recipes for healthy living

Tag: cream

Blackberry Bakewell Tart

The lanes and fields are lined with blackberries and this is a perfect tart to showcase their beauty. I have picked loads and open froze them before popping into bags in the freezer to keep over the next few months. I love them in smoothies and they are great for enhancing  the taste of the more robust tasting green vegetables which are good to include but can be a challenge to get down. Best though to save the nice big ones for dessert like this delicious tart. It’s a a real winner, looks gorgeous, tastes great and is easy to make and if you are really not into making pastry, there are plenty of options in the supermarket – just buy the shortcrust type. So how is this conducive to a fit and healthy lifestyle…. to be honest, I love to bake but we really don’t eat dessert in our house any more than once a week and when we do, it is home made so we know the quality of the ingredients and where they came from. Baking gives me joy and I always think when you have put the effort into baking something and the family is sitting down together to enjoy it then it is a time for joy and happiness and not for guilt about eating something sweet.

Shortcrust pastry

6oz plain flour
pinch of salt
3ozoz chilled butter, cubed
60-70ml approx cold water

Tip flour butter and salt into a food processor and pulse gently until it resembles breadcrumbs.
Add the water and gently pulse again until it comes together
Wrap the dough in clingfilm and chill for at least 30 minutes.
Once rested, roll it out on a lighlty flour dusted surface to a 3mm thickness.
Line a 200mm tart ring or tart tin with removable bottom.
Trim any excess, line with parchment and baking beans and bake at 170C for approximately 10 minutes.
Remove the beans and cool.

Almond Filling
140gr butter
zest of a lemon
140gr icing sugar
140gr eggs (approx 3 but beat them together gently and weigh)
140gr almond flour (almond meal)
50gr plain flour – you can use gluten free if you wish

Beat the butter lemon zest and sugar together.
Add the eggs then the almond meal and flour and beat together until smooth and incorporated fully.
This keeps if you want to make a few days in advance – store in the fridge.

To complete the tart
300gr blackberries
3 tbsp blackberry jam
2 handfuls of almonds

Spoon 3 tbsp blackberry jam into the base of the partially cooked tart.
Spoon or pipe over the almond cream and arrange the blackberries on top of the cream pushing them in slightly. Sprinkle over the almonds then, bake at 170C for 20 minutes then reduce heat to 160C and bake for about 10 more minutes.
The tart is cooked when the tart is a light golden brown.
Enjoy warm with some cream and savour the taste of autumn.

Duxelle of Mixed Mushrooms Celeriac and Carrot

A Duxelle is a usually a finely chopped mixture of mushrooms, onions, shallots and herbs sautéed in butter and or cream and then usually reduced to a paste – used most notably in Beef Wellington or as a garnish. Adapted slightly and not turned into a paste, this makes a delicious side dish working really well with a whole roast chicken. It also works perfectly as a stuffing for chicken breasts which I have done here as well as serving some on the side. This amount makes enough to fill 4 chicken breasts or 2 breasts and some over for a side dish. The flavours of mushroom and celeriac work really well together and I added a glug of madeira to the pan which also is the perfect partner for mushrooms. Topped with cream and really well seasoned, this tastes so good – even someone who thought they did not like celeriac, absolutely loved it.

4 carrots peeled and diced finely
About 30gr mixed mushrooms roughly chopped
2 slices from a big celeriac diced finely – make sure you roughly have the same amount as the carrot
A glug of madeira (say 30mls)
100ml cream
salt and pepper
2 small shallots finely chopped
1 big clove garlic peeled and crushed and mashed
20gr butter
2 tbsp rapeseed oil

Melt the butter and oil in a medium pan and add the shallot and garlic and fry until softened.
Tip in the carrot and celeriac and toss to coat in the butter oil.
Season well and cook for about 5 minutes with a lid on to begin softening the vegetables.
Tip in the mushrooms and toss to coat and cook on a medium heat.
Turn up the heat momentarilly and then tip in the glug of madeira and let it burn the alcohol off then turn back to medium.
Add the cream and stir.
Cover until the veggies are cooked. Make sure you don’t boil the cream.
If you are using to stuff the chicken breasts then spread out on a plate to cool
When it is cool, make a pocket in the chicken fillets (free range), season them well and stuff with the mixture. Cook in the oven for about 20 minutes at 180C and then served on a bed of Celeria Mash (I knew the rest of it would come in handy) with the rest of the duxelle on the side.
ready to cook
Absolutely delicious, really easy, very tasty and a great way to liven up chicken.

Sweet Potato Gratin

I love vegetable gratin, delicious root veggies cooked with milk cream and garlic.. There is no nicer comfort food. If you are off the milk or cream then nearly as nice with stock and a tin of coconut milk instead.So many possibilities is what makes this so interesting and I think my favourite is with sweet potato and chorizo. Buy the wide chorizo and cut really thinly and the result is delicious layers of sweet smokey loveliness.

I often make them with celeriac and turnip , and like me you will probably seen the way the dairy curdles during the cooking process, there is a compound in the veg which causes this but it is still lovely in the end.. You can avoid it by including potatoes in the mixture but that’s up to you.

Serves 5
5 medium sweet potatoes
1 clove garlic
200 ml cream
100ml milk
12 very thin slices of wide chorizo
Salt and pepper

Peel garlic, squash and rub your casserole dish with it. Chop it very finely.
Put the milk cream in large stainless steel pot and bring to the boil
Very thinly slice the sweet potato. if using a mandolin, remember the guard – Iv seen a few nasty accidents! Add to the milk and cream mixture and season well.
Cook on a gentle heat until potatoes are about half cooked.
Layer the sweet potato slightly overlapping in the dish. Top with chorizo and a sprinkle of garlic. Season then Continue to build layers and finish with layer of sweet potato. Pour over the milk and cream mixture to just level with the last layer.
Bake in the oven at 160C for 15-20 minutes until fully cooked.


Paul Flynn Crab Brulee

Happy New Year everyone and I hope 2012 brings all you wish for!.
I spent yesterday and today preparing the starter course for a New Years Eve Celebration we are going to tonight as well as all the food for a family gathering we are having in our house on New Years Day.  It has been a busy day preparing 22 portions of The Tannery’s Crab Crème Brûlée with Pickled Cucumber as well as, for New Years Day my favourite beef stew, a potato and butternut squash vindaloo for my veggie sister and I will also be serving the boned and stuffed turkey legs I froze just before Christmas. I’m really looking forward to New Years Eve tonight and seeing all my family including all the nieces and nephews so all the cooking will be worth it to be together and enjoy each others company as it has been a number of months since the last gathering. I’m off the hook for dessert as one of the family is bringing one so I can have an extra half hour in the bed New Years Day!….That said I did have a chocolate hazlenut cake in the freezer so I cut and covered in chocolate ganache just to have a choice… it looks delicious and just the right portion size for such a rich cake.

If you don’t already know the Brulee then I think you are in for a delight. It has pickled ginger in it which adds a lovely taste as well as cutting through the cream and this continues with the cucumber salad. The melba toast is a lovely retro touch which really reminds me of my mum’s dinner parties when I was growing up when I used to love helping her. I was lucky enough to spend 2 days down at The Tannery with Paul Flynn and this is his recipe. It looks great and tastes really yummy, it is also quite easy to prepare since everything can be done in advance. It is served at room temperature so you can be in with your guests instead of slaving over a hot stove shouting at them from the kitchen. While Paul states that this serves 4 as a starter I used the smaller ramekins as it is quite rich and served 8 from this.  I loved my 2 day cookery workshop with Paul and was delighted to also get his book as part of my Christmas present – An Irish adventure with food.

Crab Crème Brûlée

400 ml (1 3/4 cups) cream
1 egg & 2 egg yolks
1 garlic clove, peeled and finely chopped (or grate it directly into the custard mixture with a Microplane grater)
2 tablespoons pickled ginger, drained and finely chopped
salt and freshly ground black pepper
150 g (1 cup) picked white crab meat, finely chopped
50 g (1/2 cup) freshly grated Parmesan
pickled cucumber, to serve (see below)

Place the cream in a bowl with the eggs, garlic, pickled ginger and some salt and pepper and mix well. Add in the crab meat, ensuring there is no shell, and mix well again. Cover with cling film and place in the fridge to allow the flavours to infuse for at least 30 minutes, but ideally up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 150°C (300°F).

Ladle or pour the mixture into the ramekins, making sure you get an even amount of crab in every ramekin, as the crab tends to fall to the bottom. Place the ramekins in a roasting tray. Fill the tray with warm water until the water comes halfway up the sides of the ramekins. Place this bain marie in the oven and cook for 45 to 60 minutes (check after 40 minutes). They will be done in less time if you get 8 portions out of the mixture.

When cooked through, the mixture should be set but still have a slightly wobbly consistency. Remove the ramekins from the bain marie and allow to cool — the crab crème brûlée should be served at room temperature.

When ready to serve, sprinkle a very thin layer of Parmesan on top of each ramekin and brown under the grill. Serve with pickled cucumber and really thin Melba

Pickled Cucumber
1 cucumber
pinch of salt
50 g (1/4 cup) caster sugar
50 ml (1/4 cup) white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon sweet chilli sauce

Slice the cucumber as thinly as you can (a mandolin or food processor’s slicing attachment is perfect for this job). Place the sliced cucumber in a bowl and sprinkle with a little salt. Set aside.
Bring the sugar, vinegar and chilli sauce to the boil and reduce for 30 seconds. Take off the heat and allow to cool completely. Once it’s cool, pour the liquid over the cucumbers and stir gently to coat them all. This will keep in the fridge for 2 or 3 days — any more and the cucumber loses its colour.

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