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Sunday, 31 October 2010

Queso Frito - Fried Cheese

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Another delightful book that I received recently was 'Tapas and Other Spanish Plates to Share'. Gorgeous photos accompanying every recipe, this book is a must for tapas lovers. Traditional little Spanish nibbles, tapas have become extremely popular due to their variety and versatility. Not only can you serve them with pre-dinner drinks, they also make a great starter or lunch.

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In the book you will find recipes for all the classic Spanish tapas, including Patatas Bravas (potatoes in tomato sauce), Tortilla Española (Spanish omlette), Albóndigas (meatballs in tomato sauce) and Gambas Al Ajillo (garlic prawns). The chapters are divided into meat and poultry, fish and seafood, vegetables, and there is a great section with cheese and egg recipes. In fact, there is something for everyone and many of the recipes are straightforward and easy to make. Quite a few of the dishes can be prepared ahead of time, making entertaining more enjoyable.

One of the recipes I chose to make was 'Queso Frito' (fried cheese). The cheese used in this recipe was Manchego cheese, which is made in the La Mancha region of Spain, from sheep's milk. It is a really firm cheese and pale ivory yellow in colour, making it perfect for cooking.

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Queseo Frito (Fried Cheese)
Recipe by Linda Tubby from Tapas and Other Spanish Plates to Share, Ryland Peters & Small.
The recipe suggests serving the fried cheese with membrillo, which is a quince paste, but I used a smoked chilli jelly from Belazu, which complemented the cheese very well.

275-300g Manchego cheese
2 tablespoons plain flour
1 egg, beaten
150g lightly dried fine fresh white breadcrumbs
150ml olive oil
a pinch of oak-smoked sweet Spanish paprika

Cut the rind off the Manchego cheese and cut it into 1cm wedges.

Using three small plates or bowls, put the flour in one, the egg in another and the breadcrumbs in the last one.

Dip the wedges of cheese into the flour, then the beaten egg, and lastly the breadcrumbs. Place on a plate while you heat the oil.

Heat half of the olive oil in a non-stick frying pan over a medium heat. Fry the cheese wedges in a single layer in batches until crisp and golden - about 45 seconds to a minute on each side. Drain on kitchen paper.

Wipe the pan out of any burnt breadcrumbs and fry the remaining wedges in the same way, using the rest of the olive oil.

Sprinkle with the paprika and serve hot.

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The book can be bought directly from Ryland Peters & Small, or from Amazon.

tapas book cover

Tapas and Other Spanish Plates to Share

£14.99 / Hardback, 144 pages
Publisher: Ryland Peters & Small
October 2010
ISBN 13: 9781849750554

With thanks to Sarah at Ryland Peters & Small

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This content belongs to Nic at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2010 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Thursday, 21 October 2010

Cranachan Crumble

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Foodies will do almost anything for love cookbooks. Our shelves are overflowing with ones we have bought, scrounged and borrowed. I was recently sent some to review, it's quite exciting getting an advance copy to peruse before it gets to the shops.

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I made two recipes from 'Cinnamon, Spice & Warm Apple Pie', a book with a perfect title for autumn/winter. It's filled with the most wonderful warming, old fashioned, simple and delicious desserts. There are chapters on 'crumbles & streusels', 'cobblers', bettys & crisps', 'clafoutis, slumps & puddings', 'pies, tarts & strudels', plus one on 'dessert cakes'. The book has recipes by various well known cookbook authors, including Maxine Clark, Ross Dobson and Fiona Beckett.

Complete with beautiful photos for each recipe, the book features the 'apple dappy', a traditional pudding from the West Country - made with tart eating apples - it's perfect for the apple glut at this time of year. There's also a 'fig & honey croissant pudding' which only takes a few minutes to assemble before resting and baking.

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Cranachan Crumble

One of the recipes I made was a 'cranachan crumble', a crumble based on that famous Scottish dessert, combining raspberries with toasted oatmeal, whisky, honey and cream. You can use frozen raspberries during the cold winter months and as there's honey and oats in the recipe, it's reasonably healthy for a dessert.

Cranachan Crumble
Recipe by Maxine Clark from Cinnamon, Spice & Warm Apple Pie, Ryland Peters & Small

Recipe serves 4-6. The recipe says to use a medium ovenproof dish, but I used small ramekins and it worked out very well.

300g fresh or frozen raspberries
6 tablespoons heather honey, half for the topping
100ml double cream
2 tablespoons whisky
Whipped cream to serve, I used clotted cream

For the oatmeal topping:
85g unsalted butter
100g fine oatmeal
100g rolled oats (not instant)

Preheat the oven to 190ºC (375ºF) Gas mark 5. Put a baking tray on the middle shelf to heat up.

Place the raspberries into a medium ovenproof dish, or divide between 6 ovenproof ramekins. Drizzle with 3 tablespoons of the honey and then pour over the cream and whisky.

For the topping, melt the butter and remaining honey (3 tablespoons) in a saucepan and stir in both types of oats, or you can do this in a large glass bowl in the microwave.

Evenly spoon the oat mixture over the tops of the raspberries, mounding the oats up towards the centre.

Place the baking dish onto the baking tray in the preheated oven and bake the crumble for about 20-25 minutes, until the top is crisp and golden, and the raspberries are bubbling.

Cool for 5 minutes or so before serving with whipped or clotted cream.

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Pear, Gorgonzola and pecan tartlets

The above tartlet - from the recipe 'pear, gorgonzola & pecan tartlets' by Fiona Beckett - is rather intriguing. You could have the tartlets as an unusual starter, or as a cheese and dessert course rolled into one. Easy to make, using up seasonal ripe pears, there is a savoury element with the blue cheese and a crunch from pecan halves, all topped off with a drizzle of maple syrup and served warm!

Of course, many of the desserts in the book are perfect for the summer months - 'fresh fig & walnut meringue', little raspberry & rose cobblers', 'apricot & almond slump' - all on my list to make! This book would be perfect for someone who prefers fruity desserts and loves to bake.

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The book can be bought directly from Ryland Peters & Small, or from Amazon.

Cinnamon, Spice & Warm Apple Pie
£16.99 / Hardback, 160 pages
Publisher: Ryland Peters & Small
September 2010
ISBN 13: 9781849750530

With thanks to Sarah at Ryland Peters & Small

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This content belongs to Nic at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2010 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Saturday, 16 October 2010

Pumpkin Bread for World Bread Day 2010

Today is another World Bread Day - the fifth one!

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I tried to make something different this year, and I was pleasantly surprised with the outcome! I had searched for 'Pumpkin Bread' online, and most of the recipes were for bread that looked similar in texture to cake, not what I would call true 'bread'. So I fiddled with my regular bread recipe and came up with this version. You can add more spices to your liking, I'm not overly keen on nutmeg or cloves but they would be a good addition if you like them, or you could even add some raisins.

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This pumpkin bread made excellent toast!

Pumpkin Bread

I made the dough in my bread machine, but you could easily knead the bread by hand. I used some Bacheldre Watermill organic oak smoked, stoneground strong malted blend flour (available from Waitrose) combined with strong white bread flour, but you could substitute whole wheat flour, or make the bread with all white bread flour.
I used half a can of pumpkin puree from Waitrose (roughly 225g) and added the water carefully as the dough was mixing. You may need less water, don't just pour it all in at once.
Add whatever spices you prefer, nutmeg or cloves for instance.

1 teaspoon dried yeast
400g strong bread flour (100g of which was the oak smoked flour detailed above)
1 teaspoon mixed spice
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
15g unsalted butter
½ can pumpkin puree, or use homemade
Roughly 260-280ml water - probably a bit less, keep an eye on the mixing process

Put the ingredients into your bread machine in the correct order for your machine, when it comes to the water, add it gradually while the machine is mixing. Only add enough to make a smooth soft dough.

When the dough is ready, take it out of the machine and put it into a loaf tin, to rise again until doubled in size.

Bake in a pre-heated oven 180ºC/350ºF for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Printable Recipe

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The organic oak smoked, stoneground strong malted blend flour

World Bread Day 2010 (submission date October 16)

My bread is off to the World Bread Day round-up, hosted by Zorra at Kochtopf. Be sure to check out all the entries and make some bread yourself - how can anyone resist a slice of freshly baked bread!

My previous breads for this event were:
French Bread
Panini Rolls
Breakfast Swirls

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This content belongs to Nic at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2010 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Saturday, 9 October 2010

Strawberry & Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecakes

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Yay for birthdays! A proper excuse to make cakes and special desserts! I came up with this strawberry-lemon thingy for my mum's birthday last month, making use of the last of the British strawberries that I got from the local farmers' market.

There's not really a recipe, as amounts will vary depending upon the size of your strawberries and dessert rings, but it is easy to make and can be put together a few hours ahead, or the night before.

Strawberry & Lemon Mascarpone Cheesecakes

Place some dessert rings onto a small lined baking sheet. Finely crush some shortbread biscuits and mix with a little unsalted melted butter to line the rings.

In a large bowl, using an electric whisk, beat 250g mascarpone cheese with a couple of tablespoons of caster sugar to taste. With the whisk running, slowly pour in about 150ml double cream. Whisk until the mixture starts to thicken and becomes firm, but don't over whip. Fold in the grated rind of a lemon and some lemon juice to taste.

Wash and slice the strawberries in half, you may need to slice the bottoms to make them fit the rings. Place into the rings with the cut sides against the rings. Spoon in the mascarpone filling and smooth the tops with a knife. Place in the fridge to set for 3-4 hours or overnight.

To serve, lift the rings carefully using a fish slice or spatula and place onto serving dishes. Warm the rings with your hands or very lightly waft a cook's blowtorch on the edges for a couple of seconds. Remove the rings, top with blueberries and dust with icing sugar.

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Yay for lists! I made it onto one! I'm no. 72 of '78 Mouth-Watering Baking Blogs You Need to Bookmark'. Pop over to the Culinary Arts College website and have a look at some of the other blogs - you might be there for a while as there are some really good bread, baking, cake and dessert sites on that list!

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This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2010 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.

Saturday, 2 October 2010

Butternut Squash Soup for A Taste of Yellow

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Wow, where has the last year gone to? It seems to have flown by! My eldest son left for his 2nd year of university today, and my younger one is now in the sixth form doing his A levels. Children grow up so fast, before you know it they are off. It made me think that every second we share with our loved ones is precious. Every hug counts.

I was in my early twenties when I lost my father to cancer. He was gone within 6 weeks. 6 weeks that went by in a blur.

me and my father
Take plenty of pictures of those taking the photos, I don't have that many of my dad, he was always behind the camera

A Taste of Yellow is an event where food bloggers from around the world are invited to contribute a yellow dish, or drink, to raise awareness of cancer issues worldwide. The event is hosted by Barbara of Winos and Foodies, a cancer survivor herself, in support for the Lance Armstrong Foundation. Because of organisations like LiveSTRONG, there are many new drugs and treatments available worldwide, and so much more research is being done to find a cure.

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Butternut Squash Soup with Red Chilli

A warming autumnal soup, chillies are optional!
Adapted from my mum's vegetable soup recipe.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 medium onion, chopped
½ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon paprika
2 bay leaves
1 sprig of rosemary
1 fresh red chilli, finely diced
2 medium carrots, chopped
1 medium butternut squash, peeled and cubed
2 large potatoes, peeled and cubed
Water or vegetable stock
1 tablespoon of vegetable stock powder or cube - if using water
Salt and pepper to taste

In a large saucepan, heat the oil and butter and start frying the onion. Add the ground cumin, paprika, bay leaves, sprig of rosemary and the red chilli. Stir on a medium heat until the onion has softened, don't let the spices and herbs burn.

Add the carrots, butternut squash and potatoes, stir and cook for about 5 minutes.

Add enough vegetable stock to cover the vegetables, or use water. Bring up to a boil and then turn the heat down low and simmer for about 45 minutes. Add vegetable stock powder or a cube to taste if you used water. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove the bay leaves and sprig of rosemary. Allow the soup to cool a little before putting it into a blender in batches and blend until there are no lumps. You could use a stick blender if you want. Return the soup to the pan to warm through. Add some more stock if the soup is a little too thick.

Garnish with some chilli oil, croutons and chives. Serve with warm crusty French bread or pumpkin bread.

Printable Recipe

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Previous Taste of Yellow Recipes on Cherrapeno:
Mirabelle Jam
Pineapple Sorbet
Lemon Curd

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This content belongs to Nicisme at Cherrapeno. All writing and photography copyright N Fowers © 2007-2010 unless otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.