Oh heavens, I’ve just realised there is only one recipe so far on the blog which has lentils in it! To put matters right here’s my favourite lentil salad, perfect for meat free Monday. Lentil, tomato and halloumi salad ingredients 250g cherry tomatoes, […]
Month: July 2017
The fruit that arrives with my veg box very rarely makes it to the fruit bowl or fridge as it is normally eaten within an hour of being delivered. This week I was determined to make better use of it and to put my independent crumble recipe to good use.
I was recently advised by my doctor to reduce the amount of saturated fat in my diet, as my cholesterol levels had crept above the recommended level and, although I don’t have a particularly sweet tooth, I do like a nice fruit tart or crumble and these can contain a fair amount of butter. The idea of an independent crumble was born, cooked separately from the filling, putting me in control of how much I was using.
This crumble topping can be used with stewed fruit, ice cream or yoghurt and will keep for a couple of weeks in an airtight container. I have given you the recipe below followed by a couple of ideas on how to use it.
Independent Crumble Topping
- 225g plain flour
- A pinch of salt
- 150g cold, unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 100g demerara sugar
- 100g porridge oats
- 75g nuts, chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 180°C/Fan 160°C/Gas4
Place all the ingredients, except the nuts if using, into a bowl and rub together using your fingertips until you have a crumbly dough. Add the nuts then squeeze the mixture with your hands to form clumps and spread these out on a large baking tray.
Place in the oven and bake for about 25 minutes, stirring halfway, until golden brown. Leave to cool then transfer to an airtight container.
Now for the fun part – how to use. In this next recipe I roasted fruit in the oven then topped with crumble towards the end of the cooking time. This recipe serves two but can easily be doubled. Great served with custard.
Roasted Peach and Blueberry Crumble
- 2 peaches, stoned and cut into four
- A small punnet of blueberries
- 2 tbsp caster sugar
- 120g Independent crumble (use more or less as you please)
Preheat oven to 180°C/Fan 160°/Gas 4
Place the peaches and blueberries in an oven proof dish and sprinkle over 2 tablespoons of water and the sugar. Cover lightly with foil and place in the oven for about 30 minutes, until the peaches are soft and juicy.
Remove the foil from the dish and sprinkle over the crumble mix. Return to the oven and cook for a further 10 minutes.
Serve warm with custard.
Another way I like to use the crumble is to simply stew some fruit with a bit of sugar and a splash of water, until soft and juicy. Once the fruit has cooled down I put a layer in the bottom of a glass, add yogurt and then top with crumble. A nice simple dessert which is truly delicious.
What does summer mean to you? For me it’s holidays, leisurely evenings eating food outside on the patio, an abundance of tasty summer fruit, fresh salads, Pimms and Wimbledon.
I wondered how I could encapsulate all of this into a dessert and the idea of a Pimms jelly, loaded with strawberries, was born. The ensuing creation certainly packs a punch and, with each mouthful, reduces that anxiety we all experience when watching the British play at Wimbledon!
Garnished with mint, cucumber and a slice of orange, this makes a perfect summer dessert.
Pimms Summer Jelly
- 3 leaves of gelatine
- 200ml lemonade
- 100ml Pimms (or other summer cup)
- Juice ½ orange, reserve the rest of the orange for garnishing
- 200g strawberries, hulled
- 2 slices cucumber
- sprig of mint
Soak gelatine leaves in cold water for 5 minutes or until soft.
Heat 100ml of lemonade until just boiling then remove from the heat. Lift the gelatine out of the water, give it a good squeeze then stir into the lemonade until dissolved. Add the rest of the lemonade, Pimms and orange juice. Stir well then pour the mixture through a sieve into a jug.
Slice the strawberries then divide between two glasses. Pour the jelly over (see tip below). Chill for about 3 hours until set. Garnish with the cucumber, mint and slices of orange.
Tip – The fruit does have a tendency to float to the surface. I like to fill the glasses in two stages, setting them in between, so that the fruit is distributed evenly throughout the jelly. It’s also quite nice to trap the orange slices in the jelly as well. Pimp your Pimms any way you wish. Enjoy!
Whilst I was browsing through twitter this morning it came to my attention that it’s world chocolate day. I already had this cake baking in the oven and thought it would be perfect to share with you on this prestigious occasion. It’s also a lovely […]
It really was third time lucky in developing this bread. My first attempt used yoghurt and produced a loaf which had quite a close texture. The flavours were a bit too strong and also far too salty for my palate.
I returned to my tried and tested focaccia recipe for attempt number two, but again ended up with a loaf which was ‘bready’, lacking that nice airy texture normally associated with focaccia. I wondered if the inclusion of cumin seeds in the dough was affecting the outcome. The flavours this time were spot on.
Attempt number three and I have tweaked the amount of yeast required and added ground cumin to the dough. The final result – good flavour but still a little close textured, but I am satisfied with it and happy to share my recipe with you all. I would love you to share your thoughts with me, to take this bread to another level.
The focaccia is great with dips and as an accompaniment to soups. It also makes an awesome feta and roasted pepper sandwich.
Eastern Inspired Focaccia
- 500g strong white bread flour
- 2 x 7g sachets dried yeast
- 2 teasp salt
- 1 tbsp ground coriander
- 1 teasp ground cumin
- 1 teasp dried chilli flakes
- 1 teasp dried oregano
- 320 ml warm water
- 50 ml olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
- 1 teasp cumin seeds
- 1 teasp nigella seeds
- 1 teasp sumac
Thoroughly mix the flour, yeast, salt, ground coriander, ground cumin, chilli flakes and oregano. Make a well in the centre and add the warm water and olive oil. Mix together to make a rough ball then tip out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes until smooth, elastic and springy to touch. (Or use a food mixer fitted with a dough hook).
Place the dough in a large oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in size.
Slide the dough onto an oiled baking tray. Use your fingertips to make indentations in the dough while flattening it into an oval shape about 3cm thick. Cover with oiled cling film and leave for about 40 minutes or until doubled in size.
Preheat oven to 200°C/fan 180°C/gas 6
Once the dough has risen, gently press your fingertips into the dough to make more indentations. I find it best to dip your fingers in oil to avoid knocking back the rest of the loaf. Sprinkle the cumin seeds, nigella seeds and sumac over the surface then drizzle over some more olive oil. Place in the preheated oven and cook for 30 minutes until golden and cooked through.
Once cooked turn out of the tray and cool slightly on a wire rack. Serve warm.