Tuesday, 30 July 2013

random recipes #30 - the round-up

... what a month July has been eh?... it seems we've all been extremely busy bee's so I truly appreciate all these lovely entries to help me celebrate my 30th edition of random recipes all the more... as always you have not disappointed... so let's kick off with one of my favourite bloggers, Karen from Lavender and Lovage and her Spinach and Poached Egg Muffins taken from page 30 of her 30th book the Weight Watchers Pure Points Cookbook...

read the rest of your marvellous entries after the jump...

Monday, 29 July 2013

a little film...

watch the film here

... i'm sure you'll all remember my recent post about Auntie Regina's 12 Hour Garlic Beef... we'll here's just a quick post to show you a little film that was recently made by the team at yahoo.com up here at Belleau Cottage... you can see by the film that this version didn't quite come out like it did the second time round but it didn't seem to matter to my friends... oh and please ignore my fat suit... bad choice of clothing i think you'll agree...

watch the film here

...watch and of course enjoy!

Saturday, 27 July 2013

chocolate caramel salted-popcorn ice-cream

...don't you love it when a plan comes together...

...it seems as though many of my recent posts have started with how busy I am at the moment but it really has gone a bit bonkers chez belleau of late... in some kind of cosmic aligning of planets our production company The Persuaders has been working with UK supermarket Tesco to help launch their #LoveEveryMouthful campaign which is all about promoting fresh, seasonal British produce... it's a lovely campaign to be involved with and whilst many of the british supermarkets have had a bit of a rough ride recently with a few 'ingredients' issues, it's nice to work with an honest, open company who are well aware of their image... and say what you like about them as a corporation, the lovely people who i've been in contact with who work at or for Tesco are some of the most food-passionate people i've met... they love what they do and are very proud of the quality of the produce they provide and this has inspired and thrilled me over the past couple of weeks...

the fab four

the worlds largest eton mess

...we started our project last week with a very early shoot not far from our London home reproducing the infamous Beatles Abbey Road album cover using a baker, butcher, greengrocer and fishmonger replacing the fab four... it was a fun and very quick morning shooting on this iconic site... our next project was even crazier as this week we built the worlds largest Eton Mess in Soho Square in central London... again we set up very early in the morning and built a fully edible Eton Mess in a large raised glass... we used 100litres of single cream and about 80kg of fruit... it tasted amazing and once it had been photographed, filmed and adjudicated we dished it up and handed it out to passers-by who were very happy...

chocolate caramel salted-popcorn ice-cream
and like that cosmic aligning of the stars, i've managed to segue this months random recipes and we should cocoa bloggers challenges into a rather wonderful chimera of fabulousness... for my random recipe I had chosen caramel popcorn from page 30 of my 30th book and was busy making it when I had a flash of inspiration to see what would happen if I poured the end result into some cream and then into my ice-cream maker... well you can see the results for yourself... it's quite possibly food-porn filthy!

for the chocolate caramel popcorn
1 packet of popped pop corn (I used a 100g microwave pre-salted popcorn packet)
180g firmly packed brown sugar
115g butter
2 tablespoons corn syrup (i used honey as a substitute)
1/2 teaspoon sea salt (only add if using plain popcorn)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
50g dark chocolate

for the ice cream
250ml fresh cream
1 tablespoon runny honey

preheat the oven to 120C, line a baking tray, spread out the popped popcorn and set aside

combine the sugar, butter, corn syrup and salt in a saucepan and place over a medium-low heat, stir until the butter and sugar melt and the mixture comes to a boil.  Stop stirring and boil until it reaches 120C, remove from the heat and pour over the popcorn and stir with a spatula until the corn is evenly coated

bake the popcorn for 35 mins, stirring 2 or three times.  Let it cool completely.

gently melt the dark chocolate in the microwave and then pour it over the popcorn and set aside to cool

pour the fresh cream and the honey into the bowl of your ice-cream maker and start it tow churn, once it shows signs of beginning to solidify add a handful of the pop corn - as much or little as you like really and then continue to churn till frozen

we should cocoa is hosted by Choclette from the brilliant Chocolate Log Blog and the theme this month is ice-cream.

eat and of course, enjoy!

Sunday, 21 July 2013

cornish scones

... it's very nearly that time of year again when the good folk of Aby and surrounding villages get together for the annual Aby Village Show... which for me means it's time to dust off the knick-knacks, rummage through my utensils drawer and find that perfectly sized scone-cutter... it's been almost a year for me but yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's scone-time... ahhh, the humble scone, rhymes with gone, the perfect vehicle for jam and cream... jam first, then a dollop of cream... debate over...

...when it comes to proper cornish clotted cream you can't beat Rodda's and when it come's to jam it has to be the best and there is only one place for me to turn and that's a very very special jar of Fortnum & Mason's 'Made in Piccadilly' strawberry jam... it's the first ever strawberry jam they've made on site and so far have only produced 40 jars, of which I consider myself very lucky to have procured a jar... the stuff has massive strawberries in and tastes like i've run through a pick-your-own farm with an open jar and then sealed in the flavour of summer...

... of course this weekend in July also marks my mums birthday and the annual family pilgrimage to celebrate on a Lincolnshire beach... this year, after weeks of stunning sunshine the weekend suddenly turned cool and cloudy so I made an impromptu decision to hire a beach hut in a teeny village called Sandilands.  It was the best thing we've done in years... a proper British tea with sandwiches, champagne and of course scones... we had an absolute blast, ate way too much food and I even swam in the North Sea with my niece and nephew... proper fun!

cornish scones
I recently helped the good people at Rodda's with some baking tips for their on-pack and on-line labels... they asked their social networking community for hints and tips for easy baking and I gave them the classic 'weigh-the-eggs' method as you can see from the label above... other than my love for their gorgeously naughty creams and butter I do love Rodda's design style and 60's inspired artwork... its monotone graphic simplicity reminds me of the picture books I used to read as child which I think is particularly poinient for a wickedly sinful product such as clotted cream... the recipe for these scones comes from the back of the lovely tea-towel Rodda's sent me as part of their thank-you package, with a few tweaks i've learnt along the way... i'm assuming it'll be a winner...

makes 12 scones:
500g plain flour
15g baking powder
10g caster sugar
pinch of salt
100g diced cornish butter
250ml milk
a grated of lemon zest

for the egg wash:
2 egg yolks
10ml milk
pinch of sugar

sieve the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt into a bowl and using your fingertips rub in the butter until it's nicely combined, add the milk and mix well

once it starts to come together, turn it out onto a floured surface, knead very lightly until it forms a soft dough then pop it into the fridge for 30 mins until the butter cools entirely

pre-heat the oven to 200C, dust your worktop with flour and pat out your dough to a thickness no less than 2.5cm or half the depth of you scone cutter - place on a baking tray lined with parchment and pop back in the fridge whilst you make the egg wash

beat the yolks, milk and sugar together and brush the top of each scone twice then bake for 8-10 minutes until golden and risen

eat and of course, enjoy!

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Auntie Regina's 12 Hour Garlic Beef

... so without trying to sound like i'm blowing my own trumpet this is the kind of dish that if there was any justice in the world, will become the latest food fad internet sensation... it's the kind of mind-blowing rare taste that get foodie types super-excited... like the humble hamburger or basic donut, this is a hugely simple dish that teases you whilst you're cooking it to the point of damnation and with any luck, after reading the wonderful story behind the dish i'll be able to persuade you to cook it for your selves... but beware, this is a very old family recipe and may not be to modern taste... you may hate it... but I doubt it very much...

... my great aunt regina was a remarkable woman... as a teenager she escaped from the jewish ghetto in warsaw just before the outbreak of the second world war and walked to paris where she became something of a notorious figure in our family history, helping many people escape the evil nazi regime into france and out of mainland europe altogether... most of her family perished in the concentration camps but she lived on and it's because of her survival I owe my existance.

... during the war there was little if any meat to speak of and where it was available it was usually the cheapest cuts, no doubt rancid but still much needed... this dish, which has been handed down through our family must have had its influences in both france and poland but I imagine the great amount of garlic was probably to mask the smell of the meat... it was hard times.

auntie regina's 12 hour garlic beef
so you need to find a cheap cut of beef, the skirt would have been traditionally used but a nice piece of brisket would work just as well... anything you'd normally use for a slow roast... you will also need a casserole dish with a tight fitting lid and an oven that has a low, non-fan setting of 80C... this dish can often go wrong if you don't follow the steps but you know your own oven better than me, plus i'm giving you a 'word of mouth' recipe, nothing was ever written down like this so don't be slavish to my rules either... relax into it all and enjoy the process.

I made this for 6 guests:
1 cut of brisket (approx 900g)
1 large garlic bulb (roughly 15 cloves) - peeled and crushed
2 tablespoons sea/kosher/rock salt
1 glass red wine (optional - read on...)

you need 24hrs to make this dish

start the evening before you want to eat by rubbing the beef with the crushed garlic and salt, place it in a bowl, cover with cling-film and leave to marinade until the morning

the next morning, if you want to eat at 8pm then at 8am place the marinated beef in a casserole dish with a tight fitting lid, pour over the wine (this is not in the original recipe but I think much needed) place the lid on tightly (you can even use a little foil too if unsure) and place in an oven on 80C (no fan) for 12 hours

after 11 hours your house should be filled the most incredible fug of garlic beef... take it out of the oven and set aside, still in the covered dish whilst you make your choice of starchy side dishes or salads, then once you're ready to eat place the beef on a wooden board, shred and serve

you will not regret it and you will eat and of course, enjoy!

Sunday, 14 July 2013

orange, honey and lemon thyme chicken

... back from Mallorca and it was a lovely, restful break but frustratingly short... as usual we ate very well and even found a very very good and quite progressive vegetarian restaurant... a HUGE deal for a Spanish holiday resort or anywhere in Spain really... that was tucked into a teeny alley in the heart of town which as you can imagine went down very well with The Viking and has also given me a few inspirational ideas that i'll share with you over the next few posts...

... in the meantime my good friend Shannon has arrived from Michigan for a super-fast weekend catch-up before she goes off next week on a set of work seminars in Cambridge... we grew up together in London and even though our worlds are now a million miles apart, not just geographically but in the fact that she is a scientist, we are fortunate enough to be able to get together nearly every year to catch up... it's like a whirlwind of life stories, usually fuelled by enough alcohol to sink a battleship and we always seem to end up doing the most peculiar things that we simply, normally would do... yesterday we drank our way through too many bottles of wine to mention and ended up following a band we'd seen in one pub halfway across London to see them play at another pub... we were the fastest groupies in the world and had a blast... although now, as you can imagine, we're both in recovery mode

orange, honey and lemon thyme chicken with lemon potatoes and oven roasted balsamic tomato salad
I thought i'd share today's lunch with you... this is what I call a 'recovery' lunch... a sweet sticky chicken that provides the protein and is very easy on the stomach without being bland... some lemon and sea-salt roasted anya potatoes for the much-needed starch and an oven-roasted tomato salad for that little bit of green we feel we ought to have... the aroma of the chicken roasting alone is enough to take you out of your dink-infused slumber and begin salivating for lunch... the fact that it looks like sunshine in a roasting tin also helps cheer you up... just a little...

1 medium free-range chicken
1 onion - quartered
1 orange - quartered
the juice and zest of another orange
a bunch of lemon thyme
1 tablespoon of orange blossom honey
1kg of anya potatoes (these are very nutty and roast really well... small charlottes or new potatoes would work just as well.)
1 lemon - quartered
1 tablespoon of seasalt
olive oil
1 bunch of cherry tomatoes on the vine
balsamic vinegar

in a small bowl combine the orange juice and zest, honey and a little olive oil

prep and clean the chicken to your liking... i've always boiled a kettle and poured hot water over it... then stuff it with half the onion and half the thyme, then pour over the honey and orange sauce, wrap in foil and stick it in the oven for an hour on 180C followed by an hour with the foil removed.

next throw the vine tomatoes into a dish, sprinkle over some olive oil and balsamic vinegar and pop it into the oven with the chicken, it should take no longer than 30 mins to bubble away and release loads of gorgeous tomato juices... remove from the oven and set aside to cool

meanwhile place the potatoes in a bowl, pour over the oil and cut up the lemons into small chunks, add the salt and mix together... throw this into a roasting dish and bung it in the oven for 45 mins or until golden

once everything is cooked, take the chicken out of the oven and set aside whilst you make the salad... I just use a bag of leaves and whatever is in the fridge... the tomatoes are placed on top and the juices are used as the dressing... all entirely amazing!

eat and of course, enjoy!

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

linseed, poppyseed, honey and fennel loaf

... still baking my well protected flabby belly on an island in the Med and i kind of want to have a moan about the state of today's youth, technology,  social media and the death of conversation but I feel I may sound like an old codger so i'll save it for when I'm back in the UK... so here's a quick bread post with a loaf that kind of has everything in it...

linseed, poppyseed, honey and multi-grain loaf
I realise i've baking and posting about a lot of bread recently but I find the process of baking bread so therapeutic and i'm still keen to get those of you who haven't tried either the low-knead method or bread baking of any kind to give it a go... I promise you, you'll be astounded at the results... plus, if you're big bread eaters like we are here in belleau cottage, there's simply nothing better than eating your own home-baked bread and baking a couple of these beauties on a friday will see you right through the weekend with utter joy!

200g strong white bread flour
100g spelt flour
100g wholegrain flour
1 teaspoon poppy seeds
1 teaspoon linseed
1 teaspoon sesame seeds
1 tablespoon rolled oats
1 teaspoon salt (not table)
1 tablespoon runny honey
1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds
1 teaspoon fast active dried yeast
300ml luke warm water

some oil of your choice

scrunch some parchment then line your loaf tin... saves heaps of time!

place all the ingredients except for the oil, in a large bowl and bring together with a rubber spatula, once combined set aside, cover with a tea towel and leave for 10 mins for the yeast to do its magic.

spill a little oil (I tend to use EVOO but it's entirely up to your tastes) on your work surface, spread it around with the flat of your hand and then using your oiled hand grab the dough from the bowl and place it on the oil. Then swiftly drizzle a little oil into the bowl and wipe around using your oiled hand.

now turn to the dough and give it 8 'kneads'. This should take no longer than 30 seconds and you should already be able to feel the softness and air in the dough. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with a towel and set aside for 10 mins.

repeat 2 more times then cover the bowl with cling film and let the dough rise for at least an hour or until doubled in size

once doubled oil your work surface with your hand again and punch the dough into an oval on it, then starting at one end, roll the dough tightly into a sausage, tuck in the ends and plop into your prepped loaf tin. Pre heat your oven to 200C and set aside for 30 mins till risen.

Place the tin in the oven and bake for 10 mins then turn down the heat to 180c and bake for a further 20 mins. Remove loaf from tin then bake on the naked oven shelf for five more mins.

Set aside till completely cooled

eat and of course, enjoy!

Friday, 5 July 2013

garlic prawn and asparagus farfalle salad

... it's potentially summer in the UK... don't laugh but we've now been assured by the met office that July will be a 'warm' month with little or no rain.  As you can imagine most brits are jumping up and down with glee... I guess we'll have to just wait and see. In the meantime The Viking and I have managed to escape to Spain for a stolen week... not that i begrudge my fellow brits a bit of sunshine and warmth but I think I prefer going away when I know it's gloomy at home... it makes your tan just that teeny bit more enviable...

... so here's a quick post I created just before departing the fair island I call home for another island in the med...

garlic prawn and asparagus farfalle salad
one thing the late summer has meant is that many crops are delayed or even extended slightly and this can only be a good thing... with british asparagus still on all the supermarket shelves it really marks an extra long culinary summer for me and this quick and fresh pasta salad can be made well in advance and left to cool in the fridge... it makes for a fabulous light lunch or a creamy addition to a more meaty meal... the dish can easily be made vegetarian as the first few stages are all done pre garlic prawns...

500g farfalle pasta
1 bunch fresh asparagus
1 tablespoon Total Greek Yoghurt
1 teaspoon horseradish sauce
the juice and zest of one orange
250g shrimp or prawns
2 cloves garlic crushed
100g butter

bring the pasta to a boil and about 3 minutes before its ready throw in the asparagus, drain well and set aside to cool

on a very low heat melt the butter in a small pan and throw in the crushed garlic and some lemon thyme if you have some and let the garlic melt a little... after about 4 minutes throw in the prawns and stir whilst they cook for another 4 mins... set aside to cool

mix the yoghurt, horseradish and orange juice in a bowl and once everything has cooled combine all together in a big bowl and chill for at least an hour.

serve with some leaves and some chive flowers

eat and of course enjoy!

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

raspberry, rose and almond cake

... my life is a little bit like the proverbial yo-yo and the moment... back and forth to London like i'm attached by an elastic umbilical cord... and this time of year it's always amazing arriving back at the cottage in the dead of the night and then waking up in the morning to see how the garden has blossomed into full glory, every inch living up to its rightful name as a proper english country garden... it is quite literally picture postcard perfect.  I'll leave it to the master of the garden, The Viking to tell you all about it on his blog... but it always takes my breath away and makes me feel very lucky to have my own little corner of something...

... this week I arrived home to a very sweet little gift from the good people at justmustard.com - this gorgeous i heart cake silicone cake mould... it's rather a clever little thing that allows you to easily portion up your cake slices into heart shapes... a gimmick i'll agree but such a cute one that you have to forgive them their little flights of fancy... a word to the wise however... if you are inspired to purchase one of these silicone cake-tins you should place it on a baking tray before it goes into the oven as the silicone is quite floppy and once hot is not easy to handle... I like to spin my cakes half-way through baking and with a regular cake tin you simply reach into the oven and turn it but with the silicone it pulls out of shape so it's not so easy... plus when you're ready to take it out of the oven you need very steady hands underneath the silicone or the warping and wobbling will crack your cake... something that having it sat on a baking sheet would eliminate entirely...

raspberry, rose and almond cake
I wanted something suitably romantic to bake in the mould and whilst chocolate would be the obvious choice it's quite a large cake mould and that's a heck of a lot of chocolate plus I really wanted something lighter and fruitier for this time of year... The Viking suggested raspberries, which I love and I then remembered a little bottle of rose water I had in the cupboard... which then inspired me to include a little ground almond in the cake mix for that added taste of eastern promise... this was such a simple cake to make and produced spectacular results... I used the 'weigh the eggs' method to make the sponge... I realise in the pic the cake looks a little 'caught' around the edges but this wasn't noticeable in the eating...

this recipe is perfect for my heart-shaped mould but would also work in a 20cm spring-form cake tin:
4 large free-range eggs (250g in weight)
250g butter
250g golden caster sugar
200g self-raising flour
50g ground almonds
2 teaspoons rose water
500g fresh raspberries

pre-heat the oven to 180C and lightly oil your mould or grease you cake tin if using

beat the sugar and butter until light and fluffy then add one egg and beat in, followed by a third of the flour and almonds, beating in until combined... continue this way until all the eggs and flour are combined

add the rose water and a quarter of the raspberries and beat them into the batter - the raspberries to break up during this process

spoon half the batter into the cake mould or tin, smoothing out to the edges then lay on the remaining raspberries - leaving a few back for decoration) and then cover with the remaining batter and smooth to the side

bake on 180C for 40 mins or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean

as this cake includes fresh raspberries I am entering it into this months tea time treats bloggers challenge, the theme of which is fresh fruit... the challenge is hosted by Karen from Lavender and Lovage and Kate from What Kate Baked

eat and of course, enjoy!

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Monday, 1 July 2013

random recipes #30 - the big three-oh

... 30 months of some very random recipes and I thought i'd celebrate this month with going back and reminding us all about the origins of the random recipes idea...

... like many of us out there I am a huge cookbook fan, sometimes I will buy a book just for the look of it and whilst they say you should never judge a book by its cover, it's really hard not to with a cook book... so here I am with hundreds of books, more food magazines than I care to discuss and a heap of cuttings and hand-written recipes and what happens to them... well mostly, once they've been thumbed through they just sit there on the kitchen, bathroom and hallway shelves, unloved and only very occasionally referred to... which is why I thought, as a monthly challenge to myself, to ensure I stimulate not only my own cooking and blogging but also my dusty cook books, I would reach out to them and randomly select a book and recipe that I simply had to make... and thusly the random recipes challenge was born...

... so this month let's go back to the original challenge and, this being our 30th challenge let's pick our 30th book and a recipe from the 30th page... i'm counting left to right from kitchen to bathroom and I landed upon the brilliant Fat - An appreciation of a misunderstood ingredient with recipes, by Jennifer McLagan... it is a truly inspirational book about fat and all its talents... I was a bit worried about this as a random choice as i'm trying so hard to keep my post hospital weight off (ridiculous as that sounds) but a little good fat really won't kill me... and there on page 30, under the chapter on Butter is a glorious recipe for Spicy Buttered Popcorn... perfection...

so here's how you take part:

1. count along your cookbooks until you reach number 30... if you have less than 30 simply go around again.
2. take that book off the shelf and open it at a random page... or if you really want to be a stickler then open it at page 30.
3. cook the recipe on this page or if it's something you've cooked before then turn to the very next page and cook that dish... and don't cheat... do it with a friend in the room who will make you stick to it...
it's a challenge after all and you're only cheating yourself... this is specifically designed to take you out of your comfort zone...!
4. you may change the recipe for dietary or monetary or seasonal availability reasons only
5. post it up on your blog, with a link to this page and then email me with a link at dominic(@)belleaukitchen.co.uk so I know you've joined in, you can also attach the badge to show people you're taking part.
6. tweet your entry including the hashtag #randomrecipes and I will retweet all I see
7. challenge deadline is July 29th.

... go on then, what are you waiting for... start counting to 30...

oh and one final thing... as many of you are aware, google reader closes as of today... there are many ways you can follow my blog but if you like a blog reader where you can continue to read all your favourite blogs try feedly... it will import all your google reader blogs and is very very simple to use...



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