Friday, 30 November 2012

Pudding Explosion

When my sister came to visit me last month, she insisted I made sure I had all the ingredients in for her to make butterscotch sauce. She doesn't really cook usually, but she'd made that at home and was keen to recreate.

Of course, we had a fun but hectic time, and the sauce never got made. It seemed a shame to have all the ingredients in and let them go to waste though...

 And so a star was born.

For this, you'll need vanilla ice cream, some frozen raspberries, a pan of butterscotch sauce and a few pieces of honeycomb. That last one's where the literal bit of the explosion part comes in, 'cos you've got to break the pieces up quite small and you will end up with stray honeycomb on the floor.

The rest of the explosion is in the taste. This pudding is all about texture and contrast - the ice cream cool and smooth, the raspberries sharp, the honeycomb sweet and crunchy and the butterscotch silky and warm, while the citrus note in it from the lemon brings the whole dessert together. You really have to try it.

Plus? The quantity of butterscotch sauce the website gives makes enough for a few servings. So you can either get people over to share it with you or put it in the fridge for next time. I cannot see a downside.

Try it. Your tastebuds will never be the same again.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

Nigel Slater

Nigel Slater is my idol, and has been for years. I love his entire approach to food - it sounds like a small thing, but he taught me that I didn't have to follow recipes by the letter and that I could adapt them to what I really wanted to eat. As well as my mum, he was also the person that got me really into using fresh herbs. He introduced me to pesto, and began my obsession with cooking programmes.

Which is why it meant so much to me when this happened today:

I got twitter in May after I was told it would help promote my cooking, but wow. People, go, live your dream!

This particular recipe is an adaptation of Nigel's Ricotta Beefburger. Mine is made with Quorn mince, the addition of soft goats' cheese (replace about half the ricotta) and two/three eggs (because Quorn doesn't bind in the way normal mince does). In addition to this I also added a splash of balsamic vinegar to the sundried tomatoes, which worked well.

I wholly recommend making these, whether it's the veggie version or the original, as they were pretty darn brilliant and incredibly easy. Leftovers? Mr Slater covered that too. Now go and cook.

Pear and Blackberry Bread & Butter Pudding

Late as ever, but here's this month's food column in my university newspaper. Pretty proud of this one - I went home for a few days in reading week and made it for my Mum and her new boyfriend, which should give you an idea of the awesome.

More actual posts to come soon, promise.

It's less saturated in real life, I just wanted it to show up...

Sunday, 4 November 2012

Bonfire Honeycomb

I made honeycomb on Thursday for the third time. Both previous attempts were made last year when we lived in halls of residence on campus, and were, as a friend would say, of questionable merit. The first time the sugar burned (the electric hobs took hours to cool down, so when I attempted to turn it off after the temperature needed for a 'rapid boil', it just kept on cooking. Cue making the whole of Runnymede JK smell of burned sugar. Still managed not to set the fire alarm off though, for which people should be thankful.). The second time I was overly cautious and it wasn't quite cooked enough. 

They always say it's third time lucky though.

I followed Lorraine Pascale's recipe because Zosia has her cookbook, but Nigella has a nice looking one too. Neither of them make loads, but that's probably a good thing as far as my teeth are concerned.

Ingredients (to fill a 20cm tin):
- 80g/3oz butter
- 160g/5½oz caster sugar
- 80g/3oz golden syrup
- 2tsp bicarbonate of soda

1. Grease the tin with vegetable oil (any flavourless oil is fine). The best way to do this is to pour in about a tablespoon and then use a pastry brush to distribute it and make sure there's no excess.

2. Gently heat the butter, sugar and golden syrup in a large heavy-based frying pan until the sugar has dissolved.

3. Turn up the heat and boil rapidly, WITHOUT stirring. Make sure the flames aren't licking up the sides of the pan, and if the mixture goes darker at one side then swirl the pan. Do this until it turns a golden-brown 'honeycomb' colour - Lorraine Pascale says this will take about 5 minutes, but I'd say it's more like 3-4. Don't let it go too dark or it will catch and become acrid, and no one wants that.

4. Add the bicarb and stir rapidly for a few seconds, then pour it into the oiled tin and leave to set. I tend to make mine in the evening, so it sets overnight. When it's all firm, you get to smash it up. I've found a really good one for this is our knife sharpener, but you could bash it with the end of a rolling pin or just about anything.

You can add it to puddings, or just put it in a tin and bring it along with you to watch the fireworks tomorrow. With a flask of tea. Or Baileys hot chocolate. I know what I'll be doing...