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Archive for March, 2009

I have a large boxful of recipe cuttings collected over the years.  In recent years I have tried to make a note of the source and date, but this is one of those where the source is lost in the mists of time.  It came from the pages of an old magazine, but I have no idea which one … and it has been slightly adapted by me.

The information I do have is that the original writer of the recipe was Amanda Grant, a regular contributor to magazine food pages.  For a more healthy version use reduced fat crème fraîche and cream.  The fish I used was a mixture of salmon & pollack.  The original recipe calls for 12 fresh raw prawns which would be great for a special occasion, but I have found that this is just as good with small prawns.  We particularly enjoyed this when it was made with red pesto rather than the usual green.  The tomato base of the red pesto seemed to complement the flavours of the dish more than the basil of the green.

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Fish Pie with Pesto Topping
(Serves 4-6)

6 medium sized potatoes
2-3tbsp Pesto – red (sun dried tomato) or green (basil) flavoured
200ml/7fl oz crème fraîche*
284ml/8fl oz double creme* (half a tub of Elmlea)
25g/1oz butter (divide in two)
1tsp olive oil
1 fennel bulb, finely sliced
1 onion, finely chopped
40g/1½ Parmesan, grated – plus a little more to go on top if you wish
Lemon juice, to taste
100g/4ozs peeled prawns, defrosted and drained
550g/1½lb fish (See notes above) cut into pieces
2/3 large handfuls of fresh baby spinach

1.  Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/Gas 6.

2.  Chop the potatoes fairly small and place in a pan of water.  Bring to the boil and cook for about 5 minutes or until tender.  Drain and mash with the Pesto, half of the butter, 1tbsp crème fraîche and as much cream as it takes to make them fluffy and creamy without being sloppy.

3.  Melt the remaining butter with the olive oil and gently cook the fennel and onion until transparent.  Add the remaining cream and crème fraîche and warm gently stirring occasionally, removing from the heat just before it boils.  Stir in the Parmesan, reserving a little to sprinkle on the top if you wish.  Season and add lemon juice to taste.

4.  Add the prawns, fish and spinach and mix together.

5.  Transfer to an ovenproof dish.  Spoon over or pipe on the pesto mash (sprinkling with the remaining grated Parmesan if you wish).

6.  Bake for 20-25 minutes until heated through and golden.

7.  Serve with halved baked tomatoes plus salad or broccoli, green beans or peas.

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I remember scribbling down the ingredients for this marinade during the 1990s. I had heard someone recommend it on television … or possibly radio (I think it was a well-known personality, but wish I could remember who).  It is such a simple recipe but it does add a wonderful flavour to a roasted joint of pork. Just remember to leave the joint to marinade overnight for Sunday lunch for best results.

It was originally recommended that the chilli powder could be lessened if it was being served to children, but I have never felt the end result too spicy. Ginger that has been stored in the freezer can be grated when slightly defrosted.

100_2332-Australian spiced roast pork

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Australian Spiced Roast Pork

2 tbsp runny honey
2 tbsp Soy sauce
Juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp Chilli powder
1 tbsp crushed/grated root ginger (more if you like!)
1 large crushed clove garlic

Mix the ingredients together and use to marinade any derinded joint of pork, basting occasionally during cooking. The joint should be baked using your usual method and timings. The resulting strained juices make a spicy gravy, but be warned that the flavour could be too intense for some people. If there is a small amount of rind on the joint, leave the lid off the pan so that it makes spicy crackling for those who like it. Be warned that it is normal for the honey content to slightly blacken the finished joint, but it is important to watch that the joint does not burn too much.

Link to collected Marinade Recipes for Pork
All Marinade recipes on this site…

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This extremely quick and simple chilled fruit cocktail makes an ideal starter for a summer supper, but can be served at any time of the year, particularly before rich main and dessert courses.  It also makes a refreshing start to the day served as part of  breakfast or brunch. If serving at a dinner party, I always make plenty as any leftovers are used up the next day at breakfast.  I use tinned fruit in light syrup, but you could substitute fresh grapefruit and mandarin segments or tinned fruit in natural juices, although this could taste very tart to a guest with a sweet tooth.  The liquid in tinned mandarins in their own juice is usually orange rather than clear.  I have used various varieties of Melon for this recipe: Honeydew and Piel de Sapo are both pale and sweet but if you can get Charentais with its beautiful peach coloured flesh it makes the cocktail very attractive.  A mixture of melon colours is also good.  Red fleshed Watermelon would also be pretty, but I have yet to try it and I think it would probably be better used in combination with another melon, for example Honeydew.

This recipe is one of my own. 

'Meanderings through my Cookbook' http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Chilled Citrus & Melon Cocktail
(Serves 6-8)

2 x 540g cans tinned grapefruit segments in light syrup – or unsweetened
2 x 312g cans tinned mandarin segments in light syrup – or unsweetened
½ – 1 Melon (or use selection of colours) deseed & scoop out with melon balling tool
         (small chunks would be fine if you do not have one of these)
2 or 3 sprigs of mint, washed & chopped plus some for decoration

1.  Combine all the ingredients in an attractive bowl, glass if you have one.  Use either all sweetened or all unsweetened tinned fruit, or a mixture, depending on the level of sweetness required.  Fresh grapefruit and/or mandarins (without the connecting tissue) can be substituted but a little sugar may be required.

2.  Chill for several hours in the refrigerator, mixing in the chopped mint no more than an hour before serving, as it starts to deteriorate if left too long.  

3.  Remove some of the juice if you feel there is too much.

4.  Serve in bowls, again glass if available, decorated with the extra mint sprigs.

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fair_trade_logodivine-cookbook-Collister-coverNice book, shame about the waistline!

Divine: Heavenly Chocolate Recipes with heart‘ by Linda Collister – www.absolutepress.co.uk

I had a birthday recently and my brother and family bought me a copy of this book, along with some Divine Fairtrade chocolate bars. A sort of starter pack to get me cooking, I assume.

The author has long been a supporter of fair trade and has collected and created the recipes in the book using Divine chocolate, which uses quality cocoa beans grown by the farmer members of Kuapa Kokoo cooperative in Ghana, West Africa, who get an internationally agreed fair price for their product. The story of this cooperative, who also co-own the company and share its profits, is told in an illustrated introductory section. Also in this section is a guide to the unusual Adinkra symbols which feature on the cover of both the book and Divine chocolate wrappers.

Once past some basic ‘how to’ pages the recipes start, organised into nine gloriously mouth watering chapters. Some are reasonably simple: ‘Luxurious Flapjacks’, ‘Divine Brownies’, ‘Chocolate Stuffed French Toast’ or ‘White Chocolate Strawberry Cream Cake’. Others are a little more complicated: ‘Black Forest Roulade’, ‘Creamy Cappuccino Cheesecake’, ‘Bourbon Street Beignets’ or the ‘Deliciously Different Christmas Cake’. And of course, there are those with intriguing names: ‘La Torta di Cioccolata’, ‘Orange and Chocolate Jackson Pollock Cake’, ‘Zebra Mousse’ or ‘Red Hot Chilli-Pepper Chocolate Cake’. Towards the end there are even a few savoury chocolate recipes, including ‘Mole’ (the famous Mexican dish of chicken with bitter chocolate sauce). There is something here for all types of chocoholic, whether ‘quick fix’ or more adventurous!

world-of-cocoa-map-ghanaAll royalties from the sale of the book and sales of Divine chocolate benefit the farmers of Kuapa Kokoo and their company, guaranteeing a fairer deal for thousands of cocoa farmers. Divine is available in bars of Plain, Milk or White chocolate.

‘Sticky upside down chocolate pear gingerbread’, anyone?!

This review was written for and first published in the Parish of Walthamstow Magazine.

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