Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Bubble and Squeak

Christmas Bubble and Squeak

This is a great idea for leftovers from your Christmas Dinner. The chestnuts add that extra “Christmassy” touch, but they aren’t essential. Use about 60 percent potato to get the right consistency, then whatever vegetables you like - carrots, Brussel sprouts, swedes, turnips, onions, leeks or savoy cabbage.

1 ½ pounds floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1 ¼ pounds mixed winter vegetables such as carrots, Brussels sprouts, swedes, turnips, onions, leeks or savoy cabbage, peeled or trimmed and chopped into equal-sized chunks
Olive oil
1 knob butter
200g package vacuum packed chestnuts

Cook the potatoes and mixed vegetables in a pan of boiling water for 15 to 20 minutes. When they're cooked right through, drain and put aside. Heat a glug of olive oil and a knob of butter in a large frying pan and add the chestnuts. When they start to sizzle, add the potatoes and vegetables. Mash the vegetables up in the pan, and then pat the mixture into a thick pancake shape. Fry on a medium heat for about ½ an hour, checking it every 5 minutes. When the bottom turns golden, flip it over bit by bit and mash it back into itself. Pat it out flat again and continue cooking until really crisp all over.

If it still hasn't browned, put it under a hot grill for a few minutes.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Clementine & Almond Syrup Cake

I was going to include a photo, but the cake didn't last that long!

Clementine & Almond Syrup Cake

This cake has a great, light texture and will keep, covered, for at least a week. You'll find, though, that you'll go back to it every few hours for "just another sliver".

200g unsalted butter
380g caster sugar
4 clementines, zest grated, and juiced
Grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
280g ground almonds
5 medium free-range eggs, beaten
100g plain flour, sifted
1/8 tsp salt
Orange zest, cut in strips, to garnish (optional)

Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/gas mark 3. Lightly grease a 24cm spring-form tin, and line the sides and base with baking parchment.

Put the butter, 300g of the sugar (the remaining 80g is for the syrup) and citrus zest in a large bowl, and use a wooden spoon and/or spatula to combine. Do not work the mix too much or incorporate much air. Add half the ground almonds and continue mixing to fold through. Add the eggs gradually, scraping the bottom and sides of the bowl as you go. Add the remaining almonds, flour and salt, and work until the mix is smooth.

Spread the cake batter inside the tin and level with a palette knife. Bake for 50-60 minutes - a skewer should come out a little bit moist.

When the cake is almost cooked, in a small pan bring to the boil 80g of caster sugar and up to 120ml of the citrus juices, then remove from the heat at once. The moment the cake comes out of the oven, brush it all over with the hot syrup, making sure it all soaks through. Leave to cool down.
Serve it as it is, (or garnished with orange strips optional), store in an airtight container.

Monday, December 08, 2008

The End of a Chapter

It's been a fabulous, exciting 10 years since my brother took up the sport of motor racing.

Testing at Donington Feb 2008.

I've followed him through the highs and lows (and a couple of scary high speed smashes), and visited every major racing circuit in the UK on many occasions.

I've supported him through torrential rain and blistering heatwaves, often cooking for the team and making endless cups of tea to sustain them through the long hours of preparing/repairing the car.

But, it is no more.
The racing car has been sold, the motorhome is up for sale, and I'll have to find something new to occupy my summer weekends.

I'm In Love with My Car.