Easter Baking

 We all love chocolate but sometimes it is good to offer something a bit different at Easter. These little bunnies are fun. Nigella Lawson’s butter biscuit recipe, a few silver pearls and they are bundled up with eggs and some decorations. Here is the basic recipe if you want to get baking. Add your own decorations and icing.

Nigella Lawson’s Cut-Out Cookies

  • 90 g unsalted butter
  • 100 g caster sugar
  • 1 large eggs
  • 0.50 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 200 g all-purpose flour
  • 0.50 teaspoon baking powder
  • 0.50 teaspoon salt
  • Method
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • Cream the butter and sugar together until pale and moving towards moussiness, then beat in the egg and vanilla. In another bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients to the butter and eggs, and mix gently but surely. If you
  • Sprinkle a suitable surface with flour, place disk of dough on it, and sprinkle a little more flour on top of that. Then roll it out to a thickness of about 1/2 cm. Cut into shapes, dipping the cutter into flour as you go, and place the cookies a little a
  • Bake for 8 to 12 minutes; obviously it depends on the shape you’re using and whether they are on the upper or lower shelf, though you can swap them around after about 5 minutes. When they’re ready expect them to be tinged a pronounced gold around the edge
  • Remove the cookies with a flat, preferably flexible, spatula to a wire rack. 

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Thai Yellow Pumpkin and Seafood Curry

The weather is warm and I am planning to have fish for dinner tonight. I have found an old favourite recipe to revamp for dinner. A lovely Thai Yellow Pumpkin and Seafood Curry – I am not sure I have prawns in the freezer right now so it may well be a fish curry, and a firm white fish not the salmon that Nigella suggests. The beauty with recipes like this is that you can tweak it  to your taste and what is on standby in your pantry. I have loads of greens from the garden which I will use instead of the pak choi. The important thing is not to skimp on the addition of lime juice, fish sauce and the fresh coriander. Enjoy!

Thai Yellow Pumpkin and Seafood Curry
Ingredients
  • 400 ml coconut milk
  • 1 tablespoon(s) red thai curry paste (or yellow)
  • 350 ml fish stock
  • 3 tablespoon(s) fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoon(s) caster sugar
  • 3 lemongrass (cut into 3 and bruised with flat of knife)
  • 3 lime leaves (destalked and cut into strips)
  • ½ teaspoon(s) tumeric powder
  • 1 kilogram(s) pumpkin (peeled and cut into bite sized chunks)
  • 500 gram(s) salmon fillet (pref organic) skinned and cut into large bite sized chunks
  • 500 gram(s) raw prawns (peeled)
  • 1 packet(s) pak choi (or any other green veg of your choice)
  • 1 lime (juice)
  • 1 bunch coriander (to serve)

Method
  1. Skim the thick creamy top off the tin of coconut milk and put it, over medium heat, into a large saucepan or casserole with the curry paste. Let it sizzle and, using a fork, whisk or wooden spoon, beat milk and paste together until combined.
  2. Still beating gently, add the rest of the coconut milk, fish stock, fish sauce, sugar, lemongrass, lime leaves and turmeric. Bring to a boil and then add the pumpkin. Cook on a fast simmer until the pumpkin is tender, about 15 minutes, although different sorts of pumpkins can vary enormously in the time they take to cook; some squash take as little as 5 minutes.
  3. You can cook the curry up till this part in advance, maybe leaving the pumpkin with a tiny bit of bite to it (it will soften and cook as the pan cools). Either way, when you’re about 5 minutes away from wanting to eat, get ready to cook the seafood.
  4. So, to the robustly simmering pan, add the salmon and prawns (if you’re using the prawns from frozen they’ll need to go in before the salmon). When the salmon and prawns have cooked through, which shouldn’t take more than 3-4 minutes, stir in any green veg you’re using – sliced, chopped or shredded as suits – and tamp down with a wooden spoon.
  5. When the pak choi’s wilted, squeeze in the juice of half a lime, stir and taste and add the juice of the remaining half if you feel it needs it. Take the pan off the heat or decant the curry into a large bowl, and sprinkle over the coriander; the point is that the coriander goes in just before serving.
  6. Serve with more chopped coriander for people to add to their own bowls as they eat, and some plain Thai or basmati rice.

Additional information – for gluten free check the stock cube or concentrate is gluten free.

Celebration Cake – Chocolate and Guinness

The celebration cake you have all been waiting for….Chocolate Guinness Cake from Nigella Lawson’s Feast. You can find the full recipe and comments here. We were all pleasantly surprised that it was so so good. Not too rich but incredibly moist and robust enough to stack two cakes on top of each other. The cream cheese frosting makes it look like a really creamy pot of Guinness and it works well with the chocolate. This picture is the second cake that we ate with more family the day after the day itself. With 7 mouths 2 feed in our home you can never have enough cake or candle action!



ingredients:

  250ml Guinness
  1 cup butter
  75g cocoa
  400g caster sugar
  140ml sour cream
  2 eggs
  1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  275g plain flour
  2 ½ teaspoons baking soda
 
  Icing:
  300g cream cheese
  150g icing sugar
  125ml heavy cream
 

directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/355F, and grease and line a 9 inch springform tin.

2. Pour the Guinness into a large saucepan, and add the sliced butter. Heat until the butter is melted, and remove the saucepan from the heat. Whisk in the cocoa and sugar. Beat the sour cream with the eggs and vanilla, then pour into the saucepan. Finally, beat in the flour and baking soda.

3. Pour the batter into the greased and lined tin, and bake for 45 mins to an hour. Leave to completely cool in the tin – it is quite a damp cake.

4. For the icing, beat the icing sugar and cream cheese together. Add the cream, and beat again until it’s a spreadable consistency. Ice the top of the black cake until it resembles the frothy top of a pint of Guinness.


My Friend Karen

There are a few chefs who have become real friends in my kitchen. Stephanie feels a bit like an older Mum watching what I do, Bill is like one of the boys sharing a beer while we cook, Jamie with his “u’right’ attitude inspires the kids and Donna helps the girls and I to bake, as does Nigella. But Karen Martini always seems like a friend – who genuinely wants to share. I was delighted to find her new website, complete with video cook offs and inspiration to put real food on the table. This site could be loads of fun……