Monday 28 January 2013

Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper Soup (gluten free) with Ciabatta by Paul Hollywood (not gluten free) - a comforting winter-warmer

Some like it hot!

You will need:

2 or 3 Red Peppers

2 Ramero Peppers
1lb tomato flesh (about 500gm)
1 large onion
1 or 2 carrots
2 rashers of lean un-smoked bacon
1 or 2 red chillies - depending on how 'hot' you like your soup
1 clove of garlic
1 pint of stock * if you use a stock cube, make sure it's gluten free *
Black pepper

So, there I was, bumbling round the supermarket, muttering under my breath that I hate supermarket shopping – a necessary irritation in the flow of an otherwise enjoyable morning – when I spotted a treasure chest of superb ingredients for a Soup of the Day at Fancy Pans. Piled up in an area given the delightful name of Vegetable Dump was an abundance of juicy, red peppers. I scooped up most of them, leaving a few for other lucky shoppers and then noticed a juddering trolly approaching the Vegetable Dump which was being pushed by a member of the supermarket staff called 'Here to Help'. There was a small mountain of very ripe vine tomatoes threatening to tumble floor wards from the post-date load of fruit and veg. I nodded towards the tomatoes, he shrugged and I transferred them from one wobbly trolley to another – mine.

Snatching up some buy-one-get-one-free bacon bargains, I headed towards the checkout with my collection of red, out of date, fruit.

To make the soup, I tipped the red fruits into the sink and washed them thoroughly. For one batch of soup I took two large red peppers and two of the Ramero type and took the hard stalk and core out making sure I scraped all the seeds from the flesh. When the peppers were sliced in half I popped them into the oven to roast. I then took a couple of pounds of the tomatoes and put them into a bowl.  I first poured boiling water over the tomatoes and then ran cold water over them so that I could easily skin them and take the pips out. Having done that, I weighed them and there was a pound of flesh – Shylock would have been proud. I did think that had I not been able to find such lovely tomatoes, a 500gm can of chopped would have been equally as good, and saved on time. 

I checked on the peppers – they were roasting nicely. 

I rummaged in the veg store and found a red chilli.

I didn’t want to touch this really as it’s so painful when you rub your eyes after chopping one of these red-devils. I pulled on a pair of disposable gloves, the kind you see paramedics wearing, to perform this operation and kept them on to chop a large onion too – it’s so hard to get rid of the smell of onion once infused into your skin. Likewise with a clove of garlic which I crushed. Whilst in chopping mode, I diced a carrot and then chopped up a couple of rashers of bacon. Into a large, saucepan I poured some vegetable oil and turned on the heat. I then threw in the onion, carrot, bacon and garlic and left them to cook for a few minutes. When the peppers were roasted I was easily able to peel off the skin. I suppose I could have just chopped them up without roasting them, but I would have had to put the end product through a sieve to make sure there were no residue nasty bits. The onion and carrots were soft so I added the peppers, tomatoes and chilli and gave it a good stir. From the fridge I took about a pint of vegetable stock, we are out of chicken stock at the moment, but that would have worked too. If you do try this recipe, you can always use a stock cube and boiling water if you don’t keep stock in the fridge (who does?) If you do use a stock cube, make sure it's gluten free if you are making a gluten-free soup.

After about twenty/twenty-five minutes everything was cooked and I took the hand blender and jooshed the soup. It did need a little more salt and I also added some freshly milled black pepper.

 I love this with fresh Ciabatta – just gorgeous. Master baker Paul Hollywood will guide through it if you would like to make your own, but it is tricky so you may need to buy some it you need it sooner rather than later.

 © Karen Ette 2013

Friday 25 January 2013

Burns Night - 25 January - the Great Robbie Burns

Burns Night
Robert Burns

Recipes are at the bottom of the page, after Robbie's most famous work.

Robert Burns was born on 25th January 1759 and died 21st July 1796 aged just 37 and often referred to as The Bard.

His poetry is just brilliant - try this one:

To A Mouse

Wee, sleekit, cowrin, tim'rous beastie,
O, what a panic's in thy breastie!
Thou need na start awa sae hasty,
Wi' bickering brattle!
I wad be laith to rin an' chase thee
Wi' murd'ring pattle!

I'm truly sorry man's dominion,
Has broken nature's social union,
An' justifies that ill opinion,
What makes thee startle
At me, thy poor, earth-born companion,
An' fellow-mortal!

I doubt na, whiles, but thou may thieve;
What then? poor beastie, thou maun live!
A daimen icker in a thrave
'S a sma' request;
I'll get a blessin wi' the lave,
An' never miss't!

Thy wee bit housie, too, in ruin!
It's silly wa's the win's are strewin!
An' naething, now, to big a new ane,
O' foggage green!
An' bleak December's winds ensuin,
Baith snell an' keen!

Thou saw the fields laid bare an' waste,
An' weary winter comin fast,
An' cozie here, beneath the blast,
Thou thought to dwell -
Till crash! the cruel coulter past
Out thro' thy cell.

That wee bit heap o' leaves an' stibble,
Has cost thee mony a weary nibble!
Now thou's turn'd out, for a' thy trouble,
But house or hald,
To thole the winter's sleety dribble,
An' cranreuch cauld!

But Mousie, thou art no thy lane,
In proving foresight may be vain;
The best-laid schemes o' mice an' men
Gang aft agley,
An' lea'e us nought but grief an' pain,
For promis'd joy!

Still thou art blest, compar'd wi' me;
The present only toucheth thee:
But och! I backward cast my e'e,
On prospects dreaer!
An' forward, tho' I canna see,
I guess an' fear!

I guess his most famous work has to be Auld Lang Syne - how many could sing the whole song?

Auld Lang Syne

Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And never brought to mind?
Should auld acquaintance be forgot,
And auld lang syne!

Chorus - For auld land syne, my dear,
For auld lang syne,
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.

And surely ye'll be your pint stowp!
And surely I'll be mine!
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet,
For auld lang syne.


We twa hae run about the braes,
And pou'd the gowans fine;
But we've wander'd mony a weary fit
Sin' auld lang syne.


We twa hae paidl'd in the burn,
Frae morning sun till dine;
But seas between us briad hae roar'd
Sin' auld lang syne.


And there's a hand, my trusty fere!
And gie's a hand o' thine!
And we'll tak' a right gude-willie waught,
For auld lang syne.


Celebrate with us and enjoy the same Burns Night Fare as we shall be serving:
and raise a wee dram to The Bard

For more poems by Robbie Burns, click here

Everything you always wanted to know about Robbie Burns, click here

Thursday 24 January 2013

Cranachan - or Kranakan Mess for Burns Night (without oatmeal)


Cranachan is a traditional Scottish dessert which uses toasted oatmeal.  The best Cranachan recipe I have found is Nigel Slater's.  For Burns Night at Fancy Pans, I have created a different dish using some of the traditional ingredients and a few different ones. It's Eton Mess meets Cranachan hence the title.

To serve this gorgeous dessert you will need some old-fashioned sundae dishes or large wine glasses and a decent malt whisky such as Glenmorange, Glenlivet, Glenfiddich, but definitely not a peaty/smokey one.

Before making the Kranakan Mess you will need to make the meringue:
Separate 3 eggs and whisk the whites until they are really stiff.  Add 3 oz caster sugar and whisk again.  Spread the meringue mix on a baking tray which you will have lined with greaseproof paper or baking parchment and bake in a moderate oven until firm and crispy.  
Alternatively, you could buy meringue nests and use those.

Next you will need:

6 ozs / 170g of raspberries 
tablespoons of malt whisky and another 2 tablespoons malt whisky
3 tablespoons of runny honey - preferably Scottish for authenticity
1 pint / 20 fl ozs / 600mls of double cream

3 or 4 digestive biscuits (instead of oatmeal)

Soak half the raspberries in 2 tablespoons of malt whisky - overnight if you can, or for as long as possible.

Take the soaked half of the raspberries and crush them until they are smooth.

Whip the cream until it's nice and thick and then stir in the runny honey and the 3 tablespoons of malt whisky and mix well. Add the crushed raspberries and stir them in gently.  Then add the whole raspberries keeping some back to decorate.

Break up the meringue into small pieces and add it to the mixture, stirring it in gently.

Put the mix into your sundae dishes or wine glasses.  It's your choice as to how big you would like your dessert to be, but this will make enough for at least 4, if not 6, people.

Crush the digestive biscuits and sprinkle on the top of each dessert and finish off with one or two fresh raspberries. 

Ooops, forgot the digestive biscuits

Let's hear from Robbie:

O, gin my love were yon red rose,
That grows upon the castle wa',
And I mysel a drap o' dew
Into her bonie breast to fa',
O, there, beyond expression blest,
I'd feast on beauty a' the night,
Seal'd on her silk-saft faulds to rest,
Till fley'd awa by Phoebus' light!

Wednesday 23 January 2013

Burns Night Pie

Burns Night Pie

Traditionally on Burns Night it's always Haggis, neeps and tatties.

Well this is Haggis, neeps and tatties with a difference

 Ye Pow'rs wha mak mankind your care,
And dish them out their bill o 'fare,
Auld Scotland wants nae skinking ware
That jaups in luggies;
But, if ye wish her gratefu' prayer,
Gie her a Haggis! 

Robert Burns

Today's recipe is traditional in that it contains all the ingredients, but in a different way - serves at least four people.

 You will need:

1 Haggis

1 swede – peeled and finely chopped

1lb of potatoes peeled and chopped.

Gravy – as usual, I’ll let Delia show you how to make gravy (click here), otherwise, Bisto is very good.  Add a slug of whisky for extra Scottishness.

Firstly, cook the swede.

Open the haggis and break it up into an oven-proof dish. 

Add the cooked swede and mix well with a little gravy.

Cook the potatoes. Drain and mash them.  The best mashed potatoes are done with a potato-ricer if you have one.  Add a knob of butta and some warm milk.  Salt if you want to.

Spread the potatoes over the haggis and swede and bake in a fairly hot oven, gas 5, 180C, 375F for about 25 minutes, until the potatoes are toasted.

Serve with something green, such as cabbage and more of the gravy.

Easy peasy.

 © Karen Ette 2013

Tuesday 22 January 2013

Scotch Broth for Burns Night

Scotch-ish Broth

As Burns Night approaches, Fancy Pans are putting on some good Scottish fare and this is my take on a traditional dish of Scotch Broth, which I hope Robbie would have enjoyed.

This is a substantial soup which doesn’t need any bread to accompany it.  In fact, the best accompaniment is a tot of good single malt such as Glenmorange.

You will need:

A large pan – big enough to hold all the ingredients.

2lbs Lamb bones – or neck of lamb 4 pints of water

3 oz pearl barley (or 6 tablespoons) OR, risotto rice (or lentils if you really must)

Place the lamb bones into the saucepan, pour on the water and bring to the boil. If there’s a scum on the surface after it has been boiling for a few minutes, scoop it off and discard. Add the Pearl Barley (or the washed lentils, if you must) and leave to simmer for about an hour.  If you are going to use risotto rice, add this with the vegetables later.

You can do your vegetable prep now.

These ingredients need to be peeled (if they need peeling) and chopped into fairly small pieces:

2 sticks of celery – de-stringed

2 large carrots

2 small leeks (or one large one)

A small swede or half a large one

1 large onion (or two small ones)


2 rashers of bacon – can be smoked or un-smoked, the choice is yours - also chopped into small pieces.

A sprinkling of mixed herbs

Salt and white pepper to taste.

After the bones have been simmering for an hour, add all the other ingredients and cook for a further 20-30 minutes. If you are using risotto rice, add it with the vegetables.

When the vegetables are cooked, remove the bones and discard.  If you have used neck of lamb, you can strip off the meat, chop it finely and put it back into the broth.

Check the seasoning and add more salt and pepper if you need to.

And that’s all there is to it.

Sunday 20 January 2013

Parsnip and Apple Soup (gluten free) - with Paul Hollywood's Cheddar and Apple bread (and a bit about Parsnips)

On a recent visit to Auntie Mow’s she said she was going to make some parsnip and apple soup. ‘Aha’ I thought, I needed some new soup-recipe ideas and this was just the ticket.  I had harvested more parsnips than I had needed over Christmas and there was still a surplus in the veg. store.  So I decided to create my own recipe.

Parsnip and apple soup with wholemeal bread

Parsnips do keep well for ages after they have been dug from the cold, winter earth: (parsnips are best eaten after a hard frost). They can be quite dangerous though.  The idea of a dangerous parsnip may not have crossed your mind; it isn’t the fleshy, edible root which is threatening, it’s the leaves, which have been removed when you buy them rather than growing your own.

Parsnips are a member of the Apiaceae family and the leaves contain something called furanocoumarin - a chemical which can cause a burn on bare skin (best to cover-up when harvesting). At worst, if the plant juices come into contact with skin, it can cause redness, burns, tingling and blisters 24 to 48 hours afterwards. Sweat also speeds up the absorption of the chemical as does sunlight. It’s best to wash the area thoroughly and if it’s really bad, see a doctor.

So, that’s the scary bit, which won’t affect anyone who doesn’t ‘grow-their-own’; here’s the interesting bit:

The name parsnip comes from old English pasnepe  whose ending was changed to -nip by analogy with turnip because it was assumed to be a kind of turnip. It is a close relative of parsley and, of course, the carrot. However, they are richer in vitamins and minerals than  carrots, especially potassium with 600 mg per 100 g. The parsnip is also a good source of fibre. 100 gms of parsnip contains 75 calories.

And now for the enjoyable bit:

Parsnip and Apple Soup

You will need:

Part 1:
2 medium onions, chopped quite finely.
1 – 2 oz butta
1 small garlic clove, crushed (this is optional)
1 stick of celery, de-stringed and finely chopped.

Part 2:
1 lb parsnips – chopped
4 oz potatoes – chopped
8 oz apples – cooking apples are best, especially Bramley, but any kind will do – the sharper the better.
2 pints stock – vegetable or chicken
1 dessertspoon of mixed herbs – fresh if poss, but dried work well too.

Part 3
½ pint milk
2 teaspoons Garam Masala
Salt and pepper

Here’s what to do:

Part 1: melt the butta in a thick-bottomed pan – a large one, and add the onion, garlic (if you are using it) and celery.  Cook on a low heat until soft and slightly golden.

Add the  ingredients for Part 2 and simmer for about 20 minutes.

Liquidise and add the ingredients for Part 3

Keep tasting and add more salt and/or pepper until you are happy with the flavour.  You can add more milk if it is too thick for you.

Serve with fresh bread – Paul Hollywood’s Cheddar and Apple Bread is lovely.

Sunday 6 January 2013

Epiphany - Magi, Poetry and Galette des Rois

6th January, Epiphany, is the day we remember when the Magi (Wise Men, Three Kings) visited Jesus, Mary and Joseph.

There are many thoughts on how old Jesus was when this visit occurred. One thing we do know for sure is that it wasn't on the night of his birth and even though the Magi are usually depicted in any Nativity scene, he was probably between one and nine months old. Some even say two years.

Matthew's Gospel gives the only account of the Magi's visit and King Herod's wrath causing him to order that all male children under two be killed.

As Jesus was Jewish he would have been circumcised when he was eight days old, (Luke 2:21) not necessarily in the temple, but at the house where they were staying. House, not stable - there lies another story. Mary and Joseph probably wanted to stay with relatives when they went to Bethlehem (David's town) to register, but as the town was so crowded, they would have had to sleep in the stable area, under the house.

Jesus would have been taken to the Temple thirty-three days later after the "days of purification" were completed, which is the 40th day after Jesus was born. (Leviticus 12:2-6 & Luke 2:22-38).  

We don't know for sure how old Jesus was; Matthew's Gospel refers to him as a child, not baby, but we know the Magi followed a star, which at the time was not out of the ordinary to the untrained eye. Only they, who studied the stars, would have noticed it and recognised it as having special relevance. 

The verse from the poem on Advent day 22 reads:

Were they ready,
                   for the day when it came?
To be sent by a king, to find -
                a child with lineage divine.
Balthasar from Arabia came;
              Melchior’s Persian perfume.
                          Gaspar brought oil from India’s land,
               they travelled from homelands so far.                          
Each one waiting.
Knelt in homage – guided by a star.

The French serve Epiphany Cake on 6th January, Twelfth Night  called Galette des rois- it is quite a complicated recipe, but here's a simpler version should you wish to try it:

You will need:

1lb 2oz/500g puff pastry (or flaky pastry) - either shop-bought or home made (let Delia show you how)
3 oz/75g caster sugar
2 oz/50g soft, unsalted (if poss) butta
4 oz/100g ground almonds
1 egg
Here's what to do:
Preheat the oven to 210C/410F/Gas 7
Divide the pastry in two parts; roll each out into a circle about 9in/23cm across and put one circle on to a baking tray. 
Beat the egg and remove a small amount for glazing. Mix in the almonds, sugar and butter until you have a smooth paste. Spread the paste over the pastry on the baking sheet leaving about half-an-inch round the edge uncovered.  Pop a bean, or coin, or small figure into the paste, wet the edge and lay the second circle on top.  You can make a pattern on the top or just leave it plain. Glaze with the remaining egg yolk and pop into the oven for about 30 minutes until crisp and golden.
Serve warm with cream (I like whipped cream best - or clotted even better) or ice-cream.
 Whoever finds the bean or coin it in their slice will be king or queen for the night.