Archive | June, 2014

Thank you for my Versatile Blogger Award

23 Jun

Versatile  Blogger Award. 2jpg

I am just completely chuffed to bits with this award so a huge thanks to Nimmiafzal from Adorable Life for the nomination.  So the rules are relatively simple, you need to thank and tag the person who nominated you,  give seven facts about you and then nominate 15 other deserving bloggers.

SEVEN FACTS:

  1. I have lived in four different countries and while I have settled in the UK,  I hope I get the chance to live in a few more yet.
  2. I think about food CONSTANTLY, seriously I spend almost every waking moment thinking about  menus, recipes and what I’m making for dinner.
  3. I would love more than ANYTHING to work in a food related field,  but would hate to be a chef.
  4. I have been really privileged to count as members of my family some of the coolest dogs in the worldCaptain (28)
  5. I hardly ever make the same recipe twice,  I just can’t resist the urge to tweak things much to my better half’s dismay.
  6. I love writing and reading and long hot baths.
  7. I have a love/loath relationship with Tastespotting and Foodgawker.

versatile-blogger-award-5

. . . AND THE AWARD FOR VERSATILE BLOGGER GOES TO:

This was incrediblydifficult,  not only are there so many amazing blogs out there a LARGE percentage of my favourite blogs have already received a Versatile Blogger Award- so if I’ve nominated you for an award you already have I do apologise.

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Coconut, Ginger and Lime Crème Brûlée

22 Jun

CB Square2I love my family and friends and my favourite thing in the world is cooking for the people I love. Sometimes however,  and before I hear any protests, I do appreciate this is through no fault of their own,  they make it a near impossible task.  I mean honestly, what can you make for dessert for a bunch that have among them the following dietary no-nos: lactose, gluten, any form of cheese and no meat whatsoever?  So, no cheese cake, no gelatine based desserts,  no ice-cream, no cakes or pies or tarts or cookies – which pretty much destroyed all the usual tricks I can quickly pull from my hat.

Secret confession time? I love challenges like this – and so to the internet to find solutions. Thanks to Tom Aikens for this amazing little number, which I’ve tweaked ever so slightly. I’ve used Asian flavours because we were having an asian inspired Barbecue,  but this is one of those wonderful desserts where the only flavour limit is your imagination – I think we’re doing a salted caramel one next or maybe one inspired by the Waterside Inn with pistachios.

CB INGTo start take:

  • six egg yolks
  • the zest and juice of one lime
  • a piece of ginger about the size of your thumb (ish)
  • 75gm golden caster sugar
  •  extra golden caster sugar for the brûlée
  • 500ml lacto free cream (if you aren’t lactose intolerant use double cream)
  • 125ml whole lacto free milk (if you aren’t lactose intolerant use whole milk)
  • 2 tsp of coconut flavour

CB Grated Ginger and Lime ZestHeat the oven to 160°C and finely grate the zest off of your lime and grate the ginger.

CB, Cream,  Milk, lime and gingerAdd the milk, the cream and the grated lime zest and ginger to a small sauce pan and slowly heat over a low flame.

CB Eggs, sugar,  coconut and limeJuice the lime and then place the lime juice,  the egg yolks,  (save the whites for marshmallows or meringues) the caster sugar and the coconut flavour into a large bowl (or the bowl of your mixer) and whisk until pale and fluffy.

CB Eggs mixedOnce your egg mixture looks like the one above check on your milk/cream mix – it should be just shy of boiling.

CB Strain CreamStrain the milk and cream mixture to remove the ginger pulp and lime zest – you want the crème to be smooth and creamy to contrast with the crunchy brûlée and if you leave the ginger and lime in,  it will just be gritty. Pour the strained milk/cream mix on to the egg mix and whisk the two together.

CB Unbaked Boil your kettle and fill a large,  flat bottomed, oven proof dish so that the water is about 1.5 cm deap.  Place the egg/cream mixture into your ramkins and place the ramkins into the oven proof dish. Place the dish into the oven and bake for about 45 minutes.

CB BakedThe tops of your custards should still have a slight wobble, BUT they SHOULD NOT be brown *blush*, but if they do brown a little, don’t panic, the brûlée will cover any errors.  Place the custards in the fridge for at least two hours or if you like to prepare ahead, overnight.

CB dust with sugarWhen you’re ready to serve dessert remove from the fridge and lightly dust the tops of your custard with a coating of golden brown sugar and then. . .

CB Blow TorchBURN BABY BURN   Lightly caramelise the sugar with a blow torch.  THIS IS THE MOST FUN EVER!  I may be a little sad.  If you don’t have a cooks’ blow torch run out and buy one now trust me you WILL thank me you can turn on the grill of your oven on to it’s highest setting and pop the dessert under the grill.  Keep an eye on the sugar and remove the moment sugar has melted.  Pop the desserts back in fridge for a few minutes to cool down and to harden the sugar and then dig in.

CB Finishing shot 2

 

 

 

 

Salmon and Avocado Bites

15 Jun

S&A 1 The English summer has hit and the weather has been about as lovely as you could hope for in England with long warm evenings that call for . . . nay DEMAND . . . drinks and nibbles in the back yard. Now that the BH and I finally have a back yard worth speaking of that’s where I want to spend my time.  So the search for yummy nibbles that takes no time a all to prepare (who wants to spend time in the kitchen when you can be enjoying the sunshine) is on all over again, but I think I have a winner with this one.

SnA INGTo start take:

  • a packet of wonton skins (you can pick these up at any oriental grocer)
  • Cooked smoked salmon
  • an avocado
  • one or two spring onions (to taste)
  • Olive oil (and toasted sesame oil optional, again to taste)
  • Yuzu juice
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

I have very recently discovered Yuzu juice   (thank you Waitrose) and I am more than a little in love.  Its tartness cuts right through the richness of both the salmon and the avocado without being too sharp and it adds a really nice oriental touch to the dish.

SnA WontonIn keeping with the oriental (ish) theme of these little yummies,  I decided to put the filling into wonton cups and not pastry cups.  This worked out really nicely as the wonton wrappers did not go soggy even though they were filled about two hours before serving. Heat your oven to 180°C .  Then brush a muffin tray with olive oil and then push the wonton wrappers into the tray to form little cups. Brush the pasty with a little more oil.

SnA WT crispPlace these in the oven and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes.  Keep an eye on these as they burn very easily.  If  you can’t find wonton wrappers or if you’re just feeling that industrious, check out Kitchen Simplicity’s blog on how to make them yourself here.

SnA Spring OnionWhile the wontons are browning,  make your filling.  Finely chop a spring onion, or two if you really like onions, and place in a bowl.

SnA AvoCube your avocado.  I’m going to let you in on a little secret.  If you want to know the best way to open, remove the pit and cube your avo, pay attention.  Take your sharpest knife and cut down until you reach the pit.  Then turn the avo keeping the knife touching the pit until the knife meets up with the original cut.  Put the knife down.  You should have a complete line running around the avo.  Take a side in each hand and twist and pull which should leave you with half avo in each hand.  Then take your knife and with some force,  but not too much, hit the pit.  Give the side of the avo with the pit in it a gentle squeeze and pull out the pit with the knife.  Now with the skin still on and not cutting through the skin, cut the flesh of the avo into cubes.  Then grab a spoon and scope the avo on top of the onion.

SnA FillingFlake the salmon with a fork and add to the avo and onion and then toss with a 50:50 mix of yuzu and olive oil.  You could substitute some of the oil with a little sesame seed oil for an extra flavour kick. Add salt and pepper to taste . To be fair at this point if you just wanted to eat this as a salad, no one would blame you.

SnA ReadyOr,  you could of course, take the filling and and add it to the wonton cups and sprinkle on a few sesame seeds to up the impressiveness of the dish.  I hope you and  your guests enjoy.

oh.four.one.

the port elizabeth blogger

The Banting Cook

Banting recipes – low carb, sugar free and gluten free. Banting recipes I have tried - those that have failed and those that have been a success! I am not a dietician, I'm just a gal who loves to cook banting food, and keep it as good as possible! Obviously all recommendations throughout this and other posts are not intended as an alternative, treatment, or prevention of diseases, medical treatments or advice. The reader takes full responsibility for counting nutritional information such as carbs, while trying any and all recipes :-)

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