Thursday, 25 August 2016

Dairy Free Courgette & Lime Cake

What to do with a courgette/marrow glut Part 4

I believe this is a Nigella Lawson recipe. which I found on someone else's blog.  I made it as an all in one recipe in the food processor as is my wont, rather than the more traditional cream and stir in method.  It is also supposed to be a sandwich cake, but I make 2 loaves and iced them in their lining paper to take to market.

250-300g courgette/marrow
125ml sunflower oil
150g sugar
225g self raising flour
2 eggs
1 heaped tsp baking powder
1 tbsp lime juice
50g raisins (optional)

Icing
2 tbsp lime juice
Icing sugar (about 20 heaped teaspoons)

Makes 2 small loaves/cakes (2lb loaf or 21cm round tins)

If using raisins, leave these to plump up in a little boiling water as you start making the cake.

Wash and roughly chop the courgette (I had to peel mine as it had grown tough like a pumpkin's as it was the size of a marrow).  Chop the courgette in the food processor to a fairly fine rubble.  Tip into your tin.

Cream the sugar, oil, and eggs in the food processor.  Don't worry if any bits of courgette are still in the bowl. Add the flour, lime juice (I used bottled lime juice from Aldi), and baking powder and mix again until smooth.

Add the courgette, and raisins if using, and quickly mix to incorporate.

Spoon and divide equally into 2 lined cake tins.  Bake at 180C for 30 minutes.

Mix the lime juice for the icing with enough icing sugar to make a cream like consistency, halfway between double and extra thick cream.  You want to be able to pour it on but not have it run off the cake like milk.



Monday, 22 August 2016

Creamy Courgette Pasta

I have returned from 3 weeks away to find 6 overgrown courgettes on my allotment.  This is the first of many recipes to tackle my 'courgette problem'.

I started off intending to make Jamie Oliver's Courgette Carbonara, but as ever had to improvise as I realised I had no bacon, ham or lardons, no cream, and no spare eggs.

Serves 4
4 medium courgettes, any colour
1 large clove of garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
200g soft cheese
50g mature cheddar
400g dried pasta shapes

Wash, top and tail, and then grate the courgettes.  Using my overgrown courgette, I had to peel the harden skin off so my resulting sauce is a rather insipid colour.  Fry the grated courgette with the olive oil over a medium heat in a high sided saute pan until it is soft and almost transluscent, or sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Meanwhile cook the pasta according to the packet's instructions.

When the courgette is soft, add the soft cheese and melt and stir it into the courgette together with the garlic and plenty of black pepper.  Stir in the cheddar and leave on the lowest heat until the pasta is ready.

Drain the pasta, reserving about half a mug of the cooking water.  Pour the cooked pasta into the courgette sauce and stir the sauce through thoroughly, adding a little of the pasta water for a looser sauce if preferred.

What to do with a courgette/marrow glut Part 2

Monday, 25 July 2016

Italian Courgette Soup


Frantically trying to eat up a glut of courgettes, I remembered a recipe that my flatmate in Siena (I studied French & Italian at university and spent my 3rd year half in Siena and half in Nantes) taught me.  It is surprisingly tasty for a recipe with so few ingredients.

1 large courgette
1 chicken stock cube
1 tbsp olive oil
500ml boiling water

Finely slice the courgette (I used the julienne attachment on a mandolin).  Fry over a medium heat until the courgette begins to brown.  Add the water and crumbled stock cube.  Bring to the boil then simmer with a lid on for about 20 minutes.  Whisk to break up the courgette and serve.

To make this a more filling soup you could add a small handful of white rice with the liquid.

What with a courgette/marrow glut Part 1!

Wednesday, 29 June 2016

St Clements Marmalade with Elderflower

I'm not sure as I peer through the rain covered window whether any elderflowers are left out there, but if there are and you are making Elderflower Cordial I highly recommend making marmalade with the orange and lemon soaked with the elderflowers overnight.

Makes about 3x 450g jars
2 oranges
2 lemons
Sugar
Water

Remove the sliced oranges and lemons from the discarded elderflowers.  Don't worry if any odd elderflowers are attached to the slices, that is part of this marmalade's charm.  Finely shred the slices including the rind, ensuring you remove all the pips as this can make the marmalade unpleasantly bitter.

Once shredded, weigh the chopped mass.  Write this weight down then and add the same weight of water to a heavy bottomed pan and bring to the boil.  Simmer very gently with the lid off until the rind is soft enough to squash between your fingers.  My marmalade recipe says 2 hours but it is for Seville marmalade the rinds of which are apparently tougher than most citrus fruit.  I think it took about 30-60 minutes to be soft enough.

When you think the rind is soft enough add double the weight of the shredded fruit in sugar.  Stir to dissolve and bring to a rolling boil and keep it boiling for 10 minutes.  Test for set on a saucer that has been placed in the freezer.  The marmalade is set when about a teaspoon of marmalade wrinkles when cooled as you push the edge of it towards the middle.  Turn off the heat once the marmalade has reached setting point and leave for about 10 minutes before pouring into sterlised jars (see below).  The reason for leaving it to cool a little is to stop start the jam setting and stop all the rind floating to top.

How to sterilise jars:-  Soak the labels off in warm soapy water and clean thoroughly inside and out.  Drain then place into cold oven.  Heat the oven and jars to 150C.  The jars are sterilised once the oven reaches temperature.  I sterilise lids (both old and new) by simmering them in boiling water whilst the jars are sterilising in the oven.

Monday, 20 June 2016

Warming Spring Greens Soup with Paprika

It's the 20th June and I'm wearing a fleece.

It's not as cold outside as it looks, but I've got a sore throat, feel like I'm going down with something, and I've got a surfeit of spring greens.  I need soup.  Spring green soup.

This soup is loosely based on a Portuguese Kale & Potato Soup, Caldo Verde.

Serves 4 (makes 1.5l)

1 medium onion, peeled & roughly chopped
1 large clove of garlic, peeled & roughly chopped
1 medium carrot, roughly chopped
1 celery stalk, roughly chopped
1/2 a head of spring greens, roughly chopped (or cabbage)
1 medium potato, roughly chopped
2 vegetable stock cubes
1 tsp smoked paprika
1l recently boiled water

Place all the ingredients in a deep lidded saucepan.  Bring to the boil then simmer for 20 minutes.  Liquidise and tuck in!

Thursday, 9 June 2016

Can't Be Bothered to Stir Fry Noodles


I needed to make a quick tea for the kids yesterday, in the midst of baking 14 loaves and a million other things for market day.

I couldn't be bothered with all the grating and fine chopping I do for the kids usual stir fry tea so I just boiled 2 noodle nests (for 3 kids) with half a mug of sweetcorn.  Once cooked I tossed the noodles in 1 tbsp sesame oil and stirred in a large handful of cooked chicken from a carcass, a couple of finely chopped spring onions, 2 tbsp ketchup, 2 tbsp oyster sauce, 2 tbsp soy sauce, 2 tbsp sweet chilli sauce.  I never heard any complaints.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Red Onion Confit or Marmalade

I first had Red Onion Marmalade on New Years Eve 1999.

Travelling from Dublin, where we lived at the time, via London to Brussels we enjoyed a long drawn out alcoholic dinner with each multinational couple creating a national dish from scratch. 

To be honest I do not recall much of the evening, other than watching the New Years Even fireworks from all round the globe on BBC News and Brussels' fireworks going off around 23.30 reputedly because the King of Belgium wanted to go to bed early.  I don't remember the food, apart from being introduced to Confit d'Oignon and that it goes with pâté.  I am not being a fan of sweet chutney, and I was very dubious but the sweet vinegariness of this confit was a perfect accompaniment to the rich liver pate.

15 years on and our 12 year old asked for a meal out at a gastro pub for her birthday.  I think she had fish & chips, but I opted for a starter of smoked smoked duck, served with a pot of what now appears to be called 'onion marmalade'.  There was just something about this marmalade, sweet and salty with a little hit of spice.  I think there was cumin in it but it will only ever remain a guess as the inn never replied to my request for the recipe.

Since then, I have googled high and low looking for an enticing sounding recipe. I have saved a few and will be making and tasting them in turn.

I have made the first two but have yet to taste them, although the smell of smoked paprika in the Saga Magazine recipe smelt delicious.  I will be making the third when the others have gone.

Sticky Onion Marmalade by Riverford
This sticky onion marmalade adds a little extra tang to any cheese and biscuit occasion, or great to tie a ribbon around and present as a gift to friends or family. Makes about 2 jars.
3 tbsp olive oil 
1kg red or white onions, finely sliced  
150g light brown sugar 
150ml red wine vinegar 
125ml port (or red wine) 
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar 
Salt & pepper
 
Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan. Add the onions and cook very gently for 30 minutes, stirring now and then, until very soft and caramelising. Add a third of the sugar and cook for another 15 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients. 
 
Simmer for about 45 minutes, until the liquid has reduced and the onions are dark and sticky. You should be able to run a wooden spoon through and leave the pan clean underneath.  
 
Pot while hot into warm sterilised jars and seal with vinegar-proof lids. Store in a cool dry place and use within 3 months. Keep in the fridge once opened and use within a couple of weeks. 
 

Caramelised Onion Marmalade from Saga Magazine 
by Mary Tregellas

Despite its name, this is not one for your breakfast toast, but a fabulous accompaniment to sausages, burgers and strong cheeses. Use it as a cooking ingredient too – a spoonful or two in gravy or casseroles adds a real depth of flavour. Use white sugar or a mixture of white and muscovado sugars for a darker, more treacly result.

Makes about 6–7 x 340g (12 oz) jars
Keeps for 6–9 months

4 tbsp olive oil
2 kg (4 lb 8 oz) red or white onions, thinly sliced
300 g (10½ oz) sugar (white granulated,muscovado or a mixture)
300 ml (10 fl oz) red wine vinegar
250 ml (9 fl oz) red wine
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
Pinch of paprika
Pinch of dried chillies
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan and fry the onions for 10 minutes over a moderate heat.

Add 100 g (3½ oz) of the sugar and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Make sure it does not burn.

Add all the remaining ingredients to the pan and simmer for 25–30 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated, then pot into hot sterilized jars.

TIP All that onion-chopping makes your hands smell.To remove the whiff, rub a few drops of lemon juice onto your hands (or rub the inside of a used lemon shell over your hands).
French Onion Marmalade by A French Girl Cuisine
 600g sliced onions
50ml Olive Oil
30ml Red Wine
80g Sugar
Salt
Pepper

Chop onions. Heat olive oil in a casserole dish. Cover and cook onions on low heat until they become translucent about 30 minutes. (Tip: If I want to save time and not stay in my kitchen I also add 2 tbsp of water).

When they are well done, add red wine, white sugar as well as salt and pepper. (Tip: Don't add the red wine before the onions are translucent as they will not cook anymore afterwards.)

Leave to cook until no more red wine about 1 hour.

Caramelised Onion Marmalade from Saga Magazine 
by Mary Tregellas

Despite its name, this is not one for your breakfast toast, but a fabulous accompaniment to sausages, burgers and strong cheeses. Use it as a cooking ingredient too – a spoonful or two in gravy or casseroles adds a real depth of flavour. Use white sugar or a mixture of white and muscovado sugars for a darker, more treacly result.

Makes about 6–7 x 340g (12 oz) jars
Keeps for 6–9 months

4 tbsp olive oil
2 kg (4 lb 8 oz) red or white onions, thinly sliced
300 g (10½ oz) sugar (white granulated,muscovado or a mixture)
300 ml (10 fl oz) red wine vinegar
250 ml (9 fl oz) red wine
3 tbsp balsamic vinegar
3 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tsp wholegrain mustard
Pinch of paprika
Pinch of dried chillies
1 bay leaf
Salt and pepper

Heat the oil in a large heavy-based pan and fry the onions for 10 minutes over a moderate heat.

Add 100 g (3½ oz) of the sugar and cook for a further 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until soft. Make sure it does not burn.

Add all the remaining ingredients to the pan and simmer for 25–30 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated, then pot into hot sterilized jars.

TIP All that onion-chopping makes your hands smell.To remove the whiff, rub a few drops of lemon juice onto your hands (or rub the inside of a used lemon shell over your hands).