Savoury Palmiers

I am not exactly sure where recipe came from but it is a very good one – so much so that my younger brother told various people, when they asked where they came from, that it was “probably M&S!” Not sure whether that is a compliment or not. 🙂

They taste fantastic and are fun to make. They are perfect for a Dinner Party or family gathering and whenever we go home and my Mum has made them, they don’t last long!

Makes 20/30

Ingredients:
1 Packet Ready-rolled Puff Pastry
1 packet Boursin Cream Cheese with herbs
1 or 2 Packets of sliced Parma Ham or the equivalent
4tblsps Grated Parmesan Cheese
Fresh sprigs parsley and chives or thyme, chopped finely
1 Large free-range egg, beaten for glazing
Flour for dusting

Oven 200ºC (400ºF); 180ºC Fan Oven; Gas Mark 6

1. Take that pastry out of the packet and lay on a floured board.

2. Cut to size 18cm X 35cm.

3. Take the Boursin that has softened from being out of the fridge, put in a basin and mix together until smooth.

4. Spread this carefully over the pastry, being careful not to cut through it.

5. Arrange the slices of Parma Ham over the top and scatter with the herbs and Parmesan cheese.

6. Taking one of the long sides roll up tightly to the middle and then repeat on the other long side so that the two rolls meet together in the middle and touch one another. If they won’t stick brush a little of the beaten egg down the long join. Do NOT worry if they are not quite exactly the same size.

7. Place on a baking tray, cover with cling-film and chill for at least 20 minutes.

8. Trim of both the ends to make it look neat, brush with the beaten egg and then cut crossways into 1cm thick slices.

9. Put the slices on a lightly oiled non-stick baking tray, or use non-stick baking paper, and cook for approx 12/15 minutes when they should be golden brown.

10. Cool on a wire rack and serve warm – they will disappear in seconds!

NB These freeze well so can be made in advance, and defrosted before eating, when they will need to be reheated in the oven (see temperature above) for 5/10minutes. If this is the case cook them until lightly browned before freezing as they will turn golden when they are reheated.

Enjoy!

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West Country Creams

I am not sure where this recipe came from but my Mum has been making these for over 30 years before teaching me. All I know is that the whole family absolutely love it, and we all have done since we were very small, and friends equally so. It is any easy dessert that looks as if it has taken some time to make.

Serves 8 people

Ingredients:
1 lb (450g) Raspberries
½ pint (275ml) Double Cream
½ pint (275ml) Plain Yoghurt – can be Greek or half-fat
Demerara or Muscavado Sugar
Ratafias to garnish

Use 8 ramekins or small glass dishes. It can also can be made in a large glass dish – it looks quite exotic.

1. Divide the raspberries between the dishes.

2. Put the cream into a dish and whip it until it comes to soft peaks – beware do NOT over-whip

3. Fold in the yoghurt, the mixture will thicken.

4. Spoon the mixture over the raspberries but leave a little space at the top of the dish.

5. Sprinkle the sugar over the top of the cream to cover it.

6. Chill the puddings for at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.

7. The sugar will melt to form a coat over the cream.

8. Serve with Ratafia biscuits.

I love raspberries for this dish best of all but any fruit will do even a mixture of one, two or three together.

Enjoy!

Baked Nectarines with Crushed Ratafia

This recipe came about when my mum found it in a magazine for baked peaches. The only trouble was that you had to skin the peaches (too much trouble!) and it used a Bakewell Tart mixture – so was totally useless for her gluten free diet. She looked it up as my younger brother had eaten it at a friend’s house and raved about it. A bit of thought later, she decided that she could cheat and came up with this recipe below, and this is even easier than having to make a Bakewell mixture. We all now prefer this recipe as the filling is lighter allowing us all to eat more than the allotted two!!

Ingredients:
1 Nectarine per person
Gluten free Ratafia or Amoretti biscuits – M&S do good ones!
Cream/Crème Fraiche
Clear Honey

1. Use at least 1 nectarine per person

2. Cut the nectarines in half and remove the stone.

3. Put them in an oven proof dish, cut side up.

4. Crush Ratafia or Amoretti biscuits into a bowl. Use 2 biscuits per nectarine.

5. Add enough Cream/Crème Fraiche to the crushed biscuits to make a thick paste.

6. Pile the paste on top of the nectarines, filling the hole where the stone was.

7. Then drizzle 2 teaspoons of Clear Honey over nectarines.

8. Put in oven for 15-20 mins @ 180°C until Nectarines are fairly soft, but not mushy.

9. Serve with extra cream or ice cream.

N.B. Peaches can be used instead of Nectarines.

Enjoy!

Easy Lamb Koftas

When my parents celebrated their 40th wedding anniversary, they decided to hold a ‘Drinks & Nibbles’ party at their home for our family and special friends. We put up a pergola, as English weather can be temperamental, cleaned the house, sorted the garden and we were ready. As my Mum suffers from coeliac disease and likes to know the source of food, organic if possible, she decided to cook the nibbles herself. 40 guests needed at least 12/15 nibbles each, so she cooked, froze and made fresh on the day. The weather could have been kinder, but the showers didn’t seem to dampen anyones spirits, and the sun shone for some of the day. They had a great day – just what everyone wanted.

The recipe for ‘Easy Lamb Koftas’ came from a friend and they are delicious.

Ingredients:
400g Minced Lamb
1 Onion, chopped and cooked in a little oil
1½ slices of bread made into breadcrumbs (I used gluten-free bread)
2tblsps Aubergine pickle – chop small any large pieces
2tblsps Mango chutney - chop small any large pieces
Salt and Pepper

1. Using a food processor, or just your fingers, process the lamb until smooth.

2. In a large bowl put the lamb and add the rest of the ingredients and mix thoroughly.

3. Add a little oil to your hands and shape into sausages – small ones for nibbles and large ones for the BBQ.

4. Cook in the oven at 180 Fan, 200C/400F, Gas 5. The nibbles are ready after 10/12minutes and the larger ones 15/18mins.

5. If making in advance cook until just done and then freeze. When required unfreeze and cook until nicely coloured.

Finally push sticks in one end and serve with a yoghurt dip.

Enjoy!

Crispier Meringue (Gluten Free)

Should you want to make a crisper meringue to the blog post below then here is the recipe.

Again the ratio is 1 egg white to 2ozs/60g caster sugar

6 egg whites
12oz/360g Organic castor sugar

Pre-heat oven to 110C/215F; Gas ¼/½ or Fan oven 100/110C

Method:
1. Whisk the egg whites until stiff and dry

2. Slowly add the sugar continuing to whisk until the egg white is stiff.

3. On a baking tray covered in non-stick baking parchment, either use two dessert spoons to make wedges or pipe into rounds or swirls.

4. Bake in the oven for 2/3 hours until dry.

Chopped nuts can be added to the mixture and also the top of each meringue can be sprinkled with the nuts before baking

Tip egg whites volume up in a clean bowl. To make sure it is grease-free wipe around the bowl with some lemon juice.

Enjoy!

Lady Godfrey’s Apple Chutney

I don’t know much about this recipe other than it was given to me by a colleague at work and came from his partner’s family.

Ingredients:
4 lbs Apples (Bramleys)
3 pints malt vinegar
4 lbs dark brown moist sugar
¾ lb stoned raisins
4 oz. onions
1 oz. salt
1 oz ginger
½ oz chillies
½ oz pickling spices

1. Peel, core and cut apples into small chunks

2. Boil vinegar and sugar together (hard) for 20 minutes.

3. Add all the rest of the ingredients.

4. Continue boiling until required consistency and colour (jam test)

Clive’s Notes:

The chutney is very dark and thick

In her original recipe she adds whole red chillies which can be removed after cooking.

In some of our variations we add chopped chillies for a more spicy chutney.

Meringues (Gluten Free)

We have always loved meringues from small ones filled with cream or crushed to make Eton Mess to the bigger Pavlovas. They are gluten free and a much softer meringue than the white, hard shop-bought ones.

I can remember when I was very small, my Grandmother whipping up egg whites on a plate with a knife to make them stiff, then transferring them to a bowl and stirring in the sugar. She then either made meringues or topped a Lemon Meringue Pie. She obviously didn’t believe in hand-whisks and had never been brought up with a food mixer – no electricity when she was young!

These meringues are made with the Pavlova way of making meringues – crisp on the outside and softer in the middle. Of course it depends on how long you wish to cook the meringues or let them dry out in the oven.

The ratio is 2ozs (57g) of organic caster sugar to one organic egg white.

Chocolate or coffee meringues can be made by adding cocoa or coffee powder at the same time as the sugar.

Pre-heat oven to 120C/225F; Gas ¼/½ or Fan oven 110/120C

Method:
1. Whisk egg whites until thick and fluffy (so that they will stay in the bowl if it is turned upside down!) – do not over-whisk though.

2. Gradually add the sugar, whisking all the time until it is all combined and the mixture is stiff.

3. Then add one teaspoon each of white wine vinegar, real vanilla essence or paste and cornflour. Give a quick whisk to blend these ingredients into the meringue mixture.

4. On a baking tray covered in non-stick baking parchment, either use two dessert spoons to make wedges or pipe into rounds or swirls.

5. Bake for at least 30-40min, even 1 hour until the outside of the meringue is crisp to the touch.

6. They can now be removed from the oven or left inside with the heat off to dry out further. That is your preference.

7. Leave to cool; they will keep in an air-tight tin for 1 week.

8. If eating immediately fill two halves with cream and sandwich them together or eat singly with fresh fruit.

9. Suggestions; cream mixed with melted chocolate sandwiched together and chocolate drizzled over the top. Or cream mixed with coffee, again sandwiched together and caramel drizzled over the top.

Enjoy!