Looking at the market stall inspired me to to buy some lovely ruby red and emerald green rhubarb. I always remember as a child having rhubarb in crumbles, pies and with custard. The sour and sweet taste and the soft texture is enough to make my mouth water. I saw a recipe on television where Gizzi Erskine used rhubarb on top of a Pavlova.Sadly I could not find her recipe online, so I recreated my own version with a few twists, as an ode to February Cook of The Month. Erskine is a product of Nigella Lawson, a glamourous, cocktail dress wearing cook from England. Her food is quick, bright and unapologetic, as she kneads bread in stilettos. Mentioned in the latest issue of Vogue, she is tipped to be a rising star in the cookery world.
Ingredients: 5 eggs whites, salt, 500g caster sugar, 1tsp white vinegar, 2tsp corn flour, 500g rhubarb, 1tsp orange blossom, 400ml double cream, 50g icing sugar, 25ml cointreau.
Preheat the oven to 150C.
Firstly make the meringue base. Simply whisk the egg whites and a pinch of salt until white and thick and gradually whisk in 300g of sugar. Do this until you can form peaks, or even hold the bowl over your head. Now fold in the vinegar and corn flour until combined well. Place in the shape you want and put in the preheated oven and bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Leave to cool.
For the rhubarb, chop into think length way slices and mix with the rest of the sugar and the orange blossom. Lay on a tray and bake in the oven on 200C for 20 minutes. Once donn drain the syrup from the rhubarb and leave to cool.
When the meringue and rhubarb is cool it is time for the Chantilly cream. Take the double cream and whisk with the icing sugar and alcohol (you can use orange blossom if you wish). Once thick, pile on top of your meringue base followed by the rhubarb. Serve or chill for later. (^-^)
Decembers ‘Cook of the Month’ comes form the cookery book ‘The French Kitchen’ (2002, Doubleday, London) , by Joanne Harris and Fran Warde. Harris is also the author of Chocolat, so if you have read the book you can imagine how scrumptious and inviting the recipes, language and photos are. This book also does not disappoint with a chocolate section. The one recipe that did stand out for me was a Blueberry Tart, which in the book looks like it came straight out of boulangerie.
So i went and picked up some fresh blueberries from the city market yesterday. I would of had more blueberries in the tart if someone in the night didn’t eat them! But anyway, there was enough for what I want to do. What is great about this recipe is that so far this is the best pastry I have ever tried to make, Pâte Brisée. This is a nice light, buttery and flakey pastry which was so easy to work with, roll and bake.
The recipe was easy to follow but it can also be adapted for season and taste. This would be great to substitute the blueberries with blackberries, raspberries, gooseberries or even strawberries. I will also be using the Pâte Brisée recipe again for the future. You can find the recipe here or buy the book (it’s worth it). In the end it tasted great, was easy to make and I learnt something new… a perfect ‘Cook of the Month’.
“Serve cold, if you can wait.” (^-^)
Today i started on the bag of walnuts, cracking them open and revealing their scrumptious centre. A perfect seasonal nut, ideal for christmas. so expect many recipes to come which involves the walnut!
While I was living in South Korea I made many American friends who were living there. One of them was Gretchen, I remember around American Thanksgiving time she told me how amazing Pumpkin Pie was and it was a shame she could not make any because people in Korea rarely have ovens. So Gretchen and I hopped on a train for two hours in search for the mythic pie, but atlas we never found. So now I am back in England and that time of year has come around again so I have decided in honour of my friend to have a go at making Pumpkin Pie…. here goes lol
First I decided to use a real pumpkin and not the canned kind. Unfortunately I could only get the Halloween kind, which is o.k just make sure you get as much water out of the pumpkin as possible (I will explain later). First I chopped the pumpkin in half and took out all the seeds and stringy bits. Then chop up into smaller slices and steam, it probably will take around 10-20 mins but you know when it is done because the pumpkin with be bright orange and the skin will just slid off the flesh.. yum! Now when that was all nice and soft, to take out all the water I took the flesh and put it in a cloth and made a bundle and squeezed all the excess water out. Finally put in a blender and blitz until smooth, then refrigerator-ate.
Now I prepared the pie base, a nice simple recipe of short-crust pastry which I then baked blind in the oven for 20 min and left to cool.
Once the pumpkin mixture was cool I transferred it to a sieve over a pan and left for 1 hour to just to eliminate anymore pesky water, because you don’t want a soggy bottom for your pie!
5 eggs, 1tsp ground ginger, 1tsp Ground Allspice, 1.5tsp Cinnamon Power, 3 drops of Vanilla Essences, 300ml of Evaporated milk, 1 cup of golden caster sugar and 3 cups of Pumpkin.
Mix these all up well and pour into you prepared pastry case and pop in a preheated oven at 210C for 15mins and then 175C for 40-60mins.
Cool and then eat ! Yum! Thanks Gretchen for inspiring me to make an unusual dish for an English Guy.