Lemon Curd

This is one of my all time favourite preserves to make, as not only is it delicious on toast or warm bread, but can be used in desserts.  Use it as a filling in a cake, swirl into a creamy fool or make up a quick lemon meringue pie.  Homemade lemon curd is relatively easy to make and store.  I always use unwaxed lemons and find that this recipe is a great way of using up left over lemons, that you are not sure what to do with!

 

honey

Ingredients
• 450g Caster sugar
• 4 Unwaxed lemons (zest and juice)
• 4 Eggs gently beaten
• 100g Butter
Sterilising Jars
To sterilise your jars you will need to wash and rinse in hot soapy water, or put in a hot cycle of your dishwasher.  Dry them, then place on a clean baking tray and put into an oven at 150 degrees centigrade for about 15 minutes.

You need to place a bowl over a pan of hot water, taking care that the water does not actually touch the bottom of the bowl.  Place all the ingredients in a bowl and mix round.
Keep gradually mixing and eventually after about 25 minutes the mixture will start to thicken.  You can tell when the mixture is thick enough by taking about half a teaspoon out and placing on a cool plate for a few seconds.  As it cools it should start to thicken, if it is still too runny then keep cooking for a further few minutes.
Place into sterilised jars making sure you leave a good gap between the top of the lemon curd and the jar lid. Do not place the lid of the jar on immediately, just let it loosely rest on top until the lemon curd mixture has had a chance to cool down, otherwise you will end up with condensation.
I then place a disc of greaseproof paper on top before putting the lid on.

Kedgeree

I am not one for eating breakfast early, but I do enjoy a good brunch.  This recipe for kedgeree is great for a late breakfast or lunch and is reasonably healthy too.  Do try and get the undyed haddock.  I am no fan of the bright yellow stuff where dye was used years ago, as a way of reducing smoking time and cost.  Some of the dye used is an E number called E104 Quinoline Yellow.  People who suffer from Asthma, hyperactivity and dermatitis should probably avoid this like the plague.  This additive has been banned in certain countries such as Australia, Japan, Norway and the USA.  Still want to eat the dyed fish?  If so, the  you must be mad!

kedgeree

 

480g Undyed smoked haddock fillet, cut in half
100ml Milk with 400ml of cold water
2 Bay leaves
200g Basmati rice
4 Free-range eggs hardboiled and peeled, then cut into quarters
80g Frozen peas cooked and left warm
40g Butter
1 Onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp sunflower oil
1 Heaped tbsp medium curry powder
3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
3 Tbsp double cream
½ Lemon, juiced
Ground black pepper
Place the haddock, milk/water and bay leaves in a large frying pan and bring it to a gentle simmer. Cook for 8 minutes, then drain but making sure you reserve the cooking liquor and remove the bay leaves.

Place the cooking liquor in a saucepan and add the rice. Bring it to a boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 12 minutes. If the rice is using up too much of the cooking liquor too quickly then add a little extra hot water from the kettle. I use a lid on my pan with just a slight opening to let a little steam out. Turn off the heat and leave the rice undrained for a few minutes. The rice will then absorb much or all of the liquor.

In a large frying pan melt the butter and oil and cook the onion over a low hear for five minutes until softened and translucent. Then add the curry powder and cook for 2 minutes, making sure you stir constantly. Drain off any excess liquid from the rice, and then add to the pan along with the peas, cream and parsley.

Flake the fish into the pan, stir in the lemon juice and stir gently to heat through for around 1 minute. Then take the pan off the heat, and add some ground pepper and stir once more gently so as not break the fish too much. Place the egg quarters on top and place a lid or tin foil on top of the pan, and leave for around 3 minutes, so that the egg is heated slightly. Then serve.

 

Asparagus Soup

Roll on the better weather when we can enjoy this fabulous soup when it comes to asparagus season.  There is nothing like the taste of locally grown asparagus which usually appears from April-June.  Although the fickle British climate means you have to keep your eyes peeled for when it does start to emerge, but for an asparagus lover like me it is well worth the wait.    You can use foreign grown stuff, but I try to avoid it where possible and prefer to wait until it comes into season here and support my local farmers and growers.

 

asparagus soup

 

2 Tbsp Olive Oil
Knob of Butter
450g Asparagus, finely chopped
1 Large onion finely chopped
500ml Chicken stock (Hot)
Salt & Pepper
Some double cream to swirl on top

Optional – Croutons

Heat the olive oil and butter in a saucepan over a medium heat. Then add in the onion and fry for four minutes, until transparent. Take the asparagus and add it into the pan and allow to cook for a further 2-3 minutes. Add the stock, bring to the boil and then reduce to a simmer and cook for 7 minutes. Once cooked, take a hand blender and blend until smooth. Check for seasoning and add salt and pepper. As a finishing touch add a swirl of cream, or mix it through the whole soup. You can also add some croutons on top when served into a bowl, which adds a nice texture and crunch.

Pineapple Chutney

Just recently I have seen some low prices in stores for fresh pineapple.  As well as enjoying it in juices, smoothies and eating it as it is, I also like to make a pineapple chutney which tastes so good as an accompaniment with many things.  I add it into a sandwich, as a dip for poppodums with a curry and with salads.  If you like your chutney to have extra heat, then add a bit more chilli.  Occasionally when I have a glut of tomatoes I will add a few of those in too!

 

pineapple chutney

 
Ingredients
• 2 Pineapples peeled, cored and chopped into small chunks
• 3 Red onions, peeled and finely chopped
• 1 Red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
• 1 tsp Turmeric
• 1 tbsp Nigella Seeds
• 1 tbsp Yellow mustard seeds
• 1 Inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
• 2tbsp Sunflower oil
• 250g Soft brown sugar
• 180ml Cider vinegar
• 1 tsp Salt
(For 3 x 300ml Jars)
Heat the oil in a heavy based saucepan.  Add the spices and onions and cook for around four minutes.  Add all the other ingredients and simmer for around about an hour until thick.  Pour into sterilised jars.  Allow to cool before you cover the jars with a close fitting lid

Churros

If you are on a diet then move away from this page immediately.  These are naughty treats that I scoffed whilst on holiday once, and still I find them utterly delicious.  Dip them into melted chocolate or roll them in cinnamon sugar, and I am sure you will fall for them too!  Just remember the saying, … ‘a moment on the lips, a lifetime on the hips.’

churros

 

Ingredients
• 350ml of boiling water
• 250g plain flour
• 50g butter, softened
• ½ tsp vanilla extract
• 1 tsp baking powder
• 1 litre sunflower oil

Pour the boiling water into a jug and add the butter and vanilla extract. Sift the flour and baking powder (to ensure it is lump free) into a big mixing bowl along with a pinch of salt. Make a well in the centre of the flour.  Now pour in the butter/water/vanilla mix. With a wooden spoon beat all the ingredients together until lump free and then set to one side to rest for 10 minutes.
Fill a deep saucepan with oil for frying.   Once the oil has heated to a high temperature, drop a teaspoon of mix into the oil, this is to check to see if it is going golden brown and crisp.  If it isn’t, wait for the oil to heat up a bit more.
Fit a star nozzle to a piping bag.  Fill with the rested dough, then pipe 2-3 strips directly into the pan.   When they are a couple of inches long snip off with a pair of kitchen scissors, so that the dough then drops into the oil.   Alternatively you can make longer churros, once you have mastered the technique of frying with the dough.  Do a couple at a time, anymore and they will not cook properly.  Fry until they are a light golden brown, then remove with a slotted spoon.  It is best at this point to have a plate with kitchen roll on it, to lay the churros on to it to absorb the excess oil.  Keep repeating until you have used up all the dough.