Friday, 7 December 2018

Spinach Christmas tree

This week we had another lovely young chef. Isadora (aged 4) came with her mother Lu to show off her cooking skills. She was so helpful and made the From Spade to Plate cooking activity so different.

A few weeks ago, I promised to make marmalade with the group, as it is so easy (as we use Mamade) and quick and not something we could have for lunch.



        

we made a Spinach Christmas tree to go with the Soup


We went into the garden to harvest the carrots to make a simple but delicious Carrot Soup 
We added potatoes, (peeled by Isadora)   carrots, an onion to the pan, covered it with stock and after 20 minutes when the vegetables were soft, we pureed it into a lovely soup. This time we did not have bread with the soup but these lovely looking and delicious tasting Spinach, cheesey bread sticks.  With the left over pastry and spinach mix we made some savoury 'tortolini' shaped puffs. Easy to eat and very tasty with the soup.        

Monday, 3 December 2018

Testing for the recipe book - crepes, biscuits and a pumpkin soup

This weekend Andrea came to help figure out how to publish the cookery book and came with a Pumpkin so we decided to turn this one into .... Pumpkin Soup. To be honest our 5 spice recipe in which we normally use butternut squash, would have been much better. So won't give the recipe we used as it was a little mediocre.  Use the Butternut squash and 5 spice recipe instead substituting a pumpkin.

      
In addition we made some Christmas biscuits, three different types. The Honey jumbles, we changed into heart shapes, The thumb print  biscuits and the puff pastries christmas trees came out well and were quick and easy to make.

For the Christmas trees, take a pre-rolled sheet of puff pastry, sprinkle with the cinnamon and sugar, cut a 1 cm strip from the short side of the sheet and layer over it self, zig zagging and reducing the width, resembling a Christmas tree. Pierce a cocktail stick through the top to the bottom and follow the rest of the recipe.
 

Whilst all this was being made we tested the Cheese ball share and tear bread. I prepared the bread dough before hand to speed things up. We used a mature Cheddar cheese to put inside but think a blue cheese might have been nice too.  Apart from it tasting so lovely, it looked attractive too (even though I say it myself)






Simone was in charge of the Crêpes Suzette and turned this basic ingredients into a scrumptious desert. We used  hot melted butter and Marmalade to make the sauce, to pour over the crêpes but for those who like a tipple, a little orange liqueur added to this sauce would be very nice too.







Lu, Asako, Sayaka, Simone and I worked hard to fit in so many lovely recipes in just 2 hours, the end result was well worth it though.

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

A quick trip to the garden brought us: Broccoli, Leek and carrots

    Heavy rain was forecasted this morning, so I decided to nip out to the allotment to harvest vegetables for today's From Spade to Plate cooking sessions.

With the broccoli florets we adapted the leek and walnut orzotto recipe we have made in the past and used broccoli instead.  

“Ingredients
Oil
1 onion, finely chopped
2 leeks, trimmed and finely sliced
160g orzo
500ml vegetable stock 
200ml white wine or 200ml additional stock
Handful of finely chopped parsley
85g crumbled Gorgonzola Dolce
Juice ½ lemon (tip: freeze left-over lemon shell for lemon zest)
Handful walnut pieces

Method
Put the walnuts in a frying pan and dry roast until fragrant - keep a close eye on them as they burn easily; chop, then set aside
Fry onion with some salt and cook for 5-6 minutes; add the leeks and cook until softened, then add the orzo and stir until coated in oil; turn up the heat, pour in the 200ml wine or stock and boil until almost completely evaporated
Pour in the hot stock, 2 ladles at a time; once the liquid is almost gone, add more -  keep adding the stock this way until finished; if the orzo needs more liquid to cook, add a couple of ladles of boiling water
Once the orzo is cooked and the sauce is creamy, stir in most of the walnuts and parsley, and all the Gorgonzola and lemon juice. 
Taste, season, divide among plates and top with the remaining nuts and parsley
”Excerpt From: “Karina's Cookbook v1.” iBooks. 


With the left over vegetables (onion, bits of leek leaf, potato, carrots, broccoli stalks and leaves and a handful of peas) we made a delicious (End of the week soup)

Ingredients
1 small onion
2 tablespoons oil
The last of your vegetables in the fridge; carrot, broccoli stems, celery, cabbage finely chopped
Some frozen peas if you have some
Vegetable stock
Salt and pepper
Parsley or Chives leaves for garnish

Method
Chop onion and sauté until transparent.
Add remaining ingredients, cover with stock and simmer for 30 minutes
Adjust seasoning to taste
Add parsley or chive leaves for garnish

Every Friday I empty my fridge, clean it out and use everything so I always know that nothing in the fridge is more than 1 week old.  Having a soup recipe like this helps a lot, as it is a great way to get rid of some bits and pieces that otherwise might have gone to waste. 


Nice with some freshly baked bread

The Carrot leaves and some of the broccoli leaves we used to make a pesto, for the group to take home and use in pasta.  

Pesto
Ingredients
1 cup carrot top greens, tough stems removed
1 cup spinach
1 large clove garlic, roughly chopped
½ cup roasted unsalted cashews, almonds, walnuts (whatever you have on hand)
½ teaspoon sea salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup rapeseed oil

Method
Prep the carrot tops greens: rinse to dislodge any dirt and discard tough stems
Place the carrot tops greens, baby spinach, chopped garlic, roasted cashews, salt and pepper in a food processor
Pulse several times, scraping the sides down with a rubber spatula
Slowly pour in the oil in a steady stream, pulsing until smooth”

Monday, 26 November 2018

Green tomato cake and Hot broccoli dip

 The cookery book is finished! Now it is time to show the group and get some feed back.
    
Looking in the food store, I have found the last crate of tomatoes, which were harvested back in October. Most of them have turned red and are turned into a tomato sauce, the green ones however, were just enough to make Thea's Green tomato cake with. Initially the cooks were rather apprehensive thinking it was going to be a savoury cake, but after the first taste, they were hooked and not much left at the end of the meal.

Green Tomato Cake

195g sugar
80g melted butter
2 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
175g self-raising flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon mixed spice
48g chopped walnuts
70g raisins
450g diced green tomatoes
Dessicated coconut to sprinkle on top

Line and grease a 2 inch deep roasting tin (5x7inc)
Beat sugar, butter, eggs and vanilla until smooth and creamy
Sift flour, salt, baking powder cinnamon and spice
Slowly beet into the gg mixture
Stir in the nuts and fruit
Spread in tin and sprinkle layer of coconut on top
Bake at 175C 50-55 minutes until skewer comes out clean when inserted
Leave to cool in tin




For our main meal we made a hot broccoli dish. A recipe I got from the Pampered Chef cooking demonstration. I have used it for years as a dip as well as a pasta topping. Will use it this time as a filling for the ravioli we have on Wednesday.

Broccoli Dip
Ingredients
340g chopped broccoli florets
1 small chopped onion
1 seeded and chopped red pepper
50g freshly grated parmesan cheese
2 cloves of pressed garlic
220g grated cheddar cheese
8 tablespoons of crème fraîche
8 tablespoons of mayonnaise
Freshly ground black pepper

Method
Chop broccoli, onion and red pepper and place in a bowl
Add 4 tablespoons of parmesan, grated cheddar and garlic to the vegetable mixture
Mix well
Spoon mixture into an oven proof dish, bake 25-30 minutes until heated through

This dish is lovely as a dip, using tortilla chips or crudités - any left over will go well the next day mixed into a bowl of tagliatelle pasta


It was Angeles' last cooking session and as a farewell present she brought some Tortilla. Delicious.
She sent me the following recipe, that we will try and make in the near future.


Ingredients:
2 potatoes, 
1 onion, 
5/ 6 eggs, 
olive oil  nd salt

Preparation_
Peel and cut the potatoes and onion into small pieces and put salt
Fry in olive oil.
Beat the eggs.
When the potatoes and the onion are mixed with the eggs and with little oil, curd the egg and brown it, giving him the bill with a plate.
Enjoy your meal!!!!


Ángeles

Friday, 16 November 2018

Christmas vegetable loaf, lemon cheesecake mousse and biscotti

For our mains we made a vegetable loaf, tasty easy and a nice centre piece for a festive table.
We mixed 1/2 red pepper, 1 garlic clove, 1 lemon zest, 85g spinach, 35g pitted black olives, 55g feta cheese and 115g mozzarella cheese and 2tbsp mayonnaise.  Mix all together and put in a puff pastry loaf.
    




We had a busy but lovely day today.  Angeles and here nieces Sara and Irene came to help and were in charge of he

lemon cheese mousse with aqua faba Yumi worked hard to whip the aquafaba into peaks whilst Irene and Sara prepared the base for the cheesecake mousse.








We went to the garden and picked the last of the raspberries as topping of our dessert.









Asako and Sayaka made Vegannaise as we had aquafaba (chickpea brine) left  and we need some for the vegetable loaf.

3tbsp chickpea water
1 tsp mustard
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1/2 tablespoon maple syrup
 3/4 - 1cup rapeseed oil

Add the aquafaba, mustard, salt, apple cider vinegar and maple syrup to a jug. Blend on high with an hand blender until frothy.
Measure the oil in a liquid measuring cup and with the blender on its highest speed, slowly stream the oil in over 1-2minutes, moving the blender up and down to incorporate a little air towards the end.



If it ls looking to thin add a little more oil, the more oil you add, the creamier, thickener and denser the texture will become.  Taste and adjust flavour as needed.

As a lovely treat to go with a cuppa we made some Vegan Cranberry almond biscotti
Mairead was in charge and showed Irene and Sara how it is done.

After all this hard work, we set down and enjoyed a lovely festive meal.


Wednesday, 14 November 2018

Chickweed is thriving

This amazing weather has caused the Chickweed to grow fast and healthily. Because of this, rather than weeding and putting it on the compost heap we made soup, salad and pakora's with it.

Chickweed or Stellaria grows virtually everywhere in the UK, in gardens, waste lands and aside of the roads. Best not pick the one near the roads as the chance of pollution (dogs,vehicles) is high.
Mine is growing in between my beetroot and lettuces as well near my garage.
    
The chickweed Soup  is easy to make and this delicate soup is tasty too. A little bit like Spinach soup.
        
As we are also making a vegetarian Kedgeree,
              I thought Chickweed pakora's would be in keeping.


    
Not sure if we have enough chickweed but if we do, we may even make a little side salad with beet and chickweed.