To buy or not to buy, that is the question

I came across a pastry recipe the other day and it reminded me of a question my husband always asks me. What is the difference between sweet and savoury? Well, I do know that pastry can be used for both dishes. I myself, am not an accomplished pastry chef and will be the first to admit, along with even the top chefs that I buy shop bought whether that is flaky, filo, shortcrust or puff. I am not ashamed to admit it which is probably why I always pass over any pastry recipes for sweet, savoury or otherwise except until I saw this recipe. It was crying out to be baked for my husband and son. Let me explain.

My husband is like Paddington Bear. His love of marmalade is second to none. A day does not go past when he doesn’t eat it. My son’s love for apples is on the same scale. So this recipe is dedicated to them both and the marmalade and apple galette is absolutely a match made in heaven.

We do think Autumn is the season for apples but as supplies of seasonal fruit are much less in February and March and you have had your tummy full of blood oranges and rhubarb why not turn to apples. These keep extremely well as they have been stored since the Autumn along with those jars of home made seville orange marmalade.

Here is a link to my blood orange syrup loaf cake  and a link to my rhubarb, polenta & almond cake.

I am defiantly popping to the shops to buy a pack of puff pastry and may even pop a tub of crème fraiche in my basket too.

Edit: maybe when we are not on lock down !

Marmalade & apple galette
What you need:
flat baking sheet

Ready rolled puff pastry sheet
200g marmalade ( I used my husband’s home made seville orange marmalade)
5 apples
150g soft brown sugar
1 tablespoon orange juice
15g butter

What to do:
Preheat the oven to 200C 390F Gas mark 6
1. Put the marmalade in a small pan, warm through until it turns to liquid.
2. Spoon out the peel and place in a small bowl leaving the liquid in the pan, keeping it on a low heat so it doesn’t set.
3. Peel and core the apples and slice into approx 5mm slices. Add them to a bowl with the sugar and orange juice and lastly the marmalade peel.
4. Roll out the pastry sheet to an approximate circle of 30cm and lay on the baking sheet , lined with greaseproof paper
5. Pile the apple mix on the centre of the pastry, spreading it out, leaving a border all around the edge. Bring up the sides of the pastry and fold them over to create a small wall so that the mix doesn’t come up above it
6. Drizzle the marmalade liquid over the apple mix
7. Melt the butter in the pan you used for the marmalade and then brush it over the pastry wall
8. Bake in the oven for approx 30 to 35 mins until the pastry is risen and golden
9. Remove to cool slightly then serve
Enjoy x

Recipe credit: Thomasina Miers

And the result is …….part 2

I started my blog titled “And the result is” with the words “we are now in the height of forced rhubarb season and no, this is not making those long slender pink stems do something against their will in those dark sheds”.Well, my goodness who would ever have known that when I came to write up my recipe for that blog 19 days later that we would be in a forced locked down only being allowed to go out for basic necessities, one form of exercise a day and travel to and from work only if absolutely necessary. As for those dark sheds, one blessing is the glorious Spring days we have had recently and that has meant I could escape into my garden.

Sadly you may not be able to go out to shop for the ingredients for this cake but I hope I can brighten your day just by sharing this recipe with you.

Rhubarb,almond & polenta cake
What you need:

20 cm diameter tin ( I used a springform tin) . The recipe does say a long loaf tin could also work

For the rhubarb
4 decent stalks or 6 smaller stalks (mine weighed approx 135g when prepared)
2 level tablespoons golden caster sugar

For the batter:
125g unsalted butter
1 tbsp honey
Zest of 1 lemon
50g light brown sugar
3 eggs ( I always use medium free range )
1 level teaspoon vanilla extract
150g ground almonds
50g polenta (you want the loose type not the block form )
30g plain flour
75g golden caster sugar
2 level teaspoons baking powder

What to do :
Preheat the oven to 150C 300F Gas Mark 2
1. Cut the rhubarb into chunks about 2cm long and wash. Place them in a single layer in a baking dish ( I used a flan dish), sprinkle with the sugar and cover with a layer of greaseproof paper ( I used an 8″ precut circle) and then cover with foil.

2.Bake in the oven for about 20 to 25 minutes until softened . Do not let them go soggy
3. Grease the sides of the baking tin and line with greaseproof paper.
4. Turn up the oven temp. to 180C 350F Gas mark 4
5. Cream the butter, honey and brown sugar together
6. Separate the eggs – put the egg yolks into a small bowl and the whites into a bowl or jug larger enough to beat. Lightly beat the egg yolks and add slowly to the creamed mix stirring gently.

7. Add the vanilla extract and lemon zest, mix gently.
8. Add the ground almonds, polenta, flour and baking powder to the batter. It will become stiff

9. Beat the egg whites with the sugar until they are stiff and glossy

10. At this point I scraped out the creamed mixture from my food processor and transferred it to a large mixing bowl. Then fold 1/3 of the egg white into the mixture to loosen it and then gently fold in the remainder

11. Spoon the batter into the tin and carefully arrange the rhubarb on top

12. Bake for approx 45 mins -mine was baked in 38 mins ! Test with a cake tester, if this comes out clean it is baked . If you think the rhubarb is browning too quickly you can cover with greaseproof paper but definitely not before half an hour of cooking time.
13. Leave to cool completely in the tin on a cooling rack

14. Serve on it’s own, with some greek yoghurt or creme fraiche
15. Enjoy X

What ! No bread !

Sometimes, just sometimes stuff needs to give way to the curve balls life throws at us . I made myself sit in the garden yesterday afternoon to try and reground and switch off to the continual thread of the latest news on social media.

I find such enjoyment from reading food supplements and gather so much of my inspiration for my kitchen ramblings from them. Yesterday I was reading about someone’s difficulties with bread dough not rising.  I have written a blog about pastry that I will be sharing soon where I say that I am not a pastry chef. I am also not a bread maker however as the supermarket shelves are stripped bare of bread I remembered a recipe I have previously shared. A  simple hearty loaf made with apples, cinnamon and hazelnuts which is dairy and egg free. Providing I can buy the flour I may just bake a couple of these and here is the recipe again for you

Elke’s apple bread

What you need:
a large loaf tin , I use a Pampered Chef stoneware loaf pan which measures 23 x 13 cm

For the apple mix
750 g grated apples
250g caster sugar ( I use golden caster sugar )
1 tsp. cinnamon
2 tbsp.lemon juice

For the bread:
250g whole hazlenuts
250g raisins
500g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder

What you do :

Preheat the oven 150 C 300 F gas mark 2
1. Grate the apples into a large mixing bowl

2. Add the sugar, cinnamon and lemon juice, mix together with the apples
Step 1 & 2
3. Cover the bowl , I used plastic cling film and then leave over night in the fridge
4. The following morning, it should look like this
Step 3
5.Grease the loaf tin and then add the hazlenuts,raisins, plain flour and baking powder to the apple mix. Mix thoroughly as it will become quite stiff
Step 4
6. Press into the tin and level it out
Step 5
7. Bake for 1 1/2 hours until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean
8. Allow to cool , then remove from the tin
9. The loaf can then be sliced, served with jam if you wish ,though it will keep well in an airtight tin for a week

And the result is ……..

We are now in the height of forced rhubarb season and no, this is not making those long slender pink stems do something against their will in those dark sheds we have heard of . It is the time of year when the markets start introducing some colour to their fruit and veg displays.

We all know by now I think, that this is when rhubarb lovers start getting a little giddy. The arrival of this fruit is a welcome addition to the table after the winter months. Now there are some people who, like marmite, either love it or hate it. My husband belongs to the ‘not liking it’ group as his granny swore by it when he was growing up in South East Ireland. She said it would help his digestion. I think he maybe ate too much as a child and now really does not want to go near it again.

I promised myself when I wrote my blog Rhubarb & thyme (time) last year that I would not return my rhubarb recipes to the folder labelled cakes for another year. The big question though was going to be, which recipe was I going to choose to bake and share? So, you know what I did? I asked my followers. I put a poll together and let them decide. The only trouble was rooting through all my folders to find the afore mentioned rhubarb recipes !
But I can now reveal the the recipe that received the greatest number of votes was…… a rhubarb, almond and polenta cake.

So all I need to do now is pop off to my local greengrocers and pick some up.

Celeriac and feta cheese muffins

As I wrote in my last kitchen ramblings about the rather ugly celeriac I have finally got round to sharing the recipe with you. The feta definitely worked and I am so pleased I substituted it for the blue cheese and as it is in season for another month you still have plenty of time to try it.

What you need:
A muffin tray plus 12 muffin cases

200g spelt flour
200g celeriac -grated
250ml live natural yoghurt
2 eggs ( I always use medium) lightly beaten
60g feta – grated
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

What to do:
1. Sieve the spelt flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda into a bowl
2. Add the yogurt , lightly beaten eggs and grated celeriac and mix together

3. Stir in the feta cheese and spoon into the muffin cases. I am a perfectionist so measure mine and found 65g is a nice quantity

4. Pop into the oven at 180c/350F/gas mark 4 for 15 to 18 minutes . Mine took exactly 18 mins to rise and turn golden brown.
5. Remove from the oven and take the cases out of the muffin tray and cool on a cooling rack.

6. I served mine up with a little bit of chutney on the side and mmmmm delicious

Enjoy x