Jelly Fluff

So within the space of a few posts I’ve gone from Michelin starred food to something far less refined. As I’ve spent most of the weekend feeling sorry for myself, after catching a horrible cold off Hubs, I wanted something sweet, comforting and possible to make with the contents of the cupboards. As a child my mum used to make Jelly Fluff, then at uni I was reintroduced to it by a housemate. Admittedly I don’t usually have a tin of evaporated milk hanging around, but when making Snowball Truffles back in December I accidently picked up evaporated milk instead of condensed milk.

A few weeks ago I will confess to buying some strawberry mousse from a well-known supermarket. Well they were far too sweet, tasteless and not strawberry-like in the slightest. Nothing like the Hippo Mousse I remember from my childhood. It was this that inspired me today. I suppose I wanted a bite of nostalgic comfort.

I have only ever made this with raspberry jelly, as it’s my favourite, but I have it on good authority that it works with many different flavours. It also works with both traditional block jelly and the low sugar powdered jelly. One problem with it – it’s highly addictive. So fluffy it just melts in your mouth and you want more, however it is great at kicking the sugar cravings. Oh, and who will admit to having a secret stash of Gü ramkins?

Warning: when whisking use a bigger bowl than you think you need as you’ll be surprised how much this fluffs up.

Jelly Fluff
Makes 1 big, glorious bowl of the fluffy stuff

1 170g tin of evaporated milk, well chilled
1 sachet or block of jelly

1) Melt the jelly with half the amount of jelly recommended on the packet, allow to cool at room temperature for 30 min.

2) Using an electric whisk, whisk the condensed milk until it has tripled in size. While continuing to whisk gradually add the jelly. Whisk for a further 30 seconds then pour into a bowl. Put in the fridge to set.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2010/03/01/jelly-fluff/

Fresh from the Oven – No Knead Bread

This month’s Fresh From the Oven challenge was hosted by Claire from Things we Make and she chose No Knead Bread. I’ve always been intrigued by this bread, but until now had never given it a go. The baker in me wondered 1) how a recipe like this could work and 2) wondered if it would have a slight sour taste.

Well I have to say this bread it a revelation. It produced a light, chewy loaf similar in texture and taste to ciabatta. It is quite obvious by the photo that we enjoyed it so much so, we had eaten quite a significant part of it before I got a chance to photograph it. This is certainly a loaf I would make again. The only alteration would be to prove in my proving basket to see if I could improve the shape.

No Knead Bread

The Mix

  • 15oz Strong White bread flour – it works best with all white I think
  • ¼ tsp instant easibake yeast (out of a sachet)
  • 1 tsp table salt

Stir together well then add 10.5 fl oz of lukewarm water (a mugful)

Slosh it round into a gooey lump of dough with a fork

Leave in a big bowl and cover with cling film or put the bowl in a bin bag
Leave it in kitchen for 16-18 hours – or more if you forget.

The 16hr Sloosh

Use a dough scraper/cutter or your fingers, to scrape the wet porridgy dough away from the sides, using plenty of flour to stop it sticking, and shuffle it back into a nice round shape. Don’t be tempted to knead it.

Cover with a tea towel and leave for 2 more hours.

The Bake

Preheat oven to 200-220 and put in a lightly oiled Le Creuset or other large cast iron casserole with a lid on until the oven and the pan are super hot.

Again use the scraper and a good sprinkle of flour to detach the dough from the bowl without puncturing it’s airy goodness. Then quick as you can, without losing the heat from the oven and pan, tip the dough onto one hand then flop it into the hot pan the right way up again and put the lid back on and get it back in the oven immediately.

  • Bake for 30 minutes lid-on
  • Then cook for 10-12 minutes more, lid-off until golden brown

If it’s not hollow sounding on the bottom put it back in, without its tin for an extra 5 minutes. Tip out and cool well before trying to slice

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2010/02/28/fresh-from-the-oven-no-knead-bread/

Chocolate Welsh Cakes

Giving up biscuits for Lent has meant I’m baking things to replace the banned biscuits, not exactly the healthy intentions I had in mind. Given I’m half Welsh, and proud before you ask, I often celebrate St. David’s day in a foodie vein; surely the best way to celebrate any special day in the calender. Be it Welsh Cheesecakes, Bara Brith , anything with leeks or Welsh Cakes I’ll try to bake at least one around the 1st March. Traditionally Welsh Cakes are made with raisins or sultanas but as I discovered at Fabulous Welshcakes in Cardiff Bay you can put different fillings in welsh cakes. I had a look around the baking cupboard, of which I swear I could open my own baking suppliers with, and found chocolate chips begging to be used.

Technically you could argue that these are not Welsh Cakes as they are baked in the oven and not on a griddle; I wanted to play around with recipes suitable for schools. I suppose they could be described as a richer version of scones, but with a lighter texture. By all means this recipe could be cooked the traditional way on a griddle giving the cakes the distinctive browned flat top and bottom. Both methods of cooking taste more or less the same they just look different. Perfect with a cuppa and in my eyes a perfect substitute for the banished biscuits.

Welsh Cakes
Makes 15

225g self raising flour
110g butter
50g caster sugar
75g chocolate chips
1 egg

1) Rub butter into flour until it has the consistency of breadcrumbs. Stir in sugar and chocolate chips. Break in egg and mix until you have a dough.

2) Roll out onto a floured surface until around 1cm thick and cut into 5cm rounds. Place on a lined baking tray. Bake at 180°c for 10-15 until cakes are golden.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2010/02/24/chocolate-welsh-cakes/

A Michelin Treat – Northcote

Once a year Hubs & I treat ourselves and go away for a foodie short break. Most of our holidays consist of sleeping under canvas, scrambling to the top of  mountains and eating porridge cooked on a Trangia so once in a while we like to indulge in some understated luxury. Previous escapades have included Blue Reef Cottages on the Isle of Harris, Hotel du Vin in York and last year a double trip to River Cottage.

This year it was my turn to decide on the short break adventure and after some internet research I settled on Nigel Haworth’s Northcote near Blackburn. It ticked my wish list: restaurant with rooms, luxury but still affordable and a foodie experience. The fact it has a Michelin Star was an added bonus.

We arrived on a wet, grey Monday afternoon to be greeted by a warming log fire. After checking-in we were shown our room. Given we were staying in the cheapest room in the hotel, you wouldn’t know. I was very impressed. Huge comfortable bed with plush furnishings, decent toiletries and not just complementary tea & coffee, but also a fridge full of bottled water and Belviour drinks. I’m easily impressed!

That evening we made our way downstairs to sample the tasting menu. I didn’t take any photos of the food as I didn’t feel at all comfortable smuggling my not-so-subtle SLR into the dining room that was full of loved-up couples; however I did spot on the next table to ours someone sneakily taking photos on a compact. I did wonder if she was a fellow food blogger. It started with champagne and canapes in the lounge while we decided which menu to go for. The canapes included: Maple Cured Salmon with Cream Cheese & Chives; Onion & Langoustine Bhajis and Parsnip Crisps with an Onion Mousse for dipping. Next, Hubs went for the traditional tasting menu and me, not feeling as brave, went for the vegetarian menu. Hubs also went for the accompanying wine and I matched with a few courses because I’m a lightweight and I wanted to remember the whole meal! Only the first and the last course were the same for both of us, but I did get a taster of quite a few of Hubs’ courses and the Mutton dish was absolutely stunning and perfectly paired with the Gewurztraminer.

Pressed Red Beetroot, Yellow Beets, Smoked Shallots, Goat’s Curd, Treacle Dressing
Sancerra Rose, Pascal Jolivet, Loire, France 2007

***

Warm Loin of Herdwick Mutton, Jerusalem Artichoke Puree, Honey & Mint Dressing
Gewurztraminer, Les Folastries, Josmeyer, Alsace, France 2007
Butternut squash, Roast Shallots, Fritter

***

Turbot, Cavier, Butternut Squash
Montagne 1er Cru, Château de la Saule, Burgundy, 2007
Tomato Consommé, Mrs Kirkhams Cheese on Toast

***

Shellfish Broth, Orkney Scallops, Langoustine
Cheese Omelette Soufflé, Tomato, Shorrocks Bomber Fondue
Sauvignon Blanc, Single Vineyard, Marlborough, 2007

***

Roe Buck, Potato Wrapped Black Pudding, Pied Bleu Mushrooms, Pickled Damsons
Grenache, Prodical, Clare Valley, Kilikanoon, 2006
Roast Artichoke, Artichoke Puree, Mint & Shallot Dressing

***

Cockerham Goat 3 Ways, Blood Orange & Juniper Sauce
Pinot Noir, Amayna, San Antonio, Chile, 2007
Barley Risotto, Roast Shallots, Curly Kale, Onion Foam

***

Dark Valrhona Chocolate Cylinder, Smoked Nuts, Salted Sheep’s Milk Ice Cream
Moscatel, Lopez Hermanos, Malaga

At the end of the meal were then served a selection of petit fours that included mini Eccles cakes, chocolate dipped honey comb and a delicious dark rum truffle. Apart from the amazing mutton dish I sampled from Hubs’ plate my favourite course was the beetroot course at the beginning and the chocolate pudding at the end. The salted ice cream went superbly with the smoky chocolate. Hubs also said how the mutton course was his favourite, not only for the food, but also for the wine. Although I’m not veggie, I often eat veggie when eating out as to be frank I like vegetables. Given there is few vegetables in season during the months of February, Northcote did a sterling job of producing a delicious and different menu for vegetarians. By the end of the epic meal we had been in the dining room for over 5 hours.

The next day, following our foodie-get-away traditions, we had Afternoon Tea. Don’t ask us why, but at least once a year we make sure we have Afternoon Tea somewhere. A quintessentially British pastime. Who could turn down plates of posh finger sandwiches and cakes all washed down with the finest cups of tea. Afternoon Tea at Northcote certainly didn’t disappoint. Well filled sandwiches and perfectly cooked cakes, the scones with home-made jam and a generous portion of clotted cream were particularly good.

We had a great few days away and I would certainly recommend Northcote for a foodie getaway along with their sister pub The Three Fishes for fantastic food. The staff were fantastic. They were knowledgeable & professional without being snooty. It was the little touches that made the difference. The Molton Brown goodies that were left in the room in the evening, staff who became a familiar face and the member of staff who de-iced our car each morning.

Given the weather wasn’t too great we will admit to spending the rest of the time chilling in our lovely room, reading and watching the Winter Olympics. Sometimes I think we all need to switch off from the world and have some luxurious time to ourselves doing what we want to do.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2010/02/19/a-michelin-treat-2/

A Michelin Treat

Once a year Hubs & I treat ourselves and go away for a foodie short break. Most of our holidays consist of sleeping under canvas, scrambling to the top of  mountains and eating porridge cooked on a Trangia so once in a while we like to indulge in some understated luxury. Previous escapades have included Blue Reef Cottages on the Isle of Harris, Hotel du Vin in York and last year a double trip to River Cottage.

This year it was my turn to decide on the short break adventure and after some internet research I settled on Nigel Haworth’s Northcote near Blackburn. It ticked my wish list: restaurant with rooms, luxury but still affordable and a foodie experience. The fact it has a Michelin Star was an added bonus.

We arrived on a wet, grey Monday afternoon to be greeted by a warming log fire. After checking-in we were shown our room. Given we were staying in the cheapest room in the hotel, you wouldn’t know. I was very impressed. Huge comfortable bed with plush furnishings, decent toiletries and not just complementary tea & coffee, but also a fridge full of bottled water and Belviour drinks. I’m easily impressed!

That evening we made our way downstairs to sample the tasting menu. I didn’t take any photos of the food as I didn’t feel at all comfortable smuggling my not-so-subtle SLR into the dining room that was full of loved-up couples; however I did spot on the next table to ours someone sneakily taking photos on a compact. I did wonder if she was a fellow food blogger. It started with champagne and canapes in the lounge while we decided which menu to go for. The canapes included: Maple Cured Salmon with Cream Cheese & Chives; Onion & Langoustine Bhajis and Parsnip Crisps with an Onion Mousse for dipping. Next, Hubs went for the traditional tasting menu and me, not feeling as brave, went for the vegetarian menu. Hubs also went for the accompanying wine and I matched with a few courses because I’m a lightweight and I wanted to remember the whole meal! Only the first and the last course were the same for both of us, but I did get a taster of quite a few of Hubs’ courses and the Mutton dish was absolutely stunning and perfectly paired with the Gewurztraminer.

Pressed Red Beetroot, Yellow Beets, Smoked Shallots, Goat’s Curd, Treacle Dressing
Sancerra Rose, Pascal Jolivet, Loire, France 2007

***

Warm Loin of Herdwick Mutton, Jerusalem Artichoke Puree, Honey & Mint Dressing
Gewurztraminer, Les Folastries, Josmeyer, Alsace, France 2007
Butternut squash, Roast Shallots, Fritter

***

Turbot, Cavier, Butternut Squash
Montagne 1er Cru, Château de la Saule, Burgundy, 2007
Tomato Consommé, Mrs Kirkhams Cheese on Toast

***

Shellfish Broth, Orkney Scallops, Langoustine
Cheese Omelette Soufflé, Tomato, Shorrocks Bomber Fondue
Sauvignon Blanc, Single Vineyard, Marlborough, 2007

***

Roe Buck, Potato Wrapped Black Pudding, Pied Bleu Mushrooms, Pickled Damsons
Grenache, Prodical, Clare Valley, Kilikanoon, 2006
Roast Artichoke, Artichoke Puree, Mint & Shallot Dressing

***

Cockerham Goat 3 Ways, Blood Orange & Juniper Sauce
Pinot Noir, Amayna, San Antonio, Chile, 2007
Barley Risotto, Roast Shallots, Curly Kale, Onion Foam

***

Dark Valrhona Chocolate Cylinder, Smoked Nuts, Salted Sheep’s Milk Ice Cream
Moscatel, Lopez Hermanos, Malaga

At the end of the meal were then served a selection of petit fours that included mini Eccles cakes, chocolate dipped honey comb and a delicious dark rum truffle. Apart from the amazing mutton dish I sampled from Hubs’ plate my favourite course was the beetroot course at the beginning and the chocolate pudding at the end. The salted ice cream went superbly with the smoky chocolate. Hubs also said how the mutton course was his favourite, not only for the food, but also for the wine. Although I’m not veggie, I often eat veggie when eating out as to be frank I like vegetables. Given there is few vegetables in season during the months of February, Northcote did a sterling job of producing a delicious and different menu for vegetarians. By the end of the epic meal we had been in the dining room for over 5 hours.

The next day, following our foodie-get-away traditions, we had Afternoon Tea. Don’t ask us why, but at least once a year we make sure we have Afternoon Tea somewhere. A quintessentially British pastime. Who could turn down plates of posh finger sandwiches and cakes all washed down with the finest cups of tea. Afternoon Tea at Northcote certainly didn’t disappoint. Well filled sandwiches and perfectly cooked cakes, the scones with home-made jam and a generous portion of clotted cream were particularly good.

We had a great few days away and I would certainly recommend Northcote for a foodie getaway along with their sister pub The Three Fishes for fantastic food. The staff were fantastic. They were knowledgeable & professional without being snooty. It was the little touches that made the difference. The Molton Brown goodies that were left in the room in the evening, staff who became a familiar face and the member of staff who de-iced our car each morning.

Given the weather wasn’t too great we will admit to spending the rest of the time chilling in our lovely room, reading and watching the Winter Olympics. Sometimes I think we all need to switch off from the world and have some luxurious time to ourselves doing what we want to do.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2010/02/19/a-michelin-treat/

Baked Vegetable Spring Rolls

This time of year is good for food-related festivals but typically this year Shrove Tuesday, Valentines & Chinese New Year all fall in half term. After teaching the kids how to make pancakes last year, this year I decided to teach food from a different celebration and country. We’ve been doing quite a bit about Chinese New Year in work and have been dishing out the Fortune Cookies. I was particuarly pleased with my 2 fortunes:

The next week is full of fun and adventure

You’ll travel far with business and pleasure

Other people’s are far more cryptic.

I had been asked by some people if I could teach them to make Spring Rolls. Traditionally they are fried and there is a fryer in the kitchen I use but 1) we’re walking towards Healthy School status 2) I’m not that brave! I wanted the spring rolls to be easy to make, healthy and didn’t want to have to pre-cook the filling. I don’t claim these to be authentic, but is a great kid friendly recipe. Spring roll wrappers are nigh on impossible to find around here so used filo.

One thing I learnt today that filo pastry doesn’t always come in squares, it just so happens that every pack I have ever bought before today was squares. If your filo pastry comes in a long oblong cut in half to get to sets of squares. If not brushed with egg the rolls can look a tad anaemic. Also don’t use more than 2 sheets of filo per roll or it can end up being filo pastry overload. Also if you use sweet chilli sauce as your sauce filling, but be careful; due to the sugar content it caramalises fast. Just keep an eye on it.

If you’re looking for a delicious chinese takeout-style recipe for Chinese New Year I can highly recommend Tastefully Done’s Sweet & Sour Chicken. We often double the sauce and cook with a handful of sliced red & green pepper. Happy Chinese New Year.

Baked Vegetable Spring Rolls
(makes 6 large spring rolls)

1 pack of filo pastry
½ pack of raw stir fry vegetables
6 tbsp chinese-style sauce (eg Hoi Sin, Sweet Chilli, Soy etc…)
1 egg, beaten
Sesame seeds for decoration (optional)

1) Unwrap the pastry and lay out on the table. If the filo is a long oblong cut in half to make 2 squares. Take two layers of filo, pile on top of each other, then turn so one point is facing you.

2) Place some of the veg and inch or so above the bottom point. Cover with 1 tbsp of sauce. Begin to roll. The next bit is difficult for me to describe so here is the crib sheet I made for my classes – click here

3) Once they have been rolled, place on a tray lined with baking parchment, brush with beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds. Bake at 190°c for 5 min, turn over, brush again with egg and bake for a further 5-10 minutes. The rolls are ready when they are golden in colour. Allow to cool slightly before eating as they can been bloomin’ hot inside. Best served with a dipping sauce.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2010/02/09/baked-vegetable-spring-rolls/

Hidden Gems

Ever so often I stumble across a product or place that I love. Those little places that are sometimes hidden away and always a pleasure to visit. I’ve been a visitor to the Ferrers Centre for years but this weekend was the first time I’ve managed to visit there in a while. A stone’s throw over the border in Leicestershire The Ferrers Gallery always suckers me in. The constantly changing exhibitions means there is always refreshing new artists to discover. On this visit to the top floor of the gallery was some work by Darren Dearen. There was a particular piece by him that had lots of butterflies literally fluttering out of the canvas. If I had a few 100 pounds to spare I would certainly buy some of his work.

The newest shop at the Ferrers Centre is Breadfirst, one of the first artisan bakeries in the area. I had been recommened it by a few people on Twitter and it certainly didn’t disappoint. The atmosphere when we walked in was lovely; keen to help, but not pushy in the slightest. They were more than happy for us to browse before we bought anything. All the bread is baked on premises and visitors to the shop can see the ovens and the baker at work through a glass window. I love the fact they will make and bake fresh scones for you while you wait. We were also given the opportunity to sample some of their delights. All were so good we ended up buying them. The fougasse had the perfect texture with the caraway seeds & juicy sultanas bringing a delicious taste to the bread. We then tried some stunning cheeses. A white Stilton with ginger & apricots and a new favourite for me – Gorwydd Caerphilly. The Gorwydd Caerphilly is a mature unpasturised cheese was unlike any cheese I had tasted before. It has a soft texture in the middle leading to a harder more mature texture on the outside. For me the taste was similar to a Somerset Brie. To finish our shopping spree we purchased 2 individual pies to have with dinner, both of which were full to the brim with chunky meat and succulent vegetables all encased in the perfect pastry. Breadfirst is becoming popular with local foodies in the know and I will certainly soon be returning especially since I know Vintage & Cake will soon be selling her cakes there.

To round off my day of touring local independent traders I popped into The Blossom Tree in Melbourne (this is the little market town that the big Aussie Melbourne is named after). I’ve had flowers from The Blossom Tree before and have always been impressed, but this was the first time I had visited Kerry’s shop. My eye’s lit up when I saw she had some fringed tulips left and I have to say I bought the last 2 bunches. Ever since she showed photos of fringed tulips being used in a wedding bouquet on her blog I’ve wanted to get my hands on some. They are almost a little sign that spring is on its way.

There are thousands of great little businesses out there waiting to be found. Take a few hours away from the hubbub of the High Street and you may be surprised as to what you might find.

Permanent link to this article: http://www.butcherbakerblog.com/2010/01/31/hidden-gems/

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