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Strawberry shortcake cups

July 11, 2008

 

 

Strawberry Shortcake Cups

Strawberry Shortcake Cups

I always loved strawberry shortcake when I was younger, so this is an update, with a bit of a show-off presentation. It started off as a cheesecake with a shortbread base, but then I decided to make little shortbread cups instead. This is when the silicone muffin tin came in handy, but I’ll come back to that later.

 

Recipe for Strawberry shortcake cups
200g strawberries
200g shortbread biscuits
50g butter
½ tin of condensed milk
4 heaped tablespoons of fat free greek yoghurt
½ tub of cream cheese

Heat the butter gently in a small pan and while it’s heating, crush the shortbread biscuits into crumbs. You can do this by putting them in a strong food bag and smashing them with a rolling pin – this is the most cathartic method, good for releasing some tension, but be careful not to make any holes in the bag, or the crumbs will go flying. You can also crush the biscuits in a blender, which is more efficient but not as satisfying.

Add the biscuit crumbs to the pan and combine with the melted butter, then line the silicone muffin tin with the crumbs, about 1cm thick all the way round. Press the crumbs down quite firmly and smooth out. I used the end of a rolling pin to flatten down the base and then smooth up the sides, but you could use the back of a metal spoon too. When you’ve moulded all the cases, put them in the freezer to set. They’ll need to be rock solid before you take them out of the tin, so they don’t break. Give it at least an hour, preferably two.

Next, add the cream cheese and yoghurt to a bowl and then beat until smooth, then stir in the condensed milk. Add the vanilla and then finally the chopped strawberries. Chill in the fridge for as long as you leave the cups to set.

After an hour or two, remove the muffin tin from the freezer and very carefully remove the cases one by one. The best way is to actually peel the silicone away from the case. Carefully place each cup on a plate and then spoon in the filling and serve with a couple of fresh strawberries on the side.

If you’re not going to serve them straight away, freeze them until you’re ready, then get them out about 10 minutes before. 

© Katheryn Rice 2008

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Fish and Pecorino lasagne

June 10, 2008

 

Fish and pecorino lasagne

Fish and pecorino lasagne

 

It might sound odd, but it tastes absolutely delicious. If you like fish pie and you like lasagne, you will love fish lasagne. It was supposed to have cheddar and parmesan, but I picked up pecorino cheese by mistake. Not one to trudge back to the shops, I decided to give it a go, and it worked brilliantly. The cheese sauce gives the whole dish an extra kick, and the crunchy cheese topping is the icing on the cake, so to speak! Use whatever combinations of fish and cheese takes your fancy.

Recipe for Fish and Pecorino Lasagne

1 pint skimmed milk
2 bay leaves
1 garlic clove
40g butter
50g wholemeal plain flour
1 tsp English mustard
salt and freshly ground black pepper
3 fresh lasagne sheets
100g smoked haddock
150g cod fillet
200g prawns
50g sweetcorn
50g wholemeal breadcrumbs
300g cheddar cheese, grated
200g pecorino cheese, grated

Heat up the milk, bay leaves and garlic in a pan over a medium heat and warm to just before boiling point, then remove from the heat. Then slowly melt the butter in a separate pan and stir in the flour carefully, stirring all the time. Take the bay leaves and garlic out of the milk, then gradually add a little of the milk to the flour and butter mixture. Add the milk bit by bit, stirring all the time until you have a thick, smooth sauce. Once all the milk is added, bring the sauce to the boil, add the mustard, salt and pepper and then turn the heat off. Put enough of the cheese aside for a generous topping, then add the rest to the sauce and stir until it’s melted. Add all the fish and the sweetcorn to the sauce, then put a quarter of the mixture into the dish, followed by a sheet of lasagne and so on. Mix the breadcrumbs with the remaining grated cheese, and cover the top of the lasagne. Cook at 180°C for 45 minutes, or until the top is golden and the sauce is bubbling. Serve with garden peas and garlic bread.

© Katheryn Rice 2008

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Blackberry and apple muffins

May 18, 2008

blackberry and apple

Muffins have been on my list of things to cook for a while, particularly as I have muffins in mind as a quick and tasty alternative to toast for breakfast in the morning. Many a time I have pictured myself grabbing a frozen muffin or two from the freezer as I run out of the door to work. I finally had a spare afternoon and managed to dig out the muffin recipe I had been saving for this very day. To top it all, I had also invested in some silicon muffin cases, mini and normal sized, so I really was all set to go…

Blackberry and apple is one of my favourite combinations, which harks back to my childhood and many memorable sunday teatimes eating blackberry and apple crumble. So I thought I would transfer this combination to muffins. And to make myself feel better that I was planning to eat these for my breakfasts, I thought I should inject some healthiness in the form of brown flour and oats, to up the protein and lower the glycaemic load. Luckily the combination works very well and they are delicious!

Recipe for blackberry and apple muffins
Dry ingredients
140g soft brown sugar
150g brown self-raising flour
100g rolled oats, blended until powdery
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Wet ingredients
85g butter, melted and just cooled
2 large eggs
200ml milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Filling
150g blackberries
1 eating apple, finely chopped

If you have silicon muffin cases, lay them out in muffin tins (this helps to keep their shape), or just place them close together on a baking tray. I used 12 mini muffin cases and 12 normal sized cases, and also needed to use a silicon muffin tray too. Preheat the oven to 200ºC.

Combine all the dry ingredients in a bowl, then mix all the wet ingredients in a jug, making sure they are well combined. Then pour the wet into the dry and carefully fold in. When it’s about half combined, add the fruit chunks and continue to fold carefully until just combined. You have to be careful not to over-mix or this will make your muffins tough and flat – not so much fun than light and fluffy ones!

Spoon the mixture into all your muffin cases and tins and cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes. They are ready when golden brown and springy to the touch. Let cool for a bit and then remove from the cases. If you want to freeze them, let them cool completely, then wrap individually in cling film and put in the freezer in a sealed freezer bag.

Tip: If you want to make them more fluffy and less health-conscious, substitute the brown flour and oats for all white flour. 

© Katheryn Rice 2008 

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Honey and ginger pork with parsnips

April 25, 2008

Like many red-blooded males, Mr Rice likes to eat his fair share of red meat, so I decided to treat him to some tasty pork chops for sunday lunch.

Honey ginger pork

Honey and ginger pork with parsnips
2 large pork chops
3 parsnips
1 onion
1 orange, zest and juice
8 tbsps clear honey
¼ tsp ground ginger

Heat the oven to 180ºC, line a baking tray with foil and add a knob of butter, then melt for a few minutes in the oven. Meanwhile quarter the parsnips and slice the onions thickly. Then add them to the baking tray and coat with the butter. Mix the honey and ginger with the orange juice and zest and pour half of it over the contents of the tray, then cook for 45 minutes, turning a couple of times.

Meanwhile, quickly brown the pork chops on each side and set aside. After 45 minutes, add the chops on top of the vegetables and pour on the rest of the sauce. Turn the oven up to 220ºC and cook for 15 minutes, turning once halfway through.

The parsnips and onions will have caramelised and soaked up the juices, which will have reduced, and the pork chops will be nicely browned.

Serve with vegetable mash and celeriac dauphinoise

Mr Rice often insists on having his roast dinner served in a giant Yorkshire pudding, and this was no exception…

Honey pork Yorkshire pudding

 

© Katheryn Rice 2008

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Banana bread

April 21, 2008

Banana Bread

Wholesome comfort food.

Recipe for Banana Bread

4 bananas*
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
200ml vegetable oil
180g wholemeal plain flour
100g plain flour
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
85g dark brown sugar
2 tbsp clear honey
100g pumpkin & sunflower seeds

Mash the bananas add them to the bowl of a food mixer with the eggs, vanilla extract, honey and oil and beat until smooth. In another bowl, add the sifted flours, salt, baking powder and brown sugar and stir gently to combine. Then add the banana mixture to the flour mixture and fold carefully together. When it is almost combined, add the pumpkin and sunflower seeds and finish mixing.

Transfer to a lightly oiled 750g loaf tin and cook for 55-60 minutes at 160ºC. The cake is ready when a skewer comes out clean. Let rest for ten minutes, then run a knife around the edges and carefully turn out. Slice and eat warm or keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

It was a lucky coincidence that Mr Rice had just bought a tub of Nutella, so after we had feasted on a delicious, warm slice of the bread, we devoured another one, slathered with the rich, hazelnut chocolate spread – sunday afternoon perfection!

Banana bread with chocolate spread

*You can use defrosted frozen bananas in this recipe.

© Katheryn Rice 2008

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Sweet chicken and halloumi kebabs

April 16, 2008

This is a really simple dish, perfect for supper or lunch, and it combines some of my favourite flavours. When I was a child, one of my favourite dinners was soy and honey belly pork – heat equal amounts of soy sauce and honey, and baste the pork whilst grilling – so so sweet, sticky and simple.

Here is a variation of that meal, using different but equally meaty and filling ingredients. The chicken absorbs the sauce well, and the halloumi takes on its distinctive, salty taste as it is grilled, which is enhanced by the basting sauce.

Sweet chicken and halloumi kebabs

Recipe for sweet chicken and halloumi kebabs
Two chicken breasts
1 pack of Halloumi cheese
2 tbsps soy sauce
2 tbsps clear honey
1 tsp balsamic vinegar

Dice the chicken breast and chop the halloumi into similar-sized pieces. Combine the remaining ingredients in a small bowl or pan and heat for one minute, or until the honey is melted and all is combined. Then place the chicken and halloumi pieces onto wooden or metal skewers, baste all over with the sauce and then place under a medium grill. Turn and baste the kebabs until they are all covered and the halloumi is starting to brown.

Serve with salad and warm pitta bread.

© Katheryn Rice 2008

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Chocolate Brownie Cake

April 12, 2008

Chocolate brownie cake

My lovely friend Estelle is having a baby in a couple of weeks, and last weekend was her Baby Shower. It was a lovely, chilled out afternoon with a cool bunch of girls, eating lovely food and talking about baby stuff, amongst other things. Estelle was suitably pampered and I treated her to this special Baby Shower Chocolate Brownie Cake.

Recipe for chocolate brownie cake
1 pack of dark chocolate drops
1 pack of white chocolate drops
100g dark chocolate (minimum 70% cocoa)
220g butter
4 medium-large eggs
100g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
400g brown sugar
50g demerera sugar
½ tsp salt
1 tub of full fat cream cheese
200g icing sugar 

Melt the chocolate and butter in a large glass bowl over a pan of hot water, or microwave it on high for 40 seconds at a time, stirring until it is all melted. Any longer than 40 seconds and the chocolate will burn and be unusable. Stir it together until it is all blended, then simply add all the other ingredients and stir again until completely mixed. Finally, add the chocolate drops, give a quick stir and then transfer to two 9 inch cake tins – silicon or greased and lined metal – and cook at 180 degrees for 25-30 minutes. Be careful to leave an inch at the top of each tin, as the mixture will rise whilst cooking, and the first time I tried this recipe it overflowed onto the bottom of the oven. Mr Rice was not impressed when he had to clean it up.

When the cakes are cooked they will be springy to the touch, but remember that the skewer test does not apply here, as you want the end result to be sticky and moist, not clean and dry like a normal cake. They will be crispy on top and gooey inside. Let the cakes cool fully in the tin. With normal chocolate brownies there is no problem removing and cutting them into pieces when warm – even if a little breaks off. However, it is crucial that this version remains fully intact, and the cooler it is, the less fragile it will be.

While the cooling is taking place, make the filling. Simply place the tub of cream cheese and the icing sugar into a mini blender and blend until the mixture is smooth. Then leave in the fridge to firm up.

Carefully remove the cakes from their tins and lining paper, if used, and choose the cake with the best-looking top, and place the other on a serving plate.

Then smear the filling all over the bottom cake, and sandwich the other on top. Carefully melt the white chocolate in a bain marie or in 30-second bursts in the microwave, and use a teaspoon to drizzle the chocolate over the cake in whatever style you like. Finally scatter the silver balls all over the cake – they will always land on the chocolate.

Leave to set for 30 minutes and serve. The filling makes the lower cake even more squidgy and gooey than normal…Enjoy!

© Katheryn Rice 2008

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