Sunday, June 24, 2012

Fennel and rosemary pork chops

Pork chops benefit from a good beating to tenderise them and a bit of acidity to cut the fattiness. They can take rather strong flavours (like rosemary and fennel) but in a different way to beef which goes better with really savoury things like mushrooms.

This is kind of like a spice rub.

Mix a table spoon of fennel seeds with a couple of pinches of dried rosemary, saltpepper, and garlic powder. Rub the (tenderised) pork chops with a bit of olive oil and the rub and roast them (they take less time than the potatoes and they can also be grilled). Drizzle with a bit of lemon a couple of times as they cook.

I served it with lemon and thyme roast potatoes and a light salad.

Rocky road cake: attempt 1

I wanted to experiment a bit so I tried to make a rocky road cake. Not the most successful in the rocky road sense but really good none the less. The marshmallows I used, started off large but I chopped them into mini marshmallow size and as a result the just dissolved into the batter. I haven't gotten around to repeating this will larger ones so feel free to help me experiment. You can just leave out the marshmallows in any case.

Brief discussion of making a cake/bun, some recipes tell you to put everything in together and beat. I do not like this as the more you mix, the more gluten forms making it all chewier and thus less cakelike and more breadlike. Anyway from theory to practise
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 200g butter
  • 4 eggs
  • 1tbsp vanilla
  • 200g self raising flour
  • 50mL milk
  • 200g frozen mixed berries
  • 100g white chocolate, chopped
  • 100g milk chocolate, chopped
  • Large handful of marshmallows
You know the drill with cakes, cream butter and sugar, beat in eggs and vanilla, mix in flour and then add the milk. You can adjust the milk according to how large the eggs were, basically you make the batter nice and smooth.

Stir in the fillings and pour into a baking tray. I used a round silicone one. The silicone baking tray LINERS need to be placed on a baking sheet. They are really nicely nonstick if you brush them with oil but I tend to crudely line the base just in case. Bake at 170 degrees for a fan assisted and 180 for a non-fan assisted for 35-40 mins (check at 30 to be safe but don't forget that the oven loses a significant amount of heat, I think about 40%, every time you open the oven door). It's a good idea to allow it to cool in the baking tray for a couple of mins (to prevent melted chocolate going everywhere) before turning out onto a wire rack.

Excellent with a bit of ice cream.

Veggies moussaka

Well it's been a long time. I've been really all over the place lately: had to pack up and move house, sort out the new house (still not totally finished) and I've been really busy in work too. One of my best friends and I have also decided to try and start up a business of our own (coz, you know, we don't have enough to do anyway). More about that when it's ready.

Anyway, unsurprisingly there has been lots and lots of food in that time and obviously I'm not going to write all of it up but I'll try and put up the highlight over the next while.

Going to start with something I made absolutely yonks ago: Veggie moussaka.

This is really simple and to be honest I made it coz we'd run out of mince.

  • 2 onions chopped
  • red pepper
  • green pepper
  • yellow pepper
  • 2 tins of tomatoes
  • 2 aubergines, sliced
  • 4 potatoes peeled and sliced
  • about 500mL béchamel (3 tbsp butter, 3 tbsp flour, 500mL milk, 2 balls of mozzarella)
The ratio of the veg doesn't really matter, just use whatever is in the fridge. 
Sauté the onions in some olive oil then add the peppers chopped up. Once they are a bit softened add the tomatoes and season. I added a generous amount of oregano as well. While this is gently simmering,   boil the potatoes. While moussaka is great made with sautéed potatoes, it is also more calorific. If you have a multi tier steamer you can steam the aubergine over the potatoes, otherwise blanch it.

To make the béchamel (I believe I've previously discussed how it has a different name once you add cheese to it), melt the butter in a pan and add the flour to make a paste, fry this gently for a bit then slowly mix in the milk (much easier if you use a balloon whisk but a wooden spoon will do just fine). Heat this to almost boiling while continuously stirring to prevent it sticking. Stir in the chopped mozzarella making sure it all melts.

Assembly time! A layer of potatoes, the pepper sauce, the aubergines in a layer, followed by a layer of the remaining potatoes and the béchamel poured over. Bake at 180 degrees Celsius until nice and golden brown (about 30-40 mins).

Very easy, lots of food and ridiculously healthy. If you want to further reduce the calories/fat just don't add the mozzarella.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Simon's birthday cake

I like the combination of raspberry and chocolate as it prevents the cake being too sweet. Originally I saw the recipe in delicious! magazine: chocolate and berry tray bake

I modified it a bit to make it more chocolatey (and easier to remember) and added extra baking powder to lighten it.

250g butter
250g caster sugar
4 eggs (I used 5 coz they were small)
2 tsp vanilla essence
250g self raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
250g drinking chocolate
100mL milk
250g frozen raspberries

Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy then beat in the eggs. Mix in the dry ingredient, then the milk (to make a nice smooth batter) and the raspberries. Pour into a lined and greased baking tray (I used a roasting dish) and bake at 160 degrees Celsius for 50 mins until springy. Cool in the tin a bit then on a wire rack.

I decorated it with some melted chocolate and mushed up raspberries (and birthday candles).

Lamb and goat's cheese sandwich

One day I had to make a quick lunch for the boyfriend and myself. We had some lamb left over from dinner the night before and some goat's cheese in the fridge....

I melted the goat's cheese in the microwave. Sandwich consists of cheese, lamb, lettuce, tomato and red onion.

Multi seed bread

This is quite a healthy bread but the flavour is very strong. In my opinion it is a bit too strong for everyday use and I made it to be eaten with a curry instead of naan bread.

500g plain flour (ideally use strong white flour which has more gluten and hence is better suited to making bread but I've been using plain flour for ages and it's fine)
about 2 tsp of fast acting yeast
120g sunflower seeds
50g poppy seeds
50g sesame seeds
2 tbsp caraway seeds
3 tbsp black treacle
300ml water
pinch of salt

If making in a bread maker just chuck it all in and press start. If making by hand just follow the instructions on the back of the yeast packet!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Apple crumble with orange flavours

This is a bit of an overhaul on apple crumble (I am a bit obsessed with orange flavour)

  • 1 kg apples
  • zest and juice of 2 oranges (or 1 depending on the size and your personal preference)
  • 250 g oats
  • 200 g plain flour
  • 4 tsp cinnamon
  • 200 g butter
  • 200 g light muscovado sugar
Peel, core and chop the apples and place into a buttered baking dish (I like to use purex as that way you can see the food), and add the orange stuff. Mix everything else except the sugar together, then stir in the sugar. Sprinkle over the apple and bake for about 30 mins at 170 degrees Celsius (depending on the the surface area to volume ratio of the dish).