Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Dauphinoise Potatoes

Creamy layers of potato with garlic and nutmeg make Dauphinoise potatoes a real weekend treat. Whether you have a roast dinner or sausages or serve them with a crunchy salad for a vegetarian meal, give them a try for something a bit different.

Serves 8

1.25kg Maris Piper potatoes
300ml full cream milk
1/2 nutmeg, grated
300ml double cream
1 clove garlic, crushed
25g butter
Salt and freshly ground pepper

Pre-heat the oven to 150C/300F/gas2

Use half the butter to coat an ovenproof dish
Place the milk, cream, garlic, 1tsp salt, a few grindings of black pepper and the grated nutmeg in a saucepan and bring slowly to the boil.
Thinly slice the potatoes either in a processor or with a mandolin slicer
Add the potatoes to the saucepan and simmer for 15 minutes.
Pour the potatoes into the buttered dish, dot a few knobs of butter on top and bake in the oven for 1 hour until browned on top.
Serve immediately

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Courgette Soup (the healthy version)

I have previously posted this recipe for Italian courgette soup but this version is low fat, especially for those of us who have had a great holiday with very good food and returned home to 'the courgette invasion' in the garden.

If you would prefer the full fat version see my post for 04.08. 2010.

Serves 4


500g courgettes, roughly chopped
4 cloves garlic, chopped
Small bunch of basil, roughly torn
Small bunch flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
1 litre chicken or vegetable stock
2 oz parmesan cheese, finely grated
2 tbsp low fat yoghurt
1 tsp olive oil
Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a heavy based pan over a medium heat, add the courgettes salt, pepper and garlic, cook for 6 minutes until softened, stirring continuously.

Add the basil and cook for 1 minute then add the stock and simmer, without a lid for 10 minutes.

Remove from the heat and blend until smooth.  Place back on a low heat and add the parmesan cheese, parsley and stir in the yoghurt.  Warm through gently and serve immediately in warmed bowls.

Friday, 5 August 2011

Blackberry Trifle with Blackberry Syrup

Using fresh blackberries straight from the garden in a light spongeless trifle, is a great way to retain that just picked flavour.

Sparkling wine jellies with whole berries, a light vanilla custard made with single cream and milk and a topping of  greek yoghurt drizzled with blackberry syrup, keeps it light and refreshing, a perfect summer dessert.

Makes 6 small or 1 large trifle

For the jelly
1lb fresh blackberries, reserve 1/3 for the bottom
of the glasses and decoration
4 sheets leaf geletine
700ml sparkling white wine

For the blackberry syrup
Remaining 2/3 of blackberries
2 tbsp icing sugar

Place the blackberries and icing sugar in a saucepan over a medium heat and stir until the sugar is melted.  Cook gently for 5 minutes then press through a seive into a jug making sure you squeeze out all the juice.  Set aside.

To make the jelly 
Soak the geletine sheets in a little cold water then heat 100ml of the blackberry syrup in a sauce pan.  Remove the geletine from the cold water, shake off any excess and stir them into the hot syrup.  Gradually add the sparkling wine, stirring continuously until combined.

Save 6 blackberries for decoration then place the rest in the bottom of the trifle dish/dishes, pour the jelly over the berries then refrigerate until set.

For the custard
3 egg yolks
2 oz sugar
6 oz whole milk
4 oz single cream
1 tsp vanilla paste

Cream the egg yolks and sugar together until pale and thick enough to leave trails when you lift the spoon.

Bring the milk and cream to the boil, remove from the heat and pour into the egg mixture, whisking continuously.  Add the vanilla paste and return the mixture to the pan over a medium heat, stir with a wooden spoon until the custard is thick and coats the back of the spoon.  Transfer to a bowl, cover with clingfilm and leave to cool.

Remove the set jellies from the fridge and pour over some of the cooled custard, leave in the fridge for 30 minutes then spoon over some Greek yoghurt (you should need around 250ml)  Pour over some of the blackberry syrup and decorate with fresh berries.

Keep refigerated until needed.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Plum and Ginger Muffins

I never seem to run out of recipes to use my victoria plum harvest they are such a lovely flavour.  These muffins are delicious and even with the addition of ginger you can still taste the plums.

When they were baked and still warm I brushed the top of each one with ginger syrup, from a jar of stem ginger, then sprinkled over some demerara sugar for a crunchy topping.

For the muffins

10 oz plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp ground mixed spice
4 oz sugar
5 fl oz milk
5 fl oz buttermilk
1 egg
2 fl oz vegetable oil
1 tbsp stem ginger syrup
1 small piece stem ginger, very finely chopped
6 oz plums (victoria if you can get them), stoned and chopped

For the topping (optional)
1 tbsp ginger syrup
1 tbsp demerara sugar

Pre-heat the oven to 190C/gas 5
Place paper muffin cases inside a muffin tin

Seive together the flour, baking powder, bicarb, ginger, salt and mixed spice.

Place all the wet ingredients (oil, milk, buttermilk, ginger syrup and egg) in a separate bowl and mix together.

Add the wet ingredients to the bowl with the flour, spices and powders then gently mix together until the flour has been incorporated (the mixture should be lumpy).

Gently fold in the chopped fruit and stem ginger.

Spoon the mixture into the muffin cups and bake in the oven for 25-30 minutes until the tops are spongy and the muffins are golden brown.

Remove from the oven.  If you are making the crunchy topping, this is the time to do it.

Seafood Paella

Paella is the taste of Summer for me.  As soon as the sun is out so is the paella pan. I cooked this one on the hob, using two burners but i...