Give-Away #9 : A copy of Cox Cookies & Cakes

It was my birthday on the bank holiday week-end. In order to mark the occasion I would like to offer one of you, a present.

To that effect, I am going to apply the perfect birthday formula which is:
Birthday = cake + presents


I got a bit of help from  BakingMad.com who is kindly giving away a copy of Cox Cookies & Cakes by Eric lanlard and Patrick Cox.

BakingMadUK.com is a comprehensive and lively website full of recipe ideasWhether you are a complete beginner or an enthusiastic home cook, this website will be of interest. The recipes are easy to find, there is a converter, a forum where you can ask the experts your questions and other rubrics such as a blog, competitions, to name but a few.

BakingMadUK also sponsors Channel 4 Baking Mad, a programme presented by Eric Landlard, Master Patissier, owner of the critically acclaimed Cake Boy shop.
For a chance to win a copy of the fashionable "Cox, Cookies & Cakes" by Eric Lanlard (retailed at £16.99) please choose your favorite recipe from http://www.bakingmad.com/recipes/cakes and cut and paste its link in the comment box, leave me a little message too if you wish.
For a bonus entry Tweet the following and let me know that you have done so in the comment box
"Win a copy of "Cox Cookies & Cakes" from @BakingMadUK and @solangeweb  http://pebblesoup.blogspot.com/2011/08/august-give-away.html

This competition is opened to all UK and Ireland residents. 
Closing date: 7th of September at midnight

The winner will be picked at random and announced on the 8th September - on Pebble Soup and on Twitter so don't hesitate to follow me @solangeWeb


Chicken with Aubergine and Couscous

It is every reviewer's nightmare: you are booked for a job, you get to the location clutching confirmation, only to find that somehow your booking has vanished.

It happened last week-end. After a three hours drive, I got to the Brudenell Hotel in Aldeburgh which I am reviewing for boutiquehotels.co.uk. The hotel was fully booked as one would expect for a mid-August week-end but not a Pebble on  the register.

The staff lived up to their 4* reputation. They found alternative accommodation and ferried us back and forth to their faboulous sea-facing restaurant. I took the manager to his word, enjoyed and relaxed.

The Chef, Francis Moore who has previously worked in Le Pont de La Tour and Zinc Bar in London makes the most of fresh fish and produce available locally. The menu has lighter options, an alternative is not that often seen in restaurants.


I started with Treacle cured salmon with cucumber and ginger salad and wasabi cream, I am determined to look into the wasabi cream soon, it was light and so delicate that it transported me to diner's heaven.

Back home, I tried one of Francis Moore's recipe due to a lack of ingredients, remember, I had spent the week-end away, it turned out very different from the recipe but still a very good dish

Chicken with Aubergine and Couscous

serves 2
2  chicken thighs or breasts,
1 large aubergine, sliced or diced
1 medium onion, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tb fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup crushed tomatoes
2 Tb olive oil
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp allspice
1/2 tsp red pepper

for the couscous
1 cup couscous
1/3 cup raisins
1 cup water
1 spoon butter (choose how much you wish to add)
Pat dry chicken pieces and season with salt. Combine spices in a bowl. In a pan, eat the oil, when it is very hot add the spices, fry for a minute then add the chicken. Lightly brown chicken on each side until just cooked; remove from pan.

Under medium heat, in the same pan saute onions,  pepper and garlic until soft. Remove from the pan and place with the chicken. Add oil to the pan and fry the aubergines for a 10 minutes stating on high heat reduce to low when they are just browning.

Return the chicken and all the ingredients to the pan add the tomatoes and leave it to simmer for 15 minutes. Add lemon juice and taste for seasoning, adjusting if necessary.

Meanwhile prepare couscous, bring a cup of water to boil. Remove from heat, add couscous and raisins, stir quickly, and cover. fluff the couscous after five minutes and add butter

Serve immediately.


Maggi Hambling's Scallop - her tribute to Benjamin Britten on Aldeburgh beach

Skewers of Glazed Duck à l'Orangina

Try to say "Orangina" to a French person, the answer will automatically be "Secouez-moi, Secouez-moi" and it will be followed by a little wiggle at the hips.

Indeed in France, Orangina is famous for its commercial campaigns. The iconic pear shaped bottle with its goosebumps texture has remained the same since its creation in 1936.


For most people, this orange, lemon grapefruit and mandarin drink is evocative of summer and  terraces de café. It would never have crossed my mind to cook with Orangina, hadn't I seen a intriguing recipe conceived by one of France's leading chef Jean-Francois Novelli. This tasty recipe was created to celebrate the drinks' 75th anniversary.

I made the dish with duck legs, not breasts.
Would I cook it again? yes. However, next time, I will drop the glazing sauce which adds too many extra unnecessary flavours.


It may not be as good as Chicken Coca-Cola but tastes much better than Partridge with chocolate.

So definitely worth giving it a go if only for the surprise factor.
SKEWERS OF GLAZED DUCK A L'ORANGINA

Serves 2

* 2 large duck breasts
* 500ml Orangina
* 1 tablespoon of cherry venegar or rice vinegar
* 3 tablespoons of rapeseed oil or olive oil
* 3 tablespoons of soy sauce
* Pinch of sea salt
* Pinch of crushed pepper
* 1 teaspoon of madras curry power
* 2 garlic cloves
* 1 bay leaf
* Sprinkle fresh thyme

For the Glazing Sauce

* 150g prunes or apricots or pineapple
* 200-300ml of Orangina
* 2 soupspoons of cherry vinegar
* 2 pimento or birds eye chillies
* A good pinch of sea salt
* 2 star anise

Keep the skin on the duck and cut the breasts into six or eight cubes and put these into a container ready for the marinade.

To make the marinade: Pour half a litre of Orangina into a saucepan and add curry powder and seasoning. Bring to the boil and simmer for 20 - 30 minutes. Leave this marinade to cool down and when it is cold enough, pour over the duck to marinate. Crush two garlic cloves into the marinade, then add a sprinkle of fresh thyme and one bay leaf.

To make the glaze: Pour 200-300ml Orangina into a saucepan and add 150g prunes, apricots or pineapple. Add the chillis and 2 soupspoons of cherry vinegar with a big sprinkle of salt and two star anise - let this boil until it becomes syrupy in consistency. Thread the cubes of marinated duck onto skewers and place the skewers onto a non-stick pan onto a very hot gas ring for one minute. Place the skewers in the oven to cook 180-200C for about 10-12 mins. About 5 mins before the skewers are due out of the oven, pour the glazing liquid onto skins.

Grilled Spring Lamb Cutlets with Anchovy, Olive and Caper Butter

Last week May of Slow Food Kitchen and I attended Kerrygold Mediterranean Baking day. An event which celebrated the launch of their new spreadable Irish butter with olive oil.

May is particularly interested in butter made with the milk of grass fed cow, 'It is not only that it tastes better,' she says 'it is much better for your health too.' So if there is any brand, out there, listening: do specify "made with milk of grass fed cow" it is a plus for consumers.

The organisers of the day explained the idea behind using olive oil in butter. " To make butter spreadable, it needs another agent usually vegetable oil but here olive oil has been added because it is the nation's favourite cooking oil." I couldn't taste the olive oil which is good as I don't think butter should taste of olive.

We also learnt that Kerrygold, has teamed up with top Irish Chef, Rachel Allen, to produce the very first Kerrygold Community Cookbook. Rachel will choose which recipes to include in the book due for publication in October.

If your aim is to get a recipe published, here's is your chance to submit your best-loved recipe via their Facebook page at www.facebook.com/KerrygoldUK . But hurry up as entries must be submitted before Sunday 28th August, 2011

In the mean time here is one of Rachel Allen which will appear in the book.

 Grilled Spring Lamb Cutlets with Anchovy, Olive and Caper Butter Served with Buttered Courgettes


 Serves 4

Rachel’s quote: ‘Making a flavoured butter is such a useful thing to serve with meat.  When making a flavoured butter I like to use Kerrygold, as it gives a real creamy flavour to the recipe. It can be made ahead and chilled or even frozen.  The capers and especially the anchovies go particularly well with the lamb, the anchovies won’t taste fishy, but instead adds a gorgeous savoury depth to the meat.’

Ingredients:
·        2 tbsp olive oil
·        12 lamb cutlets
·        Salt and pepper

For the flavoured butter:
·        125g(4 ½ oz)Kerrygold butter, softened
·        1 tbsp parsley, chopped
·        2 anchovies, chopped
·        10 capers, chopped
·        6 black olives, pitted and chopped
·        A squeeze of lemon juice
For the buttered courgettes:
·        25g (1oz)Kerrygold butter
·        2 medium courgettes
·        Salt and ground black pepper


Method:
1.      In a bowl, mix together all ingredients for the flavoured butter.  Next, lay out a piece of baking parchment or cling film.  Spoon the butter mixture on top of the parchment or cling film in to a rough sausage shape, then use the parchment or cling film to roll the butter into a log about 2.5cm (1in) in diameter. Place in the fridge and keep chilled until needed.
2.      To cook the cutlets, drizzle with olive oil and season with salt and pepper.
3.      Place a griddle pan or frying pan on a high heat and allow to get quite hot, then add the cutlets and cook for 2–4 minutes on each side depending on how well done you like them. Take them off the heat, and allow to rest for a few minutes as you cook the courgettes.
4.      To cook the courgettes, first peel them, then slice in half length-ways and remove and discard the soft inner seeds. Next carefully cut the flesh into 1cm (½in) cubes or slices.
5.      To cook, place a frying pan on a high heat. Once hot, add the Kerrygold butter and when the butter has melted tip in the courgette pieces.
6.      Sauté for 2–3 minutes until just softened, tossing regularly, and season with salt and pepper to taste.
7.      To serve, cut a few slices of your flavoured butter, about 1cm thick, and place a slice on each lamb chop then serve immediately with the buttered courgettes.

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leeks au Gratin -

I've got "this thing": for every 10th Twitter follower, I cook a recipe and then post a picture as a thank you. Each 10th has to be a fourth. 

For example. limoncello_food was number 74th and had a lemon pie recipe revamped for them, which was great because it happens to be one of their favorite recipe.

Follower number 84 is Leekjobs I am not certain what they do at Leek Jobs but it was very lucky for my little recipe-posts game. As their name is without ambiguity.

This time round, I even cooked the dish on the day. It made a perfect accompaniement for the lamb which I collected from the local farm, after much running around. Dead lambs can be very lively, in my opinion. 

Leeks au Gratin



INGREDIENTS:
3 leeks
a pinch seasoning + nutmeg
2 tbsp of thick cream
grated cheese, for topping
METHOD:
  • Clean the leeks, slice them into one-inch chunks and cook them in a frying pan with milk when then add the cream.
  • Place the leeks at the bottom of the dish. Sprinkle on the grated cheese and bake at 190°C/375°F/Gas Mark 5 for 20 minutes, or until the top is golden.


Qu'est-ce-qu'une Verrine?

Last time I was at a diner party in France, there was a wave of incredulity when I dropped in the conversation that in London "soirées verrines" were not trendy. Such a statement bought much confusion. Diners needed reassuring, we (the English population) knew, at least, what was a verrine, didn't we?

I have to say that since the conversation was taking place just after the hostess had made an entrance balancing small glasses (or verres) filled with savoury food on a tray, I assume that these were verrines and dismissed the ridiculous question with a "pfffffffff" complemented with shoulder shrugging.

Now I have got to come clean, I had never seen a verrine in my life or if I did, it never occurred to me that it could have a generic name. Mais qu'est-ce-qu'une verrine? It is a confection in a smallish narrow glass, layers of ingredients sweet or savoury.

What are the advantages to layer a dish in a small glass? it looks pretty, it makes smaller portions, perfect as a snack outdoors, an  aperitif or a dessert. It says "Look, I have made an effort in you honor or look how clever I am with presentation", There is no other good reason in my opinion to do such a thing.

However verrines are rather cute with their multicolored layers and it leads to being creative, there is a recipe around which I would love to try if only I had the appropriate "verres" for Verrine of salmon mousse on Boursin, easy and probably rather tasty.

The recipe I want to leave you with is that of a dessert which I had a Russell & Hobbs presentation of their new winter collection but more about that in future post.

 Ginger Biscuits  Yogurt Verrine
makes four

Ingredients
1 Mugs of Greek yogurt
2 Tbsp brown cane sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
a couple of strawberries
4 crumbled ginger biscuits
the zest of a lime and lime juice

Method
Mix the Greek yogurt with the brown cane sugar and vanilla extract. Keep on the side.
In a small narrow glass layer biscuits and yogurt till you reach the top Add 1/2 strawberry and serve making sure you make an entrance.

 

And the Winner is..............

I loved all your comments, thank you all for participating. There will be another give-away in August so keep watching.

The winner of the Dr.Oetken decoration and baking competition is Jacqueline at #22


3 in 1

Pebble Soup is offering a Give-away which will bring fun and sparkles to your kitchen
http://pebblesoup.blogspot.com/2011/07/give-away-8-dr-oekters-edible.html

I have entered a recipe in love your garden competition and would love if you could vote for it. I have my eyes firmly on the prize
http://www.lovethegarden.com/blog/potty-about-potatoes

New post : Strawberry cookies it must be summer.

Strawberry Shortcakes

You may remember my attempt at making biscuits when the results looked slightly freakish.
Yes, these were supposed to the perfectly shaped cookies but as we know not everything in life turns out to be the way we think it might.


But this time, to avoid a certain amount of unpredictability I have been choosing my ingredients and recipe with more care. I have used Loseley Summer Meadow Butter before and I was seriously impressed by its great taste.
Therefore, I will be glad to give it another go. I also like the texture as it can be rather annoying to faff about with hard butter. Not that it is a problem during the summer though.

What summer also brings  are all these lovely soft fruits and he has hinted that we might go blackberry picking this week-end. Now, this is bliss. In the meantime I intend to bake these perfectly formed shortcakes and I will be very disappointed if they don't turn out anything like this picture.


 STRAWBERRY SHORTCAKES

20 minutes preparation time plus chilling and cooling
20 minutes cooking time
Ingredients:
Loseley Summer Meadow Butter 225g (8oz), softened
Caster sugar 110g (4 oz)
Plain Flour 300g (11 oz)
Ground Almonds 50g (2 oz)
Small strawberries 225g (8 oz)
Whipping Cream 300ml (1/2 pint)
Strawberry jam 2 tbsp, soft-set (if you use other fruits, match the jam)
Caster Sugar for dusting

Method:
1. Firstly make the shortcakes. Cream together the Loseley Summer Meadow Butter and sugar until light and fluffy, then mix in the flour, salt and ground almonds until the mixture clings together to form a dough. Turn onto a floured surface and knead gently until smooth.

2. Lightly press and roll the dough to flatten it to a thickness of 6mm (¼ inch) and, using a 7.5cm (3in) round cutter, stamp out as many shapes as you can. Re-roll the dough and continue stamping out shapes until all the dough is used up. You should end up with about 20 circles.

3. Line a baking sheet with parchment and place the shortcake circles on the sheet. Prick with a fork and chill for 40 minutes.

4. Preheat the oven to 180˚C/ 350˚F/ Gas 4 and bake the shortcake biscuits for 15-20 minutes until lightly golden. Set aside to cool.

5. To finish, wash the strawberries and hull and slice them. Whisk the cream into soft peaks, and then spoon onto half the shortcake biscuits. Top with a few strawberry slices and drizzle of jam. Add a small dollop of cream and then sandwich a plain shortcake on top. Dust very lightly with sugar and serve immediately.
Makes 10 shortcakes
Biscuits are suitable for freezing
Suitable for vegetarians

This post is sponsored by Loseley Summer Meadow Butter
Loseley Summer Meadow Butter is packed in a 250g tub and costs £1.29p. retailed in independent grocers, Morrisons and Waitrose.

Jansson's Temptation - Potty about Potatoes-

This blog is asking for a bit of audience participation since this recipe is being entered Lovethegarden.com Potty About Potatoes competition. The recipe which gets the most votes will be win its   blogger (Meee) a £200 meal in any chosen restaurant.  
So I am hoping for plenty of votes to celebrate this very simple recipe made with humble tatties.

 This dish  is a take on Gratin Dauphinois/pommes lyonnaises, a kind of crazy Swedish version of this very lyonnais dish. What could be more delicious than cream onions potatoes baked slowly in cream and butter and to give it a weird twist the addition of  anchovies.
Get ready.....for...

Jansson's tempation
 If you would like to vote for this recipe click  here :

Ingredients       
30g can anchovy fillets in olive oil
25g butter
2 medium onions, very finely sliced
4 medium, waxy potatoes (about 800g), thinly sliced
284ml carton double cream, made up to 300ml with milk

Method

  1.  Preheat the oven to 200°C/fan180°C/gas 6.
  2. Clean the anchovies gently under tap water and chop
  3.  Gently heat half the butter in a saucepan, add the onions and fry over a low heat for 15 minutes.
  4. Thin the potatoes thinly and arrange them in a buttered over dish
  5. One layer at the time
  6. Between layer add onions, the mixture of cream and milk, salt, pepper, anchovies.
  7. Till you reach the top or run out of potatoes
  8. Bake between 50 minutes to an hour. Check the potatoes are well cook as the cooking time depends entirely on the kind of potatoes used. it could take an extra 20minutes more.
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