Monday, March 13, 2006

Chorizos and broad bean with ciabatta

This is one of those anti-pasti dishes, I made during our month long entertaining stint recently. It was a huge hit with my FIL and it served as our entree along with a host of other tasty treats for a couple of the feasts.

I found the recipe in a book I received from my SIL, about 4 years ago and it is one of those books that I have found it difficult to find inspiration, but no more I think it is all a matter of timing, and last summer it was all about mediterranean style starters from this book "The Mediterranean Collection" by Louise Pickford.

250 g shelled broad beans fresh (or 1 packet frozen broad beans)
125g spicy chorizo sausage
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon chopped dill
1 tablespoon chopped mint
juice of 1/2 lemon
salt and pepper

I also used about 1 teaspoon of smoked paprika.

I had to use frozen broad beans rather than fresh, so it was a matter of taking the outer shell from the beans - and a frozen packet is quite a few more than the fresh I think?

Cut the sausage into slices about 5mm(1/4inch) thick. Heat the oil in a frying pan, ad the garlic and fry gently for 2-3 minutes until softened, then discard. Increase the heat, add the sliced chorizo and stir-fry for 2-3 minutes, until it is golden and has released some of its oil.

Stir in the beans and cook for a further 2-3 minutes then add the herbs, squeeze over the lemon juice and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve warm with some freshly baked turkish bread.

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Too much panettone - Bread and Butter pudding

I actually made this B&B pudding about 2 months ago, when I tried to finish off the seemlingly never ending loaf of panettone I had purchased at Christmas.

I was the only one who enjoyed using the panettone as french toast, so in order to finish it up, I had to find another way to serve it.

As it turned out, again I was the only one to enjoy this dessert. P and Elliot not being big baked bread fans and all, and Gabriella - well she is just down right fussy at times.

The recipe was one I just decided to make up and I drew my inspiration from Nigella and "Feasts".

The pudding had a lovely orange flavour which was due to the orange peel component in the pannetone. All up I thought if you love this style of comfort dessert it is well worth making.

My B&B

butter for greasing
8-10 slices of panettone
butter for the panettone
The Grainge Raspberry jam (the best as far as I am concerned)
2 tablespoons caster sugar
6 eggs
500 mls double cream
1 teaspoon pure vanilla essence
250 mls milk
1/4 cup of sultanas (not an option if your me)

Preheat the oven to 170c.

Butter a 2 litre dish.

Spread the pannetone with butter and jam. Place the pannetone in the dish and squish it all into the layer.

In a bowl whisk the sugar, eggs, cream and milk add the vanilla essence. Pour over pannetone and leave to stand 15mins.

Reduce the oven to 150c and bake for 45 mins - 60 minutes. Before taking out of the oven check that the custard has just set.

Best served warm with some vanilla ice-cream.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Sunday morning banana bread.

Making some time to browse on the internet + 3 ripe bananas = Sunday morning banana bread .

It was my turn to get up at 6.30am with Gabi (and today was actually a sleep-in for her) so what else to do but make use of my extra time making this banana bread that I found on my latest favourite baking resource.

As usual, while the recipe (below) is to be credited to the Joy of Baking website I have replicated it here for my future reference.

While baking the bread, I was a little disappointed that I didn't think of substituting wholemeal flour for the white flour and brown sugar for the refined sugar. In the end because once I started thinking about the brown sugar and couldn't stop, I decided to make a coconut and brown sugar concoction to add to the top of the cake. It was lovely and did smell extra scrumptious while baking, but in retrospect it is something I think you could add the top in the last 20 minutes. It made eating the cake a little messier. I also added lots of pecans (as suggested) to mine as I love, love, love them at the moment.

My only other hint, is to watch the timing, I was in danger of letting mine be on the dry side.

But when I came home this afternoon after a few hours at work, my fears of a dry bread were not realised because while I was away, with the rainy weather the boys indulged themselves in a game of Risk and quite a few slices of banana bread. I think there is about one quarter of the loaf left. So much for school lunches.

Recipe for Banana Bread
1 3/4 cups (245 grams) plain flour
3/4 cup (150 grams) castor sugar
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup (115 grams) toasted walnuts or pecans, coarsely chopped (optional- not for me)
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
8 tablespoons (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
3 very ripe large bananas (approximately 1 pound or 454 grams), mashed well (about 1-1/2 cups)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

large banana, sliced (Optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place oven rack to middle position. Butter and flour (or spray with a non stick vegetable/flour spray) the bottom and sides of an 8-cup loaf pan (9 x 5 x 3 inch) (23 x 13 x 8 cm). Set aside.

Place the pecans on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 minutes or until lightly toasted. Let cool and then chop coarsely.

In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nuts. Set aside.

In a medium-sized bowl combine the mashed bananas, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, lightly fold the wet ingredients (banana mixture) into the dry ingredients until just combined and batter is thick and chunky. (The important thing is not to over mix the batter. You do not want it smooth. Over mixing the batter will yield tough, rubbery muffins or breads.)

Scrape batter into prepared pan and place the slices of banana on top of the batter for garnish. Bake until bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 to 60 minutes. Place on a wire rack to cool and then remove the bread from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Makes 1 loaf which will be eaten in less than 8 hours if left on a rainy day with three hungry young men and a board game to occupy themselves.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Healthy and tasty competition

My pork cutlet

I bought some of these lovely *pork loin cutlets a few weeks ago. One night when I had worked late (a habit recently) I came home after 7pm and P had waited for me so he could cook us both a lovely meal.

Some gorgeous pork loin cutlets which he had rubbed with marinade that he had smashed together in our mortar consisting of garlic, rosemary, thyme, olive oil, pepper and salt He then rubbed the marinade on the cutlets and left them for a few hours (he probably didn't mean to leave them that long I think it was just because he was waiting for me). He cooked the cutlets in our saute pan. He removed the cutlets and deglazed the pan with some white wine and vegetable stock. He threw in some sage at the very last moment.

Finally he garnished the cutlets with some ground roasted pinenuts and served them on a scrumptious mash with a simple green salad. P's pork cutlet is pictured below.

He then challenged me to cook him a pork cutlet in return.

So it tonight I was up to the challenge. In reply, also brandishing my saute pan and mortar and pestle, I smashed some whole white peppercorns and coriander seeds and added some sea salt. I then pressed this mixture onto the cutlets that I had coated with extra virgin olive oil.

I let them sit for half an hour or so, while I prepared the potatoes. Some thinly sliced baby potatoes baked in an *unctuous anchovy and garlic cream sauce.

A simple rocket and Parmesan salad on the side, plus for good measure blanched green beans with some goats cheese.

With some extra virgin olive oil in the saute pan and 2 cloves of crushed garlic I sauteed the cutlets till they were golden occassionally putting on the lid of the pan so I would capture some juices. While I let the pork rest I deglazed the pan with some lemon juice and white wine and a knob of butter - I too threw in some sage at the last moment. I checked the seasoning and added a touch more sea salt. Then served the cutlets with a big spoonful of the jus.

We had a brief discussion tonight about who won the competition, given we had both produced cutlets which were moist, tender and juicy I said that I didn't know how either of us could lose.

*( Nigel & Nigella word)
*I must add we have both been inspired of late by the Nigel Slater and his fabulous "Appetite".

P's pork chop

About Me

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Mother of two with one of each. Wife of one.Dogless. Busy working five days a week, baking and cooking when time allows. Writing rarely these days. Wishing I had time to read more often.