Monday, June 19, 2017

Gooseberry and Elderflower Preserve.

900 g gooseberries
4 tablespoons elderflower cordial
a trace of butter
900 g granulated sugar

First of all take the large, heavy saucepan and smear the base with a butter paper as this will help prevent the preserve sticking at a high temperature.

Then top and tail the gooseberries into the pan and add 5fl oz (150 ml) water.
Next bring up to simmering point and simmer very gently until the fruit is tender – this will take about 15 minutes.

After that add the sugar and stir well, then, keeping the heat low, wait for the sugar to dissolve completely (about 15 minutes), testing the liquid with a wooden spoon to make sure that there are no little granules of sugar left.
Now turn the heat up to its very highest setting and let the preserve boil rapidly for 8 minutes, then take it off the heat to test for a set.

Spoon a little of the preserve on to one of the cold saucers from the fridge, and let it cool back in the fridge.
You can tell – when it has cooled – if you have a 'set' by pushing the mixture with your little finger: if it has a really crinkly skin, it is set.
If it is not set, boil for 5 more minutes and repeat until the preserve is set.

When set, stir in the elderflower cordial and allow it to settle for 15 minutes before pouring it into warmed sterilised jars.
Seal with waxed discs, put the lids on and label when cold.
- Gooseberry and Elderflower Preserve | Recipes | Delia Online:

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Monday, June 12, 2017

Video: jam-making.

- Video: Christine Ferber's Raspberry Jam | Martha Stewart:

- Gourmet Jams by Christine Ferber | Euromaxx - YouTube:

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Strawberry Jam.

This is a fantastic recipe taken from Pam Corbin's, 'Preserves' book.
It follows a golden jam rule my granny used, A pound of sugar for every pound of fruit.
As strawberries are low in pectin, adding some jam sugar helps attain a great setting point without affecting the strawberries delicious flavour.

Ikg strawberries, hulled, large ones, halved and quartered.
500g granulated sugar.
450g jam sugar with added pectin
150ml lemon juice

Put 200g of the strawnberries into your preserving pan alongside an equal amount of sugar and using a potato masher, cruish to a pulp.
Place the pan on a low heat and when the fruity mixture warms add the rest of your strawberries.
Gently bring this to simmering boil, using a spoon to agitate the bottom of the pan,this prevents the fruit from sticking.
Simmer the mixture for 5 minutes to allow the strawberries to soften a little.

Next add the remaining sugar and the jam sugar.
Stir the mixture gently to prevent the sugar sticking and burning on the bottom of the pan.
When the sugar has disolved add the lemon juice.
Turn up the heat and when the mixture reaches full boil, continue boiling for 8-9 minutes.
Then test for setting point.

Remove from the heat and, if the surface is scummy, stir gently until the scum has dispersed.
Pot and seal.
Use within 12 months.

Thane Prince: 'Best Ever Raspberry jam' .

- Thane Prince: 'There’s something quiet and proper about jam-making' - Telegraph:

In Perfect Preserves, Thane explains in jolly, practical prose the subtle differences between jams, jellies, butters, marmalades and chutneys.
Preserving is not just for harvest festival time, she says, it’s a year-round effort.
“It starts in the spring with marmalade – those oranges come in in February – and runs all the way through to December, when I make my cranberry vodka.
“With sugar, acid and pectin, you can set anything.
Best Ever Raspberry jam
This is probably my favourite recipe for jam.
I always make small batches as this jam is best eaten fresh Frozen berries work well allowing a taste of summer when snow is abundant.
500gm freshly picked or thawed frozen raspberries
500gm white sugar
Put 3-4 200ml washed and dried jam jars on a baking sheet then place in an over set to 150º C
Have a couple of small plates in the fridge or freezer
Place the berries and sugar into a heavy bottomed steel or enamelled pan and cook over a low heat until the fruit melts and the sugar is fully dissolved.
Bring the mixture up to boiling point and boil rapidly for 5 minutes.
Switch off the heat and test for a set. Drop a teaspoon of jam on a cold plate, wait about 30 seconds then push the edge of the puddle gently with your finger.
If you can see the surface wrinkling your jam is ready if not re-boil testing every 2 minutes, again using the timer to keep track.
Once you are happy with the set, pot the jam into the hot jars cover with lids and allow to cool
Check the lids are tightly on and label before storing in a cool dark larder or cupboard

Thane Prince's gooseberry and elderflower curd
”A curd is, basically, a set custard, a silky-soft luxury.”
500g gooseberries
Five eggs
125g salted butter
100ml elderflower cordial
200g white caster sugar
Place the washed gooseberries in a pan over a low heat, with just the water that clings to them, cover and cook until the fruit softens and boils.
Rub the mixture through a sieve into a round-bottomed pan.
Lightly whisk the eggs until smooth, and add to the pan, along with the butter cut into 1cm cubes, the elderflower cordial and sugar.
Put the pan on a very low heat and srir constantly with a wooden spoon, as though scrambling eggs.
Cook until the sugar has completely dissolved and the butter melted.
The mixture should not feel gritty when stirred, and there should be no signs of sugar on the back of your spoon.
Turn the heat up a notch to low, stirring constantly, cook the curd until it is thick enough to coat the back of the wooden spoon.
Do not stop stirring or leave the pan; do not let the mixture bubble.
When the curd has thickened – remembering it will thicken more as it cools – take the pan from the heat.
Pot the curd into sterilised jars, using a jam funnel and a ladle.
Cover with the lids and leave to cool.
When the jars are cold, label them and check the lids are firmly screwed on.
Store in the fridge; unopened, it keeps for up to four weeks.

Blackberry ketchip
Yield approx. 1kg | Keeps 6 months
Ingredients1kg blackberries
350g red onions
30g garlic
1–2 fresh red chillies
1/2 teaspoon celery seeds
1 teaspoon juniper berries
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
500ml cider vinegar
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
400g white granulated sugar
Wash the berries in a colander and shake off as much water as possible.
Tip them into a large heavy-bottomed, non-reactive preserving pan.
Peel and finely chop the onions and the garlic.
Chop the chilli.
I leave the pith and seeds in, but for a milder flavour take these out.
Grind the seeds, berries and peppercorns finely, using a spice mill or a mortar and pestle.
Now put everything but the sugar into the pan with the blackberries. Place this over a moderate heat, and bring the mixture up to a simmer.
It should bubble gently.
Cover with the lid and cook gently for 30–40 minutes or until everything is very soft.
Remember to stir from time to time.
Remove from the heat and allow to sit for 5 minutes, as blending the hot mixture can be explosive.
Once the ketchup has cooled a little, spoon it into the blender and whizz until smooth. It may be necessary to do this in batches.
You now need to sieve the ketchup to remove any unwanted lumps, skins etc. Place a sieve over a glass bowl and, using a wooden spoon, rub the mixture through the sieve until you have a dry, fibrous residue left in the sieve.
Discard this.
Place some clean bottles and/or jars and their lids on a baking tray and then into the oven preheated to 100 C/200 F/ Gas 2 for 20 minutes.
Return the ketchup to the washed saucepan and add the sugar, stirring it in well.
Put the pan over a low heat and stir until the sugar has completely dissolved.
Simmer the ketchup over a medium heat until thick, about 15 minutes, stirring often, as it has a tendency to stick to the pan at this stage.
Once it is as thick as you wish, remembering that it will thicken on cooling, remove the ketchup from the heat and allow it to stand for 5 minutes.
Take the baking tray of bottles/jars from the oven at the same time.
Stir the ketchup once more, then pot into the hot jars or bottles, using a funnel, and leaving a headspace of about 2cm at the top of each bottle or 1cm at the top of each jar.
Screw the lids on loosely and allow to cool.
When cold, label the bottles or jars, and check the lids are tight. Store in a cool, dark place or the fridge.

- Thane Prince's Blog:
and -
and -

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Roast lamb with boulangère potatoes.

Start your boulangère potatoes first, then use them as a base to roast your lamb on.
1 lamb joint
Large potatoes equal in weight to the lamb
1 large onion
1 tbsp dried herbes de Provence
2 garlic cloves
50g/2oz butter

You can make this roast for two, using a small half shoulder, or as many as 12, with two legs of lamb.
Just remember you need the same weight of potatoes as meat.
Serve with redcurrant jelly rather than mint sauce.

Pre-heat the oven to 400F/200C/gas mark 6.
Peel the potatoes and slice thinly.
Rinse them and soak in cold water.
Peel, halve and finely chop the onion.
Peel the garlic.
Chop one garlic and thinly slice the other.
Mix onion, chopped garlic and herbs.
Use half the butter to grease a large earthenware gratin-type dish or roasting pan.
Fill with a third of the drained potatoes.
Season with salt and pepper and scatter half the onion mixture over the top.
Make another layer of potatoes and onion and finish with a layer of potatoes.
Smooth the surface of the potatoes and press down evenly with the flat of your hand.
Dot with butter.
Add enough boiling water to almost cover the potatoes.
Cook them in the oven for 30mins, then turn up to 450F/230C/gas mark 8 for another 15 minutes – until the liquid has been absorbed, the potatoes are tender and the top is nicely browned.
Meanwhile, trim excess fat from the lamb.
Make slashes in the meat and post the sliced garlic.
Calculate the cooking time, allowing between 15 and 25 minutes per pound, depending on how pink you like your lamb.
Now place the joint on top of the potatoes and cook for 15 mins before returning temperature to earlier level.
Turn meat at halfway point.
Then remove the joint, keep it warm and allow it to rest for 15 minutes or more, leaving the potatoes in the oven.
Carve at the table, giving everyone some of the meat juices and letting your guests help themselves to the potatoes (they’ll want more).

From: Roast lamb with boulangère potatoes - Saga:
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Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Cherry clafoutis.

A baking dish 28 cm
Sweet cherry 1 kg
Butter 80g
Sugar 200g
Plain flour 150g
Egg 1
Yolks 3
Crème Fraîche 250g
Single cream 200 ml
Baking powder 4g
Salt 1/3 tea spoon
1. You can change the amount of sugar.
It all depends on your taste and ripeness of fruit.
2. Plain flour is completely replaceable for whole grains, for example.
Or, you can replace half of the specified portion of flour with corn.
3. The amount of liquid cream can vary.
Everything will depend on the type of flour chosen, on its moisture capacity.
Try to make your dough not very liquid, but not very thick. Ideal consistency - like for pancake.
1. In a saucepan, heat the butter on high heat.
Add half of the portion (100 g) of sugar and whole cherry.
Stirring, bring the cherry until caramelized.
Do not cook cherries.
As soon as the sugar has dissolved and covered the cherry, remove from heat and put them into baking dish.
Leave to cool slightly.
2. Turn on the oven: 180°C with convection.
3. Mix together the flour, the remaining sugar, salt and baking powder.
4. In a bowl with a mixture of dry ingredients, add yolks, egg, sour cream and half cream.
Stir everything with a spoon, do not knead!
We do not need a smooth dough.
Let it remain somewhat "cloddy".
If it is too thick, add the rest of the cream.
5. Pour dough in the form over cherry evenly.
Put in the oven for 35-40 minutes.
Clafoutis served cold, sprinkled with sugar.
Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Cherry and ricotta tart.

Rachel Roddy’s recipe for cherry and ricotta tart | A kitchen in Rome | Life and style | The Guardian:
Cherry and ricotta tart by Rachel Roddy.
You will need a tart or flan tin 24cm in diameter and 3cm deep (those with a loose bottom being particularly good).

Serves 8–10
For the pastry
150g cold butter, diced
300g plain flour (ideally 00-grade)
A pinch of salt
60g sugar (optional)
2 medium eggs, lightly beaten

For the cherry layer
500g cherries, sweet or sour, pitted
Strips of zest from 1 unwaxed lemon
A glass of red wine
50 –100g sugar, depending on cherries, or 300g cherry or sour cherry jam

For the ricotta layer
500g ricotta
1 egg
75g sugar
Extra egg, for brushing

- Rub the butter into the flour until it resembles fine breadcrumbs.
Add the salt and sugar (if using), then the eggs.
Mix into a soft pastry.
Wrap in greaseproof paper.
Chill for at least 1 hour.

- Put the cherries in a pan along with the zest, wine and sugar.
Bring to the boil, reduce to a lively simmer and cook until the cherries are tender and collapsing – but not mushy.
Use a slotted spoon to lift the cherries from the pan, raise the heat and reduce the liquor to a thick syrup that really coats the back of a spoon.
Take the pan from the heat, return the cherries to the syrup and leave to cool.

- Combine the ricotta, egg and sugar.
Set the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4.

- On a lightly floured surface, roll two-thirds of the pastry into a disc a little larger than your baking tin.
Drape the pastry over a rolling pin, unfurl it into the tin and press into the corners.
Trim the excess pastry away with a knife.

- Spoon the cherries into the shell.
Carefully spoon the ricotta mixture on top.
Roll the remaining pastry into a circle, then cut into strips to make a lattice, which you can lay as simply or as cleverly as you like.

- Brush the lattice with beaten egg.
Bake the tart in the middle of the oven for 45 minutes, or until the lattice is golden and the ricotta topping slightly puffed.

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Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The science and magic of jam-making.

The science and magic of jam-making | Andy Connelly | Science | The Guardian:
"The rule is, jam tomorrow and jam yesterday – but never jam today.
/Lewis Carroll/"
The recipe:
Jam recipes mostly comprise equal weights of fruit and sugar.
You can play with this 1:1 ratio as much as you want, but too much fruit and you may lose the preserving effects of the sugar; too much sugar and it may crystallise during storage.

The choice of fruit for jam-making is almost endless.
I always try to use seasonal fruit to get the best flavour for my jam.
Slightly unripe or "just ripe" fruit will form a jam more easily than very ripe fruit as it contains more pectin and is more acidic.
2 tablespoons of lemon juice is the equivalent to the juice of one lemon.

1kg fruit
1kg granulated sugar
Lemon juice and/or pectin (depending on the fruit you use)

* Some fruits are naturally high in acid but others are low so we need to compensate for this by adding acid at the start before we start cooking.

Start by removing any leaves and twigs, wash the fruit if you feel it necessary, and remove any stones.
Add the fruit to a pan big enough to ensure the fruit does not reach more than halfway up the side.

- Heating
Place your pan on a low heat.
As the fruit heats through, a glorious fresh, warm smell will fill the air.
Prolong this by heating slowly until a very gentle boil is reached.
Cook until tender – any longer and the fruit will lose its shape.
No sugar is added at this stage because a high sugar concentration can cause water to be removed through osmosis and result in hard, unappetising fruit.
You might need to add a little water though if your fruit is very dry.

Boiling is key to jam-making because it releases a long fibrous compound known as pectin.
Even though pectin only makes up 0.5-1% of the jam, you will have to learn to play it like a snake charmer or you will add your tears to your mixture.

The first handling of a jam the morning after making is full of trepidation.
The jam maker's nightmare is to find a wet, sloppy strawberry sauce, not the semi-rigid, elastic substance that chemists describe as a "gel": a liquid dispersed in a solid.
Pectin forms the solid that holds the liquid together.
Some fruits, including apples, blackberries and grapes, can do this alone as they contain sufficient pectin.
Some fruits are low in pectin, however, and so need a little more help, for example apricots, rhubarb and strawberries.

You can add commercial pectin, which is extracted from the white inner skin (the pith or "albedo") of citrus fruits or from apples.
You can also buy special jam sugars with added pectin.
But jam makers of yore discovered through trial and error that if they mixed low-pectin fruits with high-pectin fruit (often apple) they could create the perfect consistency.
Personally, I like to mix high and low pectin fruits to keep it "in the garden", for example I might add a cooking apple to my blackberry jam.

We add sugar, which binds to the water molecules and frees up the pectin chains to form their network.
The negative charges are reduced by acid naturally found in the fruit or added to the mixture.
The acid reduces the electrical charge on the pectin branches and so allows them to bond.
To increase acidity lemon juice can be added.
But be careful: if your mixture is too acidic, this will damage the pectin.

As a rough guide, the juice of a whole lemon (30-40ml) will be needed for very low acid fruit, whereas half a lemon will be enough for medium acid fruit, and you won't need any for the high acid fruits.
In general, fruit with high pectin will also have high acidity and vice versa.

- Adding the sugar:
To warm the sugar, put into a cool oven, Gas Mark 1 (140°C/275°F), for a few minutes before adding to the fruit.
Add the sugar and stand back as it starts to foam up the sides of the pan.
A sentimentality-inducing childhood smell of sweet fruit fills the air.
Allow the sugar to dissolve over a low heat then bring rapidly to the boil.
Avoid stirring at this point as you may break up the fruit or cause crystallisation.
A foamy scum may form on the surface of the jam; this is normal and can be removed by adding a little butter (about 20g) to break the surface tension or by skimming it off with a spoon while your mixture is cooling.

This is the exciting bit: the smell of jam fills the air and you're desperate to get it into jars and on to some toast, but patience is required.
However, you will normally have to wait around 5–20 minutes for the pectin network to form.
The time varies depending on the type of fruit, the type of pan etc.
A wide-mouthed pan is ideal as it allows water to escape, helping to bring our precious pectin molecules closer together.

- Time to pour:
There are many ways of telling when your pectin network has formed and you are ready to pour the jam out.
It normally forms at around 104-105C, when the sugar content is high enough to allow the pectin branches to join.
Unfortunately, temperature is not a reliable signal because it varies according to acidity, amount of pectin, etc.
My preferred method is direct measurement.
Pour a little blob of jam on to a cooled saucer, let the jam cool in the fridge and then push against the side of it with your finger.
If the surface wrinkles it means the pectin network has solidified, setting point has been reached, and you should take the mixture off the heat.
If you don't boil it long enough the pectin network will not form properly.
Boil it too long you risk not only losing the fresh flavour and colour of the jam but having a jam with the texture of set honey.

- Cooling and decanting into jars:
This is my favourite part, but I allow the jam to cool and thicken for about 10 minutes before pouring it into jars, to prevent the fruit from floating to the top.
Try not to leave the jam too long, however, as lukewarm jam is a great breeding ground for mildew spores which are present in the air.

To keep you busy while you are waiting, get your pre-sterilised jars ready.
You will need five or six of them.
My preferred method of sterilisation is to wash them in soap and hot water, rinse them with clean water to remove any detergent, and dry them in the oven at about 160C.

Jams can remind us of summers past, even summers several years gone.
It is the sugar and acid that makes this possible.
Jams usually contain about 60% sugar, which is enough to stop most microorganisms growing.
The high acidity also makes it an unpleasant place to breed.
However, some moulds can grow even in these harsh conditions and so it is important to take care when preparing and sterilising your jars.

The satisfying gurgle of jam being poured is music to the ears.
Each jar should be topped up to just less than a centimetre below the surface.

- Capping and storage:
I remember being puzzled why my parents always put a waxed paper disc on the surface of their homemade jam.
I now know that it prevents the condensation of water on the jam's surface.
Condensed water would dissolve sugar, producing an area of low sugar concentration and allowing mould growth.
I must confess that jam never sits in my cupboard long enough to worry about this.

Now that our jam-making is at an end, there is only one stage to go: eating.
I always struggle not to get overexcited and try my jam straight away before it has developed its "quiver".
I am torn; I feel I should wait until the autumn, when I can close my eyes and relive summer.
But I'm realistic.
I wait till the next day to spread the noble jam thickly on a delicious chunk of simple bread and butter.

- Jam and Jelly Making – Fruit, Acid, Sugar and Water:
Some fruits are naturally high in acid but others are low so we need to compensate for this by adding acid at the start before we start cooking.

- Thane Prince: 'There’s something quiet and proper about jam-making' - Telegraph:

- How to make perfect strawberry jam | Life and style | The Guardian:
Makes 4 x 200ml jars

2kg small ripe strawberries
1.7kg jam sugar
Juice of 2 lemons

1. Hull the strawberries and discard any rotten ones.
Set aside about 10 of the smallest berries, and then mash the rest up into a rough pulp.
Put into a wide, thick-bottomed pan, add the sugar and the lemon juice, and bring to the boil.
Add the remaining strawberries to the pan, and put a saucer in the freezer.

2. Boil the jam for about 15 minutes, stirring regularly checking the setting point every minute or so during the last 5 minutes.
To do this, take the cold saucer out of the freezer, put a little jam on it, and put it back in to cool for a minute.
If it wrinkles when you push it with your finger, then it's done.
Strawberry jam is unlikely to set very solid though, so don't expect the same results as you would with a marmalade.

3. Take off the heat and skim off the pink scum.
Pour into sterilised jars and cover with a disc of waxed paper, seal and store.

- Strawberry jam | BBC Good Food:
1kg hulled strawberry
750g jam sugar
juice 1 lemon
small knob of butter (optional)

- Diana Henry: jam making, a guide:
There are purists who will continue to make it the old-fashioned way but Pam's loose-set raspberry jam contains 1.5kg fruit and only 750g sugar.
Plain apple jelly can be flavoured with lavender, thyme, even the scent of Earl Grey tea.
Lemon juice can be added to low-acid fruits to help the release of pectin and ‘brighten’ the flavour;
I often add it after the setting point is reached and before potting, to give a jam freshness.
I prefer a soft set and a fresher flavour.
Use granulated sugar, as large crystals dissolve quickly.
I often use sugar with added pectin, usually called jam sugar (not the same as preserving sugar) to help set jams with lower sugar or pectin.
Never use it with high-pectin fruit, or you'll get a very hard jam.
Setting point for jam is 104.5C/220F, though high-pectin fruits can set a couple of degrees lower.
In Sweden I found what I call ‘nearly’ jam: they just boiled fruit with lemon juice and sugar - lower in sugar than usual.
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Sunday, May 28, 2017

Strawberry Apricot Jam.

makes about 3X250g Bonne-Maman jars

454g/2 lb strawberries, hulled and quartered
454g/2 lb apricots, pitted and cut in chunks
2.5 Tbsp lemon juice (1 small lemon)
2 cups sugar (1 with pectin)
1/8 cups apricot brandy (optional)
1/4 tsp unsalted butter
on the whole:
1 part strawberries x 1 part apricots x 1 part of sugar x juice 1 small lemon
OR: 500g x 500g x 500g x juice 1 small lemon

Sterilize canning jars and get your canning set-up ready - you’ll need to prepare a hot water bath to process the jars once you’ve filled them with jam.

Combine the fruit, lemon juice, brandy, and sugar in a large pot.
Let sit 30-60 minutes or over night, allowing the sugar to draw some liquid out of the fruit.
Break up some of the fruit with a potato masher, if you like.

Add butter to the pot (it helps reduce foaming) and place the pot over a medium-high flame.
Bring to a boil, stirring often.
When the jam comes to a rolling boil, turn heat down to medium, the cook, stirring occasionally, until it passes a jelly test.
Note: Setting point for jam is 105c (220F).

Remove from heat.
Ladle into clean jars leaving 0.5cm/1/4 inch head space.
Seal and process for 15 minutes in a boiling water bath.
Cool jars, label, and store in a dark cool place.
Strawberry from our allotment.
Tesco Apricots 320G Only 49p!
- Strawberry Apricot Jam - Get the Good Stuff!: "2 lb"

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Friday, May 26, 2017

Ricotta cake with sour cherries.

Bakers in Rome use ricotta in two typical "cheesecakes" - both called crostata di ricotta.
Filling the first variety is creamy combo of ricotta, chocolate and sugar.
An older recipe shuns cioccolato for cherries.
Sweetened ricotta caps sour cherry jam and a crumbly crust.
This treat gets baked sans crust up top, leaving the ricotta to brown in the oven's heat.
Originally a Jewish sweet made with candied fruit and honey, burnt ricotta cake became a common Roman dolce in the last 200 years.
Crust ingredients:
2.5 cups flour
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup cold butter
1 egg
2 yolks
Filling ingredients:
1.5 cups whole-milk ricotta
3 eggs (separate yolks & whites)
1/2 teaspoon flour
3/4 cup of powdered sugar
1 jar sour cherry preserves or amarena cherries
zest of one lemon

First, prepare the crust in a food processor.
Like with any butter-based crust, it's important to use very cold butter.
Personally, I like to keep stick or two frozen in the fridge.
Pulse the flour, sugar and rough chopped butter until a granular mix has formed; it will be sandy in texture.
Then add the yolks and egg and pulse until the dough begins to form into a ball.
Don't over-blend.
Wrap the ball in plastic wrap and chill in the freezer for 30 min.
To make the filling, blend the ricotta, yolks, sugar and smidgen of flour together in the mixing bowl.
Use a spoon and fold the ingredients together by hand.
In a separate bowl, beat the egg-whites until fluffy peaks form.
Fold the whites by hand into the eggy ricotta mix.
Stir in the zested lemon and, if desired, a pinch of cinnamon.

Preheat the oven to 190C/375F.
Roll the crust out and fill a pie pan with it.
You want the crostata crust to spill out over the edges of the pan.
This is a rustic dessert and precision presentation is not the goal.
Spread 3-4 tablespoons of the cherry preserves on the bottom of the crust.
If you want, you can pre-bake the crust for 15 minutes; this ensure that the bottom will not turn soggy during baking.
If you pre-bake, let the crust cool before adding the jam /ricotta.

Pour the ricotta filling over the cherry spread, being sure to keep a bed of preserves beneath the milky mixture.
Fold any "overflowing" dough atop the sweetened ricotta.
To give the crust up top a golden hue, brush with an egg wash before baking.
Bake for 50 minutes.
Remove from the oven.
Let the crostata cool at room temperature before serving.
A great combination!

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Very best recipe for meatballs.

Rachel Roddy’s Note:
In Rome, polpette (meatballs) are served alone, with bread and vegetables on the side.
Let the meatballs rest.
Beyond that, freedom reigns: the type of meat, the inclusion of bread, eggs, herbs and seasonings.
The ingredients are pretty standard: beef – twice minced if you can, bread soaked in milk, eggs, a little finely chopped garlic and parsley, and lots of salt and pepper.
You want a rich, soft sauce that has the right balance of acidity and sweetness – a mix of fresh and tinned tomatoes works well.
There was confirmation from Roberta, my butcher, the following morning: if I wanted really soft, plump meatballs I should poach them.
Poaching gently, however – a steady bob over a low flame – keeps things tender and plump, which is exactly what I want in a meatball, for now at least.
The meatballs should bob for 15 minutes or so, turning the sauce a deep rusty red.
Once done, you turn the heat off and leave them in the sauce: they are better after a rest.
In plate-separatist Rome, polpette are served alone, with bread and vegetables on the side.

Polpette al sugo (meatballs in tomato sauce)
Serves 3-4
2 slices of day-old bread (about 50g), crusts removed
A little milk
500g minced beef
2 eggs, lightly beaten
A small garlic clove
A sprig of parsley
Salt and black pepper

For the sauce
750g ripe, fresh tomatoes
6 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1–2 garlic cloves, peeled or crushed
A pinch of red chilli flakes (optional)
A tin of peeled plum tomatoes, chopped roughly in the tin
1 tbsp tomato puree (optional)

- Rip the bread and soak in a little milk until soft, and easily crumbled.
Squeeze out excess milk.
Put the crumbs in a large bowl along with the beef and lightly beaten eggs.

- Peel and chop the garlic very finely along with the parsley, salt and pepper.
Add to the meat, then use your hands to mix everything together.

- Divide the mixture into 12 meatballs: if the mixture is very sticky, flour your hands lightly.
Let the meatballs rest.

- Meanwhile, make the sauce.
As the tomato sauce was simmering and the meatballs were resting in the fridge.
Peel the fresh tomatoes by plunging them first in boiling water, then in cold, at which point the skins should slip off.
Then chop them roughly.

- Peel the garlic and crush for a milder flavour or finely chop for stronger.
Put 4 tbsp of the olive oil in a large, deep frying pan or cassarole and cook the garlic gently over a low heat until it is fragrant.
At this point you can remove the whole garlic if you wish.

- Add the chopped tomatoes and chilli.
Cook for 5 minutes, then add the final 2 tbsp oil and the tinned tomatoes.
Add 1 tbsp tomato puree if you feel it needs it.
Add bay leaves.
Season with salt and pepper.

Cook for 20–40 minutes, or until the sauce is rich and thick.

- Drop the meatballs in the sauce, making sure they are submerged.
Turn the heat to low, cover the pan and poach for 15 minutes, by which time the meatballs should be cooked through but still tender.

- try adding Spearmint to the mixture. It really is tasty.

- Preheat the oven to 220C/gas mark 7 and grease a baking tray.
Using your hands, mould them into roughly 40g balls if you are eating them alone or with mash or rice, or 20g balls for eating with pasta (you could weigh the first one to get an idea).
Put the balls on the prepared tray and bake for 15 minutes for big ones or eight minutes for small ones, turning them once, until they are just starting to brown.
Alternatively, fry the polpette in a sauté pan in a little olive oil, turning them carefully until evenly browned.
Drop the meatballs in the sauce and cook them in the sauce for 15 minutes - 20 minutes.

- Serve with bread on the side, or with mashed potatoes or rice.
If you are serving them with pasta, remove the meatballs from the sauce with a slotted spoon on to a warm plate.
Mix the sauce with cooked spaghetti in a wide bowl, then dot with the meatballs and serve.

- Rachel Roddy’s very best recipe for meatballs | A kitchen in Rome | Life and style | The Guardian:

- Classic Italian meatballs in tomato sauce recipe - Telegraph:

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Friday, May 19, 2017

Baked Apples With Blackberry Jam.

- Golden Delicious apples, peeled and cored
- tablespoons unsalted butter
- blackberry jam
Crème fraîche or sour cream, for serving (optional)
Preheat oven to 375F/190C.
Place apples in baking dish.
Stuff each apple with 1/2 tablespoon butter and then 1 tablespoon jam.
Bake, basting occasionally, until apples are very tender and glazed, about 1 hour.
Serve warm or at room temperature, with crème fraîche or sour cream, if desired.

NOTE: I had small apples and I cooked them for 35 minutes at 175C.


Crumpets recipe: From David Lebovitz.

A crumpet is a griddle cake made from flour and yeast.
An early reference to them comes from English Bible translator John Wycliffe in 1382 when he mentions the "crompid cake".

Their shape comes from being restrained in the pan/griddle by a shallow ring.

They have a characteristic flat top with many small pores and a chewy and spongy texture.

English crumpets are generally circular, roughly 8 centimetres (3 in) in diameter and 2 centimetres (3⁄4 in) thick.
- Crumpets Recipe | King Arthur Flour:

- Crumpet, muffin, pikelet and farl recipes | Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall | Life and style | The Guardian:
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Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Savory bread pudding with wild mushrooms & bacon.

You’ll need:
Unsalted butter, for the baking dish
8 oz/225g country-style bread, preferably day-old
8 oz/225g thick cut bacon, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 small or 1 large/110g leek, white and light green parts sliced 1.2 inch/12mm thick and rinsed (I used green onions)
2 Tbsp olive oil, as needed
1 lb/455g mixed wild mushrooms, sliced 1/4 inch thick (I used a mix of shiitake and cremini)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/3 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
2 tsp fresh thyme leaves
1/2 tsp sea salt
6 large eggs
2 cups/480 ml whole milk
1 cup/240 ml heavy cream
1/4 cup/25 g grated Gruyere, Comte, or other firm cheese
Ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F/180 degrees C.
Butter inside surfaces of a 9-inch/23 cm square baking dish with at least 2-inch/5cm sides.
Cut the bread into 1-inch/2.5 cm cubes.
Spread them out on a baking sheet and place in the oven to toast for a few minutes, until lightly toasted.
Set aside.
In a skillet over medium-high heat, cook the bacon until slightly crisped but not yet bully browned.
Transfer to a large bowl and pour off all but 2 Tbsp of fat from the skillet.
Add the leeks to the skillet and cook over medium-high heat, stirring often, until soft, 3 to 5 minutes.
Transfer to the bowl with the bacon.
If the pan looks dry, swirl in 1 Tbsp of the olive oil.
Add about half of the mushrooms and saute, stirring occasionally, until crisp and lightly browned in a few places, 3 to 5 minutes.
Transfer the mushrooms to the bowl and cook the remaining mushrooms, adding as much of the remaining 1 Tbsp of oil to the skillet as needed.
Transfer to the bowl and let cool.
Add the cheese, parsley, thyme, and salt to the cooked mushroom mixture and mix well.
In another bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, and cream until well blended.
Pour over the mushroom mixture and stir to combine.
Gently mix in the toasted bread cubes.
Carefully pour the bread mixture into the prepared baking dish.
The custard should come right up to the top but not cover the highest cubes of bread.
(If you have extra, fill a buttered ramekin and make an additional, smaller bread pudding (note from Sarah: I had extra)).
Scatter the additional cheese evenly over the pudding and grind a light dusting of pepper on top.
Bake until the custard is no longer runny but still a bit wobbly in the center, 40 minutes to 1 hour (and about 25 minutes for a smaller ramekin).
It will continue to cook as it sits before serving.
Serve the bread pudding hot or at room temperature.
Any leftovers can be stored, well wrapped, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and reheated, covered with aluminum foil, in a 350 degree F/180 degree C oven.

- Savory Vegetable Bread Pudding From 'The Beekman 1802 Heirloom Vegetable Cookbook' | Serious Eats:

Monday, May 15, 2017

Apricot Cornmeal and Buttermilk Clafoutis.

- Apricot Cornmeal and Buttermilk Clafoutis – REAL SIMPLE FOOD:
If you want to replace the apricots with very juicy fruits like cherries or blueberries, increase the eggs to 6 to ensure the clafoutis will still set.

4 eggs
50g honey
Pinch of salt
300ml buttermilk
50g polenta
500g apricots, halved with the stone removed

Pre-heat the oven to 200 degrees Celsius and grease a pie dish generously with butter.
In a large mixing bowl whisk the eggs and honey until the frothy.
Pour in the buttermilk and whisk to combine.
Lastly, fold in the polenta and the pinch of salt.
Pour the batter into the pie dish and carefully sit the halved apricots, cut side up, in the batter.
Place in the oven and bake for 35 minutes or until the clafoutis is puffed up and the centre is just set.

The clafoutis will keep in the fridge for 3-4 days.
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Honey Mustard Chicken And Potato Bake.

Honey Mustard Chicken And Potato Bake | Donna Hay:
Serves 4.
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
4 chicken marylands (1kg)
sea salt and cracked black pepper
250g streaky bacon, thinly sliced
600g chat (baby) potatoes, halved
1 cup (250ml) single (pouring) cream
⅓ cup (95g) honey mustard
1 cup (250ml) water
6 sprigs thyme
Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F).
Heat the oil in a large flameproof, ovenproof frying pan over high heat.
Sprinkle the chicken with salt and pepper and cook for 4 minutes each side or until golden.
Remove from the pan and set aside.
Add the bacon and potato to the pan and cook for 6 minutes or until golden.
Add the cream, mustard and water and return the chicken to the pan.
Bring to a simmer and cover with a lid.
Cook in the oven for 10 minutes.
Remove the lid, add the thyme and cook for a further 10 minutes or until chicken is golden and potato is cooked through.

I will be making it again!
Buy Lidl's or Sainsbury's Heinz Yellow Honey Mustard

1 tbsp French mustard
1 tbsp honey
1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp cider vinegar
6 tbsp sunflower oil
salt and pepper, to taste
Put the mustard, honey, garlic, balsamic and cider vinegar in a food processor and whiz together.
With the motor still running, pour the oil in through a funnel.
Season with salt and pepper and serve.

OR similar recipe:
Honey Mustard Chicken & Potatoes (One Pan) - Cafe Delites:
Preheat oven to 200°C | 400°F.
Generously season chicken thighs with salt, pepper and garlic powder.
Heat olive oil in a large, oven-proof non stick pan (or a well-seasoned cast iron skillet) over medium-high heat.
Sear chicken thighs for 3 minutes each side, until the skin becomes golden and crisp.
Leave 2 tablespoons of chicken juices in the pan for added flavour, and drain any excess.
Fry the garlic in the same pan around the chicken for 1 minute until fragrant.
Add the honey, both mustards, and water to the pan, mixing well, and combine all around the chicken.
Add in the potatoes; mix them through the sauce.
Season with salt and pepper, to your tastes.
Allow the honey mustard sauce to simmer for two minutes, then transfer to the hot oven and bake for 40-45 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked through to the bone and no linger pink in the middle.

Optional: Remove from the oven after 30 minutes; add in the green beans (mixing them through the sauce), and return to the oven to bake for a further 15 minutes, or until the chicken is completely cooked through and no longer pink in the middle, and the potatoes are fork tender.
- Honey Mustard Chicken Recipe | Gousto:
Have fun with pictures!

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Sweetness of Spring: Strawberry Clafoutis.

Sweetness of Spring: Strawberry Clafoutis : NPR:
Clafoutis is the epitome of the French grandmotherly dessert: unpretentious, easy to make, and blissfully comforting.

– 55 g unsalted butter
– 600 g fresh strawberries (I added Rhubarb!)
– 60 g all-purpose flour
– 50 g whole blanched almonds
– 100 g granulated sugar
– 1 tablespoon cornstarch
– A pinch of salt
– 3 large eggs
– 185 ml milk
– 1 tablespoon dark rum (optional)
– Confectioner’s sugar
Oven temperature: 180°C

– 200g fresh strawberries
– 2 tablespoons sugar
– 2 tablespoons water

Preheat the oven to 180°C/350F and grease an 20cm/8-inch-square glass or ceramic baking dish (or 6 1-cup ramekins for a more elegant presentation) with one tablespoon of the butter.
Melt the remaining butter in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium heat (or in a small bowl set in the microwave for a few seconds) and set aside.

Rinse the strawberries under cool water — do not soak or they will loose some of their flavor.
Drain in a colander for a few minutes, and gently pat dry with a clean dishtowel.

In a food processor or blender, mix together the flour and almonds until finely ground.
Add the sugar, cornstarch and salt, and mix again.
Crack in the eggs one by one, mixing thoroughly after each addition.
Pour in the melted butter, milk and rum if using, and mix again until well blended.
The mixture will be thin, like crepe batter.

Hull the strawberries, cut in halves or quarters depending on their size, and arrange in a single layer in the prepared dish or ramekins.
Drizzle the batter over the strawberries, and put the dish in the oven to bake for 40 minutes (30 minutes if you use ramekins), until puffy and set.

Transfer dish to a rack, and let cool to room temperature.
Sprinkle with confectioner’s sugar, and serve directly from the baking dish or ramekins.
Clafoutis is traditionally served on its own, but if you like you can add a few fresh strawberries on the side, a scoop of vanilla ice cream, or a little whipped cream.

Strawberry Coulis
1 cup fresh strawberries, rinsed and patted dry
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons water

Hull and quarter the strawberries.
Combine with the sugar and water in a food processor or blender, and mix in short pulses until smooth. Pour into an airtight container, and cover.
Refrigerate for up to a day, or freeze for up to a month.

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Sunday, May 7, 2017

Classic Russian Kefir Crepes.

2 cups Kefir
2 eggs
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 cup boiling water
4 tbsp oil
butter for greasing

In a medium pot whisk together Kefir, eggs, salt and sugar. Heat the mixture so it’s warm (not hot) to the touch, about 2-3 minutes, whisking constantly.
Then take it off the heat, pour it into the medium bowl and sift in the flour.
Whisk everything to combine.
The batter is going to get pretty thick, but don’t worry we will dissolve it with hot water later.
Once everything is mixed, add baking soda to 1 cup of boiling water and slowly pour it into the batter whisking constantly.
Add oil and mix once more.
Preheat 2 non-stick pans over medium-high heat and grease it with a little knob of butter.
I prefer to use 2 skillets at the same time as it makes things go much faster.
When the pans are hot, working one at a time, pour in about 1/4-1/3 cup of batter, depending on the size of your pan, into one side of the pan and swirl it quickly to cover the entire pan with a thin layer of batter.
When the top of the crepe has no more wet spots and edges turn crispy, run the spatula underneath the edges of the crepe, then lift it with hands or spatula and flip it over. Cook for another 30 seconds and remove to a plate.
Reduce heat to medium and continue cooking crepes until no more batter remains greasing the pan with butter before each crepe.
Stack cooked crepes one on top of each other and serve.
These crepes can be served with either sweet or savory condiments.


Monday, May 1, 2017

Exotic citrus fruits.

- Beautiful bergamots: The fruit is the chefs' citrus of choice this spring | The Independent:
Beautiful bergamots.
What is a bergamot?
Often seen in essential-oil form in Earl Grey tea and beauty products, bergamot citrus fruits are grown in Southern Italy and look like lemons.
They are a seasonal variety with a short growing window.
Use their zest and juice as an ingredient to add a new twist to your gin and tonic, salad dressings or marinades.
- See more at:

More exotic citrus fruits to try
I'd always known cedro as etrog lemon, an essential part of Jewish Sukkot rituals, and was bemused to come across a Yiddish expression for something that has no value as being like "an etrog after Sukkot". How very misguided. Its elongated lemon shape is awesome – sometimes as large as a melon – with a textured yellowy-green skin. Cedro has an exceptionally large ratio of soft, white, surprisingly sweet pith that can be used with the bitter-sweet, prized rind. In Sicily, where cedros are grown, it is thinly sliced and sprinkled with salt or sugar as a snack with aperitifs (or candied) or combined with fennel in a salad.

Chris Golding at Apero at The Ampersand is another chef who takes great pleasure in using ingredients that are a talking point for guests. He uses diamante citron, sweeter than a conventional lemon and similar to a cedro. He adds its juice besides lemon to cure wild sea bass served with fennel and purple potatoes.

A fragrant citron whose fruit is segmented into finger-like sections. The origin of Buddha's hand is north-eastern India and China though it is now grown in California. It has no juice and is mainly valued for its zest. The inner white pith is not bitter so the fingers can be longitudinally sliced, peel, pith, and all, and used in salads. Not least by Michel Roux Jnr at Le Gavroche in a crab salad with spring onions, roasted hazelnut oil and spicy tomato mousse.

Indian citrons identifiable by their large "wings" on the stalk attaching the leaf to the stem, they have smooth yellow rind, dry, greenish-yellow flesh and a very sour, bitter juice. At Trishna, segments of Shaktora lemon are added to give extra verve to a masala chicken curry.

Tiny round citrus related to both kumquat and lime. Look for the more yellow-skinned limequat as its intense sourness and tartness is more mellow. Use sparingly in dressings and desserts. Sometimes seen in larger branches of Sainsbury's.

The ultimate, decadent citrus burst, often called lime caviar as the interior pulp has a caviar-like appearance and pops and bursts on the roof of the mouth, exploding with vivid lime flavour. Wonderful as a seafood garnish and relatively less expensive than caviar though still a huge treat. Available from

- Bergamot Polenta Cake – Life Love Food:
1 fresh unwaxed bergamot
3 large eggs
180g caster sugar
125g fine polenta (such as Fioretto)
250g ground almonds
2 teaspoons baking powder
Pinch of sea salt
140g unsalted butter, softened, plus more for the tin
Icing sugar, for dusting

Wash the bergamot thoroughly, place it in a saucepan and cover it with cold water. Set it over a medium heat and bring to the boil. Simmer for about one hour, or until the bergamot is tender all the way through, topping up the water if the level drops too much – the fruit should be bobbing in plenty of liquid at all times. Drain the bergamot and discard the seeds. Purée flesh and skin in a blender until smooth.

Next, preheat the oven to 180°C and butter a 20cm springform cake tin. Set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs with the sugar until airy and pale yellow. Add the puréed bergamot and fold through. In a separate bowl, combine polenta, ground almonds, baking powder and salt. Add the butter and work it into the dry mix until completely broken through. Finally, pour over the eggs and sugar and stir until you have an even mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and level the surface. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and leave it to cool in the tin for about 20 minutes, then free it from the springform and transfer it to a rack to cool completely. Dust the surface with icing sugar before serving.

- Whipped Lime Pie | The Miller's Daughter:

- Bergamot and cedro marmalade | The Independent

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