Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots

Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots – This is a simple recipe with very few ingredients but the end result belies how easy it is to make, and results in a rustically elegant dish that would grace any dinner party table, as well as a simple Sunday lunch for all the family. My wine pairing suggestions would be Gewurztraminer, or Riesling for this delicious chicken dish.

Paired with South African Gewurztraminer from Wine Trust 100

Paired with South African Gewurztraminer

from

Wine Trust 100

Paired with South African Gewurztraminer from Wine Trust 100

Today’s recipe and wine pairing idea would be fabulous for the Bank Holiday Weekend in the UK, an easy to prepare and cook roast chicken dish that looks and tastes amazing; this recipe for Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots is a real “winner, winner, chicken dinner” as they say, and my wine pairing suggestions would be Gewurztraminer, or Riesling for this style of roast chicken dish. The eagle-eyed amongst you will remember that I recently visited South Africa, where I had the privilege of visiting several fruit farms and vineyards, of which Paul Cluver in the beautiful Elgin Valley was one. Paul Cluver Wines is a family owned and family run winery, focused on producing wines that reflect the uniqueness of the cool-climate Elgin terroir. The family is proud to have pioneered the Elgin appellation and for being seen as a leader in the sustainable farming. The property is approximately 70km south-east of Cape Town and has been in ownership of the Cluver Family since 1896, and it was at their restaurant SALT, that I had the opportunity to first taste their excellent Gewurztraminer, which is what I paired with my recipe for today.

Roast chicken and grapes

I wasn’t able to bring any bottles of wine back from my trip to South Africa, but I needn’t have worried, as WineTrust100 in the UK, stock Paul Cluver wines, as well as many other wines from South Africa. WineTrust100 offers many other expertly sourced wines, not just from South Africa, but from all over the world; the ethos is quite simply to offer exceptional quality wines that are reasonably priced; and furthermore, if you order a full case of 12 wines, delivery is free.……they also have a Wine Club, where you can have a seasonal case of 12 wines hand-picked by their team, delivered direct to you every month or quarter. There are 2 levels, Gold at £96 a case and Platinum at £198 a case, all specially selected by their Masters of Wine. I was very impressed by the selection on offer, and also their prices too. I received a case of assorted South African wines recently, and as one of their Wine Ambassadors, I will be highlighting them over the next few weeks, along with bespoke recipes that I have created to pair with the wines. Last month I made a Durban Style Lamb and Apricot Curry which I paired with a Pinot Noir from Newton Johnson Family Vineyards in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.

Durban Style Lamb and Apricot Curry - A hot and spicy lamb curry which is cooked in a rich tomato and curry masala broth; Durban curry doesn't usually have fruit added, but I have added some plump, dried South African apricots for sweetness and texture. Use diced lamb leg or neck of lamb, and serve with Basmati rice, naan bread, chutney and a handful of peanuts. Wine pairing: I served this with a South African Pinot Noir from Newton Johnson Family Vineyards in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.

But back to today’s recipe for Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots; try to use an organic chicken or a high welfare chicken, for the best taste and to support good animal husbandry, and seedless grapes are best too. I used some superb black South African grapes from the Hex Valley, which I bought in my local Aldi. The Paul Cluver Gewurztraminer was the perfect match for this dish, further enhancing the fruitiness of the grapes whilst adding wonderful floral notes of elderflower, rose petals and more fruity flavours of melon and mango with a hint of pineapple. I would also pair this dish with a good Riesling too, which would really add to the taste of the grapes and shallots. The recipe is shared below, in printable form, and there are very few ingredients in this recipe, which makes for a simple shopping list! Serve this roast chicken with mashed potatoes, and seasonal greens, or even by itself with some crusty bread, and don’t forget the wine obviously! Have a WONDERFUL May Bank Holiday weekend, and I’ll be back soon with more recipes and traveller’s tales, Karen

Roast chicken and grapes

Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots

Serves 4
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 45 minutes
Meal type

Lunch, Main Dish
Misc

Gourmet, Serve Hot
Occasion

Birthday Party, Casual Party, Christmas, Easter, Formal Party, Thanksgiving
Region British

By author

Karen Burns-Booth
Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots – This is a simple recipe with very few ingredients but the end result belies how easy it is to make, and results in a rustically elegant dish that would grace any dinner party table, as well as a simple Sunday lunch for all the family. My wine pairing suggestions would be Gewurztraminer, or Riesling for this delicious chicken dish.

Ingredients

  • 1.2 to 1.5kg whole chicken (preferably organic or high welfare)
  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
  • 6 to 8 shallots (peeled and cut into quarters)
  • 2 or 3 sprigs of fresh thyme
  • 450g seedless grapes (I used seedless black grapes from South Africa)
  • 125ml of white wine (such as Riesling)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper

Note

Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots – This is a simple recipe with very few ingredients but the end result belies how easy it is to make, and results in a rustically elegant dish that would grace any dinner party table, as well as a simple Sunday lunch for all the family. My wine pairing suggestions would be Gewurztraminer, or Riesling for this delicious chicken dish.

Directions

Step 1 Pre-heat oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6.
Step 2 Place the chicken into a large oven-proof tin or pan and rub the oil over the chicken; then season with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and tuck the springs of thyme into the cavity of the chicken, as well as scattering some of the leaves over the seasoned chicken.
Step 3 Arrange the quartered shallots and grapes around the chicken, pour the wine into the tray and cover with foil.
Step 4 Cook in pre-heated oven for 1 hour, then, remove the foil and roast for a further 20 to 30 minutes until the chicken skin is crispy and the shallots are golden brown.
Step 5 Cover with foil again and allow the chicken to rest for 10 minutes, before carving it and serving it with the shallots, grapes and jus. Serve with seasonal steamed vegetables and potato puree.
Step 6 NB: You can add creme fraiche to the shallots, grapes and jus whilst the chicken is resting and heat them all up over a high heat in the roasting pan until bubbling, for a creamy sauce.

*Collaborative post with WineTrust100*

Roast chicken and grapes

Roast Chicken

More Roast Chicken Recipes on Lavender and Lovage:

“Scarborough Fair” Spatchcock Roast Chicken

“Scarborough Fair” Spatchcock Roast Chicken

Midweek Roast Chicken Dinner

Midweek Roast Chicken Dinner, Cider & Onion Soup with Cheese Croutons and PIE!

Honey Roast Chicken

Thrifty & Organic Meal Planner: Honey Roast Chicken, Hand Pies and Bread & Butter Pudding Recipes

Garlic Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables

Lazy Blue and White Lunch: Garlic Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables Recipe

Dukkah Crusted Roast Chicken with Root Vegetables and a Fresh Mint Dressing

Thrifty & Organic Meal Planner for May: Chicken, Exotic Spices and Floral Fruit

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A Visit to Halen Môn Sea Salt PDO on Anglesey

A Visit to Halen Môn Sea Salt PDO on Anglesey – One cold but sunny morning, I set off to Anglesey, just an hour from where I live in North Wales, to visit Halen Môn Sea Salt Saltcote, for a private behind-the-scenes tour and a salt tasting experience. Today’s post is an overview of my visit with some associated recipes using this deliciously pure Anglesey sea salt. 

Anglesey Sea Salt Halen Mon

Anglesey Sea Salt, from Tide to Table…..

Welsh Leek and Chicken Casserole with Halen Mon Salt

“Add salt to taste” is one of the most used ingredients in a standard recipe, and is an essential seasoning in nearly all savoury (and some sweet) recipes; but, how often do we shop for salt as we would shop for meat, cheese, vegetables or any other recipe ingredients? True, there has been a recent trend towards “fancy” and “alternative” salts, such as Pink Himalayan Salt, Natural Rock Salt, Atlantic Sea Salt, Sea Salt Flakes and the famous Fleur de Sel from France, and that’s all to the good, as I have always thought that a good salt enhances any home-made recipe…….and I am a HUGE fan of British sea salt flakes, especially my local salt, Halen Môn Sea Salt PDO, from Anglesey. And there is good reason why this has always been my favourite salt, it has a very distinctive flavour, and the crystals are so pure and white, that they almost sparkle, which is a direct result of the way it is harvested and finished in their Saltcote, on the banks of the Menai Strait in an Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty, next door to Anglesey Sea Zoo in Brynsiencyn.

Anglesey Sea Salt Halen Mon

A few weeks ago, I was fortunate enough to have an early morning private tour to see the process of how this sparkling white salt is harvested and produced; production manager Ronan was there to show me around the plant and the trip was fascinating……as regular readers may remember, I have highlighted where our food comes from in past posts, and I am always incredibly interested to see how ingredients and produce that we use daily, some that we may take for granted, are made and processed before they land on our tables. Sea salt has been made on the island of Anglesey for centuries, indeed right up until the 18th century when it was discovered that makers were adding Cheshire rock salt to pure Anglesey seas salt, for which they were fined, and which halted salt making for a time; that is until Alison and David Lea-Wilson resurrected this age-old craft by combining traditional hand harvesting with brand new technology to produce the crunchy white flakes of Halen Môn, but unlike their predecessors, they don’t add anything, other than natural herbs, spices and flavourings in some of their special flavoured salts.

Anglesey Sea Salt Halen Mon

My trip took me around the whole hand-harvesting and processing plant, and I even had a chance to scoop some of the salt crystals out of the brine for a further filtering process. The behind-the-scenes tour also touches on the history of salt making on Anglesey, as well as how salt has been affected by culture, global events and local food production. At the end of the tour, you also have a chance to sit down and compare salts in a tutored blind salt tasting, which was not only interesting, but very illuminating just how each type of salt tastes so different, and the feeling that each salt leaves in your mouth afterwards. Plus, I loved hearing how Halen Môn Sea Salt was born, when in 1997, Alison and David left a pan of seawater to boil on their Aga, and as the salt crystals started to form, they knew they’d struck culinary gold. It’s now sold in some the UK’s best delicatessens, and in premium supermarkets such as Marks and Spencer, Waitrose and Harvey Nichols. And, their sea salt can be found in more than 22 countries across the globe as well as on the tables of some of the world’s top restaurants like The Fat Duck.

In 1997, we left a saucepan of seawater to boil on the Aga in our family kitchen agaand as the salt crystals started to form, we knew we’d struck culinary gold. In 1999, we started supplying Halen Môn Sea Salt to Swains, our local butchers in Menai Bridge on the Isle of Anglesey.

Image: Halen Môn Sea Salt

Anglesey Sea Salt Halen Mon

Before I share a couple of recipes with you, where one of the main ingredients is Halen Môn Sea Salt, I’d like to talk you through the process of how Halen Môn Sea Salt is made. 

Using pure charcoal-filtered seawater drawn from the Menai Strait around Anglesey, before the water even reaches the Salt Cote, it has already passed through two natural filters: a mussel bed and a sandbank.

• Once naturally filtered, the salt water is gently heated in a vacuum so it boils at a low temperature.

• Gradually, the water releases steam and turns into a very salty brine.

• When the concentration of the salt in the water is high enough, we release it into shallow crystallisation tanks and leave it there to allow the sea salt crystals to form.

• Once the crystals have formed, we then harvest the sea salt by hand. (This is where I scooped some of the crystals out of the tank)

• Finally, we rinse the flakes in brine until they shine.

Anglesey Sea Salt Halen Mon

How Halen Mon Salt is made

Image: Halen Môn Sea Salt

Anglesey Sea Salt Halen Mon

A simple procedure it may be, but it does take time, and temperature is crucial all the way through the filtration process. The process results in a very fine, pure white salt crystals that reflect the purity of the salt from tide to table; and due to these special properties, as well as the geographical area where Halen Môn Sea Salt is harvested and made, in 2014 Halen Môn Sea Salt was awarded Protected Designation of Origin Status (PDO) in recognition of the fact that the salt is made from the clean, clear seawater that surround the beautiful island of Anglesey in North Wales, and that every organically certified flake of their sea salt is harvested by hand, before they are rinsed to give them their characteristic, brilliant gem-like appearance, with a perfect balance of delicious minerals and not a hint of bitterness, which is one of the reasons I love to use this salt in all my cooking and baking.

Cawl

You can use Anglesey Sea Salt in all your cooking and baking as I do, as well as having it on the table for additional seasoning, but I’d like to share three lovely Welsh recipes with you before I leave, where the addition of Anglesey Sea Salt makes the dishes sing, preferably in Welsh! (By the way, to avoid confusion, the brand name is Halen Môn, which is the Welsh translation of “Anglesey Salt”, just in case you were puzzled) I hope you have enjoyed your quick virtual trip around Halen Môn in Anglesey, they also have a wonderful shop on site, which is stocked with all of their salts, as well as a fabulous range of artisan gifts, cookware, textiles and cards, with lots of items being made in Wales, and you can order from the shop online too. See you soon with another recipes and more traveller’s tales. Karen 

Anglesey Eggs

Anglesey Eggs (Ŵyau Ynys Môn)

Serves 4 to 6
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 30 minutes
Total time 50 minutes
Allergy

Egg, Milk, Wheat
Dietary

Vegetarian
Meal type

Breakfast, Lunch, Main Dish, Snack
Misc

Child Friendly, Serve Hot
Occasion

Casual Party, Christmas, Easter
Region British

By author

Karen Burns-Booth
This classic Welsh recipe of mashed potatoes with leeks & hard boiled eggs, is baked in a cheese sauce with a crisp crumb topping, and makes a thrifty and tasty midweek supper dish for all the family. (Please note, that the prep and cooking time is the time it took me to make this dish, and is a guideline only!)

Ingredients

  • 8 hard boiled eggs (shelled and quartered)
  • 1 large leek, or 2 small leeks (trimmed, finely diced and rinsed thoroughly)
  • 50g butter (cut into 2 x 25g pieces)
  • 1 kilo Co-Op Lilly mashing potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks (or mashing potatoes that are available)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 150g Caerphilly cheese (crumbled and separated into 2 portions)
  • black pepper to taste

Sauce

  • 25g butter
  • 50g plain flour
  • 600ml milk
  • sea salt to taste (I used Halen Môn Anglesey Sea Salt)

Topping

  • 50g breadcrumbs

Note

This classic Welsh recipe of mashed potatoes with leeks & hard boiled eggs, is baked in a cheese sauce with a crisp crumb topping, and makes a thrifty and tasty midweek supper dish for all the family. NB: Can easily be halved to serve 2 people, using 4 eggs, the prep and cooking time will be slightly reduced too.

(Please note, that the prep and cooking time is the time that it took me to make this dish, and is to be used as a guideline only!)

Directions

Step 1 Pre-heat oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6. Grease a baking dish or tin with a little butter. Fry the leeks in 25g of butter over a medium heat until they are soft, about 5 minutes.
Step 2 Whilst the leeks are coking, boil the potatoes in salted boiling water for about 10 minutes, or until they are soft but still hold their shape; drain them and add the remaining 25g of butter and milk. Mash them with a masher or with a hand held whisk until smooth, then season to taste with salt and pepper.
Step 3 Add the cooked leeks to the mashed potatoes and mix well. Spoon the mashed potato mixture into the prepared baking dish or tin and arrange the quartered hard boiled eggs on top of the mashed potatoes.
Step 4 Using the same pan that the leeks were cooked in, add the milk, flour and butter, and beat together over a medium heat with a wire whisk continuously until the sauce thickens and is smooth. Allow to simmer for a further 2 minutes. Add one portion (half) of the Caerphilly cheese, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook for further minute stirring well. Pour the sauce over the mashed potatoes and eggs.
Step 5 Mix the remaining Caerphilly cheese with the breadcrumbs, and sprinkle over the mashed potatoes, eggs and cheese sauce. Bake in pre-heated oven for 15 to 20 minutes until the cheese has melted and the dish is bubbling and golden brown.
Step 6 Serve immediately for brunch, lunch or supper.
Step 7 NB: Can easily be halved to serve 2 people, using 4 eggs, the prep and cooking time will be slightly reduced too.

Cawl

Welsh Cawl (Lamb & Vegetable Stew)

Serves 6 to 8 servings
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 2 hours, 15 minutes
Total time 2 hours, 45 minutes
Meal type

Lunch, Main Dish, Snack, Soup, Starter
Misc

Child Friendly, Serve Hot
Occasion

Casual Party, Christmas, Easter, Formal Party, Halloween, Thanksgiving
Region British

By author

Karen Burns-Booth
Welsh Cawl (Lamb & Vegetable Stew) – Cawl is often seen as being the national dish of Wales, my recipe is based on a traditional Welsh recipe for Cawl, but uses lamb steaks in place of a lamb joint.

Ingredients

  • 600g Welsh lamb steaks, diced (or lamb neck fillets)
  • 1 tablespoon flour (mixed with salt and pepper)
  • Rapeseed oil
  • 4 large potatoes, or 8 to 10 smaller potatoes, scrubbed and diced (no need to peel them)
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 swede, peeled and diced
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and diced
  • 3 leeks, trimmed, sliced and rinsed thoroughly (greens and white)
  • sea salt and pepper to taste (I used Halen Môn Anglesey Sea Salt)
  • freshly chopped parsley (to garnish)
  • crusty bread (to serve)
  • Caerphilly cheese (to serve)

Note

Welsh Cawl (Lamb & Vegetable Stew) – Cawl is often seen as being the national dish of Wales, my recipe is based on a traditional Welsh recipe for Cawl, but uses lamb steaks in place of a lamb joint, as was commonly used in times gone by. A bowl of cawl is usually accompanied by crusty bread and Caerphilly cheese.

Directions

Step 1 Dredge the diced lamb in the seasoned flour, and in a large stockpot, heat the oil until hot; add the floured, diced lamb and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring all the time, until the lamb has a golden brown crust.
Step 2 Turn the heat down, add 2 litres of water, before adding the diced potatoes, carrots, swede and parsnips. Season to taste with salt and pepper, place a lid on the pot and simmer for 2 hours, or until the meat is tender and the vegetables are cooked. 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time, add the chopped leeks, replace the lid and continue to cook.
Step 3 Check and adjust the seasoning, scatter the chopped fresh parsley over the cawl, then serve in warmed soup bowls, giving each person some meat, vegetables and the broth. Delicious with crusty bread and Caerphilly cheese.
Step 4 Better is made the day before serving; to serve, skim off any fat and reheat gently until piping hot. Serve as before.

Welsh Leek & Chicken Casserole with Baked Herb Dumplings

Welsh Leek & Chicken Casserole with Baked Herb Dumplings

Serves 4 to 6
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 1 hour, 10 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Allergy

Wheat
Meal type

Lunch, Main Dish
Misc

Child Friendly, Serve Hot
Occasion

Casual Party, Easter, Formal Party, Halloween
Region British

By author

Karen Burns-Booth
Using locally sourced ingredients with provenance, this recipe is a real winter warmer, and would be perfect for any family supper to celebrate St David’s Day. Organic Welsh chicken is paired with locally grown Welsh leeks and shallots, which is cooked in a rich chicken stock before being finished with baked herb dumplings.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
  • 125g smoked lardons (or smoked streaky bacon cut into small pieces)
  • 4 shallots, peeled and diced
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 3 leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced (use the white and the green)
  • 450ml chicken stock
  • sea salt and pepper to taste (I used Halen Môn Anglesey Sea Salt)
  • chopped fresh parsley

Dumplings

  • 225g self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbs (such as parsley, sage, thyme, majoram and rosemary) (or 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs)
  • sea salt and pepper to taste (I used Halen Môn Anglesey Sea Salt)
  • 110g shredded vegetable or beef suet
  • water, to mix

Note

Using locally sourced ingredients with provenance, this recipe is a real winter warmer, and would be perfect for any family supper to celebrate St David’s Day. Organic Welsh chicken is paired with locally grown Welsh leeks and shallots, which is cooked in a rich chicken stock before being finished with baked herb dumplings.

Directions

Step 1 In a large oven-proof shallow saute pan that has a lid, heat the oil and then add the lardons and shallots; fry over a gentle heat until the bacon fat is crisp and the shallots are soft. Push the bacon and shallots to one side, or remove, and add the chicken thighs, increase the heat and cook the chicken until it is a pale golden brown. Add the bacon and shallots back into the pan if removed, before adding the chopped leeks.
Step 2 Saute the leeks for 2 to 3 minutes and the add the chicken stock, season to taste with salt and pepper, cover with a lid and simmer over a low heat for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the chicken and leeks are cooked.
Step 3 Whilst the chicken casserole is simmering, pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6 and make the dumplings; Mix the flour with the salt, pepper and herbs in a mixing bowl. Stir in the suet and then add water VERY carefully and slowly – mixing in between, until the dumpling dough is soft, but not sticky. Shape the dough into 8 round dumplings.
Step 4 Take the casserole off the hob, take the lid off, and drop the dumplings on top of the chicken and leeks, place the casserole dish in the pre-heated oven and bake for 20 minutes until the dumplings are well-risen , crusty and golden brown.
Step 5 Remove from the oven, scatter the fresh parsley over the casserole and serve straight away with steamed Blas Y Tir baby Welsh potatoes.

*Collaborative post with Halen Môn Sea Salt*

Anglesey Sea Salt Halen Mon Shop

Anglesey Sea Salt Halen Mon Shop

Anglesey Sea Salt Halen Mon

Welsh Rugs

Anglesey Sea Salt Halen Mon

Anglesey Sea Salt Halen Mon

 

The post A Visit to Halen Môn Sea Salt PDO on Anglesey appeared first on Lavender and Lovage.

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Durban Style Lamb and Apricot Curry

Durban Style Lamb and Apricot Curry – A hot and spicy lamb curry which is cooked in a rich tomato and curry masala broth; Durban curry doesn’t usually have fruit added, but I have added some plump, dried South African apricots for sweetness and texture. Use diced lamb leg or neck of lamb, and serve with Basmati rice, naan bread, chutney and a handful of peanuts. Wine pairing: I served this with a South African Pinot Noir from Newton Johnson Family Vineyards in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.

Durban Style Lamb and Apricot Curry - A hot and spicy lamb curry which is cooked in a rich tomato and curry masala broth; Durban curry doesn't usually have fruit added, but I have added some plump, dried South African apricots for sweetness and texture. Use diced lamb leg or neck of lamb, and serve with Basmati rice, naan bread, chutney and a handful of peanuts. Wine pairing: I served this with a South African Pinot Noir from Newton Johnson Family Vineyards in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.

Paired with South African Pinot Noir

from

Wine Trust 100

Durban Style Lamb and Apricot Curry - A hot and spicy lamb curry which is cooked in a rich tomato and curry masala broth; Durban curry doesn't usually have fruit added, but I have added some plump, dried South African apricots for sweetness and texture. Use diced lamb leg or neck of lamb, and serve with Basmati rice, naan bread, chutney and a handful of peanuts. Wine pairing: I served this with a South African Pinot Noir from Newton Johnson Family Vineyards in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.

My parents always told me, that apart from fresh peaches that were picked from a beautiful big tree in their garden in Fish Hoek in South Africa, where I was born, my first “solids” were in fact Cape Malay Curry! And, it is true that I am a bit of a curry addict, enjoying all sorts and styles of curry, from fragrant and fruity to hot and spicy, I make a curry at least once a week. We all love the softly spiced, fruity style of Cape Malay curries, and this distinctive curry relies heavily on the special blend of spices, known as Cape Malay curry powder. Cape Malay curries are famous for their fruity and full-bodied flavours, making good use of local colourful vegetables or meat and fish, they are not as hot as the curries used in the Indian kitchen. However, we all love a fiery curry too, especially Vindaloo and Madras style curries, and a big batch of Durban curry is often made at Chez Lavender and Lovage.

Durban Style Lamb Curry with Apricots

So, what is the difference between a Cape Malay style curry and Durban curry? South Africa is a melting pot of different cultures and nationalities, of which one of the biggest ethnic groups hail from the India; they came to South Africa as “indentured” labourers to work in the sugar cane fields in Natal, and  with them came their national cuisine of curry. The curry then evolved further when the British arrived, already known for their love of curry, they embraced this spicy dish and thus the Durban curry was born. A Durban curry is hotter than a Cape Malay style curry, and is reddish in colour…..the colour comes from the addition of tomatoes, as well as the special “Curry Masala” mix that relies heavily on chillies, paprika and cayenne pepper. A good Durban style curry Masala powder is said to have at least 12 separate spices in the mix, which will typically comprise ground coriander, cumin, cinnamon, curry leaves, fennel seeds, fenugreek, ginger, garlic and of course the heat elements of paprika, dried chillies and cayenne pepper.

Durban Style Lamb Curry with Apricots

I’ve taken a few liberties today with my recipe for Durban Style Lamb and Apricot Curry, and although the spicing is pretty authentic, I’ve added some wonderfully plump and soft dried South African apricots, in place of the usual potatoes. After visiting South Africa and several fruit farms in the Western Cape recently, I really wanted to add a little bit of sunshine to this dish, and the apricots work so well, cutting through the richness and spiciness of the curry broth to add a burst of sweet fruitiness, as well as extra texture. When there are fresh apricots available in the shops, I will be adding them to this curry recipe, but don’t forget they won’t need to be added until the last 10 minutes of cooking, if you are making this curry with fresh apricots now. I researched many Durban curry recipes, and noticed that as well as potatoes, they often contain peas and other vegetables, so today’s recipe has a few frozen peas added as well as green pepper.

2016 NEWTON JOHNSON, FAMILY VINEYARDS PINOT NOIR South Africa, Hemel-en-Aarde Valley

So, what to drink with this meaty, fruity curry? I know that beer is the usual suspect when pairing with curries and spicy food, but we prefer to pair wine with curry in our house. It had to be a South African wine, of course, and I decided to really treat us to a bottle of 2016 NEWTON JOHNSON, FAMILY VINEYARDS PINOT NOIR, from the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley, which is on sale at WineTrust100 in the UK. This beautiful wine is bursting with red fruits as well as red and blackcurrants, it’s low in tannins, which makes it a fabulous choice for lunchtime dining, and is light, soft and well-rounded, but, not too soft that it was lost when paired with the curry. There was a subtle hint of spice to the wine, I picked up on cinnamon, and that just further enhanced the drinking experience with the lamb curry. I can imagine that this wine would also be the perfect pairing with Chinese food too, I’m thinking Peking Duck or sticky Hoisin pork ribs. It was simply one of the most delicious Pinot Noirs I have enjoyed recently, so I wasn’t surprised to see that it has won several awards.

Durban Style Lamb Curry with Apricots

WineTrust100 offers many other expertly sourced wines, not just from South Africa, but from all over the world; the ethos is quite simply to offer exceptional quality wines that are reasonably priced; and furthermore, if you order a full case of 12 wines, delivery is free.……they also have a Wine Club, where you can have a seasonal case of 12 wines hand-picked by their team, delivered direct to you every month or quarter. There are 2 levels, Gold at £96 a case and Platinum at £198 a case, all specially selected by their Masters of Wine. I was very impressed by the selection on offer, and also their prices too. I received a case of assorted South African wines recently, and as one of their Wine Ambassadors, I will be highlighting them overt the next few weeks, along with bespoke recipes that I have created to pair with the wines. My specially created recipe to accompany the 2016 NEWTON JOHNSON, FAMILY VINEYARDS PINOT NOIR is shared below, and do look out for my next recipe for Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots, made to be paired with another South African wine!

Durban Style Lamb Curry with Apricots

*Collaborative post with WineTrust100*

Durban Style Lamb and Apricot Curry

Ingredients

  • 600g diced fresh lamb (leg or neck of lamb)
  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
  • 2 onions, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and finely diced
  • 2 (peeled and finely diced)
  • 2 teaspoons garam masala
  • 1 tablespoon curry masala (or chilli powder, adjust the heat to suit by reducing the amount if necessary)
  • 200g chopped tinned tomatoes (half a tin)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 600ml stock (mixed with 1 tablespoon tomato paste/concentrate)
  • 2 tablespoons frozen peas
  • 1 green pepper, trimmed and diced
  • 12 to 16 dried apricots
  • 2 tablespoons roast peanuts
  • chopped fresh coriander to serve
  • extra peanuts to serve

Directions

Step 1 Heat the oil in a non-stick pan or a cast iron pan a that has a lid, and then add the diced lamb; saute the lamb in batches over a medium heat until it is brown. Set aside the lamb after it is cooked and continue to saute the lamb until it is all browned.
Step 2 Add the onions, garlic and ginger to the pan and saute over a low heat until the onions are just golden brown. Add the curry spices and cook for 1 to 2 minutes until they release their aroma.
Step 3 Add the tinned tomatoes, stock with tomato puree and season to taste with salt; simmer for 3 to 4 minutes before adding the peas, peppers and apricots, place a lid on the pan and simmer over a low to medium heat without boiling for 35 to 40 minutes until the lamb is tender and the vegetables are cooked.
Step 4 Adjust seasoning to taste, scatter the peanuts and chopped coriander over the curry and serve with Basmati rice, chutney, naan breads and extra peanuts.
Step 5 Wine pairing: I served this with a South African Pinot Noir from Newton Johnson Family Vineyards in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley.

Durban Style Lamb Curry with Apricots

Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots…….recipe coming soon

Roast Chicken with Grapes and Shallots

Other Curry recipes on Lavender and Lovage:

Baked Indo-Chinese Chilli Chicken Curry

Baked Indo-Chinese Chilli Chicken Curry

Meat-Free Monday: Chole Chaat (Chickpea Curry)

A Secret Recipe for Meat-Free Monday: Chole Chaat (Chickpea Curry)

Spinach, Lentil & Sweet Potato Curry (244 Calories)

Spice Up your New Year 5:2 Diet Weight Loss! Spinach, Lentil & Sweet Potato Curry (244 Calories)

Potato & Kale Curry

Better with Brita: Water as an Ingredient & Potato & Kale Curry

Tiger Prawn Curry with Basmati Rice (5:2 Diet) Recipe

The Fast Diet, Meal Planning Monday and Tiger Prawn Curry with Basmati Rice (5:2 Diet) Recipe

Aromatic Pork in Coconut Milk

Dine and Discover: Aromatic Pork in Coconut Milk

Pork Balchão – Goan Pickled Spiced Pork

Pork Balchão – Goan Pickled Spiced Pork

Edwardian Curried Eggs

Country House Light Luncheon Recipe: Edwardian Curried Eggs

Curried Leek and Apple Soup Recipe (5:2 Diet)

Windfalls, September Harvest and Comforting Soups: Curried Leek and Apple Soup Recipe (5:2 Diet)

Durban Curry Masala Spice Recipe

 

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Chic Scandinavian Style on the High Seas

Chic Scandinavian Style on the High Seas – Ocean cruises have just got a whole lot cooler with Viking Ocean Cruises taking to the high seas; known for their award-winning river cruises, Viking are now offering ocean cruises with four new “all veranda” ships with many more on order. Their new ships are beautifully designed for comfort, with spacious seating and elegant, understated decor, and every stateroom cabin has a veranda with that ultimate sea view.

Explorers Lounge Viking Sea

A West Indies Explorers Cruise

with

Viking Ocean Cruises in the Viking Sea

Globe

Slip into your comfy clothes and pop your slippers on, as I’m about to take you on a virtual trip in a beautifully designed but cosy cruise ship, where understated elegance, style and comfort are primordial, and where every guest has a sea view from their veranda stateroom cabin…….this is the first post I’ll be sharing about my recent cruise with Viking Ocean Cruises on board the Viking Sea. Regular followers of Lavender and Lovage will know from my social media feeds, that I’ve just come back from a Caribbean cruise, with Viking, on their West Indies Explorer cruise………today’s post is an overview, a taster if you will, of what to expect when you board this ship, where you’ll be sleeping and eating, as well as a brief snapshot of the entertainment and other on board facilities. So, why not do as I did when I was on board the Viking Sea, grab a cup of coffee (or a cocktail!), sit back, relax and sail away with me for a moment or two…….

Explorers Lounge Viking Sea

Breakfast View

Penthouse Veranda

Image: Sparkx.org

…….firstly, as someone who regularly cruises, I was hugely impressed by my first impressions on boarding Viking Sea; this was a ship of supreme elegance, with contemporary and yet traditional Scandinavian style and design. Light and space is evident everywhere on the ship, from the Atrium and The Viking Living Room on Deck one, where guest services are located, to the spacious veranda stateroom cabins, the ship is cleverly designed so it never appears to be overcrowded or full, even when it has its full capacity of passengers sailing, which by the way is 930 guests, putting Viking Ocean Cruises into the Small Cruise Ships category, which is JUST the way I like my cruise ships to be. And, by the way, Viking Sea won best overall ship in the small-mid size ship category, best entertainment, best service, best fitness, best public rooms and best shore excursions in the 2017 Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Awards. Its sister ship Viking Star won for best dining, best cabins, best value and best for first-time cruisers in the same size category, so it appears I am good company for rating this ship so highly.

Atrium seating upstairs Viking Sea

Explorers Lounge Viking Sea

Viking Decor

There is an abundance of easy chairs, sofas, loungers and sun-beds in all of the public areas……..all of them in an array of natural fabrics with muted hues of grey, cream, ochre, blue and white with highlights of burnt orange; knitted cushions, wool throws and furs adorn chairs and the backs of some sofas, and all around the ship, there are curated collections of books which you can read, as well as a selection of board games and puzzles and some quite simply gorgeous art and art installations. It’s like being at home, but without having to make the beds, do the washing up or cooking! The Atrium, with its grand stairway leads up to more seating on the next deck, and it has a discreet public computer area behind the stairs, where you can check your emails and print your destination itineraries etc. And, did I mention, that WiFi is INCLUDED in the cost of your cruise on Viking……..yes, really! For me, this was one of the biggest inclusive features, as well as not paying extra for “alternative dining”, use of the Spa and an included excursion in nearly every port. And, all wine, beer and soft drinks with lunch and dinner are included on board, as well as speciality teas and coffees, at any time. And not forgetting that EVERY stateroom cabin has a veranda, there are NO inside cabins on any of the Viking ocean cruise ships.

Sea View

Books on board

Al Fesco Dining

We’ve talked about the inside, well most of it, I’ll come back to the restaurants, bars and entertainment a little later, but what about outside…..the Viking sea is just as sleek and chic on the outside, as she is on the inside…….with beautiful wooden planking on the outside decks, two pools – one large, main pool and an infinity pool, which I believe is the only one on an ocean-going cruise ship at present, as well as plenty of tables and chairs for “Al Fresco” dining with a view. The Pool Grill and Pool Bar was a favourite with me, for casual but tasty lunchtime dining, and for afternoon cocktails, I usually gravitated to the Aquavit Terrace next to the hot tub and infinity pool. There’s also a Sports Deck on deck nine, with some extra seating away from it all. The deck areas offer more sun-beds and loungers for just that, lounging, with plenty tables for eating outside, or to rest those important poolside cocktails on.  Even the outside cushions blend in with the exterior decor of the this sleek ship, again, cool blues and greys add an air of relaxation.

Infinity Pool

Pool Grill Meal

And, when it comes to the Staterooms, there’s plenty of space for living home-away-from-home for two weeks; there are five levels of stateroom, as well as an Owner’s Suite, which is like a large apartment at sea! I stayed in the Penthouse Veranda cabin for the main part of my trip, which is a very comfortable and spacious 338 square feet stateroom, with a sofa, complimentary mini bar with snacks (which is replenished daily), a large desk and integrated vanity unit with lighted mirror, and an en-suite shower and toilet with Freyja® toiletries. A robe and slippers are also provided, and there is a hair dryer, 42″ flat-screen LCD TV which has movies available on demand. My King-size Viking Explorer bed was a dream to sleep in, and I loved the cashmere blanket at the bottom of my bed. Each level of stateroom has 24 hour room service, and that all important WiFi too. For the latter part of my trip, for one night, I slept in a Deluxe Veranda cabin, which was only slightly smaller than the Penthouse Veranda, and had almost exactly the same benefits, with the mini-bar being just soft drinks, although each cabin does have a coffee maker, and a bottle of purified water which is refilled daily.

Penthouse Veranda

Image: Sparkx.org

Penthouse Veranda

Image: Sparkx.org

I’ve already mentioned that there is Spa on the Viking Sea, which is available to use by all, and there are a range of spa treatments that can be purchased if you wish, as well as a hairdressing salon too. There is NO casino on the ship, which for me and many others I spoke to, was a blessing, this is a ship what was built for comfort, enjoyment, relaxation, good food and wine as well as the chance to explore new or much-loved destinations, it’s a place to unwind and have a wonderful holiday where the ship takes you to a new port without the need to check in and of hotels and brave the check in and security queues for flights, trains or coaches…….you board, unpack and are taken to numerous exciting destinations whilst having your own space for the length of the voyage. For me, that is the beauty of talking a cruise, whether it be an ocean cruise or a river cruise. One of the most fascinating and intriguing part of the ship, was the Viking Heritage Centre, a small museum of sorts, which told of the story of the seafaring Vikings, told through artefacts, costume, books and photos….

Viking Heritage Centre

Viking Heritage Centre

Viking Heritage Centre

If an army marches on its stomach, than it’s true to say that part of the lure of an ocean cruise is the food and wine; and Viking Sea DID NOT disappoint on that front, the food was exemplary with a choice of casual or more formal dining, although I must stress that Viking Cruises are steering away from the formal aspect of cruise dining, making it more accessible for all, with that elegantly casual and relaxation frame of mind coming into play again. You can dress up if you wish, and many people did on the cruise I was on, but put simply the choice is YOURS and is not part of a formal dining itinerary, which puts many people off.  As well as the Pool Bar and Pool Grill that I have already mentioned, Viking Sea offers several other dining options – The World Cafe on the pool deck offers breakfast, lunch and dinner, and it a self-service buffet style dining area with some cooked to order food stations. On many cruises I have been on, these buffet style easy dining restaurants have been little more than a school canteen, not the World Cafe…..the food was exceptional with a wide variety on offer, from sushi to curries and roasts, it was always fresh and appetising.  The Restaurant is the other “included” dining area where reservations aren’t required, the menu changes daily and offers a great selection too.

Freshly Baked Bread on Viking Sea

The Chef's Table

The Chef's Table Viking Sea

If you fancy eating what you have shopped for and prepared, then The Kitchen Table is for you, which offers a cookery class and the chance to eat in a super sleek private dining area. The other two “alternative” dining areas, are Manfredi’s (and Italian style restaurant) and the The Chef’s Table, which offers an utterly sublime tasting menu with paired wines. Both restaurants offer specialist dining at NO EXTRA COST, you just have to make a booking beforehand. As well as these main dining rooms, you can also grab an authentic Norwegian waffle with all the trimmings from Mamsen’s Deli in the Explorer’s Lounge, as well as some amazing Scandi style open sandwiches and cakes there for lunch, all included and at no extra cost, and the stunning Wintergarden  on the Pool deck offers an afternoon cream tea every day between 3pm and 5pm, again, as no extra charge. The Viking Bar on deck one offers breakfast pastries and sandwiches throughout the day too, for a “grab and go” breakfast or snack. I will be featuring the food on board the Viking Sea in detail in my next post, so do keep popping back to read all about the amazing meals and wine I enjoyed whilst on my cruise. 

Breakfast in bed

Pool Grill

Coffee

Before I end, I’d just like to highlight some of the areas on the ship; for nightly shows, dancing and music, Torshavn is the place to go, as well special outside shows too, on the main pool deck. There’s a theatre and two cinemas on board, and some very enticing shops that sell jewellery, watches, perfumes and some beautiful Scandi knits, felted slippers and even some mini globes! There is live music daily in the main Atrium, where there is a very grand Steinway Grand Piano, and whilst I was in board, a fabulous string trio played nightly, as I sipped my aperitif and decided where I was going to eat that night! This a ship of perfect proportions with just enough to entertain you, with excellent dining, comfortable cabins and the chance to explore a new destination every day…….subject to what cruise you choose to go on. I’ve shared all of the prices and a small fact file below, as well as gallery of images of the ship, and I hope that you have enjoyed your virtual cruise with me today, on board the Viking Sea…..look pout for my next post, which will be all about the food on board, and then my final post will cover the destinations I visited whilst in the West Indies. I’m also sharing a South African curry recipe tomorrow, so do pop back to see that too, à bientôt, Karen 

Disclaimer: I was a guest of Viking Ocean Cruises, and all of my transport, transfers, food, accommodation and excursions were included in this complimentary press trip; all views and opinions remain my own and I was not asked to write a favourable review, nor was I paid to attend this trip. 

Explorers Lounge

West Indies Explorer Cruise:

West Indies Explorer
From £2,490 | 11 Days | 9 Guided Tours |
9 Countries

West Indies Explorer From £2,490 | 11 Days | 9 Guided Tours | 9 Countries

Prices start at £2,490 per person for a Veranda Stateroom San Juan to San Juan

Included in the price: 

Return flights from the UK

One complimentary shore excursion in every port of call
Unlimited free Wi-Fi
Alternative restaurant dining at no extra charge
24-hour room service
Beer, wine & soft drinks with on board lunch & dinner
24-hour speciality coffees, teas & bottled water
Access to top-rated spa & state-of-the-art fitness centre
Self-service launderettes
Port taxes & fees
Ground transfers with Viking Air purchase

YOUR STATEROOM INCLUDES:
Private veranda
King-size Viking Explorer Bed with luxury linens & pillows
Separate seating area
42″ flat-screen LCD TV with intuitive remote & complimentary Movies On Demand
110/220 volt outlets & USB ports
Spacious closet & drawers
Mini-bar; security safe; hair dryer
Spacious glass-enclosed shower
Heated bathroom floor & anti-fog mirror
Premium Freyja® toiletries; plush robes & slippers
Stateroom steward & twice-daily housekeeping

Gallery:

Seating area

Explorers Lounge

Explorers Lounge

Explorers Lounge

Explorers Lounge

Atrium

Atrium

Explorer's Lounge

Explorers Lounge

Explorers Lounge

On Deck

Scrabble

Explorer's Lounge

Explorer’s Lounge

Seating

Atrium Stairway

Atrium Stairway

Explorer's Lounge

Explorer’s Lounge

Explorer's Lounge

Seating

Seating

West Indies Explorer

0800 298 9700

Day 1 — San Juan, Puerto Rico

Arrive in San Juan to embark your ship today. You will stay aboard your ship overnight, giving you ample time to explore El Viejo San Juan, or Old San Juan, with its seductive colonial charms, easy island tempo and authentic culture. Wander its narrow lanes, literally paved with history, laid with blue adoquín stone once used to ballast Spanish galleons. This evening, stroll the Old Town’s azure byways romantically illuminated by street lamps.

Day 2 — San Juan, Puerto Rico

You have another day to take in the history and architectural beauty of San Juan, from its fanciful Condado district to the magnificent 16th-century Fort San Felipe del Morro, set on a promontory at the entrance to San Juan Bay. Or visit the lush woodland of El Yunque national rainforest. Later today, you will sail away into the Caribbean’s blue waters. With Viking’s destination-focused itinerary, you will call on a new port daily, with not a single day spent at sea.

Day 3 — Tortola, British Virgin Islands

Witness the lush beauty that once lured the pirates Blackbeard and Captain Kidd to Tortola, part of the British Virgin Islands. You will traverse Tortola, ascending to its greatest heights to admire spectacular Caribbean vistas. Experience some of its British flavor, pass through charming fishing villages and cast your eyes on magnificent blue-green seascapes. Alternately, take to the waters to explore the grottoes of Virgin Gorda.

Day 4 — St. John’s, Antigua

Visit Antigua today, once Britain’s “Gateway to the Caribbean.” On an island tour from our berth in St. John’s, you will admire lush green beauty all around and visit English Harbor. Its restored Georgian dockyard, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is named for Admiral Horatio Nelson, who commanded the Crown’s fleet here in the 18th century. Today, yachts line the quays. But the island’s stunning scenery hasn’t changed since Nelson’s day, blanketed with tropical forests and punctuated by sheer cliffs dropping into blue waters.

Day 5 — Castries, St. Lucia

Call on the lush and mountainous island of St. Lucia, with its sheltered harbors, quiet byways and Creole-inspired cuisine. A short drive from our berth in Castries, admire breathtaking views of azure waters and hillsides shrouded in tropical green. Witness the art of batik making here and glimpse prolific banana plantations. Or, venture across the island to view the spectacular Pitons, towering twin peaks draped in forests.

Day 6 — Bridgetown, Barbados

Relish the intense Caribbean beauty of Barbados today when you call on its capital, Bridgetown, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. You will discover ample evidence of British rule here, from cricket matches and afternoon tea to the Commonwealth’s third oldest Parliament. You will marvel at spectacular vistas from the heights of Farley Hill, descending to sea level and the roiling waves of Bathsheba’s Soup Bowl, popular with surfers. Or head underground to explore the stalactites and stalagmites of Harrison’s Cave.

Day 7 — Pointe-à-Pitre, Guadeloupe

Experience the colorful culture and breathtaking natural beauty of French Guadeloupe, often called the “Butterfly Island” because its two main islands are joined with bridges. See both sides from our berth in Pointe-à-Pitre. The national parks of the west island attract adventurers to mountainous, lush rainforests. The flatter east island boasts a rich culture, fine Caribbean cuisine and craft villages awash in island flavors, from pungent spices to fresh tropical fruits. Experience both, or hike in Guadeloupe National Park to marvel at the towering Carbet Falls.

Day 8 — St. Kitts (Basseterre), St. Kitts & Nevis

Call on St. Kitts today, Britain’s first Caribbean settlement that grew into a sugar-producing powerhouse; 68 plantations operated at the height of the boom. You will learn about this lucrative colonial era at St. Kitts’s Fairview Great House & Botanical Garden, a fascinating repository of relics and beautifully preserved rooms that provide a glimpse of the lives of sugar barons. Or visit the Brimstone Hill Fortress National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Day 9 — Philipsburg, St. Martin

Explore two countries on one island today when you call on St. Martin. You will dock on the Dutch side, in Philipsburg, and have the chance to contrast the two cultures. See the great salt pond on the Dutch side, the charming old village of Quartier-d’Orleans and the French capital, Marigot, called the “Caribbean Paris.” Or, choose to simply relax on the island’s famous Orient Beach, one and a half miles of gorgeous white sand.

Day 10 — Charlotte Amalie, St. Thomas

Explore one of the Caribbean’s most beloved islands today, St. Thomas. You will dock within walking distance of its capital, Charlotte Amalie, set on one of the most picturesque harbors in the region. Get acquainted with the beauty of St. Thomas during a scenic drive along a spectacular route, stopping at the famous Mountain Top for breathtaking views of the sea and surrounding islands. Alternately, you might cross the emerald-green island to Magens Bay, home to one of the world’s most beautiful beaches.

Day 11 — San Juan, Puerto Rico

Disembark this morning and return home, or continue your exploration of the Puerto Rican capital with our extension here.

* One shore excursion included per port as indicated (included); all others available at an extra charge. Depending on your stateroom category, shore excursions may be reserved beginning 90 days before your cruise sails. Not all excursions will be available for all sailings. Full details of the excursions available on your specific departure date can be viewed at My Viking Journey once your cruise booking has been made. Viking Cruises reserves the right to withdraw, change, and/or cancel a tour or to make changes in the itinerary and hotel accommodations whenever, conditions warrant it. Please see Terms and Conditions for full details.
 Atrium Deck 2 Seating

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Creme Egg Cheesecake for Easter!

Creme Egg Cheesecake for Easter! A delicious Cadbury Creme Egg Cheesecake recipe by Georgia’s Cakes – this cheesecake is easy to make and would be a tasty and fun centrepiece for any Easter Sunday tea time table! Cadbury’s creme eggs are added to, and decorate this vanilla cheesecake, along with swirls of melted chocolate. 

Cadbury Creme egg cheesecake by Georgia’s Cakes

Cadbury Creme Egg Cheesecake by Georgia’s Cakes

Cadbury Creme egg cheesecake by Georgia’s Cakes

Today is Maundy Thursday, the day before Good Friday and the start of the long Easter weekend, which is one of my Favourite times of the year; sadly, this year, due to a serious family illness, we will be travelling to and from hospital (over a hundred and fifty miles way), and there will just be the three of us……but, I still intend to put up my Easter Tree, cook a family Easter Sunday Lunch and bake some special Easter treats, such as this Creme Egg Cheesecake for Easter! The recipe isn’t my own, which regular readers of Lavender and Lovage will know is rare, but, as things are a little upside down this year, I was glad of an easy to follow recipe, and one that will be tasty and bit of fun for our Easter tea time table.

Creme Egg Cheesecake for Easter

The recipe makes use of Cadbury’s Creme Eggs, as well as lots of chocolate, vanilla and full-fat cream cheese, so it is quite rich, but extremely delicious! And, it certainly looks the part too, with all of the creme eggs IN the cheesecake, as well as adorning the top, along with some melted chocolate swirls; the recipe is by Georgia’s Cakes, which was was founded in 2015 by Georgia Green in North London……her cakes are simply gorgeous, and very decadent, as you can see from some of the examples here: Georgia’s Cakes. We all love cheesecake at Chez Lavender and Lovage, and especially one that is loaded with vanilla and full-fat cream cheese. Much though I love to create and cook healthy recipes, sweet indulgences for certain times of the year should be just that, a sweet and indulgent treat, that is NOT low-fat or low-calorie – for special times of the year and in moderation!

Creme Egg Cheescake

The recipe for this Creme Egg Cheescake is shared below, but please note that the photos I am sharing are of the recipe cut back by a half, as there are only three of us here for Easter, as I mentioned before.  And with that mind, instead of using an 8″ (20cm) cake ring or spring form tin, I used a smaller one, a 6″ (15cm) loose-bottom tin. If you need to half the ingredients, then it works just fine, and I was rewarded with a small but perfectly formed, creamy chocolate and vanilla cheesecake, that we are looking forward to enjoying this weekend. Have a very Happy Easter……I will see you soon with some travel stories from South Africa and the West Indies, along with some new recipes and some notes and recipes from an exciting new project with wine! Karen 

Cadbury Creme egg cheesecake by Georgia’s Cakes     INGREDIENTS     ·         10 Cadbury Creme Eggs  ·         6 mini Cadbury Creme Eggs  ·         150g digestive biscuits  ·         75g melted butter  ·         750g full fat cream cheese  ·         150g icing sugar  ·         1 vanilla pod  ·         300ml double cream  ·         White chocolate, melted  ·         Dark Chocolate, melted  ·         Caramel sauce     Utensils  ·         8 inch cake ring or spring form tin  ·         Acetate     METHOD  1.       Line the inside of the tin or ring with some acetate - this will make it easier to remove the cheesecake after it’s been set  2.       Crush the biscuits into fine crumbs and stir the melted butter in  3.       Pour into the cake tin and press around the bottom of the tin so the whole surface is covered and compact  4.       Put in the fridge to set  5.       Chop 5 of the Cadbury Creme Eggs up into small chunks and set to one side  6.       In a bowl, beat together the cream cheese, vanilla seeds from the vanilla pod and sifted icing sugar  7.       In a separate bowl, whisk the double cream until it’s just started to firm up  8.       Gently fold the cream into the cream cheese mix until it’s combined  9.       Add the chopped up Creme Eggs and mix in  10.   Take out the cake tin with the biscuit case  11.   Cut the remaining Cadbury Creme Eggs in half - length ways - and arrange them facing out around the sides of the cake tin (use the goo to make them stick to the sides!)  12.   Pour in the cheesecake mix and flatten off the top with a spatula or palette knife  13.   Set in refrigerator for at least 1 hour  14.   Once set, take out the fridge and remove the tin being careful with the outside of the cake  15.   If applied, remove the acetate too  16.   Drizzle over some white chocolate, dark chocolate and caramel sauce in a criss cross pattern  17.   Cut the mini Creme Eggs in half - length ways and - arrange around the outside of the cheesecake

*Disclaimer – Paid collaborative work*

Cadbury Creme Egg Cheesecake by Georgia’s Cakes

INGREDIENTS:

· 10 Cadbury Creme Eggs

· 6 mini Cadbury Creme Eggs

· 150g digestive biscuits

· 75g melted butter

· 750g full fat cream cheese

· 150g icing sugar

· 1 vanilla pod

· 300ml double cream

· White chocolate, melted

· Dark Chocolate, melted

· Caramel sauce

Utensils

· 8 inch cake ring or spring form tin

· Acetate

METHOD:

1. Line the inside of the tin or ring with some acetate – this will make it easier to remove the cheesecake after it’s been set

2. Crush the biscuits into fine crumbs and stir the melted butter in

3. Pour into the cake tin and press around the bottom of the tin so the whole surface is covered and compact

4. Put in the fridge to set

5. Chop 5 of the Cadbury Creme Eggs up into small chunks and set to one side

6. In a bowl, beat together the cream cheese, vanilla seeds from the vanilla pod and sifted icing sugar

7. In a separate bowl, whisk the double cream until it’s just started to firm up

8. Gently fold the cream into the cream cheese mix until it’s combined

9. Add the chopped up Creme Eggs and mix in

10. Take out the cake tin with the biscuit case

11. Cut the remaining Cadbury Creme Eggs in half – length ways – and arrange them facing out around the sides of the cake tin (use the goo to make them stick to the sides!)

12. Pour in the cheesecake mix and flatten off the top with a spatula or palette knife

13. Set in refrigerator for at least 1 hour

14. Once set, take out the fridge and remove the tin being careful with the outside of the cake

15. If applied, remove the acetate too

16. Drizzle over some white chocolate, dark chocolate and caramel sauce in a criss-cross pattern

17. Cut the mini Creme Eggs in half – length ways and – arrange around the outside of the cheesecake

NB: Please note that I cut the recipe in half for a smaller cheesecake.

Cadbury Creme egg cheesecake by Georgia’s Cakes     INGREDIENTS     ·         10 Cadbury Creme Eggs  ·         6 mini Cadbury Creme Eggs  ·         150g digestive biscuits  ·         75g melted butter  ·         750g full fat cream cheese  ·         150g icing sugar  ·         1 vanilla pod  ·         300ml double cream  ·         White chocolate, melted  ·         Dark Chocolate, melted  ·         Caramel sauce     Utensils  ·         8 inch cake ring or spring form tin  ·         Acetate     METHOD  1.       Line the inside of the tin or ring with some acetate - this will make it easier to remove the cheesecake after it’s been set  2.       Crush the biscuits into fine crumbs and stir the melted butter in  3.       Pour into the cake tin and press around the bottom of the tin so the whole surface is covered and compact  4.       Put in the fridge to set  5.       Chop 5 of the Cadbury Creme Eggs up into small chunks and set to one side  6.       In a bowl, beat together the cream cheese, vanilla seeds from the vanilla pod and sifted icing sugar  7.       In a separate bowl, whisk the double cream until it’s just started to firm up  8.       Gently fold the cream into the cream cheese mix until it’s combined  9.       Add the chopped up Creme Eggs and mix in  10.   Take out the cake tin with the biscuit case  11.   Cut the remaining Cadbury Creme Eggs in half - length ways - and arrange them facing out around the sides of the cake tin (use the goo to make them stick to the sides!)  12.   Pour in the cheesecake mix and flatten off the top with a spatula or palette knife  13.   Set in refrigerator for at least 1 hour  14.   Once set, take out the fridge and remove the tin being careful with the outside of the cake  15.   If applied, remove the acetate too  16.   Drizzle over some white chocolate, dark chocolate and caramel sauce in a criss cross pattern  17.   Cut the mini Creme Eggs in half - length ways and - arrange around the outside of the cheesecake

Cadbury Creme egg cheesecake by Georgia’s Cakes     INGREDIENTS     ·         10 Cadbury Creme Eggs  ·         6 mini Cadbury Creme Eggs  ·         150g digestive biscuits  ·         75g melted butter  ·         750g full fat cream cheese  ·         150g icing sugar  ·         1 vanilla pod  ·         300ml double cream  ·         White chocolate, melted  ·         Dark Chocolate, melted  ·         Caramel sauce     Utensils  ·         8 inch cake ring or spring form tin  ·         Acetate     METHOD  1.       Line the inside of the tin or ring with some acetate - this will make it easier to remove the cheesecake after it’s been set  2.       Crush the biscuits into fine crumbs and stir the melted butter in  3.       Pour into the cake tin and press around the bottom of the tin so the whole surface is covered and compact  4.       Put in the fridge to set  5.       Chop 5 of the Cadbury Creme Eggs up into small chunks and set to one side  6.       In a bowl, beat together the cream cheese, vanilla seeds from the vanilla pod and sifted icing sugar  7.       In a separate bowl, whisk the double cream until it’s just started to firm up  8.       Gently fold the cream into the cream cheese mix until it’s combined  9.       Add the chopped up Creme Eggs and mix in  10.   Take out the cake tin with the biscuit case  11.   Cut the remaining Cadbury Creme Eggs in half - length ways - and arrange them facing out around the sides of the cake tin (use the goo to make them stick to the sides!)  12.   Pour in the cheesecake mix and flatten off the top with a spatula or palette knife  13.   Set in refrigerator for at least 1 hour  14.   Once set, take out the fridge and remove the tin being careful with the outside of the cake  15.   If applied, remove the acetate too  16.   Drizzle over some white chocolate, dark chocolate and caramel sauce in a criss cross pattern  17.   Cut the mini Creme Eggs in half - length ways and - arrange around the outside of the cheesecake

More Easter Recipes:

Confetti “Funfetti” Chiffon Cake for Easter Sunday Tea

Confetti “Funfetti” Chiffon Cake for Easter Sunday Tea

Little Easter Cakes: Mini Chocolate Drizzle Bundt Cakes

Little Easter Cakes: Mini Chocolate Drizzle Bundt Cakes

Creme Egg & Malteser Chocolate Tiffin Bundt Cake

Creme Egg & Malteser Chocolate Tiffin Bundt Cake

Topsy Turvy Blackcurrant Cheesecake Trifles for Easter!

Topsy Turvy Blackcurrant Cheesecake Trifles for Easter!

Easter Nest Cupcakes for the Easter Weekend Tea Time Table

Easter Nest Cupcakes for the Easter Weekend Tea Time Table

Easter Weekend Treats, Chocolate, Recipes and Champagne

Easter Weekend Treats, Chocolate, Recipes and Champagne

For your Easter Table: Cream Cheese & Cheddar Spread with Bacon and Herbs

For your Easter Table: Cream Cheese & Cheddar Spread with Bacon and Herbs

A BIG Easter Cake! Creme Egg Chocolate Drizzle Cake

A BIG Easter Cake! Creme Egg Chocolate Drizzle Cake

Organic Easter Menu: French Herb & Garlic Lamb and Pots au Chocolat

Organic Easter Menu: French Herb & Garlic Lamb and Pots au Chocolat

Easter Eggy Bread: Raspberry & Vanilla “Pain Perdu” (French Toast)

Easter Eggy Bread: Raspberry & Vanilla “Pain Perdu” (French Toast)

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Do Lunch Better Every Day

Do Lunch Better Every Day – There’s no need to skip a healthy and nutritious lunch no matter how busy you are, and with the opportunity of an easy to heat up carton of soup, with a few easy to prepare toppings and dippers, you can be eating lunch in under 15 minutes!

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.

Enjoy Lunch in Under 15 Minutes!

Leek and Potato Soup

Regular Lavender and Lovage readers will have seen my posts about how to Do Lunch Better over the last few weeks, and hopefully you will have been inspired to try out my Toppings and Dippers ideas when using a very convenient carton of soup, as I have done in collaboration with the New Convent Garden Soup Co. The psychological benefits of eating a nourishing and filling lunch are well documented, and the results show that people who eat a healthy and filling lunch are much better able to fulfil cognitive tasks as well as vital decision-making after lunchtime, and well into the afternoon. There’s a common misconception that a healthy lunch takes a lot of time to prepare and eat, but, with a carton of soup, that’s not the case, as ready-made soup needs only 5 minutes to reheat, giving you 10 minutes to prepare some tasty toppings and dippers to really make lunch special and to Do Lunch Better Every Day.

 skinny Soup

Most of the soups that I tried and tested over the last few weeks with New Covent Garden Soup Co, were low in calories and high in protein, and they offer a fabulous hot lunch to all, with some flavours of soup being suitable for vegans, vegetarians as well as meat eaters too of course, and many of the soups are gluten-free and dairy free too. Both my husband and I found the soups to taste like they were “home-made”, with a lovely thick texture and in the case of the meaty soups, with lots of meat in them. As well as my ideas for toppings and dippers, there’s some great ideas over in the New Covent Garden Soup Co site too, with these being my favourite top tips:

Add a pinch of herbs

Add a pinch of chilli powder

Enjoy the soup with toast or rye crackers

Add some croutons 

Add grated cheese

Add chopped vegetables

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.

For more ideas how to do lunch better, why not pop over to see my other posts here:

Blind Taste Test Recipe Creation with Soup!

Blind Taste Test Recipe Creation with Soup!

Toppings and Dippers for Lunchtime Soups!

Toppings and Dippers for Lunchtime Soups!

Soup Trimmings for Healthy Lunch Options

Soup Trimmings for Healthy Lunch Options

Beating the Cold Weather with Nutri-Soups

Beating the Cold Weather with Nutri-Soups

    *Collaborative post with New Covent Garden Soup Co*

Ingredients

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Clementine & Almond Cake

Clementine & Almond Cake – Today I am sharing a delightful recipe for Meg Rivers Clementine & Almond Cake, which would be perfect for Mothering Sunday or Easter, as well as an opportunity to win a Meg Rivers 6 month subscription to the Cake Club, a really delectable prize that is worth £120!

Clementine & Almond Cake - Today I am sharing a delightful recipe for Meg Rivers Clementine & Almond Cake, which would be perfect for Mothering Sunday or Easter, as well as an opportunity to win a Meg Rivers 6 month subscription to the Cake Club, a really delectable prize that is worth £120!

Giveaway:

Win a Six Month Meg Rivers Cake Club Subscription

Meg Rivers Cake

I love cake, and even though I am more of a savoury person, nothing quite beats a beautifully baked cake, whether it be home-baked or bought from a reputable, artisan bakery; and, one of my favourite bakeries is Meg Rivers, which is situated in The Cotswolds in England. Meg Rivers started her business in 1986 when she began baking cakes in her home kitchen. It was in the pre-internet days when selling food mail-order was something of a rarity, however, the business was so successful, that in 1991, Meg won Businesswoman of the Year. Sadly, Meg Rivers passed away, but the bakery is still in good hands, as one of Meg’s family friends, Julian Day, took over the bakery along with his daughters, thus ensuring that beautiful, hand-baked and artisan cakes and bakes are still the cornerstone of the company. Julian has subsequently published a a book, “Meg Rivers Home Baking”, a copy of which I have and refer to on numerous occasions, and which really highlights the passion and commitment that he and his family have to bake cakes of high quality with premium ingredients.

‘Meg Rivers Home Baking’

As well as being able to buy artisan cakes, you can also buy biscuits and tray-bakes by mail order from Meg Rivers too, including gift collections, some of which come in tins. But, as we lead up to Mother’s Day (Mothering Sunday) and Easter this year, it’s the cakes, and more specifically the Monthly Subscription Cake Club I’d like to feature today, along with a fabulous recipe from Meg Rivers, for Clementine & Almond Cake, which you can all make at home, as well as the opportunity to enter into a very special giveaway, where all Lavender and Lovage readers have the chance to win a SIX MONTH subscription to Meg Rivers Cake Club, worth £120! I’d also like to share some ideas how to serve this wonderfully moist, citrus cake, which has gone down a storm in our house. Today’s recipe for Clementine & Almond Cake is the cake that will be sent out to all Cake Club members this Easter, and I have some great ideas how to dress the cake up for Easter, as well as Mother’s Day too.

Clementine & Almond Cake

To serve Clementine & Almond Cake, here are a few ideas that we enjoy here at Chez Lavender and Lovage: 

Cut the cake into slices, and heat it up in a microwave on a medium heat for about 1 minute, it should be warm and not hot, then serve with cream or creme fraiche, in the style of a “pudding cake”. 

Thrifty & Organic Meal Planner: Salmon with Herb Mayonnaise, Spring Greens & Orange Cream Cheese Cake Recipes

Decorate the cake with buttercream icing or an extra drizzle of fruit icing, and cut it in half to add more if you want a rich cake for a special occasion. 

Add some edible flowers to the cake, or homemade crystallised violets for a pretty floral look for Mother’s Day, Easter or a summer birthday cake. 

For Easter, add some mini chocolate Easter eggs and wee chicks to the top of the cake, similar to this chocolate cake I made last year…..

No Bake Creme Egg & Malteser Chocolate Tiffin Bundt Cake

Whatever the occasion, although nothing extra is needed for any of Meg Rivers cakes, you can adapt the decoration and add some extras, such as buttercream icing, according to how you want to serve the cake/s. Here’s more information about the Cake Club……..

  • A freshly baked Meg Rivers cakes will be delivered by post to your door every month of the year, whether it be for you and your family, or for a loved one or a friend, it makes for a very special gift.
  • It’s simple, each month you will receive a different cake, many of the cakes are exclusive to the Cake Club, and you get to play taster. Which will be your favourite, a traditional Simnel Cake at Easter, Elderflower & Gooseberry Cake in July, or maybe a sticky Ginger & Molasses Cake in November. So, that’s a cake a month, all according to the season…..this month’s cake of the month for March 2018, is, not surprises here, the Clementine & Almond Cake!

NB: Cake Club can commence at any time of year but must run for consecutive months. Price includes UK mainland post and packing. 

Clementine & Almond Cake

The Meg Rivers Clementine & Almond Cake recipe is shared below, for those who would like to make it, as well as order one for your mum this Mother’s Day. Then, just below the recipe, there is the giveaway, which is easy to enter, all of the entry requirements are listed clearly above the Rafflecopter entry box…..Good Luck to all of you who enter the contest, and don’t forget the share the link with your friends and family for a chance to share six months worth of cakes! Karen 

Cake Club Cakes

Disclaimer: Paid collaborative post with Meg Rivers Artisan Bakery


Mother’s Day Clementine & Almond Cake Recipe:

Mother's Day Clementine & Almond Cake
Ingredients:
200g butter (spreadable texture)
250g sugar
35g clementine zest (from about 5 clementines)
15g lemon zest (from about 2 lemons)
4 free range eggs (xl size)
250g ground almonds
100g plain flour
For the syrup:
100ml clementine juice
75g sugar

Method:
1. Grease and line a 7 inch diameter round cake tin with parchment paper, ensuring the paper stands about 1 inch above the top of the tin – this is to hold syrup as it soaks in to the cake later in the process. Ensure the butter is a soft, spreadable texture and the eggs should be at room temperature.
2. Wash the fruit, then remove zest from the clementines and lemons. Squeeze the juice from the clementines and keep aside to make the syrup later.
3. In a large mixing bowl, add both of the zests to the butter and sugar and blend together. Slowly add the egg, beating it in until well incorporated into the mixture. Add the ground almonds and flour and stir well. Spoon the mixture into the cake tin and bake in a pre-heated oven for about 60 – 75 minutes at 170°centigrade (non convection oven) or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. The cake should have slightly shrunken from the sides and be springy to the touch. When ready, remove from the oven, leave it in the tin and place on a wire rack.
4. To make the syrup, warm the sugar and clementine juice in a small pan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. While the cake is still warm from the oven, pierce the cake to about three quarters of its depth using a skewer (a piece of spaghetti works well) to make lots of holes about 1 inch apart all over the surface of the cake. Drizzle over the syrup – you may have to do this in stages to allow all the syrup to soak in. Let the cake cool completely in the tin, then turn it out on to a serving plate. Serve with segments of clementine and crème fraiche.


Giveaway:

Win a 6 Month Subscription to the Meg Rivers Cake Club (worth £120)

Cherry Cake

To enter this Meg Rivers Six Month Cake Subscription Giveaway, all you have to do is the following:

1. Complete the Rafflecopter widget below to verify your entries – THREE mandatory questions will appear, which you need to answer by leaving a comment at the bottom of this post to say that you have signed up to the Meg Rivers email list (found on the website at the bottom of every page on the Meg Rivers website), following me on Twitter and liking the Meg Rivers Facebook page OR following their Twitter account, before going back to the Rafflecopter form and hitting “Enter”. (After this, you can complete the bonus entries as explained on the form to increase your odds of winning – you can also return daily to tweet this for more bonus entries)

2. Entries are by blog comment, Twitter, Facebook etc

3. Closing Date: 26th March 2018

(For more information on how to enter blog giveaways using Rafflecopter please see this short video)

You can win more bonus entries by tweeting on a daily basis.

It’s EASY! Rafflecopter will tweet, like and follow on your behalf. For information on finding the URL of your tweet please see this

GOOD LUCK!

Karen

Simnel Cake

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Leek & Chicken Casserole with Baked Dumplings

Welsh Leek & Chicken Casserole with Baked Herb Dumplings – Using locally sourced ingredients with provenance, this recipe is a real winter warmer, and would be perfect for any family supper to celebrate St David’s Day. Organic Welsh chicken is paired with locally grown Welsh leeks and shallots, which is cooked in a rich chicken stock before being finished with baked herb dumplings.

Welsh Leek & Chicken Casserole with Baked Herb Dumplings

St David’s Day Recipe

Welsh Leek & Chicken Casserole with Baked Herb Dumplings

Having just moved to beautiful North Wales, just on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park, I am delighted to announce that I have partnered with Food and Drink Wales, who have asked me to create a Welsh inspired recipe for St David’s Day, using Welsh ingredients, naturally, in order to celebrate some of the fantastic produce that is coming out of Wales. Part of the Welsh Government’s #ThisisWales #GwladGlad campaign is to ensure that Wales and its first class produce are centre stage on the patron’s saint day on the 1st March, and, my special created recipe for Leek & Chicken Casserole with Baked Dumplings, uses locally sourced Welsh leeks, organic chicken and locally grown shallots and herbs, making it a wonderful dish to cook for all the family to celebrate St David’s Day and all that Wales has to offer by way of delicious, high quality food and produce. All that is needed to complete this hearty dish, is a bowl of steamed Blas Y Tir Welsh potatoes, dressed with a knob of salted Welsh butter and some fresh parsley.

Welsh Produce

Today’s recipe for Welsh Leek & Chicken Casserole with Baked Herb Dumplings would also make a fabulous Sunday lunch dish, as well as a hearty mid-week family supper dish. As regular Lavender and Lovage readers know, I try to cook seasonally and shop locally, and when you have some of the world’s best meat, poultry, vegetables and seafood on your doorstep, it makes sense to utilise it, whilst supporting your local community and the people who grow and produce it all. Living at the neck of the stunning Lleyn Peninsular, as well as vegetables, cheese, sea salt, butter, Welsh mountain lamb and Welsh beef, I have access to the most amazing seafood too, of which our favourites are the Menai oysters and mussels in nearby Anglesey. Wales, as a whole, and especially when I live in North Wales, is a veritable cornucopia of food and drink, which can be enjoyed in Wales, as well as outside Wales too, of course.

Leek & Chicken Casserole with Baked Dumplings

My St David’s Day recipe uses one of Wales’s most popular vegetables, as well as being one of the national emblems of Wales, the leek. Having lived with my maternal grandparents in Northumberland in England when I was little, I know and understand the importance of this humble vegetable, as it is an important symbol of growing and providing food for your family there, as it is in Wales; there are numerous traditional Welsh recipes that use leeks, such as Cawl (Wales’s national dish), Glamorgan Sausages (Selsig Morgannwg) and Leek Pudding. The baked dumplings are very reminiscent of Welsh oatmeal dumplings, and have herbs added for extra colour and flavour. And, you don’t have to be in Wales or Welsh to enjoy my recipe, it’s a great winter warmer, especially with all this cold weather that has been blowing down from Siberia lately……you can use chicken breasts in place of chicken thighs, but I prefer chicken thighs for texture and flavour, and they hold up better in a casserole and don’t dry out.

Welsh Leek and Chicken Casserole

The recipe for my special St David’s Day Welsh Leek & Chicken Casserole with Baked Herb Dumplings is shared below, in a printable recipe card; and, I am also delighted to offer a fabulous giveaway, a St David’s Day Hamper filled with Welsh goodies and produce, on behalf of Food and Drink Wales, you can enter below, just below the recipe. I hope that you all enjoy St David’s Day on the 1st of March, wherever you may be in the world, and do let me know what you think of the recipe I created, if you make it, and DON’T forget to enter the Giveaway below, Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus! Karen

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus!

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus!

*Collaborative post with Food and Drink Wales*

Welsh Leek & Chicken Casserole with Baked Herb Dumplings

Serves 4 to 6
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 1 hour, 10 minutes
Total time 1 hour, 30 minutes
Allergy

Wheat
Meal type

Lunch, Main Dish
Misc

Child Friendly, Serve Hot
Occasion

Casual Party, Easter, Formal Party, Halloween
Region British

By author

Karen Burns-Booth
Using locally sourced ingredients with provenance, this recipe is a real winter warmer, and would be perfect for any family supper to celebrate St David’s Day. Organic Welsh chicken is paired with locally grown Welsh leeks and shallots, which is cooked in a rich chicken stock before being finished with baked herb dumplings.

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon rapeseed oil
  • 125g smoked lardons (or smoked streaky bacon cut into small pieces)
  • 4 shallots, peeled and diced
  • 8 skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 3 leeks, trimmed, washed and sliced (use the white and the green)
  • 450ml chicken stock
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • chopped fresh parsley

Dumplings

  • 225g self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon dried herbs (such as parsley, sage, thyme, majoram and rosemary) (or 1 tablespoon of fresh herbs)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 110g shredded vegetable or beef suet
  • water, to mix

Note

Using locally sourced ingredients with provenance, this recipe is a real winter warmer, and would be perfect for any family supper to celebrate St David’s Day. Organic Welsh chicken is paired with locally grown Welsh leeks and shallots, which is cooked in a rich chicken stock before being finished with baked herb dumplings.

Directions

Step 1 In a large oven-proof shallow saute pan that has a lid, heat the oil and then add the lardons and shallots; fry over a gentle heat until the bacon fat is crisp and the shallots are soft. Push the bacon and shallots to one side, or remove, and add the chicken thighs, increase the heat and cook the chicken until it is a pale golden brown. Add the bacon and shallots back into the pan if removed, before adding the chopped leeks.
Step 2 Saute the leeks for 2 to 3 minutes and the add the chicken stock, season to taste with salt and pepper, cover with a lid and simmer over a low heat for 25 to 30 minutes, or until the chicken and leeks are cooked.
Step 3 Whilst the chicken casserole is simmering, pre-heat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6 and make the dumplings; Mix the flour with the salt, pepper and herbs in a mixing bowl. Stir in the suet and then add water VERY carefully and slowly – mixing in between, until the dumpling dough is soft, but not sticky. Shape the dough into 8 round dumplings.
Step 4 Take the casserole off the hob, take the lid off, and drop the dumplings on top of the chicken and leeks, place the casserole dish in the pre-heated oven and bake for 20 minutes until the dumplings are well-risen , crusty and golden brown.
Step 5 Remove from the oven, scatter the fresh parsley over the casserole and serve straight away with steamed Blas Y Tir baby Welsh potatoes.

Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Hapus!

GIVEAWAY:

Hamper

Win a St David’s Day Welsh Produce Hamper comprising:

• 2 x Penderyn miniatures – Whisky and Gin
• Radnor Brecon Smoky Campfire Marmalade
• Radnor Brecon Pin Gin Marmalade
• Nom Nom Halen Mon Sea Salt Chocolate Bar
• Nom Nom Earl Grey Chocolate Bar
• 2 x Tregroes Toffee Waffles
• 2 x Tan Y Castell Welsh Cakes
• 2 x Welsh Brew Tea Bag Sample Packs
• Welsh apron
• Wicker hamper

St David's Day

To enter this St David’s Day Hamper Giveaway, all you have to do is the following:

1. Complete the Rafflecopter widget below to verify your entries – THREE mandatory questions will appear, which you need to answer by leaving a comment at the bottom of this post, following me on Twitter and following Food and Drink Wales on Twitter, before going back to the Rafflecopter form and hitting “Enter”. (After this, you can complete the bonus entries as explained on the form to increase your odds of winning – you can also return daily to tweet this for more bonus entries)

2. Entries are by blog comment, Twitter, Facebook etc

3. Closing Date: 1st April 2018

(For more information on how to enter blog giveaways using Rafflecopter please see this short video)

You can win more bonus entries by tweeting on a daily basis.

It’s EASY! Rafflecopter will tweet, like and follow on your behalf. For information on finding the URL of your tweet please see this

GOOD LUCK!

Karen

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Welsh Cawl (Lamb & Vegetable Stew)

Welsh Cawl (Lamb & Vegetable Stew) – Cawl is often seen as being the national dish of Wales, my recipe is based on a traditional Welsh recipe for Cawl, but uses lamb steaks in place of a lamb joint, as was commonly used in times gone by. A bowl of cawl is usually accompanied by crusty bread and Caerphilly cheese, and makes a wonderfully comforting family supper dish. 

Welsh Cawl

with

Blas Y Tir

Welsh Produce

Cawl

Since I moved to North Wales a few months ago, I have been embracing all of the local produce with culinary enthusiasm, and dare I say, greedy zeal! I am blessed to live on the edge of the Snowdonia National Park, at the head of the stunning Lleyn Peninsula, where fabulous local produce is easily sourced and enjoyed regularly at our family tea-time table. Dramatic mountain scenery with big sky is what I see from my kitchen window now, and just over the brow of the hill, the hills and mountains give way to a glorious stretch of coastline. The light is iridescent and it almost dances and shimmers in the dawn sky……..clouds scud across huge expanses of blue, and grey skies, and the peaks of the nearby mountains glow crimson in the rays of the setting sun…..it’s an ancient land, battles were fought in our little hamlet, many centuries ago, and the old woods behind our house whisper and rustle in the early morning breeze, as if they want to impart tales from the past. And, it’s because of this surrounding countryside that today’s recipe for Welsh Cawl (Lamb & Vegetable Stew) (Cawl Cymreig in Welsh) was researched made and enjoyed, a little bit of Wales on a plate, using locally grown and raised produce.

Cawl and cheese

Cawl is what most people regard as the national dish of Wales – the word cawl rhymes with owl, and this traditional country soup is beloved by all Welsh people, young and old, with eyes misting over as they recall their mother’s or grandmother’s recipe for this hearty dish. Similar to a Lobscouse, Lancashire Hotpot or Panackelty, there are many variations of the recipe, but they all seem to have one thing in common, they all have leeks, potatoes and carrots as the main vegetable components, and when meat is used, it seems that lamb is the most popular, although on researching the recipe, it seems that salted bacon/pork and beef were also used at certain times of the year. Thickening agents were oatmeal, as well as flour, but many recipes don’t include any thickening agents, and many recipes prompt the idea that cawl is a thin gruel type broth that contains chunky vegetables and a meat – the idea is that you serve the broth first, and then eat the meat and vegetables afterwards, in the same vein as Yorkshire Pudding if you will, a cheap filler to feed the family.

Cawl Cymreig

My recipe uses fabulous Welsh grown vegetables from Blas Y Tir, Halen Mon Anglesey Sea Salt and Welsh PGI lamb steaks, for a truly Welsh recipe, deserving of any St David’s Day dinner or supper. By using lamb steaks, or neck of lamb fillets, the dish cooks in about 2 hours, instead of 3 to 4 hours if using a large joint of meat. Serve this bowl of goodness with a hunk of Caerphilly cheese and some crusty bread, for the complete “cawl eating experience”. It’s also one of those dishes that is all the better for being made the day before you plan to eat it……skim any excess fat of the surface, before gently re-heating it over a low heat, until piping hot, then serve as before with cheese and bread. Visit this page at Oakden for other cawl recipes and some interesting history about the dish, including a recipe that uses lamb cutlets, which I may try next time. My recipe for Welsh Cawl (Cawl Cymreig) is shared below, and if you make it, please let me know if you enjoyed it as much as we did. Karen 

Welsh Cawl (Lamb & Vegetable Stew)

Serves 6 to 8 servings
Prep time 30 minutes
Cook time 2 hours, 15 minutes
Total time 2 hours, 45 minutes
Meal type

Lunch, Main Dish, Snack, Soup, Starter
Misc

Child Friendly, Serve Hot
Occasion

Casual Party, Christmas, Easter, Formal Party, Halloween, Thanksgiving
Region British

By author

Karen Burns-Booth
Welsh Cawl (Lamb & Vegetable Stew) – Cawl is often seen as being the national dish of Wales, my recipe is based on a traditional Welsh recipe for Cawl, but uses lamb steaks in place of a lamb joint.

Ingredients

  • 600g Welsh lamb steaks, diced (or lamb neck fillets)
  • 1 tablespoon flour (mixed with salt and pepper)
  • Rapeseed oil
  • 4 large potatoes, or 8 to 10 smaller potatoes, scrubbed and diced (no need to peel them)
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1/2 swede, peeled and diced
  • 2 parsnips, peeled and diced
  • 3 leeks, trimmed, sliced and rinsed thoroughly (greens and white)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • freshly chopped parsley (to garnish)
  • crusty bread (to serve)
  • Caerphilly cheese (to serve)

Note

Welsh Cawl (Lamb & Vegetable Stew) – Cawl is often seen as being the national dish of Wales, my recipe is based on a traditional Welsh recipe for Cawl, but uses lamb steaks in place of a lamb joint, as was commonly used in times gone by. A bowl of cawl is usually accompanied by crusty bread and Caerphilly cheese.

Directions

Step 1 Dredge the diced lamb in the seasoned flour, and in a large stockpot, heat the oil until hot; add the floured, diced lamb and cook for 3 to 4 minutes, stirring all the time, until the lamb has a golden brown crust.
Step 2 Turn the heat down, add 2 litres of water, before adding the diced potatoes, carrots, swede and parsnips. Season to taste with salt and pepper, place a lid on the pot and simmer for 2 hours, or until the meat is tender and the vegetables are cooked. 20 minutes before the end of the cooking time, add the chopped leeks, replace the lid and continue to cook.
Step 3 Check and adjust the seasoning, scatter the chopped fresh parsley over the cawl, then serve in warmed soup bowls, giving each person some meat, vegetables and the broth. Delicious with crusty bread and Caerphilly cheese.
Step 4 Better is made the day before serving; to serve, skim off any fat and reheat gently until piping hot. Serve as before.

Cawl Cymreig

Caul with Halen Mon

More Welsh Recipes:

Welsh Shearing Cake (Cacen Gneifo)

Welsh Shearing Cake (Cacen Gneifo)

Welsh Rarebit Cheese Spread

Welsh Rarebit Cheese Spread

Welsh Lamb Cornbread Cobbler

Welsh Lamb Cornbread Cobbler

Welsh Cakes

Magic Microwave Mug Cakes, Welsh Cakes and Custard Tarts

Glamorgan Sausages (Selsig Morgannwg)

Welsh Vegetarian Sausages for a Family Supper – Glamorgan Sausages (Selsig Morgannwg)

Anglesey Eggs (Ŵyau Ynys Môn)

Anglesey Eggs (Ŵyau Ynys Môn)

St David's Day

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Beating the Cold Weather with Nutri-Soups

Beating the Cold Weather with Nutri-Soups – We are experiencing very cold weather that has blown down from Siberia recently, and so soups, and especially Nutri-Soups are still very much on our menu in an attempt to do lunch better! Today’s post is all about how to add extras to your soup, by way of toppings and dippers.

Nutri Soups

Do Lunch Better

Nutri Soups

Baby it’s cold outside, as the old 1940’s song goes! Apparently, it’s a cold front that’s sweeping down from Siberia, and all of a sudden, Spring seems to have disappeared over the horizon in a trail of frost and snow. With that in mind, we are staying inside as much as possible, although the odd brisk and invigorating walk is good for the soul, as long as you are wrapped up well, and in an attempt to do lunch better, as in quickly and with the minimum of fuss, but with the emphasis on taste, soup is very much the order of the day, almost daily. I’ve been working with the New Covent Garden Soup Co for the last few weeks, as readers will know from some of my previous posts, from trying to replicate one of their soups in a blind tasting, to offering tips and ideas how to add toppings and dippers to a bowl of lunchtime soup……..and in my last post today, I’m ending with some more ideas how to “dress” your soup up for lunch, in under five minutes, with some more ideas for toppings and dippers.

chicken-barley

The soups I am enjoying and am posting suggestions for today, come from the New Covent Garden Soup Co’s Nutri-Soup range; the two soups we chose to enjoy the other day, were Chicken & Barley and Buckwheat & Bean Ribolita. As these soups are packed with protein and fibre, making them extremely nutritious, I decided to add even more protein and fibre, as you will see from my toppings and dippers ideas, as well as adding more veggies. My favourite soup out of the range was the Chicken and Barley, which has chicken, butternut squash, tagliatelle carrot, haricot beans and barley in its list of ingredients, and is finished off with a sprinkling of sage and thyme for a herbal flavour to this hearty soup. My husband, who is an avid meat eater, actually preferred the vegetarian soup, Buckwheat & Bean Ribolita, which is a Tuscan inspired recipe, with carrots, green beans, peas and kale, cannellini beans and buckwheat in the list of ingredients.

My ideas for toppings and dippers are based on each soup’s ingredients, and are listed below.……they are all easy to assemble and prepare, and they all add an extra dimension to the already tasty bowls of soup:

Toppings and Dippers Ideas for Nutri-Soups:

  • Kidney beans, in chilli sauce or plain – add a heaped spoon to the soup, with the chilli sauce or drained for the plain beans.
  • Grated mature Cheddar cheese – scatter the cheese over the top of the hot soup, and allow it to melt over the other toppings.
  • Sourdough bread, toasted and cubed – add these little cubes of toasted sourdough to the soup, with the cheese, for a cheese on toast kind of taste and texture!
  •  Pesto – we both loved the addition of a spoonful of pesto added to the soup, it went especially well with the Italian style soup, Buckwheat & Bean Ribolita. We used a classic Parmesan and Basil pesto, but any flavour pesto would work, such as sun-dried tomato or roasted red-pepper pesto.
  • Creme fraiche mixed with ground chilli powder – this added a wonderful creaminess and spicy hit to both soups.
  • Leftover oven-roasted veggies – leftovers from a previous meal, I just microwaved them before adding them to the soup and then smothering the with grated cheese!
  • Chilli and herb seasoning salt – just add a pinch for an extra spicy hit.
  • Fresh parsley – this topping added colour, flavour and freshness to the soup.
  • And finally, we both enjoyed batons of carrots to dip into our soup, and that just added to our five-a-day too!

Nutri Soup

I hope you feel inspired to try some of my ideas for toppings and dippers, and so let me know which ones worked best for you! Karen 

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

Soup Toppings and Dippers

Previous Do Lunch Better ideas:

Soup Trimmings for Healthy Lunch Options

Soup Trimmings for Healthy Lunch Options

Toppings and Dippers for Lunchtime Soups!

Toppings and Dippers for Lunchtime Soups!

Blind Taste Test Recipe Creation with Soup!

Blind Taste Test Recipe Creation with Soup!

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Healthy Chilli Taco Bake with Popchips

This recipe for Healthy Chilli Taco Bake with Popchips is extremely easy to prepare and cook, and makes a delicious midweek family supper dish, especially when served with fresh salad. The minced beef and pepper mixture can be cooked beforehand, making the dish even easier to assemble before you want to cook it. NB: Popchips are vegetarian, gluten-free and have no artificial flavours; they also contain no trans fats or added preservatives, making them a healthy alternative to other fried crisps and vegetable snacks.

Healthy Chilli Taco Bake with Popchips

A Fabulous Midweek Family Supper Dish

Healthy Chilli Taco Bake with Popchips

Today’s recipe for Healthy Chilli Taco Bake with Popchips is a really fabulous idea for a family midweek supper dish, and is made all the better by the fact that is easily made and is a healthy alternative to many Mexican inspired meals. By using Popchips, which are potatoes that have been popped, and are therefore not baked or fried in oil, you have a natural ingredient that adds texture, taste and flavour to a baked chilli and taco type meal, and, you can prepare the meat element before you need to assemble the recipe, which is a boon for working parents and busy people. The recipe is designed so you and your family can enjoy more time together as well as enjoying this delicious and spicy dish with the minimum of fuss and preparation. Although I have suggested this would make a wonderful tea time or supper dish, it is also brilliant for weekend lunch, specially if you are all busy and there are lots of activities and sports events to attend, so you can all enjoy more time as well as enjoy more from lunch.

Popchips

I have suggested using two quite spicy flavours of Popchips in this recipe, Crazy Hot and Buffalo Ranch, they blend and marry so well with the taco seasoning, minced beef and kidney beans, adding some real zip to the recipe. If you have little ones who are a bit wary about hot flavours, then I would suggest using a cooling Sour Cream and Onion instead, which will also work well with the Tex-Mex style of cooking. I served our meal of Healthy Chilli Taco Bake with Popchips with loads of fresh salad, comprising baby gem lettuce and cherry tomatoes, with no dressing, as we all added a wee dollop of the chipotle chilli sour cream to the leaves……you can do as I did, and make a little extra. My recipe for Healthy Chilli Taco Bake with Popchips is shared below, and for vegetarians, you can omit the minced beef and substitute it with minced Quorn or lentils…….or even oven-roasted vegetables. I hope that you enjoy this dish as much as we did if and when you make it, and do let me know what you think! Karen 

Healthy Chilli Taco Bake with Popchips

Serves 4 to 6
Prep time 15 minutes
Cook time 45 minutes
Total time 1 hour
Meal type

Lunch, Main Dish, Snack
Misc

Child Friendly, Serve Hot
Occasion

Birthday Party, Casual Party, Halloween
Region Mexican

By author

Karen Burns-Booth
This recipe for Healthy Chilli Taco Bake with Popchips is extremely easy to prepare and cook, and makes a delicious midweek family supper dish, especially when served with fresh salad. The minced beef and pepper mixture can be cooked beforehand, making the dish even easier to assemble before you want to cook it. NB: Popchips are vegetarian, gluten free and have no artificial flavours; they also contain no trans fats or added preservatives, making them them a healthy alternative to other fried crisps and vegetable snacks.

Ingredients

  • 1 x 85g packet of Crazy Hot Popchips
  • Low-fat spray (such as Fry Light)
  • 450g minced beef (5% fat content)
  • 1/2 red pepper, trimmed and diced
  • 1 x sachet taco seasoning (or 1/2 teaspoon each ground cumin, ground coriander and ground chilli powder)
  • 1 x 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 x 400g tin kidney beans (drained)
  • 100g low-fat grated Cheddar cheese
  • 1 x fresh red chilli, finely chopped
  • 100g low-fat sour cream (blended with 1 teaspoon ground chipotle chilli powder)
  • chopped spring onions and fresh coriander leaves (to serve)
  • 1 x 85g packet Buffalo Ranch Popchips (to serve)

Note

This recipe for Healthy Chilli Taco Bake with Popchips is extremely easy to prepare and cook, and makes a delicious midweek family supper dish, especially when served with fresh salad. The minced beef and pepper mixture can be cooked beforehand, making the dish even easier to assemble before you want to cook it. NB: Popchips are vegetarian, gluten free and have no artificial flavours; they also contain no trans fats or added preservatives, making them them a healthy alternative to other fried crisps and vegetable snacks.

Directions

Step 1 Pre-heat oven to 200C/400F/Gas mark 6.
Step 2 Spray some low-fat spray into a large frying pan or wok, and gently fry the minced beef with the chopped red pepper until the meat is cooked, brown and crumbly.
Step 3 Add the taco seasoning, stir to mix and then add the chopped tomatoes, mix to blend well again.
Step 4 Scatter the packet of Crazy Hot Popchips over the bottom of a large oven-proof gratin dish, spoon the meat and tomato mixture over the top, then add the drained kidney beans.
Step 5 Scatter the grated cheese over the top and then add the chopped red chilli; bake in pre-heated oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until the cheese has melted and the dish is bubbling hot. Whilst the dish is cooking, blend the sour cream with the chilli powder and set to one side.
Step 6 Once cooked, remove the Healthy Chilli Taco Bake with Popchips from the oven and spoon over the sour cream mixture, before scattering half a bag of the Buffalo Ranch Popchips, the chopped spring onions and coriander leaves over the the top.
Step 7 Spoon into bowls, and serve with fresh salad and the remaining Buffalo Ranch Popchips.

Healthy Chilli Taco Bake with Popchips

Healthy Chilli Taco Bake with Popchips

As seen on Instragram:

Lavender and Lovage

Healthy Chilli Taco Bake with Popchips

My other Popchips recipe on Lavender and Lovage:

Popping the Weight Loss with Smoky Low Calorie Cheese & Pimento Dip and Chips!

Popping the Weight Loss with Smoky Low Calorie Cheese & Pimento Dip and Chips!

*Disclaimer: Paid content in collaboration with Popchips; all views and opinions are mine and are not representative of the company* 

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