Thursday, 2 April 2015

Eggless easter vegan sourdough blini bites!

Since easter is upon us it seemed only right to make something eggless and vegan. And since I have Vince in the house jumping up and down on giant bubble wrap I will also be trying to make this recipe short and sweet. 
Err... except you need to start 5 days in advance to make the sour dough!
And the chilli jam takes a few hours to make, and you need to have collected some old jam jars!
And even with the cashew cheese you need to soak the nuts for 2 hours first. 
And you have to nip out to the woods to pick the wild garlic!
But, once you have all these things prepared, and a cupboard full of chilli jam, the recipe is really very quick to make!    

First up: Cashew nut cheese wrapped in wild garlic.

You will need:
300g     cashews (not salted ~ I bought mine from the Chinese supermarket)
1/2        a lemon
1/2tsp    salt
1/4tsp    black pepper
1            small garlic clove
A bunch of wild garlic (you can substitute this with any old fresh herb ~ like or parsley, or coriander)

Before you start, soak the cashew nuts in water for 2 hours. Then you need to drain them and whizz in a blender together with the juice of half a lemon, the garlic, salt & pepper. Keep adding a little cold water until it's a good consistency, and add salt & pepper to your taste.
Scoop it all out and cool it in the fridge for a while, then roll it in the chopped herbs/wild garlic. Keep refrigerated.

Then theres: Chilli Jam.

I got the recipe for this from the BBC here  ~ thanks madam.
And I bought the pectin from Booths.

Lastly the blinis: remember you need to have started these 5 days ago!
You need:
4tsp      rye flour
200g     buckwheat flour
1/2tsp   salt
some    water

Day 1: In a lidded tub mix 2tsp rye flour with 4dsp warm water ~ put the lid on and leave for a day.
Day 2: To the tub add 2tsp rye flour and 4dsp of warm water and stir well ~ put the lid on and leave for another day. This is your starter mix.
Day 3: Add to the starter mix ~ the same as the day before.
Day 4: If your tub is big enough, add 200g buckwheat flour and 1/2tsp of salt and enough luke~warm water to make a nice batter consistency. Leave with a lid on for another day.
Day 5: Ready!!
The batter will keep for days in the fridge and you can just keep adding flour and water to it to top it up.

Heat up a lightly oiled frying pan and drop a spoonful of batter in, for each blini. Cook both sides and serve with the cashew cheese and chilli jam ~ Tasty!

These other little ones here are gluten free flat breads made with buckwheat, rice and tapioca flour and psyllium husks! Let me know if you want the recipe. xx

Thursday, 12 February 2015

Anti~Valentine Olive & Almond Florentines


Hello lovelies.

Happy 1st Birthday to this here blog!
This all started last February to help improve my job prospects, and it worked. I have a job. But now I don't have enough time to post many recipes or finish all the stuff about Fern & Olive and the Catering and the Menus, but that, and much more, will be coming soon!! 

Last February I started with some valentine macaroons, all very lovely but this year it's not about giving the love of your life some fancy cookies , it's about my personal deep undying love of OLIVES!! 


I've been trying to push, olives dipped in chocolate, for some time, but these florentines are even better. Sweet caramel, salty rich olives, crispy flakey almonds and smooth dark chocolate, what's not to love! 

Make them! 
Don't be scared of olives in sweet things, honestly they are blooming gorgeous! Apparently 16 olives makes up one of your five a day, so if you eat enough of them,  they kind of ~ do you good!

Olive & Almond Florentines ~ makes 12
This is what you'll need:

100g   flaked almonds
  80g   black moroccan olives
  80g   butter
  80g   sugar
pinch  of salt
  40g   golden syrup
  40g   plain flour
  50g  dark chocolate

You will also need one or two baking trays, grease proof paper and a 5cm diameter biscuit cutter.

Pre heat the oven to 180c / gas 4.

Firstly, the olives I used are black moroccan olives which you can buy from the supermarket if you don't have a local olive stall handy. They are dry cured so they don't come in brine. They are usually quite salty and also, I can not find any pitted ones here in Lancaster so I pit them myself ~ it's easy!
To make them less salty, fill the jar of olives with cold water and soak over night. 
The next day drain and dry them.
Then de-stone by squashing them gently with the side of a knife and the stone just peels out.
Roughly chop the olives.

Toast the almonds ~ spread them out on a baking tray and toast in the oven 180c / gas 4 for 8 minutes.  Stirring half way through. 

In a pan over a low heat, melt the butter, sugar, syrup and salt.

Let it boil for a few minutes then add the flour, stir and cook for a few minutes longer then take off the heat and stir in the almonds and olives.

Next, line a baking tray with grease proof paper. Place a teaspoon full of the mix on the tray for each florentine. This mix makes 12, and I got 6 on a tray at a time.  

They completely spread themselves out so do leave lots of space between them. You have to shape them with the biscuit cutter after they have cooked.
Bake in the oven for 6 minutes.

A mess, I know, but have no fear.....

While they are still hot,  use a knife or teaspoon to separate them and as they are cooling gently press them into the biscuit cutter, they will hold their shape and they are not too hot to handle.

Leave to cool.
Meanwhile melt the chocolate on a low heat, in a bowl over a pan of water.

And drizzle.

Stick them in the fridge for 10 minutes for the chocolate to set. Then demolish!

Thursday, 20 November 2014

Smokey freekeh, black cabbage, sweet potato pancake stack with harissa & tahini sauce.


Hello, I'm here,  anyone missed me? Due to this here blog I've had quite an exciting time job~wise over the last 6 months. 

I have been working for Manchesters   Teacup Kitchen & ProperTea  as a food development chef! 
Sooooo exciting!  I've learnt loads and I've got some new recipes up my apron sleeve.   

Back in Lancaster now and working at Roots Veggie Cafe where I'm discovering the magic of vegan cake baking! 

This weeks recipe is a kind of healthy, sticky pile of winter warming comfort, inspired by my friends requests on Facebook and an amalgamation of some of the recipes I've been coming up with for Teacup Kitchen.

I used Smokey Freekeh because I love the name so much, but you could use Buckwheat or Bulgar instead. 

I actually asked Jamie to get me some Kale when he did the Sainsburys shop, but I got this rather fancy Cavolo Nero instead!  i.e black cabbage.

Do make your own Harissa sauce ~ it's really very very nice!  
I know it looks like a long list but you can make the harissa weeks in advance and the pancake mix the night before, just keep it covered in the fridge.


Here's what you'll need for 5 stacks:

Smokey Freekeh & Black cabbage 
120g   black cabbage
3dsp   olive oil
3dsp   sesame oil
big      pinch of salt
100g   smokey freekeh
4tsp    black sesame seeds
6tsp    pumpkin seeds
1/2     a lemon

Sweet Potato Pancakes 
600g   sweet potato   
2dsp   olive oil  for roasting
pinch   of salt & pepper

The Pancakes ~ makes about 20
150g   flour
1tsp    baking powder
pinch   of salt
2         eggs
130g    yoghurt
200ml  milk
4dsp    olive oil for pancake cooking                      

Harissa sauce ~ makes 125g
8         birds eye chillies
5         cloves of garlic
1"        of fresh ginger
1tsp     coriander seeds
1tsp     fennel seeds
2tsp     cumin seeds
1tsp     sea salt
1/2tsp  black pepper 
10dsp   olive oil

Tahini & Harissa sauce
100g   tahini
10g     harissa
2tsp    honey or agar syrup or brown sugar
120ml  water

To make the cabbage & freekeh first heat the oven 190c / gas 5.   Wash & chop the cabbage then mix it in the oil so it's all covered, sprinkle with salt and spread it out on a roasting tin. Cook for 20 mins stirring it round once or twice during cooking until it's nice and crispy and not too chewy.

At the same time, sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on to another roasting tin and toast for 5 ~ 10 mins. Keep checking and stirring.

( Also get the sweet potatoes roasting while the ovens on. Peel and chop the sweet potato into chunks. Mix with the oil and sprinkle with salt, cook for 30 mins. )

Wash the freekeh well, then add to a pan with twice as much water. Bring to a boil then simmer for 15 minutes. Drain and rinse under a cold tap. Leave in a sieve to cool.

To make this dish mix the cooked cabbage and the cooked freekeh together.  Stir in the sesame seeds, the juice of 1/2 a lemon and salt & pepper to taste. Sprinkle the pumpkin seeds on top.

To make the Harissa first toast the seeds with the salt. I do this in a little sauce pan, stirring constantly until it just begins to get smokey! Tip into whatever grinder you have. 

Add the peeled and chopped garlic, ginger and chopped chillies, seeds and all. Pummel until your arm aches or flick the switch on your spice grinder. 

Stir in the oil before, during or after. Add more if you need to ~ enough to cover the spicy mix then keep in a jar in the fridge. It will last for ages. 

To make the sauce, just stir all the ingredients together.

To make the pancake mix, you could do with having a hand held blender.
Weigh out the flour, salt and baking powder.
Put the roasted sweet potato into a mixing bowl.
Mix the eggs, milk and yoghurt together in a jug.

Add a bit of the eggy milk to the sweet potato and whizz. Then a bit of the flour and whizz. Alternate like this until you have your batter. It is a thick mix but you can add more milk if you prefer.

To make the pancakes, heat up a frying pan with a bit of oil and drop a tablespoon of the pancake mix in. Use the back of a spoon to spread it out if it's very thick. Cook on both sides for a couple of minutes.

Stack and serve! 


Friday, 11 July 2014

Latkes with Broad Bean & Miso Walnut salad ~ topped with Sour Cream and a Herb & Sweet Chili dressing.

I've missed a few blogs recently mainly because of other exciting events taking over! One of which was having a stall at Morecambes kite festival with my good friends @Lancaster Soup Dragon .
The weekend was bloomin' brilliant on many levels! So many nice people and loads of sunshine and lots of compliments about the food...........happy happy happy! 
Plus I collected some nice recipes from these lovely people ~ Like the Chocolate Orange Cake from Cathy @ VWLulabelle  and top flavour tip from Gary @ Teacup Kitchen  ~ Miso and Walnuts!!
As soon as I got home I made some!  Just dipping the miso in sugar and eating that is pretty amazing, and being ravenous after a weekend of work, I ate the miso walnuts with Lulabelles chocolate orange cake and it was bloomin' fantastic! So I made these!

Gluten free chocolate orange cake topped with caramelised miso walnuts & orange zest & some more chocolate!
But I'm not doing that recipe this week ~ sorry.
This week you get 4 recipes piled together, what a bargain!


Latkes with Broad Bean & Miso Walnut salad 
topped with Sour Cream and a Herb & Sweet Chilli dressing.

For the Latkes:

300g grated potatoes
2 egg whites
pinch of salt ~ and a few more for soaking the potatoes in
2 tbsp corn flour
Some butter and olive oil for frying

First add some salt to the potatoes and soak in cold water for half an hour.

Then drain and squeeze out the excess water with your hands.  Mix in the corn flour, salt and egg white and stir.
Heat up a frying pan with a dstsp each of oil and butter and spoon in the mixture to create roundish shapes, fry until crispy golden ~ makes about 8 depending on size.

For the Salad:

1/4  of an iceberg lettuce
300g broad beans (Yes fresh are best but I used tinned which I regret!)

50g chopped walnut
1 tsp sugar
1 tsp miso paste

Small tub of sour cream

Peel the skin of the bean and try not to think about the fact that you should be using fresh ones ~ or if you are ~ feel smug.
Slice the lettuce and arrange on a plate (or on the latkes) with the beans sprinkled on top.

For the walnuts:

Toast the walnuts in a non stick pan for a few minutes then put to one side. In the same pan mix the miso and sugar together over the heat until combined then mix the walnuts in, keep stirring until coated then tip onto a plate to cool.

For the herb & Sweet Chili Dressing:

120g Parsley & Coriander  
1 clove garlic
juice of 1/2 a lemon
2 tsp caper
13 dsp olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
1 dsp chili jam ~

I used the chili jam made by my lovely, local friends at Beau. Or you can make your own ~ here's how Nigella does it.

Whizz everything in a blender or finely chop.

Add the chili jam at the end to your taste.

 Then make a pile of ~ latkes ~ lettuce ~ beans ~ walnuts ~ sour cream ~ herb & chili dressing.

Like this:

Best eaten while the Latkes are still warm.

Friday, 13 June 2014

Elderflower, Poppyseed & Lime Cake

Hello lovelies, this week has been mainly about elderflowers since we finally have them in bloom in the North! 
Best to be picked on a bright sunny morning. There are Elderflower trees everywhere which makes picking them very easy, I picked a bag full on the way back from school. I also made some cordial from a River Cottage recipe without the citric acid and with 800g sugar, 1 lemon and about 3 pints of water.  (So not really their recipe at all! )
You will need to pick the flowers one day proir to baking as they need a night in the fridge. I picked 20 heads which gave me 300g of flowers, so for this recipe you probably need 12 ish. 

Anyhow the cake came out very well, not too sweet with a delicious sweet, tangy, crystalised lime topping and wafting the scent of elderflowers everywhere! 

For the cake:

200g sugar                                                                             16p
170g butter                                                                            68p
zest of 1 lime                                                                          33p
2 free range eggs                                                                    34p
150 ml milk                                                                            15p
200g plain flour                                                                       15p
2 tsp baking powder                                                                10p
100g poppy seeds                                                                   85p
150g elderflowers                                                                    FREE

For the topping:

juice of 1 lime ~ from the lime you've already zested
40g sugar                                                                              3p
a handful of elderflowers                                                          FREE
1 tsp of icing sugar                                                                 3p

Total:                                                                                   £2.82

Leave the heads of flowers in the fridge overnight and then the flowers can be gently taken off ~ trouble free.

Gather your ingredients and zest the lime.  Turn on the oven gas 4 / 180c.  Grease and flour an 8" loose base cake tin.

Cream the butter and the sugar, then mix in the lime, flour and baking powder.

Beat the eggs and milk together and add to the mix. 
Then gently add in the flowers and poppy seeds.

Spoon the mix into the tin and bake in the oven for about 25 minutes.

For the topping: Put the sugar and lime in a pan and bring to a boil. Stir for 5 minutes or so until it becomes syrupy. Turn off the heat and add the flowers, then spoon evenly over the cake.

Sprinkle with icing sugar and leave to cool.

Or if you just can't wait ~ eat warm with a nice cup of whatever you fancy ~ tea ~ coffee ~ or ~ gin.