Sunday, August 31, 2008

Pea, broad bean and goat's cheese salad

Peas in a pod

It was rainy all day today (with a bit of thunder and lightning thrown in) so I skipped the Chilli Crab Festival in Brick Lane and stayed in for an indoor photo session instead. And, once I'd podded the peas I had to make something tasty with them so here is the result...

I have to admit to being terribly unhealthy and only really enjoying a salad if it contains bacon, cheese or chicken! This warm "salad" hits the jackpot with two out of three of my faves, plus delicious broad beans and peas which are both in season at the moment.

Pea, broad bean and goat's cheese salad

A couple of handfuls of freshly podded peas per person

A couple of handfuls of broad beans per person

1 round goat's cheese, cut into small pieces

10 cherry tomatoes, halved

100g Chorizo

1. Cook the broad beans and peas in some boiling water for a few minutes until tender.

2. Meanwhile, skin the chorizo, cut into chunks and fry in a dry pan until it's nicely golden brown on the outside and the vibrant red oils have been released.

3. Drain the beans and peas, and toss all the ingredients together. The cheese will start to go gorgeously gooey on contact with the hot ingredients.

4. Season to taste and serve, I just stuck to pepper because there was plenty of salt in the chorizo and cheese.


The Princess

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What is....amchur?

It looks like sand and it tastes like...something fruity, sour and zingy. Sometimes substituted by lemon or lime juice, or even tamarind, amchur (or amchoor) is an ingredient made from dried mangoes and gives a delicious cheek-sucking tartness to North Indian curries and other dishes.

Inspired by The Second Pancake's Chana Masala, I dashed out to buy some amchur from Delhi India to top off this delicious curry. However, I ended up testing it out in a simple marinade instead.

Zingy Amchur Prawns (serves one greedy girl)

200g raw tiger prawns
1 tsp Maldon salt
1 tsp amchur
Pinch of chilli flakes
1 tsp ground pepper
1 tbsp olive oil

1. Mix all the ingredients together
2. Fry the prawns in a griddle pan until pink and juicy (approx 2 mins each side)
3. Toss with some ripped up coriander leaves


The Princess

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Blackberry fool


Tis the season for blackberries, and I was lucky enough to get to these beauties before the birds in my garden did! Sadly, I didn't have quite enough to feed both myself and the bf, so these foraged finds were bolstered with a punnet from Waitrose.


Blackberry fool (or any fool, for that matter) is incredibly easy - just whip up some double cream, mash the blackberries and a couple of dessertspoons of caster sugar lightly with a fork and fold through.

Blackberry fool - view from the KitchenAid

Don't forget to decorate with a couple of whole blackberries...

Blackberry fool


The Princess

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Gorgeous greengage sorbet - recipe

Don't these look delicious? I just love greengages, but they never seem to appear in the shops very often, so when I saw a big punnet in Waitrose last week I rushed home with them and turned them into a delicious greengage sorbet. Greengages are a particularly sweet and tasty variety of plum, originally from France and are in season from July until the end of September.

The recipe was inspired by Pim's recent post on greengage jam, with lime substituted for lemon as that was what I had around the place. For sorbet, you don't want them to get too jammy so make sure you cool the mixture before it gets to setting point. I found that this recipe didn't set hard, but was perfectly soft scoop when I got it out of the freezer (must be something to do with the pectin, or the quantity of sugar - can anyone enlighten me?).

Greengage sorbet

1kg greengages (or however many you can get your hands on)
500g caster sugar (or just scale down - you basically want half the weight of the greengages)
Juice of 1 lime

1. Wash the greengages, cut them into halves and discard the stones.
2. Put the greengages, sugar and lime juice into a large saucepan and leave to macerate for half an hour or so.
3. Put the saucepan on a medium heat until the greengages are nicely broken down. Don't let them get too jammy (see above), or you will have jam not sorbet!
4. Push the greengages through a sieve to get rid of the skins.
5. Cool the sieved liquid in the fridge, before churning it in an ice cream maker.

If you don't have an ice cream maker, why not try David Lebovitz's tips for making ice cream without a machine.

There you have it - Gorgeous Greengage Sorbet. Enjoy!

The Princess

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Covent Garden Night Market 2008

Covent Garden night markets are back and in full swing for 2008, from 3pm-10pm on Thursdays and 12pm-9pm on Fridays throughout August. My 3 top picks from last Friday are...

1. Tasty pigeon and peach sausages from the lovely lady at Manor Farm Game - if you can't make it to the night market then they can also be found on Sundays at Marylebone and various other markets all listed on their comprehensive website.

2. Delicious cheeses from the very nice chap at Norbiton Fine Cheese Co. - I snapped up three (and a beautiful olive wood cheeseboard). It's always nice to get a personal recommendation and know that people have a passion for their produce.

3. Unfortunately I had already feasted on a so-so cupcake by the time I saw these so-so-cute owl shaped shortbreads from the Cinnamon Tree Bakery. I wished I had been wise and saved myself for them instead!
Tasty fudge from a grumpy man!
Jewel like tomatoes straight from the Isle of Wight.

I missed out on the celebrity chef last week, but the schedule for the upcoming dates is:

15th August: Hairy Bikers

22nd August: Willie Harcourt-Cooze

29th August: Fergus Henderson

Monday, August 4, 2008

Harissa paste - how to make your own

I made this gorgeously vibrant Harissa paste last night to marinate some chicken for this evening's meal, but it can be used in many ways, much like a curry paste. It originates from North Africa and can be used to spice up anything from vegetables to lamb. Mixed with yoghurt it makes a great marinade.

I used part of a recipe from my favourite book of the moment - Ottolenghi - the cookbook. The full deal includes a tasty red grapefruit and rocket salad, all topped off with a grapefruit and maple syrup sauce, I will leave it to you to buy the book to see the full monty. It comes highly recommended by me and is one of few cookbooks to get 100% 5 star reviews on Amazon.

Harissa paste - makes enough to marinade 8 chicken thighs

1 red pepper
1 red onion
3 cloves of garlic
1/4 tsp caraway seeds
1/4 tsp coriander seeds
1/4 tsp cumin seeds
1/2 tsp salt
Juice of half a lemon
Olive oil
1 dried chilli
2 fresh red chillies

1. Skin the pepper by scorching it over a gas hob, or under a very hot grill until it's black and blistered. Pop it into a bowl and cover with clingfilm. Once it's cool, the skin should peel off easily.

2. Meanwhile, put the caraway, coriander and cumin into a dry frying pan and fry until fragrant (it should only take a couple of minutes - shake it around a bit to make sure it doesn't burn). Pound to a powder in a pestle and mortar and set aside.
3. Chop the onion and garlic roughly (it's all going in the food processor later anyway...), chop and deseed both types of chillies. Put it all in a hot frying pan with a glug of olive oil and fry for 20 mins or so, until it's nicely golden but not burnt.

4. Put everything (that's skinned peppers, crushed and roasted spices, and golden onions & chillies) into the magimix, along with the salt and lemon juice. Whiz to a brilliant orange paste and you're done.

If you want to know what to do with your Harissa, why not try some of the following recipes:

Mini lamb sliders with harissa sauce & toasted cumin buns - so cute!
Tomato pepper stew with poached eggs and harissa - zingy
Harissa spaghettini - comforting

And, don't forget that harissa keeps well in the fridge for a few days, just cover it with some olive oil. I would also hazard a guess that it freezes too.

The Princess

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Tree of Happiness!

I'm thrilled to have received a Tree of Happiness award from Beth at Cloth and Fodder. Please do check Beth's blog out - she has some fabulous creations including an octopus cake and even a spider hunting wasp cake!
6 things that make me happy:

1. Dancing in the kitchen with my lovely bf
2. When I bake a cake and it disappears in a flash
3. The colour pink
4. Growing my own herbs from seed
5. Indoor picnics - when the British weather is just too rainy, nothing beats hanging out in the living room with the Sunday papers and picking at cold meats, olives and fantastic cheeses from my local farm shop.
6. Listening to the Puppini Sisters, especially their superb cover of Crazy in Love

Now I'm going to tag...

Caitlin at Engineer Baker, cos she's a geek like me and is even known to produce spreadsheets of her recipes!

Emeline at Sugar Plum - tasty cakes and more.

Bethany at Dirty Kitchen Secrets - Bethany's London based but originates from the Lebanon (and seems to have lived in a lot of other places too), and this diversity really shows in her recipes.

Jeena of Jeena's Kitchen, a master of spices and big, punchy flavours.

Carrie at Fields of Cake, I'd really recommend checking out some of her beautiful creations.

And, last but not least, Kate/Kajal over at Applemint. Check out this blog if you're in need of some food porn...

Please consider yourselves proud owners of the 'Tree of Happiness' award. I really hope you will accept by listing six things that make you happy and then pass the honour on to six other bloggers!

The Princess

Saturday, August 2, 2008

3 great marinades for steak

I love love love steak, and have been eating it regularly since being on the South Beach diet (it's a great diet!). All these ideas are meant to serve four, however I have used them for just the two of us and drizzled the spare sticky juices over the top.

I have been using 28 day aged steaks from Waitrose lately. They are a bit more expensive than the standard variety but taste fabulous and I must admit that I'm hooked.

1. Chorizo style spiced steak

Whizz two cloves of garlic in your food processor along with 1 tsp Maldon salt, 1 tsp smoked paprika (also called pimenton), 1 tsp ground cumin and 1 tbsp olive oil. Spread this mixture all over your steak and griddle to your taste in a piping hot pan.

2. Teriyaki steak

Don't cheat and use a ready-made sauce, it's easy to make your own Teriyaki. And although you'll need to buy three unusual ingredients, you'll love this so much you shouldn't have any problems using them up...

This is based on a recipe by Paul Rankin on the last series of Saturday Kitchen.

Take 3 tbsps mirin, 3 tbsps sake and 3 tbsps Japanese soy sauce (or use bog standard version if you can't find Japanese). Whisk them together. Fry your seasoned steak for 2 mins each side. Remove from the pan. Add the marinade to the pan, let it bubble for a while and then add the steaks back in to finish them off to your taste. This is good. Seriously good.

3. (Probably) The Greatest Steak Marinade of All Time

KT over at A Hungry Bear has the meaning to life, or at least the greatest steak marinade of all time, a sticky concoction of balsamic vinegar, brown sugar and worcestershire sauce.

I'll leave it up to you to decide if she's right!
The Princess