Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Rhubarb and Custard Traybake

Flicking through the Waitrose Spring Harvest 2015 booklet, Sous Chef J spotted a few recipes he "liked the look of" and, having read the ingredients, we decided we could make the bakes, with a few 'tweaks', gluten free.  This Rhubarb and Custard Traybake recipe tweak required us to use Dove's Farm Gluten Free self raising flour instead of the gluten containing 'stuff'.

400g rhubarb, trimmed and cut into 2cm lengths
225g caster sugar
250g slightly salted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
3 medium eggs
175g self-raising flour (we used Dove's Farm gluten free)
50g custard powder (we used Bird's)
100g ground almonds
500g tub Waitrose Seriously Creamy Madagascan Vanilla Custard
12 sugar cubes, crushed (we used Pearlsugar)

Preheating the oven to 220C, we prepared the rhubarb by placing it on a non-stick baking sheet, sprinkling with 25g of the caster sugar and baking for about 15 minutes until it began to soften. 

Reducing the oven temperature to 170C (fan) we then began making the base of the traybake.

The remaining 200g of the caster sugar, softened butter, eggs, flour, ground almonds, custard powder, ground almonds and 100g of the custard were mixed together (we used an electric hand mixer).  This produced quite a firm mix and we brought it together, scraping around the bowl, using a silicone spatula.

Having prepared a shallow, non-stick 23cmx33cm baking tray by greasing it (we used the wrapper from the butter) and lining with baking parchment, we were ready to add the 'base' of the traybake.

Spreading the base mix out as evenly as possible, a dessertspoon was used to press into the mix and make 'wells'...

... which were then filled with the remaining ready-made custard.

Spreading the cooked (and cooled) rhubarb over the base, the traybake was ready to be baked.

We checked the traybake after 30 minutes at 170C and left it in the oven for a further 15 minutes - until the sponge was firm and the custard still had a bit of a wobble.

Taking the traybake out of the oven, it was placed on a wire rack and left to cool in its tin.... we sprinkled over a tablespoonful of pearlsugar (Scandinavian sugar).

The cooling traybake looked impressively like the one in the recipe we were following.

Once the traybake was fully cooled, we cut it into 15 pieces and were pleased that it stayed together nicely.  The sponge base was lovely and soft but kept its shape.  Finding the pockets of custard, now firm and unctuous, with the tart rhubarb topping gave each portion a lovely range of tastes and textures.

NOTE - we made this bake again this weekend but used two smaller trays... it was a huge success.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Black Garlic and Chilli Butter

We like to get Sous Chef J to try new foods, so when we were sent a bulb of Black Garlic by Sainsbury's we started to think about how to use it in a way he'd like to eat it.  Hitting on the idea of a spicy butter to go with a beef steak, we took a closer look at the garlic.

The Black Garlic bulb is a light rust colour and its outer skin texture resembles tissue paper.  We carefully peeled away part of the outer layer of cloves.  Having taken the cloves off the bulb, some were then peeled (we found starting at the root end resulted in the 'cleanest' way to do this) and that's when the blackness of the garlic was revealed.

The cloves are soft and squidgy feeling...we were careful not to squash them but I did try one.  It reminded me of the cloves of garlic we'd all wait for when my late father used to make a slow cooked one-pot dish called "Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic".  As the name suggests, a chicken was cooked in a lidded casserole with 40 cloves of garlic (unpeeled) and the resulting melt-in-the-mouth middle of the cloves that were squeezed out to be eaten with the chicken were amazing.  The slow cooking had mellowed the garlicky taste and this Black Garlic clove has a similar, less aggressive, taste.

Gathering the very few items needed to make our Black Garlic and Chilli Butter...

4 cloves Black Garlic (peeled)
1/4 teaspoon chilli flakes
50g unsalted butter (softened)

... they were put in a bowl where they were mashed together (our butter had part-melted in the warm Easter sunshine so it looks a bit messy).  The butter was then seasoned with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

By this point the butter was looking quite liquid and needed chilling.  With this in mind we wrapped the butter in clingfilm and made a sausage shape. It was then put it in the freezer to chill.  If we'd had more time, we'd have put it in the fridge to use later.

Having fried our steaks, a ring of butter was cut from the roll, placed on the steak and allowed to melt into a delicious garlicky, buttery, spicy mix.  YUM!   Great to use for speedy BBQ seasoning too.

Sunday, 5 April 2015

Trio of Treats at Packwood House

As blog readers will know, we're always on the look out for opportunities to try gluten free goodies when out and about.  This Easter weekend we decided to head to the National Trust's Packwood House for a mid-morning coffee (and cake) stop.

Although it was quiet when we arrived, we executed a speed visit (which is the norm with Sous Chef J) and left before the House opened (more on that later).  However, we still had time to have a wander in the walled kitchen garden - which is a lovely, calm space complete with Mole Deterrent and resident cat - before heading into the cafe.

Once indoors we decided to select one of each of the three, yes THREE, gluten free cake options on sale.  The hot drinks - one cappucino, one latte and a hot chocolate - were all very well prepared as there was nothing of 'surface of the sun' temperature to contend with (a bugbear of ours).

The cakes were delicious and each of us decided OUR cake choice was the best!! J's chocolate brownie was squishy in the middle, my toffee fudge cake was a decadent treat and B's almond cake was moist and moreish.
We have been to Packwood House a number of times now so have been round the house on previous visits... J particularly likes all the "dark and myserious stuff" in the house (there's a BIG key he loves to see) and the Great Hall is a lovely space  The parkland is a good choice for a wander with Peppie dog (we left him at home today as the weather didn't seem conducive to sitting outside for our cafe stop) and the yew tree topiary is a sight to behold in the formal garden area.

Definitely a destination we like to visit time and again to see the house and grounds in different seasons... and, of course, check out the cakes on offer in the cafe!