And i would love for you to have a browse, share with your friends and maybe…buy something? I also take custom orders so don’t be afraid to ask!
Oooh Autumn you do spoil me with your gifts of apples, squashes and pumpkins, everything covered in cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and cloves it is by far the best time of year. That and it’s hat weather and i love a good hat.
I have been looking for a good recipe for pumpkin loaf for a little while, most of them end up tasting like the sort of filth you pay for in Starbucks, over sweet, over stodgy and not wholesome whatsoever. Step up to the plate Mr Simon Rimmer from Sunday Brunch fame with fantastic take on American obsession with sticking pumpkin in everything! In fairness, the pumpkin doesn’t bring a lot to the table apart from moistness, the flavour is all in the traditional pumpkin spicing which is mostly outline in the first sentence above. If you can’t get hold of pumpkin (though in the run up to Halloween, if you can’t i can only imagine you live in a hole somewhere, congrats on getting online to read this post you hermit) you can use butternut squash for the same effect. The coconut gives it a little something else too and really helps give it a more interesting texture but you can leave it out if you want to.
This recipe should make one loaf but i have two 1.5lb loaf tins so opted for smaller loaves but twice as many (it freezes well if you wrap it up good and proper. I topped mine with some leftover cream cheese frosting which isn’t too overpowering but have also been eating it plain with a good spread of apple butter which coincidently i am selling for £4 a jar, you can drop me a comment whilst i’m sorting out my etsy shop. It’s like a apple punch to the tastebuds.
You will need
600g/1lb 5oz pumpkin, peeled, seeds removed, cubed
1 tbsp olive oil
100g/3½oz unsalted butter
300g/10½oz soft light brown sugar
2 free-range eggs
500g/1lb 2oz self-raising flour
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp each ground ginger, cloves and nutmeg
50g/2oz desiccated coconut
Preheat the oven to 100C/210F/Gas ¼. Grease and line a 900g/2lb loaf tin.
Place the pumpkin in a roasting tray and drizzle with the olive oil. Cover with foil and roast for 25 minutes. Remove from the roasting tray and set aside to cool. Blend the pumpkin in a food processor until smooth.
Increase the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4.
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and pumpkin and stir until well combined.
Stir in all the dry ingredients and place the mixture into the loaf tin. Bake for 50 minutes. Remove the tin from the oven. Once cool remove the loaf from the tin.
Sprinkle with icing sugar and cinnamon, slice
Well it’s actually Sainsburys but if you don’t tell her i know than i won’t. Also she never put kidney in it either because it’s bloody horrible. I have, however heard that some people think organs are delicious so i have included it in this recipe but i am on your side if you choose to omit it. I was taken to dinner in a pub once a few years ago and was actually surprised that the steak and kidney pudding had kidney in it, i assumed it was something people just didn’t use anymore but the name had stayed the same. Yes my friends, once i too was an utter moron.
If you had a childhood like mine you had a parent with a pressure cooker, my mother has just given me hers that she has owned for nearly 40 years, still going strong and still scares the hell out of me. Its big, loud, scary and has a knob on the top that i don’t know how to use. Thank goodness she also dropped off her very old fashioned copy of The Sainsbury Book of Pressure Cooking and i know looking at that book will bring home some memories for a few of you. Published in 1980 most of its recipes still stand up today, though i have chosen to give the tongue with hazelnut sauce a miss.
Within the pages of this little piece of kitchen history, before the treacle sponge and chocolate fudge pudding i fondly remember, is the steak and kidney pudding. It instantly beings up memories of family dinners, mashed potatoes and over cooked vegetables and i realised last week i hadn’t eaten it since i was a child. I was greeted with such enthusiasm from my housemates that i decided to put one together on my day off. Here is how to do it (and you won’t need a pressure cooker if you don’t have one!).
2 tablespoons plain flour
500g stewing steak chopped into cubes, try and get as much of the sinew off as you can
125g kidney (ewwwww)
Oil for frying
1 chopped onion
1 tablespoon of tomato paste
150ml beef stock
(when i made this i added a chopped carrot and a chopped leek and instead of adding stock i crumbled a stock cube and then added a bottle of a cheap IPA from Tesco, on offer for just over £1)
250g self raising flour
125g shredded suet
Pinch of mixed, dried herbs
7 tablespoons of water
1)Season the flour with salt and pepper and use to coat the steak and kidney, heat the oil in a pan and fry until nice and brown,take the meat out and pop in your veggies, fry till soft and add your tomato paste. Cook out for a few mins then re-add the meat and your liquid depending on what you have decided to use. Then simmer till thick
2)As your filling is simmering, mix your pastry ingredients together and add the water little by little till combine. Then you need to knead it, like you were kneading bread for about 10 mins. Cut off about a quarter and put to one side, roll out your large piece and place it inside a greased, Pyrex dish, the 1 litre size. I got mine from Wilkinsons for £4.50.
3) Add your filling into the pastry filled bowl and roll out your lid and pinch together with a little water. Take a sheet of greaseproof paper, make a pleat in the middle and put over your pudding, securing with a piece of string. Repeat so you have too layers.
4) To cook in a pressure cooker – Stand the pudding on the trivet in the pressure cooker with 3 pints of boiling water. Seal the cooker but don’t fix the weight. Steam for 20 minutes, put the pressure weight on ad head to low pressure. Cook for 30 mins, reduce the pressure at room temperature.
To cook in a pan – Find a large pan, put in something to use as a trivet that will stop the bowl from sitting on the bottom, fill to half way up the pudding with boiling water and pop the lid on, steam on a medium heat for about 2-2.5 hours checking regularly to ensure it hasn’t boiled dry.
5) Allow to rest for 5 minutes then turn the pudding out on to a warm serving dish.
Well i should perhaps come back and think of a snappier name for these little beauties but i am a bit devoid of inspiration for now. However they do tell you exactly what to expect at the end so what i lack in wordsmanship i have made up to you in doing what it says on the tin.
I was originally going to make these with caramel but burned it and with that the last of the sugar in the house. Never the type of person to allow a baking disaster to thawt me…nor the sort of person who wanted to put a bra back on to go to the shops i broke out the birds custard powder and went to town with very pleasing results. Its also a recipie that will take some practice when it comes to doing the latice top, i wasn’t blessed with patience at birth nor great attention to detail despite what all my CV’s and covering letters say but luckily as you are cutting out circles (or squares if you prefer) you can hide mistakes quite easily.
The other bonus of this recipie is that you can either go about it the hard way or just buy in pastry, apple pie filling and instant custard and go to town on it!
Look out for more apple recipies over the next few months, i have 7KGs to get through!
You will need;
300g of sweet, shortcrust pastry
400g of peeled, cored and chopped apples
2 tablespoons of sugar
1/2 pint of custard (either instant or make up according to packet instructions)
Cinnamon to taste
Sugar to taste
Icing sugar to taste
1 egg/milk to glaze.
Pre heat the oven to 200c
Peel and chop the apples and place them with the sugar and some cinnamon to taste in a bowl and place to one side. Make up your custard and add to the apples, give them a good stir so everything is coated.
Take half the pastry and roll out into a rectangle. Put the apple mixture in the middle and spread to nearly the edges. Add a little more cinnamon if desired.
With your second half roll again into a rectangle and then, using a sharp knife, slice the pastry into strips about 1/2 and inch in width. Now i realised after i had tried to weave soggy strips of pastry on top of a wet filling that i should have done the weaving first then laid it on top…so do that. I make these mistakes so you don’t have to get gross stick fingers. Give the pastry and egg or milk wash depending on what you have chosen and then add more cinnamon and sugar to taste.
Take a cookie cutter or something that is round and cut out circles of the pie and place on grease proof paper in a baking tray. The pies will leak so you will thank me for saving you the washing up.
Bake these badboys for about 20 minutes or until golden and brown. Take them out and sprinkle with icing sugar then leave to cool. Then use a flat implement like a cake spreader or spatula to slide them off the grease proof paper and into your mouth.
Its once again that time of the month when money is thin on the ground but the need full a full tummy never disappears. Luckily i have taken to doing a big shop at the beginning of the month so the freezer is stocked but im a) a bit sick of meat and b) experiencing a glut of jarred preserves made by me without a thought to where im going to store them all.
From this was born the beetroot, tomato, goats cheese and red onion tart. This was unbearably cheap to make, using leftover pre-made puff pastry (special offer of £1 in Asda) and no, i don’t apologise for using pre-made, i always make my own short crust as i have a food processor but i don’t have the time, inclination or patience to make puff pastry. So there. Also i bought the goats cheese from my local Tesco metro and its was £1.40 plus i already had the preserves and tomatoes. It makes enough to feed four so overall i was pretty impressed with myself.
You can find the recipie for the beetroot jam here and red onion chutney here of course the recipie is significantly more expensive if you have to buy them in but if it was me i would “make hay whilst the sun shines” and get some chutneys made and jarred whilst you can.
You will need
1/2 packet puff pastry
2 tablespoons Beetroot Jam
goats cheese (enough to cover the tat without drowning it)
2 Tables spoons red onion chutney
Milk/egg for brushing
Roll out your pastry and place in a baking tin on top of some grease proof paper. Score a rectangle to create a border and encourage puffing. Onto the pastry smear the beetroot jam, taking it to the corners. Then thinly slice your tomatoes and scatter over the jam. Sprinkle a little salt on top. Add your goats cheese, chutney, more seasoning and a drizzle of olive oil. Brush some egg or milk wash around your boarder and put into a 200c preheated oven for about 20 minutes.
Serve with salad, or if you like your friends, buttered, boiled potatoes, its getting chilly out!
Hello again, more eastern dishes for you this time, there has been a bit of a theme lately but i’m not sorry for it.
I have been planning to make dumplings for as long as i have had an interest in cooking that stretched further than attempting tinned soup and some cheese on toast as a nutritious university meal but always lacked the confidence to try. The idea of making tiny dough circles myself and steaming them was so far beyond anything i had ever tried i resolved myself to saving yet another recipe into my bookmarks never to be looked at again.
Then, i snapped out of it…
I stumbled across this recipe looking for something else and couldn’t get it out of my head, i found myself on a day off picking up the ingredients I needed on the high street, actively seeking out rice flour, weighing up whether it would be cheaper to buy pork mince on in a supermarket or butchers (turns out you can’t get it in a small supermarket, what the hell Co-op? However i got 1/2 kg for about £3 and froze half of it) and unpacked it all when i got home.
I was scared.
I was excited.
The first attempt was…a bloody mess. I had misread the recipe (cooking tips #1 is read and understand the recipe before you dive in headfirst). The parcels tore, the filling leaked but i couldn’t have cared less, i was finally making my own dumplings and no one could stop me! I was free from the shackles of fear and leaping into the light! I am possibly over egging it slightly but it was enlightening. I had filling left over so made more dough correctly and they looked fantastic. I highly recommend making double the recipe and freezing the extra for a quick midweek meal. My housemate tried a few and they got a thumbs up, hes addicted to the little blighters from the local takeaway and they tasted just as good (read better) than those.
Remember the below is one version of the dumplings, the possibilities are endless for fillings!
You can find the original recipe here
40g minus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
5 teaspoons rice flour
1 ounce boiling water
1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
225g ground pork (not lean)
115g pound cleaned uncooked shrimp ….. cut into small pieces
3/4 teaspoons grated garlic cloves
1 teaspoon grated ginger
1/4 small onion ….. chopped
1 tablespoon corriander….. finely chopped
1 teaspoon sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
3 tablespoons cornflour
fresh red chilli….. thinly sliced
Put your two fours in a bowl, add boiling water and the oil and mix up with a fork. Once combined get in there with your hands (watch out its still hot) and knead it till its smooth and feels more elasticy. Cover it with cling film and pop it on the side out the way whilst you make your filling.
Get all the other ingredients, chop them up and put into a bowl (so easy!) use either your hands or a spoon to miz up all the ingredients until they are evenly mixed and a bit sticky.
This is the hard bit, you need to divide the filling into 24 portions, i recommend weight it and doing the maths else you will end up with not enough mixture and different sizes. Take each portion, roll into a ball and pop onto a baking sheet or similar out of the way and close at hand.
Get your dough and roll it into a long sausage, again some maths is required to chop it into 24 even pieces. You might be able to do this by eye and this means you are a wizard. Put your potions onto a floured plate or similar and work with one at a time. On a floured surface roll each ball into a 3 inch circle, put the wrapper on your thumb and index finger and put one of the small balls of meat on top. Slowly push down the shu mai into the hole between your thumb and index finger to wrap the wrapper around the meat ball. Push the edges of the wrapper inward in small folds covering the top edges of the meat.
Put the shu-mai on a floured plate or tray and cover with plastic wrap. Continue this process for the rest of the dumplings. Some will ook weird, some will rip and some will end up on the floor, its ok, you are allowed to cry.
Steam the dumplings in a steamer or colander with a lid on high heat for 6-7 minutes. Take one piece out of the steamer at the 5-minutes mark to confirm the meat is cooked through.
Serve with sweet chilli sauce or soy. If you haven’t had enough cooking there is a recipe for a dip on the website, i haven’t included it because i didn’t like it.
Ok it isn’t, i lied.
However this is exactly what i exclaimed when i put my first chopstick laden portion into my gaping maw and the smooth, sweet and sour broth, soft, creamy belly fat and flakey pork meat hit my tongue. This is another store cupboard staple recipie you will be pleased to hear, i am sure the “cook from scratch” brigade will have almost everything needed in the pantry but if not, chinese ingredients these days are easy to find and cheap to buy so stock up.
I am not going to sit and claim this is authentic, i hadn’t even heard of it until the recipe was enthusiastically sent to me via twitter this morning after i pleaded for recipes for belly pork that didn’t mean i had to whip up another batch of BBQ sauce as lovely as it is, its what i always do and no one likes a cooking rut. I tend to go through food like a new favourite song, i will do it over and over and over till i am sick to death of it. I don’t ever want to be sick to death of pork.
The dish will take up to 3 hours to cook properly, its so quick you can chuck all on the minute you are home from work and just have a late supper or save it for an easy weekend dinner.
You will need
1 1/4 lb (500g) boneless pork belly, with skin, or shoulder
2 tbsp cooking oil
4 slices of unpeeled ginger
1 spring onion, white part only, crushed slightly
1 chopped chilli
2 tbsp Shaoxing wine
2 cups plus 2 tbsp (500ml) chicken stock or water, plus more if needed
1 star anise
Small piece of cassia bark or cinnamon stick
Dash of dark soy sauce
2 tbsp sugar
Salt, to taste
A few lengths of spring onion greens, to garnish
Heat up a thick pan (make sure it has a lid, i used my cast iron tagine) and add the oil, ginger, chilli and spring onion. Fry it gently till you can smell them wafting out of the pan and up your nose. Add you pork and stir fry it, don’t let it stick to the pan (it will) until it is sealed on all sides. Next chuck in your wine (i used rice wine, sherry is just as good or if you are really stuck use a wine or cyder vinegar) your stock, cinnamon, star anise, soy and sugar and give it a good stir. Add a little salt and bring to the boil.
Once boiling take it down to a low simmer and leave it for anything from 1 to 3 hours. The longer the better. Add some more chopped spring onions at the end, fresh and crunchy!
I served with a handful of beansprouts chucked int 5 mins before serving over a bed of noodles, you can serve it with whatever you like or as part of a help yourself banquet.