Friday, 31 July 2009

Falling Cloudberries

I've borrowed 'Falling Cloudberries' by Tessa Kiros from the library. It's a beautiful book, in the same style as 'Apples For Jam', with interesting recipes and colourful photos.

Some pages from the book...

Tuesday, 28 July 2009


A really simple and tasty meal which I cook often, as I know lots of people do.

I first ate this in France as a teenager, and it was the most delicious thing I'd ever eaten! As I was in France it was called escalope and was probably made with veal.

At my local butcher they sell beef cut into very thin slices which is what I normally use.

As it really needs to be eaten straight from the pan, I usually serve it on its own before or after some salad or green vegetables and bread. I think ideally it needs to be the only thing on the plate and in your mouth, so you can really appreciate the delicate flavours.

Dip very thin slices of meat in seasoned flour (dust off excess), then in beaten egg and then fresh breadcrumbs. Lay crumbed meat on a tray and cover. Keep in the fridge for at least half an hour. (This isn't essential, but the crumbs are more likely to stay on the meat during cooking if it's all well chilled.)

Fry in a medium/hot pan in a little oil until crumbs are golden and then turn over to cook the other side. The first cooked side will always be the prettiest for some reason! If you have a good non-stick pan (like my lovely new Scanpan) the job will be very easy.

Serve with a squirt of lemon juice and eat straight away.

Monday, 27 July 2009

Buns au Chocolat

I really call these chocolate buns, which sounds a bit more sensible, but they are a lunchbox-friendly version of pain au chocolate - made as a sandwich alternative for school lunches.

They are based on a fruit bun recipe, but with a square of chocolate instead of the fruit.

Put flour in a large bowl and rub in the butter. Stir in salt, cinnamon and sugar, then mix in the water and milk. Make a soft dough and knead for a few minutes, then leave, in the covered bowl, to double in size for an hour or two in a warm place.

When risen, punch down dough and divide into eight or so pieces. Give each piece a quick knead in your hands then seal a square of chocolate in the middle of each piece. Put on baking sheet, join side down.

Leave buns covered, to rise, while you heat oven to 200 C, then cook for around 20 minutes until tops are browned and bottoms sound hollow when tapped.

Good when still warm from the oven, as chocolate is soft and melted, but still nice when cool.

450 g bread flour
25 g butter
1 tsp salt
30 g caster sugar
2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tsp instant yeast
150 ml lukewarm water
150 ml milk, lukewarm
chocolate squares, 1 for each bun (I used cooking chocolate, but normal would probably be good too)

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Pecan Pie

This was the first time I had made pecan pie, and I used a recipe my sister Claire gave to me a long, long time ago. I knew I'd make it eventually! In my house you get to choose the type of birthday cake you get, and this was my husband's choice.

Start by crushing up the biscuits finely in a biggish bowl (I used the end of my rolling pin for this), and in a small pan gently melt the butter and sugar together. Pour the butter/sugar mixture into the biscuit crumbs and mix well.

Press the crumbs into a dish. (The recipe suggests a 20 cm loose-based tin, I used a 22 cm Pyrex pie dish.) Bake at 180 C for 20 mins or until firm.

Meanwhile, make the filling by gently heating the butter and syrup, stirring to combine. Remove from heat. Reserve the best 9 (or so) pecan halves for decoration and roughly chop the remaining nuts.

Pour the butter and syrup into the now vacant large bowl, add the eggs and pecan nuts and mix well. (Be aware that the eggs could scramble if butter/syrup is too hot and eggs are not mixed in briskly.)

Pour mixture into biscuit case and return pie to oven for 20 - 30 mins until slightly risen and set.

Arrange reserved pecans on the top and if you like, bake pie for a further 5 mins.

The cooked pie - delicious! And just as good the next night, too.

225 g digestive or granita biscuits
75 g unsalted butter
50 g muscovado or soft brown sugar

100 g unsalted butter
5 - 6 tbsp golden syrup
2 eggs, lightly beaten
100 g pecan nut halves

Friday, 3 July 2009


This has to be the easiest yeast recipe ever. I made these naans tonight to go with our chicken and corn korma (Patak's sauce) and they turned out perfectly.

A few nights ago I made the naans for the first time and didn't add enough flour (I mis-weighed, if that's a real word!), so that I was dealing with a sloppy, very sticky dough that was impossible to roll, so I squashed blobs of dough into the pan with my hand. And they still turned out very well.

Tonight though the dough was just right and very easy to work with.

Mix flour, instant yeast and salt in a large bowl, and in a small bowl or jug blend together warm water, yogurt and oil. Stir the wet into the dry ingredients, then use your hands to form into a soft and slightly sticky dough. Add a few extra drops of water if necessary.

Knead the dough for a few minutes (I do this in the bowl but you can knead on a flat surface if you prefer). Cover the bowl and leave for an hour or so in a warmish place until the dough has doubled in size. Knock out the air and give the dough a very quick knead.

The dough risen and ready to be divided up.

Divide the dough into four pieces (or eight if you'd prefer smaller breads like the ones in my photos) and roll them out to about 5 mm thickness. Putting a little oil on your hands, work surface and the rolling pin will stop any sticking.

Leave to rest for 5 minutes while you heat a heavy-based pan over a medium-high heat. Do not add any oil to the pan.

Cook each piece of dough for 4 - 5 minutes until a crust has formed and it is golden and patched with brown.

Turn it over and continue cooking until the other side is golden.

500 g plain white flour
2 level tsp instant yeast
1 tsp fine salt
300 ml warm water
1 generous tbsp plain yogurt
2 tsp vegetable oil (I used olive oil)

Adapted from a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe