Showing posts from June, 2011

Gooseberry and Sloe Gin Jam

Since it's gooseberry picking time, I felt a Gooseberry and Sloe Gin jam was in order. It would probably be more accurate to call this Gooseberry Jam with Sloe Gin but that would remove the huge delight that I get from saying the phrase “Sloe Gin Jam”. It’s astonishing how long little things like that will keep me amused. This is a pretty conventional jam that seems to work best with barely ripe gooseberries. The less ripe gooseberries give the right degree of sharpness and seem to set better. There’s also something very English about this jam; perhaps best enjoyed in an English country garden while reading an Agatha Christie as the distant sound of willow on leather mingles with the music of Elgar drifting from an open window and Blenkinsop, the old family retainer, stumbles drunkenly across the lawn and falls into the ha-ha. (Sorry about that outburst of Old Englishness – I’ve applied a cold flannel to my forehead and I’ll be alright again in a minute.) 1 Kg gooseberries, wa

Strawberry and White Chocolate Ice with Langues de Chat

The taste of freshly-picked strawberries means summer's really here and I had to make something truly summery. And what's more summery than an ice cream? Well, actually this ice is made with yogurt rather than cream. Sadly, that doesn't mean it’s really low in fat. You could make your own custard for this recipe and that would be excellent – Delia (I said that name in hushed tones, of course) is my usual reference point for custard. On the other hand, if you choose to use shop-bought custard, then I won't tell anybody. It's best to avoid the reduced fat custard for this recipe, though. The amount given here is about the maximum that my little ice-cream maker can handle without having  a panic attack, but the ice is quite rich so you don’t need a lot for a serving. You can make this without an ice-cream maker by part freezing the mixture, removing it from the freezer and beating it before freezing again but you’ll need to do that several times to make this par

Ard Daraich Sponge Pudding

For the second Belleau Kitchen random recipe challenge in a row I have a very traditional sort of British pudding to offer. I'm not always convinced about this kind of dish, but I have to admit that this one is truly delicious (in an old-fashioned sort of way), as well as deeply comforting. I suspect it could even be dangerously addictive. I've gone back to a book that I've talked about before - The Constance Spry Cookery Book, published in the fifties but given to me fairly recently by my father-in-law. (The book is actually by Constance Spry and Rosemary Hume and the latter was the real, Paris-trained cook.) I'm very happy to revisit this book; it's a gloriously odd relic of the genteel days of country houses and luncheon baskets on trains. But the book also has a huge number of good recipes that owe nothing to fashion. In fact there are some recipes in here which in recent years have turned up with very few changes in books by celebrity chefs. Anyway, choos

Something Fishy from Dieppe

I found myself thinking about Dieppe the other day  (I mean the one in northern France). I've spent a fair amount of time there over the years and it’s a town with a lot of good memories for me. Not surprisingly a number of those memories concern seafood. So I put together this simple fish dish to remind me of the place. This is not a Dieppoise dish – anything labelled ‘à la Dieppoise’ would normally contain mussels and possibly other shellfish. On the other hand, some of the flavours in this dish are influenced by (or pinched from) the far more complex dish ‘Marmite Dieppoise’, which is presumably still served up in the restaurant of the same name. If you don’t know Dieppe but find yourself in the area one day, then try your very best  to catch the superb Saturday morning market that spreads itself through the main shopping streets of the town. I think of this dish as a fish stew that produces a fair amount of sauce for soaking up with bread. On the other hand, you could arg

Mini Lemon Babas

I really enjoy classic rum babas but, on the other hand, it can be a bit daunting to be faced with a large cake soaked in a powerful rum syrup. So these mini babas are my suggestion for an alternative. I used a  small French cannelé mould for these babas, which has the advantage not only of looking interesting but also having a dimple in the base of each cake which is just perfect for filling with the syrup. I bought my small, silicone cannelé mould very cheaply in Auchan ( the French supermarket chain) but it’s perfectly possible to use small cake or dariole moulds instead. I’d recommend using silicone moulds if possible – it can be tricky removing little, warm babas from anything else. (Just as an aside, I have used the cannelé mould for its designated purpose and, if you’ve not sampled them,  I can highly recommend trying homemade canelés de Bordeaux - a bit scary to make but absolutely wonderful to eat. Maybe I'll get up the courage to blog about them one day.) This amo