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Molton Chocolate Puddings



I've been looking for an easy warming pud to make for the Christmas pudding haters in our family (there are a few of them!)...and I think I've found it. These are so simple taking just 5 minutes to prepare and about 10 minutes in the oven and taste gorgeously rich and gooey. You could easily double the recipe to serve 8 if you needed to cater for a larger number of people and for an added seasonal twist you could omit the vanilla extract and add the zest of 1 or 2 clementines.

I promise you will be impressed by these!

MOLTON CHOCOLATE PUDDINGS

| Serves: 4  | Prep Time: 5 Minutes | Cook Time: 10 Minutes | Total Time: 15 Minutes |


Ingredients: 

  • 125g Dark Chocolate
  • 125g Unsalted Butter
  • 3 Large Eggs
  • 150g Golden Caster Sugar
  • 35g Plain Flour
  • 1/2 TSP of Vanilla Extract
  • Butter and Flour for ramekins

Instructions:

  • Step 1: Preheat the oven to 200c and butter and lightly flour 4 ramekins (approx 200ml capacity).
  • Step 2: Melt the butter and chocolate in a microwave (do 20-30 second zaps at a time to prevent it burning).
  • Step 3: Whisk eggs, sugar, flour and vanilla extract together until just mixed then fold in the chocolate mixture.
  • Step 4: Pour the mixture into the 4 ramekins and put on a baking sheet. Place in the centre of the oven for 10-12 minutes until a few cracks form on the top.
  • Step 5: Serve straight out of the oven with some ice cream or clotted cream.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 26th November 2010 |


Beth Sachs
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Easy Mince Pies ..... for the freezer


Mince Pies

Last weekend I made my usual batch of mincemeat and decided while I was at it to make some mince pies for the freezer too. The pastry is no effort and is made entirely in the food processor (although you can do it by hand if you wish). It produces wonderfully crumbly pies, with a slight nutty flavour thanks to the ground almonds.

You don't have to freeze the pies of course and I give instructions below for baking them straight away, but I like to get ahead at Christmas and stashing a batch of these away in the freezer, I am safe in the knowledge I am just 20 minutes away from a warm homemade mince pie. Perfect for unexpected guests.


EASY MINCE PIES

| Serves: 16 pies  | Prep Time: 20 Minutes | Cook Time: 20 Minutes | Total Time: 40 Minutes  |


Ingredients: 

  • 350g Mincemeat
  • 200g Plain Flour
  • 75g Ground Almonds
  • 40g Caster Sugar
  • 125g Butter, cubed
  • 1 Egg
  • Milk for glaze.
Instructions:
  • Step 1: Butter a bun tin (you may need two).
  • Step 2: Place the flour, sugar, almonds and butter in a food processor and process until resembling breadcrumbs, then slowly add the egg through the feeder tube and pulse.
  • Step 3: Tip out onto the worktop and bring the pastry together with your hands, wrap in clingfilm and chill for 30 mins.
  • Step 4: If cooking straight away preheat the oven to 200c.
  • Step 5: Roll out just over half of the pastry (I like to do this between 2 sheets of clingfilm so I don't add too much more flour to the dough) and cut out 16 circles and place lightly into bun tin. Fill with the mincemeat then roll out of the remaining dough and cut out slightly smaller circles to place on top. If you are freezing them, pop the whole tin in the freezer and when the are completely frozen pop the pies out of the tins and into freezer bags. When you are ready to bake them pop them back into the bun tins and follow the rest of the recipe.
  • Step 6: Glaze the tops with milk (use a pastry brush) and bake in the preheated oven for around 20 minutes until golden.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 24th November 2010 |


Beth Sachs
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A Slice of Cherry Pie: A Review



As a UK Food Blogger it was with great excitement I received my copy of ‘A Slice of Cherry Pie’ written by the founder of the UK Food Bloggers Association, Julia Parsons.

Julia, who has run a successful food blog (also entitled ‘A Slice of Cherry Pie’) since 2006 and more recently set up the UK Food Bloggers Association to act as a community hub for like-minded foodies, is now officially a published author too (is there no end to this woman’s talents?).

Julia has been releasing snippets of the book on her blog in the run up to its launch and I, like many bloggers have been eagerly counting down the days to its release. Well, it finally landed on my doorstep last week and I spent a lovely evening curled up on the sofa reading it from cover to cover – ideally it would have been with a glass of wine, but due to the flooding I hadn’t been able to get the shops so I had to make do with a can of hubby's lager – which somewhat ruined the image of a dark autumn evening, fire blazing, feet up, glass of wine in hand, but hey at least the book didn’t let me down.

From being a long time reader of Julia’s blog, I already knew that using seasonal produce is something close to her heart and this strong ethos is carried through into this cookbook, which is split into beautifully themed seasonal sections.

The book begins its story in spring with ‘Cherry Blossom’ and I didn’t have to look very far for my first must try recipe. The Feta Cheese and Watercress Sauce on page 13 immediately caught my eye and had me salivating. Salty feta and peppery watercress bound together with double cream and poured over some grilled chicken….do I really have to wait until Spring? Staying on the cheese theme, the Baked Camembert with Asparagus Dippers (p23) is also going to be ‘post-it noted’.

By far the largest section of the book is devoted to summer recipes, Julia’s favourite time of the year. In the chapter ‘Sunshines and Lemons’ it was the Peaches and Cream Trifle (p42) that had me dreaming (and reminiscing) about hot summer days, al fresco dining and getting tipsy on Archers when I was a teenager – the trifle uses peach schnapps to drizzle over the sponge, I didn’t just randomly reminisce about drinking it. Over the page is ‘the’ recipe for Cherry Pie, although Julia herself concedes that she is not sure any cherry pie can live up to one in her head;

‘the one with crumbly pastry and glossy, jammy cherries bursting with deep flavour’


In ‘Poppy Fields’, picnic and barbecue foods take centre stage with recipes for Homemade Scotch Eggs (p62) which look gloriously oozy in the middle, Beef Burgers (p67) and the Parsons family Coleslaw recipe (P72) handed to Julia by her Mother in Law. Perhaps most decadent though is the Midsummer Cake (p56), a simple sponge filled with glorious summer fruits and whipped cream.


Throughout the book there are snippets of old blog entries, childhood photographs, famous quotes, lyrics to songs and extracts of handwritten notes, which together give us a sneaky peak into Julia's own journey through food and beyond. It is these qualities that give the book a uniqueness that many cookbooks lack - you really get to know the author and what makes her tick.

Back to the recipes and seafood lovers may want to skip straight to ‘Pebbles and Ice Cream’ where Julia reminisces about her childhood holidays in Hastings and more recently her trips to Whitstable for Oysters. The King Prawn Linguine sounds perfect for a balmy summer evening but it’s the Filo Crab Parcels (p84) that caught my imagination and sound just perfect for laid back summer entertaining – and it’s entertaining that forms the basis of the next chapter ‘Linen and Roses’.

The food in this chapter manages to maintain its simple seasonal charm but aims to impress your guests (which is a plus in my book). Desserts are especially prevalent with my pick in this chapter being the Rose Wine and Strawberry Jellies (p114). There is also a lovely piece on cheeseboards with information on serving and presenting cheeses and it is here where Julia highlights her own favourites – I’m with you on the Roquefort!

We finally get to autumn ‘Rain on Glass’ – my favourite season and despite Julia’s love of summer even she concedes that autumn is the most exciting and inspiring time for the cook. In my view there is not a more comforting autumnal dish than the Creamy Sausage Pasta on page 122 (which I will blog shortly). Sausages, onions, cream, thyme and stock, bound together and tossed through a steaming bowl of pasta – heaven on a plate. But it was the rainy day Fairy Cakes that took my daughters imagination and a recipe she has asked me to make with her soon.

The penultimate chapter ‘Wood Smoke and Roasts’ takes you through the quintessential roast (chicken, beef and pork), homely family recipes such as Toad in the Hole, Bolognese and Shepherds Pie and some lovely autumnal desserts like Plum Crumble and Baked Apples.

Finally, we come to Snow Flurries, celebrating warming winter meals like Chorizo and Cabbage Risotto, Bean and Bacon Stew (sounds yummy) as well as Christmassy offerings such as Chestnut and Bacon Soup, Christmas Pudding Cheesecakes and Port Glazed Gammon on page 191 which will definitely be on my table this Christmas Eve.

Above all this  book is to be treasured and enjoyed and comes bursting with fresh, seasonal offerings. Well done Julia – it’s fab!
Beth Sachs
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Turkey Bolognese (and a cardinal sin)


Turkey Bolognese

OK, shoot me, I used linguine instead of spaghetti, a cardinal sin according to my hubby! 

Despite this 'oversight' on my part it turned out to be a deliciously rich bolognese, not dry as I often worry with turkey. 

Although the recipe uses turkey mince, there is absolutely no reason why you couldn't substitute it with some leftover cooked turkey (chopped up in a food processor) from your Christmas lunch! Just remember to add the turkey after the mushrooms.

I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.

TURKEY BOLOGNESE

| Serves: 4  | Prep Time:  20 Minutes | Cook Time: 1 Hour 30 Minutes  | Total Time: 1 Hour 50 |


Ingredients

  • 2 Onions, chopped
  • 2 Cloves of Garlic, chopped
  • 250g Mushrooms, sliced
  • Olive Oil
  • 600g Turkey Mince - or use leftover turkey chopped up
  • 1 dried chilli
  • 2 x 400g tins of chopped tomatoes
  • 2 TBSP Tomato Puree
  • 325ml Red Wine
  • 500ml Chicken Stock
  • Dash of Worcestershire sauce
  • Sprig of thyme
  • Salt and Pepper

Instructions:

  • Step 1:  Heat a glug of oil in a large pan and cook the onions and garlic until starting to brown. Add the turkey and brown all over.
  • Step 2: Crumble in the chilli, add the mushrooms, salt and pepper.
  • Step 3: Add the tomatoes, tomato puree, wine, stock, Worcestershire sauce and thyme and simmer on hob for an hour and a half.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 19th November 2010 |


Beth Sachs
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Easy Christmas Cake


Fruity Christmas Cake

I finally got around to making my Christmas Cake last weekend, - I was beginning to panic a  bit as I've never left it this late before. Instead of the usual pre-soaking of the fruits in alcohol, I decided to simmer the fruits in Cherry Brandy for 10 minutes, which meant I could get the whole cake made and baked in a couple of hours.

The cake is now safely wrapped in a double layer of baking paper and a layer of foil, ready for its weekly feedings of cherry brandy - it's going to be a boozy one! In terms of the decoration, this year I am opting out of icing and instead going to go for a simple apricot glaze (warmed apricot jam brushed onto the cake) with brazil nuts and candied fruits on top.

EASY CHRISTMAS CAKE

| Serves: 1 x 20cm cake | Prep Time: 30 Minutes | Cook Time: 1 Hour 45 Minutes | Total Time: 2 Hours 15 Minutes |


Ingredients

  • 500g dried fruit mix including rasins, currants and mixed peel
  • 100g Glace Cherries, chopped
  • 100g Apricots, chopped
  • 100g Dates, chopped
  • Zest of 2 Oranges and juice of 1
  • 175g Butter
  • 200g Dark Brown Sugar
  • 100ml Brandy - I used Cherry, plus 4 TBSP
  • 3 large Eggs, beaten
  • 85g ground Almonds
  • 200g plain Flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 TSP Mixed Spice
  • 1 TSP Cinnamon

Instructions:

Step 1: Double line a 20cm deep cake tin with baking paper.
Step 2: Put the fruits, zest, juice, butter, sugar and brandy in a saucepan and bring to the boil, reduce to a simmer and continue to stir for 10 minutes. Leave to cool
Step 3: Preheat the oven to 150c/130c Fan/Gas 2. When the boozy fruit mixture is cooled, stir in the eggs and almonds then sift in the flour, baking powder and spices.
Step 4: Spoon into prepared tin and smooth the top. Bake for 45 minutes then turn down the heat to 140c/gas 1 and continue to bake for 1 hour. Test with skewer.
Step 5: When completely cool, remove from tin and wrap as instructed in the introduction.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 17th November 2015 |


Beth Sachs
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Food from Plenty: A Review


Many of you may know Diana Henry from Market Kitchen, or perhaps from her articles in The Telegraph, Waitrose Food Illustrated or Sainsbury's magazine (she has been named cookery writer of the year twice!). I have long been a fan of her fresh, family friendly approach to food but shamefully up until last week I didn't own any of her cookbooks.

Henry is the author of six books to date including the much acclaimed Crazy water, pickled lemons; Roast figs, sugar snow and Cook simple. The latest offering, 'Food from Plenty' has over 350 recipes showcasing inexpensive and resourceful meals, ideas for using up gluts and clever ways to make the most of leftovers.

The book is based on a strong sustainability ethos but is not preachy or condescending. Diana shows the reader that by cooking seasonally, often with cheaper cuts of meat and fish (e.g. Braised Lamb Shanks with gremolata p180 and Pigs cheeks with mustard lentils p193), you can reduce food miles but more importantly produce inspiring and thoughtful meals for your family and friends.

Chapters include 'Vegetable Love' (with recipes such as Peas, Broad beans and Chorizo p 61 and Spanish tomato and bread salad p.65), a complete section on 'Racing' Pulses and one on 'Good Grains' (I'm particularly inspired to try the Creamy lentils and pumpkin with ginger and cumin (p101) as well as the Sausage and Red Wine Risotto on p117). Chapters on Fish and Meat follow before moving on to wild foraged food in 'Where the Wild Things Are' - I'm keen to try the Blackberry and brown sugar loaf next Autumn (although I have some blackberries in the freezer....). A whole chapter on fruit called 'Sweet Fruitfulness' entices the reader with recipes for Cherry wine (p256) and Gooseberry Pots (p258), before she moves onto the intriguing 'Crust and Crumbs', a section dedicated to using up stale bread. The Spring Panzanella (p292), with fresh broad beans, fresh peas and asparagus had me salivating, as did the Brown Bread and Whisky Ice Cream on p300.

The final chapter is all about eggs and Diana urges you to buy free range (this is the most preachy it gets!). The humble, cheap egg is transformed into souffles, omelette's, clafoutis (Peach and Lavender Honey to be precise on p314 - sounds wonderful doesn't it?) and not forgetting fresh healthy salads.

My favourite chapter though is the one found at the very beginning 'The roast and les restes'. In it Henry takes you through the art of roasting different joints of meat and more importantly (from my point of view) makes a plethora of suggestions for using up the leftovers. For example, from leftover roast chicken a restorative chicken and parsley risotto (p22) might emerge, or from lamb, a middle eastern inspired shepherds pie (p39).  But, the leftover dish I am intending to make very soon is the Pork , roast squash, apple and chestnut salad (p42) - surely there's no better an excuse to roast a juicy bit of pork?

Finally, I'll let Diana sum the book up in her own words;

 'it's about a thoughtful approach to food, one that is better for you in terms of money saved and pleasure gained....'

This book really is must have for any family cook.

Beth Sachs
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Leon: Naturally Fast Food - A Review



Following on from their best-selling cookbook Leon: Ingredients and Recipes, Henry Dimbleby and John Vincent have recently published their latest offering– Leon: Naturally Fast Food.

Leon (Carnaby Street) opened in 2004 by Dimbleby, Vincent and Allegra McEvedy had within 6 months been named the Best New Restaurant in Great Britain at the Observer Food Monthly awards. With a prestigious judging panel containing names such as Gordon Ramsey, Rick Stein, Nigel Slater and Jay Rayner it was bound to go far and far it has gone – with 9 restaurants and counting! Leon's ethos is based on the twin principles that food can both taste good and do you good and the offerings in this cookbook certainly respect the founding aims. But far from being boringly healthy, this book exudes fun, quirkiness and above all is a very useful tool in any cooks kitchen.

The book is split into two halves. The first half contains fast food recipes, recipes for all types of occasion that take less than 20 minutes to prepare. Some on my must try list include Bacon and Root Veg Soup (page 79), Keralan Fish Curry (page 101), Greekish Butter Beans (page 125), Henry's Quick Chocolate Cake (page 186) and most definitely the Upside-Down Apple and Cardamom Tart (page 193) – which is actually printed upside down! (I thought this was a printing error when I first opened the book).

The second half of the book is focused on Slow Fast Food – things that can be made in advance when you have the time and cooked up quickly when you don’t. A few of the recipes that caught my eye were Bruno’s Osso Bucco (page 227) - one of the many recipes donated by friends and family, Pork Belly with Turnips and Prunes (page 235) and Leon’s Chilli Con Carne (page 219) -I’m always on the lookout for new chilli recipes.

The book keeps the reader glued with every page turn with tips, ideas, anecdotes, photo’s and random quirky features such as the stickers page (yes you read that right – it certainly pleased the three year old!), extracts from Leon's (Ludgate Circus) drawer of wishes and my favourite, the ‘Dressing up shop bought ice cream’ pull-out located right in the middle – the photo’s alone make the book worth buying.

Despite all this praise a review wouldn’t be good and proper without testing one of the recipes. I decided to make the Cheese and Ham Muffins on page 172 (see below) and they turned out just perfect, especially served with my Pumpkin and Apple Soup. All in all this really is a cookery book to be treasured, well thumbed and entertained by all at the same time.

Ham and Cheese Muffins

Cheese and Ham Muffins
Ingredients: to make 12
6 slices of ham, chopped
190g cheddar, grated
75g butter, cut into pieces
1 egg
250ml milk
300g self raising flour
1/2 TSP paprika
pinch of sea salt

Method:
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 190c and line a muffin tin
Step 2: Beat the egg in a bowl with the milk.
Step 3: Sieve the flour, paprika and salt into a large bowl and run in the butter until it looks like breadcrumbs
Step 4: Add the ham and cheese and pour in the eggy milk - mix thoroughly
Step 5: Spoon into the muffin cases and bake for 20 minutes.
Beth Sachs
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Pumpkin, Apple and Sage Soup


Pumpkin, Apple and Sage Soup

A very large pumpkin had sat staring at me for quite a number of days in my vegetable rack so when Friday came (my day off) ... and it was raining, I thought I'd better turn the monster into something edible. Despite the time it took to chop up all the pumpkin flesh (a job I very much dislike!), it was on the table in less than an hour, so not bad really.

The apples were a bit of the spur of the moment thing, but they really worked and the cider vinegar gave it a tangy edge. I served it with some cheesy toasts using some of the Dorset Blue Vinney I was kindly sent from The Cheese Shed.

PUMPKIN, APPLE AND SAGE SOUP

| Serves: 4  | Prep Time: 20 Minutes | Cook Time: 40 Minutes | Total Time: 1 Hour |


Ingredients: 

  • 15g Butter
  • 2 onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, sliced
  • 1TSP Sage
  • 1/2 TSP Chilli Flakes
  • 1 TBSP Cider Vinegar
  • 1 large Pumpkin, peeled, cored and flesh cut into chunks
  • 2 Bramley Apples, peeled and chopped
  • 800ml Vegetable Stock
  • Seasoning

Instructions:

  • Step 1: Melt the butter in a large pan then add the onion and garlic and cook gently for 5-10 minutes until soft.
  • Step 2: Add the sage, chilli and cider vinegar and cook for a minute before adding the pumpkin and apple.
  • Step 3: After 3-4 minutes, add in the stock and season well. Bring to the boil then turn down the heat and cook for 20-30 minutes until the pumpkin is cooked through.
  • Step 4: Liquidise the soup and serve with some cheesy toasts.

| Author: Beth Sachs | Date: 8th November 2015 |


Beth Sachs
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Win a Hotel Chocolat Advent Calendar





COMPETITION CLOSED
Christmas is not so far away (7 weeks to be exact) and to celebrate Hotel Chocolat have plied me with chocolate...again. They have kindly let me road test not one but two Advent Calendars  AND given you the opportunity to win them in a little Christmas competition (2 winners this time so double the chance of winning).

First up was the Childrens Advent Calendar which Lowen reviewed (although I think she was getting confused thinking it actually was Christmas - she's only 3!). The Advent Calender was filled with milk chocolate in 6 different festive shapes, Lowens favourite being the reindeer below. The calendar also included 3 Christmas decorations to cut out and hang on your tree.


Hubby and I got to road test the Truffles for Share Calendar, which handily has two truffles behind each window - no more fighting over one chocolate for us! There are 6 different varieties of truffles, my favourite was the mousse au chocolat but the gingerbread truffle came a close second. Hubby's favourite was the Orange Liquor.


To be in with a chance of winning both the Childrens Advent Calendar and Truffles to Share Calendar all you have to do is;
1. Check out Hotel Chocolats christmas gifts and let me know which gift you would most like to find in your stocking on Christmas Day.
2. Leave your answers in the comments section of this post, or the Jam and Clotted Cream Facebook Page. I will also accept entries on Twitter (start your tweet @jamandcream HChoc).
3. Competition open to UK residents only.
4. Competition closes on 19th November at 5pm.
5. Share the competition on Facebook or RT on Twitter for an extra entry (use the widget at the bottom of this post).
Beth Sachs
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Foodie Events in Cornwall ~ November 2010





24th - 27th November - Made in Cornwall Christmas Fair, Lemon Quay, Truro. Huge array of Cornish food, drinks and crafts.

27th November - Celtic Beer Festival, St Austell Brewery.

27th -28th November  - Cotehele Christmas Food Fair at Cotehele House nr Saltash. Annual Food Festival organised by Taste of the West. £2 admission.

Events at Amelies Restaurant, Porthleven this month
Pie & Ale night - every Tuesday
Tuesday nights at Amélies are homemade pie and ale nights. Priced at £12.50, you get a homemade pie with seasonal vegetables, hand cut chips and a bottle of your favourite ale.
£10 Curry and stew night - every Thursday (except 11th and 25th)Choose between chef Marcus Houghton’s incredible curries served with rice, naan bead and chutneys, or a wholesome stew with oven-baked bread. All meals are served with a bottle of beer and are priced at £10.00.
70s night - Thursday 11th November
Take yourself back to a brighter era, with a funky disco, and retro buffet of classic 1970s dishes: prawn cocktails, Waldorf salad, and cheese and pineapple on stick as well as a glass of punch on arrival. From 7pm till late, tickets are £15.
La Dolce Vita - Thursday 25th November
For one night Amélies becomes Amalfi. Serving a four course set menu comprising antipasti, primi piatti, secondi piatti, and a contorni, all paired with a great bottle of Italian wine for two to share. Tickets are priced at £35.00.
Beth Sachs
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