Archive for caster sugar

Figs in red wine

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , on September 4, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

Half Hour Meals

These soft, boozy figs are excellent served with cheese. They work best alongside semi-hard cheeses such as pecorino or wedges of aged and crystallised Parmesan. Or serve them alongside a soft and creamy Gorgonzola dolce.

750ml pints full-bodied red wine
500g dried figs
3 fresh bay leaves
2 tbsp caster sugar
the peel of one orange

Pour the wine into a medium-sized, heavy-based pan. Place over a medium heat and bring to a simmer.

Add the figs, bay, sugar and orange peel and cook for a further 5 minutes.

Remove from the heat. And allow to cool. Spoon into sterilised jars and place in the fridge.

Before using, remove from the fridge and allow to return to room temperature.

These figs will last for up to a month in the fridge.

Nectarine sorbet with crushed blackberries

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on April 15, 2011 by Robin Gosnall

This sorbet is quick and simple. The crushed blackberries on the top lend a tart finish that is most satisfying.

6 ripe nectarines
200g caster sugar
juice of half a lemon

For the blackberries:

200g blackberries
2 tbsp icing sugar
zest of one orange

Slice the nectarines in half, remove the stone and chop into one-inch pieces. Place in a blender with the sugar and lemon juice. Purée until smooth; it will have little specks of skin throughout, which is very pretty. Place in an ice-cream maker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.

If you don’t own an ice-cream maker, freeze the mix in a low-sided container for two hours. Then remove and drag it with a fork, working from the outside in. Replace in the freezer. Repeat this every half hour three or four times, until all the mixture is formed of ice crystals. This makes a granita; its texture is slightly chewy, but it is just as delicious as any ice-cream.

Place the blackberries in a bowl with the icing sugar. Using the back of a fork, crush roughly; it should have a slightly coarse consistency. Stir in the orange zest and chill. To serve, spoon into chilled glasses and top with the blackberries.

Nigella Lawson’s redder than red cranberry sauce

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 15, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

Recipe taken from Nigella Christmas by Nigella Lawson (Chatto & Windus, £25)

1 x 340g pack fresh cranberries
200g caster sugar
45ml cherry brandy
75ml water

Put everything into a pan and let it bubble away until the berries start to pop, stirring every now and again with a wooden spoon. This will take about 10 minutes.

You should bear in mind, though, that the pectin-rich nature of the fruit means it solidifies enormously on cooling, so although it will be cooked when the berries have burst, it will still look runnier than you think cranberry sauce should.

At this stage, give the sauce a final, vicious, whipping stir to help crush the berries into the liquid, and taste – making sure not to burn your mouth – to check whether it needs more sugar; if you find it too sweet, which is unlikely, just spritz in some lemon juice. Transfer to a bowl to cool.

If you cook this sauce way in advance, it will jellify a lot so thrash it through with a fork before serving.

Banana and custard pie

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 23, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

The classic nursery combination should go down well with the children.

For the pastry:

110g soft butter
135g caster sugar
225g strong flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp baking powder
a pinch of salt
125ml double cream
1 small egg beated to glaze
1 tbsp granulated sugar, for sprinkling

For the filling:

one third of a vanilla pod
200ml single cream
4 egg yolks
50g caster sugar
1 tsp cornflour
2 ripe bananas, peeled and sliced

Cream the butter and sugar, sieve the baking powder and flour together and stir into the butter mix with the salt then slowly pour in the cream until well mixed. Chill for about 30 minutes before rolling. On a floured table, roll the pastry out to about cm thick and line four approx 8-10 x 4cm deep, lightly greased, individual tart or pie tins or 1 larger one, allowing the pastry to slightly overlap the edges. Roll 4 tops to fit the pies, then leave to rest for another 30 minutes.

Split the vanilla pod in half lengthways and scrape out the seeds with a point of a knife. Put the cream, vanilla pod and seeds into a small saucepan and bring to the boil. Remove from the heat and leave to infuse for about 10 minutes.

In a bowl mix the egg yolks, sugar and cornflour together. Remove the vanilla pod from the cream and pour on to the egg mixture and mix well with a whisk. Return to the pan and cook gently over a low heat for a few minutes, stirring constantly with a wooden spoon until the custard thickens, but without letting it boil. Remove from the heat and give a final mix with a whisk and transfer to a clean bowl.

Remove the lined tart tins from the fridge for about 15 minutes then mix the bananas with the custard and spoon into the tarts (you may have some mix left over so you could make extra with pastry trimmings, or I’m sure the kids will polish it off).

Brush the edges of the pastry with the beaten egg and lay the tops on, pressing the pastry together with your thumb and forefinger to seal it then trim any excess with a knife and neaten up the edges again with your thumb and forefinger. Brush the pie tops with the beaten egg and scatter with the granulated sugar. Place on a tray and bake for about 15-25 minutes or until the pastry is golden and crisp. Leave to cool a little then serve hot or warm.

Apricot tart

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 30, 2010 by Robin Gosnall

Half Hour Meals

I often use this pastry recipe for tarts, as it’s buttery and crunchy. You will need a 23cm tart tin with a removable base.

For the pastry:

250g plain organic flour
1 whole egg
1 egg yolk
2-3 drops of vanilla extract
1 tbsp caster sugar
a pinch of sea salt
125g unsalted butter, cut into cubes

For the filling:

12 apricots
4 tbsp sugar
the juice of half a lemon
1 tbsp caster sugar

Place the flour in a food processor and add all the other ingredients. Pulse until it resembles coarse sand. Continue to pulse until the pastry forms a ball (add a little water if necessary). Wrap in parchment paper and chill for 30 minutes, then roll out and line your tart tin. Prick the base all over and return to the fridge for 30 minutes.
Slice the apricots in half and remove the kernels. Put in a bowl and sprinkle over the sugar and lemon juice and set aside.

Now blind-bake the tart. Heat the oven to 180°C. Line the tin with parchment paper and weigh down with baking beans. Bake for 10 minutes, remove and take off the paper and beans.

Arrange the apricots around the tart and sprinkle on the caster sugar. Return to the oven for 20 minutes, by which time the pastry should be nutty brown.

Serve just warm rather than hot, with a big dollop of crème fraîche.

Peach Jam

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , on July 15, 2009 by Robin Gosnall

4810875_213444s

Peach jam is one of my favourites: sweet, chunky slices of peach suspended in syrup are delicious on crusty sourdough toast with lashings of unsalted butter.

2.5kg just-ripe peaches
the juice and zest of 3 lemons
½ tsp salt
1.5kg caster sugar
3 vanilla beans

Wash and cut the peaches, then crack the stones of two and take out the kernels in the middle. Lightly crush the kernels to release their nutty flavour and set aside.

Place the chopped peach and the lemon juice into a saucepan. Add the salt – this will bring out the flavour of the fruit – and simmer very gently for 20 minutes. Add the sugar, stirring to combine.

Once the sugar has dissolved, turn up the heat and boil rapidly until setting point is reached. Once you think it might be ready, do the “wrinkle test” Place a spoonful of jam on a saucer in the fridge for a few minutes to cool. Run a finger through the jam: if the surface wrinkles, it’s ready. If not, return to the stove and boil swiftly.

Add the cracked kernels and allow the jam to rest for 20 minutes for even fruit and juice distribution. Spoon into warm, sterilised jars.

Rhubarb and blood-orange meringue

Posted in Food with tags , , , , , , on July 3, 2009 by Robin Gosnall

rhubarb_lowe_131413s

This sexy pudding should get your juices flowing. If you don’t have time to make your own, try meringues from Ottolenghi, which are mottled with raspberry purée for great visual effect.

150-200g rhubarb
100g caster sugar
1 tsp cornflour or arrowroot
1 blood orange, segmented, juice reserved

For the meringue:
2 egg whites
70g caster sugar
1 tsp cornflour
1 tsp white wine vinegar

To serve:
2-3 tbsp crème fraîche

For the meringue, pre-heat the oven to 120°C. Clean the mixing bowl and whisk in boiling water, then dry with kitchen paper to remove any traces of grease, as this will affect the stiffness of the egg whites once whisked.

In a mixing machine with a whisk attachment or by hand (although this will take quite a while), whisk the egg whites until stiff. Add the caster sugar and continue whisking until the egg whites are really stiff and shiny. Add the cornflour and vinegar and whisk again for about 45 seconds. Spoon the mixture on to a clean baking tray, lined with silicone or greaseproof paper, into one round dome.

For a spiky meringue, create peaks round the edge with the spoon if you like.

Cook in the oven for 1-2 hours or until the meringue is crisp on the outside and soft in the very middle, but don’t allow the outside to colour – you want it white.

You may need to cook it a little longer, depending on your oven; remove and leave to cool.

Cut the rhubarb into 2cm lengths and place in a thick-bottomed pan with the sugar. Cook on a low heat with a lid on for about 5 minutes or until the sugar has dissolved and the rhubarb is just tender.

Carefully drain in a sieve over a bowl to catch the juices. Pour the juice into a saucepan and add any juice from the blood orange.

Bring to a simmering boil, then dilute the cornflour with a little water and stir enough into the syrup to slightly thicken it and simmer for a minute or so. Leave to cool a little, then mix the rhubarb and blood-orange segments and stir in the syrup.

To serve, cut the top off the meringue, crush it up a bit and fold into the crème fraiche. Spoon the crème fraîche into the meringue and spoon the rhubarb mixture over.

%d bloggers like this: