Recipes Section

December 31st, 2009

Christmas Dinner 2009 Category: General, Recipes

Last night I made our customery Christmas dinner. Very similar to previous years we started with a simple bruschetta, followed by a traditional turkey Christmas dinner and this year we finished with a Baileys chocolate mousse. It wasn’t bad and for once I didn’t get flustered in the kitchen and the gravey turned out OK (slighty salty but for me thats good!)




Baileys Chocolate Mousse Recipe (based on recipe from Waitrose)

175g Green & Black’s Organic Dark Chocolate, broken into small pieces
Knob of butter
5 large eggs, separated (3 yolks, 5 whites)
2 tbsp Baileys

1. Place the chocolate and butter in a large heatproof bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. Leave to melt for 2-3 minutes – do not allow the bowl to touch the water. When it has all melted, remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly.
2. Using a wooden spoon, beat the egg yolks into the chocolate with the liqueur.
3. In a clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with a pinch of salt until they form stiff peaks. Using a large metal spoon, gently fold the whites into the chocolate mixture until completely incorporated.
4. Divide the chocolate mousse between 4 glasses and place in the fridge to set for at least 2 hours.

December 28th, 2009

Fresh from the Oven – Stollen Category: Recipes

This months FFTO challenge was Stollen, a traditional German treat which is eaten at Christmas. I hadn’t tried Stollen before so I was looking forward to baking and sampling something new. I have to honestly say it was really delicous and something I’d like to bake again – I was going to make some smaller Stollen for gifts but ran out of time.

Warm from the oven

The recipe chosen for the challenge was a yeasted version based on a recipe by Simon Rimmer.

based on a Simon Rimmer recipe

100ml/3½fl oz warm milk
6g (1 sachet) fast action yeast or 2 tsp dried yeast or 20g fresh yeast
pinch salt
1 tsp caster sugar
225g/8oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp ground mixed spice
200g/7oz mixed dried fruit (including glacé cherries)
25g/1oz flaked almonds
50g/2oz unsalted butter
1 free-range egg, beaten
250g/9oz marzipan

To finish
25g/1oz butter, melted
50g/2oz icing sugar

1. Place the milk and yeast into a bowl and mix well. Leave to sit for 5-6 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, sift the salt, sugar, flour and mixed spice into a large bowl. Add the dried fruit, almonds and butter and mix well then stir in the yeasty milk and mix well.
3. Add the egg and stir to form a dough. Knead the dough for 5-6 minutes, then cover and leave to prove for 20 minutes. Uncover the dough and turn out onto a clean, floured work surface. Knock the dough back to reduce the volume, then knead the dough for 3-4 minutes.
4. Push the dough out by hand into a flat oval shape about 23cm x 18cm/9in x 7in. Roll the marzipan into a sausage shape about 6cm/2in shorter than the dough. Place the marzipan into the centre of the dough, then fold over the sides of the dough to seal in the marzipan. Then fold in the ends of the dough to contain the marzipan and help give the dough shape. Place the stollen seal-side down onto a greased baking tray. Cover and place somewhere warm to prove for one hour.
5. Preheat the oven to 180C/365F/Gas 4. Place the stollen on the baking tray into the oven to bake for 40 minutes, or until golden-brown and cooked through (I think ours was cooked after 30 minutes).
6. To finish, remove the stollen from the oven, brush with the rum then melted butter and dust liberally with icing sugar immediately. Allow the stollen to cool, then serve in slices.

November 29th, 2009

Fresh From The Oven – Fresh Tin Loaf Category: Recipes

Jules kindly let me join the Bread Baking monthly challenges at Fresh from the Oven and whilst I wasnt able to join in with last months challenge I have managed to bake this months Fresh Tin Loaf… I’m just a day late in blogging about it.

The bread the loaf has produced is certainly not my best, but does have potential – I was multi-tasking when making it and I may have used not-very-fine-sea-salt as the fine sea salt had been thrown away last week when we had a soy sauce disaster in the cupboard!

But that aside, the bread tastes delicous, makes crispy toast and a lovely cheese and onion sandwich.

The kneading technique for this loaf was devised by Dan Lepard, who, after working full time in commercial kitchens came to realise there wasn’t time for full 10 minute knead of all the different bread batches. He switched to short kneads spaced out and found it works just as well. I have to say I was very surprised when the loaf actually worked as I seemed to nearly pour the dough into the tin… that may also explain its slightly odd shape!

Anyway, it is a delicious loaf and one I’d make again.

Recipe & Instructions courtesey of with knife and fork

You must use oil not flour on the kneading surface and your hands. Something like vegetable oil is good.
The dough must be quite sticky and soft to start with. It will firm up when kneaded and as time progresses.

* Once you have soft sticky dough leave it covered in the bowl for 10 minutes.
* Now oil your kneading surface and hands and tip the dough out.
* Knead for about 12 seconds by folding in the edges to the centre, a bit like shaping a round loaf, rotate the dough as you go.
* Flip the dough over, leave it on the surface and cover with a cloth. Wash out the bowl and then oil it lightly. Put the dough back in the bowl and cover.
* Leave for 10-15 minutes and then do another 12 second knead. You will notice the dough is already less sticky and firmer.
* Leave for 20 -30 mins and repeat the fast knead. You are aiming to have kneaded the dough 3 times in the first hour.
* Leave covered to rise until at least 50% larger but not more than double in size (kneading once per hour if it takes more than hour to increase in size).
* Tip out onto the oil surface and press the air out of the dough using the tips of your fingers so its square-ish in shape. Repeat the fast knead process (or fold in to thirds then rotate through 90, flatten again and fold into 3rds again).
* Shape the dough as required for the particular loaf you are making. Put it in a tin, or supported in a floured cloth in a bowl.
* Leave to rise until at least 50% larger and preferably almost double in size.
* Slash top and bake as per your recipe.

White Tin Loaf (based on Dan Lepard’s Quick White Loaf, p63 of the Handmade Loaf)
2lb loaf tin greased and floured or lined with baking parchment (no need to line the short ends just oil them).

Oven to be pre-heated to its maximum setting (R10/250C) and with a tray of water in the bottom to create steam.

200g semi skimmed milk at room temp (Dan uses whole milk but semi skimmed seems to work fine)
150g water at room temp (remember 1g = 1ml but its easier to be accurate weighing fluids)
1 tsp fast action yeast (or 2 tsp fresh yeast crumbled)
200g plain white flour
300g strong white bread flour
1 ½ tsp fine sea salt

Mix the flours and salt together in a bowl.
Mix the water and milk together in a separate bowl and whisk in the yeast.
Add the liquid to the flour and mix with the fingers of one hand to a soft sticky rough dough. You may need to add a little more liquid do this a teaspoon at a time until you have a soft sticky dough.

Follow the kneading instructions above.

The first rise will probably take about an hour from the last knead.

To shape for a tin loaf, flatten the dough to a square about the same width as your tin. Roll the dough into a cylinder and press the seam firmly, fold under the two short ends and place in the tin seam side down.

Allow to rise (covered) to 1 ½ to 2 times volume i.e. to the top of the tin.

Slash the top of the loaf along it length and put it straight into the oven for 10 minutes at maximum temperature. After 10 minutes check how it’s browning and drop the temperature as follows (these baking guidelines are from the River Cottage Bread Book):

R6/200C if the crust is pale
R4/180C if crust is noticeably browning
R3/170C if crust is browning quickly

And cook for a further 40-50 minutes.

I usually check again part way through this time and either adjust temperature again or cover the top with foil if it’s brown enough. Also note that with a traditional gas oven (i.e. one without a fan) the top may brown far too quickly on the side near the heat at the initial temperature so you might want to start at a lower setting of R8/9 for the first 10 minutes. Adapt the setting for what you know about your oven and how things usually bake.

When it’s cooked turn it out of the tin and allow to cool.

Then when it’s cooled cut a big huge doorstop of a slice, toast it and slather with lashing of butter. Yum.

The recipe also works well with a mix of 50:50 wholemeal and white bread flours. You’ll probably need 2-3 tbps extra water.

August 10th, 2009

Mediterranean sausage, fennel, canellini bean and tomato cassoulet Category: Recipes

Whilst catching up on some blogs, I came across this recipe from Mostly Eating.  I made it on Saturday and it was delicious… though I couldnt get any fresh oregano so used fresh thyme (next time I want to use oregano though, I dont think the thyme was quite right) and I threw in a glass of white wine as Sophie suggested which made it more cassoulet-like.

I also have my eye on this summer spelt recipe from Mostly Eating – keep up the good work Sophie!

August 3rd, 2009

Ingredient Challenge – Courgette Category: Recipes

We don’t eat many courgettes and I wouldn’t normally get excited about a courgette recipe, however, last week we found a tasty courgette panzanella which we would recommend.

The courgette is basted in a dressing of olive oil, sugar and chilli flakes and is then griddled.  The courgettes are then added to a mozzarella, tomato and basil panzanella.

September 28th, 2008

Tuna with Lentils Category: Recipes

One of my brothers was telling me last week what he’d had for tea – Tuna steak with lentils and sweet potato wedges.  I’m not keen on sweet potatoes but the Lentils sounded good so I asked for the recipe.

Now, I’ not sure if I’ve missed something but the lentils started to dry out quickly in the pan so I tweaked the recipe slightly, added a little cream and we ended up with this…


  • 1 Tin of green lentils
  • Coriander
  • 1 Clove of garlic
  • 1 Small onion
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground cumin seeds
  • 1 medium chilli finely chopped and de-seeded
  • 1 Tablespoon double cream
  • 6 Tbsp water
  • 2 Tuna Steaks
  • 4 Tomatoes


  1. Pre-heat oven to 180°c
  2. Halve the tomatoes and roast for 30 minutes – start the rest of the cooking after 15 minutes
  3. Finely chop the onion, garlic and chilli
  4. Put lentils in a a pan with the copped onion, garlic and chilli and the cumin seeds
  5. Add 6 tablespoons of water to the pan and simmer for 10 minutes
  6. Meanwhile start to griddle the Tuna – ours were well cooked
  7. When lentils are cooked, take off heat and stir through the double cream then add the coriander leaves
  8. Serve Tuna on top of lentils with roasted tomatoes around the side