Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Better to Make than Buy?

Useful tip: If you wish to make your own baking powder blend one measure of bicarbonate of soda with 2 measure of cream of tartar. Another reason to have cream of tartar in the cupboard is that a good pinch of it added to egg whites helps them beat up to a good froth.

Moving on to an assortment of worthwhile recipes adding to the collection:
Mango Chutney:
4 mangoes, thinly peeled then sliced
1 tsp each: coriander, cumin and cardomon seeds
12 oz (350g) caster sugar
1/2 tsp each: turmeric and cayenne pepper
3 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
1 onion, finely chopped
walnut size piece of root ginger, grated
4 limes (zest of 2 and juice of all)
4 bay leaves
1/2 pint (300ml) white vinegar
Toast the spice seeds in a dry pan then put into a bowl with the rest of the ingredients but NOT the vinegar. Mix together well, cover and leave for several hours, overnight if possible, to allow flavours to develop. Tip this mixture into a large saucepan and pour in the vinegar. Bring to the boil, then simmer gently for an hour and a half until thick and sticky. Keep stirring often to prevent it catching on the bottom of the pan. Cool in the pan and then spoon it into sterilised jars. Seal in the normal way.
Tip: wash jars, drain well and sterilise in a warm oven - 100C etc. Jars can also be sterilised in a dish washer using the hottest setting.

Apricot Relish: makes enough for three helpings
4 oz (100g) dried no-soak apricots
boiled water
1 fl.oz (25ml) white wine vinegar
2 tsp demerara sugar
1 tblsp chopped parsley
1 small red onion, finely chopped
Soak the apricots in boiled water for about 15 minutes to allow them to plump up and soften.
Mix together the vinegar and the sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Drain and dice the apricots and add them to the vinegar with the remaining ingredients. Stir well. Serve with cold meats, especially good with lamb. Will keep, covered, for a couple of days in the fridge.

Savoury Sweetcorn and Bacon Muffins: makes one dozen
4 oz (100g) fresh sweetcorn kernels (or use canned or frozen)
4 oz (100g) cornmeal (polenta)
4 oz (100g) plain flour
2 tsp caster sugar
good pinch of salt
1 tblsp baking powder
1 tblsp melted butter or sunflower oil
6 fl.oz (180ml) buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten
4 rashers of bacon, crisply fried then chopped
1 shallot, finely chopped
Fresh or frozen sweet corn should be blanched in boiling water for one minute, corn from the can will not need blanching but make sure it is well drained.
Mix together all the dry ingredients and make a well in the centre. Blend together the wet ingredients and pour into the dry, gently mixing until just combined. Do not overmix. Add the bacon and onion then divide into twelve lined muffin tins and bake at 190C, 375F, gas 5 for 20 - 25 minutes or until the tops are light cold and they are firm on top. Cool on a wire rack. Can be served warm or at room temperature. Will keep for up to 3 days in an airtight container.

Self-layering Lemon Pud: serves 4
2 oz (50g) butter
4 oz (110g) sugar
grated zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 large eggs, separated
2 oz (50g) self raising flour
1/2 pt (275ml) milk
Cream the butter with the sugar and lemon zest. Add the egg yolks and flour together with the lemon juice and mix well. In another bowl, whisk the egg whites until stiff then fold in the rest of the mixture. Do this carefully as you want to retain as much air in as you can. Pour into a buttered ovenproof dish and stand this in a tin a third full of water. Bake for about 45 minutes at 200C, 400F, gas 5 until the top is set and a lovely golden colour. When serving you will discover that the spongy top is covering a layer of lemony custard beneath.