Archive for January 2011

Joconde Imprime Entremet (Daring Bakers)

Posted 27 January 2011 by
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A little while ago, I joined the Daring Bakers, and January marked my first Daring Bakers challenge. It turned out to be one of the best things I’ve ever made.

Completed joconde imprime cake with brown and white sponge, topped with Chantilly cream

The January 2011 Daring Bakers’ challenge was hosted by Astheroshe of the blog accro. She chose to challenge everyone to make a Biscuit Joconde Imprime to wrap around an Entremets dessert.

If you’ve never heard of some of the words in the paragraph above, you’re not alone. When I first read the instructions for this challenge I was intimidated to say the least. The biscuit joconde imprime is a fancy French sponge made from two separate parts that  make a design that’s visible on the outside of the finished cake. the sponge, which forms only the outer layer of the cake, is filled with the ”entremet”. If this doesn’t make much sense, hopefully the pictures will enlighten! The challenge provided a recipe for the joconde imprime, but we had to make the entremet up ourselves. I decided on a chocolate hazelnut brownie base, with chocolate nutella cream, topped with chai tea flavoured Chantilly cream. I had no idea if this would work, but it did!

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Butternut Squash, Leek and Blue Cheese Risotto

Posted 27 January 2011 by
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Here’s a recipe for butternut squash, leek and blue cheese risotto that will surely warm the cockles on a cold winter’s evening. Nigel Slater has a recipe for pancetta and blue cheese risotto that I made once; it was really tasty but unfortunately so salty that I could only eat a couple of mouthfuls at a time. Here, the butternut squash and leek flavours are both mild and sweet and complement the blue cheese brilliantly. I used Stilton but you could use any blue cheese. Gorgonzola would make it a little more authentically Italian! A squeeze of lemon juice at the end finishes it off nicely.

White bowl full of squash, leek and blue cheese risotto Continue reading “Butternut Squash, Leek and Blue Cheese Risotto”…

Broccoli and Stilton Soup

Posted 26 January 2011 by
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Carrying on this month’s soup theme, we have broccoli and Stilton soup. Of course you can use any blue cheese you like, or omit it altogether for a milder soup. The amount of Stilton in this recipe though is not overwhelming and it by no means overpowers the other flavours. If you really like blue cheese, crumble a bit more on top to serve.

Bowl of blended broccoli and stilton soup Continue reading “Broccoli and Stilton Soup”…

Roman Army Bread

Posted 25 January 2011 by
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I love making bread. Cooking is kind of like alchemy, and bread-making is food alchemy at its most basic. Turning flour and water into nourishing, sustaining food. It’s one of the oldest known prepared foods (thanks Wikipedia…) and apparently our ancestors were eating bread up to 30,000 years ago; albeit made from different plant starches. They were eating bread in the British Isles long before potatoes. Of course, bread wasn’t always as we know it and in the Bronze Age, bread made from spelt flour was common. Spelt is a type of wheat flour; it tastes slightly different and has more micronutrients than normal wheat flour. It may also be slightly easier to digest. This recipe for Roman Army Bread comes from the back of my Doves Farm spelt flour packet. I’m not sure it was passed down from genuine Roman soldiers, but with honey and olive oil, it’s playing the part!

A loaf of spelt bread on a bread board.

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Dark Chocolate Hazelnut Brownies

Posted 23 January 2011 by
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These dark chocolate hazelnut brownies have a hint of treacle in the background, and extra nuttiness from a little added nutella. I usually prefer my brownies without nuts, but these are lovely. They are definitely more fudgey than cakey, for those that care about that sort of thing, and the nuts give a nice crunch.

A pink plate with three dark chocolate hazelnut brownies on.

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Cauliflower Cheese Soup

Posted 18 January 2011 by
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It’s National Soup Month (in some other country) and to carry on the soup theme, I thought I’d try cauliflower cheese soup. I love cauliflower and am in complete disagreement with Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall who has long been known to slag it off (although nowadays I hear he has reformed). Yes, cauliflower can be a little bland mild, but I refer to think of its flavour as a subtle sweetness. It goes brilliantly with a sharp cheddar in cauliflower cheese so why not make a soup out of that comfort-food classic, to produce an even more soothing, nourishing dish? (You won’t even have to chew it!) This soup recipe is adapted from one by Richard Guest in Soup Kitchen.

A bowl of cauliflower cheese soup with a spoon and a slice of bread Continue reading “Cauliflower Cheese Soup”…

Honey Rye Bread

Posted 16 January 2011 by
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It’s a long time since I have baked bread with rye flour and since my honey and sunflower seed loaf was so successful, I decided to try this recipe for honey rye bread from Country Bread by Linda Collister and Anthony Blake.

A loaf of honey rye bread that has been sliced, showing the crumb. Continue reading “Honey Rye Bread”…

Leek and Potato Soup (Jamie Oliver recipe)

Posted 12 January 2011 by
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Apparently January is national soup month (in the US presumably, but never mind…) It’s great because everyone’s trying to eat a bit more healthily but it’s still so cold (for us Northern hemisphere types) that we want something hot, nourishing and comforting. Soup is perfect. Since I had such success with Jamie Oliver’s turkey and leek pie, I decided to try his recipe for leek and potato soup. It makes quite a brothy or country-style soup, which tastes absolutely delicious. Ideal for lunch or a light supper, with some nice bread.

Bowl of Jamie Oliver's leek and potato soup Continue reading “Leek and Potato Soup (Jamie Oliver recipe)”…

Lemon Hummus

Posted 11 January 2011 by
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I suppose it’s the time of year when we all start trying to eat a little more healthily, whether as part of a new year’s resolution, or just to offset some of the damage done during the Christmas period. I am on the lookout for healthy recipes, not always my favourite thing!

So, I have my homemade pita bread, what else do I need? A little homemade (lemon) hummus, that’s what. Or houmous. Or, to give it its full title, ḥummuṣ bi ṭaḥīna (it means literally “chickpeas with tahini”). There are thousands of recipes for hummus out there and it’s hard to find a “definitive” one. As long as you have chickpeas and tahini in there, I think you’re ok. Speaking of which, I learned today that if you have a jar of tahini on the shelf for a long time, it goes kind of… hard. A bit tricky to work with. It needed some elbow grease to get it into a spoonable texture.

A plate with homemade hummus and sticks of raw carrot. Continue reading “Lemon Hummus”…

Pita Bread (White)

Posted 10 January 2011 by
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Pita bread (also known as pitta bread or Arabic bread) is a Mediterranean flat bread. It is absolutely delicious and really easy to make. It’s also easy to convince yourself that you’re eating healthily. I mean, it’s flat, so there can’t be many calories in it, right? And when it comes to baking it – I must admit I got a little bit excited when they all puffed up just as they were supposed to! I made my pita bread from white flour, but it can easily be made with wholemeal too.

Stack of five pita breads on a plate

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