Thursday, 29 April 2010

Preserved lemons

Like many of you out there, I have been enjoying spending my Wednesday evenings traveling Europe with Jamie Oliver. So far we've been to Marrakesh, Andalucia and Stockholm with Venice, French Pyrenees and Athens still to come. I have to say he has to be up there as one of my favorite TV chefs, he's just so enthusiastic and his recipes are very accessible (and always delicious), that he never fails to inspiring me to get in the kitchen. I particularly liked the look of the Moroccan tagines (especially the lamb and the chicken ones), the selection of tapas, paella, fish baked in salt and last nights Swedish buns.

I have that many cookbooks that I was trying to resist buying his new one but after only the second episode I cracked and bought it with my weekly shop! The book has all the recipes from the show and more so I wasn't disappointed. First up I decided to prepare my own preserved lemons so that I can have a go at the Moroccan tagines. The recipe is simple, with the only draw back being the wait of one month for them to be ready. I won't copy the recipe here but here is a similar one.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Tuesday, 6 April 2010

Homemade baked beans recipe

A couple of weeks back I got a phone call from my boyfriend whilst he was at work. Nothing unusual there you might think but he was ringing to tell me he had bought half a lamb from a work colleague and could I find room in the freezer for it. His colleagues brother has his own farm only 30 minutes from where we live and was selling half lambs and with the memory of the Lancashire hotpot still fresh in his mind my boyfriend jumped at the chance. You can't get much more local!

Now we don't have a chest freezer or anything like that, just your average tall fridge/freezer, so creating room for a half a lamb would be no easy task. We decided the best thing would be to split it with his parents, leaving us each with a quarter of a lamb. I set about sorting through our well packed, mostly unlabelled freezer (I know, I know I should label things but only one mystery item was unearthed). I managed to empty one and a half drawers and luckily it all fitted in one draw in the end. The only problem we had when the meat arrived was that none of it was labelled with the cut! Thankfully my boyfriends mum was able to identify it all and we labelled it all up and split the lamb between us. So expect plenty of lamb recipes over the coming months.

First up I decided to slow roast the shoulder of lamb over the Easter weekend. During the week leading up to Easter I saw an episode of Market kitchen where they cooked Sheppard's pie with homemade baked beans. The baked beans looked really easy to make and from the comments the dinners were making they sounded delicious. I've been meaning to make my own bake beans for some time but never quiet got round to it and on top of that I had an unopened bottle of pomegranate molasses waiting to be put to good use. The recipe was easy, the beans were delicious (perhaps a little too sweet for my liking so will tweak the recipe a little next time) and worked perfectly with the slow roast lamb and crusty baguettes still warm from the oven. If you thought there was no point making baked beans think again! these have a million times more flavour than any you can find in a tin.

Homemade baked beans
serves 4

100g lardons bacon
2 shallots, chopped
150ml tomato ketchup
100ml beer
50ml pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp dijon mustard
1 tbsp dark brown sugar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
2 x 400g cans haricot beans, drained and rinsed

fry the bacon and shallots in a large pan over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes, or until golden-brown. Add all of the remaining baked bean ingredients and bring to a simmer. Transfer the mixture to a baking dish and bake for 1 hour, or until the mixture is thickened.

Stumble Upon Toolbar

Monday, 5 April 2010

Easter cupcakes

Happy Easter, I hope you all have had a great weekend and eaten lots of chocolate! I have a few posts planned for the next few days featuring some of the cooking and baking I have done this bank holiday weekend (we need more long weekends!). First up I have some Easter cupcakes to show you. Then tomorrow I will be blogging about the delicious homemade bake beans I served with delicious slow roast shoulder of lamb and crusty baguettes fresh from the oven. Finally I hope to share with you a recipe using left over roast lamb to make Shepard's pie.

So on to the Easter baking. Silver spoon recently sent me a selection of their new range of edible cake decorations to try out and tell you all about. I regularly use items from the Silver spoon range and have always been happy with them so jumped at the chance to try their new range. The parcel included a yellow icing pen, chocolate chips, food colourings, orange and lemon extract and a couple of tubes of sprinkles. Since there was only the two of us this weekend to eat them and what with all the Easter eggs I decided to make cupcakes rather than a cake. Cupcakes also meant I could try out a few of the sprinkles/icing as each cake could be different. Since it was Easter I also bought a bag of mini eggs to add to the decorations. I haven't used the natural lemon or orange extract yet as I haven't been able to find a recipe using them, so if any one knows any please leave me a comment.
The icing pens are a great idea. I have used them before and have always been happy with the colour, consistency and ease of use. The decorations were also tasty to eat and produced great results. This is the first time I have used this cupcake recipe which is from Gorgeous cakes by Annie Bell, a recent addition to my bookshelf. The book is packed full of stunning cakes which I can't wait for an excuse to bake them all! This recipe will definitely be used again as it is much nicer than the ones I've used before and so quick to prepare (30 minutes from weighing ingredients to coming out of the oven, helped by my trusty kitchenAid).

Adapted from Gorgeous cakes by Annie Bell
Makes 6 cupcakes

110g unsalted butter,
110g golden caster sugar,
110g plain flour,
2 large eggs,
1 teaspoon baking powder.

Preheat the oven to 180C fan/200C/ gas mark 6. Line a muffin tray with 6 cupcake of muffin paper cases.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixer. Add the eggs, flour and baking powder and mix well.

Fill the cases by two-thirds with the cake mixture.

Bake for 17-20 minutes until risen, springy to the touch and lightly golden. Leave to cool before icing.

Have fun and decorate the cupcakes with your choice of icings and decorations. See here for the great range of decorations available from silver spoon. Thank you to Silver spoon for providing me with the samples to write this review.

Stumble Upon Toolbar