Posts Tagged ‘cooking’

Gimme Five! Slow cookers

Friday, September 25th, 2015

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Five slow cookers

Autumn marks the arrival of hearty stews. Those light, summer salads just don’t cut the mustard come October! What better then, than a slow cooker? The ingredients go into the pot in the morning – and as if by magic – a delicious, warming stew or casserole appears in the evening.

Preparing a meal in a slow cooker means flavours have time to mingle and evolve. You’ll find hundreds of recipes and tips in books, magazines or the internet. There’s usually enough to last a couple of days. All you need is crusty bread… or throw in a few dumplings to maximise the joy! 

  1. 5L Digital multi cooker with stirring paddle: £55, Tesco
  2. Russell Hobbs Creations multi cooker: £89.99, Argos
  3. Crock-Pot digital slow and multi cook: £119.99, Lakeland
  4. Giles & Posner 5.7L sous vide slow cooker: £69.99
  5. 6.5L brushed digital sear and stew slow cooker: £59.99, Morphy Richards

What to do with an egg glut

Thursday, September 17th, 2015

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egg glut - pile of eggs on antique wooden egg tray

Last week, we looked after our neighbours’ chickens while they went on holiday. We’ve done it before but, back then, the brood was only about a third of the size it is now.

Some of the neighbours' chickens

Before long, we had an ever-growing pile of eggs mounting up in our kitchen. With each passing day, another 6 eggs or so were being added. What to do with our new-found egg glut?

Boiled eggs in a saucepan

I didn’t want to have either leftover yolks or leftover whites going to waste, so I looked into making dishes that used whole eggs.

These are the two savoury and one sweet recipes I decided on…

  • Pickled eggs – We’ve both lived nearly half a century but neither of us has ever eaten a pickled egg! They never look appetising sitting on a shelf, in jars, in a chip shop, for who knows how long! I didn’t have whole allspice, only ground, so my pickle liquid became a bit cloudy with a little sediment. You’re meant to leave them for a month before you eat them – so we’ll report back then.
  • Soy sauce eggs – Again, neither of us had tried these before. They’re wonderful! I’ve tried them quartered in a salad and will have some more with Singapore noodles tomorrow. Soy sauce eggs or shoyu tamago are traditionally eaten with ramen (Japanese noodle soup), which I love. They’re definitely going to be on the menu again soon.
  • Egg custard – This was a little disappointing to be honest – a bit unexciting. It had nothing over a traditional egg custard tart baked in a pastry case. Transforming it into either a crème caramel or crème brûlée are other good options.

Pickled eggs
Yields 7
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  1. 7 hard-boiled eggs
  2. ½tbs chilli flakes
  3. 1 pint distilled malt vinegar
  4. 1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, rough chopped
  5. ½tbs white peppercorns
  6. ½dsp whole allspice
  7. 1. tie the spices in a piece of muslin and boil gently in the vinegar for 5 minutes
  8. 2. Pour into a bowl and remove the spices. Leave to cool
  9. 3. Shell the eggs and pack into a sterilised, wide-necked jar
  10. 4. Fill with the cold vinegar to cover the eggs completely. Screw or tie down and leave for a month before eating
Adapted from Cordon Bleu Preserving
H is for Home Harbinger

Soy sauce eggs
Yields 6
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  1. 6 eggs
  2. 225ml water
  3. 225ml soy sauce
  4. 2tbs red wine vinegar
  5. large, thumb-sized piece of fresh ginger, roughly chopped and crushed
  6. 3 star anise 'stars'
  7. 1tbs brown sugar
  8. soy sauce eggs ingredients
  9. 1. Boil the eggs, cool by plunging into cold water before peeling. Put into a heat-proof bowl, cover with cling film and set aside
  10. 2. In a small saucepan, add all the other ingredients and bring to the boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar
  11. soy sauce mixture
  12. 3. Remove from the heat and carefully pour over the boiled & peeled eggs
  13. 4. Allow to cool slightly before recovering the bowl in cling film
  14. eggs marinading in soy sauce mixture
  15. 5. Cool to room temperature before transferring to the fridge. Allow to marinate for at least 6 hours
Adapted from Cordon Bleu Preserving
H is for Home Harbinger

Egg custard
Serves 4
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  1. 568ml/1 pint full fat milk
  2. 4 eggs
  3. 50g caster sugar
  4. 2tsp vanilla extract
  5. fresh nutmeg
  6. egg custard ingredients
  7. 1. Preheat the oven to 140ºC/Gas mark 1 and butter a round oven-proof dish
  8. 2. Pour the milk into a saucepan and heat until hot but not actually boiling
  9. 3. In a bowl that's large enough to take the milk as well, whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla. Then, still whisking, pour in the hot milk
  10. adding hot milk to egg mixture
  11. 4. Sit the buttered dish in a roasting tin to make a bain marie. Strain the custard mixture through a sieve into the buttered dish, then grate some nutmeg generously over the top
  12. uncooked egg custard
  13. 5. Pour freshly boiled water into the tin, to come about halfway up the baking dish, and gingerly (you don't want slopping and spillage) put it into the oven and cook for 1½ hours. You want the custard to set but only just
  14. cooked egg custard
  15. 6. Take the tin out of the oven, and the dish out of the tin, and let the custard cool a little before eating
Adapted from Kitchen: Recipes from the Heart of the Home
H is for Home Harbinger

Cakes & Bakes: Plum flaugnarde

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

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Home-made plum flaugnarde via @hisforhome

We were given half a dozen sweet, ripe plums last week. We ate a couple and used the others in a plum flaugnarde.

Plum flaugnarde via @hisforhome

A flaugnarde is similar to clafoutis in that they’re both baked French egg custard fruit puddings. However, if you’re a purist, the latter can only ever be made using cherries.

Halved plums

A flaugnarde on the other hand may contain all manner of fruit including pears, apples, figs, dried fruit, nuts…

Eggs, sugar and vanilla essence in a large measuring jug

The addition of a tittle buerre noisette gives the custard a lovely, nutty flavour. Make sure you only cook it until it goes a nice, golden brown. If the butter’s even just a little bit burnt it will ruin the dish.

Plum flaugnarde batter via @hisforhome

A tablespoonful of almonds isn’t essential, but it adds texture, bite more nuttiness… and looks beautiful too!

Uncooked plum flaugnarde via @hisforhome

It puffs up beautifully while it’s cooking, but don’t worry when it deflates as it cools once out of the oven – it will do this. Serve it straight away with a little double cream or clotted cream.

Home-made plum flaugnarde with small bottle of double cream via @hisforhome

Plum flaugnarde
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Cook Time
30 min
Cook Time
30 min
  1. 4 ripe plums
  2. 20g/¾oz unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
  3. 2 eggs
  4. 3 tbsp caster sugar
  5. ½tsp vanilla extract
  6. 1 heaped tbsp plain flour
  7. 50g/1¾fl oz milk
  8. 75g/2¼fl oz double cream
  9. pinch salt
  10. 1tbs flaked almonds (optional)
  11. icing sugar for dusting (optional)
  1. Preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF/Gas mark 4
  2. Grease a baking dish with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Shake the sugar around the dish so it's evenly coated. Tip away any excess
  3. Halve the plums, remove the stones and place them cut side down, evenly spread into the baking dish
  4. Heat the butter in a small frying pan over a low heat until it turns a light brown colour. Remove the pan from the heat and set aside
  5. In a large bowl or measuring jug whisk together the eggs, sugar and vanilla essence until creamy
  6. Add the flour, whisk until smooth, then slowly incorporate the milk, cream, salt and beurre noisette.
  7. Pour the batter into the prepared baking dish making sure the plums are still evenly spread out
  8. Sprinkle with the flaked almonds
  9. Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until the top is puffed up and a skewer inserted into the middle comes away clean
  10. Place on a wire cooling rack, sprinkle with icing sugar and serve warm with double or clotted cream
H is for Home Harbinger