August recipes: Rays of sunshine

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We’re serving up two dishes from Sunshine Kitchen: Delicious Creole recipes from the Heart of the Caribbean by Vanessa Bolosier, published by Pavilion Books.

Carnival equals sweet fritters! These treats are traditionally served in the Caribbean every Sunday throughout January and until Ash Wednesday.

Banana & rum fritters

Ingredients:

• Four ripe bananas
• 60g/2¼oz/5 tbsp golden granulated sugar
• Two eggs
• 125g/4½oz/1 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
• 1tsp baking powder
• One vanilla pod, cut in half lengthwise
• Grated zest of one lime
• A pinch grated cinnamon
• A pinch grated nutmeg
• 1tbsp white rum
• 1 litre/1¾ pints/four cups sunflower oil
• 1tbsp icing (confectioners’) sugar

PREP:  2 minutes

COOKING: 5 minutes

MAKES: 20-30

Method:

1. Peel the bananas, put them in a bowl and mash with a fork. Whisk in the sugar and eggs, then the flour and baking powder. Using a small knife, scrape the seeds from the vanilla pod and add to the mixture, then stir in the lime zest, cinnamon, nutmeg and rum.

2. In a deep pan, heat the oil over a medium heat until it reaches 180°C/350°F, or until a cube of bread browns in 30–40 seconds. Make sure the oil doesn’t get too hot and start to smoke. Gently drop tablespoonfuls of the batter into the oil and cook for about 2 minutes on each side, turning occasionally, until dark golden all over.

3. Scoop the fritters out of the oil and drain on paper towels. Sprinkle with icing sugar and serve hot.

♥ Tip
I like to add a tablespoon of unsweetened desiccated (dry) coconut to my banana fritters to add texture.

Creole rice

Ingredients:

• Two eggs
• 2tbsp vegetable oil
• Onion, very finely chopped
• One spring onion, very finely chopped
• Four garlic cloves, very finely chopped
• 1⁄2 tsp Colombo powder
• 1⁄2 tsp tomato purée (paste)
• 500g/1lb 2oz/21⁄2 cups jasmine rice
• A can (about 300g/101⁄2oz) sweetcorn, drained
• 500ml/18fl oz/two cups water
• Two chicken stock cubes
• A bay leaf
• Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Colombo powder:

• 2 tbsp coriander seeds
• 2 tbsp ground turmeric
• 1 tbsp cumin seeds
• 1 tbsp mustard seeds
• 1⁄2 tbsp fenugreek seeds
• 1 clove
• 1 tbsp garlic powder

PREP: 15 minutes

COOKING: 32 minutes

MAKES: 4

Method:

Creole rice (also called riz melangé) is a housewife’s godsend. When she serves this — to which you can add chicken or fish — it means she was either in a rush, or just used whatever was in her cupboard. It’s also a favourite to bring when spending a day on the beach with the family and barbecuing some chicken wings in situ.

Many of the migrants who arrived around 1862 came from southern India and Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), so this is how their spice mix acquired its name. Make your own by putting all the spices in a spice grinder or mortar & pestle and grinding to a fine powder. Sieve it, keep in an airtight container and use within two or three months:

1. Put the eggs in a saucepan of cold water, bring to simmering point and simmer for 7–10 minutes. Drain and rinse in cold water. Set aside.

2. Heat the oil in a large saucepan, add the onion, spring onion, garlic, Colombo powder and tomato purée and cook until the onions start to soften.

3. Add the rice and corn. Stir to coat the rice. Add the water, cubes & bay leaf and stir well. Season. Cover and cook over a low heat for 25 minutes, stirring two or three times so the rice doesn’t stick Cut each egg into six and stir into the rice.

4. Remove the bay and serve hot, for example with chicken fricassée.

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July recipes: Tutti Fruity

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It’s barbecue season! We’ve teamed up with home economics star Jack Monroe & Del Monte to serve this sunny delight

Jack Monroe’s Del Monte® spicy pork belly with prune chutney

Ingredients:

• 1 (425g) can of Del Monte® prunes in juice
• Two fat cloves of garlic
• 1 tbsp light coloured vinegar – cider, red, white or rice are all fine
• 1 tbsp light cooking oil
• 1 tsp Chinese five spice
• 1 tsp fennel seeds
• 1/2 tsp coarse salt or 1/4 tsp table salt
• Plenty of black pepper
• 800g pork belly, sliced
• One large onion
• Two large stalks of celery

PREP: Prep: 6-24 hours

COOKING: Cooking: 40 mins, plus 10 minutes cooling time

MAKES: 4-6

Method:

1. Strain the prunes, putting the juice in a large jar with a lid for the marinade. Set to one side.

2. Peel and crush (or mince) your garlic and add to the juice, with vinegar and a little oil. Mix Chinese five spice, fennel, salt & peppe and add most of this to the jar. Lid tightly and shake to mix and emulsify. Pop pork into the smallest food-safe sealable container that will hold it and pour 3/4 of the marinade carefully all over. Refrigerate for six-24 hours (no more).

3. Make the chutney. Destone the prunes by gently squeezingthem & pop into a medium saucepan. Peel and halve, then very finely slice onion & celery. Add to the pan with the remaining marinade and an extra tbsp of vinegar. Bring to the boil, then reduce to simmer and cook until the veg is very soft. You may need to add a splash of water, so keep an eye to make sure it doesn’t dry out, but it should take around 25 minutes. Remove from the heat and transfer to a clean, heat-proof jar, screw lid on while hot and leave to cool fully before popping in fridge.

4. When it’s time to cook the pork, take from the fridge for 20 minutes. Preheat your oven to 210oC, gas mark 6, with a shelf in the middle of it or just below. Transfer the pork to the small roasting dish and pour over the marinade to just below where the top fat layer starts. Rub the remaining marinade on the exposed fat. Pop the pork in for 10-12 minutes to crisp fat. Turn oven to 140oC, and cook further 90 minutes. Ovens vary, so check.

5. Place a wire cooling rack on top of a roasting tray with sides. Take pork from oven and place pieces on the wire rack to rest for 10 minutes.

6. For the gravy, mix 1tbsp each of oil / butter & flour in a small pan over a low heat. Gradually add the juices, stirring the whole time, and thin with stock or water as desired. Taste and season. Serve hot – it will thicken as it cools.

Jack Monroe’s Del Monte® mandarin, pickled bean, feta & herb salad

Ingredients:
For pickled beans:

• 1 can (400g) borlotti beans
• 1 can (400g) cannellini beans
• 1 small onion
• 6 fat cloves of garlic
• 1 tsp mixed dried herbs or a few sprigs of fresh thyme or rosemary
• 2 bay leaves
• 400ml light coloured vinegar
• 100ml light cooking oil
• 1 tbsp of salt
• Plenty of black pepper

For the salad and Mandarin dressing:

• One can (300g) Del Monte® mandarin segments in Juice
• Light-coloured vinegar
• Light cooking oil of
your choice
• Salt and pepper
• A handful of fresh basil
• A handful of fresh parsley
• 100g mixed salad leaves
• 100g feta or other Greek-style salad cheese

PREP: 30 minutes to prepare the bean pickle, four days to settle, 20 minutes to prepare the salad

MAKES: 2 or 3 as a main dish or 6 to 8 as a side

Method:

The pickled beans will need to be made well ahead; they start to come into their own about four days after bottling, but it is worth the wait!

1. Drain & rinse your beans. Transfer to a large mixing bowl. Peel and very finely slice your onion and garlic, add. Measure in the dried herbs, mix & set it all to one side.

2. In a saucepan, combine vinegar, bay leaves, salt & pepper. Place on a medium hob ring on a high heat. Bring to the boil, then reduce to simmer. Add the bean mix and pour over the oil. Simmer for four or five more minutes. Remove the pan and stir well. Ladle evenly into clean, sterilised jars, filling to the neck to create an airtight seal. Fasten the lids immediately and leave to cool completely before transferring to the fridge. Gently turn the jars a few times at least once a day to redistribute the ingredients, before returning to the fridge.

3. To make the dressing: strain the mandarins through a fine-mesh sieve into a mixing bowl to separate the juice from the fruit. Pour the juice into a jar or bottle with a tight-fitting lid. Add an equal amount each of light-coloured vinegar and oil. Add a few pinches of salt and some pepper, and seal the vessel tightly. Shake well to emulsify and make your dressing and set it to one side.

4. To make the salad: add your salad leaves to a large mixing bowl, along with
most of the chopped parsley and whole basil leaves. Using a slotted spoon,
add a generous amount of the pickled beans, then add your drained mandarins and crumble in your feta. Dress generously with the mandarin dressing, toss briefly to coat everything. Serve with more black pepper to taste and any reserved herbs to garnish.

Jack’s tip 1:

The beans will keep for two months in the fridge unopened, but use within a week of opening.

Tip 2:

The salad dressing will keep in the fridge for up to 10 days, shake it every few days to re-combine it and it will last a bit longer.

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June recipes: Cupcakes & kindness

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Dust off your baking bowls, whip out your whisks and unite against dementia by signing up for Cupcake Day

Chocolate Fudge Cupcakes

Ingredients:

• 125g Dark Chocolate (minimum 56% cocoa solids)
• 125g Unsalted Butter
• 1.5 tsp Instant Coffee
• 90ml Boiling Water
• 120g Plain Flour
• 30g Cocoa Powder
• 1.5 tsp Baking Powder
• 100g Golden Caster Sugar
• 150g Light Brown Sugar
• 2 large eggs
• 95ml Sour Cream
• 1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste

For the icing:

• 360g dark chocolate
• 450g unsalted butter (at room temperature)
• 450g icing sugar

PREP: 20 minutes

COOKING: 25 minutes

MAKES: 4

Dementia is set to be the 21st century’s biggest killer and affect 1,000,000 people by 2025. Each cupcake sold this Cupcake Day, June 17th, will help Alzheimer’s Society reach more people, find out more about how you can help at cupcakeday.org.uk

Method:

1. Set the oven to 160C/150C fan/Gas Mark 3. Set out 12 cupcake cases in cupcake trays.

2. Melt together the chocolate and the butter in a medium pan. Separately, mix the instant coffee with the boiling water and then stir into the chocolate mixture until smooth.

3. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and sugar. Give it a quick mix to combine. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, sour cream and vanilla extract.

4. Mix together the wet ingredients, then fold into the dry ingredients.

5. Fill each case 2/3 of the way up and bake for around 25 minutes or until firm to the touch and a skewer poked in the middle comes out clean.

6. Cool in the tray for 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

For the icing:

1. Melt the chocolate in a small pan and set aside to cool slightly.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter with the icing sugar until pale and creamy (at least 4-5 minutes).

3. Fold the chocolate into the mixture, and use to ice the cooled cupcakes.

Very Berry Vegan Cupcakes

Ingredients:

• 240g self-raising flour (or gluten-free flour)
• 220g caster sugar
• 5 tablespoons rapeseed oil
• 225 ml almond milk
• 190g fresh strawberry purée
• 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
• 50g dairy-free margarine
• 300g icing sugar
• 50g fresh strawberry purée
• Fresh strawberries for decoration
• Multi-coloured sprinkles (optional)

PREP: 20 minutes

COOKING: 15-18 minutes

MAKES: 12

Method:

Preheat the oven to 350F/180C for 15 minutes and line a cupcake tin with 12 large cupcake liners.

1. Sift the flour and sugar into a large mixing bowl.

2. In another bowl, blend the strawberry purée, oil, almond milk and vanilla extract.

3. Pour the strawberry mixture onto the dry ingredients and use an electric whisk to combine until the batter is smooth.

4. Fill 12 cupcake liners two-thirds full with the batter and bake for 15-18 minutes.

5. Set aside and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

6. To make the sumptuous strawberry icing place the margarine in a large mixing bowl and sift in the icing sugar in stages, whisking well to ensure the icing is fluffy and smooth. Add the pureed strawberries to the mixture.

7. Once the cupcakes are cool, spread or pipe the icing onto the cakes and decorate with multi-coloured sprinkles and a fresh strawberry. The fresh strawberries in the decadently fruity icing means it’s best to ice the cakes immediately before serving.

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May recipes: Watercress wonders

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Food & Recipes

Suze Morrison, founder of Gourmet Glow, has teamed up with The Watercress Company to offer some healthy meals

Burrata, strawberry & passionfruit sambal, pineapple & watercress salad

Ingredients:

• Two balls of burrata
• One pineapple
• 200g strawberries, chopped into 0.5cm dice
• 3cm ginger, minced
• Four cloves of garlic, minced
• 4 red chillies, finely chopped
• 80g caster sugar
• Pulp of two passionfruit
• One lime, juiced
• 1 tsp white miso
• 1 tbsp fresh coriander, finely chopped
• 200g watercress

Fruity cashew confetti:

• 50g cashews, roasted for 15 minutes at 160C
• 10g freeze-dried strawberries
• 20g dried pineapple (from pineapple above)

PREP: 30 minutes & four hours drying

SERVES: 4

May heralds the start of the UK watercress season when the lush, peppery, vitamin-filled green leaf is available in abundance on supermarket shelves, freshly harvested from farms in Hampshire and Dorset, where watercress has flourished for over 150 years.

Watercress is a uniquely grown crop with its roots clinging to the gravel base of the beds, while the plants sway in the nutrient-rich spring water that flows past. The water is pure and clean, forced up from deep underground aquifers and filtered through the chalk of the South Downs.

Method:
1. Begin with the pineapple crisps. Set the oven to the lowest it can go and slice half the pineapple as finely as you can (if you have a mandolin, use this)

2. Lay the slices on baking paper and dry for four hours, or until crisp throughout. Set aside to cool.

3. Take 20g of this pineapple and blitz to a ‘confetti’ with the freeze dried strawberries and cashews. Set aside in an airtight container.

4. Chop the remaining pineapple into chunks
and grill in a griddle pan until lightly charred, soft and sweet.

5. For the sambal, combine the strawberries, ginger, garlic, chilies, sugar, passionfruit, miso and coriander in a bowl. Taste, it should be tangy, sweet, spicy and lightly salted. Adjust with more lime, sugar or salt if needed.

6. When ready, divide each burrata in two. Divide the watercress and sambal between four bowls and top with the burrata and grilled pineapple.

7. Sprinkle with the confetti and serve.

Masala fried red mullet with potato & watercress salad

Ingredients:

• Four red mullet fillets (or mackerel, salmon, sardines etc)
• One onion, finely sliced
• 800g baby potatoes, skin on
• 4 tbsp oil
• Pinch of salt
• 2 tsp nigella seeds
• 200g watercress
• 20g basmati rice
• Lemon to serve

Masala spice blend:

• 1 tsp turmeric
• 2tsp chilli powder
• 1 tsp cracked black pepper
• 1 tsp salt

Raita:

• 300g full-fat Greek yoghurt
• ½ cucumber, seeds removed, julienned
• One clove of garlic, minced
• ½ tsp cumin seeds
• ½ tsp nigella seeds
• 1 tsp oil
• Pinch salt

PREP: 60 minutes

COOKING: 35 minutes

SERVES: 4

Method:

Begin with the roasted rice. Add the rice to a dry frying pan, heat to the highest heat & toast, shaking the pan until it turns golden brown and smells nutty. Remove, allow to cool then grind to a coarse crumb in a blender. Set aside in a jar (this keeps for ages and adds great crunch to salads)

2. For the raita, mix the yogurt, cucumber, garlic and salt in a bowl. Heat the oil in a pan and add the cumin and nigella. Fry until beginning to pop then pour the whole lot into the yogurt bowl. Stir in and allow to rest.

3. Add the potatoes to a pan, cover with cold water and cook until just tender. Remove, drain and allow to steam until dry. If you have time transfer to the fridge on a wire rack to dry more.

4. Rub the spice mix over your fish fillets. Set aside.

5. Heat oil in a large frying pan and fry the onion until crisp & golden. Drain on kitchen paper, sprinkle with salt and set aside.

6. Add the potatoes to the hot oniony oil and lightly crush with a fork You want to retain some shape but give crumbly edges to go super crispy. Fry for 2-3 minutes, sprinkle with the salt & nigella and flip. Cook until all the edges are crisp (you may need to fry in batches). Set aside.

7. Heat a splash more oil in the pan and add the fish fillets skin side down. Have the heat on medium high to prevent the edges from curling up. If they do, the heat is too high, and the skin may scorch. Cook for 2 minutes, flip and cook 1 minute more. Remove from the heat and rest.

8. Lay the watercress on a platter and tumble over the potatoes. Spoon over the raita, top with the fish and finally the crispy onions and 2 tbsp roasted rice. Serve with lemon wedges for squeezing.

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Coffee delivery to perk us up!

Liz Nicholls

Food & Recipes

Roots and Rose is a brother and sister duo, want to take the hassle out of finding great-tasting coffee, by doing the hard work for you.

They both know the coffee industry having worked in it for over 13 years. They also understand many people working from home may need that pick me up.

Set up from their homes in Frimley and Woking during the first lockdown, Chris and Catherine Rose. They both know that now, more than ever, it’s important to sit and chat over a great cup of coffee (via Zoom!). Ranging from individual bags to gift boxes, there’s something for everyone.

Their gift boxes, named after the family dogs, consist of The Arnie, The Henry and The Tilly, ranging in size and amount. The Arnie includes three x 127g cafetiere coffee; The Henry offers three x 227g cafetiere coffee and The Tilly, 2 x 227g cafetiere coffee and a cafetiere. Due to the popular demand for beans, they have added the Jack’s Beans to their website with the Surrey Beans soon to be released.

The R&R subscription service is the best of Roots and Rose, direct to your door, every month. Each month you’ll receive a 127g or 227g bag of one of their three coffees (on a three-month cycle), with no minimum commitment.

All the coffee is ethically sourced, hand-roasted, and hand-packed in the UK. R&R roast to order which means it holds its taste and is super fresh.

To find out more and try for yourself, visit rootsandrose.co.uk


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April recipes: Baking power

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We’ve cooked up a sneaky slice of The National Trust Book of Baking by Sybil Kapoor, which is out on 15th April, with these heart-warming spring recipes.

Easy leek tart

Ingredients:

• 225g/8oz puff pastry (see below if making fresh)
• 680g/11⁄2 lb untrimmed leeks
• 1⁄2 tablespoon chopped fresh tarragon
• salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 225g/8oz taleggio cheese

For the puff pastry

• 225g/8oz plain flour pinch of salt
• 225g/8oz cold butter about 120ml/4fl oz cold water

PREP: 15 minutes & 30 minutes rest time

COOKING: 25 minutes

SERVES: 6

Method:

1 On a lightly floured surface, roll out the pastry into a large rectangle about 3mm/1⁄8 in thick. Using a 20 x 30cm/8 x 12in Swiss roll tin as a giant pastry cutter, cut out a rectangle of that size. If you are using homemade puff pastry there will be quite
a lot of leftover pastry, so carefully fold up the trimmings and freeze. Take a sharp knife and lightly run it about 1cm/1⁄2 in inside the pastry edge, so that you score a line to create a rim for the tart. Prick the internal rectangle with a fork. Place on a non-stick baking sheet and chill for 30 minutes. Preheat the oven to fan 200°C/gas 7.

2 Trim the leeks of their roots and darker green leaves. Remove the tough outer leaves then slice lengthways through the green- coloured section of leaves. Wash thoroughly in a sink of cold water. Bring a pan of water to the boil. Add the leeks, return to the boil and cook briskly for 5 minutes or until just tender. Drain and cool under the cold tap. Squeeze out the excess water and pat dry on kitchen paper.

3 Slice the leeks and spread them over the pastry, taking care not to cover the rim. Scatter with the chopped tarragon and lightly season. Remove the rind from the cheese and slice or break into pieces. Dot over the filling.

4 Bake for 20 minutes or until the pastry is crisp and the cheese is bubbling and flecked gold.

Puff Pastry:

The pastry itself doesn’t take long to make, but it needs to be rested regularly in between rollings. The chilling times are the minimum period of time you should leave the dough, but you can leave it several hours if you like.

1 Mix together the flour and salt in a food processor. Cut 30g/1oz of the cold butter into small dice, add to the flour and whiz until it forms fine crumbs. Tip into a bowl and mix in enough cold water to form a rough dough. Lightly knead into a ball, wrap and chill for 30 minutes. Return the remaining butter to the fridge.

2 Fifteen minutes before you are ready to roll, take the remaining 200g/7oz butter out of the fridge and let it soften slightly. Place the butter between two sheets of greaseproof paper or baking parchment and use a rolling pin to flatten it into a 2.5cm/1in thick rectangle.

3 On a floured work surface, roll out the dough into a rectangle that is three times the length of the butter and about 2.5cm/1in wider than the butter. Place the butter in the centre of the dough and then fold over the top and bottom flaps of dough, so that the butter is completely covered. Using the rolling pin, lightly press down on each edge so that the butter is sealed in. Give the dough a half-turn clockwise.

4 Using short sharp strokes, roll out the dough so that it returns to its original length (three times that of the butter) but retains the same thickness. Then fold in the top and bottom ends, press the edges with the rolling pin and give a further half-turn clockwise. If the butter is breaking through the pastry or the pastry is becoming warm, stop, wrap and chill for 30 minutes. If not, you can repeat the rolling process one more time before resting the dough. Make a note of which way the dough is facing before chilling, as you will need to continue with the clockwise half-turns.

5 After 30 minutes’ chilling, replace the pastry on the floured surface in the position that you left off and continue with a further two rolls and half-turns. Chill for another 30 minutes and then make two more rolls and half-turns. Wrap and chill until needed or cut in half and freeze.

Strawberry cream cake

Ingredients:

Whisked sponge

• 85g/3oz caster sugar, plus extra for dusting
• 85g/3oz plain flour, sifted, plus extra for dusting
• pinch of salt
• 3 medium eggs

Strawberry filling

• 310g/11oz strawberries 1 tablespoon kirsch
• 2 tablespoons caster sugar 225ml/8fl oz double cream

PREP: 15 minutes

COOKING: 20 minutes

SERVES: 8

This cake is the picture of summer if you place a freshly opened rose on its sugary top. Perfect for June birthdays. As it is a whisked sponge, and contains no fat, it is best eaten on the day it’s baked. The sponge freezes well and makes a wonderful trifle.

Method:

1 Preheat the oven to fan 170°C/gas 4. Lightly oil two 18cm/7in cake tins. Line the base of each with baking parchment and lightly oil. Dust the sides of each tin with caster sugar and then with flour.
2 Sift the flour and salt together and set aside. Place the eggs and sugar in a large bowl. If you have an electric whisk, beat until the mixture is pale and thick and leaves a trail when you lift the whisk. If you’re whisking by hand, place the bowl over a pan of just-boiled water (off the heat); whisk until it is pale and thick, then remove from the pan and continue to whisk until cool.
3 Tip the flour over the surface of the whisked egg mixture and, using a flat metal spoon, gently fold the flour into the mixture. Divide between the two tins and bake for 20 minutes or until golden. Test by lightly pressing the cake with your fingertip: it will spring back if cooked.
4 Leave the cakes in their tins on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Turn out the cakes and peel off the baking paper. Dust the top of one cake (baked-side up) with caster sugar. Leave until cold.
5 Meanwhile, hull, halve and slice the strawberries. Toss with the kirsch and 2 tablespoons caster sugar.
6 Once the cakes are cold, whip the cream until it forms soft peaks. Fold in the strawberry mixture. Spread over the bottom sponge, leaving a clear edge for the cream to squeeze into when you
add the top. Gently squash on the sugared top and add a further dusting of caster sugar.

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Delicious chocolates for Mother’s Day

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Make mum’s day with these delicious chocolates

It’s Mother’s Day on Sunday so why not show her how much she means by making these sweet treats packed with healthy ingredients and love

DARK CHOCOLATE CHILLI & ORANGE FLOWERS

Sugar free and vegan

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 5 minutes
Chilling time: 3 hours
Servings: 15 chocolates

You will need: Silicone moulds***

Ingredients:

OPTION 1 – COCONUT OIL
Coconut Oil gives a creamier texture and tends to melt more easily in warmer weather if left at room temp. Cheapest option and easy to prepare.

• 100 g coconut oil
• 25 g raw cacao powder
• 1.5 TBSP xylitol – powdered xylitol sugar alternative ground to a powder in a coffee grinder (available as Total Sweet)
• 2 tsp orange zest
• 1 pinch chilli powder

OPTION 2 – 100% DARK CHOCOLATE
100% dark chocolate is becoming more widely available in supermarkets and shops. This recipe is mid-price, of the three options, is easy to prepare and gives a nice, hard consistency for finished chocolates.

• 100 g 100% dark chocolate
• 1.5 TBSP xylitol – powdered xylitol ground to a powder in a coffee grinder
• 2 tsp orange zest
• 1 pinch chilli powder

OPTION 3 – CACAO BUTTER
Cacao Butter is more expensive and harder to source (health shop or buy online) but can be kept in the freezer and melted down as needed. Best bought in button-sized pieces for ease of using the quantity needed. Gives a harder consistency than coconut oil for the chocolates once prepared.

• 100 g cacao butter
• 25 g dark cocoa powder
• 1.5 TBSP xylitol – powdered xylitol ground to a powder in a coffee grinder
• 2 tsp orange zest
• 1 pinch chilli powder

Method:

1. For all options, begin by melting the Coconut Oil / Dark Chocolate / Cacao Butter in a bain-marie (place a bowl over the top of a pan which has two inches of water in it. Heat the water over a medium heat until the ingredients have melted, stirring continuously. Do not allow the bowl to touch the water.

2. Once the coconut oil / dark chocolate / cacao butter has melted, remove the bowl from the pan and turn off the heat. Place the bowl on a heat proof surface and stir in the raw cacao or dark cocoa powder (NB: you do not need to add chocolate to the 100% dark chocolate option).

3. Next, add the powdered xylitol and a pinch of chilli powder and stir until combined.

4. Place the chocolate silicon mould on to a moveable flat surface (a baking tray or chopping board works well).

5. Sprinkle a small amount of orange zest into each mould.

6. Now spoon the chocolate mixture on top until each mould is full.

7. Leave to set in the fridge for a few hours before removing each chocolate from its mould and storing in a suitable airtight container.

8. It is best to eat these within 4 days of making them (not that they will last that long) as the chocolate can start to crystallise after then.

SUPERFOOD TRUFFLES

These little chocolate nuggets are supercharged with chlorella to energise the body. A perfect healthy treat for this Mother’s Day.

Preparation time: 10 minutes
Chilling time: 4 hours
Makes: 16 truffles

Ingredients:

• 115g cashew nut butter or tahini
• 60g maple syrup
• 2tbsp cacao powder
• 60g melted dark chocolate
• 60g dried cranberries or cherries
• Pinch of sea salt
• 1tsp vanilla extract
• 1tsp Sun Chlorella powder
• 30g shelled hemp seeds

Method:

1. Place the cashew nut butter, maple syrup, cacao powder and melted chocolate in a food processor and combine. Add the remaining ingredients and process to form a dough. Chill in the fridge for several hours until firm enough to roll into balls.

2. When the mixture is firm use a spoon to scoop out walnut size balls. Roll into balls and place on a sheet of baking parchment. Roll the truffles in a little shredded coconut or dust with cacao powder.

Every Mum is sure to love these treats for Mother’s Day – and there’s nothing quite like a homemade gift (especially an edible one!)

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March recipes: Spice of life

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Mandira Sarkar of Mandira’s Kitchen serves up a wonderful suggestion for Mother’s Day: spiced biscuits & masala chai to deliver to your mum’s doorstep if you live close enough to her…

Nankathai cookies & masala chai (hearty spiced tea)

Ingredients:

• 100g ghee (clarified butter)
• ½ cup powdered sugar
• 1 cup plain flour
• ½ cup semolina
• ½tsp powdered cardamom
• ½ tsp baking powder
• 1/4 tsp baking soda
• Nuts for garnishing

For the masala chai:
• 1/4 cup milk
• One green cardamom
• ½ tsp grated ginger
• Two crushed peppercorns
• Two cloves
• 1 tsp loose leaf tea

Mother’s Day is on Sunday, 14th March. But, even if you can’t be with your mum, we thought this was a good excuse for tea & biccies.

Mandira, who can’t be with her mum as she is in Calcutta, tells us: “My earliest memories of tea time remain interspersed with the sounds of the Jeep arriving at the porch signalling Dad coming home at the end of his ‘kaamjari’, excited barking of the dogs and my sister and I running across the long verandah to greet him.

“Signalling the close of a working day, the world seemed at peace with itself… the setting sun casting its beautiful glow over the emerald green tea bushes and the blazing bougainvilleas looking as though someone had set off a light within…

“A very heavily laden three-tiered trolley would shortly make its way from the kitchen wheeled in to the verandah where we would all sit for tea… everything was arranged in some sort of predetermined order – the plump tea pot covered with a hand embroidered tea cosy filled with fresh brew straight from the factory and glasses of steaming milk from the cows (all children usually had their personal cows!) sat on the top tier with accompanying plates, starched napkins and cutlery… The second tier had savouries whilst the bottom tier cakes and biscuits. I still find it amazing how we had high tea every single day of the year with at least four things but no two days did the menu look or taste remotely similar. There were seasonal specialities like samosas made with a delicate homegrown potato and cauliflower filling – a sign that winter was nigh… Hot roasted ‘bhutta’ or corn on the cob picked straight from the ‘maalibari’, served with butter and slivers of lime in midsummer.

“These were melt-in-the-mouth nankathais that would put a Parisian bakery to shame and sandwiches with the most exciting of fillings from ‘chutney’ to ‘sausage’… Every different Memsaheb and cook had their own specialities. Given that there was no equipment like electric beaters, piping bags or even a temperature controlled oven, it is astounding the standard and quality of what came out of those huge wood-fired Agas and cool tile-lined kitchen counters…

“Those days are long gone… Most cooks like Monglu, our cook have passed on and the Memsahebs now live very different, albeit social, lives in bustling metros… However I cannot help thinking those tea times live on in their own way in the homes of the numerous ‘chai ka baby and babas’ scattered all over the globe … Through recipes… Embroidered linen, little silver bells… In my house it is my mum’s tattered Duliajaan cookbook handed down to me, those amazing chutney sandwiches, white fluffy nankathais or even the light of the early evening sun on a summer evening falling on my freshly mowed lawn…

Here is Mandira’s recipe for Nankathai cookies & masala chai (hearty spiced tea)

Method:

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Beat the ghee and sugar until light and fluffy. To this add the flour, semolina, baking powder and baking soda, after they’ve been sieved. Mix to form a soft dough. Make small balls (the size of marbles) and put on a greased baking tray – they will spread so make sure there is adequate space in between.

Put a cashew nut or almond as garnish and bake the cookies for 15 minutes making sure they cook but do not brown.

Gently remove from the tray whilst hot and put on a baking rack .
These melt-in-the-mouth crumbly cookies are best served with masala chai.

To make this, boil one cup water with 1/4 cup milk and add the green cardamom, grated ginger, crushed peppercorns and cloves until the flavours are infused – which should take about eight minutes. Add one tsp of loose tea leaves and then strain and serve.

Order a special Indian inspired afternoon tea from mandiraskitchen.com/product/mothers-day-afternoon-tea & use the code AboutMum for free chilli chocolates

Slow-cooked duck with duck gravy

Ingredients:

• 2 large Aylesbury ducks, about 2kg each
• 3 tsp ground mace

For the duck gravy:

• 500g duck bones and wings, chopped A little vegetable oil for cooking
• 4 carrots, peeled and chopped into 3cm pieces
• 4 celery sticks, cut into 3cm pieces 1 onion, peeled and diced into 3cm pieces
• 1 garlic bulb, cut across in half, through the equator
• 150g runny honey
• 4 cloves
• 2 litres chicken stock
• 50ml soy sauce
• About 500g unsalted butter
• Lemon juice, to taste (optional)
• Sea salt and freshly ground pepper

PREP: 20 minutes

COOKING: 90 minutes

SERVES: 4

Some dishes end up defining you, chef and restaurant. This is one of them. I cooked it at the Great British Menu banquet for Prince Charles and the Duchess of Cornwall in 2010. That raised our profile into the stratosphere: everybody suddenly wanted to book a table at The Hand & Flowers and order duck and chips!

Method:

Remove the legs and wings from the ducks and take out the wishbone (reserve for the faggots, gravy etc., see right and overleaf). Remove the excess fat and skin, placing it all in a frying pan. Now carefully cut away the backbone; you should be left with the crown.

Place the pan of fat and skin over a low heat to render the fat out. Set aside for later use.

Score the skin on the duck crowns and rub in the mace. Heat a heavy-based frying pan over a medium-high heat. Add the duck crowns and sear on all sides for 5–10 minutes to render the fat and give the skin a good golden colour. Remove the duck crowns from the pan and allow to cool.

Put each duck crown into a large vacuum-pack bag and vacuum-seal on full pressure. Immerse in a water-bath at 62°C and cook for
1½ hours.

Lift out the vacuum-pack bags and remove the ducks. Carefully cut the breasts from the crowns. Cover and refrigerate until ready to cook.

Duck gravy:

Preheat the oven to 205°C/Fan 185°C/Gas 6–7. Put the chopped duck bones and wings into a roasting tray and roast in the oven for about 25–30 minutes until golden brown and caramelised.

Heat a little oil in a large heavy-based saucepan over a medium-high heat. Add the chopped carrots and colour until darkly caramelised. Add the celery, onion and garlic and similarly colour until well browned.
Remove the duck bones and wings from the roasting tray and add them to the saucepan. Drain off the excess fat from the roasting tray, then add the honey and cloves to the tray. Place over a medium heat and take the honey to a dark golden caramel.

Add a splash of the chicken stock and the soy sauce to deglaze the tray, stirring to scrape up the sediment. Add the liquor to the duck bones and vegetables. Pour in the rest of the chicken stock and reduce down by half, to 1 litre.

Pass the liquor through a muslin-lined sieve into a clean pan and skim off any excess fat from the surface. Add 250g butter to every 500ml duck liquor and reduce down until it has emulsified into the sauce.
Season with salt and pepper and add a little lemon juice if required. Set aside for serving.

See our other recipes

Pancake recipes: From Bonne Maman

Liz Nicholls

Food & Recipes

Today is Pancake Day/Shrove Tuesday. We’ve teamed up with Bonne Maman UK to offer you some great recipe ideas.

Vegan Apricot Crêpes with Toasted Nuts & Seeds

Ingredients:

For the crêpes

• 150g plain flour
• pinch of salt
• 1 tbsp caster sugar, optional
• 250ml oat milk
• 1 tbsp melted sunflower spread or coconut oil, plus extra for the pan
• splash of vegan beer, about 2tbsp

For the filling

• 60-100g mixed nuts and seeds such as hazelnuts, almonds, sesame, sunflower and pumpkin
• pinch ground cinnamon or mixed spice
• 400g tub Greek-style, vanilla, non-dairy yoghurt
• 335g jar Bonne Maman Intense Apricot

METHOD:

1. Spread the nuts and seeds for the filling on a foil-covered baking sheet and sprinkle over the cinnamon. Toast in a hot oven or under the grill until golden brown. This will only take a minute so keep an eye on them. Set aside.

2. To make the crêpes, sift the flour into a large mixing bowl with a good pinch of salt and the sugar, if using. Slowly pour in the milk, whisking gently as you go, then whisk in the melted spread or oil. Set the batter aside for about half an hour if time allows, then finally whisk in the beer.

3. Heat an 18-20cm crêpe pan and wipe over the base lightly with butter or oil. Stir the batter – it should be the thickness of single cream – and pour a small ladle of batter into the pan. Working quickly, tilt the pan so that the batter runs all over the surface then hold the pan over the bowl of batter and let the excess tip out. Trim the lip of cooked batter away from the edge and return the pan to the heat. The base should be covered in batter but not quite thin enough to see through.

4. Let the crêpe cook for a minute or so until the underside is golden and comes easily away from the pan. Lift one edge up with a palette knife and carefully flip it over. Cook for a further 1-2 minutes. The flip side will only cook in spotted brown patches, not as evenly as the first side. Tip the crêpe carefully on to a plate. Wipe the pan with a little more oil and continue until you have used up all the batter. Keep the crêpes warm, covered with foil in a low oven.

5. When ready to serve, spread the warm crêpes generously with the vanilla yoghurt, add large spoonsful of Intense Apricot and finally sprinkle with the toasted nuts and seeds. Enjoy!

Lemon Curd & Raspberry Crêpes

Ingredients:

Crêpes

• 6 Large French Crêpes

For the filling

• 12 tbsp Bonne Maman Lemon Curd
• 300g fresh raspberries
• Icing sugar to dust
• 6 tbsp crème fraiche or vanilla ice-cream
• zest of 1 lemon
• 25g toasted shredded almonds
• a few sprigs of fresh lemon thyme

METHOD:

1. If the crêpes are not freshly made, wrap in foil and warm in a low oven for 10 minutes.

2. Spread each warm crêpe generously with about 2 tbsp lemon curd.

3. Add a small handful of raspberries into the centre and a spoonful of crème fraiche. Fold the crepe in half.

4. Dust lightly with icing sugar and top with lemon shreds, almonds and lemon thyme. Add a few more berries and enjoy straight away

TIP:

If fresh raspberries are out of season use thawed frozen berries.

Add a splash of Crème de Framboise or Crème de Cassis to the berries before using.

For extra flavour and crunch, stir a tablespoon of toasted almonds into the crepe batter before cooking.

Find more Bonne Maman recipes here bonnemaman.co.uk and see our other recipes here

Love local with fresh food boxes

Liz Nicholls

Food & Recipes

Love local! Fresh food delivery boxes so you can make restaurant-quality meals

Our hospitality industry has, of course, been brutally battered over the last 12 months. This is part of the reason we’re celebrating our food & drink heroes in our R&A Good Cheer Awards.

Crop To Kitchen is one of the many valiant businesses which has had to evolve to survive – and keep us well fed. Ordinarily, the team supply restaurants in London and the home counties – including Michelin-starred eateries and five-star hotels – from its Maidenhead base. These include iconic settings such as Cliveden House, the Hind’s Head and The Groucho Club.

MD Peter Codling says: “Like many, we have had to think on our feet. What was also important was that we helped the local farms and growers whose top produce was no longer needed by the trade. We wanted to avoid food waste and serve the community so they can enjoy great food at home.”

Their home delivery boxes, containing the finest ingredients, have won rave reviews. Customers can build their own order or choose a pre-selected box. As well as the best fruit, vegetables, meat and eggs, the Crop To Kitchen team also rose to the challenge in the first lockdown, sourcing items in short supply including fresh pasta. Foodies should also keep an eye on the website for new lines of produce, normally only supplied to the best restaurants, so that you can replicate the same level of excellence in your own meals.

The social media feed is filled with delicious recipe ideas. They offer free next-day delivery within a 10-mile radius, including Cookham, Bourne End, Burnham, Ascot, Slough, Windsor, Bray, Cookham Dean, Taplow, Bisham, Marlow, Henley and all the villages in between.

All orders are delivered in reusable and fully sanitised crates and plastic packaging is avoided when sourcing and delivering to fit the green ethos. The drivers pride themselves on meticulous presentation and comply with social distancing guidelines, using full PPE.

Crop To Kitchen also dreams big, with plans on the horizon including offering specific areas of land or poly tunnels for restaurants, once back on their feet, to grow their own bespoke produce. Peter is also going to rustle up some live-streaming nights featuring chef cook-alongs.

Get your box for Valentine’s Day – or to find out more, visit croptokitchen.co.uk.

We’ve teamed up to offer a box bundle to one lucky winner – watch this space for the competition which will go live at the start of March!

For some of our own recipe ideas, click here