Baked Potato

21 March 2010

Baked Potato – Jacket Potato recipe

How do you like you spud?

Crispy golden outside, tender fluffy inside. The baked potato a meal in itself, and such an easy recipe to make – child’s play really.

Just take large baking potatoes, scrub, dry, prick, rub with olive oil & sea salt, in the oven for about an hour and they are done. Now your only care in the world is what to top them with! My preference is a little sour cream, cheese (Gruyère & sharp English Cheddar) and a sprinkle of chives.

The type of potato is important for best results. Baking potatoes are generally large, long, starchy potatoes with a thick, coarse skin. They are high in starch, with a dry, floury texture. If you are wondering what the best baking potatoes are, look for Russet, Estima, Marfona or Victoria.

See the link ‘baked potato‘ below for recipe:

Baked Potato

APPLE CRUMBLE

11 March 2010

Apple Crumble

Apple Crumble

I think certain deserts are underestimated; an easy recipe can be just as delicious as a complicated one. In fact chefs nowadays seem to be signing the praises of just such an idea.

I have always loved apple crumble, all the wonderful taste of apple pie, without fiddling around with rolled-out pastry. The crumble for this recipe actually comes from Ottolenghi’s carrot muffins. I think it is the addition of black sesame seeds and honey that makes this buttery crumble so fabulous. Your taste buds will thank you!

You can adapt this recipe using white sesame seeds if you don’t have black ones, pears instead of apples and cook the crumble for 10 minutes longer at 150°C if you prefer a softer fruit texture.

See link ‘apple crumble’ below for recipe:

Apple Crumble

Gougères - French Cheese Puffs

Gougères – French Cheese Puffs

Gougères are classic French cheese puffs made with choux pastry and grated cheese (Gruyère / Comté). French they may be but it was in Russia that I really took a liking to them.

I blame it on the French bakery Volkonsky‘s, which was in dangerous proximity to Katya’s Moscow appt. A small bakery / café selling delicious pastries, sandwiches, breads and coffee not to mention gougères.

It was a lesson in how something so innocent can be so addictive … I could have eaten them by the handful.

In memory of  Volkonsky’s gougères, here is  my recipe (see link Gougères below):

Gougères Cheese Puffs

Oreo

17 February 2010

Thomas Keller OREO

TKO – Thomas Keller Oreo Recipe

What makes these cookies so drop dead gorgeous is the sublime duo of salty chocolate cookies sandwiching a perfect white chocolate ganache cream. And for those of you who are less than ecstatic when it comes to white chocolate, not to worry, the taste is so subtle you will find yourself converted.

So it is no wonder that my colleague Claire was, and still is addicted to TKO‘s: Thomas Keller‘s ‘grown-up’ Oreo cookies. This my friends is no small food craving, we are talking about a woman making a bee-line to the Bouchon Bakery once a day, 5 days a week to buy not 1 but 2 of these pancake sized cookies. You are getting the picture here…

As  I apparently have not lived until I’ve tried a TKO, and short of asking Bouchon to FedEx me a care package, I thought I’d make them myself.  This is Thomas Keller’s original recipe from the ‘Essence of Chocolate‘ cookbook.

See link ‘Oreo‘ below for the recipe:

Oreo

CHOCOLATE TART

12 February 2010

In love with a tart!

CHOCOLATE TART : a great chocolate recipe

Valentine’s Day – whether you are a fan or not, it is always a good excuse to make something sweet. And what could be better than chocolate.

This is an ideal desert as it is simple, can be made in advance, and is sinfully delicious. The slightly sweet pastry has a buttery tender crumb combined with the rich, unctuous chocolate ganache filling, that is not too sweet nor too dark – it is a match made in heaven.

Though I must confess I have stage fright when it comes to making pastry.  This requires summoning up the courage to attack the recipe (yes attack… I am going into battle) who will win is anyone’s guess. But have no fear, here you are safe. This recipe is tried, tested and true.

The pastry tart shells are made in advance after which no more baking is needed. The chocolate ganache is just heated cream poured over chopped chocolate, then spooned into the pastry shells and left to set. For the original recipe using orange zest see The Ulterior Epiqure

See link ‘Chocolate tart‘ below for recipe:

CHOCOLATE TART

Lemon chicken

9 February 2010

Lemon Chicken

Chicken recipe : Roasted Lemon Chicken with Sumac

What to do with chicken…. that ever versatile white protein. My mother has been trying to disguise it for years while my father throws every curry in the book at it just to ‘add’ some taste.

I was looking for a change, so went sniffing through my cookbooks for an EASY CHICKEN RECIPE when I came across Ottolengi’s ‘Roast chicken with sumac, za’atar and lemon’.

The basis of the recipe looked good but I didn’t have a few of the ingredients on hand  ie) no za’atar (Middle Eastern blend of dried thyme, sesame seeds and salt) or allspice and didn’t feel much like messing around with a whole chicken, so I simplified things.

All you need is a few chicken breasts, fresh lemon, sumac (a spice made of crushed Mediterranean berries), garlic, stock and a few other spices. This makes a delicious, fragrant dish, that is healthy and great served over basmati rice.

See the link ‘lemon chicken’ below for the recipe:

LEMON CHICKEN

BEEF STROGANOFF

25 January 2010

Beef Stroganoff

BEEF STROGANOFF {Бефстроганов, Befstróganov}

A great Russian beef recipe!

“Don’t always listen to your husband but always listen to your BUTCHER!”

This is what I was told on Saturday after finding Olivier in the butcher shop. He had ventured in with our shopping list and ordered 350g of beef shoulder. The butcher put the meat on the chopping block and with his knife poised asked what we were cooking. “Beef Stroganoff” Olivier replied.

The knife went down and a knowing look came over the butchers face. “My friend” he said, “this is not the meat for you.  For beef stroganoff only beef fillet will do! You want the most tender meat, cut into ‘allumettes‘  (thin strips) and then quickly seared in the pan. It will melt in your mouth”.

And it did. The price was definitely not that of beef shoulder, but worth every penny.

Beef strogi as it’s known in our family comes with many variations on a theme. However I like a simple recipe, made with only beef, onions, paris mushroom and sour cream. A little salt & pepper, garnished with chopped parsley and you have a carnivores bit of heaven.

The name is likely derived from Count Sergei Stroganoff (1794-1881), a Russian official and gourmet! I bet you he was all over the beef fillet.

BEEF STROGANOFF

OATMEAL

20 January 2010

Oatmeal

OATMEAL

An unctuous, warm, stick to your ribs breakfast cereal, made from an easy recipe that can be thrown together in a matter of minutes and eaten with a vartiety of spices, fruits, nuts or just brown sugar.

With all this going for it, why did I avoid oatmeal like the plague when I was little…  I mean to the point that you couldn’t force the spoon down my throat! I think it came down to the texture, which with years and maturity…. I have come to like.

A few TIPS for making oatmeal :

  • add the  salt at the end for a creamy texture
  • the finer the oats the faster they cook
  • heat your bowls
  • serve with warm milk
  • Scottish superstition - stir clockwise with your right hand to avoid evil

OATMEAL

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