Saturday, March 10, 2012

Apple, Parsnip and Ginger Beer Cake

This is both a birthday cake to myself and a blog anniversary cake albeit a slightly late one. Thanks to everyone who has visited this site and taken the time to post comments (not that being a lurker is a bad thing- I am a natural lurker myself).

I am hoping that as my commuting time is about to halve that I will soon be back to blogging again on a regular basis. For the time being though here is a lovely cake that is adapted from Harry Eastwood's Red Velvet Chocolate Heartache. It is gluten free, dairy free and virtually fat free but serve it to guests and they will never guess. This is what I class as a pudding cake in that it can also be used as a dessert with soya custard or cream. The original recipe calls for cider but I switched this for ginger beer as it is something that I definitely associate with summer days plus almost everybody in my family is a bit of a ginger fiend. Although this picture makes the cake look elegant it also managed to carry off the animal shaped candles I had later in the day!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Parsnip & Potato Rosti with Spinach, Asparagus, Poached Egg and Foaming Hollandaise

Wow. Life has really been getting in the way of stuff lately. I recently started a new job with a pretty long commute that has been leaving me rather zombie like in the evenings. Cooking has become a little bit of a chore which is never good. But with Valentines Day on the way it has reminded me how I enjoy cooking yummy things for the people I love. Here is my first Valentines recipe that is ideal for breakfast/brunch in bed or as an appetizer or light supper.

Foaming Hollandaise Sauce

This is a Delia Smith recipe that I really like as it doesn't  tend to curdle, doesn't use more yolks than whites and is lighter than a traditional hollandaise sauce. It is perfect as it can be reheated and you can freeze it. You will need a blender or food processor for this. The original recipe can be found here.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Sunchoke (Jerusalem Artichoke) Soup with Thyme and Balsamic Onions

Happy New Year and best wishes for 2012. Sorry it is a bit late but hopefully everybody has enjoyed the holidays. I thought I would kick the year off with a rich, velvety vegetable soup that is perfect for a warming lunch but low calorie, dairy free, gluten free and vegan for anyone with good intentions for the new year. If you haven't tried Jerusalem artichokes before then I really do urge you to try them as they add a really nice nutty flavor to mashed potato or can be roasted or even eaten raw in salads. They do, however, have a bad reputation for making things a bit windy so I don't recommend eating them before a job interview, hot date, or anytime you need to sit quietly! By mixing them with potatoes helps to reduce the amount you eat and hence the after effects. Hopefully this won't put you all off this recipe as I admit that I haven't exactly sold this one to you. But trust me this really is a tasty, hearty and seasonal soup.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Christmas Menu of Wild Rice Stuffed Squash, Cider Braised Red Cabbage & Gluten and Dairy Free Bread Sauce

I know it is a bit late in the day but I thought I would finally get around to posting about our Christmas dinner dishes. This is more of a theoretical exercise as we are going to my other half's family on Christmas day. So here is my virtual Christmas day menu.  Below are links to recipes I would use followed by my recipes for wild rice stuffing for the squash, braised red cabbage and bread sauce.

Maple Glazed Turkey for the meat eaters
Stuffed Squash for the veggies or Parsnip, Cranberry & Chestnut Loaf
Wild Rice Stuffing
Roasted Root Vegetables
Cider Braised Red Cabbage
Gravy, Cranberry Sauce & Bread Sauce 
Followed by 

Quite a bit of it could be made in advance and reheated on the day for an easy relaxed Christmas morning in the kitchen. The day before I would make the wild rice stuffing up until the point where you put it in the oven, I would also make the red cabbage to be reheated in a crockpot or in a pan the next day. I would also steep the milk with the onion, bay leaves and cloves overnight. A family tradition is to all help to peel and cut up our root vegetables the night before which are then left in cold water overnight until needed the next day. Yes you will lose some of the water soluble vitamins but for one day does it really matter? If you do all this the hopefully, apart from the turkey cooking in the oven, everything else can be done in the hour leading up to serving.

 Merry Christmas everybody!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dairy Free Brandy 'Butter'

Brandy butter is great on warm mince pies and is must for melting over you Christmas pudding, well this is all true if you are my other half who spoons bucket loads of the stuff over any Christmas dessert and, annoyingly never puts on a pound. As he cannot be trusted to leave well alone from dairy if it is in the form of brandy butter or cheese I decided to make a dairy free version in an attempt to save him from himself. It works really well with the vegan and dairy free sunflower oil based margarine I use. If you can have butter then just substitute in unsalted butter and make sure it is at room temperature so that the sugar and brandy can easily be combined with it. 

Tapas Party Menu

After we spent an enjoyable week in Spain last month I really wanted to have a go at making my own homemade tapas and what better way to eat tapas than with friends. Over the holiday period with numerous parties and entertaining then why not try something different and throw a tapas party instead of the normal canapes or as alternative to christmas dinner. Below is my Tapas Menu (click on the links to go to the recipes) which has the benefit that most of the dishes can be prepared in advance leaving you free to mingle with your guests and glug some sangria.