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Posts Tagged ‘honey’

This recipe was one of those off-the-cuff type things which I threw together one evening when I spent a little to much time wondering what to do with a bag of dinky little Chantenay carrots. Happily enough it turned out to be rather nice and I have repeated it since turning my salad into a lunch dish by mixing the sticky-sweet roasted carrots with a heap of lentils and topping them off with a crumbling of salty feta. The earthy flavour of the carrots is lifted by a sharp mustard and lemon dressing which also serves to cut through their concentrated honeyed sweetness. Toasted hazelnuts lend a some textural interest and their buttery taste plays along well with the rest of the dish. (more…)

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Can you tell I’ve been on a bread-making kick since my course with Emma? Every weekend I’ve been baking something new and sitting on my bedside table is Elizabeth David’s English Bread and Yeast Cookery with tags sticking out left, right and centre. And despite flagging up so many recipes to try; last weekend I went ahead and made a loaf without following a recipe, just using my “bakers instinct”. It actually turned out really well, I’m so pleased I made a note of the ingredients as I went because I know I’m going to be making this again. It is superb with cheese and wine, alongside a salad or simply smeared with a little butter and devoured.

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Devils on horseback, the posh name for prunes wrapped in bacon, are to my mind one of the best canapés ever invented. If someone puts a plateful in front of me I won’t stop eating until they’re gone, I practically inhale the suckers. When I make them I always try to have a few spare, you know – chef’s perks. (Oh, you mean that’s not an excuse to make more to keep you going until dinner’s ready?) There’s something about the salty/sweet/smokey combo that makes them very hard to share. Yum.

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Apologies for the stupidly long title here but sometimes you just have to cram in all the yummy things! Recently lucky little me had lunch at the Riverford field kitchen. For those of you who’ve not heard of it let me explain. Riverford farm (which is now quite a large conglomeration of farms) was one of the first organic fruit and vegetable farms in the UK to offer produce boxes. Their main farm is less than  half an hour from me and our area is privileged to have been receiving vegetable boxes right from the word go. Back when they started, lots of their produce was quite unusual, I certainly didn’t know what to do with cavolo nero and  broccolo romanesco seemed totally alien. So in addition to the weekly box of goodies, they also sent recipes and suggestions for what to do with your new discoveries.

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I’m lucky to have a plentiful supply of free walnuts from the tree in my mum’s garden. When we were little my brother and I used to spend hours climbing in its leafy branches and building forts. We never had bountiful crops, partly due to the warm winters (most trees need a good cold spell every year in order to crop well the next) and partly because of the pesky squirrel which delighted in stealing the unripe nuts. In recent years we’ve had snowy winters and the squirrel seems to have gone to the nut tree in the sky. Net result: lots of walnuts!

I’ve been working my way through a huge bowl that’s been sitting on my dining table for the last few months and finally finished them by making this cake. Having cracked so many shells only to find a shriveled-up little wisp of a nut I’m starting to see the logic in buying them ready shelled! But the effort and mess was worth it when I settled down for a cup of tea and a slice of this light, nutty cake drenched in an orange and honey syrup.

 

I’m a big fan of any drizzle cake, the syrup keeps the crumb moist and you can play around with all sorts of flavour combinations. Sweet tea over a fruit cake, amaretto over a pear cake; I’m planning to have a go at a tres leches cake in the near future. I felt that orange would work well with the walnut sponge; one recipe I liked recommended adding brandy but unfortunately the cupboard was bare. In its absence I used a glug of my beloved Campari which provides a fantastic marmalade-like bitter tang.

Walnut and bitter orange drizzle cake

Makes 1 x 20cm (8″) square cake

  • 115g butter
  • 75g  caster sugar
  • 25g soft brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 115g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ tsp ground cloves
  • 150g walnuts, toasted and chopped
  • 1 orange
  • 115g honey
  • 2 tbsp Campari or bitter orange liqueur

Pre-heat your oven to 190°C (375°F) and grease and line a 20cm (8″) square cake tin.

In a medium bowl beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. In another bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and cloves.

Add two eggs and half the flour mix to the butter and beat until incorporated. Repeat with the remaining eggs and flour then fold in the walnuts.

Pour the batter into the tin and bake for 30 minutes or until golden and risen.

While the cake bakes, zest and juice the orange. Measure the amount of juice and make up to 150ml (2/3 cup) with water. Heat the honey, juice and zest and simmer for 6 minute until thickened and syrupy. Stir in the Campari.

Leaving the cake in the tin, prick the top and pour over the orange syrup. Allow the cake to cool in the tin for at least 4 hours.

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