Showing posts from July, 2013

Sweet Pastry

I've used that many sweet pastry recipes over the years and there's 1 million and 1 ways to make sweet pastry but this is the recipe I find always results in a nice, not too crumbly, not too sweet pastry and it's not that hard to make.

You will need...
200gr unsalted butter, slightly chilled
100gr caster sugar
360gr plain flour
1 large egg
1/4 tsp vanilla bean

1. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter, sugar and vanilla together until just combined.
2. Add your egg and mix quickly
3. Sift your flour and fold into butter. As soon as its incorporated, mould into a flat square, wrap in cling wrap and place in the fridge to rest for 1 hour.
4. Remove from fridge, let sit for 10 minutes to slightly soften, then roll between two pieces of baking paper and use as desired.

Tips and Tricks of The Trade #2 - Dried Spices

After the first Tips and Tricks of the Trade rant I thought I'd keep this one a bit more simple... I've just had a peanut butter sandwich and I'm not so hangry so I can actually think straight and tell you some awesome sneaky tricks to keep your life in the kitchen a bit more efficient.

So we already know we've gotta have our Mise En Place sorted out with all your equipment and ingredients ready to rock and roll... But now we need to know a little-known trick of how to use one of the most important ingredients in many recipes- DRIED SPICES.

When spices are dried and put into a container for a while (several years in some cases!), the flavours sometimes can become a bit weak, but don't fret- they're just having a snooze. All you need to do to wake up that flavour is pop your spice in a clean, dry pan and heat it up a bit before using it.

For example; if you're making a curry and have a whole heap of wonderful spices, put them all in the pan together and give…

Chocolate Semi-Freddo with Almond Biscotti

These two can hang out together all day... I can't take credit for this but I used to make this as an apprentice and the recipe is burned on my brain because the ingredient measurements are so similar.

It really is a labour of love and needs to be done a day in advance, but they're really great to show off your mad cooking skills and are easy to present beautifully.

Almond Biscotti 

You will need...
200gr eggwhites
180gr caster sugar
180gr plain flour
180gr almonds (you can use other nuts if you wish- hazelnuts and pistachios go really well too)

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees celcius and line a square loaf tin with baking paper
2. Beat egg whites to soft peaks and gradually add sugar while continuously beating to stiff peaks (French Meringue Style*). Sugar is properly combined when you pinch a bit of the mixture and it is smooth and granule-free.
3. Fold in flour and nuts, take care not to knock any air out, pour into your tin and knock the tin on the bench a few …

River Cottage Mussels with Cider, Green Onions and Bacon

This has to be one of my absolute favourite things to cook and to eat! I love Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall (what a mouthful), he's really an inspiration to me because he's known for his back-to-basics philosophy and I really love his homey, comforting style of cooking.  

You will need...
1kg black mussels
A small knob of butter
1 tbsp olive oil
100g streaky bacon, chopped
1 bunch green onions, trimmed and sliced
1 sprig thyme
1 bay leaf
250ml medium-sweet cider
1 tsp wholegrain mustard
2-3 tbsp double cream
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Lots of chopped fresh parsley, to serve


Thyme and Honey Flatbread

Nothing goes better with a cheese plate then some freshly made flatbread, and I've noticed that you can even buy it at the grocery store these days! But if you don't want to pay a ridiculous amount of money for some 'Artisan Flatbread' and if you own a pasta roller then you can just make it yourself. It should last a fair while stored in an airtight container and if you don't eat it all while its still piping hot out of the oven.

This recipe makes pretty massive quantities, so if you're just making it at home I would use a quarter of this recipe.

You will need...
55gr fresh yeast/ 25gr dried yeast
840mL warm water
25gr sugar
25gr honey
230ml olive oil
40gr salt
30gr chopped thyme leaves
1700gr bread flour

1. Preheat your oven to 180 degrees celcius, grease 2 large baking trays and sprinkle with a little fancy salt like Maldon or Himalayan Pink Salt (which has gone a bit mental lately) or you can just use course sea salt
2. Dissolve yeast in water, sti…

Easy as vanilla cupcakes

I have grand plans for a Cupcake Week in the near future, I love a cupcake. Some people would say they've been done a million times and I would have to agree, but they're so simple to make, and really you can't go wrong with a morsel of fluffy cakey goodness topped with sweet rich icing.

You will need...

'The Best Paella In The World!'


Anna-Maria's Zucchini Slice