Archive | October, 2011

Melting moments

30 Oct

So, this is a recipe I used to make years ago, when I was a teenager.  The original recipe is from Rosemary Wadey’s Cakes and Cake Decorating which I think I bought with either school prize money, or a Christmas book token when I was about 14 years old.  It has some of my favourite biscuit recipes: Grantham Gingers, Oat Crisps, Viennese Biscuits and the easiest of all: 1-2-3 biscuits.  But perhaps my favourite was Melting Moments – they are easy to make, look as though you might have bought them and taste scrumptiously delicious.

And they can be adapted. The basic recipe is for vanilla biscuits, rolled in scrunchy cornflakes before they are cooked, and with a nub of glace cherry on top.  When I made them recently I realised we only had chocolate weetabix in the cupboard, no plain cornflakes.  So, I made chocolate melting moments, rolled in scrunchy chocolate weetabix, still with a nub of glace cherry on top.

Chocolate cookies

Anyway, here we go:

Melting Moments

6oz butter (or half and half, butter and lard – oh yes, this recipe is so old that it uses lard.  But in reality, lard can create a shorter texture for biscuits). Soften the butter before you start cooking (so you might want to leave it out in the kitchen for a while before you start)

5oz caster sugar

1 egg, beaten

10oz self raising flour, sifted

1 tsp vanilla essence

about 2oz cornflakes, crushed (use a small plastic bag and scrunch them)

8 glace cherries, quartered

Pre-heat oven to 180C / 350F / GM4. Grease 2 baking sheets

  1. Beat the butter until soft, then add the sugar and cream until light and fluffy.  This is the most important step in this recipe – if the butter and sugar isn’t creamed properly the mixture won’t be light enough
  2. Beat in the egg and vanilla essence
  3. Work in the flour to give a fairly stiff dough
  4. Take dessertspoonfuls of mixture and roll them into balls
  5. Roll each ball in crushed cornflakes and place fairly well apart on the baking sheet
  6. Flatten the balls of mixture slightly and press a piece of cherry into the centre of each ball
  7. Bake for 15 – 20 mins or till golden brown.
  8. Cool on a wire rack and store in an airtight container.
Alternate versions:
Replace 1-2 oz of flour with 1-2oz of cocoa powder and about 1/2 tsp baking powder.
You can also replace some of the flour with custard powder to give a smoother and creamier biscuit.  Again, just swap some of the flour for custard powder, and add a wee bit of baking powder.
I think they would be nice with a wee bit of chopped ginger (you know, the stuff out of the jar) in them.  But then I love gingery things.  You would probably want to replace the glace cherry with a nubbin of ginger too.  Yum.

The most delicious blackcurrant recipe ever

9 Oct

Earlier this year we had a glut of blackcurrants.  I picked them on a Sunday in the sunshine, cutting whole branches from the bushes and then sitting in the sun on the terrace picking off the juicy black fruit.  Over 9lbs of fruit, all topped and tailed (not that they needed any topping, or was it tailing) and stored in plastic tubs in the freezer till I had more time to turn them into loveliness.

Blackcurrant harvest

This weekend was the time.  And the loveliness was Blackcurrant Ripple Icecream.  Why have I never made this before?  It’s amazing and oh so simple.  Thanks to Xanthe Clay and the BBC Good Food website for this deliciousness.  I’ve slightly altered the recipe, but literally only slightly.  You can find the original and a gorgeous picture here http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/11802/blackcurrant-ripple-ice-cream

Blackcurrant ripple icecream

200g blackcurrants (if frozen, leave them out for a while to defrost)

50ml apple juice

100g golden caster sugar

600ml double cream

large tin condensed milk

2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Put the currants and the apple juice in a large heavy-bottomed pan and gently heat
  2. Simmer for about 5 minutes and then add the sugar
  3. Heat gently again and bring back to a simmer, stirring all the while to ensure the sugar all dissolves
  4. Simmer for a further 4-5 minutes, till it gets beautifully syrupy.  Don’t be too precious about the timings here, but you don’t want to reduce this right down, just make a lovely rich sauce for the ripple
  5. Now, take it off the heat and let it cool for a while.  A long while – it needs to be properly cool.
  6. Rub the sauce through a sieve to get rid of all the pips
  7. Now, leave that to one side while you make the icecream
  8. Pour the cream into a big bowl and whisk up to soft peaks
  9. Add the condensed milk and vanilla and whisk again to soft peaks
  10. That’s pretty much it.
  11. Find a freezer proof tub to put the ice cream in.  Pour the creamy ice cream in, then the sauce… swirl it a wee bit with a palette knife, or big spoon.  Try to get into the corners, but don’t mix too much – you’re looking for a rippled, or marbled, effect not a homogeneous mixture.
  12. Freeze.. for at least a couple of hours, but preferably longer.  It will probably need to come out of the freezer for a while before you serve it as it’s quite a solid ice cream, so take it out when you start your main course.

Enjoy.  Delicious with langues du chat biscuits, or similar.  Oh, did I mention I also made the most scrumptious langues du chat this weekend? The Great British Bake Off has been inspiring me!

As an alternative, make up the ice cream mixture and fold in either shop bought or homemade lemon curd.  I don’t know why you’d buy it, it’s simple to make and so much tastier when it’s not packed full of preservatives (and when was it ever going to last 6 months in our house anyway?).  But as I was saying, this ice cream is just delicious as a lemon ripple instead of blackcurrant ripple.  Try it.  Next I’m thinking of a butterscotch ripple, but suspect it will be too sweet – you need the sharpness of the lemons or blackcurrants to cut through the soft sweetness of the condensed milk in the ice cream.

Or, if you want to make Blackcurrant Cordial, or an alcoholic Blackcurrant Liqueur, then take a look at how I do it here.

 

Broccoli and stilton soup

1 Oct

So, when Tesco builds a new store, they do all manner of strange discounts.  We have a new Tesco in the valley and today there were bags and bags of broccoli for only 10p each, all marked ‘TEST’, but all looking like fresh and scrummy broccoli.

They also had enormous whole salmon reduced from £35 to £10. I think they were about 8lb weight. But since G’s sister had already bought a whole salmon earlier in the week and stuffed our freezer full of salmon steaks I resisted that particular temptation.

And grabbed the bags of broccoli.  And a wedge of stilton.  You see where I’m heading don’t you?

Broccoli and stilton soup

1 large onion, finely chopped

1 medium large potato, chopped into small chunks

about 1.5l veg stock

1 large head of broccoli, cut into small-ish chunks

about 100g stilton in chunks

  1. Sweat the onion in a heavy based saucepan with a wee bit of oil or butter.
  2. Add the potato and sweat for a few minutes.
  3. Add the hot stock (or boiling water from the kettle and a stock cube). Cook for about 10 minutes, till the potato is cooked.
  4. Add the broccoli and cook for a further 4 minutes or until the broccoli is cooked.
  5. Add the stilton and smoosh it all up with the electric zizzer.
Perfect for a quick light lunch.  And I’ve heard a rumour that it is good to freeze.
Oh hey… if you have a lovely soup recipe and want some recognition… go here: http://www.newcoventgardensoup.com/competition
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