Baked Indo-Chinese Chilli Chicken Curry

Baked Indo-Chinese Chilli Chicken Curry – This delicious Indo-Chinese chilli chicken dish sits half way between a curry and a stir-fry, but it baked for a healthy alternative with no extra oil added. It tastes like an authentic Chinese chilli chicken or curry dish, one that you might enjoy in a high-end Chinese restaurant, and it can be started the night before you want to serve it. Baking all of the ingredients together means that you only have one dish to wash up too, for the win!

and it can be started the night before you want to serve it.

Chinese New Year 2018

Year of the Dog

and it can be started the night before you want to serve it.

The Dog is the eleventh of all zodiac animals. According to one myth, the Jade Emperor said the order would be decided by the order in which they arrived to his party. Monkey, Rooster and Dog were in another country, helping a god defeat evil spirits. After, they set off to the party together. Because they arrived at the same time, the Jade Emperor went by the order they met the god in the other country. Thus, Dog became eleventh.

The Dog is also associated with the Earthly Branch (地支—dì zhī) xū (戌), and the hours 7–9 in the evening. In the terms of yin and yang (阴阳—yīn yáng), the Dog is yang.

In China, it is still popular to name dogs Wàng Cái (旺财). It means “prosperous wealth” and comes from dogs’ barking sounds (旺旺—wàng wàng).

(Taken from Chinese New Year 2018)

Year of the dog 2018

Today’s recipe for Baked Indo-Chinese Chilli Chicken Curry was created especially for Chinese New Year and the year of the dog, which is my year as it happens! It’s a simple but extremely delicious chilli chicken curry, that is full of Asian flavours…….it crosses two styles of cooking, insofar as it tastes like a stir-fry, but being baked has far less oil in it, and, it also has that rather unique flavour that you get with a Chinese style curry. The great thing about the recipe, apart from its good looks and delectable taste, is the fact that you can assemble part of it the night before you need to cook it, allowing the chicken to bathe in a spicy, rich marinade that not only infuses flavour into the meat, but adds depth of colour and tenderises it. Simply add the vegetables along with the spices, seasonings and sauces next day, mix well and the bake for a splash-free kitchen with the minimum of washing up.

Baked Indo-Chinese Chilli Chicken Curry

Baked Indo-Chinese Chilli Chicken Curry

Baked Indo-Chinese Chilli Chicken Curry

Chinese New Year in 2018, started on the 16th February, that being the first day of the Chinese New Lunar Year, and the festivities will continue for two weeks, so there is plenty of time to take advantage of cooking Chinese cuisine, and enjoying more Asian inspired meals using Chinese ingredients, spies and seasonings. I already have some delectable Chinese recipes on Lavender and Lovage, lots of them stem from, and are inspired by my time living in Hong Kong……I will share a list of some of them at the end of this post. I used a Patak’s Madras curry paste pot in this recipe, as one little pot is a handy portion and there is no need to open a large jar or bottle, but, you can use any curry paste that you have to hand. The high proportion of veggies in the recipe add a valuable two of your five-a-day to you daily intake, and you can add even more veggies if you wish, by adding mushrooms to the recipe. The printable recipe card is shared below, along with some of my other Chinese and Asian inspired recipes…….that’sa all for today, Kung Hei Fat Choy, Karen.

Kung Hei Fat Choy!

Baked Indo-Chinese Chilli Chicken Curry

Serves 4 to 6
Prep time 24 hours, 20 minutes
Cook time 35 minutes
Total time 24 hours, 55 minutes
Allergy

Soy
Meal type

Lunch, Main Dish
Misc

Pre-preparable, Serve Hot
Occasion

Casual Party, Formal Party
Region Chinese

By author

Karen S Burns-Booth
This delicious Indo-Chinese chilli chicken dish sits half way between a curry and a stir-fry, but it baked for a healthy alternative with no extra oil added. It tastes like an authentic Chinese chilli chicken or curry dish, that you might enjoy in a high-end Chinese restaurant, and it can be started the night before you want to serve it. Baking all of the ingredients together means that you only have one dish to wash up too, for the win!

Ingredients

  • 500g skinless, boneless chicken thighs, diced (sometimes called chicken thigh fillets)
  • 1 each red, green and yellow pepper, trimmed and roughly diced into chunky pieces (also known as bell peppers)
  • 1 large red onion, peeled, and roughly diced into chunky pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2.5cm fresh ginger, peeled and finely sliced
  • 1 hot green chilli, trimmed and finely sliced
  • 1 tablespoon Madras curry paste (I used half a tub of Patak’s Madras curry paste)
  • 150ml water
  • 4 tablespoons tomato ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • spring onions, sliced (to serve)
  • fresh coriander leaves, chopped (to serve)

Marinade

  • 2 tablespoons cornflour
  • 1 tablespoon Madras curry paste (I used half a tub of Patak’s Madras curry paste)
  • 2 tablespoons dark soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons water

Note

This delicious Indo-Chinese chilli chicken dish sits half way between a curry and a stir-fry, but it baked for a healthy alternative with no extra oil added. It tastes like an authentic Chinese chilli chicken or curry dish, that you might enjoy in a high-end Chinese restaurant, and it can be started the night before you want to serve it. Baking all of the ingredients together means that you only have one dish to wash up too, for the win! (Recipe adapted from Patak’s)

Directions

Step 1 Place the diced chicken thigh meat into a bowl (or in the dish you intend to cook the recipe in) and add the marinade ingredients, mix thoroughly, cover and set aside in a cool place overnight, or for at least 3 to 4 hours until you want to cook the chicken.
Step 2 The next day, or when you intend to cook the dish, pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6 and place all of the ingredients, including the marinated chicken, into a large oven-proof dish, and mix together. (Not including the spring onion and coriander which are added just before you serve the recipe)
Step 3 Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until the chicken is cooked, but the vegetables still retain a bite to them. Check halfway through baking to make sure that there is enough liquid in the dish, and if necessary, add some more water if it is too dry.
Step 4 Scatter the chopped spring onions and coriander leaves over the top and serve with egg fried rice or egg noodles with some extra soy sauce on the side.

 

Kung Hei Fat Choy!

Chinese and Asian Recipes:

Easy Chicken Chow Mein

Kung Hei Fat Choy! Easy Chicken Chow Mein Recipe

Rainbow Stir-Fry with Quorn

Easy Chinese 5:2 Diet Recipe for National Vegetarian Week: Rainbow Stir-Fry with Quorn

Chinese Chicken Egg Roll Wraps

"Chinese New Year" 5:2 Diet Fast Day Recipe: Chinese Chicken Egg Roll Wraps (225 calories)

Sesame & Cashew Noodles

Sesame & Cashew Noodles for Meat Free Monday

Vietnamese Rainbow Vegetable Summer Rolls

Vietnamese Rainbow Vegetable Summer Rolls

Healthy Kung Pao Chicken

Healthy Kung Pao Chicken

Sweet and Sour Chicken (Healthy Takeaway Recipe)

ActiFry Challenge: Sweet and Sour Chicken (Healthy Takeaway Recipe)

Salt & Pepper Fish Goujons

Salt and Pepper Tempura Fish Goujons

The post Baked Indo-Chinese Chilli Chicken Curry appeared first on Lavender and Lovage.

from Lavender and Lovage http://ift.tt/2C7TAdE
via IFTTT

Beef Collops for Collop Monday

Beef Collops for Collop Monday – An easy and delectable historical recipe that would have been served on Collop Monday, in the week preceding Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. Slices of beef are simmered in a rich beef stock and wine sauce before being served with fried bread, a pre-Lenten dish from many years ago.

Beef Collops

Sliced Beef Steak in a Rich Beef Stock & Wine Gravy

Collop Monday

I find it very sad how many of our traditional food customs have fallen by the wayside in the twenty-first century; the demise of so many wonderful feasts and festivals, whether they be sacred or secular, have been overtaken by national Cup Cake Day or Nutella day……NOT that there is anything wrong with these obviously popular days, but wouldn’t it be nice to remember the old feast days that are linked to our British calendar as well as these modern consumer driven advertisements. Or, I am just plain old-fashioned? One date on my calendar is Collop Monday, and today, February the 12th is Collop Monday this year. Collop Monday used to be just as important and popular as Shrove Tuesday, now known more commonly as Pancake day; it was a day when luxury foods such as meat, eggs and butter were used in special pre-Lenten dishes, it was quite simply the last opportunity for eating meat before Lent. Any fresh meat that was available was sliced into steaks and often salted to preserve it until the end of the period of Lenten fasting. Collops were enjoyed for breakfast on this day along with slices of fried bread, fried in butter of course. The origins of the word collop are not clear, but it is thought that the word comes from the Swedish word “Kalops” or the French word “Escalopes” both words meaning slices of meat or thin cuts of meat.  To further confuse the matter, “Scotch Collops” are different again and are little rissoles or patties of minced meat with suet and onions, that are roasted in a gravy similar to “Faggots”

Beef Collops

My grandmother, who was from the North East of England, also called slices of bacon collops, and she would serve bacon collops with fried eggs on Collop Monday, old fashioned bacon and eggs then…….and so the plot thickens. Whatever the true meaning of a collop, all I know is that I would love any of them to be served to me as a meaty treat before Lent. And, it is the more traditional beef collops that I have chosen to share with you today, for several reasons; firstly, I had two nice fillet steaks in the freezer that needed using up and secondly I also had a smidgen of red wine left from Sunday lunch, so I decided to combine all of these fabulous ingredients and make a Beef Collop dish.

Beef Collops

This historical recipe comes from one of my favourite books of all times, Cattern Cakes and Lace by Julia Jones and Barbara Deere, which is wonderful seasonal record of many of our old feasts and festivals with associated recipes, of which Beef Collops is one. The recipe was easy to make and extremely tasty, the rich beef stock was left over from a Sunday beef joint a few weeks ago, that I popped into the freezer, but you could use a high quality commercial brand if you don’t gave homemade stock to hand.  I am now about to shoot off and make MORE pancake batter for tomorrow, and I hope you have enjoyed today’s historical British recipe, and maybe you’ll have the time to try some Beef Collops for yourself this Collop Monday! Enjoy tomorrow, I’ll be on standby for pancake making, armed with my frying pan, free-range eggs and butter, bye for now, Karen.

Beef Collops – Sliced Beef in Gravy

Serves 4
Prep time 5 minutes
Cook time 16 minutes
Total time 21 minutes
Meal type

Lunch, Main Dish
Misc

Child Friendly, Serve Hot
Occasion

Easter
Region British

From book

Cattern Cakes and Lace
An easy and delectable historical recipe that would have been served on Collop Monday, in the week preceding Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday. Slices of beef are simmered in a rich beef stock and wine sauce before being served with fried bread, a pre-Lenten dish from many years ago.

Ingredients

  • 450g Fillet steak (finely sliced)
  • 40g butter
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion (finely chopped or grated)
  • 1 teaspoon flour
  • 1 clove garlic (peeled and crushed)
  • 150ml good beef stock (I used home-made beef stock)
  • 25ml Claret
  • salt and black pepper (to taste)
  • fried bread (to serve, I fried mine in a little butter)

Note

An easy and delectable historical recipe that would have been served on Collop Monday, in the week preceding Shrove Tuesday and Ash Wednesday.  Slices of beef are simmered in a rich beef stock and wine sauce before being served with fried bread, a pre-Lenten dish from many years ago.

Directions

Step 1 Cut the meat into very fine slices. Heat the butter in a frying pan and gently fry the grated onion and minced garlic slowly in the hot butter for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the flour and and cook for one minute.
Step 2 Add the stock and claret and mix well, before adding the beef slices and then simmer gently for 10 to 15 minutes. Season to taste before serving.
Step 3 Serve very hot, surrounded by triangles of fried bread.

Collop Monday

Beef Collops

The post Beef Collops for Collop Monday appeared first on Lavender and Lovage.

from Lavender and Lovage http://ift.tt/2EwYbaj
via IFTTT

Soup Trimmings for Healthy Lunch Options

Soup Trimmings for Healthy Lunch Options – Some tasty ideas how to “dress” your low-calorie lunchtime soups with toppings and dippers; lunch doesn’t have to be boring, and these ideas are quick and easy to rustle together, as well as being healthy and full of exciting tastes and flavours.

Soup Trimmings for Healthy Lunch Options - Some tasty ideas how to "dress" your low-calorie lunchtime soups with toppings and dippers; lunch doesn't have to be boring, and these ideas are quick and easy to rustle together, as well as being healthy and full of exciting tastes and flavours.

Do Lunch Better

Soup Trimmings for Healthy Lunch Options - Some tasty ideas how to "dress" your low-calorie lunchtime soups with toppings and dippers; lunch doesn't have to be boring, and these ideas are quick and easy to rustle together, as well as being healthy and full of exciting tastes and flavours.

Following on from my last posts about doing lunch better, I’m now going to share some ideas how to dress up your “diet” or “low-calorie and low-fat” soups; soup is one of the tastiest and most delicious ways of filling yourself up at lunchtime, whether you are on a diet or not…..and, it’s also a wonderful way to warm yourself up on a cold winter’s day, not unlike some of the days we have been having recently! I’m testing some of the New Covent Garden Soup Co’s Skinny Range of soups, and one thing I am finding, is just how filling they are for low-calorie and low-fat soups…..there are currently SIX soups to choose from in the range, with a selection of meat, vegan and vegetarian options on offer…..my personal favourites are the SKINNY CHICKEN & CHICKPEA TAGINE soup (only 114 calories per serving) and the veggie SKINNY VEGETABLE ARRABBIATA soup (a very low 95 calories per serving). The Arrabbiata is a spicy Italian soup using tomatoes, red chillies and garlic, these ingredients are combined with orzo pasta for texture, as well as mixed peppers to bring you this fiery low-fat soup, which is truly delectable. For more spice, with tender chicken and mixed pulses, the Tagine soup is packed with chickpeas and lentils with red chillies, turmeric and cinnamon to bring you this divine low-fat soup, which is based on a Moroccan tagine. And, BOTH soups provide two portions of your five a day. So, today, I’d like to share some tasty Soup Trimmings for Healthy Lunch Options below, in an attempt to add a little extra pizzazz to make you do lunch better!

tagine soup

Delicious though these soups are, as well as any homemade soups you may have made, I love the fact you can jazz up a bowl of soup with an exciting range of easily prepared toppings and dippers. My suggestions today, for low-calorie and low-fat skinny soups, are: chopped cherry tomatoes, chopped spring onions, low-fat Greek style yogurt, smoked paprika, rocket leaves and for delicious dunking and dipping, some mini pitta bread fingers! The mini pitta breads were sprayed with low-fat spray, and then I sprinkled some herbs and seasoned salt over them, before popping them into a hot oven for about 2 to 3 minutes, all whilst the soup was heating up on the stove. They were then cut into fingers, making them ideal for dunking! As well as these ideas that I rustled together the other day, you can also add low-fat croutons, grated carrot, some “dry-fried” onions and all manner of extra cooked vegetables such as stir-fried peppers, cabbage, shredded sprouts and even bean sprouts for an oriental taste! To make it easier for you to count calories, I have listed the calories for each of my serving ideas below:

Mini Pitta Bread (30g) = 65 to 79 calories

Spring Onions (50g) = 16 calories

Low-fat Greek style yogurt (100g) = 61 calories

Rocket leaves (30g) = 9 calories

Cherry Tomatoes (6 tomatoes) = 18 calories

Smoked Paprika (1/4 teaspoon) = 0

I'd like to share some tasty Soup Trimmings for Healthy Lunch Options below, in an attempt to add a little extra pizzazz to make your lunch better! 

I hope my toppings and dipper ideas have proved useful today, these ingredients work particularly well with tomato based soups and spicy soups, and are easily available, in fact most of us will have them in our pantry, fridge and/or store cupboards already, as well as being easy to prepare and assemble. With snow forecast for most of the British Isles this week, why not make sure you have a large supply of ready-made soups to hand, or make a big pot of homemade soup today, I have some great soup ideas here: Lavender and Lovage Homemade Soups  Have a great week, and if it snows where you are, stay warm! Karen 

Do Lunch Better

*Collaborative paid content as part of the campaign Do Lunch Better*

Skinny Soups

The post Soup Trimmings for Healthy Lunch Options appeared first on Lavender and Lovage.

from Lavender and Lovage http://ift.tt/2nHeEhw
via IFTTT

Welsh Shearing Cake (Cacen Gneifo)

Welsh Shearing Cake (Cacen Gneifo) A traditional recipe for a Welsh seed cake, and one that would have been served to the sheep shearers during shearing season. This buttery cake would have originally used bacon fat in place of butter, although the caraway seeds and peel are authentic to older country recipes.

Welsh Shearing Cake (Cacen Gneifo)

A Traditional Welsh Recipe

Welsh Shearing Cake (Cacen Gneifo)

I have a deep-rooted love of baking, in all its forms, it stems from my early childhood whilst watching my maternal grandmother bake in her old cottage in Northumberland, and then subsequently being taught by my mother, who is also a great baker, and who taught me from a very early age how to make shortcrust pastry, crumble, apple pie and chocolate cake! My grandmother never knowingly under-catered, and she was known for her cakes, especially fresh orange and fresh lemon cakes, as well as fruit cake, sticky ginger loaves, crusty cottage loaves and many other types of bread, double crust pies – her meat and potato pies were legendary, as well as her amazing Yorkshire puddings. This type of home baking, and cooking, was instilled into me from a very early age, and my earliest memories are of cosy tea time meals, sat at an old scrubbed wooden table, with piles of freshly made sandwiches, boiled eggs, a plate of tender, pink sliced ham, be-jewelled fruit cake and a big platter of bread and butter with homemade jam – in the middle of the table taking pride of place, stood, beneath an old knitted tea cosy, an enormous Brown Betty tea-pot, probably what is classed as a 10 cup pot today……it’s not hard to see why food, and home baking is so important to me. Today’s recipe comes from the other side of the UK, it’s an old Welsh recipe that I have adapted, for Welsh Shearing Cake (Cacen Gneifo) or what I know as Seed Cake.

Welsh Shearing Cake (Cacen Gneifo)

Welsh Shearing Cake, or Cacen Gneifo as it is known in Welsh, is exactly that, a cake that would have been made by way of refreshment for the shearers at shearing time; also known as Threshing Cake, when it was served to the workers at harvest time, the original recipe would probably been made with bacon fat and buttermilk with vinegar when the hens were not laying. As far as I can make out from research, the main flavouring ingredients are the caraway seeds and the mixed peel, although some recipes omit the peel and add fresh lemon zest and ground nutmeg. Welsh lamb is world-famous, and many sheep farmers are hill farmers, living in remote and inaccessible parts of Wales – so, at shearing time, all the neighbouring farms would get together to help each other out, from rounding up the sheep, bring them down from the mountains to shearing them, it was a collaborative enterprise with each farm helping the other farms on a rota basis. The host farm was expected to, and indeed wanted to, feed the helpers, so the farm kitchens were a hive of activity for days before shearing, with cooked meats, bread, tarts and cakes being made to feed the army of shearers, and, caraway seeds seem to feature very heavily in all original Welsh recipes for shearing and threshing cakes.

Welsh Shearing Cake (Cacen Gneifo)

I love historical recipes like this one for Welsh Shearing Cake, they stand the test of time and are intrinsic to the region that they originate from; this cake is quite a robust cake, and I can see how the subtle aniseed flavouring of the caraway seeds and the added texture of the candied mixed peel would have appealed to the tired workers, although, the cake is elegant enough to be served at any afternoon tea time table, as well as being a very suitable cake for high tea too, maybe sliced and buttered. You could of course bake it in a loaf tin, for that sliced and buttered idea, and, for haters of mixed peel and caraway seeds, they could be left out, but that rather defeats the point of making a Welsh Shearing Cake! However, you could try the other recipes, where there is no peel, and fresh lemon zest is added as well as nutmeg – if you do got down that route, please let me know what you think, and I may yet try that recipe variation too. I hope you have enjoyed reading about this old Welsh recipe, now that I am living in beautiful North Wales, at the head of the Llyn Peninsula and next to the Snowdonia National Park, expect lots more Welsh inspired  recipes to come…….have a wonderful week ahead, Karen

Welsh Shearing Cake

Welsh Shearing Cake (Cacen Gneifo)

Serves 8 to 10 slices
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 1 hour, 15 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 35 minutes
Allergy

Egg, Milk, Wheat
Dietary

Vegetarian
Meal type

Dessert, Snack
Misc

Pre-preparable, Serve Cold
Occasion

Birthday Party, Casual Party, Christmas, Easter
Region British

By author

Karen Burns-Booth
Welsh Shearing Cake (Cacen Gneifo) A traditional recipe for a Welsh seed cake, and one that would have been served to the sheep shearers during shearing season. This buttery cake would have originally used bacon fat in place of butter, although the caraway seeds and peel are authentic to older country recipes.

Ingredients

  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 180g unsalted butter (softened)
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 3 free-range eggs (beaten with 2 tablespoons buttermilk or skimmed milk)
  • 100g chopped candied peel
  • 2 teaspoons caraway seeds
  • extra buttermilk or skimmed milk if needed

Note

Welsh Shearing Cake (Cacen Gneifo) A traditional recipe for a Welsh seed cake, and one that would have been served to the sheep shearers during shearing season. This buttery cake would have originally used bacon fat in place of butter, although the caraway seeds and peel are authentic to older country recipes.

Directions

Step 1 Line and grease a round cake tin, 8″/20cm in diameter; pre-heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4.
Step 2 In a mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar together until it is light, fluffy and pale yellow in colour – a wooden spoon is best if you need a workout, or for ease, use a hand held mixer.
Step 3 Add the beaten eggs and milk along with the flour, spoon by spoon, using a metal spoon now, gently mixing it into the butter and sugar mixture until combined; continue until the egg mixture and flour has all be used.
Step 4 Add the mixed candied peel and the caraway seeds, and mix – if the mixture is too stiff, add a little buttermilk or skimmed milk to the cake batter, you want a soft batter.
Step 5 Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin , level the surface and bake in the pre-heated oven for between 1 to 1 1/4 hrs, or, until the cake is well risen, golden brown and is firm to the touch. (To double check, insert a skewer into the middle of the cake, it should come out clean of the cake is cooked)
Step 6 Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack; leave to cool completely. Serve the cake in wedges and store any uneaten cake in a covered tin for up to a week.

Welsh Shearing Cake

Welsh Shearing Cake

Welsh Shearing Cake

The post Welsh Shearing Cake (Cacen Gneifo) appeared first on Lavender and Lovage.

from Lavender and Lovage http://ift.tt/2DHDF2J
via IFTTT

Smoked Cheese & Onion Straws

Smoked Cheese & Onion Straws – Made with excess Festive ingredients, such as puff pastry and smoked cheese from the cheese board, these are posh enough for cocktail nibbles as well as being perfect for the school lunch box, and, these tasty little smoked cheese numbers are easy to make and are loved by all the family!

Smoked Cheese and Onion Straws

Using excess Festive ingredients!

Smoked Cheese and Onion Straws

It’s already the fourth week into the New Year, and it seems unbelievable that only a few weeks ago it was Christmas; with this in mind, I had a bit of a rummage in the pantry yesterday, as well as the freezer and the fridge, and seems that I over catered and over bought again! I seem to have a surfeit of ready-rolled puff pastry, for enormous amounts of mince pies, obviously, as well as lots of bits and pieces of cheese, which is never a bad thing in my book. It’s all very well hanging on with a hoarders mentality, but there is an urge at this time of year, as mornings get brighter earlier and spring bulbs poke their vibrant green shoots above ground, to spring clean – and that means using excess ingredients from the pantry, especially those that have a limited shelf life. Today’s recipe is not a diet recipe, as most are at this time of year, and I will be sharing some new diet recipes later, but it’s a cheeky cheese recipe that is just as comfortable sitting in crystal serving jar on a festive buffet table, as it is being made for the school lunch box, Smoked Cheese and Onion Straws. And, the these delicious pastry strips of cheesiness and flakiness, have only THREE ingredients in them!

Smoked Cheese and Onion Straws

Based on a recipe I created and developed for Applewood Cheese, the home of smoked Cheddar cheese in Somerset, they are made in a trice, and helped me out with my excess puff pastry, smoked cheese and a large bunch of spring onions, one of three bunches actually! I am a huge fan of smoked cheeses, it must be left over from my days in Germany, where smoked cheese is prevalent, and always seemed to be on the breakfast table; these cheese and onion straws can be made with non-smoked cheese, of course, for those of you who are not a fan of smoked cheese. I suggest a good vintage farmhouse Cheddar cheese, for depth of flavour and taste. If you don’t have any spring onions to hand, then chives or even some finely diced red onion would be lovely in this recipe. There’s one very important proviso however, and to coin an old British advertising slogan, “Don’t cheat on the cheese!”

Smoked Cheese and Onion Straws

I hope you enjoy my recipe idea, simple as it is, if you make these Smoked Cheese and Onion Straws, do let me know how they went down. One final taste idea hack, my daughter who is a Marmite lover, as I am too, sometimes spreads Marmite over the pastry before she cuts and twists them……and, if you are a Marmite lover, then you will absolutely fall head over heels in love with that variation! Oh yes! I almost forgot to say, that once baked, these freeze well too, just pop them into a covered freezer container, with some baking paper/greaseproof paper in between the layers, then take them out three to four hours before you want them, to defrost; they can be heated up to serve in a moderately warm oven, about 150C for about 10 minutes to crisp them up. The recipe is shared below, along with some of my other cheese recipes. Karen 

Vintage Smoked Cheese and Onion Straws (

Smoked Cheese & Onion Straws

Serves 14 to 16 cheese starws
Prep time 10 minutes
Cook time 12 minutes
Total time 22 minutes
Allergy

Milk, Wheat
Dietary

Vegetarian
Meal type

Appetizer, Side Dish, Snack
Misc

Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Occasion

Barbecue, Birthday Party, Casual Party, Christmas, Easter, Formal Party, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentines day
Region British

By author

Karen Burns-Booth
Posh enough for cocktail nibbles and perfect for the school lunch box, these tasty little smoked cheese numbers are easy to make and are loved by all the family!

Ingredients

  • 350g pack ready-rolled puff pastry
  • 150g Smoked Cheese, grated (or cheese of your choice)
  • 4 to 6 spring onions, snipped into small pieces

Note

Posh enough for cocktail nibbles and perfect for the school lunch box, these tasty little smoked cheese numbers are easy to make and are loved by all the family!

Directions

Step 1 Pre-heat oven to 220C/450F/Gas mark 7 and line two large baking trays.
Step 2 Unroll the puff pastry and scatter the grated cheese and spring onions over; then fold the pastry in half and lightly roll out with a floured rolling pin.
Step 3 Cut the cheese and onion filled pastry into “straws” of about 2” (5cms) in length and twist the strips several times.
Step 4 Place them on the prepared baking sheets and bake for 10 to 12 minutes, or until puffed up and golden brown.
Step 5 Leave to cool and store in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Suitable for freezing.

Vintage Smoked Cheese and Onion Straws

Don’t Cheat on the Cheese!

More Cheese recipes:

Welsh Rarebit Cheese Spread

Welsh Rarebit Cheese Spread

Parsnip, Potato & Sprouts Cheese Gratin

Parsnip, Potato & Sprouts Cheese Gratin

Cheese, Sweetcorn and Spring Onion Muffins

Cheese, Sweetcorn and Spring Onion Muffins

Beer and Cheese Bread in a Crock

Beer and Cheese Bread in a Crock

French Cheese and English Honey…….

French Cheese and English Honey…….

Twice Baked Cheese & Chive Breakfast Soufflés

Twice Baked Cheese & Chive Breakfast Soufflés

Heirloom Tomato, Cheese & Herb Galette

Heirloom Tomato, Cheese & Herb Galette

Hasselback Potatoes with Bacon and Cheese

Hasselback Potatoes with Bacon and Cheese

Healthy Cauliflower Cheese

Healthy Cauliflower Cheese

Healthy Three Cheese Macaroni Cheese Gratin

Healthy Three Cheese Macaroni Cheese Gratin

Vintage Smoked Cheese and Onion Straws

The post Smoked Cheese & Onion Straws appeared first on Lavender and Lovage.

from Lavender and Lovage http://ift.tt/2BvMA5s
via IFTTT

Vanilla Honey Pikelets with Blueberries & Yogurt

Vanilla Honey Pikelets with Blueberries & Yogurt – Easily made, these “Pikelets”, also known as “Crempog” in Wales, and “Scotch Pancakes” or “Drop Scones” in Scotland, are delicious little, fluffy pancakes resembling a thin crumpet, and are perfect for breakfast when served with honey, yogurt and fresh blueberries.

Vanilla Honey Pikelets with Blueberries & Yogurt

Wake Up Better

Vanilla Honey Pikelets with Blueberries & Yogurt

Breakfast, as regular readers of Lavender and Lovage will know, is my favourite meal of the day; obviously, it varies according to my work schedule, and weekend or holiday breakfasts tend to be more relaxed affairs than midweek, but, I still always try to make time for breakfast. It’s always tricky to balance a tasty plate or bowl of breakfast with taste and health benefits, and, toast and marmalade, much though I love it, offers less health benefits than say a bowl of porridge or fresh fruit with bread…..not to say that toast and marmalade isn’t okay to indulge in now and then, especially when its my own homemade bread and marmalade! Today’s recipe for Vanilla Honey Pikelets with Blueberries & Yogurt, is a delectable alternative to a hastily grabbed bowl of cereal, and is made with goat’s milk yogurt, from St Helen’s Farm, which is easier to digest than cow’s milk products, as the fat globules are naturally much smaller in size, and, the protein composition of goats’ milk allows it to form a softer curd during digestion which may assist with your digestive health and comfort.

St Helen's Farm Goat's Milk

Apart from these health benefits, and there are many more that I will mention later, with a generous handful of fresh blueberries, you will also be ticking off your first portion of your five-a-day before you even leave the house! (one portion = 2 handfuls or 4 tablespoons) And, just as importantly, these little pikelets taste delicious and are low in sugar and fat. The recipe makes 12 pikelets, each serving is 3 pikelets, which are padded out with goat’s milk yogurt, full or low-fat, the choice is yours, more honey (a natural unrefined sugar) and of course those juicy, fresh blueberries. You can fry the pikelets in a small knob of butter, or do as I did, and fry them with a few sprays of low-fat cooking spray, such as Fry Light. They are easily made, and, the batter can be made the night before, or, you can make a couple of batches and freeze them for an even quicker and easier start to the day. Re-heat them in the microwave, or pop them on an oven-proof plate, cover them with tinfoil and put them in a low to medium oven for 10 minutes.

http://ift.tt/2mrILHl

Back to the health benefits of goat’s milk again, apart from its unique taste, which we all love at Chez Lavender and Lovage, it may be the answer for some people who experience slight discomfort when drinking cow’s milk, as it typically contains slightly less lactose than cows’ milk, although the amount of lactose some people can tolerate varies, and it’s not recommended for anyone who has been diagnosed with lactose intolerance. It’s also loaded in calcium – just 3 servings of goats’ milk products can provide more than 100% of an adult’s reference intake of calcium, which is essential for the development and maintenance of bones and teeth, whilst helping prevent against the onset of osteoporosis and, it may also aid weight control by helping break down body fat as part of a calorie controlled diet……..so, definitely a way to wake up better! Don’t just take my word for it though, you can read all about the full health benefits here: The difference between cow and goats milk

essential for the development and maintenance of bones and teeth, to help against the onset of osteoporosis and may also aid weight control by helping breakdown body fat as part of a calorie controlled diet.Anyway, I hope that today’s recipe for Vanilla Honey Pikelets with Blueberries & Yogurt has inspired you to make something a little different for breakfast, and try out goat’s milk as an alternative to cow’s milk, see how your family like it…….you may find that by switching, you all feel just that little bit better! The recipe is shared below, and please do let me know if you make these delectable little pancakes, and how you served them. That’s all for today, I’ll be back with a lovely, and very healthy Weight Watchers/5:2 Diet recipe for an easy family supper dish, as well as some long overdue traveller’s tales from home and abroad! Karen 

Vanilla Honey Pikelets with Blueberries & Yogurt

Vanilla Honey Pikelets with Blueberries & Yogurt

Serves 4 (makes 12 pikelets)
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 15 minutes
Total time 30 minutes
Allergy

Egg, Milk, Wheat
Dietary

Vegetarian
Meal type

Breakfast, Dessert, Snack
Misc

Child Friendly, Freezable, Pre-preparable, Serve Cold, Serve Hot
Occasion

Christmas, Easter
Region British

By author

Karen Burns-Booth
Easily made, these “Pikelets”, also known as “Crempog” in Wales, and “Scotch Pancakes” or “Drop Scones” in Scotland, these delicious little, fluffy pancakes resemble a thin crumpet, and are perfect for breakfast when served with honey, yogurt and fresh blueberries.

Ingredients

  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • pinch of salt
  • 180ml plain goat’s milk yogurt (or yogurt of your choice)
  • 2 tablespoons honey (plus extra to serve)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 25g caster sugar
  • Goat’s milk yogurt to serve (I used St Helen’s Farm Blossom Honey Yogurt)
  • Fresh blueberries to serve

Note

Easily made, these “Pikelets”, also known as “Crempog” in Wales, and “Scotch Pancakes” or “Drop Scones” in Scotland, these delicious little, fluffy pancakes resemble a thin crumpet, and are perfect for breakfast when served with honey, yogurt and fresh blueberries.

Directions

Step 1 Place all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl, except the yogurt, honey and blueberries to serve.
Step 2 Beat them all together with a hand whisk or an electric hand blender until you have a thick batter.
Step 3 Heat a griddle, bake-stone or heavy based frying pan to smoking hot, then spray with cooking fat/oil or add a knob of butter. Add spoonfuls of the batter, in batches, and cook for 2 minutes until bubbles appear on the surface of the pikelets.
Step 4 Gently the turn them over and cook for a further 1 to 2 minutes until they have risen and are light and fluffy. NB: Turn down the heat if they are browning too quickly,
Step 5 Keep the cooked pikelets warm in a low oven whilst you cook the rest.
Step 6 Serve them in a stack of 3, drizzled with extra honey, with a dollop of yogurt and a generous sprinkling of fresh blueberries over the top.
Step 7 They can be made ahead of time, and kept in the fridge, reheat in the microwave or covered in a low to medium oven. They also freeze well too.

Vanilla Honey Pikelets with Blueberries & Yogurt

Disclaimer: Collaborative paid post with St Helen’s Farm

St Helen's Farm

Vanilla Honey Pikelets with Blueberries & Yogurt

See my last recipe using St Helen’s Goat’s Yogurt and Milk Products here: 

Cheese, Sweetcorn and Spring Onion Muffins

Cheese, Sweetcorn and Spring Onion Muffins

The post Vanilla Honey Pikelets with Blueberries & Yogurt appeared first on Lavender and Lovage.

from Lavender and Lovage http://ift.tt/2DpqE12
via IFTTT

Toppings and Dippers for Lunchtime Soups!

Toppings and Dippers for Lunchtime Soups! Make lunch better by adding toppings and dippers to your bowl of soup, and for January, why not make use of those Christmas Leftovers you may have still kicking around, and add them to that bowl of warm and comforting soup to really make lunch better and a little bit special.

Toppers and Dippers for Lunchtime Soups! Make lunch better by adding toppings and dippers to your bowl of soup, and for January, why not make use of those Christmas Leftovers you may have still kicking around, and add them to a bowl of warm and comforting soup to really make lunch better and special.

Let’s Do Lunch Better…..

Leek and Potato Soup

I cannot believe how time has flown since the Christmas and New Year! We are already into the second week of January, and even though it was well over 2 weeks ago now, I don’t know about you, but I still have lots of festive ingredients kicking around in the fridge, as well as in my store cupboard. It’s when I was perusing the odds and ends that were left over, such as opened packets of crackers and half empty jars of sauces, as well as some cooking ingredients in the fridge, I had a brainwave……why not utilise them to perk up my (almost) daily bowl of soup that I have for lunch, and make lunch better? I do make my own soup, quite often, as regular readers know, but since I have just moved, not just house but country, a few weeks ago, only five weeks to be exact, I always have a stash of high quality ready-made soups at hand in the fridge (and freezer) to help on really busy days, and my favourites ready-made soups are by New Coven Garden Soup Co………..

Dippers and Toppings

……..soup lends itself to a myriad ways of serving it, and with lots of festive leftovers and a selection of delicious ready-made soups in the fridge for busy days, I set about adding extra texture, flavour and taste to my lunchtime soup, and all in UNDER five minutes too! We all love these three flavours of soup at Chez Lavender and Lovage, Colcannon & Ham, Maris Piper Potato & Leek  and, Lentil & Smoked Bacon, and with my assembled leftovers, I was able to create a fabulous “smorgasbord” of toppings and dippers for our lunch! Here’s what I found lurking, and malingering in the back of the fridge and cupboards, and that I used to add some extra crunch and flavour to our bowls of lunchtime soup:

Crackers and Biscuits for Cheese

Crackers and Biscuits for Cheese

Cranberry Sauce and Dried Cranberries

Cranberry Sauce and Dried Cranberries

Walnuts

Walnuts

Stilton Cheese

Stilton Cheese

Streaky Bacon, that I’d used for Pigs in Blankets

Streaky Bacon, that I'd used for Pigs in Blankets

And here’s my ideas for toppings and dippers for these two soups, which we all enjoyed the other day, Maris Piper Potato & Leek , and Lentil & Smoked Bacon…….

Toppings and Dippers:

Maris Piper Potato & Leek

A well-loved classic soup recipe. The finest, fluffy potatoes combined with softened leeks and onion, a knob of butter and milk then seasoned with white pepper, finished with a dash of chives and a splash of cream to create a simple but great tasting soup.

A well loved classic soup recipe. The finest, fluffy potatoes combined with softened leeks and onion, a knob of butter and milk then seasoned with white pepper, finished with a dash of chives and a splash of cream to create a simple but great tasting soup.

For the toppings for this creamy leek and potato soup, I added 25g of crumbled Stilton cheese to each bowl with a handful of chopped walnut halves, for a lovely cheesy taste and crunch. In place of bread, I dipped some crackers and cheese biscuits into the soup, a sort of savoury version of dunking a rich tea biscuit in a cuppa! You can also, as I discovered after watching my husband, crumble them into soup too, by way of an easy “crouton”, and as we still had a good variety of crackers and cheese biscuits left, it was an enjoyable way to dip and dunk! You can of course use toasted fingers of bread for dippers, or croutons for a topping, but this way I was able to use up some of my festive fare to make lunch better.

A well loved classic soup recipe. The finest, fluffy potatoes combined with softened leeks and onion, a knob of butter and milk then seasoned with white pepper, finished with a dash of chives and a splash of cream to create a simple but great tasting soup.

Lentil & Smoked Bacon

This Lentil & Smoked Bacon soup is packed full of plump red and green lentils which absorb flavours of smoked bacon, vegetables, oak-smoked garlic, thyme and ground bay leaf resulting in a chunky great tasting soup.

Lentil & Smoked Bacon soup is packed full of plump red and green lentils which absorb flavours of smoked bacon, vegetables, oak-smoked garlic, thyme and ground bay leaf resulting in a chunky great tasting soup.

This is my favourite soup in the current range, I love lentils and bacon, especially smoked bacon, so it’s an easy choice for me to reach for this soup when I want a hearty and comforting lunch. And, I was quite adventurous with my toppings and dippers too…….for the toppings, whilst the soup was heating up, I grilled some smoke streaky bacon rashers that I had left over in the fridge; they took about 2 minutes in each side to crisp up under a hot grill and once they were cooked, I crumbled a rasher into the soup, along with some dried cranberries and a dollop of cranberry sauce! The saltiness of the bacon and the sweetness of the cranberries and the sauce was a revelation, and it was the perfect match for this chunky and hearty soup. I then decided, as I am a bacon lover, that some of the grilled rashers would make the ideal dippers for the soup too…..and it also worked perfectly! Other members of the family used crackers to dunk and dip, and we all LOVED the addition of the cranberry sauce, who knew it would work so well?!

Lentil and Bacon Soup

So, I hope I have inspired you all to have a delve into your fridges and cupboards to see what is there left over from Christmas, that needs using up…..all of these ideas to make lunch better are easy and affordable, as you already have the ingredients the hand! There is NOTHING wrong with a simple bowl of soup in its own, but with the chill winds and cold winter temperatures outside, why but perk up that bowl of soup, whilst being thrifty at the same time! And, it only takes a few minutes to assemble, chop and grill the bits and bobs to accompany the soup, ALL whilst it is cooking……SIMPLES! Have a great day, and do keep popping back throughout January and February to see what I am up top next in my Toppings and Dippers series with New Covent Garden Soup Co. Karen 

Lentil and Bacon Soup

Ingredients

Potato and Leek Soup

*Collaborative Paid Post*

My last post: Blind Taste Test Recipe Creation with Soup!

Soup

The post Toppings and Dippers for Lunchtime Soups! appeared first on Lavender and Lovage.

from Lavender and Lovage http://ift.tt/2CTS2ks
via IFTTT

Blind Taste Test Recipe Creation with Soup!

Blind Taste Test Recipe Creation with Soup! My attempt to recreate a soup based on a blind taste test with New Covent Garden Soup Co. I was sent some soups that had been covered in tape, and my task was to try to recreate the soup based on taste, which I did, et voila! A Skinny Tomato & Red Pepper Soup with Quinoa.

Blind Taste Test Recipe Creation with Soup! My attempt to recreate a soup based on a blind taste test with New Covent Garden Soup Co. I was sent some soups that had been covered in tape, and my task was to try to recreate the soup based on taste, which I did, et voila! A Skinny Tomato & Red Pepper Soup with Quinoa.

Let’s Do Lunch Better

with

New Covent Garden Soup Co.

Blind Taste Test Recipe Creation with Soup! My attempt to recreate a soup based on a blind taste test with New Covent Garden Soup Co. I was sent some soups that had been covered in tape, and my task was to try to recreate the soup based on taste, which I did, et voila! A Skinny Tomato & Red Pepper Soup with Quinoa.

How good are your taste sensors? Can you decipher oregano from parsley, Cheddar cheese from Caerphilly or red lentils from chickpeas? Those may sound easy examples, but how about when they are added as one of several ingredients to a cooked dish, such as soup? That was my challenge recently, as many readers will have seen from my two Instagram stories – I was sent some soups from the New Covent Garden Soup Co. which had been covered in tape, to stop me seeing what flavour they were, my mission from there was to try the soup for lunch one day, and then recreate the soup using my culinary prowess and taste and smell sensors! It was a fun and tasty project and one that I really enjoyed……..

How good are you at blind tastings? I’m working with @ncg_soup New Covent Garden Soup Co. and I’ve been sent a secret consignment of soup, in a blanked out box, to try and then replicate it! Stay tuned for my recipe based on today’s taste test and then the grand reveal tomorrow! Will I get it right? Is my taste up to it? I’ve tried the soup already, see my story here on Instagram, and I’m now ready to buy the ingredients and try to replicate it.....there’s definitely tomatoes and red peppers in it, as well as quinoa I think! Don’t tell me what it is, if you know, wait to see what I come up with tomorrow!

…….the only clue to the soup and its ingredients was the “tape measure” at the top of the packet, which led me to believe it was a diet, or low-calorie or low-fat soup, other than that, I was in the dark! The soup was rich and full of flavour – it was apparent from the start that it had been thickened with pulses and/or grains, and the first ingredient I was able to identify was “Quinoa”, mainly due to the fact that I co-authored a cookbook last year called “We Love Quinoa” and so I know what it looks like and tastes like! It was also obvious that it was a tomato based soup with red peppers and the herb taste reminded me of pizza, so, it had to be oregano. It was a very thick soup, and I also detected onions and garlic in the taste.

Soup

We both enjoyed the soup with some crusty bread on the side, despite it being a “skinny” soup, well, it wasn’t the start of the diet season just yet! I then set out to make my shopping list of ingredients to make my own version of the soup, before I was sent a separate consignment of the soup UNVEILED so to speak. My shopping list comprised:

Tinned tomatoes; Roasted red peppers; Onions; Garlic; Vegetable stock or stock cube; Olive Oil, Oregano, Quinoa, Salt and Pepper

Skinny Tomato, Red Pepper & Quinoa

As it was a skinny soup, I was easy on the oil, (2 teaspoons) and started off by sweating the onions in a little oil with some water and with the lid on the pan…..

Frying the onions

……after about 5 minutes, I added the garlic and sautéed that for a further 2 minutes before adding the quinoa to moisten it……

Quinoa

 

……I then add the chopped tomatoes and seasoning before simmering for a few minutes and adding 450ml of water or vegetable stock – I used a veggie stock cube made up with boiling water……simmer for a further 5 minutes before adding the red peppers and replacing the lid, to cook for a further 5 minutes, or until the soup is thick and the quinoa has cooked. 

 skinny Soup

 skinny Soup

 skinny Soup

 skinny Soup

And, LOOK! My soup creation looks very similar to the original soup, but now for the taste test…….

 skinny Soup

……The soup tasted very similar to the original and the texture was almost the same, but, I found my seasoning was more pronounced, which suited our taste more, although you can add seasonings at the table or with accompaniments.  Now for the BIG reveal! WHAT WAS THAT SOUP?

SKINNY TOMATO, RED PEPPER & QUINOA

I was almost SPOT ON with my blind taste test, although, on looking at the label, I had omitted to add carrots, red rice, buckwheat, paprika, fennel seeds and tomato paste! The soup is one of New Covent Garden Soup Co’s Soup of the Month and is: SKINNY TOMATO, RED PEPPER & QUINOA. Weighing in at only 120 calories per serving with 0.6g saturated fat, it’s a great soup to do lunch better for January, after all the excesses of the festive period, and mine probably came in just under that, as I didn’t use all of the listed ingredients, but, the taste was still lovely, and the texture was hearty and comforting.

SKINNY TOMATO, RED PEPPER & QUINOA

So, you can do lunch better this January with this delicious Tomato, Red Pepper & Quinoa soup, which is low in fat yet filling, and with all green traffic lights and 2 of your 5 a day per serving it’s a great start to the new year! I hope you enjoyed my first post in collaboration with New Covent Garden Soup Co…….I will be back in a day or two to offer you some FABULOUS ideas for doing lunch better using leftovers from the festive period, by way of Toppers and Dippers! So, do pop back to see what I have up my culinary sleeve, when we will all be enjoying a bowl of Colcannon & Ham, as well as Maris Piper Potato & Leek and Lentil & Smoked Bacon, complete with festive leftover toppers and dippers. Have a GREAT start to the week, and don’t forget that this soup would be perfect for Meat Free Monday too, Karen

Skinny Soup

*Collaborative paid post*

Soup

The post Blind Taste Test Recipe Creation with Soup! appeared first on Lavender and Lovage.

from Lavender and Lovage http://ift.tt/2FgjyKq
via IFTTT

Festive Spiced Ham, Cheese and Leftovers for Twelfth Night

Festive Spiced Ham, Cheese and Leftovers for Twelfth Night – The ham that keeps on giving! Recipes and ideas for a fabulous spiced ham from Booths Supermarkets, for Twelfth Night and beyond; as well as a fabulous Northern cheese board on review, this recipe for Festive Maple Syrup Spiced Ham is the best I’ve tried.

Festive Maple Syrup Spiced Ham

with

Booths Supermarkets

Northern Cheese Board

Happy New Year to all my readers! I have been very busy in the test kitchen with commissioned work, as well as unpacking and sorting out our new home, and of course, writing and enjoying the festive period. Today, January the 5th, is Twelfth Night, and the day that I take down all my Christmas decorations and the Christmas tree, although we didn’t have many decorations up this year midst the upheaval of packing boxes; it’s the traditional end of the Christmas festive season, and one of the saddest days for me, as I love Christmas with all the food, family gatherings and the age-old customs and traditions that surround this period. However, it need not be that sad and depressing if we celebrate this feast day in the old-fashioned way, as in a PARTY! And what better way to party then to eat! Today’s post is all about a very special HAM, and associated recipes that will be perfect or Twelfth Night, Epiphany or Burns Night, as well as Easter. Working with my favourite independent supermarket, Booths, I am sharing several recipes and serving ideas, including a recipe for their very Festive Maple Syrup Spiced Ham.

Festive Maple Syrup Spiced HamI was sent a veritable treasure trove of culinary goodies from Booths just before Christmas, that comprised a large dry cured gammon joint with all the associated spicing and glazing ingredients, a fresh cream cake made with clementines and cranberries, a selection of festive sides, a bottle of sparkling English wine and an amazing five piece cheese board. The ham, or gammon, was an impressive 4 kilos in weight and was the star of the festive table…….and, I still have several bags of sliced ham in the freezer for New Year suppers, sandwiches and salads. Today, for Twelfth Night, we will be enjoying some of the sliced spiced ham with Pommes Dauphinoise and Sprouts with Smoked Lardons and Herb Butter; and, tomorrow, I have made a delicious root vegetable soup with more of the ham, which will be served with crusty bread or dumplings. Since I cooked my ham just before Christmas, we have enjoyed it with salad, as part of a festive buffet, in sandwiches with a smear of mustard, in a pie and also in a bowl of lentil soup……for New Year’s Day, so as you can see, it really is the ham that just keeps on giving.

Ham and Vegetable Soup

And don’t forget the ancient custom of Wassailing too, I have a recipe for a Traditional English Wassail which would be perfect with some of this festive spiced ham tonight! However sad it may be to pack away the sparkle and tinsel, Twelfth Night should always been a day of merriment and fun, where tricks and charades are played and the last vestiges of all the rich festive food are enjoyed; and indeed we always indulge in any cake, chocolates or other treats that are still around, in an attempt the soften the “taking down the decorations” blow……so, I have shared my very favourite Twelfth Night recipes below, as well as the recipe from Booths for their very delicious Festive Maple Syrup Spiced Ham. I’ll be back soon with more recipes and traveller’s tales, as well as my annual “Patchwork Quilt” of last years recipes and posts. Happy New Year once again, and DO have a have a “jolly old time” this Twelfth Night and I hope that the New Year will be kind to all of you! Karen 

Festive Maple Syrup Spiced Ham

Festive Maple Syrup Spiced Ham

Festive Maple Syrup Spiced Ham

Sprouts

Must Have Cheese Board:

Booths Northern Five Piece Cheese Selection

Appleby’s Cheshire, Wensleydale Blue, Garstang White, Ribblesdale Gold Goat Gouda, Wensleydale with cranberry.

Northern Cheese Selection

Twelfth Night Recipes:

Christmas Decorations and Cards

Booths Festive Maple Syrup Spiced Ham

Festive Maple Syrup Spiced Ham

Festive Maple Syrup Spiced Ham

Booths Turkey, Leek and Ham Leftovers Pot Pie

Pie

Booths Crusty Ham & Potato Hash

Ham hash

Traditional English Wassail

Twelfth Night, Mulling and Wassail: A Traditional English Wassail Recipe

Mincemeat Soda Bread

Mincemeat soda bread

Curried Beef & Apricot Pie with a Salt Glaze Crust

Twelfth Night, Epiphany and Spices! Curried Beef & Apricot Pie with a Salt Glaze Crust Recipe

Victorian Epiphany Tart

Epiphany Tart

Rosca de Reyes

Twelfth Night, Epiphany and Delicious Bread! King Cake: Rosca de Reyes (Recipe)

Our New Home in Photos…..Outside in Winter:

Hen Ysgol

Hen Ysgol

Hen Ysgol

Hen Ysgol

WASSAIL!

Wassail

CHEESE!

Cheese

The post Festive Spiced Ham, Cheese and Leftovers for Twelfth Night appeared first on Lavender and Lovage.

from Lavender and Lovage http://ift.tt/2CJL991
via IFTTT

Festive Ploughmans Lunch with Apple Cuve

Festive Ploughmans Lunch with Apple Cuve: After all that rich Christmas food, why not enjoy a festive Ploughmans Lunch, with assorted cheese, charcuterie and a glass of classic English Apple Cuve.

Thatchers Family Reserve

with

Thatchers Family Reserve

Thatchers Family Reserve

I love Christmas and the Festive period that spans from the first Sunday in Advent though New Year to Twelfth Night; it is a time of joyous eating, giving and sharing with family and friends. But, its also been a very sad time for me recently, as my father passed away on the 1st December last year, but, as someone who loved this time of year, we still follow in his footsteps and observe the traditions that he and my mother created together for the family, of which eating good food and enjoying a drink are two such family traditions! Todays post is not a recipe as such, but is all about breaking out of the box and trying something new, and also trying something English the quintessential British Ploughmans Lunch is a fabulous way to avoid being chained to the oven over the festive period, and makes a welcome break from all that rich foodand the best way to enjoy it is with a glass of something fizzy. As a prelude to Christmas, I tried something new the other day with my simple and quite Continental Ploughmans Lunch, a glass ofThatchers Family ReserveClassic Cuve, and it is now going to appear on my festive table throughout the season (and beyond), as I LOVED it!

Thatchers Family Reserve

This sparkling apple wine is so much more than a cider, its elegant, light, full of apply flavours with a very refined and fine perlage;its going to be my choice of fizz this Christmas, as it marries well with all sorts of foodwe shared a bottle for lunch the other day, with my Ploughmans Lunch, which comprised mini pork pies and charcuterie as well as cheese, bread and home-made Winter Salad Pickle the apple wine was crisp and gently sparking with a delicate but pronounced apple flavour and paired beautifully with the Brie cheese, salami and the little pork pies, it even held its head up high when we dolloped the pickle on to the pies, and we all found it very refreshing. Think a fine Vouvray wine but with apples, and you will have an idea of the taste and quality..and, it has a fine story surrounding it too; made from a rediscovered century old recipe crafted by William Thatcher, back in 1904 at the family farm in Somerset, the first gently pressed juice of the Katy apple is used to create this dry, subtle sparkling apple wine, and although I served mine in a lunchtime bistro style glass, it is best served chilled in a flute.

Thatchers Family Reserve embraces a rediscovered century old recipe crafted by William Thatcher, back in 1904 at the family farm in Somerset. This Classic Cuve has light golden hues, gentle effervescence, with a great combination of intensity, delicacy and length. The first gently pressed juice of the Katy apple is used to create this dry, subtle sparkling apple wine. Best served chilled in a flute.

How else and what else would I serve with it? Well, it will certainly be wonderful with the roast bird this Christmas Day, as well as making a fine aperitif to accompany canaps and amuse bouche..serve it with poached salmon for an elegant dinner party dish, or with a cheese tart or quiche; why not pair this fine Somerset Lady with some West Country cheese too, or with myCheesemas Tree Cheese Board for a Christmas Eve Party.and, it would be sublime when served as a cheeky little dessert wine with a bowl of creamy trifle too! Or, just do as I did for a festive style winter lunch, pop open a bottle ofThatchers Family Reserve, and then just assemble some cheese, pies, charcuterie and cold cuts along with crusty bread and pickles, for a simple but sophisticated lunch (or supper). Its wonderful with food as well as being used as a toast for all those special times in your lives, and I will be raising a glass and toasting the memory of a much-loved and very much missed father this Christmas, but with happy memories of how he made Christmas special for me when I was growing up! MERRY CHRISTMAS to you ALL! Karen

uitable for vegetarians, vegans and coeliacs.

You can shop online to buyThatchers Family Reserve, as well as the rest if their range of ciders here:

Shop Thatchers

(Family Reserve isnt yet widely available in most supermarkets and off-licenses , but other Thatchers ciders are, you can buy it online as above)

Thatchers

*Collaborative Paid Post with Foodies 100 and Thatchers*

Thatchers

The post Festive Ploughman’s Lunch with Apple Cuve appeared first on Lavender and Lovage.

from Lavender and Lovage http://ift.tt/2zcevK7
via IFTTT

Indulge in Castello Extra Creamy Brie

Indulge in Castello Extra Creamy Brie Indulge yourself and hack your senses by enjoying cheese with different music, different colour plates and serving spoons.

CASTELLO Extra Creamy Brie

I love cheese, and especially Brie, its a staple cheese in our house, and is used for cheese platters, in all manner of recipes,as well as for random (and not so random!) snacking..of all Bries characteristics, the one that I love the most, is its mild creaminess and versatility its a cheese that is just as happy sitting in a school lunch box, as it is sat on an antique plate on a dinner party table.Castellois a trusted cheese brand that I am very familiar with and I simply adore their Tickler Extra Mature Cheddar and their Traditional Danish Blue cheese, as well as their newest cheese, Extra Creamy Brie; but, how do you eat your cheese, and what affects the eating pleasure of cheese?

CASTELLO Extra Creamy Brie

Based on some fascinating results from Creative Food Scientist, Katherine Templar Lewis, who used cutting edge neuroscience to try break down different eating experiences,I set out to see what happens when I indulged in some Castellos Extra Creamy Brie, using and experiencing different colour plates, different textured spoons and also by listening to a selection of music, and the results are listed below, along with some step-by-step photos of my culinary, neuro-scientific journey.

CASTELLO Extra Creamy Brie

Firstly, I was sent a Kit, named Indulge Your Senses from Castello cheese HQ; the kit comprised a wholeCastello Extra Creamy Brie cheese, three plates one red, one black and one white, two spoons one white plastic and one heavy bronzed metal, as well as a MP 3 player with loaded music and earphones. My Taste Hack challenge was to enjoy pieces of Castello Extra Creamy Brie cheese, by serving it on the different coloured plates, eating it with the different textured spoons whilst listening to different musicand the results were fascinating, as was the visual impact, as you can see below.

CASTELLO Extra Creamy Brie

My own Bespoke Neuroscientific Results and Reactions:

White Plate:Serving the cheese and eating it from a white plate with a plastic white spoon: This was my least favourite eating and visual experience, and I suspect it is because I associate white plastic spoons with hastily prepared picnics, cheap cafes, budget airline food, using them as dibbers in the garden (to plant seedlings) and also, and excuse me here, administrating medicine to my pets! The cheese was undoubtedly good, and very creamy, but on listening to the two tracks in the MP3 player, a flute quartet by Paula Robinson, and a Tchaikovsky String Quartet, it seemed to jar with the plastic spoon experience. The white plate felt very ordinary, again probably because the only white plates we generally use are Pyrex plates that are used for defrosting food, outdoor eating, and again, for my pets! The experience changed on using the bronzed metal spoon, the texture of the spoon worked well with the cube of cheese, and it felt more indulgent, even on the white plate. I also enjoyed the flute quartet music more when using the metal spoon too.

CASTELLO Extra Creamy Brie

Red Plate:If serving the cheese on the white plate was an ordinary, eating the cheese off the red plate felt naughty and a bit risqu! The colour did show off the creamy whiteness of the cheese, but it felt as if I was about to take off on a Latin Tango across the kitchen floor! Red, rightly or wrongly, is not a colour that I associate when serving cheese, I always serve my cheese on wooden boards, or a selection of antique and vintage blue and white plates and platters, so red seemed very alien, and almost dangerous! The eating experiences with the plastic spoon was no different from before, I just DONT like eating (or drinking) with plastic. The experience changed considerably on eating the cheese with the bronzed metal spoon, and I enjoyed the experience more when listening to the string quartet byTchaikovsky, although I suspect the experience could have been heightened some more of Id eaten the cheese whilst listening to Latin music, Flamenco or a raunchy Tango!

CASTELLO Extra Creamy Brie

Black Plate:This was my favourite eating and visual experience, which surprised me; the plastic spoon was now discarded, as I just DID not like the eating experience when using it and I felt utterly indulgent on eating the cheese with the metal spoon on the black plate. The plate added a certain elegance and sophistication to the visual and eating experience, and the cheese seemed to be whiter and creamier when served on the black plate. I loved the flute quartet when eating the cheese this time, and the whole experience was luxurious and felt very sybaritic. I also think that the cheese looked best when served on black, maybe that was helped by the beautifully designed black sleeve on the cheese, which was still visible on the table. The white mould that covers the cheese seemed more velvety too.it was extraordinary how much more expensive the cheese looked on black, like the little black dress of the plate world!

CASTELLO Extra Creamy Brie

Conclusion:One thing I learned whilst carrying out this neuroscientific taste, sight and listening experience, was just how much taste is affected by relatively simple things such as colour and texture; as a lover of all sorts of music, I have very eclectic taste, I already know that music can add another dimension to food and flavours, and I have used music myself in the past when hosting dinner parties, casual family gatherings and festive buffetsbut, I was surprised how much the colour of the serving plates added and detracted from the appearance and taste sensation of the cheese, it was fascinating. It would appear that when serve cheese, I had already been following some basic rules of colour and texture (and music), as I love to see assorted cheeses on wooden boards and wicker, and I have several antique and vintage blue and white platters that I instinctively turn to as well, as I think they add gravitas and elegance to an after dinner cheese board! It is true that every single bite of Castello Extra Creamy Brie was a different taste sensation when using different coloured plates, spoons and when listening to different music too. Why not try this simple experiment yourself? If only to indulge in a bit of closet cheese snacking in the name of science!

CASTELLO Extra Creamy Brie

Why not try the experiment yourself, and share your results on Castellos social media to see what others are saying. On Instagram, Facebook and Twitter, head to @CastelloUK

Castello Extra Creamy Brie is available in store at ASDA and Sainsburys now for an RRP of 2. Find out more at Castello UK

The post Indulge in Castello Extra Creamy Brie appeared first on Lavender and Lovage.

from Lavender and Lovage http://ift.tt/2AypSy3
via IFTTT