Monthly Archives: August 2009

Plenty of Plums

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Last weekend I was very fortunate to be given a great big load of plums from Trish, one of my work colleagues. I love plums but there were so many and they were all really ripe. I knew that I had to cook with them otherwise they would go past their best very soon.  I decided to make a plum cake, instead of making my usual easy do not have to think too much crumble.  I have never made a fruit cake with fresh fruit before so I was unsure how it was going to turn out. I found the recipe for the plum cake from here.  However, as I am sure you know by now, I like adapting my recipes so my variation is below.

Fresh Plum Cake

Ingredients

  • 225g (8oz) self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 100g (3.5oz) unsalted butter
  • 50g (2oz) sultanas
  • 50g (2oz) demerara sugar  plus 2 tbsp for sprinkling
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 tbsp golden syrup (I used honey – it worked just as well)
  • 275g  plums, stoned and chopped

Method

  • Preheat oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3.
  • Grease and line an 8 inch square baking tin.
  • Rub the flour, half the cinnamon and the butter together.
  • Add the sultanas and 50g (2oz) demerara sugar and stir.
  • Beat eggs and syrup together in a separate bowl, add plums, then stir into flour mixture.
  • Transfer to tin and level surface.
  • Mix rest of brown sugar and cinnamon and sprinkle over top of cake mixture.
  • Cook in centre of oven for 45-50 mins and then test. It should be risen and just firm to the touch when cooked. (It took an hour for my cake to cook)
  • Cut into squares to eat.

The cake worked out fantastic. It suggests eating it warm, however it is equally delicious cold as the cake is really moist and fruity. There are plenty of plums around at the moment so why not have a go at making this cake. You will not be disappointed!

I have been quite quiet on the blogging front recently as I have been really busy at work. I am going to even more quiet for the next two weeks, as I am on holiday in Cornwall over the bank holiday weekend, then I am going to Scotland next week with work. I will be back in middle of September with my blogging groove hopefully switched on.  When I return, I will be blogging about the fantastic restaurants/food  in St Ives and hopefully, other parts of Cornwall. I am only there for a few days so I will see how I get on.

Have a great Bank Holiday Weekend

See you again soon

Happy Cooking! :-)

Super Soup!

Spicy Chorizo and Pepper Soup

This month I decided I would take part in my first cookery blogging competition. I decided to take part in the No Croutons Required challenge.  The idea of the challenge is to make a soup or salad on a particular theme. This month’s theme is peppers. I love peppers but have never made a soup with them before, so after much thinking, I decided to make Spicy Chorizo and Pepper Soup.

Chorizo is another one of my favourite ingredients and I got the chorizo I used in the soup from Andrew from the Wild Food Larder (he is on twitter too – @Sarty1). He makes it himself and it was one of the best chorizo I have ever tasted. He can often be found at the Bath Farmers Market, if you want to pop along and say hi and see the other wonderful things he makes and sells. Thanks Andrew for sending the chorizo quickly. I really appreciate it.

The recipe below is entirely my own invention so I welcome comments on what you think. Please tell me if you have a go cooking it or any other recipe on this blog, my contact details are on the About page.  I appreciate all comments and other communications with my readers.

Spicy Chorizo and Pepper Soup

Ingredients

• 3 medium white or red onions, chopped up into chunks

• 4 bell peppers (any colour you like) chopped up into chunks

• 4 roasted pepper (from a jar or make your own)

• 3 garlic cloves, peeled and slightly crushed

• 1 medium chilli, top off with seeds removed if you prefer

• Tin of chopped tomatoes

• 1 chorizo sausage (half chopped into ½ cm rounds, other half chopped into smaller bits to be blended – 1 round cut into 4 smaller pieces )

• 250ml vegetable or chicken stock

• Big bunch of parsley, chopped finely

• Sea salt and black pepper

• Olive oil

Method

• Put glug of olive oil into heavy based saucepan. Allow to heat up and then add chorizo rounds. Allow to fry for a minute so that there lovely red oil flavours the olive oil. Remove and put on plate and forget about them for a bit.

• Now add the chopped bits of chorizo and fry for a minute before adding onions and peppers. Add some salt to help the onions and peppers soften.

• In a small food processor or pestle and mortar, add the roasted peppers, garlic and chilli and purée or bash until thick ish paste. Add to the softened onions, peppers and the chorizo bits.

• Add tin of chopped tomatoes and stock and allow to simmer for 5 minutes until thickened slightly. Add in half your parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Purée the soup with a hand blender. Leave to cool a bit if you want or if using normal blender or food processor. Add in rest of parsley and the chorizo rounds and then serve in a big bowl with crusty bread and a glass of red wine. Enjoy!

I think I have done quite well with theme as I used three different types of peppers: chilli, bell and roasted, along with Andrew’s delicious chorizo. I have enjoyed doing my first cooking blogging competition and I intend to start taking part in many more.

Happy Cooking! :-)

Ginger Nut!

Ginger Biscuits

I love ginger in whatever shape or form: fresh, stem, crystallised or ground. It is a lovely spice and really versatile. When I was younger, one of my favourite things to eat were ginger nut biscuits. I remember dunking them in my tea or coffee, when I was with my dad and nan. This week I have really had the urge to do some baking. I have no idea why, I just did. However, in my opinion there is a difference between midweek baking and weekend baking. In the middle of the working week, I do not want anything too complicated to cook. I just want to go in the kitchen cook something and then get out to eat my reward as soon as I can.  At the weekend, I will quite happily spend hours in the kitchen cooking up a storm.

Therefore, I searched the internet and asked the people of Twitter (again!) (Thanks to @storm_rider_uk, @BigSpud, @Mapperz and @daphnedeboer) I eventually settled on a recipe for ginger biscuits, which was on the forums of Jamie Oliver’s website. The link to the recipe is here and my slightly adapted version is below.

Ginger Biscuits

Ingredients
100 grams butter
20-30 grams golden syrup (I didn’t bother measuring this – I just guessed!)
175 – 225 grams caster  sugar (I used 200 grams of sugar)
300 grams plain flour
2tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate soda
4 tsp ground ginger
Pinch of salt
1 egg beaten

Please note : you can use up to the full amount of sugar and golden syrup depending on how sweet you like them.

Method

1. Pre heat the oven to 160c or gas mark 3 and line two baking sheets with grease proof paper or the reusable baking sheets.
2. Put the butter, sugar and syrup in a pan and bring up to heat melting the butter and allowing the mixture to amalgamate. Allow to cool slightly
3. Sift together all the other dry ingredients into a bowl
4. Pour in the warm butter mixture and bring it all together, then add the egg mixture and mix thoroughly.
5. At this point the mix should be holding is shape but it will be slightly brittle when you mould into balls. Don’t worry this creates the ridges and finished texture of the biscuit. 6. Create balls about 1-2cms in diameter and place on the baking sheet, you can at this point press down to create discs or leave them to spread a little in the oven. You should be able to get 24 -26 biscuits out of this one batch.
7. Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes until they are starting to colour, they will be initially soft when removed but as they cool the will firm up. I left them to cool on baking tray for an hour as had to go out as soon they were cooked and they were fine. I suggest not moving them onto a wire cooling rack until they are firm. Enjoy these biscuits with a nice cup of tea or coffee.

My friends and colleagues at work have tried them and have said how yummy they are, so please give them a go and let me know how you get on.  My next post (at the  weekend) will be a Chorizo and Pepper soup which I am making for the No Croutons Required challenge. My first every blogging/cooking competition.  My mouth is watering already,  as chorizo and peppers are two of my favourite ingredients.

Happy Cooking :-)


Ginger Biscuits on Foodista