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Week 32: False Economy Lime Curd

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /
04/Aug/2013

A week or so ago I was in the supermarket and (as usual) had a rummage around the reduced and out of date fruit and veg fridge. There was a bag of limes for 30p so I decided to get them and worry about what I was going to do with them when I got home. Gin and tonic was sadly out of the question because I forgot to buy any tonic water.

I found several suitable cake recipes and ended up making some coconut and lime cupcakes. Sadly I seem to have eaten them all without taking any photographs, which is a bit poor and quite unlike me. The cakes were quite simple to make, being a basic pound cake recipe with added lime zest and juice and some grated coconut. After baking, they were sprinkled with toasted coconut and drizzled with a syrup made with lime juice and sugar.

After making the cupcakes I still had 2 limes left over so they sat in the fridge for a few days while I decided what to do with them. I thought I would have a go at making a lime curd in the microwave. It was very simple to make, a few minutes juicing the limes then 7 minutes in the microwave in 1 minute bursts.

If the lime curd was supposed to be a way of using up the limes and avoiding food wastage, it was probably a bit of a false economy. The two limes only cost me 10p but since I needed to add sugar, butter and 1 egg to the juice, the one egg alone cost me 17p so I ended up spending more money than I was saving/avoiding wasting.

Home made lime curd

The limes were fairly yellow with green patches so I shouldn't really be surprised that the curd came out much more yellow than green.

Home made lime curd

The curd was very sharp and sour. I probably needed to add a bit more sugar to the recipe but since limes vary a lot, I imagine it is quite difficult to publish a recipe which will give ideal results in all cases.



Week 31: Stromboli Pizza

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /
28/Jul/2013

For this week's pizza night I decided to try a Stromboli pizza, a filled pizza which is often rolled up. The base was a normal bread/pizza base. For the filling I used vegetable chilli, chicken and cheese.

Making the Stromboli Pizza
I started by rolling the base into an oval shape. Closer to rectangular would be better but oval works well enough. I spread the base with the vegetable chilli then sprinkled chopped cooked chicken over the top.

See more ...



Week 30: Onion Muffins

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /
26/Jul/2013

This weeks recipe was based on one from the Hairy Bikers European Baking book and was a savoury onion muffin. The originals were topped with poppy seeds but I didn't have any of those so I made a few variations, topping some with onion seeds, some with grated cheese, and others weren't topped but had some chilli cheese mixed into the muffin batter before cooking.

Onion Muffins

I used red onions and one thing I noticed was that they turned green after cooking. The recipe contained baking soda, which is alkaline, so it is likely that this reacted with the anthocyanins in the onion to turn them green.

Onion Muffins



Week 29: Brioche

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /
19/Jul/2013

This year has been largely dominated by baking and bread, mainly because my newest cookbooks are all baking based, mostly cakes, bread and pies. I regularly make normal 'everyday' loaves using either traditional yeast or sourdough without consulting any recipes, but every now and again I feel the need to try something a bit more adventurous. I had intended to try a brioche for a while and finally got around to doing it today, partly because we had 4 eggs in the kitchen which were getting a bit old and needed using up (they weren't off but the whites had gone a bit runny). The recipe I intended to try (from the River Cottage bread book) needed 4 eggs so that seemed to be a good way of using them up.

This recipe is 'all in one' where the flour, sugar, milk, butter and eggs are all mixed together, instead of more traditional ones where a dough gets made first and the butter is mixed in afterwards. I used our electric mixer with the dough hooks but the mix remained very sticky and refused to form a ball. I had to add a bit more flour and knead by hand before it became more manageable and was ready for the initial proving. After a couple of hours in the fridge, the dough had gone nice and firm and was then ready to be put in the tins for the second rising.

I decided to do a standard loaf and a more adventurous spiral shaped bun. I have been meaning to do more shaped loaves and I thought brioche might be a good one to start with.

Brioche

Brioche

I think I slightly over-baked them because the crust was a bit darker than I would have liked. The actual bread had a very good texture and tasted very buttery, possibly a bit too rich even! I can normally eat quite a lot of bread in one sitting but probably won't be able to with this. A very rich brioche like this would work very well with fruit or chocolate, to make a cake. A slightly less rich version would be more suitable to use as a normal bread, albeit a special treat bread.



Godiva Festival 2013: Saturday

Story location: Home / Blog / coventry /
06/Jul/2013

We only popped in for a couple of hours on the saturday, to wander around the festival and have a look at the various stalls. When I was in the main arena last night I noticed a Nando's outdoor catering trailer and when I mentioned it to Emma, we decided that was where we would get our lunch from. Emma went there for a chicken pitta but I decided to go to he caribbean food stall next door for a tray of Jerk Pork with rice.

Jerk Pork with rice

The meat was diced belly pork which had been coated in a spicy marinade and was served with more spicy sauce poured on top. It was different to the typical saturday lunch we have at home, which is usually something quick like pasta or a wrap or toastie and made a nice change.



Week 27: Scone (rhymes with 'gone', not with 'phone')

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /
04/Jul/2013

I haven't had much time to do any really adventurous or new cooking but I did a couple of quick desserts this week. The first was a simple scone recipe. This was made by mixing the flour, sugar and butter in a food processor then stirring in the milk. I used a variety of our shaped cutters, including duck and dinosaur.

Scones

The second was a custard tart. These were supposed to separate into a pastry style base and a custarty top during cooking but they ended up more like sweet yorkshire puddings. They tasted good but weren't really what I was expecting. This might have been because I used a yorkshire pudding tin, which was fairly shallow, instead of a deeper pie tin.

Custard Tart



Courgette Harvest

Story location: Home / food_and_drink /
04/Jul/2013

I had tried to grow Summer Ball Courgettes a couple of years ago but it was a bad year for courgettes for me. None of the plants did well and I didn't get any courgettes. This year has been better and so far I've picked a smallish one.

Yellow Ball Courgette

The only other things I've harvested so far have been herbs, a few wild strawberries, and some chillies from last year's plants.



Week 26: Parsnip Bread

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /
23/Jun/2013

My first attempt at making a parsnip based bread was from a recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. I had bought a cheap bag of parsnips which were going out of date and needed to use some up since I didn't really want to fill the freezer with parsnip wedges (which would probably have meant I would be eating roast parsnip for several months).

I followed HFW's recipe very closely but used finely chopped rosemary instead of thyme. The substitution worked well. There was one slight problem, which was probably my fault: the dough was a bit too wet and the resulting bread was slightly soggy in the middle. The actual flavour was good and the bread toasted well, which had the advantage of slightly drying out the bread a bit.

My second attempt was a sweet potato and parsnip bread. I started off with the vegetables mashed and left to cool before I added bread flour, yeast and a little water, and mixed to a soft dough. I think the dough was roughly 50% vegetable by weight. I baked the bread in a moderately hot oven until it was brown and crusty on top. The bread was slightly sweet and had a chewy texture but worked really well in a cheese toastie.



Week 25: 'Pumpkin' Pie

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /
20/Jun/2013

This week's recipe was an attempt to do something with the diced butternut squash I had in the freezer.

Butternut Squash Pie

The filling was based on a recipe from Good Food magazine but I made half the quantities and made 4 individual pies instead of one large one. I also used a regular shortcrust pastry base instead of a sweet pastry.

Butternut Squash Pie

I have never tasted a 'genuine' pumpkin pie so I don't have anything to compare mine to. The filling had a slightly 'custardy' texture and the flavour was mainly a combination of squash and cinnamon. I'm not sure if I would make them again but I think I'd be interested in tasting a more authentic one.



Week 24: Prawn and Butternut squash Biryani.

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /
09/Jun/2013

This week's recipe was a bit of an experiment and not a 100% successful one at that. I'll discuss that at the end but first, the recipe.

I tossed some uncooked prawns in a seasoned flour mixture which contained paprika, turmeric, cumin, cayenne and mixed spice. I left them to sit for a few minutes while I chopped and fried a red pepper, an onion and a clove of garlic. Next I added a handful of diced butternut squash. When the veg had softened I added the prawns and more spices: half a teaspoon each of ground ginger, curry powder and garam masala. Finally I added a portion of cooked rice and a sprinkle of chilli flakes.

The end result was something of a curate's egg. The spiced prawns were good - the seasoned flour had gone slightly crispy and created a good texture. The actual flavour of the biryani was also good. The only problem was created by the butternut squash. It was just too sweet and clashed a bit with the savoury flavours. I have used squash before and not found it a problem so it might have just been this squash was more sweet than I'm used to. It may be worth trying a sweet recipe, such as a variation on pumpkin pie, so that may be a future new recipe for me to try.



Week 23: Cranberry Muffins with cream cheese frosting

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /
08/Jun/2013

Cranberry Muffins with cream cheese frosting



Week 22: Chicken mornay with courgette dumplings

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /
27/May/2013

The inspiration for tonight's meal came from an episode of Man v. Food which we watched on TV earlier today, where they made a Hot Brown sandwich which contains turkey and mornay sauce, along with bacon. I decided to do a variation on chicken mornay and served it with courgette dumplings.

Chicken mornay with courgette dumplings

The mornay sauce contained a mixture of cheddar and pecorino cheese. The chicken breasts were flattened and fried in a little oil. These were topped with leeks, the sauce then finally capers. The courgette dumplings were made using grated courgette, breadcrumbs, grated cheese, finely chopped parsley, an egg, and seasoned with a little black pepper. These were baked in the oven until the outsides started to crisp off.



Week 21: Sourdough Pancakes and Pesto Bread

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /
24/May/2013

I had planned to make a loaf of sourdough bread this week so I had my starter out in the kitchen and had been feeding it regularly (the starter usually lives in the fridge and I feed it a couple of times a week). I ended up with more starter than I needed so I thought I would have a go at making some Sourdough pancakes.

First thing this morning I stirred some milk, some more flour and a teaspoon of sugar into the starter and left it for a few hours. By lunchtime it was bubbling well again. I beat two eggs and added an teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda then stirred that into the starter, adding a bit more milk to get a pourable batter.

I poured a ladle of the batter into a small frying pan and cooked it on one side until the top was bubbling nicely. I then lifted the pancake out and put it face down into a second, larger, pan while I started the next pancake in the first pan. The second pan was big enough to hold two pancakes so they could be finished off and folded over with the cheesy filling.

At the weekend I made some rocket pesto, using ground mixed seeds, grated cheese and soft cheese. There was some left over which had been sitting in the fridge for a few days so I thought I'd see how it would go baked into a bread.

I made a standard loaf using a mixture of 50:50 bread flour and wholemeal flour and mixed the pesto in after all the other ingredients had been added. The dough had a slightly green appearance but the final baked loaf looked more normal, with some green herby flecks in. The actual bread was quite nice with a slightly cheesy taste.



Week 20 part 2: Spätzle with prawns and mussels

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /
18/May/2013

I have cooked with spätzle a few times before but each time the recipe has been very similar, using onions and cheese along with whatever meat is being used in the meal. Now to be honest tonight's recipe is also a variation on the same theme. The inspiration came from here. We decision to cook this was made at the last minute so we I made a version using the ingredients we had in the house.

I cooked the noodles in a pan of boiling water, sliced an onion and a leek and cooked them in some olive oil, and grated some pecorino cheese. We had cooked prawns and mussels so they got mixed in at the end along with a splash of lemon juice and some freshly ground pepper. It was a quick and easy meal to make.



Week 20: Bananabread and Butter Pudding

Story location: Home / food_and_drink / recipe_a_week /
17/May/2013

A few weeks ago I made a couple of loaves of banana bread and froze one. This week I defrosted the second loaf and when I ate some it was a bit dry. I thought I would have a go at a bread and butter pudding.

Bananabread and Butter Pudding

I didn't butter the slices first but simply placed them in the dish and poured over a custard made from cream, milk, vanilla, a tablespoon of sugar and a couple of eggs. I cooked it for about three quarters of an hour at gas mark 4, until the custard had set.