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 glacé 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 glacé 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.