Weekday Recipes

MirabelleMirabelle Owl WhispererKensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster
I'm going to be posting some nice and easy recipes for weekday enjoyment. Or even for weekends when we have more time. This is simple food, always comforting on cold rainy days, but also for when our British weather unexpectedly changes to warm.

Fishcakes.

Fishcakes are one of my favourite comfort foods. These can be made with any good quality fish, some chapped parsley and an equal weight of nice buttery mashed potato. We usually make ours with with un-dyed smoked haddock, obtained from our local fishmonger, but sometimes bass if it's available or even mackerel. These quantities will make 12 fishcakes, but they freeze well and can be cooked from frozen. Also included is my recipe for lovely mashed potatoes to use for either these fishcakes or any other recipe.

For the fishcakes:
100 g un-dyed smoked haddock fillets or sea bass if in season
600 g mashed potato (see below)
1 tbsp chopped parsley and half of snipped chives
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
A chunk of lemon for squeezing over

Put the fish in a pan, cover with boiling water and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain the fish, and when it's cool enough to handle, skin it and flake into a large bowl. Add the mashed potato and parsley and/or snipped chives, then mix it all together with your hands. Check the seasoning, add salt and pepper to taste, adding a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Shape the mixture into 12 cakes, then chill to firm up for at least an hour.

Beat two eggs in a bowl and put breadcrumbs in a separate dish. Pass the fishcakes first through the egg and then through the breadcrumbs. (I save breadcrumbs and toast them lightly for extra crunch).

To cook immediately, pour half an inch of oil into a large frying pan and place over a moderate heat. When the oil is hot, carefully lay the fishcakes in the pan and cook for four to five minutes, until golden brown underneath, then carefully turn them over and fry for four minutes on the other side. Drain on kitchen paper, and serve with a nice crispy salad dotted with halved cherry tomatoes.


For the mashed potatoes (recipe serves 6):

Serves 6

900g King Edwards, Maris Piper or Mayan Golds
250g small diced unsalted butter
120-250ml whole milk, brought to boil and kept hot
sea salt to taste

Starting with cold water, boil unpeeled potatoes until a fork meets barely any resistance (this may take 30 minutes or more). Peel the potatoes while still hot. Push the potatoes through a ricer into a pot and stir over a very low heat until steam no longer escapes (about 5 minutes).

Add butter, vigorously stirring the potatoes until incorporated. Add 120 ml of milk in a slow stream while vigorously whipping the potatoes with a wire whisk, incorporating air into the mixture. Add salt and more milk as necessary.
'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

- Howard Gardner
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Comments

  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster
    Today I'm making a super Mac 'n' Cheese adapted from Rick Stein's travels in San Francisco. In our food pantry are lots of cheese that needs eating up (Parmesan and Gruyère),a large bag of macaroni that's out of date, but it doesn't matter since it's dried, and also a large slab of lovely Davidstowe mature cheddar. Perfect. :thumb: In my adaptation there is going to be masses of cheese and plenty of smoked bacon.

    You will need a 35x20cm/14x8in ovenproof dish.

    Prep time: less than 30 mins
    Cooking time 30 mins to 1 hour
    Serves 6

    Ingredients:
    100g/3½oz butter, plus extra for greasing
    100g/3½oz plain flour
    1 tsp Dijon mustard or use Colman's if you have it
    1.2 litres/2 pints full-fat milk
    75ml/2½fl oz double cream
    1 bay leaf
    400g/14oz mature cheddar, grated
    pinch freshly grated nutmeg
    500g/1lb 2oz dried macaroni
    100g/3½oz smoked bacon lardons or smoked bacon, rough chopped
    60g/2¼oz white breadcrumbs (I'm using sourdough breadcumbs as it's extra tasty)
    50g/1¾oz Parmesan, grated
    60g/2 oz Gruyère, grated (opional)
    salt and freshly ground black pepper

    Preheat the oven to 200C/180C Fan/Gas 6 and grease a 35x20cm/14x8in ovenproof dish.

    Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a low heat. Stir in the plain flour and cook for 1 minute. Add the mustard, take the pan off the heat and gradually whisk in the milk and cream. Add the bay leaf.

    Put the pan back over the heat, stirring constantly, until it boils and thickens. Take the pan off the heat again, remove the bay leaf and add the cheddar.

    Stir until the cheese has melted. Season with lots of black pepper and some nutmeg.

    Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and stir in the macaroni. Cook for 10 minutes, or until al dente, drain well and add to the sauce.

    Fry the bacon in a frying pan until crisp. Stir into the macaroni cheese and pour the mixture into the ovenproof dish.

    Mix the breadcrumbs with the Parmesan (and Gruyère if you have it) and scatter over the top.

    Bake for 25–30 minutes, or until golden-brown and bubbling. Serve immediately.



    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster
    Along with a couple of lamb shoulders and a pack of bacon lardons, Jules brought home a hansome piece of beef. She could not have been more tuned in to my thoughts because I was considering making a hearty beef stew that would please cook and food writer Elizabeth David, so instead I'm adapting my beefy stew to become a lovely French Daube de Boeuf Provençal. Perfect for our chilly winters.

    All along the southern French coastline up to the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region, daube is made by French housewives who have their own recipe, handed down through generations. Being French, I have my own so while the mac 'n' cheese above is doing in the oven, I'm typing out this scrummy French daube recipe. If you can't find some of the ingredients, adapt to what's available in the kitchen. Add some suet dumplings, just because they're so good! Add them about 20 minutes before the daube is cooked.

    French Daube de Boeuf Provençal will serve 6 in this recipe.

    Preferable ingredients:
    1kg beef sirloin, or beef rump, or chuck steak
    4 tbsp olive oil
    150g bacon lardons, diced
    2 red or white onions, chopped
    2 medium carrots, chopped
    2 cloves of garlic, chopped
    2 sprigs of fresh thyme
    1 sprig of fresh rosemary
    2 strips orange zest - don't use satumas, their skins are too thin to zest
    a whole bottle of decent red wine
    a nice square of 70% dark chocolate (chocolate enrichens the daube)
    4 ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
    250g button mushrooms or brown field flatties, chopped
    12 black green pitted olives though black olives will do
    4 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
    grated zest 1 lemon
    mashed potato or pasta, to serve

    For the dumplings:
    150g of self-raising flour and a inch of bicarb to make 'em fluffier
    75g of suet
    a pinch of dried thyme and a pinch of dried parsley
    1 tsp salt and a little freshly ground black pepper
    water


    Start the Daube.
    Pre-heat the oven to 150°C/130°C fan/Gas 1.

    Cut the beef into 2.5 cm cubes and season with salt and pepper. Heat half the oil in a flame-proof casserole dish and fry the lardons for 5 minutes until golden, remove with a slotted spoon. Add the beef to the pan, in two batches, and fry over a high heat for 5-6 minutes until browned on all sides. Remove with a slotted spoon.

    Add the remaining oil to the pan and fry the onions, carrots, garlic and herbs with a little salt and pepper for 10 minutes until softened. Return the meat to the pan with the orange zest, wine and tomatoes.

    Bring to the boil, cover and bake in the oven for 3 hours. About halfway though the daube's baking, drop that piece of chocolate in and stir to incoporate.

    Stir in the mushrooms and olives, return to the oven and cook for a further 30 minutes until the meat is tender and the sauce is thick. Combine the parsley and lemon zest and serve alongside the beef with the mashed potato or pasta.

    The dumplings.
    Combine the flour, suet, herbs and salt in a large mixing bowl.
    Start to slowly add a little water at a time and begin to mix in with your hands until a dough starts to form.
    Once you have a soft dough with specks of the suet still visible stop mixing, as you don't want to overwork the dough. If it is too sticky, add a tiny bit more flour.
    Roll the dough into small balls using the palms of your hands.
    Place the balls on top of a simmering (not boiling) stew for the last 20 minutes of its cooking time. By this point, they should be fluffy and ready to serve.

    Variations.
    Before adding the water to the flour and suet, different flavourings could be added to the mixture. Try adding chopped herbs such as rosemary or thyme, some chilli flakes or mustard powder for a little heat, or some grated cheese.
    The dumplings can also be baked in the oven for 10 minutes before adding to the stew, which will give a crispy exterior to the dumplings.
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster
    And now for a meal that is cheap to make and very moreish: Lamb and rice tagine with dried cherries by Helen Graves

    A good lamb tagine recipe can be just the thing to wow friends and family alike, and this recipe is a fantastically comforting one-pot meal. The brown basmati rice is cooked with the diced lamb shoulder and spices to soak up all of those wonderful flavours, while dried cherries add an alluring sweetness to the dish. For extra sparkle (I suggest) though it's optional, is adding about 50g pomegranate seeds (available from Asda or Sainsburys). Could make a super Saturday night meal.

    No tagine? No problemo! Use a large stainless steel pan with a lid instead. ;)

    Recipe takes about 2 hours 15 mins to cook through and serves 6 though for 4 means more. :yum:

    How about making your own Ras el Hanout spice? The spice mix tastes great and making it is much cheaper!
    Recipe from BBC Good Food.
    Can be made 1 month ahead. Store airtight at room temperature. Makes approximately 2-3 tablespoons.

    Ingredients:
    1 1/2 teaspoons coriander seeds
    3/4 teaspoon cumin seeds
    1/2 teaspoon crushed chilli flakes
    1 1/4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    1 teaspoon paprika (Note Hungarian paprika comes in either mild or hot. Choose mild because the hot version is HOT!
    1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
    1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
    1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric

    Toast coriander and cumin seeds in a small skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until aromatic and slightly darkened, about 4 minutes.
    Transfer to a spice mill and let cool.
    Add crushed red pepper flakes. Process until finely ground. If you don't have a spice mill, use a pestle & mortar.
    Transfer to a small bowl. Add remaining ingredients and mix.

    Ingredients for Lamb and rice tagine with dried cherries

    400g of lamb shoulder, diced into 3cm cubes (OR, use neck of lamb fillet for quickness)
    1 tsp cumin seeds
    1 tsp coriander seeds
    3 cardamom pods
    1 tsp ras el hanout
    3 small onions, diced (or 1 large onion)
    500g of lamb stock, or chicken stock
    750ml of water 250g Brown Basmati Rice (I use Tilda)
    75g of dried cherries
    200g of baby spinach, or chopped regular spinach
    20g of tarragon leaves * *, picked

    * * Warning about Tarragon: It's a very pungent herb, so use fresh parsley or coriander instead. It's just as good.

    To begin, toast the cumin and coriander seeds in a dry pan then grind them with the cardamom in a pestle and mortar or spice grinder

    In a wide heavy-based pan, soften the onions in some olive oil, then add the ras el hanout and other ground spices to the pan.

    Cook out for a couple of minutes, stirring so they don't burn.

    Remove the onions from the pan, turn up the heat and add the lamb, stirring occasionally until browned all over. Once browned, reduce the heat, add the stock and 500ml water and pop the onions back into the pan. Cook with a lid on over a very low heat for an hour.

    Add the rice, dried cherries, some salt and pepper, and another 250ml of boiling water and cook for another 40–45 minutes, or until the rice is cooked.

    When the rice is almost ready, place the spinach in the pan on top of the tagine and put the lid back on to wilt the spinach for a minute. Once wilted, stir it into the dish. Finally, stir in the tarragon (or fresh parsley or coriander) and serve.
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster
    This afternoon while taking my dog for a walk, I happened on some mussels growing on a breakwater. How wonderful! Free food! :hyper:

    Here is a classic recipe for Moules marinière with cream, garlic and parsley. Takes no time at all using a splash of white wine or cider. Serves 4. Ingredients:
    1.75kg/4lb mussels
    1 garlic clove, squashed under a fork
    2 shallots, finely chopped
    a knob of butter
    a bouquet garni of parsley, thyme and bay leaves
    100ml/3½fl oz dry white wine or cider though beer would also do
    120ml/4fl oz double cream
    handful of parsley leaves, coarsley chopped
    crusty bread, to serve

    Wash the mussels under plenty of cold, running water. Discard any open ones that won't close when lightly squeezed or tapped.

    Pull out the tough, fibrous beards protruding from between the tightly closed shells and then knock off any barnacles with a large knife.

    Give the mussels another quick rinse to remove any little pieces of shell.

    Soften the garlic and shallots in the butter with the bouquet garni, in a large pan big enough to take all the mussels - it should only be half full.

    Add the mussels and wine or cider, turn up the heat, then cover and steam them open in their own juices for 3-4 minutes.

    Give the pan a good shake every now and then.

    Remove the bouquet garni, add the cream and chopped parsley and remove from the heat.

    Spoon into four large warmed bowls and serve with lots of crusty bread.
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster
    Real chocolate spread without that nasty oil is hard to find, but I have a recipe that is so delicious, you'll want to lick the knife clean! :d

    Takes just 10 minutes to prepare.

    Ingredients:
    1/4 cup water
    3.5 oz granulated sugar (1/2 cup)
    1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
    pinch of salt
    1 teaspoon bourban vanilla extract
    4 oz bittersweet chocolate finely chopped (about 2/3 cup)
    5 oz unsalted butter softened and cubed

    In a small saucepan, combine the water, granulated sugar, unsweetened cocoa powder, and salt.
    Place the pan over medium heat and stir until the sugar and cocoa powder dissolve.
    Continue to heat the pan, stirring frequently, just until it reaches a simmer.
    Once simmering, remove the pan from the heat and add the vanilla extract, chopped chocolate, and cubed butter.
    Whisk until the chocolate and butter melt and the mixture is completely smooth.
    When it's freshly made, this spread will have the consistency of hot fudge sauce. :yum:
    Pour the spread into a jar or other container with a lid.
    Press a layer of plastic wrap on top of the chocolate to prevent a skin from forming, and refrigerate it until it thickens.
    If it's too cold to spread easily, let it sit at room temperature for a short while before serving.
    Store it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. But it won't last that long. ;)
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster
    Gingernuts!

    These crunchy ginger biscuits have been a national treasure going back generations. Sweet and moreish, they are fabulous for dunking or just snacking on throughout a chilly morning or when studying. Here are two recipes: Crunchy & Chewy and both are very good, take no time at all and make 36.

    Crunchy Gingernuts takes 20 mins prep, 15 mins bake

    225g (8 oz) self raising flour
    110g (4 oz) golden caster sugar
    1 heaped teaspoon ground ginger
    110g (4 oz) unsalted butter
    1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
    pinch of salt
    2 tablespoons golden syrup, warmed in pan, then slightly cooled

    Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Grease two baking trays, or line with parchment.
    Warm the golden syrup in a saucepan slightly, then cool a bit.
    Combine flour, sugar and ginger. Rub in margarine. Mix in bicarb.
    Add the flour mixture to the warmed syrup in the pan. Stir well till combined. Take a small walnut sized piece of the dough and roll into a ball and space evenly apart between the two baking trays.
    Bake in preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Surface of each biscuit should be slightly cracked when ready. Remove from tray then cool on wire rack.


    Chewy Gingernuts

    These are very fragrant and moreish and can fill your house with the delicious scent of home-baking. The recipe I adapted it from said that you could freeze them afterwards, but I'm lucky to get them further than the rack they cool on before they've all been eaten!

    100g unsalted butter (at room temperature) - plus extra for greasing
    175g golden caster sugar
    1 medium egg
    1 and a half tablespoon golden syrup
    250g plain flour
    1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
    pinch of salt
    2 teaspoons of ground ginger
    6oz (or vary to suit your taste) of crystallized ginger chunks, chopped

    Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 4. Lightly grease two large baking trays. Beat the butter and sugar with an electric whisk until pale and creamy. Add the egg and golden syrup and continue beating until well combined. Sieve the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and ground ginger into the biscuit mixture and stir with a wooden spoon until combined. Stir in the chopped, crystallized ginger to distribute it evenly amongst the mixture.

    Shape the sticky dough into 20 walnut-sized balls and place 10 on each tray, leaving enough space for them to spread as they cook. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden (I give them 15 in mine).

    Leave on the baking tray until cool, and firm, enough to transfer to a wire rack (they will be very soft as you take them out of the oven but firm up as they cool). Allow the cookies to cool completely before serving. Can be stored in an airtight container for up to four days (if you are lucky enough to get them as far as that)!

    Attachment not found.
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster
    Lamb Chops with Pineapple Salsa

    I made this for lunch today. It was delicious! To accompany I did some potato stovies sprinkled with fresh rosemary, which went perfectly with the lamb.
    Takes 30 minutes and serves 4

    12 lamb chops
    2 tablespoons oil, but a fruity olive oil is nicest

    Pineapple Salsa
    ½ or a 1 ripe pineapple (or 400 g/14 oz drained tinned pineapple, but it doesn't taste the same)
    1 large red onion, finely chopped
    1 fresh red chilli, seeded and diced - or, ¼ level teaspoon cayenne
    1 tablespoon cider or rice vinegar
    1 teaspoon sugar
    2 tablespoons chopped mint

    Trim the meat of excess fat (if any). Brush the chops with oil and season with 1 teaspoon of cracked black pepper.

    To make the salsa: Peel the pineapple, remove the core and eyes and dice the flesh. Toss with the onion, chilli, vinegar, sugar and mint, season with salt and pepper and mix well.

    Cook the lamb chops in a frying pan or a cast iron plate for 2–3 minutes each side, turning once, until just tender. I like my lamb slightly pink inside, but it's up to you. Serve with the pineapple salsa.
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster
    Mousse au chocolat :heart: :yum:

    This is a Sunday Special for @independent_ Eleanor The Chocolate Elf

    Make this recipe to celebrate the end of those awful exams! You like me need a little chocolate to perk us up, so for this very delicious chocolate mousse I recommend choosing a good quality, dark cooking chocolate with at least 60% cocoa solids, which is what will give the essential ‘chocolatiness’, but don't go over 80% or the mousse's flavour will go bitter. Choose for Green & Black’s or Lindt, but if you have a favourite brand then use that. This is quite an easy bung-it-in recipe, though ask your mum to help with separating the eggs like I asked badass aunty.

    For perfect results, you need to be careful to heat the chocolate gently, being careful not to let the bottom of the bowl touch the simmering water in the pan below. Break it up to speed up the process and stir it occasionally until just melted. Overheating will result in it becoming thick and grainy and there is no rescuing it if that happens.

    Just remember that a good mousse needs at least four hours in the fridge to chill to perfection, so if you are able to make it the day before serving, it will be all the better for it.

    Serves 6

    Ingredients:
    150g dark chocolate, preferably at least 60% cocoa solids
    25g butter
    3 eggs
    2 tbsp caster sugar
    100ml double cream

    Grate 50g of the chocolate and set aside in a bowl in the fridge. Break up the remaining chocolate and put in a heatproof bowl with the butter. Either set the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water until melted or place in the microwave on medium for 1½-2 mins, stirring halfway through.

    Leave the melted chocolate to cool for a few minutes. Separate the eggs, putting the whites into a large bowl and stirring the lightly beaten yolks into the melted chocolate. Whip the cream until it just hold its shape, then fold into the chocolate and egg yolk mixture.

    Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then gradually whisk in the caster sugar. Fold one third of the egg whites into the chocolate, using the whisk blades to cut through the mixture until evenly combined, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Spoon carefully into six small dishes, or glasses, and leave to set for at least four hours, or overnight. Just before serving sprinkle with the reserved grated chocolate.

    Tip 1: To fill the glasses neatly, spoon the mousse into a large food bag, snip off one corner and pipe the mousse into the glasses.
    Tip 2: If the mousse mixture does go grainy, then fridge it til firm, then scoop the chocolate mixture into odd lumps or shape into balls, drop in cocoa and there you will have delicious chocolate truffles instead. It's a win-win recipe! :d
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • independent_independent_ Boards Baby ScotlandPosts: 1,049 Fanatical Poster
    Mirabelle wrote: »
    Mousse au chocolat :heart: :yum:

    This is a Sunday Special for [USER="95994"]independent_[/USER] Eleanor The Chocolate Elf

    Make this recipe to celebrate the end of those awful exams! You like me need a little chocolate to perk us up, so for this very delicious chocolate mousse I recommend choosing a good quality, dark cooking chocolate with at least 60% cocoa solids, which is what will give the essential ‘chocolatiness’, but don't go over 80% or the mousse's flavour will go bitter. Choose for Green & Black’s or Lindt, but if you have a favourite brand then use that. This is quite an easy bung-it-in recipe, though ask your mum to help with separating the eggs like I asked badass aunty.

    For perfect results, you need to be careful to heat the chocolate gently, being careful not to let the bottom of the bowl touch the simmering water in the pan below. Break it up to speed up the process and stir it occasionally until just melted. Overheating will result in it becoming thick and grainy and there is no rescuing it if that happens.

    Just remember that a good mousse needs at least four hours in the fridge to chill to perfection, so if you are able to make it the day before serving, it will be all the better for it.

    Serves 6

    Ingredients:
    150g dark chocolate, preferably at least 60% cocoa solids
    25g butter
    3 eggs
    2 tbsp caster sugar
    100ml double cream

    Grate 50g of the chocolate and set aside in a bowl in the fridge. Break up the remaining chocolate and put in a heatproof bowl with the butter. Either set the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water until melted or place in the microwave on medium for 1½-2 mins, stirring halfway through.

    Leave the melted chocolate to cool for a few minutes. Separate the eggs, putting the whites into a large bowl and stirring the lightly beaten yolks into the melted chocolate. Whip the cream until it just hold its shape, then fold into the chocolate and egg yolk mixture.

    Whisk the egg whites until stiff, then gradually whisk in the caster sugar. Fold one third of the egg whites into the chocolate, using the whisk blades to cut through the mixture until evenly combined, then gently fold in the remaining egg whites. Spoon carefully into six small dishes, or glasses, and leave to set for at least four hours, or overnight. Just before serving sprinkle with the reserved grated chocolate.

    Tip 1: To fill the glasses neatly, spoon the mousse into a large food bag, snip off one corner and pipe the mousse into the glasses.
    Tip 2: If the mousse mixture does go grainy, then fridge it til firm, then scoop the chocolate mixture into odd lumps or shape into balls, drop in cocoa and there you will have delicious chocolate truffles instead. It's a win-win recipe! :d

    Aww Belle I may have to try this :) Thank you for sharing!!
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster

    Aww Belle I may have to try this :) Thank you for sharing!!

    I knew you'd love 'em though the little pots of chocolate we made were very rich! Dark chocolate stimulates our endorphins which create feelings of pleasure, so chocolate is a definite mood lifter, but it's important not to eat too much. Easily said, but also very easily not done. :yum: Chocolate also contains another neurotransmitter, serotonin, also a mood lifter. I didn't know that.

    Aunty found a useful website explaining 11 things we need to eat when we're in a terrible mood. http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/healthy-e...oosting-foods/

    I think I should make a new topic called "All Things Chocolate". Then everyone can jump in to make their favourite chocolate fix! :hyper:
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster
    Whether you're into St Valentine's or not, here are some sensational recipes that are sure to be memorable! :heart: :heart: :heart:

    Vegan No Bake Blueberry Lemon Cheesecake

    Such a pretty cake though only 12 cm, so it’s tiny and cute.

    Recipe ref: http://www.callmecupcake.se/2015/03/no-bake-blueberry-lemon-vegan-cheesecake.html

    Attachment not found.

    The author says this cheesecake is completely gluten-free, dairy-free and egg-free. Makes 1 tiny cheesecake (12 cm/5 inches), but you can of course double the recipe to make a bigger one! Serves 4.

    Ingredients

    Crust

    1/2 cup pitted dates
    1/2 cup almonds
    pinch of salt

    Filling
    3/4 cup cashew nuts, soaked in water overnight then drained [FONT=times\ new\ roman]* [/FONT]
    2 tbsp lemon juice
    Zest from 1 small lemon
    3 tbsp coconut oil, melted
    1/3 cup coconut milk (full fat)
    1-3 tbsp maple syrup (to taste)
    1/4 cup (25 g) fresh or frozen (but thawed) blueberries

    Topping
    Freeze dried blueberry powder
    Fresh blueberries
    Shredded coconut
    Edible flowers

    [FONT=times\ new\ roman]* [/FONT]If you’re in a hurry you can let the cashews soak in very hot water for 1 hour instead of overnight.

    Author's Instructions

    1. Soak the dates in warm water for 15 minutes then drain. Put almonds in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the dates and salt and pulse until a paste forms.

    2. Press mixture into a 5-inch springform pan (if you don’t have a springform pan, use a pie tin or a regular cake pan covered with parchment paper). Put the pan in the freezer while you prepare the filling.

    3. Put all ingredients for the filling in a blender and mix until mixture is as smooth as possible. Pour the filling into the crust, cover with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours.

    4. Remove the cake from the pan and leave to thaw in room temperature for about 10-15 minutes before cutting. Top with freeze dried blueberry powder, fresh blueberries, shredded coconut and edible flowers. I usually run my knife under warm water (and dry off) before cutting, to make a cleaner cut. Let each piece thaw for a few more minutes before serving.



    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster
    Apple Frangipan Honey Tart :heart: :heart: :heart:

    Easy to make, this makes one delicious tart and serves 6 to 8.

    Recipe ref: http://www.callmecupcake.se/2017/10/apple-frangipane-honey-tart.html

    Attachment not found.

    Pie Crust
    240 g (1 2/3 cups) all purpose flour
    1 1/2 tbsp. granulated sugar
    1/4 tsp. flaky salt
    175 g (about 1 1/2 sticks) very cold salted butter
    5-8 tbsp. ice water

    Cinnamon Honey Frangipan
    75 g (2/3 stick) softened salted butter
    3 tbsp. honey
    1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    1 medium egg
    75 g (2/3 cup) almond flour
    2 tsp. all purpose flour

    Topping
    5-6 (450-500 g) medium apples (I used ‘Discovery’)
    juice from 1 small lemon
    1 egg
    1 tsp. water
    1/4 tsp freshly ground cardamom
    1 tbsp. turbinado sugar

    Honey Glaze
    1 tbsp. honey
    1 tbsp. water

    Author's Instructions

    PIE CRUST
    1. Mix together flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. If you have one, use a cheese slicer to slice the butter thinly – if not, you can dice the butter with a knife. Add the sliced or diced butter to the dry ingredients, and using your fingers or a pastry cutter, cut in the butter until dough is crumbly but there are still some small visible pieces of butter.

    2. Drizzle with ice water, 1 tbsp at a time, and mix gently with a fork until dough just comes together, do not knead the dough.

    3. Form the dough into a ball and place it on a piece of plastic wrap. Flatten into a disc, wrap in the plastic wrap and place in fridge for at least one hour.

    CINNAMON HONEY FRANGIPANE
    1. Beat butter and honey until creamy, about 1 minute. Add the cinnamon, egg and almond flour and beat until smooth. Fold in the flour. Cover the bowl and set aside.

    ASSEMBLY
    1. Roll out the dough to a large rectangle (slightly larger than the sheet pan in the next step, if using one) on a lightly floured surface, about 1/8 – 1/4 inch (3-5 mm) thick. Make sure to roll and turn the dough so it doesn’t stick to the surface.

    2. Using the rolling pin, transfer the dough to a 28 x 18 cm (11 x 7 inch) sheet pan, or put the dough directly on a baking sheet covered with a piece of baking paper. Trim the edges of the dough if desired, but make sure to leave a little overhang to shape the edges. You can use the leftover dough to cut out decorative shapes. If you’re baking the tart in a pan, prick a few holes in the bottom using a fork.

    3. Spread the frangipane over the rolled out dough, leaving the edges free from filling. Place in fridge while you prepare the topping. TOPPING & BAKING Preheat oven to 225°C (437°F).

    4. Peel the apples and slice them thinly, removing the seeds. Place the slices on top of the frangipane filling. Squeeze the lemon over the apples. Fold the overhang of the dough over the filling and use a little bit of water to stick any shapes or decoratives cut-outs to the crust. Put the tart in the freezer for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, mix the egg with 1 tsp. of water in a small bowl. Grind cardamom and mix with 1 tbsp. turbinado sugar. Remove the tart from the freeezer, brush the crust with egg wash and sprinkle crust and fruit with the cardamom sugar.

    5. Bake the tart at 225°C (437°F) for 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 175°C (350°F) and bake an additional 30-32 minutes or until crust is golden.

    6. While the tart is baking, combine honey and water in a saucepan and let come to a boil. As soon as the tart comes out of the oven, brush edges and fruit with the glaze. Drizzle any leftover glaze over the fruit. Let cool a little, then serve with sweetened whipped cream.
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster
    How about... a Triple Layered Golden Gaytime Pavlova :heart: :heart: :heart:

    Attachment not found.

    Recipe Ref: http://www.notquitenigella.com/2018/01/23/golden-gaytime-pavlova-recipe/

    It's not nearly as complicated as it looks. Once you've made the meringue and piped it, it's mostly a triple repeat. Trust me on this, okay? :)

    An original recipe by Lorraine Elliott
    Prep time: 35 minutes
    Cooking time: 1.5 hours
    Note: Pavlova is best made one day ahead[FONT=times\ new\ roman] * [/FONT]Step 2

    Ingredients for the meringue
    300g/10.6ozs. egg whites (around 9-10 large eggs), at room temperature (I place the whole eggs in hot water and then separate)
    2.5 teaspoons white vinegar
    2.5 cups caster or superfine Sugar
    2.5 tablespoons cornflour or fine cornstarch
    2 teaspoons cream of tartar
    5 tablespoons cocoa powder

    For filling and topping
    600ml/21.2fflozs. pure or thickened cream
    300ml/10.6flozs. full fat sour cream
    1/4 cup salted caramel sauce
    6 malt o milk biscuits, crushed (or 1/2 cup Golden Gaytime crumbs)
    1/2 cup toffee bits (you can also use Skor bars, crushed)
    1/4 cup shaved chocolate

    Step 1: Preheat oven to 180C/350F and mark three sheets of parchment with 20cm/8inch circles. Make sure your mixing bowl and beaters are spotlessly clean and free of fat. Whisk the egg whites and cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add vinegar and then add the sugar in gradually while the whisk is going. You want it to be stiff and be able to hold its shape. Whisk until you can tip the bowl upside down and the meringue won't move. Fold in the cornflour and cocoa.

    Step 2: Spread out the meringue onto the three circles using an angled spatula reserving about half of the meringue to pipe on top. Fit a piping bag with a #867 tip and pipe dollops all over the meringue rounds. Place the three baking trays in the oven and immediately turn the heat down to 130C/266F. Bake for 1.5 hours and then turn off the oven and leave the pavlovas to cool in the oven overnight.[FONT=times\ new\ roman] *[/FONT]

    Step 3: The next day prepare the fillings (and pavlovas are best assembled just before serving). Whip the cream until you get billowy peaks and then add the sour cream and whip until you get a dollopy consistency (we aren't adding any sugar to the cream as the pavlova is sweet as it is). Place in the fridge until needed. Then place the biscuits, toffee bits and shaved chocolate in a bowl and have the salted caramel sauce ready (mine was in a tube, place it in a piping bag if yours is in a jar).

    Step 4: Take the largest pavlova round and place it on a serving plate. Top with the whipped cream, biscuit crumbs and toffee bits. Repeat with the two other rounds adding the chocolate sprinkles on the top one.
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster
    I never thought of making my own Cola, so was surprised how incredibly easy it was to make, taking no time at all having fast-chilled it. Diluted with soda water (to taste), I was amazed at how refreshing and delicious it was. You must try it! heartbeat.gif

    Though this recipe was adapted from The New York Times, I made my own caramel for colouring using Delia Smith's very good recipe. It can be used for cream caramel, too, so please save this link: https://www.deliaonline.com/how-to-c...o-make-caramel

    Cola Syrup

    Grated zest of 2 medium oranges
    Grated zest of 1 large lime
    Grated zest of 1 large lemon
    1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    1/8 teaspoon grated nutmeg
    1 section of a star anise pod, crushed (note: section!)
    1/2 teaspoon dried lavender flowers
    2 teaspoons ginger root, peeled first then grated finely
    1 one-and-a-half-inch piece vanilla bean, split
    1/4 teaspoon citric acid
    2 cups sugar
    1 tablespoon light brown sugar
    3/4 teaspoon caramel color powder, optional (I skipped this, but I am curious how that might change the overall experience/trickery)

    In a heavy 2 quart sauce pan, bring two cups water and zests, cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise, lavender, ginger, vanilla, and citric acid to a simmer. Cover and reduce heat to low, simmering gently for 20 minutes or so.

    Measure sugars into a bowl and place a sieve lined with two layers of butter muslin over top. As soon as infused water comes off the heat, pour through strainer, extracting as much liquid as possible. Discard solids and stir sugars into the hot liquid until completely dissolved.

    Pour syrup into a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid and store in the refrigerator until needed. Mix at a concentration to suit your tastes. A “four parts carbonated water to one part syrup” ratio seems a good place to start.
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster
    Tomato, Avocado and Red Onion Salad

    Looks pretty on the plate.
    :heart:

    Attachment not found.

    Recipe by Nigel Slater

    Nigel
    A day seldom passes without a salad of some sort being put together in this kitchen, a fact reflected in the recipes in OFM. From the most complex, many layered assemblies of meat, leaves, herbs and seeds to simple marriages of just two or three ingredients, the genre grows more popular with each passing year. The salad that follows is a straightforward mixture of everyday onion, tomato and avocado but what makes it shine are the pickle spices used in the dressing. The lemon juice, wine vinegar, coriander seeds, mustard and dill bring a Scandinavian note, a freshness and crunch to produce a salad of pure, clean flavours to revive and invigorate.

    Similar miracles happen in my kitchen, too. :)

    Recipe serves 4 and takes no time at all.

    red onions - 2
    lemon juice - 200ml
    white wine vinegar - 50ml
    yellow mustard seed - 1 tsp
    coriander seeds - 1 tsp
    black peppercorns - 10
    tomatoes - 3 medium sized
    plum tomatoes - 160g
    small cherry tomatoes - 150g
    avocado - 2, ripe
    dill - a handful
    olive oil - 4 tbsp

    Peel the onions, slice thinly into rings then put them in a shallow dish. Mix the lemon juice, vinegar, mustard and coriander seeds and the black peppercorns. Pour over the onions and set aside for a couple of hours.

    Thickly slice the tomatoes and put them in a bowl. Halve, stone and peel the avocadoes, then cut them into thick segments. Chop the dill. Gently mix the pickled onion, tomatoes, avocado, dill and olive oil together and serve.

    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster
    Baked Rhubarb, Mint and Orange Sugar

    Pretty colours for St Valentine's, and lovely to eat, too!

    Attachment not found.

    Recipe by Nigel Slater

    There is always fruit for breakfast. Plums with star anise in autumn, honey mangoes in summer and, in winter, stewed apple eaten piping hot with amber rivulets of maple syrup. Rhubarb, baked with a little honey and citrus and further freshened with mint is a winter wake-up call. It too has been forced to rise early from its bed, to greet the day a little before time. Serves 4

    rhubarb - 400g
    orange juice - 200ml, freshly squeezed
    honey - 3 tbsp
    star anise - 2

    For the Mint Sugar
    orange - zest of 1
    caster sugar - 2 tbsp
    mint leaves - 12

    Set the oven at 200C/gas mark 6. Trim the rhubarb stalks, removing the white “heel” at the base. Cut the stalks into short pieces, about the size of your thumb, then put them in a shallow, ovenproof dish in a single layer.

    Mix together the orange juice and honey, then add the star anise. Pour the mixture over the rhubarb then bake for 25 minutes until completely soft and tender.

    While the rhubarb bakes, put the orange zest in the bowl of a food processor with the caster sugar and mint leaves, then process until the sugar is bright green.

    Serve the rhubarb warm, with a little of the mint and orange sugar on top, spooning over the warm, honeyed juices as you go. :yum:
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster
    I can't resist madelines, especially Pistachio Madeleines, Date Puree :heart: :heart: :heart:

    Attachment not found.

    I've had these for breakfast. They are very very good. Madeline tins are easily available. Recipe is by Nigel Slater

    I resisted the cupcake thing. Friands, financiers and madeleines are more my thing. Though both almonds and hazelnuts work, pistachios work well too, and are particularly appropriate when your madeleines are served, as they are here, warm from the oven and accompanied by a luscious sticky puree of dates. The recipe makes 20. Not nearly enough, but you can always double the recipe for a real pigging session. :yum:

    butter - 180g
    plain flour - 50g
    icing sugar - 180g
    shelled pistachios - 100g
    lemon - finely grated zest of ½
    egg whites - 5

    For the Date Puree
    stoned, semi-dried dates - 300g
    espresso - 6 tbsp

    To make the date puree, mash the dates to a thick, sticky paste using a food processor. Pour on the hot coffee and when you have a smooth purée, transfer to a small bowl.

    Set the oven at 200C/gas mark 6. Lightly butter a tray of madeleine tins or shallow patty tins. Melt the rest of the butter in a small pan. When the solids at the base of the pan turn from white to a pale walnut brown and the butter develops a warm, nutty scent, remove from the heat.

    Sift together the flour and icing sugar. Finely grind the pistachios. Add them, together with the lemon zest, to the flour and sugar.

    Beat the egg whites to a sloppy foam, then fold into the flour mixture. Stir in the melted butter. Mix lightly but thoroughly, then pour into the buttered tins. Bake for 10 minutes, until they are risen and pale gold. Leave to settle for a minute or two (only) before removing from the tins using a small palette knife.

    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster
    Sophie Dahl's Lemon Mousse

    These lemon mousses are a happy ending to any special meal. Try serving them in individual ramekins or Martini glasses. :)

    Attachment not found.

    Prep time 30 mins
    Cook time 10 to 30 mins
    Serves 6 to 8

    Tip: This recipe makes more lemon mousse than you will need for two people. The remaining mousse can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days.

    4 medium free-range eggs, separated
    250g/8oz caster sugar
    3 lemons, zest and juice only
    5 tbsp cold water
    15g/½oz powdered gelatine
    300ml/½ pint double cream
    small handful blanched toasted almonds, finely chopped

    Using an electric whisk, whisk together the egg yolks, sugar, lemon zest and juice until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has thickened a little. (If you do not have an electric whisk, whisk by hand in a glass bowl set over a pan of hot water. When the mixture has thickened, remove the bowl from the pan and whisk until cool.)

    Place the cold water into a heavy-based saucepan, sprinkle in the gelatine and place over a gentle heat, without stirring, until the gelatine has melted. Remove from the heat and leave to cool slightly.

    In a separate bowl, lightly whip the cream until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed. Stir the melted gelatine into the cream and fold into the egg yolk mixture. Whisk the egg whites in a separate bowl with an electric hand-whisk until soft peaks form when the whisk isremoved.

    Place the bowl with the egg yolks inside a bigger bowl filled with ice-cold water. Gently fold the whipped egg whites into the egg yolk mixture with a metal spoon. Stir the mixture until it begins to thicken, then pour into a glass bowl and refrigerate for one hour, or until set.

    Sprinkle the toasted chopped almonds over the top of the mousse and serve.
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster
    Thai Beef and Mango Salad by Donal Skehan

    Attachment not found.

    This recipe is perfect for the days when you don't want to spend long over the stove but still want to serve up a mouthwatering meal.

    Prep time 30 mins
    Cook time less than 10
    Serves 2
    My tip: Since this is for Valentines, ask your butcher for some lovely dry cure sirloin steak.

    2 beef frying steaks
    1 tbsp vegetable oil
    1 tbsp soy sauce
    2 small carrots
    5 spring onions
    1 ripe mango
    2 baby gem lettuces or 1 small lettuce
    handful of salted peanuts (about 40g/1½oz ), optional

    For the dressing
    1 garlic clove
    1 lime, juice only
    1 tbsp caster sugar
    1 tsp chilli flakes

    Put the steaks in a shallow bowl. Pour on the oil and soy sauce and rub them into the meat so it's coated all over. Set aside to marinate while you prepare the vegetables. (Wash your hands after handling raw meat.)

    Peel the carrots then use the peeler to make thin ribbons. Separate the lettuce leaves, wash the leaves and drain in a colander. Finely slice the spring onions then peel, stone and thinly slice the mango. Combine the vegetables in a large bowl.

    Heat a large frying pan over a high heat, add the steaks and cook for 1 minute on each side for medium rare or cook for an extra minute on each side for medium. Remove the steaks from the pan and transfer to a plate to rest.

    While the steaks are resting, prepare the dressing. Peel and grate the garlic then put it into a bowl with the lime juice, sugar and chilli flakes and stir them together. Pour the dressing over the prepared vegetables and add the peanuts. Slice the beef thinly, add to the bowl along with any resting juices and toss to combine. Serve immediately.
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster
    Chicken Chow Mein by Ching-He Huang :heart: :heart: :heart:

    Attachment not found.

    Cook this authentic Chinese stir-fry in less than ten minutes, adding any crisp seasonal vegetables you fancy. Yum! I'm having this tonight! :hyper:

    Prep time less than 30 mins
    Cook time less than 10 mins
    Serves 2

    Ingredients can be found in most Asian grocery shops and in supermarkets. Remember to use level teaspoons/tablespoons for ingredients.

    150g/5oz dried yellow shi wheat flour noodles, or medium egg noodles
    dash toasted sesame oil
    300g/11oz skinless chicken breast fillets, sliced into strips
    2 tbsp light soy sauce
    1 tsp five-spice powder
    1 tsp chilli sauce (optional)
    1 tbsp cornflour
    1-2 tbsp groundnut oil
    1 red pepper, seeds removed and finely sliced
    150g/5oz bean sprouts
    1 spring onion, sliced lengthways
    freshly ground black pepper

    Cook the noodles in a pan of boiling water for 2-3 minutes until al dente, or according to packet instructions. Drain, then rinse under cold running water and drain again. Drizzle with a dash of sesame oil and toss through to prevent the noodles from sticking to each other.

    Put the chicken strips in a bowl and season with a dash of light soy sauce, the five-spice powder and chilli sauce, if using. Mix well, then lightly dust the chicken strips with the cornflour.

    Heat a wok until smoking and add the groundnut oil, then add the chicken and stir fry for 3-4 minutes, or until the chicken is golden-brown and cooked through. Add the red pepper and stir fry for 1 minute, then add the bean sprouts and spring onion and stir fry for 30 seconds. Stir in the cooked noodles and season with the soy sauce, a dash of sesame oil and freshly ground black pepper.

    Pile the noodles onto a serving plate and serve immediately.

    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster
    Slow Cooked Salmon with Lemon Relish

    Incredibly delicious! :heart: :heart: :heart:

    Attachment not found.

    Recipe serves 4

    When you're ready to eat, use your hands to break the salmon into chunks and serve with the lemon relish.
    A nice Venetian Pinot Grigio Blush sold at Sainsbury's or Asda will partner the salmon perfectly. Make that two bottles! :thumb:

    1 centre-cut salmon fillet weighing 1.25lb / 560g to 1.5lb / 680g
    olive oil
    sea salt
    freshly ground black pepper

    For the Lemon Relish
    1 large shallot, minced
    1 tablespoon white wine vinegar or lemon juice
    sea salt
    1 large lemon
    1/4 cup olive oil (the original recipe calls for 1/2 cup, but 1/4 cup seems like more than enough to me)
    2 tablespoons chopped parsley
    freshly ground black pepper

    Preheat your oven to 200 degrees. Place a baking dish filled half way with water on the lowest rack of your oven, making for a nice moist environment for the salmon to cook.

    Lay the intact salmon fillet on a lightly oiled baking sheet. Brush the salmon with a little more olive oil. Salt generously and sprinkle with freshly ground black pepper. Transfer salmon to the warm oven. It should take between 45 minutes to 1 hour for the salmon to cook, depending on the size and thickness of your fillet. You can tell the salmon is done when the fish feels just firm to the touch and the juices are starting to break through the surface.

    Aunty says you can serve the salmon right away or let it rest for up to 3 hours before serving. (Doesn't that sound helpful for a dinner party you want to prep in advance?)

    While the salmon is cooking, make your lemon relish: first, in a small bowl, macerate shallot for 10-15 minutes in vinegar or lemon juice with a pinch of sea salt. Next, (leaving the skin on) cut lemon into 8 wedges. Remove seeds and cut out the core.

    Cut wedges in half again and slice very thin. Add the slivers of lemon to the macerated shallots. Add olive oil and parsley. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.

    Recipe ref: http://yummysupper.blogspot.co.uk/2013/07/slow-cooked-salmon-with-meyer-lemon.html

    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • DreaDrea Posts: 292 Cool Newbie
    This is amazing Mirabelle! Thank you for sharing! <3

    Drea:heart:
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster
    I'm glad you like them, @Drea Is there a particular recipe you'd like to have for St Valentine's that I haven't posted? I have a huge list of recipes at hand.
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster
    Gratin Dauphinoise

    If there is one French recipe that always seems able to draw ecstatic sighs of pleasure and guilt from you Brits, it's this one. All that cheese and cream and butter is deliciously scandalous. However, I have re-jigged the method and taken out as much fat as I could without changing the sinfully gorgeous nature of this recipe. Welcome to guilt-free gratin dauphinois! :thumb:

    Serves 6
    213 calories per serving

    Ingredients
    750g medium waxy potatoes (such as Charlotte), scrubbed but not peeled
    500ml semi-skimmed milk
    1 whole garlic bulb, cloves bashed and peeled
    4 bay leaves
    12 scratches nutmeg
    100g Gruyère or other hard, strong cheese, finely grated (instead you could use strong Cheddar, or, Reblochon)
    3 tbsp half-fat crème fraîche

    Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/gas mark 4.

    Using either a sharp knife or a mandoline, thinly slice the potatoes and add them to a large saucepan with the milk, garlic, bay leaves and nutmeg. It's important not to let them sit out or they will go brown.

    Bring the milk to the boil, reduce the heat and slowly simmer for 20 minutes. The potatoes will be softened but not quite cooked through.

    Drain the potatoes and discard the bay leaves and garlic. (You can save the milk for a garlic-flavoured béchamel.) Layer half the potatoes in an ovenproof dish and sprinkle half the cheese over. Cover it with the remaining sliced potatoes.

    Spread the crème fraîche evenly over the top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.

    Place in the oven for 20 minutes, until the mixture is bubbling and the top is golden.

    Skinny secret: Poaching the potatoes in garlic and milk is a fantastic way of infusing them with flavour and giving them a rich texture without using very much fat. The little bit of cream and cheese that you add before putting the dish into the oven is then literally there for flavour. This method means the cheese and cream quantities are cut to well under half the amounts usually found in a traditional French gratin dauphinois recipe.

    Bon appetit!
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster
    Nuoc Cham Hot Sauce

    If you want a nifty little sauce to perk up everything from roast chicken drumsticks to cold roast beef then this is the sauce to do it. It's on pretty much every table in Vietnam - a spicy little sauce in which to dip your spring rolls or whatever takes your fancy. It is no trouble to make and offers a fresh crunch that the bought stuff cannot match. It will keep in the fridge for a day or two. Makes a small dish.

    Ingredients:
    a medium-sized carrot (i prefer baby carrots for their wonderful flavour)
    2 large red chillies
    3 tbsp fish sauce (nam pla)
    6 tbsp water
    3 tbsp rice vinegar
    4 tbsp caster sugar
    juice of a large lime
    a small bunch coriander leaves

    Cut the carrot into long, thin strips, as finely as possible. Slice the chillies in half, remove their stalks then chop them finely. Put the fish sauce, water, rice vinegar and sugar in a small pan and bring almost to the boil. A good stir should dissolve the sugar before the water boils.

    Remove the pan from the heat, add the shredded carrot and leave to cool. Juice the lime, chop the coriander leaves - you need a good loose handful - then add both with the chilli and the seeds to the cool sauce. Leave for an hour or so before using.
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster
    Chicken Paprikash

    One of the most tastiest and moreish of chicken meals is a classic Hungarian dish similar to the country's beef goulash, and for Sunday lunch we polished off two massive casseroles each of chicken paprikash and beef goulash along with a choice of buttery mashed potatoes, or rice, or pasta. Being a bit of a piggins I had some of everything. You know what I'm like. I'm a growing girl. ;)

    This chicken recipe came from The Hairy Bikers featured on BBC Good Food

    Attachment not found.

    Soured cream makes this tasty one pot rich and creamy. It’s delicious served with mash or rice. This hearty hotpot is great for cooking in advance. Once cooked, leave to cool completely and then put in a freezer-proof container. It will last in the freezer for up to 2 months.

    Prep time 30 mins
    Cook time 1 to 2 hours
    Serves 6

    Ingredients:
    1 large chicken, jointed (or use 2 large chicken legs and 2 breasts, halved)
    salt
    2 tbsp olive oil
    knob butter
    1 onion, chopped
    2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped
    2 tablespoons sweet paprika, or 1 tablespoon each sweet and hot paprika
    1 tbsp flour
    285 ml / ½ pint chicken stock
    3 tbsp chopped fresh flatleaf parsley
    2 red peppers, seeds removed and cut into 1 cm / 0.5 in strips
    4 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped
    250 ml / 8 fl oz soured cream

    Rub the chicken pieces with salt. Heat the oil and butter in a large heavy-bottomed pan and brown the chicken all over for a few minutes. Remove the chicken from the pan and set to one side.

    To the same pan, add the onions and garlic and sweat for about 5 minutes. Add the paprika, then the flour, and stir until combined - take care not to burn it.

    Add the stock and stir. Return the chicken pieces to the pan, adding a bit more stock if the mixtures seems too dry. Add half of the parsley and bring to the boil. Add the red pepper strips, reduce the heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and simmer gently for about 1 hour.

    When the chicken is cooked, remove the pan from the heat. Stir in the sour cream and the remaining parsley. Check the seasoning and serve.
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster
    Hungarian Beef Goulash

    Long slow cooking this scrumptiously hearty, warming meal means you can be doing anything else after taking only 30 minutes to prepare.

    Attachment not found.

    Prep time 30 mins
    Cook time 4 hours 15 mins
    Total time 4 hours 45 mins
    Serves 8

    This lovely recipe came from: https://www.kitchensanctuary.com/slow-cooked-hungarian-beef-goulash/

    Ingredients:
    3 tbsp vegetable oil
    900 g beef braising steak, cut into bite-size chunks
    2 tbsp plain (all-purpose) flour
    1/4 tsp salt
    1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
    2 red onions peeled and diced
    2 fat cloves garlic peeled and minced (I squash them under a fork. Less stink on my hands that way)
    2 tbsp tomato puree
    2 tbsp paprika
    1 tbsp smoked paprika - just use regular if you don't have smoked
    large pinch of salt and pepper
    800 g canned chopped tomatoes in juice
    600 ml hot beef stock (water plus 2 stock cubes is fine)
    1 tbsp honey optional - this is just to neutralize some of the acidity from the tomatoes
    2 red bell peppers deseeded and sliced
    225 ml sour cream

    To Serve:
    Cooked pasta - such as pappardelle, tagliatelle or penne
    handful of chopped parsley
    Extra sour cream

    Preheat the oven to 170c/325f. Heat up the oil in your dutch oven or cooker-friendly casserole dish. Dredge the beef in the flour, salt and pepper and fry in 2-3 batches until well-browned. Once browned, remove from the pan and place in a bowl.

    Turn down the heat and place the onions in the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring (try to scrape up some of the brown bits that may have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Keep the heat low to ensure it doesn't burn). Add in the garlic and tomato puree, stir, then add the beef back in. Sprinkle the beef with the paprika, salt and pepper and stir to coat, then pour in the canned tomatoes, beef stock and honey. Stir and bring to a simmer. Once simmering, scrape up any bits from the bottom of the pan and stir. Then place a lid on and place in the oven to cook for 3 hours 30 minutes.

    Check and stir 2 or 3 times during cooking to ensure nothing is sticking and that there is still plenty of liquid (you can add a splash of water if needed). After 3 and 1/2 hours, add in the peppers, stir and put back in the oven for 30 minutes.

    Take out of the oven, stir, then swirl the soured cream on top, sprinkle with parsley and serve with pasta and extra sour cream.
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster
    Since Easter, any lamb leftovers from your main dinners can be magiced up into Shepherd's Pie so Mandy and I have got together two exceptionally mouthwatering recipes. :heart: :yum:

    First of all is Russell Norman's Ultimate Shepherd's Pie
    Recipe Ref: https://www.esquire.com/uk/food-drink/restaurants/a13144/russell-norman-recipe-shepherds-pie/

    Attachment not found.

    Serves 4

    Ingredients
    :
    • 500g minced lamb
    • 1 large onion, chopped
    • 1 large carrot, chopped
    • 1 large stick of celery, chopped
    • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
    • 150ml passata
    • Worcestershire sauce
    • ½ litre beef stock (an Oxo cube is fine)
    • 1kg Désirée potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
    • 150g butter
    • Whole milk
    • Flaky sea salt
    • Ground black pepper

    Melt one-third of the butter over a medium heat in a large saucepan and add the onion, carrot, celery and garlic. Sauté for 10–15mins until the mix is soft, glossy and translucent.

    Crumble the minced lamb into the pan and gently brown. Add a good pinch of salt and a twist of black pepper. Now stir in the passata and a very good dash or two of Worcestershire sauce. Mix well for a few minutes and then add the stock. Stir, cover and simmer on a low heat for 20mins. Remove the lid, stir and simmer uncovered for a further 20mins.

    Preheat the oven to 180°C and bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the potatoes and cook for 15mins until soft. Drain, then mash with the remaining butter, a generous splash of milk and a good pinch of salt.

    Pour the meat mixture into an ovenproof dish. Pass the mash through a ricer evenly onto the meat. Flatten out the mash and streak it with a fork before putting into the oven for 25–30mins. When the potato top is just starting to brown, take the dish out of the oven, allow it to rest for 10mins. Serve with buttered boiled peas.
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster
    And this is Mandy's Exceptional Shepherd's Pie using up all your leftovers / or uncooked from last weekend. :heart:
    Illustration only
    Attachment not found.

    Serves 4 - this is a make ahead recipe or do on the day!

    Day 1, or day before – Slow Cooked Lamb

    1.3-1.5 kg Lamb shoulder
    Seasoning
    Rosemary
    Olive oil
    Bulb of garlic
    2 onions, roughly chopped
    3 medium carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
    3 medium parsnips, peeled and roughly chopped
    1 large leek, trimmed and roughly chopped
    2 bay leaves
    Palmful of thyme leaves
    2 tins of chopped tomatoes
    500ml red wine

    Pre-heat oven to 200C.
    Rub the lamb with oil and seasoning. Cut small slits into the fat and stuff sprigs of rosemary into them as far as they’ll go.
    Lay out all of the vegetables (including the garlic cloves) and the herbs in a deep roasting tin. Place the lamb shoulder on top.
    Pour over the tomatoes and the wine.
    Cover the roasting tin tightly with a double layer of tinfoil.
    Place in the oven and cook for 4 hours.
    Remove tray from oven and leave to cool slightly before removing as much fat as possible from the lamb shoulder and shredding the meltingly tender meat.
    Add the meat to the vegetables (removing any twiggy bits of herb) . Cool and refridgerate.

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    Day 2 – The Pie

    8 big potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
    Salt and pepper
    Milk/creme fraiche and butter
    200ml Tomato Juice (Mandy used yummy V8 veggie juice)
    1 egg, beaten

    Boil the potatoes in well salted water until tender. Drain. Mash. Add milk/creme fraiche, butter and seasoning to taste.

    Add the meat/vegetable mixture to the bottom of a large heat proof dish or two smaller ones. Pour over the tomato juice and stir.
    Top with mashed potatoes. Use a fork to smooth the potatoes and make ridges on the surface. Brush with beaten egg.
    Cook in a 180C preheated oven for 45 mins or until heated through and bubbling all yummy at the edges. :yum:
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
  • MirabelleMirabelle Owl Whisperer Kensington.Posts: 1,020 Fanatical Poster
    Here is a truly lovely Baked Apple Trifle to chase those shepherd's pie recipes! :heart: :heart: :heart:
    Recipe by Nigel Slater
    Attachment not found.

    Mandy and I made this last Saturday, and had to make it again because the trifle was so popular.

    MAKES 6 SUNDAE GLASSES

    For the sponge layer:
    large apples 1kg
    plain panettone 75g-100g
    dry or medium sweet sherry - a little
    caster sugar a little to taste
    lemon the zest of 1

    For the fresh custard (or 500ml ready-made custard)
    creamy milk 500ml
    vanilla pod 1
    egg yolks 5
    caster sugar 5 tbsp

    For the cream layer:
    double cream 200ml
    natural, creamy yoghurt 100g

    To decorate:
    a little lime or orange zest
    sugar for the shattered caramel 100g [FONT=times\ new\ roman]* *[/FONT] See below

    You will also need:
    6 trifle glasses or a single serving bowl

    Score the apples round the middle, then bake at 200C/gas mark 6 for 40-60 minutes or so, or until they are soft and fluffy. Scrape out the soft flesh, taking care to discard the cores, and set aside to cool. (If the skin is tender and pleasant to eat then I would include a little of that too, cut in small pieces. But not if it is thick and chewy.)

    To make the custard, pour the milk into a saucepan, split the vanilla pod lengthways, scrape the seeds into the milk and drop the pod in there too, then bring slowly towards the boil. When the milk is on the point of boiling – it will be shuddering, bubbles will be visible and maybe a little steam – remove it from the heat and leave for about 20 minutes. This allows the vanilla pod to do its stuff. Lift out the vanilla pod.

    Whisk the egg yolks with the sugar until they are thick and pale, then pour in the milk and stir. Rinse the milk pan then pour in the custard and place over a low heat. Stir almost constantly with a wooden spoon till it thickens somewhat, getting right down into the corners of the pan. The consistency should be that of double cream. It is essential not to let the mixture get too hot otherwise it will curdle. (If it does, then pour straightaway into a clean container and plunge it into a sink of cold water, beat furiously until it comes together.) Leave to cool (it will thicken very slightly, but should still be pourable.)

    Cut the panettone into small cubes and arrange them in six glasses or a single serving bowl, spooning over a little dry sherry as you go. The sponge should be damp rather than soggy. Pour the cooled custard on top of the cake and leave in the fridge to settle.

    Stir a little sugar and the lemon zest into the cooked apples. Spoon the apple mixture over the custard – some of it will sink a little.

    Whip the cream and yoghurt together in a bowl. You should stop whipping when the cream will lie in soft folds, only just keeping its shape.

    Spoon the cream on top of the apple. Finish with a scattering of suitable decorations such as finely grated citrus zest and pieces of the shattered caramel.

    [FONT=times\ new\ roman]* *[/FONT] To make the caramel, melt 100g of sugar with just enough water to cover it. Leave over a moderate heat until it melts then watch closely until it is deep amber in colour. Pour on to a lightly oiled baking sheet and allow to set. Shatter into sharp pieces with a heavy object and scatter over the trifle.
    'If you think education is expensive, try estimating the cost of ignorance'.

    - Howard Gardner
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