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Archive for January, 2011

January ’Meanderings’ …

At the start of the month I shared the dessert I served at our family New Year get together (see further down) followed by a few ideas for using up the last of the Christmas turkey meat and stock.  Then I put Christmas firmly behind me for another eleven months.  Here in London, according to the BBC weather people, we have had fairly normal January after an unusually cold and snowy pre-Christmas.  However it is still good weather for soups and stews, preferably eaten round the fire rather than round the dining room table.  Don’t get me wrong, I do really prefer my meals served properly at table, but there is something about soups and stews eaten from a bowl … and January and a cosy fire!

Recipes this month

Mincemeat & Almond Delight

Winter Vegetable, Chicken & Bacon Soup                     Parsnip & Split Pea Soup
 
Thatched Carrot, Butterbean & Rosemary Soup  Chunky Vegetable & Pasta Soup
 
Lemon Barley Pilaf with Turkey & Bacon

Meanderings Updated: 
St Clement’s Curd
(‘Oranges & Lemons
say the bells of St Clement’s …’
from the English Nursery Rhyme)

 

 

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

Bookshelf Meanderings: The Complete Farmhouse Kitchen Cookbook has a wealth of traditional British regional recipes, plus a few from elsewhere in the world. Back in the 1980’s Farmhouse Kitchen, a Yorkshire television series presented by Grace Mulligan, was shown throughout the UK and accompanied by this thick 432 page book. Many recipes came from viewers, each of whom are acknowledged by name and location at the end of each recipe.  (There was also a thin paperback version, converting some recipes for the then fairly newly introduced microwave oven.)  The original book is usually one of the first volumes I turn to when looking for an idea: it is often used but still has a lot recipes marked as yet to try, or tried and not yet posted here.
Already on this site: Cream of Tomato Soup with Basil, Simple Cheese & Tomato Topped Baked Fish, Beef & Bean Casserole, Chicken & Rice Casserole, Mincemeat & Almond Delight, Nottingham Apple Pudding & Chocolate Up & Over Pudding.
Watch out for: Stroganoff, Beef & Orange Casserole, Marinated Lamb, Lamb & Lentil Hot-pot, Chestnut & Mushroom Loaf, Sussex Tartlets, Ginger Marmalade Pudding, Honey & Almond Loaf, Nutty Treacle Bread & Devonshire Block Cake.

Media Meanderings:  When I heard that Toast by Nigel Slater, his autobiography, was being dramatised for TV and would be shown over Christmas I made sure I read it first.  A very readable book it is too, full of anecdotes about his childhood, which was not an easy one and giving insight in particular to the growing importance of food and cooking.  It brought back lots of memories for me as well as we would have been in the same school year (I will leave you to do the maths if you must!).

I was glad as well there was another series of Nigel Slater’s Simple Suppers on BBC.  He gives such good clear instructions for everyday eating and there were lovely ideas for Christmas leftovers and New Year.  My version of his Pumpkin Ragout (Butternut Squash Ragoût) was delicious with a mild but distinctive flavour of juniper berries.  Originally served with fillet beef we ate it with topside roast beef one Sunday. We also enjoyed the Bubble & Squeak Cakes (using leftover cooked Brussel Sprouts): a good meat free main meal and another year, for a quick recipe using leftover Christmas turkey, I plan to try the delightfully named Perky Turkey.

Finally, a favourite source of recipe ideas is the Guardian Newspaper Life & Style/Food & Drink pages, where Nigel Slater is a regular columnist.  His recipe for Parsnip & Split Pea Soup came from one of these columns, published on the same day as the recipe for Beetroot Seed Cake.  More recently there were recipes for Baked Pork with Cardamom, Ginger and Yogurt, Rice & Lentil and Lychee Sorbet.  I have already made the Lychee Sorbet, which was simple and delicious.

Entertaining Meanderings:  In recent years, as we live fairly distantly from one another, it has become a  tradition for our extended family to gather together for a New Year lunch.  I have been sharing the catering honours with my sister in law so this year it was my turn.  I find the best menu to be based on a Sunday lunch style roast dinner: this year a lovely piece of Roast Pork served with Sausagemeat Plait with Fennel Chutney, Spiced Braised Red Cabbage Casserole, roast potatoes, carrots, parsnips and green peas.  For dessert there was a choice: Sherry Jelly Berry Trifle or Mincemeat & Almond Delight.  Later in the evening we found space for tea, including French Style Country Terrine (Terrine de Campagne), cold meats and cheeses accompanied with home made chutneys and pickles (such as Pickled Prunes, Beetroot Chutney and the very popular Pickled Pears) plus, of course, a generous slice of Starry Night Christmas Cake.

Miscellaneous Meanderings:  There was yet another church lunch, this time for around 70 people, at the end of January.  On the menu this time: chicken breasts wrapped in bacon baked on a bed of vegetables with traditional trimmings and accompaniments.  For dessert there was a choice of bread puddings: my own Paddington Pudding or Delia Smith’s delicious but very rich Chocolate Bread & Butter Pudding (alternatives were fruit and/or cheese and biscuits).  In spite of being hard work this is a really enjoyable social event and a really good way for people to get to know each other better.

——

‘For what we are about to receive…’ February 2011

Coming in February … Warming Winter food: main courses including dumplings as an alternative to potatoes (or as well as, if you wish!) plus a dessert idea, … comfort eating for cold weather.

Happy Cooking & Eating!

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My last post was Chunky Vegetable & Pasta Soup: warming, satisfying and meat free.  I thought I would follow it with an equally warming and satisfying one that includes just a little meat: some chicken and bacon.  I am very fond of red lentils too, which cook down to give the soup a warming, slightly grainy thickness.  Although the original recipe specified fresh meat (a boned chicken thigh) I substituted leftover chicken, adding it later in the recipe as it was already cooked.  It is always good to have a variety of ways to use up the remains of a chicken – or even some of the Christmas turkey!  I suspect we will continue to have warming winter soups for some weeks yet so I am sure I will be making this again and very soon.

This is yet another hit recipe from my favourite soup recipe book, initially from the library but then bought with some birthday present money: Women’s Institute Soups for all Seasons by Liz Herbert. In the book it is called The Number One Winter Soup, a rather strange title and although I agree that it is a first class recipe, I did feel I wanted something more helpfully descriptive.  Apart from substituting leftover chicken as I had some available, in place of a chicken thigh, the recipe is more or less as it originally appeared.  I did add a few more lentils to make the portions a little more generous and I have included this information in the instructions below.  (The lower figure is the amount of lentils given in the original.)  This dish is easily adapted by adding a little more of any of the ingredients that are particular favourites plus, of course, it could be completely meat free if the chicken and bacon were removed, vegetable stock substituted and a tin of favourite beans added.

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

Winter Vegetable, Chicken & Bacon Soup (The Number One Winter Soup)
(Serves 4)

1tbsp olive oil
1tbsp butter
4ozs/125g streaky bacon (about 4 rashers)
1 boneless fresh chicken thigh
   or
4ozs/125g cooked chicken (or turkey)
2 onions, peeled & chopped
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 sticks celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
1 parsnip, diced
2 leeks, sliced
3pints/1.7litres weak chicken (or turkey) stock
175g/6ozs red lentils (can increase to 225g/8ozs)
2tbsp chopped fresh parsley (plus a little to garnish)
¼tsp dried thyme
1 bay leaf
Salt & freshly ground black pepper

1.  Heat the oil and butter together in a large saucepan.  Cut the bacon into small pieces and gently fry until golden.

2.  If using fresh chicken cut into small pieces and add now.  Cook for 3-4 minutes on a gentle heat until it starts to brown.  (Pre-cooked chicken is added later to prevent it from breaking up.)

3.  Stir in the onions, garlic, celery, carrots, parsnips and leeks.  Cover and cook over a low heat for about 10minutes until they are starting to soften.

4.  Add the stock, lentils, thyme, bay leaf and parsley (remembering to reserve a little parsley to garnish).  Bring to the boil, cook for 10 minutes uncovered, then put on the lid, reduce the heat and simmer for 30minutes.  If using leftover chicken add this 10minutes before serving, which gives enough time for it to adequately heat through.

5.  Before serving check and adjust the seasoning.  Serve in warmed bowls, garnished with the reserved parsley and with some crusty bread on the side.

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A bowlful of a good hearty soup sometimes takes the place of a plated main meal in our house, especially during the winter months.  This usually contains meat, but not always a large quantity and sometimes, as is the case with this recipe, there is no meat at all.  It just goes to prove that soups don’t have to to contain meat to be satisfying: this delicious recipe contains generous amounts of a good selection of vegetables, plus small sized soup pasta.

This recipe, originally just called Vegetable Soup, comes from The Creative Vegetarian Cookbook published by Bramley Books (there is no author listed – edited by Jillian Stewart & Kate Cranshaw). I made the recipe as in the book but substuted 1 sweet potato as I did not have any swede.  I also found that it needed a little extra water towards the end of the cooking time so have included this in the instructions.  Soup pasta, is available in supermarkets and is a dainty version of the pasta shapes usually served as part of a main course.  In addition to the original recipe I added a good sprinkling of grated parmesan just prior to serving.  Of course, if you really miss the meat some diced ham or bacon could be added as well, I suggest at the first stage of cooking.  The recipe gives three generous servings but can be stretched to four by increasing the size or amounts of the vegetables or by serving crusty bread or toast on the side.

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

Chunky Vegetable & Pasta Soup
(Serves 3-4)

2tbsp olive oil
1 large carrot, peeled & sliced
1 large turnip or fist sized piece of swede or sweet potato, peeled & sliced
2 leeks, washed & thinly sliced
2 potatoes, scrubbed & diced
570ml/1pint vegetable stock
450g/1lb tin of plum tomatoes, chopped
1 bay leaf
¼tsp dried marjoram or dried savory
60g/2ozs dried small sized soup pasta
Salt & freshly ground black pepper
90g/3ozs fresh or frozen sliced green beans
120g/4ozs okra, trimmed & sliced
60g/2ozs frozen or tinned sweetcorn niblets
60g/2ozs frozen peas
1tbsp chopped parsley – plus a little more to garnish
Fresh parmesan cheese, grated, to garnish (optional)

 1.  Heat the oil in a large saucepan.  Add the carrot, turnip or swede (sweet potato should be added a little later), leeks and potatoes.

2.  Cook gently for about 10 minutes until softened but not browned. 

3.  Add the stock, sweet potato (if using), tomatoes, bay leaf, marjoram/savory, soup pasta, salt & black pepper. 

4.  Gently bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer gently for 20minutes.

5.  Add the beans and okra and cook for 10 minutes more.

6.  Finally add the sweetcorn, peas and parsley and cook for 5 minutes more before serving.

7.  Check seasoning.  Spoon into bowls and sprinkle with a little reserved parsley.  Grated fresh parmesan cheese can also be added – optional.  Serve with crusty bread.

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The combination of pulses and root vegetables make delicious soups for the colder months and this thick golden bowlful certainly keeps out the winter chill.  The food writer Nigel Slater, who devised the recipe, writes that though this is a winter soup it is also ideal for a cold spring day: a way to use up the last of the winter pulses and a good use for those parsnips hiding in the vegetable rack.  It is certainly good for using up parsnips that are slightly past their best or the thin pieces that don’t roast too well!

The recipe comes from Nigel Slater’s column in the Observer Sunday newspaper colour supplement in April 2007 which can also be found online.  The other recipe that day was Beetroot Seed Cake, which I also made and have already written about on this site.  This soup is tasty and spicy, though for a less hot version use just half a dried chilli pepper, or even less, rather than whole one.  Nigel Slater prefers cooking the vegetables in butter rather than oil but I use both.  You still get a buttery flavour but the oil helps to prevent the butter from burning.  The recipe did not really need too much alteration, although towards the end of the cooking time I put in some fresh coriander, as well as adding some as a garnish to give its distinctive flavour which we love.  You can, of course, leave this out if you wish.

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

Parsnip & Split Pea Soup
(Serves 4)

2 medium sized onions
a generous knob of butter
1tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
2 parsnips
2tsp chilli crushed (I used 1 small crushed dried chilli)
1tsp turmeric
a large pinch of ground mace
2tsp ground coriander
125gyellow split peas
1.5 litres water
black pepper
Fresh coriander to stir through and garnish (optional)

1.  Peel and roughly chop the onions. Gently heat the butter and olive oil together in a deep pan.  (Nigel Slater prefers butter to oil but I use both as you still get the buttery flavour but the oil helps to prevent it from burning.) 

2.  Add the onions to the pan and start to cook gently.  Next peel and crush the garlic and peel and roughly chop the parsnips, adding both to the pan and mixing well. Cook gently on a medium heat. 

3.  When they are starting to show colour add the crushed chilli, turmeric powder, ground mace and ground coriander.

4.  Add the split peas and water.  Season with black pepper.  (The salt needs to be added later when the peas start to soften: any earlier and it will toughen their skins.)  Simmer gently for around 35 minutes until the peas are soft and can be crushed between your fingers.

5.  Add salt to taste.  Liquidise until the soup is smooth and thick, return to the pan and gently reheat.  Rinse the liquidiser with a very small amount of water adding this to the pan as well. 

6.  Chop the fresh coriander, reserve a little to garnish and stir through the soup as it reheats.

7.  Adjust the seasoning and serve with crusty bread.

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One of the joys of the colder months, particularly just after Christmas when the food has normally been rather rich, is a simple bowlful of soup accompanied by some crusty fresh bread.  I was attracted to the flavour combination of the ingredients in this recipe: carrot always makes a delicious soup (at least I think so), butter beans add a smooth creaminess and rosemary gives both scent and flavour.  This is my final recipe this year for seasonal leftovers.  It was first made just after Christmas so I used Turkey stock, but the original recipe specified chicken stock (vegetable stock would be fine too).  Don’t worry if you are a bit fed up with turkey flavour as the main flavours come from the other ingredients so you won’t feel you are eating ‘that bird’ – yet again! 

The recipe comes from my soup book: the Women’s Institute Soups for all Seasons by Liz Herbert.  Butterbean, Carrot & Rosemary Soup, the original title, is listed in the Winter section and it truly is a warming bowlful for a cold lunchtime.  It was made and on the table in a very short time, which is always an advantage.  The recipe uses tinned beans.  Dried beans can be substituted (in which case the amount of beans used should be halved) and I have given details below, however the recipe will no longer be so speedy.  The carrot predominates and my version has the option of adding extra carrot, so I changed the title a little.  The word ‘Thatched’ is my addition, which I have used once before when I grated cheese onto Thatched Cauliflower Cheese Soup.  This time I suggest an additional small carrot is grated with most stirred in and a scattering on top for decoration, or if you prefer simply reserve and add a few strands for decoration.  Stirred though, without cooking, gives a crunchy texture to the otherwise smooth soup.  On first tasting the soup can taste a little bland so beware overseasoning and taste again before serving.

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

Thatched Carrot, Butterbean & Rosemary Soup
(Serves 4)

2tbsp olive oil
1 onion, diced
1 clove garlic, crushed
12ozs/35og carrots, diced
1 or 2 sticks celery, diced
1½pints/700ml turkey or chicken stock
2tsp fresh chopped rosemary (or 1tsp dried rosemary): more if you love rosemary
1 bay leaf
400g can butterbeans, rinsed & drained (or 200g dried butterbeans)
salt & freshly ground black pepper
sprigs of fresh rosemary to garnish (if available)
1 more carrot, grated (small: garnish only/medium: garnish & stir in) optional

1.  For tinned beans, start at step 2.
If using dried beans instead of tinned they should first be soaked overnight to soften or, if time is short, pour over boiling water and leave for 1 hour.  Bring to the boil in unsalted water, reduce heat and cook until soft, about 30minutes, before using in the recipe.  (Salted water will toughen the skins of the beans.)

2.  Heat the olive oil in a large lidded saucepan.  Gently sweat the onion, garlic, carrots and celery for about 10 minutes until soft but not browned.  Shake or stir occasionally to prevent sticking.

3.  Add the stock, rosemary and bay leaf and bring to the boil.  Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

4.  Stir in the butterbeans.  Simmer for a further 10 minutes.

5.  Allow the soup to cool slightly and purée, using a liquidiser if available.  Check and adjust seasoning.  I usually add a little more hot water to rinse the liquidiser once the soup has been puréed so I do not lose any of the soup.  Return the soup to the saucepan along with this extra soupy water and reheat.  If you are stirring grated carrot through the soup then add it just before the soup is served, reserving a small amount to garnish.  Do not reheat for too long as the grated carrot will lose its crunch.

6.  Serve in bowls, garnished with a thatch of grated carrot and a sprig of fresh rosemary.  The original recipe suggests that the pretty lavender flowers of rosemary, if in season, add to the appearance of the dish.

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Every year I try to find something new to try using the turkey leftovers from Christmas.  After the festive meal we strip the carcass of usable meat, reserving the remainder for turkey soup and stock.  We enjoy some of the meat cold, but the remainder is packaged up into meal sized portions (in our case to feed 3/4 people) and frozen.  We have favourites of course such as Midwinter Turkey Chilli Beanpot, Turkey & Bacon Fricassée and Turkey Flan with Leeks & Cheese .  I had been meaning to try pearl barley in place of rice to make a dish similar to a risotto, so when I came across this recipe I just had to give it a go especially as I needed a recipe that was quick and easy.  Since writing this post I have been reminded through the comments of the reported health benefits of Barley Water, often recommended for kidney health.  Barley Water is mentioned in Wikipedia as a remedy for cystitis, but does not specifically mention the kidneys:  there are numerous other sites which do make the link though, but to which I am not prepared to add a link.   My mother used to use the water in which barley had been boiled and flavour it with slightly sweetened lemon for a version of Lemon Barley Water that was so much better than any brand name bottled variety.  (You can also cheat and use it to water down a commercial lemon – or orange – squash.)

The recipe comes from the website Allrecipes.co.uk, which is a good source of ideas.  The original was called Lemon Barley Pilaf with Chicken.  This is my version which uses Turkey and Bacon.  It can be made with either fresh or pre-cooked turkey (I have given instructions for both) adding the bacon for extra flavour.  (Chicken can be used if you prefer.)  A smaller quantity of leftover meat will be needed than fresh meat and, of course, ready cooked meat is added towards the end of the cooking time as it just needs reheating.  I ‘tweaked’ a few of the other ingredients a little and also used baby Spinach in place of rocket.  The instructions for cooking the pearl barley did not seem to give it long enough, so in line with another recipe I make regularly (Pot Roasted Vegetables and Pearl Barley) I pre-cooked the barley for a short while (about 15 minutes) before adding it to the remaining ingredients.  This recipe got the thumbs up from my family, particularly because of its delicious fresh lemony flavour, so I shall definitely be making it again.  I think it could equally well be made as a conventional risotto using arborio or a similar risotto rice.

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

Lemon Barley Pilaf with Turkey & Bacon
(Serves 4)

1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled & diced
1 celery stick, diced
1 garlic clove, crushed
225g pearl barley
600ml chicken stock, hot
1 tbsp chopped fresh or 1 tsp dried thyme
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
150g frozen peas
125g/40zs chopped bacon or leftover ham (optional)
325g/12ozs fresh diced turkey/chicken – extra if not using bacon
   or
250g skinned roast turkey/chicken, in small pieces – extra if not using bacon
50g baby spinach (or rocket as in the original recipe)

1.   Place the barley and stock in a saucepan.  Bring to the boil, reduce heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes, until partially but not completely cooked.  Check liquid level reguarly to make sure it does dry out, adding a little extra water if needed.

2.  Put the oil in a heavy saucepan and heat over a medium heat. Stir in the onion and if using fresh meat add the diced fresh turkey or chicken and bacon (cooked meats are added later) and cook until it starts to change colour.  Add the carrot, celery and garlic and stir into the mixture.  Cook gently for about 1o minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables soften but without browning.

3. Stir in the cooked barley along with its cooking stock and bring back to the boil.   Stir in the thyme and lemon zest.  Turn the heat to as low as possible, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes more, stirring occasionally until the barley is almost soft.

4.   Add peas and stir well.  Cover the pan and simmer for a further 4–5 minutes.The barley should be soft and the liquid should disappear but be careful the mixture does not stick so check and stir regularly.  Add the lemon juice.  If needed, a little more boiling water can be added.  Season to taste.

5. If using leftover ready cooked meat then dice it well and add to the pan.  Add the baby spinach leaves, lightly stir through the mixture and cook for no more than 1minute so it is just wilted.

6.  Serve immediately in a bowl with a scattering of grated parmesan (optional).

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So, here we are in a New Year with Christmas over and just a few remnants of festive foods lurking in the fridge and cupboard.  This recipe is one of the best I know for using up the last of the mincemeat, but actually I would happily open a new jar to make this.  There are two recipes for sweet mincemeat on this site.  Most recently I have added a delicious Suet Free Mincemeat which is ideal for this recipe.  There is also Last Minute Mincemeat, a method for augmenting a standard shop bought jar and very helpful if you have just small amount left over from Christmas.  (For a small quantity for each 4tbsp mincemeat add around 3tbsp dried mixed fruit, 1tbsp brandy, 2tbsp orange juice and 4 chopped glace cherries.)  About half a jar full is needed for the recipe, but if it is slightly less don’t worry.  If you are just slightly short of the quantity required, a third and very quick method would be to simply add a scattering of mixed dried fruit.  For the record, another good way of using up leftover sweet mincemeat is in a Candlemas Crumble, which is good at any time, not just on 2nd February!  I served a large (double sized) version of Mincemeat & Almond Delight at this year’s New Year’s Day meal for our extended family as an alternative to a Sherry Berry Jelly Trifle.  Most people ate seconds, coming back for the pudding they had not tried first time round! 

The recipe for Mincemeat & Almond Delight comes from The Complete Farmhouse Kitchen Cookbook.  It is a shortcrust pastry flan case filled with Mincemeat and sliced banana and covered with an almond mixture similar to that in Bakewell Tart, known as crème d’amande (almond cream).  French Style Pear Tart/Pear Pie Bordalue (Tarte aux Poires), also with crème d’amande, uses a similar method and a recipe will eventually also be posted here.  I am indebted to Clothilde at Chocolate & Zucchini (one of my favourite blogs) in her post  about Galette des Rois (something else I fully intend to make one day!)  She helpfully writes:

“There is a lot of confusion between crème d’amande, and frangipane, so here’s the difference: crème d’amande (almond cream) is a simple mix of butter, sugar, ground almonds, and eggs, more or less in equal parts. Frangipane, on the other hand, is a blend of crème d’amande and crème pâtissière (pastry cream), which is made with eggs, milk, sugar, and flour or cornstarch.” 

So now you – and I – know the difference.  Having written that the filling for this recipe and the Pear Pie Bordalue was Frangipane I now stand corrected and I have amended my words accordingly.  Thanks Clothilde!  The original recipe used a butter rich pastry crust, but I opted for a standard Shortcrust Pastry using my usual method.  I also finished the tart with a sprinkling of split almonds, toasted as the tart baked, which gave a Bakewell Tart appearance.  This recipe can also be made as individual sized tarts for tea time. 

Mincemeat & Almond Delight
(Serves 6)

Shortcrust Pastry to line a 20cm/8inch flan case
50g/2ozs butter
50g/2ozs caster or soft brown sugar
50g/2ozs ground almonds
2 eggs, lightly beaten
a few drops almond essence, extract if you can get it
225g/8ozs mincemeat (about half a jar – see details above)
2 bananas, thinly sliced 
25g/1oz split almonds to finish (optional)

1.  Make the shortcrust pastry (I used 6ozs flour and 3ozs fat). Wrap in plastic and leave in the fridge to chill for at least 30minutes.

2.  Preheat the oven to 200oC/400oF/Gas 6.   Roll out the pastry and line the greased and floured flan case.   Fill with beans and bake blind for 10minutes.  When cool enough, remove the beans and when cool store for another use.

3.  Reduce the oven heat to 180oC/350oF/Gas 4.

4.  Make the almond cream. Cream the butter and sugar together.  Gradually beat in the egg.  Add the ground almonds and almond essence and mix together well.

5.  Spread the mincemeat evenly into the pastry case and cover with the slices of banana.

6.  Pile the almond cream on top of the banana and spread evenly to the edges of the case.

7.  Sprinkle with almonds and bake for 35-40minutes until golden brown. 

8.  Best served hot or warm, but also good cold.  Serve with custard and/or cream, crème fraîche or soured cream.  If you have leftover brandy butter it can be served with this tart.

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A very happy New Year to all my readers!

At the start of a new year I like to look back to see which posts on this site have generated the most interest. (The 2009 statistics can be found here.) WordPress 2010 in review has also provided their own take on my statistics.

My most viewed posts of 2010

1. 100_7970   Baked tomato stuffed marrow 2.

3. 4.

5. 6.

7. 8.

9. 10.

All images copyright ©’Meanderings through my Cookbook’
http://www.hopeeternalcookbook.wordpress.com/

1.  Baked Tomato Stuffed Marrow
2.  Beetroot Chutney
3.  Sweet Crumble Mixtures
4.  Fragrant Marmalade Cake
5.  Tarte au Citron (French Lemon Tart)
6.  Creamy Pasta with Bacon & Courgettes
7.  Raspberry Bakewell Pudding or Tart
8.  Onion Bhajis
9.  Chorizo, Pepper & Couscous Stuffed Marrow
10. Last Minute Mincemeat & Mince Pies

I like to keep track of the statistics too, by way of comparison from year to year.

Total number of visitors:
2009: 5,653
2010: 58,247

Top day & number:
31 December 2009 – 118 visitors
23 December 2010 – 300 visitors

Happy cooking & eating in 2011

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2010 in review

This information is in addition to my personal review of 2010.

The stats helper monkeys at WordPress.com mulled over how this blog did in 2010 and here’s a high level summary of your overall blog health:

  Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

About 3 million people visit the Taj Mahal every year. This blog was viewed about 51,000 times in 2010. If it were the Taj Mahal, it would take about 6 days for that many people to see it.

In 2010, there were 125 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 233 posts. There were 202 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 120mb. That’s about 4 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was December 23rd with 300 views. The most popular post that day was Sherry Jelly Berry Trifle although the most popular post of the year was Baked Tomato Stuffed Marrow.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were ukfba.co.uk, nigella.com, google.co.uk, search.conduit.com and search.bt.com.

Some visitors came searching, mostly for stuffed marrow jamie oliver, marmalade cake, stuffed marrow, beetroot chutney and mince pies.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

1

Baked Tomato Stuffed Marrow September 2009
1 comment

2

Beetroot Chutney October 2009
10 comments

3

Basic Recipe: Sweet Crumble Mixtures February 2010
1 comment

4

Fragrant Marmalade Cake March 2010

5

Tarte au Citron (French Lemon Tart) September 2009
1 comment

(Information corrected from the WordPress original.)

Numbers 6-10 can be found in my personal review of 2010.

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