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Thursday, 31 January 2013

Nigel Slater Dish of the Month - January Round Up

Many thanks to all the wonderful bloggers who entered January's Dish of the Month. This is the first blog challenge I have run, other than occasional hosting for others. My co-host Sue from A little bit of Heaven on a Plate has been very active tweeting and pinning to our shared Dish of the Month Pinterest board.  I'm not promising that there will be a round up every month but as this is the first month of the challenge, I wanted to say thank you and feature the amazing variety of Nigel Slater recipes you have all made.

One of the things I like best is that many people have made the dishes their own by adapting them to the ingredients they had or their own personal tastes.  This is a feature of Nigel's cooking philosophy, which I think makes his recipes so appealing to me and it seems to you too.

First up is Camilla from Fab Food 4 All with this tasty looking Bacon Wrapped Salmon

A creamy parsley risotto and delicate parmesan crisps is the offering from my co-host, Sue at A little bit of heaven on a plate

A soup of bacon and celeriac is my recipe which comes from The Kitchen Diaries II is my offering from Farmersgirl Kitchen.

This Mincemeat Cheesecake attracted the attention of Mr Nigel Slater himself when Claire at Foodie Quine tweeted about it.

 In Elizabeth's Kitchen, a beautiful dish of Shetland lamb was slowly cooked, to Nigel's instructions,  until it fell off the bone. 

Choclette at Chocolate Log Blog made Nigel's Chocolate and Hazelnut cookies which she describes as "chocolate brownies in biscuit form".

 Karen at Lavender and Lovage made a Winter Salad and said "My salad is a VERY loose adaptation of Nigel Slater’s recipe from “The Kitchen Diaries”, the first one."

 Rachel at Marmaduke Scarlet made these delicious looking Almond, Marzipan and Berry Cakes from The Kitchen Diaries II.

Chickpea Fritters with Beetroot Tzatsiki is the entry from Jane at Onions and Paper, it's a recipe in Nigel Slater's Tender volume 1 and was found by Jane in her search for a different recipe altogether!

The fabulously named Hangover Salad is the recipe made by London Busy Body which was served as an accompaniment to venison rather than with the beef in the original.

The lovely Dish Dom over at Belleau Kitchen made his own version of Nigel's aubergine and bean hotpot, adding a cheesy broccoli and cauliflower crust.

These tasty looking rolls are made with wholemeal Spelt Flour from one of Nigel's Guardian Lifestyle online recipes and were added to the challenge by Kate at Turquoise Lemons

Dal and Butternut Squash Soup is the warming Dish of the Month for Karen at Use it up, wear it out.

I love the way Kavey of Kavey Eats,  has made this Beef Stroganoff from Nigel Slater's Real Fast Food and served it in Yorkshire Puddings, I think this is such a great dish.

This zesty Lime Tart comes from Susie at Fold in the Flour, who found the recipe in the January Chapter of  The Kitchen Diaries 1.

Laura of Laura Loves Cakes was having a bit of a crisis with her new oven but came up trumps with this no bake Tropical Tumbler Trifle

Making Plans with Nigel was the clever title of this article at edible things and features a version of Nigel's 'Bright Vegetable Stew'

Cream of Mushroom, mustard and tarragon soup is a combination of two of Nigel's recipes, you can find out which ones by visiting Linzi at Lancashire Food.

Maggie at Kitchen Delights whipped up a Creamy Crunchy Fruit Sundae which Nigel featured on Simple Suppers.

At Nyssapod blog we were treated to Onion Soup without Tears from Kitchen Diaries.

Honey and Mustard Sausages and Carrot Mash  is another Simple Supper dish, this time from Jo at Jo's Kitchen.

Marzipan and Berry Cakes were featured along with Mincemeat Hotcakes and Brandy Butter at Cookies Cakes and Bakes and don't they look great, obviously a popular choice.

The February Dish of the Month Linky will be posted on 
Saturday 2nd February.

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A Valentine Salad and Eggspress Giveaway

Valentine's gifts tend to focus on chocolate treats so it's nice to have something a little different for Valentine's Day.  This bacon and heart-shaped egg salad fills you up and also provides the freshness and crunch that I feel is so important to enjoy in the winter months and would be the prefect for a Valentine's day brunch or lunch.

I was sent this little gadget, called an Eggspress, from Just Mustard which moulds hard-boiled eggs into heart shapes, so when you cut them in half you have a pretty little heart.  Just Mustard is a gift company with lots of fun novelty gifts.

The back of the packet tells you how to create your heart shaped eggs and are easy to follow.

Although it is easy to make, mine didn't turn out quite so perfect as the ones in the illustration.  The yolk does not always sit right in the middle.  The heart shape does form, but it's not very pronounced and I think you need to use them fairly quickly as I found that the egg started to lose the point at the bottom after about half an hour.

Bacon and Egg Salad (serves 2)

8 slices of smoked streaky bacon
4 medium eggs, hard boiled and cooled
1/2 bag of mixed lettuce leaves
4 stalks celery, chopped
1 apple, cored and chopped
4 cherry tomatoes, halved
juice of half a lime
2 tbsp olive oil
salt & freshly ground pepper
1 tsp honey

1. Grill the bacon until crisp, drain on kitchen paper and cool
2. Press the eggs as per instructions and cut in half.  If you don't have an Eggspress then simply cut the eggs in half.
3. Place the celery, apple and 4 slices of crispy bacon (crumbled) into a bowl.
4. Make the dressing with juice of half a lime, oil, seasoning and honey, whisk or shake in a jar then pour over the celery, apple and bacon mixture
5. Spread the salad leaves on the plates,  divide the celery, apple and bacon mixture between them.
6. Top each plate with two bacon rashers crossed.  Place 4 egg halves evenly around the plate and place the tomato halves between them and serve with crusty bread.

It was fun to serve the heart shaped eggs with this salad and if you would like to try it yourself, I have two Eggspress egg moulds to giveaway.  UK residents only please.  Just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter Widget.  a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Cannelini Bean Soup for National Soup Month

Did you know that January is National Soup Month?  I usually make soup every weekend in the winter and sometimes in the summer too. This weekend was decidedly wintry so a warming plate of soup was just what was needed.

 Some views around Farmersgirl Farm on Saturday morning.

Cannelini Bean Soup (Serves 6-8)

200g cannelini beans, soaked overnight
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion, peeled and chopped
4 sticks celery
2 carrots
 2 cloves garlic, chopped
500g tomato passata
1 tbsp tomato puree
2 pints stock
3 sprigs of thyme

1. Cook the soaked beans in fresh water until just soft, about 45 minutes
2. Add the oil to a large pan, heat on a moderate heat and add the onion, peeled and chopped carrots and chopped celery.  Saute for about 5-10 minutes until they start to soften.  Add the garlic and stir around for 1 minute.
3. Add the tomato passata, stock and stripped leaves from about 3 sprigs of thyme.
4. Cook until the vegetables are completely soft, about 30 minutes.
5. Add the cannelini beans to the soup and cook for a further 10 minutes.

I was helped in my soup  making by some excellent equipment from OXO Good Grips.  

The vegetable peeler is extremely sharp and takes off a fine sliver of peel leaving behind all the vitamins.  You do need to watch your fingers and I have also sliced off a nail, but this is still the best veggie peeler I've ever used.

And the ladle?  It is a generously proportioned ladle, important for getting lots of soup.  Otherwise, there isn't a lot to say, it's a ladle!

Don't wait till next National Soup Month to make some soup, once you start making your own soup you will find that you can make it with just about any vegetables, pulses, stocks, leftovers.

For some inspiration check out these previous posts:
Curried Parsnip Soup 
Cauliflower Cheese Soup
Chickpea and Smoked Paprika Soup
Beetroot and Black Cumin Soup
Sweetcorn Chowder

Many thanks to Sarah and team for providing me with the OXO utensils to review.  I was not paid for this post and all views are my own.

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Sunday, 27 January 2013

Chocolate Souffle for Classic French

Apologies for the slightly dodgy photos, I'm just squeezing this post in for the 'Classic French' challenge at Blue Kitchen Bakes which closes tomorrow.

The theme for January is 'souffle'.   I've been meaning to get my souffle baked since early in January but somehow it just didn't happen.  I also had a tub of Food Thoughts Cocoa sent to me for review so I thought I'd try it out with a Chocolate Souffle.

"Food Thoughts Cocoa is a luxurious baking and drinking cocoa, made with the finest cocoa beans.  It is rich and smooth in texture and has a deep rounded flavour preferred by bakers for it's high cocoa fat content.  Food Thoughts Cocoa is 100% Fairtrade Organic Cocoa is produced in the Dominican Republic by an accredited Faritrade consortium."

Food Thoughts Fairtrade Organic Cocoa is available in Sainsbury's retailing at £2.20

Chocolate Souffle (2 servings) 
I increased the quantities to make three

Butter or cooking spray to grease the ramekins
4 1/2 tbsp caster sugar, divided
1 tablespoon plain flour
1 1/2 tbsp Food Thoughts Cocoa
2 tbsp semi-skimmed milk
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 large egg, separated
1 tsp icing sugar

Pre heat oven to 180C

Butter or coat the ramekins, sprinkle with 3/4 tsp caster sugar.
Combine 2 tbsp caster sugar, flour, cocoa and milk in a small saucepan over medium heat.  Cook 2 minutes, stirring until smooth.  Spoon chocolate mixture into a medium bowl; cool 4 minutes, stir in vanilla and the egg yolk.

Place egg white in a medium bowl; beat with a mixer at high speed until soft peaks form.  Add remaining 2 tbsp caster sugar, 1 tsp at a time, beating until stiff peaks form (do not overbeat).
Gently stir 1/4 of egg white mixture into chocolate mixture; gently fold in remaining egg white mixture.  Spoon into prepared dishes. Sharply tap dishes 2 or 3 times to level. Place dishes on baking sheet; bake at 180C for 15 minutes or until puffy and set.  Sprinkle each souffle with 1/2 tsp icing sugar. Serve immediately.

The eagle-eyed amongst you will see that I didn't sprinkle mine with icing sugar.  I simply didn't have time and didn't want the souffles to fall before they arrived at the table. 

The verdict
We really enjoyed the souffle, it tasted as if it had been made with chocolate rather than cocoa, there was no bitterness that you get with some cocoa powders.  The souffle wasn't difficult to make and turned out very well.

I was supplied with one tub of Food Thoughts Cocoa and was not paid to write a positive review, all opinions are my own.

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Win a Flavourly Tasting Box full of delicious goodies

It's always fun to try new products and take yourself out of your culinary comfort zone.  That's exactly what Flavourly can do for you with a monthly Flavour Box.  Flavourly provide a monthly 'taste box' delivery packed with carefully selected products from independent artisan food producers in the UK

I was excited to see what would be in the January Flavour Box and I wasn't disappointed.   Here's what was in the Tasting Box  I received for review, and here is what I thought:

Greefs Isle of Wight, Bilton Air Cured Beef - I have to say that this really didn't appeal to me, however it does taste of beef and while it is chewy, as would be expected, it does chew farily easily.  I would think it would be a talking point as a pre dinner nibble or great for hiking when you need to carry your food on your back!

The Forest Kitchen Traditional Handmade Scottish Fudge 'Whisky' - This was soft and very sweet, the whisky flavour is delicate, I found the fudge rather too soft and sweet but my husband liked it.

The Wee Tea Company, Rooibos & Vanilla Leaf Tea - my heart sank when I saw Redbush Tea as I've never found one that I liked...until now.  As it was in the box I thought I'd better give it a go and was pleasantly surprised by how mild the flavour is.  The Vanilla seems to compensate for the bitterness of the Redbush leaves.

I took the tea into work to share with my colleague. She is not a fan of Redbush Tea either, but she also enjoyed this tea.

Eat 17, Bacon Jam - I was a little sceptical about Bacon Jam, but once tasted never forgotten, what a brilliant relish this is, I think I'm addicted!

The highlight of the Flavour Box, for me,  were the Traditional Handmade Scottish Oatcakes from The Forest Kitchen  and the Northumberland Cheese Company Nettle Cheese.

The oatcakes were crisp and crumbly with lots of oaty texture, the Nettle Cheese is a full fat cows milk cheese, it is smooth and creamy with a lovely combination of nettles and other herbs through it. They complement the cheese rather than overpowering it and the two together were a big hit with all the family.

The Flavourly Flavour Box costs £22 per month and would make a lovely gift for a foodie friend or family member, or as a treat for yourself.  What's more for every delicious Flavourly Tasting Box you buy, the company will donate a meal to some of the 250 food banks throughout the UK, working with the FareShare food bank charity. So you’re helping a good cause that’s close to everyone’s heart. Food banks are vital lifelines which help provide emergency food and support for people in crisis. In the last two years alone, food banks have helped to feed more than 128,000 people across the country.

If you would like to subscribe you can get £10 off your first box by using the code 'FLAVOURLY10' when you sign up for your subscription at Flavourly

I also have one Flavour Box to give away, just follow the instructions on the Rafflecopter.  Open to UK residents only.  a Rafflecopter giveaway

I received a Flavourly tasting box for review. I was not paid to give a positive review, my views are my own. 

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Saturday, 26 January 2013

Last Day of Farmhouse Breakfast Week

It's been fun posting all these different breakfast ideas for Farmhouse Breakfast Week and I think I may even have convinced a couple of people that breakfast is worth a few extra minutes to make.  If you have seen my post about Bircher Muesli Yogurt you will know that we are creatures of habit and generally eat muesli Monday to Friday.  On a Saturday we will vary what we eat, sometimes eggs, sometimes porridge or other cereals. However on Sunday, unless we have visitors when we might have a full 'Scottish' breakfast, we will usually have a bacon roll and lots of coffee.

A nice granary roll from a local bakery, two slices of grilled smoked bacon and a squirt of HP sauce!  Brian goes for tomato sauce, but for me the spicy flavours of HP sauce go perfectly with the salty, smoky bacon.

I hope you have enjoyed Shake up Your Wake up with Farmhouse Breakfast Week.  If you’ve been taking part in the Breakfast Week Challenge then you can submit your entries now! Just fill in this form to tell them what you ate for breakfast each day during Farmhouse Breakfast Week (from Monday 21st – Friday 25th January 2013) and how it made you feel. You could win a luxury break!

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Thursday, 24 January 2013

Homemade Seville Orange Marmalade

I really only like homemade marmalade and have been making marmalade since I was in my early 20s.  My mum always made her own marmalade and used to put the peel through the mincer, I would help by turning the handle.  When I spoke to her at the weekend she was planning to make some marmalade and bemoaning the fact that she no longer has that mincer!

I managed to source some Seville Oranges and turned to my old favourite recipe from Home and Freezer Digest (regular readers will have worked out by now that I learnt a lot of my cooking from this little magazine published in the 1980s and 90s) I usually chop the peel in the food processor for home consumption, but this time I am entering a jar of marmalade in the World's Original Marmalade Awards and Festival 2nd & 3rd March 2013

This prestigious preserves contest, held at Dalemain in Cumbria, attracts thousands of entries from all over the world. Everyone who sends in a jar gets their marmalade tasted by a panel of expert judges and then gets sent a personalised mark card with feedback on how the marmalade can be improved - or if they are lucky a gold, silver or bronze award. Judges for 2013 include Pam Corbin and the WI.

 My friends Karen at Lavender and Lovage and Sue at A little bit of Heaven on a Plate are also entering the awards and you can read more about their marmalade making adventures on their blogs.  

Seville Orange Marmalade

Makes 9lb (4kg)
2lb (900g) Seville oranges
4pt (2.3l) water
1 lemon
4lb (1.80kg) sugar
1. Wipe and cut the oranges in half, squeeze out juice an pips.  Put pips in a muslin or stockinette bag and tie.
2. Put orange juice in pan with water and lemon juice.
3. Slice peel thinly and add to the pan with pips.  Simmer about 1 1/2 hours until peel is soft and liquid reduced by half.
4. Take out bag of pips and squeeze out any liquid into pan. Stir in sugar over low heat until dissolved.  Boi8l rapidly to setting point.
5. Cool 15 minutes in pan, stir well, our into warm, clean jars. Cover, seal, label.  Store in a cool dry place. 

 I suspect my marmalade is a little too set to win any competitions but the taste is phenomenal, the tart orange flavour bursts onto your tongue and stays with you for some time after eating.  It's not too sweet and I'm really rather pleased with it!

Marmalade is perfect for breakfast so why not try to make some for Farmhouse Breakfast Week.  There are lots of ideas for breakfast on the Shake Up your Wake Up website.  You can follow @breakfastweek on Twitter and tweet a picture of your breakfast every day with the hash tag #BreakfastWatch. You can also post your photos to Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest.

If you are cooking or baking your breakfast between now and 24th February, remember to link up to Breakfast Club and the good news is...Helen of Fuss Free Flavours has arranged for one lucky Breakfast Clubber to win a  Sharpham Park Breakfast Hamper containing:

Sharpham Park Crunchy Spelt Bran Flakes
Sharpham Park Crunchy Spelt Bran Flakes with Berries
Sharpham Park Crunchy Spelt Bran Flakes with Dates and Walnuts
Sharpham Park Multigrain Flakes
Sharpham Park Multigrain Fruit & Fibre Flakes
Sharpham Park Organic Wholegrain Spelt Flour
Sharpham Park Organic White Spelt Flour
Sharpham Park Organic Baker's Blend Spelt Flour
Sharpham Park Organic Spelt Flour

All you have to do is link your cooked or baked breakfast blog post to the Breakfast Club and we will choose one Breakfast Club entrant by Random Number Generator when the Breakfast Club ends on 24th February.

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