Strawberry meringue roulade

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Beloved’s birthday treat, Strawberry meringue roulade topped with raspberries. We weren’t meant to have it for breakfast but I’ve also just found out I’ve passed a course for my OU ‘degree on the side’ with a staggeringly good last essay mark, so why not! Celebrating, celebrating and grinning.

The roulade is such a perfect treat for this sort of weather – mix of yoghurt and double cream balances out the sweetness of the meringue, which has just the right crackle to softness ratio. So good, recipe came from Hugh FW’s Three good things but I really could have done it without the recipe as I made a small one, didn’t measure some of the ingredients and reduced the amount of sugar too. As I’ve also been making so much ice cream recently, this roulade is also quite handy as it uses up the leftover egg whites – I’ve become so proficient in meringue over the past few weeks, I could easily do it in sleep. I am going to make a lot more of this I feel (until the hot weather lasts). Next time, I’ll try to measure everything first so I can post an actual recipe!

 

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Financiers

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I made these fluffy clouds of almond, honey and nutty butter as a result of Friday’s strawberry picking extravaganza. I made jam and, having picked way more strawberries than needed, decided to also make ice cream. Lovely ice cream (will photograph later) but it left me with a load of egg whites, which, of course had to be used up as I hate throwing anything useful away. So I ended up making some financiers using Hugh FW’s recipe on The Guardian website. They took 3 of the egg whites and no time or effort. In fact the only thing that took a little while was browning the butter and letting it cool a bit. No mixer needed, I just whisked by hand. These also have only 40g flour for 12, no added raising agent and rose beautifully in a hot oven. I made them early yesterday evening as couldn’t face turning the oven on during a super hot afternoon. Also worth using a decent honey here – I used the New Zealand thyme honey from Sainsbury’s which gave them a lovely aroma. Just delicious.

Chocolate, walnuts, digestives

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This is a perfect little treat for when you don’t fancy baking. I was exhausted yesterday afternoon, stepped out for a moment to clear a bit of bramble that catches on clothes on the path outside the house, then couldn’t stop… Four bags full of ‘growth’ and lots of cuts on my hands later, at least the path is clear. So anyway, I didn’t fancy making a cake after that and made these Chocolate, walnut and digestives squares instead. I adapted a recipe from Hugh FW’s Three Good Things a little according to what I had and what needed using up.

I used 180g Valrhona dark chocolate (think it’s 68%), 40g white chocolate (recipe called for 200g dark and I didn’t fancy opening another bar when I had a bit of white left), 100g butter, dollop of honey (1tbsp, you could also use golden or maple syrup), melted in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure that the water doesn’t touch the sides of the bowl). Separately, break up 150g of digestive biscuits but not too fine as you want to have some crunch and 75g walnuts – you can use any dried fruit, nut or a mix here (HFW used ginger) then add to the chocolate and butter mix. Line a small sandwich loaf tin with greaseproof paper then pour the mix in, then leave in the fridge for a few hours until firm. Cut into squares & enjoy. There’s probably an infinite number of combinations you could do here – peanut butter, maple syrup and dried figs perhaps, black treacle even.

 

Flatbreads for a feast

I love broad beans and earmark good broad bean recipes to do when they’re in season. As it takes a while to pod, steam and skin them, they’re pretty much ‘weekend cooking’ only so yesterday afternoon I did a bit of a cookathon of lovely things to eat with Merguez lamb meatballs with broad beans from Hugh FW’s Three Good Things. I made Baba ganoush and Beetroot and walnut hummus from River Cottage Veg book and Flatbreads from River Cottage Bread Handbook. Here are the flatbreads with meatballs in the background:

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I made the dough for flatbreads early in the afternoon and then let it rise several times, while lamb was marinating and I got on with the dips. They were delicious and I managed to get 8 out of 500g flour total (250g each plain white and strong white). They puffed up beautifully, was rather proud so posting another photo:

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Interestingly, the River Cottage flatbreads are quite different from the Casa Moro ones I did a few months back with minced lamb and pomegranate molasses, which were smaller and a bit thicker – although I think I’m better now at rolling them out thinner. I prefer these but would also like to try Dan Lepard’s recipe from Short and Sweet for comparison. 

Little gem and spring onion tart

Having planned to spend Bank holiday Sunday walking, I made a big Little gem and spring onion tart from Hugh FW’s River Cottage Veg book in advance – I really do not like cooking after a long walk. This was perfect. The little gem lettuce still retained some bite, the pastry was light and short (milk, butter and flour, no water) and the creamy cheesy filling a proper comfort food after being out walking all day.

IMG_0564 I seem to be, thankfully, learning from past mistakes – last time I made a tart, I forgot that the tart case had a loose bottom and nearly destroyed the whole thing, this time I remembered to put a baking sheet underneath.

Almond, orange and honey cake

A slightly adapted cake recipe from Hugh FW’s Three Good Things, wheat-free and very good indeed:IMG_0553

Afraid I only took the photo of the whole cake, other photos so out of focus that I can’t really use them. It has equal quantities of butter and sugar (225g) beaten until light and fluffy along with a zest of an orange. Then beat in 225g ground almonds, followed by 3 large eggs (individually, incorporate well, then add the next egg), 125g polenta, large pinch of salt and 1 teaspoon of baking powder. Bake in a lined springform tin at 170 degrees C for 45-50 minutes. Separately, mix juice of an orange with 3-4 teaspoons of honey then prick holes in the cake and pour honey and orange mix when the cake comes out of the oven and leave to cool in the tin. Serve with a spoonful (large) of creme fraiche.

 

Sourdough pizza

It’s been a bit of a busy week, no time to post my first ever attempt at sourdough pizza from last Sunday. Additionally, first ever attempt to make pizza using a peel and a hot stone so was obviously very excited. I used Dan Lepard’s recipe for Sourdough pizza base from Short and Sweet and then topping came from Hugh FW’s Three Good Things book: beans, olives and mozzarella. Here’s a photo of the finished pizza:

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Didn’t roll out the dough, just stretched it by hand, the topping was just some chopped garlic fried in olive oil then added tin of cannellini beans and a little water, then pureed it all and spread on top of pizza dough. Topped with black olives and mozzarella.

Sliding pizza off the peel took some getting used to – and actually first attempt would not slide off at all (managed to rescue it later) so most important point is to flour the peel well. Hot stone is a total revelation, there was a good crust on the bottom – a proper pizza, makes just a huge difference from baking pizza on a normal baking sheet. Definitely worth getting one! Mine now just lives in the oven and comes out for a clean or when I’m baking/ roasting something else.

Sourdough base worked very well, it gives the pizza a more interesting texture – I used a combination of Italian 00 flour, strong white and strong wholemeal. Takes longer to prove but not as long as sourdough bread. Also feels a little healthier although that’s probably just in my mind…