Apple Ginger Jam

The jam, jellies and marmalades chapter is another one I’ve maybe neglected a little and still have a good few to try! I made this last night to allow to cool for testing tonight. It may seem unusual to be making jam on a Tuesday night but just goes to show how easy it is!!

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I had one cooking apple that weighed just under 1 pound so I quartered everything else. So first I chopped the apple..

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I didn’t have any muslin so I had to just use a thinnish dish cloth for the peel and core..

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The apple and water go into a pan with the tied up tea towel..

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While that was simmering I chopped up the ginger. The recipe says preserved ginger, but I was using stem ginger in syrup. I used to hate stem ginger as a child! I loved ginger biscuits with dried ginger but really didn’t like stem ginger! Now I do love it!

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It really didn’t take long for the apple to soften..

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I didn’t need to really sieve or mash the apple, I just gave it a good beat! Next in went the chopped ginger and liquid from the jar, lemon and sugar..

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That was left to simmer for about 20 minutes before it reached the right temperature, and by then it was very sticky and smelling good..

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I left it to cool and I sterilised the empty ginger jar! I ended up with one jar and one ramekin of jam!

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So tonight I made some wholemeal scones to try the jam on..

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Well it is a very thick jam! I read back some jam making tips and it does say that some fruits reach setting point a few degrees lower than others plus I think cooking apples are quite rich in pectin that helps the jam to set. It’s not too thick and does spread on a scone nicely!

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Well this is a good jam!! I do love the gingery flavour, it’s sweet and as all jams are but it’s also quite refreshing!! Perfect on a scone..

Would I make this again? Yes!

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Eggs in Baked Potatoes

This is one of those random recipes that I do love about this book! Eggs feature a lot in some quite unusual ways…

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I do really like a baked potato and it has to really super soft inside with a crispy skin. Usually for speed I microwave them first and then finish off in the oven to crisp up the skin. For this recipe it’s all done in the oven so does take a while. I was using my large Yorkshire pudding tin to cook them and first cut a circle in the top..

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I think I had these in the oven for pretty much two hours..

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The inside is scooped out and I did end up eating the crispy lid that had been cut out!

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Then I mashed the insides with some butter, milk and seasoning and spooned some of that back in to each potato..

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Then comes the unusual step of cracking an egg and pouring into each potato..

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After about 15 minutes the egg was looking set..

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I then quickly piped on the remaining potato, and perhaps could’ve made a slightly neater job!!

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After only a few minutes under the grill the potato was browned and the egg had puffed up a bit more..

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So this was dinner, an egg stuffed baked potato with a beetroot salad and Turkey escalope!

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I tried really hard to get a decent photo of the inside but it was getting dark and I’m rubbish at good photos, but I do think it looks quite good inside!!

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So how does it taste? It’s a good baked potato, lovely soft flesh and really crispy skin. The egg is very unusual but in a good way and I actually quite enjoyed it!

Would I make this again? Yes!

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Vol-au-vents/Bouchees

I wanted to make vol-au-vents to have as an appetiser but when I read the actual vol-au-vent recipe it says to make one big one! I wanted to make small individual ones which is apparently a bouchee!!

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I opted to make flaky pastry, which is apparently the most common of the flaked types of pastry. The chapter gives some good pastry tips which I perhaps should’ve read before making the pastry! It says to handle lightly and as little as possible, I think I over handled it during the rolling and adding of the fat!

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I was also perhaps a bit heavy handed when rolling and cutting out the shapes..

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Next I cut into each one with a smaller cutter..

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They were brushed with egg and then into the oven. After 15 minutes I had expected them to be really well risen but I was a tad disappointed..

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I’m thinking the two reasons for this are that I over handled the pastry and I think I rolled it out too thin. I then cut out the centres of each one and tried not to eat all the inner bits of pastry!

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I opted to make a chicken and mushroom filling, then realised I had turkey instead! I fried the turkey and mushrooms and mixed into a thick white sauce. That was then piled into each case and then back into the oven for another 15 minutes..

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We were having these with a glass of prosecco before dinner and are rather good. The pastry isn’t as light and flaky as it should be but still tastes good. The filling is good, nicely seasoned sauce helps hold that all together.

Would I make these again? Yes but I’ll be slightly less heavy handed with the pastry next time!!

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Chantille Sponge

I imagine this to be a really light sponge cake, I tried to search for other recipes but just kept finding recipes for chantilly cream sponges! The name conjours up a light fluffy delicate cake, but after reading the ingredients and seeing the flour to butter and sugar ratio I’m not so sure it will be that light…

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First off I creamed the butter and sugar..

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Then added the eggs and flour. It’s hard to say if it’s too dry at this stage, I thought it seemed ok so didn’t add any milk..

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Then I added the almonds and walnuts..

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I opted to use my multicoloured cherries, and 1 oz of Angelica actually works out as quite a lot! Think it’s going to be a colourful cake!

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The cherries and Angelica are all added, and usually when making a cake with cherries I coat them in flour before gently stirring in to avoid sinkage. For this I just added them as they are, the cake mix feels quite thick so hoping they will stay mixed through ok and not all sink to the bottom..

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After an hour and 15 minutes is a nice dark golden colour and fairly well risen..

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I left it to cool slightly before trying. It’s certainly got quite a bit of a crust! Then inside it is a bit crumbly, I maybe should’ve added some milk!

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Well I love the crust and all the walnuts and fruit have stayed well distributed which is good! Yes it’s not the light airy sponge I had imagined but it’s still really good and brilliant with a cup of tea! I love the cherries and Angelica through it and the walnuts add a nice crunch.

Would I make this again? Yes!

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Savoury Nut Roll

This recipe comes from the diet and calorie count chapter, I’m not really on a diet but not sure this counts as a low calorie meal! I guess it’s low sugar, high complex carbs, protein and saturated fat, so if that’s the type of diet you’re on then this is one to try!!

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I had a bag of mixed nuts so blitzed up 4oz of that..

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Then added the parsley, onion and seasonings..

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Then the cooked rice is added along with the egg and tomato sauce..

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It’s all a bit wet so not easy to shape..

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I had to use the tea towel to help shape into a sausage and then tied the ends..

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This went into a big pot and I opted to have it simmering in some chicken stock, not sure if that will make much of a difference!

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While that was simmering I made a basic tomato sauce; garlic, onion, tomatoes, stock herbs and seasoning. It was left to simmer for half an hour and then blended.

So after an hour and a half I removed the roll from the pan. I managed to actual unroll it quite successfully, but it just doesn’t look very appealing..

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Looks a bit better with the tomato sauce poured over..

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I think my husband and daughter are now used to coming to the dinner table and seeing something a little unusal! I expected a few remarks on this looking awful but was quite surprised when neither of them had any objections to this!!

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I just served each of us with a slice of this with sauce poured over, it may not look like much but it’s really filling..

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It’s packed with the rice and nuts and is actually quite nice! I do think the fact that the sauce is really good does help, I’m not sure how much I could’ve managed with no sauce! We all polished off this one and there’s plenty left for lunch tomorrow..

Would I make this again? Yes, would try adding a few more different herbs or veggies next time..

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Crunchy-Topped Tea Bread

This recipe comes from the recipes around the world chapter and is apparently from Belgium..

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I made this yesterday and didn’t start until the evening, it does take a bit of time so was quite late by the time it was ready!! Seems like quite an unusal recipe. First I mixed the yeast, flour and milk. I didn’t have fresh yeast but I used a yeast conversion calculator to work out I need half a teaspoon of dried yeast!!

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I left it to rise for 45 minutes but didn’t look like too much had happened! I gave it a bit longer and still hadn’t risen much..

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I added the rest of the milk, flour and eggs and attempted to beat, but it’s really thick and sticky so not very easy!

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So the recipe says to roll it out onto a board, but there was no way I was going to be able to do that with this, it’s far too sticky. So I just poured it into the tin..

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While that was left to rise I stated with the topping..

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That all creams together and looks like breadcrumbs..

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The dough did rise significantly at this stage, so I sprinkled over the topping and then into the oven..

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After the full cooking time it was looking good, nicely golden and crunchy on top and had risen well..

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Last night we had to try a slice warm from the oven with butter..
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It is really soft inside although perhaps a touch doughy so maybe could’ve done with a bit longer in the oven, but despite that it’s really good! It’s like a sweet bread and the topping is brilliant!!

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This morning once it had fully cooled I had a couple of slices with jam..

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It still tastes really good, I did give it a few seconds in the toaster as it’s still a bit doughy. Overall though it’s a lovely tea bread, especially the topping!!

Would I make this again? Yes..

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Crispy Noodles with Pork and Water Chesnuts

We do like a pork stir fry which this pretty much is, but not sure about the crispy noodles!!

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On reading the ingredients it’s an awful lot of noodles and not very much pork!! I had a tenderloin of pork but 4oz worked out as about a third of it. I had also picked up a can of water chesnuts.

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So I decided I was not making all those noodles, I opted for half of a 375g packet and even that seemed a lot..

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Once the noodles had been cooked and drained I started on the pork..

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Once the pork had been cooking for a couple of minutes I added all the veg and was regretting my pan choice!

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While the pork and vegetables were cooking, which was way longer than the recipes suggests, I attempted to deep fry the noodles. I don’t have a frying basket so used 2 sieves! It was all a bit messy and fiddly as the wok was to wide and I had to keep turning the two sieves and then one of my sieves which has plastic handles started to melt!! After over 5 minutes I did have slighty crispy looking noodles..

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Meanwhile I had mixed the cornflour, soy and some water..

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…that’s added to the pork and veg and stirred through. I did manage to get the noodles out of the sieve but was not very nest like..

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The pork and veg is piled on top..
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It’s all a bit bland looking. I served this on the one plate and we all cut out bits of noodles which were really crispy in some bits but then still a bit soft in others. I’m glad I didn’t make a whole pound of noodles as that would’ve been way too much..

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Well it’s not very exciting to look at but we were really hungry and polished the lot off. It definitely needs more pork! I also found the noodles a bit too greasy, I had let them drain for a few minutes after frying but still were a bit oily. I did quite like the crispy bits of noodles as it added some texture, but I think would be better if either all crispy or all just boiled as the mixture of wet oily noodles and crispy ones wasn’t the greatest! In saying that we did eat the lot!

Would I make this again? Possibly..

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