The benefits of Matcha tea powder and now well known. Should this phenomena have passed you by, Matcha is a green tea, that, rather than infusing into, dissolves into the hot water; this means that you ingest the whole leaf, and as a result, a vastly increased number of antioxidants, way more than any of the super-foods, and more than 100 times the amount found in commercially available green tea.
Life; it's not just about you and I. There are other things, equally as important, and we should take care of them when they need us, just as we would one another.
We've had a few frosts here, up North, and the berries and grubs that form the diet-basis of any bird choosing to winter in the UK are becoming scarce. To help them survive, and to enjoy the sight of them feeding in my garden and at the windows, I made them some cake.
If you are equally fond of our feathered friends, and wish to expand the boundaries of this giving season, read more to find out how...
Quiche; it's not leprosy, but the food snobs made it so uncool you've almost forgotten the cheesy creamy deliciousness of a well turned out tart. Let me remind you just how good a quiche can be. I'm suggesting cheese, herbs and leek here, because these go together to make something that’s wonderful warm from the oven, but equally scrumptious when left to go cold, like it'll ever get left to go cold without someone eating it first.
There’s a few things that really make the difference between a soggy sponge-like thing and a crisp, buttery comfort food.
The pastry - it's got to be short, really short, like, leprechaun short. Use this recipe but without the sugar, you can freeze the rest and make another quiche at a later date!
Again with the pastry, it's got to be partly baked before you add your filling; I give it 10 minutes blind (i.e. lined with foil and filled with beans) and then 5 more without the beans or foil at 170˚C
The filling - this mustn’t be overcooked. Anything over 180˚ C curdles egg; providing it reaches 160˚C everything nasty within it will die, so keep to a 170˚ oven and take the quiche out before it gets all puffed up; you should still have an indentation about a third of the size of the overall quiche when you remove it, it will go on cooking when you take it out.
Yield: a deep dish, 8" quiche that will feed 6 to 8 people as a tiny snack, or 4 greedy blighters who go back for seconds.
Preparation time: 20 minutes
Cooking time: 40 minutes
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 medium leeks, washed, trimmed and sliced cross-wise
1 garlic clove, very finely chopped
Half a medium onion, finely chopped
2 teaspoons of finely chopped fresh thyme
Sprig of rosemary, stripped and finely chopped
2 large eggs
1 cup double cream
1oz of mature cheddar
A couple of good tablespoons of parmesan, grated
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
Allow the pastry to cool, still in the dish, if you've just made it.
In a frying pan, melt the butter and slowly cook the leek, onion and garlic until soft without adding colour.
Add the herbs and remove from heat.
Lightly whisk your eggs in a bowl, season well with salt and pepper, then add your cream.
Sprinkle your pastry base with about 1/3 of the grated cheese, this keeps it from getting soggy, then spread you buttery-leeky herby mixture over and then pour your egg mixture on top.
Sprinkle the remaining cheeses over and bake at 170˚C for up to 35 minutes, until just cooked
Cool on a rack for at least 10 minutes before attempting to slice, a 30 minute wait is perfect if you can resist.
Before you think to yourself ‘oh, I’m making these for the weekend’ just be warned, that isn’t happening…these pears take 3 months, 1 day and 4 hours to get from tree to mouth; there are 3 stages within their production, an overnight stand, a 4 hour roast, and a 3 month rest before being ready to eat.
Consider yourself told.
This recipe is beautiful, and makes excellent use of the hard pears that inevitably appear this time of year on trees. It uses merely a splash of brandy, added after all cooking so that the flavour remains true.
The method I’ve used is taken straight from the mouth of Granny Milton, friend of a friend to Jane Grigson, who sent her the recipe, knowing Janes’ predilection for making good the less appealing products of natures bounty. The brandy is added raw, at the end of cooking, so just 2 meagre tablespoons infuse the fruit sufficiently to create real depth of flavour without wasting valuable drinking quantities.
I reduced the cooking time as using the pears whole meant less juice, and therefore a quicker caramelisation.
In the original recipe the pears are cored and quartered, resulting in boozy, chunky chutney that would make a fantastic addition to a bowl of raisin ice cream, or a compote style base to Crème brûlée. By leaving the pears whole, the result is a tender, sweet, and toffee flavoured fruit with a hint of brandy, infinitely more delicious than a standard poached pear. Once these are ready you have yourself an instant dessert solution. The recipe below uses around 5 large pears, and fills a ½ L Kilner jar, but is easily scale-able to make more, note that the pears collapse after roasting, reducing in size by at least 50%.
They make a glorious gift. If you’re doing these for Christmas ensure you label them to advise that they will need storing time before being ready.
I've been appalled at what passes for Welsh Rarebit, I'm ashamed that the Welsh have so thoroughly failed in providing a comprehensive description of the recipe and its presentation. That said, there are of course variations, I do not claim that this is the definitive Rarebit, just that it's a really nice version of it. I imagine that I may have caused a stir purely by the fact I haven't used Welsh cheeses.
I do however, promise, that it's a damn sight better than some of the bright orange-sauce-on-toast concoctions I just came across after Googling the dish.
In case you're wondering, there's little doubt that 'rarebit' is a later corruption of 'rabbit', but the true origins of the full name are unlikely to emerge from under all the speculation that surrounds it.
So, originally known as Welsh Rabbit, I think G.M Boumphrey described this savoury dish best:
Best made by grating the cheese, adding a little dry mustard, salt, if needed and pepper, and mixing it to a paste with beer or milk and a suspicion of Worcester sauce. Covered the buttered toast with this to the depth of ¼ inch and brown in the oven or under the grill. Sprinkle with Tabasco or cayenne and serve very hot.
I like to have this on a walnut bread, and would omit Tabasco or cayenne in favour of chopped fresh chives.
My favourite thing at the moment is getting up early on a Saturday to make bread; I've been experimenting, mostly successfully, with creating loaves with the things in that I want to eat. I chose walnut and thyme as the flavours here because I wanted to eat cheese and I cannot think of a better combination; the other reason is because I had just bought some malted, oak smoked flour, and wanted to pair it up with the already woody notes of walnut. Of course, if you don't want to, or can't find, a smoked flour, then this can be made with all white, or substitute the smoked flour with wholemeal or whole grain flour.
This is a super-adaptable pie for all occassions. I keep an uncooked one in the freezer, it can be cooked from frozen in about 40 minutes. Fabulous served with green bean chutney. This is adapted from a good food magazine recipe I saw on someone's blog, it just seemed to have potato in, I've added things, and you should too. A slice of this is like a giant samosa. It's best just warm, but keeps really well and would make good, if not messy, picnic food.
There are a million recipes for this out there. The Americans say macaroni and cheese, which is probably the more grammatically correct, and literal, description of the dish.
Whatever you call it, I bet it’s been around all your life. It has for me; when I was growing up it was definitely a staple dish in our household, and the recipe used did not deviate, with the exception of the cheese type, often resulting in rather unusual results when a cheese that didn’t melt well was used, and the sauce essentially represented milk with strings of cheese in it. That aside, it was always, always delicious, and adored by my granddad later in his life; partly because he loved cheese, but mostly because he could eat it with his one remaining tooth.
We had a roux based cheese sauce, to which boiled macaroni pasta and onion (also boiled, in the pasta water.) were added. Sometimes this went into the oven with sliced tomato on top. It was served with thinly sliced brown bread and butter and sometimes bacon.
I wouldn’t change a single thing about this, and still make it for myself when in need of comfort, it’s never as good as mums though.
My recipe is a result of a quest to be able to eat cheesy pasta and not feel guilty, something that will reheat without separating or getting too soggy, and something that incorporates vegetables. This is it.
Remember that beef in beer? It needs bread, good bread. If you’re undertaking the slow-cook-weekend principal, you’ll want to whip some up yourself; firstly, this will make you appear like a domestic goddess extraordinaire, and secondly, there is nothing much more satisfying than tearing hunks of this French style bread and mashing them into your face.
It is super-simple, and takes about an hour and a half from start to finish, in bread terms, that’s pretty good. You can be finishing your stew on low heat, giving you that warm kitchen that bread dough will love, then up the temperature 5 minutes before baking the dough.
Hardly adapted at all from Lorraine Pascale, her original recipe can be found here
Some things need very little explanation. The moment the weather here got Autumnal, my thoughts turned to soup, bread, and casseroles. A most wonderful thing in autumn is coming in from a big walk and being greeted with a kitchen filled with warmth and the scent of braising meat.