recipes from a feeder / photographic food diary / reviews / pie

Saturday, 16 April 2011

Tea and Cake

Rosie's 22nd Birthday was celebrated with multilayer mini Victoria sponges and a Grey Goose ice tea cocktail.

Monday, 4 April 2011


As soon as I saw this recipe by Dan Lepard on The Guardian website I couldn't wait to make it. The pecan shortcrust pastry really makes this recipe.

125g plain flour, plus a little extra for rolling
25g icing sugar
2 tsp cocoa
75g unsalted butter, softened
50g finely ground pecans
1 egg yolk

For the filling

300ml double cream
25g malt extract, corn or golden syrup
50g soft dark brown sugar
350g dark chocolate, chopped
75g unsalted butter, chopped
50ml bourbon whiskey
Put the flour, icing sugar and cocoa in a bowl. Cut up the butter, add to the bowl and rub in with your fingertips until any lumps vanish. Stir in the pecans. Mix the egg yolk with a teaspoon of ice-cold water and mix in until you have a very soft dough: don't worry, it will firm when it chills. Scrape the mixture on to a sheet of clingfilm, wrap well and pat into a flat slab. Chill in the freezer until firm.
When you're ready to roll, let the dough soften for five to 10 minutes at room temperature until pliable, then roll it out thinly on a floured surface and with a floured rolling pin. Line an 18cm round, deep tart tin, then place the tart case in the freezer to firm.
Press a sheet of nonstick paper weighed down with baking beans against the base and side, bake at 170C (150C fan-assisted)/335F/gas mark 3 for 20 minutes, then remove the paper and bake for 10 minutes more.
For the filling, heat the cream until boiling, remove from the heat and stir in the syrup and sugar until dissolved. Add the chocolate and butter, stir until both have melted, then stir in the whiskey. Leave to cool until barely lukewarm (about 42C), then beat the mixture slightly until it emulsifies. Pour into the pastry case and chill until set.

Carrot + Orange

Helping my Pa move into his new house I thought I would take advantage of his new and never been used before kitchen and cook up a couple of treats for him to enjoy in his new home. My Pa doesn't have much of a sweet tooth, but enjoys a good carrot cake. Never having made carrot cake before, I came across this recipe on the Channel 4 Food website I thought sounded perfect.

Carrot Cake With Pecans And Orange Butter Cream

What You Need
  • 175ml sunflower oil, plus more for greasing
  • 60g pecan nuts, chopped
  • 200g self-raising flour
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp nutmeg, freshly grated
  • 175g light muscovado sugar
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 250g carrot, finely grated
  • Zest of 1 orange, finely grated
  • 50g unsweetened desiccated coconut

For the buttercream

  • 40g pecan nuts, chopped
  • 80g unsalted butter
  • 60g icing sugar, sifted
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 150g unsalted cream cheese
  • Juice of 1 orange
  1. Preheat the oven to 160ÂșC/gas mark 3. Oil a 23cm diameter, 7.5cm deep, round tin and line the base with non-stick baking parchment.
  2. Scatter the pecans - both for cake and buttercream - on to a baking sheet and roast in the oven for about 5–10 minutes, shaking once and watching carefully so they don’t burn, then measure out, separate and set aside the amounts needed for the cake and buttercream.
  3. Sieve together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg into a large bowl. In an electric mixer - or in another large mixing bowl with a handheld electric whisk – slowly beat together the oil and sugar for a minute or so until smooth, then gradually add the eggs, beating well after each addition. Using a large spoon, gently fold in the carrot, zest, pecan nuts and coconut then, finally, the flour mixture.
  4. Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack to become completely cold.
  5. Meanwhile, make the buttercream. Beat the butter, icing sugar and maple syrup until really light and fluffy (this could take 5 minutes). In another bowl beat the cream cheese until smooth, then fold it into the butter mixture. Finally, add the orange juice. Spread over the top of the cake and scatter with the pecan nuts.

Next up I made a batch of my Morrocan Chicken. I first made this recipe to get rid of a bag of dried apricots in the cupboard. It's an easy one pot dish that can keep for a couple of days.

1 x pack of chicken legs and thighs
1 x tin of chopped tomatoes
75g semi dried apricots

1 x tin chickpeas
1 x red onion
Moroccan spice paste
Flaked almonds

(This time I added carrots left over from the carrot cake)


1 tablespoon cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds
1 tablespoon paprika
3 whole cloves
1 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
glug of olive oil

Firstly, score the chicken and rub the paste in well. Cover and marinade in the fridge for as long as you have, even overnight

Dice the onion and cook slowly in the pan so they caramelize slightly and add the chicken on a high heat to brown.

Add the chopped tomatoes, apricots, chickpeas and cover. Simmer on a low heat for about an hour.

Serve with sweet potatoes or cous cous and sprinkle on some flaked almonds.

Thank Goodness For Guinness

This was a day of Guinness based recipes.

I have always been intrigued by the idea of chocolate Guinness cake a go, and when we decided to bake our wonderful pal Jan a cake for his 21st birthday this cake seemed appropriate as the recipe on Gizzi Erskine's website describes it as one for the boys.

What you need

250ml Guinness (just over half a can!)
250g unsalted butter, cubed
100g good quality plain chocolate (at least 70%)
35g cocoa
400g caster sugar
1 x 142ml pot plain yoghurt
2 free range eggs
1 tablespoon real vanilla extract
275g plain flour
2 ½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda

for the topping

300g full fat cream cheese
150g icing sugar
125ml double or whipping cream

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  2. Butter and line a 23cm springform tin.
  3. Pour the Guinness into a large wide saucepan, and heat until the butter has melted, at which time you should stir in the chocolate, cocoa and sugar.
  4. Beat the yoghurt with the eggs and vanilla and then pour into the chocolatey, beery pan and finally whisk in the flour and bicarbonate of soda.
  5. Pour the cake batter into the greased and lined tin and bake for 45 minutes to an hour. Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack, as it is quite a damp cake. (I left our one overnight to cool.)
  6. To make the topping whip the cream cheese until smooth, sieve over the icing sugar and then beat them both together. Separately whip the cream until it just begins to thicken but still holds it shape. Pour the cream to the cream cheese mix and beat again until combined and reaches a spreadable consistency.

I was so pleased with how this cake turned out, moist, sticky and rich. What I like most is that it's not overly chocolaty, and the Guinness tang is not over powering either, making it a nice alternative to your average chocolate cake.

And that's not where the Guinness fun stops!

Next up, I was deciding on a food based gift for my Ma for Mother's Day. Without too much thought I decided to look up an old Anthony Worrall Thompson recipe for Steak and Guinness Pie (with black pudding).

This recipe is meant to serve 4-6, but I would say it serves 4 but only if your rocking a good side side aswell.

What you need

1.5kg (3lbs ½oz) chuck steak, cut in pieces
40g (1½oz) seasoned flour
55g (2oz) dripping or lard
1 tbsp black peppercorns
2 tsps sea salt
3 tsps dried oregano
1 tsp soft thyme leaves
7 garlic cloves, peeled
125 (4oz) soft dark muscovado sugar
1 tbsp of good olive oil
25g (1oz) unsalted butter
2 onions, peeled and chopped
6 sage leaves, finely chopped
18 stoned prunes
1x440ml can of Guinness
1 block of shop-bought puff pastry
2 egg yolks for glazing

  1. Brown the meat all over in hot dripping and set aside to cool.
  2. In a food processor, blend together the peppercorns, salt, oregano, thyme, garlic and sugar until you have a fine paste. If it appears too dry, add a little water.
  3. Coat the beef all over with the paste, cover and refrigerate overnight, turning the meat from time to time.
  4. Preheat the oven to 150°C/300°F/ gas 2. In a heavy casserole dish, heat the butter and oil until foaming, add the onions and fry them until they take on a little colour. Sprinkle with the flour and stir to combine.
  5. Add the beef and any marinade in the dish.
  6. Add the sage, prunes and Guinness, stir to combine and bring to the boil, cover and put in the oven for 2½-3 hours.
  7. Remove from the oven.
  8. Place the mixture in a pie dish then cover with puff pastry, glaze with the egg and decorate. Bake in a 180°C/ 350°F/gas 4 oven for 40-50 minutes, until the pastry is cooked and the filling is hot.

I skipped the last part of the recipe and gave the pie to my Ma ready to glaze with an egg and pop in the oven and eat at home.

I served this with a Stilton champ firstly because I thought the sharp creamy flavour of the Stilton would complement the sticky sweet muscavado and prune based gravy in the pie, and secondly I added spring onions to the mash to keep to the Irish theme.