Thursday, 13 March 2014

Cookies n Cream Pie

Do American recipes make you feel frustrated?
Always insearch of new ideas I came across a gorgeous photo the other day of a cookies n creme pie made with oreo biscuits. Looked fab so I started googling recipes.
Every recipe seemed to be American and included "chocolate pudding mix" and "cool whip", both of which are not on the UK supermarket shelves.
So I did a bit more googling and came up with my own plan for a recipe.
I bought large oreo bisuits as well as snack size, cookies,butter, cream, chocolate philadelphia and then chocolate flavoured angel delight and dream topping.

I crushed the large oreos and added 30g melted butter and divided them into individual cake tins and pressed down and chilled.
Following packet instructions I made up the angel delight and dream topping and mixed it altogether with the cream cheese and added broken up cookies and small oreos. Dollops were placed on the chilled biscuits base and then I piped cream on top and finished with a mini oreo.
Cookies n Cream Oreo dessert

My son tested them this evening and gave them a thumbs up tho did say the cream probably wasn't needed on top as the 2 textures were the same and also that they didn't need to be any bigger as might be too much. For me I don't think I like the angel delight in the mixture, I was never a big fan!

Cookies n Cream Dessert

And if you fancy making the dessert a bit more portable then it looks great in this small glass jar!
Cookies n Cream Pie in a Jar

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

More Christmas Cake Designs

Last batch of christmas cakes for Radmore Farm Shop!
Now to start on the mince pies!!
Snowflake and Star design christmas cake

Snowman design christmas cake

Holly wreath design christmas cake

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Homemade Christmas Cakes

It's that time of year again for mince pies, christmas pud and traditional christmas cake.
Vicky made the cakes and gave me the task of icing and decorating. This task was right up my street!!
Lots of research on the net first at christmas cake images for ideas. Then I went to a local cook shop looking for cutters. Then, armed with creative ideas, I set to work!
Below are my first 8 designs on the smaller cakes.

Simply white with snowflakes and bow

Christmas tree and snowflakes

Holly, berries and merry christmas

Christmas wreath and white bow

Christmas wreath and white bow

Christmas tree and presents

Christmas tree, presents and stars

Simply snowflakes

Christmas tree and snowflakes

Christmas tree and snowflakes
What's your favourite?

Christmas Party

Last Thursday saw the first of our christmas parties.
The local bell ringers joined us at The Old Red Lion for an evening of fun and gorgeous christmas fayre.
Very successful evening and I managed to capture a few shots of the food.

Smoked salmon, red onion marmalade and cream cheese tart

Parsnip,apple and chestnut soup

Basil roulade

Stilton mushrooms and ciabatta


Baked ham and roast vegetables
Chocolate and chestnut torte

Pear and ameretto cheesecake

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Homemade Christmas Pudding

I can remember as a child going to my aunts every christmas with the whole of my family, (she had a BIG house!), and 20 of us would sit around the dining table after a large turkey roast awaiting the arrival of THE Christmas Pudding! The lights were extinguished as my aunt carried in the flaming pudding and everyone applauded the event. Then we each would have a slice with brandy sauce or butter and hope that we would be one of the few rewarded with a silver 2 1/2p that had been cooked within the pudding. If you found a coin it was considered to bring you luck, unless, of course, you found it whilst choking on it!!!!
Happy days for me but I have to admit as I grow older I am a bit Bah Humbug with the whole christmas event. It's a lot of planning and expense for just one day and, personally, I think it's been spoilt by the commercial side of it and people starting everything too early. My friend reported yesterday that a house in her street is already displaying their christmas decorations!
Having said that I love a new cooking challenge and this year, at The Old Red Lion, it has been decided to make our own christmas puddings for our festive menu.
It's a long winded process but the results are well worth your patience so why not give it a try and impress the family on christmas day.
First job was to find a recipe. We chose this "Cook Britain" book by Sainsburys for ours.
Lots and lots of ingredients to purchase first! (See below for list of what you need)
Cookbook Containing the recipe
First part of planning was to soak currants,raisins,sultanas,mixed peel and figs in a solution of fresh orange juice and zest, stout and ameretto together with nutmeg,cinnamon and mixed spice. This was left overnight for a good soak.
Soak the fruit overnight
Next day I weighed out all the remaining ingredients needed. Easier way of doing things so everything can be quickly put together.
Weighing out the ingredients
For the first stage I melted some butter and brown sugar in a pan and added pecan nuts,mixed peel,glace cherries and flaked almonds and mixed to coat.
Preparing the topping
I then placed in the base of my greased pudding case.
Filling the bowl with the topping
All the other ingredients were then mixed  thoroughly into the bowl of soaked fruit and added to the pudding bowl, packing it in tightly. The next stage is to cover the top ready for steaming with greaseproof and foil in a tight manner, so as to avoid any water getting in.
I went to youtube at this point as I wanted to make sure I did the job properly. Check out this link on the BBC food website
I found it great information.
Wrap very tightly so no water gets in
Puddings prepared, I placed them in a pan with an inverted plate in the bottom and filled with boiling water to half way up the pudding bowl. I then covered with a tight fitting lid and left to steam for 6 hours, checking every hour to see if the water needed topping up.
Cooking the pudings
The long wait over I removed from the pan, took the foil lid off and put on a rack to cool.
Cooling down the puddings
The moment of truth came when I tipped them out of the pot and wow was so pleased at the final result. They looked just like the picture in the cookbook!!
Wrapped in greaseproof and foil, these puddings will last up to 2 months. How's that for forward planning for christmas!
The finished article!
If you would like to try these for yourself I have listed the ingredients below.
Go on, give them a go!
Beautiful glazed topping

Soak in a bowl overnight:
100g raisins
100g sultanas
100g currants
75g chopped dried figs
25g mixed peel
1tsp cinnamon
1tsp mixed spice
1/2tsp nutmeg
200ml stout
2 tbsp ameretto
1 orange, zest and juice

For the topping:
25g melted butter
25g dark brown sugar (melted with the butter)
25g flaked almonds
50 pecan nuts
25g chopped glace cherries

Other ingredients to add to the fruit mixture AFTER it's overnight soak. Mix together well.
100g vegetable suet
2 medium eggs, beaten
50g plain flour
100g natural breadcrumbs
225g dark brown sugar

This mixture will fill a 1.2litre greased pudding bowl. I used 3 smaller ones.

Monday, 4 November 2013

New Menu Launch

As the weather turns much colder, and the leaves fall from the trees, it is time to move on from our summer menu and create something new to take us through the winter at The Old Red Lion.
It takes a while to create something special for our customers.Many hours spent looking through cook books for ideas, googling ideas and thinking what accompaniments work well with each dish. Then, armed with ideas, ingredients are bought and we make each meal to ensure sure it looks and tastes nice.
After several weeks of ideas and trials, finally, on Friday evening, we officially launched our new menu.
The whole weekend went really well. Most main course dishes were ordered, though sadly, not many starters, and the feedback received was really positive.
Great news for us, and if you fancy having a peek at a few things we have on offer, scroll down the page and see if anything takes your fancy!

Sundried Tomato Hummus served on a bed of vegetables roasted in soy sauce with rosemary and basil and accompanied by handmade mini heart shaped pittas.

Courgette & Sweetcorn Pancake Stack filled with melted mozzarella and roasted peppers.

Tuna Steak served on a bed of lime & herb butter noodles and wilted spinach, topped with a tropical fruit salsa of mango and papaya.

Peppered Fillet Of Beef Steak serve on layers of potato rosti and roasted peppers and topped with a creamy peppercorn sauce.

Chicken, Choritzo & Prawn cooked in a tomato and basil cream sauce served on Fusilli Lunghi and accompanied with mini, handmade, heart shaped garlic bread.

Venison Steak cooked in blackberry sauce and served on dauphinoise potatoes with sprouting broccoli.

Halloumi Filo Parcel with zesty chilli middle, served on a bed of sweet potato & sesame mash with marinated olives.
Duck Breast cooked in a spiced red wine & redcurrant sauce served on garlic and parmesan mash and ribbons of vegetables.
So have I tempted your taste buds?
 Hope so!

Friday, 20 September 2013

What's Cooking In Your Kitchen Tonight?

Apparently there was an article yesterday in a national newspaper (Daily Telegraph I think) about how we, as a nation, eat the same meals at home each week. It's a conversation that seems to pop up quite often and I remember, a few years ago, Jamie Oliver commenting that most people could do their weekly shop with their eyes closed as they buy exactly the same food items week in and week out.
Desite having quite a few diverse culinary skills at work, I hold my hand up to being one of these people! When I look at what we eat at home I can honestly say each week we have at least one mince meal (bolognaise,chilli or cottage pie), one stew, one stir fry,two convenience frozen meals and possibly one takeaway or a meal at the local pub.So tonight I decided to do something different at home!
Getting my wok out, and heating a small amount of olive oil in the bottom, I added some diced chicken fillet and chopped red onion and fried for a few minutes. To this I added some mild curry powder and tons of chopped vegetables from the bottom of the fridge. Baby corn, green beans, courgette,samphire and spinach gave this meal not only a vibrance of colour but a great deal of nutrition. To the wok I then added a 400g tin chopped tomatoes and 1/4pt vegetable stock and left to simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Cooking the curry
Just before serving I stirred in some coriander leaves (oh how I love coriander!) and then served up with some small roasted potatoes and naan bread.

Chicken & vegetable curry, roast potatoes and naan bread
It was lovely! Even my boys said how much they enjoyed it, although I did spot some courgette left on the side of one of the plates!
The only downside was that the house stank of curry all evening!!!
So what's cooking in your kitchen tonight??