Tag Archives: BBC Food

The Pink Whisk October Challenge: Apples

This month, Ruth from The Pink Whisk is challenging us to bake something using one of the ingredients of the moment- apples. I love cooking, baking and drinking apples so I knew I had to take part in this challenge. There are many things you can make with apples including cakes, tarts, crumbles, pies and so forth.

For me, the simplest and the best thing to do with apples is make a crumble. It is one of the first things I was taught to make as a child and was left on my own to make as I got older. I know it is not really original or fancy but my opinion is, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! My recipe is very traditional. It does not use oats or anything in the crumble mix. I do not even put any cinnamon in with the apples. If you have good local apples like I did, you should just let them speak for themselves. My recipe below is a bit vague as it depends on how many apples, you have and the size of your baking dish as to how much you need. You just need to use your own judgement and don’t forget you can freeze any left over crumble mix for another time.

Apple Crumble

Ingredients

  • Apples, local if possible, chopped into chunks (1 large or 2 medium sized apples filled up my little Le Creuset dish above)
  • 125g butter, unsalted, cut into small chunks
  • 250g plain flour (always do half fat to flour, however much crumble you make)
  • 125g caster sugar plus a couple of extra tablespoons for the apples
  • Lemon juice

Method

  1. Put the apples in your baking dish and add some lemon juice in with them to prevent them from browning.
  2. Put in a couple of tablespoons of sugar in with the apples and lemon juice and set aside.
  3. Meanwhile, make the crumble mix by rubbing in the butter into the flour until the mix looks like breadcrumbs. This may take a few minutes depending on how soft your butter is.
  4. Add in the sugar and mix well.
  5. Top the apples with the crumble mix (don’t do it too neatly- rustic looks better) and bake in a moderate oven until golden brown and bubbling. Eat with custard, cream or ice cream and enjoy!

Happy Cooking! :-)

A Night at Odettes

Stuart and I are fans of the Great British Menu, the BBC TV programme. We have watched it since the start and we were particularly taken by a young chef, Bryn Williams who appeared in series 1 and got to cook the fish course for the Queen’s 80th Birthday banquet. Therefore, on our second night in London, it was a fairly easy decision as to whose restaurant we wanted to eat at.

Odette’s is located in Primrose Hill and Bryn has worked there since 2006, becoming the chef patron in 2008. We arrived at 7.45pm on a wet and windy Sunday night to find a quiet yet buzzing restaurant, barely noticeable on the High Street unless you knew it was there.  We were seated promptly and left to make up our minds from the fabulous looking menu. Having already looked on-line, we had a fair idea as to what we wanted and when Stuart mentioned that he would like the Roasted turbot, braised oxtail, cockles & samphire for his main (the dish that Bryn cooked for the Queen), we were informed that there was only one left and needed to reserve it, if Stuart wanted it. We did as we were told and reserved it for later.

As an Amuse Bouche, we were served a Cream of Mushroom and Wild Garlic Velouté which was delicious, light, full of flavour but not overpowering. For my starter, I had Roasted wood pigeon, foie gras, pickled cherries, chocolate, vanilla salt (minus the foie gras- pregnant people can’t eat it!) and Stuart had Crab lasagna, salt & pepper squid, shellfish sauce. My starter was amazing. All the flavours worked really well together and the roasted pigeon leg, which was wrapped in filo pastry was like a spring roll. It was delicious. Stuart’s starter was great too as the crab and the squid really worked well together and did not overpower each other.

Stuart’s roast turbot and oxtail was fantastic. I can see why it was served to the Queen. It is a combination that really should not work but it does. The rich oxtail compliments the turbot and brings out it flavours. I only got to try one spoonful of it. Wish I could of tried more. My main of Loin of Elwy Valley lamb, potato fondant, baby gem, peas & mint was perfect too. It comes from Bryn’s family farm in Wales and is melt in the mouth tender. I  wish I could cook lamb half as good as this at home. It was yummy! If I had not of been in public, I would of licked the plate clean.

As a pre dessert we were served panacotta with berries.  The panacotta was rich and creamy, but not so rich that you could not finish it. For dessert I had Lemon curd arctic roll, cranachan & raspberries. I have loved arctic roll since I was a child and was interested to see Bryn’s take on it. The lemon curd in the arctic roll gave it an extra dimension and moved it beyond the ordinary. He can start selling it in supermarkets at any time. I will happily buy it. The crunch of the cranachan and raspberries brought more textures to the plate and cut through the richness of the arctic roll. I will eat it again at anytime.

Overall, we had a fantastic evening at Odette’s. We would like to thank Bryn and his team for a fabulous meal. We will be as soon as we can. In the picture above, I am wearing a Diamond Dress from Lush Mummy who make glamorous maternity wear and I have been lucky enough to be sent some. I will be doing a full post about them and their clothes on Jo’s Nursery soon.

Happy Cooking! :-)

Fresh From The Oven: Local Flour Challenge

This month’s Fresh From The Oven challenge was hosted by Helen from Fuss Free Flavours. She challenged us to bake something yeasted, using flour where you know either where it was grown or where it was milled. This was quite hard for me as a Google search for ‘flour mills West Midlands’ and ‘flour mills Worcestershire’ brought up an amazing selection of houses that I could buy that had been converted from flour mills. This was not very useful. Then I asked Tom of Loaf where he got his flour from which was Shipton Mill. I nearly brought some flour from there but it cost £5 to post 1 bag of flour. I was on the verge of giving up hope, when I remembered that a farm shop I pass on the way to and from work sold a selection of flours.Would any of it be local?

Unfortunately, Broomfield’s Farm Shop in  Holt Health, Worcestershire did not have any local flour. The most local I could find was from The Five Sailed Windmill in Alford, Lincolnshire. I ended up buying a bag of their white flour, hoping that Helen will forgive me as Alford is 140 miles from my house, knowing that I did support a local business by buying it from a local farm shop.

Stuart and I are both currently obsessed with The Great British Food Revival, a show shown on the BBC 2 on  Wednesday evenings. We loved the first episode with Michel Roux Jr making a sandwich bread loaf. I knew as soon as I saw it that I had to make it so I made it using the local (ish) flour and we had it for dinner with beef stew (recipe to follow soon in another post). This is the best and most easiest bread recipe ever. It was so quick to make. It was delicious warm and it tasted great the next day cold too. I will make this recipe again and again. I urge you all to try it.

Does anyone know of any working flour mills in the Midlands region?

Many thanks to Helen for hosting this month’s challenge.

Happy Cooking! :-)

Update: Since writing this post, I have discovered that there is a flour mill in Shropshire called Pimhill Farm that make wholemeal flour. I intend to try their products soon :-)

Forever Nigella: Ciao Italia!

This month’s Forever Nigella theme is Ciao Italia. Nigella has made many Italian recipes over the years so they are many to choose from. I searched on Nigella’s website trying to find the perfect Italian recipe I could recreate however I wanted to do something a bit different. I moved my search onto the BBC Food website and found this recipe,  Small Pasta with Salami made with her store cupboard ingredients.  My store cupboard ingredients are slightly different to Nigella’s so I made my version of the dish below with things leftover in my kitchen. Overall, I think it went very well and I will be making it again soon.

Jo’s Fusilli with Chorizo and Peas

Ingredients (serves 1 hungry person!)

  • 100g Fusilli, cooked according to the packet instructions
  • 6-8 Chorizo slice, cut into smaller bits
  • 2 inch piece of chorizo sausage, cut into 1cm rounds
  • Half an onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
  • 1 tin of chopped tomatoes
  • Handful of frozen peas
  • Small bunch of fresh parsley, chopped
  • Olive Oil
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Parmesan cheese, to grate on top (optional)

Method

  1. Put the olive oil in a frying pan and add the chopped up chorizo slices and rings. Fry for a couple of minutes until the oil has seeped out of the chorizo.
  2. Add in the onions, garlic and salt and fry for a few minutes until softened.
  3. Add in the chopped tomatoes and allow the sauce to simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally.
  4. Add in the peas and allow to cook for a minute. Then turn off the heat, add in the parsley and stir.
  5. Serve in a big bowl with the cooked pasta with big grating of Parmesan cheese on top. Enjoy with a glass of red wine!

Ciao Italia!

Happy Cooking! :-)

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