Thursday, 28 June 2012

Rhubarb and Orange Sorbet

My neighbour kindly passed me some rhubarb over the garden fence a couple of days ago.

I do love rhubarb. It makes awesome crumbles and jams and I also love it roasted or stewed alongside greek yoghurt. The last couple of days finally the weather has started to get a bit warmer. It's humid and over cast and trying to rain - I don't think it will be too long before we get a thunderstorm.

It's been a rather wet summer - could do with a little less rain so the local farmers can get their hay crops in.

Anyway, I decided to have a go with the ice cream machine attachment that came with my new KitchenAid mixer. There is a recipe book that comes with it which has a few basic recipes for ice creams and sorbets. Using it as a guide, I came up with this recipe of my own

500g rhubarb
90ml water
zest of an orange
300ml of stock syrup*

Put these three items in a pan and simmer with the lid on until soft and pulpy.

Remove the zest pieces and then strain the juices from the pulp using a sieve.

To the resulting juice, add the juice of a fresh orange, to take the volume to 450ml and then add 300ml of stock syrup. Allow to cool and then refrigerate overnight until nice and cold.

*to make the stock syrup, boil 200g of sugar and 200g of water together for 5 minutes and allow to cool.

Remove your ice cream drum from the freezer - this needs to be in your freezer for at least 15 hours before use.

Fit to the mixer and turn on to the lowest setting. Slowly pour in your rhubarb and orange mix. It needs to churn for around 20 minutes. It will be a bit on the soft side.

Transfer into a plastic 2litre tub or into cells of a silicone bakeware mould and freeze for at least 3 hours or until required.

Serve and eat immediately !

 Sarah-Jane -

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Nacho Baked Chicken Breast and Salsa Salad

It's not often I blog about normal meals - generally just about baking ! 

However, this looked so bright and summery I thought I would share it - even if the photo wasn't so good.

I was rather bored with chicken and decided to oomph it up a bit for an evening meal.


chicken breast fillets
Tortilla chips (I used Cheesy Doritios)

for the salsa salad

cherry tomatoes 
a red onion
a green bell pepper
some salt
chilli oil
a lime

First of all , put the cheese and chorizo on top of the chicken breasts. Add some jalapenos if you like.

Smash up (in a plastic bag) 1 good big handfull of tortilla chips per person

Dip the bottom of the chicken breast in some beaten egg and then onto the bashed up tortillas. Brush some beaten egg over the top and cover with more bashed up tortilla chips.

Put on a baking tray and bake at about 180deg C fan oven for 25 mins.

Serve with a salsa salad of green bell pepper, red onion and cherry tomatoes dressed with chilli oil and lime on the side. 

Easy Peasy !

Sunday, 17 June 2012

Hot Chocolate with Cinnamon / Chocolate / Vanilla Marshmallows and Chocolate Spoons

Typically, I'm cooking out of season. Then again, my entire world revolves backwards. The best working time of day for me is about 10pm until 4am. I get a lot of email done at home and it's also the quiet time for doing website work and prototyping for new silicone bakeware mould development.

Despite getting up around 7.45am, I'm practically dead to the world until just after 10am. I have a couple of quality hours with Oliver and then it's off to work again (though in the office this time rather than my desk at home) when I drop him off at nursery at noon. I collect Oliver again at 6pm, tend to the horses and chickens... get dinner ready, family fed.... sometimes doze for an hour.

It's that time of night once everyone else is in bed, that I like to get creative in the kitchen (if time allows). Am I the only one that makes marshmallows at 2am ?

I made my marshmallows in two different silicone moulds. I used a Tray Bake Swiss rectangular silicone bakeware mould and I also used this floral and fancy silicone mold - which is ideal for tiny cakelets and large filled chocolates.

Marshmallow is THE stickiest stuff ever. Lightly (but thoroughly - don't miss any bits !) oil the inside of your silicone mould before use. Alternatively, you can use cake release spray.  You don't need much - just enough to give a film coating. Too much and the oil will pool on the inside. If you over do it, remove any excess with DO NOT dust the inside with cornflour / icing sugar. Trust me - for this, it's easier if you don't

Adapted from River Cottage

2 egg whites
500g white granulated sugar
25g gelatine granules (or 2 sachets Dr Oeteker brand)
1/3 cup of cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
cake release spray - or a tiny amount of flavourless oil
1tsp ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons each of icing sugar, cornflour and cocoa powder, sifted together

Soak the gelatine granules in 125mls of cold water.

Put the 500g of granulated sugar and 250g . Bring to the boil When temperature reaches 110deg C, put the egg whites in a stand mixer and whisk to stiff peak.

When the sugar syrup reaches 125deg C, take off the heat. Stir in gelatine granules.

With mixer set to low speed, slowly pour in the sugar syrup / gelatine mixture. Once incorporated, add the cocoa powder, vanilla and cinnamon. Turn back up to full speed and whisk until cooled and thickened (though still pourable) - approx 7 to 8 mins.

Pour into your moulds and allow to set for a few hours. DO NOT refrigerate.

On removing from the moulds, cut into pieces, roll in the cornflour / icing sugar cocoa mix and store in a tupperware box. These keep nicely for about 3 days (if they last that long !)

Serve a handful on top of piping hot chocolate with a Belgian Chocolate spoon or two !

This is a new registered mould design by Sarah-Jane Nash and will be available from the end of July.

Sunday 17th June 2012 - Father's Day in the UK.

After visiting the Transport Museum near Lowestoft and having loads of rides on Trams, Trolley Buses and a little train, we all went a walk to Somerleyton Windmill .....

Oliver and Steve took photos and watched the sun go down. I took the photos of them on this blog entry with my mobile.

Once they were finished, we went to the pub at Reedham Ferry for a meal before heading home with a very tired but sleepy little boy.

Happy Father's Day to all the UK daddies !

Friday, 1 June 2012

Reflecting on Raspberry Macarons.....

This batch of raspberry macarons surprised me. They didn't behave the way I thought they would...

I've read so many times in various books that fruit juice can only be incorporated into macaron shells if in powdered form. I once decided to try making the syrup with apple juice rather than water. My batch was a flop ... cakey type shells that were very very cracked and distorted. I only ever had that one go to incorporate fruit juice and then gave up.

More recently, I actually found fruit juice powder (freeze dried raspberry, mango and pomegranate) and thought I'd have a go incorporating it into macaron shells.

Well..... I used a 1/4 cup / 60ml dry measure of the raspberry powder and incorporated this into my macaronage. The mixture had a lovely pale pink hue. I guessed if I baked it at a lower temperature than normal, I should be able to preserve the beautiful pale pink colour without the need for food colouring.


On opening the oven door, all I could do was STARE. The shiny smooth shells in front of me were not at all as I had imaged .... They'd turned out a caramel / toffee colour !!! 

Had I baked chocolate macarons or toffee .... or coffee - I'd have been as happy as a pig in mud BUT raspberry macarons just don't look right that colour !

Don't get me wrong, they smelled like raspberry and tasted like raspberry, they just didn't look raspberry. My attempts at salvation were in decoration. A (new) artists brush dipped in a little gel paste colouring with a couple of drops of alcohol allowed me to brush a pretty pattern on the tops and I filled the centres with some buttercream with added powdered raspberry juice. I don't know. They tasted good - but the macaron purist in me says they still aren't raspberry. I'll let you decide. The recipe is below.

200g ground almonds
200g icing sugar
2 x 90g egg whites
60g raspberry juice powder 

200g caster sugar
80g water

Blitz the ground almonds and icing sugar together until a very fine power. 

Put the ground almonds, icing sugar, raspberry powder and one lot of egg whites in a bowl. Mix to combine.

Boil the caster sugar and water until a temperature of 110deg C is reached. At this point, start whipping the whites to stiff peak. At 118deg C, remove the syrup from the heat. Slowly add it to the second batch of egg whites whilst beating at high speed.

When cooled, add to the sugar / almond / raspberry juice paste mix and fold in.

Pipe on to a Revolutionary Double Sided Macaron Mat. This volume did 50 of the large shells (25 large 2" / 50mm ) macarons and about 20 or so on the small side. Bake at 160deg C with the door open for 5 minutes, then a further 20mins with the door closed.

Wait until fully cooled before removing from mat. Fill with normal buttercream, with raspberry juice powder added to taste.

For full instructions on making macarons, see my YOUTUBE TUTORIAL

These photos were simply taken on a mirror in the garden, so the blue background is the sky.

Sarah-Jane Nash., June 2010 -