Tag: Summer

Asparagus, New Potato and Serrano Ham Salad

Asparagus, New Potato and Serrano Ham Salad

To counter all the insanely indulgent patisserie and sweet bakes that I’ve been making the past few weeks, I thought it was about time for a salad. Especially when it’s this hot all the time, no one really wants to be eating anything warm and so salads are kinda my go-to thing. This salad can be served either hot or cold, so it’s a good one to have up your sleeve for all seasons.

I think the key to a good salad is to have a mixture of cheese/meat, green veg and then something more carb-based. In this summery salad the saltiness of the ham and the halloumi works beautifully with the earthiness of the asparagus and the broad beans. If you haven’t had halloumi before, it’s this gorgeous cheese which is cooked to give a slightly crisp outside with a softer inside that squeaks as you eat it. It’s pretty salty, but in a salad like this it’s incredible! Because of the serano ham and asparagus this can be a bit of a pricey lunch to make, so if you’re working to a budget you can get the same effect by using normal ham and cooked courgette strips.

Recipe

Serves 2

Time: 20 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 New Potatoes
  • 8 Spears of Asparagus
  • A handful of Broad beans
  • 1 tbsp Olive oil
  • 1 Block of Halloumi (about 225g)
  • A handful of Salad Leaves
  • 3 Pieces of Serrano ham
  • Black pepper to season

Method

  1. Put on a pan of water to boil. Then add the new potatoes and leave to boil for 10 minutes, until soft.
  2. Chop off the woody ends of the asparagus, about a thumbs length but this will vary depending on what kind you buy. Scoop the potatoes out of the water and then replace them with the asparagus, leaving them to boil for 5-8 minutes, until tender. Add the broad beans a few minutes before they asparagus is cooked to allow through to cook through.
  3. In another pan pop the oil and put over a medium heat. Slice the halloumi into pieces the thickness of a £1 coin. Then fry the halloumi for 2-3 minutes on each side so it goes golden brown.
  4. When ready start plating the salad. Scatter some of the salad leaves over the plate. Then cut the potatoes into wedges and scatter them around the plate. Then pop on the halloumi, asparagus and scatter over the broad beans. Finish with twirls of the Serrano ham, a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of black pepper!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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Mint Choc Chip Ice Cream

Mint Choc Chip Ice Cream

If you’re in the UK right now you’ll be aware that it’s really hot, and it doesn’t look like it’s going to change anytime soon! Whilst I’m all for a sunny day or two, I’m actually one of those weirdos who love storms and the rain, so I can’t wait for this heat wave to move on and for a good storm to come rolling in. In the meantime though it’s ice cream and shorts all the way! My favourite ice cream has to be a good mint choc chip. The kind that’s refreshing, tickles the tongue and has big, bittersweet nuggets of chocolate floating through it. Unfortunately where I live they don’t sell mint choc chip (shock horror!) The only place that I found something resembling mint ice cream was in the Aldi near where I work, and whilst I’m a normally big Aldi fan, their mint choc chip ice cream could do with some serious tlc. So, desperate times call for desperate measures, time to make my own!

Loads of people say they hate mint choc chip as a flavour because it reminds them of toothpaste, but to me that’s really glass-half-empty kind of thinking. To me toothpaste tastes of mint ice cream! A bit weird, I know, but it makes some sense. By using fresh mint in this ice cream the whole thing tastes a lot more deep and rounded than the shop bought stuff. You get a really strong, authentic mint flavour and none of the synthetic, weak mint you come across in cheap ice cream. If you’re one of the above people who hates mint ice cream you can easily make this vanilla or plain choc chip by just not infusing the milk with the mint. You can also vary how much chocolate goes in depending on your preference. Personally I like a mixture of flakes and hearty chunks, but you can chop the chocolate however you want to suit your style.

Recipe

Makes 1 tub

Time: 30 minutes, plus chilling time

Ingredients

  • 215g Dark chocolate
  • 450ml Whole milk
  • 250ml Double cream
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla bean paste
  • 30g Fresh mint
  • 4 Large egg yolks
  • 140g Caster sugar
  • Ice cream cones to serve (optional)
  • Flakes and sprinkle to decorate (optional)

Method

  1. Chop the chocolate into small chunks. Then put them into a container and leave in the freezer until needed.
  2. Pop the milk, cream, vanilla and mint into a pan and bring to the boil.
  3. Reduce the heat to the lowest temperature and leave to simmer/infuse for 20 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile put the egg yolks and sugar into a bowl and whisk together until pale and smooth.
  5. Strain the milk mixture through a sieve to remove the mint, then pour the warm milk over the egg mixture, whisking constantly to combine.
  6. Then pour this mixture back into the pan and place over a medium heat, whisking constantly until the mixture thickens.
  7. When the mixture thickens, remove it from the heat and leave to cool completely.
  8. Once the mixture is at room temperature pour the mixture into an ice cream maker, working to the device’s instructions. If you don’t have an ice cream maker see note below.
  9. When the ice cream is ready, add the chocolate chunks to the ice cream and mix them through. Then pour the ice cream into a freezer-proof tub, smooth over and leave in the freezer to freeze completely.
  10. Once frozen serve with sprinkles and flakes in cones or in bowls!

 

Note: If you don’t have an ice cream maker, add the chocolate chunks to the ice cream mix and stir them in. Then pour the mixture into a freezer-proof tub with a lid and leave in the freezer for 2 hours. Every 10-15 minutes take the ice cream out and give it a stir. This will help with the crystal formation and will make the ice cream smooth as it sets. After the two hours leave the ice cream to set completely in the freezer.

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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Sumac and Pistachio Meringues with Pomegranate

Sumac and Pistachio Meringues with Pomegranate

Those of you who follow my Instagram will know that I had an incredible meal at The Vanilla Pod restaurant in Lynton a few weeks ago. When I was there one of the specials was a sumac meringue with rhubarb and pistachios. Whilst I went for a different, but equally delicious feta cheesecake for dessert (which I’ll be adapting and re-creating soon!), I knew this was something I wanted to try out for myself when I got home.

Sumac is a tangy spice used in Mediterranean and Middle Eastern cooking. Traditionally it’s used in savoury food, but the combo of the sumac with the sweet meringue and the pistachios is to die for (no exaggeration). This is also super easy to make, the hardest bit is just the meringues and the trick with them is just to make sure everything is spotlessly clean before you start and to whisk for a really long time. So if you’ve got something coming up which you want a cool, inventive dessert for, this is the one for you! These meringues will also store for a really long time in an air tight tin, so if you have some left over egg whites from something else you can whip them up and then bung them in a box till you need them.

Recipe

Serves 8

Time: 45 minutes, plus cooking time

Ingredients

  • 4 Large egg whites (130g)
  • 260g (Double the weight of your egg whites) Caster sugar
  • 40g Salted pistachios, roughly chopped, plus extra to garnish
  • 2 tbsp Sumac
  • 400ml Double cream
  • A handful of Pomegranate seeds
  • 100g Fresh raspberries

Method

  1. To get set up pre-heat the oven to 140˚C and line two baking trays with baking paper. Then wash a metal or glass bowl and two electric whisk beaters with lots of soap and warm water to make sure they’re spotless (any fat on these utensils will stop the meringue for puffing up).
  2. Weigh the egg whites into your bowl and note down the weight. Then, using an electric whisk, whisk the egg whites until they hit a stiff peak. Now add the sugar, 1tbsp at a time, to get a stiff meringue (about 8 minutes), you want to add in double the weight of the egg whites in sugar.
  3. Add the chopped pistachios and 1 tbsp of the sumac, and then carefully fold them into the meringue with a large metal spoon or spatula.
  4. Now spoon the mixture into 8 small mounds on your lined baking sheets. Take a spoon and make them into wells by pushing the meringue up the sides slightly.
  5. Sprinkle the meingues with a little more sumac and then bake in the oven for an hour, until crispy but still white. Turn off the oven and leave the meringues to cool in it. When cool the meringues will store in an air tight tin for up to 3 weeks.
  6. When ready to serve, whip the cream with a whisk until it just holds its shape. Crush half the raspberries, and then mix them into the cream to get a ripple and then dollop it into the wells of the meringues. Scatter the pomegranate seeds over the cream and finish with the rest of the fresh raspberries, a few chopped pistachios, and a sprinkle of sumac.

Thanks fore reading!

Emma x

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Smoothies

Smoothies

Oki so, it’s officially summer which means that it’s definitely peak smoothie time. I’ve just started a new job so I’m a bit short on time at the moment, so refreshing, quick treats like these are perfect for now. Unlike a lot of shop-bought smoothies these ones are free of added sugars and colourings, and what goes in them can be totally controlled. The thing I really love about smoothies is how easy it is to mix and match in them. Dietary requirements? No problem, just use soya milk or fruit juice instead of milk. Wanna to boost your iron intake? Just add a handful of spinach. Have some fruit you need to use up? Just chuck it in!

I’ve got three combos here that I like, but you can of course substitute and experiement to your hearts content, so these can be seen as more guidelines! They’re all super quick and easy to make, if you have a bit more time you can try sieving the finished smoothie to get a really smooth result.

Berry Bonanza

 Recipe

Makes 1 Large glass

Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Medium banana
  • A handful of strawberries
  • 200ml Milk
  • A handful of blueberries, plus extra to garnish

Method

  1. Peel and roughly slice the banana, and then hull and halve the strawberries.
  2. Pop all the ingredients into a blender and whiz it all together until the mixture is smooth.
  3. Pour the smoothie into a glass. Garnish with the left over blueberries.

 

Pretty-in-pink smoothie

Recipe

Makes 1 Large glass

Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2 Large peaches
  • A handful of strawberries
  • 200ml Grapefruit juice
  • Mint to garnish

Method

  1. De-stone and roughly chop the peaches and then hull and halve the strawberries.
  2. Pop everything but the mint in to a blender and whizz up until smooth.
  3. Pour the smoothie into a glass and garnish with the mint.

Sunset smoothie

Recipes

Makes 1 Large glass

Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 Banana
  • ½ Mango
  • 1 Peach
  • 200ml Apple juice

Method

  1. Peel and roughly slice the banana and mango. Then de-stone and roughly chop the peach.
  2. Put everything into a blender and whiz together until smooth.
  3. Pour the smoothie into a glass and serve!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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Cornish Pasties

Cornish Pasties

So back into the south for some inspiration this week. It’s kind of a necessity to eat a pasty at some point when you’re in the West-country, and though there’s dozens of kinds out there for the picking, a good old Cornish pasty will always be my favourite. When I think of pasties I think of wandering barefoot along the beach with a warm, slightly over-flowing pasty in hand. Flakes of buttery pastry flying into your face in the wind, and shooing off seagulls left, right and centre. This might not paint the most relaxing experience of dining there is, but it’s rough, rustic and nostalgic which is what I love most about it.

I know that quite often people hate pasties because they’re thought of being greasy and stodgy. These homemade ones are a lot cleaner than you’d think, and the rough-puff pastry is way lighter than the stuff you find on traditional pasties.  The key is to make sure you season the filling A LOT as it’ll totally transform the flavour of the pasty and make it really moreish. Traditionally beef skirt is used to fill a pasty as it releases gorgeous juices that taste amazing. That said, beef skirt is almost impossible to find in a local supermarket, so if you can’t find it I’d recommend using frying steak, escalopes or any cut of beef that’s relatively thin.

Recipe

Makes 6

Time: 90 minutes, plus chilling

Ingredients

For the pastry

  • 450g Strong bread flour
  • Large pinch of salt
  • 100g Cold, unsalted block butter
  • 100g Cold lard
  • 200ml Cold water

For the filling

  • 200g Potatoes
  • 1 Small onion
  • 100g Swede (1 small)
  • 200g Lean beef skirt (or frying steak if you can’t find beef skirt)
  • Salt and pepper to season
  • 1 Beaten egg

Method

  1. Begin by making the pastry. Put the flour and salt into a large bowl. Then take the chilled blocks of lard and butter and grate them into the butter. I’d recommend giving everything a little mix regularly as you do the grating so that the fats can be coated in flour, this will stop them all re-forming into a lump when you mix it all together.
  2. Then take a round-bladed knife and mix the fat into the flour so it’s all coated. Pour the cold water into the bowl and continue to mix to form a soft dough.
  3. Tip the dough out onto a surface and knead a little to bring the dough together into a ball. Wrap the pastry in cling film and chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Now prep the filling. Peel the potatoes, onions and swede. Then chop the potato into chunks, about the thickness of a £1 coin. Then finely chop the onion, and chop the swede into chunks the same size as the potato.
  5. Now prep the meat. Using a sharp knife remove any gristle from the meat, but leave the fat as it’ll add great flavour to the pasty. Then chop the meat into chunks about the same size as the potato.
  6. Pre-heat the oven to 180˚C.
  7. Split the pastry into 6 and then roll each one out to a 14cm diameter circle. Using a plate as a stencil can be helpful here to get a neat circle.
  8. Distribute the onions between the pastry discs, spreading them in a semi-circle over one half of the dough, leaving a 1 cm boarder around the edge for sealing. Sprinkle over a little salt and pepper. Then top with a layer of swede, then meat and finally potato, seasoning a little between each layer.
  9. Take a cup of water and dip your finger into it. Then moisten the rim of the pastry circle with your finger. Fold the unfilled half of the pastry over the filling and use the edge of your hand to gently seal the pastry.
  10. Now it’s time for the crimping that’ll keep the pastry together. Working from right to left fold the pastry over itself and then press down. Repeat along the seam of the pasty to make a rope pattern until you reach the end.
  11. Put the pasties onto a baking tray and brush with the beaten egg. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown, then reduce the oven temperature to 160˚C and continue to bake for 15 minutes. Then turn off the heat and leave the pasties to cool/keep cooking in the oven for another 30 minutes. Serve!

Thanks for reading!

Emma x

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