Sunday, October 18, 2015

Pumpkin Time Of Year - Pumpkin Truffles

Pumpkin Salted Dark Chocolate Truffles to be exact.  They are hand dipped and we are making a dozen. 

We have been enjoying pumpkin everything!  It is nice to take advantage of the unique flavours of Autumn while it lasts.

Start with a 1/2 cup of pumpkin puree' and a stick of butter (1/4 of a pound) that is at room temperature.  Blend this in a processor with the beans from one pod of vanilla and 1/4 cup of icing sugar.
  Make it as smooth as possible.


                      Place this in a container in the refrigerator overnight.

Make 12 little balls from heaping teaspoons of the filling.  Place back in the chiller for at least 20 minutes to firm them up.

Next is tempering chocolate to hand dip the pumpkin filling.  I can't take pictures and hand dip at the same time, so I will wait until I have a photographer to demo tempering and hand dipping, next time.  I used all I ever use - dark chocolate, this time however it had sea salt added.

I also didn't have little presentation cups to put the truffles in, I used homemade cups made with foil.

First I cup squares of foil and pressed the basic shape into a mini muffin tin.

Then, trim with decorative scissors. 


Place back into the mould to get it just how you want it.


Top with spiced pumpkin seeds, I got those at Trader Joe's.



I sampled one and can tell you, they have a wonderful pumpkin taste.




Tuesday, October 6, 2015

A Cheesy Sort Of Hoppiness

I'm missing Blighty already!  I had to find a way to enjoy a favourite....Hereford Hop Cheese.  It is not available in my area, so this is the best I can do.

Here is a link to a Hereford Hop flashback:

I Want My Umami Cheese Platter

The hops were drying on the vine and smelling strongly of the hoppy aroma.  I plunked some off the vine, reserving some for a home brew, or two.

Next, they were stripped apart and whirled in a food processor.   

I looked for the strongest cheddar I could find at the store I was at.

I cut the cheese by accident....Oh, dear.  Try to not let yours break, if you should try this, but it isn't the end of the world.

Put some plastic wrap down on your chosen flat surface.  Sprinkle the hops to form a slightly larger shape than your cheese.

Place the cheese in the centre.

Sprinkle hops over the top.

Wrap the cheese tightly.  You can use parchment to wrap the cheese, if you would like.  Usually, I'm against wrapping cheese in cling film, but in this case it forms well, and retains the hop flavour.

I let mine set in the refrigerator for a week.  It is great served on a cheese platter, or I made a dish with it:

Prosciutto wrapped chicken, that I stuffed with the cheese and massaged kale.

  I then glazed the whole lot with a apple cider reduction.  It would be remiss to not sprinkle some of the grated cheese on top.

The bitterness of the hops toned down by the sweetness of the glaze paired well with a nice Zinfandel.

Monday, October 5, 2015

What A Load Of Cobblers!

Up the Apples and Pears Crisp/Crumble and Bourbon Peach Cobbler.  Ok, the first one isn't really a cobbler, but it fits the theme well enough.  It's no lie!

The crisp is named for the cockney rhyming slang "apples and pears" which means stairs.

My crisp has not only apples and pears, it also has Applejack to help warm it up even more.

From the website:

40% alc
Sizes: 750ml, 375ml, 50ml
Made from 100% home-grown apples. We carefully distill our fermented hard cider twice in small batches, resulting in a sweet distinctive spirit, both smooth and warming. Aged for 2 years in 50 gallon ex-bourbon casks, then finished in 15 gallons quarter casks, for additional color and barrel flavor.
More like a bourbon whiskey than a brandy, Cornelius Applejack is a fantastic gluten free alternative rye and bourbon. No charcoal filtration, no sugar and no additives. 100% apples.


                                        Harvest Spirits Farm Distillery


 Up the Apples and Pears Crisp/Crumble

Preheat the oven to 350 deg. f and have a 9 x 13 baking pan read.

10 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored and sliced
4 lrg. pears, peeled, cored and sliced
1 stick butter
1 cup flour
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 c. Applejack

sGently toss the fruit in your 9 x 13 pan and dust with flour, Sprinkle with cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg, again gently toss the fruit to coat. Set aside.


Make the topping by cutting the butter into the flour and sugar and blending it well. Pour the Applejack evenly over the top of the fruit.  Top the fruit evenly with the crumble topping.  Bake for 40 minutes.  It is best served with ice cream.

The next recipe has another warming quality from the bourbon added to it.

 From their website:
                                                Hudson Baby Bourbon 

Once our local farmers harvest and dry the corn grown for our Baby Bourbon, we grind it, add water and cook the mash for fermenting – creating a round flavor and balanced palate. Baby Bourbon is left to mature in our signature small charred new American oak barrels, giving it a uniquely rich amber color. Small barrels mean more wood contact, which accounts for its rich, oaky, smoky flavor profile. We never charcoal or chill filter our bourbon, giving you a full-flavor experience. You’ll also recognize subtle notes of vanilla and caramel. 


Bourbon Peach Cobbler

You know the drill preheat the oven to 350 deg. f and have a 9 x 13 baking pan ready.

2 cans peaches, drained, set the syrup from one can aside.
1 stick of butter
1 1/2 c. sugar
1 cup flour
1 1/2tsp. baking powder
3/4 cup milk
1/4 c. bourbon
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. allspice

Place a stick of butter in the 9 x 13 and place in the oven until melted.  In the meantime, mix the spices with 1/2 sugar and set aside.  Mix the remaining sugar with the other dry ingredients.  Mix the milk with the 1 can worth of syrup and the bourbon.  Blend these mixtures together to form a batter. 

Place the peaches evenly in the pan and coat lightly with the butter.  Pour the batter over the peaches and sprinkle with the spiced sugar.  Bake for about 30 minutes until golden on top.  Pile with ice cream while cobbler is still hot!


This is a Pinerest, I did that!  I can recommend this delicious corn.

Mexican Street Corn On the Cob

We had a Iowa meets Mexico meal, Pork Tenderloin sandwiches and the said corn.



Saturday, August 29, 2015

Welshman's Caviar Scallops With Green Grape and Mouli Pickles

If you want to bring even more flavour from sea to your dishes, try some Laver.  It is a Welsh favourite!  The main ingredient in Laverbread, or Bara Lawr.  

Here is the basic recipe for Laverbread.

A Welsh breakfast may consist of Laverbread with eggs, bacon and cockles.  Laver can also be folded into oatmeal.

Their are all sorts of seafood dishes that include Laver, such as Cawl Lafar.  Laver is also made into a sauce to go with lamb.  I have even had a cheese that had Laver throughout.

Laver contains many vitamins and is a good source of protein, iron and iodine.


Open up a jar of dried Laver and create your own dish.

For my creation, I started by lightly pickling green grapes and mouli (diakon radish) in a brine that contains mirin, honey, rice wine vinegar.  Heat this mixture until the honey is incorporated. Drop in mouli shavings and small diced green grapes.  Cool.


Sear the scallops, then place the pickles with the scallops on a plate.  Sprinkle with Welshman's Caviar.

Enjoy the mild sweet and sour of the pickles with the perfume like quality of the scallops and neighbour Laver.


Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Recipe From The Hedgerow - Whinberries


n.1.(Bot.) The English bilberry; - so called because it grows on moors among the whins, or furze.

These little guys look quite a bit like tiny blueberries, not surprising because they are closely related.  They are softer and juicier than blueberries, they are more perishable.  Some other names these berries go by are: blaeberry, whortleberry, or winberry.

Whinberries are great in pies and jams!  You can use them like blueberries are used, they have a more intense flavour.

Making them into a jam is a good way to preserve the goodness, before they are out of season.  

Whinberry Jam - A small batch

2 pummets whinberries, washed
1 1/2 c. sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla essence

Pop all this in a pan and bring to a boil slowly.  Turn the heat down and slowly cook until thickened.


Slather over baked goods, enjoy!


Saturday, August 15, 2015

Chicken In The Heather - Pan Sauce Version

 This isn't the traditional recipe.  This is a pan sauce version, in an attempt to not heat up the house on a hot summer day.  The original recipe from Scotland is a roasted bird and is completely delicious.  Then again, so is the new version in it's own right.  This version also has baby chestnut mushroom halves.  This dish has an intense honey flavour with mustard and just a slight hint of curry.  It has a wee bit of whiskey, of course.

Heather honey comes from bees that collect from heather flowers commonly in Scotland, Wales and Northern England (....such as Yorkshire).  The beekeepers bring their hives to the heather in mid August and by September the bees will be mostly gathering nectar from the heather flowers that are in bloom.  At that time of the year, it may be the only source of nectar.

World Of Honey

6 chicken breasts, skin and silver skin removed, pound to tenderise, dredged in seasoned flour.
1 small pummet baby chestnut mushrooms, halved
1/2 onion, small diced
2 lrg. cloves garlic, crushed
1/4 c .dijon  mustard
1/2 c. heather honey
3 caps scotch
2 tsp. curry powder
2 c. chicken stock

Blend honey, mustard, scotch, curry powder and stock and set aside (....try to dissolved the honey completely).  Shallow fry the chicken in vegetable oil.  Drain and Set aside.  Add the onions and garlic to the pan and cook until soft and lightly browned.  Add the mushroom halves.  Cook a further 5 minutes, or so.  Drain the excess oil.  Now add the chicken back, then the stock mixture, turning the chicken to coat it. Cook until thickened and reduced a bit.

Served with steamed carrots and neeps!


Sunday, August 9, 2015

Rhubarb and Custard Magic Fairy Cakes

Magic custard cake falls into natural layers.  Custard and a light angel food-like cake fall in line without any help from me.  I just whipped up a thin batter and filled well greased and floured muffin tins. I've made this recipe into little, personal fairy cakes, with a rhubarb twist.  We all know rhubarb and custard go together!  

Small diced rhubarb chunks and I also added a muscovado rhubarb butter to the side.

Preheat your oven to 325 deg.

You will need:
 4 eggs, separated
1 vanilla pod, beans scraped
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter melted
3/4 c. flour
2 c. milk
2 stalks rhubarb, washed, peeled and diced

Start by whipping the egg whites stiff, set aside.  Mix the egg yolks and sugar until light, stream the butter slowly as the mixer runs. 

 Continue to mix until very light, add vanilla bean.  Slowly mix in the flour until it is evenly blended.  Add the milk one cup at a time.  Fold in the egg whites.  Now fold in the prepared rhubarb. Fill the prepared muffin tins with  the batter.  Fill the tins only 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes. Cool. Dust with icing sugar. Yield 18.

Serve with:

 Muscovado Rhubarb Butter

1/2 c. muscovado sugar
1 tsp. water

3 stalks rhubarb, washed and roughly chopped

Place it all in a pan and cook down to a bubbly mush, process with a hand blender, until smooth.

Serve with your custard cakes.  It is also good anywhere fruit butters go.