Apologies to Cliff.....!

We're all going on a summer holiday,
No more blogging for a week or two,
Fun and seaside on our summer holiday,
Going to make Rhys's dreams come true
in a day or two.....

Thanks to Trekkie for this verse .....

You're going where the rain is warmer,
You're going where there's swine fluuuu,
You've seen it in the movies,
Now let's see if it's truuuuue..

Lots of laughter on our summer holiday,
Now back where the sky is really blue,
Sun and rainstorms on our summer holiday,
Managed to survive the swine fluuuuu,
But only for a week or two...!! [we're going back!!]


Plum ice cream

Picked a lot of plums on Saturday so after making a plum torte, clafoutis and stewing some, I decided to make plum ice cream from a recipe on the Good Food site.

Forgot to take any photos as I went along, but this is the finished ice cream and it is delicious.
Plum ice cream - makes 1 litre
450g ripe plums, stoned and quartered
125g light muscovado sugar
4 egg yolks
125g icing sugar
284ml pot double cream
Put plums in a pan with the muscovado sugar and 300ml water. Bring ro the boil, cover and simmer for about 10 mins. till plums are cooked.
Pass the stewed plums through a sieve. Chill the puree in the fridge for 20 mins.
Put egg yolks and icing sugar in a bowl and stand it over a pan of simmering water. Whisk with an electric beater till the mixture has just warmed through. then take bowl off the heat and keep beating till the mixture hasd tripled in size. Chill in the fridge.
Whip the cream with 2 tbspn iced water till just holding its shape.
Churn in an ice cream maker or pour into a container and freeze for an hour till mushy. Then take out container and whisk the ice cream vigourously.
Return it to the freezer and freeze for 2-3 hours till firm.
This ice cream will keep up to 2 months in the freezer.


Summer crumble

I am a great fan of Nigella, so when I decided to make an apricot crumble today, I looked in her 'Forever Summer' book and found this one. It's a bit different from the norm, as she adds grounds almonds and flaked almonds to the crumble.

I doubled the quantity of crumble as we love it thick!

serves 4-6

750g apricots [or any other stoned fruit] - quartered and stoned

75g butter diced

100g sr flour

25g ground almonds

75g caster sugar [I used soft brown]

50g flaked almonds

preheat oven gas6/200C/400F

Put the apricots in one layer in a shallow dish.

Rub the butter into the flour and grounds almonds till it looks like breadcrumbs, then stir in the sugar and the flaked almonds.

Sprinkle this over the fruit and bake for about 30 mins.

Serve with creme fraiche or vanilla ice cream.
From 'Forever Summer' by Nigella Lawson


Ocean tart

I decided to make this tart for some friends and neighbours who are coming for lunch tomorrow.

It's from a French cookery book called 'Sweet and Savoury tarts' - 'Tartes sucrees et salees' - by Margot Stephan.

Serves 6-8

1 pack ready made puff pastry


200g cooked and peeled prawns

250g smoked salmon pieces

2 tbspns creme fraiche

150g grated cheese [I used Gruyere]


flan tin 28cm [11"]

Preheat oven gas6/200C/400F

Roll the pastry out and line the tart tin. Spread the prawns and cooked salmon pieces onto the pastry.

In a bowl, separate yolks and whites of 2 eggs and beat the whites till stiff.

In another bowl, mix the cream in with the 2 egg yolks and the other 4 eggs. Beat together and season to taste. Then add most of the cheese and the beaten egg whites and fold together.

Pour into the tin and sprinkle the rest of the cheese on top.

Bake for 30 minutes.


Strange creature in the garden!

I know this isn't anything to do with cooking, but thought I'd show what Bob found on the potatoes [food link!!!] when he was digging them up yesterday.

Having done some research, I've discovered that it's a death-head hawk moth caterpillar. It's big - about 11cm long and the biggest one in the UK and here too I expect. Sorry the photo isn't too clear.


Chocolate and courgette cake

I've been a big fan of the great 'Chocolate and Zucchini' blog for a while http://chocolateandzucchini.com/ so when Clotilde published a book of the same name, I knew I had to buy it. I'm ashamed to say that I've never cooked from it till today. We had a lot of courgettes [zucchini] to pick in the garden, so I decided to make her chocolate and courgette cake.

It serves 12

110g unsalted butter, at room temperature

or 120ml extra virgin olive oil

240g plain flour

60g cocoa powder

1teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

180g light brown sugar

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

3 large eggs

350g unpeeled grated cougettes [zucchini]

160g good-quality chocolate chips I used a bar of 70% dark chocolate and broke it into pieces]

Preheat oven to 180C/350F/gas4

Grease a 25cm springform caketin/pan with butter or oil.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and baking powder.

Beat the sugar and butter/oil until creamy [you can use a food processor or a hand-held electric beater to do this].

Add the vanilla, coffee granules and eggs, mixing well together.

Keep back about half of the flour mixture and add the rest to the egg mixture. Mix until combined - it will be a thick batter.

Add the courgettes [zucchini] and chocolate chips to the rest of the flour and toss to coat. then fold this into the batter and blend with a wooden spoon. Don't overmix.

Pour into the prepared pan/tin and level the surface with a spatula.

Bake for about 35-40 minutes.

If you like, you can sprinkle icing sugar on the top or glaze with melted chocolate.

It makes a good dessert served with creme anglaise.

from 'Chocolate and Zucchini' by Clotilde Dusoulier


Marais Poitevin

I live in a village bordering on a lovely area called the Marais Poitevin. It's also called 'Green Venice - La Venise Verte - as there's a network of canals bordered by trees.

Welcome to my blog

Hello and welcome to my blog. I'm a keen cook who loves baking and who has way too many cookery books! Don't we all?

I started this blog to encourage myself to cook at least one recipe from all these books, so hope you'll enjoy sharing some of these recipes with me.

Thought I'd start with one of my favourite recipes - a bit of a cheat as I've done it many times before. It's from our lovely Delia's site and is her easy wholemeal bread.
The reason I love this recipe is that there is no kneading - which is a chore. Mind you, when I was teaching, I used to take all my frustrations out on the bread dough while kneading, instead of on the little dears at school! The resulting bread was very good too!
This recipes makes 1 large [as above] or 2 small loaves.
570g wholemeal flour
400ml handhot water
2 teaspoons salt [I use fine sea salt]
1 teaspoon soft brown sugar
2 teaspoons easy- blend dried yeast [1 packet]
Put your flour into a bowl, sprinkle in the salt, sugar and yeast.
Make a well in the centre and pour in the hand-hot water [ use half cold and half boiling water and this gives the right temperature].
Mix the liquid into the flour with a wooden spoon.
If the dough seems a bit dry, add some more hand-hot water; it's better to have too much water than not enough. The dough should leave the bowl clean.
On a flat surface, stretch the dough out into an oblong shape, then fold one end into the centre and the other edge over that. That's all there is to it - no kneading.
Put the folded dough into a 2lb [900] loaf tin or 2x1lb[450g] tins and press firmly round the edges.
Sprinkle the top of the dough with flour and cover with a damp tea towel and leave to rise.
Preheat oven to gas 6/400F/200C.
When the dough has risen to the top of the tin/tins bake it for about 40 minutes. When it's cooked it sounds hollow when you tap the bottom.
Allow it to cool on a wire rack and then enjoy.

Gratin de choux-fleur

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