Welcoming 2013 with three delicious dishes!
Only three days back in to the commuter barging, 9 - 5 rat race my body is well and truly pooped and definitely ready for another holiday and more feasting. However, no matter how much I long for the wood burning stove, the fresh country air and the peace and tranquillity of “no work” I am back in it now until our next trip (which we are planning already!).
So, after a long lie in on Saturday morning followed by a hearty bowl of porridge we set to a long day of “spring cleaning”, baking and making!
The first thing on my list that I have been wanting to do for ages was a batch of cheddar and spring onion scones. A great starter or accompaniment for any soup and the great thing about them is that there are only 3 MAIN ingredients and you can add whatever you want to them!
I was particularly excited to trial these as I got to try out my gorgeous new Christmas present, a Kenwood Patissier .
To create these scrumptious scones you don’t necessarily need a Stand Mixer and can of course do it all by hand, but if you do have one, it saves all the heavy mixing and extra kneading you will have to do.
What you will need:
350g Self-raising flour, sifted
1 1/2 tsps baking powder
Pinch of salt
75g butter, at room temperature
2 Spring Onions, finely chopped
200g Strong mature cheddar cheese
Makes about 12-14 scones
Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: 15 minutes (about)
- Preheat the oven to 200degrees / Gas mark 7. Place the flour, baking powder, salt and butter in the bowl. If you have a Stand Mixer, fit the dough hook and knead on Speed 1 for about 1 -1.5 mins until well combined. If you don’t have a Stand Mixer then with a wooden spoon keep mixing the mixture until fully combined for about 3-5 minutes.
- Add the remaining ingredients and continue to knead on Speed 1 for 1 minute, until well combined and forms a soft dough.
- Without the mixture, add the remaining ingredients and mix until well combined.
- Turn the mixture out on to a floured surface and knead lightly. Roll out with a rolling pin to 1 cm thick. Using a cutter (entirely up to you on size, I used a 6cm round cutter), cut out 12-14 circles. Place on a lightly floured baking sheet well spaced apart and bake for 10-15 minutes until well risen and golden. Serve warm with butter / chutney’s/ hummus… what every your tummy desires.
So having washed up my rather messy kitchen, I set to my second task, Cherry Cream and Chocolate Mousse, a Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall special in his new recipe book Three Good Things. Now, I think you will all know by now that I adore chocolate and this recipe does not fail to impress ticking all the boxes with it’s sweet, velvety texture mixed with the sweet succulence of the cherries and light fluffiness of the whipped cream. Are you ready for it?
What you will need to serve 4:
500g ripe cherries, halved and stoned
25g caster sugar
For the chocolate mousse:
150g dark chocolate, broken into small cubes ( I used 1/2 bar 74% chocolate and 1 bar swiss plain orange chocolate with almond pieces)
3 large eggs, separated
20 g caster sugar
200 ml double cream
- Put the cherries into a pan with the sugar. Cook over a very gentle heat, stirring occasionally, for a few minutes until the cherries are starting to soften and release some of their deep red juices. Set aside to cool.
- To make the mousse, put the chocolate and butter into a heatproof bowl and place over a pan of barely simmering water. Leave to melt, stirring once or twice. Set aside to cool a little, then stir in the egg yolks.
- In a large, clean bowl, whisk the egg whites with the sugar for a few minutes, until they form a soft meringue. Fold this into the chocolate mixture. Spoon into glasses and chill for an hour or so.
- Lightly whip the cream until it just holds soft peaks. Put a dollop of cream on each mousse, add the cherries and serve.
SWAPS: Instead of poached cherries, use fresh strawberries- hulled, thickly sliced and briefly tossed in a little caster sugar. Or raspberries, again with a sprinkling of caster sugar, and very lightly crushed until the juices run.
Finally for our Saturday night supper to go with the scones, I made a Chilli chorizo and mixed bean soup. A perfect winter warmer, and it’s a cheap one too!
What you need: (to make for 4)
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 red pepper, finely chopped
1 clove of crushed garlic
200g chorizo, diced
1 red chilli, finely chopped and de-seeded
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 can of mixed beans in water
1 cube chicken stock
2 pints water
- Sweat off the onion, chilli, pepper, garlic and chorizo until soft
- Add the mixed beans (drained) and cook for a further two minutes
- Add the dissolved chicken stock (added to the 2 pints of water)and the tin of tomatoes. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 20 minutes, or longer, if you can wait!
A delicious home-made feast for a quiet Saturday night in, eating and watching a film, bliss!