Tuesday, 28 July 2015

Raspberry Curd

I recently made some raspberry ripple blondies- normal blondies, with raspberry purée swirled through (I intend to post the recipe for this soon). They were an improvised recipe, so I was playing around with quantities. I ended up leaving out about half the raspberry puree I made, so decided to turn the rest into some raspberry curd, something I have been intending on trying making for a while.

The method is simple, and is almost identical to this pineapple curd recipe:

175g raspberries (I used frozen ones)
Juice of 2 lemons
200g sugar
100g butter, cut into cubes
3 eggs and 1 egg yolk
Mash the raspberries with a fork (or quickly blitz in a processor or blender). Push through a sieve to remove pips. In a heatproof bowl, mix the raspberry puree, sugar and butter, and sit over a pan of lightly simmering water. Give it a stir to help melt the butter and dissolve the sugar. While this is happening beat together the eggs and yolks. Once the butter has melted and the sugar dissolved, whisk in the beaten egg mix. Keep whisking for about 10 minutes, until the curd mixture has thickened, and feels heavy on the whisk.
Pour into clean jam jars- this makes about two medium jam jars worth of curd.
Other than on toast, I would like to try this as a filling for a sponge, made with some ground almonds and lemon or orange zest. I think I would also like to make a raspberry equivalent of lemon bars with it too.

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Green Mango Salad with Crispy Shallots

I am fortunate enough that I live within walking distance of a Thai grocers, and am able to buy ingredients that I couldn't get in the average supermarket.
From my last trip, I came back with a green mango. If you haven't tried them before, they are pretty sour but still have a distinctive mango flavour- I really like them in refreshing salads like these.

Green apples like Granny Smiths are often suggested as a substitute for green mango. Although the salad wouldn't be the same, I still think it would be an enjoyable dish. In addition, although the Thai (holy) basil is nice, I wouldn't let the lack of it stop you making it- just bump up the quantities of the other herbs.

We had this as a side dish to some very sticky and rich Vietnamese Caramel Pork- it was nice to have something so refreshing alongside. I think this salad would also be wonderful as a main, with some cooked and cooled glass noodles and prawns added.

Salad Ingredients
1 green mango, peeled and finely sliced
1/2 a cucumber, made into ribbons with a vegetable peeler, or finely sliced
1 red pepper, finely sliced
1 small-medium carrot, cut into matchsticks
Small bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
small bunch each of: mint, coriander and thai basil, leaves finely chopped

Dressing Ingredients
3 tbsp fish sauce
3 tbsp lime juice
sugar or honey, to taste-start with 1 tsp
red chilli, finely chopped, to tast

Crispy Shallot Garnish
about 6 shallots- peeled and finely sliced
oil for deep frying

I suggest starting with the shallots- heat the oil in a small saucepan, about 2cm deep. Add the shallots, and cook until they are a dark golden brown and crisp. They will need stirring, as the shallot slices on the edges of the pan tend to brown quicker. Remove from the oil (I find a tea strainer works very well) and put on some kitchen roll to remove the excess oil.
In a large bowl, mix together the salad ingredients. Mix the dressing ingredients together, and combine with the salad.
Turn the salad out onto a large plate, and top with the crispy shallots.

Friday, 17 July 2015

A collection of Elderflower Drinks II

I had another flush of seasonal food excitability about a month ago, and went out to pick a lot of elderflowers. I came back with maybe 100 heads of elderflowers, plus a whole lot of bugs. Two years ago, I made elderflower cordial from this recipe- it was really good, so I made some more- I think I had just over two litres of cordial, which I mostly mix with gin, fizzy water and lemons for a very refreshing drink. I am considering trying to turn some of it into sorbet too.

As well as the cordial, I made three alcoholic drinks:

Gooseberry and elderflower vodka- a few elderflower heads, a punnet of gooseberries, and about 8 tablepoons of sugar, and topped up with vodka. I made this last year, and it was really successful, so I felt it was worth repeating. I am going to leave this to steep for a tear again.

Elderflower liqueur- from the Wild Cocktails book- This had 20 heads of elderflowers, some sugar and vodka. You then cut up two lemons, and use it to help keep the elderflower heads under the vodka. This was left to infuse for a month. The elderflower flavour of this is incredibly intense. I have tried it out in the book’s suggested recipe of an ‘Elder sour’, but found it a bit too sour- I think it needs a touch of sugar syrup so it tastes more balanced- at least for my tastes.

Cherry, elderflower and honey gin- A more improvised recipe- I had used up all my sugar making the cordial, but had some orange blossom honey- I am hopeful the honey flavour will come through too. I crushed the cherries (about a punnet, but left the stones in, as they add to the flavour. Like, the gooseberry vodka, I just added a few heads of elderflowers. This was just topped up with gin, and I will try it over the next few months until I get a strong enough flavour.