Raspberry Steamed Pudding

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I made a golden syrup version of this last week, but I didn’t seal the pudding bowl well enough and it boiled giving the pudding a dense, heavy texture. This was slightly undercooked, due I think to not putting enough water in the pot, but it rose magnificently and I finished it off in the microwave instead of bringing the pot back up to pressure again. Adding fresh raspberries as well as jam gave a lovely tangy topping to the pudding. Delicious!

For 4-6 portions you need

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 100g butter/margarine
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tbsp milk/non dairy milk
  • handful frozen raspberries
  • 3 tbsp raspberry jam
  • custard to serve
  1. Mix everything apart from the jam, raspberries and custard together with a hand whisk until light and fluffy.
  2. Place the raspberries and jam in the bottom of a pudding basin. Scrape over the batter.
  3. Cover *tightly* with foil and place on a trivet in the Instant Pot. Add enough water to come half way up the sides of the pudding basin.
  4. Steam for 25 mins, then manual pressure for 15 mins. Quick release the pressure and serve with custard. If yours is slightly undercooked then 1-2 mins in the microwave will soon sort it out ūüôā

 

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Freekah with Roasted Vegetables and Chickpeas (v)

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My mum made this for us over Christmas. It was delicious and the perfect antidote to all the rich food we had been eating. This is my version.

For 4-6 portions you need:

  • 200g freekah or bulghar wheat
  • 1 litre veggie stock
  • 300g cooked chickpeas
  • 3 mixed peppers, cut into rough chunks
  • 1 sweet potato cut into bite sized chunks
  • 2 carrots cut into bite sized chunks
  • 2 onions ditto
  • 1 aubergine ditto
  • 50g pine nuts
  • 2 tbsp pomegranate molasses
  • 1 pack each of flat leaf parsely and mint, finely chopped
  • 4 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp baharat
  • salt and pepper
  • houmous to serve
  1. Begin by tossing the aubergine, carrot and sweet potato in 3 tbsp olive oil and the baharat. Roast in a hot (190 degree) oven for about 30 mins.
  2. Meanwhile place the freekah in a pan with the hot stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for 15 mins. Turn off the heat and cover the pan with a lid and leave to steam for a further 15 mins. Keep warm.
  3. Add the peppers, onions, chickpeas and remaining oil to the roasting tin and continue to cook for a further 30 mins.
  4. Add the fresh herbs and pomegranate molasses to the freekah. Mix. Season to taste.
  5. Toast the pine nuts and mix into the cooked veggies and chickpeas.
  6. Serve with hummus, salad and pitta bread.

Steamed Syrup Sponge Pudding

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It’s January. It’s cold, grey and miserable. It’s the end of the first working week of 2017 and I’ve cycled through all the gales and sleet… What we needed was internal central heating courtesy of traditional British stodge. I love syrup sponge pudding but I’ve only made it from scratch a few times. Once in the pressure cooker, and a couple of times in the microwave. It works OK in the microwave but the texture and flavour isn’t as good as a proper steamed pudding. Enter my beloved Instant Pot from stage right. From start to¬†tummy in an hour. Oh yus!

For 4-6 portions you need:

  • 100g vitalite
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g self raising flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp golden syrup
  • custard
  1. Begin by making the sponge. Put everything apart from the custard and syrup in a bowl and using a hand whisk combine.
  2. Grease the sides of a souffle dish or other bowl that will fit inside your instant pot. Pour 3 tbsp of golden syrup into the base and scrape the sponge batter on top.
  3. Cover with foil and place on a trivet in the instant pot. Fill the IP to halfway up the pudding dish.
  4. Set to steam for 25 mins, then manual for 15. Do a quick pressure release and serve with lashings of custard. Collapse in front of the fire with a happily full belly!

 

Raspberry Brioche Pudding

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Another use up the leftovers I’d¬†forgotten about recipe. The brioche was lurking in the dark depths of the bread bin, the jam was one of many opened over Christmas and the cream was a remnant from a pavlova. Together they made a harmonious cloud of sweet deliciousness, the perfect Sunday night pudding. You can adapt this to whatever you fancy or need to use up. Chocolate chip brioche rolls would work nicely, with cocoa powder in the custard to make a chocolate version. Or add some dried fruit. Or use up your panettone. Or whatever!

For 4-6 portions you need:

  • 8 slices of brioche
  • Raspberry jam
  • 250ml double cream
  • 125ml milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 1 tbsp demerara sugar
  1. Make jam sandwiches with the jam and brioche. Don’t butter the brioche as it’s already enriched and will go too greasy.
  2. Place the brioche sandwiches in an ovenproof dish.
  3. Mix together the cream, milk, eggs, caster sugar and vanilla. Pour over the brioche and leave to stand for 15 mins.
  4. Sprinkle the demerara sugar over the top and then bake in a bain marie for 30-45 mins at 170 degrees. The pudding should be crispy on top and puffed up. The custard should just set.

Instant Pot Stuffed Peppers (v)

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The last pressure cooker I used blew up on me. I heard an earth shattering kaboom and came back into the kitchen to find lentils dripping from every available surface. It was armageddon. I have been too scared to use one since, even tho I know that they’re ace for quickly cooking pulses and making all sorts of yummy food. The Instant Pot has been growing in¬†popularity recently and I took advantage of the Amazon Black Friday deal to get one and assorted¬†accessories as my Christmas present from the teenager. How thoughtful of him ūüėČ

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After doing the initial water test I asked said teen what he wanted for tea and stuffed peppers was the response. So here is my inaugural attempt, and a resounding success it was.

For four portions you need:

  • 4 peppers, tops sliced off and insides removed
  • 1 onion
  • 2 cloves¬†garlic
  • 1 can¬†drained and rinsed kidney beans
  • 2 instant pot cups of paella rice (the instant pot cup is only 160ml so is smaller than a US cup…)
  • 1 cup white wine
  • 1 cup veggie stock
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh¬†flat leaf parsley
  • new potatoes
  • (the spiced tomato sauce I made on the stove)
  1. Put the instant pot onto saute mode and add the oil and onions. Saute for 3-4 mins and then add the garlic and rice. Cook for a further 1-2 mins.
  2. Turn off saute mode and add the wine and stock. Cover with the lid and using manual cook for 4 mins, leave to stand for 10 mins then Quick Release (QR).
  3. Add the parsley and drained beans to the rice mixture and season to taste. I also added a little more liquid at this stage to make them a little looser.
  4. Put the peppers into a pyrex bowl (that will fit inside your IP!) and fill with the rice mixture. Cover with foil. I also made a handle out of foil to make it easier to remove the dish once they’d cooked.
  5. Place on the trivet and add 1.5 cups of water to the pan. Put on manual for 20 mins. I did a QR as I needed to cook the potatoes as well.
  6. For the potatoes, place on a steamer trivet and add 1 cup of water (I have a second pot so that made it easier). Steam for 8-10 mins depending on size and then QR as a Natural Release (NR) might overcook them.
  7. Serve with the spicy tomato sauce and be amazed! The potatoes in particular were delicious due to being steamed. I’ve never done that before as they always take too long in a¬†conventional steamer.
  8. Dream up what your next recipes will be…

Steamed Tofu with Ginger Chilli Sauce (v)

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One of my friends blogged about still eating Christmas food a few days ago. It prompted me to think of different ways to use up the nearly-but-not-quite-finished bottle of cream sherry and the chilli jam I make every year but never seem to eat…

For three portions you need

  • 1 pack firm tofu, drained and cut into 6 equal slices
  • veggies of your choice – we had¬†broccoli and carrots
  • rice or whatever starch you want to use

For the dressing

  • 1/2 cup soya sauce
  • 1/2 cup sherry (or mirin)
  • 2 tbsp sesame oil
  • 2 tbsp chilli jam
  • large handful of fresh coriander roughly chopped
  • 1″ piece of ginger, grated
  • 2 fat garlic cloves, grated
  1. Mix the sauce ingredients together, check the seasoning and adjust to taste
  2. Cook the rice as per instructions on the packet
  3. Steam the veggies and tofu for 5-6 mins
  4. Serve

Triple Layer Pavlova

Christmas isn’t Christmas without at least one pavlova. I usually make a huge one and then struggle to fit it in the fridge… Having watched the Bake Off Showstopper challenge this series, I fancied a go at a triple layered version for this year. It worked! I used¬†raspberries and mixed summer berries in ours but you can use whatever you want as long as it’s not horrible crunchy passion fruit seeds or pomegranate ūüėČ

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For 8-10 portions you need

  • 6 egg whites (use the yolks in something else)
  • pinch salt
  • 350g caster sugar
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tsp white wine vinegar
  • 600ml double cream
  • 2 x 250g packs of frozen fruit, defrosted (or whatever you want to fill and top it with)
  1. Preheat the oven to 170 degrees.
  2. Line three baking sheets with baking parchment.
  3. Whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add the sugar a little at a time, whisking all the time on a slower speed until they are stiff and glossy. Add the cornflour and vinegar.
  4. Spread 1/3 of the mix on each baking sheet fitting to the size of whatever serving dish you will be using.
  5. For the final layer, spread out a circle and then pipe the remaining meringue mixture to form peaks.
  6. Reduce the oven heat to 130 degrees and bake the meringues for 1-1.5 hours until they are risen, golden brown and crispy.
  7. Switch off the oven and leave the door open a crack by wedging a spoon into the door. Leave to cool completely.
  8. Once cooled, whisk the cream to soft peaks and layer up the pavlova with the fruit and cream finishing with a layer of fruit.
  9. Stand back and admire your creation.

Baklava

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I’ve been¬†meaning to blog this for a while and just haven’t had time, sorry! I made a big batch for our engagement party and it got rave reviews. It’s dead simple to make but tastes far more complicated than it is! The recipe says it makes 30 pieces but that comes down to how big you make them. I prefer bite sized pieces to bigger chunks. The recipe is taken from Tess Malos The Complete Middle East Cookbook.

For 30 or so pieces you need:

For the pastries

  • 20 sheets of¬†filo pastry
  • 3/4 cup melted butter (that’s 190g to you and me…)
  • 1 cup finely chopped pistachios
  • 1 cup finely chopped almonds
  • 1 cup finely chopped walnuts
  • 1/4 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves

For the syrup

  • 1.5 cups caster sugar
  • 1.5 cups water
  • 1/4 cup runny honey – use a good quality one
  • thinly peeled strip of lemon rind
  • small¬†piece of cinnamon bark
  • 3 cloves
  • 5 crushed cardamon pods
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  1. Butter the sides and base of a 33cmx23cmx5cm tin.
  2. Layer up 9 sheets of  filo pastry into the base of the tin, buttering each well before placing in the tin.
  3. Mix the nuts and sugar with the spices then sprinkle half over the pastry.
  4. Layer a further two sheets of pastry on to the nuts, buttering each as before.
  5. Spread the remaining nut mix on top of these sheets.
  6. Top with the remaining filo, buttering each.
  7. Trim the top and sides and tuck in neatly.
  8. Sprinkle some water over the top to stop it from crisping too much in the oven.
  9. Score into pieces, taking care not to cut all the way through to the base.
  10. Bake in the centre of a 180 degree oven for 30 mins. After 30 mins, move one shelf up and cook for a further 30 mins. You want the pastry to be golden brown and crisp all over.
  11. Whilst the baklava is baking make the syrup. Place everything in a pan and slowly bring to the boil. Once all the sugar has dissolved, boil rapidly for 15 mins until reduced and syrupy in consistency.
  12. Take the baklava out of the oven and drench in the hot syrup.
  13. Leave for at least four hours before eating. Then scoff!

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Savoury Lentil Stew (v)

This was made for days like this. Cold days when you’re tired and in need of warming from the inside. After being away for a few days our house was a chilly 10 degrees when we got home so something filling and nutritious was in order.

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This makes a huge amount of stew. I’m batch cooking ahead for Christmas visitors. Obviously reduce quantities if you have less mouths to feed…

For 12-16 portions you need 

  • 2 leeks, thinly sliced
  • 4 carrots peeled and cut into substantial chunks
  • 3 sticks celery, sliced
  • 1 swede peeled and cut into finger lengths
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 cup each of brown, green¬†and puy lentils
  • 1.75ml stock
  • 1 tbsp each soya sauce, mushroom ketchup and veggie Worcester sauce
  • 2 tsp mixed dried herbs
  1. Begin by sweating the vegetables in the oil.
  2. Add the lentils and stock. Bring to the boil and boil rapidly for 10 mins.
  3. Add the remaining seasonings and reduce the heat to minimal. Simmer without a lid for 45-60 mins until the lentils are tender. Add more water if necessary. You want the stock to be mostly absorbed so the final stew isn’t too wet.
  4. Season to taste and serve with mashed spuds and braised red cabbage. Utter comfort food heaven on a plate. It freezes well and also makes a good base for shepherd’s pie.

Peanut Butter Flapjacks

These are based on a recipe by the huge furry whipping tool. I’ve adjusted the quantities of dried ingredients to suit our tastebuds and preferences. Don’t be tempted to ditch the orange and lemon zest, it makes a real difference when you include rather than omit them. 

For 16 bars you need 

  • 125g unsalted butter
  • 150g soft light brown sugar
  • 125g crunchy peanut butter
  • 75g honey
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • Finely grated zest of 1 lemon
  • 200g oats
  • 75g sunflower seeds
  • 50g coconut
  • 50g pumpkin seeds
  • 50g sesame seeds
  • 100g chocolate chips
  1. Begin by melting the first six ingredients together until mingled 
  2. Add everything else apart from the chocolate chips. 
  3. Press into a lined tin 20cm x 20cm tin
  4. Scatter over the chocolate chips and bake in a 160 degree oven till browned all over.
  5. Leave to cool completely before trying to scoff. They do not slice well hot!