Reidbury's Kitchen

Food thoughts, recipes and billowing smoke from a home cook's kitchen in London


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Salted Caramel Shortbread

Salted Caramel Shortbread, Olive Magazine February 2014

Salted Caramel Shortbread, Olive Magazine February 2014

It’s been a while since my last post, and I actually have a very good reason. Reidbury Kitchen has officially relocated! We have finally bought our first house and have spent the last few months preparing to move, actually moving and then trying to make it a home (this place needs work)! But I know that it’s definitely home now as, yesterday, I decided to bake! I’ve popped the new Reidbury Kitchen’s cherry, so to speak. This kitchen is small (the master plan is to eventually convert the garage into a shiny, new kitchen), so I thought it might be a challenge. However it is soooo much bigger than the kitchen I’ve left, and it even has a door. A DOOR! It’s not part of the lounge! Meaning that I can enjoy listening to my own music, and Paul doesn’t have to turn the TV up every time I boil the kettle or use the food processor. Perfection!

Anyway, onto the recipe. I’ve decided to laugh in the face of the January health kick. Sod detoxing – I’m retoxing. And as soon as I saw this recipe for Salted Caramel Shortbread in the latest edition of Olive Magazine I knew we had a strong contender. I’ve never made shortbread so I was interested to see how it would play out, but I reckon this has to be one of the easiest things I’ve ever made and definitely the tastiest! The salted caramel that runs through the centre of these shortbreads really cuts through the sweetness, so don’t shy away from a good sprinkling of sea salt at the caramel-making stage. It will balance out nicely.

Finally, tracking down rice flour might be a challenge. Having checked all probable aisles in Waitrose (ooh, fancy), I still couldn’t find it. Turned out it is kept in the gluten free section – thought I’d share the knowledge.

You owe it to yourself to give these a try. They really are delightful!

KB rating 10/10. PR rating 9.5/10

Salted Caramel Shortbread (makes 20)

Ingredients:

  • 300g butter
  • 150g golden caster sugar
  • 350g plain flour
  • 100g rice flour
  • 150g dark chocolate, chopped
  • Salt flakes, for decoration

For the caramel:

  • 100g golden caster sugar
  • Salt flakes

Method:

To make the caramel, heat the sugar in an even layer in a frying pan until it melts and then starts to bubble golden brown. Swirl the pan if you need to keep the melting and browning even (it’s worth taking this off the heat earlier than you think as it can go from golden to dark brown very quickly. And dark brown is pretty much burnt). Add a good sized pinch of salt flakes and tip the caramel onto an oiled baking sheet set on a wooden board. Cool and then break into chips with a rolling pin.

Whizz the butter and sugar in a food processor until you have a smooth paste. Add all the flours and a pinch of salt and whizz to form a dough. Tip onto a lightly floured surface, pat out gently and sprinkle with the caramel chips. Fold in half and then transfer to a 20cm x 30cm (or similar) tin and push into an even layer. Cover and chill for 30 minutes.

Heat the oven to 180C/Fan 160C/Gas 4. Bake the shortbread for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through. Cool in the tin for 5 minutes, mark into fingers with a knife (you should get about 20 decent sized pieces) and then cool completely. Cut along the marked lines into pieces.

Heat the chocolate in a bowl set over (but not touching) a pan of water or microwave until it starts to melt, stir until smooth and take it off the heat. Lay the shortbreads next to each other with a tiny gap between them on a cooling rack and spoon over the chocolate in strips. While the chocolate is still wet, sprinkle with some salt flakes and then leave to set.


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Lightweight Cottage Pie

Lightweight Cottage Pie, The Fast Diet Recipe Book

Lightweight Cottage Pie, The Fast Diet Recipe Book

So I posted my Classic Cottage Pie recipe yesterday (you can view that post here), and it reminded me of a lightweight version of this dish I cooked a month or so ago. This recipe came from the 5:2 diet book, ‘The Fast Diet Recipe Book‘, and it’s a lower calorie version of the classic. The main way this Cottage Pie sheds calories is by switching out the usual potato mash topping with a lighter version of celeriac and leeks, which I thought sounded interesting. And it was! I didn’t really have massive expectations about this dish before cooking it, but it really did impress me when it got to the eating part! So much so that I would happily eat this version instead of the full Classic Cottage Pie if I was in the right mood! The topping was a really nice replacement for the potato (and that’s pretty impressive from me given that I bloody love a potato), and the meat was full of flavour. So, this recipe is tasty AND virtuous. Good stuff!

PS. I apologise for the fact that I don’t have a proper photo of the cottage pie – I forgot to take one, so this is a photo from the book!

KB rating 8/10. PR rating 8/10.

Calorie Count: 243 per person

Lightweight Cottage Pie (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • Oil for spraying
  • 250g extra-lean minced beef
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 celery sticks, finely chopped
  • 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp tomato puree
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • Salt and pepper
  • 300ml boiling water
  • 2 OXO cubes
  • 500g celeriac, peeled and cubed
  • 100g half-fat creme fraiche
  • 1 tsp groundnut oil
  • 2 young leeks, trimmed and sliced (into about pound coin width)

Method:

Preheat the oven to 200C/400F

Spray a large pan with oil and brown the minced beef. Add the diced onion, celery and carrot and allow to soften for 10 minutes.

Stir in the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, thyme, salt and pepper, water and OXO cubes. Bring to the boil, cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, boil the celeriac until very tender, drain and mash with creme fraiche until as smooth as as you wish.

Heat the oil in a pan and gently saute the leeks, then add them to the celeriac mash; season well.

Pour the beef into a shallow ovenproof dish, and top with the celeriac mixture. Bake for 20-30 minutes, until the top is golden brown


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Classic Cottage Pie

Classic Cottage Pie

Classic Cottage Pie

Sometimes when life is stressful and getting you down, you need to find food comfort. And whilst this isn’t something I really grew up eating, it’s something I cook when I, or my boyfriend, need comfort on a plate. I have no idea where I got this recipe, and I do tend to vary the quantities of the flavourings depending on my mood. But it is always a wonderful meal to dig into. I always serve it with peas, and I always have french mustard as a condiment, whilst Paul goes back to his childhood and has ketchup! He’s also been known to indulge in a Cottage Pie Sandwich too…!

KB rating 8/10. PR rating 8/10

Classic Cottage Pie (serves 6-8)

Ingredients:

  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 2 sticks celery, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 675g minced beef (I tend to use 750g as that’s the standard large pack size!)
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree
  • 12 drops Worcestershire sauce (I love this flavour, so feel free to add less…or more!)
  • 10 drops Tabasco (again, I like the hit and sometimes add a lot more than this)
  • Blob of marmite (my secret ingredient – it adds oomph not marmitey flavour)
  • 175ml red wine
  • 300ml beef stock
  • Black pepper
  • 1.4kg potatoes
  • 50ml milk
  • Cheddar (grated) – enough to sprinkle over the top
  • Parmesan (grated) – enough to sprinkle over the top

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C

Heat the oil in a large frying pan and add the onion, carrots and celery, stirring over a brisk heat but don’t allow the veg to burn.

After 5 mins add the garlic and soften everything together.

Increase the heat, add the mince and stir until browned.

Stir in the tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, Tabasco, marmite, wine and stock. Season and cover. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Boil the potatoes until soft and mash with milk.

Put the meat mixture in a gratin dish, cover with mash and then top with the mixture of cheese. Bake in the oven for 45-55 minutes.


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Rustic Pear and Bramley Apple Tart

Rustic Pear and Bramley Apple Tart

Rustic Pear and Bramley Apple Tart

Picture the scene – a cold, rainy, wintery Sunday in the East End of London. A boyfriend sat cold and miserable in the flat. And me, sat on the sofa in my PJs flicking absentmindedly through a magazine. But then, out of the corner of my eye, I spy a Waitrose recipe card that’s been sat on the coffee table for a while. And as soon as I see that, I KNOW I have to make it! Rustic Pear and Bramley Apple Tart – it became an obsession and what a lovely way to finish the weekend! So, having sent the boyfriend out to do the weekly shop (not sure how I managed that!), I plodded over to the kitchen!

This recipe is one of the most simple pastry dishes I’ve ever made, and it is definitely going to become a staple ‘go to’ Autumn/Winter dessert. The end result is definitely Rustic, as mentioned in the title. But all the better for it! An open topped pie with a light, crumbly, hazelnutty pastry, filled with the classic combo of apples, pears, cinnamon, sugar and sultanas. No faff with making pastry lids, just fold up the sides of the pastry to form a buffer against the fruit falling out. Bosh!

KB rating 8.5/10 PR rating 8.5/10

Rustic Pear and Bramley Apple Tart (serves 8)

Ingredients:

  • 50g hazelnuts
  • 225g plain flour
  • 140g butter, chilled and diced
  • 3 tbsp golden caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 4 pears, peeled, quartered, cored and sliced
  • 2 Bramley apples, peeled, quartered, cored and sliced
  • 50g sultanas (I ended up using more)
  • 60g light brown soft sugar
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 2 tsp cornflour
  • 1 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup or clear honey

Method:

Place the nuts in a food processor and blitz until finely chopped. Add the flour, butter and caster sugar and whizz until all the butter is blended well. Add the egg and whizz again to form a firm dough – if the mixture seems dry add 1 tbsp of chilled water. Shape into a ball and chill for at least 10 mins (I reckon 30 mins minimum otherwise it’s hard to roll out).

Preheat the oven to 180C (gas mark 4). In a large bowl, toss together the pears, apples, sultanas, brown sugar, cinnamon and cornflour.

Line a large baking tray with baking parchment. On a lightly floured surface, roll the pastry to a circle about 35cm diameter. Transfer to a baking tray (I cheated, and rolled out the dough on the baking parchment as it was very crumbly and I was nervous about the transfer)!

Spoon the fruit mixture onto the centre of the pastry, leaving a 4cm border all the way around. You can pile quite high (though I still had a bit of filling that didn’t fit into the pastry disc). Fold up the edges to form sides, and then brush the pastry with milk.

Bake for 40-45 minutes until the pastry is golden brown and the fruit is tender and very juicy. Drizzle with the maple syrup or honey. Slice and serve warm (or at room temperature) with clotted cream or custard.

Get under a blanket, grab a brew and settle back on the sofa!


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Gammon Steaks with Creamy Parsley Sauce and Root-Veg Mash

Gammon with Creamy Parsley Sauce and Root Veg Mash, Delicious Magazine February 2010

Gammon with Creamy Parsley Sauce and Root Veg Mash, Delicious Magazine February 2010

The British weather continues to tease – going from “quite warm for this time of year”, to full on freezing, windy and grey “ooh, maybe we should put the heating on”. And it’s causing me problems – the first being that I never seem to be appropriately attired, and the second being that I’m never that sure what I want to eat. But the other day I was absolutely dead set on something – gammon. And not a posh gammon joint. I wanted gammon steaks! I really think gammon steaks are very underrated – they’re cheap, quick to cook and tasty! It’s just like a massive slice of bacon, and that can only be a good thing. I dug through some back issues of Delicious Magazine and found something that sounded perfect, Gammon Steaks with Creamy Parsley Sauce and Root-Veg Mash. It definitely hit the right spot as it was warming, cosy comfort food that was simple to cook but delicious to eat. I’d highly recommend!

KB rating 9/10. PR rating 8/10.

Gammon Steaks with Creamy Parsley Sauce and Root-Veg Mash (serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 400ml whole milk
  • 6 fresh flatleaf parsley stalks, plus 1 handful leaves, chopped
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 black peppercorns
  • 1 large shallot, halved
  • 1 small swede, cut into chunks
  • 500g floury potatoes, cut into chunks
  • 2 tsp Dijon mustard
  • 40g mature cheddar, finely grated
  • 30g butter, plus a knob for frying
  • 20g plain flour
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 4 gammon steaks

Method:

In a small pan, bring 350ml of the milk, with the parsley stalks, bay leaf, peppercorns and shallot, just to the boil. Set aside for 15 minutes to infuse, then discard the solids.

Meanwhile, put the swede in a pan of cold salted water. Bring to the boil and cook for 5 minutes, then add the potato and cook for a further 15 minutes, until tender. Drain.

Mash the root vegetables with a masher. Warm the remaining milk and half the mustard in a pan on the hob, then fold into the mash with the cheese. Season and keep warm.

To finish the sauce, melt the butter in a small pan, add the flour and cook for 1 minute. Off the heat, slowly stir in the infused milk and remaining mustard until smooth. Return to the heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring, until thick. Add the parsley leaves and season.

Heat the oil and a knob of butter in a frying pan over a medium-high heat. Cook the gammon for 3 minutes on each side. Serve with the mash and sauce.


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Apple and Cinnamon Cake

Apple and Cinnamon Cake, Mary Berry 100 Cakes and Bakes

Apple and Cinnamon Cake, Mary Berry 100 Cakes and Bakes

I’ve had a bit of a baking flurry recently – something about the season turning from summer to autumn I think that means it’s time to have a spot of tea and cake! And I’ve been inspired by the Master – Mary Berry. Her book Mary Berry 100 Cakes and Bakes (available here), has so many things I want to try. But one that appealed more than most was her Apple and Cinnamon Cake – I think those flavours are classic, but I was also intrigued as the cake has an apple layer running through the middle.

This cake was pretty easy to do, and the results were good. I think I’d turn the oven a bit lower next time and cook for slightly longer, as the outside was a bit too well done for my liking. But the soft apple inside keeps this cake lovely and moist. And Mary’s suggestion of serving this warm with clotted cream was spot on – God, this was good!

KB rating 8/10. PR rating 7/10.

Apple and Cinnamon Cake

Ingredients:

  • 225g butter, softened
  • 225g light muscovado sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 100g chopped walnutes
  • 100g sultanas
  • 225g self-raising flour
  • 2 level tsp baking powder
  • 400g cooking apples, peeled, cored and grated
  • 1 level tsp ground cinnamon

To finish (I didn’t actually bother with this)

  • Light muscovado sugar, for sprinkling
  • Extra chopped walnuts, for sprinkling
  • Icing sugar, for dusting

Method:

Preheat the oven to 180C/Fan 160C/Gas mark 4. Grease and line a 23cm cake tin.

Measure the butter, sugar, eggs, chopped walnuts, sultanas, flour and baking powder into a large bowl and beat for about 2 minutes until thoroughly blended.

Spoon half the mixture into the prepared tin then spread the grated apple and ground cinnamon in an even layer on top. Spoon the remaining cake mixture over the top, level the surface and then sprinkle generously with light muscovado sugar and walnuts.

Bake for 1.25 – 1.5 hours or until the cake is well risen and golden brown. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn out, peel off the parchment and finish cooling on a wire rack. Dust with icing sugar and serve.


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Smoked Haddock with Spinach and Poached Egg

Smoked Haddock with Spinach and Poached Egg, The Fast Diet Recipe Book

Smoked Haddock with Spinach and Poached Egg, The Fast Diet Recipe Book

When my boyfriend was little he used to love what he called ‘yellow fish’ – smoked haddock. So when I was looking for a suitable 5:2 starve day recipe my eye was immediately drawn to Smoked Haddock with Spinach and Poached Egg in The Fast Diet Recipe Book (buy the book here). It’s all classic flavours, very comforting and super quick to make. And it’s very low calorie too – bonus!

Not much else to say – other than, good luck on poaching eggs. Unless I use my silicone poaching pods, I cannot poach an egg. There, I’ve said it.

KB rating 7/10. PR rating 7/10.

Calorie count: 211 per person

Smoked Haddock with Spinach and Poached Egg (serves 1)

Ingredients:

  • 100g baby spinach leaves
  • Salt and pepper
  • Pinch of nutmeg
  • 75g skinless smoked haddock fillet, undyed
  • 240ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tbsp half-fat creme fraiche
  • Half a spring onion, finely chopped
  • Squeeze of lemon

Method:

Wilt the spinach leaves in a little salted boiling water and drain well. Stir in a pinch of nutmeg and season.

Poach the fish for 10 minutes in milk (or microwave for 3 minutes in a covered dish). Meanwhile poach the egg.

Serve the fish and spinach topped with egg and creme fraiche mixed with spring onion and a squeeze of lemon.


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Orange Scotch Pancakes

Orange Scotch Pancakes, Mary Berry 100 Cakes and Bakes

Orange Scotch Pancakes, Mary Berry 100 Cakes and Bakes

I’m one of those people who loves the idea of a lazy weekend breakfast. The key words in that sentence are ‘the idea of’. When it comes to anything more than putting weetabix in a bowl and making a brew, I tend to make excuses! But the other Sunday morning I really wanted a nice start to the day and found this Mary Berry recipe for Orange Scotch Pancakes in a book called Mary Berry 100 Cakes and Bakes (you can buy this here and it’s a bargain for a fiver). And despite my previous reluctance to really ‘make’ breakfast, it took absolutely no time to make these. Definitely one to do again in the future.

Serve with golden or maple syrup and a nice milky coffee. Start your day with a bit of smugness!

KB rating 8/10.  PR rating 7.5/10

Orange Scotch Pancakes (makes around 24 pancakes allegedly. I highly doubt this – I got about 12 out of the batter!)

Ingredients:

  • 2 oranges
  • A little milk
  • 175g self raising flour
  • 1 level tsp baking powder
  • 40g caster sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • A little oil for greasing
  • Butter and golden or maple syrup to serve

Method:

Grate the zest from the oranges and set aside, and squeeze the juice. Pour the juice into a measuring jug and make up to 200ml with milk.

Measure the flour, baking powder, sugar and orange zest into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the egg and half of the orange juice and milk mixture. Beat well to make a smooth, thick batter and then beat in enough of the remaining orange juice and milk to give the batter the consistency of thick cream.

Heat a large, non-stick frying pan over a medium heat and grease with a little oil. Drop the mixture in dessertspoonfuls onto the hot pan, spacing them well apart to allow the mixture to spread. When bubbles appear on the surface, turn the pancakes over and cook on the other side for 30 – 60 seconds, until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack and cover with a clean tea towel to keep them soft. Cook the remaining mixture in the same way. Serve immediately with butter and golden or maple syrup.