29 Dec 2016

HOMEMADE SOFT CREAM CHEESE

Making you're own fresh clean cream cheese at home is really quite simple and very rewarding, this is a really fresh gorgeously creamy cheese that we have enjoyed in many dishes and on it's own, this is a keeper recipe and I was most pleased with myself for a few reasons, first another culinary notch to my belt and one more product that I will never have to purchase again full filling our self sufficient life even further along with the knowledge that this cheese is as pure and clean as can be. 

How Do I Get Fresh Milk?
 I only collect milk direct from our local (ish) Jersey milk farmer, I will admit it some miles (20 miles) from home but I make a special journey and as a family we get to wander around the farm with our son and see all the cows, chickens, goats, pigs geese lamas etc so it is dual purpose visit, well ok ok thats how I sell it to myself..  The pay off...Gorgeous fresh cream cheese!!!

Making Time A Lot Of  Waiting 24hrs Twice / Hands on Time 5 minutes
Equipment: Thermometer / Saucepan / Tea Towel / Muslin / Skewer


Ingredients
(makes 450g)

2 tbsp pre-made starter culture
(recipe to make your own below)

4.5 ltrs whole un homogenised milk
4 drops vegetarian rennet
Sea salt
1 bunch fresh chives chopped

1.     First bring the whole milk to 90 C / 194 F remove from the heat and cool rapidly by placing the hot saucepan in the sink filled with cold water and bring the temperature down to 22 C / 72 F.

2.     Then add the starter culture and the rennet, cover the saucepan and leave at room temperature for 24hrs to allow the curds to form.


3.     Next strain through a cheese muslin cloth, tie up the corners on a skewer over a colander in the sink and leave to drain for a further 20 hours


4.    Remove the cheese from the cloth and flatten out, sprinkle with sea salt and chives, at this point you can add any flavours you like, garlic, black pepper, pineapple, walnuts, basil etc...  Massage in your seasoning to fully incorporate.  


5.     Store in a mason or kilner air tight jar in the fridge and use within 4 weeks.  The older the cream cheese gets the stronger the flavour will be.


MAKING A CHEESE STARTER CULTURE

1 sachet freeze dried cheese starter, 1 litre milk, thermometer, glass jug 1.5 ltr, saucepan, cling film and 2 ice cube trays.

HANDS ON COOKING TIME
10 minutes hands on time several times over 48 hours.
Waxing Time:  20 minutes on day three.

STARTER CULTURE
This is your first and a once only job and will give you approx 20 batches of starter that can be kept in the freezer until needed by filling two ice cube trays and then sealing the frozen cubes in a zip lock food bag.

Ingredients
1 ltr un homogenised milk
1 pack freeze dried cheese starter

MAKING THE STARTER CULTURE
Bring the litre of milk up to 85 C, just under boiling and hold at this temperature for 10 minutes, remove from the heat and cool rapidly by standing the saucepan in cold running water in the sink until the temperature is down to 20 C, sprinkle the freeze dried cheese culture into the milk and whisk vigorously, this is important and is to ensure that the powder is thoroughly mixed into the warm milk.

Sterilise a glass jug in the oven at 180 C for 5 minutes and then leave to cool, pour in the starter culture and cover with cling film, leave in a warm area 20 C - 22 C for 24 hours to incubate, your starter is ready when it smell wonderfully sharp and clean.  Pour in to ice cube trays and freeze, then store the ice cubes in zip lock food bags in the freezer.  Two ice cubes are enough culture for 1 gallon / 4.5 ltr of milk.

27 Dec 2016

BAKED CAMEMBERT WITH CARAMALISED CALVADOS PEARS AND SEARED PARMA HAM

BEST EATEN IN PRIVATE...
Another best eaten in private or with someone who is also a lover of gooey sumptuous cheese as once you start your not going to be able to stop until you've scraped the very last bit of gooey cheese from the box!  Rich hot creamy oozey Camembert served with butter seared caramelised pears wrapped in parma ham, pan seared again for a crispy finish to add another level of decadence for dipping and scooping in that cheese...

Prep Time 5 minutes / Searing Time 7 minutes / Remainder of Baking Time 13 mins 
(+ the 7 mins prep time, 20 mins in total)


Ingredients
(serves 1-3)

1 whole Camembert (wooden box stapled not glued)
1/2 garlic clove
2 sprigs of thyme
50ml dry white wine
2 ripe pears
4 slices parma ham
25g butter
20ml olive oil
50ml Calvados

Pre heat your oven to 180C / 356F.  Take your boxed Camembert and prick all over with a fork, slip in the garlic cloves randomly and spear in the sprigs of thyme, pour over the wine, pop the lid back on and place in the oven to bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile slice the pears in to quarters, pop your non stick frying pan on a medium to high heat and add the butter and olive oil, when hot add the pears and sear all sides until slightly caramelised add the calvados and reduce then remove the pears from the pan, wrap half the pear wedges in parma ham and return to the pan, sear each side for a minute or so until caramelised.  Remove and leave to rest while you wait for the Camembert to finish in the oven.

To serve place the Camembert in the centre of a large plate and arrange the pear wedges around the edge, then dive in and enjoy immediately while hot, gooey and gorgeous...

16 Dec 2016

HOW TO COOK THE PERFECT GLORIOUS ROAST GOOSE

Best Ever Roast Goose

Best ever rustic roast goose I have ever cooked, the quality of this free roaming rustic bird really came through in the flavour there was that old fashioned rich slightly gamey well hung flavour, the meat was plump and tender and with a simple old fashioned cooking and resting method the roasted goose was super juicy and rendered my dining table almost silent except for the nom nom's while we all enjoyed this glorious goose, I was exceptional pleased with this cooking method and results.

Prep time 3 minutes / Total cooking time 80-90 minutes (12 mins per lb)
Prep time 15 mins if having roast potatoes, veg and gravy


Ingredients
(serves 4-6) 

1 free range wild living goose
Sea salt
10 potatoes peeled
50g semolina
1 lrg green cabbage sliced
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp corn flour with 1 tbsp water
100ml Madeira or white wine
Water

Cooking Time Line
Goose in, potatoes on to par boil, potatoes in, turn half way, goose out to rest while potatoes finish, roasting potatoes out into warm serving dish and tin on hob to make the gravy, cabbage on to steam while you make the gravy and plates in oven to warm, carve your goose and serve.

Take the weight of your goose in lb and multiply 12 minutes per lb for your cooking time, add 15-20 minutes resting time, for the best every perfect roast goose pre-heat your oven to 200 degrees, you will want to cook the goose high and fast.

Prick the skin with a fork to help allow all the gorgeous fat to be released down into the pan that is going to give you great basting juices but also the best every roast potatoes, sprinkle with sea salt, place in the oven to cook.

Meanwhile peel your spuds and place in a large roomy pan of boiling water and simmer for 7 minutes, drain and fluffy up a little in the colander, season with sea salt and black pepper, then toss in the semolina, remove the roasting goose pan from the oven and add the potatoes, turning so all sides are coated in the goose fat.  Baste your goose at this point too.

30 minutes on, remove your roast goose and pan from the oven and drain off all,the fat and juices in to a jug and reserve to one side, turn the potatoes and baste the goose again.  If you want soft squidgy was once crispy goose fat roast potatoes leave the goose fat in the pan, by removing the fat you allow the potatoes to crisp up on the outside and create a light fluffy middle, in my book gorgeous both ways.

Remove your goose as soon as your cooking time is done and wrap in foil, leave to rest for 15-20 minutes.  Once your potatoes are cooked, remove from the pan and place in a warm serving dish, put your cabbage on to steam, then place the roasting pan on your cooker on a medium heat, add the Madeira and reduce by half, add 250ml water and bring to a simmer, using a spatula scrap off any crusty cooking bits and flavour from the bottom of the pan, put the corn flour in a tbsp of water and mix to a paste, add to the gravy mix to thicken slightly, then add the knob of butter to add a rich flavour and a glossy sheen to your wonderful gravy.  

You are now ready to serve, I like to remove the breasts and legs, then carve the breasts and serve a platter for everyone to help themselves to a bit of breast and leg meat along with the vegetables.

SAMOSAS STUFFED WITH MUSTARD OIL FRIED POTATO AND PEA CURRY

Aloo Dum Samosa

Watch out these are so delicious a thin buttery flaky pastry like you've never had before stuffed full with a gorgeous pea and potato spiced curry will have you sneaking three or four more on your plate!  The pea and potato curry is outstanding in its own merit as a great main meal or side dish.

Resting Time 1hr / Prep Time & Cooking Time 30 minutes

                              
Ingredients
(makes 10)

Samosa Pastry
150g plain flour
40g ghee
1 tsp sea salt
60ml water

Pea and Potato Curry
Stage One 
Mustard Oil Fried Potatoes
1 tbsp ghee
50ml mustard oil
1 large potato diced
1 tsp turmeric powder

Stage Two The Sauce
2 tbsp ghee
1 small onion finely diced
4 cloves garlic finely diced
1 cup petit pois peas
1 tsp cumin seeds ground
1 tsp kashmiri powder
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
2 red chillies finely chopped
1/4 tsp asafoetida
1/2 juice lime
2 large tomatoes skinned chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tsp garam masala
2 tbsp chopped coriander

The Frying
2 ltrs ground nut or olive oil
Paper roll for draining

1.  First bring a pan of seasoned water to a boil and add the diced potato, par boil for approx 8-10 minutes until tender, drain and reserve to one side.  I like to drain the water back into another pan so that I can use the same hot water to heat the peas, a little help for the environment.  I like to make the next two methods at at the same time. 

2.  Mix the salt in with the flour, rub in the ghee and then add the water and bring the dough together, knead for a 5 minutes and leave to rest for 1 hour if you can.

3.  Heat a large skillet with the ghee and mustard oil when medium hot add the potatoes and fry until slightly crispy and lightly golden all over, add the turmeric and stir through, remove the potatoes from the pan and reserve to one side.  Keep the pan for the sauce, do not wash up!

4.  Heat the ghee and then gently soften the onions and garlic in the ghee for 5 minutes or so, then add the spices, the cumin, kashmiri, coriander, asafoetida and turmeric and fry for a couple of minutes.

5.  Then add the tomatoes, peas, sea salt and lime juice and cook for a further 10 minutes add the potatoes back in along with the the garam masala, taste and adjust the season if needed, leave to one side to cool while you make the pastry.

6.  Heat the oil to 180 degrees C 356F

7.  Now to make the samosas, divide the dough in to half and then each half in to 4, roll in to balls and roll out each ball in to a circle.  Cut the circles in half.  Brush some water around the edge of the half circle and taking the corner of the straight edge of the pastry fold it over to the centre of the curved side.  

This will now look almost like a diamond shape.  Press the two edges together and you will now find you have a pocket that you can stuff with the pea and potato curry!

To seal the samosas fold over the top flap of the pastry on top of the pocket and seal the edges.  If you find it difficult stuffing then you can place the filling on the half circle of pastry and fold the pastry over the filling and seal that way.

8.  Fry for around 3-5 minutes until light and golden in colour and enjoy these are just delicious.

10 Dec 2016

MASCARPONE BLUEBERRY TRIFLE

Really quick and simple to make but still a decedent and sumptuous spoonful of deliciousness.  This is more of an assembly of ingredients than cooking.

Making Time 5-7 minutes


Ingredients
(makes 2 large)

400g mascarpone 
75g icing sugar
10 amaretti biscotti biscuits
50ml favourite liquor (amaretto)
300g blueberries

1.  First take 2/3 of the blue berries and place in a saucepan with a 1/3 cup of water, bring to a simmer and reduce down to a jammy consistency, keeping some pulpy texture, remove and reserve to one side.

2.  place the amaretti biscotti on a plate and pour over your liquor and leave to soak for five minutes.

3.  Place the mascarpone in a large bowl, add the icing sugar and whisk together.

4.  Now it is just a layering assemble, I like to put 1/2 of the biscotti in first then a dollop of the mascarpone, a spoonful of the blueberries, another dollop of mascarpone, biscotti, remainder to the mascarpone and finish off with the left over fresh blueberries and remainder of the blueberry jammy compote.  That's it, place in the fridge to chill before serving.

9 Dec 2016

TARKA DAL

One of my favourite dals, I love the depth of flavour you get from adding the crispy nutty ghee fried garlic and fresh coriander with garam masala tarka at the end of the cooking, it really does make all the difference from a plain dal to a sumptuous dish.  I like to scoop this dal up with ghee loaded parathas, they are basically a chapati that has been folded with ghee several times which renders them flaky and buttery just perfect with this rich dal.

Prep Time 10 minutes / Cooking Time 40 minutes


Ingredients
(serves 4)

The Dal
1 cup of red lentils soaked
3 cups of water
1 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp coriander stalks finely chopped

The Tarka
8 fat cloves garlic sliced
1 small onion finely diced
1 tbsp ghee
1 small bunch coriander roughly chopped
1 tsp garam masala 
1 red chilli finely diced optional
Sea salt to taste if needed

1.  Drain the lentils and place in a deep saucepan with the water and sea salt, bring to a simmer, pop on a lid and turn down to a low simmer and leave to cook for around 30 minutes, the lentils may need as much as 40 minutes, you are looking for a thick soft texture where all the lentils have cooked down and created a lovely dal.

2.  In a frying pan heat the ghee and gently fry the garlic until nutty brown, remove from the ghee and leave to one side while you next add the onion and fry until softened, add the garam masala mix well and add to the garlic along with the chilli if using.

3.  Add the tarka to the dal and stir in along with the fresh coriander and serve with some parathas for dipping scooping and stuffing.

Parathas
Ingredients
(makes 8)

250g chapati flour
1/2 tsp sea salt
150g melted ghee
130ml water

1.  Place the chapati flour, sea salt and melted ghee in a bowl, using your fingers in a bird like pecking action peck the ghee in to the flour, just a French way or rubbing in but less rub equals more lift in the puff of the pastry/bread.

2.  Add some of the water and a little more if needed until you have a soft not sticky dough, knead for a couple of minutes and then cover and leave for 10-15 minutes.

3.  Divide the dough in to 8 balls and then roll out to a nice thin circle, brush with melted ghee and fold in half, brush with melted ghee again and fold in half again, you now have a triangle, brush this with ghee and fold in half again then tuck the sides under and form back in to a rough ball, roll out to a 5-6 inch circle.

4.  Heat a skillet to a high hot heat and brush the paratha with butter and place in the pan, cook for a couple of minutes, brush the top of the paratha with melted ghee and turn over cook for a further 1-2 minutes, wrap in a warm tea towel until needed.

8 Dec 2016

FLAT BREADS

Super quick to make and so much more tasty and honest than store brought, this lovely easy recipe will have you knocking these up as and when you need them, giving you so much more freedom in the kitchen to be spontaneous.

Prep Time 10 minutes / Cooking Time 2 minutes per bread
(optional 1 hour proving time if required)


Ingredients
(makes 8-10)

For The Dough
500g 00 flour
10g sea salt
50g olive oil
320g water
15g yeast optional
(this will require the 1 hour proving)

You can add numerous flavours to this base recipe, I often throw in a handful of seeds some turmeric and dried crushed chillies and if I am making kofte kebabs I will throw in fresh oregano, thyme, turmeric and chillies, you can have endless variations, so have some flavoursome fun.

1.  Place all the ingredients in order into your mixer and attach the dough hook, if you want un-leaven flat breads which do not need a resting proving time don't add the yeast, if you want a slightly softer flat bread or pizza dough add the yeast.

2.  Mix the dough for 1 minute on slow speed and then for 6 minutes on the next speed up, leave covered with a tea towel if proving for one hour.

3.  Dust your work top with a little flour and divide the dough in to 8 or 10 balls, roll out each ball until around 6 inches in diameter.

4.  Heat a non stick skillet to a high heat and add the bread, leave to cook for approx 1 minute then turn over and repeat, wrap in a warm tea towel to keep warm while you cook the rest.

These are best served within the next hour or so, however if you keep them in a air tight container you can run the breads under the cold tap for a second and place in a pre heated oven 170 C for a few minutes and that brings the flat breads back as good as new.


7 Dec 2016

LEFT OVER CURRY POTATO CAKES

LOVE YOUR LEFTOVERS

I love love love it when my fridge is full of leftovers, it opens up the possibilities to endless creativity and new family favourites.  This is a fabulous leftover curry breakfast treat of comforting curried spiced potato and a rich and creamy soft poached egg, perfect together and with a handful of watercress and spinach its super good for you too.

Prep Time 5 minutes / Cooking Time 10 minutes


Ingredients
(makes 4)

400g leftover potato aloo curry
(or any vegetable curry)
4 tbsp ghee
1 cup potato flour for dusting
4 eggs
50ml white wine vinegar
Sea Salt
1 bunch watercress
200g fresh spinach

1.  Take your left over vegetable curry and crush with a fork or potato masher roughly, you want to keep some lumps for texture, season with a little sea salt, at this point you could add the spinach and watercress in to the potato cake but I like to eat my curried potato cake as all potato.  

2.  Dust your hands with a little potato flour and scoop up 1/4 of the potato mix and form in to a compact potato cake, dust with a little more flour, repeat and make the next three.

3.  Heat a skillet to a medium hot heat, add the ghee and once hot place the four potato cakes in the skillet and pan fry, don't be tempted to touch and turn the cakes until you are sure that they have formed a good crust with lots of pan seared flavour around 4-5 minutes, turn and cook the other side for about 4 minutes then the potato cakes are ready to serve, so  meanwhile...

4.  Fill a large deep pan of water and bring to a gentle simmer, add the white wine vinegar, crack the eggs in to individual small bowls or tea cups, whisk the water in the saucepan to create a gentle vortex in the centre and then gently one at a time slide each egg in to the centre of the vortex while it is still spinning, leave to cook on a medium heat for around 3-5 minutes depending on how runny you like your yolk, I lift out the poached egg and give a little prod, the more jelly wobbly the prod the more cooking required, but if you like a runny yolk you need a bit of a wobbly in the prob if you have a bouncy prod then that egg is hard boiled.  

5.  Serve your potato cake on a bed of watercress and spinach with the poached egg on top and the best part of the eating is when you pop the poached egg and the glorious creamy yolk becomes a rich sauce that marries up the whole dish. 

SWEET POTATO AND CHIC PEA THAI COCONUT CURRY

A GREAT MEAT FREE MONDAY VEGETARIAN EATING

Fabulous gorgeous wonderful so good for you, the planet and the animals who are not in this recipe!  A bounty of flavour and health giving foods that your body will love you for and your tastes buds even more soooo...

Prep Time 10 minutes / Cooking Time 10 minutes 
(serves 2-3)

Ingredients
1 sweet potato peeled diced
1 butternut peeled diced
1 can chic peas
1 onion diced
4 cm ginger grated
1 garlic chopped
1 lemongrass stalk chopped
4 fresh kaiffer lime leaves
1 lime juiced
1 can coconut milk
1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric fresh or powder
2 red chillies finely sliced
1 tbsp palm sugar
1 tbsp tamarind
Sea salt and white pepper
3 Handfuls spinach & watercress
1 large cup rice



This is a quick cook dinner and by using the start to finish cooking time of the rice this fabulous family meal can be on the table in 15 to 20 minutes, I have given you the 20 minute guide but the rice is ready at 15 minutes.

1.  First put the rice on to cook as this will take 15-20 minutes.  Wash the rice and drain, add to a pan along with two more large cups of water, this is important do not stir the rice at any point, pop on a lid and bring to a low gentle simmer for 10 minutes, do not take the lid off, when the 10 minutes is up take the rice off the heat and leaving the lid on place to one side to finish cooking for a further 5-10 minutes, then your perfect light fluffy rice is ready to serve.  Meanwhile...

2.  Bring a pan of seasoned water to a rolling boil and add the sweet potato and butternut squash and cook until tender, around 6 minutes, drain and add to your curry below...

3.  Heat the coconut oil in a saucepan and add the onion and garlic gently soften for five minutes, then add the lemongrass, lime leaves and ginger, stir in then after a minute or so add the turmeric and kashmiri powder and stir in.

4.  Next add the tamarind and lime juice along with the coconut milk and bring to a simmer, add the palm sugar, chillies, chic peas and the par boiled butternut squash and sweet potato bring to a simmer and season to taste with sea salt and white pepper.  You can also adjust the flavour to your taste with more or less lime juice and palm sugar.

5.  Place in your serving bowls a handful of the watercress and spinach, some rice and then a generous few ladles of your curry

5 Dec 2016

PERFECT POACHED EGG

The Secret is in the Method
I have tried so many times to make the prefect poached egg, whisked the vinegar water added the egg and often ended up with an egg white octopus and seperate yolk!  After watching a cooking show with the same information I saw that I was not using a bowl to drop the egg in the water, I was cracking the egg in directly, I was not following their method...  That is the secret! by pouring the cracked egg in to the simmering vortex of water from a bowl is the secret to a successful beautiful presentable poached egg...so simple when you know how.

Prep Time 5 minutes / Cooking Time 3-5 minutes


Ingredients
(one egg)

1 fresh egg cracked into a bowl
1 deep pan of simmering water
50 ml white wine vinegar

Bring the pan of water to a gentle simmer, add the vinegar and gently whisk to create a vortex in the centre and then pour in the egg from the bowl, the egg will swirl around gently with the vortex allowing the egg white to swirl around the yolk to create a perfect poached egg.  Cook gently for around 3-5 minutes depending on how runny you like your yolk,  

You can check the egg by removing with a slotted spoon and gently prodding to see how wobbly the egg is, the firmer the bounce back the more cooked the egg is.  Remember the poached egg will continue to cook for a minute once it is taken from the water and served.

That's it Perfect...

4 Dec 2016

PAKORAS SPICY ONION POTATO AND SPINACH

These are just divine, gorgeous crispy light flavoursome little bundles of pleasure, make plenty as they will go go go...  There is a perfect method for making pakoras light in the centre and not heavy and stodgy from adding too much gram flour, and that is a little salt and some time...

Prep Time 5 minutes / Resting Time 30 minutes / Cooking Time 3-4 minutes

Ingredients
(makes 15)

3 large onions finely sliced
1 tbsp sea salt
1 large potato peeled and grated
150g fresh spinach
250g gram flour
50g self raising flour
1 red chillies finely chopped
1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin seeds ground
250ml+  water
2 ltrs peanut oil for deep frying

The Perfect Method
Place the onions in a large bowl and sprinkle over 1 tbsp of sea salt and leave for at least half an hour or more if you can, this allows the onions to release their liquid so when you add the gram flour you can gently crush the flour in to the onions and their liquid coating every strand before making a batter, this gives the pakora a better finish and reduces the chances of a stodgy claggy centre.


1.  Place the onions as mentioned above in a large bowl, sprinkle with 1 tbsp sea salt and leave for around half an hour.

2.  Add the potato and the gram flour and gently crush into the onions and potatoes until all coated, add the rest of the ingredients except the water and mix well, start to add the water and mix until you have a thick batter about the consistency of thick paint.

3.  Heat the oil to 180-190 degrees C / 356 F cook in small batches, spoon in several dollops of the pakora mix, fry for around 3 minutes until deep golden, remove from the oil with a slotted spoon and drain on kitchen paper, season with a little sea salt if required and serve while still warm.

3 Dec 2016

ROSEWATER BIRYANI

FAMILY SUNDAYS CURRY DAY
BEST EVER BIRYANI CURRY

What is happening here...My curry cooking is on fire...Since making Sundays our family curry day some months ago I have a new found knowledge of cooking methods and a greater use of spices in Indian cooking, I am having such fun with fabulous ingredients and spices creating inspired dishes that are simple to make and full of amazing flavours with great leftover dishes for the week.

Prep Time 15 minutes / Cooking Time 30 minutes


I have learnt that Indian mothers and wives spend a huge portion of their day preparing and cooking fresh food for their family, lunch is generally packed in tiffin tins and sent out fresh and hot to working husbands and children in school by bicycle couriers who carry hundreds and hundreds of un-labelled tiffin tins that they always deliver to the right families, while then the family evening meal is prepared, I find making four or five dishes takes me around three hours!

Madhur Jaffrey told the story of how she spent all day preparing the ingredients for the family meal, however Madhur Jaffrey decided to make all her base onions and spices in advance to save time, she did not tell her family and no one noticed a difference in her cooking, she then told her husband who was very supportive and encouraged her to sell her spice mixes to supermarkets and that is how Madhur Jaffrey became a famous household name oh and by being a awesome cook.

Ingredients
(serves 6 generously)

Chicken or Vegetable Biryani
600g chicken sliced OR
1 kg vegetables
sweet potato, butternut squash, potato,
peas and cauliflower

Marinade
1 tbsp ghee
200ml yogurt
1 tsp kashmiri chilli powder
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp cumin seeds 
1 tsp ground coriander seeds
2 tbsp fresh grated ginger
4 cloves garlic grated
4 red chillies chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt

To Be Added Before Cooking
1 tsp cumin seeds
10 cardamon pods bruised open
1 half stick of cinnamon
5 whole cloves
4 fresh tomatoes chopped
1/2 tsp sea salt

Biryani Layering
1 ltr nut oil for frying
5 large onions finely sliced
Pinch saffron infused in 4 tbsp warm milk
150g ghee
4 tbsp water
1 tbsp rosewater
6 mollet soft boiled eggs halved
1 handful dried rose leaves
800g basmati rice soaked in cold water with 1 tsp sea salt

1.  First rinse the rice and place in a bowl cover with cold water and add a tsp of sea salt, leave for at least one hour this is really important for a perfect cook.

2.  For the perfect soft but just set boiled eggs with no white wobbly bits is down to the method, bring a pan of water to a gentle rolling boil add a pinch of sea salt then lower in the eggs, set the timer immediatly for 6 minutes or 6 minutes and 20 seconds if they are large eggs, as soon as the time is up immediately without a seconds delay pour out the boiling water and fill the pan with cold water, re-fill a couple of times this stops the eggs cooking on any further and leave to cool, peel and slice in half ready to garnish your finished dish.

3.  Warm the milk very slightly and add the saffron to infuse leave to one side.

4.  Combine all the marinade ingredients and add your chicken or vegetables and coat well, pop in the fridge while you prep the rest of the ingredients.

5.  In a dry frying pan toast the cumin, cardamon, cinnamon and cloves for a minutes or so just to warm through and release their aromatic flavours, remove from the heat and add to your chopped tomatoes along with the sea salt, now add these to your marinated chicken or vegetables, put the tbsp of ghee in the frying pan, add the chicken or vegetables and cook, you can add a little water if the marinade sticks too much.  Meanwhile...

6.  Next heat the oil for frying to 180 degrees and in batches fry the onions for about 15 minutes until crispy and dark brown, drain on some paper towel.

7.  Drain the rice and place in a large pan of boiling salted water and cook for around 5 minutes, the tip here is that the rice should break in to 3 when pressed between two fingers, that is the prefect part cooked rice that will make a perfect biryani.  Drain and now to work quickly on layering the biryani.

8.  Layering The Biryani
In a large heavy bottomed pan place half the ghee and the water, start with one third of the rice, now half the chicken or vegetables next one third of the onions, now one third of the saffron milk and rosewater, repeat that again and then finish off with the last third of the rice, saffron milk and rosewater, but not the last third of the crispy onions.  Pour the remain ghee around the edge of the pan so that it drips down the inside of the sides of the saucepan, place the pan on a high heat for a couple of minutes to get the ghee hot and some steam going then turn the heat down to a very low heat and leave to steam cook for 30 minutes.  Spoon out to serve on a large family platter, scatter over the remaining crispy onions, top with the halved eggs and sprinkle over the dried rose leaves, eat and enjoy.  I served this with crispy buttery parathas


25 Nov 2016

CAULIFLOWER CHEESE SOUP

OMGOSH SOOOO GOOD

This is so good I just want to eat it forever and ever and ever!  Yes that good!!!  Who knew, well I do now.  This is what I call comforting spoon food that you just can't stop eating and you just don't want it to end which leaves you scraping the bowl so clean does it really need washing!

WARNING...Probably Best Eaten In Private

Quick to make, ready on the table in fifteen to twenty minutes and never any leftovers...  Now if I can wait I will throw on some roast potatoes to cook so that I can make this even better if possible with crispy roast potatoes on the side for dunking dipping scooping and just devouring.

Prep / Cooking time 15 minutes


Ingredients
(serves 2 or maybe 1!)

1 head of cauliflower florets
50g butter
50g flour
750ml - 1 ltr whole milk
Sea salt
White pepper
100g Gruyere grated
100g Emmental cheese grated
200-400g medium mature cheddar

Roast Potatoes
1 kg King Edward potatoes peeled halved
Par boiled for 10 minutes, toss in
2 tbsp oil or fat, sprinkle with
Sea salt
Bake 200C / 392F for 40 minutes
Turn half way through cooking..

Bring a steamer or pan of salted water up to a simmer and add the cauliflower florets and cook until very tender, drain, season with sea salt and leave to one side.

Meanwhile melt the butter in a pan and add the flour, cook on a low heat for five minutes to cook the flour out, start to add the milk a good glug at a time and whisk in until smooth, keep adding the milk until you have a medium thin soup consistency.

Next add the cheese I love this really cheesy but you may want to add most of the cheese and then add more to taste, stir in and gentle simmer the sauce for five minutes, taste and season with white pepper and sea salt if needed.

Add the cauliflower to the cheese sauce and blitz with a hand blender or in a food processor until smooth, then sit back and enjoy.

24 Nov 2016

HOME MADE BUTTER MILK

This is a really simple clean and quick way to make your buttermilk in five to ten minutes, so there is no reason you can't have delicious pancakes or waffles when ever your family wants them.

Prep / Waiting time 10 minutes


Ingredients
(makes 500ml)

2 cups 473ml whole milk
2 tbsp fresh lemon juice 
or
2 tbsp white wine vinegar

Place the milk in a jug and gently whisk in without frothing up lots of air bubbles the lemon juice or white wine vinegar and leave to stand for five to ten minutes and that really is it, buttermilk ready to go.  I prefer to use lemon juice but have used white wine vinegar when I have had no other choice and the difference was minimal.

Storing Buttermilk
Place any unused butter milk in a glass jar and cover the top with a piece of muslin and tie on or use a rubber band to secure in place, this is so that the butter milk can breath.

Now you can make some gorgeous maple syrup pancakes and waffles.

Maple Pancake Recipe

1 apple peeled, cored and grated
1 cup self raising flour
1 cup buttermilk
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 egg beaten
1 pinch salt
1 pinch cinnamon

Combine all the ingredients together to form a smooth batter, I like to leave the batter to stand for about half an hour if I can but no worries is not.  This makes around eight pancakes.

20 Nov 2016

THE CHRISTMAS PUDDING

"Stir it up Sunday"

A wonderful family tradition, this is a lovely day in our home and a beautiful family tradition.

The last Sunday before the season of Advent is so called Stir up Sunday, this day was so named after the collect for the day in the common book of prayer which starts with the words "Stir up, O Lord the wills of thy faithful people.  It has also become the traditional day to make your Christmas Pudding for the British, this day is said to have been introduced by Prince Albert, Queen Victoria's husband.

Wonderful rich decadent sumptuous Christmas plum pudding, an old fashioned traditional recipe handed down for generations, unfortunately not from my generations!

Prep Time 15 minutes / Cooking time 40-50 minutes


Ingredients
(makes 1 large family ball & 10 small individual puddings)

225g Sultanas
225g Currents
175g raisins
100g prunes
1 tsp earl grey tea leaves
80g mixed peel
1 orange zest and juice
1 lemon zest and juice
1 apple grated
150g fresh breadcrumbs
200g dark brown sugar
150g self raising flour
1 tsp mixed spice
1/4 tsp grated nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp black treacle
30ml Madeira
30ml Cognac
3 beaten eggs
25g grated butter

If I can I like to place all the dried fruit in some boiled tea water, just enough to almost cover the fruit with and leave to steep over night, you can skip this and place all the fruit in a saucepan and bring to a simmer for five minutes, take off the heat and leave to cool while the fruit absorbs the tea.  

Strain the fruit and place in a large bowl and then add all the other ingredients and mix well allowing each family member a stir of the pudding East to West while making a special wish for the year ahead.  I like to leave my pudding mix to rest for a couple of hours if I can before cooking.

Pre heat your oven to 170 C / 338 F, grease your pudding tins and line the bottom with a circle of grease proof paper, fill the tins most of the way up but still leaving a little space for expansion, cover the top of the tins with a piece of baking paper that you have put a folded pleat in the centre to allow for that expansion during cooking.

Place in a deep roasting tin and fill with hot water 3/4 of the way up the tins, place in your oven for approx 40 minutes, to check if they are cooked in the centre insert a skewer and when a skewers comes out clean they are done.  Leave to cool and then take off the foil, keeping to one side and pour over a tablespoon of brandy, wrap back up and store in an air tight container until the Big Day.

Every few days add another spoon of brandy over each pudding, this is optional, and I do have a reputation for a very boozy Christmas pudding, this is from the topping up...

16 Nov 2016

CHIC PEA HUMMUS BROCCOLI AND PEA FALAFAL

COMPLETE PROTEIN MEAL
(Geeky Science Bit Below)
WoW this is one of those lip smacking can't stop eating please don't look at me dinners, I have a great love for chic peas and hummus, so I thought what better than to marry up a chic pea hummus falafal and this does not disappoint.  The fresh garlicky chic pea hummus is really well balanced with the freshness from the peas and broccoli then the zesty lime lightens the falafal, stuffed in to un leven old fashioned spelt flat breads with fresh salad and finished off with a drizzle of lime yogurt once you start you are not going to wanna stop...


Prep time:  10 minutes / Cooking time 25 minutes
Falafal Ingredients
(serves 4-6)
200g broccoli
200g peas
240g chic peas (1 tin)
3 cloves garlic
1/2 onion rough chopped
1/2 juice of a lime
1 tbsp tahini
1 carrot grated
Sea salt
Black pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp paprika
1 red chilli
30g flax seeds
20g chia seeds

Flat Breads Ingredients
Prep time: 10 minutes / Proving time: 1 hour plus
(makes 6-8)
500g spelt wholemeal flour
10g sea salt
50g olive oil
320g water

Salad Stuffing Ingredients
Bunch of spinach
Bunch of watercress
Bunch of kale
6 spring onions julienned
1 carrot julienned
4 large tomatoes sliced
1 lime zest and juice
2 red chillies finely chopped

                                                                    First make the dough, place all the ingredients in a large bowl and bring together I do use my kitchen aid with a dough hook but by hand is great too, knead for seven minutes and then dust with a little spelt flour, cover with a tea towel and leave to rest in a warm place to prove.

When ready to use, turn the dough out on to a floured work surface and cut in to eight portions and roll in to balls, roll out the dough in to a rough circle shape and as thin as you can.  To cook heat a non stick pan hot hot hot and place in your bread, cook on each side for around a minute or so, wrap in a tea towel to keep warm until needed.

To make the Falafal
Place all the ingredients except the carrot, flax and chia seeds in a food processor and blitz to a smooth consistency. tip out in to a bowl and add the carrot, flax and chia seed mix together and form in to small golf ball size balls, place on a greased baking tray and bake in a pre heated oven 180 C / 400 F for 25 minutes, turning half way through.  That is it your almost ready to serve.

While the falafal balls are baking, prepare all the wonderful gorgeous ingredients that you can stuff you flat breads with, these can be anything, but I love fresh cabbage, kale, spinach, watercress, tomatoes, spring onions, julienned carrots and chilli, then to finish off with a drizzle of yogurt infused with lime juice and zest, glorious...  Serve family style so every one can jostle and have fun stuffing their own flat breads to their own style and taste, I just love family dinners.

Geeky Science Bit...
ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS AND COMPLETE PROTEIN
Chic peas are not a complete protein (all 9 essential amino acids) on their own but they are high in lysine, which wheat (flat bread) is deficient in therefore eating the pair together will give you the nine essential amino acids in a complete protein meal, you do not have to eat complete protein meals in order to obtain the nine essential amino acids that our body cannot synthesise in one meal you can eat in complete proteins individually throughout the day and marry up good pairs that make complete proteins overall by the end of your day. 

15 Nov 2016

MAKE YOUR OWN YOGURT

Another super easy self sufficient goal ticked off the list, lovely clean fresh live yogurt that has not been produced by someone else, well ok I don't have daisy the cow yet!  I do have some goat's though and maybe in time I might get to breed and share her milk with her young but for now I buy un homogenised milk from Riverford Organic Farms and make my yogurts, cream cheese, cheddar, marscapone and buttermilk with this.  For recipes use the search bar top right of the home page.

Making time: 20 minutes / Alone standing time: 12-18 hours
Equipment: Saucepan, thermometer and sterilised 1 ltr glass jar


To Sterilise Your Jar
To sterilise your glass jar, wash and completely dry, in a pre heated oven 180 C / 400 F place your jar and lid for five minutes, then remove and leave on the side to cool and use as soon as you can.  Your dishwasher may have a 100 degree sterilising cycle you can pop your jar in the dishwasher on this cycle, just make sure it is completely dry before use.

You will need a little live yogurt to start the culture off, for the first batch I used a store brought organic live yogurt and then from then on I was able to use some of my home made live yogurt each time, so don't eat it all, keep back two tablespoons from the batch before.

I like to make this late in the evening so that the yogurt is ready in the morning to eat.  The longer you leave the yogurt on the side to cultivate the more flavour your yogurt will have, also the milk you use will also factor in the flavour.

Ingredients
(makes 1 ltr)

900ml milk
I use full fat or skimmed un homogenised 
2 tbsp live yogurt

1.  Place your saucepan on a low heat and add the milk, bring up to 85 degrees C / 185 F slowly so as not to burn the milk at the bottom of the pan, I speak from experience and burnt infused yogurt is not great.  

2.   Remove the milk from the heat and leave to cool to 43 C / 109 F.

3.   Add the live yogurt and gently stir in using a whisk don't actually whisk as you do not want to add air, pour in to your sterilised jar and leave in a warm place in the kitchen over night and that is it in the morning 12 or so hours later you will have a thick sharp clean fresh yogurt. 

Enjoy with flax or chia seeds, a drizzle of honey, fresh fruits, a vanilla pod and seeds, 


14 Nov 2016

ROASTED BEETROOT HUMMUS

A beautiful bowl of sweet caramelised roasted beetroot and chic pea hummus, I just love hummus and I find that there is something very comforting in scooping this up with a fresh warm flat bread and enjoying every mouthful, this is one snack that there is never any leftovers for later...

Wonderfully quick and simple to make, really just a assembly and blitzing of the ingredients.  I have used heritage pink and white striped beets that I grew this year and that has resulted in a lighter pink hummus.

Cooking time: 45 minutes / Prep time: 5 minutes
Ingredients
(makes 280g)

2 beetroots oven roasted
1 tsp olive oil
1 tin organic chic peas
3 cloves garlic
1 red chilli
1/2 juice and zest lemon
60-100ml olive oil
1 pinch sea salt
2 tbsp tahini
(recipe to make your own below)

Method
1.  First pre heat your oven to 200 C / 410 F toss the beetroots in the olive oil and place them in the oven to roast for around 40 minutes, remove and leave to cool for five minutes, then peel the skins off by hand, the beets peel better when still warm.

 2.     Place all the ingredients except the olive oil in your food blender and blitz and pulse away until you have a smooth consistency then drizzle in half the olive oil and pulse some more, season with salt and taste, at this point your hummus is ready, but you might like a looser consistency and if you do add the rest of the olive oil.

TO MAKE YOUR OWN TAHINI
Ingredients
(makes 6 tbsp)
70g sesame seeds
3-4 tbsp grape seed oil
1 pinch of salt

This only takes a minute to make, heat a non stick pan to a medium heat and lightly toast the sesame seeds for a minute or so, keep the seeds moving so as not to burn, which would give your tahini a bitter taste, remove and place in your blender, blitz to a powder.
Drizzle in the grape seed oil and season with the salt and that's it.. I used grape seed oil as it has a neutral base flavour that won't distract from the sesame flavour.

PAN SEARED BUTTERNUT SQUASH QUINOA BUDDHA BOWL

VEGETARIAN LIVING
Whats not to love, this is a gorgeous bowl of so good for you goodness, creamy pan seared butternut squash tossed with fluffy quinoa seasoned with a drizzle of olive oil and apple balsamic vinegar, served with fresh spinach, watercress, carrots, avocado and a mollet egg, every mouthful just sings.

Whats more this is a really quick dinner and can be on the table in 15 minutes from the start.

Cooking and Prep time: 15 minutes
Ingredients
(serves 2)

120g quinoa
500ml vegetable stock
1 handful watercress
2 handfuls spinach
1 avocado sliced
1 carrot julienned
1/2 courgette julienned
1/2 green pepper finely sliced
1/2 butternut squashed peeled diced
2 boiled eggs peeled halved
10ml olive oil
3ml apple balsamic vinegar
1 pinch sea salt
1 fresh chilli optional

Method

1.   Place the quinoa and vegetable stock in a pan and bring up to a slow slow simmer, pop a lid on and leave to cook for around 12-15 minutes until all the stock has been absorbed by the quinoa.  Mix the olive oil and apple balsamic vinegar together and leave to one side.

2.   Meanwhile bring a pan of water up to a boil and add the diced butternut squash and cook until tender, drain and then bring a frying pan up to a medium high heat add the coconut oil and sear the butternut squash for a few minutes, reserve to one side.

3.  Once the quinoa is cooked divide equally between two bowls and season with the olive oil dressing and then load the bowl with all the other ingredients and season with a little salt and fresh chilli.