Tuesday 25 February 2014

Malvern Pudding

I have always been a fan of 'Old fashioned Puddings' I saw this by chance when I was doing a bit of catch up TV. There was a bit of Country File before my programme and they were making this glorious pudding of which I didn't know the name. Programme forgotten I started googling and found my recipe. It came from Malvern College in Malvern, Worcestershire. Of course no mind for my waistline it had to be made.

It involves buttery cinnamon apples covered in an egg custard made with cream. It is gorgeous. It is meant to be served hot from the oven which I did but as there was enough left for next day into the fridge it went. Oh my lord I have to tell you I loved it even more when it was cold. Double whammy. So good for entertaining made in advance and chilled. Lovely served hot on a cold winters evening. Comfort food at its best. Did I tell you I was watching my waist line?

This traditional Georgian dish combines buttery cooked

 apples with a creamy cinnamon sauce.


The Apples

50g/2oz butter

1kg/2lb 2oz cooking apples, peeled, cores removed, sliced

50g/2oz granulated sugar

2 lemons, zest only

The Topping

825ml/1 pint 10fl oz double cream

50g/2oz granulated sugar

4 free-range eggs, plus 2 yolks beaten

50g/2oz demerara sugar

½ tsp ground cinnamon


. For the apples, heat a large frying pan until medium hot,

 add the butter and apples and cook for 6-7 minutes, or until 

the apples have softened but still have their shape.

. Add the sugar and lemon zest, stirring well, and cook for 2-3
  more minutes.

 Transfer the apples to an ovenproof dish.

. Beat together the eggs & granulated sugar then gently

 mix in the warmed cream and strain over the cooled apples

. Bake in a medium oven until the egg mix is set, but still 
wobbly (approx 1 hour) leave to cool slightly

. Mix the demerara sugar and ground cinnamon together in a 

bowl, then sprinkle over the top of the dish and dot with the

 remaining butter. 

Grill for 5-6 minutes, or until golden-brown and bubbling.

Spoon the pudding into shallow serving bowls and serve .

My Notes

I made half the quantity and it gave four servings.

I did not do the grilling bit. Too much faff for me. I sprinkled

 cinnamon on the top before putting it in the oven and about

 half way through sprinkled over demerara sugar.

Oh and remember it may count as one of your five a day!!!

 That will make up for the calories 

Monday 18 July 2011

The Perfect Coffee Cake

I promised myself that the next cake I made would not be a chocolate cake. I tried very hard I really did but then I found this. It's not really chocolate. Not too much anyway. That's what I told myself. The chocolate is concentrated into two layers so when you sink your teeth into a perfectly harmless looking slice you hit this squidgy chocolatey bit. So much for good intentions. Could it be something to do with the fact I substituted the nuts for chocolate chunks? Nonsense. Didn't I tell you I wasn't making a chocolate cake.

So this 'not a chocolate cake' comes from a lovely book called Sweet Secrets by Carine Goren. It keeps really well which is a good thing as it is a large cake. Lots of not chocolate to enjoy. I didn't bother with conversions. Much easier to go with the volume measurements I think. Oh and by the way, it is a called a coffee cake but there isn't actually coffee in it. No I don't know either. It's probably why I was misled into believing it wasn't a chocolate cake in the first place. Just enjoy the chocolate that isn't there.

The Perfect Coffee Cake

A well buttered 9" Bundt Pan

1 1/2 sticks/6oz/220grms butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 eggs
3 cups of flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
2 cups sour cream ( I used creme fraiche)


3/4 cup dark brown sugar packed
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon coca powder
1 cup walnuts chopped (I substituted chocolate pieces/chips here)
 Icing /powdered sugar to dust over the top

Prepare The Cake

  1.  Mix the filling ingredients together and set aside.
  2. Preheat the oven to 180.C/350.F
  3.  In a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla extract on a medium speed.
  4. Add the eggs beating well after each addition. 
  5. Sift together the flour,baking powder,baking soda and salt.
  6. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour alternating with the sour cream, three tome, starting and finishing with the flour. ( I bunged the whole lot in the food processor and whizzed)
  7. Pour 1/4 of the batter into the bundt pan. Sprinkle 1/3 of the filling on top of the batter and repeat to achieve four layers of cake batter and three layers of filling
  8. bake for about 50 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out almost clean (with moist crumbs) and the cake springs back to the touch.
  9. Turn out while still a little warm. Allow to cool completely and decorate with powdered/icing sugar.

    Monday 11 July 2011

    Macaroni Cheese

    The ultimate comfort supper. Just look at it. Bubbling hot from the oven,cheese oozing out, inviting you to have a forkful. While watching the pennies a bit more recently, this plain homely dish often appears on the menu. Little bits of salty bacon added or not as you prefer. Slowly cooked onion adding sweet buttery flavour. A few green leaves for your hearts sake and that's all it takes.

    The one thing I am fussy about is the sauce. It needs to be thick as the water from the pasta can dilute it and make the sauce very runny. I want something that sticks to my ribs. If you can be organised enough (I am not but try to make the effort for this.) add a peeled onion chopped in half, a handful of black peppercorns and a couple of torn bay leaves to the milk the night before you make it. Not hugely important but if you try it you will be glad you did. Don't throw the onion away as it can be cooked to go into the dish. We don't want to waste anything now do we?

    I use about 75g-100g (3-4 ounces) macaroni per person cooked as per packet instructions. I would like to warn you at this stage that when I cook pasta I could feed the street with it. I never seem to get it quite right.
    Now when it is cooked and drained throw in a lump of butter. Yes I know it's supposedly bad for you but nothing tastes quite like it. Now just do it. It's wonderful. Trust me.

    Strain the milk if infusing, reserving the onion.
    Now finely chop the onion and gently fry in a little oil and butter (yes more butter) for about ten to fifteen minutes in a small pan until it is very very soft and sticky. Keep the heat low and don't let it burn. Set it to the side

    For the Sauce

    50gms/2 ounces butter
    50gms/2 ounces flour
    350 mls milk infused as mentioned above if possible
    1 large teaspoon of mustard, whatever you have in the cupboard will be fine
    A good shake of cayenne pepper
     As much and as varied a choice of cheese(s) as you want. In other words whatever you have in the fridge.
    I like to use strong cheddar and parmesan. I also like to top it with mozzarella. Delicious

    Melt the butter and then stir in the flour letting it cook for a few moments over a low heat to get rid of the floury taste.
    Remove from the heat and stir in the mustard and a little milk. keep adding the milk a little at a time and using a whisk get it all blended in.
    Return to the heat and keep stirring until it is thick. Then keep stirring until it becomes very thick.
    Remove from the heat and stir in the onion, cayenne pepper and your chosen cheese.
    Now stir in your macaroni and put it all in a buttered pie dish and top with mozzarella if desired. This bit is not necessary but did I tell you it's delicious?
    Set the whole thing on a long piece of oiled foil and pull the foil over the top to form a loose parcel.
    Pop into the oven at 180.C/350.F/gas4 and bake for half an hour or so then remove the foil top to let it brown.

    Serve with some good for you salad leaves. Enjoy

    Monday 4 July 2011

    Wheaten Bread with a Little History Lesson

    This was my very first Blog post in 2008. I have moved it to the top as it is being published on this The Hankering Palate. Sarah is an aspiring Food Writer and has obtained her Culinary Diploma from The French Culinary Institute in New York City. She is publishing posts from other foodie Blogs in a series.  It is certainly a privilege for my little post to be used. Pop along, have a read and leave a comment. It will be an interesting week.

    Wheaten Bread

    Wheaten Bread (or Brown Soda Bread as it is called by non Irish folks)  is a part of the everyday diet in this part of the world. Very quick and easy to make it is a wonderful accompaniment to most dishes and delicious with just butter and jam or cheese. I learned to make this at my Mother’s knee. Very few meal times at home did not have this bread on the table. The very smell of it baking takes me back to my childhood. It is a haunting feeling to think that a Grandmother of mine, perhaps two hundred years ago, was making this bread too.
    Two major factors have long affected the course of Irish baking. The first is our climate. In this land where the influence of the Gulf Stream prevents either great extremes of heat in the summer or cold in the winter, the hard wheats, which need such extremes to grow, don't prosper... And it's such wheats that make flour with a high gluten content, producing bread which rises high and responds well to being leavened with yeast. Soft wheats, though, have always grown well here.
    The other factor, in the last millenium at least, has been the relative abundance of fuel. The various medieval overlords of Ireland were never able to exercise the tight control over forest land which landowners could manage in more populous, less wild areas, like England and mainland Europe: so firewood could be pretty freely poached, and where there was no wood, there was almost always heather, and usually turf too. As a result, anyone with a hearthstone could afford to bake on a small scale, and on demand. The incentive to band together to conserve fuel (and invent the communal bake-oven, a conservation tool common in more fuel-poor areas of Europe) was missing in the Irish countryside. Short elapsed baking times, and baking "at will", were easy.
    These two factors caused the Irish householder to bypass yeast for everyday baking whenever possible. The primary leavening agent became what is now known here as bread soda: just plain bicarbonate of soda, hence the name "soda bread". For a long time, most of the bread in Ireland was soda bread -- at least, most of what was baked at the hearthside ("bakery bread" only being available in the larger cities). Soda bread was made either "in the pot," in yet another version of the cloche baking which is now coming back into vogue, but which was long popular all over medieval Europe: or else on a baking stone, an iron plate usually rested directly on the embers of the fire

    The cooking/baking hearth of an Irish cottage, circa 1780: courtesy Ulster Folk and Transport Museum

    From these two methods are descended the two main kinds of soda bread eaten in Ireland, both north and south, to the present day.
    In Ireland, "plain" soda bread is as likely to be eaten as an accompaniment to a main meal (to soak up the gravy) as it's likely to appear at breakfast. It comes in  brown or white, and two main types: cake and farl. The latter are primarily regional differences. People in the south of Ireland tend to make cake: people in Northern Ireland  like the farl better (though both kinds appear in both North and South, sometimes under wildly differing names). Cake is soda bread kneaded and shaped into a flattish round, then cut with a cross on the top (this is supposed to let the bread stretch and expand as it rises in the oven but it’s really to let the fairies out) and baked on a baking sheet.   A farl is rolled out into a rough circle and cut through, crosswise, into four pieces and usually baked in a heavy frying pan or on a griddle, on top of the range rather than in the oven.

    With all this said, the basic business of baking soda bread is extremely simple. The urge to be resisted is to do more stuff to it than necessary...this is usually what keeps it from coming out right the first few times. Once you've mastered the basic mixture, though, you can start adding things, coming up with wonderful variations like treacle bread and so on.

    Now you have had the history.............go make some!

    Wheaten Bread

    8ozs/225gms Wholemeal Flour
    4 ozs/100gms Plain Flour
    Approx. 15 fl. ozs/400mls Butter Milk (or regular milk soured with lemon juice or vinegar)
    1oz/25gms Butter (Vegetable oil will do a couple of tablespoons)
    2 teasp Bicarbonate of Soda/Baking Soda
    2 good teasps sugar or a tablespoon of honey or maple syrup (Highly recommended yum)
    1 teasp. salt

    Greased and floured round sandwich tin or 2 pound loaf tin

    Oven temp 350F 180.C Gas 4

    In a large bowl mix together all the dry ingredients.
    Cut the butter into small pieces and rub through.
    Add enough buttermilk to form a soft but easily handled dough. It should not be runny.
    Knead lightly and quickly into a round and place in prepared tin.
    (It is essential you use light hands)
    Cut a deep cross in the bread. (To let the fairies out)
    Sprinkle with oats if desired

    Bake for approx 40 Minutes or until a skewer comes out clean

    When it comes out of the oven cut yourself a big slice, slather it in butter not minding that it dribbles down your chin in the enjoyment of it all.

    Friday 24 June 2011

    More Wheaten Bread

    Yes, I know, I spend my life trying new ways with this loaf. It probably gets a little boring but when I shuffle the ingredients once again and there is a good final product, I feel compelled to share it. This was good...........very good. Nice moist dark crumb (that's what bread geeks call the inside of the loaf) lovely golden oatie crust. If you are into healthy eating well it's full of oats and you could of course replace the  maple syrup with honey or leave out the sugary stuff altogether but there's no fun in that. On the subject of fun don't forget when it comes out of the oven cut a big piece and cover it thickly in butter. Use your other hand to catch the drips while you cram it in your mouth. Just tell your arteries to be quiet.

    Oatie Wheaten Bread

    Pre heat your oven to 200.C/180.C Fan/400.F/Gas 6

    Grease and flour a large loaf tin or a round sandwich tin or just a baking sheet and form the loaf by hand.

    350gms/12oz wholemeal/whole wheat flour
    100gms/4oz oats/oatmeal + a handful for topping
    200mls buttermilk or ordinary milk soured with lemon juice + 50mls milk just in case you need it
    50g/2oz butter
    1egg beaten
    1 teaspoons baking soda
    1 heaped teaspoon cream of tartar
    1 teaspoon salt
    2 tablespoons maple syrup or honey

    Place the oats, butter, salt and maple syrup in a bowl.
    Heat the milk in the microwave or a saucepan until quite warm.
    Pour onto the oat mixture and leave for half an hour stirring occasionally. Do not be tempted to skip this and throw the dry oats into the mixture.............trust me you will just get a very dense loaf.
    Now stir in half of the beaten egg, the flour, baking soda and cream of tartar. You should have a spongy slightly sticky mix.
    Don't worry about rushing this bit. I have found that the dough sitting around for a few minutes is quite beneficial

    Spoon the dough into your prepared loaf tin/sandwich tin
    If forming by hand, flour your hands well and form the dough into a round on your baking sheet. If your dough seems a little soft for that just add a little flour to the mix.....simple.

    Brush some of the beaten egg over the top then sprinkle generouly with oats. Now splodge the rest of the egg over that.

    Using a sharp knife draw a deepish crevice the full length if the tin. If you are doing a circular loaf cut a deep cross. It's to let the fairies out...........yes it is.

    Now bake for 30-40 mins or until a skewer comes out clean. If it is getting a little too brown place a tin foil hat over the loaf after it has formed a skin.
    Turn the loaf out onto a wire rack to cool.

    Don't forget to cut that thick warm slice and butter it.

    PS If anyone knows anything about white balance in cameras give me a call.

    Wednesday 22 June 2011

    Sausage Plait

    Isn't it awful how the prices in the supermarkets have
    escalated? More than ever I am seeking out recipes which don't cost a lot to make but are tasty and interesting. This I think fits the bill. I used a product called Vegetable Roll which is peculiar to Northern Ireland but any sausage meat will do. I also made my own pastry which is so quick and easy to do. I am never organised enough to defrost frozen pastry. Five minutes in a food processor and you have it. Simple.

    Sausage Plait

    Serves 2

    1. Pork/beef sausages 4, skinned (approximately 250g/9oz)
    2. Onion 1 small, peeled and finely chopped
    3. Cooking apple 1 peeled, cored and chopped
    4. Chopped sage 1tbsp or 1 tsp dried
    5. Salt and freshly ground pepper
    6. Puff pastry ½ x 500g pack
    7. Vegetable oil for greasing
    8. Egg 1, beaten for glaze

    Preheat the oven to 200˚C/400˚F/Gas 6.
    Mix together the sausage meat with the onion, apple and sage for seasoning.
    Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to a 30cm (12in) square. Cut around the edges to neaten them.
    Then make 5-6cm (2-2 ½ in) long cits on the opposite sides of the pastry, at a slightly downward angle and about 2.5cm (1in) apart -but not opposite each other, alternate them instead.
    Brush water around the edges.
    Place the sausage meat mixture in the centre of the pastry
    Fold down the pastry top, then bring up the cut sides, alternatively overlapping them to give a plaited effect, folding up the bottom edge of the pastry before bringing over the final side strip.
    Press the pastry together well at the ends to seal it.
    Slide the plait onto a lightly greased baking sheet, then brush the pastry with the egg glaze.
    Bake the plait in the centre of the oven for 30-40minutes, or until the pastry has risen and is golden. Remove from the oven and serve either hot or cold.

    I did the whole thing on the baking sheet. Saved faffing around

    Pastry (If you so wish)

    • 250g strong white flour
    • A pinch of salt
    • 250g cold unsalted butter, cut into 5mm slices
    • A squeeze of lemon juice
    • 5-6 tablespoons iced water

    Pulse the flour and salt together in the processor, then add the butter and pulse 3-4 times, the butter should be cut up but still be in visible chunks.

    Add a squeeze of lemon juice and the iced water, and pulse till the pastry begins to form a ball, then tip out onto the bench and form a ball. Wrap tightly in cling wrap and rest in the fridge for 30 minutes.

    Dust the benchtop with flour, then roll the pastry into a long rectangle into a long rectangle three times longer than it is wide, then fold it in three like a business letter. Roll out again to the same length and repeat the fold and roll another 2 times (not rolling out after the last fold).

    Wrap in cling wrap and rest in the fridge for another 30 minutes before using it to allow the gluten to relax.

    When baking, brush with a lightly beaten egg white and bake in an oven preheated to 200 degrees C till puffed and golden brown.

    I did the rolling and folding straight from the processor then stuck it in the fridge while I made up the filling. Works beautifully. Half the quantity will do for this recipe.

    Tuesday 12 April 2011

    Hello Fellow Bloggers.

    I haven't been around much I know.. I have missed dropping into all your Blogs. I will be back soon xxx