A little knowledge

Cookery Tips & recipes

Day 14 of the Christmas Countdown. Do hope you are all enjoying the daily recipes & hopefully trying them out. All have been tried & tested in various households, during my 40 years as a cook.

Today I am going to give you a recipe & a few food tips, which you may find useful. Also a couple of excellent suppliers which I can highly recommend.

The little cheese biscuits in the photo are so easy to make, they really melt in the mouth & are great for those Christmas drinks parties. You can sandwich them with cream cheese, either on its own, or with the addition of chopped herbs, garlic or some chopped ham & mustard. They can also be used as the base for a canape. Pipe pate, creamed cheese etc  on top & decorate with smoked salmon, caviar, chopped sundried tomatoes. The choice is yours.

To make the biscuits, mix together, equal amounts of butter (real, not a spread) grated cheese, & plain flour together. Season & chill in the fridge for 30mins. When ready to use, roll out & bake at 200c 400f Gas 6 for 7-10mins. DO WATCH THEM AS THEY BURN QUITE EASILY.  Leave to cool on the tray for a few minutes, before removing to a cooling rack.

The raw dough will keep in the fridge for 1 week. Store cooked biscuits in an air tight container for 1 week.

Whilst on the subject of cheese, you will be needing some Chutneys or pickles to go with it. You can do no better that POT OF WHAT 

Delicious home made tracklements from the Cotswolds

This lovely company, home makes the most delicious, Jams, Marmalades, Chutneys & Pickles, with many of their fruits & veg, being grown by themselves. Their Hot Chilli Jam is to die for. Add a couple of tablespoons to a casserole to give it some extra Omph! or spice up a salad by using it as a base for a chilli dressing. Its usefulness has no limits.

Gin, pink gin, botanic, tipples, party time,

To go with the Canapes (Alcohol) GIN 

Wicked Wolf Gin is a small batch, handcrafted Gin, made in Devon on Exmoor. It’s light pepper notes, layers of citrus with juniper & corriander, make it, to me, a Queen of Gins. Try it with a slice of orange & a sprig of fresh Rosemary.  The perfect libation, at any time of the year.

sharon fruit, recipes, persimmon, healthy eating

Persimmon a delicious, versitile fruit

Also know a Sharon Fruit, these fruits originate from Japan & are pentiful at this time of the year. The fruit is high in antioxidants & is brimful of fibre & nutrients. There is no need to peel, as like all fruit, most of the nutrients lurk, just under the skin, which also provides more fibre. If you like a baked apple, try baking this filled with dried cranberries & pistachio nuts, for a low calorie, winter dessert. Served with yoghurt, of course. It is also delicious gated into a salad with chopped celery & walnuts. Serve with a blue cheese dressing. YUM.

Have a browse of the websites I have given you the links for & give them a try.  

Thats all for today. Be with you all again tomorrow, for day 15 of Christmas Countdown.

Top those pies with veg

Vegetable topped pie recipes

Day six, of twenty two daily recipes, posted in this, my Christmas Countdown. Don’t forget, if you would like to see any particular recipe or need some advise on your festive cookery, just leave a comment at the bottom of the post & I will be happy to help.

Today, we are talking pies. Not pastry pies, but vegetable topped pies, a cunning  way of getting extra veg into the kids & also a little bit healthier for us all.   You can use a variety of different veg to top your pies & a lot of different fillings, to go under that veggie thatch. See my variations at the bottom of the recipe.

The pie in the photo, (find the recipe below) is topped with an equal mix of white potatoes & celeriac. The sauce is made with the addition of a couple of tablespoons of Pernod, which enhances the flavour of both the fish & celariac, although you can omit the alcohol if you wish. 

potatoes, celariac, sweetcorn, fish, pies
Part of you 5 a day

Haddock & Veggie topped Pie

Time: 40mins + cooking.  Equipment: Oven proof baking dish, 2 saucepans, frying pan. Allergens: Fish, Milk

INGREDIENTS:

225g Smoked Haddock, or fish of your choice

500ml Milk

 2 Stalks Celery, 1 Carrot chopped.

Parsley + 2 Bay leaves

4 Hard boiled eggs, peeled & halved.

150g Frozen sweetcorn or mixed veg.

40ml Olive oil, for the sauce

2 Tbspns Plain Flour.

450g White Potatoes. Peeled & chopped into chunks

400g Celariac, Peeled a chopped into chunks

40ml Olive oil for the topping

Seasoning.

METHOD

Place the potatoes & celariac into a large saucepan, cover with water & salt, bring to the boil & simmer until tender. (About 20mins)

Place the skinned fish in a large frying pan, add the carrot, celery, parsley & bay leaves. Pour over the milk. Bring to the boil, turn off the heat, cover and let stand for 5mins. Add the frozen veg & let stand while you are making the sauce.

In a medium saucepan, place the olive oil & flour, over a medium heat, stir until the mixture binds together & bubbles, lightly, do not brown.

Remove pan from the heat & strain the milk from the fish, into the pan. Bring to the boil, stirring constantly. Stir in the seasoning & Pernod.

Flake the fish into a oven proof baking dish, add the veg & eggs.  Pour the sauce over the top.

Drain the potatoes & celariac, place back on heat, to briefly dry. 

Add remaining olive oil & sesonings & mash well, until smooth

Pile on top of the fish & sauce & make a decorative pattern with a fork.

Place in a preheated oven 180c 350f Gas 4 & bake for 20-30mins until golden brown.

Serve immediately.

Cooking up a feast.

Although not as rich & creamy as butter, olive oil is far better healthy option. Generally speaking, any root vegetables can be used mashed, for the topping, either on their own or mixed with potato.

Variations: Try a mix of potato & beetroot, mashed with a tablespoon of creamed horseradish. Replace the fish with cooked smoked mackerel. Omit the eggs & sweetcorn, replacing with 2 Tbspns Capers.

Cheats way.  Omit the haddock & use 1 tin of Tuna Fish, mixed with 1 can Cambells Condensed Tomato Soup & 2 Tbspns pitted Black Olives. Top with potato & grated parmesan.

If you have been. Thank you for reading.

Until tomorrow.

Spiced Potato & Carrot Bahji

Spiced Potato & Carrot Bahji’s

I love a nice spicy, crispy Bahji, served with a nice fresh crunchy salad & a big bowl of chilli & cucumber ratia, for dipping. The only thing I don’t like is the fat content. Traditionally, Bahji’s are deep fried, which gives them that gorgeous, crunchy texture, it also gives them a high fat content. Well foodies after playing around a bit with my ingredients & cooking methods, I have come up with these little low fat, gluten free, dairy free vegan & vegetarian Bahji balls.

Carrots, Potatoes, Bahji's, Oven baked, low fat
Hot from the oven

INGREDIENTS: SERVES 4. GLUTEN FREE, DAIRY FREE, VEGETARIAN, VEGAN, Oven temp 200c 400f Gas MK 6.

500g Potatoes, grated. Put in a tea towel & squeeze to remove excess water.

2 medium red onions, grated ( I find red onions more digestible for lowfodmap diets)

200g Carrots, grated

5cm, Fresh Ginger, peeled & grated

2. Fresh red chillies, finely chopped

1tspn Turmeric powder

3 tspns Cumin Seeds

1 tspn Salt

5 Tbspns Gram Flour

Juice of 1 Fresh Lime

2 tbspns Rapeseed Oil

Fresh chillis & Corriander to serve.

es, bahji's, vegetables, low fat, oven baked
Assembling the spicy Veg mix

METHOD:

Place the drained potatoes, carrots, onions, chillis, ginger, spices and salt in a large bowl, & mix together well. (get you hands in).

Add the gram flour & mix well again.

Add the lime juice & oil & mix well again, adding a little more oil if necessary to produce a sticky mix.

Line a baking tray with non stick parchment, roll the mix into small ball, & place a little apart on the tray.

Bake for 25-30mins, checking half way through & turning if necessary.

Remove from the oven & sprinkle with fresh corriander & finely chopped chilli’s

Serve with a grated carrot, spring onion & red pepper salad, a bowl of corriander & chilli yoghurt & mango chutney.

Enjoy.

Another little tip, for low fat nibbles. 15mins before the Bahji’s are ready, Sprinkle some pumpkin seeds in a single layer on baking parchement. Sprinkle with a little salt & some spice of your liking & bake.  Beats peanuts anytime.

pumkin seeds, low fat, nibbles with drinks, vegetarian, gluten free
Spicy, low fat nibbles

Halloween Butternut Squash

Autumn is finally upon us. Apart from the cold mornings the weather continues to be glorious. Walking my furry friend across the fields, the early morning mist creates an eerie atmosphere & evokes memories of smoky bonfires, leaves rustling underfoot and of course Halloween.

Here at TRUFFLEicious, we are preparing for the closure of Great Chalfield Manor for this year & concentrating on our winter activities.  Writing my recipe book  TRUFFLEicious, Nutritious, Nutrition is one of my projects for the winter months & continuing to retail my homemade Gluten free Cakes, Spelt & Rye Breads & of course, Chocolate Truffles (Full details on my website www.truffleicious.org) is another.

Right enough waffling back to Halloween with its Pumpkins & Gourds.  This month’s recipe is vegetarian, for the carnivores amongst you, some spicy sausages or chicken, would make a great addition. You can also make double the amount & serve one half hot & save the rest to have as a salad for the next day.

Oriental Butternut Squash, Black Kale & Spelt with Sesame & Pomegranate Dressing

Serves 6.  Low Fodmap. DF, V, Vegan.  Oven heat 180c, 350f, Gas 4

INGREDIENTS:

2 Medium Butternut Squash, Halved, seeds removed & chopped into large cubes.

1 Large Bag of fresh Black Kale. Shredded.

2 Red Onions, Peeled & quarted.

2 Red Peppers. Deseeded & cut into chunks.

Seasoning

4 Tbspns. Rape Seed Oil.

Sesame Oil to taste.

For the dressing:  Put all ingredients in a screw top jar. Shake to emulsify.  Adjust to taste.

100ml. Cider Vinegar.

tspns Lemon Grass Paste

2 Crushed Cloves Garlic

2 tspns Clear Honey.

50ml. Low Salt. Vegan Soy Sauce

Ground Black Pepper

200ml. Rape Seed Oil.

150g Brown Spelt. Cooked to packet instructions.

METHOD:

Preheat the oven.

Place the oil in a large roasting tray.  Add the Squash, onion, peppers, season well with salt & pepper.

Toss everything together to coat veg with the oil. Roast for 15 – 20 mins, until cooked but not mushy.

While the veg are roasting make the dressing & quickly stir fry the black kale in a large Wok.

Using a slotted spoon, place cooked veg in a large serving dish; add the drained spelt & kale.

Toss together, drizzle with Sesame Oil, to taste & serve either on its own with crusty bread or with grilled halloumi.

If you are having a Halloween or Bonfire party, this dish looks brilliant served in a pumpkin shell or individual halved, different coloured gourd shells.

Enjoy.

A Clucking good bake

You don’t always have to think of Sunday Lunch as a roast. In the recipe I am giving you this week I have used a whole chicken which I have jointed into six pieces. (you can always use chicken portions if you prefer, )

The vegetables & potatoes are all put in a roasting tin, with herbs & garlic tucked in between, you place the chicken pieces on top & pour over the magic cooking liquid. Pop it into the oven & you are ready to go. No messy carving & all you need to do is reduce the liquid left in the pan to concentrate the flavour & you have a tasty sauce, to pour over your finished dish.

You can use any veg you like, but cut them into the same sized chunks, so they are all cook at the same time.  You can also cook this dish, eat half, cool the other half quickly, store, covered in the fridge for up to two days or place in a freezer container & freeze for three months. (defrost thoroughly in the fridge before reheating) Always ensure that food is reheated in the middle, before serving.

CHICKEN & VEGETABLE BAKE       Serves 6. Gluten Free, Dairy Free.  Time taken 30mins + 1 to 11/2 hours Cooking. Oven Temp 200F 400c Gas 6

Ingredients.

I large chicken, jointed or 6 Chicken Portions.

1kg of Seasonal Winter Veg chopped into chunks. ( I used Celeriac, Carrots, Shallots, potatoes & Swede.)

4 Cloves of Garlic unpeeled.

Bay leaves, Fresh thyme, rosemary & sage.

In a jug mix together the magic mix:

200ml Red Wine.

3 tbspns Olive Oil

3tbspns Tomato Puree

1/2 tspn Sugar.

Seasoning

METHOD

Place the veg in the bottom of a large roasting tin. Put the chicken on top & tuck the herbs & garlic around the chicken.

Beat together the magic mixture in a jug & pour over the chicken & veg.

Bake in a preheated oven for 1 – 11/2 hours until the chicken is cooked through.

Remove the chicken & veg from the pan & keep warm.

Squeeze the garlic from the unpeeled cloves into the left over liquid, bring to the boil & reduce slightly.   Pour into a jug to serve with the chicken.

Serve with a green veg of choice.

If you had to open a new bottle of wine for this recipe, now’s the time to sit back, relax & enjoy a glass, or two.

chicken, red wine, seasonal veg, celeriac, carrots
Take it easy Sunday Lunch