Saturday, October 18, 2014

APPLE AND FENNEL SEED SODA BREAD

Rustic, crumbly soda bread
1 small loaf


100g stoneground rye flour
50g strong white bread flour, plus extra to dust
100g wholemeal flour
2 tbsp ground linseed/flaxseed
1 tbsp toasted chopped hazelnuts
1 tsp sesame seeds
1 tbsp fennel seeds
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp flaked sea salt
1/2 grated apple
200ml whole milk

1.  Heat the oven to 210C/fan190C/gas 7. Lightly flour a baking sheet.
2. Mix all the dry ingredients in a large bowl then add the milk and stir to form a wet dough. Scrape the dough into a ball and lift onto the baking sheet. Dust the dough with a little flour and slice a cross in the top with a very sharp knife. 
3. Bake the loaf for 1 hour until crusty and baked through. Stick a skewer in it; if the centre is very sticky, put it back in for a little longer. Allow the loaf to cool before slicing or tearing, and spreading on lots of butter.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

The Recipe Wheel

There are few things more satisfying or exciting as seeing a book come together. It never occurred to me how well a small, buzzy idea could evolve into a tangible object. My brain, there, in a book. After two years of brainstorming, drawing, painting, writing, cooking and reading over and over, The Recipe Wheel has taken on full, beautiful, book form.

It's moved from scribbling.




To stamping.


To testing, tasting and tweaking.


simple roast chicken

cavolo nero and pearl barley

rhubarb creme brulee

White loaf, molasses bread and soft white roll

To reading, and reading.



And, with the creative input of genius designer Will Webb, to crafting.

an early draft of the risotto wheel
the cover

It's finally here!

With any luck you'll enjoy reading and making the recipes, and you'll love, as much as I did, coming up with your own wheels. Post your ideas for wheel tangents, images of your recipes you've cooked, and illustrations with your own wheels on twitter, using #TheRecipeWheel.

Order The Recipe Wheel here, find a copy in Books for Cooks, pick one up in your local bookshop, or read more about it and buy from Waterstones.

Saturday, June 28, 2014

GOAT'S CURD AND LEMON PANCAKES


Goat's curd - a creamy, fresh and mild goats cheese that is made by straining the whey from milk - is heaven. I smooth it onto rye toasts with a sweet/savoury honey walnut pesto, or I toss it through cooled, cooked potatoes with crushed garlic and thyme for an easy potato salad.

It's easier to make than buy - though Neals Yard Dairy do a delicious unpasteurised version at about £8 a yogurt pot sized tub (not cheap but it's worth it). Better to make your own by straining wholemilk goat's yogurt through a muslin or clean dishcloth overnight, neatly tied up over a bowl, so the whey drips away, and the solids thicken.


These pancakes make for a perfect weekend breakfast, piled high on a plate and drizzled with honey. You can swap the curd for ricotta for a classic version, but the goat gives a gentle tang that makes them completely moreish when balanced with sweet fruit and sticky syrup. Makes 6-8 small, fluffy pancakes.

Goat's curd and lemon breakfast pancakes


30g unsalted butter, plus extra, melted, for brushing
3 medium free range eggs
200g goat's curd, plus extra to serve
20g caster sugar
zest of a small lemon
50g plain flour

honey, raspberries and nectarines to serve

1. Melt the butter in a pan and leave to cool. Separate the egg whites into a large scrupulously clean bowl, and the yolks into another.
2. Whisk the goat's curd, sugar, lemon zest into the egg yolks until smooth. Fold in the butter, followed by the flour.
3. Beat the whites with a clean hand whisk to stiff peaks. Stir a tablespoonful of  whisked egg whites into the yolk mix to loosen, then gently fold the rest in, using a metal spoon, being careful not to knock the air out.
4. Brush a pan with a little butter and put over a medium heat. Gently dollop 6-8 large tablespoonfuls of the mixture into the pan and fry for 2-3 minutes on each side until golden and speckled, and just cooked through.
 5. Plate up immediately, dousing the pancakes in honey and top with fresh fruit. Serve with extra curd if you like. 

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

PIZZETTE BIANCHE

I've been on a mad hunt for firm, smoked ricotta for months and months, ever since I grated some into a sauce with nduja and homemade passata at work (that fella Francesco Mazzei won my heart from the first mouthful). I still haven't got my grubby hands on any - and that's because it's a very seasonal (and very shy) cheese.

I did find, to huge delight, a ball of sweet, creamy, woody smoked provola. This has completely eased the search - and, dare I say, possibly gazumped the smoked ricotta. Get some - it's total heaven. And put it on littles pizzas to share before dinner. 

PIZZETTE BIANCHE
with smoked provola and 'n'duja

(makes 8 little white pizzas for nibbling or 4 large ones)
Takes 15 minutes to make, plus proving, 10 minutes to cook


7g sachet of fast-action dried yeast
½ tbsp caster sugar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
300ml lukewarm water
500g Tipo '00' flour or strong white bread flour
1tsp fine sea salt
50g finely ground semolina flour

for the topping
1 x 250g ball of smoked buffalo provola (available from good Italian delis and Natoora)
few teaspoons of 'n'duja (as above)
grated lemon zest (optional)
parsley leaves to serve

1. Mix the yeast, sugar, oil and half the lukewarm water together and set aside for 10 minutes to fizz and froth. Combine the flours and salt together in a bowl and make a well in the centre. Pour the yeast mix and the rest of the warm water into the well and gradually beat in the flour with a fork, until the dough starts to come together.  Knead in the bowl for 5-10 minutes until the dough is soft and elastic. Cover the bowl with clingfilm and leave to rise in a warm place for an hour until almost doubled in size.

2. Preheat the oven to 180C/fan160/gas 4. Knock the dough back on a lightly oiled surface and roll into 8 little balls (or 4 large ones). You can leave it in the fridge at this point for up to 3 hours, wrapped in clingfilm until ready to use or freeze it, tightly wrapped in clingfilm, for use another day.

3. Scatter the table with the semolina. Flatten each ball into a circle, pressing the dough out with your fingertips, and stretch with a rolling pin into 8 x 1/2cm thick circles. No need to be neat.

4. Place the rolled dough onto lightly oiled tin foil or a floured baking sheet. Tear on the scamorza to top the dough, then drop small dots of the nduja on top. Slide onto a baking tray and bake for 15 minutes until the edges and base of the pizzas are crisp.


5. Remove from the oven and slice while still baking hot and the cheese is stringy. Top with lemon zest, if you like, and the parsley then season and serve on pretty wooden boards.

[THIS RECIPE IS A TWEAKED VERSION OF ONE THAT WILL APPEAR IN MY FIRST COOKBOOK THE RECIPE WHEEL (EBURY), AVAILABLE TO PREORDER ON AMAZON FOR RELEASE IN JULY]

Saturday, January 25, 2014

BERGAMOT SORBET

Bergamots - pale fleshed, pale skinned (though some are green) and petite like a blood orange - have the most extraordinary flavour. Their juice is full of perfume and fresh, fresh citrus, and smells like a cup of the best Earl Grey tea imaginable.

Halved bergamots

Eating this sorbet was a perfect antidote to a cripplingly heavy lunch (mini pizzette with smoked provola, then sausages in red wine with parmesan polenta and pink radicchio, and more cheese after that); just tangy enough that you can get a full dose of bergamot, but not so much that your eyes start to water.

Bergamo sorbet
350g caster sugar
4 unwaxed bergamots, zested and juiced

1. Gently heat the sugar with 600ml water in a pan until the sugar has dissolved. Bring to the boil and simmer for 3 minutes then remove from the heat and stir in the bergamot zest. Allow to infuse and cool completely.
2. Stir in the juice and strain into the bowl of an ice cream machine and churn the machine until almost frozen then transfer to the freezer to set. Alternatively pour the cooled syrup into a large, shallow, freezeproof tub and freeze. Fluff up the sorbet with a fork every hour, then after 4 hours, leave to freeze. Keep it covered in the freezer for up to 3 months. 

Next time I might drizzle it in dark honey to serve, or infuse the syrup with pieces of ginger.


James Ramsden: "spectac"
[Must admit, bergamots aren't the easiest things to get you paws on but you can buy them here at Natoora. Now is when their at their best.]

Monday, January 13, 2014

CAVOLO NERO & HAZELNUT PESTO


Cavolo nero and hazelnut pesto

200g cavolo nero, trimmed of thick stems, washed and chopped
3 tbsp toasted hazelnuts
3 anchovies in oil
1 fat garlic clove
good handful of watercress leaves
juice and zest of 1/2 lemon
25g parmesan, grated
100ml olive oil
salt and pepper

Whiz all but the olive oil in a food processor then, still whizzing, gradually pour in the olive oil until you have a thick pesto. Season generously.

Stir through pasta, scoop up with crisps, dollop onto soup.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

BROWN SUGAR PEAR CAKE

Brown sugar pear cake (for pudding)


for the pears
2 large ripe pears (such as comice) peeled
juice of a lemon
100g caster sugar
2 slices of fresh ginger
splash of brandy

for the cake
100g golden caster sugar
100g light brown sugar
1 tsp sea salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground ginger
100g ground almonds
100g semolina
1 tsp vanilla extract
zest of a lemon
4 medium free range eggs, lightly beaten
200ml olive oil

1. Place the pears in a deep saucepan with 300ml water or just enough to cover. Add the lemon juice, sugar, ginger and brandy and bring to simmer. Simmer over a medium-low heat for 10-15 minutes until just beginning to soften and the poaching liquid has taken on some of the flavour. Remove the pears with a slotted spoon and allow to cool. Don't worry if they start to brown.
2. Vigorously simmer the juices for 20 minutes so they reduce into roughly 75ml of golden, caramel-like syrup. Pour almost all of the syrup in the bottom of a lightly greased 20cm springform cake tin and swirl to cover a bit. Slice the pears in half, remove the core and thinly slice. Layer onto the caramel base in a spiral shape, overlapping slightly and covering entirely.
3. Preheat the oven to 180C/fan160C/gas 4. In a large bowl, mix together the dry ingredients. Stir through the eggs and olive oil to make a wet batter. Pour the batter over the pears and slide the cake tin, on a baking sheet, into the oven. Bake for 50 minutes to 1 hour until golden and a skewer comes out clean.
4. Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 10 minutes, before turning it out onto a wire rack. While still warm, brush the remaining syrup onto the pears. Best served warm (not hot) with a drizzle of cream.