Friday, 13 September 2013

spiced blackberry and onion marmalade


I love preserving; both sweet and savoury.  It brings me comfort that I know I will have something delicious in the store cupboard to liven up a sandwich or meal at a moments notice.  My spiced blackberry and onion marmalade is great with sausages, hot or cold roast meats and cheese (it's awesome on cheese on toast!).  I am always on the look out for different flavour combinations and mixing up ingredients in ways that we would not normally expect.  I wasn't sure that blackberries would work in a savoury preserve but it was worth a go and I think it turned out well. Spicy and fruity with a lovely sticky onion marmalade.  I spiced my marmalade with chilli, cardamon, star anise and coriander.  The star anise adds a wonderful savoury depth to the caramelised onions (a good tip for any recipe that involves caramelised onions).  The cardamon and coriander add a wonderful fragrance and the dried chilli a little heat. I left the chillies whole so as not to overpower the marmalade, but you can use less or more, depending on your preference.  

This is just a chutney by another name....I like the word marmalade...but then chutney is also good...I'll let you decide what to call it if you make it!  Do let me know how you get on and please do share your favourite chutney, marmalade or pickle recipes.  Your comments are always much appreciated and I look forward to chatting with you soon.   


recipe by:  chip butties and noodle soup
preparation time:  15 minutes
cooking time:  50-60 minutes


spiced blackberry and onion marmalade

ingredients:

250g blackberries
800g onions (peeled/prepared weight) finely sliced
350g sugar
350g cider/wine vinegar
2 garlic cloves - finely sliced
6 cardamon pods (cracked)
1 tbs coriander seeds
2 star anise
6 small dried red chillies (or to taste)
2 tbs olive oil
1/2 tsp salt (or to taste) 

makes about 1kg of spiced blackberry and onion marmalade

method:
  1. roast the spices and dried chillies for a few minutes until they start to release their fragrance and essential oils - be careful they don't burn.
  2. add the oil and sliced onions and cook away until they are soft and caramelised.  This will take about 20 minutes over a low heat.
  3. add the blackberries, garlic, vinegar and sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved
  4. bring to a boil and then gently simmer for about 30-40 minutes. However this time will depend on the moisture in your ingredients.
  5. the marmalade is cooked when thickened and a wooden spoon leaves a trail in the pan when its pulled through. 
  6. pour into hot sterilised jars.  You can remove the whole spices but I like to leave them in - just remember to warn people before they take a big mouthful!   
  7. store in a cool dark place and once opened store in the fridge. 
  8. can be eaten the next day but is much better if you can leave for at least a week or so for the flavours to mix and mellow.  


If you like this recipe you can check out my other preserves and sauces:

blackberry, lavender and orange blossom jam



rhubarb, rose and vanilla jam

hot and sweet chilli, garlic and ginger jam


rose harissa chilli sauce



Four Seasons Food


I have entered my spiced blackberry and onion marmalade onto Four Seasons Food hosted by Delicieux and eat your veg

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

onion, tomato, rosehip and aniseed soup



My onion soup with tomato, aniseed and rosehip.  A late Summer soup - inspired and adapted from onion, aniseed and tomato soup by Clarissa Dickson Wright from Clarissa's Comfort Food.  A good read, packed with delicious, comforting recipes.

Onion soup with tomato, aniseed and rosehip - an unusual and curious combination you may think - and I certainly did before I tried it, but it works.  The lovely aniseed bitterness with the sweet and caramelised onions mixed with the floral and tangy rosehip is an interesting and tasty combination.  The dried red chillies I leave whole so they just add a background heat and spice, rather than overpowering the dish.  The final addition of basil highlights the aniseed with it's similar flavour.  
As readers of my blog will know I love to experiment with herbs and spices and new flavour combinations. It's good to be out of our comfort zone every now and then...otherwise how else would we learn or try new things.  I am writing this at a time when my life is changing dramatically....with plans to move abroad to start a new way of life and business....exciting and terrifying in equal measure. I am trying more and more to become conscious to the idea that life really is short - I know we can all say it from time to time, but to understand it and feel it are different from just saying the words. 

I know this is only a blog about recipes and cooking, but for me cooking is not separate from my life. It is for my family and friends and it is a reflection of them and other influences all around me in the world, and a way I have of sharing and communicating this with others.  Sometimes you have to take a leap of faith and believe that you will be OK...so in the grand scheme of things a little bit of aniseed or rosehip in our tomato soup may not seem like much, but if we are stuck to our recipe books, and our fixed ways of doing things we will never discover the whole world of spice and flavour out there.  So here's to taking a leap of faith; both in and out of the kitchen.  Let me know how you get on and as always your comments are most welcomed and I look forward to hearing from you.  

onion, tomato, rosehip and aniseed soup

recipe by chip butties and noodle soup inspired and adapted from Clarissa Dickson Wright's onion, aniseed and tomato soup

preparation time:  5-10 minutes
cooking time:  20-30 minutes
serves 4 

ingredients

3 large onions - thinly sliced
400g chopped tomatoes (tinned or fresh)
1 litre chicken/vegetable stock
2 garlic cloves - thinly sliced
1 tsp aniseed
1-2 dried red chillies
1 tbs rosehip preserve (I used rosehip preserve from rose cafe preserves)
2 tbs roughly torn basil
olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

method:
  1. heat up a pan before adding olive oil and your sliced onions.  Cook the onions gently until soft and caramelised - this will take about 15-20 minutes
  2. add the aniseed and dried red chillies and fry for a few minutes to help release the essential oils along with the sliced garlic
  3. add your tomatoes, stock and rosehip preserve and bring to a boil
  4. simmer for about 15 minutes 
  5. add your fresh basil, check for seasoning and serve.  Great with crusty bread and butter.

Four Seasons Food


I have entered my onion, tomato, rosehip and aniseed soup onto Four Seasons Food hosted by Delicieux and Chezfoti
Cooking with Herbs

I have also entered this recipe into 

Thursday, 5 September 2013

crab and fennel pasta with chilli, anchovy and lemon pangrattato




A beautiful taste of late Summer.  Crab and fennel are a perfect match and great with pasta.  Top this with a lovely chilli, anchovy and lemon pangrattato and a scattering of herbs and you have a dish ideal for alfresco dining enjoying the last of the Summer sun.  

Pangrattato is Italian for breadcrumbs - fried up with a bit of olive oil to top your pasta or risotto dishes - and a much cheaper alternative to Parmesan.  Crab and any kind of fishy pasta does not work with Parmesan anyway it just seems to 'clash' and become a bit cloying.  The pangrattato adds a crunchy, spicy bit of texture which works well against the soft, delicate pasta flavours.  

Let me know how you get on - I hope you enjoy - this is one of my favourite pasta dishes.  

preparation time:  10 minutes
cooking time:  15-20 minutes
serves 2-3 

recipe by:  chip butties and noodle soup 

crab and fennel pasta with chilli and lemon pangrattato


ingredients:

100-170g cooked white crab meat - I used fresh Cornish white crab meat, but tinned is also fine.
1 fennel bulb - chopped/sliced - I cut my in chunky, lengthways slices
1 clove garlic - crushed
400g chopped tinned tomatoes
1 tsp fennel seeds
2 tbs olive oil 
200g dried pasta - I used spaghetti 
handful of chopped fresh herbs - a mix of basil and parsley works really well here
salt and pepper to taste

for the pangrattato:

100g white breadcrumbs (whizz up in food processor or tear/chop up - I left mine quite chunky)
2 tbs olive oil
3-4 anchovies
1 tsp chilli flakes
zest of 1 lemon 

method:

  1. heat 2 tbs of olive oil in a pan, add your fennel seeds and garlic and fry for a minute or two before adding your chopped fennel.  
  2. cook for about 5 minutes until your fennel has softened then add your tinned tomatoes.
  3. simmer and let your sauce reduce for about 10 minutes or so to make sure the fennel has softened well.  Add a splash of water if it looks like it may be drying out.
  4. add your pasta to a large, salted pot of boiling water and cook until al dente (about 10 minutes but check by tasting a bit to see if it's ready).  
  5. while the pasta and sauce are cooking fry off your breadcrumbs/pangrattato with 2 tbs olive oil, anchovies, lemon zest and chilli flakes until crisped up and lightly golden.  
  6. when the pasta is done, drain and add to the pasta sauce along with your cooked crab meat - stir until well mixed - this also helps the sauce stick to the pasta as the starches are released from the stirring.  
  7. check for seasoning and finish off with the chopped fresh basil and parsley, a squeeze of lemon juice and a large sprinkling of the pangrattato.  Enjoy! Preferably outside, in the late Summer sun :-) 

As always your comments are most welcomed.  I would love to know your thoughts and if you try any of my recipes.  Happy cooking, and thanks for stopping by.  



Cooking with Herbs

I have entered this recipe into 


JWsMadeWLuvMondays

Four Seasons Food

and Four Seasons Food hosted by Delicieux and Chezfoti

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

celeriac salad with panch phoran

celeriac salad with panch phoran
My recipe for a quick and simple celeriac salad with panch phoran. Celeriac is a much maligned vegetable in the UK, maybe due to its off-putting appearance; all muddy roots and jagged bits - but what lies beneath is worth the work involved in peeling and cleaning it.  Beautiful creamy coloured flesh with a nutty taste and full of crunch.  It's great raw in salads like this, but also delicious cooked in soups, mashed or baked.  It's popular in France and served simply grated like this with a mayonnaise dressing.  We often buy it ready made when we're over there and have it with lunch or a BBQ.  This is my homemade version with a little pinch of panch phoran to spice it up a little bit.  

Panch phoran (or Indian 5 spice as it is also known) is a blend of cumin, brown mustard seeds, fenugreek, nigella seeds and fennel. You can buy it ready blended but you can easily make your own with equal quantities of each spice.  

preparation time:  5-10 minutes

recipe by:  chip butties and noodle soup

celeriac salad with panch phoran

ingredients:  

1 celeriac
1 tsp panch phoran
juice and zest of 1 lemon
2 tbs mayonnaise or Greek yogurt
salt and pepper to taste

method:
  • roast the panch phoran in a dry pan until the essential oils are released and the spices become fragrant
  • wash, peel and finely grate your celeriac
  • add the panch phoran to the celeriac, with the zest and juice of a lemon, 2 tbs of mayonnaise or Greek yogurt and then salt and pepper to taste
Enjoy as an interesting, spicy alternative to coleslaw. Great as a side dish at a late Summer BBQ or a light lunch. 


Your comments are most welcomed and thanks as always for stopping by.  



Four Seasons Food



I have entered my celeriac salad with panch phoran onto Four Seasons Food hosted by Delicieux and Chezfoti

I am also entering this onto Turquoise Lemon's September No Waste Challenge this month hosted by Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary




Courgette, cardamon and rosehip cake with mascarpone icing

courgette, cardamon and rosehip cake



It's time for a bit more baking I feel.  Inspired by the welcome return of The Great British Bake Off and my love of cardamom, rosehip and seasonal courgettes it was time to put these flavours together in a big cake.  I am all for a bit of kitchen flavour experimentation and being creative in your cooking.  Recipes for me are only the starting point - it's much more fun to play around with flavours and add your own twist.  

Carrot cake has always been a family favourite and courgette cake is a close relative, and although it's been around for ages, is new to my baking repertoire. The courgette acts in a similar way to carrot; adding moisture and sweetness to the cake, and works really well with the fragrant cardamon and rosehip syrup.  The mascarpone icing is the perfect topping and completes this cake - the zesty orange complementing the fragrant cardamon and rose flavours.  

I was sent this delicious rosehip syrup by rose cafĂ©.  It's packed with vitamin C, sharp and tangy with a lovely soft rose flavour.  I remember my Polish gran collecting bags of rosehips to make bottles of this pink, flowery syrup that we drank as a cordial in our childhood.  I wasn't a huge fan of floral flavours when I was younger but my taste buds have changed and I now often love using rosewater and orange blossom water in sweet and savoury dishes. I find there is often a sense of remembrance and nostalgia in our home comfort cooking.  When I think about why I like certain flavours or ingredients I am often brought back to tastes of my childhood.  

I hope you give this cake a try and let me know what you think.  Your comments and thoughts are always most welcomed.  Happy baking!  

preparation time:  10-15 minutes
cooking time:  50-60 minutes

recipe by:  chip butties and noodle soup 


Courgette, cardamon and rosehip cake with mascarpone icing 

ingredients:

300g plain flour
200g caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
200-250g grated courgette
4 eggs
250ml sunflower oil
1 tsp vanilla extract
crushed seeds of 5-6 cardamon pods or 1/2 tsp of ground cardamon
zest of 1 orange
pinch salt 

mascarpone icing:

200g mascarpone cheese
2 tbs icing sugar
zest of 1 orange

optional: 
cardamon pods to garnish (remove before eating!) 

method:
  1. preheat the oven to 150C and grease and line a 20cm deep cake tin
  2. whisk the eggs, oil and sugar together until light and airy 
  3. add the rosehip syrup, vanilla extract, orange zest and cardamon and mix
  4. sieve in the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt and fold in gently
  5. next stir in your grated courgette until just combined - don't over mix!
  6. pour the cake into your prepared tin and bake for about 45-60 minutes
  7. it is ready when lightly golden and a skewer comes out clean
  8. leave in the tin for about 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack
  9. while the cake is cooling whisk up the mascarpone icing ingredients until well combined.  
  10. when the cake is fully cooled top with the lovely mascarpone icing, cut yourself a slice and enjoy with a big mug of tea.  


If you like this recipe check out my carrot, orange and caraway cake - my cross between a traditional seed cake and a carrot cake. 




I have entered my courgette, cardamon and rosehip cake with mascarpone icing onto Love Food Hate Waste and NEFF's Unusual Baking Challenge 

Four Seasons Food

I have also entered this recipe onto Four Seasons Food hosted by Delicieux and Chezfoti


Friday, 23 August 2013

Blackberry, Lavender and Orange Blossom Jam


Blackberry, Lavender and Orange Blossom Jam

Following a recent blackberry foraging expedition I returned with a bountiful supply of beautiful wild blackberries. They are in season at the moment and abundant in both rural and urban areas.  What better way to use your blackberries than in a fragrant and fresh jam flavoured with lavender and orange blossom water?  

I love blackberry picking, there is something very relaxing about it...forgetting the world around you and stilling your mind with the simple task of picking the ripest berries.   

The combination of blackberries with lavender and orange blossom water is a lovely taste of Summer - full of fresh, floral and herbal flavours. Lavender has been used in cooking for centuries and can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes.  Lavender has a similar astringent quality to rosemary.  Orange flower water is one of my favourites - soft, floral and lightly perfumed - a good contrast with the sharp lavender and blackberries.  I love floral flavours in cooking, but don't over do it, or you will end up with 'soapy' rather than fragrant.  Check out my rhubarb, rose and vanilla jam for another floral, fruity jam.  

You can buy edible/culinary lavender from supermarkets or online. Be sure to use lavender that is suitable for culinary use and from a source that you know has not been chemically sprayed.  

Happy jam making!  My blackberry, lavender and orange blossom jam is great served simply on toast but I also found it worked really well alongside some lovely ripe brie. Your thoughts and comments are always much appreciated.  Do give this recipe a try and let me know how you get on.  I look forward to hearing from you and sharing your jam making stories and recipes.  

Blackberry, Lavender and Orange Blossom Jam

recipe by:  chip butties and noodle soup

preparation time:  5 minutes
cooking time:  15-20 minutes 

ingredients:

1kg blackberries*
1kg sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 pinch salt
3-4 tbs orange blossom/orange flower water

*Be careful not to pick any blackberries from areas that have been sprayed with nasty weedkillers or chemicals.  If in doubt you can always get blackberries from your local market. 

method:
  1. gently wash your blackberries being careful not to bruise them too much, or the colour and flavour will seep out
  2. put a couple of saucers in the freezer for testing the jam setting point later. 
  3. add your blackberries to a large pan with the salt, orange blossom water, lavender, lemon zest and juice and bring gently to the boil for about 5 minutes - until the blackberries have slightly softened and started to release their juice.  
  4. add your sugar and stir gently until it's fully dissolved.
  5. bring to the boil for 10 minutes, skimming off any 'scum' that rises to the surface.
  6. test the setting point of the jam by placing a teaspoon of the jam onto a cold saucer.  Leave 30 seconds, and if the jam 'wrinkles' when you push your finger across it the setting point has been reached.  If not, bring the jam back to the boil and test after another 2 minutes.  Repeat this test until the setting point has been reached. 
  7. remove from the heat and pour the jam carefully into sterilised jars (check out how to do this here) and seal immediately.
  8. store in a cool dark place until you are ready to use.  Once opened store in the fridge.  


Cooking with Herbs

I have entered this recipe into 

I have also entered this recipe into Javelin Warrior's Made with Love Mondays over at Cookin w/ Luv

JWsMadeWLuvMondays

Four Seasons Food

I have also entered this recipe onto Four Seasons Food hosted by Delicieux and Chezfoti

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Prune and Almond Cake





"Sweet with a deep taste and a sticky chewy texture, prunes are not only fun to eat but they are also highly nutritious."  source: The world's healthiest foods.com
Now with a statement like that who am I to argue?  Prunes are making a comeback apparently and why not?  I never thought they went away myself...  Check out this Guardian article to read more about the current "prune boom".  

Prunes and almonds are a perfect combination in my opinion and have long been used together in the classic French prune and almond tart. However I was looking to combine the prunes and almonds in a lovely, buttery cake. Looking for a base recipe that was heavy on the almonds I came across Barney Desmazery's raspberry bakewell cake.  I adapted his recipe to include prunes and extra almond essence as I wanted to highlight the almondy flavour.  I also added some citrus zest for a bit of extra zing.  
For me almond is a flavour from childhood that I can always remember loving.  I remember it in Battenberg cake, and in marzipan covered fruitcakes.  I always thought the marzipan was the best bit.  Now I'm older I get my almond fix in more "sophisticated" ways - through occasional sups of amaretto liqueur and marzipan covered in bitter, dark chocolate - delicious!  

This recipe produces a buttery, moist, almondy cake with sticky sweet prunes. Perfect with a big cup of tea, but would also be good served straight from the oven with a scoop or two of ice cream as a pudding.  

The prunes I used were semi-dried so quite soft already, but if you are using dried prunes an extra soaking in either tea or a liqueur would do no harm; perhaps some kirsch or amaretto if you have some spare...

Thanks for stopping by, your thoughts and comments are always much appreciated.  Do give this recipe a try and let me know how you get on. I would love to know about your favourite childhood flavours and food memories.    


Prune and Almond Cake

recipe adapted from: Barney Desmazery's raspberry bakewell cake

preparation time:  less than 10 minutes

cooking time:  45-50 minutes

ingredients:

140g ground almonds
140g softened butter 
140g caster sugar
140g self-raising flour
2 eggs
2 tsp almond extract
zest of lemon/orange
pinch salt
250g prunes - sliced in half
icing sugar, to serve
method:
  1. preheat your oven to 180C, grease and line a 20cm cake tin
  2. add all your ingredients (except the prunes) to a food processor and whizz for a few minutes until well combined.  You can also use an electric hand whisk or do it by hand - it will just take a bit longer.
  3. add half your mixture to your cake tin, followed by your prunes, and finish with the other half of the cake mix on top.
  4. bake for 45-50 minutes - the cake is done when it is golden, risen and a skewer comes out clean.
  5. leave for a few minutes before removing from the tin and either serve immediately with a few scoops of ice cream, or leave to cool and sprinkle with icing sugar before serving. 


If you would like to try another of my recipes using prunes check out my:

Gateau de Semoule with Caramel and Armagnac Prunes




I have entered this recipe into Javelin Warrior's Made with Love Mondays over at Cookin w/ Luv

JWsMadeWLuvMondays

Sunday, 18 August 2013

Spicy Coconut Curry Mussels



Spicy coconut curry mussels

Mussels are one of my favourite ingredients and they are so good for you too - packed with minerals and nutrients - including zinc, selenium and vitamin B12.  Check this article out for more information about the health benefits of mussels and why they are good for us.  

Mussels are really versatile and work with a variety of diverse flavours, from a simple moules marinieres, to a sauce flavoured with Roquefort cheese - a particular favourite I discovered on a recent trip to France. However I was in the mood for a dish with some curry spice and coconut so came up with this recipe for spicy coconut curry mussels.  This recipe has a gentle heat from the curry powder and chillies and the addition of coconut milk creates a lovely creamy curry sauce - perfect for mopping up with crusty bread and chips.  An ice cold beer on the side would be great too!  

A quick and easy recipe for mussels - my spicy version of moules-frites - ready in less than 10 minutes.


Spicy Coconut Curry Mussels 

serves:  2 

recipe author:  chip butties and noodle soup

preparation time:  5-10 minutes
cooking time:  less than 10 minutes

ingredients:

1 kg mussels (I got mine from Exmouth Mussel Company from Abel and Cole
1 onion - finely chopped
2 cloves garlic - crushed
250ml coconut milk
1 level tbs curry powder (I used Chief brand which contains coriander, turmeric, cumin, fenugreek, salt, fennel and chillies)
1-2 fresh chillies - finely chopped
2 tbs chopped coriander 
wedge of lime to serve
2 tbs vegetable oil

method:
  1. prepare you mussels by washing rigorously in cold running water, discard any that remain open and do not shut when given a sharp tap. Remove the 'beard' if present by giving it a gentle tug which should be enough for it to come away from the mussel.  
  2. heat your oil in a pan before adding the onion and garlic - fry for a few minutes until softened
  3. add the curry powder to the onions and fry off for about 1 minute before adding the coconut milk
  4. add your cleaned mussels, stir around, then put the lid on to allow the mussels to steam for a few minutes
  5. the mussels are done when they are all opened - this should take about 3-4 minutes.  Discard any mussels that are broken or unopened. 
  6. add your chopped chilli and coriander to the mussels and serve in large bowls with lime wedges, a crispy bowl of frites/chips and big chunks of crusty bread to mop up the spicy juice. 
I hope you give this recipe a try.  Please do leave a comment and let me know how you get on and any favourite ways you have of cooking mussels.  









Cooking with Herbs

I have also entered this recipe into 

I have entered this recipe into Javelin Warrior's Made with Love Mondays over at Cookin w/ Luv

JWsMadeWLuvMondays