Blue Cheese and Pear Tart

Blue Cheese and Pear Tart
 
This is a variation of my Goats Cheese Tart. Increasing the amount of blue cheese, cutting back a little on the goats cheese and giving it a good drizzle of heather honey makes for a deliciously rich tart – perfect for the weekend.

Caramelised white onions impart all the sweetness of red onions but without the richness whilst a good amount of fresh thyme and black pepper makes this tart beautifully aromatic.

Blue Cheese and Pear Tart
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
300g Ready Rolled Puff Pastry
4 White Onions (Sliced)
25g Unsalted Butter
50g Mild Goats Cheese
200g Blue Cheese
1 Ripe Pear (Thinly Sliced)
Small Handful Thyme Sprigs
Black Pepper
2 Tbsp Heather Honey
1 Egg Yolk (Beaten)

Method:

1) Make the caramelised onions: Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook for around 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until caramelised.

2) Pre-heat the oven to 210C. Lay the pastry on a parchment lined baking sheet. Score a line 1cm from the edge of the pastry all of the way around – being careful not break through the pastry. Prick the pastry inside of the line with a fork.

3) Spread the caramelised onions evenly over the base inside the scored line. Crumble the goats cheese and Stilton evenly over the onions. Top with the sliced pear and thyme and season generously with black pepper. Egg wash the outside of the pastry around the filling. Place in the oven and cook for around 20 minutes or until the pastry is cooked and the cheese browned.

4) Just before serving, drizzle the honey over the tart and cut into equal slices.

Enjoy!

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Sea Bass with Apple and Fennel

Sea Bass with Apple and Fennel

This is a beautifully fresh and healthy dish for a quick midweek supper. Crisp-skinned sea bass with capers and oven roasted tomatoes pairs perfectly with a vibrant apple and fennel salad.

Crisping the skin on your sea bass is key to this delicious dish – ensure it is nice and dry and fry over a high heat in only a little oil in a non-stick pan. The fish should be left skin side down for 2/3 – 3/4 of the cooking time, quickly flipping over near the end to cook through.

The apple and fennel salad would also be great as a barbeque side.

Sea Bass with Apple and Fennel
Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 Sea Bass Fillets
2 tsp Capers
8 Cherry Tomatoes (Halved and oven baked at 180C for 15 mins)
1 tbsp Chopped Parsley
Juice 1 Lemon
1 Fennel Bulb (Finely Sliced)
1 Apple (Cored and Finely Sliced)
1/2 Red Chilli (Finely Chopped)
Sea Salt
Black Pepper
1 tsp Olive Oil

Method:

1) Make the apple and fennel salad by combining the apple, fennel and chilli with half of the lemon juice in a large bowl. Season with a little sea salt and toss to combine.

2) Place a non-stick pan over a high heat. Season the sea bass fillets with sea salt and a little pepper. Fry the fillets in the olive oil for around 3 minutes skin side down and 1 minute flesh side down – or until cooked through.

3) When ready to serve – squeeze the remaining lemon juice over the sea bass and top with the capers and chopped parsley. Serve the apple and fennel salad on the side.

Enjoy!

Tapioca and Mango Pudding

Tapioca & Mango Pudding
 
This is the perfect pudding for a warm night in front of the fire – bringing a little bit of sunshine to these gloomy nights!

Tapioca is difficult to get right, but when you do you are rewarded with one of the most comforting desserts imaginable – which pairs gloriously with fresh mango purée. Blackberry or cherry also make a great substitution for the mango.

Tapioca and Mango Pudding
Serves 6-8

Ingredients:

1 Cup Small Pearl Tapioca (Not Quick Cook)
8 1/2 Cups Semi-Skimmed Milk
3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
2 Large Egg Yolks (Lightly Beaten)
1 tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
1 Pinch Fine Sea Salt
2 Ripe Mangoes (Peeled, Cored and Chopped)
1 tbsp Water
Lime Zest

Method:

1) Place 3 cups of the milk in a large saucepan with the tapioca, leave to sit uncovered for 1 hour.
2) Add the remaining milk, egg yolks, sugar, vanilla and salt to the pan and stir to combine.
3) Place the pan over a medium heat and bring to a simmer, stirring continuously – be careful not to boil.
4) Turn down the heat and continue to cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and the tapioca pearls appear soft and translucent – around 15 minutes. The tapioca will continue to thicken as it cools.
5) Pour the tapioca into a dish, allow to cool slightly then cover with cling-film to stop a skin forming.
6) Make the mango purée by combining the mango and water in a food processor and blitz until puréed.
7) Serve the tapioca with the mango purée and a little lime zest.

Enjoy!

Liebster Award

Liebster Award

Our Studio Kitchen, Maple & Saffron, Wholesomely Homemade, The Windy Kitchen, I Need A Feed! and Rabbitcancook have all, at one time or another, nominated me for the Liebster Award – an award given to promising, new bloggers. So thank you all and apologies it has taken me so long to post this! For the sake of simplicity, as Our Studio Kitchen were the last to nominate me for the award, I will answer their questions!

The Rules of the Award:

1. Post eleven facts about yourself.
2. Answer the questions the tagger has set for you and create eleven questions for people you’ve nominated.
3. Choose eleven people (with fewer than 200 followers) to give this award to and link them in your post.
4. Go to their page and tell them.
5. Remember, no tag backs.

11 Facts About Me

1. I live in Edinburgh, Scotland.
2. I am a law student in my final year.
3. I don’t like horseradish.
4. I wear glasses (or contacts when chopping onions).
5. My father is a butcher.
6. I have never visited Thailand.
7. I like cats.
8. My girlfriend is a better baker than me.
9. I detest decaffeinated coffee.
10. I like the sun, but prefer snow.
11. I am constantly hungry.

Questions from Our Studio Kitchen

1. Would you rather live as a squatter but be passionately in love with someone OR get a million tax free dollars each year but your love life will be cold and empty?
The Former!

2. Would you rather have no legs or no arms?
No Legs.

3. You are an alien from a distant planet–what is your name and what planet do you hail from?
Adino (The Chief of the 3 Mighty Warriors) from Mercury.

4. Astronaut or caveman–who wins? No, the astronaut doesn’t have fancy laser beams and the caveman doesn’t have a club.
The caveman – he can hunt!

5. You are an evil genius, where is your secret lair?
Under the sea – think Dr. Evil in Austin Powers.

6. What do you have protecting said lair?
Sharks.

7. If you have to spend one night in bed with any historical figure who would it be?
Marilyn Monroe.

8. You can only eat one food item or recipe for the rest of your life (it magically gives you all your necessary nutritional content), what is your dish?
Poached Lobster with Chunky Chips and Spicy Mayo from Daphne’s in Barbados.

9. You suddenly go color blind but it’s a special color blind, one that allows you to only see one color and all its shades, what color do you see?
Orange – it will be constantly sunny!

10. If you could be anywhere right now, where would you be?
In Italy, at the top of the dolomites, drinking prosecco and eating speck.

11. You can only listen to one record for the rest of your life, what is your album?
Notorious B.I.G – Ready to Die

Blogs I Nominate:

The Peckish Kiwi
IRENA & Dots
tiffanylanehandmade
3pastriesaday
Pocketful of Sugar
So Hungry I Could Blog
mouth magazine
andmorefood
Stef Ferrari
Executive Dining’s Nourishment
My Digital Kitchen

Questions for Nominees:
1. Lazy Sunday or busy Sunday?
2. What would be your last supper (limit to three courses)?
3. Breakfast in bed or breakfast with friends?
4. Eat in or eat out?
5. The one store cupboard ingredient you can’t do without?
6. Favourite destination?
7. Favourite food destination?
8. Wine or beer?
9. Favourite TV Series?
10. Eating at the table or on the sofa?
11. Sun or snow?

Rump Steak Burgers

Rump Steak Burgers
 
A great beef burger is a thing of beauty – yet it is very difficult to get right. There are countless burger blends which all promise to make the best burger. For the sake of simplicity and cost it is all too easy to dispense with these blends and use standard ground or minced beef.

However, using pure minced beef rump makes a truly delicious burger and is incredibly simple – requiring no weighing and blending of different minced cuts. Not only does rump have great depth of flavour, it contains the perfect fat content to make your burgers super juicy. Ask your butcher to mince whole cuts of untrimmed rump (including the back fat) and the results will impress.

Rump Steak Burgers
Serves 4-6

Ingredients:
1kg Minced Rump
Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Olive Oil

Method:

1) Pat the meat out on a large chopping board. Season generously with sea salt (to taste). Gently fold the minced rump to incorporate the salt, being careful not to over handle or compress.

2) Shape the mince into large burgers, around 6-8oz in weight – don’t press the burger into shape as this will destroy its texture.

3) Heat a large frying pan over a high heat. Add a good splash of olive oil and cook the burgers for around 5 minutes each side or until cooked to your liking.

Enjoy!

Slow Cooked Duck Breast

Slow Roasted Duck
 
A well cooked duck is a magnificent thing – deliciously crisp fat and rich, gamey meat . I have always loved incorporating acidic fruits into savoury dishes and duck works brilliantly with nearly all members of the ‘berry’ family!

The best way to cook duck is to remove the legs and confit and cook the breast on the bone as a crown. I detail instructions below for cooking a crown of duck sous vide.

For inspiration, I paired the slow cooked duck breast with:

Bread Sauce
Duck Gravy
Pickled Blackberries
Confit duck leg with peas, lettuce and mint
 
Slow Cooked Duck Breast

Sous Vide Duck Crown
Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 Duck Crown (1 Duck – Legs, Wings and Wishbone removed)
2 tsp Ground Mace
4 tbsp Olive Oil
25g Unsalted Butter
Sea Salt
Freshly Ground Black Pepper

Method:

1) Pre heat the water bath/sous vide machine to 62C.

2) Score the skin of the duck breasts and rub the ground mace into the breasts. Place a large pan on a high heat – add half the olive oil and sear the crown breast side down until the fat is golden and well rendered (approximately 5-10 minutes).

3) Remove from the pan and allow to cool.

4) Vacuum pack the duck crown in a large vacuum bag. Place in the water bath and allow to cook for 1 1/2 hours.

5) Remove the crown from the water bath and the vacuum bag. Slice the breasts off the crown.

6) Place a pan over a high heat and add the olive oil. Season the duck breasts with salt and pepper. Sear skin side down for 2-3 minutes to crisp up the fat. Add the butter to the pan and turn the duck breasts over. Baste with the butter for 1 minute.

7) Remove the duck breast from the pan. Allow to rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Slice and serve.

Enjoy!

Nutella Cheesecake (Gluten Free)

Nutella Cheesecake (Gluten Free)
 
This truly is the simplest of recipes and makes a delicious dessert – I loved Nutella as a child and was forever caught digging my spoon into a big jar of the stuff! A little dark chocolate stops everything becoming a little too sweet.

This recipe is made with a gluten free base (the topping is naturally gluten free) which can be substituted for an ordinary biscuit base if desired.

Nutella Cheesecake (Gluten Free)
Serves 6

Ingredients:
170g Gluten Free Digestive Biscuits
80g Unsalted Butter (Melted)
25g Flaked Almonds (Toasted)
2 tsp Cocoa Powder
400g Cream Cheese
270g Nutella
70g Dark Chocolate

Method:

1) Pre heat oven to 160C. Combine the digestives, almonds and cocoa powder in a food processor, whilst blitzing slowly pour in the butter until well combined. Transfer to a small lined cake tin (preferably spring form).

2) Bake the base in the oven for 10 minutes. Transfer to the fridge to cool.

3) Melt the chocolate and Nutella in a bain-marie, stirring frequently to combine. Allow the Nutella mixture to cool slightly. In a large bowl, whisk the cream cheese to loosen. Add the Nutella mixture and whisk to combine.

4) Spoon the mixture on to the biscuit base and level. Place in the fridge to chill for at least 4 hours but preferably overnight.

Enjoy!

Apple and Potato Gratin

Apple and Potato Gratin
 
This side dish is the ideal accompaniment for roast pork – tart apples and sweet caramelised onions cutting through the fattiness of the meat.

This recipe could easily serve 8 – but will be great the following day with leftovers.

Apple and Potato Gratin
Serves 8

Ingredients:
700g Onions (Finely Sliced)
1kg Maris Piper Potatoes (Peeled and Sliced)
800g Granny Smith Apples (Cored and Sliced)
50g Unsalted Butter
1tbsp Golden Caster Sugar
150ml Water
1 Glass Dry White Wine
Handful Thyme Sprigs
Freshly Ground Black Pepper
Sea Salt
25ml Olive Oil

Method:

1) Pre heat the oven to 200C. In a large casserole dish on the stovetop, sauté the onions in the sugar, butter, thyme and a little salt over a medium heat for 10 minutes until lightly browned. Turn up the heat and add the water and wine. Reduce until 1/4 of the liquid remains.

2) Remove the onions from the dish and mix with the potatoes, apples and a little salt and pepper in a large bowl. Return to the casserole dish and transfer to the oven, covered.

3) Bake the gratin covered for 1 hour. After 1 hour remove the lid and drizzle the top of the gratin with the olive oil. Bake for a further 15 minutes until golden.

Enjoy!

Goats Cheese Tart

Goats Cheese Tart
 
If you are looking for a delicious, simple starter to serve to friends, this is the recipe for you. Creamy goats cheese and mild Stilton make a fantastic base for this tart, their saltiness countering the sweet caramelised red onions perfectly. Great served with a peppery watercress salad and air-dried ham.

Serve it in the middle of the table and let everyone tuck in – they will not be disappointed!

Goats Cheese Tart
 
Goats Cheese Tart
Serves 6 as a Starter, 3 as a Main

Ingredients:
300g Ready Rolled Puff Pastry
3 Red Onions (Sliced)
25g Unsalted Butter
Mild Goats Cheese (A Thick Wedge)
75g Mild Stilton
2 Pears (Thinly Sliced)
Handful Thyme Sprigs
Black Pepper
Juice 1/2 Lemon
1 Egg Yolk (Beaten)

Method:

1) Make the caramelised red onions: Melt the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onions and cook for around 30 minutes, stirring frequently, until caramelised.

2) Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Lay the pastry on a parchment lined baking sheet. Score a line 1cm from the edge of the pastry all of the way around – being careful not break through the pastry. Prick the pastry inside of the line with a fork.

3) Spread the caramelised onions evenly over the base inside the scored line. Crumble the goats cheese and Stilton evenly over the onions. Top with the sliced pear and thyme and season generously with black pepper. Egg wash the outside of the pastry around the filling. Place in the oven and cook for around 20 minutes or until the pastry is cooked and the cheese browned.

4) Just before serving, drizzle the lemon juice over the tart and cut into equal slices.

Enjoy!

Espresso Soda

Espresso Soda

 

Big thanks go to ‘So hungry I could blog‘ for this remarkable Espresso Soda recipe.

The perfect pick me up for the afternoon lull, the ‘syrup’ can be kept in the fridge and a soda made at the drop of a hat. Much more refreshing than iced milk-based coffee drinks, it would make the ideal partner to an afternoon spent outside in the summer sun (when the time comes)!

Espresso Soda
Serves 2

Ingredients:
2 Freshly Brewed Espressos
1 1/2 tbsp Golden Caster Sugar
250 ml Soda Water
2 Slices Lemon Peel
Ice

Method:

1) For the syrup: Mix the espresso with the sugar and place in the fridge for at least 1/2 hour to chill.

2) In a jug or between two glasses, combine the espresso with the soda water and a good handful of ice. Twist the lemon peel into the serving glasses. Serve immediately.

Enjoy!