Sunday, July 26, 2015

Gooseberry crumble...

I love a nice crumble. They're easy to put together, you can use almost any fruit and you can be quite adventurous with the crumble topping. This recipe was taken (although slightly changed) from Paul Hollywood's "Pies & Puds" cookbook. Unfortunately I didn't have few of the ingredients he was calling for, so had to improvise. I was particularly interested by the crumble topping - I've never made it using oats, but I have experimented with adding nuts into it. The result - very crunchy, somehow "rustic", delicious crumble which went perfectly well with gooseberries, apple and a splash of Calvados!



How to make it...

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Blackcurrant and peach jam...

We all love summer, don't we? I love this time of the year for many reasons, but one in particular - abundance of fresh fruit and the many ways I can preserve them for cold, winter months. I think of it as capturing all that sunshine, warmth, freshness in a jar and enjoying it by a cosy fire on a cold, miserable, winter day.
I'm lucky enough to grow some of the fruit myself - blackcurrants being one of them. I took a little plastic box and decided to go and pick up all that dark purple beads. Was hoping for a little bit to be able to make some kind of cake or cupcakes but ended up with... almost 800 g of the stuff! After "cleaning" and picking it I was left with little over 700 g. But there was a small problem - the fruit were very sharp and sour! No sweetness to them at all! I didn't want to end up adding tons of sugar to balance it out, so decided adding some other fruit. Having peaches at hand, and not any peaches but my favorite - "doughnut"/flat peaches, which were very ripe, sweet and juicy at that point - I decided to experiment a little. Below, the result of my jam creation :)


Peaches turned out to be the perfect fruit to pair with blackcurrants. They balance each other very well. You're getting a bit of sharpness form the blackcurrants, but it's balanced, toned down by sweet and mild taste of peaches. Hope you'll try and make my "combo" - fantastic on a buttered toast!



How to make it...

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Chinese Pork Balls...

This is very easy and quick dish to make. Think of it more as a starter or a finger food - perfect for a party, a night in front of TV or quick light lunch! Not a lot of work and it can be made in advance - just put already shaped meatballs in the fridge. The meatballs turned out to be very nice also when cold. There's a heat and a bit of spice - but not too much, just a hint, it's a more of a "bow" towards the Asian cuisine, rather than an "authentic" recipe. But I liked it that way, and because they were quite mild, my two little girls enjoyed them too :)

meatballs pat whelan

The recipe comes from a great cookbook "An Irish butcher shop" by PatWhelan.



How to make it...

Monday, July 06, 2015

Gooseberry crumble cake...

It's summer. And what comes with it is an abundance of fresh seasonal fruit and vegetables. No, I'm NOT complaining! What's more - I'm always waiting for this season with anticipation. I like trying making new things, dishes with fruit that we're all familiar with. This time it was - gooseberry. Actually, a whole bag of it! And it came to me for free. I already made the gooseberry jam (more of a marmalade actually) and a jam using the "jam sugar". I still had almost half a kilo of the fruit left. Quick browse through few of my numerous cookbooks and I settled for Nigel Slater's gooseberry crumble cake. Something like a coffee tray cake, which are so popular in the States.


I liked the different textures. Soft and light sponge like bottom, then sharp fruit, all topped with crunchy, sweet crumble. Perfect served with vanilla custard/ice-cream and paired with strong, black coffee. I think that other seasonal fruit like blackcurrants or blue berries would work here well too!



How to make it...

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Nectarine & plum galette / crostata...

There are a lot of them on the web. And I do mean a lot! But I don't mind - as each and every one seems to be prettier than the last one I saw. Called either galette or crostata (first French, the second one has it's origins from Italy). I really like those "free forms" pies, not perfect by any means when it comes to their shape - but so pretty, each an every one unique. They're very easy to make and quick to assemble. I'd say you could use nearly any fruit that's in season. Strawberries, or any berries for that matter, plums, nectarines, peaches, thinly sliced apples or pears. As we know some fruit are more juicy than others and the juices can easily soak into your pastry bottom making it quite soggy. bearing that in mind I decided to prevent that from happening. Simple trick of spreading some ground almonds before arranging the fruit worked perfectly! No soggy bottom! :)


Cold butter is the key here - or you'll end up with pastry that's not workable at all. Dice your butter into medium size cubes and keep it in the fridge till the very end, take it out just before adding it to your pastry dough. If you're short for time when making crostata, you can chill your dough in the freezer rather than in the fridge and cut that part of the process by 60 minutes!



How to make it...