Showing posts from May, 2011

Thrifty Asparagus Soup

This is my idea of a spring soup. I've made use of the local pick-your-own asparagus field in the last few weeks and enjoyed simple dishes of the freshest asparagus. But however fresh it might be, I always have to break off some of the tougher ends of the asparagus spears and throw them in the compost bin. Being in a thrifty ( well OK, hard up ) frame of mind, I've been saving the asparagus ends this year. I've cut off the really grungy, woody bits and put the rest of the tough but tasty ends into the freezer. After a few asparagus lunches, I had enough for this soup. Asparagus doesn't freeze well, of course, and the texture is ruined, but in a soup that doesn’t really matter. It’s really tempting to add loads of cream to asparagus soup but being in a healthy ( well OK, fat ) frame of mind I've tried to make this soup a little creamy without the cream. The other twist in the recipe is that I used a little Korean apple vinegar which I bought on a recent trip t

Hazelnut and White Chocolate Roulade

Generally I don’t mind messing about with recipes even if they're classics, but I really don't want to mess around too much with the sponge part of a roulade – that's just asking for trouble. So this is a classic roulade sponge method. Not original, perhaps, but it works and that'll do for me. I've combined hazelnuts and white chocolate in cakes before in this blog, but it's a combination that I enjoy a lot and, for some reason, I'm slightly hooked on hazelnuts at the moment. For the sponge:      70 g caster sugar, plus a bit more for sprinkling      3 eggs      45 g ground hazelnuts (make sure there are no lumps)      20 g plain flour, sieved For the filling:      70 g unsalted butter      70 g white chocolate      100 g icing sugar, sieved      70 g hazelnut butter      40 g mascarpone Line a 20 x 30 cm Swiss roll tin with non-stick baking paper and then rub some butter over the paper to make sure that nothing could possibly stick to it. (I

Two Spring Pasta Sauces

OK, I know it’s getting a bit late to be posting this but I don’t have the patience to wait until next spring. These sauces will each serve 2 people who are feeling greedy or more than 2, if you happen to know restrained people. Spring Pesto Assuming that you can still find some wild garlic, then you can make a wild garlic pesto and very good it’ll be too. But if you happen to be growing radishes and maybe have some sorrel somewhere in the garden then this is a useful, fresh-tasting variation. I hate wasting anything that I’ve grown and making use of the abundant radish leaves has to be good. Make sure all the leaves are fresh and good-looking, of course. Generous handful of radish leaves, torn up Handful of sorrel leaves Handful of wild garlic leaves Handful of hazelnuts Generous handful of parmesan 1 tsp lemon juice extra-virgin olive oil and cold-pressed rapeseed oil Just whiz all the ingredients together in a processor with some salt and pepper, adding as much oil as

Hollygog Pudding

For this month's Random Recipe challenge Dom of Belleau Kitchen has asked us to come up with desserts and to pick a random recipe from one of our cookbooks dedicated to desserts, cakes or puddings. I suppose it just proves that I like more general cookbooks, but after a quick search through the bookshelves I found only one such book: “The National Trust Book of Traditional Puddings” by Sara Paston-Williams, published in the eighties. (Although this particular book is now out of print the National Trust currently sell several books that cover much the same ground and seem to be derived largely from this original collection of recipes). There were two recipes on the randomly chosen page in the book: I could have selected a roly-poly pudding, but who could turn down the opportunity to make something called Hollygog pudding? The original recipe comes from Kiddington in Oxfordshire and, in fact, it is a kind of roly-poly pudding filled with golden syrup and cooked in milk. Not the

Confiture de Lait

I know that there are plenty of other versions of this recipe around, but this is how I make it and, believe me, it’s really easy and very yummy. You do need some time, though, so it’s a good recipe for lazier days when you’re hanging around the kitchen doing something else. I use the confiture in a large number of desserts but just drizzled over ice cream with pears or bananas remains a firm favourite. If you want to use it for pouring or drizzling rather than spreading, then simply stop the cooking process before it gets too thick. The bicarbonate of soda in this recipe seems a little odd but seems to improve the final result, presumably by adjusting the acidity. Anyway, someone from Normandy told me to put it in and I reckon he knows a lot more about it than I do. What’s the difference between confiture de lait and dulce de leche? I was told that real dulce de leche doesn’t contain vanilla or bicarbonate of soda, but I recently bought an apparently authentic imported jar of dulc