Thursday, 31 May 2012

Blueberry Yogurt Cake

Pin It
blueberry, yogurt, walnut, cake, baking, crunch, nutmeg, cinnamon, smell, amazing, fragrance, square
I first made and fell in love with this cake over a year ago. Whenever I fancy a treat or am having had a bad week I shut myself in the kitchen and bake this beauty. If a cake could make someone fall in love with you than this would be it. Whilst baking, the house gets filled with the most incredible smells. I'm sure my neighbours A. love me B. wish I offered them some. The worst part is waiting for it to cook and cool enough before you can get eating. The cake has the most amazing crunchy filling and topping made of up walnuts, sugar, cinnamon & nutmeg, if it were down to me, every cake would contain these 4 things.

On a completely different note, I don't have a microwave, which 90% of the time isn't a problem. The only time I miss it when needing to soften butter. I normally don't remember to leave my butter out so this time I had a go at grating it which apart from making a bit of a mess, worked really well. Now I just need to find space for a dishwasher

Recipe adapted from Shutterbean
You will need
  • 1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp softened unsalted butter (1/2 cup of butter = 4oz)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 and 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1 cup blueberries (I used frozen)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

For this recipe you ideal need a 20 x 20 baking tray but of course you could use a slightly different size, just be sure to adjust your cooking time accordingly. Preheat your oven to 175C and line your tin with greaseproof paper.

Next, using an electric hand whisk beat together the butter and granulated sugar till its light and fluffy then gradually add the eggs and vanilla extract.
Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into the butter mixture. Fold it in followed by the yogurt and blueberries. I'd suggest not using the blueberries straight out of the freezer as it will make the mixture solidify and will be a lot more difficult to spread into the tin. I learnt this the hard way!

Now its time for the crunchy part. In a separate bowl, mix together the brown sugar with the walnuts, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour half of the cake batter into the tin and then sprinkle it with half of the nut mixture then top with the remaining batter.

Next add the 2 tablespoons of butter to the nut mixture and rub it in with your fingers before topping the cake off with it.

Bake for around 40 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Butternut Squash Pita, a Bosnian recipe

Pin It
pita, squash, butternut, supper club, food, lunch, dinner, picnic, kids, meal, children, filo, bosnian, tikva, feta, cottage cheese, creme fraiche, baking
Pita like I've talked about before on my spinach pita recipe is a Bosnian filo pastry pie that I was brought up on. This butternut squash filling is a slightly different take on the original. Pumpkin pita is made but butternut squash isn't normally used. Personally I prefer the butternut to a regular pumpkin because of its sweetness. 

For the Plate Lickers Eastern European supper club I made this as a little appetiser but it is equally great for breakfast, lunch or dinner. It is delicious straight out of the oven but I quite like it at room temperature or even cold so it was make a great addition to any picnic this summer. Once you get the knack of rolling they are pretty quick to make and can be kept in the fridge for upto about 4 days. I have also made them way in advance before and frozen them before baking. Then the night before I needed them, moved them into the fridge and baked them in the morning. 

Pita is really great to make for kids as they can hold it in their hand and it doesn't make a mess. I will try to get the other recipes up but if you wanted to make just a cheese pita all you would need to do is leave the squash out and use a whole pack of feta.

You will need 
  • A pack of filo pastry (don't use frozen) 
  • 3 eggs 
  • 600ml cottage cheese 
  • 300ml creme fraiche 
  • 1/2 pack of feta cheese (100g), grated 
  • 1 small or 1/2 large butternut squash peeled and diced into small cubes 
  • Salt & Pepper 
  • Olive oil 
Begin by preheating your oven to 180C then lighly oil some baking trays. I use a mixture of small ones that have a little lip around them (the Mermaid brand do some great ones and I always see them in TK Maxx for quite cheap)

In a large bowl whisk together your eggs and then add the cottage cheese, creme fraiche, feta,squash and season. Mix everything well and then set to one side.

Next, unroll the filo and depending on the size cut in half or quarters. I like mine to be about 25 x 15cm, although this size is completely approximate. I do also sometimes make them even smaller which I did for the supper club. For the size of pita I normally do, you need a tablespoon of filling for each. Spread it roughly over the whole sheet then fold over the top and bottom till they meet in the middle.

Now just very loosely roll it up and place, crease side down in your tray. Keep going till you have used all the mixture and filo up. You can freeze any left over mixture for next time.

Once you have filled all your trays, brush the pita lightly with some olive oil and then bake for around 20 to 30 minutes or until the pita is golden and crispy around the edges.

Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Cherry Bakewell Muffins

Pin It
My latest recipe in the Explorer magazine is for these pretty cherry Bakewell muffins which are secretly filled with cherry jam. These muffins would make a great treat for any afternoon tea although I have to admit to eating a few for breakfast too. For this recipe I used large muffin cases but if you wanted to use regular sized ones you could very easily halve the ingredients and reduce the cooking time by 5-10 minutes. The almond extract gives the muffins their lovely marzipan flavour but if you had some marzipan laying around, you could always grate a chunk into the batter before mixing.

You will need-
Makes Approx 16 large muffins
  • 100g Cherry Jam
  • 540g plain flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 tsp baking powder
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 340g caster sugar
  • 140g melted unsalted butter, slightly cooled
  • 380ml milk
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 50g flaked almonds
  • 4 tbsp icing sugar
  • Glacé cherries (optional)
Begin by lining a muffin tin with cases and then pre-heat your oven to 170C.

In a medium bowl sift together your flour, baking powder & salt. In a large bowl whisk the eggs with the sugar & melted butter followed by the milk & almond extract. Very carefully fold the flour mixture in till its just combined. 

Half fill the muffin cases with the batter and then add about a tea spoon worth of cherry jam to every case. Top up with the remaining batter ensuring you have covered the jam. Bake for around 30 minutes or till a toothpick comes out clean. Place them on a wire rack and leave to cool completely (eating hot jam is not fun!)

Whilst the muffins are cooling place the almonds on a baking tray and bake till lightly golden. Next in a small bowl combine the icing sugar with a couple of teaspoons of water and mix into a paste. Add more water, a few drops at a time till you have a smooth, slightly runny icing. Spoon a drop onto each muffin then top with a cherry and a sprinkle of almonds. Leave to set for 15 minutes before eating. These will keep for a few days in an airtight box.

Monday, 21 May 2012

First and Last, Cambridge

Pin It
A few days before the supper club I had promised Tim a pub Sunday lunch and after hearing many great things about the First and Last in Cambridge (formerly The Cricketers) we decided to head there. To start we ordered the baked camembert for 2 which came with a whole roasted garlic bulb (pure heaven), onion chutney & focaccia bread. Total over indulgence in the best way possible. My only complaint being that there wasn't enough bread to mop up all the cheese.

We then moved on to the roast. We both ordered the rib of beef and weren't disapointed. A huge Yorkshire pudding sat on top of a few slices of beef which sat on roast potatoes and honey roasted parsnips. To the side was a carrot, squash and cabbage mix which accompanied the meal nicely. My only complaint here was that because the potatoes were sat on the gravy it meant they lost their crispness and were pretty soft. I love my crunchy roast potatoes and it felt like such a shame as they had been cooked in duck fat. The meat was very nice and locally sourced, it would have been lovely to have it slightly rarer but thats just me being picky. They have a nice sounding daily menu which I would quite like to come back and try.

The First and Last is a nice pub in a quiet, quaint spot of Cambridge. The roast dinners come in at a very reasonable £9.50 and so are pretty good value for money. Its definitely worth a visit when you fancy leaving the cooking to somebody else one Sunday.

Sunday, 20 May 2012

Plate Lickers, Saturday 19th May 2012

Pin It
Last night Jo and I hosted our first Plate Lickers Supper Club at the fantastic Balzano's in Cambridge for 28 guests. We served 5 courses of some of our favourite Eastern European food including my Chestnut & Spek soup. It was so fantastic being able to feed so many people and Jo was the perfect co-host. We had so much fun planning the menu and after reading the feedback book the beetroot chutney (Jo) and Apple Sorbet with Zubrowka (me) were the biggest hits.

A huge thank you to everyone that came and especially to Becky & Rocco at Balzano's for very kindly letting us use their beautiful cafe & deli as our venue, it was the perfect setting. Special thank you's and mentions go to Lucy & Will from The Cambridge Distillery for distilling a bespoke bottle of #platelickers gin just for us. I have been left in charge of the beautiful bottle with an agreement to save it purely for future event planning (and possibly pre-event nerves). Also a thank you to Ozzy for letting us use some of his photos.

Butternut Squash Pita, bosnian, pita, tikva, filo, pie, cheese

teapot, soup, polish pottery
 pierogi, beetroot, potato, sauerkraut, carrot, caraway, mushroom

pierogi, polish, dumpling
 apple sorbet, green, zubrowka, vodka,

cheesecake, polish, strawberry

So, onto the next event. We are already looking to book up the next date in a new secret location with a completely new theme. As soon as we have a date we will be posting it so keep and eye on the blog.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Wild Country Organics & Baked Stuffed Courgette Flowers

Pin It
stuffed, courgette, flowers, ricotta, lemon, italy, summer, zucchini, salt, pepper, basil, roast, pine nuts, zest
For a while now I have heard about 'the leaf man' on the Cambridge market on Sundays. But with working most Sundays and being a hermit on those that I've been off I haven't had a chance to explore for myself. I finally made it there this weekend and I wasn't disappointed. As well as the more standard salad leaves, wild rocket, sorrel etc they sell Asian leaves like tatsoi and shiso. I found some beautiful cavolo nero kale which I have been after for such a long time (I have only been able to find curly kale in the supermarket) and courgette flowers which I have wanted to have a go at cooking with for a very long time. 

Everything they sell is grown to soil association organic standards in Great Abington, just south of Cambridge. Great for those who want to cook with some slightly more unusual leaves whilst still eating local. The chap on the stall was extremely helpful and recommended ways of cooking with the ingredients. I ended up buying a huge bag of kale and a box of courgette flowers for an extremely reasonable £3.50. I can't recommend paying them a visit enough.
wild, organic, herb, salad, leaves, leaf, oriental, fresh, cambridge, market,
This recipe was inspired by the guy on the market but I added a few ingredients. Courgette flowers are normally fried but firstly I wanted to make something a little healthier and also frying things is always a little frightening at home.

Stuffed Courgette Flowers
Makes 4
  • 4 Courgette Flowers
  • 100g ricotta
  • Grated zest of 1/2 a lemon
  • 1/2 tbsp toasted pine nuts, chopped coarsely
  • 3 basil leaves, roughly chopped
  • Salt & Pepper
Begin by preheating your oven to 180C. Combine the ricotta, lemon zest, pine nuts, basil and season to taste with salt and pepper.
stuffed, courgette, flowers, ricotta, lemon, italy, summer, zucchini, salt, pepper, basil, roast, pine nuts, zest
Gently open up the courgette flowers and stuff them with the ricotta filling then carefully seal them back up. Place on a baking tray and bake for 20 minutes.
stuffed, courgette, flowers, ricotta, lemon, italy, summer, zucchini, salt, pepper, basil, roast, pine nuts, zest
Serve straight away.
stuffed, courgette, flowers, ricotta, lemon, italy, summer, zucchini, salt, pepper, basil, roast, pine nuts, zest
They are on the Cambridge market every sunday. To find out more details about Wild Country and to find out about their pitches in London check out their website

Sunday, 13 May 2012

Puffed Pancake

Pin It
pancake, puffed, strawberry, strawberries, sweet, icing sugar, dessert, breakfast, brunch, cooking, skillet,
Puffed pancakes have been on my to do list for a while. Mainly because I have needed a frying pan/skillet that could fit into my oven. I finally found a great skillet on a trip to Ikea the other day with a removable wooden handle. This is a really simple recipe that makes a fantastic breakfast or dessert. I am a real sucker for pancakes as 99% of the time I have all the ingredients in the house to make them at the drop of a hat. If you have fresh fruit then of course, use those. I made the stewed strawberries as all I had to hand was frozen ones. You don't have to serve these with strawberries, it is also great with chopped walnuts and maple syrup, or even a scoop of ice-cream.

Serves 2
You will need-
  • 3 free range eggs
  • 3/4 cup of flour
  • 3/4 cup of milk
  • A pinch of salt
  • A pinch of cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp butter for greasing
  • A handful of frozen strawberries
  • 1 tsp icing sugar plus extra for dusting
Begin by preheating your oven to 200C then place your oven proof frying pan or skillet on a medium high hob. Whilst it is heating up whisk together the eggs, flour, milk, salt & cinnamon in a bowl till smooth.

Add your butter to the pan, spread around then pour your mixture in. Place your pan in the oven and then bake for 12-14 minutes or until the pancake is firm to the touch and the edges are brown. 

pancake, puffed, strawberry, strawberries, sweet, icing sugar, dessert, breakfast, brunch, cooking, skillet,
Whilst the pancake is baking place the strawberries in a saucepan along with the tsp of icing sugar and a tbsp of water. Cook over a medium heat till the sauce thickens slightly.

Once the pancake is cooked transfer it to a plate, sprinkle with icing sugar and top with strawberries. Eat straight away.
pancake, puffed, strawberry, strawberries, sweet, icing sugar, dessert, breakfast, brunch, cooking, skillet,

Friday, 11 May 2012

Inders Kitchen, Cambridge

Pin It
indian, curry, bonda, lentil, biriyani, rice, spicy, onion seeds, chapati, paratha, chicken, thigh
I've been laying low a little recently, but I promise I have some new recipes coming soon. In the mean time I thought I would share my most recent new dining experience. Inders Kitchen has been in Cambridge for about a year and I have been meaning to try it out since they first opened. This week I finally got the chance to see what all the fuss was about and after feeling lazy on Monday evening, followed by Aoife's blog post I jumped straight onto their website and got ordering. I hadn't initially planned on blogging this but after the first taste I ran and grabbed my camera and got snapping.
indian, curry, bonda, lentil, biriyani, rice, spicy, onion seeds, chapati, paratha, chicken, thigh
We played it a little safe as my husband doesn't eat seafood and is a little iffy about lamb so we ordered the chicken tikka dum biryani, lentil cakes, potato bondas, chapattis & parathas. The biryani was deliciously fresh and scattered with lovely boneless thighs. Like Aoife, our bondas had lost their crispness but were still delicious and came with tamarind chutney. The lentil cakes were a hit too.Over all, it was a refreshing change to other Indian takeaways I have eaten and I wasn't left feeling wounded. It felt a lot more authentic and the ingredients fresh and good quality.
indian, curry, bonda, lentil, biriyani, rice, spicy, onion seeds, chapati, paratha, chicken, thigh
Purely for research purposes I decided to order another takeaway tonight. Don't judge, its been a long week. I decided on the king prawns in the classic Keralan moilee sauce as my husband was out. Unfortunately I found it way too spicy for me even though its spice rating on their website was medium. The flavour however was delicious and the prawns we big and juicy. I made through with a lot of yogurt and water. I also ordered Inder's mum's homemade lime, ginger and chilli pickle which was delicious, although my pot had tipped over in transport so there was very little sauce.
indian, curry, bonda, lentil, biriyani, rice, spicy, onion seeds, chapati, paratha, chicken, thigh
Overall, I would really recommend trying out Inder's Kitchen for a much better take on Indian takeaway food, I think its fantastic value, and doesn't leave you feeling regretful like so many other takeaways can do. They also have a BBQ menu of pre marinated dishes which I would quite like to try out when the sun decides to shine again. Oh and an added bonus, all ordering can be done on their website and you can pre-order you meal earlier in the day or even week.
indian, curry, bonda, lentil, biriyani, rice, spicy, onion seeds, chapati, paratha, chicken, thigh
On a different note, I was invited onto the Flavour show on Cambridge 105fm the other week, you can listen back to my interview here
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...