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11150g (5oz) good dark chocolate (at least 50% cocoa solids
70% makes this even richer and
50g (2oz) Amaretti biscuits
100g (4oz) flaked slivered almonds
175g (7oz) caster sugar
Finely grated zest of one orange
100g (4oz) butter, cut into cubes
4 eggs, beaten
Cocoa powder or icing sugar, for dusting
- Preheat the oven to 180ºC (350ºF), Gas mark 4. Line the base of a 20cm (8in) diameter spring-form tin with greaseproof paper and butter the sides (I usually just wipe a butter wrapper around the tin.)
- Melt the chocolate in a bowl sitting over a saucepan of simmering water (also known as a bain-marie).
- Place the Amaretti biscuits, flaked almonds, sugar and orange zest in a food processor and whiz until the biscuits and almonds are almost finely ground (I like to leave them a bit gritty). Add the butter and the eggs and whiz until blended, then add the melted chocolate and briefly whiz again until blended.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and pop straight into the oven. Cook for 35 minutes until the cake is puffed up and slightly puffed around the edges.
- Remove from the oven and leave to sit for 15 minutes before carefully transferring to a plate. The top is quite crisp and cracks easily so I always dust it with lots of icing sugar or cocoa powder before serving to hide any imperfections!
From ‘Rachel’s Food For Living’; Publishers – Collins
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Nettle (or spinach), Cheese Puff Pastry - Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall
About 175g nettle tops (or spinach) (1 heaped colander full)
A little polenta or cornmeal for dusting (optional)
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus extra to finish
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
Freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
1 ready-rolled puff pastry sheet (about 200g), or roughly the same weight of block puff pastry
50g semi-soft sheep’s or goat’s cheese
Sea salt and pepper
- If using nettles: Put the nettle tops in a sink full of cold water and wash thoroughly, picking them over to remove any unwanted plant matter or insect life. Transfer to a colander.
- Bring a large pan of salted water to the boil. Add the nettle tops (spinach), prodding them down with a wooden spoon. Once simmering again, cook for 4–5 minutes, or until tender. Drain in a colander and leave to cool.
- Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas 6. Scatter a baking sheet with polenta, or grease it lightly with oil if you prefer.
- Use your hand to squeeze all the liquid out of the drained nettles. Put them on a board and chop coarsely, then transfer to a bowl. Add the 2 tablespoons olive oil, garlic, a light grating of nutmeg if you like, and some salt and pepper. Mix well with a fork, working the seasoning into the nettles.
- Lay your ready-rolled pastry sheet on the prepared baking tray. If using a block of pastry, roll it out on a lightly floured surface until about 5mm thick, trim the edges to straighten, then transfer to the tray.
- Spread the nettle mixture over the pastry, leaving a 1–2cm clear border at the edge. Crumble over the cheese. Bake for 20–25 minutes until the pastry edges are puffed and golden. Trickle the tart generously with extra virgin olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper, then serve.
Courtesy of: Hugh’s Three Good Things Bloomsbury Publishers
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Ingredients (makes 12):
500g strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting 10g salt
75g caster sugar
10g instant yeast
40g unsalted butter, softened
2 medium eggs, beaten
120ml warm full-fat milk
120ml cool water
80g chopped mixed peel
Finely grated zest of 2 oranges
1 dessert apple, cored and diced
2 tsp ground cinnamon
For the crosses:
75g plain flour
For the glaze:
75g Apricot Jam
- Put the flour into a large mixing bowl. Add the salt and sugar to one side of the bowl and the yeast to the other. Add the butter, eggs, milk and half the water and turn the mixture round with your fingers. Continue to add the water, a little at a time, until you’ve picked up all the flour from the sides of the bowl. You may not need to add all the water, or you may need to add a little more – you want dough that is soft, but not soggy. Use the mixture to clean the inside of the bowl and keep going until the mixture forms a rough dough.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and begin to knead. Keep kneading for 5–10 minutes. Work through the initial wet stage until the dough starts to form a soft, smooth skin.
- When your dough feels smooth and silky, put it into a lightly oiled large bowl. Cover with a tea towel and leave to rise until at least doubled in size – at least 1 hour, but it’s fine to leave it for 2 or even 3 hours.
- Tip the dough onto a lightly floured surface and scatter the sultanas, mixed peel, orange zest, apple and cinnamon on top. Knead in until evenly incorporated. Cover and leave to rise for a further hour.
- Fold the dough inwards repeatedly until all the air is knocked out. Divide into 12 pieces and roll into balls. Place, fairly close together, on 1 or 2 baking trays lined with baking parchment or silicone paper.
- Put each tray inside a clean plastic bag and leave to rest for 1 hour, or until the dough is at least doubled in size and springs back quickly if you prod it lightly with your finger. Meanwhile, heat your oven to 220˚C.
- For the crosses, mix the flour and water to a paste. Using a piping bag fitted with a fine nozzle, pipe crosses on the buns. Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown. Warm the apricot jam with a splash of water, sieve and brush over the tops of the warm buns to glaze. Cool on a wire rack.
Courtesy of: How to Bake – Bloomsbury Publishers
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Blackberry and Pear strudel - Paul Hollywood
Ingredients (serves 6):
120g unsalted butter
Half a tsp natural vanilla extract
3 ripe pears
1 tsp grated orange zest
Juice of lemon
50g flaked almonds toasted
120g caster sugar
5 sheets of filo pastry
120g fresh white breadcrumbs
Icing sugar for dusting
- Heat your oven to 180˚C. Line a baking tray with baking parchment.
- Gently melt 100g of the butter with the vanilla extract
- Peel, core and dice the pears. Melt the remaining butter in a frying pan over a medium heat, add the pears and sauté for 2–3 minutes to soften, then drain. (If your pears are perfectly tender, there is no need to cook them.) Tip the pears into a bowl, leave to cool, then toss with the orange zest, lemon juice, blackberries, sultanas, flaked almonds and sugar.
- Lay a sheet of filo on a clean tea towel on your work surface. Brush with some of the vanilla butter mixture and sprinkle with one-fifth of the breadcrumbs. Repeat these layers until you have used all the filo pastry and crumbs, saving a little butter to finish.
- Place the fruit filling along a short edge of filo, leaving a 5cm clear border. Fold in the long sides and then gently roll up the strudel from the short edge, using the tea towel to help . Place seam side down on the prepared baking tray and brush with butter. Bake for 40 minutes or until golden. Leave to cool slightly, then dust with icing sugar to serve.
This is a really lovely recipe that I use in the autumn when pears, apples, plums and blackberries are in abundance. You can use any combination of these fruits, but blackberries and pears is my favourite. I like to serve the strudel warm, with thick clotted cream or homemade vanilla ice cream.
Courtesy of: How to Bake – Bloomsbury Publishers
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Madeleines - Fergus Henderson
Ingredients (makes about 24):
A Madeleine Tray
135g unsalted butter
2tbsp pure honey
3 large eggs
110g caster sugar
15g soft light brown sugar
135g self raising flour, sifted
- Melt the butter and honey in a saucepan and simmer until golden brown. Leave to cool, Using an electric mixer, whisk the eggs, caster sugar and brown sugar together for 8-10 minutes until the mixture has tripled in volume and leaves a trail on the surface for a few seconds when the whisk is lifted.
- Fold the sifted flour and melted butter through the egg mixture until all is incorporated. Pour into a plastic container and leave to rest in the fridge for 2-3 hours.
- Grease the Madeleine moulds with butter, then dust them with flour, tapping off the excess. Place a dessert spoon of the mixture in each mould and bake in an oven preheated to 190°C /Gas Mark 5 for 12-15 minutes, until firm to the touch and golden brown.
1kg Goats Curd
juice and grated zest of 2 lemons
7 large eggs
250g caster sugar
1 bottle of Marc de Gewurztraminer d’Alsace
- Place the goat’s curd in a large mixing bowl, add the lemon juice and zest and whisk together with a balloon whisk until light and fluffy. The goat’s curd has a tendency to get stuck in the whisk but don’t be tempted to use an electric mixer as it will overwork the curd.
- Whisk together the eggs and sugar just for a minute, then add them little by little to the goat’s curd mixture, whisking constantly.
- Pour the mixture into a 25cm springform cake tin lined with baking parchment and put it on baking tray.
- Place in an oven preheated to 180*C/Gas Mark 4 and bake for about 1 hour, until golden brown. It will still have a good wobble when it comes out of the oven but don’t worry, it will set as it cools down.
- To serve, cut the cheesecakes into slices and pour 1-2 tablespoons of marc over each one.
Ciabatta - David and Holly Jones
Ingredients (6 Ciabatta)
5g (1/6oz) fresh yeast
250ml (8floz) water
270g (10oz) White bread flour
10g (1/3oz) fresh yeast
400g (14oz) strong white bread flour
100g (3oz) fine polenta or spelt flour
1tbsp olive oil
All the biga (from above)
10g (1/3oz salt
450ml (15floz) warm water
- Mix all the biga ingredients together and beat with a wooden spoon for a couple of minutes so that all the lumps have gone. Cover this and leave it to sit at room temperature for 12-24 hours.
- Preheat the oven to 230ºC (450ºF). Keep the door shut to keep the heat in the oven.
- Mix together the yeast, bread flour, polenta, salt and all the biga. Stir in the olive oil and water to make a batter. At this stage the dough should be really wet.
- Work the dough in a bowl by hand by pulling it up and letting it fall back down. You should do this for around 30 minutes or until the gluten is well formed. It should feel elastic and strong whilst still feeling very slack.
- Wet your work surface with a little water. Turn the dough onto the damp work surface. Using a dough scraper or spatula take each of the 4 edges of the dough, stretch out lightly then fold over the top of the dough.
- Prove under a large bowl still on the work surface for two hours folding and stretching every 30 minutes or so. The dough will double or even triple its volume.
- Now flour the workbench, dough and scraper really well and cut the dough carefully into six equal pieces. Keeping all the surfaces well covered with flour, move each piece into a well floured section of table and stretch lightly into an elongated shape.
- Leave to set for 10 minutes.
- Gently place the six pieces of dough onto a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes until they have risen and are golden in colour.
- Take out the ciabattas and leave them to cool on a wire rack
This recipe has been kindly given to us by David and Holly Jones who run a cookery school in South Devon. David lost both of his parents from MND
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Roast Spiced Pumpkin Bread - Alex Gooch
- 500g white spelt
- 300g water (room temp)
- 10g salt
- 5g fresh yeast (3g quick yeast)
For the roast pumpkin:
- 250g pumpkin/squash
- cumin seeds, coriander seeds
- olive/rapeseed oil
- salt and pepper
- Cut up your pumpkin into large chunks, taking the seeds out but leaving the skin on (the skin adds a great texture to the loaf). Speak to your grower or green grocer about what variety they suggest, I tend to use sugar squash. Splash some olive oil onto your pumpkin and then sprinkle it liberally with cumin, coriander, salt and pepper. Roast at 200-220 degrees centigrade for 30/35 minutes or until the pumpkin is coloured and softened and the seeds well toasted. Set aside to cool and then check seasoning, add more salt and pepper if required. Ideally it will be at room temperature when used.
- Combine the ingredients in a bowl, when they have mixed thoroughly and are starting to come together turn the dough out onto a very lightly floured surface. Knead until it is elastic and smooth. Rip up your roast pumpkin and add it to the dough, knead it in until it is combined. You will end up with different sized bits of pumpkin, some mashed and some still in chunks, this is desirable as it gives different textures to the end loaf. Form into a ball and place into a lightly oiled bowl and cover tightly with cling film, but make sure there is enough room so the cling film does not stick to the dough. Leave for 1.5-2 hours.
- Turn the dough out and form into two oblongs and place into two 500g (small) buttered bread tins, or flour thoroughly the outside and place into proving baskets. Cover with a bowl or a plastic bag, you want to try and create a green house effect. Leave for 1-1.5 hours or until well risen.
- Sprinkle polenta or semolina on top of the loaf and bake for 30 minutes at 220 centigrade, this loaf needs at least 30 minutes. If in proving baskets, turn the loaves out onto your peel and slide them on to your baking stone.
- When the loaf is well coloured and firm to touch, turn it out and leave it to cool on a rack for at least two hours.
Pear Tarte Tatin - Allegra McEvedy
Ingredients (serves 6):
- 4–5 firm but ripe pears (depending on the size of the pears and the pan), peeled, cored and halved
- 1 lemon
- 100g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling on the pears
- 1 vanilla pod, split in half, seeds scraped out
- 500g puff pastry
- 30g butter
- vanilla ice cream or crème fraîche, to serve
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/fan 160ºC/Gas 4. In a bowl, roll the pear halves in the zest of half the lemon, all of its juice, a light sprinkling of sugar and the vanilla seeds (keep the pod for later).
- This is a one-pan affair: choose an ovenproof, heavy-bottomed frying pan (a cast-iron skillet is ideal) about 25cm across. Roll the pastry out to 5mm thick (no thicker!) and cut out a circle about 2–3cm wider than the top of the pan.
- Put the pan over a medium–high heat and pour in half the sugar. Wait until it melts and goes clear, then add the other half, not stirring but swirling the pan, and let it all turn a coppery caramel. If you’re feeling brave, turn the heat up high, but be super vigilant. Whatever the heat, don’t wander off as it can all happen quite quickly.
- When you’re happy with the colour of your caramel, turn the heat off and swirl in the butter. Chuck the vanilla pod in there (for flavour and beauty), then lay in the pear halves, cut-side up, with the thicker ends on the outside, like spokes on a wheel.
- Drape the pastry over the pears, tucking it in all around the edge and prick a few small holes in it to let the steam out.
- Bake for 25–30 minutes, until the puff is puffed and golden. Take it out and let sit for a minute before turning. To do this slightly hazardous operation, get yourself a completely flat serving dish and hold it tightly on top of the frying pan. Calmly flip them both over – with hot caramel involved it’s worth taking a degree of care – then lift off the pan. Beauteous.
- Serve hot with vanilla ice cream, or crème fraîche if you’re feeling grown up.
Big Table, Busy Kitchen By Allegra McEvedy is out now by Quercus.
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