A fresh, light and creamy treat that will be a great Easter afternoon tea - especially if you’re looking for a break from all of that chocolate. Madeleine shares her recipe for mini Tarte au Citron.
This is my favourite dessert. I have eaten it for my birthday almost every year of my whole life. So fresh, light and creamy.
Since quitting sugar I’ve become very experimental with dessert, making treats that taste amazing without the sugar! Stevia has been my new best friend. Stevia is a great natural sweetener that is 200 to 300 times sweeter than sugar (so please be very sparing with it). Stevia has been used for centuries by the Guarani Indians of South America. Not only is it a sugar free sweetener but is also acts as an anti-fungal, anti-inflammatory and antibiotic agent.
I have used desiccated coconut in the base which gives it more sweetness and a slightly tropical feel to the dish. This is the perfect Easter afternoon treat to serve after lunch. It goes really well with some fresh raspberries and cream.
Tarte au Citron (makes 10 tarts)
6 tbsp of coconut oil or butter
300 g of almond meal
150 g of desiccated coconut
A pinch of Stevia
A pinch of salt
2 egg whites
2 egg yolks and 4 eggs
2 tbsp of coconut oil
2 tbsp of almond meal
A large pinch of Stevia
Set the oven to 180 C
Base: Melt the coconut oil in a pan on a low heat, take it off the heat and add in the almond meal, desiccated coconut, stevia and salt and mix this together.
Crack two eggs and add in the egg whites (leave the yolks for the filling.) Stir well until the mixture forms a slightly gooey texture, press the mixture in small tart molds, ½ a cm thick, to make crust shapes.
Place in the oven to cook for 15 minutes.
When the base is done pour in the filling into each one. Then bake for 15-20 minutes until the edges get crispy.
Allow the tarts to cool for ten minutes before you dig in.
Inspired? What willl you be baking this Easter? There’s plenty of ideass in our Easter Recipe Collection at Great British Chefs.
Great British Chefs – Cooking with Kids – Infographic
Here’s a sneak peek at our Cooking with Kids Survey Infographic - full results coming your way on Tuesday 27th March.
Bacon – an essential part of the Full English Breakfast and the delicious filling in a bacon butty, a meat so delicious and enticing that when Karen became a vegetarian for a couple of years; it was one of the hardest foods to resist! She now explores a week dedicated to this cured delicacy and staple.
I eventually gave up vegetarianism and pledged only to eat meat with provenance, but, I do remember that I could have happily eaten a bacon sarnie in a flash during my enforced meat-free period. And, I am glad to report for all of you bacon lovers out there, we in the UK have a Bacon Connoisseurs Week, a week dedicated to this cured delicacy and a time to promote British pork as well as explore new recipes.
The seventh annual Bacon Connoisseurs’ Week takes place from the 18th to the 24th March 2013. The week has been established to communicate to consumers that “Not all Bacon is the same”. It also aims to highlight our rich heritage of bacon curing and how many different varieties of premium bacon are available. Under the theme “Great Bacon Revolution” there will be lots of activity during the week to promote the availability and range of quality bacon such as that produced under the Red Tractor logo.
One of the first activities is the hotly contested competition for producers of bacon to compete to see who is best. The Great Bacon Revolution Awards 2013 results are out, and for those of you who are interested, you can see the results here: The Great Bacon Revolution Awards 2013 Results.
In the supermarket section, it was nice to see Cranswick Gourmet Bacon in the finalists (Morrison’s Old Fashioned Cure British Back Bacon); with their bacon that uses an Old English recipe. This style has been used for over 100 years, and is cured with juniper, cloves, muscavado sugar and a hint of black pepper, which gives this bacon has a very distinctive flavour.
In the Butcher’s finalists list, there are bacon cures with smoked cherry wood, beetroot and black pepper as well as Traditional Dry Cured Back Bacon from Cheerbrook Quality Farm Food which is made from loin of Free Range Pork, rubbed with traditional dry salts, then gently massaged and turned for 10 days before slicing and serving. Food Service finalists also boast innovative bacon with an Oak Smoked Dry Cure, Maple Cured and a Wiltshire Cured Back Bacon flavoured with Sweet Chilli, thus proving that bacon can be exciting as well as tasty and versatile.
There are many styles of bacon, and American bacon is very different to our own home-grown British bacon, which also comes under the same banner as Irish and Canadian bacon. American style bacon has a higher ratio of fat to meat, and comes from the belly (or side) of the pig – it’s nearer to what we call “streaky” bacon in the UK. British and Irish Bacon, plus the style of bacon that Americans call “Canadian Bacon” is quite lean and comes from the loin of the pig, and has a higher meat to fat ratio. The only other difference is the slice and rasher debate – we call individual pieces of bacon “rashers” in the UK, and the Americans call them “slices”.
I am a bit if a bacon fiend, I love bacon for breakfast as well as for tea, lunch and supper too. One of my favourite meals is an “All Day Breakfast” which comprises bacon, eggs, sausage, black pudding, tomatoes and a slice of naughty fried bread. I have a slightly healthier Baked Full English Breakfast Recipe, which is just as delicious, but as the title suggests, the whole meal is baked rather than fried, so you have all the taste but not as many calories. And, you cannot beat a good old-fashioned bacon butty, (Bacon Sandwich) which is suitable for any time of the day, or night! Another bacon favourite is an old family recipe for My Grandma’s Traditional Yorkshire Pudding Recipe (for Breakfast), which is Yorkshire pudding batter with bacon, sausages and tomatoes in it, similar to Toad in the Hole.
However you like your bacon, Bacon Connoisseurs Week is a great way to embrace our own home-grown piggy produce, along with Red Tractor farmers, producers and lots of celebrities, such as Faye Ripley. Red Tractor bacon is bacon with quality and provenance, and I am a big supporter of them, as critical step of the food supply chain is independently inspected to ensure food is produced to quality standards by assured farmers, growers and producers in the UK, from farm to pack.
The Red Tractor logo is basically a guarantee of quality and origin, and with the recent horsemeat scandal, we need this guarantee more now than ever.
Before I go, I thought you might like to see a few Bacon Facts, as shared on the Bacon Connoisseurs Week website:
Interesting Bacon Facts:
According to a survey of 2000 Brits by UK Food Network, Bacon takes the number one spot in Britain’s Top 100 Foods, closely followed by chocolate and steak
The Bacon sandwich remains the most popular out‐of‐home snack with 324million servings in the 12 months to September 2012, an increase of 2.9% (year‐on‐year)
Bacon – more than any other protein – is at the top of the consumers’ shopping list. Seven out of ten bacon shoppers have made the decision to buy even before they enter the store
The reason that bacon has been such an important food for so many years is simply because ‘cured’ or ‘preserved’ bacon provided many of our ancestors with their only source of meat during the long and often harsh winters
The country’s earliest traditional breakfast of bacon and eggs dates back to 1560
British Bacon is part of our national heritage; there are records of the Romans salting sides of bacon as early as 200BC and Julius Caesar brought his own bacon with him when he landed in ancient Britain in 55BC
To bring home the bacon – there are several possible origins to this saying. One goes back almost a thousand years to the Essex village of Dunmow where, it is said, in AD1111 a noble woman offered a prize of a side of bacon, known locally as a flitch, to any man from anywhere in England who could honestly say that he had had complete marital harmony for the preceding year and a day. In over 500 years there were only eight winners. An alternative explanation comes from the ancient sport of catching a greased pig at country fairs. The winner kept the pig and ‘brought home the bacon’
This Bacon Connoisseurs’ week, I am going to investigate new cuts and cures of bacon, as well as develop some new recipes, and enjoy bacon! What will you do? I hope that you will be able to enjoy of our excellent British bacon, and serve bacon for tea, lunch and supper as well as breakfast. You can find more recipes on the Bacon Connoisseurs’ week website, as well as a handy recipe booklet that you can download here: Bacon Recipes & Recipe Booklet. Bon Appetite!
Inspired? You’ll find many tasty bacon recipes in Great British Chefs collection.
What better way is there to celebrate St Patrick’s Day than by dressing in green and drinking a pint of the black stuff? Well, how about eating it instead? Victoria shares a delicious chocolate and mousse recipe, which even if you’re not a fan of Ireland’s famous stout, you’re sure you’ll be tempted.
A Pint of the Black Stuff for St Patrick’s Day
In the spirit of full disclosure, I have to admit that I can’t think of many drinks I’d rather drink less than a pint of Guinness. A cup of Rooibos tea, possibly… I find Guinness ferrous to the point of bloody, which is almost certainly why it makes such a happy marriage with beef in a succulent slice of pie. For my money, Guinness is at its best when slugged into a stew or baked into a cake and it sings beautifully when paired with chocolate too.
If you haven’t yet tried a damply dark and decadent chocolate and Guinness cake, I can’t help but wonder what you’ve been doing with your time. Make it and eat it, and I promise you’ll not regret it – even if you’re not much of a fan of black Irish stout.
I often make chocolate and Guinness cake, but this year, after a steaming bowl of Irish stew, instead of raising a pint of Guinness to St Patrick, I’m planning on raising a glass of chocolate and Guinness mousse. It’s deliciously moreish and the Guinness adds an extra depth and darkness that elevates this simple pud to something a bit more special. For extra fun, I added an extra swirl of Guinness just before pouring it into the glasses, to give it that just “waiting to stand” look you get when you pour a pint. I tried to beg, borrow or… er … buy some half pint glasses, but unfortunately I couldn’t get my hands on any in time, so had to make do with Duralex. If you have more luck, these are even more fun when served in half pint glasses, or even a full pint for the most gluttonous gourmand in your life.
Chocolate and Guinness Mousse
Makes 4 half pints
4 large eggs, separated
120g dark chocolate
1 – 2 tbsp. golden syrup (depending on how sweet you like it)
60g unsalted butter
2 leaves of gelatine, soaked in water
A pinch of salt
300ml double/whipping cream
A generous splash of vanilla extract (optional)
Icing sugar to taste.
Melt the chocolate and butter together in a heatproof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Remove from the heat and whisk in the squeezed out gelatine until fully melted, before adding the Guinness and golden syrup, followed by the egg yolks. In a separate and spotlessly clean bowl, whisk the egg whites and salt together to the soft peak stage. Vigorously beat one spoonful of the whites into the chocolate mixture to slacken it slightly, before folding the remaining whites into the mixture with a large metal spoon. Pour the mousse into your glasses, making sure you leave enough room at the top for the creamy “head”. Pop the glasses in the fridge overnight to set.
Once the mousse has set, whisk the cream, add a splash of vanilla and sift over some icing sugar and whisk again. Taste for sweetness, adjusting if necessary. Use a palette knife to smooth the cream over the top of the chocolate and Guinness mousse before popping them back in the fridge until ready to serve.
Which recipes would you suggest for a St Patrick’s Day dessert? Let us know here or over on Great British Chefs Facebook Page.
At this time of year it’s easy to pop into a supermarket to buy Hot Cross Buns - in fact most major supermarkets start stocking them from February. However, this year, why not try making your own Hot Cross Buns? Rachel shares a delicious recipe to put your bread and bun making skills into practice.
Whilst hot cross buns are typically made for Easter, they actually pre-date the Christian celebration - the Saxons ate something similar to celebrate the goddess Eostre, the origin of the word Easter.
Get into the mood for Easter by baking up a batch of hot, spiced buns, and enjoy then with butter and jam at tea time!
P.S. I have a confession to make. I was cooking up some lovely Spiced Plum Compote while the buns were baking. And rather than boil up some apricot jam, it was just too easy to glaze the buns with… Well, I should have thought about the photos. I hope you’ll forgive the pink buns…
Hot Cross Buns
50g butter, cubed
500g strong bread flour
1 teaspoon salt
75g caster sugar
7g sachet fast-action or easy-blend yeast
Zest of 1 orange
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 egg, beaten
50g mixed peel
75g plain flour, plus extra for dusting
3 tablespoons ‘no bits’ apricot jam
Bring the milk to the boil, then remove from the heat and add the butter. Leave to cool until it reaches blood temperature, and a finger dipped in feels the same temperature as the liquid.
Put the flour, salt, sugar, yeast, zest and spices into a bowl and mix together. Make a well in the centre. Pour in the warm milk and butter mixture, then add the beaten egg. Using a wooden spoon or dough scraper, mix well and bring the mixture together until you have a sticky dough.
Tip on to a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Put the dough in a lightly oiled bowl. Cover with oiled cling film and leave to rise in a warm place for 1 hour or until doubled in size.
With the dough still in the bowl, tip in the sultanas and mixed peel. Knead into the dough, making sure everything is well distributed.
Divide the dough into 15 even pieces (about 75g per piece). Roll each piece into a smooth ball on a lightly floured work surface. Arrange the buns on two baking trays lined with parchment, leaving enough space for the dough to expand. Cover lightly with more oiled cling film or a clean tea towel, and prove for 1 hour more.
Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Mix the flour with about 5 tablespoons of water to make the paste for the cross, just adding enough for a thick paste. Spoon into a piping bag and cut a small hole. Pipe a cross on each bun. Bake for 13-17 minutes until golden brown.
Over a low heat, dissolve the apricot jam with a splash of water in a small pan. Brush the jam over the top of the warm buns and leave to cool.
Are you inspired to try making your own Hot Cross Buns? If you’re looking ideas for leftover or stale Hot Cross Buns, try this Hot Cross Bun Bread & Butter Pudding. Otherwise there’s plenty more Easter ideas in our Easter Recipe Collection at Great British Chefs.
There are fewer beverages more associated with the Irish than Guinness and St. Patrick’s Day presents a sound excuse for exploring this famous stout in all of its guises, both as a beverage and as an ingredient in cooking. Monica shares how it can be used to create a delicious ice cream
Last year I discovered that Guinness is an excellent addition to mushrooms on toast. This year, I’ve discovered that Guinness is equally adaptable to sweet recipes, too.
I found my inspiration in The Icecreamists: Vice Creams, Ice Cream Recipes & Other Guilty Pleasures by Matt O’Connor and his recipe for Brown Bread and Irish Stout Ice Cream. I’d never heard of “brown bread ice cream” before but it seems to be a “thing” in Ireland and Britain. It goes back to 18th-century Victorian times and has been a popular flavour in England and Ireland ever since. The premise is this: take ice cream, mix in crunchy caramelised bits of bread crumbs and devour it with gusto. Sounds good, right? And this version is a particular tribute to the Irish, made with brown Irish soda bread and our beloved Guinness.
The ice cream base is a basic custard, kicked up with cinnamon and nutmeg (a LOT of nutmeg, which I love). For the brown soda bread, I use the recipe in Bread: River Cottage Handbook No. 3 which includes dark treacle for a sweet, molassesy kick – basically perfect for this ice cream (you could also try Bryan Webb’s soda bread recipe available on Great British Chefs).
The recipe only calls for 50ml of Guinness, which leaves plenty left over for drinking, but also makes me think a little extra Guinness in the ice cream wouldn’t hurt, particularly with all the strong spices. Regardless, the final result is a total win. Caramelised bread crumbs in ice cream – or in anything for that matter – might be my new favourite thing.
Guinness and Brown Bread Ice Cream
Adapted from The Icecreamists.
Do you know anyone with a food intolerance? With more and more people having conditions where they have to watch what they eat, Kathryn, wanted to experience what it was like to give up gluten. She met mixed reactions from friends, but on a positive note, it’s led her to create some delicious coeliac recipes including these colourful cookies
It has never once crossed my mind that having zero food intolerances or allergies is something I should be grateful for. I am reluctant and embarrassed to admit that. I know one person with Coeliac disease, one of my best friends. It struck me recently that I know next to nothing about her condition. What I do know is the trauma she went through before she was diagnosed, a common reality it appears, and often the result of lack of awareness, knowledge and respect for food intolerances and allergies.
I wanted to get to know this condition better - to understand what it is like to be diagnosed with a condition which forces you to reshape your life around the food that you eat. In my mind the only way to understand it, is to live it, and so have eliminated gluten from my diet entirely for five weeks, sharing and blogging my experiences and recipes in that time.
My decision to give up gluten has been met with mixed reactions. Reactions which could very simply be divided into two camps. There are the people and friends who are genuinely interested, and supportive - we like them! I have been getting to know some really amazing people who are doing amazing gluten free things. The ‘others’ (as I am going to call them!), the reaction that continues to surprise me the most, is that of sheer bewilderment and confusion.
This I can understand to a degree, I am as much of a gluten junkie as the next bread, pizza and pasta addict, and life without all of the above can seem glum (for the record, I am coming to learn that it is not). What I don’t understand is the confusion over why on earth I would want to learn how to cook gluten free recipes for my blog, or eat a gluten free diet. To quote my most recent confrontation, ‘Cooking for a Coeliac is a pain in the ….!’ You get my drift.
This infuriates me. Gluten free food has a stigma of being hugely inferior. In certain cases, yes, there are considerable differences in taste and flavour- bread for example. But there is so much more to a diet than bread and all of its other gluten heavy partners in crime. I am genuinely shocked by the animosity and disdain I have encountered for gluten free food. I can’t help but feel it is unfounded and small minded.
Gluten free food is far from some kind of life sentence, nor, I dare say, is it worthy of the abuse it seems to generate. Gluten free is by no means a universal translation for tasteless. Having to think laterally about the food that I eat has opened up a whole new exciting world of people, products, ingredients and recipes. I disagree totally with the perception that gluten free is inferior.
Throughout this gluten free five weeks I wanted to create recipes for Coeliacs which celebrate the fact that they are gluten free, leaving nothing to be desired in terms of flavour and fun. I began to think about Mother’s day, and how it would be nice to create a recipe which could double up as a gift for all Mum’s.
Since setting out on this project, I have come to realise how often I feel singled out, always having to enquire and request specifics in terms of gluten. Not always pleasant. I suspect it would be a real treat to eat in, or out, without having to ask a million questions. If your Mum or wife is gluten intolerant, I imagine treating her with a gluten free foodie gift will make her feel very special indeed!
Pistachio, Cranberry and Chocolate Gluten Free Cookies
Makes 16 cookies
200g unsalted butter
200g light brown sugar
1 heaped tsp of vanilla bean paste
1 tsp baking powder
450g of brown rice flour
100g dried cranberries, 50g left whole, 50g chopped roughly
100g dark chocolate, chopped roughly
30g of poppy seeds
50g of pistachio nuts, chopped roughly
Line and baking tray with greaseproof paper and set aside. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Using a free standing mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
Add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the vanilla bean paste. Now add your flour and baking powder, in two batches.
With the second batch, add 70g of the chocolate, 20g of the poppy seeds, 50g whole dried cranberries and 30g of chopped pistachios and mix together well. Set the remaining toppings aside.
For each cookie estimate about 1 heaped tablespoon of mix. Use the back of your spoon to flatten down to about 1cm thickness, aiming for a general round shape.
Now sprinkle on a little of each topping and give the cookies one final gentle press with your fingers to make sure the toppings stick. Bake in the oven for about 15-20 minutes. Keep an eye on them around the 15 minute mark as they change colour and darken very quickly.
Allow the cookies to rest on the tray for about 5 minutes before transferring them to a cooling rack, or your mouth!
Inspired? There are more delicious gluten free recipes on Great British Chefs
Although it’s National Mamalade Week, this zesty preserve isn’t just for toast. Tolani shares her top ten tasty tips for taking marmalade away from the breakfast table and making into a star of other meals.
Photo by Robert Walster
I can always remember marmalade being an essential ingredient in my house growing up. It was my mums’ favourite spread and she was adamant that it became ours too, which had her spreading dollops onto our toast or into our porridge bowls right before school. So it was with great sorrow this year that I read it no longer ranks amongst the nation’s favourites, owing its decline to modern spreads such as Marmite, peanut butter or hazelnut chocolate spread; Paddington bear would surely not be pleased.
A fad I say, as no other holds as much history or confidence of variations, practically any ingredient can be made into marmalade; onions, citrus fruits, prunes, cherries, apricots, pears, the list is just endless and the best truly is homemade which allows as much creative license as you could imagine.
With Marmalade Week (2nd – 9th March), we wanted to bring you our Top 10 tips on how to include marmalade into your much loved recipes during the festivities, not only to take it out of the breakfast arena but to prove its yummy goodness and reign as champion.
1. Hot Turkey and caramelised `onion tart
Why not try this quick and easy recipe by Adam Gray, which uses onion marmalade? You can swap the turkey if you want for another meat or simply leave it out all together
2. In omelettes:
Add a twist by including a spoonful of orange marmalade and bit of zest from an orange into your mixture
3. Marmalade and Whisky punch
To serve four friends: start by mixing 2 large spoonful’s of orange marmalade, the juice of two small lemons and four glasses of gin into a shaker. Shake well and serve into glasses, finish with a squeeze of an orange rind.
Yorkshire tea brack with marmalade, chocolate and caramel
Or how about this fantastic dessert by Frances Atkins that’s sure to leave your guests smiling.
5. Marmalade Tofu:
As a glaze over tofu, combine 3 ½ table spoons of marmalade with ½ a table spoon each of chilli flakes, black pepper, ginger and fresh lemon juice with a dash of soy sauce. Spread liberally over your pieces of tofu and bake at 400 degrees Celsius for 30 minutes, flipping them halfway so that they cook evenly.
6. As a glaze:
Derbyshire Marmalade Tea Loaf by Claire Sutton
I recommend carrot or banana cake, just pop half a cup of marmalade into the microwave first for optimum results. You can also add three tablespoons to a loaf mixture to jazz up a much loved bread recipe.
Marmalade Glazed Gammon
For meats, try this recipe for a spicy chilli sauce. The recipe can be substituted with any meat cut so use it as much as you like. Mix together half a cup of sweet orange marmalade a spoon of chilli sauce with 25ml of orange juice and a dash of chilli flakes for extra spice. Pour over your selected meat and place into the oven for approximately 50 minutes. Once ready serve with a side of your choice for a sticky yet yummy meal.
8. Jaffa Cakes
Everyone loves a Jaffa cake, and with Marcus Wareing’s flavoursome recipe you can create your own unlimited batch involving a touch of marmalade garnish and ground almonds in the mix.
8. In savoury soups like Butternut squash
Butternut Squash collection
Before bringing the pieces of squash to boil, first bake in a marinade of butter, marmalade, cinnamon and nutmeg for 10 minutes to truly bring some extra taste to this winter warmer.
9. In a breakfast smoothie:
Put a spoon of marmalade, a banana, ice and some almond milk into a food processor and blend until smooth for a tasty yet healthy start to the day.
10. One dish wonder
Bring to boil a pot of rice and season with ground almonds and 2 equal tablespoons of ginger, garlic and black pepper with salt to taste. 10 minutes before the rice has cooked, add a spoon of marmalade with a spoon of lemon zest. Add a serving of king prawns, peas and sweet corn and leave till the prawns are cooked.
And lastly one more for good luck, a recipe from Vivien Lloyd on how to make your own homemade marmalade:
Photo by Robert Walster
Have you ever tried making your own marmalade and what are your tips? Let us know which other recipes you have used marmalade in?
Looking for a slightly naughty but nice treat for Mother’s Day? Look no further than Victoria’s playful cupcakes. They look traditional but with their touch of Amaretto, will let you give your mum a decadent cocktail in cake form!
Traditionally, before Easter nicked it, Mothering Sunday was celebrated with Simnel cake, but my mother is not traditional by nature, so you can keep your marzipan and fruitcake for another day. She deserves something a bit more fun and frivolous.
My Mum is a glamorous but self-effacing blonde, who hates shopping but loves shoes and has a penchant for navy strength gin. She goes tap dancing, plays the violin and loves botanical drawing. She is the mother of four daughters, gets impassioned about politics, loves dancing with her grandchildren and has loud fits of giggles at least twice a day. In the ‘60s, she worked in town planning at County Hall by day and stomped the Kings Road by night in the latest Biba, before rocking out to The Rolling Stones. She is warm and daft, beautiful but approachable, generous, clever and fidgety. She looks years younger than her age, gets excited by new ideas, but would be happier holidaying in Cornwall than any of the world’s most exotic places.
Most of all, my mum is a lot of fun - she throws her head back when she laughs, lets us borrow her clothes and will offer you the entire contents of her fridge if you visit. I have inherited that trait, along with her fear of under-catering, which is why you will rarely leave either her home or mine, hungry or sober.
With this in mind, I wanted to create a fun and slightly naughty cake for her that is also deceptively unassuming to look at. Pretty, yes, but not old fashioned, and delicate without being in the least bit fussy. I looked to the drinks cabinet for inspiration and dusted off a bottle of Amaretto, before rooting out a bag of sour cherries from the back of the cupboard. Amaretto Sour cocktail cupcakes, I decided, will make a very Happy Mother’s Day indeed!
Amaretto Sour Cocktail Cupcakes (gluten free)
I made these cakes gluten-free, as my mum, like so many of the people closest to me, is a gluten dodger. If your mother can eat wheat, you can substitute the rice flour with plain wheat flour if you wish.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan)/350°F (325°F fan)/Gas Mark 4 and line a 12 hole muffin tray with cupcake cases.
For the cakes
100g/4oz soft, unsalted butter
100g/4oz caster sugar
2 large eggs
50g/2oz ground almonds
50g/2oz rice flour
1 tsp. baking powder
The zest of 2 lemons
1 packet of dried sour cherries, soaked in 2 tbsp. Amaretto for 20 minutes.
For the icing
75g/3oz soft, unsalted butter
25g/1oz full fat Philadelphia
150g/6oz icing sugar
A generous splash of Amaretto
Natural glacé cherries to top, if you like.
Squeeze out the excess Amaretto from the cherries and reserve until later. Place the butter, sugar, eggs, almonds, rice flour and baking powder in a large mixing bowl and whisk with an electric hand whisk for a couple of minutes until light and fluffy. Whisk in the Amaretto from soaking the cherries to slightly slacken the mixture, before folding in the cherries and lemon zest. Spoon the mixture into the cupcake cases, two thirds full, and bake for 20 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
To make the icing, simply beat the butter and cream cheese together until soft and sift over half of the icing sugar. Whisk together until fully combined, before sifting over the second half of the icing sugar and whisking in. Add the Amaretto and whisk in and taste, whisking in more booze if needed for flavour.
Use a palette knife to smooth the icing over the tops of each cake before topping each one with a cherry.
Inspired? There’s a whole collection of Mother’s Day recipes over on Great British Chefs.
Great British Chefs have partnered with their friends at SABATIER, to offer this Cast Iron Roaster and set of Sabatier knives worth £150 in time for Easter.
To be in with a chance of winning this incredible prize, simply answer the following question:
Which two digits should you use when skinning a duck breast?
Head over to GBC to enter now:
About the prize:
The cast iron absorbs heat evenly and spreads it gently for excellent heat retention whilst cooking.
The sturdy roasting dish is compatible with all heat sources, including gas, electric, induction and ceramic top hobs. Its even oven safe to 250 degrees centigrade
Ever fancied becoming a butcher? Chris recently went on a Butchery class at The Ginger Pig. He learnt how to make his own sausages and came away knowing what sorts of ingredients to seek or avoid when buying them in the future.
It was a collective present for my 40th from a small group of friends. A really great present too! I had received a gift voucher for a butchery class at the Ginger Pig. Having now attended one of the Pig’s classes, I am happy to recommend just such a consideration for any self respecting carnivore you might be shopping for. In fact, I just went in on the purchase of another Ginger Pig voucher with the same group of friends for another birthday boy among us.
With two decades in the business and five butcher shops throughout London selling rare breed meat reared across more than 3,000 acres of the North York Moors, The Ginger Pig is one of the best known and most highly respected bands of butchers in all of Britain. Offering classes that allow the public behind the counter and the chopping block demonstrates confidence and a refreshing nothing-to-hide approach to promoting the quality of their products.
The Ginger Pig offers four types of classes: pork, lamb, beef and sausage making. I was stuck at first deciding which class to take but opted for the sausage making. I reckoned it would be the most practical for my purposes, and I was right. I walked away from the class with hands-on knowledge about how sausages are made along with plenty of my own self-made sausages for the freezer. I’m pretty sure I could replicate what we did during the session, and I’m more than certain I know what sort of ingredients to seek and avoid when buying sausages.
The sausages I made (two types: traditional English and garlicky Italian) during the class consisted of pork shoulder that was chopped, minced and seasoned by myself and a small group of fellow classmates (there were maybe around ten of us). The ones I took home were all stuffed into their casings and bunched together by me alone. Like so many of life’s nicest treats, the process behind making sausages is really basic, but getting them just right takes a lot of trial and error. My sausages were variant in size and a little wonky looking, but they cooked up well and tasted gorgeous. I left the class with more than enough for a few subsequent brekkies and lunches, a couple of dinners with guests and even some to share with my next door neighbours.
The class was taught by two butchers, Perry and Borut, at Ginger Pig’s Marylebone outlet on Moxon Street. As I understand it, the Moxon Street shop is the only venue for the classes which are all taught by Perry and Borut. Between them, Perry and Borut have more than 35 years of experience as butchers. They were both incredibly patient and accessible and seemed to really love what they do. There was even a bit of witty banter between the two that added to the informal fun of the class. After class, our instructors mingled with us while we dined on sausage and mash (what else?) accompanied by wine and followed by bread pudding.
With the recent horsemeat scandal in the news and more generally the reality of how removed most of us are from the actual source of much of the food we eat, learning about and making something … anything … edible with knowledgeable professionals who truly care about their trade was a meaningful gift and a remarkable way to spend a few hours. Getting to make and eat (and share) my very own sausages was delicious!
Find out more about The Ginger Pig’s butchery classes at learnbutchery.co.uk.
Why do we love pies? Few things are a comforting a hot pie with flaky or crumbly pastry and a piping hot filling. As it’s British Pie Week, Victoria pays homage to the humble pie - or in fact not so humble pie.
Few things in life cannot be improved by the addition of pastry. Buttery, flaky and crisp on the outside, with a hint of delicious goo from where it’s slurped up a bit juice from the filling, a really good pie can stun a whole table into silence.
I’ve got no beef with a lemon meringue or apple pie - in fact I think they’re wonderful - but for my money, the best pies are always meat pies. Oozing with savoury gravy and served with a generous dollop of mash, a meat pie is comfort food at its best.
When I was a child, I’d always go for good old-fashioned steak and kidney, even though I thought kidneys were revolting. I recognised, even then, that the kidney brought something extra to the flavour table and gave the gravy a special depth that couldn’t come from steak alone. I relished in the sense of danger that not quite knowing what was on the end of my fork could bring - like Russian roulette in pie form. Who says you shouldn’t play with your food?
Nowadays, I’m still a big fan of steak and kidney (and I’ll eat the kidney without so much as a wince in sight) or any other steak-based pie. It would be hard to go far wrong with steak and Guinness, steak and ale or steak in red wine, but (wo)man can’t live on steak alone.
This chicken, bacon and mushroom pie ticks all the right boxes for me. Intense savoury, meaty flavour, enough sauce for the mash to soak up and that perfect combination of crispy pastry on the outside, with a little bit of gravy-soaked goodness on the inside. I love a puff top, but flaky or short would work well too. You shouldn’t be scared to make your own puff pastry every now and then - it really is so much easier than everyone tries to make out. But, on days when you have better things to do, shop bought is almost as good as homemade, just make sure you pick up a pack that say “all butter”.
Chicken, bacon and mushroom pie
8 chicken thighs, skin on and bones in.
2 onions, chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic, crushed
6 rashers of smoked back bacon
250g (or thereabouts) of chestnut mushrooms
2 tbsp. plain flour
A handful of fresh thyme, leaves picked
A couple of bay leaves
A glass of white wine
1 pint of fresh chicken stock
Half a pint of whole milk
Salt and pepper
500g all butter puff pastry
Preheat the oven to 190°C (170°C fan)
Place the chicken thighs on a roasting tray and generously season with salt and pepper. Roast for 25 – 30 minutes.
In the meantime, fry the onion, garlic, mushrooms, thyme and bacon in a little oil until soft and golden. Add the flour and stir vigorously for a minute or so to cook through. Add the wine and continue to stir to prevent lumps forming. Add the stock, milk and bay leaves and leave to simmer. Take the skin off the cooked chicken and remove the meat from the bones. Chop it roughly and add the chicken to the bacon and mushroom mixture. Season and leave to reduce to a thick sauce. Pour the meat into your pie dish and leave to cool.
Preheat the oven to 220°C (200°C fan)
On a floured surface, roll out the pastry and slice off a long strip as wide as the rim of the pie dish. Use a little of the egg wash to stick the strip to the edge of the pie dish. Brush the strip with more egg, then lift the rest of the pastry over the pie filling. Pinch the edges with your fingers and trim with a sharp knife. Brush with egg wash to glaze and bake for 30 mins or until the pastry is risen and deep golden brown. Serve with buttery mash and steamed greens or broccoli.
Inspired? We have a whole collection of pie recipes on Great British Chefs for you to enjoy.
What’s your favourite pie filling? Cherry, steak, or four and twenty blackbirds? Let us know here or over on Great British Chefs Facebook page.