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Saturday, 26 March 2011

Minced Beef Wellington

When I saw this recipe in the BBC Good Food Magazine, I knew it would be my kind of food.  What a clever idea to use minced beef instead of filet steak as a Beef Wellington.  The recipe came from John Torode (he of Masterchef, not the bald one) and was passed to him by his grandmother.  The recipe makes one large Beef Wellington, but I ended up making two.  I also managed to freeze one of them after cooking and reheated it wrapped in foil, with the last 10 minutes unwrapped and it was just as good as the one that came straight out of the oven.  This is definitely a keeper!

If you would like to make the Minced Beef Wellington you can find the recipe HERE

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Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Raspberry & Amaretti Crunch Cake

We had visitors this weekend and I made this cake for dessert. If you like amaretti biscuits and that lovely almondy/marzipanny flavour then you will love this cake.  The fresh rasps add a nice fresh and slightly sharp contrast.  You definitely have to serve it will chilled single cream.  Everyone enjoyed it and it was really easy to make, although I did find it took a little longer to cook than the recommended time in the recipe.    The recipe comes from my favourite recipe website, BBC Good Food, you can find the recipe HERE

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Sunday, 20 March 2011

Hotel Chocolat Giveaway - Winner!

The Hotel Chocolat Giveaway is now closed, there were 92 entries, many thanks to everyone who entered.

And the winner is.....


Congratulations Corina, please send your full name and mailing address to my email janicepattie at gmail dot com

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Hotel Chocolat Eggstaordinary Giveaway!


This time last year, I entered a blog giveaway at Jam and Clotted Cream and won a delicious Easter Egg from Hotel Chocolat.  I was thrilled to win the chocolate egg, you can read about it HERE,  but am even more excited this year because I have been given this Hotel Chocolat Easter Eggspose Egg to review and YOU can enter my giveaway to win this gorgeous Easter Eggspose egg from Hotel Chocolat - result!

I've had a little nibble at the Easter Eggspose egg, the dark chocolate is so rich and smooth, something to be savoured with a nice cup of coffee or a glass of red wine. The 'eight cheeky little gianduja eggs' have a crispy chocolate outer shell and soft truffly stuff inside, a real treat.

There are lots of other fun Easter eggs at Hotel Chocolat, I particularly like the look of the Classic Eggs and Soldiers   

So how can you win one of these Easter Eggspose eggs yourself?

1.Give your name and answer the following question in the COMMENTS section below: Why would you like to win an Easter Eggspose Dark Chocolate Easter Egg? 

2. For a second entry to the draw
Tweet the sentence below and then tell me in COMMENTS section below you have done so. Please make sure you copy the whole sentence in the inverted commas.
I want to win a Hotel Chocolat Easter Egg from @serialcrafter. Click here,

The competition closes on Sunday 20th March at 12 noon (or until it states it is closed)

Terms and Conditions
  • The winner is randomly chosen by the Random website.
  • Unfortunately, due to the nature of this prize this giveaway is only open to UK residents.
  • All entries will be verified.
  • If the winner hasn’t replied within 2 weeks to the organiser’s email to receive his prize, a new winner will be randomly drawn.
PS. If you have any trouble signing up for this competition, please contact me.

Good Luck!

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Saturday, 12 March 2011

Black Forest Gateau - Special Request

Back in November 2009, I posted about a great little magazine I used to buy in the early 1980s called 'Home and Freezer Digest', it was one of the few home cooking magazines about at that time and I learned a lot from it's pages.  You can read the post HERE

Anyway, just this week I've had a couple of comments on this post from other women who enjoyed the magazine but, for one reason or another, have missing copies with missing favourite recipes.    I couldn't help out Maggie with a Dutch Apple Cake recipe, but I may have the Black Forest Gateau recipe that Diane6 was looking for. 

Although I gave most of the magazines to a charity shop, I did keep the four little books that you could buy at various times from Home and Freezer Digest:

I think this little book was the first one that I got from H&F Digest, it was invaluable for looking up how to freeze different foods, whether they needed blanching and how long you could keep them in the freezer.

This was the first Christmas from the freezer book and it has lots of great ideas to help you get ahead ,  I certainly made quite a few things from this book.

This little book is well thumbed and has some great recipes that I have made a few of them a number of times, the Apple Pickle recipe is particularly good.

Going by the price this is the last of the books, it has some of the same recipes as the first Christmas book, but lots of different ones too.

And so to the Black Forest Gateau, there are two different recipes in the two Christmas books, so I am including them both and hope that one of them is the one that Diane6 is seeking.

Black Forest Gateau from 
Christmas from the Freezer

Serves 8
4oz (100g) plain chocolate
4 eggs
4oz (100g) self-raising flour
1 oz (25g) cornflour
pinch of salt
7ox (150g) butter, softened
4oz (100g) caster sugar
1/2 pint (300ml) double cream
3 tablespoon black cherry jam

4oz (100g) plain chocolate
black cherry jam

1. Break up chocolate and melt in basin over hot, not boiling, water
2. Separate eggs. Sift together flours and salt.
3. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add melted chocolate and egg yolks, beat well.
5. Whisk egg whites stiffly. Fold four into mixture, then the egg whites.
6.  Put into a 7in (17.5cm) greased and lined tin.  Bake (325F, 170C, Gas 3) about 55 mins
7. Cool cake in the tin, then turn out. Whip cream.  Split cake in two.
8. Spread with black cherry jam, then a third of the cream.
9. Sandwich cake together.  Spread a second third of cream smoothly over top.
10. Fill remaining cream into piping bag and pipe 8 rosettes on top of the cake.

To serve now: grate block of chocolate on cheese grate to make curls and arrange on cake.  Take  8 cherries out of jam if possible and place each on a rosette.

To freeze:  freeze until solid, then pack in a container, seal, label.  Use within 3 months.

To serve from the freezer: thaw overnight in the fridge covered. Top with chocolate curls and cherries.

The recipe in 
The Complete Freezeaway Christmas Cookbook is different, here it is:

Black Forest Gateau
Serves 8-10

Shortbread base:
2oz (50g) butter, softened
1oz (25g) caster sugar
3oz (75g) plain flour

Chocolate sponge:
3oz (75g) self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1oz (25g) cocoa powder
4oz (100g) caster sugar
4oz (100g) soft margarine
2 eggs, size 3
Fillings and decorations:
15oz (425g) can red cherries, stoned
1 teasp arrowtot
3 tabsp kirsch or cherry brandy
200g bar dark chocolate
1/2 pint (285ml) double cream and 1/4 (140ml) singel cream
2 tablsp red jam
8 rose or strawberry leaves 

1. Make base: cream butter and sugar. Stir in flour. Knead lightly till smooth.  Press 3in (7.5cm) wide strip of shortbread into the length of a greased 7 x 10 3/4 in (18 x 27cm) tin.  Prick over with a fork.  Bake  (325F, 190C, Gas 5) 15 mins.  Cool 5 mins in tin. Turn out on a wire rack.
2. Make sponge: sift dry ingredients into a bowl, add fat and eggs.  Beat together till smooth. Spread in same tin, greased, lined.  Bake as above 25 mins.  Turn out on to wire rack.
3. For filling: drain cheries, reserving juice.  Blend 4 tablesp juice with arrowroot in a pan, boil till thick and clear.  Add 1 tbsp kirsch and all but  8 cherries, cool.  Mix remaining kirsch with 3 tabsp reserved juice, set aside.
4. Make decorations, grate half the chocolate into curls, using a potato peeler.  Reserve.
5. Melt remainder in a basin over a pan of hot water. Dip leaves in chocolate to coat the leaf tops only. Leave to set.  Cool remaining chocolate.
6. Whip creams together to a soft peak.
7. Assemble cake, spread jam over the shortbread base.  Cut the sponge in half lengthwise, then split each piece and trim to give four 3 x 10 in (7.5 x 25 cm) strips.
8. Place one strip on top of shrotbread.  Sprinkle with half juice mixture.  Spread some cream over.  Place second strip on top.  Spread with cherry mikxture.  Place third layer on top, sprinkle with remianing juice mixture, then spread with more cream.  Place final layer on top.  Trim shortbread.
9. Add cooled chocolate to rest of cream.  Place 3 tbsp in a piping bag fitted with as star tube. Smooth remainder over top and sides of cake.  Pipe a zig-zag rope down the centre of the cake.
10. Coat sides with reserved grated chocolate
11 Carefully peel leaves away from chocolate  arrange with the cherries down centre of cake.

To serve now:  place on serving plate. Slice.
To freeze: open-freeze till sold.  Pack in a polybox.  Label, use within one month.
To serve from freezer: place on serving plate. Thaw 3 hours in a cool place.

I haven't made either of these, but the quality of the recipes in H&F Digest is similar to that of BBC Good Food, I have never had a problem with them.  I hope you enjoyed this little bit of 80s cooking.

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Friday, 11 March 2011

Cookery School - you saw the series, now read the book!

The Review
I haven't actually managed to watch any of the Cookery School programmes on Channel 4 with Richard Corrigan and Gizzi Erskine,  it's on at 2.05pm and I'm at work all day.  Our DVD recorder is dismantled because of work being done on in our living room and our internet connection is often very poor so watching on 4oD is not really an option as all I get is buffering every 20 seconds.  Anyway enough of my moaning, I hope C4 decide to repeat it in the evening so I have a chance to see it.

Anyway I don't really think that has any bearing on my review of the book, perhaps it is even a good thing as I came to the book without any preconceptions.  It's a hefty book, full of lovely photographs, I would say it is a book for someone who wants to learn basic techniques which they will be able to translate into their own cooking.  What I really liked was the step-by-step technique photos, ideal if you are a visual learner.

The recipes are a little bit too cheffy for my tastes but if you are a novice or intermediate cook who is interested in impressing at dinner parties with your restaurant style food - then this is the book for you.
My son fits that category, so I am going to give him the book as I am sure he will be able to learn a lot from the technique sections and adapt the recipes to suit his vegetarian girlfriend too.

The Recipe

I decided to make the Cream of Onion Soup with Cheese and Ham Toasties


For the Cream of Onion Soup
50g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
1kg white onions, peeled and thinly sliced
1 tablespoon marjoram leaves
2 tablespoons thyme leaves
900ml chicken stock
150ml double cream (I used semi-skimmed milk)
salt and freshly ground pepper

Heat a large saucepan and add the butter and half the olive oil.  Once the butter has melted, add the onions, marjoram and 1 tablespoon of the thyme. Soften the onions for 10-15 minute over a medium heat.

Add the chicken stock and simmer for 10-15 minutes.

For the Cheese and Ham Toasties
8 slices white bread (I used two mini pitta breads)
1 egg beaten
40g sliced honey-roast ham
40g Gruyere cheese, grated
40g unsalted butter
2 tablespoons vegetable oil

 Roll out the bread slices to 2mm thick and brush one side of each with beaten egg.   Place a quarter of the ham and cheese in the middle. Lay another slice of bread on top and again brush with egg.  Press together and pinch closed around the edges, then cut into a circle shape using an 8cm round pastry cutter.  Repeat to make 3 more sandwich rounds

Or split open the mini pitta bread and fill with the ham and cheese then dip into the beaten egg.

Place a large frying pan on the heat, add the butter and oil.  When melted fry the toastie round over a low to medium heat until golden brown and toasted on each side.  Keep warm in a low oven.  If you have a large pan you can do them all at the same time; if not, fry in batches, using a little of the butter and oil each time.

Meanwhile pour the soup into a blender and blitz until smooth.  Remove and pass through a fine sieve into a clean pan (I used a stick blender and didn't bother with the sieve).  Stir in the cream (or milk in my case) and season with salt and pepper.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a small pan until hot. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of thyme and cook for a minute then set aside.
 Warm the soup through and pour into individual serving bowls. Drizzle with a little thyme oil and serve a warm toastie on the side.

Even without the cream and using dried rather than fresh herbs, the soup was delicious but the little toasties were definitely the stars of the show!

Cookery School is on Channel 4 every day for 10 weeks from the 31st January at 2.05pm. The book to accompany the series ‘Cookery School’, with recipes by Richard Corrigan is available, published by Penguin Books, priced £20.

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Sunday, 6 March 2011

and now for something...

...a little bit more healthy!  After all that excitement with chocolate (the giveaway will stay at the top of my blog until 20th March when it closes)  I thought it would be a good idea to have something around to nibble which, satisfies the need for sweetness but, is still GOOD for YOU.

Can there be such a thing, I hear you ask?  Oh yes, and what makes it even better is that you can get all your supplies online from Healthy Supplies whose strapline is No Nonsense Nutrition!

 I started by making some flapjacks,  I was so impressed by the dried fruit supplied by Healthy Supplies, all organic and probably the best dried cranberries I have tasted, I tried a few as snack, we you have to don't you?  The Sour Cherries are a little firmer than the cranberries, a bit like the difference between currants and raisins,  so I soaked them for an hour in some orange juice to plump them up a bit. The roasted hazelnuts are also really delicious with a lovely roasted flavour and no fear of burning them (which often happens if I try to roast them myself!).

Here are all the lovely ingredients that Healthy Supplies sent for me to try:

Infinity Foods Organic Porridge Oats (rolled oats)
Infinity Foods Dessicated Coconut
Infinity Foods Organic Dried Cranberrries
Infinity Foods Organic Roasted Hazelnuts
Biona Dried Sour Cherries

and here is what I made with them:

Cranberry and Sour Cherry Flapjacks (with peanut butter)
 110g/ 4oz butter
80g/3oz soft light brown sugar
1 tbsp crunchy peanut butter
80ml/3floz clear honey
250g/9oz rolled porridge oats
80g/3oz dried sour cherries
80g/30z dried cranberries
1 tbsp dessicated coconut
50g/2oz roasted hazelnuts, broken into pieces

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C/370F/Gas4
2. Melt the butter, sugar, honey and peanut butter together in a pan over a medium heat.
3. Add the rolled oats, dried fruit, dessicated coconut and hazelnuts and stir well.
4. Pour the flapjack mixture inot a greased 30cm/12in x 20cm/8in square baking tin.  Press the mixture into the corners and smooth the top.

5. Place into the oven to bake for 20 minutes, or until golden-brown and bubbling.
6. Remove from the oven and allow to cool.  Turn out of the tin and cut into equal-sized squares.

The Flapjacks turned out well, not too sweet with the juicy berries and crunchy hazelnuts adding lots of texture to the bars.  I added the peanut butter to help bind the oat mixture together, but if you can't eat peanuts then you could just use another 40g/1oz of butter.

I'll be back soon with some muffins made using pretty much the same ingredients.  Remember to check out Healthy Supplies, their ingredients are of the highest quality and the service is friendly and efficient.  They also stock a lot of interesting and different ingredients for baking that can be difficult to source.

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Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Queen of Cupcakes

Remember I told you that I had won some cupcakes over at Pig Pig's Corner?
Well they arrived today, in a huge cardboard box, padded with rolls and rolls of bubble wrap.  I couldn't think what had come in such a large box, but there they were beautifully wrapped in cellophane and ribbons.

I've just had one with my coffee and it was delicious with a deep chocolate flavour especially in the frosting. Many thanks to Ann at Pig Pig's Corner and Queen of Cupcakes for the giveaway.

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