Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Sargies Cornish Kitchen: Recipes

Yesterday I reviewed 2 Sargies products - their Luxury Lemon Curd and Free Range Meringue nests. Although they were very nice in their simplest form, I thought it would be good to use them in a couple of recipes too. I wanted the recipes to be simple, to use both ingredients, and to have other ingredients I am most likely to have in my cupboard. So I chose Lemon Meringue Cupcakes, and Lemony Eton Mess.

Both recipes are taken from somewhere else (BBC Good Food and Delia Smith respectively) but I tweaked them slightly to suit the Sargies products.

Lemon Meringue Cupcakes - serves 12
(original recipe can be found here)

100g butter, softened
100g sugar

1 tsp vanilla essence
2 free range eggs
100g plain flour
Zest of 1 lemon
75g lemon curd (I used Sargies
Luxury Lemon Curd)


Preheat oven to 180 C
Cream butter, sugar and vanilla together until fluffy and combined

Crack in the eggs, one at a time, and beat until fully incorporated and creamy
Fold in the flour and lemon zest until well combined
Spoon mixture into paper cases, then add a teaspoon of lemon curd on top of each
Bake the cupcakes for 15-20 mins until they are golden and springy, or until a skewer (in my case a piece of broken spaghetti) comes out clean. Allow to cool completely before icing.

It is here that I deviated from the original recipe. Where Simon Rimmer's calls for making my own meringue, I instead made a batch of Hummingbird Bakery vanilla frosting, substituting the vanilla for a squeeze of juice from the lemon I had zested earlier. I then crushed in some of Sargies Meringue nests to give the frosting texture and flavour and to add the key "meringue" part!

I asked my lovely friends Magda and Mark to have a taste and tell me what they thought. Unfortunately my style of questioning (akin to an inquisition I think) was a bit too much for him and he declared the whole process as "STRESSFUL! Really stressful!". He did say they tasted nice though...! In fact I think I'm lying there. I seem to remember him also saying "So where is the lemon in this stupid cake?!" but I will put that down to the stress of blogger interrogation...

What a trooper...

As it happens, I had a taste of one myself and was impressed by how light and tasty they were. The lemon curd acted like a "drizzle" - moistening the cake yet retaining enough of its consistency to make a pleasing little filling in the middle which took me by surprise. The frosting complimented it well, and was a good use of the ready made meringues.

Lemony Eton Mess - serves 4

(the original recipe can be viewed here)

300g strawberries
300ml double or whipping cream
Icing sugar (to taste)
Meringue nests (I used Sargies free range hand piped meringu
3 tbsp lemon curd

Whip the cream to a soft, floppy consistency
Chop the strawberries into small but meaningful chunks
Set aside half, place in a bowl and sprinkle over some icing sugar.
Put the other half in a blender with another good sprinkle of icing suga
r (to your taste - I like it sweet, you might like it sharp) and blitz to a smooth pulp
Sieve to remove seeds and pour 2/3 into the cream, folding gently to make a marbled effect
Add the lemon curd and gently fold through
Fold in the remaining strawberries and crushed meringue pieces
Drizzle with some strawberry puree before serving.

I loved this. It was light and sweet with a nice tangy bite from the strawberries. The lemon curd was a good addition - a subtle taste that didn't overpower the summery-ness of the strawberries and cream. It was also so easy to make that I have stored this away for use when I next have friends over for dinner.

Thanks again to Beth and Dave for sending me these products

Thursday, 12 May 2011

Guest Post: Karen's Scrumptious Apple Crumble!

My lovely friend Karen, who also happens to be Jewhurst's cousin, mentioned on Facebook the other day that she had some cooking apples and planned to make apple crumble with them. I asked if she wanted to write a post about it for this blog, and here it is!

Scrumptious Apple Crumble

Before I start into this post I feel that I should explain my rather impromptu decision to make an Apple Crumble this weekend.

My mum always used to make a Chicken Waldorf Salad, which I absolutely love. (For those who maybe don’t know what a Waldorf Salad is, it’s basically chicken, celery, apples, in a mayo/sour cream sauce) She said she was making it recently, which inspired me to get the recipe and try it out myself… This was one of those times when you completely regret starting something! I messed up the sauce by getting the quantities wrong and making too much, I managed to salvage this by putting extra soured cream in to disguise the tanginess of the mayo. I turned to the apples which I was about to chop and thankfully glanced a the recipe again, the recipe called for dessert apples…..I’d bought cooking apples, and so the crumble was made to not waste ingredients.

I was very lazy and didn’t even go to my cupboard to get a recipe book instead I went online, did a little google and decided to try the BBC food apple crumble recipe. I had all the other ingredients in the cupboards so started giving it a bash.

The ingredients are as follows:

For the crumble

300g/10½oz plain flour sieved pinch of salt

175g/6oz unrefined brown sugar

200g/7oz unsalted butter, cubed at room temperature

Knob of butter for greasing

For the filling

450g/1lb apples, peeled, cored and cut into 1cm/½in pieces

50g/2oz unrefined brown sugar

1 tbsp plain flour

1 pinch of ground cinnamon

I made mine with 4 medium sized apples, I didn’t weigh them, but there was an ample layer of apple, which I personally prefer in a crumble.

Preparation method

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.

Place the flour and sugar in a large bowl and mix well. Taking a few cubes of butter at a time rub into the flour mixture. Keep rubbing until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.

Place the fruit in a large bowl and sprinkle over the sugar, flour and cinnamon. Stir well being careful not to break up the fruit.

Butter a 24cm/9in ovenproof dish. Spoon the fruit mixture into the bottom, then sprinkle the crumble mixture on top.

Bake in the oven for 40-45 minutes until the crumble is browned and the fruit mixture bubbling.

Serve with thick cream or custard.

I actually did step two first and peeled and chopped the apple into the Pyrex bowl. I wasn’t sure how they meant you to cut/chop the apples so I cut them into very thin slices, and then chopped the slices again into thin slivers.

I sprinkled the mixture over the fruit in the Pyrex bowl, which worked perfectly fine. The recipe called for a ‘pinch of ground cinnamon’, I put a good sprinkle in as I personally love it! It had a great taste and next time I would probably add a touch more.

I then went back to step one and made the crumble mixture. My scales aren’t 100% and I think in mine, I had a touch too much butter. The crumble wasn’t exactly crunchy throughout, it was more soft in places and almost ‘cake like’, as my husband put it, however, it didn’t take away from it and was still very tasty.

Overall, this was extremely tasty and went down a treat. My husband and I both thoroughly enjoyed it and took the remainder to the in-laws to taste. I think if I was doing it again, I would definitely add in a touch more cinnamon but as mentioned that is because I love the taste. I would maybe use slightly less sugar throughout the recipe as it was quite sweet, so maybe cutting out some of the sugar in the crumble rather than less in with the apple mixture. I’d also advise putting the butter in, in stages as I can’t say whether the recipe tells you to use too much. – I think after this I’m going to ditch those scales and get some proper ones which actually work!

I’d highly recommend you try this simple, but yet classic dish! A tasty treat for a Sunday afternoon.

My thanks to Karen for doing this post. The crumble does look amazing! (I'm also liking her crockery too!)

If you have a favourite recipe you would like to post on the Big Eejit email me (details on the Contact page) and let me know.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Chicken schnitzel with bacon and white wine

Another super easy recipe for dinner tonight, this time from Nigella Lawson's Express book (one of my favourites). I have made this so many times and each time, as soon as I take the first mouthful, I remember how amazing it is.

Heat some garlic-infused oil (or normal oil with a little bit of chopped garlic) in a pan and throw in some chopped bacon (about 1 rasher per person). Fry until crispy, then remove and wrap in foil to keep warm.

Meanwhile, place chicken breasts (one per person) in between 2 layers of cling film and bash with a rolling pin to make a flat escalope. Alternatively use sliced chicken breast steaks. Make sure the pan is hot and add the chicken, not turning it for at least 2 mins. Fry until cooked through, then transfer to a serving plate.

Sprinkle the crispy bacon over the chicken, then throw half a glass of white wine into the pan (you may need more for more people). Let it bubble up and reduce slighty, then pour over your chicken and bacon.

Simple, yet so tasty. In the past I have served this with new potatoes drenched in butter, but tonight I went for peas and sweetcorn. The sweetness of the veg complimented the salty bacon beautifully.

Jewhurst is coming over tomorrow for a couple of days and then I have a heap of work to do. So you get a break from this Big Eejit for a few days at least...... ;)


Tuesday, 3 May 2011

Oriental Salmon

I must confess to not being a HUGE fan of salmon. But when I saw this recipe in a Slimming World book I thought I might try it. The bold flavours of chilli, lime and soy sauce assured me that it wouldn't taste too much like, well..... salmon.

It is one of the easiest recipes I have ever followed. Simply place a salmon fillet (the size of your choice, I went for small on account of my culinary reticence) on a square of tin foil and douse with soy sauce and lime juice. Top with sliced red peppers and chilli.

Fold into a parcel, making sure there is some room for heat to circulate but ensuring the edges are tightly sealed. Place on a baking tray and bake in a pre-heated 190degC oven for 20 - 25 mins.

Serve the salmon, peppers and chilli on top of some egg noodles, making sure to drizzle any juices left in the tin foil over the top.

It was absolutely delicious, even for a cautious fish eater such as myself. A few changes I would make - add coriander to the parcel before cooking, and garnish when serving. It would add some much needed green to the dish and no doubt would add to the flavour as well. I would also chop the chillis very finely, so that I could mix them in with the peppers and noodles. I cut them in big chunks, which could be minced after cooking but made for more work and I didn't fancy doing it while my salmon went cold.

I imagine this recipe could be adapted to suit anyone's taste - use tuna instead of salmon, add more veggies, or serve with rice.