Thursday, 30 July 2015

Summer Fruits Terrine

Another testing - this time the delicious Delia summer fruits terrine.... This proved to be absolutely perfect for a sunny Sunday lunch, when the fruits glisten in their lovely pink fizz!    I deviated from the Delia original only in that all the fruits were from my garden, so had to substitute white currants for strawberries.  It did taste amazing, though, and Delia's note that it was easy to make and slices like a dream was absolutely true.  The photo below shows that I managed to melt the top part of the jelly by putting the mould into the hot water a bit too long... be warned!

Delia's recipes sometimes seem a bit fussy, but they do work, and she gives lots of explanations for the nervous or exploring cook.  I've reproduced them all below.  This recipe has the great merit of being both gluten and dairy free, however, the presence of gelatine means it is not suitable for vegetarians.

Summer Fruits Terrine 

Summer Fruits Terrine

15floz/425ml sparkling rosé wine (approx. 3 little bottles)
2oz/50g caster sugar
2 x sachets (8 leaves) gelatine (if using leaves, soak them in water first)
1 tbsp fresh lime juice

12oz/350g small strawberries – I used white currants
8oz/225g raspberries
12oz/350g mixture of blackcurrants, redcurrants, blueberries

2 x 2lb/900g loaf tins, preferably non stick

Prepare the fruit by removing any stalks and halving the strawberries if they are, to quote Delia “larger than a quail’s egg!”

Gently mix the fruits together in a large bowl so they are mixed but unbruised.  Heat half the wine in a saucepan until it begins to simmer and then whisk in the sugar and gelatine.   Finally add the rest of the wine and the lime juice.  Pour this liquid into a jug and allow it to cool. 

While the jelly is cooling, arrange the fruit in the terrine.  Delia suggests using the prettiest berries at the base as they will be on the top when it is turned out.  I didn’t bother…  Then add all but 5 floz/150ml of the jelly over the fruit.  Put a piece of cling film over the top, then put the second tin on top of that, adding two heavy tins of, say, tomatoes, to weight it down.  Refrigerate for an hour until the jelly sets.  Then warm up the remaining wine jelly and pour it over the terrine.   Delia explains that this helps to stop spillage and makes the terrine easy to slice. 

Re-cover with the cling film and chill until firm.  When you want to use it, dip the tin BRIEFLY into hot water and turn it out onto a plate.  Use a sharp knife to cut into slices.  Delia says that the knife should also be dipped in hot water.  

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

Lime Soufflé

What do you do when you see a whole bag of slightly sad limes in a farm shop?  Why, make a lime soufflé, of course!  A tweak on my absolute favourite recipe, this lime soufflé went down a storm at a recent family lunch party.  Next time, I’ll add basil to the mix, but it tasted pretty damn good with limes:  there was a fabulous burst of sour smokiness in a silky soufflé….    This is a traditional recipe, and used to be served in a dish that was too small, with a collar of chopped nuts around the top part which was effected by wrapping greaseproof paper around the dish and letting the soufflé set before peeling off the collar and adding chopped nuts.  As far as I'm concerned, life's far too short, but don't let me stop you...

Lime Soufflé 
Cold Lime Soufflé 

3 large eggs
10oz/280g caster sugar
5 limes, zest and juice
15 floz/400ml cream
5 sheets gelatine, soaked then added to:
3 fl oz/85ml warm water

To finish: extra cream and basil tops

Separate the eggs and place the yolks, sugar and grated zest in a bowl and whisk until thick.  I usually do this in a Kenwood with the whisk.    Heat the lime juice, add, and continue whisking “to the ribbon” (ie, pale and very thick).    This takes ages!

Half-whip the cream (until you can see a trail from the mixer head, but the cream isn’t at all stiff) and fold into the mixture.  Dissolve the gelatine in the water over heat and stir into the mixture.  Whisk the egg white until stiff peaks but not dry.   Fold in the egg whites.  This is easier if you stir in a tablespoon of whisked egg white first to break the mix up a bit and then fold in the rest.   (It’s very hard to avoid little islands of egg white.) 

As the mixture begins to thicken, turn at once into a large bowl and put in the fridge to set.   When firm, decorate with cream and basil tops.  

Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Chocolate and Orange Cake

When one of my friends saw the photo of this cake, she decided it was a definite 6 on the Sinfulness Richter Scale - I think it should be rated far higher!  I wanted a more grown-up chocolate cake, and the idea of using marmalade and some lusciously decadent chocolate ganache just came to mind.   Use really bitter marmalade if you can find it, not that sweet stuff with silly little flakes of orange. (I made a bitter orange jelly earlier in the year with some Seville oranges - wet a sheet of gelatine and add it to the juice of 3 Seville oranges.  Heat until the gelatine has dissolved, then set it in a dish the same size as the cake.  Use under the central icing layer instead of the marmalade) The recipe below is a lovely Australian one that has stood the test of time!

Chocolate and Bitter Orange Cake
Chocolate and Bitter Orange Cake

3 large eggs
1 cup caster sugar
1 cup self raising flour (or a blend)
pinch of salt
2 tbsp cocoa
½ cup milk with a teaspoon of butter melted into it
Zest of ½ an orange

Butter Icing:
2oz/50g butter  
4oz/110g sieved icing sugar
1 large tbsp marmalade (or more if you wish)
Zest of ½ an orange with a little juice as well

Chocolate Ganache:
8 floz/235ml double cream
4oz/110g dark chocolate

Preheat oven to 180 deg C, and line the base of two 8” sandwich tins with non-stick baking parchment. 

Whisk the eggs and sugar until thick and creamy (longer the better).   Fold in the sifted flour, zest, cocoa and salt, then add the hot milk and butter.    Pour the mixture into the twins and shake it slightly to level it.

Bake for about 12-15 minutes until it is well risen, brown and rises back when pressed with a gentle finger.    Turn out of the tins onto a rack and leave to cool.

In a food processor, blend the icing ingredients, and then stir in the zest and marmalade by hand so you don't break it up too much (if you want a larger proportion of icing to cake, add more icing sugar and butter to the ratio of 2:1). Sandwich the icing between the cakes and stand the the cake on a wire rack or a plate (depending how neat you want it to end up!).  

Warm the cream and add the chocolate, mix until smooth and glossy, cooling slightly so that it coats the back of the spoon and won’t leap off the cake. 

If you want a neat finish, you will pour the ganache over the cake on its rack, then chill the cake to set it before transferring the cake to a plate.  If you like the more rustic touch, simply pour the chocolate over the cake and allow it to pool around the plate before chilling. 

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Apricot and Pistachio Florentines

I'm having a white chocolate moment - my husband adores it, and it seems much more summery than the lovely dark stuff (ooh, having said that, maybe I'll just remind myself how nice dark chocolate can be!).    Florentines are perhaps my most favourite biscuits, so I thought I'd try a white chocolate version, and using the pretty combination of apricots and pistachios.  This collection was made for, and tested on, the Army.   Incidentally, the white dots on the biscuits are where the chocolate has oozed through from the back - white chocolate doesn't melt as well, and takes longer to set again, so you might need more than the quantity below.  

I made a batch of dark chocolate ones for the same training weekend, but managed to leave them behind.  Oh no!  I ended up taking one for the team - in fact, the whole lot!  Sorry girls...

Apricot and Pistachio Florentines
Apricot and Pistachio Florentines

3 ½ oz/100g butter
4oz/110g caster sugar
1tbsp cream (single or double)
4oz/110g pistachio nuts
3tbsps chopped dried apricots
2tbsps cut mixed peel

4oz/100g white chocolate

Line 2-3 baking sheets with silicone paper/parchment (it has to be non-stick: I learned the hard way!), and preheat the oven to 180 deg C.

Assemble the nuts, fruit and peel on a large chopping board and chop roughly so that they are not whole, but still retain some individual texture and shape.    In a small pan, melt the butter, add the sugar and boil together for 1 minute.  Then add the chopped ingredients and the cream, and mix well.  

Remove the pan from the heat, and put heaped dessertspoons of the mixture onto the baking sheets.  They spread, so I usually put about 2-3 per tray.   Bake for about 10 minutes until golden.   To start with, bake a tray at a time, so they don’t all need attention at once!

When the biscuits are ready, take out of the oven and, using a palette or table knife, press the edges inwards to make a better shaped biscuit – they will firm up relatively quickly, so don’t leave it too late…. (if so, just put them back into the oven for a VERY short time until they soften, and try again)     When they are firm, put onto a wire rack and leave to cool fully.  You can then re-use the parchment for another lot. 

Melt the chocolate in the microwave, and spread it onto the backs of the Florentines, putting each one upside down while the chocolate sets.     Store in an airtight tin, between layers of parchment or waxed paper.   They are fragile, but beautiful.