Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Gimme Five! Preserving tools

Friday, July 3rd, 2015

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selection of preserving tools

On our dog walk yesterday we picked elderflowers. Today I made our first batch of elderflower cordial of the year.

Elderflower cordial always marks the start of my preserving season. Good kit always makes the jam, jelly, pickling, or chutney-making process more successful. Here are a few preserving tools that I recommend!

  1. Swift stainless steel preserving pan: £59.96, Divertimenti
  2. KitchenCraft home made blister carded cooking thermometer: £5.99, Wayfair
  3. 24 assorted Kilner fruit jam labels: £2.50, John Lewis
  4. Preserves: River Cottage Handbook No.2: from £7.26, Amazon
  5. Ball® preserving starter pack: £19.99, Lakeland

Cakes & Bakes: Portuguese custard tarts

Thursday, July 2nd, 2015

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Pile of home-made Portuguese custard tarts

Justin requested these Portuguese custard tarts after seeing Bruno Pinho make them on TV recently.

Portuguese custard tart ingredients

We strongly recommend that you give them a try too – they’re absolutely delicious!

Making sugar syrup for Portuguese custard tarts

In 2012, Bruno appeared in the Welsh village of Caerleon and opened a bakery.

Making custard for Portuguese custard tarts

Can you imagine the joy of a new bakery opening in your town and trays of these delicious looking tarts appearing in the shop window?

Adding vanilla seeds to custard for Portuguese custard tarts

If you don’t happen to have a Portuguese bakery where you live, fear not – they’re very makable at home… the recipe is quite straightforward, but does need following properly to get perfect results.

Making puff pastry cases for Portuguese custard tarts

You can make your own puff pastry if your really keen, but we got excellent results using ready made.

Uncooked Portuguese custard tarts

The custard tartlets look lovely with their shiny golden brown finish – and they weren’t left to cool for long before we had to try one…then two… then three… then four!!

Portuguese custard tarts fresh from the oven

The cinnamon and vanilla come through well, but don’t over-power. The lemon stops them being cloying or claggy. They’re best eaten on the day, but we guarantee that this wont be a problem.

Portuguese custard tarts cooling on a wire rack

Crispy puff pastry and a sweet, moist filling… did we mention that they were delicious?

Portuguese custard tarts
Yields 10
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Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
Prep Time
20 min
Cook Time
20 min
Total Time
40 min
for the sugar syrup
  1. 250g/9oz caster sugar
  2. 1 cinnamon stick
  3. peel of ½ a lemon
for the filling
  1. 25g/1oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
  2. 12g cornflour
  3. 300ml/10½fl oz milk
  4. 4 egg yolks, plus 1 whole egg
  5. seeds from one vanilla pod
  6. 300g/10½oz ready-made all-butter puff pastry
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to at least 230ºC/210ºC fan/450ºF/Gas mark 8
  2. For the sugar syrup, bring the sugar, cinnamon and lemon rind to the boil in a saucepan with 250ml/9fl oz water. Reduce the heat until the mixture is simmering, then simmer for 3 minutes. Set the syrup aside until completely cool. Once cool, discard the cinnamon stick and lemon rind
  3. For the custard filling, mix the flours together in a bowl. Pour in a little bit of milk and stir until any lumps are removed
  4. Bring the rest of the milk to the boil in a saucepan over low heat, stirring regularly
  5. Gradually add the boiled milk to the flour mixture and whisk for 1 minute, or until smooth and well combined
  6. Slowly whisk in the sugar syrup until well combined
  7. Whisk in the egg yolks, whole egg and vanilla seeds until smooth and well combined. Set aside
  8. Roll out the pastry onto a lightly-floured work surface into a rectangle measuring approximately 50x30/20x12in; but more importantly, to a thickness of 1mm
  9. With the longest edge of the pastry rectangle facing you, roll the pastry as tightly as possible, brushing it from right to left with water as you go. Cut the pastry roll into 2cm/¾in-thick discs that are ¼ larger than the holes of your muffin tin
  10. Place the discs over the holes of your muffin tin and press them down firmly to the bottom & sides
  11. Fill each pastry cases with the custard until they are almost, but not quite, full
  12. Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry has risen and the surface of the custard is scorched
  13. Set aside to cool for at least 10 minutes before serving to allow the custard to set slightly
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/

Cakes & Bakes: Black bread

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

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Sliced & buttered home-made black bread with a mug of tea

We recently bought a box of mixed ephemera at auction.

Vintage Esso wall calendar from 1958

There were quite a few vintage calendars in the box including this charming Esso calendar dating from 1958. Each month is represented by a traditional activity for the time of year…

Black bread recipe on a wall calendar from 1958

…and on the reverse is a recipe from a different county of the UK. I liked the sound of the black bread from Buckinghamshire so decided to test it out for this week’s Cakes & Bakes.

Black bread ingredients

I’m not sure whether it actually hails from Buckinghamshire or not, I couldn’t find any mention of a ‘Buckinghamshire black bread’ on the internet anywhere. Have you ever heard of it?

Adding treacle to the other black bread ingredients

From its list of ingredients, I presumed it would be a sweet bread, perfect for having with an afternoon cup of tea.

Black bread dough before putting it into the oven

It was really easy to rustle up, I already had everything in the store cupboard. It was quick too, no waiting for the dough to rise; just mix, into a tin and in the oven – job done!

Home-made black bread loaf

I’ve changed the original cooking temperature and duration. The top began to look a little too ‘black’ and it was definitely fully cooked after an hour.

Sliced & buttered home-made black bread loaf

It’s reminiscent of malt loaf but less sticky and more… treacley! We had a few slices with a healthy layering of butter – divine!

If you fancy giving this recipe a try you can pin it from here for later!

Black bread
Yields 1
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Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Prep Time
15 min
Cook Time
1 hr
Total Time
1 hr 15 min
Ingredients
  1. 450g/1lb wholemeal flour
  2. 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
  3. pinch of salt
  4. 300ml/½pt milk
  5. 1 egg
  6. 300ml/½pt black treacle
  7. 225g/8oz dried fruit (I used sultanas)
Instructions
  1. Preheat the oven to 175ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. Grease a 1kg/2lb loaf tin
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift the salt and bicarbonate with the flour
  4. Mix in the milk, egg and treacle before adding the dried fruit
  5. Pour the mixture into the greased loaf tin and bake for about an hour. If the top begins to look too dark, cover with tin foil
  6. Turn out on to a wire rack to cool
Notes
  1. The original recipe says that this bread is best left for a month before cutting & consuming. We couldn't wait that long!
H is for Home Harbinger http://hisforhomeblog.com/