Saturday, 29 September 2007
For the last two weeks we have been in Bali on holiday where I have been attending a cookery course (as well as lying by the pool, drinking cocktails and eating watermelon sorbet). It has been amazing - Balinese cooking is so far removed from my style of cooking and I learned a lot! I was expecting it to be very similar to thai food and whilst there are similarities, the flavours are quite different. We were using lots of ingredients I have never come across before, kenchur, candlenuts, jackfruit, snake fruit and salam leaves.
The cookery school was run by Penny - pictured here who is originally from England (and trained at the Savoy) but who now lives and works in Bali at the lovely Alila Manggis Hotel - www.alilahotels.com/manggis (I definitely recommend it!) - what a dream job. She cooks such dreamy food and we have eaten like kings for the last two weeks! My favourite day of cooking took place in huts in the organic garden - set among the rice paddy fields (top picture) - you could not imagine a more perfect place for cooking with the farmers working alongside us in their fields. So if you will permit me, the Country Kitchen will take a trip East this week as I wanted to share with you a few of my new Balinese recipes!
Thursday, 27 September 2007
Wednesday, 26 September 2007
Makes 4 jars
Chutney makes a delicious and cheap gift. Make this chutney now, and it will be ready to give as Christmas presents to your friends, neighbours and family. It is delicious with cheese and pate. Make sure that you have a jar set aside for your boxing day lunch! Stoning the damsons takes a fair amount of time but the end result is worth it.2lb/900grams damsons, stones removed
2lb/900grams cooking apples, peeled, cored and roughly choppedJuice of 1 lemon
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and roughly chopped
2 large onions, peeled and finely chopped
500ml white wine vinegar
1 tsp allspice
3 star anise
2 cinnamon sticks
1 tbsp salt
200grams raisins7oz dark brown sugar
7oz caster sugar
Place all the ingredients in a large saucepan or a jam pan and simmer over a gentle heat for an hour until the mixture is thick and the apples have cooked down. Pour into sterilised jars and seal. Leave the chutney in a cool cupboard for at least a month. The flavours will develop with time and the chutney will keep for a year. Once opened, store the jar in the fridge.
Tuesday, 25 September 2007
Monday, 24 September 2007
I know that many of you will know how to make these already but simply core your cooking apples and slice a thin line around the centre of the apple (just enough to cut the skin) so that the skin does not split during cooking. Fill the apples with anything that takes your fancy, dried fruit, mincemeat, muesli, ginger cake etc. Pour a tbsp of golden syrup or honey over each apple and add a little water to the pan. Bake in a moderate oven for an hour until the apples are light and fluffy. Serve with lashings of custard.
Friday, 21 September 2007
Thursday, 20 September 2007
For a simple smoked salmon pate, blitz 300grams smoked salmon with the juice of a lemon and some freshly ground black pepper and sea salt in a blender. Slowly add 100ml of double cream whilst the blender is on. Taste and add more lemon or seasoning if necessary. Your pate is ready to serve. It really is that simple! If you are filling the nasturtium flowers, place the pate in a piping bag and pipe a small amount into each flower. Serve straight away otherwise the flowers will wilt.
Tuesday, 18 September 2007
Don’t you just love the scarecrows ?
Monday, 17 September 2007
Friday, 14 September 2007
300ml olive oil
2 red onion, finely chopped
2 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Course ground salt and pepper
3 tins of peeled plum tomatoes
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. When it is hot reduce the heat and tip in the onions. Fry gently until they soften, taking care that they do not burn. Add the garlic and fry for a further 2 minutes. Add a large spoon of salt and pepper and heat in the oil until you can smell the pepper cooking. The aroma is wonderful. Pour the tomatoes into a large bowl and gently squish them with your hands so that they are broken down. Pour the tomatoes into the oil and simmer for an hour (or longer if you have it) until the sauce is rich and thick.
Thursday, 13 September 2007
55g/20oz caster sugar
4 quinces, peeled, cored and chopped
Juice of 1 lemon
2 egg whites
Simmer the sugar and water in a heavy based saucepan, heating gently until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes. Leave to cool. At the same time as making the sugar syrup, in a separate pan, simmer the quinces with a little water and the lemon juice until they form a soft puree. Leave to cool. Both the sugar syrup and quince puree must be completely chilled before making the sorbet.
When you are ready to make the sorbet, mix the puree and the sugar syrup. If you have an ice cream machine, pour the quince mixture into the machine and freeze according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When the mixture is almost frozen, whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks and then pour into the ice cream machine and continue churning. When the mixture is ready, serve immediately or put in a tub and keep in the freezer until you need it. If you are making this without an ice cream machine, place the sugar syrup and puree mix in a tub in the freezer and freeze for approximately three hours until the mixture is slushy, then beat with a whisk to break up the ice crystals and fold in the whisked egg whites. Return to the freezer for a further 4 hours until the sorbet is frozen.
Wednesday, 12 September 2007
Spiced Poached Pears
500ml red wine
2 sticks of cinnamon
1 star anise
a good pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
100g caster sugar
juice of one lemon
4 ripe pears
Tuesday, 11 September 2007
I love this time of year when there are plenty of flowers in the garden and you can dot bunches around the house when visitors come. These are the arrangements I did this weekend! The sweet peas are from my mums allotment and smell divine! All very simple and free and yet these jugs of flowers looked a picture on the tables in the garden!
Monday, 10 September 2007
This weekend saw another produce show, but this time I was judging. I arrived to be greeted by this enormous table covered in food and began to understand the enormity of the task of judging 17 food categories - jams, jellies, cakes, scones, quiches, cheese straws to name but a few. Two and a half hours later, I had tasted 79 dishes and was feeling rather queasy! It was definitely a mistake leaving the ten different chocolate brownies until last as they just about finished me off. It was however a wonderful experience, with some really delicious food, and it left me with a better understanding of what John and Gregg go through on Masterchef tasting so many dishes day after day and a realisation that taste is very subjective. I was told afterwards that I had awarded the first prize for raspberry jam to a 10 year old girl so hopefully a budding Masterchef in the making! On the rumblings of a complaint that I had awarded first prize to a chocolate brownie with a fudge topping when apparently Nigella Lawson says they have to have a hard crust, I decided it was time to make a swift exit!
Friday, 7 September 2007
Thursday, 6 September 2007
My good old Dad has bought me a very 'Hannah' present from France - lavender jam made by some nuns. Clearly women after my own heart! It is delicious and I have been thinking of how to make some myself. If I ever succeed, I will post the recipe. In the meantime I am going to make lavender scones and serve with the jam, clotted cream and a few raspberries which I am hoping will be quite tasty!
If you have any suggestions for the jam let me know. I was recently shown how to roast chicken covered in marmalade and was wondering whether this would work with lavender jam but even I think this would be a step too far in my floral trail!
Wednesday, 5 September 2007
Tuesday, 4 September 2007
Christmas and Halloween have arrived early in our house this year (for today at least!) I have been up in the loft getting our decorations down. Today the photos are being taken for my next 4 articles for Country Kitchen. Thats a lot of cooking and baking and I am one exhausted cookie!! Halloween cupcakes, lots of lovely recipes with Damsons (including Damson Ripple Clotted Cream Ice Cream which was an experiment that worked!), Christmas puddings and an edible Christmas tree for the birds - I have been threading popcorn, peanuts, dried apple rings and making fat balls for the last two days!
Now must get back to finishing the duck with damson sauce and ironing table cloths so will leave you with a quick sneak preview of one of the cupcakes!
Monday, 3 September 2007
Oh my...what an honour....lovely Marie from www.ayearatoakcottage.blogspot.com has awarded me a droolworthy blogger award. I am totally flattered and honoured. If you haven't been to Marie's blog yet, you really must pay it a visit - she has my dream job working as a cook in a Manor House and writes lovely tales of her cooking adventures there with delicious recipes. Anyway...A big thank you for the award Marie - my heart is too full for words etc etc...!
Now it's my turn to bestow the honour on a fellow blogger...this is a hard choice as there are so many lovely blogs out there....but my blog of choice at the moment for lovely pictures and recipes is http://figsoliveswine.blogspot.com where Amanda conjures up heavenly creations using fresh market produce. This blog also has a special place in my heart as Amanda is in New York - as is my brother - and I often read her blog and imagine that my brother (fellow foodie and Masterchef contestant in series 1) might be visiting these markets too!