Archive for May 31st, 2010

April ’Meanderings’ …

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

Pictured (top to bottom)
North African Style Fish Fillets
Honeyed Banana Ice Cream with Nuts
Smoked Haddock, Cheese & Tomato Bake
Tropical Banana & Chocolate Crumble   

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

I love fish and always consult the fish section of restaurant menus first to see if there is anything unusual on offer.  I look out for unusual fish recipes to try out at home as well so I thought it was high time I shared some more on this site.  When I checked my list I found I was spoiled for choice and there are still more to post in the future.  I am particularly interested in finding tasty, easy fish dishes for everyday meals, using less expensive types.  North African Style Fish Fillets sits on a bed of Ratatouille, a dish of Mediterranean style mixed vegetables, so my version of Ratatouille Niçoise/Provençale, was my first post this month.  There is also a Rick Stein recipe, Herrings in Oatmeal with Bacon, which can also be made using mackerel fillets, where the fish takes on the flavour of the bacon previously cooked in the same pan and Smoked Haddock, Cheese & Tomato Bake a simple dish which is fast becoming a family favourite.      

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

Bananas are always available in our market and sometimes I find that they have gone past their best for eating.  It is always good to know ways for using these and I have included a delicious recipe for Banana & Date Cake that came hot off the press and straight into my oven from the May 2010 ASDA magazine and some quick and easy Banana & Coconut Flapjack, of which I have since made several variations. I also cooked a Tropical Banana & Chocolate Crumble and took my ice cream machine down from the shelf to make Honeyed Banana Ice Cream with Nuts, yet another good way to use ripe bananas.      

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

Our church family celebrated the birthday of the church at Pentecost with a meal together.  This is the third time we have made one of these special meals and was very successful.  We catered for more people than usual with tickets specifying a choice from three main courses (salmon, baked ham or coronation chicken) or a vegetarian option, served with a variety of different salads.  (The Coronation Chicken was delicious and I managed to get the recipe to eventually add to this site.)  There were strawberries, cream and meringues for dessert, with an alternative choice of fruit for strawberry haters.  It was a huge undertaking, bigger than before as we were catering for one hundred, but nothing major seemed to go wrong and if anything we over rather than undercatered.   

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

Our trip to Paris was wonderful, falling at the very end of the month and into early June.  My favourite food memories have to be of some of our lunchtime snacks, eaten outdoors in the Parisien sunshine.  A wonderful crusty tuna filled baguette and a (shared) thick wedge of tarte Normande, filled with sweet vanilla custard and topped with apple, from a bakery in the Marais.  Still warm slices of Tarte Provencale and Tarte aux Pistou (Vegetables and a basil mixture, Pesto in Italian) followed by Tarte aux Pistache (with pear), a variation of our favourite French pear and almond pastry.  It had not occurred to me that other types of ground nut could be substituted for the almond that is most commonly used in recipes, giving a completely different finished article.  The pistachio was wonderful!  Definitely food for thought – and experimentation.     

May Recipes

Ratatouille Niçoise/Provençale      

Herrings (or Mackerel) in Oatmeal with Bacon
North African Style Fish Fillets
Smoked Haddock, Cheese & Tomato Bake
White Fish with Chorizo, Butter Beans & Red Pepper  

Honeyed Banana Ice Cream with Nuts
Tropical Banana & Chocolate Crumble    

Banana & Coconut Flapjack
Banana & Date Cake  

Read Meanderings ‘a la carte’ from previous months    

‘For what we are about to receive…’ June 2010 and beyond

Food Focus – Far Eastern influenced foods & summer desserts
Recipe Book(s) used:
…from my shelf
– Amongst the many books I will be dipping into will be Hot & Spicy Cooking: Exciting Ideas for Delicious Meals with recipes by Judith Ferguson, Lalita Ahmed and Carolyn Garner.  I love this book, which has a combination of spicy meals from the Indian sub-continent and the far east. 
…from the library – I have been enjoying reading Rick Stein’s Far Eastern Odyssey and watching repeated episodes of the series.  There are a lot of delicious recipes but how many I shall actually make I’m not too sure.  I can get hold of many of the unusual ingredients and have a quite a few already, but some are just too difficult to find – or expensive.     

As, hopefully, the weather improves with the evenings getting longer my thoughts tend to turn towards lighter more summery food.  With summer comes holidays, of course, with a few days break on the Kent coast to look forward to before our annual extended visit to France in August.  I am not sure what I will be eating in Kent, but I expect that some traditional fish and chips will be on the menu one day.    

Happy Cooking & Eating!

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This ice cream is a great way to use up brown and mottled overripe bananas.  They may be past their best for eating, but they are ideal for cooking as their natural sweetness increases as they age.  Honey adds additional sweetness with the lemon counteracting this slightly.  The nuts – I used flaked almonds – add a lovely crunch.  I used runny honey rather than set, which I did not have, doubled the amount of cream (by mistake!) and used just one whipped egg white, which seemed ample.  The quantity overfilled a 500g ice cream tub.  Next time I would add just half a tub of cream as originally specified – 150ml/¼pint!

Last year I borrowed a fairly comprehensive, as I thought, ice cream book from the library and eventually bought myself a copy (Making Ice Cream & Iced Desserts by Joanna Farrow & Sara Lewis).  However, I found another book in a charity shop called, simply, Ice Creams, published by Hamlyn (there is no named author).  It contained some lovely and unusual ideas and I just had to have it as well.  This recipe is one of the first that attracted me to the ‘must-have’ slim paperback.

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

Honeyed Banana Ice Cream with Nuts
(Serves 4-6)

500g/1lb bananas, peeled (a little extra is fine rather than waste fruit)
2 tbsp lemon juice
3 tbsp honey
150ml/¼pint natural yoghurt
50g/2ozs chopped nuts (flaked almonds are ideal)
150ml/¼pint double cream – whipping for Ice Cream machine (Elmlea half fat)
1 egg white

1.  Put the lemon juice in a bowl, add the banana pieces and mash together well.  The lemon stops the banana from browning.

2.  Stir in the honey and yoghurt and mix well.

3.  Ice Cream maker:
a.  Whisk the whipping cream lightly until the whisk leaves a trail when lifted but not too stiffly as it will be difficult to combine, especially if using a machine.
b.  Combine with the banana and honey mixture.
c.  Pour into the machine and churn for 10-15 minutes until thick gradually introducing the nut pieces through the hole.
d.  Lightly whip the egg white and spoon into the ice cream machine as it mixes.
e.  Tip into loaf tin or container, cover with cling film or a lid and freeze for at least 6 hours.

4. By hand:
a.  Whisk the double cream lightly until the whisk leaves a trail when lifted. 
b.  Combine with the banana and honey mixture and stir in the pieces of nut.
c.  Tip into loaf tin or container, cover with cling film or a lid and freeze until partly set. d. Lightly whip the egg white.  Remove the partly frozen ice cream from the freezer and fold into the banana mixture. 
e.  Freeze until set.

5.  To serve:
Defrost in the fridge before serving: this can take up to 1 hour depending on the type of ice cream.  Dip the serving spoon or scoop in boiling water to help it cut through the ice cream if it is a little hard.

Serve the ice cream with a sliced fresh banana and a drizzle of Dulce de Leche (pictured),  or similar toffee pouring sauce or alternatively some runny honey.

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