Moroccan Rose Water Cookies

 

These are delicious little bites of buttery perfection. The rose water adds an exotic note which nicely offsets the richness of the butter. Perfect for serving alongside some homemade ice cream on a lovely summers day like today 🙂

For 32 cookies you need

  • 200g butter, melted and left to cool
  • 140g sieved icing sugar
  • 250g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp rose water

When the melted butter has cooled enough to not feel warm any more, add the sieved sugar. Don’t try and cheat like I did once and skip this step as the lumps in the sugar will ruin the finished cookie. Add the flour and rose water and mix to a soft dough 

Wrap in cling film and chill for 30 mins in the fridge. 

Unwrap the cookie dough and cut into 32 slices. Bake in a 160 degree oven for about 10-15 mins until golden brown. Leave to cool and then scoff. 

  
 

Quick Doughnuts (v)

 

Sometimes you just need something deep fried. Particularly on a Friday after a long week at work. These are so simple to make but taste delicious. I dare you to stop at four…

For about 12 you need

  • 160g self raising flour
  • 200ml milk
  • Caster sugar
  • Strawberry jam
  • Oil for deep frying

Mix the flour with the milk to make a thick batter. Heat the oil. Fry dessert spoonfuls of the batter gently for 3-4 mins until golden brown. Drain on kitchen paper, smother in sugar and drown in jam. Sod the diet for the weekend. 

Tempura Vegetables (v)

  

I used to make this a lot when Lex was younger but I haven’t made it for a while. The muggy hot weather today and a fridge full of veggies prompted me to make it again. It’s based on an Ottolenghi recipe in his book ‘Plenty’. 

For three portions you need

  • A selection of veggies cut into bite sized pieces. Allow about a cup per person
  • 80g self raising flour
  • 80g cornflour
  • 210ml fizzy water
  • Oil for deep frying

Heat the oil in a large pan. Combine the batter ingredients together. Coat the vegetables in the batter and drop into hot oil. Cook until golden brown – about 3-5 mins. You’ll need to fry in batches. Serve with a selection of dipping sauces eg soya sauce, sweet chilli sauce etc. 

Butternut Squash Risotto with Smug Bastard Homegrown Salad Leaves (v)

IMG_6767

A quick rifle through the contents of the fridge yesterday provided an oddment of vegetables needing to be used: a leek, some broccoli and a butternut squash in the cupboard. The salad leaves in the greenhouse have burst into life – despite being cut three times in four days, there was still a glut of deliciousness begging to be eaten.

IMG_6735

I was banned from using any of the teeny tiny courgettes for another week to let them mature. The flowers are so pretty however so here’s a gratuitous picture…

Unfortunately the boy didn’t like the risotto, but Fuz and I did and there were leftovers for my lunch #win.

For six portions you need

  • 1 leek, sliced
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1cm cubes
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 400g risotto rice
  • 200ml dry white wine
  • 1 litre veggie stock
  • 1 head brocolli, cut into florets
  • salt and pepper
  • vegan margarine (or butter if you’re not vegan)

Begin by sauteeing the leeks and onion in oil for about 5 mins. Then add the squash and garlic and cook for a further 3-4 mins. Add the rice and cook for 2-3 mins. Once everything is searingly hot, add the wine and allow the bubble furiously for a few mins to reduce. Then add the stock, all in one go, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 10 mins. Yes I know this method is sacrilege but I don’t care. It works.

After 10 mins, add the broccoli to the pan and stir. Cover with a lid and cook for a final 5 mins. Check the rice is cooked through and not too chalky. If it’s underdone leave simmering for a final 1-2 mins. Add a generous knob of margarine or butter to the pan and leave to melt into the risotto for 2-3 mins.

Serve with salad leaves on the side and a large glass of it’s-nearly-Friday-so-sod-it-and-it’s-open-now-anyway-so-it-needs-to-be-drunk-wine.

Quick and Easy Lemon Cheesecake

IMG_6756

I had some lemons to use up, and google told me to make a quick lemon cheesecake. So I did. You can assemble this in 10 mins or under, but it does need to sit in the fridge for at least a couple of hours to firm up. You can scoff it in under 10 seconds 🙂

For 12 portions you need

  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 300ml double cream
  • 2 X 200g tubs cream cheese (tbh a little more or a little less doesn’t matter)
  • 1 packet ginger nut biscuits
  • 80g butter
  • Zest and juice of four lemons

Begin by melting the butter and whizzing the biscuits to fine crumbs in a food processor. With the motor running, pour the melted butter into the biscuit crumbs.

Line a 20cm springform tin with clingfilm. Press the buttery biscuit crumbs into the base of the tin.

Mix together the cream cheese, condensed milk and cream using a hand whisk. Add the zest and juice and mix until thickened (it will naturally start to thicken when the lemon juice hits the creamy mixture).

Pour into the tin, cover with clingfilm and wait patiently for it to set. Enjoy with summer fruit compote. Yummy.

Perfect Potato Dauphinois 

 

We’ve inherited a milk glut so I’m working my way through recipes that will deal with it. As it’s Sunday, we needed something to be the centrepiece of our evening meal. And this recipe made enough for leftovers tomorrow for a speedy working Monday dinner, win. 

For six portions you need

  • 900g new potatoes, scrubbed
  • 2 onions
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 150ml milk
  • 300ml double cream
  • 100g strong cheddar, grated
  • Salt and pepper
  • Freshly grated nutmeg

The secret to making a good gratin, that doesn’t need weeks in the oven, isn’t in danger of burning and always ensures fully cooked potatoes is: par boil the potato slices in the milk/cream mixture. I couldn’t believe it when I stumbled across this piece of advice. For years I’d been struggling with gratins either taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r to cook or having to deal with undercooked veg. Not a nice thing in a potato. 

So with that in mind to make this you simply:

  1. Slice the potatoes and onions (extremely carefully!) with a mandolin to ensure even wafer thin slices. 
  2. Place the potatoes and onions into a pan containing everything else apart from the cheddar. 
  3. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for ten minutes. 
  4. Once par cooked, tip into a baking dish, cover with cheese and bake at 160 for 30-40 mins.
  5. Serve as you wish. We had carrots, cauliflower, peas and nut roast. Yummy. 

Creme Caramel with Cardamom, Nutmeg and Vanilla

  

I do love a creme caramel. Adding a little spice to it rings the changes in an otherwise St Delia classic recipe. 

For 6-8 portions you need

Caramel

  • 175g caster sugar
  • 2 tbsp water

Custard

  • 150ml milk
  • 300ml single cream
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 6-8 cardamom pods, seeds crushed in a pestle and mortar

Begin by heating the sugar in a pan over a medium heat. Once it starts to go liquid (about 5-10 mins) agitate the pan a little to distribute the sugar and continue until it’s all dissolved. 

Carefully add the water, it will hiss and spit, and put back on the heat if you need to make a smooth caramel sauce. 

Tip 2/3 of the caramel into an oven proof dish and swirl to cover the base and sides. 

Add the milk, cream, crushed cardamom seeds and nutmeg to the caramel pan. With a whisk, gently heat the mixture until all the caramel has dissolved into the cream and milk mixture and it’s come up to just below boiling point. 

Pour the hot milk into a jug with the eggs and vanilla. Mix thoroughly then strain into the caramel lined dish. 

Put into a Bain Marie and bake in a 150 degree oven for about an hour. Leave to chill overnight and then scoff. 

Pasta a la Norma, sans Norma… (V)

  

With no plans for dinner tonight, we attempted pasta with aubergines. But the shop didn’t have any so we ended up having dinner without Norma. The end result was yummy and more crucially eaten by the boy. Had aubergine been included I predict a big pile would have been relegated to the side of his plate. 

For six portions you need

  • 1 bottle passata
  • 4 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tsp veg stock powder
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • Large handful fresh oregano, finely chopped 
  • Large bunch basil, stalks and leaves chopped separately
  • Cooked pasta of your choice to serve

Gently fry off the garlic in the oil with the oregano and basil stalks. 

Add the passata along with the seasonings, sugar and vinegar. Bring to the boil and reduce to a simmer for 5-10 mins until slightly thickened. Just before serving stir through the chopped basil leaves. 

Serve mixed into the cooked pasta. 

The dark side: plain chocolate rocky road 

  
My son asked for rocky road made with plain chocolate, digestives, mini marshmallows and glacĂ© cherries. So I obliged. And the result was rich but not sickly, and really rather delicious. 

For 16 bars you need

  • 300g plain chocolate
  • 125g butter
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • 150g digestive biscuits, some crushed to dust; some bite size chunks
  • 200g glacĂ© cherries
  • 150g mini marshmallows 

Melt together the chocolate, butter and syrup in a bowl over simmering water. 

Once melted mix into the dry ingredients. Pack into a lined tin and leave to set. Cut into bars, scoff. 

Baked Goats Cheese with Chilli and Onion Marmalade

  
Quick. Easy. Delicious. The perfect Friday night antidote to a full on working week and a craving for takeaway! The salad was homegrown too, our first harvest from our new greenhouse. 

For three portions you need

  • Two mini goats cheese logs
  • Two bake at home baguettes
  • 1/2 jar red onion marmalade (you can make your own natch, but this is a super speedy quick recipe)
  • Olive oil
  • Dried chilli flakes
  • Salad and dressing to serve

Start by slicing the baguettes on the diagonal to make twelve slices of equal thickness. Slice the cheese into twelve slices. 

Spread 1tsp of onion marmalade onto each slice and top with a disc of cheese. Drizzle over a little oil and sprinkle with the chilli as hot as you dare! 

Bake in a hot oven for 12-15 min until the bread is crisp and brown and the cheese is cooked. Serve with salad and enjoy.