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Sourdough crumpets

These turned out better than before but still not perfect. Next time I will plan ahead more so that I have enough unfed starter to make these. I fed my starter yesterday to get the volume up which I think is what made them a little doughy.

Having said this, they were delicious. I served these with some fresh berries so that I could balance out the butter with some healthiness and freshness. Good start to a day off work!


Recipe

  • 220g unfed starter
  • 1tsp caster sugar
  • 1/3tsp salt
  • 1/5tsp bicarbonate of soda
  1. Mix the ingredients together then let it stand until it is billowy
  2. Heat a non stick frying pan and melt a knob of butter in it.
  3. Place 4 greased crumpet rings in the frying pan and divide the mixture between them. A deep tablespoon or ice cream scoop gives about the right amount.
  4. Cook on a low heat until the top is dry and there are plenty of bubbles on top. The bottom should be golden brown.
  5. Flip over to cook the top for about a minute.
  6. Serve with butter and whatever else – jam, Marmite, poached eggs…
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Pan fried squid with chickpea salad

Week 9, session 3

The final session for this week focussed on cephalopods – squid in this case.

I prepared this with not too much effort but didn’t enjoy the sliminess of squid. Once prepared I scored it, cut it into bite sized pieces and pan fried it on a high heat. It was only slightly chewy, due to the pan not being hot enough, but mostly it was soft.

I served these squid pieces with a salad made from chickpeas, cherry tomatoes, cooked red onion, olives and rocket which I dressed with lemon zest, lemon juice, garlic, red chilli and olive oil.

Really simple but really delicious!

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Za’atar crusted prawns with buckwheat, cucumber and pomegrante salad

Week 9, session 2

The prawns I used for this were purchased from Fishtale in Streatham who deliver locally for free. Another great thing about that place!

Any way, I peeled and deveined these then coated them in a za’atar and flour mixture then fried them on high.

I served these with a salad made from buckwheat, pomegranate and cucumber with dill, mint and parsley. The dressing was olive oil, lemon and orange juice, sumac, honey, and salt and pepper.

Really simple but so tasty and super healthy. The prawns were so fresh, amazing quality and really tasty!

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Moules marinere

Week 8, session 1

This week is crustaceans and molluscs, my absolute favourite and the week I’ve been waiting for!

The first session was moules marinere. I have grown up preparing and eating these with my Dad and my brother so knew this wouldn’t be a challenge, just a good excuse to make something delicious and learn the precise method. Turns out, my Dad had got this pretty spot on so I didn’t learn too much.

However, the small differences were that the onions were cooked really slowly in butter which made them really sweet and the white wine was mixed with water and then reduced which made it less acidic. Finally, a knob of butter was mixed into the stock before serving. Very French!

Today was a fasting day for me so these were perfect because they are low in fat (except the added butter) and carbs and therefore calories. And really worth waiting for!

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Coffee eclairs and chocolate profiteroles

Week 8, session 2

The final session this week was to make both eclairs and profiteroles, both filled with creme patisserie. I made these with the same recipe for choux pastry as I used for the gougeres.

The creme patisserie was so much easier to make than I thought it would have been. I combined 3 egg yolks with caster sugar, plain flour, and cornflour until it was a lump free paste, then whisked in hot milk (like when making custard). When these were all combined, I returned it back to the pan over a high heat and mixed until it formed a thick paste.

Once cooled, I mixed it so that the solid became piping consistency then piped it into my profiteroles and eclairs via a small hole made with a skewer.

I then dipped each into my sauces – dark chocolate melted over a bain marie and espresso mixed with icing sugar.

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Aubergine and prosciutto gougeres

Week 8, session 1

This week is about choux pastry and creme patisserie. Session 1 focussed on just the pastry which was made savoury with the addition of chunks of Gruyere mixed into the dough.

I then placed the dough around the inside of ramekins, keeping a hole in the middle for the filling.

The filling was made from lightly fried diced aubergine, prosciutto, basil and double cream (just to bind it).

Once the filling was piled in to the hole, they were baked in the oven for about 30 minutes until risen and golden on the outside.

I found this pastry quite easy to make compared with shortcrust. It is really similar to making a roux which I’ve been making with my mum for various dishes since I was big enough to help in the kitchen.

However, they quickly sank in the middle once they were out of the oven so I’ve asked my tutor if this was because they needed more baking, the filling was too wet, there was something wrong with the pastry, etc. Will let you know.

Even with this, they were really tasty. Could do these with mushroom and blue cheese, chicken pie filling, roasted veg and feta, and my imagination goes on.

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Sea bass with fennel and orange salad

Week 7, session 2

Filleting a round fish was definitely more tricky than a flat fish. It wasn’t a total disaster but I need to practice this one a lot!

The fish was pan fried to get a crispy skin (my favourite) so this bit was ok for me – well practiced.

The salad was made from fennel, orange, watercress and black olives with a dressing of orange juice, olive oil, Dijon mustard, honey and orange zest.

Overall, this was really fresh and light and perfect on one of my 5:2 fast days!

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Brill with seaweed butter

Week 7, session 1

I’m playing catch up this week so this week is both fish week and choux pastry and creme patisserie week so will be a busy one.

This session focussed on filleting and cooking a flat fish. I bought this fish from the fish stall that comes to Herne Hill Market on a Sunday – The Portland Scallop Co. My intention was to buy a plaice but they only had brill and was sweet talked into buying it because it is the fishmonger’s favourite (apparently).

I enjoyed filleting and skinning this and didn’t have too much trouble doing it. I had to buy a filleting knife but found a Sabatier one for ¬£15 which was excellent!

Job well done I think.

I grilled the fillets with seaweed butter (powdered nori mixed with unsalted butter) then served them with a squeeze of lemon. Really simple and so delicious. Think brill is my favourite now too!

I served this with tenderstem and some new potatoes. Really yummy! I think this will be right up my Dad’s street so will make this again for his birthday in September!

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Turkish eggs

I’ve been craving this for weeks so finally got my act together today to make these after a week off from most cooking and all blogging (and my job too).

This was a slight twist on Nigella Lawson’s eggs – I used keffir rather than Greek yoghurt for tanginess and used smoked paprika and chilli flakes instead of Aleppo pepper (because that’s what I had).

I think regular sourdough or flatbreads would be better with this as focaccia has a lot of oil which this dish has too but I had focaccia in the freezer so wanted to use this up. It was delicious but added to the calories and fat intake rather a lot!

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Sourdough focaccia

For this I followed a recipe from Alexandra’s Kitchen blog.

As with all sourdough, this took a look time to get to the point where you can eat it but it was the least labour intensive loaf I’ve made so far. It’s simply mix ingredients together, let it rise, turn dough out into a olive oil greased baking tin, allow to rise again, stretch into tin, dimple and drizzle with plenty of olive oil, chunky salt and rosemary then place in the oven.

I didn’t need to stretch my dough and the dimpling didn’t really work because the mixture was so wet but it still turned out so lovely. I’ll definitely use this recipe again but will add less water.