Monday, 30 July 2012

Lavender and lemon bundt cake - recipe

This is a cake I made for our last but one clandestine cake club (May 2012), I'm bit late writing about it as I wanted permission from the author of the recipe I adapted to publish the details of it... she's been away in Uganda to see how vanilla is grown and is raising awareness of fair trade goods. You can check out her adventures on her blog, it might make you think like it did me recently, why I don't buy more fair trade goods?. I thought more about this issue as I do like to support local shops most of the time and some of the ones I use do sell a lot of products that are fair trade branded. Since I've read Vanessa's posts I have been much more fair trade minded when I shop...its worth a read if you have five minutes and you can check it out here.

Back to the recipe for this lovely cake...a combination of lavender and lemon scents with the lemon being the stronger sibling in this case. You will need a bundt shaped tin of you want to make a cake this shape but to be honest any tin would suit, loaf, round or square will do just as well. Many thanks to Vanessa Kimbell who has let me share this recipe from her book Prepped.

Tuesday, 24 July 2012

The Icecreamists - book review - recipe

At last...sun...heat..warmth...the outdoors...fresh air...dry walkies...salads...and...
home made ICE CREAM!!!!!!!

In celebration of warm weather this week I have been making and trying a few recipes from a new book called 'The Icecreamists', published by Octopus; this book is packed with an amazing range of ice cream recipes, some of which will really challenge your imagination (not to mention your store cupboard!). This is my first ice cream recipe book ever and I'm in heaven.

I tried out a recipe called 'the caked crusader' (this is really Jamaican ginger cake ice cream)...described in the book as 'cooling cream rippled with rich moist cake and a penetrating kick like a ginger mule' sums it up really well.  I did use an ice cream maker (though you don't need one to make this recipe) and it turned out exactly like the photograph in the book depicted. The mix consisted of a basic custard base for the ice cream with eggs, sugar, full fat milk and double cream and this is enhanced with ginger powder, stem ginger, stem ginger syrup and a whole Jamaican ginger cake. This gorgeous caramel coloured ice cream was rich, smooth, sweet and so intensely gingery, it had a real fiery hit and was just as described.

Monday, 23 July 2012

What's on your (recipe) bookshelf? - random recipes goes like this, dear avid month your flicking through some God awful randomly selected recipe book from the shelf, your very inner core filled with dread about finding some out of season recipe everyone in the house either hates, has a food allergy to or where the ingredients are totally out of reach...OR you are exposing the dust and cobwebs of the bijou homestead in 'through the keyhole' like fashion to the whole of the inter web...yes folks you guessed it wrong...its random recipe time!

I feel quite a fraud entering this month, as I haven't entered this monthly challenge for a while (I read the round up's religiously mind you!) but what the heck! I love a bit of controversy and I love a bit of a change and thats what Dom over at Belleau Kitchen has done this month. Rather than expose our random cooking skills to the world, he wants us to expose our random recipe book collections instead...the nosey so and here we go...mine is a very simple and organised collection and thats it in the photograph above!

Challenge done...I thank you!

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

Chocolate and blackcurrant thumbprint biscuits - recipe

I have to start this post by saying a very Happy Birthday to 'Choclette' from Chocolate Log Blog. Its been 'Choclette's' birthday this last weekend (a 'special' one at that) and you can read all about what she did and the lovely tea party she had here on her blog. It looks like she had a birthday we would all love to enjoy, a day spent doing one of your favourite past times and spending time sharing good food with loved ones and friends. Good for you 'Choclette' and here's to the next 30 (or more) years!

Thats the nice bit...but by 'eck she does not half come up with some tough ones for the 'we should cocoa' monthly challenge. I nearly came a Roy Cropper with this one. This month's challenge is to make something with blackcurrants and chocolate! I had bit of a worry as initially I couldn't think of a darn thing to make...but after pondering over the weekend and seeing a sign locally (outside someone's house) selling fresh blackcurrants, I had my idea and I was ready!

The trouble was I then went away for the weekend and coming back home the blackcurrants had all been sold, what a disaster! But I would not be thwarted. Lurking in my fridge I had a lovely jar of homemade blackcurrant preserve, bought in Pickering. From this, these lovely chocolate and blackcurrant thumbprint biscuits were born. Taaaa daaaaa! (one day soon I will get to make the dark chocolate and blackcurrant mousse I really had planned)

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Red pepper and goats cheese pappardelle pasta - recipe

Lets be honest folks although its July, its not really salad weather is it? I don't know what you are eating but we are still munching away at more of the comfort type foods on most days. Our barbecue has not seen the light of day for ages now, rumour has it that it was last seen floating down the Leeds/Liverpool canal...I might jest, but its been that grim for all of us...I'm used to it raining here 'up north' but even this is pushing it to the edge.

On the bright side, in this house bad weather always presents an opportunity to cook up a storm and try something new. For a change we are eating less red meat at the moment and trying much more meat free dishes. I'm not sure entirely why that is, but I do know we are really enjoying what we are eating.

This is a lovely recipe using more of the Capricorn goats cheese, sent to me by Ethel the goat recently. This is a lovely flavoured ripened goats cheese from Somerset, the kind of goats cheese with a rind on it (like Brie or Camembert).

You can turn this basic recipe into a tasty pasta dish, or make and serve the gorgeous base with huge chunks of fresh crusty bread to dunk into the red pepper, goats cheese, herbs, spices and olive oil mix...this base alone would be great as an appetiser, or as a tasty vegetable dish on a buffet table.
This is just as good without the pasta, served alone with fresh crusty bread.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Strawberry mallow cake - recipe

Any excuse to buy and eat British strawberries and I'm there, I can eat them by the bucket full, its the flavour and the aroma, there is nothing in this world that matches the taste of a British strawberry its in a class of its own as a fruit.

What better way to use them than in this cake a combination of my two most favourite sweet things ever, a plain sponge cake and a gooey mallowy meringue. This cake is quite easy to make, the only skill comes in baking the meringue topping so that its firm enough to handle on the outside but with a marshmallow like interior.
This recipe is such a delight, its fresh and sweet and just yummy, the perfect thing for afternoon tea or a summery dessert! This cake takes a bit of time to make but its so worth it, trust me! I have made this recipe three times now and its gone down a storm on each occasion. It's this summers seasons must bake cake.

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Beetroot, red onion & goats cheese tarte tatin - recipe

Oh my, oh my...when I eat food like this and as tasty as this, I honestly do wonder why I bother to eat meat...this recipe was so amazingly good...this is a beetroot, red onion and goats cheese tarte tatin...I made miniature versions for us (each small tarte tatin served one adult with other side dishes). You could just as easily make a large one for a family sized meal.

Having just spent a week in Turkey eating my way through lots of different amazing goats cheese there, I have sort of become addicted to the stuff. For this recipe I used a goats cheese from Somerset called Capricorn, you can't miss it as there is a picture of 'Ethel the goat on the front'...Ethel's a real goat, by the way (one of several goats on that site) and she kindly sent me (and several other food blogging friends) this goats cheese as part of a hamper of goodies to try. Ethel is going to choose the best recipes as part of her Capricorn Challenge and put them on her blog (yes a goat with a blog...Ethel is on Twitter too @Ethelthegoat!) and she will award a prize to the ultimate best recipe of all when she's sampled all her favourite ones. Well Ethel my little chicken goat I hope you approve of this recipe, because we loved it.

Please take a minute to look at the Capricorn site, its a real hoot and there are lots of competitions to enter (even for some lovely handmade knitted items made in Somerset), there are also recipes and lots of information about Somerset goats cheeses.