Cinnamon and Nutmeg Apple Breadcrumb Pudding

A brilliant way to use up stale bread and dodgy apples by turning them into a nourishing and comforting pudding. This is based on a recipe in River Cottage Everyday.

For 4-6 portions you need
50g butter
6 dessert apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges
100g caster sugar
175g freshly soft breadcrumbs
4 eggs
400ml milk
Nutmeg, vanilla paste and ground cinnamon

Heat the milk to boiling point. Meanwhile mix the eggs, nutmeg, cinnamon and vanilla (1tsp of each) and 75g of the sugar in a bowl. Once the milk is hot, slowly pour into the egg mixture, whisking all the time, to make a thin custard. Add the breadcrumbs to the mix and set aside to steep.

Heat the butter in a pan and add the apple wedges and remaining sugar. Continue cooking until the apples are glazed.

Pour into a baking dish in a single layer:

Cover with the eggy, milky breadcrumb mixture:

And bake in a hot oven for 30 mins until it’s set but still slightly wobbly in the middle. Serve hot, warm or cold and with or without a bug fat dollop of jam. Lovely and comforting. 

Singapore Rice

Rice cos we’d run out of noodles, d’oh but actually it worked really well. We had this hot for tea and then I took it to work the following day and had it cold. Both were equally yummy. A good dish to use up the veg lurking in the bottom of your fridge.

For 4-6 portions you need
1 cup rice
1 onion, chopped
4-6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 inch ginger, grated
Assorted veggies – we used diced carrots, shredded savoy cabbage, a head of broccoli
2 red chillies, sliced
2 tbsp light soya sauce
1 tsp each ground cumin, coriander, tumeric, curry powder
100ml veg stock
4 eggs
Soya sauce, chopped fresh coriander and fiery encona chilli sauce to serve

Begin by cooking the rice and then draining and rinsing with cold water.

Meanwhile, scramble the eggs in a wok until lightly done and scrape out onto a plate.

Re-heat the wok and fry the onion, ginger and garlic for a few mins. Add the chilli and whatever vegetables you are going to use. Fry for 1-2 mins then cover with the stock and a lid to allow them to steam to al dente. Add the spices and return the rice and eggs to the wok. Cook through thoroughly and serve garnished with the soya sauce, coriander and enough chilli sauce to make your eyes water.

‘Suprise’ Lemon and Orange Pudding

I think this is the perfect Sunday dinner pudding. It’s light, airy, tangy and delicious. And it’s also a doddle to make, using ingredients from the cupboard. As it cooks, a sponge lighter than a cloud develops on the top, with a tangy, creamy almost lemon curd like sauce forming underneath. A friend (hello Kim!) has suggested adding fresh blackberries to it just before baking which I think is a genius idea and will be trying that next time I make it.

For 3-4 portions you need
25g soft butter/vitalite
100g caster sugar
150ml milk
zest of one orange
juice and zest of one lemon
25g plain flour
2 eggs, separated

Begin by whisking the egg whites to stiff peaks in one bowl using a handheld mixer. Then cream the butter and 25g of sugar in another bowl using the same mixer (doing it this way saves washing up 😉

Add everything else to the creamed butter and sugar mix and mix thoroughly. Finally fold in the egg whites and gently turn into a souffle or similar oven proof dish.

Place in a bain marie and bake in a moderate (180 degree) oven for about 30 mins until the sponge is risen and lightly golden and there is a delicious layer of sauce underneath. To bake this in individual ramekins, reduce the cooking time to about 15-20 mins.

Cheese Souffle with Watercress and Tomato Salad

It would have been my late dad’s birthday yesterday so in his memory I made one of his favourite meals: cheese souffle with watercress and tomato salad. I like my souffle gooey and runny in the middle, but cook it for a little longer if you prefer it firmer.

For three to four portions you need
Four eggs
50g butter
50g plain flour
200ml milk
salt and pepper
150g grated cheese (strong cheddar and gruyere are a good combo)
1 tsp mustard powder
1 tsp french mustard

Begin by making a roux from the butter and flour. Once melted, cooked out for a few mins then add the milk. Heat and beat to ensure no lumps then remove from the heat and add the mustard powder, mustard and grated cheese. Mix well.

Separate the eggs and whisk the whites to firm peaks. Add the yolks to the cooled cheese roux base and mis thoroughly. Let it down with a couple of spoonfuls of the whisked whites and then fold in the remainder of the whites. Scrape into a buttered souffle dish and bake in a bain marie in a moderate (170 degree) oven for 30 mins.

Serve with a tomato salad (see the recipe here for a good one!) and some saute potatoes if you need to be totally stuffed at the end! Enjoy 🙂 and Happy Birthday Dad xx

Perfect Pavlova

I don’t often make pavlovas as they end up being too big for a few people to eat, and all those calories over a few days is not a good idea! But a couple of friends came round to see us on Fri so I made one and it was luuuuuush! I prefer to keep my pavlovas simple, no crunchy, pippy passion fruit toppings for me thank you very much! So this recipe can pretty much be thrown together out of store/fridge/freezer staples and looks like you’ve made a huge effort. Result! The rule of thumb you need when making a pavlova is 62.5g of caster sugar per egg white, this way you can make one as big or small as you like!

For 6-8 portions you need
5 egg whites
310g caster sugar
2 tsp white wine vinegar
1 tbsp cornflower
600ml double cream
300g frozen raspberries (or any fruit of your choice), defrosted
1 tbsp icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees. Begin by whisking the egg whites until they form stiff peaks in a free standing mixer. With the motor running, add the sugar a tablespoon at a time until thoroughly incorporated. Add the vinegar and cornflower and mix in well.

Spoon the meringue on to a lined baking sheet. I usually take care to make a well in the middle with banked up sides to hold the filling in place but you can do it however you wish! Pop into the oven and turn the heat down to 140 degrees. Cook for 90 minutes and then turn off the oven. Leave the door open a little and leave the pavlova to cool in the oven.

Whip the cream to soft peaks then spread onto the pavlova. Add the raspberries and then sift over the icing sugar. Utterly delicious!

Cadbury’s Creme Egg Brownies

A brownie adorned with a cadbury’s creme egg showed up in my newsfeed on Facebook earlier in the week, so I decided to treat us to some for Easter. I’ve used mini creme eggs as the large ones would have made them too sickly (imho!). The brownie recipe I have used is my tried and tested adaptation of the Hummingbird Bakery’s plain chocolate brownie which is chewy and moist and delicious. Enjoy!

For 12 portions you need
200g good quality plain chocolate
125g butter
150g plain flour
325g caster sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract

6 mini cadbury’s creme eggs

Melt the chocolate and butter. Once melted and cooled slightly, mix in the other ingredients. Pour the batter into a lined swiss roll tin and bake at 160 degrees for about 15 mins. 

Carefully cut the eggs in half, but don’t worry too much if they break a bit. After 15 mins, take the brownies out of the oven and push the halves of eggs into the semi cooked batter. Place them back in the oven for a further 15 mins to finish cooking. 

Leave to cool for 10 min before removing from the baking tin and slicing into generous squares. Happy Ishtar!

Proper Boozy Egg Nog

Christmas isn’t Christmas without a belly full of dangerously alcoholic egg nog. Not in my book anyway.

For 6-8 glasses you need
1/2 pint double cream
1/2 pint milk
3 eggs
4 tbsp icing sugar
3 measures each rum, brandy and whisky
freshly grated nutmeg
cocktail cherries to serve

Place everything apart from the nutmeg and cherries into a blender and blend for 2-3 mins till smooth and thoroughly combined. Strain through a fine meshed sieve into a jug and decorate with lashings of freshly grated nutmeg. Serve topped with enough cocktail cherries to just make you start to feel rather sick. Hic.

Courgette Frittata

This recipe is the happy marriage between courgettes delivered in my Abel and Cole veggie box and an Asda magazine which suggested a similar recipe. It made for a quick and easy light lunch.

For four portions you need
6 eggs
2 courgettes, sliced into discs 5mm thick (or near enough, no need for a ruler!)
1 onion, sliced
knob butter
75g grated mature cheddar
salt and pepper

You need a smallish frying pan for this to ensure the correct depth of egg mix to the veggies in it. A lid is useful for helping to steam the courgettes as the pan will seem crowded to begin with.

Start by melting the butter. Once this is done, add the onions and fry for about 5 mins. Add all of the courgettes and cover with a lid over a moderate heat. Shake/stir the pan regularly to ensure no sticking.

Mix the eggs with the cheese and season. Once the courgettes are starting to become tender add the eggs and shuffle the pan about to ensure an even layer. Cook over a low heat until the base is nice and browned and most of the eggs are set. Heat the grill and transfer the pan to the grill to finish off. Serve hot or cold.

Mushroom Double Swiss (aka cheese and mushroom omelette…)

Breakfast is such an important meal. And when I am at home it invariably involves eggs of some sort. I adore eggs, and the soft, oozy gooiness that an omelette gives makes me very happy indeed. This is called mushroom double swiss cos, like the burger of that name, it uses gruyere and mushrooms as a filling.

For one person you need:
75g mushrooms, sliced
1 knob butter
salt and pepper
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tbsp gruyere cheese, finely grated.

Begin by melting the butter in a small-ish frying pan. Once hot and the butter is bubbling, add the sliced mushrooms and season well with salt and pepper. Cook over a moderate heat till the juices have come out of them and they start to turn golden brown on their edges. When this happens, add the eggs to the pan and distribute evenly by shaking the pan. Sprinkle the grated cheese over the top and keep shaking the pan to move the eggs about and ensure they cook evenly. When the eggs are mostly set, flip one third of the omelette into the centre then turn the eggs out of the pan on to a plate, completing the fold as you do so. Scoff immediately with strong black coffee and copious orange juice. Delish.

Kai Look Kuoy (son-in-law eggs)

I remember my mum making this for her Thai son-in-law when he came to visit after the birth of his son. And I remember just how delicious they were too. But it’s taken me over a year to make them for myself (and my boyfriend ;-)). And OMG how awesome they are! Made with quails eggs, they make a lovely canape; or else serve 3-4 per person as a starter with a selection of other yummy Thai bites.

For 12 portions you need:

To serve:
12 leaves from little gem lettuces, washed and dried.

For the eggs:
12 quails eggs
vegetable oil for deep frying

For the topping:
6 shallots, sliced thinly
6 garlic cloves, sliced thinly
1 tbsp roughly chopped fresh coriander

For the sauce:
2/3 Barts spice jar of tamarind paste
2 inch chunk of ginger, finely grated
2 thai chillies, sliced thinly
2 tbsp light soya sauce
1 tsp ground cumin

Begin by mixing everything together for the sauce. Leave to one side to allow the flavours to develop whilst you do the other stages.

Semi hard boil the quails eggs in simmering water for 3-4 mins. Refresh in cold water and then *carefully* peel the shells away (if the eggs are very fresh this will be tricky so take your time!).

Heat vegetable oil in a shallow pan to a depth of about 2cms. Deep fry the shallots and garlic and drain on kitchen paper. Repeat with the eggs, frying until they become crispy and golden brown all over.

Place the lettuce leaves on a serving dish and place a dessertspoonful of the sauce in each one. Top with an egg and then the shallots and garlic. Finish with some fresh coriander. Sigh in pleasure as you eat. Totally and utterly delicious!