All posts tagged: Cooking

Sweet & Salty Summer Salad

With the summer holidays just round the corner, we’ve had a couple of school/ kindergarten “end of the year” parties. For one of those events I made this salad, it went down very well and one of my friends asked for the recipe…so this is for you Francesca. Ingredients 500g/ 17.6oz couscous 600ml/ 1.2pt vegetable stock 5 tbsp olive oil 10-12 apricots 200g/ 7oz pistachio nuts 100g/3.5oz sultanas 1 handful of mint leaves Dressing 5 tbsp olive oil 1 1/2 limes (juiced) (1 tsp of honey if you like) salt, pepper & couscous seasoning (coriander, cumin, chili, anise, mustard seeds, cinnamon) Boil 600ml of stock, take off the cooker and pour the couscous into the pan. Leave to soak for about 5 minutes. Add 5 tablespoons of olive oil and stir it with a fork to get rid of any clumps. Free the pistachio nuts from their shells (you might need double the amount if your kids help out). Chop up the apricots and mint leaves. All you have to do now is add all …

Ready For Some Rhubarb Pie?

Get your rolling pins out. It’s pie time! While shopping this week, some delicious rhubarb caught my eye. I couldn’t resist. So here goes… a scrumptious, rhubarb loaded pie. The Dough 125g/ 4.4 oz butter 250g/ 9.0 oz flour 100g/ 3.5 oz sugar a pinch of salt 1/2 tsp lemon zest 1 egg The Filling 700g/ 24.5 oz rhubarb 80g/ 2.8 oz sugar 1 tsp vanilla paste (or vanilla flavouring you prefer) 1 tsp cinnamon 80g/ 2.8 oz ground almonds 1 egg yolk (to braise the pie with) icing sugar (decoration) Make the dough and leave to chill for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven at 180°C/ 356 °F. For the filling, chop up the rhubarb in about 1 cm wide chunks. Mix the rhubarb, sugar, cinnamon and vanilla flavouring together. Grease your pie dish. Split the dough in half (base and lid of pie) roll it out and lay into your dish. Prick the base and cover it with the ground almonds. Fill it with the mixture and place the dough lid on top. …

Stuffed Sweet Potaoes

It’s a bit chilly outside! After a stroll (or in my case a jog) in the crisp air…what’s better than coming home to some nice, warm, home cooked food. Ingredients sweet potatoes 2 handfuls of spinach 5 mushrooms 100g feta cheese parmesan cheese 50g pine nuts cress Preheat the oven at 200°C/ 392°F. Halve the sweet potatoes and bake for about 50 minutes. While they’re in the oven, wash and prepare the spinach and the mushrooms. Steam the spinach and fry the mushrooms. When the potatoes are done, reduce the oven to 100°C/ 212°F. Scoop the insides of the potatoes out and add the spinach. Crumble the feta cheese over the mixture and spoon it back into the potato skins. Sprinkle some Parmesan over them and replace into the oven for a further 10 minutes. In the meantime roast your pine nuts. All you need to do now is decorate your potatoes with the nuts and the cress. And there you have it! A perfect warmer upper! Scrumptious!

Grab a Grapefruit…

…and off we go! Here goes with my first post this year. It’s a juicy grapefruit salad. Ingredients 4 grapefruits 2 avaocados 2 fennels a handful of lamb’s lettuce dressing 1 tsp cardamom 1/2 a lemon 3 tbsp olive oil 1 tbsp honey salt and pepper Cut the grapefruit into small slices. Chop up the avocados in cubes and slice the fennel. Scatter the lettuce into a bowl and add the grapefruit, avocado and fennel. Whisk the dressing ingredients together and pour over the salad. No need to start the year with a guilty conscience. Now enjoy this!

Autumn Almond & Pear Cake

Autumn is well on its way. With chilly temperatures and nearly all the leaves off the trees (plenty of rake work to be done in the garden), it feels as though winter is just round the corner. So what better way to enjoy a snug afternoon than with mug of tea (or coffee in my case) and a scrumptious piece of cake. Ingredients 3 eggs 125g/ 0.5 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature 125g/0.5 cup sugar a pinch of salt 1 tsp cardamom 3 small/medium ripe pears, peeled, cored and chopped 75g/ 0.3 cup flour 200g/ 7 oz ground almonds 1/2tsp baking powder 50g/1.7 oz flaked/sliced almonds Icing sugar, for garnish For serving (optional) 1 orange 100g/ 3.5 oz mascarpone cheese icing sugar Pre-heat oven to 180°C/ 355° F. Grease an 20cm/8-inch springform pan and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper. Prepare pears, by peeling, coring and chopping. Set aside. Beat the eggs,butter, sugar, salt and cardamom together, until pale and fluffy. Fold in the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and the pears. Spoon batter into the …

Rustic Pumpkin Pie

Pumpkin is a perfect ingredient for a rustic recipe. With the kids due back from school (it’s absolutely pouring outside), they’ll definitely need a little warming up with some comfort food… The Dough 300g/10oz flour 1 tsp salt 100g/3.5oz butter 10 tbsp water The Filling 1 Onion 1kg/ 2.2lbs Pumpkin The Topping 3 Eggs 3dl/0.6pt Milk a couple of twigs of thyme nutmeg, salt & Pepper pumpkin seeds Make the dough and leave to chill for about 30 minutes. In the meantime chop up the onions finely and the pumpkin into rough cubes. Fry the onions until slightly brown. Steam the Pumpkin for about 15 minutes. Preheat the oven at 250°C/ 482°F. When done, roll the dough out and put it in your pie tray. Layer the onions on the base and cover with the pumpkin. Pour the Topping over it all and garnish with pumpkin seeds and thyme. Bake for 25-30 minutes. …and as you can see, it goes down very well with a little (or in some cases a lot) of grated cheese… …the …

Divine Raspberry Tiramisu

I came home yesterday evening from the kids training, to find a bowl brimming with delicious, luscious raspberries on my doorstep. It didn’t take me long to find out where they came from…due to a missed call on my mobile. My very lovely, elderly neighbours (am I allowed to call them that? They are over eighty!) dropped them by. So I just couldn’t resist making this post… The Ingredients 1 bowl of raspberries 1 bottle of raspberry sirup/squash 500g/ 2 cups mascarpone or philadelphia 500g/ 2 cups low fat curd cheese 400g/ 13.5 ozs sponge biscuits 1 bunch of mint Mix the mascarpone and the curd cheese together and put half the mixture in a separate bowl. Stir in a couple of handfuls of raspberries and a dollop of sirup into to one of the bowls to create the raspberry creme. Lay the sponge fingers into the form (25x15cm) and soak with the sirup, spoon the raspberry creme over them and place another layer of sponge fingers on top, drizzle some sirup over the sponge fingers …

Cool Cucumber Gazpacho

Summer has officially begun…sunshine, blue skies, shorts, t-shirts, flip-flops, running under the garden sprinkler (the kids), enjoying long evenings out on the patio (the grown-ups). Here’s an ideal little something to sip in the shade while you enjoy your summer… The Ingredients (about 1.5L/ 2.1pt) 2 cucumbers, peeled, halved, pitted and chopped 3dl/ 0.63pt vegetable stock 1 onion 1 clove of garlic 4tbsp olive oil 100g/ 0.2lbs bread cubes Seasoning a couple of twigs of parsley salt & pepper Make the stock and add to all the ingredients. Purée and add the seasoning. Chill for a couple of hours (if your a little bit better organised than I am, you can prepare it the day before and leave it to chill over night). Thats it, you’re done! Chill! MerkenMerken

Soul Soothing Celery Soup

After an eventful week…one of the cats went missing for 5 days, our younger son bruised his arm badly and had to wear a sling for a couple of days and our youngest caught Scarlet Fever…all that next to the usual organised chaos. I definitely need a little bit of soul food. If you feel the same give this a go! The Ingredients 1 onion 400g/ 1.7cups celery Root 2tbsp olive oil 4dl/ 0.8pint cider or apple juice 5dl/ 1pint  vegetable stock 1,5dl/ 0.3pint cream salt and pepper half a bunch of chervil Chop up the onion and celery root, fry until the onions brown slightly. Add the cider and vegetable stock. Leave to simmer for about 30 minutes. Purée and pour in the cream. Season with salt and pepper. Garnish with chervil and there you have it… …perfect soul food.  

Brighten up your day with a “Beetroot Bake”

I can’t resist the luscious color of beetroot and as I love an experiment (not always to the delight of the kids)…Here’s my go at a beetroot and feta cheese quiche. Be warned, just the smell while your cooking the onions, beetroot and thyme is absolutely delicious! The Ingredients Dough 150g flour 1/2 tsp salt 50g butter 4-5 tbsp water Quiche 1 red onion 500g/ 17.5 oz beetroot a bunch of thyme olive oil 5tbsp white wine vinegar Topping 5 eggs 250ml/0.5pt(U.S.) double creme salt and pepper 200g/ 7oz feat cheese Make the dough and leave to chill for about 30 minutes. Preheat the oven at 175°C/347°F. Slice the onions and the beetroot. Chop up the thyme. Roll out the dough and place in a greased or paper lined quiche tray and bake for 10minutes. While the base is baking, fry in the onions, Beetroot and thyme. Leave the base and the cooked veggies to cool down, then place the veggies on to the base, pour the topping over them and crumble the feta cheese over …