May, 2013


25
May 13

Roasted cinnamon plums

Roasted cinnamon plums

Roasted cinnamon plums

Somehow roasting fruit or vegetables seems to make them even more delicious. I love to roast tomatoes and peppers and keep them cold in the fridge to add to salads. It really brings out their sweetness and loses their acidity.

The same goes for plums. Especially those you so often get in punnets that never seem to ripen properly. This is a great way to use them up. They taste amazing and make a great dessert served with ice cream, or even a tasty breakfast, with some plain yoghurt.

Make sure you use a good non-stick baking tray though, such as this excellent one made by Judge, as the juices become very sticky, you don’t want to be chiseling them off once they’re cooked as roasted plums become very soft indeed.

Roasted plums

Roasted plums

Roasted cinnamon plums

Serves 4

Ingredients 

1 punnet plums

5 tbsp cinnamon sugar, or 4 tbsp caster sugar mixed with 1 tbsp cinnamon

Method 

Preheat the oven to 170C. Halve the plums and remove the stones. Lay out cut side up on the baking tray and sprinkle evenly with the cinnamon sugar. Bake for around 20 minutes until soft. Serve hot or cold. They keep well in the fridge in a Tupperware container.


13
May 13

Homemade lemon curd with Vivien Lloyd

The ingredients to make lemon curd

The ingredients to make lemon curd

Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that I have recently been discovering the art of preserving. I’ve made jam, chutney and marmalade, and recently my attentions turned to curds.

Vivien Lloyd is one of the UK’s leading preserves experts and her latest ebook entitled Fruit Curds: Make and Bake has been guiding me through every step of the way.

Curds are an often forgotten preserve, but are absolutely delicious, much more so homemade than shop bought, and have all manner of uses in cakes, desserts and ice creams. The first time I tried homemade curd, I was absolutely blown away by the flavour – it is in a completely different league to anything else I have tried.

Making curd is not difficult and the process is shown in much detail at every stage with photos and videos which are really useful as you know exactly how the curd should look and feel throughout the process.

Vivien’s book shows you how to use your homemade curds in baking producing a range of incredibly delicious cakes and desserts.  If you’re interested in starting to make your own curd, I highly recommend this ebook, as it contains all the information you’re ever likely to need, and some really special recipes to make, too.

Vivien has very kindly allowed me to share her extra special Lemon Curd recipe with you here. Do give it a go and let us know how you get on. Vivien Lloyd can be found on Twitter as @vivienlloyd.

Making lemon curd

Making lemon curd


Lemon Curd


Lemon curd is the best known and my favourite curd with its rich flavour and bright colour. This is a traditional, tried and tested recipe and one to consider for competitions. I first made this recipe during my early days of preserving and it has become the one I return to most often. This recipe was first published by HMSO in 1929, Home Preservation of Fruit and Vegetables.

Makes about 1.25kg/ 2¾lbs

300ml (½ pint) freshly squeezed lemon juice ( 5-9 lemons)
215g ( 7½oz) unsalted butter 
700g (1lb 9oz) granulated sugar
300ml (½ pint) fresh eggs (5-6 eggs)

1.Wash the lemons and peel them very thinly with a vegetable peeler or a sharp knife before squeezing out and measuring their juice. Place the butter and sugar in an ovenproof  bowl over a large saucepan of barely simmering hot water. Add the lemon juice and lemon rind, and leave until the fat has melted.

2. Lift the bowl off the pan and leave to cool slightly. Lightly beat the eggs in a large bowl but do not whisk them. Gradually stir in the fat mixture, then strain the curd through a sieve (leaving the peel behind) into a clean bowl and place it over a saucepan of barely simmering hot water.

3.Stir continuously until the mixture is slightly thickened- the curd is ready when it just coats the back of the spoon. This will take about 15-20 mins. Do not over-cook or it will curdle. Turn off the heat and leave to stand for 5 mins, during which time the curd will thicken slightly.

4. Sieve the curd for a smoother texture. Pour into clean jars, taking care to fill them absolutely full. Press a waxed disc waxed side down on the surface of the curd and leave to cool. Cover the pots with a cellophane cover when cold. Store in a refrigerator and eat within 4-6 weeks.

FIRST PRESERVES CURDS ebook cover2 sm 02


8
May 13

A day with Lesley Waters

Lesley Waters in action

Lesley Waters in action

Dorset is a very foodie county, renowned for its excellent produce flavoured by many celebrity chefs. One of those is Lesley Waters, who has been a regular feature on our TV screens for years. Lesley fell in love with Dorset just over a decade ago and made Dorset her home, converting a beautiful stone cottage on the rolling hills near to the Somerset border to create her own cookery school.

I recently spent a day at the Lesley Waters Cookery School with Lesley herself,  hosted by Aga Rangemaster, cooking with some of the best of local produce. Lesley is a very dynamic lady and a wonderful teacher and hostess, making sure everyone gets involved and touches, smells and watches everything.

The cookery school itself is absolutely beautiful, with stunning views from every window. Inside, the kitchen is decorated in a rustic yet modern style, with both walls kitted out with gorgeous deep red Rangemaster cookers. Lesley is a fan of the Rangemaster cooker, which is a delight to use, with fan assisted ovens which make baking accurate and gas hobs which are easy to control and cook with.

We made a range of Lesley’s signature dishes on the day which we enjoyed for lunch with a glass of fizz and I’m delighted to be able to share one of my favourite dishes of the day with you below.

Peppered scallops with puy lentils

Peppered scallops with puy lentils

Peppered scallops with puy lentil dressing

Adapted from the original recipe with permission

Serves 4

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil

12 scallops, hand-dived and cleaned

Sea salt

Pepper

2 tbsp torn basil leaves

10g butter

4 tbsp puy lentils, cooked

For the dressing 

5 tbsp olive oil

2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

110g wild rocket leaves

110g sundried tomatoes

Method

1)   Heat the oil in a large non-stick frying pan. Add the scallops and season with salt and pepper. Cook for around 2-3 minutes on each side. Add the basil, butter and lentils and allow the scallops to cook for a further minute in the butter.

2)   Mix the oil and balsamic vinegar together and add the rocket leaves and tomatoes. Mix well to evenly dress the salad. Place on a plate and top with the scallops and lentils. Serve immediately.


3
May 13

Lemon polenta muffins

Lemon polenta muffins

Lemon polenta muffins

If you love cake, like me, but sometimes keep half an eye on how much you’re enjoying, these delicious mini muffins might just be for you. They’re wheat free and really quite nutritious for cakes.

Polenta cakes tend to be a little more crumbly by nature, so for the best results, use a really good quality non-stick tin, such as this one made by Judge, and make sure it’s greased well if you are not using paper cases.

Lemon polenta muffins

Makes 12 mini muffins

Ingredients

75g butter

75g caster sugar

75g fine polenta

75g ground almonds

1 large free-range egg, beaten

Finely grated zest of one unwaxed lemon and 1 tbsp lemon juice

Method

1)   Preheat the oven to 180C

2)   Line your mini muffin tin, or grease well. Set aside

3)   Place the butter and caster sugar into a large mixing bowl and beat together well until light and fluffy

4)   Add the remaining ingredients and beat together well.

5)   Spoon into the muffin tin and bake for 15-18 minutes until golden brown

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