Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Coconut and Blueberry Cake

Spotting a tasty sounding cake recipe that made use of coconut flour and was also dairy free, we took a look and decided it was something we had to try.

The ingredients we used were -

4 medium eggs
125g caster sugar
100g Lucy Bee Coconut oil, melted
50g coconut flour, sifted
1 tsp gluten free baking powder (we used Dr Oetker)
50g desiccated coconut
150g blueberries

Quite a simple to make cake.  The eggs and sugar were whisked together using the electric hand mixer until they'd doubled in volume.  

The melted coconut oil was then slowly drizzled into the egg/sugar mix to combine.

Next, the dry ingredients were folded through to incorporate fully.

Finally the blueberries were added and stirred into the cake mix.

Pouring the cake mix into a lined, round 7" cake tin, the cake was then baked in a 160º fan oven for 30 minutes... after this time the oven temperature was reduced to 150º and the timer set for 20 minutes.  We checked the cake when the timer went off and saw that a knife blade came out clean so removed the cake from the oven.

Placing the cake on a wire rack to cool in its tin for 10 minutes, we allowed it to cool a little before turning it out of the tin and leaving
it to cool fully.

Dusting the top of the cake with icing sugar, we sliced it and served with fresh strawberries and cream (obviously leave out the cream if your aim is a
dairy free cake/dessert).

It was a lovely moist cake and, surprisingly, the texture was airy and light.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Simple Bolognaise Sauce

Sous Chef J is keen on foods that "don't take much eating"... by which he means he doesn't have to wield a knife and fork to cut up.  So dishes using mince, slow cooking and pasta are always requested.  This is our take on a pasta sauce - served with spaghetti or other pasta and oodles of cheese. 

Ingredients we used were -

400g mince beef
400g tin chopped tomatoes
2-3 white onions, chopped
2-3 carrots, chopped finely
200ml rich beef stock (we used a Knorr stock pot)
1 Tablespoon tomato puree
oil (we used the remainder of the oil from a jar of preserved red peppers - thrifty as ever!)
freshly ground black pepper
grated cheese, to serve (we used mature cheddar today but parmesan or other works well too)

Having chopped the onions, they were cooked in some oil in our wok on a medium heat until they started to turn translucent.  Then the beef was added and cooked for a few minutes until it began to brown.  Next the tomato puree was added, stirred through and the wok lid was placed on and left to cook for about 10 minutes on a low heat.

At this point the carrots, which we'd chopped whilst cooking the mince mix, chopped tomatoes and stock were added to the wok.  The heat was turned up slightly and the sauce was left to cook down for about 25-30 minutes.... the lid left slightly ajar to allow some reduction (boiling off) of the sauce to happen. 

The sauce is served with pasta (today we used Salute spaghetti) and a salad.... and gone in a flash.  The spaghetti was cooked, drained and returned to a buttery pan, then the sauce was mixed through before serving.

We reserved half of the prepared amount, allowed it to cool, bagged and labelled it and froze to use later when time/inclination is lacking and a speedy supper is required.
This could be cooked in a slow cooker but it's supposed to be summer so we did it on the hob!

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Asparagus and Pancetta pastryless Tarts

This recipe was developed to make use of some of the delicious, seasonal products on sale at The Shop in The Shed.  Grown on the farm, asparagus is being picked right now (May) and, paired with bantam eggs and pancetta, makes a lovely addition to our bake - a pastryless tart.

We used -

200g natural yogurt (we used full fat)
125g shallots, sliced
6 bantam eggs
100g pancetta slices
8 spears of asparagus, washed
20g cheddar cheese, finely grated
1 Tablespoon oil
Freshly ground black pepper

These ingredients made 4 larger tarts (made in Yorkshire pudding tins) and 4 smaller, deeper tarts (made in muffin tins).

Preparing the shallots, they were peeled and thinly slicedand then fried in a tablespoon of oil (we used sunflower) over a low heat for about 15 minutes until they started to caramelise.  At this point, they were placed to one side to cool slightly until needed.

Taking the baking tins, they were lightly greased used an old butter wrapper before being lined with slices of the pancetta.

The pancetta we used was smoked and air dried.  Cutting slices to size, the tins were carefully covered (without too much overlap) to form an outer case when cooked.

Next the asparagus was washed and the lower portion (which can
be woody) was snapped off... to do this we held the towards the top and at the bottom then bent each one until the spear snapped.  You can chop the ends off if you prefer.

The spears were then cut so that they were the right length to fit diagonally across the tart, the remaining stems were chopped into small pieces.  The woody ends were not used in this recipe but can be used in soup or to make a 'pesto'.

To prepare the filling, we mixed yogurt with the bantam eggs, freshly ground black pepper and whisked to combine.
Using a dessert spoon, a small amount of the filling mix was added on top of the pancetta lining, before a little of the caramelised onion was also added.

This was then topped with some more of the filling before having the chopped asparagus stalks added, sprinkling a small amount of the grated cheese on top (being careful not to get it on the baking trays) and....

... finally the reserved asparagus spear was added to each tart.

The tarts were then placed in a 170ºC oven for about 20 minutes when they were checked to see if they were browning (at this point ours had risen souffle-like but, luckily, hadn't overflowed).  We left them in the oven for a further 5 minutes.

Having taken the tarts out of the oven, we allowed them to cool for about 15 minutes and then carefully removed them from the tins.
We served our tarts warm with green salad and chilli potatoes....

... or they'd be great on a picnic or as a lunch box item... no soggy bottoms to deal with!

Disclosure - we were given the asparagus, pancetta, eggs and cheese by The Shop in the Shed to develop a recipe.  This is the result and all other ingredients were our own.