Thursday, 25 February 2010

Yorkshire Pudding with Goat Cheese and Chutney

This week I've been trying out new recipes to showcase my sister's fantastic chutneys. ( just in case I have not already mentioned it/emailed it/expunged at length on how fantastic she is.)

Similar to American popovers,these Yorkshire puddings are usually served alongside a sunday roast and are often made in a single large tin with the fat and juices from the roasting joint of meat.

I've removed the meat juices, replaced the fat with olive oil and added some goat cheese (don't tell anyone from Yorkshire) to the batter resulting in a rich cheesy golden crust with a meltingly tender centre. They are the perfect foil for the smoky undertones of whisky peach chutney or the rich sweetness of fig and ginger. (Oh and my kids ate two dozen of them variously flavoured with goat cheese, parmesan and cheddar as after-school snacks this week - a huge hit!)

Yorkshire Pudding with goat cheese and chutney
300ml of milk  
4 eggs
salt and black pepper
220g flour 
A couple of tablespoons of olive oil
6oz young goat cheese

Set the oven to 220° C.
Beat together the milk, eggs, salt and pepper.
Add the flour, give a good whisk and let the mixture stand for at least half an hour.
Drizzle a little oil into each of the holes in a 12 muffin tin (or 24 hole mini-muffin tin for canape sized yorkies.)
Put the tin in the oven.
When the oil is very hot and sizzling, add the Yorkshire pudding mixture in each tin, filling them about two thirds full.
On top of the batter, add a large teaspoon of goat cheese to the centre of each yorkshire pud.
Return it to the oven and let them cook for 20 minutes until beautifully puffed up and golden.
Serve while hot with good chutney.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

The Quickest Ever Canapes -a book group special

I met with the girls in my book group last night. They are a discerning bunch and whoever hosts our monthly catch-up always tries to provide interesting food as part of the evening's entertainment.

So, my turn last night but between working a ten hour day, feeding the kids and trying to make the house presentable to adults, I didn't have much time to prepare unusual and stylish nibbles to accompany wine and book chat. Instead I had to fall back on a favourite quick but gorgeous d-i-y canape.

If you have time and inclination, make your own blinis, otherwise, buy them in and use all your creative skills assembling a platter of blinis, salmon and creme fraiche for everyone to help themselves to.

Lemon Vodka-Creme Fraiche Blinis
300ml creme fraiche
3tbsp lemon vodka
Zest of one lemon, finely grated
1 tbsp capers, chopped

Whisk together the creme fraiche and vodka then stir through the lemon zest and capers

To serve:
Smoked Salmon
Blinis - either home made or shop-bought

Friday, 12 February 2010

Banana Oatmeal Pancakes

I love these - (reasonably) healthy pancakes. I can't bring myself to eat porridge for breakfast. Well maybe once a year on a really cold day when I have flu and want to stay in bed. Aside from that I have to get my health fix by sneaking it into other recipes. Oatmeal is full of nutrients, it is thought to have cancer fighting properties as well as reducing the liklihood of heart disease. Basically something really should eat whether we like it or not.

So another day... another pancake recipe. With bananas, oatmeal and a hint of vanilla whisked in to this batter, these are rich, filling and incredibly morish. 
These go down well with kids with a tablespoon of peanut butter whisked into the batter or served with peanut butter instead of honey. Roll on Pancake Tuesday.... although I have not quite decided what we'll be eating that day! 

Banana Oatmeal Pancakes with orange blossom honey drizzle

1 cup plain flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 egg 
1 tbsp sugar
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1 tsp vanilla extract
Milk to mix
A little oil 
Orange blossom honey to serve

Whisk together flour, oats, bicarbonate, baking powder, egg, sugar, bananas and vanilla. 
Add enough milk to make a thick pourable liquid.  
Heat a griddle or heavy frying pan on a medium heat. 
Lightly oil the pan.
Pour a couple of tablespoons of batter per pancake onto the pan. You may be able to fit three or four small pancakes on the surface.
When the surface of the pancakes have become covered in bubbles, flip them over using a palette knife and cook on the other side.
Once cooked on both sides, remove to a warm plate and cover with a tea-towel until ready to serve.

After each round of pancakes, lightly oil the griddle or pan once more.
Serve with a drizzle of orange blossom (or other) honey.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Blueberry Scotch Pancakes with Maple Butter

Pancake Tuesday approaches. In typically British style, there is no mardi gras or carnival to celebrate the season, just a big build up to a single day with a different sort of dessert! Although typically as soon as the reminders appear in the shops, you know the sort of thing - lemons and sugar by the till,  golden syrup in Warhol-esque towers in the middle of aisles, my boys start craving pancakes three times a day.

So Pancake Tuesday is still almost a week away and we have already exhausted our supplies of flour, baking powder and syrup having had pancakes for breakfast, after school snack and (just once so far) for dinner. We are now aiming to try a new pancake every day until next tuesday. Our latest incarnation is fruit filled and topped with the most gloriously morish butter.

Blueberry Scotch Pancakes
1 cup plain flour
1 tbsp caster sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 egg
1 tbsp maple syrup
milk to mix
2 tbsp blueberries
a smidgen of vegetable oil 

Sift the flour, sugar, baking powder and bicarbonate together.
Whisk together the egg and maple syrup.
Stir the wet ingredients into the dry then add enough milk to make a thick but pourable liquid.
Heat a griddle or heavy frying pan. Lightly oil the pan.
Pour a couple of tablespoons of batter per pancake onto the pan.
When the surface of the pancakes have become covered in bubbles, flip them over using a palette knife and cook on the other side. 
Once cooked on both sides, remove to a warm plate and cover with a tea-towel until ready to serve.
Lightly oil the pan in between rounds of pancakes.
Serve a stack of blueberry pancakes with a dollop of maple butter.(below)

Maple Butter
4tbsp butter
4 tbsp maple syrup
Whisk together till blended.

Sunday, 7 February 2010

Spicy Hummus with Crispy Lamb

Middle Eastern and North African food is a wee passion in my kitchen. Whenever I search for dinner ideas, I return again and again to the books that experiment with flavours of the east: Claudia Roden's 'Arabesque', Sam Tamimi and Yotam Ottolenghi's 'Ottolenghi: The Cookbook' and Sam and Sam Clark's Moro books among others. For me the attraction is in the aromatic spices, slow cooking and liberal use of beans and seeds.

Hummus is one of my favourite foods of all time, we eat our way through an astonishing amount of hummus each week, served with salad on flatbreads for lunch, as afterschool snack with carrots and sugarsnaps, or as late night snack with pitta bread and a glass of wine.

No matter how good some of the shop bought versions are, it never tastes as good as when you make it yourself. Hummus itself takes five minutes to throw together but this recipe transforms it from a simple dip into a more luxurious starter or supper.

For a vegetarian version, liberally sprinkle with toasted pine nuts, or with chickpeas cooked in place of the lamb.
Spicy Hummus with Crispy Lamb

For the hummus:
400g tin chickpeas, drained
1 lemon, juice and zest
2 tbsp tahini
2 large garlic cloves, crushed
100ml olive oil
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp cayenne powder
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp plain greek yogurt

For the crispy lamb:
100g minced lamb
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp harrisa or chilli paste
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp coriander
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
drizzle of extra virgin olive oil

Blend all the hummus ingredients together in a food processor until smooth.
Spread thinly across a large plate.
Heat the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan and saute the minced lamb till browned. Add the harissa, cumin, coriander and cinnamon and cook gently for around 5 minutes until the lamb starts to become a little crispy.
Scatter the lamb over the hummus and sprinkle the smoked paprika over everything. Just before serving anoint with a little drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and serve with flatbreads.