19 December 2011

Soft Raspberry Coconut Ice

I spent the whole of last week making food for our Christmas party which was on Saturday and didn't remember to take photos of the final products at all... one of these was the Soft Raspberry Coconut Ice from Short and Sweet by Dan Lepard. This sounds a bit strange and Joe told me not to make them because they sounded weird. However, I made them anyway and there were none left! They went down incredibly well so I can't recommend them enough. I'm cross I haven't got a finished picture of these in their little silver petit four cases (from Lakeland of course) but I will definitely be making them again so I will add photos then. Just imagine beautiful old fashioned looking cubes with a lovely pink layer on top of a white layer.

Soft Raspberry Coconut Ice
Makes about 65 squares

For the white mixture:
250g icing sugar
100g mascapone
150g desiccated coconut

For the Raspberry mixture:
50g fresh raspberries
50g mascapone
250g icing sugar
200g desiccated coconut

You will need an18cm square tin lined with non-stick baking paper. Make this the day ahead for perfect consistency.

1. Make the white ice first by beating half the sugar with the mascapone until you have a smooth runny paste.

2. Stir in the coconut and remaining sugar, mix well then press into the bottom of the tin. Pack the mixture in well and smooth the top.
The coconut layer in the tin

3. Squish the raspberries with the mascapone and half the sugar until smooth. Then stir in the coconut followed by the remaining sugar.

4. Spread this carefully over the white ice until you have it even then press it down firmly with a spatula and your fingers.

5. Loosely cover the tin, with the top of the ice exposed to the air slightly and leave overnight somewhere cool to firm.

6. The next day, use the baking paper to lift the ice out of the tin and then cut it into pieces.

14 December 2011

Sweet Tomato Chutney

This is without a doubt my favourite chutney. If I make any others they never live up to this one so I make double quantities of the original recipe and make sure I always have some in the fridge. This is also perfect for presents so if you fancy doing something homemade this festive looking preserve is just the thing and amazing with cheese.

Based on a Madhur Jaffrey recipe I've kept the quantities in their old fluid ounce and pound measurements but you can convert these if you want - you really shouldn't need to as most scales and measuring jugs have both sets of measurements on them.

This recipe makes about 1 pint jar so I recommend doubling or even tripling it but here it is in it's original 1 pint form

Sweet Tomato Chutney

Makes about 1 pint

1 whole head of garlic, peeled and coarsely chopped
A piece of fresh ginger about 2 inches long, 1 inch thick and 1 inch wide, peeled and coarsely chopped
12 fl. oz. white wine vinegar
14 oz. tinned whole tomatoes (or 2lbs fresh tomatoes, peeled)
3/4 lbs (12 oz) granulated sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/8 - 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tbsp golden raisin

You can use fresh tomatoes when they are in season - they need to be peeled first. You also need a large, heavy bottomed pan with a non-metallic finish... now I use my large metal preserving pan and it all seems to be fine so make of this what you will.

1. Put the chopped garlic, ginger and 4 fl. oz. of the vinegar into a blender and blend on high speed until smooth.

2. In your heavy bottomed pan, place the tomatoes and juice from the tin, the rest of the vinegar, the sugar, salt and cayenne pepper.

3. Bring to the boil, add the puree from the blender, lower the heat and simmer gently, uncovered, for about 1 1/2 or 2 hours until the chutney becomes thick and a film clings to a spoon when dipped into it).

Simmering chutney
4. Stir occasionally at first and then more frequently later as it thickens and you may need to lower the heat as the liquid diminishes.

5. Add the raisins and simmer stirring for another five minutes.

6. Turn the heat off and allow to cool before putting into your sterilised jar.

My finished chutney - I made double amounts

12 December 2011

Simple Chocolate Mousse

I love this recipe - quick, easy and can be made ahead of time which is always helpful when you are having people for supper. I make them in little espresso cups and serve with double cream but you can use ramekins or make it in one big dish if you want.

Simple Chocolate Mousse

Serves 6-8

125g (4oz) dark chocolate
4 eggs
1 tbsp water

I've put serves 6-8 - it fills 6 espresso cups and one ramekin but if you were doing it in one dish and serving with other things this would definitely do 8.

1. Break up the chocolate and put in a bowl with the water. Melt the chocolate either in the microwave or by balancing the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. I do the latter because you are guaranteed to get lovely smooth chocolate not sad burnt bits.

2. When the chocolate is melted remove the bowl from the saucepan and put to one side to cool.

3. Separate the eggs - putting the yolks is a small bowl for later and the whites in a mixing bowl big enough for whisking.

4. Add a pinch of salt to the egg whites and then whisk into soft peaks - I use my trusty electric hand whisk.

5. Beat the yolks and add to the cooled chocolate. Then, using a metal spoon, fold the whites into the chocolate mixture.

6. Spoon or pour into your chosen dish or cups and put in the fridge until you need them. These are nicest prepared in the morning and eaten the same day. They are fine the next day too though.


6 December 2011

Fish Pie No 2 - My Mumma

A couple of months ago I made Jamie Oliver's fish pie from his new book Jamie's Great Britain. And it was fine... but just fine. Not the amazing, soothing, delicious wonderment that I expect from my fish pie. I'm spoilt - not only is my mum's fish pie awesome but my husband's is also amazing and they are both different so I find it hard to choose which is my favourite.

Anyway when I found Jamie's pie to be a bit meh I thought maybe that's just a reflection of my fish pie taste and everyone's different - so I thought I'd put all three on here and you can see which you prefer. Now is the time for the second one - my mum's and it was even better than I remembered it (and she wasn't even happy with the selection of fish she'd got!)

We made it together last weekend and it's really easy and great to prepare ahead if you want - we made the sauce and the mash ahead and reheated when we needed them and had the cheese all grated and ready to go. My mother also pointed out that she thinks my photos on here are pretty crappy. I said you didn't mind - she assured me that you do so I'd like to issue a formal apology and vow to try harder in future... having said that the photos for this were taken on my phone and I am unashamedly using lots of them because it looks so delicious. So there.

My Mumma's Fish Pie

Serves 4

4 hard boiled eggs
350g mixed fish - white and smoked fish preferably. We don't like fresh salmon in our fish pie.
2 large leeks, finely sliced
400ml milk
50g butter
50g flour
2 handfuls of freshly chopped parsley
140g cheddar cheese, grated
1 tsp bouillon powder
salt and pepper

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. You will need a medium sized pie dish for this. You can buy pre-selected packs of fish pie fish nowadays which is what we used here - all very well except this one had salmon in it. It's ok but a bit tasteless - smoked salmon or trout would be better.

1. Melt the butter and add the leeks, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then soften in the butter, stirring occasionally.

2. While the leeks are softening butter your pie dish and gently heat the milk in a saucepan.

Buttered pie dish

3. Add the flour and bouillon powder to the softened leeks and butter and stir well.

4. Stir in the warmed milk and taste for seasoning.

5. Bring to the boil whilst stirring continuously. Once boiling cook and stir for five minutes, add the parsley as you turn off the heat. If you are making this ahead just leave this sauce to cool and reheat when you need it.

6. Roughly slice the eggs into the bottom of your buttered pie dish and add the fish.

Fish and eggs in pie dish

7. Cover with the leek sauce and then top with the grated cheese.

Leek sauce

Cheese topping

8. Cook uncovered in the oven for about 20 minutes.

9. Serve with mashed potato and peas.

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