Wednesday, 30 November 2011

Random Recipes #10 - Round Up

well... what a month eh?  I realise that for some of you, soup would never be on the menu but for many of you it seemed to have hit the jackpot with these cold wintery days approaching... I know Jac and I had some great fun reading all your wonderful entries... it is amazing how many recipes there really are out there for such a simple dish... so thank you all... sit back with a warming bowl of the good stuff and enjoy your reading...

... first out of the kitchen was Manu from Cooking Manu with a lovely recipe for Pea and Pesto Soup or Zuppa di Piselli e Pesto which I think sounds so wonderful as it rollllllls off the tongue, the soup was randomly selected from Nigella Express.

next up is Random Recipes Virgin, Nikki from Food Glorious Food who has made one of my favourite soups, Spiced Parsnip, selected from The New Soup Bible, welcome her nicely kids...

Lovely Lou from Please Do Not Feed The Animals has made this really intoxicating Roast Onion Soup with Thai Spices taken from Nigel Slaters Real Cooking.

and next a surprisingly nice Spiced Citrus Bean Soup from Gary at Exploits of a Food Nut who went for a web-search on BBC Food Website.

next up we have Ruth from Makey-Cakey with this very warming Lentil and Pasta Soup taken from the Soup Bible.

the lovely Victoria from 21st Century Urban Housewife made this wonderful Butternut Squash and Apple Soup taken from Elana's Pantry

well, next up we have the rather wonderful Little Macaroon with a double soup combo, one savoury in the form of this 'Duffer' soup (don't ask, just go visit...) taken from Jamie's Ministry of Food

and the other this rather special sweet Kheer, taken from the depths of Macaroons untidy brain!

now, new to RR but not to NCR is Emma from A Splash of Vanilla who made this Tomato Tuscan Bread Soup from How to Cook Italian by Giuliano Hazan

next is Michelle from Food, Football and a Baby with this yummy Roasted Tomato Soup with Spicy Croutons, taken from the gloriously titled, Ultimate Cooking Course and Kitchen Encyclopedia

and next up for your delectable delights, we have the glorious, the glamorous Lucy The KitchenMaid with her Hassan's Celery and White Bean Soup with Tomato and Carraway taken from the Moro East book.

let's not forget about me... i'm quite nice, with my yummy White Bean, Tomato and Sage Soup, taken from the New Covent Garden Company, Book of Soups

next up we have the lovely Jean from Baking in Franglais with this very wintery Spices Root Soup taken from 101 Soups and Sides from the BBC Good Food

and next we have the lovely Susan from The Spice Garden with this very nice Roasted Pepper Soup with Garlic Toasts, taken from... you guessed it... the ever popular Soup Bible

new to RR but not to NCR is Janet from The Taste Space with this stunning Brazilian Black Bean and Vegetable Stew taken from The Tropical Vegan Kitchen

next up we have Janice from Farmersgirl Kitchen who has been busy making a batch of this wonderfully rich and thick Easy Tomato Soup taken from Rose Elliot's The New Vegetarian Cookbook

lovely Michael from Me, My Food and I has whipped up another tomato soup but this time with a twist, its a Hot and Spicy Bloody Mary Soup from Loraine Pascal's Home Cooking Made Easy and it look bloody fabulous!

and now on to my darstardly partner in crime for RR does NCR, Jac from Tinned Tomatoes with this unusual soup of Fresh Ginger and Parsnip taken from the 30-Minute Vegetarian by Johanna Farrow

a welcome return to RR for Mel from Sharky Oven Gloves with this really lovely celeriac soup taken from HFW... I love celeriac but Mel says it was rather bland... maybe you could suggest some ways for her to perk it up?

next up is lovely Phil from As Strong As Soup (rather appropos) with this unusual Feta, Almond and Fennel Soup taken from Classic Bull by Stephen Bull

this month, Debbie from Cooking Up a Storm in a Teacup went all North Africa on us with this wonderful Spicy Moroccan Squash Soup taken from the old favourite New Soup Bible

next in is Lyndsey from Vanilla Clouds and Lemon Drops with what she calls a recipe fail but what I call divine, with this amazing Pumpkin Rice Laksa taken from her best friend Jamie Oliver...

next we have the delightful Eleanor, the BVG herself, with a very warming Tomato Soup taken from Catherine Fulvio's Family Kitchen

dearest Karen from Lavender and Lovage ... 'randomly' selected this celery soup from a rather old-fashioned but lovely Complete Farmhouse Kitchen cookbook

Lisa from Lisa's Kitchen made this divine Tangy Red Lentil Dal with Goda Masala

next we have Vicky from Cake Fairy Blog with this lovely recipe for Get Better Soup... it wasn't quite random, other than randomly chucking things in from the fridge... but we'll forgive her... 

next is Sweatha from the fragrant Tasty Curry Leaf with this wonderfully classic Mulligatawny Soup taken from Madhur Jaffrey's World Vegetarian

and all the way from India with her lovely Pea Green Soup is Rudra from Mom's Corner, taken from Tarla Dalal

next is this wonderfully unusual African Peanut Soup from Emily at Triumph Wellness

and now on to Aveen from Baking Obsessively who has made perhaps one of my all time favourite soups, good old Leek and Potato, taken from A Celebration of Soup by Lindsey Bareham

another RR virgin but not to NCR is Shaheen from A2K Allotment 2 Kitchen with this very good Bajan Gungo Pea, Squash and Coconut Soup taken from  the brilliantly titled Lean Bean Cuisine

here's Gill from Tales of Pigling Bland with this really yummy looking Pea, Lettuce and Lovage Soup taken from the River Cottage Cookbook... what exactly is Lovage she asks...?

and finally onto the hardest working mummy in blog-land, Nazima at Working London Mummy with this delightful Butternut Squash Soup taken from the River Cafe Cookbook

In our infinite wisdom and the massive influx of entries, Jac and I have chosen 2 winners; because of his bravery with unusual ingredients we're happy to announce that the first is Phil from As Strong As Soup  and the second is Shaheen from A2K Allotment 2 Kitchen .  Jac will send you both out a special badge for your blog...

and don't forget to look out for the December Random Recipes... it's not what you're probably not thinking it might not be...

Tuesday, 29 November 2011

for the love of pig

when we first moved into Belleau Cottage nearly 10 years ago I had no idea of the wonderful community I was entering... of course as a fully fledged, born and bread city boy I had my fantasy imaginings of what the bucolic life would bring... pear-hipped, lavender scented old ladies preserving rhubarb in jars on their sun drenched window-sills... sun-kissed, craggy skinned farmers driving hay-stack laden tractors along hedgerow shrouded country lanes... tea and scones in the local village hall... cattle lowing gracefully in the fields...

... and of course, anyone who lives in the countryside knows it is everything like that... and more!

what I wasn't really expecting was the true sense of community... a community that expects you to put in much time and effort but with rewards that are many-fold.  At first it was hard to do as we were really using Belleau Cottage as a bolt hole from the city and never expected the need to make friends... but as our love for it grew and our time here increased it was inevitable that we were already a welcomed and excepted part of a loving community... and one, luckily for me, that has a real passion for food and produce...

... we are surrounded by the most incredible artisan food producers... we are at ground zero for many of  those amazing products you see in Waitrose... but better than that we are at the heart of a community who rear their own free-range meats and organic vegetables and many of these producers and growers are good friends...

... last week Zena my dear friend from Troutbeck Farm turned up our doorstep with a whole belly of pork... as you can image it caused mixed reaction in our household but joy outweighed The Viking's feigned fainting as I handed over just £12 for the best part of the pig... this belly is from pigs I helped feed this spring, pigs I knew had a happy life snuffling around a wonderfully happy farm.. this is not the time or place to debate the death of one animal to feed the belly of an other but I do consider myself a very very lucky man...

Roast Belly of Pork
with all this wonderful pork belly i'm starting with the classic, slow roast and i've got about 7 great recipes for roast pork belly in my many cookbooks and most of them are pretty similar, here i've combined three... one from HFW for the method and two from both Gary Rhodes and James Martin for the technique of roasting over a rack of vegetables... I am in hog heaven!

... i'd love you to suggest any other pork belly recipes you may have... I have a lot to get through...

at least 1kilo of pork belly
fresh thyme leaves
salt and freshly ground black pepper
an assortment of root vegetables - peeled and roughly chopped (I used carrots, swede and parsnip)

- pre-heat the oven to 200C

- place the pork belly skin side up on a rack over a baking tray

- rub the scored skin with plenty of salt, pepper and thyme leaves

- roast in the oven for 30 minutes, then turn the heat down to 160C and roast for a further 2 hours

- in the last hour, take the pork and tray out of the oven, drain half the fat out of the tray and place the veg into it.  Then return the whole lot back into the oven.

- serve with some of Zena's wonderful mulled apple jelly (more of which later...)

eat and of course, enjoy

Sunday, 27 November 2011

rum and coconut triple layer cake

our friends Paul and Roz went on a cruise to New Zealand a couple of weeks ago and secretly got married... bless em... and to celebrate they invited the whole gang to the pub on Saturday night to have a bit of a shindig...

... Roz was kind enough to bake me a fabulous birthday cake for my 40th last year so I returned the favour with a wedding cake of sorts... something pretty in white... with a bit of a kick for Roz who likes a tipple or two!

this is another fabulous recipe taken from Dan Lepard's Short and Sweet with a wonderful buttercream icing taken from the same book... i've added lime juice and the grated peel to the buttercream icing to give it a little zing and then covered the icing with shredded coconut to add a little drama.  Unfortunately I don't have a good pic of the inside as it was dark in the pub but needless to say it looked very pretty with its three layers and it tasted divine and rather velvety...

eat and of course, enjoy!

Saturday, 26 November 2011

a loaf by any other name

...don't tell The Viking but i've fallen in love with Dan Lepard... the man is a god... he knows it... I know it... everyone knows it... and don't let anyone tell you otherwise...

... Dan has managed to turn simple ingredients into a thing of beauty... well, I did the turning, he told me the method via his fabulous new book Short & Sweet... which I recently won in a book giveaway by the lovely Choclette via her Chocolate Log Blog... not that I need to tell you because the book is everywhere, on every blog in the UK and in every book store, but if there is one book you buy this Christmas make it this book...

... because its not just the fabulous recipes... it's the method... ahh the method... you read it and it makes perfect, clear, sense... like a veil of cloud is lifted and you think to yourself... 'of course.. makes perfect sense to do it that way...' or  'so that's how it's done'... and if you follow the method you will not fail...

... and I thought I knew my bread making... I started this bog a year and a half ago with what I thought was a pretty decent loaf... but I had no idea that with the same ingredients and less kneading... yes, less kneading... I could get a spectacular, artisan loaf, like the kind you pay top dollar for in those fancy bakeries, full of air, with a crusty crust... and you can sit back and proudly say...'I made this... and it was fucking easy!'

Easy White Bread
I realise the protocol is a little blurry over reproducing recipes from books but i've decided to go ahead with this one as it's pretty much a basic bread recipe, flour water and yeast... but you really must go and buy this book, I cannot stress enough that you need to read about the method, something I can barely touch upon here.

400g strong white flour
1 teaspoon fast action yeast
1 teaspoon fine salt
300ml warm water
oil for kneading

I doubled the above recipe and made 1 large loaf and 10 small rolls

- put the four, yeast and salt in a bowl, pour in the warm water and stir everything together into a sticky, shaggy mess, cover the bowl with a cloth and leave it for 10 minutes

- lightly oil your work surface, turn the bowl over and empty the dough onto the surface and very gently knead the dough 8 times (that's 8 classic 'stretch then heel of hand then quarter turn... repeat...) then cover and leave for 10 minutes.

- repeat this gentle 'knead and leave' technique 3 times

- then after the last gentle knead return the dough to the bowl, cover with a cloth and leave it to rise for 45 minutes or until doubled in size.

- pre-heat the oven to 200C fan

- sprinkle your work surface with flour, turn the dough onto the surface and pat it down into an oval shape.  Roll it up tightly and lay it seam down onto a floured baking tray.  Let is rest again for a further 45 minutes.

- flour the top of the dough, cut a slash down the middle and bake for 35-40 minutes.

serve it warm with scrambled eggs and mushrooms... it's the law... oh and eat and of course, enjoy!

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

quick fire jewish penicillin

... I have been gripped by a nasty dose of old-fashioned cold... not the 'man-flu' stay in bed, can't move kind of affliction, more a blocked nose, sore throat, painful sneezing kind of cold... I'm happily going about my business spreading disease wherever I choose... so don't feel sorry for me... it's just rather annoying and i am beginning to feel a little fed up... what I need for my old-fashioned cold is a dose of good old-fashioned jewish penicillin... or chicken soup to give it its formal name...

... back in the old days a 'boiler' chicken would have been purchased from the kosher butcher and the giant pan taken down from the cupboard and the long slow process of making heaven in a bowl would have taken place... much skimming of fat would have happened and knadels would have been made to float like fluffy succulent clouds on top of the golden liquor...

... this is not that... this is the quick fire version, made for those on the run or too poorly to be bothered... but give it long enough on the hob and I promise you, if not an instant cure then a definite lift of spirits...

Quick Fire Chicken Soup
i've put a dash of white wine in the soup plus half a lemon to really add a little vitamin c zing... eliminate or include at your own whim...

2 chicken breasts - chopped into large chunks
1/2 a medium onion - roughly chopped
1 celery stalk - roughly chopped
1 medium carrot - roughly chopped
1/2 small leek - roughly chopped
about 10 whole black pepper corns
1/2 a lemon - roughly chopped
2 pints water or vegetable stock
a splash of white wine
a bay leaf and some rosemary

- put it all in the pan, add the stock or water and bring to the boil

- turn the heat down and let it simmer gently for as long as you've got... a least an hour if not two. (ok, so this bit is not so quick-fire but getting the ingredients into the pan should take you less than 60 seconds...)

put Fiddler on the Roof or Yentl on the DVD player, sit back, relax, eat and of course, enjoy!

Monday, 21 November 2011

Food Bloggers Unplugged - a little bit of me on a plate

... lovely lovely Susan from A Little Bit of Heaven on a Plate has nominated me to take part in a bloggers infomercial, for want of a better phrase... it's called Food Bloggers Unplugged and the idea is to answer some questions that give you, the reader, a little bit of an insight into who I am and what i'm all about... not that I think there's much left for you to know but here goes...

1. What, or who inspired you to start a blog?
believe it or not but it was the film Julie and Julia... I watched it one rainy day on DVD and the next day I became a food blogger!

2. Who is your foodie inspiration?
there are many who inspire but I guess the list begins with my mother...

3. Your greasiest, batter - splattered food/drink book is?
Delia's Complete Cookery Course... If I had to throw away all my other books things would be slightly less colourful but i'd be ok with it...

4. Tell us all about the best thing you have ever eaten in another country, where was it, what was it?
ahhhh... twas a burger and massive bowl of fries in the restaurant in the sky called Nepenthe on Highway 1 in California... I had spent the previous year on The Atkins diet so this was the first fries I had eaten in a year... they were incredible... and I went back this year, you know, to check that it wasn't just the Atkins that made those fries taste so good and I wasn't disappointed, they were spectacular!

5. Another food bloggers table you'd like to eat at is?
no hesitation... Susan from The Spice Garden... I would move in tomorrow if she'd have me...

6. What is the one kitchen gadget you would ask Santa for this year (money no object of course)?
i'm afraid it would have to be a Kenwood Mixer in the same blue as my kitchen...

7. Who taught you how to cook?
uh... hello... mother...

8. I'm coming to you for dinner what's your signature dish?
uh... hello... chicken thighs...

9. What is your guilty food pleasure?
Haribo Tangfastics
10. Reveal something about yourself that others would be surprised to learn?
I was one of the chosen few who took part in Anthony Gormley's 4th Plinth project and had my hour on the plinth in Trafalgar Square

and now, as tradition dictates I must nominate 5 food bloggers to pass this on to and take part... they are:

Susan from The Spice Garden
Lucy from The KitchenMaid

happy blogging... eat and of course, enjoy!

Sunday, 20 November 2011

sunday roast chicken stew with chicken livers

... you must all know by now how much of a lazy cook I am... but you know what its like... you finally get home after a long day at work and all you want is that warm comforting feeling of something lovely on the table... a nice juicy roast chicken perhaps, with all the trimmings and a nice rich gravy... is that too much to ask?

... i've had one of those Sunday's... the morning at work meeting with a lovely couple who plan to get married at Gunby in 2013, followed by planning the next few months, including starting to think about Valentines dinner parties at Gunby Hall... I know, it's not even Christmas and I'm planning Valentines Day!

... we also have thick thick fog over much of the UK today (well, it seems that way from what I read on twitter...) and its the kind of fog that lingers in cold patches over the hills, all at once mystical and eerie together... sometimes the sun breaks through to reveal the folding landscape in front of the cottage or at other times it rolls in in thick layers, back-lit by the sky as if on a theatrical stage set...

... so when I got home, in from the cold, I had a desperate pang for roast chicken... but alas I had missed the supermarket... I did of course have a pack of my trusty chicken thighs in the oven and quite a few of the trimmings to make up a traditional Sunday roast... in a stew... I also had a packet of chicken livers, which I bought frozen and should have gone into the freezer but I totally messed up and miss-placed them... ever done that?... so I have added them in right at the end to create a really rich and luxurious element to the stew... heavenly!

Sunday Roast Stew

4 chicken thighs - on the bone, skin on
1 medium onion - roughly chopped
1 medium celery - roughly chopped
1 carrot - chopped into batons
1 parsnip - chopped into batons
5 chestnut mushrooms - quartered
1 glug or two of white wine
salt and pepper
fresh rosemary and thyme
1 pkt chicken livers - optional

- pre-heat the oven to 180c

- throw all the veg, herbs, olive oil and seasoning into a roasting pan, place the chicken thighs on top, add the wine and a cup of veg stock and roast slowly in the oven for 1 and 1/2 hours, turning the chicken every half hour.

- the veg should sweat and soften at first but will eventually begin to roast and crisp up.Keep another cup of stock handy just in case it's looking dry.

- in the last 10 mins add the chicken livers, they will cook really quickly and you want them to stay a little pink.

eat and of course, enjoy!

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Power-cut Parkin - a teatime treat

... The Viking often tells tale of his mothers infamous ginger parkin... so incredible was this cake that, over the years, like stories of hidden gold or mystical fire-breathing dragons,  it has worked its way into legend in his family... not only is it legend but like much folk-lore, the recipe is missing, presumed lost for ever... taken to the grave with his dear old ma...

... knowing a little of the woman she was, where food was fuel and the glamour and reverence we give food today didn't even cross her mind, I doubt she ever wrote the recipe down, rather she had it stored in the deep recesses of her mind along with her infamous suet dumplings and ciabatta-like bread rolls...

... can I just mention that at this point, whilst writing this post, with the ginger parkin in the oven, the whole of my village has been plunged into darkness with a power cut... not sure if I can save her...

... 35 minutes later, oven back on and we can continue...

...where was I...? Oh yes... The Viking's mum's infamous ginger parkin... and so I often think about trying to recreate some of her magic and have scoured the internet and my cook books for a traditional Yorkshire Parkin recipe, which I've adapted and made my own...

... and I think i've captured a little of the hidden dragon in this fire-breathingly hot cake... and for my nuggets of hidden gold i've added some crystalized ginger into the mix... well The Viking seems to like it.

I'm entering this into the brilliant new bloggers challenge Tea-Time Treats hosted on alternative months by Karen from Lavender and Lovage and Kate from What Kate Baked, with this months theme being ginger and bonfire night.

Ginger Parkin
I think like many a secret treasure there must have been a curse attached to trying to re-create this because as well as the power-cut I managed to burn the bottom of the oven!

8oz self raising flour
4oz dark Muscovado sugar
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 egg
200ml milk
2oz butter
4oz golden syrup
1 tablespoon glace ginger

- preheat the oven to 150C/300F/Gas 2. Line a 22cm/8in tin.

- sieve the flour, sugar, ginger and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl, throw in the glace ginger

- in a small pan gently heat the butter and syrup until melted.

- eat the egg into the milk.

- gradually pour the butter and syrup into the flour and stir. The mixture will be thick and lumpy

- pour in the egg and milk and whisk until smooth then pour into the lined tin.

- bake for 1 hour

eat and of course, enjoy!

Tuesday, 15 November 2011

puff pastry pizza

... there i go again with my food alliteration...

... it's all about fast food with me at the moment.  I'm very time poor but still keen on eating some decent grub... and it's so frustrating as I have a heap of fabulous new cookbooks to read and cook from but its all stressing me out a little as I read post upon post about how wonderful Dan Lepard is... well, quite frankly he'll just have to wait... I need to dedicate some proper time to Mr Lepard and his wonderful ways with pastry... roll on those long Christmas evenings in front of the fire eh?

... so for now, it's shop-bought and to hell with it!.. and the great thing about pizza is that you pretty much can throw anything at it that you like and it'll taste great with all that pastry beneath it... oh and if you're anything like me who loves their puff pastry just slightly undercooked and gooey in places, this is the dish for you!

Puff Pastry Pizza with Roasted Tomatoes, Peas and Basil
the other thing I love about this pizza is how it brings the Summer back into my kitchen... much need at this time of the

1 sheet of puff pastry
2 medium tomatoes - finely sliced
1 packet of fresh buffalo mozzarella
a handful of frozen garden peas
a few torn basil leave

- in an oven proof dish, lay your tomatoes out, sprinkle with olive oil and balsamic vinegar and roast for 30 minutes in a low oven. (do this in advance if you want to bung the pizza together quickly)

- the pastry sheets I use usually come large enough and thick enough to roll flatter and divide into tow, so you can make 2 pizzas, so do that.

- score an edge around the pizza and then place all your ingredients within this edge, tomatoes first, then the cheese, then the peas

- brush the un covered edge in a little olive oil and then bake in the oven for 20 minutes until the pastry has risen and is golden and the cheese is bubbling

eat and of course, enjoy!

Monday, 14 November 2011

White Bean, Tomato and Sage Soup - RR does NCR

i'm not a huge fan of plain old tomato soup, I find tomatoes quite acidic and in a soup they can become rather bland... spoonful after spoonful of blah... so it was with slight trepidation and a little annoyance when I hadn't picked one of many of the the other amazing soups in the brilliant New Covent Garden Book of Soups... but as I further read the ingredients I could really see how the beans in the soup would add a lovely, rich and thick element making it very filling and rather more interesting...

... which is lucky because this month the devastatingly handsome Dominic from Belleau Kitchen and the breathtakingly beautiful Jac from Tinned Tomatoes have teamed up for .... oh you know the rest...

White Bean, Tomato and Sage Soup
It was a lovely soup but a bit of a faff to cook with all the soaking and I cant really see how using tinned, pre-soaked beans, could make it taste any different but save a heck of a lot of time!

150g dried butter beans - soaked in 200ml water for 1hr
60g dried haricot beans - soaked in 75ml water for 1hr
25g butter
1/2 medium onion - finely chopped
1 garlic clove - crushed
2 pints vegetable stock
1 heaped teaspoon tomato puree
150g tinned chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon demerara sugar
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh sage
150ml milk
1 tablespoon double cream

- melt the butter and cook the onion and garlic gently until soft, in a covered saucepan without colouring

- add the stock, tomato puree, butter beans and tomatoes, cover, bring to the boil and then simmer gently until the butter beans are tender

- cool a little, then whizz with a hand-blender

- add the haricot beans, sugar, sage and salt to taste, simmer for a further 45 minutes until the haricot beans are tender.

- cool and stir in the milk and cream

oh and one last thing, can i ask that you take a look at The Viking's blog... his most recent post, about his mum and food, is rather wonderful x

eat and of course, enjoy!

Saturday, 12 November 2011

chestnut cream roulade

I made this beautiful roulade in the summer for the we should cocoa 'roulade' and 'strawberries' challenge but that was not its original recipe ... more of a tasty alias version of its true self...

... its true-self is this stunning chestnut cream roulade... smooth... silky... creamy... nutty... deeply, darkly chocolatey... and just a little Christmassy, which is helpful as it's one of the dishes i'm cooking for my Christmas dinner this year and am making it now to photograph for my December article in Lincolnshire Life Magazine...

... I urge you to take a little time out of your lives and make this divine dessert... but a word of warning... follow the recipe to the letter and you cannot fail... diverge from it even slightly and on your own head be it!

chestnut cream roulade

For the roulade:
4 eggs - separate yolks and whites
150g good dark chocolate (at least 80% cocoa)
4oz caster sugar

For the filling:
300m tub of double or whipping cream
1 x 250g tin of sweet chestnut spread

- In a large bowl, beat the yolks with the sugar until soft and light.

- Melt the chocolate (I do this gently in the microwave but if the idea sends shivers up your spine, then use the classic bowl over simmering water method...) at this stage add 1 and 1/2 tablespoons of hot water to the choc mix, then add it to the egg and sugar mix.

- Next beat the egg whites till stiff and then carefully fold them into the mixture.

- Line a large Swiss roll tin with tin-foil which you should then grease well with butter or margarine.

- Pour the mixture into the tin and bake in the oven at 160C for 20 minutes then a further 10 minutes at 90C.

- Whilst it’s baking, grease another large sheet of foil and place it on a flat surface where it won’t have to be moved for a while.

Now the tricky bit...

- Once baked, take it out of the oven and immediately turn it over onto the greased foil and leave it, with the baking tin still on top for at least 8 hours... so bake in the morning and get on with making the soup, or bake in the evening and leave it overnight.

- Now you're ready to assemble; whip the cream and stir in the chestnut spread.

- Take off the baking tin and carefully peel off the foil that lined the tin.

- Spread the cream mixture evenly onto the surface of the roulade and then, using the excess foil, roll the roulade into shape.  It should be able to be slipped neatly onto a plate.

- Sprinkle with icing sugar for a classic Yule Log look and then don’t forget to eat and of course, enjoy!



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