Monday, 30 July 2012

random recipes round-up #18



... I think the word you're looking for is voyeurism... so many stories... so much to say... and everyone put quite a few photo's up in their posts, so I implore you to go visit each and every one of these entries and have a  good nosey around... oh and one thing I think we can be sure of is that Nigel, Nigella and Jamie MUST be billionaires...

... I must also apologise now because im sure i've missed a couple of people off here... I think it was going away halfway through the month... i'm sure I had a few emails that got lost somewhere... so if you're missing I am SO sorry and just nudge me an email or a comment and I will rectify immediately...

...and here's my collection to kick us off...


... read the other 62 entries after the jump!

Friday, 27 July 2012

lamb koftas with mint and pea puree



... this is my August article for Lincolnshire Life Magazine with a foodie but tenuous link to the olympic games...


... it seems as though we’ve been waiting forever but finally the Olympics are here.  I was actually in Trafalgar Square the day it was announced and it felt like the party started that day nearly five years ago!

This month I want to celebrate with some food that reflects both the Olympic heritage and of course includes some of Lincolnshire’s wonderful medal-winning produce, so I thought I’d go back to the originators of the games themselves, the Greeks, with some succulent herby lamb koftas, made with some delicious local lamb, served with a fresh pea, mint and yoghurt puree made from the abundance of peas we have growing in many of the fields surrounding us here in The Wolds and fresh mint from the garden.

The koftas are super-easy to prepare would make great barbecue food, if the weather ever decides to improve and can be made well in advance too.  I’ve made 4 plain ones and four stuffed with some incredible Cote Hill Blue Cheese.

for the lamb koftas
you will need 8 bamboo skewers
500g minced lamb
2 tsp cumin seeds
2 tsp coriander seeds
1 tsp chilli flakes
2 garlic cloves – crushed
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
a few chunks of Cote Hill Blue
salt and pepper

for the pea puree
500g fresh garden peas – shelled (could use 400g frozen)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint
2 tablespoons TOTAL Greek Yoghurt
salt and pepper

soak the skewers in a basin of water for 10 mins to avoid them burning when cooking.

to make the koftas, dry fry the cumin and coriander seeds in a small pan for about 3 minutes then crush with a pestle and mortar, then mix all the ingredients in a bowl until thoroughly combined

form into 8 balls and roll into sausage shapes

flatten the sausage out slightly then place one skewer lengthways onto the meat and form the sausage back around the skewer with your hands. To make the cheese stuffed ones, simply crumble some blue cheese along the sausage before re-forming around the skewer

brush them with oil and either barbecue them or place them on a pre-heated griddle pan for roughly  minutes, turning frequently.

To make the pea puree simply boil the peas in a little water until tender, drain and then add the mint, yoghurt and seasoning and blend to a puree using a hand-held blender.

Eat and of course enjoy!

Thursday, 26 July 2012

manuka honey lemon cake



... the good people at the New Zealand Honey Co recently sent me 3 wonderful new honey products; the thyme honey, which i'm planning to cook with some gorgeous lamb over the weekend... and two incredible manuka honey's with natural flavourings, one with lemon, the other with root ginger... both additions compliment the natural honey perfectly and as you can imagine taste truly incredible.... the manuka honey with lemon is as good as the best lemon curd you could make, rich and thick and really creamy with quite an intense lemon hit... the manuka honey with root ginger is really special, with little nuggets of ginger that give the honey a hit of underlying warmth that is undeniably good... the mankua honey with lemon was just calling to be baked into a classic lemon cake and who was I to deny the call of the bee...


manuka honey lemon cake
to be honest this product is so pure the very best you can do with the stuff is spread it onto toast... the three honey's arrived the weekend my mum came up for her birthday and we basically spent three breakfasts 'oooing' and 'aaaahing' over the stuff... but i'm not sure honey on toast really counts as a recipe so here's my cake...

4oz self raising flour (or plain flour and 2 teaspoons baking powder)
2oz ground almonds
pinch of salt
4oz butter - softened
2oz sugar
2oz manuka honey with lemon
2 eggs
1 tablespoon milk
grated rind of one lemon

for the glaze
the juice of one lemon
1 large teaspoon honey

- beat the eggs, sugar and honey until pale and fluffy, add the lemon rind and stir in

- add one egg and beat in, then add half the flour and beat in

- repeat with the remaining egg and flour and all the ground almonds

- add the milk and stir in, then pour into a lined and greased loaf tin

- bake on 170C for 40 mins or until golden

- pull it out of the oven and prick all over with a skewer

- heat the lemon juice and honey in the microwave and then pour the hot liquid over the cake

- allow to cool entirely before removing from the tin and eating

... i'm planning a couple of other interesting recipes to use the honey again so look out for them over the next few weeks... the New Zealand Honey Co honeys can be purchased pretty much all over the world and at ASDA, MORRISONS and Waitrose in the UK

eat and of course, enjoy!

Monday, 23 July 2012

blackcurrant beach brownies - we should cocoa



... I couldn't sleep last night... for many reasons but mostly because i'd bought the wrong kind of butter for the brownies I was making for mums birthday... it sounds a bit daft now but I just couldn't lie there any more thinking about the salted butter and how, if I could just teleport to the supermarket to get the unsalted butter everything would be perfect and our day would run really smoothly... I know...

... it's become a tradition that we all go to the beach on mum's birthday and with the British weather the way it's been I was fearing that we just weren't going to make it this year... but as if by magic the sun came out over the weekend with promise of a few days of glorious sunshine and so yes, we actually made it... I cannot begin to describe how wonderful it was to be sitting on a British beach in, what eventually became too hot sun... we had champagne... we had tinned salmon sandwiches... we had tooth-achingly tart/sweet blackcurrant brownies...

on the beach - today!

blackcurrant brownies
this is adapted from a Dan Lepard recipe for pecan brownies which i've replaced with blackcurrants which as you can imagine hold a lot of liquid so the cooking times for you may vary... keep checking...


200g dark chocolate
125g unsalted butter
2 eggs
125g light soft brown sugar
100g caster sugar
175g plain flour
1 tablespoon cocoa
200g blackcurrants

- put the chocolate and the butter in a pan and gently melt

- beat the eggs with the sugars until pale then add the chocolate and butter and beat again

- sieve the flour and cocoa powder into the mixture and stir in until fully combined

- add the black currants and stir a couple of times

- pour into a lined brownie tray and bake on 170C for about 35 minutes but check as the currants hold a lot of liquid and it's hard to tell...

i'm entering this into choclette from Chocolate Log Blog's We Should Cocoa bloggers challenge which has the theme of blackcurrants... at first I thought this would be a bit of an annoying challenge but let me tell you ladies and gentlemen, the sweet, sour, chocolatey wonderfulness of these beauties was outstanding.. well done choclette!


Sunday, 22 July 2012

roast chicken with figs, lavender and vin santo



... there's been quite a bit in the UK media recently about what the fooderati are calling 'roast chicken porn' and the clique of restaurateurs who specialise in just roast chicken... I guess it's clever because as we all know the humble chicken is one of the easiest meats to cook both badly and well... there is, after-all nothing worse than a dry lump of tasteless breast... but pick the right bird, mine was a free-range girl from Marks and Spencer... give her the plush treatment she deserves and you should be able to sit back and enjoy a thrilling, juicy, taste sensation in just under two hours...

... mum is here for her annual birthday weekend extravaganza, although it's a little tamer than usual as my brother and his family are not with us this year plus The Viking is off visiting one of his oldest friends who is also celebrating a birthday... so it's just me, mum and Eric - my kind of step-dad (saying he's mum's boyfriend at their age just sounds wrong...) and we're spoiling ourselves food-wise all weekend!


roast chicken with figs, lavender and vin santo
we kind of cobbled this one together whilst standing in the kitchen with the naked bird... mum was staring at my kilner jars up on a high shelf and asked me what was in them... I couldn't quite remember but on opening were revealed to be some lovely dried figs... mum instantly went into what can only be described as a food frenzy and told me to grab some lavender and sherry and we've got ourselves something special... couldn't find any sherry but I did have an unusual bottle of Vin Santo sent to me by someone... I can't remember who but choclette probably knows... anyhoo, the resulting chicken tasted as fabulously theatrical as it sounds but I think you'll agree that the photo's speak for themselves...

1 medium free-range bird
6 sprigs of fresh lavender
1 medium onion - roughy sliced
1 small glass of Vin Santo or other medium sweet sherry
roughly 8 whole dried figs

- prepare your chicken by placing it in a large bowl and pouring boiling water over it... let it sit in the water for at least 10 minutes... don't ask me why this is done... my mother always did it this way and it works for a wonderful moist chicken with a crispy skin

- place chicken breast-side down into an oven-proof dish, stuff with the sliced onion, surround with lavender and figs and bung in an oven for one hour on a medium heat (170C)

- after one hour turn chicken over so it is breast side up, pour over the vin santo and a large mugs worth of water and roast on a higher oven (190C) for anywhere up to another hour, checking frequently to make sure it's not burning or drying out... a little more water can be added at any stage to create a fine gravy

- after the second hour take chick out of the oven and let it sit whilst you cook the veg...

eat and of course, enjoy!

Friday, 20 July 2012

ensaimadas



... if you've ever been to Mallorca you will most definitely have seen many a tourist and the occasional teary-eyed abuela carrying a large, most often hexagonal shaped, flat box... no, this doesn't contain the thinnest hat in the world, it holds what can only be described as the most glorious Mallorcan treasure - the ensaimada... a traditional sweet baked, spiral-shaped bread that has a wonderfully light yet doughy texture a bit like a chubby croissant... they are delightful and although hailing from this small island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea they are now eaten across the entire Latin world...


ensaimada
a little time consuming but really not as difficult as it sounds to make... it's a really sticky dough though so watch out when kneading... be patient... it will come to you... tradition also states that you should use pork lard to make this recipe, which whilst I can imagine how incredible this would taste I just couldn't bring myself to do it... so have substituted butter instead, something i am told is most commonly used nowadays... i'm using the low-knead method here but you can just get stuck i and knead for 10 minutes instead...

8fl oz milk - warmed
4 teaspoons active dried yeast
20oz strong white bread flour
4oz sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs - beaten
2 tablespoons olive oil
6oz butter - softened enough to brush with


- add the yeast to the warm milk and set aside for 5 minutes

- using a very large bowl, add the flour, salt, sugar and olive oil and then pour on the milk and combine fully with a rubber spatula or your hands... once it's all together in a sticky shaggy mass cover with a tea-towel and set aside for 10 minutes

- after 10 minutes pour a small amount of olive oil onto your kneading surface and then scrape the sticky dough onto the oiled surface - very quickly pour a little oil into the bowl and swish it around the line the bowl with your kneading hand

- knead the dough 8 times, so that's: 8 times stretch / fold / turn and then plop the dough back into the bowl, cover with a tea towel and leave for 10 minutes, repeat again 3 times.  By the second time you will already begin to feel how soft and airy the dough is and I promise you'll never go back to regular boring kneading again!

- after the 4th low-knead pop it somewhere cosy for an hour or until it has doubled in size

- flour your work-surface liberally and then roll out the dough as thinly as possible

- brush the entire surface of the dough with the softened butter and then roll it up like you'd roll a newspaper

- take a very large flat tray and roll the tube into a spiral shape so it resembles a snail shell then cover with a large bucket or similar - something that is much bigger than the rolled ensaimada - and let it rise for at least 4 hours

- remove the bucket and bake for 30 - 40 minutes on 160C or until golden and risen

- let it cool, then brush with butter and sprinkle with a generous cloud of icing sugar

as you can see mine didn't quite come out as a perfect spiral but what the heck... not bad for a first attempt and it's soft billowy lovelyness more than made up for an imperfect circle...

eat and of course, enjoy!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

spanish tortilla on the floor



I only went and dropped the f**king plate... apparently you're not supposed to do that!

spanish tortilla... writing those two simple, rather wonderful words fill me with fear and dread. Never before did I worry and care so much about the outcome of such a simple dish...

... as you'll know The Viking and I have just come back from a quick break in the sun.  We often go to the island of Mallorca as, i've explained in previous posts, not only is it conveniently close, inexpensive and nice and sunny but because my family have had a holiday home there for nearly 30 years I feel like I know it well enough to arrive and be on holiday immediately... which I think you'll agree is quite an important part of taking a break... we don't have to find the local panaderia or that delightful place to eat... we can quite literally kick of our shoes and relax... the only problem with this is that I feel we've become a little complacent and have stopped discovering... which I also think is one of the wonderful things about travelling... I love the idea of discovering something exciting and new about a place I think I know...

... last week my cousin had first dabs at the holiday home which left us to discover a charming small hotel nestled into the steep cliffs of a quiet seaside town... it was rustic and home-spun but so delightful we're already planning our next visit... I also discovered the joy and now horrors of the spanish tortilla, in a quaint little restaurant slightly down the hill from the hotel...

... don't get me wrong, it wasn't the tortilla itself that was the issue... that was, in fact, divine... it was the decision i've taken to make my own version and write about here... never before in my trawl through cookbooks and the internet have I come across such vitriolic, venomous, rudely-patriotic and quite frankly stubborn collection and varied descriptions of how to make such a simple simple dish which in essence is an egg and potato pie cooked in a pan!... and I thought the Jews were a proud race...


spanish tortilla
it does seem there are a billion ways that 'traditional' Spaniards prepare and cook their tortilla... slice the potatoes... dice the potatoes... slice the onions... chop the onions... don't even add onions... deep fry the potato... don't add herbs... add peppers... and it seems every abuela from every village, right across the Spanish Plain has their own little twist and addition... this is mine...

you will need a large, non-stick frying pan - i used my 10 inch le crueset pan

roughly 500g potatoes - I used some British small new potatoes
1 medium onion - sliced
6 free-range eggs
a lot of olive oil (more than you'd think)

- im not peeling my potatoes but most recipes say you should, then cut lengthways, then slice into one pound coin thick slices

- quarter the onion then slice to a similar thickness

- put the onions and potatoes into a bowl, season, then mix them up

- place a very large amount of olive oil into your pan and heat gently then add the onion and potato mix to the pan - the oil should almost cover the mixture - turn the heat down and let it cook gently for 20-30 minutes, you want the potatoes to be fall-apart-soft and not too brown at all

- once the potato is cooked through take it out of the pan and allow the oil to drain off

- in a large bowl, mix the eggs then tip the potato and onion mix into the eggs... at this point you can either leave the potato in this mix for a while before cooking so that the onions permeate into the eggs or you can cook directly

- re heat the pan, add a little oil this time and pout the mixture in

- cook gently and slowly, checking with a spatula how the underside is browning - you're looking for a gentle golden colour - the top probably won't be cooked and still a little runny - this is ok

- once browned, take the pan to the sink, place a large plate over the top and quickly flip the pan transferring the tortilla to the plate....then drop the plate... no... don't... place the pan back on the heat and slide the tortilla back into the warm pan and gently cook again for a further 5 minutes or so until the underside has turned golden... check it though as you don't wont the tortilla to be too dry

and that my dear friends is that... and the thing is, you may be thinking 'is that it..? all that fuss of an omelet...' but let me tell you... this is a heavenly thing... and try really hard not to drop the fucking plate!

... the tortilla is delightful hot, warm or at room temperature... but never refrigerated... or so i'm told

eat and of course enjoy!

Monday, 16 July 2012

ginger and whisky parkin - a tribute to Olive McDonald



... The Vikings' mum was an amazing woman... I only met her a few times but this I know... not only did she bless the world with The Viking... and almost an entire's town's worth of generations of offspring but most importantly she gave us her ginger parkin...

... The Viking has been talking about how incredible it was for years, it's a family legend, the recipe lost for ever... that is until we found it! We've been doing a major clear-up at Belleau Cottage, from the rafters down and The Viking is a real horder... there are so many boxes of stuff I cannot begin to tell you... it's  wonder the loft ceiling hasn't collapsed with the weight of all his boxes... however, after days of sifting through the swathes of paper I heard a cry from above... 'look what i've found'... and there it is, on a dog-eared, tatty piece of paper, in her own hand-writing, the recipe for ginger parkin... there's also a recipe for her white bread, which i'm told was like ciabatta-type clouds of heaven, but that's for another post...


Olive's Ginger Parkin
it's a typical mums recipe this and i'm re-producing it exactly word for word how it is on the paper so you can decide which way to go with it...

14oz self-raising flour
8oz syrup
4oz margarine
2oz lard
egg
1/2 pint milk
or
2 eggs and less milk
2 level teaspoons ground ginger
4oz sugar
2 tablespoons glenmorangie whisky

- put flour, sugar and ginger in a basin

- beat eggs and milk in second basin

- heat syrup and fat in pan and whilst warm mix alternately dry and wet ingredients until smooth

- pour into dripping tin and put in oven on a medium heat

thats it for instructions... I used Golden Syrup and went for the 1 egg/ half a pint of milk option.  I substituted butter for lard and I also drizzled with a little more golden syrup once it came out of the oven... and used a baking tray to bake it in... it went into an oven on 160C for 40 mins... The Viking says it tastes lovely but insists his mum's version was darker and gooier... it could be because she used treacle instead of golden syrup so I may give this a go next time...


... I also added a thimble-full of whisky into the batter mix... for two reasons... firstly because I need a W to enter into this months AlphaBakes hosted by Ros from The More Than Occasional Baker and Caroline from Caroline Makes and secondly because, well, heck... whisky and ginger are a perfect partnership and who needs an excuse...

eat and of course, enjoy!

Friday, 13 July 2012

not to make you feel bad but...

it is glorious here... I feel truly relaxed... and my heart is beginning to restore itself...






... back on Monday...

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

baked egg and tomato and fig jam galette



... we're known to obsess over the weather us Brits but as many of my UK friends will testify to it's becoming very hard to see the light-side. We don't seem to get a break and it's not as if it's just a bit of drizzle, we're talking about an average months worth of rainfall in 24 hours... the people in charge are calling this the 'European Monsoon' and if you regard the weather maps you can see what they're talking about... a cyclonic shaped weather front hovering over the isles... and we're told it's not going anywhere until at least September by which point it'll be autumn and... well what's the point then eh... and it's becoming serious... peoples homes and businesses are flooded... events are being cancelled... and most importantly, barbecues are not being lit!

... how are we supposed to survive the 'summer' without the heady fug of burnt meat over smokey charcoal wafting down the streets and through the neighbourhoods of this fair country?

... the irony is that this is an event-heavy year for us in the UK... we had the Jubilee, which was a wash-out for most... i'm sure you've all seen pictures of HRM forcing a smile through the raindrops... and then we have the olympics.. which we're all supposed to be deliriously happy about... so happy in-fact that the government are telling us not to go abroad this summer but stay at home instead and support team GB... in the rain... oh and tickets for the games are a snip at £695... I think you'll find that £695 will get you to Miami... or Tunisia... or Mallorca (twice)... or Egypt... or Greece... oh the sunshine!!!

baked egg and tomato and fig jam galette
this uses up the last of the tomato, red pepper and fig chilli jam I made a couple of weeks ago... it bakes beautifully on top of ready-made puff pastry, making this the easiest, fastest and tastiest fancy lunch you'll ever eat...

... so much so that I'm not going to patronise you with a recipe... all I need to tell you is to make sure you leave a nice boarder around the jam and then don't crack the egg into the galette until about 5 minutes into the baking time so that you create a little ledge to stop the egg running out... which will happen anyway as seen in the pictures above...

... and now i'm off to the sun myself (the sun!) for a few days with a last-minute and well deserved trip to Mallorca... it may be a little quiet from me for the next few days but I promise to be back next week with some lovely Spanish inspired recipes...

... eat and of course, enjoy!

Sunday, 8 July 2012

a village fete... a victoria sponge... a tea time treat



... as my long-suffering readers will know we are approaching the highlight in the calendar of village life, the Aby Village Show... I have written many times about my super-sized scones... my tales of woe and my 'so-called' friends who love to rub my nose in my losses... if you're thinking leafy lanes, rose-scented old ladies and paper doilies... think AGAIN people... this is serious... this is tape measure serious... this is war...

... so as usual, I am trying to get ahead and practice for the big day and I thought i'd start with a classic Victoria Sponge and as any member of the league of witchcraft (they call themselves the WI but we know better...) the classic Victoria Sponge is the Queen of the Cake Stall... the Royal Majesty of the Summer Fete... the Golden Rosette of the Village Show... master this and you will have master of them all... the keys to the secret of the WI universe no less...

... clearly I'm going off piste as usual... according to official WI book of cakes the classic Victoria Sponge calls for two 7inch sandwich tins and i'm using my very expensive 8 inch loose bottomed cake tins... the book also 'suggests' the three egg, 6oz / 6oz / 6oz method whereas i'm using the 'weigh the egg' method and using 2 eggs for each tin... clearly, if I want to stand a chance of winning I will need to go back to the 'traditional' method on the day of the show... I just feel stubborn today... i'm also not using sugar... i'm using a sugar alternative called truvia... truvia is a calorie-free sweetener made from the stevia leaf and I have very kindly been sent a little pot to review here on the blog and thought I ought to use it in an everyday classic kind of cake to see how it works... plus i'm thinking that because it's calorie-free I reckon I can have a slice or two more... just to make sure it tastes nice... ok?


a victoria sponge 
by looking at the packaging and the message you get from the website you kind of expect truvia to be a totally natural product and of course that's not quite the case and on opening the pot the most obvious thing that hit me was a waft of what I can only call 'fakeness'... it smelled really sweet and had a nutty almost vanilla aroma to it... not bad but regular sugar doesn't really have a strong smell and this smelt like over-compensation... however, it did mix well into the cake and on tasting the batter I am pleased to say it did taste good, if not a little too sweet...

... as with all substitution food there's a little converting that needs to be done and the truvia literature does advise not to eliminate regular sugar altogether as sugar adds a structure to cake you can't replicate so I used a third of regular sugar in my mix... I was slightly annoyed with the conversion charts on the truvia website, which is in US based cups... normally this wouldn't be a problem but because I was using the weighed egg method I had to do a triple conversion which was rather dull... come ON you people at Silver Spoon... if you're going to market a product to a new market... learn their baking language!

for each 8 inch cake tin you will need
2 large eggs and their weight in:
butter or margarine (for me it was 5oz)
self raising flour (for me it was 5oz)
and then 2oz of regular sugar and 4 tablespoons of truvia
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

- pre-heat oven to 150C (temperatures need to be reduced when baking with truvia) grease and line 2 8 inch cake tins

- in a large bowl mix the sugar, truvia and butter and beat with a wooden until pale and fluffy, add the vanilla

- add one egg and beat in followed by half the flour and beat in, then repeat with the remaining egg and flour

- pour into the first tin, then repeat the process for the second cake with 2 more eggs etc.

- bake for 30 mins or until golden and risen


...I have decorated mine with fresh cream, strawberry jam and fresh strawberry slices... heavenly...

... the verdict is that the cake tasted amazing... you can see from the pictures that it is well risen and has a light crumb... my only small nag is that a couple of minutes after eating a slice The Viking and I both reported an odd lining of the mouth... it could have been from the mammoth depth of whipped cream but I very much doubt it...

... I am of course entering this cake into this months Tea Time Treats the brilliant bloggers challenge hosted by Kate from What Kate Baked and Karen from Lavender and Lovage which has the timely theme of Cake Stall Cakes... I think I could charge a proper fiver for each slice... what do you reckon?


Friday, 6 July 2012

home-made rosemary oven chips with four summery sauces




...with my visit to Chapman’s Fishcakes still fresh in my mind and the long summer days ahead...ahem... I thought I’d create a few special sauces that not only compliment the fabulous fishcakes but will also sit well on any barbecue dinner table and whilst the thought of making your own mayonnaise may sound rather scary and a tad laborious it is in fact so simple and once you’ve tried home-made I can promise you, you’ll never go back to shop bought!... i’ve also made some wonderful oven-chips roasted with rosemary for a wonderfully fresh herby kick which will make the perfect accompaniment to any fish dish.

A Classic Mayonnaise
2 large free-range egg yolks
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon salt
black pepper
10ft oz groundnut oil
white wine vinegar

you will need a large bowl and an electric balloon whisk

- place the egg yolks, mustard powder, salt and pepper into a large bowl and gently fork together
with the whisk on a medium speed add a single drop of oil and whisk in thoroughly

- add another drop and whisk in – continue this way until half the oil is gone and you have a sauce that is beginning to thicken

- at this stage add a tablespoon of white wine vinegar and whisk in to loosen the mixture - now you can speed up the process

- with the whisk on medium add the rest of the oil in a thin, steady stream until you have a wonderfully rich, thick mayonnaise – you may need to add a drop or two more of vinegar to loosen the mix.

A Punchy Olive-Oil Aioli
This uses exactly the same technique as the mayonnaise but you should add 4 cloves of crushed garlic to the eggs at the start.  For a sauce that is really flavoursome you can use extra virgin olive oil instead of groundnut oil.

A Terrific Chunky Tatar Sauce
Half the home-made mayonnaise as above
2 heaped tablespoons of finely chopped gherkins
2 heaped tablespoons of chopped capers
1 tablespoon of finely chopped salad onions
2 tablespoons of chopped parsley

Again this uses the classic mayonnaise as a base then you simply stir in the rest of the ingredients.

A Sweet Chili Sauce
2 garlic cloves - crushed
5 red chilli’s
1 tablespoon of light soy sauce
4oz caster sugar
100ml rice vinegar
100ml water

- finely chop the chilli and add it along with the garlic to a pestle and morter where you should crush them together until you have a rough paste

- add this to a sauce pan with the rest of the ingredients

- bring to the boil and let it boil for 5 mins or unti it reduces to a syrupy consistency

- set aside till cool


Oven-Roasted Rosemary Chips
5 medium potatoes – ive used some wonderful new potatoes with the skin on – the type that only need a gently scrub before using
4 tablespoons olive oil
1 teaspoon of fresh rosemary

- scrub the potatoes and then cut them into rough chip shapes

- place them in a pan and boil them for 4-5 mins until just soft

- drain and then pour the oil, rosemary, salt and pepper into the pan with the potatoes

- place the lid back on a shake the pan, gently bashing the potatoes

- place them onto an oven-proof roasting tin and roast for 25 mins or until golden

eat and of course enjoy

Thursday, 5 July 2012

Lincolnshire Life Food Heroes - Chapmans Fishcakes


... as part of my on-going series of Lincolnshire Food Heroes for Lincolnshire Life Magazine, here's my most recent article about the wonderful folk at Chapman's Fishcakes...

... here's a glimpse of the cooked thai fishcakes and some yummy home-made sweet chilli sauce that i'll be featuring in a recipe in my next post... 

Kevin and Paul Chapman – Chapman’s Fishcakes

Back in 1976 when Delia Smith gave us a recipe for Salmon Fishcakes in her now much lauded book Frugal Food, she could not have possibly known how this humble patty of potatoes, herbs and fish would become such a popular and enduring dish. Her recipe, which used tinned salmon, is now a family favourite in the homes of many of us up and down the country but perhaps over-taking them in the popularity stakes is another humble family recipe for fishcakes this time from Mavis Chapman and it was Mavis’ recipe that inspired two of her boys Kevin and Paul to launch the Chapman’s Fishcake company 5 years ago and it is with Mavis’s recipe that their company has grown, and continues to grow to this day.

the finished and packed fishcakes

Of course the Chapman’s Fishcakes use only the finest fresh fish, like their mothers, who would use the fish her husband Terry would bring back from his work on the docks in Grimsby and it was in Grimsby that I met Kevin and Paul in their new premises. 

The Chapmans are in great company too because whilst Grimsby may have changed quite considerably over the years, the town was once the largest fishing port in the world, the legacy and industry remains with many companies still working within the fish processing arena.  Grimsby is also still home to the largest fish market in the world and many of the big names in the fish-to-consumer market and it’s not only fish but many large food companies are based here bringing a new food industry to the town. 

mixed by hand, each mix produces 60 cakes

Kevin and Paul grew up surrounded by the world of fish, they both left school to go and work directly within their father’s company T Chapman and Sons and t was here that they learnt their trade, steaming crab that had been transported from Cornwall! It was the decline in the fishing industry since his father’s day that prompted Kevin to re-evaluate what the family company were doing and an obvious natural progression from fish-packing to fishcake making.  The Classic Fish and Parsley Fishcake was born and even won the prestigious Great Taste Award in its first year!  The Chapman boys have stuck closely to their mother’s recipe which means quality is of utmost priority and in true artisan style the fishcakes are made by hand in the factory using the finest local ingredients.

scooped out ready for hand-rolling

Maris Piper potatoes are sourced by local growers, which are first riddled and then steamed, after which they are hand-mashed and mixed with fresh herbs.  The fish is added last and carefully folded-in, again by hand, to ensure that large flakes of fish remain whole in the finished product.  The cakes are formed into patties are finally covered in a light breadcrumb before being packed ready to sell. The classic recipe also has a secret ingredient that is only known to the Chapman boys! The Classic Fish and Parsley fishcake uses only fillets of white fish such as haddock, coley or cod  which will change depending on what is best at the market on any given week, again much like whatever fish their father brought home, and  this fishcake has been popular from the start of the business when the boys used to sell them at farmers markets in Grimsby and the surrounding towns.  They now supply over 200 farm-shops covering the entire country and plan to expand into as many of the 7000 UK farm-shops and deli’s that will have them.  They have already taken on board a development chef who has increased their range to include a haddock, leek and cheddar cheese fishcake, a salmon with lemon and dill fishcake, a thai style salmon fishcake and my current favourite the smoked haddock and smoked bacon fishcake – another Great Taste Gold Award winner!

hand-rolled and then covered in breadcrumbs

The company now also produce a rather marvellous range of Fish Wellington’s as well as a Luxury Fish Pie and very tempting Haddock Bakes, all lovingly hand-made in the factory.

Maybe if I try enough of them I might be able to work out that secret ingredient know only to the Chapman’s and of course their late mother who sadly passed away before the boys founded their company although I am sure she would have been very proud of the finished product and her inspiring recipe that has become a legacy for us all to share… thank you Mavis!

All 13 products in the Chapman’s Fishcake range as well as a list of local stockists can be found on their website www.chapmansfishcakes.co.uk

Paul and Kevin with the team


Tuesday, 3 July 2012

semolina cake with TOTAL Greek Yoghurt and honey and citrus syrup



... so this is my final post celebrating the wonderful 1000 ways to LOVE your TOTAL and this has to be the favourite thing I made during my day cooking with Chef Paul Merrett last week... again, it's one of those pudding/cakes that i'm so fond of and served warm with some melting yoghurt is the ideal way to eat it...

... on the day of our tutorial we made this cake first and in our eagerness to be the best we very nearly forgot the key ingredient... we were all staring at the mixture a little suspiciously thinking it looked rather thick and it wasn't until the very last moment when I looked across our prep table to spy the tub of TOTAL Greek Yoghurt that we hadn't yet included... it would have been a very dry cake without it and pretty much make the reason we were there quite pointless... how we chuckled...


semolina sponge cake with almonds, hazelnuts TOTAL Greek Yoghurt and honey


for the cake
120g TOTAL Greek Yoghurt
250g butter at room temp
190g golden caster sugar
4 eggs
50g self-raising flour
zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon
100g ground almonds
100g ground hazelnuts
250g semolina
2 tablespoons of poppy seeds

for the syrup
juice of one orange and one lemon
175ml water
140g golden caster sugar
50g honey
1 tblsp orange blossom water

- pre heat the oven to 175C and grease and line a spring-form baking tin

- in a bowl use a wooden spoon to beat the sugar and butter to a pale and fluffy consistency

- add the eggs one at a time, beating them into the mixture fully each time

- add all the dry ingredients including the lemon and orange zest as well as the yoghurt and mix to a smooth batter

- pour into the tin and bake in the oven for 45 mins or until golden and risen

- once baked put the cake aside and make the syrup by placing all the ingredients in a pan and bring to the boil - then allow the syrup to reduce by half


- using a skewer prick the cake all over and then pour the syrup onto the cake and set aside to let it soak up all those wonderful flavours

me and my laydeez

I hope you've enjoyed the three wonderful TOTAL Greek Yoghurt recipes over the last few days... I think that even being a hard-working blogger it is always a great thrill to be invited to these kind of events... you can sometimes forget how really special they are and I am more than happy to share what I learn with the lovely people who read my blog...

eat and of course, enjoy!

Sunday, 1 July 2012

random recipes #18 - something a little different...



...as you know June was a bit of a sad month for me and The Viking and whilst I did my fair share of blogging it all felt like a bit of a duty rather than the fun it should have been and i'm sure many of you will agree with me here... sometimes the pressure of being a blogger can weigh heavy on us all...

... to alieveate the pressure this month I thought i'd do something a little different and a little less stressful... something that should be easy for us all to do, a little fun and informative and hopefully bring us up nice and fresh in August for something a bit more challenging... so instead of asking you to cook a random recipe... this month I would like you all to photograph those cookbooks...

... do you ever find yourself talking on the phone, emailing or tweeting with a blogger friend or family member and wishing you could picture where they were in their home... or what their home looks like if they happen to be half way across the world...?  I do... and if it's with someone whose home i've never been to, when I do finally get to visit I always make a point of finding out where they call me or email me from... so I can picture the scene for next time...

... and so you see, every month I ask you all to choose your random recipes from a pile of books that I have no idea about how they look... where they sit in your homes... how many there are...

random recipes #18 - something a little different...


1. take a photo of your book / books / bookshelf / bookshelves / library
2. post the picture and tell us all a little story about your books
3. include the random recipes logo and link back to this blog
5. email me at dom at belleaukitchen dot co dot uk or tweet me @belleaukitchen
4. you have until the end of the month to enter




...as many of you will know I recently had my kitchen made-over... a wall knocked down here... a new oven there... and whilst we kept our old kitchen units and re-invented them for the new kitchen I made sure that I would have a proper place for the growing number of cookbooks I own... before the new shelves I would place my books on a teeny window ledge on some kind of rotation system... with no room for the poor things to breath... and now, even though to be honest I could do with 3 more shelves, they have room to shuffle and show-off a little... although I keep my three most-used within easy reach...


... and there is of course the 'bathroom-collection' of duplicates and smaller or more obscure books, or even those which I find make excellent toilet reading...

...so it really couldn't be simpler and we may all learn a little bit more about our cooking and blogging friends and where they get those wonderful random recipes from... go on... get snapping!

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