Saturday 22 December 2018

Our first book is now published and online!

For many hours in the last few weeks, I have been busy with cooking and making up a cooking book as a memento for the Visiting scholars who joined me in the previous year. It is called From Spade to Plate, bringing the world together around a kitchen table.
It has been frustrating at times but learned a lot in the meantime and am now excited to see the end result.

The Apple template was beautiful and to use, that does mean however that I can only publish it on Apple devices. So my apologies to those who are not able to access the information online.
Good news though is that all the recipes in the books (and pictures for that matter) are on this blog somewhere.

For those people who can pick up the hard copy up from me in Cambridge, they will be greeted with a  beautiful book printed by Minuteman Press on Victoria Road. Dario has been brilliant.

The first batch of 30 that was printed, was distributed within no time as Christmas is looming. Over the last couple of weeks, I had feedback to correct any errors we spotted so hopefully the online book is now without mistakes: fingers crossed.

I can now have a little pause before setting up the 2nd book with Spring and Summer experiences.

If you can, have a look online, go to the iBooks Store and in the search box type Karina Wells and the book should be popping up for you to download.  Enjoy!

Monday 10 December 2018

What is in the fridge?

Before going on holiday we had our last From Spade to Plate of the year. We looked what was in the fridge and decided to use the mushrooms, leeks, soft cheese, and blue cheese to make ravioli and the

leftover salsa (from Friday's games evening's dips) to add to the tomato sauce that we made as a topping for the ravioli.

As a dessert, we made a puff pastry chocolate snowflake. It was easy to make and very tasty too.

We are looking forward to picking up the cooking book that should be ready at the printers and next Monday we shall have a book launch with the group. So watch this space.

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.  

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

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)

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

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.  

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

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
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

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.

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

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!!!!


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.

Tuesday 13 November 2018

Testing out recipes Leek, Mushroom and spinach galette, apple crumblies, tomato and lentil soup

This weeks Monday was a busy one, as we planned a three course meal, testing them to go into the cookery book
All recipes were chosen by previous members of from Spade to Plate, so it was nice to try them out again.

Lu, told me that she tried out last week's Butternut Squash and 5 spice soup for 13 guests and they all loved it. Especially Lu, as it was so easy to do but made a big impression. She was very happy too with the tomato and lentil soup we made, a few more ingredients, but it went down very well.

The Leek, Mushroom and spinach galette  needed the same time in the oven as the apple crumblies, both easy to make and delicious nonetheless.

A shame June could not be there, as she would have loved it. Sayoka came for the first time though and got stuck in straight away.
 Between, Lu, Asako, Yumi, Sayoka, Simone and I we had a successful morning cooking and a lovely chat around the kitchen table, enjoying our meal.

Wednesday 7 November 2018

Testing recipes for the up and coming cookery book

After a bit of pressure I had decided to make a compilation of our favourite recipes this year. As some of the recipes I had not done for a while, we tried them out again and they were STILL lovely.

So today we made the Easy Peasy soup, made some short crust pastry for our apple turnovers. Some elderberry icecream and as a main course the Leek, Walnut and Gorgonzola risotto.
Last Monday's orzotto was so lovely and when Lu asked if it could be made gluten free, I thought I'd try it out.

To be honest, I did not like the texture as much as the Orzotto, it was rather stogey, so with what was left I made some rice balls with a cube of cheese inside of it. I fried it up later (pressing it down into a burger shape) and they turned out quite nice. At least we did not waste all the lovely ingredients.

Thumbs up for Easy Peasy soup, the short crust pastry and the ice cream. Note to self. must do again.

Monday 5 November 2018

Our favourite Cordial and surprise pancakes

As over the last few months people had commented on their favourite drink. We call it the Danish Spiced cordial. I tasted something similar when visiting my son in Denmark and loved it. Hence a special request from the group to add this in the up and coming book.

The spices I used were cinnamon sticks, vanilla pod, cardamon seeds, star anise and lemon, the end result was fantastic and got the thumbs up!

For our main meal, we made another favorite,  Leek, Walnut and Gorgonzola Orzotto. It went down very well. for those of you you want this to be gluten-free, substitute the Orzo for Risotto.

What should have been our dessert, turn out to be eaten straight after it came out of the frying pan. The eggless pancakes were both savory and sweet. The savory ones were made with mature cheddar and smoked courgette 'bacon', for a vegan option use a plant-based milk instead of milk and for the cheese, we used the Nutritional yeast. It was tasty and easy to make. For the sweet version we enjoyed the maple syrup topping as well as the lemon and icing sugar.  A shame we don't have a video our audio recording as the only sounds we heard were MMMM!

It looks like there will be many eggless pancakes tonight.

Tuesday 30 October 2018

Butternuts 2 ways

A month or so ago June harvested the butternut squashes and one is showing signs of softening. So time to dream up some tasty meals with butternut squash. So here goes.

As we only have 2 hours, we started with the no bake pumpkin pie (made with butternut squash) as it needs to be refrigerated for 2 hours.

Then we made the easiest and tastiest butternut squash soup which we ate with a freshly baked bread roll and hummus.

1 cup natural  Greek Yogurt 
3 cups self raising flour  
a pinch of salt 

Combine yogurt and 3 cups flour in the bowl.  
Mix until combined, scraping down the bowl as necessary until combined. 
Knead on high for 10 minutes. 
Preheat oven to 200 degrees.
Line a tray with baking paper and set aside.
lightly flour the bench top and roll into approx 2 inch balls.
Pop in the oven for 12- 15 minutes
Once cooked let cool .

Makes 12

No bake pumpkin Pie

1 cup cooked pumpkin/butternut
1 cup milk
¾ c brown sugar
2 tbsp cornstarch
¼ tsp salt
1/4 tsp cloves
½ tsp ginger
1 ½ tsp cinnamon
¼ tsp nutmeg


Making the shell
50g melted butter
180g crushed ginger nuts biscuits
2 tbsp maple syrup

Mix and press into the bottom of a lined pie dish

Combine all ingredients in a heavy duty pan, consistently stirring. Bring to a boil over medium heat until thicken. Pour into the pie crust and let cool before refrigerating. (have put in the freezer to speed up the cooling period)