Sunday, 29 June 2014

Barbara's Rice Cake

This reminded me (I don't know why) of a wartime recipe, maybe because of its old fashioned simplicity, but it was delicious nonetheless.

1/2 lb butter
3oz ground rice
5 oz self raising flour
8oz caster sugar
3 large eggs

Cream butter and sugar together, beat in eggs one at a time.  Fold in flour and rice.
Put in 2lb loaf tin.
Bake at 175* about 1 hour.


Thursday, 24 April 2014

Panna cotta a wobble to please.

Having just eaten a tasty, but somewhat firm panna cotta from a Mary Berry recipe I fell upon an article from The Guardian's series 'how to make the perfect....'
This is definitely on my to try list.
I might even try MB again but with 50% less gelatine although I had better test it out without visitors!

"My biggest challenge, once I've decided to use a 2:1 ratio of double cream to milk and buttermilk in order to give a rich, but not sickly flavour, is judging the set. It's a delicate balance: too much gelatine and the panna cotta will be unpleasantly chewy, too little, and you've got yourself a sauce. Eventually, after a fair few failures, I achieve that perfect wobble.


The Oxford Companion to Food's entry on panna cotta stresses that, "if a flavouring is used, it should be delicate." Nigel Slater, Denis Cotter and Giorgio Locatelli all choose rose water and vanilla seeds – I like the subtle summery hint of flowers, but, in defiance of modern mores, I'm not so keen on the vanilla, which makes it taste, to my mind, like custard.

Each to their own though – panna cotta is an amenable dessert which will work with anything from caramel to saffron, although a good tip from Locatelli is not to add alcohol-based flavourings, such as rosewater, until the mixture has cooled slightly, or the flavour will evaporate. I prefer to leave my panna cotta plain, and serve it with fresh fruit (late summer berries are a brilliant choice) as a sharp contrast.

Perfect panna cotta

Felicity's perfect panna cotta. Photograph: Felicity Cloake for the Guardian
Panna cotta is such a simple dish that both the flavour and the texture have to be spot on – there really is nowhere for the cook to hide with this one. Once you've cracked it, though, it's the perfect make-ahead stuff for those (few) occasions when Angel Delight just won't cut the mustard.

Serves 4

2 x 2g leaves gelatine
300ml double cream
115g caster sugar
100ml full-fat milk
50ml buttermilk
Vegetable oil, to grease

1. Soak the gelatine leaves in cold water. Pour the cream into a pan, add the sugar and heat gently, stirring, until the sugar has dissolved. Bring just to a simmer, and then take off the heat.

2. Squeeze out the gelatine and then stir it into the warm cream mixture to dissolve. Pour through a sieve into a clean bowl and stir in the milk and buttermilk. Taste for sweetness and add more sugar if necessary.

3. Grease the inside of 4 espresso cups or small ramekins and divide the mixture between them. Cool and then refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight.

4. To turn out, put the dishes briefly in boiling water and then invert on to plates. Serve with berries or fruit compote.

Panna cotta – one of the few truly great Italian desserts. What flavourings do you add to yours (any top tips for savoury versions?) and what do you like to eat them with? And will anyone come out in support of the great British blancmange?"

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Sunday, 6 April 2014

Lemon Drizzle v.3

Delia Smith's cakes this time.

 175g self-raising flour
 1 teaspoon baking powder
 175g spreadable butter
 175g golden caster sugar
 3 large eggs
 grated zest of 3 large lemons
 juice of large lemon
 40g poppy seeds
For the syrup
 juice of 3 large lemons
 grated zest of 1 large lemon
 50g golden icing sugar, sifted
 100g golden granulated sugar
To finish:
 1 rounded teaspoon golden granulated sugar mixed with 1 rounded teaspoon poppy seeds
 1 rounded teaspoon poppy seeds
 Pre-heat the oven to 170°C, gas mark 3
A 20cm loose-based round cake tin, greased and base lined

All in one method:

Start off by sifting the flour and baking powder into a roomy mixing bowl, holding
the sieve quite high to give the flour a good airing as it goes down. Then add the butter, sugar, eggs, lemon zest and juice and finally the poppy seeds.

Now, using an electric hand whisk, mix to a smooth creamy consistency for about one minute.

Spoon the mixture into the tin, levelling it with the back of the spoon, and bake near the centre of the oven for 40 minutes or until the centre feels springy.

When the cake is ready, remove the tin from the oven to a board, then straight away
mix together the syrup ingredients. 

Next stab the cake all over with a skewer and spoon the syrup evenly over the hot cake, then finally sprinkle with the sugar and poppy seed mixture.

After that the cake needs to cool in its tin before it can be removed and stored in an airtight container.

Note: this is equally good made without the poppy seeds if you prefer.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Low Fat Banana Muffins

Haven't tried these yet, so recipe just for reference. Will update or remove depending on results.

I make these banana muffins all the time and the kids love them. I had no idea they were only around 80 calories per muffin.

I fill 24 muffin compartments 2/3rds of the way with the mix. You don't have to use the spices I've added to this recipe. The original recipe doesn't have any spices in it but I love it with cinnamon and nutmeg and sometimes I add pumpkin spice. You can also substitute the eggs with egg beaters if thats your thing and the sugar you can substitute with splenda. My MIL is diabetic and would substitute 1/2 a cup of splenda for 1 cup of sugar since splenda is twice as sweet as sugar. That would also bring your calorie count down. But at only 80 calories per muffin who cares about a couple more calories. You can add a cup of raw oats and a cup of raisins as well. I usually double the recipe and make half without and the other half with the raisins and oats. Kids don't care for the oats or raisins but hubby and I do. But that does increase your calorie count. So run it through the recipe builder to get an accurate count if you add the raisins and oats.

Number of servings 24

Ingredients Calories Carbs Fat Protein
Egg - Large, Grade A, Raw, 2 egg 140 0 8 12
Sugars - Granulated (sucrose), 1 cup 774 200 0 0
Water - Bottled or Tap, 2.6 fl. oz. 0 0 0 0
Bananas - Raw, 3 medium (7" to 7-7/8" long) 315 81 1 4
I Can't Believe It's Not Butter - Light, 2 Tbsp (14g) 90 0 10 0
All-Purpose Flour (32 oz), 1 1/3 cup (30g) 572 114 0 16
Baking Powder, 0.25 tsp 2 1 0 0
Baking soda, 0.5 tsp 0 0 0 0
Spices - Cinnamon, ground, 1 tsp 6 2 0 0
Spices - Nutmeg, ground, 1 tsp 12 1 1 0
Salt - Table , 0.5 teaspoon 0 0 0 0

Total calories: 1911
Calories Per Serving: 80
Edited by fit4lifeUcan2 On October 12, 2012 2:13 PM

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:From myfitness

Saturday, 29 March 2014


We first came upon this rib sticking delight when we camped in the garden of a cheese maker near the awe inspiring bridge at Millau, south of Clermont Ferrand.

The first time I had tried to use a machine to mash potatoes, in my very early days as a cook, they became gluey, but now I find that is a desirable quality in this lovely gooey cheesy potato dish from the south Central Massif region of France .
It is originally made with Tomme de Cantal cheese, and here in Savoie with local Tomme but research came up with a Delia version using Lancashire.

Wonderful with Toulouse sausages.

Aligot (Mashed Potatoes with Garlic and Cheese)

I first ate this mashed potato with cheese in southwest France, in the Tarn region, and it was, quite simply, the best mashed potato I've ever eaten. Research on my return revealed that it involved a special, lovely cheese called Cantal, not generally available – but after many experiments I have, I think, come up with something comparable, made with farmhouse Lancashire, which has a lovely, fresh, lactic flavour.

Serves 2
1 lb (450 g) Desirée or King Edward potatoes
2 fat cloves garlic, peeled and halved lengthways
1 oz (25 g) butter
8 oz (225 g) Lancashire cheese, grated
salt and freshly milled black pepper

This recipe is taken from How to Cook Book One and from Delia's Vegetarian Collection.


Begin this by placing the garlic in a small saucepan with the butter, then leave it on the gentlest heat possible to melt and infuse for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, thinly pare and discard the skins of the potatoes and cut them into even-sized chunks, or cut any large potatoes into quarters and small ones into halves. Place the potatoes in a steamer, then pour some boiling water straight from the kettle into a saucepan. Fit the steamer over, sprinkle the potatoes with 1 level dessertspoon of salt, put a lid on and let them steam for 20-25 minutes, until tender in the centre when tested with a skewer. After this, remove them, transfer to a large bowl (preferably a warm one) and cover with a cloth to absorb some of the steam. Now, with an electric hand whisk, switch to slow and begin to break up the potatoes, then add the butter and garlic, some black pepper and a handful of the grated cheese. Now switch the speed to high and continue adding the cheese, a handful at a time, while you whisk. There's a lot of cheese, but what will happen is that, as you whisk it in, the potatoes will turn translucent and glossy and, as you lift and whisk, it will form stiff, glossy peaks. When all the cheese is in, serve very quickly. As the cheese goes in, the mixture becomes stiff and clings to the whisk, but keep going and it will part company with the whisk eventually. Also, if you want to keep it warm, place the bowl over a pan of simmering water, but don't leave it too long.

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Wednesday, 26 March 2014

I know how to make lasagne...

I make a mean lasagne, but always have issues with how much sauce to make. If I wing it then there is never enough, so this is here as a reminder to ME!

I prefer to omit the Worcester sauce from the meat, and add a final layer of white (homemade) breadcrumbs mixed with Parmesan for a crunchy topping.
I also let the tomato and meat sauce cook out a while to intensify the flavour.

By Gordon Ramsay
Gordon Ramsay's easy lasagne recipe is a tried and tested favourite from Gordon Ramsay's Cookalong Live
Serves 4

Prep 40 mins
Cook 50 mins

2 tbsp olive oil
½ large onion, peeled
1 large carrot, peeled
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 pinches dried oregano
300g minced beef
1 tbsp tomato pureé
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
30ml (2 tbsp) red wine
1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
50ml milk
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
For the sauce

25g butter
25g flour
300ml milk (400ml better)
Pinch of ground nutmeg
60g cheddar cheese, grated
30g parmesan cheese, grated
6 sheets of 'non-cook' lasagne sheets
For the salad

1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
2-3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 x round lettuce head, rinsed and dried

Preheat the oven to 220°C/fan 200°C/gas mark 7. Heat the olive oil in a hot pan. Grate the onion and carrot and crush the garlic before frying together. Season with the bay leaf, a pinch of oregano, Worcestershire sauce and a little salt and pepper. Allow the onion to soften before making a well in the centre of the pan. Place the mince in the middle of the pan and stir to break it up. Add the tomato puree and allow to cook out for 30 seconds. Continue until all the meat has browned nicely. Add the wine and cook off the alcohol before adding the tomatoes. Leave to simmer for a further 2-3 minutes. Finally add the milk, turn off the heat and set aside.

To make the cheese sauce, first melt the butter in a saucepan. Add the flour and using a wooden spoon, stir to form a paste. Over a gentle heat add a third of the milk, whisking to prevent any lumps forming. Add the rest of the milk a third at a time, whisking as you go. Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of ground nutmeg. Allow the sauce to cook out for another minute before adding the Cheddar cheese. Stir and remove from the heat.

Spoon half of the meat sauce into the bottom of the baking dish and place pasta sheets on top (break the sheets if necessary to avoid any overlapping). Next, pour in just under half of the cheese sauce, and spread evenly using a spatula before spooning the remaining meat on top. Add the final layer of pasta and use the spatula to pour over the remaining cheese sauce.

Finish with the grated Parmesan and sprinkle with another pinch of oregano. Add a light seasoning of salt and pepper before cleaning the edges of the dish and placing in the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. ( I recon 40-45 mins although it depends on how deep the dish, and if it is cold when you put it in)

In the bottom of your salad bowl use a fork to whisk together the mustard, vinegar and olive oil. Season with salt and pepper. Carefully open the head of lettuce, season inside with salt and pepper. Upend the lettuce headfirst into the salad bowl. Holding the root, wipe the leaves around the bowl to coat in the vinaigrette. Twist the root and pull it out. Turn the dressed head of lettuce onto a large plate and gently open out.

Portion out the lasagne and serve alongside the salad.

© Gordon Ramsay

Tuesday, 25 March 2014

French bread

Being in France, being a Francophile and a lover of food, I love French bread, although I don't like getting out of my jim jams to go and collect a crusty fresh baguette first thing in the morning.  I have stuck to my favourite English loaf varieties from my breadmaker.
Yesterday I thought I would investigate the French Bread setting on my machine.  Sadly I don't have the original recipe book that came with the machine so I have to depend on the trusty internet, and the good supply of info therein for my model of machine.

Hence:  version 1 (which is delicious but in loaf form is impossible to cut into sandwich slices) I will try it as dough only next and bake it as a baguette in my oven.

White flour/wholemeal flour. Make bread with a crispy crust and texture.
'French@-'Bake@ (6h)
Yeast 1tsp
Strong white flour 400g (14oz)
Butter 15g (1/2 oz)
Salt 1tsp
Water 290ml.. 
Next one I haven't tried yet, but presumably will be the equivalent of Pain Rustique.

Settings as above
Yeast 1tsp
Strong Wholemeal Flour 75g (3oz)
Rye Flour 50g (2oz)
Butter 15g (1/2 oz)
Salt 1tsp
Water 310ml
Copied from p18 of the Panasonic SD-255 Recipe Book.
(E&O excepted ! ! !)