Oat Pudding.

Unsure what to call it. Not rice pudding as it was made with oat groats, but not porridge as it contained wholegrain oats. But it was nice.

Sort of fitting that an oats recipe goes up on Jon’s birthday. But I’m making a cake instead today. :p

Ingredients.

For the oats.

  • 2 cups oat groats
  • 1 cup porridge oats
  • milk to cover
  • 1tbsp butter
  • 1tbsp sugar

For the jam.

  • 3 cups raspberries
  • 10 plums
  • 1 stem rhubarb
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 1tsp cinnamon
  • 1tsp nutmeg
  • 1tsp paprika

Utensils.

  • large pot and spoon
  • chopping board and knife
  • small pot and spoon

Recipe.

  1. Soak the oat groats in milk with sugar.
  2. Chop the plums and rhubarb and mix with the raspberries. Put on a low heat to cook down.
  3. Slowly heat the oat groats to a boil and allow to cook.
  4. Mix the porridge oats into the groats and stir as they soak the remaining milk. You want a little bit of excess liquid when you turn the heat off.
  5. Add the butter on top of the oats and set aside to finish cooking in its own heat.
  6. Once the fruit is soft, add the spices and sugar and simmer, continually stirring, until the jam is thick.
  7. Serve the oats with a dollop of jam.

Oat pudding.

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Egg Yolk Cake. + Rhubarb Egg Tart.

Two recipes, because we need something to do with all those egg whites after the yolks are used up in the cake! All of this is absolutely terrible for you, whatever diet you are or aren’t on.

Yolk Cake.

Ingredients.

  • 8 egg yolks
  • 1 whole egg
  • 200ml extra thick double cream
  • 300g mixed white and icing sugar
  • 300g flour and raising agents
  • a dash of vanilla

Utensils.

  • mixing bowl and whisk
  • greased or nonstick cake tin

Recipe.

  1. Preheat the oven to 160C.
  2. Mix together the egg yolks, egg, sugar, cream and vanilla into a smooth paste is formed.
  3. Fold the flour in gently.
  4. Mix in any raising agents.
  5. Pour into the cake tin.
  6. Bake for 30min. A skewer should come out without residue, but still be sticky to touch.
  7. Leave to finish cooking in its own heat.
  8. Jon says that keeping it in a tupper is essential to preserving stickiness.

Rhubarb Tart.

Ingredients.

For the crust:

  • 150g flour
  • 100g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • cinnamon to taste

For the filling:

  • 8 egg whites
  • 300g rhubarb stems
  • 250ml double cream
  • 5tbsp sugar
  • 1tsp thin vanilla extract

Utensils.

  • 2 mixing bowls with forks
  • whisk
  • greased or nonstick tart tin

Recipe.

  1. Mix the pastry ingredients into a firm dough.
  2. Press into a cake tin and refrigerate until needed.
  3. Preheat the oven to 160C.
  4. Whisk the egg whites until stiff.
  5. Fold in the cream and whisk some more.
  6. Stir in the sugar and vanilla.
  7. Clean and chop the rhubarb stems.
  8. Place in the tart base.
  9. Pour the egg mix on top, ensure even and flat distribution.
  10. Bake at 160C until firm, puffed up, a little brown on top but still jiggly.
  11. Leave to cool before slicing.

It was a way of using up a few eggs and some cream, I suppose. Probably also two of the most fattening dishes I ever make. Oh well. At least they’re cheap. 😛

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

Eton Mess, three different versions.

Eton Mess is an amazing Summer treat. Simple and tasty, it can be made from scratch with a bit of elbow grease and a few hours spare, or put together from store-bought ingredients. You can take it up a notch with great additions such as Cranachan for the cream or flavoured meringues, or you can cut the calories with yoghurt and more fresh fruit. Here are three versions to try out for your next picnic or pudding!

20151028_031541

Decadent Version.

This is closest to the one we made, except, being alco-free as I am right now, we skipped the whiskey/Baileys/brandy.

Ingredients.

  • 500g strawberries
  • 4 egg whites
  • 300ml double cream
  • 215g plain sugar
  • 115g icing sugar
  • a shot of whiskey, Irish cream or brandy
  • a few drops of vanilla extract

Utensils.

  • chopping board and knife
  • two mixing bowls
  • baking tray with greaseproof paper
  • whisk (use a hand whisk for a good arm workout!]
  • a bowl for assembly

Recipe.

  1. Preheat the oven to 110C.
  2. In one bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are fluffy and stand in floppy or firm peaks.
  3. Add 115g of the white sugar slowly and steadily, a tablespoon at a time. Keep whisking a bit in between.
  4. Add the icing sugar a quarter at a time. Keep whisking in between.
  5. Whisk until a batter forms.
  6. Put on the baking tray and in the oven. Set a timer for 1h 30min to 2h.
  7. In the next bowl, start whisking the double cream with the last 100g of white sugar.
  8. Once thick, add the alcohol and vanilla and whisk until thick again.
  9. Thinly slice the strawberries.
  10. Wait until ther meringues are golden brown, remove from oven.
  11. In the bowl, layer meringue, cream and strawberries.

Low-cal Version.

Delicious and very low calorie compared to the usual one!

Ingredients.

  • 800g strawberries
  • 2 egg whites
  • 20og greek yoghurt sweetened with honey
  • 170g icing sugar

Utensils.

  • chopping board and knife
  • one mixing bowl
  • baking tray with greaseproof paper
  • whisk (use a hand whisk for a good arm workout!]
  • a bowl for assembly

Recipe.

  1. Preheat the oven to 110C.
  2. In one bowl, whisk the egg whites until they are fluffy and stand in floppy or firm peaks.
  3. Add the icing sugar a quarter at a time. Keep whisking in between.
  4. Whisk until a batter forms.
  5. Put on the baking tray and in the oven. Set a timer for 1h 30min to 2h.
  6. Thinly slice the strawberries.
  7. Wait until ther meringues are golden brown, remove from oven.
  8. In the bowl, layer yoghurt and strawberries.
  9. Sprinkle meringue on top.

Store-bought Version.

A quicker and simpler way of getting things done.

Ingredients.

  • 500g strawberries
  • 3 meringues
  • 300ml cream or yoghurt

Utensils.

  • chopping board and knife
  • a bowl for assembly

Recipe.

  1. Slice the straberries.
  2. Layer or mix strawberries and cream or yoghurt in a bowl.
  3. Sprinkle meringue on top.

And that’s how to make three different types of sweetly Summery Eton Mess!

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What’s your favourite Summer pudding?

 

For help starting out homemaking, check out The ESSENTIAL Beginner Homemaker’s Guide. For help budgeting all your everday and not-so-everyday essentials, from food to transport to clothes, check out On A Budget: The good homemaker’s guide to economizing.

WWW. How hard are mince pies?

Not very, unless you overbake them. :p

But, in all seriousness, this English classic is very easy to make at home and absolutely delicious.

My own recipe is a secret, which is secret, will be kept secret and not be secretly or discreetly disclosed.

Best Simple Mince Pie Recipe 0

However the general outline of how I make mince pies is free for anyone to experiment with.

You will need:

  • 500g raisins or sultanas
  • 500g mixed dried fruit (preferably including candied peel)
  • 500ml applesauce
  • cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves to taste
  • 500g flour
  • 1 egg
  • 300g butter
  • water
  • 1 beaten egg
  • sugar for dusting
  • rolling pin
  • greased/nonstick tart/muffin tray
  • mixing bowls

Recipe:

  1. Mix the dried fruit, applesauce and spices together. Add around 50-200g of sugar if you think the mix isn’t sweet enough.
  2. Rest the mix as long as possible. Overnight or 12h is fine, but 48h allows for some real richness.
  3. Best Simple Mince Pie Recipe 1
  4. Make a thick, stretchy pastry mix with the flour, egg, butter and a little water. Chill for 30-60min before use.
  5. Best Simple Mince Pie Recipe 2
  6. Preheat the oven to 160C or 180C fan.
  7. Roll out the pastry at least 1/8 of an inch for small (tart tray) pies and 1/4 of an inch for deep fill (muffin tray) pies. I made the mistake of using 1/8 inch pastry for both and the deep fill ones were not as excellent.
  8. Cut circles for the base. Push them into the grooves in the tray.
  9. Fill your pies, leaving a bit of a rim of pastry visible.
  10. Brush the rim with beaten egg before adding circles of pastry for the top.
  11. Brush the whole pie with egg and sprinkle granulated sugar on top.
  12. Bake for 20-30 minutes, or until the tops are golden and crumble juuust a little bit when pressed.
  13. Remove from trays and fully chill.
  14. Serve with wine or custard.

Best Simple Mince Pie Recipe 3

Best Simple Mince Pie Recipe 4

And feel free to mix and match the recipe! My own mix has another two to three ingredients and a specific spice balance. Jon normally despises mince pies, yet these ones received a 6/8 (an honourable 7 as he doesn’t like most mince pies). And friends and family seem happy enough with them too. Find your own perfect balance to enjoy!

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

12 Treats to Make Before Christmas.

In a month and a half, we will be getting ready for a Christmas dinner. Maybe sooner if you’re holding a few events for friends before the day! And harvest season is coming to an end, with frosts quickly advancing and only a few baskets and boxes of fresh produce left. Soon there will be turnips, parsnips, some berries and that’s about it.

So why not take advantage of the last few batches of harvest and make some amazing food to preserve for our dinner tables over Christmas? Here are twelve of my favourites.

1: Plum pie filling.

The last few batches of plums should be dewey and bursting with flavour round about now, but they won’t last until December. Make the most of them and make a thick plum jam to can and preserve until Christmas.

2: Pumpkin ice cream.

Cook down some pumpkin flesh with a bit of sugar and a lot of cinnamon, nutmeg and allspice. Stir it into cream, drizzle with melted toffee, top with walnuts, freeze and forget about it for a month and a half.

3: Christmas pudding.

If you didn’t feel confident enough to cure your English Christmas pudding for six months, you can always make one now and hang it up in cheesecloth in the pantry to cure just a little bit.

4: Cranberry sauce.

Bring a few bowls of cranberries to a simmer until the juices escape. Strain and keep the liquid. Add a cup of sugar for each cup of cranberry juice. Boil for a few minutes and then can it to save for roast dinners.

5: Mincemeat.

If you want to make your own mince pies, now’s the time to make mincemeat from fresh and dried fruits, to cure and ferment a bit by December. Chop up half fresh, half dried fruits, mash with flour and plenty of brandy, heat, can and leave in the fridge until needed.

6: Pumpkin chutney.

All that remaining pumpkin and pumpkin rind can also be used up efficiently! Chop it roughly and cook it with plenty of sugar, some salt and some vinegar. Maybe a little chili too. Then, bring to a boil and can it. Keep in the fridge until needed.

7: Glacé fruit.

If you have a lot of fruit and time on your hands, you could try and make glacé (candied) fruit ready for cake toppings and snacks. You need 1lb of sugar for every 2lbs of fruit. You boil the fruit in a pan of water several times before adding the sugar to coat it.

8: Marzipan.

From stollen, a traditional German Christmas cake made with a marzipan filling, to your cheeseboard, this rich and tasty almond treat is worth making in advance.

9: Applesauce.

Essentially, apple jam. Boil your apples down with 1/3-1/2 sugar and can for later use.

10: Pear confit.

Bake pears and onions with oil and salt until soft. Bring to a high heat in a saucepan. Can, refrigerate and save.

11: Elderberry wine.

With the last of the elderberries, consider making your own elderberry wine to wow your guests at the dinner table. It is simple and doesn’t take long to ferment.

12: Sloe gin and cherry brandy.

Or, if you’re not that adventurous, get a bottle of gin and place a few sliced sloes in it and a bottle of brandy to fill with cherries.

And those are my top twelve things to make in time for Christmas! What other treats do you like to prepare early?

TTFN and Happy Hunting!

How To… make any ice cream.

Everybody loves ice cream. Or should. It’s a delicious frozen treat. It can taste of whatever you want it to. The only pity is that the best ice creams are sort of expensive.

Well, here I am to remedy that! I love making ice cream at home and it’s so simple and easy that you’ll wonder why you didn’t make it before.

1: The cream.

For your ice cream you need a creamy base. This doesn’t actually have to be cream, believe it or not. Just something that’s thick and smooth at room temperature.

Some ideas:

  • double cream
  • hand-whipped cream
  • evaporated milk
  • coconut cream
  • nut butter
  • mashed bananas
  • mashed avocado
  • frosting
  • blended persimmons

Again, anything that’s thick and creamy at room temperature.

2: The jam.

The second stage is the sweet or flavoured element. It doesn’t have to be a literal jam, but it needs to have a runny consistency and a strong and pleasant taste. This could be anything. You can even make a savoury ice cream if you want.

Some ideas:

  • jam
  • honey
  • smoothie
  • ganache
  • chocolate spread
  • nut butter
  • sauce

Anything that is runny but not liquid and adds taste.

3: The extras.

A teeny, tiny bit of something for taste. Can be anything as long as it doesn’t ruin the consistency of the ice cream.

Some ideas:

  • herbs and spices
  • essential oils
  • alcohol
  • nuts and seeds
  • fruit juice
  • honey and other sweeteners
  • salt

4: Blend.

Take a blender and mix the three elements together. Pour into a freezer-safe tupper.

5: The toppings.

A bit of colour, texture and flavour to sprinkle on top. Something light and contrasting.

Some ideas:

  • nuts and seeds
  • fruit pieces
  • berries
  • melted chocolate
  • melted toffee
  • candy bars
  • leaves
  • salt
  • pieces of ginger or cinnamon

6: Freeze.

Once you’re happy with how it looks and tastes, put it in the freezer for at least 24h.

7: Lightly defrost.

Some cream bases freeze very hard. Others freeze very softly. Make sure that it is perfectly scoopable before you try and serve.

8: Serve.

Dish it up, maybe with extra toppings.

Consume within four months for best taste.

WWW. Rich Risotto and Plum Tart.

Been a busy week for cooking. Risotto, mince stew, chicken, tarts, satay, bread, cupcakes…

Decided to write up the risotto, as I haven’t put  a risotto up before (I don’t think I have anyway), the plum tart and the walnut bread.

Risotto.

Ingredients:

(Serves 6.)

-300g rice

-3 parsnips

-6 medium carrots

-300g celeriac

-2 onions

-1 head garlic

-300ml double cream

-300ml red wine

-1tbsp sage leaves

-2tbsp salt

-1tbsp pepper

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-large pot

Recipe:

1: Peel and finely chop the onions, celeriac, parsnips and carrots.

2: Peel and crush the garlic cloves. Place all the vegetables in the pot.

3: Add the wine and set to simmer.

4: Salt, pepper, add the cream and stir well.

5: Once the cream and wine have combined and become more fluid, add the rice. Add the sage and keep an eye on it, stirring to make sure the rice doesn’t stick.

6: If it boils low, add a bit of very hot water and keep stirring until the rice is cooked.

7: Serve with pan-seared chicken.

Bread.

Ingredients:

-500g flour and raising agents

-3 eggs

-150ml milk

-1 cup walnuts

-1tbsp nutmeg

-1tsp cinnamon

-1/4tsp cloves

-water as needed

Utensils:

-mixing bowl

-greased loaf tin

Recipe:

1: Mix the dry ingredients thoroughly.

2: Incorporate the eggs and milk.

3: Add water whilst stirring until the mix is runny and fluffy.

4: Bake at 160C for 45min, or until a skewer comes out clean.

5: Remove from tin and cool upside down.

Tart.

Ingredients:

For the base:

-200g flour

-100g butter

-100g white chocolate

For the top:

-2 fresh peaches

-2 fresh plums

Utensils:

-chopping board and knife

-mixing bowl

-greased or nonstick tray

Recipe:

1: Chop the chocolate into crumbs.

2: Mash the flour, butter and chocolate together. Use to line the tray.

3: Slice the fruit. Arrange decoratively on base.

4: Bake at 160C until the fruit is soft but not too discoloured.

5: Serve with cinnamon-sugar cream.

Forgot to ask Jon to borrow his phone for the good pictures today, so will post them tomorrow!

TTFN and Happy Hunting!