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Archive for July, 2009

This is a very simple and creamy risotto and the cooked cucumber is a revelation! The recipe breaks the normal rules of risotto making as you can add all the liquid together rather than the usual rule of adding it gradually.  If you want an extra special dish then you could use Carnaroli rice, but I think Arborio is fine.  I have cooked cucumber before, but a long time ago. I seem to remember it made a delicious sauce that went with fish, though I cannot remember either the type of fish or the location of the recipe. You could mistakenly think that courgette could be substituted, but cooked cucumber is nothing like it.  It could be used as an alternative, but courgette would make this a completely different dish.

The original recipe adapted from a book I found in the library, Cooking with Salmon, the King of Fish by Jane Bamforth. I had some fennel in the fridge, always a good partner with fish, so I decided to add this. As the fish is diced for the recipe use fresh salmon offcuts if available.  The original recipe suggested just using the white parts of the spring onions, but I could not see why the green tops could not be used as well! The seasoning needs to be checked carefully otherwise the risotto could be rather bland. Next time I make this – and I am sure I will – I will replace the tarragon with lemon juice and zest, which I think will add a lovely tang.

100_5729 Salmon Risotto with Cucumber & Fennel

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

Salmon Risotto with Cucumber & Fennel
(Serves 4)

25g/1oz butter
1 bunch of spring onions, cleaned and chopped
1 fennel bulb, cleaned and chopped
1 small cucumber (more if you wish)
350g/12ozs Arborio risotto rice
1.5litres/2pints fish or vegetable stock
150ml/¼pint dry white wine
1lb salmon fillet pieces (offcuts are fine) skinned and diced
45ml/3tbsp chopped fresh tarragon
Salt & ground black pepper

1. Melt the butter in a pan and gently fry the onion, fennel and cucumber for about 2 minutes without browning the vegetables.

2. Stir in the rice and pour in the stock and wine. Bring to the boil and then simmer uncovered for 10minutes. Stir occasionally.

3. Stir in the diced salmon and season. Continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Switch off the heat, put lid on the pan and leave the risotto to stand for another 5 minutes.

4. Uncover the pan and stir in the tarragon. Serve in bowls. Add crusty bread if you wish.

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July ‘Meanderings’ …

All images ©’Meanderings through my Cookbook’ www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com

Pictured (top to bottom)
Le ‘Far’ Breton
Blackberry Ice Cream
Chickpea Couscous Salad
Sweet Pepper Salad

Last time I wrote one of these updates it was the hottest day of the year in London – what a difference a month makes.  We have had the wettest July for a long time and the forecast doesn’t promise better weather any time soon.  Meanwhile in the USA, some of the food bloggers I read have been sweltering and trying to find simple light food to cook.

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

We are off on holiday very shortly and will be in France, mostly based at Carnac in Brittany famous for its rows of ancient standing stones.  This is not our first visit to this part of France and we are looking forward to sampling once again some of the regional fare, in particular the plenteous seafood, crêpes and galettes plus, as usual, the cheese and patisserie.  Cider rather than wine is the local drink, as Brittany is not a wine growing area.  Along the way I hope to pick up some ideas and recipes to try on my return.  One local speciality we will look out for is a favourite custard style patisserie from Brittany called Le ‘Far’ Breton, which I make regularly and is already included in Meanderings through my Cookbook.

100_4870 Blackberry Ice Cream

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

We have eaten a lot of Ice Cream this month thanks to the Ice Cream machine which at last came out of its box after several years out of service.  First I made Lemon Sorbet, which I had remembered was always successful.  Then after having bought 3 pineapples for £1 in our local market I made some delicious Pineapple Ice Cream, but if I made this again I think I would purée the fruit a bit more to avoid some of the icy pieces which I felt spoiled it – definitely a work in progress rather than something to post at the moment.  The other flavours I made were Blackberry Ice Cream and Melon & Ginger Ice Cream, both of which were very successful and will definitely be repeated. 

100_4946 Chickpea Couscous Salad

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

We currently have a glut of blackberries in our garden which are gradually making their way into the freezer.  As a time saver I made and froze 3 quantities of strained blackberry purée to turn into Ice Cream at a later date.  I have two new Ice Cream books: Making Ice Cream & Iced Desserts by Joanna Farrow & Sara Lewis, bought after borrowing it from the library and more recently Ice Creams published by Hamlyn a slim book, a charity shop find, with some interesting ideas to try.

100_4730 Sweet Pepper Salad

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

I have also been including some of our favourite salads, including my own recipes for Special Coleslaw and Rosy Potato Salad, a simple Tuna & Bean Salad, a Chickpea Couscous Salad and a Sweet Pepper Salad which could be eaten hot, warm or cold.  Most of these are good alongside a simple green leaf salad, with or without tomato or cucumber.  Great for Summer eating whatever the weather!

I have eaten out twice this month.  I went to the Forest Tandoori, which is highly spoken of, in Wood St, Walthamstow, E17 with friends early in the month.  I had a simple Lamb Biryani and was not disappointed and the mango lassi with which I finished the meal was delicious. 

I had been wanting to try out Istanbul Ocakbasi, a Turkish restaurant in Hoe St, Walthamstow literally 5 minutes walk from home.  (After doing some research online I found out that, in Turkey, Ocakbasi restaurants are where people eat when they’re out, as opposed to places to go out to eat at.) Istanbul opened not long ago, or rather changed hands and had a makeover.  We were not disappointed with the food, service or value though the atmosphere was cafe rather than restaurant. There was also no licence, which wasn’t really a problem, though it would have been good to have had the option of a glass of wine or beer with our meal.  I ate a delicious charcoal grilled bream (Cupra Izgara) and my husband had a Ezmeli kebab, minced lamb served in a dish on a bed of grilled chopped tomatoes, green pepper and onion, finished with tomato sauce and butter.  This was served with a huge plate of four different types of salad (diced tomato & cucumber; diced red cabbage marinaded in oil and lemon; finely sliced raw onion dressed with Sumak; shredded carrot) and a small plate of dressings (tzatziki: cucumber and mint in yoghurt; marinaded tomatoes and peppers; potato & carrot in mayonnaise).  We also had fresh warm flatbread which was delicious.  At the end of the meal we were each given a complementary piece of baklava (a honey soaked nut pastry) and coffee.  I would definitely go back again if only to try the Bobrek (charcoal grilled lamb’s kidney) which I nearly chose this time.  (Update: we went back and I had the Bobrek.  It was OK but I would probably choose something else the next time – but then that’s what working your way through a restaurant menu is about and I am sure we will eat at Istanbul Ocakbasi again.)

Several times recently in food blogs I have come across a spice called Sumac and when we ate in the Istanbul I discovered it had been used in our dishes. I have also been re-reading a delightful memoir of food and life in pre-war Egypt called Apricots on the Nile – Collette Rossant, so was delighted to find a chicken recipe in its pages, Grilled Chicken with Sumac & Roasted Banana, which included Sumac as one of the ingredients. Sumac powder was easy to find in our local Turkish supermarket and the chicken, which had been marinaded in a mixture including Sumac powder and lime juice, was delicious. I plan to post a review of the book and the recipe in the coming weeks.

For a full list of postings since the June Meanderings… see below.  (Recipes already posted have been highlighted and the others will appear in coming weeks.)

July Recipes …

Blackberry Ice Cream
Lemon Sorbet
Melon & Ginger Ice Cream

Chickpea Couscous Salad
Rosy Potato Salad
Special Coleslaw
Sweet Pepper Salad
Tuna & Bean Salad

Eggs Flamenco
Salmon Risotto with Cucumber & Fennel 

Meanderings ‘a la carte’ from previous months

*****

‘For what we are about to receive…’ August 2009 and beyond

Food for the mind…

Non Fiction Food book
Among my holiday reading I will be taking a book called Tarte Tatin by Susan Loomis which combines recipes and snapshots of French life. Susan lives in Normandy, near Rouen, where we will spend two or three nights en route to Brittany.

… and for the August table …

As I will be away for a while August I will not be concentrating on recipes using particular ingredients this month, but instead will be thinking about really simple holiday meals and looking out for local food ideas from Brittany to try out when I am back at home.  Wherever you are this month, at home or away …

Happy Eating!

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This is one of my favourite ingredient combinations for couscous.  It makes a good accompaniment for meat at a main meal but it could equally well be served as a light vegetarian lunch.  It is best when dressed with the oils and lemon while warm to allow the flavours to develop and is lovely served slightly warm as well, although there is no reason why it could not be served cold at a buffet or picnic.  

The original recipe comes from Sarah Brown’s Vegetarian Cookbook, a paperback first published in 1984.  If you want a more substantial dish then use two tins of chickpeas or double the quantity of uncooked peas below.  I also sometimes make it without the chickpeas, or substitute another bean. The original recipe called for 12-15 spring onions, which seemed rather a lot, so I reduced the amount by more than half.  I also substituted soy sauce for the miso, as I did not have any in my cupboard and used some of my stock of coriander leaves from the freezer, so did not have any fresh leaves available for garnish.  Increase the lemon juice if you want it more zesty, in fact you could also use more zest stirring it through the couscous in the initial cooking stage as well as keeping some for a garnish.   An even simpler microwave oven method of making this dish is the ‘throw it all in together’ method.  Combine all ingredients except the chick peas, seasoning and garnish.  Microwave until the liquids are absorbed.  Stir through the peas, season, garnish and serve – easy (chick)peas-y!

100_4946 Chickpea Couscous Salad

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

Chickpea Couscous Salad
(Serves 4)

100g/4ozs chickpeas, soaked or 1x400g tin cooked chickpeas
225g/8ozs couscous
2 cloves garlic, crushed
4-6 spring onions, chopped
4tbsp chopped coriander leaves
30ml/2tsp olive oil
5ml/1tsp miso or light soy sauce
570ml/1pint boiling water
15ml/1tsp sesame oil
15ml/1tbsp lemon juice
salt & pepper
strands of lemon zest & a few coriander leaves to garnish

1.   If you are using uncooked chickpeas, put them in a large pan and cover with plenty of fresh water but no salt.  Boil hard for 10 minutes.  Reduce the heat and skim off any scum that has collected.  Cover and simmer until soft (50 – 60 minutes).  Set aside.

2. If you are using a tin of chickpeas gently heat through (in either microwave or a saucepan).

3.  Place the couscous in a large heavy based pan with crushed garlic, spring onions, coriander and olive oil.  Mix miso or soy sauce with the boiling water and pour over the couscous.   Bring to boil and then simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes or until the water is absorbed. 
(This can also be done in a microwave oven.  Leave the ingredients together in a bowl  for about 5 minutes, then cook on high for 3-5 minutes, until as much liquid as possible is absorbed.)

4.  Drain the warm chickpeas well and add to the couscous mixture with the sesame oil, lemon juice and seasoning to taste.  Fork over well.  Garnish with lemon zest and coriander leaves.

5.  Serve warm as a light main or side dish or cold at a buffet or picnic.

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

Coriander & Chickpea Couscous Salad
(a variation to serve with North African dishes, but it would be equally delicious on a cold buffet)

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This year promises a bumper crop of blackberries in our somewhat overgrown garden. What to do with a glut of fruit, especially as it comes free of charge!? Well, lots of things actually, but this recipe is well worth the effort. The most complicated and messy part is the cooking and sieving of the blackberries. (Do not be tempted to add whole fruit as the many blackberry pips will add a grittiness that will spoil the silky smoothness of the ice cream.) This Ice Cream is absolutely delicious served with some more blackberries, if you have any fresh ones, and/or fresh or puréed raspberries (see picture). A small sprig of mint as a garnish adds even more colour with a splash of bright green. For a special but easy dinner party dessert, serve Blackberry Ice Cream in a brandy snap basket or on a home made waffle with both raspberries & blackberries, or any mixed berry combination with optional pouring cream on the side.  (Yum – you will notice that I am an unashamed berry lover!)   If you are concerned about creepy crawlies in your blackberries, my mother’s old fashioned trick is to rinse them in salted water (salt water draws out any bugs), rinse in fresh water and drain well. Next time I will make several batches of blackberry purée to freeze in batch sized amounts (multiplying the quantity given in the instructions below). It will take up less freezer space and can be thawed when required. I will, of course, be freezing batches of whole fruit for other dishes – we love Blackberry and Apple Crumble in the colder weather.

The recipe comes from my newly purchased Ice Cream making book, first found in our public library, which I highly recommend: Making Ice Cream & Iced Desserts by Joanna Farrow & Sara Lewis. I notice that the authors have written more than one book on the same subject. I shall have to do some more research on the other titles. 

100_4870 Blackberry Ice Cream

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

Blackberry Ice Cream
(Serves 4-6)

500g/1¼lbs Blackberries, hulled, rinsed (see above) & well drained
75g/3ozs Caster sugar
2tbsp water
300ml/½pint Whipping Cream ((I used Elmlea – 55% less fat version)

1. Put the blackberries, sugar and water in a pan. Cover and simmer for 5 minutes until the sugar is dissolved and the fruit is soft.

2. Strain the fruit through a sieve over a bowl, pressing the fruit juices and puree through with a wooden spoon. It does not matter if the finished juices are cloudy. Dispose of the seedy pulp. Leave to cool and then chill in the fridge. This can be frozen in batches for later use.

3. Ice Cream maker:
Pour chilled berry liquid into machine and churn for 10-15minutes until thick. Do not be tempted to add the cream at this stage as it will thicken and become buttery.

4. Stir in the cream and continue to churn until well mixed. Transfer to a container and freeze.

5. By hand:
If you do not have an ice cream maker, whip the cream until it just starts to thicken, but is not too stiff – it should still fall from a spoon.

6. Mix in the chilled fruit purée, pour into a plastic container. Freeze for around 2 hours, then mash with a fork to break up any ice crystals. Return to freezer for an additional 2 hours and mash again. Re-freeze for a final 2 hours.

7. To serve:
Defrost in the fridge for about 20minutes before serving. Serve with more washed blackberries, with a dusting of icing sugar if you feel they need additional sweetness. (See above for more serving suggestions.)

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This salad is both pretty and simple.  I used to serve potato salad and beetroot separately, but having discovered how tasty they were when mixed together on a plate I often now mix and place them in a bowl together.  For a bit of fun, this salad could be served as part of a pink themed meal!   To make ordinary potato salad, I would use this same recipe without the beetroot, perhaps adding a little paprika or cayenne pepper for extra colour and spice.  If you have small new potatoes I think they are much the best to use, either whole if they are tiny, halved or quartered, but if new potatoes are unavailable then choose a waxy potato and cut it into small pieces.  The trick is to try to cut the cooked potato and beetroot into roughly equal sized pieces.  Use a good quality mayonnaise, low fat if available, or even better use home made, but not salad cream.  If you have any Rosy Potato Salad left, it keeps well in a sealed box in the fridge for a second day.  

Here, as a rough guide, are the ingredients and quantities I used for Rosy Potato Salad as pictured below.

100_4772 Rosy Potato Salad

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

Rosy Potato Salad
(Serves 6-8)

1lb/500g new potatoes, scrubbed and boiled
1 large beetroot, boiled and peeled
2 spring onions,  both the white and green parts, peeled and diced
6 tbsp mayonnaise, more if you wish
Salt & black pepper

1.  Cut the cooked potato and cooked beetroot into equally sized large dice.

2.  Mix in a bowl with the chopped spring onion, reserving a few green  pieces as garnish.

3.  Stir in the mayonnaise.

4.  Add seasoning and garnish with the reserved green spring onion tops.

5.  Serve as an addition to a salad based main course, with hot or cold meats, quiche or pizza.

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There are so many different recipes for Coleslaw, but this is the one I always use. It comes from a shared lunch I attended a very long time ago and was so delicious I made sure I did not leave without finding out the ingredients. I was not given any quantities at the time and think this is a good idea as it is the type of salad where you can vary the amounts according to your personal taste. For example, I don’t add very much celery as one of my family finds too much can be overpowering. The same goes for onion, where the quantity used can depend on the strength of flavour. Red onion adds a touch of purple to the mixture and if you use spring onions make sure you add the green tops for their colour, perhaps reserving some to sprinkle over the top. I prefer to add the walnuts just before serving so they remain crunchy.  An alternative is to serve them on the side for sprinkling over the top at the table, especially as they are not always popular.  You could experiement with different nuts – almonds would be good, for example.  Another alternative would be to sprinkle a mixture of toasted sesame and sunflower seeds over the top.  Use a good quality mayonnaise, low fat if available, or even better use home made, but not salad cream.  The apple will go brown so it is advisable to grate and add this last, just before adding the mayonnaise. A little lemon juice will stop the apple browning if necessary, but be careful not add too much as it could affect the taste.  If there is any Coleslaw left, it keeps well in a sealed box in the fridge for a second day.

Here, as a rough guide, are the ingredients and quantities I used for the coleslaw pictured below.

100_4751 Special Coleslaw

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Special Coleslaw
(Serves 8-10)

4-6ozs White cabbage, shredded or chopped fairly finely
1 large carrot, coarsely grated
½ medium red onion or 2 spring onions (both usually mild)
– or ½ small white onion (often stronger), coarsely grated/finely chopped
1 stick of celery, chopped
1 eating apple, peeled & coarsely grated
2ozs raisins
2ozs walnuts, coarsely chopped
5-6 tbsp Mayonnaise, more if you wish
Salt & black pepper

1.  Prepare all the ingredients, apart from the walnuts, placing them in a mixing bowl. 

2.  Stir in the mayonnaise and mix well.

3.  Season as required.

4.  Just before serving mix in the walnuts or put them in a separate dish for your guests to add themselves.  If using spring onions, add some reserved chopped green tops to garnish.

5.  Serve as an addition to a salad based main course, with hot or cold meats, quiche or pizza.

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This speedy Italian style salad can be put together in minutes using tinned tuna and, for speed, tinned beans. I used black-eye beans but haricot or cannellini beans could be substituted.  A good mayonnaise, home made if available, could be used as an alternative to the olive oil and lemon juice dressing but the beans should be cold before it is stirred through. Tuna and Bean Salad can be served as part of a meal with a green leaf salad, cucumber and tomato along with crusty granary or white bread and butter.  I used it as a jacket potato filler, which was very successful.  It could also be served as a simple starter on a bed of shredded lettuce.  If you are using tuna in brine you may need very little, if any, salt.

The original recipe comes from The St Michael All-colour Cookery Book by Jeni Wright.  I have adjusted some of the proportions given in the book. 

100_4743 Tuna & bean salad

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

Tuna & Bean Salad
(Serves 4)

Dressing (proportions may be increased if you wish)
3-4tbsp olive oil (may need less if tuna is in oil)
1-2tbsp lemon juice
2-3tbsp freshly chopped parsley
Black pepper

Salad ingredients
6ozs/175g beans (I used black-eye) or a 15oz/400g tin, drained & rinsed
1 small spring onion (both white & green parts), finely sliced
60z/185g tin flaked tuna (or nearest size equivalent), drained
salt (may not be needed if tuna is in brine)

1.  Cook beans, if not using a tin, by covering with water, bringing to the boil and boiling for 10minutes.  This is important to remove the toxins that can be found in black-eye beans (and also red kidney beans).  Continue to cook for a further 30minutes or until soft but before they begin to break up.  Alternatively, drain and rinse the tinned beans.  If possible, warm tinned beans gently as this will help them take up the flavours of the dressing. 

2.  Mix the chopped spring onion with the warm beans and add the olive oil and lemon dressing.  Once cold, stir through the flaked tuna and adjust seasonings. 

3. Stir the chopped parsley through the mixture before serving.

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I found this recipe, a previously pulled out page from a magazine, when hunting down some recipes for salads with a difference.  It is good to have some simple ideas to hand as an alternative or addition to the usual green leaves and cucumber salad mixture.  I love cold ratatouille almost more than hot ratatouille so I knew I would enjoy this.  In the end I served the salad hot as I did not leave enough time for it to cool, as suggested in the original recipe, but it proved to be an excellent accompaniment for the pasta we ate with our grilled pork chops.  If I was serving this salad to visitors I would spend the time suggested to pre-cook and skin the peppers, as in the instructions below.  For a family meal it is much less time consuming and almost as good to cook the onions and garlic together first and then add the unskinned peppers, cooking them until soft.  The fresh basil made this delicious and should not be omitted. I added some towards the end of the cooking time, reserving just a small amount as a garnish, which gave the dish a much more intense flavour. Sweet Pepper Salad could be served stirred through pasta and topped with cheese.  It would be particularly good with grilled meat or at a barbecue. It could also be served as a starter on a slice of toasted Ciabatta or another crusty bread to mop up the juices. 

The original recipe was published in the Daily Mirror weekly Celebs magazine as created by chef Marcus Wareing and taken from his book ‘ How To Cook The Perfect…’.

100_4730 Sweet Pepper Salad

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Sweet Pepper Salad
(Serves 4 – or 8 as a starter)

4tbsp olive oil
4 red peppers
4 yellow peppers
1tbsp dried thyme (but use a stalk of fresh if available)
2 red onions, finely sliced
4 garlic cloves, finely sliced or crushed
3tbsp freshly sliced basil leaves
1tbsp dried marjoram or oregano (but use fresh if available)
Salt & black pepper

1. For alternative instructions for a special occasion with skinned peppers see the end of these instructions.

2. Slice the peppers into long strips (the length of the pepper) discarding the stalk and seeds. 

3.  Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat.  Add the onions, garlic, peppers with skins on and thyme.  Add the marjoram/oregano if using dried.  Saute for a few minutes until the onions are soft and translucent, but not brown.  Season.  Remove thyme stalk if using the fresh herb.

4.  Continue to cook over a low heat for 10-15minutes.  Meanwhile chiffonade the basil by remove the leaves, laying them on top of each other and rolling them into a cigar shape.  Cut thin slices from this roll.

5.  Transfer the onion and pepper mixture into a bowl along with any collected juices.  Add the basil and fresh marjoram/oregano (if dried not already added) leaving just a little to garnish.  Serve either hot or slightly cooled. 

6.  Serve as a main meal side dish.  Could be stirred through pasta and topped with cheese.  Particularly good with grilled meat or at a barbecue. Could also be served as a starter on a slice of toasted ciabatta bread, allowing the juices to soak into the bread.

Alternative instructions for a special occasion with skinned peppers. 
Halve the peppers, brush with a little oil and place under a hot grill until the skin starts to blister.  Put them into a bowl and cover with a plastic bag to allow the steam to help the skin separate from the peppers. Leave for 10minutes, then skin and cut into long strips (the length of the pepper) discarding the stalk and seeds.  As the peppers have already been partly cooked they will need slightly less cooking time when added at stage 4 (above).  All juices collected in the bowl used before the peppers are sliced should be added to the pan with the onions.  Continue with the recipe as for unskinned peppers.

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Nothing is more delicious on a hot day than a serving of cooling, refreshing lemon sorbet. It was the first type of ice I made when I bought my Ice cream machine some years ago and every year it is usually the first to be made. This recipe is one of the simplest I have come across with the syrup quickly made, rather than needing the lengthy boiling required by some recipes to make a thicker syrup. I cut a few corners with the recipe, using a zester to make the lemon peel strips rather than the more laborious potato peeler method. I kept and dried the crystallised lemon zest to garnish this, and other, dessert recipes. I also used just three lemons as mine were huge, but would use 4 normal sized ones.  Delicious served with wedges of fresh pineapple, or another fruit of your choice.

I have discovered a wonderful book in the library this year, Making Ice Creams & Desserts by Joanna Farrow & Sara Lewis, packed with lots of wonderful ice cream and sorbet recipes, as well as some more complicated iced desserts for entertaining. In fact, it’s such a good book that I have just bought my own copy!  The original recipe has suggestions about using other types of citrus juices and mixtures, which I will add here if and when I try them. It also mentions that you can turn a lemon into a ready made container for serving the sorbet by removing a ‘lid’, carefully scooping out the inside and slightly flattening the bottom of the fruit ‘pot’.  When filled with sorbet the lemons can be reassembled and frozen ready for serving.  I have eaten sorbet like this in restaurants, in both lemon and orange varieties and it always looks very attractive.

100_4710 Lemon Sorbet

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

Lemon Sorbet
(Serves 4-6)

200g/7ozs sugar
300ml/½pt boiling water
4 lemons, well scrubbed
1 egg white

1. Put the sugar and boiling water in a pan and stir occasionally until the sugar is dissolved.

2. Using a lemon zester, remove zest (but no white pith) from one lemon and add to the pan. Simmer for two minutes and remove from the heat. Leave to cool and then chill in the fridge.

3. Squeeze the juice from the lemons and chill in a separate container from the zested sugar water.

4. When chilled, strain the zest from the sugared water and reserve as decoration. Strain the lemon juice into the sugar water.

5. Ice Cream maker:
Pour into machine and churn. Separate the egg, reserving the yolk for another recipe (it can be frozen).

6. Lightly whisk the white with a fork and add to the machine as it churns.

7. When the mixture is slushy transfer to a container and freeze.

8. By hand:
If you do not have an ice cream maker, pour the lemon mixture (without the egg white) into a plastic container and freeze until slushy. Whisk the egg white with a fork until frothy and beat into the slushy mixture. Return to freezer for at least four hours.

9. To serve:
Defrost in the fridge for about 20minutes before serving. Serve garnished with the sugared lemon rind reserved from earlier.

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The family felt that this had an ‘All day breakfast’ feel to it and it certainly would not be out of place as a ‘brunch’ meal as well as being a tasty and not to heavy main meal.  It was listed in the book as a substantial snack, but I served it as a light supper dish on a hot day.  I did not want to add chips, perhaps the natural choice,  so we had boiled minted new potatoes which I would recommend or you could add crusty bread if you wish.   The original recipe used cayenne pepper but I used smoked paprika – it seemed the right choice to go with a Spanish themed recipe – and dusted a little over the finished dish with some additional parsley.  I also used a larger amount of sweetcorn, by mistake –  I had added a whole tin before I realised the quantity was wrong.  I have given the larger quantity as we liked it!  If you want less corn then add half a tin.  The remainder will freeze well for another occasion. I also feel that the combination of ingredients would be the basis for a good Spanish Omelette. You could make most of this in advance adding the eggs when needed as the whole dish will reheat in the oven.  As an alternative the bacon could be replaced with sausages, either ‘frankfurter’ type or pre-cooked traditional chipolatas, cut into small pieces and spicy Spanish Chorizo sausage would be a good addition, especially with the smoked paprika.  Vegetarian sausages are readily available.

The original recipe for Eggs Flamenco comes from Salads & Snacks by Carol Bowen, first published in 1981 by Sundial publications as part of a extensive series of paperbacks available from Marks & Spencer.  A second and similar version of the recipe , called Pan-fried Ham & Vegetables with Eggs, is found in  The Spanish Kitchen by Pepita Aris.  The main difference is the addition of 115g/4ozs grated cheese (Cheddar is suggested but Spanish Manchego would be much better).   This is sprinkled over the top of the dish after the eggs, melting whilst they cook, or alternatively added and flash grilled once the dish has been removed from the oven.

100_4646 Flamenco Eggs

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

Eggs Flamenco
Huevas ala Flamenca
(Serves 4)

1tbsp olive oil
1 large onion, peeled and thinly sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
250g/8ozs lean bacon or ham, diced
60g/1oz chorizo, chopped or in small slices (optional – can be increased)
2 red peppers, cored, de-seeded & sliced (or 1 red & 1 other colour)
375g/12ozs halved cherry tomatoes or 6-8 medium, cut into 8 or sliced
4ozs/125g button mushrooms, sliced
Salt & fresh ground black pepper to taste
Pinch of Cayenne pepper or Smoked paprika
1tbsp freshly chopped parsley (plus a little more to garnish)
1 x 325g/12oz tin sweetcorn, drained – use less if you prefer
A little more smoked paprika & parsley to garnish
4 large eggs (ie, 1 per portion) – use ducks eggs if available
4ozs/115g grated Manchego or Cheddar cheese (optional)

1.  Pre-heat oven to 180oC/350oF/Gas 4

2.  Heat the oil in a frying pan and cook the onion and garlic gently until soft, about 5 minutes.

3.  Add the bacon, chorizo and red peppers.  Fry for 10-12 minutes, or until the peppers are soft.

4.  Add the tomatoes, mushrooms, salt, pepper, cayenne or smoked paprika and parsley.  Continue cooking for about 5 more minutes until the tomatoes go very soft.

5.  Stir  in the drained sweetcorn and remove from the heat.

6.  Pour the mixture into a heavy based ovenproof  dish.  Make evenly spaced depressions in the mixture with the back of a spoon and into each break one egg per person.  If using, add the cheese now so it can bubble and brown while the eggs cook, or it can be added at stage 8.

7.  Place in the centre of the pre-heated oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the eggs have set and the yolks are as you like them – do not cook for too long if you prefer your yolk to be soft and runny.

8.  If using cheese and it has not been used already, add it now and place under a preheated grill for no more than 5 minutes until bubbling.  Just before serving sprinkle with the remaining chopped fresh parsley and a dusting of smoked paprika.

9.  Serve hot with crusty French bread or boiled new potatoes or chips plus a simple green salad.

Vegetarian Variation:

This is easily adapted as it would be no problem to cook a meat free version, possibly using vegetarian sausages though it would be good without any meat substitute.

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