26 December 2011

José Pizarro: apple pie

I received his wonderful cookbook last year for Christmas.
And, as can happen, haven't indulged in its pages for some time.

But I found myself drawn to his, or rather, his friend Rafael's recipe, in need of something to follow our suckling pork & patatas bravas festive dinner.
My kitchen still smells of Spanish custard this morning.

It's an absolutely delightful pudding.  And lovely to make too.

the recipe

my tweaks

  • the sugar content.  I used a third the sugar at each mention, and also included 1-2 tablespoons honey
  • the vanilla.  I used a slug of my home made vanilla extract (thank you Celia and Joanna)

23 September 2011

patatas bravas and Gordon Rambo's pork recipe

Despite my living in Málaga in my twenties, I tried patatas bravas for the first time this August, whilst holidaying in Catalunya.  
I've never really noticed the dish before on menus or on diners' plates at restaurants, but they are simply divine.
Well I've returned home, wanting to be able to recreate them.

I've also returned home, wanting to create delicious pork recipes.
And Gordon Ramsay's pressed pork belly method comes highly recommended by my dear friends Lucinda and Elisa.

I've started a thread on the BBC foodmessageboard, and received a few version to try, one even comes from Venezuela.
Since the video jug offering for patatas bravas had the appearance of my dish in Spain, I've made this recipe first of all.

Debate as to whether to include mayonnaise or not.
Mayonnaise with the patatas brava sauce is delicious, so I would mix some in, or serve it on the side, as we did last night.

ingredients for the sauce 

maris piper potatoes, blanched and fried or baked
2 small shallots
3 cloves garlic
1 - 2 red chillies
large glass white wine
sugar to taste
1/2 teasp cumin powder
1 heaped teasp Spanish smoked paprika
3 large beef tomatoes, roasted
2 tablsp home-made mayonnaise
salt and pepper

gently fry the onion, garlic and chillies
add the spices and sauté for a minute or two
add the white wine, then the roasted tomatoes and simmer gently till reduced by half
blitz in a food processor
& sieve for a smooth sauce

add a little mayonnaise if you wish.  I added 2 teaspoons.

fry or roast your potatoes

and finish preparing your pork dish according to the recipe

serve with the pork, and runner beans.

18 September 2011

soya sourdough naan breads (4) & an Indian style meal

We've not had an Indian meal for ages.  Hard to come by in Spain, but easy to do at home.

So yesterday, I pottered effortlessly in the kitchen making:

a spicy chicken and tomato based curry
a yellow moong dal
onion relish &
a mustard seed & cavolo nero vegetable side dish

Plus soya naans.

I've always got soyas in.  
Cream, milks, which I sub regularly for dairy products in cooking, and haven't had a mishap yet.

soya naan ingredients (4)

400g strong white flour
120g fresh leaven

(250g) 125g water + 125g soya milk + 

Provomel plain soya yoghurt 
a little oil
melted ghee for the baking

mix the leaven with the water compound and rest for 5 mins
add the remaining ingredients and bring together to a dough  
Rest for 15mins
Knead briefly, and rest your dough for 6 - 8 hours till well risen

Shape into 4 equal sized rounds, and press & roll out to your naan shape

Fire up a cast iron pan, plus lid
brush your naan shapes with the ghee, and fry for 2 or 3 mins either side, lid on, until they are puffed up to twice the size, and slightly charred in parts

Serve with your Indian meal, 
and freeze any remaining naans for another day.

1 August 2011

Make your own pottery salad bowl

Since getting my bargain wooden salad bowl from TKMaxx, my husband has hated every salad in it.
 So rather than buy a new one, I thought I'd make my own.


I booked into my first ever pottery lesson with local ceramicist & potter Viv Ayres, with my salad bowl design in mind, and set about crafting one. 
Her pottery studio was built at the end of her garden at home.

And as her garden is filled with apple trees, I also came home with a sack of cooking apples from the day.

I wanted a 1950's kitchen feel to my salad bowl, and thought mustard yellow, lime green and orange-red would work.
With hand painted wobbly lines.

The other ladies at the studio suggested using masking tape to get my lines perfect.  But I wanted it to look more rustic and home fashioned.

roll out your clay and smooth into bowl mould

create the footing & attach to base

paint your design

give it one firing

coat in the glaze & fire a second time

a dishwasher proof hand made salad bowl


And my first 2 pots, on the wheel.  The centrifugal force is a powerful thing to master, but I made it.

my first pot

my 2nd pot

I can recommend local pottery lessons to anyone.
And if you are in Cheltenham, these classes can be found at:

Viv Ayres
49 Haywards Road
Cheltenham GL52 6RQ


tel: 01242 570846

28 July 2011

How to ... give up coffee

If, like me, you know you drink too much coffee, why not give it a rest for a while and see how it floats.

I drink 4 - 5 mugs in the morning.  And feel the need to check how my blood pressure will react should I cut it out.

If you think nothing of warming up a nice bottle of sake in the morning, or lighting up a succession of cigarettes the moment daylight pricks your eyes, then the first method is called:

1. the Dr Stop!
That's it then.  No more coffee.  Ever.

2. the Half 'n half
Mix half your usual blend of coffee, with decaf for a while, to ease yourself gently into it.

3. the Switch to decaf

4. the Half arsed - I can't be arsed, approach
Resign yourself to giving up tomorrow/ next Monday/ some other time.

Me?  I'm going for the Dr Stop! today.

Say hello wave goodbye, to my last cup of coffee (black, no sugar).

17 July 2011

richard bertinet prawn on sourdough

I haven't got his book, nor have I been to his cookery school, and have only seen Richard Bertinet on the BBC.
However, I would like to perfect (his) Richard Bertinet's dough mixing technique

I've tried it a couple of times, half heartedly, and have succeeded in working the dough clumsily well.
If you are having trouble keeping your dough firm and shapely, this way of bringing the bread ingredients together will solve that for you.

So yesterday, I worked the sourdough in the RB fashion once again.  Not for too long, I slapped and pulled for about 2 minutes, while he recommends about 10mins, until the dough tightened up just enough for me.

Left to rise for 2 hours, I shaped the dough form into 2 tin loaves.

Rested for a further 2hrs 30.  Then baked at 220 for 40 minutes. 

One thing that I do like is, the easily identifiable traces of your work in the crumb.
You can clearly see the bakers' turn I've used.

 The "Zeb Bakes" slice, a photograph for display purposes only

And garnished with prawns, lemon, mayonnaise and dill.


150g rye flour & 450g white strong flour
350g water
sea salt

Further information on Richard Bertinet can be found at his website: http://www.thebertinetkitchen.com/

1 May 2011

crusty sunshine sourdough cobs

Sliced hot from the oven, deliciously light tangy bread rolls for outdoor eating

They have a super springy soft crumb,
with a cracking crust

overnight ferment ingredients

120g sourdough starter 
100g wholemeal strong flour
100g water

mix and rest, covered, in the fridge overnight

the following morning, to your ferment



crusty sunshine sourdough cob ingredients 
320g water + 1 tblsp evoo
550g strong white flour
7g fine salt

mix together and rest the wet dough for 15mins
mix again, and rest for 15mins
mix one more time and rest for 2hrs30

shape into 10 equal balls, place on baking parchment onto a baking sheet
and bake at 200 deg for 30mins, turn the oven down to 180 for a further 15mins

and cool

11 April 2011

Bye bye Stella Cox & Pam Cox

This month, two lovely ladies have passed away within days of each other, my mother-in-law, Stella, and my sister-in-law, Pam
both after particularly difficult illnesses.

I'm sorry for not posting blog entries recently.

But will be up and running at speed again in a week or so.

(comments are closed for this post)

9 March 2011

Take one sunny day, invite a friend and make dosa

Joanna at Zeb Bakes & I have been meaning to get together in Cheltenham for a time.
And now we have a food challenge too, that doesn't involve sourdough.

Global Worming on the BBC messageboards had talked about dosa, so
"that'll do", I thought.

No hard recipe, 
just Manjula's technique on video for us to watch at table, before we share my kitchen   ....

the batter 
1 handful rice, cooked for 5 mins
2 handfuls moong dal

cover with water and leave to ferment for 24hrs
blend for several minutes to a smooth paste

add 1/4 teasp dry fried, blended fenugreek seeds

the stuffing 
cooked maris piper potatoes
peas, a little turmeric, pinch of cumin, black mustard seeds, & fresh coriander

making the dosa 

warm your flat pan to medium hot
rub with a little oil & scoop a half cup of thick dosa batter into the centre
circle the mix outwards with the back of a spoon

wait until the sides brown and the pancake breaks small bubbles
wipe the surface lightly with oil, and flip the pancake carefully
(Joanna was particularly good at this part)

rotate the dosa in quarter turns in the pan using the back of a spatula

line the centre with your potato filling

fold to a cigar shape, seam side down, and crisp

serve with your chosen side dishes 

A recipe to suit most people, inclusive of eating preferences, & intolerances.

28 January 2011

Not too late for the World Marmalade Festival 2011 - nr Penrith

Seville orange time means marmalades at the beautiful home and gardens at Dalemain for the World Marmalade Festival on Sat 12th & Sun 13th Feb

You have until 6th Feb to participate & get your golden jars into the post.
If you need a recipe, Dan Lepard has posted an excellent one on the Beeb:

Mine's made at last, 2 types this year, going into the Merry section 8, and the Inventive section 11.

I had trouble with the Italiano Galliano, when added to the hot marmalade it was like Ricard, it lost it's translucency.
So I made my own.
Marmalade water infused with liquorice root and star anise.  
plus home-made vanilla extract added after the setting point is reached. 

& I had more trouble with the duck à l'orange.  
The roasted duck stock was murky.
I tried the consommé tip to clarify it using an egg white, but it was Heston who came to the rescue, by freezing the stock and defrosting it untouched through a muslin.

Jars painted & labels made with my Pogo portable printer

& I made a painting yesterday afternoon of the Seville orange.

See you at Dalemain on Sunday if you are going.  
Good luck.