RECIPE: Creamy Lemon Tart

 

 

This is one of the most delicious desserts that I have ever eaten. Unfortunately, I cannot take any credit for the recipe, the creation of the dish or the final results. This was made by my oldest son, Nathan, in his food technology lesson. When my daughter, Phoebe, was at high school, I avoided anything she had made in food tech like the plague. I just let my partner and my younger sons, Alfie and Freddie, eat the food for their tea. Some of the recipes were awful.

When my son started his food tech lessons, I expected the same scenario. To a certain extent, we have repeats of cooking disasters (see the macaroni cheese incident). However, there have also been some great results and this was one of them. I was treated by my son to this mouthwatering dessert and he said it was really easy to make. It has a crumbly biscuit base, similar to a cheesecake, and a creamy lemon flavoured topping. Here is how to make a creamy lemon tart.

Ingredients for Creamy Lemon Tart

  • 4 oz butter
  • 1 pack digestive biscuits
  • 1 tin condensed milk
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 250 ml double cream
  • 1 Cadbury’s Flake

How to Make a Creamy Lemon Tart

  1. Crush the digestive biscuits using either a food blender or by putting them in a carrier bag and smashing with a rolling pin. 
  2. Melt the butter over a low heat in a saucepan.
  3. Remove from the heat and stir in the crushed biscuits. 
  4. Transfer the butter and biscuit mix to a cake tin (preferably one with a push-up bottom).
  5. Press down using the back of a spoon to create a firm base.
  6. Put the cake tin in the refrigerator.
  7. Whip the cream using either a mixer or by hand with a whip.
  8. When the cream can form solid peaks, fold in the condensed milk.
  9. Add the lemon juice and lemon zest and stir through.
  10. Transfer the mixture onto the biscuit base and return the cake tin to the refrigerator for an hour to set.
  11. Before serving, crumble a Cadbury’s Flake over the top. Alternatively, grate milk or dark chocolate over the dessert. 
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WATCH: 10 Best Songs with Food in the Title

music

Something a little different on my blog today- music and song! Artists from around the world take their creative inspiration from many different sources and this is often the things that they see and do every day. One source of inspiration is the things they eat and drink as there are many examples of songs that are about food or have food in the title. Here are 10 of the best food-related songs. 

1. Strawberry Fields Forever- The Beatles

2. Brown Sugar- The Rolling Stones

3. Blueberry Hill- Fats Domino

4. American Pie- Don McLean

5. Lollipop- Chordettes

6. Banana Boat Song- Harry Bellafonte

7. Sugar Sugar- The Archies

8. Sugar and Spice- The Cryan’ Shames

9. Candyman- Christina Aguilera

10. Apples, Peaches and Pumpkin Pie- Jay and the Techniques

 

Feel free to add any more of your own in the comments box below if you can think of a good food-related song. There are plenty!

Inspired by the Daily Prompt ‘Song’ on The Daily Post- although it has been on my list of blog posts to add for a while!

RECIPE: Bombay Potatoes

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Bombay potatoes is a traditional Indian side dish that also works well as a main course option for vegetarians. There are many variations of this dish as people often use different spices or add alternative ingredients. It is simple to make as it consists of just potatoes, tomatoes, and spices. Another bonus is that it is a really cheap meal option, so it is great for people on a budget. Therefore, even if you are an Indian cooking novice, this is a simple dish to make. Here is an easy recipe for Bombay potatoes.

Ingredients for Bombay Potatoes

 

  • 3 large potatoes cut into chunks
  • 1-inch chunk of peeled ginger, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 1 chilli, deseeded
  • 2 large tomatoes, diced
  • 4 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 tsp mustard seeds
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp chopped fresh coriander
  • 1/2 tsp Salt

 

How to Make Bombay Potatoes

  1. Boil the potato chunks in salted water until cooked (approximately 15 minutes).
  2. Meanwhile, add one of the chopped tomatoes, the ginger, the garlic cloves and the chilli to a blender and whizz into a paste. 
  3. Add the oil to a saucepan and put over a medium heat. 
  4. Add the cumin seeds and mustard seeds and cook for two minutes.
  5. Add the chopped onion and cook for a further two minutes.
  6. Add the ground spices and cook for one more minute.
  7. Add the salt and the paste of tomato, chilli, ginger, and garlic. Cook for two more minutes.
  8. Add the second diced tomato and cook for five minutes.
  9. Drain the cooked chopped tomato and add to the pan. 
  10. Stir through until all the potatoes are coated in the mixture.
  11. Cook for a further five minutes to allow the potatoes to absorb the flavour.
  12. Add the chopped fresh coriander at the last minute and then serve. 

 

RECIPE: Spinach and Cream Cheese Ravioli with a Garlic Mushroom Butter

 

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If you have started to make your own fresh pasta, then you may be looking for some ideas for meals you can make with your creation. I have recently got a pasta making machine and the first meal I wanted to create was a ravioli using some of our favourite family ingredients. I decided to make a cream cheese and spinach ravioli with a garlic mushroom butter and salad. It is relatively easy to make, just a bit fiddly. Here is how to make a cream cheese and spinach ravioli with a garlic mushroom butter.

Ingredients for Pasta

  • 10 oz/ 280 g pasta flour or plain flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 beaten egg for sealing the ravioli

Ingredients for the Spinach and Ricotta Filling

  • 250g tub of cream cheese
  • 2 large handfuls of spinach, chopped
  • Black pepper

Ingredients for Garlic Mushroom Butter

  • 6 button mushrooms, finely chopped
  • 2 oz butter
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp olive oil

 

 

How to Make Fresh Pasta

  1. Measure out the flour and add the salt. Mix together.
  2. Tip the flour and salt onto the work surface in a heap and make a well in the middle.
  3. Add the eggs and the olive oil to the centre of the well.
  4. Start to bind the mixture together using your hand and working in a little more flour each time.
  5. When you have formed a solid ball of pasta dough, knead for five minutes.
  6. Wrap the dough in cling film and rest for 20 minutes.
  7. After resting, unwrap the dough and divide into four balls.
  8. Flour your work surface and dust the dough balls with flour.
  9. If you are using a rolling pin, then roll out the dough thinly. You should be able to see the work surface through the pasta.
  10. If you are using a pasta making machine. then press one ball of dough at a time into a rectangular shape with your hand.
  11. Set the pasta machine to its widest setting and roll one piece of pasta through at a time.
  12. Adjust the pasta machine down a few settings and repeat. Continue to do this until you are on the second to last setting of the machine. The pasta should then be thin enough.
  13. Cut the pasta into discs using a round cookie cutter or the end of a small tumbler glass.

How to Make the Cream Cheese and Spinach Filling

  1. Add the cream cheese to a saucepan over a medium heat and stir around until it begins to melt.
  2. Add the chopped spinach and stir through. This will almost immediately begin to wilt.
  3. Season with black pepper and then reduce to a low heat while you make the garlic mushroom butter.

How to Make the Garlic Mushroom Butter

  1. Add the olive oil and butter to a pan and put over a medium heat. The oil will help to stop the butter burning to the pan.
  2. Add the crushed garlic cloves and cook for a minute.
  3. Add the chopped button mushrooms to the pan and cook for a further five minutes. 

How to Make Cream Cheese and Spinach Ravioli

  1. Beat an egg in a cup and use a pastry brush to brush egg along the edges of the pasta discs. This will help the edges to stick together.
  2. Add a small teaspoon of the cream cheese and spinach mixture to the centre of each pasta discs. Be careful not to overfill or the ravioli will burst in the pan and water will get into the filling.
  3. Draw opposite edges of the pasta together and squeeze.
  4. Continue to pinch the edges together until the ravioli is sealed all the way around. 
  5. Add the ravioli to a pan of boiling salted water in small batches for approximately five minutes.
  6. Remove from the pan using a slatted spoon and ensure they are drained thoroughly. 

Serving 

  1. Dress the plates with your choice of salad ingredients.
  2. Add the cooked ravioli to the plate.
  3. Drizzle with the garlic mushroom butter.

 

 

RECIPE: Macaroni Cheese

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The other day, my eldest son was supposed to make macaroni cheese in his food tech lesson. According to his version of events, the teacher told him to just throw all the ingredients together in a pan and the result was raw pasta and a coagulated burnt mixture at the bottom of the pan. I am sure that the teacher did not tell him to do this, but she had a class of 30+ teens to deal with in her class, so may not have had the time to spend teaching him how to do it properly.

I decided to teach him how to do it properly, making a rue for a cheese sauce and the order in which you add the ingredients. I think it is important to get children involved in cooking as it is an important life skill for them to learn. I suppose there are many variations on how to macaroni cheese, but this is how I have taught my son to make it using just pasta and a basic cheese sauce. Here is a simple recipe for macaroni cheese.

Ingredients for Macaroni Cheese

  • 18 oz/ 500 g dried pasta (macaroni or a similar variety of pasta)
  • 1 oz/ 25 g butter
  • 1 oz/ 25 g plain flour
  • 3 oz/ 80 g cheese for the sauce
  • 2 oz/ 50g cheese for the topping
  • 600 ml/ 1-pint milk
  • 2 tsp English mustard (optional)
  • White pepper and salt

How to Make Macaroni Cheese

  1. Measure your ingredients first and preheat the oven to 180C/ gas mark 4.
  2. Cook the pasta in a saucepan according to pack instructions. I would remove a few minutes from the cooking time so it is al dente as the pasta will continue to cook in the cheese sauce. 
  3. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a pan over a low heat. 
  4. Sieve the flour into the melted butter and stir.
  5. Cook for two minutes.
  6. Remove the pan from the heat and add the milk a little at a time continuously stirring until you have created a smooth sauce.
  7. Season with the salt and white pepper, add the mustard (optional) and stir through.
  8. Simmer gently over a low heat for approximately eight minutes.
  9. Remove from the heat and stir in the grated cheese.
  10. Drain the pasta when cooked and transfer to either a large ovenproof dish or individual ovenproof dishes.
  11. Using a ladle, spoon over the cheese sauce evenly.
  12. Sprinkle your remaining cheese over the top of the dishes. 
  13. Transfer to the oven and cook for approximately 15 minutes or until the cheese on top is golden and bubbling.
  14. If you have cooked one large macaroni cheese, spoon onto plates. If you have cooked individual portions, transfer the individual bowls to plates. 
  15. Serve with salad, vegetables, or garlic bread. 

A Glimmer of Hope for My Kitchen Garden

kitchen garden

Something that I have always dreamed of is a kitchen garden. I love cooking with fresh ingredients and what better way than growing your own food? I also think it is a fantastic way of teaching children about food, getting them involved in both gardening and cooking, and doing something outdoors as a family. I love the idea of walking out into the garden and selecting your ingredients to create a meal.

My back garden is more of a yard than a garden. It is mainly concrete with a few borders that for a long time were massively overgrown with shrubs and brambles. I was a single working parent for a lot of years and felt overwhelmed at the thought of transforming the garden into a more usable space. My efforts at growing food in the past have only extended to a few tomato plants and some potted herbs in the conservatory. The only other food picked from my garden is blackberries from an accidentally grown bramble. 

Now that my partner has moved in with us, I have a glimmer of hope for getting the kitchen garden I have always wanted. He is a passionate gardener and a master of making useful items out of scraps of wood. He has completely cleared the space and built wooden troughs around the borders and created large wooden planters. He has built a decking section for us to eat on and put up some handmade trellises and crossed canes for growing climbing plants. 

We have worked out a plan together for where we are going to plant different vegetables and herbs and to which sections we will add herbs. So far, we have only planted some peas and tomatoes, but we are keen to get going and excited about getting the children involved.

Over the next few months, there will probably be several posts about our gardening adventures and the meals I have created from our mini-harvests.

Written in response to the Daily Prompt ‘Glimmer’ on The Daily Post.

How to Make Fresh Pasta From Scratch

 

Although dried pasta is widely available from grocery stores, homemade pasta tastes so much better. Most people are put off making their own pasta as they believe it is time-consuming and difficult. This is wrong on both counts as it is quick and easy to make. It is certainly worth the effort of doing it yourself. Here is how to make fresh pasta from scratch yourself.

Ingredients for Pasta

  • 10 oz/ 280 g pasta flour or plain flour
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 tbsp olive oil 
  • 1 tsp salt

 

How to Make Fresh Pasta

  1. Measure out the flour and add the salt. Mix together.
  2. Tip the flour and salt onto the work surface in a heap and make a well in the middle.
  3. Add the eggs and the olive oil to the centre of the well.
  4. Start to bind the mixture together using your hand and working in a little more flour each time. 
  5. When you have formed a solid ball of pasta dough, knead for five minutes.
  6. Wrap the dough in cling film and rest for 20 minutes.
  7. After resting, unwrap the dough and divide into four balls.
  8. Flour your work surface and dust the dough balls with flour.
  9. If you are using a rolling pin, then roll out the dough thinly. You should be able to see the work surface through the pasta. 
  10. If you are using a pasta making machine. then press one ball of dough at a time into a rectangular shape with your hand.
  11. Set the pasta machine to its widest setting and roll one piece of pasta through at a time. 
  12. Adjust the pasta machine down a few settings and repeat. Continue to do this until you are on the second to last setting of the machine. The pasta should then be thin enough.
  13. You are now ready to cut the pasta into the shapes that you want to create your perfect pasta dish.