Barleycorn Bread

Posted 21 July 2013 by
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I came across this barleycorn flour from the Doves Farm range of bread flours. A combination of wheat and barley flours, with added barley flakes and linseeds, it makes a very nice, light, granary-ish loaf of bread.

Loaf of Barleycorn bread

Slice of Barleycorn bread

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Spinach, Goat’s Cheese and Prosciutto Quiche

Posted 17 July 2013 by
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This spinach, goat’s cheese and Prosciutto quiche makes a lovely lunch or light dinner in summer. In what is quite a classic combo, the salty goat’s cheese and ham are matched by the sweetness of the caramelised onions. You could use any savoury shortcrust pastry pastry (or buy it ready-made, of course). I used Michel Roux’s flan pastry recipe. I used skimmed milk, which keeps it quite light. If you want a richer filling for your quiche, you can add cream instead of the milk, or a use a mixture of both.

Spinach Goat's Cheese and Prosciutto Quiche

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Crostata di marmellata: Daring Bakers’ Life of Pie

Posted 27 June 2013 by
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Crostata di marmellata — that’s Italian jam tart to you and me. This was a Daring Bakers challenge, and one of four pie options to choose from. The other pies looked amazing , and I was seriously tempted to bake some of those too, but with only so many people around to help eat them, I stuck to just this one.

Strawberry jam crostata

I haven’t baked with sweet enriched pastry before, and it turned out to be quite a challenge, particularly on a warm day. As a result, I was a little disappointed with the apparance of the finished tart, but it was really tasty, and that’s the main thing.

Crostata di marmellata

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Ground Elder and Goat’s Cheese Tarts

Posted 14 June 2013 by
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Ground elder is a perennial plant that was introduced to this island by the Romans. It’s now considered a weed in the gardening world, but happily it’s edible, so get foraging and kill two birds with one stone.

Ground elder leaves

It has quite a distinctive, earthy flavour that goes well with a salty goat’s cheese and sweet caramelised onions in these individual tarts. I didn’t manage to get a decent photo; I must have been too eager to get this chap into my tummy! I served these with vegetables and mashed potato for dinner, but you could easily have the tarts as a starter for a bigger meal.

Ground elder and goat's cheese tart

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Strawberry Jam

Posted 13 June 2013 by
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Well, it’s mid-June and Summer Solstice is just over a week away, yet it’s grey, damp and miserable outside. Getting in the kitchen for a spot of strawberry jam-making is a good a way as any of banishing the rainy-day blues. I can’t think of a flavour more evocative of British summertime than the humble strawberry.

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Nettle Soup

Posted 12 June 2013 by
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I think it’s always fun to cook with free food taken from the garden, and especially food you have foraged from the hedgerow. Stinging nettles are versatile and can be used where you would use spinach or other greens. They are very nutritious, containing decent amounts of iron, calcium, vitamin A and vitamin K. After the success of my nettle and thyme bread, I decided to try nettle soup. It tasted good — nettle doesn’t have a very strong taste; it’s quite earthy I suppose, and not dissimilar to spinach.

Nettle soup

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Hummingbird Bakery Lemon Loaf

Posted 9 June 2013 by
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The weather has finally improved here and it’s so nice to take advantage of the Amalfi lemons that are in season. Lemon is such a summery flavour. This lemon loaf from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook is the perfect vehicle. It’s a lovely sweet loaf, but what really makes it special is the lemon syrup drizzled on top.

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Nettle and Thyme Bread

Posted 28 May 2013 by
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Stinging nettles abound at this time of year and are the bane of many gardeners (they shouldn’t be — they make a lovely liquid fertiliser). Nettles also make up part of the wonderful resource of free foods available in our gardens, or the hedgerows. They are best when they are young, and the leaves are not yet coarse, so early spring is the ideal time to harvest them, but nettles are so prolific, and seed themselves so readily, that you should be able to find some tender leaves to put in some soup, nettle tea, or this nettle and thyme bread. Nettles have a subtle, earthy flavour, and are perfectly matched by fresh thyme in this half white/half wholemeal loaf.

Nettle and Thyme Loaf

Now, there is an obvious hazard when using nettles. You can avoid getting stung by wearing gloves to pick them, and then remove the sting by scalding them before use. Only use the younger leaves, and avoid any that already have flowers (tiny green bobbly things).

Nettle and Thyme Bread

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Nutella Swirl Brownies

Posted 27 May 2013 by
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I made these nutella swirl brownies to take to the end-of-year “party” to celebrate completing a course I’m doing. (When I say “party” — of course I mean a portfolio discussion helped along by Pringles, brownies and orange Matchmakers). The brownies were a hit, especially with my tutor, and were hopefully enough of a bribe to ensure that I pass.

Nutella swirled brownie batter

That day was a bit of a rush, so I needed something quick and easy, brownies being the obvious choice that sprung to mind. Nutella* seems such a natural addition to brownies, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t tried it before. Oh but wait, I have… This time, I wasn’t going for a nutty brownie, I just wanted the nutella to add an extra bit of yumminess, which it did. These are seriously good.

Nutella swirl brownies

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Cantaloupe and Ginger Soup

Posted 26 May 2013 by
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Cantaloupe and ginger soup. This is a bit out of my comfort zone. I’ve never made cold soup before (not sure that I’ve even ever eaten it) and I really wasn’t sure about soup made from fruit. There was a cantaloupe melon in the fruit basket, getting very soft, and for some reason “cantaloupe soup” popped into my head. I knew google wouldn’t let me down and it turns out that there are lots of recipes. This is adapted from a few that I came across.

I was somewhat dubious about how this turned out, but it was fresh and delicious. Sweet, but not too sweet to serve as a starter at dinner. It would also be good as a light summer lunch.

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