There Is a Log in My Bath

"And what has it got to do with food?" I hear you say.
"Well, this is food" I reply swiftly.
"Nooooo!" that is what you say, when you are in denial.

The log was also a Xmas present from Simon. this is a Shitake Mushrooms log. Yes, it is.

This is also another attempt at growing mushrooms, so far special boxes in the cupboard under the stairs has been tried and failed

But this I have high hopes for the log.
It needs to rest for a while in situs (e.g. the garden), then from March onwards you shock it, by immersing it in cold fresh water for 72 hours, then you bash it and if it is not shock enough you bang it a little more.

Keep it in the dark (eg a plastic bag, in the garden) until it produces........which will probably be never, I'll keep you posted.

The Daring Bakers' April Challenge: Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake revisited

The April 2009 challenge is hosted by Jenny from Jenny Bakes. She has chosen Abbey's Infamous Cheesecake as the challenge.

And in doing so she did me a favour, I do not remember ever trying my hand at a cheesecake, and at present I am really interested in food trends one of which is using herbs in desserts.
I had stored away a recipe that Sue sent me from Toronto Mango Cheesecake with Basil Lemon Syrup. Therefore this month challenge was an excellent opportunity for me to get started.

note that you will need to prepare it in advance as it requires to set in the fridge at least 8 hours
8 ounces biscotti
3/4 cup butter, melted
2 (8-ounce) packages cream cheese room temperature
1 cup whole milk ricotta cheese, room temperature
2 cups mango puree
4 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
for the basil syrup
225g sugar
55ml water
55ml lemon juice
1 packed cup fresh basil leaves
Note that I did half the sugar, otherwise my personal trainer in reading this blog would have a heart attack.
DirectionsSpecial equipment: 9-inch springform pan

For the Mango Cheesecake: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Wrap the outside of a 9-inch springform pan with 2 3/4-inch-high sides with 2 layers of heavy-duty foil.
Finely grind the biscotti in a food processor.
Add the melted butter and process until the crumbs are moistened.
Press the crumb mixture over the bottom (not the sides) of the prepared pan.
Bake until the crust is golden, about 15 minutes.
Cool the crust completely on a cooling rack.

Blend the cream cheese and ricotta in a food processor.
Add the mango puree, eggs, and sugar and pulse until the mixture is smooth.
Pour the mango mixture over the crust in the pan. Place the springform pan in a large roasting pan.
Pour enough hot water into the roasting pan to come halfway up the sides of the springform pan.
Bake until the cheesecake is firm and moves slightly when the pan is gently shaken, about 1 hour 30 minutes.
Transfer the cake to a cooling rack to cool for 30 minutes.
Place in the refrigerator and cool completely, at least 8 hours and up to 2 days.
For the Basil Lemon Syrup:
Place the sugar, water, and lemon juice in a small saucepan.
Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat and cook until the sugar is dissolved.
Cool the syrup completely.
In a food processor combine the basil and the cooled syrup. Pulse until the herbs are finely chopped.
Strain the mixture through a fine mesh sieve.
Slice the cheesecake and place on a serving plate. Drizzle with the syrup and serve.

Courgettes recipes

I know what you are thinking: "BOOOring" but just wait to be faced with the unavoidable courgettes mountain. the yearly depressing site of yet more courgettes and, I am not mentioning the plight of the gardeners, proud allotment owners who in their desperation find all sort of trick to get rid of these little curcubitas, only stopping short of shoving them through their unsuspecting neighbours' letterboxes.

Oh yes, just wait and you will glad for this post. At the end of it you will find my courgettes gratin that is if you get through
Courgettes au riz
for 6 people
  • 2kg courgette
  • 2 handful of cooked rice
  • 250 gr of cream
  • 3 eggs
  • 200g cheddar
  • salt, pepper, ground nutmeg
Peel and cook the courgettes,
Drain and mash them
in a bowl beat the eggs and add all the ingredients except the cheddar
pour in an oven proof plate
top with cheddar
Cook in preheated oven for 40 minutes gas 4 (180)

Cupcakes, Spring & Sex and the City

When Carrie Bradshaw suggestively, but nevertheless greedily, tucked into a Magnolia Bakery’s pink frosted cupcake, three things happened:

1: The humble cupcake became an object of desire for trendies round the world. There is a cupcake fashion. (2009 is not round but square and top flavour is chocolate) Wedding cakes are made out of cupcakes.

2: Magnolia Bakery in New York shot to the firmament of star- bakeries, people queue around the block to get their cute cupcakes, but are they good? "Not really worth" Katy told me( Katy is my dear agent who is still looking to find work to fit my "unusual but interesting career path")

3: Recipes came out from everywhere, decoratively speaking cooks covered and frosted every occasion, I spotted “farmyard inspired” cupcakes twice in a day, Easter?
My favorite : Lemon-Yogurt Cupcake

The Veg Box

So What did I think of the veg box?
Well it arrived early enough for me not to pest. Though I had arranged for it to be deliver with my neighbour if it got to the door when I was out.
The driver and I had a friendly chat. He did not seem to be in a hurry to head to his next stop, though I am sure he was, in view of the traffic and the fact that boxes are quiet popular. But it was nice of him to make the time to explain about the box self which is recyclable, I would have been really disappointed if it had not been.
Now for the content, it is a good idea to eat in season from locally produced sources, nobody will deny that. But you might want bananas and guess what my box included fairtrade bananas and oranges, so no frustration there.
Did I get a surprise, yep Kohlrabi, that is a box only special, I have not seen it very often elsewhere, I made a Kohlrabi and Potato gratin and it was great.
Did I get too much? not enough? I gave some to my neighbour for the bother of not waiting and we had friends around. It is, now, the end of the week and I have not touch the cauliflower yet, potatoes and onions are still partly here but they will keep along with some courgettes.
Was it a success: Globally positive as the politicians say.

Fruity Pistachio Bread

I hate when you look at a recipe and it does not work, so I had to give Waitrose's season cook book another go after the Mascarpone tart fiasco and this time it worked their fruity Pistachio bread recipe is DELICIOUS.

The mixture of Cardamon seeds and pistachios tantalise the taste buds, the bread is in fact an quick bread more like a brioche this is a perfect recipe for Easter, read it through though as it takes a bit of organisation, for copyright reasons I won't paste it below but all the same click here to discover it.

It was also a good opportunity to participate to Kiopaste's "bookmarked recipes" round-up and include this cute little logo.

Happy Festivities

Food Hygiene

I agree this is a strange title but let me explain: I have been invited to take a Virtual College's Online Food Hygiene course. As an ex-teacher, I always tend to look at the form first then the content, bad habit but I can tell you that this is good stuff: riveting.

The material is really neat and the progression is excellent. It does exactly what the outline says.

Did you know that 5 million cases related to poor food hygiene are recorded a year and the number is going ......down, I am not sure I really wanted to know how many there was in the past, but I am not going to ignore the causes. I told you, riveting stuff and I am only on lesson one!

Celeriac & Mascarpone Puree

To eat or not to eat, that is the question.
Celeriac is not one for the beauty contest, and if you have never given it a go, hurry since it is a the end of its season: it is really a winter vegetable but still can be found on your favorite veggie stall.
This recipe was found in the Abel & Cole Cookbook is lovely,
you will need
  • 1 celeriac, peeled and diced in large cubes
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • a knob of butter
  • 125gr Mascarpone cheese
  • salt and black pepper
Place the garlic and chopped celeriac in a pot,
Cover with water,
Boil and simmer for 15 minutes, make sure that the vegetable is tender,
Return to the pan and move it around to remove the moisture.
Mash with a hand blender or a fork, add the butter (optional),
Add the cheese,
Stir to mix and melt

Roasted Tomato Tart

Dear Mr and Mrs Waitrose,

10 out of 10 for presentation, not only your paper magazine is sleek, free with mouthwatering photos but your ezine is very impressive :

So when the mag landed on my table full of spring recipes, I was salivating. Herbs, aubergines, leckford mushroom, white chicory, Mediterranean tomatoes were all competing for a place on my table (same table as mentioned above).

I went for the roast tomato tart basically mascarpone, Parmesan, eggs, and two kinds of tomato.

There is were dear Mr and Mrs Waitrose you score dropped like a lead grapefruit. 4 out 10, for your recipe, your tart is not very good.

As for you dear reader to try a recipe from the magazine, click on the purple tab on the top right, if one of you could try the woolly sheep cupcakes, you will let me know won't you?


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