Blackberry Flaugnarde

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Just in time for the weekend! This would be pretty amazeballs after a Sunday lunch. Apparently you’re not supposed to accompany a flaugnarde, not even a little cream.  In my mind though, it’s starting to get a little cold outside so some softly whipped cream would be a delight.

Most importantly though – this dessert is simple. S.I.M.P.L.E. You mix together four ingredients, pour it over fruit and the oven does the rest. That’s it. Done. Finito. Means you can get on with your weekend relaxing, lounging in pyjamas (can’t be just me, can it?) And still be rewarded!

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I ended up using 450g blackberries cause they’re so damn delicious right now, but you could use cherries (which would turn this flaugnarde into a clafoutis!) or blueberries.. some raspberries.. Go for it.
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So. This recipe really should sort out four of you.. especially if you’re taking me up on that cream offer.. but the two of us hungrily devoured it. Oops.

Four big tablespoons of plain flour (or 1/2 C)
Five big tablespoons of caster sugar (or 1/2 C) and some extra for dusting
3 eggs
1 capful of almond extract (I mean it’s lid.. not a cup, dear god!)
350ml milk
450g blackberries
Icing sugar for flinging on top whilst it’s hot

Set the oven to work, about 180c.
Grab your dish.. the flaugnarde will rise in the oven and then settle down so choose something that will hold all the fruit and have a little extra height.  Butter the dish and dust it with sugar.
Turf in the fruit.
Add the flour and sugar to a mixing bowl and stir it together. Add the three eggs and mix it well but quickly, overworked flour goes rubbery.
Add the almond extract and the milk.
stir it all together and pour over the fruit.
Into the oven for about 40 minutes but keep an eye on her.

flaugnard

Eat it hot, warm, cold.. just eat it. I’m off to make another one.

No. Really.

Smothered Potatoes. Southern old school cooking.

Sometimes I don’t want plain boiled potatoes.  If I’m not using the oven for anything else I’m not going to put it on just to make roasted potatoes, however excellent they are and however much I would love them to be a diet staple.

I still want them to be full of flavour but I don’t want to invest much more effort than I would to boil them.  This is when I turn to smothering.  The act of cooking something with onions and stock.

Recently this was a no brainer accompaniment to simple peppered steak with greens.

At the end of the recipe is the trick I do with some raw cooking chorizo for a speedy one pot wonder.

Served three people with leftovers which I put into Mushroom Soup.

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil
1 sliced onion
2 500g bags of tiny new potatoes kept whole
500ml chicken stock from a Kallo stock cube – of course you could use vegetable stock.

Into a big pan put the butter and olive oil on a medium heat to melt and mingle.
Add the sliced onions and coat them with the oil, let them cook for about five minutes while you wash and clean the potatoes.
Throw in the potatoes and coat them with the onions and oils. Give them a few minutes while you boil the kettle for the stock.
Put the cube in with the potatoes then pour in boiling water.
Now. I like to reduce the stock so by the end of their cooking time there is an intense ‘gravy’ in the pan, so I boil them without a lid.
If by the time you have a thickish gravy your potatoes aren’t cooked, add a little more boiling water until they are.

Done.

I have, on occasion, added a sliced red pepper, 1 tsp fennel seeds and some chunks of cooking chorizo in with the onions and then proceeded the same way. The chorizo stays moist and colours the dish, adding its paprika gloss and smoky flavour. Delicious with a sharply dressed green salad to cut through the oils.

Sweet Potato, Chilli and Coriander Soup

This was a “What have I got?” soup.  I had a meeting at 10am and then things to do at home before work at 4pm.  No time for a big lunchtime faff in the kitchen – but then, who does? – so I wanted to use what I had and what needed to be used.  Nobody wants to see sad abandoned vegetables staring them in the face when they make their morning coffee.

I had three sweet potatoes, the rest of the fresh coriander from last night’s bounty and some chillies in the fridge.  There are always chillies in the fridge. And onions. And a block of creamed coconut, because who doesn’t have one of those lying around?

Easily serves three

1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp flavourless oil
1 large onion, sliced
3 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut to be about 1 inch cubed. Doesn’t have to be neat
1 hot chilli with a slit cut in it
2 cloves of garlic, peeled
1 good quality chicken stock cube – Kallo for me
1 tbsp block coconut, grated/chopped/hacked
1 tbsp coriander stalks
1/2 a lime

In a saucepan melt the oil and butter and add the sweet potatoes. Let them sit on a moderate heat so they get some colour and start to caramelise to bring out their sweetness. When this happens add the onions and let them cook until they begin to go transluscent. Keep stirring so thing’s don’t stick. Chuck in the chilli and two garlic cloves, whole is fine.
Add the stock cube and pour over enough water to cover everything well. Put in the coconut to melt. Let this bubble for about 10 minutes, or really until the sweet potato is soft.
Take out the chilli, unless you want it blitzed up and therefore hotter. Add the coriander stalks and then tip/ladle the whole lot into a blender.
Go nuts. Blitz blitz blitz. I like mine smooth. If you don’t, then less blitzing.
Back into the pan to go from warm to hot and add a little more hot water if it’s too thick.
I squeezed in about a large teaspoon of lime juice just to balance out the sweet from the potato.

Really good with naan bread.

Bhindi Bhaji on the Fly

Stuff the big supermarkets, beautiful fresh tomatoes and coriander from the local Asian grocer.
Stuff the big supermarkets, beautiful fresh tomatoes and coriander from the local Asian grocer.

I happen to live around the corner from Asda.  I also can’t remember what day it is, I’m all skewiff because of the festive season.  So when I got off the bus after work at about 6pm it was shut.  Of course it was shut.  It’s Sunday.

This was meant to happen.  I went to the Asian supermarket around the other corner instead.  The place I should have gone to first.

I stropped my tired hungry self around the shop throwing items in the basket; Five ripe tomatoes, a bunch of fresh coriander and two packets of frozen okra.  I know, it’s not seasonal.  I’m sorry.  I was hungry!

I think I’ve made enough to feed six people.
The quantities below will feed two who are hungry.

2 tbsp vegetable/rapeseed oil
1 large onion, halved and sliced across the rings
2 tsp black mustard seeds
3 ripe tomatoes, chopped
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground fenugreek
400g okra (mine was frozen so maybe 500g fresh)
1 or 2 hot chilies, cut slits into them
2 tbsp chopped fresh coriander
Salt

Pour the oil into a large pan and add the onions, coat them with the oil and let them start to heat up. Add the mustard seeds and when they begin to crackle throw in the tomatoes.
When the tomatoes begin to soften and release their juice add the ground spices and mix thoroughly. Add in all of the okra, the one or two chillies and then season to taste.
Let everything bubble for about ten minutes, adjust the seasoning if you need to.
Turn off the heat and stir in the fresh coriander.
Absolutely grate in an inch of fresh ginger if you want to, I just didn’t have any.

I had mine on a mound of brown rice cooked with a bay leaf and nine cardamom pods. I put it on to cook before I did anything else. Y’know, brown rice taking so long and all.

Sweetcorn Hash with Avocado and Eggs

I woke up hungry.  Who am I kidding? I always wake up hungry.  But I got up late, so late in fact that I had to turn breakfast into a late lunch. Also, this was January 2nd so I only had the mountain of food I’d gathered on New Year’s Eve.

I really wanted sweetcorn. But I couldn’t be bothered (!) making sweetcorn fritters. I wanted crispy potato but couldn’t be bothered (!) making hash browns. Something was wrong, food would help.

Scrabbling around the fridge and cupboards I came up with four new potatoes needing to be used, avocados, eggs, a small packet of parma ham, canned corn, onions, a lime, and coriander. This is what happened next.

Serves two hungry people.

Into a warm cast iron fry pan I added some butter and some olive oil. I tossed in the four new potatoes which I’d cut into sixteenths, basically no bigger than 1 inch cubed.
I added a chopped onion and let them begin to brown over a high heat.
While they were cooking my partner in crime scooped out two avocados and mashed them up with a little salt, some lime and about 2 tablespoons of chopped coriander.
I sliced up the ham into fat pieces – they’re only thin after all – and lay them over the onions and potatoes, tucking the fat down to touch the bottom of the pan so it could crisp up and render out some flavour.
By now the potatoes were nicely brown and the onions had lost their raw edge. I chucked in a small can of corn and let it warm through.
I divided the corn hash between two plates, wiped out the pan and poured in some fresh rapeseed oil.
In went two eggs to gently fry for a runny yolk.
One egg on each mound of hash with delicious avocado on the side.