Mary-Anne’s Luxury mince pies

December 9th, 2011

These really are quite something.

They have an orange flavored almond pastry and a layer of cream cheese inside. You can find the recipe on the wonderful read that is Mary-Anne’s blog

I made these with Katie. We made two differences to the original recipe – we used all butter for the pastry and we didn’t make our own mincemeat like Mary-Anne did. But they are still delicious.

We doubled the recipe and had some of the cream cheese filling left over, about three tablespoons. So I added and egg, two tablespoons of plain flour, mixed it well and made it into pancakes. The left over pastry was made into biscuits.

It’s worth making these alone for the way it makes your house smell for hours after…

Sweet sesame tofu with broccoli

May 26th, 2011

The following recipe has been adapted from this Ottolenghi recipe which can also be found in this book. I’ve simplified it purely to match the ingredients I generally have around.

Take a large block of firm tofu like Cauldron brand 396g. Press and drain on a tilted board till quite firm – this will make it easier to handle and also help soak up the following marinade.

In a large bowl or dish, whisk togetherĀ  3 tlbs light soy sauce, 2 tbls honey* and 2 tbls blended sesame oil. Slice the block of tofu width ways into slabs about 1cm thick and add to the marinade. Mix very gently and leave for half and hour or whilst you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Trim a head of broccoli (about 450g) cut into florets and blanch for just a couple of minutes. Refresh quickly under cold running water and set aside to drain.

Place a wok or thick iron pan over a medium heat and dry roast 1 tbls sesame seeds till golden. Grind very briefly in a pestle and mortar just enough to break some of the seeds up and to release the fragrance. Set aside.

Now add 1 tbls groundnut or sunflower oil to the panĀ  and then carefully fry the tofu pieces in small batches reserving the marinade. Fry till crispy and well colored on both sides.

Wipe the wok clean and return to the heat. Pour in the reserved marinade and bring to a simmer. Quickly add some finely sliced red chili (reserving a little to decorate) the broccoli, a large handful of coriander leaves, half of the sesame seeds and mix well. Take off the the heat, add the tofu and mix everything together gently.

Pile onto a platter and dress with a little more sesame oil. Scatter over some more coriander, the remaining sesame seeds and chili. Serve hot or at room temperature. We tend to eat this with Soba noodles.

* Replace the honey with Maple syrup for a vegan version of this recipe.

…Ben make Kingston beans.

May 20th, 2011

This recipe was based on a dish I had at the Kingston Arms pub in Cambridge (about 10 years ago).

Put a pan on medium heat with a generous knob of butter. Slice three cloves of garlic and a red chili and add to the pan. Cook until the garlic is softened. Add a drained can of Cannellini beans, two big teaspoons of Dijon mustard, a generous pinch of sea salt and mix well. You’ll probably need to add water to prevent the mixture getting too dry – just add a little at a time during cooking. Mash a few of the beans to help thicken it. Cooking time is probably about 10 minutes, but you can stretch it out a little longer by adding more water from time to time.

Just before serving, turn up the heat a little and add a big bunch of spinach to the pan, covering it to help it steam. You need to be careful not to let the beans stick to the bottom of the pan, but try not to mix the spinach and beans too much. Remember that water will come out of the spinach, thinning the sauce.

While the spinach is wilting, fry some slices of halloumi in olive oil.

Serve it up when the spinach is wilted, and top with the halloumi pieces.