Reaching the final of Masterchef 2007 was a rollercoaster of emotion, with huge highs and lows, but I loved every minute and learnt a huge amount. I owe a great deal to John and Gregg who had faith in my ability when I did not believe in myself. Since competing on the programme my life has changed considerably. I now write cookery columns for two magazines, give cookery demonstrations and am just working on my 13th cook book - unlucky number for some but not for me!!! I love all forms of country cooking, using seasonal and locally sourced produce. This blog is to enable me to share with you a few of my recipes and baking ideas. Enjoy Hannah xxxx

Monday, 21 April 2008

I have always been a true lover of dumplings - fluffy clouds on top of a casserole. This is probably the reason I love Germany so much as dumplings are a specialty. On my recent trip to Germany, we had dumplings - but served on their own and not in a casserole. What a great idea for a dumpling lover! I was hooked. With certain types of food, I think it is an advantage to have been brought up making them - somethings definitely require natural instinct. I came back with a German bread dumpling recipe, eager to try it out, alas not being German, I clearly did something wrong. Far from being light and fluffy, my bread and egg dumplings were like lead! So I went back to the drawing board and decided to try making good old English dumplings instead. Much easier! Poached in chicken stock in place of the casserole, they were perfectly light and we devoured them on a rainy day last week! 2 or 3 dumplings per person are enough unless you are REALLY hungry! My German friend Maren is coming to visit this weekend, so if I am feeling really brave I might serve her my English/German dumplings!

Dumplings with Brandy and Bacon Sauce
Preparation time 10 minutes plus 20 minutes cooking
Serves 2

For the dumplings
4oz self raising flour
2oz suet
salt and pepper
water to mix
1.5 litres chicken or vegetable stock

For the sauce
3 rashers of bacon, finely chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
3 tbsp brandy
250ml creme fraiche
salt and pepper to season
1 tbsp gravy granules
Parsley, finely chopped for garnish

Place the flour, suet and seasoning in a bowl and mix to a soft dough with cold water. Add the water a little at a time so the dough does not become too sticky. If it does add a little more flour. Form the dough into small dumplings, heat the stock in a large pan and once simmering add the dumplings. Poach the dumplings for 20 minutes. They will increase in size so use a large saucepan for cooking.

Whilst the dumplings are cooking, pan fry the bacon and onions until the are soft (approx 5 minutes). Add the brandy and cook gently until it has almost evaporated. Add the creme fraiche, granules and heat gently until the sauce is thick and creamy. Place the dumplings in a bowl, top with the sauce and sprinkle with parsley to garnish.

If making this recipe for vegetarians, use vegetarian suet and replace the bacon with mushrooms.


Sylvie said...

I think you should be brave Hannah. Those dumplings look great, and I'm sure your friend will love them. I hated dumplings when I was little and since in Germany they are what roast potatoes are to Sunday roast here in the UK, we had them quite often. I have learned to love them though, but do prefer German potato dumplings to the bread ones. I say you haven't lived until you haven't had Sauerbraten with potato dumplings and red cabbage. ;)

Caitlin (Gooseberry Fool) said...

Every great culinary culture has a variation on dumplings. The Italians have gnocchi, for example. I love Chinese dumplings the best - pasta wrappers enclosing tasty, spicy meat or vegetable and a little hole at the top for the steam to escape. They come in a bamboo steamer and are a killer with soy and hot sauce. Yum!

Vic said...

OH you've reminded me of a trip to the Rhineland-Pflaz a couple of years ago. We had Dampfnudle which (according to google) are yeast dumplings. My friends even had a special pan to cook them in. I think we had them plain with some kind of sauce, and then the same for pud with some vanilla sauce.


Marie said...

I Love dumplings in any way shape or form. I grew up with them, Canadian Style . . . light and fluffy and steamed on top of soups and stews, or on fruit desserts. Your version looks decidedly delicious!

culinarytravelsofakitchengoddess said...

Oh they look lovely. I'd never thought of serving dumplings plain with a sauce instead of stew. Maybe I'll try it.