Recipe of the Month – Chocolate Avocado Pudding

This is such a quick and easy pudding to whizz up which is almost guilt free, as we all know just how good avocados are for us!

Serves 4

 

Ingredients

2 large avocados – peeled, pitted and cubed

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/3 cup coconut milk

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 pinch ground cinnamon

 

Method

Well, it doesn’t get easier than this – place all of the ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.  Refrigerate until chilled – about 30 minutes

 

 

 

 

Recipe of the month – Quick charred spring onion and sweet potato salad

In this recipe, charred sweet potatoes are flavoured with za’tar and combined with spring onions, lambs lettuce and feta to make a salad that’s hearty enough for a midweek dinner.  Don’t worry if you can’t get hold of any za’tar – you can replace with an equal mixture of dried thyme an sesame seeds.

Serves 4

Hands on time 30 minutes

Ingredients

1 kg sweet potatoes, peeled

3 tablespoons olive oil, plus extra for brushing

1.5 tablespoons za’tar (or replace with an equal measure of dried thyme and sesame seeds)

250g spring onions, trimmed and cut in half

1/2 clove of garlic, crushed

1.5 tablespoons cider vinegar

150g lamb’s lettuce

60g feta, crumbled

60g pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted in a dry frying pan

Method

Put the whole sweet potatoes in a large pan of salted boiling water and cook for about 20 minutes until tender but still firm.

Drain, slice into 1cm discs and put in a bowl with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and the 1 tablespoon za’tar.  Turn gently to coat.

Put a griddle pan over a high heat until smoking.  Brush the spring onions with olive oil, then griddle for 1-2 minutes on each side until char lines appear (you might need to do this in batches).  Add the charred sweet potatoes to the bowl with the spring onions.

To make the dressing, mix 2 tablespoons of olive oil with the garlic, cider vinegar and half a tablespoon of za’tar.  Add the lamb’s lettuce, feta and toasted pumpkin seeds to the griddles veg, then toss together with the dressing.

Enjoy!

Recipe of the month – Smoked haddock, leek and chive tartlets

Smoked haddock and leeks is a classic combination, but when baked together in a creamy sauce and buttery pastry it makes a wonderful dinner party starter or light lunch.

Serves 4

Hands on time 30 minutes

Oven time 40-45 minutes, plus chilling

Ingredients

30g butter

2 leeks, sliced

Glug dry white wine

100ml fresh chicken or veg stock

4 fresh thyme sprigs

2 medium free range eggs, beaten

100g half fat creme fraiche

2 tablespoons finely chopped chives

50g strong cheddar, grated

200g smoked haddock, skinned and cut into even 2cm chunks

 

For the Pastry:

200g plain flour, plus extra to dust

Large pinch of cayenne pepper, plus a little extra to dust

100g butter, cut into cubes

1 free range egg yolk, beaten

4.5 tablespoons cold water

You’ll also need … 4 x 10cm loose bottomed fluted tart tins

Method

Make the pastry by whizzing the flour, cayenne, butter and some salt and pepper in a food processor until it resembles breadcrumbs.  (If you don’t have a food processor, mix the ingredients in a mixing bowl, rubbing the butter with your fingers). Add the egg yolk and gradually pulse / mix in the cold water until the dough just starts to come together (you may not need it all). Tip out onto cling film.  Chill for 30 minutes.

Melt the 30g butter in a deep frying pan and gently cook the leeks, white wine, stock and thyme for 15-20 minutes until the leeks are tender and the liquid has reduced.  Discard the thyme sprigs and set the pan aside.

Heat the oven to 200 degrees C / 180 degrees C fan / gas mark 6.

Divide the chilled pastry into 4 equal pieces and roll out on a lightly floured work surface.  Line each tart case with pastry, pressing into the edges / flutes, then trim and prick the bases all over with a fork.  Line with non stick baking paper and fill with baking beans and chill for 10-15 minutes.  Bake for 15 minutes, then remove the beans and paper and bake for 5-10 minutes until the pastry feels sandy.

Turn the oven down to 170 degrees C / 150 degrees C fan / gas mark 3.5.

Mix the eggs with the creme fraiche, chives, cheddar and seasoning in a small bowl.  Divide the leeks and smoked haddock evenly among the tart cases and place on a baking tray.  Divide the egg mixture equally among the tarts and bake for 20 minutes until golden brown and set.

Sprinkle with a little cayenne pepper and serve with a green salad.

 

 

 

Recipe of the month – Baked eggs with mushrooms, potatoes, spinach and gruyere

This baked eggs recipe is made in just one pan, and is perfect for lunch, brunch or a meat free evening supper.

Serves 2

Preparation time 15 minutes

Cooking time 30 minutes

Ingredients

400g floury potatoes

1 tbsp olive oil

200g mixed mushrooms

1 garlic clove

100g baby spinach

4 tbsp gruyere

2 medium free range eggs

Large pinch of chilli flakes

Method

Heat the oven to 220 degrees C / fan 200 degrees C / gas mark 7.

Cut the potatoes into 2-3cm chunks.  Put in a large ovenproof frying pan, season and drizzle with the olive oil.  Roast in the oven for 12 minutes.

Cut the mushrooms into quarters, chop the garlic, then toss them through the potatoes.  Roast for 10 minutes until the potatoes are tender.  Remove from the oven and stir in the spinach until it has wilted in the heat from the pan.

Grate in the Gruyere, then, using the back of a spoon, make 2 hollows in the vegetables.  Crack the eggs into the hollows.  Season with salt and chilli flakes.

Return to the oven and bake for 6-8 minutes until the eggs are just set.

Enjoy with some lovely chunks of fresh bread!

Recipe of the Month – Salted Caramel Tart

Time for a tasty pudding for this month’s recipe of the month – this salted caramel tart doesn’t just look fantastic, it tastes completely delicious!

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Cooking time: 30 minutes

 

Ingredients

 

For the crust:

250 g plain

30 g powdered almonds

150 g butter, cold, cut into cubes

80 g sugar

1 egg

1 pinch of salt

1 pinch powdered vanilla

 

For the salted caramel sauce:

70 g sugar

70 ml heavy cream

1 teaspoon butter

pinch of salt

 

For the chocolate cream:

500 ml heavy cream

350 g dark chocolate

 

For the whipped cream:

300 ml double cream, very cold

2 tablespoons sugar

Optional: unsweetened cocoa powder for dusting

 

Method

Prepare the crust. Whizz all the ingredients in a food processor to a dough. Wrap the dough and chill for 30 minutes. Roll out the pastry and line a deep 24-26 cm tart tin with it; patch any holes if crumbly. Cover and chill for at least 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 375 ºF. Prick the tart shell all over with a fork and bake about 25 minutes.

Transfer to a rack and let cool.

Prepare the caramel sauce. Place sugar a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Look for the caramel to turn a rich amber colour, then remove pan from heat and whisk in butter and cream (the mixture will bubble up, so be careful!). Pour caramel into cooled tart shell and let cool slightly; refrigerate 1 hour

Prepare the chocolate cream. Chop the chocolate. Bring heavy cream to boil in a small saucepan over medium heat. Put chocolate into a medium bowl and pour in the hot cream. Let sit for a few minutes, then stir until smooth. Pour ganache evenly over tart and refrigerate 24 hours

Before serving, prepare the whipped cream. In a bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the cream with the sugar until firm. Pipe the whipped cream on top of the pie and dust with some cocoa powdered if desired.

 

Recipe of the Month – Lamb Navarin

For February, we thought this simple, warming dish would be just the job – lamb and chunky vegetables slowly cooked in a stock flavoured with cinnamon, bay leaves, cloves and mixed herbs – it doesn’t get tastier than this!

Serves 4

Preparation time: 25 minutes

Cooking time: 7-8 hours

 

Ingredients

900g lean lamb fillets or leg steaks, all visible fat removed

200g baby carrots, peeled and halved

2 onions, peeled and chopped

2 celery sticks, roughly chopped

400g can chopped tomatoes

4 baby courgettes, halved lengthways and quartered

2 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed

2 cinnamon sticks

2 bay leaves

4 cloves

200ml lamb stock

2 tsp dried mixed herbs

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Chopped fresh flat leaf parsley, to garnish

 

Method

Place all the ingredients into the slow cooker pot, season and stir.

Cover and cook for 6-8 hours on MEDIUM or until the meat is tender.

Remove the cinnamon sticks and bay leaves and serve garnished with chopped parsley.

 

 

 

 

Recipe of the Month – Aloo Gobi

This Indian vegetarian recipe of cauliflower and potato in a spiced tomato sauce is great served over steamed basmati rice.

Serves 4

Preparation Time: 15 minutes

Cooking time : under 30 minutes

 

Ingredients

Low calorie cooking spray

2 onions, peeled and finely chopped

2 tsp garlic granules

2 tsp ground ginger

2 tbsp mild curry powder

500g potatoes, peeled and cut into small bite-sized pieces

300g cauliflower/broccoli florets

1 red pepper, de-seeded and cut into bite-sized squares

300g frozen peas

500ml passata

200ml water

1 tsp artificial sweetener

 

Method

Spray a large, non-stick frying pan with low calorie cooking spray and place over a medium heat.

Add the onions and stir-fry for 2–3 minutes.Add the garlic granules, ginger and curry powder and stir-fry for 20–30 seconds.

Add the potatoes, cauliflower/broccoli, red pepper and peas and stir-fry for 2–3 minutes.Stir in the passata, water and sweetener and bring to the boil.

Cover, reduce the heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, for 15–20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender.

Serve drizzled with the yogurt and garnished with the chopped mint and coriander. Serve with steamed basmati rice, if desired.

 

 

Recipe of the Month – Butterbean & Vegetable Stew

Perfect for when time is short, this vegetarian recipe bursting with butterbeans and vegetables is crying out to have big chunks of baguette dipped in it.

  • Serves 4
  • Hands-on time 30 min

 

Ingredients

Olive oil for frying

2 onions, finely sliced

2 garlic cloves, crushed

4 carrots, chopped into 1cm cubes

600ml passata

Pinch caster sugar

200g frozen spinach

2 x 400g tins butterbeans, drained and rinsed

½ large bunch fresh flatleaf parsley, chopped

Handful fresh basil, roughly chopped

 

To serve

Crusty baguette slices

 

Method

Heat a glug of oil in a large flameproof casserole dish or chefs pan over a medium heat. Add the onions and fry for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and carrots. Fry for a further 5-10 minutes until the carrots start to soften.

Add the passata along with 200ml water and a pinch of sugar. Bring to a simmer and bubble for 5 minutes, then add the spinach and beans. Simmer for a further 10 minutes until hot, then taste and season with salt and pepper.

Stir through the parsley and basil, then serve in bowls with crusty baguette slices.

Recipe of the Month – Lemon Curd Cheesecake

Bring a little sunshine into your life with this easy to make cheesecake, perfect for citrus lovers!

  • Serves 12
  • Hands-on time 25 min, Oven time 1 hour, plus 12 hours chilling

Ingredients

150g digestive biscuits, or your favourite biscuits

75g caster sugar

75g unsalted butter, melted

2 tsp warm water

 

For the filling

300g cream cheese, softened (we recommend Philadelphia)

180g caster sugar

300g soured cream

3 large free-range eggs

Finely grated zest and juice 1 lemon

 

For the lemon curd topping

125g unsalted butter

Finely grated zest 1 lemon, plus the juice of 1½

25g free-range egg yolk (around 1 medium free-range egg yolk)

95g caster sugar

 

To serve 

Double cream, whipped to soft peaks (when you lift out the beaters, the peaks curl over)

Candied lemon slices to garnish (optional)

Sifted icing sugar for dusting

 

You’ll also need…

23cm loose-bottomed cake tin

 

Method

Grease the base of the cake tin, then line the base and sides with baking paper. Break the biscuits into chunks, then put in a food processor. if you don’t have a food processor, put the biscuits into a lunch bag and bash with a rolling pin.  Whizz until the biscuits have the consistency of sand, then tip into a bowl. Add the sugar, the melted butter and water, then mix until all the crumbs are damp with the butter, like wet sand. Tip the crumbs into the cake tin, then use the back of a metal spoon or a straight-sided glass to press the mixture into the base of the tin. Put in the fridge to set for an hour or so.

When you’re ready to bake, heat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan/gas 3½. To make the filling, beat the cream cheese and sugar in a bowl, using an electric mixer, until soft and well combined. Add the soured cream and beat on a slow speed to combine. Don’t overbeat the mixture or beat it too fast, as this will beat in air and make the cheesecake rise as it cooks, then crack as it cools – always set the mixer speed to slow-medium. Add the eggs one at a time, beating in each one until incorporated. Add the lemon zest and juice, then beat slowly for about a minute.

Pour the mixture over the biscuit base. Bake for 1 hour or until the cheesecake is a light golden colour, but still a bit wobbly in the middle. Leave to cool in the oven with the door ajar. Refrigerate for 12 hours or overnight until chilled.

To make the lemon curd topping, put the butter and lemon zest in a heavy-based saucepan and put over a medium heat. In a separate bowl, mix together the egg yolk and sugar. When the butter has melted, add the egg yolk mixture and lemon juice, then whisk constantly using a balloon whisk until the curd thickens. This will take about 10 minutes. Leave to cool.

Just before serving, carefully remove the cheesecake from the tin, then spread with most of the lemon curd. Decorate with big dollops of thick cream and candied lemon slices, if desired. Drizzle with the remaining lemon curd, dust with icing sugar, then serve.

 

Recipe of the Month – Provençal beef daube

Ready for the cooler September evenings, this dish will warm the cockles of your heart! It’s a little more technical than our usual recipes … you’ll be fine!  It’s perfect for making ahead and freezing, and we’ve included notes on this in the method.

  • Serves 6-8
  • Hands-on time 1 hour 5 min, oven time 2-3 hours

Ingredients

1 large celery stick

2 bay leaves

3 large fresh parsley sprigs

4 large fresh thyme sprigs

1kg British braising steak, such as chuck or blade

4 tbsp olive oil

225g unsmoked free-range bacon lardons, in short chunky strips

3 onions, halved and thinly sliced

6 fat garlic cloves, thinly sliced

600ml red wine, such as cabernet sauvignon

200ml good quality fresh beef stock

350g carrots, cut into small chunky pieces

400g can chopped tomatoes

2 anchovy fillets, chopped

4 strips pared orange zest

100g black olives

For the beurre manié

20g soft butter

20g plain flour

For the persillade

25g fresh flat leaf parsley leaves

1 fat garlic clove

 

Method

Make a bouquet garni by cutting the celery stick in half, sandwiching the herbs between the 2 pieces and tying everything into a tight bundle with kitchen string. Set aside.

Cut the braising steak into large chunky pieces – thick slices cut across the grain about 3cm thick and each weighing about 75-100g. Heat 3 tbsp of the olive oil in a large flameproof casserole and brown the meat in batches until well coloured all over. Lift each batch onto a plate, then season with salt and pepper.

Add the bacon strips to the pan and fry until golden brown, then remove and set aside with the beef. Add the remaining oil and the onions to the casserole and fry for 10-12 minutes until richly browned and slightly caramelised. Add the sliced garlic and fry for 1-2 minutes more.

Add the wine to the casserole and leave to simmer vigorously, scraping the base of the casserole with a wooden spoon to release all the caramelised juices, until the liquid has reduced by half.

Heat the oven to 150°C/fan130°C/gas 2. Stir in the beef stock and return the meat and bacon to the casserole with the carrots,  chopped tomatoes, anchovies, pared orange zest, bouquet garni, 1 tsp salt and some pepper. Cover with a sheet of foil and a close-fitting lid, then cook in the oven for 2-3 hours until the meat is fall-apart tender.

Shortly before the daube is ready, knead or stir the butter and flour for the beurre manié to a thick paste.

Remove the daube from the oven, uncover and skim off any excess oil from the top, then remove and discard the bouquet garni. Bring it to a gentle simmer on top of the stove and stir in the beurre manié and olives. Simmer for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat and leave to go cold. Spoon into a lidded freezer proof container and freeze until required.

When ready to serve, remove the daube from the freezer and leave to thaw overnight in the fridge. Spoon it back into a flameproof casserole, bring it gently back to a simmer and leave it to heat through for 10-15 minutes. Take care when stirring to make sure you don’t break up the meat. Meanwhile, put the parsley and garlic on a board and finely chop them together. Sprinkle the persillade over the daube and take it to the table immediately. Serve with olive oil mash and vegetables of your choice.