Tuesday 9 June 2009

In The Mood For Entertaining

1.Spanish Nuts - just the thing fo a glass of sherry!
2. Raspberry and Elderflower Creams
3. Maple Glazed Gammon with warm Pineapple Salse and Crispy Potatoes
4. St Clements Drizzle Cake, a wow cake!
Well my latest cook book obsession arrived ten days ago, and I absolutely love it! The new one is In The Mood For Entertaining by Jo Pratt, a follow up to her In The Mood For Food in 2007. I liked her first book a lot – so pink and girly and fabulous recipes, but I like this new one even more! The recipes, layout, text, photography and the pretty hand drawings of foodie bits and pieces make for a stunning book. It’s divided into four chapters for when you might be in the mood for entertaining, I think I’ve marked more than half the book! Her recipes look so good (and the ones I’ve cooked taste lovely too), they are really do-able and as an added bonus, usually they are reasonably healthy too, result on all fronts.
5& 6. Pork Stroganoff with Red Pepper Rice
7. Pecan and Pear Tarts
I’ve decided to do another blog cooking project from this one, as I feel it’ll be the book of the moment for some time to come. I’ll number the recipes, just to keep track of what I’ve done. There will be othr books, as always. Hope you enjoy the posts.
8. Blue Cheese Macaroni Gratin
9. Chocolate Crunch Bites
Here is the recipe for her paella at UKTV Food, which is served cold in cupcake cakes in the book, I served it hot one night and then cold for lunch the next day, both were lovely.

10. Paella

Wednesday 3 June 2009

Cookie Magic!

Jammy Splodgers
There have been so many good new cookbooks coming out lately, I’m trying hard to work my way through my to-read pile. Don’t get me wrong, I love cookbooks (no surprise there then…), but of late my pile is so high and I just can’t seem to get to the bottom of it. Please tell me it’s not just me!
Mildon Flapjacks
Anyhow a few weeks ago after some internet bookshop surfing I came across and bought Cookie Magic by Kate Shirazi, a follow up to her Cupcake Magic. It’s a lovely little book, with a donation going to the Battery Hen Welfare Trust, and I do think that if I can donate to them by buying the book and have a gorgeous cookie book it’s got to be a good thing. Don’t let its size fool you, it’s a treasure trove to be sure. I have a number of cookie cookbooks, and this one falls into the use-me type. I would absolutely have bought this for the children chapter alone. It contains a number of home-made versions of bought biscuits such as jammy spoldgers and party rings the pictures just look so fabulous! Though if you don’t have little ones to feed there is a lot more in there for adults and children alike. My only irk with this book is the recipes all say "makes one batch" maybe it’s just me but I like to know a rough guide of how many delectable cookies I am likely to end up with. That aside it’s a prefect little cookie book.
Oo-oo Biscuits
Anyhow, normally I make chocolate biscuits first from cookie books, but I gave up cooking with chocolate during lent, so had to look at other first-bakes, and what a first bake they were. The Jammy Splodgers were delicious, and very pretty indeed. I followed this up with Mildon Flapjacks, which I’ve baked again since, we have a flapjack monster in our house (you know who you are sweetie!) and these had just the right crispy edges and slightly chewy insides. Then there was Oo-oo Biscuits, cinnamon, pecan swirls, crisp and yummy, then once lent had ended Chocolate Orange Biscuits a la Terry, these when they have been just baked, and let cook a little (say half an hour), but still squidgy inside were a chocoholics delight. When they are cold they are hard-ish cookies, still good but good in a different way.
Chocolate Orange Biscuits a la Terry
Next I have my sights set on cheddar and thyme savoury cookies and white chocolate and cardamon cookies, watch this space!

Chocolate Orange Biscuits a la Terry
From Cookie Magic by Kate Shirazi published by Pavillion in 2009
Makes 1 batch

125g butter, softened
200g caster sugar
1 free range egg
finely grated zest 1 large orange
225g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 table spoons cocoa powder
175g Terry’s Chocolate Orange, in gravel sized chunks

Preheat the oven to 190/375/gas mark 5 and line 2 baking sheets with silicone liners
Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add egg and orange zest and beat well. Sift over the flour, baking powder and cocoa and mix well. Lastly mix in the chocolate orange chunks. Form into balls and bake for about 15 minutes.
My note: my balls were like large walnuts in size.