Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Friday, September 26, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
Friday, September 19, 2008
ITV Productions is looking for contestants to take part in a brand new, day-time cookery series called Taste the Nation. If you have a passion for food and want to represent your county in a national cookery knock-out, then this is the show for you.
Check out the details here - http://www.itv.com/Lifestyle/Food/TastetheNation/default.html
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
No gelatine either.
I have to say that this is one of the nicest things I've made in a while. Certainly it tasted vastly better than I was expecting, possibly because it was so very simple. The photo does it no justice - in real life it is a palely creamy thing of beauty.
When I was in my early teens my mother first made ginger cheesecake. For me it was love at first bite. It was my automatic dessert of choice for birthdays and any other opportunity I had to determine any element of the menu. Mum always made it the night before. It may be false memory syndrome, but I seem to recall that she would make the base and then refrigerate that for a few hours to make it set before adding the filling. I'm sure I do remember one night the base fell out of the loose bottom pan when mum was halfway between bench and fridge and those buttered crumbs were everywhere. Then in no time at all they were back in the pan, only myself any the wiser.
Looking for a quick and easy dessert for food chain this month I recalled those lovely cheesecakes my mum makes and thought I'd have a go. On the principle that lemon sets cream, this is what I came up with. This version adds filling straight after crumb base and so takes no time at all.
250g packet ginger biscuits
400g philadelphia cream cheeese
2 lemons, preferably unwaxed
50g icing sugar
250ml double cream
Put the biscuits into a food processor and blitz to crumbs. Alternatively put them in a bag, fold over the end to prevent escapes, and bash ferociously with a rolling pin till you feel much better and, again, have crumbs.
At the same time, have the butter in a small pan over a low heat till it is completely melted. Mix butter and biscuit crumbs and press into the base of a loose bottomed 20cm/8inch pan. Check it is firmly locked.
Whip the cream till you have soft peaks.
In a separate bowl whip the cream cheese with the juice and zest of the lemons. It will be a bit lumpy to start but it soon smoothes out, just keep beating. Add the icing sugar and mix it in. Have a taste - you want sharp but not mouth puckeringly so.
With a spatula slowly incorporate about half the cream into the lemon cheese mix then add the rest of the whipped cream in one go and mix it to a lovely smooth cream. It will be fairly stiff rather than runny.
Cover with clingfilm, refrigerate till you want to serve it. Cut into generous slices.
From go to whoah this took me 20 minutes. And the final cheesecake really was utterly fabulous - tangy light little creamy cloud mouthfuls leavened with a tiny hint of lemon zest and a bit of ginger crunch to finish.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Thursday, September 11, 2008
A few months ago my second cousin Jaey and his lovely wife Marie gave us some seedlings that they had grown in their greenhouse from seed. Some lived, some didn't but part of the reason has been the generally appalling summer and the subsequent early onset autumn/winter. For example I have tomatoes, but they are green and, I suspect, unlikely to ever be red. I had early hopes for the cucumber plant but it died without bearing fruit. Most magnificent has been the bonbon squash vine curling round the back corner of our tiny garden, producing lots of huge buttercup yellow flowers. It is a pretty thing even if there had been no promise of food.
Monday, September 08, 2008
Pot roasting uses whole boned rolled joints of meat, that are first browned all over in a large pot to caramelise the outside of the meat – this is a very important step, and quite exciting when the meat is hot and spitting. Easily done though with a bit of care. Then it is simply a matter of adding some vegetables and a little stock or other liquid, cover tightly with a lid and that’s it. Pop it in the oven on a low heat for a few hours. It requires very little attention during cooking so it’s ideal for a Sunday while you finish the weekend’s chores. Or if you’re more organised than me while you sit and relax with a glass of wine and the papers.
Friday, September 05, 2008
Smoked salmon from the irish stall - £5
Like I've done for the last twenty years or more I went to Charmaine Solomon's The Complete Asian Cookbook for inspiration and found this recipe for an aubergine and tomato stew, thickened through long cooking. When it first went into the pan it tasted decidedly iffy, actually pretty unpleasant. Not a fan of undercooked aubergine. But I put the lid on and hoped for the best - and that was what I was rewarded with.
1 large eggplant
300 tomatoes - large or small but must be ripe and sweet
2 tbspns ghee or oil
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 tbspn grated ginger
1/2 tspn ground turmeric
1/2 tspn chilli powder
2 tspns salt
1 tspn garam masala
Dice the aubergine and tomatoes to about the same size - 2 cm ish. It is not necessary to peel either. Heat ghee in a heavy based saucepan and gently fry onion and ginger until they are soft and stqrt to brown. Add turmeric, chilli powder, salt and garam masala and mix thoroughly. Add the diced vegetables, stir well and add about half a cup of hot water to moisten. Cover the pan, reduce heat to low, cook until the vegetables are soft, stirring occasionally to prevent the bits sticking and burning. After about 20 minutes half skew the lid to let the steam escape and continue stirring and cooking till the liquid evaporates and the purée is thick and dry enough to scoop up with naan bread. Serve hot or cold.
Dinner was a really well matched mix of cold steamed rice, warm coriander dahl and hot aubergine. Both the dahl and the aubergine made really generous quantities - enough for the man for lunch Friday and to have as a side dish in the evening. I have some celery, spring onions and cucumber to use up so it will be spicy corn fritters and cucumber raita with the last of the coriander. Looking forward to it.