Sunday, October 07, 2007

Ordinary Foods turn into Fantastic Dishes

This next recipe is a new way to cook breakfast, it saves all that standing over the hob, frying eggs and bacon and all that goes with it. Let the oven do the work for a change. A very easy way to make breakfast for a goodly number of people. And no hob to clean afterwards.
21st century English Breakfast: serves 4
4 large beef tomatoes
salt and pepper
4 eggs
4 thick slices of bread
4 slices ham or 8 rashers of bacon
4 flat field mushrooms (opt)
Take a slice off the top of each of the tomatoes (keep these) and scoop out the centres (these can be used in soups or whatever). Place the tomatoes on a baking sheet and season inside with salt and pepper. Break an egg into each tomato and add a small knob of butter on the top of each, also a little more seasoning. Replace the lids and bake at 200C, 400F, gas 6 for 20 - 25 mins. or until the eggs are set. Meanwhile, if wishing to cook bacon and mushrooms, brush the mushrooms with a little oil, add a tiny bit of butter in the gap left by the stalk, put both in a shallow tin, and add these to the oven five minutes after the tomatoes. Towards the end of the time, toast and butter the bread and cover each piece with a slice of ham or a couple of rashers of the bacon. Put the stuffed tomato on top and serve.

Instead of the above, or as well as if you wish, serve these breakfast muffins. Not a million miles away from a traditonal Native American bread recipe which I will be .
American Breakfast Bran Muffins: makes 8 - 10 (F)
3 oz (75g) self-raising wholemeal flour
half a tsp bicarbonate of soda
pinch salt
2 oz (50g) bran
2 oz (50g) raisins
4 tblsp runny honey
1 oz (25g) butter melted (or use 1 fl.oz sunflower oil)
2 eggs, beaten
10 fl.oz (300ml) milk
4 oz (100g) carrot, grated
Sift the flour, bicarb and salt together into a bowl, adding in any coarse bits of flour that remain in the sieve. Then stir in the bran and the raisins. In a jug, mix together the honey, butter (or oil), eggs and milk and tip this into the flour mixture. Add the carrot and then fold the lot together with a metal spoon. As will all muffin recipes, a quick mix and fold is better than over mixing. Spoon into greased muffin tins (or put paper muffin cases into the tin) and bake at 190C, 375F, gas 5 for 20 - 25 minutes until risen and firm. Leave to rest in the tins for a few minutes then cool on a wire rack. Best eaten warm and buttered but can be frozen for up to a month.
Tip: If wishing to eat muffins just after baking, best cook them straight in the tin as the paper cases tend to stick to the muffins. After cooling down, the paper peels off far more easily.

Here is that Native American loaf - based on a traditonal Choctaw bread recipe. It uses American cup measurements - 1 cup = 8 fl.oz by volume (although I have added a bit of help towards this). You never know, children may be reading American history at school and am sure they would enjoy eating this - just because.
A great way to get healthy food into young bodies. If the above muffins will freeze, I see no reason why this shouldn't either.
Wandering Dove's Carrot Bread: (F)
1 1/2 cups plain flour
quarter cup maize meal (cornmeal)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch salt
small tsp cinnamon
1 1/2 cups grated carrot
1 1/4 cups (10 fl.oz) milk
2 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup honey
2 tblsp butter, melted
1/4 cup chopped nuts
Sift together the first five (dry) ingredients. In another bowl mix the next 5 (wet) ingredients. Then mix the lot together, stir in the nuts. Pour into a greased and lined 9" x 5" loaf tin and bake at 189C, 375F, gas 5 for 1 hr - 1 hr 15 mins or until cooked. Cool for a few minutes then turn out onto a cake airer to finish cooling.
Note: as melted butter is again used, being an American recipe I am sure you could subsitute the same amount of sunflower oil.

Syllabub is the sort of dish worth serving to guests. Especially good as it can be made hours in advance. This 'not-quite-my-idea-of-a-syllabub' uses yogurt. For a richer 'bub' use whipping or double cream, for a slim-line version use very low fat Greek yogurt. The ginger biscuits add that needed flavour, but almost any sweet biscuit would do from shortbread to digestive. You can see I'm trying to cover all your needs and tastes.
Greek Apple Syllabub: serves 2
2 Bramley apples, peeled and cored
2 tbslp honey (pref Greek honey)
2 tblsp caster sugar (pref golden)
2 1/2 (75ml) dry cider
9 oz (250g) Greek yogurt (see above for alternatives)
4 ginger biscuits
Finely dice the prepared apples and put into a saucepan with the honey, sugar and cider. Simmer gently until the apples have made a smooth puree. Leave to cool - this can be done ahead of time and leave them in the fridge. For the next stage, mix the half the cold apples with the yogurt. Crush the biscuits to a powder (best done in a blender). To assemble - put two tablespoons of the reserved apple puree in the base of two large wine glasses, and top with most of the yogurt mixture, finally topping with the last of the apple puree. Sprinkle over the crushed biscuits chill for at least an hour. Or make in the morning to serve at lunch or dinner.
Tip: Bramley apples are the best to use for this dish as they collapse a lot more easily than other cooking type apples.

Honeycomb Magic:
3 oz (75g) caster sugar
2 tblsp golden syrup
1 oz (25g) bicarbonate of soda (sifted)
First brush a baking sheet with oil. Melt the sugar and syrup in a heavy-based pan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved (the base of the pan should not feel gritty when you stir the spoon around). Then increase the heat and cook for 2 - 3 minutes until the mixture has turned to a golden caramel. When this happens, instantly remove from the heat and add the sifted bicarb. Stir well then pour onto the greased tray and leave to cool.

then make the following:
Crunchy Ice-Cream: serves 6 (F)
1 batch the above Honeycomb Magic
1 pt (600ml) double cream
300g can condensed milk
3 tblsp vodka
Whip the cream to soft peaks, folk in the condensed milk and vodka and continue whisking until firm. Break up the Honeycomb and mix in. Spoon into a freezer container, cover and freeze for at least 8 hours.

Home-Made Cream Cheese:
There are several ways to make your own version. Either heat a pint of full-cream milk to blood heat and stir in a teaspoon of rennet. Leave to stand for several hours, slice through with a knife, tip the lot into a muslin bag and leave to drain for several hours until really thick.
OR as above but using half milk and half double cream.
OR use a tub of cottage cheese, freeze this and once thawed the lumpy bits will have broken up, drain and push through a sieve.(Note: do not use this method if intending to use in an uncooked dish which you intend to freeze eg.cheesecake).
OR tip a tub of cottage cheese into a muslin bag and drain for several hours, then whizz the curds in a blender or processor.
OR for an even creamier cheese, strain Greek yogurt as above until a really thick cheese, to then work in a some well beaten double cream.
Note: With all the above, store in the fridge, and best used within a couple of days.