Monday, 31 October 2011

Beef and vegetable suet pudding - recipe

It might not be the weather for this just yet but winter must be around the corner, right?

This is a savoury suet pudding I made a few weeks ago for Sunday lunch, a change from a roast and it was delicious with mashed potatoes and veggies. You need a bit of time to make this but if you cook the meat the day before it would just be a matter of making the suet pastry (the easiest thing ever) and assembling and then steaming the pudding on the day. This recipe uses skirt a cut of beef that isn't always readily found in supermarkets, which is just as well as I don't buy any meat from supermarkets anymore, I either buy from one of two farm shops locally or a more traditional butchers in town. Beef skirt makes a really delicious gravy when it is braised in the oven, its quite a lean cut of meat and I never feel the need to brown the meat beforehand to improve the flavour. 

Sunday, 30 October 2011

The Good Table - book review

This is a pear and chocolate frangipan tart I baked recently, the smell of this baking in the oven was divine and it was really delicious sliced and served warm and with some fresh cream. The pears were bought at a local farmers market and were just ripe enough. I loved the pastry for this flan which was made with butter, flour, sugar and an egg, it was beautifully short and I can see that I'll adapt this to use for other sweet flans/tarts in the future. The filling is a delightful combination of English pears, dark chocolate, ground almonds, fresh free range eggs, butter and sugar. This is not a quick recipe but its so worth the effort, trust me we all really enjoyed it.

The recipe is from 'The Good Table' by Valentine Warner, who is quite well known in food circles, he has made quite a few TV programmes, some scheduled on the satellite food channels as well as writing other books and he has a website (which has other recipes). He is an avid hunter/gatherer/forager type of cook...none of which apply to me I might add, but I could have easily made a lot of the recipes in this book without a hunt around the local woods or needing a trip to the local fishing lake. The notion of this book is very simple in that, what you are served and what you share at Valentine's table is 'good food' and judging by the recipes the title is spot on.

Monday, 24 October 2011

Banana and Cinnamon Pancakes - recipe

Here's my entry for #breakfastclub number 16, if you are not sure what this is take a look here. This month's theme is 'Stars and Stripes', meaning anything with an American twist, for breakfast of course! Breakfast pancakes are a taste of America for me and (as a treat for brunch) we love a short stack with bacon and maple syrup, you can of course make them with buttermilk, as they are traditionally made in the US, but this recipe works brilliantly, with what really are store cupboard basics.
Make your batter ahead of time for better results.
2 free range eggs
300ml milk
225g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
1 tbsp golden caster sugar
30g melted and cooled unsalted butter
2 Bananas thinly sliced
2 tsp Cinnamon
Butter to fry
To serve:
Maple syrup
Maple cured bacon
1. Melt the 30g of unsalted butter first of all and allow it to cool.
2. Place the eggs, milk, flour, baking powder, salt sugar, in a food processor and blitz to combine. Add the melted butter and give another quick whizz. If you don't have a food processor just beat everything in a large bowl either by hand or with a mixer.Slice the bananas and have the Cinnamon ready.
3. Heat a knob of butter in a non stick frying pan, use a moderate heat under the pan. Make the pancakes by using a ladle as a measure to get them roughly the same size, (about the size of a saucer) ladle the batter mixture into the pan. Add a few slices of banana and sprinkle with Cinnamon.  Once the pancakes bubble on top the underside is cooked and you need to flip them over to cook for a further 2 minutes.
4. Keep the pancakes stacked on a warm plate in the oven until ready to serve. Ration out a portion and drizzle with maple syrup and serve with a 'side order' of maple cured bacon.
On this occasion I made a mixed stack of plain and banana and Cinnamon pancakes (photos depict both).
This recipe works well with other fruits, blueberries are another firm favourite.

Thursday, 20 October 2011

Walnut layer cake with Maple - recipe

This is the cake I made this week for our Clandestine Cake Club event. Its a variation on the last cake my mum's walnut cake, but I wanted to try something a bit different. Yes two walnut cakes in a matter of days, but they are very different cakes. Although this cake has a lot of decoration on the top it would be equally good without.

Monday, 17 October 2011

My mum's walnut cake - recipe

When we were growing up my mum did her fair bit of baking, she had her 'specialties' and she made bread, Chelsea buns, scotch pancakes, apple sponge pudding, sausage rolls, jam puffs, even treacle toffee but only around bonfire night (and all home baking was done on Sundays usually). I can't remember a lot about any kind of cake repertoire (neither can anyone else by the way!) and any birthday cakes usually came from Sayers (complete with ricepaper rose and bit of green fern) they were never ever homemade.

But the one cake she did make over and over and over again, well being totally honest it was the ONLY cake, was a walnut cake and we loved it (luckily). Recently, after reliving a few memories I managed to extract the recipe from my mum.

Home Made and Well Preserved - The Round Up

Well what can I say? Natures table laid out before us from this country and further afield, yes they came all the way from Fance to enter this challenge.
The brief was to blog a homemade and well preserved (in a jar) recipe, link it up to this blog and away we go.
Here are the entries and a brief description and links back to the blogs. 
My thanks to everyone who preserved/jammed/blogged/tweeted and entered such wonderful recipes. 

Double thanks from me to Steenbergs Organics who offered one lucky person up to £25 worth of  organic spices for an entry into this challenge, that I have picked at random.
Steenbergs Organics products are the perfect choice for so many preserving recipes.
The lucky chosen one is revealed at the bottom of this post.

Friday, 7 October 2011

Breakfast Club #16 - Stars and Stripes

What a pleasure to host the next  Breakfast Club #16 where the theme of this month is, as chosen by my goodself...


...which means anything with an American twist...from pancakes, smoothies, muffins and skillets to biscuits, grits and granola.  Its a huge country with a big love of all things breakfast, so there is lots to go at.


How do you join Breakfast Club?
Well it is easy and simple like making Breakfast!
Create something special which has the STARS AND STRIPES theme incorporated into it.
  • Mention Breakfast Club in your post and use the logo above.
  • Link to this post and the Breakfast Club page.
  • E-mail me at with a link to your post and a photo (no larger than 300 pixels, please!).
  • Send a previously posted recipe if you like, but please add the information above and republish.
  • Entries can be sent to other events, but please check their rules about submitting a post to multiple events.
  • If you tweet please tweet using #breakfastclub and copy in @fussfreeflavour so we can RT you.
  • If you do not have a blog, send a photo and details to me
  • Deadline for submissions is Monday 14th November 2011.
I will post the round up by 21st of November.

Note : Helen (@fussfreeflavour) is looking for hosts for future Breakfast Clubs so please email her at if you are interested.

Sunday, 2 October 2011

Banoffee Victoria Sponge & the GBBO - recipe

You may have heard me mention before on this blog but my favourite cake ever, is a simple Victoria sponge, I just love that cake, and as long as its well made you can pretty much put any filling in it and it will taste like 'a little bit of heaven on a plate'. That's how this blog got its name from a conversation I had with a friend about a Victoria sponge I'd made and that was how I described it to her (she didn't disagree as she was wolfing down eating the cake at the time!).

Here is my twist on a Victoria sponge with a delicious Banoffee make this you will need, a baked Victoria sponge, in two halves of course, 500ml fresh double cream (you might not use it all but be generous with it), half tin of Dulce Leche, a small banana, one chocolate flake bar (or 2 flakes, but eat one as you go, it always works for me).