I now know how to make pasta.

This is a dangerous skill, for my waistline I mean. Especially when I make pasta and then serve it with butter over the top.

Hop on over to You Make Me Swoon for todays recipe.

It is really very good and I learnt it at The Square Food Foundation which is also very good and doing great things for food in Bristol. Go check them out.

Herman Friendship Cake

August 1, 2011

Bear with me on this recipe, I think it’s lovely but some people have thought it strange!

This cake comes from a recipe called Herman the German.

Basically you get given a little starter of yeasty cake mix, which you then look after, feed and grow it for 10 days by feeding the yeast.

You then split it into four, bake one part into a cake then give the other three parts away to friends who carry on the cycle.

It gives really tasty, moist cake and you can add whatever you want at the end.

If you want to start the cake…

1 packet Dry Yeast
2 cups lukewarm Water
2 cups Flour

In a glass or plastic container, dissolve yeast in warm water then add flour and beat till smooth. Cover and let stand at room temperature 48 hours. This makes two cups of the starter.
Use one cup of Herman and give the other cup to a friend, that’s two Herman cakes out in the world!

Below are the exact instructions I was given by my colleague Liz who passed Herman to me…

“Hello, my name is Herman. I’m a sourdough cake, if I have come to live with you it’s because one of you friends believes that you will keep me alive and then introduce me to more friends. I’m supposed to be kept on a worktop for 10 days without a lid on…
You can’t put me in the fridge (or I will die). If I stop bubbling, I am dead…. Follow the instructions in how to keep me alive below; it’s been a pleasure meeting you”

 Day 1: Herman has come to live with you, first of all pour him into a large mixing bowl, cover loosely with a tea towel.

Day 2: Stir well

Day 3: Same as yesterday (easy huh?)

Day 4: Herman will be very hungry!! Add 1 cup of plain flour, sugar and milk and then stir well.

Day 5-8: Stir well

Day 9: Hungry again, add the same as Day 4 and stir well…

… Then divide the mixture into 4 equal amounts and give 3 away to your friends (only trustworthy ones please) with a copy of these instructions. Herman no. 4 will stay with you.

 Day 10: Herman’s hungry again… Stir well and add the following:

1 cup of sugar
2 cups plain flour
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla essence
2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder 
½ tsp salt
2/3 cup of cooking oil
2 cooking apples (in chunks)
1 cup of raisins (optional)
½ cup of walnuts (optional) 
(other optional ingredients pineapple, cherries, chopped chocolate etc)

Method: Mix everything together & put into a large greased roasting tin.
Sprinkle with ¼ cup of melted butter and ¼ cup of brown sugar.
Bake for 45 minutes at 170-180 (gas mark 5).
When cold cut into finger shaped pieces. Freezes well and is delicious warm with cream and custard… enjoy!!

I added to mine almond essence, ground almonds, flaked almonds, white chocolate chunks and raspberries. Delicious!

Give it a go, start one with your friends and see how far it spreads!

These are really just posh pies, the french-dinner party friendly versions of our pasties. Yum!

You could totally customise these and fill them with whatever you want, this is a good vegetarian dish that once again you can prepare in advance.

For each Pithivier you need;
2 circles of puff pastry, roughly 6-8 inches across
100g roasted butternut squash chunks
50g ricotta
a couple of fresh sage leaves
salt and pepper

1. First roast your butternut squash, I would cut the whole squash into the right size chunks, this means it’ll be quicker, season and roast for 20-30 minutes on a medium heat (180-200)

2. Get your ricotta into a large bowl and season

3. Fry your sage leaves with a little oil until they start to crisp and mix all 3 ingredients together.

4. Cut your puff pastry into circles and get your bottoms (slightly bigger circles) and tops in order ready.  Then dollop a bit of the mix in the middle, pop the top on and close up with a fork… you could also add a pattern on top like below.

Cook these for 20 minutes in preparing in advance, or 30 minutes if eating right away; just keep an eye on your pastry it might not even take this long.

We served these on a bed of pan-fried wild mushrooms and spinach…

With some salsa verde.

I know already this is something I will definitely be making again and again at home, imagine eating these beauties for lunch, you could make a batch and freeze them.

I am very proud of these, everyone says they are tricky but I had no problems, apart from the fact I saw what was going in to them (WOW) I would definitely recommend making these.

You need;
350ml semi skimmed milk
150ml whipping cream
1 bay leaf
75g unsalted butter
75g plain flour
250g mature cheddar, grated
6 large eggs, separated

1. Preheat the oven to 190c, heat the milk and cream gently with the bay leaf until the mixture simmers then take off the heat
Melt the butter in a large pan then stir in the flour, cook for about a minute. Remove the bay leaf from the milk and cream then add the liquid to the flour, slowly, whisking all the time.
Bring to a simmer and cook for 2-3 minutes on a low heat stirring. The sauce should be very thick at this stage.
Season with salt and pepper and take off the heat.
Beat the cheese into the sauce until it melts.
Leave to cool for a bit.

2. Beat the egg yolks into the cooled sauce. In a clean bowl whisk the egg whites until soft peaks form. Gently fold them into the sauce in three batches. Divide the mixture between 6 x 200ml ramekins and put them in a roasting tin. Pour boiling water into the tin to about 1cm deep. Bake in a preheated oven for 25 minutes. Allow to cool completely in the water.

3. To serve put a baking sheet into the oven to heat up, run a knife around the edges of the soufflés in the ramekins and reheat on the baking sheet for 20 minutes until they rise again (they wont rise as much as the first time)

carefully turn out to serve.

I served with the salad posted on Friday, some braised cabbage (recipe below) and some mushrooms, I will post that how to tomorrow.

Such a great lunch and mostly very easy.

Marmalade Braised Cabbage

Get this in before you start on the soufflés as it doesn’t need messing with and needs a long time.

1 red cabbage, shredded (800g)
1 tbsp dark brown soft sugar
4 tbsp balsamic vinegar
25g unsalted butter cut into cubes
5 tbsp fine cut marmalade

1. preheat the oven to 180c.
In a large casserole dish with a tight fitting lid, scatter a layer of cabbage, sprinkle on some sugar and balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper add some knobs of butter and dot some marmalade over. Repeat this until all ingredients are used and cover.

Again I can’t tell you exactly where this recipe is from, as it’s from my scrap-book of recipes but I think it’s from Sainsburys magazine.

Soft White Rolls

April 12, 2011

 So as I said yesterday I made our burger baps for the BBQ on Sunday, and I am so happy I gave it a go as they turned out to be so good!

I made double just in case something went wrong, as I was doing the first batch I made a little mistake so thought it wise to make more.

I used a River Cottage recipe. This makes 6 rolls.

You need:
300 ml water
500g white bread flour
5g yeast
10g salt
35g butter

1. Mix water with flour, bring together into a rough mixture. Add yeast, salt and butter and work into a dough.

2. Knead for 5-10 mins. If it’s too sticky add a little bit more flour. As you work it the stickiness starts to disappear, then it becomes more elastic.

I thought it had all gone wrong here, the instructions are a bit vague and don’t tell you how the dough should look or how to knead but I remembered my bread making lesson with John and what we had done there.

The dough was not smooth like it was that night though, so I was worried.

3. Leave to prove in an oiled bowl for an hour and a half in a warm place.

I left mine in the sunshine, with a bag over it with air in (something I learnt from John)

4. Tip out onto a very lightly floured surface, knock back, then shape. Cut in half, then cut each half into 3 to make 6 balls of dough. Stamp out with your fingers then make it into a ball shape. Roll it around to make it into a nice smooth shape.

5. Put on a greased baking sheet, fairly widely spaced apart. Sprinkle flour on top. Leave to rise somewhere warm for 30 minutes.

6. Put in the oven – 15-20 mins at 210-215°C.

So easy! Don’t worry too much basically, this recipe is fine and everything turned out great.

In the end I actually made too many and we are eating them for lunch this week, I think they might actually be getting better as the days go on!