In honour of St David’s Day, I made something with leeks for tonight’s dinner. St David’s Day is like St Patrick’s Day for Irish peeps but for the Welsh peeps. This recipe is from the GoodFood magazine.
Leek tart with ricotta and Gruyere
500g all-butter shortcrust pastry
2 large leeks, sliced
100ml double cream
2 tbsp chopped tarragon (or you can substitute thyme)
23cm loose-bottomed tart tin
What to do:
Pre-heat oven to 200˚C
Roll-out pastry on to the tin. Prick the pastry with fork. Line with baking sheet and put baking beans. Bake for 10 mins then remove baking paper and baking beans and cook for another 5 mins until pale golden. Reduce heat to 180˚C
Melt butter in a large saucepan. Gently cook leeks for 10 mins or until softened.
Beat ricotta, double cream, eggs, and chopped tarragon. Add a pinch of salt and generous pepper. Mix in cooked leeks and a third of cheese.
Pour mix into the tart case and then scatter rest of cheese on top. Bake from 25-30 mins until set.
I got the spring onion from the Sunday Riverside market in Cardiff. I bought it from an organic farmer and a big bunch only costs £1 and the bulbs came in different sizes and still with soil attached to them. I love it!
The rest of the ingredients are supermarket-bought and the pastry I used are even ready rolled. If using a block of pastry then roll it out in a floured surface before using it.
Line a fluted tart tin or bakeware with the pastry. Gently press them down the fluted sides. Remove extra pastry from the edges. Prick the base with a fork so it doesn’t expand later on. Chill in the fridge for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, pre-heat the oven to 200˚C.
Line the pastry with baking paper or grease-proof paper or foil and then fill it with baking beans. I use ceramic baking beans but if you don’t want to buy those, you can use uncooked beans or chickpea. I think you can also use pasta shells. Bake for 20 mins. Take it out of the oven, remove the cover and the baking beans and cook for another 5 minutes, until it’s golden brown.
Lower the oven temperature to 190˚C.
Now the filling – heat the olive oil and stir-fry the spring onions on high heat for about 3 minutes.
Last weekend, I saw a recipe which I couldn’t resist: tartlet cheesecake and you make your own pastry from scratch! It’s a recipe that calls for lemon and poppy seeds which are lovely together. I love a really tart lemon poppy seed loaf!
This lemon cheesecake tartlet is really, really good! The cheesecake just melts in your mouth and the pastry is soft with a hint of lemon tartness mixed with the poppy seeds. It is a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe published in The Guardian Weekend last week. For the non-UK blog visitors, it’s a magazine which comes out every Saturday with The Guardian newspaper.
It’s very easy to make but it takes awhile for the tarts to be ready.
Line each pastry case with baking parchment and fill it with baking beans. Bake for 15 minutes until golden. Take out of the oven, remove the beans out and let the pastry cool down. Lower the oven temperature to 150˚C.
This muffin recipe puts a twist on the regular choco chip muffin by adding spices. I used a spice I found in the Sunday Riverside market in Cardiff. It’s called Victorian cake spice. I’m not really sure what’s in it – if you know, feel free to enlighten us! But it smells of Christmas, of cinnamon and nutmeg!
I am using a recipe from a Marks and Spencer “magical muffins” cookbook (only £5!). This is the first muffin recipe I am using from the book. It’s a good muffins cookbook which contains sweet, savoury, and healthy muffins, and muffins for special occasions.
Most of the ingredients for this recipe are stock items in my pantry. The only things I needed were fresh flat-leaf parsley, courgette, and Spanish manchego cheese. The trickiest bit is having a shredded courgette but I have my trusty magimix food processor for that.
Add egg mixture to the flour mixture and gently stir to mix well.
Add the courgettes. Lightly stir.
Add the manchego. Lightly stir.
Add parsley. Lightly stir.
Really, don’t over-stir. It’s fine if it’s a bit lumpy.
Divide evenly in the muffin tray filling it at least 2/3 full.
Cook in the oven for about 25 mins until it’s golden. You can test if the muffins are already cooked by sticking in a toothpick and if it comes clean then it’s cooked.
Remove from the oven leave it on the tray for a bit and then transfer on a wire rack to cook properly. Eat it right away (most awesome idea) or you can freeze it for about a month. I like mine with a bit of butter but Dan prefers it without.
I have been wanting to do some baking but in the summer, I don’t really crave a lot of heavy cake-based kind of desserts. Eating fresh fruits beats any kind of fancy dessert in the summer. My favourite summer dessert is probably Eton Mess.
Still, I fancy getting the oven working to make me something lovely that does not need to be eaten in a couple of days. This biscotti should last a week if you store it well.
I have adapted this from the Hamlyn Cookery Book which is a fantastic book for beginning cooks (like myself).
You will need:
150 g of dark chocolate, chopped (I only have chocolate chips in my cupboard so I used those)
25 g of unsalted butter (Also run out so I used a slightly salted one)
225 g self-raising flour
2 free-range eggs
50 g light muscovado sugar (Didn’t have any so I used light brown caster sugar)
1 tsp vanilla extract
100 g almond nuts, chopped or sliced (original recipe called for pecan nuts)
icing sugar, for dusting
baking sheet, greased or lined with baking paper
Pre-heated oven at 190˚C
What to do
Melt 200g of the chopped dark chocolate with the butter.
Dust the work surface with flour, transfer the dough, and cut it in half.
Form two logs of about 10 inches long (really depends on how big the baking sheet is!), flatten to about 2 cm thick (a little less than an inch). Transfer to the baking tray and then bake for 18-20 mins.
Remove from the oven and then reduce the heat of the oven to 160˚C.
Leave the biscotti to cool for 20 mins before cutting it with a bread knife (serrated) into 2 cm thick slices. In my first try, it keeps crumbling so I lost a few biscotti 😦 So I started cutting them a bit thicker.
This is a Jamie Oliver recipe from the BBC GoodFood magazine (December 2009). Elisabeth at work loaned me the magazine and it is filled with wonderful recipes including the florentines I made yesterday.
But I won’t talk about the florentines just yet. Maybe next post. So about the salmon en croûte, you’ll need big piece of salmon fillet. I am lucky that I live just a couple of minutes walk to the central market in Cardiff which has a fishmonger. I asked for a piece of fresh salmon fillet and they cut me a lovely piece.
So far I’ve done 3 recipes from the hummingbird bakery cookbook. The Pecan pie, that was first, and then this wonderful peanut butter cookies, second. The third one was the lemon loaf but that will be another post.
If, like me, you enjoy a super chunky peanut butter and dark chocolate, then this is a little piece of heaven on earth! It was even more delish after a day or two as the cookies become a bit chewy.
Kedgeree is the best thing for breakfast or brunch on a lazy weekend. It doesn’t take long to make and the mixed flavours of the smoked fish and spices are absolutely divine. Dan used kipper when he made it for Chris and Lilly. I used smoked mackerel when Monette was visiting last weekend.
Rica asked me on facebook what kedgeree was. Clinton replied that it is “tinapa wth cream mixed with lugaw =)” Tinapa is a smoked milkfish or bangus; lugaw is a type of congee. Since I don’t put cream on my kedgeree and it doesn’t look like lugaw to me, I looked it up and found out that this is a variety of kedgeree. I also read that kedgeree is a popular breakfast dish during the Victorian time. More on kedgeree here.
This recipe serves 4.
4 boiled free-range eggs, quartered lengthwise
cooked boiled rice* (2 cups uncooked)
500g smoked fish (mackerel, kipper, haddock, tinapa), flaked
8 cardamom pods
2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 cinnamon stick
1 small onion
salt and pepper
chopped flat-leaf parsley
lemon or lime wedges (we prefer lime)
mortar and pestle
What to do:
Crush fennel seed and cardamom pods using mortar and pestle. Remove the cardamom husks, leaving the seeds.
Melt butter in frying pan then fry onion and all the spices in medium heat for about 5 mins.
Stir the fish and rice. Make sure that the rice is covered in turmeric so it will have a yellowish colour.
Add the eggs and parsley, stirring gently so as not to destroy the eggs.
Serve with lime or lemon wedge.
* I cheated here as we used a rice cooker. I got my rice cooker on my birthday from a group of Pinoys living in the UK who probably cannot believe that I do not own one. I used 2 cups of rice for this recipe, about 250g. More picture of making the kedgeree from the slideshow below or from my flickr account here.
With my oven’s thermostat fixed, I’m so excited to try a new dessert. Something I haven’t done before. My first stop is the Divine: Heavenly Chocolate recipes book. It has wonderful recipes with beautiful images. This is the second recipe I’ve used from the book. The first one was the rich, dark chocolate cup cake.
The cheesecake turned out really well. It has a perfect texture and the coffee taste really works well with its creaminess.
Oh, I should remind you that this is best prepared the day before. Now how to make this gorgeous dessert…
Break the chocolate into small pieces, put in a heat-proof bowl with the diced unsalted butter. Melt together. If you have not done this before, you can read here.
Crush the biscuits. I put them in a ziplock bag and then used a rolling pin.
Once the chocolate with butter is melted, remove from heat and then add the crushed biscuit. Mix very well then tip the mixture into the cake tin. Press the mixture into the base of of the tin and halfway up the side. Chill.
The photos I took for this recipe are also part of my project in the Intro to Photography class I am currently taking. The homework is take images that shows depth of field. If you have some time, please please please visit my flickr site by clicking here.
If you want to see the cappuccino cheesecake collection, you can click here. Or to see in a jazzy slideshow, click here.