Banana, Rum & Rasin Loaf

Totally stolen from Milli Taylor after seeing this on her instagram @millitaylor
Needs to be started 24h in advance so the raisins are well soaked…

100g sultanas or raisins
150ml dark rum
180g unsalted butter
2 medium eggs
2 large bananas very ripe, (blackening) well mashed
150g plain flour
100g muscovado sugar
40g Demerara sugar
3.5 tsp baking powder
Pinch of sea salt
80g nuts (optional, hazelnuts work well)

In a small pan bring the rum just to be boil and then add the dried fruit. Swirl around and leave to soak for at least 10h, ideally 24h.

Brown the butter now, by cutting into small pieces and heating in a little pan, swirl around to get it to mix well, let it foam. It is ready when it is a caramel colour. Should smell nutty but not go black. Leave to cool and if it need storing keep in the fridge overnight.

To make the cake…. Preheat oven to 175C fan.

Take a 2lb loaf tin (approx. 21cm l x 11cm w x 7cm h) and rub it well with soft butter. Then add the Demerara sugar and tap and tilt the tin around to coat the bottom and sides with the sugar. The tin has to be well buttered for this to work, the sugar will coat it all.

In a large bowl (use electric whisk, hand one is fine), beat the eggs and muscovado sugar until pale and thick (will take a few mins, by thick it means there should be ribbons in the batter when you lift the whisk out).

Then add the rum soaked fruit and any liquid, the mashed bananas, (cool) brown butter and mix with a spoon.

Now add flour, salt and the baking powder and finally the chopped nuts if using. Put the mix into the sugared tin and bake for approx. 50 mins. Check with a toothpick to see if done and do another 5 if still a little sticky. Leave to cool for 20 mins and then turn the cake out onto a rack. As it cools the sugar will go crunchy on the outside.

 

Tatiana’s Borscht

 

If the spoon doesn’t stand up at the end you have been too tight with the cabbage!

This makes an enormous amount – approx. 20 servings. The grey Le Creusset was not even big enough. Cut in two for more sensible amounts. Always better the day after it is made.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • 2 medium white onions
  • 4 litres of boiling water
  • 2 vegetable stock cubes
  • 1Kg floury potatoes peeled and cut into small cubes
  • 1 dsp of Herbes de Provence
  • 1Kg cooked beetroot, peeled and grades on largest side
  • 4 medium sized carrots (err on less not more, they can make it too sweet)
  • 1 white cabbage – tough heart removed and shredded thinly (setting 1 on the  KitchenAid)
  • 500g cooked beans
  • 150-200g tomato puree
  • 6 medium cloves of garlic
  • Creme Fraiche for serving

Get the boiling water ready, once the first load has boiled add the stock cubes and get the kettle on again for the next. Meanwhile take the whole onions, cut the top off and peel. KEEP THE ROOT ON and the onion whole. Cut a grid into the onion from its top end so there are about 3 cuts vertically and horizontally – don’t go all the way to the root but quite close. You want the onion to give flavour but it needs to be removed before serving.

When all the water is boiling with the stock cubes inside add the prepared onions, the potato and carrot and cook for 5 mins. Next addthe shredded cabbage and the herbs as well as a serious grind of black pepper. Leave on a light boil until the potato is cooked (will be about 15 mins).

Do not put a lid on the pan – apparently it is bad for the cabbage.

Next add the beans and grated beetroot and cook on light boil until the colour is coming out the beetroot and the strands are a lot paler. Around 5 mins. Remove the onions.

Reduce the heat so it is off the boil and add 150g of the the tomato puree and a really serious seasoning of salt. Bring to the boil and then cut the heat immediately. Taste and add more tomato if needed, if you do this bring to the boil again and then cut the heat once boiling. Check the seasoning again.

Finally grate in the garlic and stir well. If you were going to eat immediately, I would add two cloves of grated garlic, stir and put as much as you need into bowls and then add the rest to the pan. Otherwise the garlic can be a bit harsh.

It is best if you let the soup rest at least overnight or for a full day before eating. Reheat as much as you need and serve with a dollop of creme fraiche on top.

Vanilla Ice Cream

Make sure the ice cream bowl has been in the freezer for at least 24h before starting.

300ml milk (full fat)
280ml of double cream
90g golden caster sugar
1 heaped tsp of vanilla bean paste or 1 fresh pod, split in two seeds scraped out
3 large egg yolks

Put the cream and milk in a large non stick pan on 2 with the vanilla and warm for 15 mins to infuse.

Meanwhile put the yolks and sugar in a bowl and using a whisk or the beater take them to a thick consistency until you can see ribbons on the surface.

Being the milk and cream mix to just below boiling point (before bubbles burst) keeping an eye on the bottom (don’t let it overheat and burn) then take 3 tbs out and mix into the eggs and sugar to slacken it off. Then add the rest of the cream into the bowl and stir.

Transfer everything back to the pan, put on 6 and continue stirring for at least 10 mins until thickened. It might need to be taken up to 7 briefly. do not stop stirring, needs to be the consistency of custard.

Once thickened remove from the heat, put a lid on and allow to cool completely (outside or in fridge).

Set up the mixer and add the cold mixer, churn on the slowest speed. Will take 10-15 mins.

Put into an Tupperware and freeze until needed, take out 10 mins before serving.

Beetroot Hummus

4 medium beetroot, cooked (cooked weight about 650g), peeled and chopped into chunks
2 lemons – juice from both and zest from one
2 heaped tsp tahini
2 tbs olive oil
1 dsp (flat) Maldon salt

Put all the ingredients into the large blender and pulse, scraping down the sides to everything gets mixed. Leave so there is still some texture, shouldn’t be totally smooth. Check seasoning and serve.

 

Roast Onions & Mushrooms with Polenta

Adapted from a Nigel Slater recipe in the Christmas Chronicles

Serves 2 (generously)

For the onions and mushrooms
2 medium onions (red if possible)
30ml olive oil
25g butter
6 sprigs thyme, rinsed and dried
150g mushrooms (chestnut ideally), brushed clean, halved and sliced

For the polenta
75g fine polenta (NOT quick cook variety)
250ml water
250ml milk
2 large handfuls of greens (optional) such as spinach or kale, finely sliced and rinsed
2 tbs (heaped) cream cheese
2 tbs (heaped) Parmesan

Preheat the oven to 185C fan. Peel the onions, and quarter them. Put them into a small metal roasting tin. Drizzle with the olive oil, tuck in the sprigs of thyme and dot small bits of the butter over the top. Bake for 20 mins and then baste. Cook for another 20 mins but set the timer to remember to base every 5-6 mins.

While the onions are baking, cook the polenta. You need to be able to stand and stir like a risotto for 25 mins…

Pour the water and milk into a medium sized saucepan and warm it, but don’t allow to boil (number 6 should be fine). Add a generous pinch of salt and then add the polenta while stirring continuously. If it spits remove from the heat but keep stirring. Return to the heat and keep stirring for around 20 mins.

After 20 mins, take a small frying pan and warm a slug of olive oil on 6 and fry the onions – keep stirring the polenta though! Once the polenta is smooth and doesn’t have any graininess to the texture add the greens if using and stir through, once wilted add the cream cheese and parmesan, stir and then taste and season, it probably needs a generous seasoning. Remove from the heat.

Spoon the polenta into pasta bowls, top with the mushrooms and then add the roast onions on top. Add a final grate of parmesan if you like.

Grilled Aubergine with Lentils

Adapted from Nigel Slater in Christmas Chronicles

Serves 2

2 large aubergines
3 tbs olive oil
1 lemon
1 medium white onion
2 cloves garlic
4 large sprigs of thyme
3 sprigs rosemary
150g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
150g puy lentils
2 large handfulls of spinach leaves, shredded and rinsed
2 tbs double cream
Fresh parsley (enough to make about 1 tbs chopped)
2 tbs grated Parmesan

Preheat the grill on high. Wash and dry the aubergines and slice in half lengthways. Score a tight lattice pattern into the flesh without piercing the skin. Put them onto a baking sheet cut side up and rub over enough of the olive oil to cover each side (generously) and season with salt and black pepper. Halve the lemon and squeeze over the juice. Put under the grill, not too close to the top and cook until golden brown. (check after 10 mins and if brown but not soft then cover with foil and switch the grill to oven 185C and finish for another 10-15 mins).

Rinse the lentils and check for stones, then put into a pan with enough cold water to come up about 1″ over the top. Bring to a boil, put a lid on top and reduce heat to 5 and simmer until cooked (min 20 mins) keeping an eye on the water level.

While the lentils are cooking put the green Le Creuset on 6 to warm. Peel and dice the onion, add the olive oil and diced onion to the warm pan with a generous pinch of salt and stir. Cook until soft and then grate in the garlic cloves. Rinse the thyme and rosemary and remove the leaves from the stalks, finely chop the rosemary and add both to the onion mix with the mushrooms. Add some more olive oil if the pan seems dry. Leave to soften, adding the lid after a few mins and reducing the heat to 4.

Once the mushrooms are cooked, check the lentils to be sure they are cooked, drain and add to the mushroom/onion mix. Stir in the chopped spinach, stir and add the lid for a couple of mins until the leaves have wilted. Add the cream and parmesan and stir then season generously and taste. Needs to be well peppered!

Put the lentils in a pasta bowl and serve with one half of the grilled aubergine on top.

 

Ciambela – Breakfast or Coffee Bread

500g plain flour
1 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarb soda
Zest of 3 large or 4 small lemons
125g caster sugar
4 tbs olive oil
5 tbs sunflower oil
3 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
7 tbs milk

This is half cake, half bread. Good for breakfast and can be cut and eaten 5 mins from taking out the oven.

Preheat fan oven to 170C. Grease using sunflower oil a ring tin.

Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl and add the other dry ingredients, including the lemon zest and mix. Add the oils and stir until the mix goes into a fine crumb. Some of the larger bits you might need to break up with fingers.

In a separate bowl beat the eggs and add the vanilla and milk, stir and add to the crumb mix. Stir until all mixed and then spoon into the tin. Spread out as evenly as possible around the tin, does not need to be smoothed over but should be around the same height.

Cook for 45 mins. Remove from the oven and if it will not come away from the tin use a thin pallet knife to remove. Slice as required. It should have a close crumb and be quite dry.

Can be toasted both sides under the grill and kept as biscotti as well.

Quorn & Spinach Casserole

350g Quorn pieces

1 large onion roughly chopped

2 large carrots cut into cubes

1 large glass of dry white wine

2 bay leaves

1 large potato cut into small pieces

300ml boiling water

2 Kallo chicken stockcubes (or veggie)

1 dessert spoon corn flour

6 leafy stems parsley

– stems finely chopped

– leaves roughly chopped

4 large handfuls of spinach leaves, finely chopped

Olive oil

Salt and pepper

 

Heat a tbs of olive oil in a Le Creuset casserole pan on 7. Add the quorn and brown it off, stirring from time to time, add more oil if necessary. Once brown, reduce the heat to 5 add the onions and a large pinch of salt and cook until the onions are soft.

 

Add the white wine and bay leaves, using a spoon to scape the bottom of the pan and reduce by half. Add the carrots and potato, the stock cubes and boiling water and the parsley stalks. Reduce the heat to 4, add some black pepper and cook with the lid off stirring from time to time until the potato is cooked (about 30 mins).

Mix the corn flour with a little cold water so it is runny. Pour in half to the casserole and stir well, if it is still not thick enough add the rest and stir again. Add the parsley and stir.

Add the spinach on top and cover for a couple of minutes until wilted. Stir well and check the seasoning and serve.

Goes well with roast turnips and some green veg.

Aloo Gobi – Cauliflower & Potato Curry with Chickpea Flour Pancake

Serves 4 for large mains or 8 as a side

For the curry

1 large onion roughly chopped

1 heaped tsp grated ginger 

2 cloves garlic roughly chopped

1 green chilli roughly chopped

1 tin chopped tomatoes 

1 small cauliflower cut into bite size pieces

2 medium potatoes cut into small dice (bite size)

1 tsp mustard seeds

1 tsp cumin seeds

1/2 tsp ground cumin

2 tbs sunflower or coconut oil

1/2 tsp turmeric (or haldi)

1 tsp curry powder

1 tsp garam masala

Salt and pepper

Water

Half bunch chopped coriander and yoghurt to serve

Chickpea Pancake

Serves 2 as a main

1/2 cup chickpea flour

Sunflower oil

Water

Salt and pepper

Heaped tbs chopped coriander

Method

Cook the potatoes until just tender, just before they are ready add the cauliflower for the last couple of minutes, they should be pretty crunchy still. Drain and set aside.

Heat a Le Creuset on number 6. Meanwhile put the onion, ginger, garlic and chilli in a jug and use the stick blender to make a paste or chuck it in the food processor in the smallest part and blitz. 

Add the oil to the pan and add the mustard and cumin seeds and fry until popping a little, then add the onion paste and fry for a few mins. Add the tinned tomatoes, and the powdered cumin, curry and garam masala and stir well, cook for a few mins stirring regularly. Add some water to slacken off the paste and add the potato and cauliflower to the pan. Stir and turn the heat down to 4 maybe 3, it should just be gently cooking, not boiling.

Heat a large black frying pan on 7. Put the chickpea flour in a medium bowl and add about 1/4 cup water and stir well with a fork to make a smooth paste. Then add some more water you want the mix to be about the consistency of single cream/pancake batter. Add the coriander and season well. 

Add some oil to the frying pan (about 1/2 tbs) and swish around. Add the pancake mix and turn the pan so it is well distributed. Leave until you can see bubbles forming and bursting and that the bottom is brown (it will be about 4-5 mins) then flip over with a fish knife. You might need to add a little more oil…

Check the seasoning of the curry and add more garam masala if needed and some more water if it is too thick. 

Serve with the pancake cut into triangles and some yoghurt and fresh coriander on top. 

Lentil Cottage Pie

Serves 8-10

Olive oil

2 diced onions

2 carrots diced into small cubes

2 sticks celery diced into small cubes

250g dried red lentils

1 tin tomatoes or 2/3 jar passata

1 tbsp sun-dried tomato paste

500ml stock (veg or chicken)

Salt and black pepper

6-8 tbs frozen peas

1Kg floury potatoes cut into roast potato size pieces

500g sweet potatoes cut into roast potato size pieces

Skimmed milk

Grated hard cheese like cheddar (optional)

Warm the olive oil in the green Le Creuset on 6 and add the onion, carrot and celery with a large pinch of salt and fry until soft. Once soft add the tomato paste, tinned tomatoes (or passata) and stir well and then add the stock and lentils and stir again, turn the heat down to 5 and add the lid. Keep checking every few minutes and add more water if necessary (it can get dry).

Preheat the oven to 185C (fan) if cooking immediately.

Boil the potatoes while the sauce is cooking and drain and allow the steam to evaporate. Mash well with enough milk to make a smooth mash and season well with salt and pepper.

Check the lentils are cooked, add the frozen peas and season the mix well then smooth down. Ideally allow to cool so it forms a hard base for the mash but not essential.

Add the mash in dollops to the top and carefully smooth down and then fork over. If using the grated cheese sprinkle over the top.

Bake for 30 mins until the top is golden and allow to stand for 5 mins before serving with any green veg.