foody' food bearing blog. Now that my blogging journey has begun, and the first shallot has been peeled, I hope to inspire kitchen creatives in a quest to find their 'foody grail'. All recipes are my own as are the images.
Whatever the time of year, I do like a warm comforting soup. I got to share a bowl with my elderly neighbour today, while he put the world to rights.
Soup, bread and brexit. If only politicians could speak so lucidly with hot soup dribbling down their chins. Anyway, one free lunch later – politicians again – my neighbour thanked me then hobbled off for his afternoon nap.
I always get a warm feeling when I share home cooked food – even more so with a well seasoned soup. That warm feeling is always reciprocated and I can only put it down to the simple act of sharing or kindness. I know that acts of kindness can alter brain chemistry in a positive way with increased levels of dopamine and serotonin. But what I have found, when sharing food, is that it creates a bond between myself and the recipient. Oxytocin is a bonding hormone so my conclusion is that sharing soup is a great way to improve well being and personal mood, on every level.
‘Share a Soup Day’ sounds like a good idea.
Soup: (makes approx’ 2 litres.)
2 1/2 pints or 1.420 litres of chicken stock.
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.
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 with Crème Friâche and a sprig of parsley.
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.
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.
Salt and ground black pepper to season.
1 tsp balsamic vinegar.
6 rashers of streaky bacon.
6 green beans – topped, tailed and blanched.
1/2 savoy cabbage – chopped and blanched.
1 cup of water.
2 wedges of lemon.
Fresh basil leaves.
Set oven to gas mark 7 – 425f/220c
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.
Once the bacon rashers are cooked remove from the tray and set aside.
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 and balsamic vinegar. Set aside.
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.
In a pan bring to a simmer a cup of water with the 35g of butter. Add your blanched beans and cabbage. Season with salt and white pepper. Pop a lid on the pan and heat your veg’ for 2 mins’.
Serve your grilled fish with hot tomato puree, warm crispy bacon rashers and your veg’.
Serve with a wedge of lemon and basil leaves.
An indulgent chocolate dessert to grace any dinner party.
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.
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.
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.
Enjoyed this today after dinner – 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
Recipe will make approx’ 2.4 liters of ice cream – when combined with honeycomb.
900ml of double cream.
3 tbls cold water.
5 large egg yolks.
1 tsp vanilla extract/flavouring.
Juice of half a lemon.
Raspberries and Lemon Icing:
Small punnet of Raspberries.
3 level tablespoons sugar.
Juice of half a lemon.
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.” Best not mention some of his other colloquialisms.
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.
The chocolate sauce can be made the day before and kept in a refrigerator. Go to the pub for an hour. Just heat up the sauce and serve when needed.
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 opaque and start to crystalise. Add a touch of water if sugar hardens.
Spoon a small blobs 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.
With all your prep done it’s time to plate up, serve and enjoy.
I do like a traditional Sunday lunch, but it can become a little samey, roast chicken, roast pork, roast beef…you get the idea. So today, with great trepidation, I have thrown tradition out of the window. This strategy is high risk and I could quite literally be following tradition through the window, followed by liver, red wine sauce and a variety of vegetables. Traditionalists, and teenagers, can be an uncompromising bunch.
Several hours later. Phew! I don’t know what all the fuss was about. The dish went down a storm. “It’s about time we had something different…we are fed up with roasts!”
If you haven’t tried Rose Veal liver then I would highly recommend it. The liver is melt in the mouth and has a sweeter less ‘livery’ flavour than liver from other animals. You may even get a compliment.
Recipe: (for 2 persons)
350-400g Rose Veal Liver.
2 tbls olive oil.
Salt and pepper to season.
2 small potatoes. 170g for each potato.
3 tbls olive oil.
Salt and pepper to season
You will need two 9cm cooking rings.
1 small turnip/swede.
4 tbls olive oil.
2 tsp sugar.
Salt and pepper to season.
Red Wine Sauce:
300ml red wine.
2 tbls red wine vinegar.
1/2 of a red onion – chopped
3 mushrooms – button or chestnut – sliced.
250ml chicken stock.
25g unsalted butter.
Trim veal liver removing any sinew or collagen.
Set aside in the fridge for later.
Set oven to gas mark 6 or 200c/400f.
Put two small pans of water on to boil – one for turnip and one for broccoli.
Three – Roasted shallots:
Peel shallots – leave whole – and place in a oven proof dish.
Spoon over the olive oil add the butter in small pieces.
Sprinkle with the sugar and season with salt and pepper.
Place in the oven on the middle shelf.
They will take approx’ 40 minutes to soften and brown – baste the onions, every 10 minutes, as they cook.
Four – Broccoli and turnip:
While the shallots cook prepare broccoli and turnip.
Peel and slice turnip into 1/4 inch or 1/2 cm slices.
Blanch the slices of turnip for 3 minutes in boiling water.
Refresh turnip slices in cold water, drain and set aside for later.
Trim broccoli and separate the florets. Cook in boiling water for 4 minutes.
Refresh in cold water, drain and set aside for later.
Five – Rosti potato:
Peel two small potatoes and grate into a bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
Place grated potato into the center of a cloth or tea towel. Wrap up the cloth and twist over a bowl to squeeze out the moisture from the grated potato.
Discard any liquid squeezed out from the potato.
Put a large non-stick frying pan on a hob over a medium heat – add the olive oil.
Place your two 9cm cooking rings into the frying pan.
In each ring add a thin layer of grated potato and carefully brown on one side.
When one side of the potato is browned remove the cooking rings and turn each potato rosti over to cook and brown the other side. Once cooked set aside on kitchen paper.
Cook more rosti potatoes until you have used up all the grated potato. Set all your rostis aside for later.
Note: If you have a large enough frying pan and 4 cooking rings then cook four rostis at the same time.
The rostis should be thin enough that they only have one thin layer of potato – They will crisp up once cooked.
Tip: If your frying pan becomes a bit dry, add a drizzle of olive oil to each rosti as they cook.
Check your shallots. They should be turning golden brown and going soft. If they are cooked remove them from the oven and set aside.
Seven – Glazing the turnip:
Place your cooked slices of turnip onto a non-stick tray.
Brush with butter, season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with sugar.
Place under a medium grill and cook until golden brown.
Once cooked set aside for later.
Note: If you have a kitchen blow torch then use that to glaze your turnips.
Eight – Red Wine Sauce:
Melt 7g, or a heaped teaspoon, of the butter in a frying/saute pan.
Add the chopped red onion and sliced mushroom. Lightly fry until golden brown.
Add the red wine vinegar and reduce until vinegar has been absorbed.
Add the red wine and flame to burn off alcohol. Reduce by half.
Add the chicken stock and reduce by half.
Take off the heat and strain into a clean pan. Set aside for later.
Nine – Cooking the veal liver and serving:
Your shallots should be cooked so turn your oven down to gas 3 or 160c/325f
Place your rosti potatoes and turnip in the oven to warm through.
Cook the veal liver in a frying pan with the olive oil and butter.
Seal liver on both sides and fry until cooked.
When cooked, place liver in the oven to keep warm.
Heat your cooked broccoli in a pan of boiling water or microwave.
Put your red sauce on the hob on a medium heat until simmering.
Add 20g of chilled butter and stir until melted. This will slightly thicken and add a sheen to the sauce.
Season the sauce with salt and pepper.
For the final dish I stacked slices of veal liver with rosti potatoes and topped with the slices of glazed turnip – see image.
Around the plate I arranged the cooked broccoli and roasted shallots then drizzled with red wine sauce.
Hope you try this dish as Rose Veal Liver is melt in the mouth gorgeous. Enjoy.
Walking around the supermarket this morning and the fresh salmon fillets sent my creative juices into a tizz – 20% off – I’ll have two.
Half an hour later I was back home in the kitchen unpacking my haul.
“Whats for lunch dad?”
“Salmon…you can give me a hand if you like.”
“Just give me a shout when it’s ready. I’ll be in my room.”
So here it is, my first blogging recipe for two. Light, simple and ‘appreciated’ by teenage offspring. Made this many times since its initial creation as family and friends seem to love the crisp crunch of the croutons and gherkins with the soft flaky salmon.
2 boneless cuts of Salmon fillets. Not from the tail end. Buy thicker fillets from the middle of a whole fillet.
2 tbsp olive oil.
25g unsalted butter.
salt and pepper.
Apple and cider dip:
1 tbsp white wine vinegar.
knob of butter
1/2 of a lemon.
Pinch of sugar.
Salt and pepper to season.
Salad and Croutons:
1 small bag fresh rocket salad.
1 slice thick white bread – for croutons.
2 tbls olive oil.
15g unsalted butter.
One – prepare salmon:
Check salmon fillets for bones – even boneless can sometimes have the odd bone.
Scrape the scales off the skin using a blunt knife.
Rinse the salmon fillets under cold water, dry on kitchen paper, store in fridge for later.
Two – salad:
Wash and dry the rocket salad. Set aside in the fridge.
Three – prepare croutons:
Cut slice of bread into approx’ 1/2 inch squares.
In a frying pan gently heat the olive oil and butter until butter has melted.
Add the squares of bread to the pan and gently cook until golden brown on both sides. Note: You can drizzle a little more oil into the pan, as the croutons cook, if you think
it needs it.
When croutons are golden brown remove from the pan, drain on kitchen paper and set aside for later.
Four – make apple and cider dip:
You will need a small pan with a lid.
Peel, core and slice apples – set aside in a bowl of water with a squeeze of lemon – this stops the apples from going brown.
Peel and chop the shallots into a small dice.
Melt the butter in a small pan and add the onions – gently cook/sweat until onions are soft. Do not brown.
When the onions are soft add the white wine vinegar and reduce on a low heat until absorbed by onions.
Now add the cider and the drained sliced apples to the onions, put a lid on the pan. Cook, for 3 minutes, on a gentle heat until the apples have softened.
Add a pinch of sugar and season with salt and pepper. Set aside for later.
Tip: If you prefer, a smoother apple dip, pass the cooked mixture through a fine sieve or blend with a hand blender.
Five – Tempura Gherkins:
Have your fryer ready on a medium heat.
Dry your pickled gherkins on kitchen paper and lightly coat with flour – this will help the batter to stick.
Add flour, salt and sugar to a bowl then whisk in the tonic water. Your batter is made.
When ready dip Gherkins into the batter and drop, carefully, into fryer. Cook until batter is golden brown. Keep warm.
Tip: Use bamboo skewers to stab the gherkins – dip the gherkins, on the end of the skewers, into the batter. Still on the skewers dip the gherkins into the hot frying oil for 10 seconds – twist the skewer off the gherkin and fry gherkin until golden brown.
Note 1: If you want a thicker batter add more flour, a dessert spoon at a time, until you have the consistency you want.
For a thinner batter add more tonic water, little by little, until it reaches the consistency you prefer.
Note 2: You can batter and deep fry your gherkins before cooking your Salmon, but I prefer to cook them last as they remain crispy when served.
Six – Cooking the salmon:
You will need a non-stick frying pan.
Now that the prep’ (mise en place) is done, it’s time to cook the salmon.
Season the Salmon fillets with salt and pepper.
In a, non-stick, frying pan add the olive oil and heat. Not too hot.
Skin side down add the salmon fillets to the frying pan. Hold each fillet down, for 10 seconds, as you place them in the pan – stops fillets from curling.
Slowly fry on the skin for 3 minutes. Then turn each fillet onto it’s side to seal the sides. Just 15 seconds on each side.
When the salmon sides are sealed turn salmon back onto its skin and add the butter.
Over a medium heat, continue to cook the salmon, for 3-4 minutes, while basting with the butter. Finish with a squeeze of lemon.
Serve your salmon fillets with washed rocket salad, croutons, apple and cider dip and tempura gherkins. Wedge of lemon optional.