The best roast spud are crisp and crunchy on the outside while being soft and fluffy on the inside. They are the classic side to any roasted meat. Adding semolina just before roasting adds extra crispiness to the spud too!
My favourite variety of potato to use is Desirée, but Romano and King Edward are also good for roasting
100g fat or any oil with a high smoke point. Goose or duck fat is perfect as it has a high smoking point (reserved from the Two Fat Ladies Roasted Goose recipe is best)
1 heaped tbsp of Semolina (optional)
Pre heat the oven to 220°C/200°C fan/425°. Put the fat or oil into a heavy based roasting tin, and pop into the oven to melt and heat.
Thinly peel the potatoes using a potato peeler and cut in fairly even sized pieces , lengthways is best as it give you more edges to crisp up.
Pop them into a pan, cover with cold water and a pinch of salt and bring to the boil. Leave to simmer for around 10 mins until they fare starting to go fluffy. To test this lift one of the potatoes, and scrape the edge with a fork, if it’s still smooth then cook for a minute or tw longer.
Drain the potatoes using a colander, and put back into the hot pan, placing it back on the heat for a moment to dry the potatoes off.
Put the semolina on top of the potatoes and pop a lid onto the pan and give them a quick shake, this will distribute the semolina and rough up the edges of the potatoes too.
Remove the roasting tin from the oven and place on the hob on a high heat,
Put the potatoes into the pan a few at a time and using a spoon baste them with the hot fat\oil (this seals them and stops them from being greasy). Be careful not to burn yourself with the sizzling fat.
Put the tray back into the top of the oven for 40 to 50 mins, until they are golden brown.
I was reading through a old recipe book, that was my Grandmothers, I came across a heavily annotated recipe for Cawl, which a Welsh version of the ubiquitous Irish Stew. The book is starting to fall apart and St David’s is almost upon us I’ve decided to publish the recipe up here. The flavour improves if you make it the day before hand.
Serves 4 – Gluten Free*
I’ve converted the Imperial Measurements in the book to metric for ease
2lb (1kg) neck of lamb (on the bone), preferably Welsh, cut into serving pieces
3 pints (2ltrs) lamb stock
8oz (225g) potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped
8oz (225g) onions, peeled and roughly chopped
8oz (225g) leeks, trimmed and sliced into ½in (1cm) slices
8oz (225g) carrots, peeled and roughly chopped
8oz (225g) swede, peeled and roughly chopped
Place the lamb into a large pan and pour over the stock.
Bring the liquid to the boil, then reduce the heat until it is simmering and leave to simmer for an hour.
Add the chopped vegetables and continue to cook for a further hour.
Remove from the heat, cover and set aside to cool overnight.
When you are ready to serve the stew, return the mixture to the boil, reduce to a simmer and continue to simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, or until completely heated through.
Serve in warmed bowls with crusty bread and slices of a good Welsh cheese.
*Gluten Free – Although I make every effort to ensure that the ingredients listed are gluten free, you should double check at the time of using as products change their base ingredients frequently
Over the weekend I caught a re-run of Nigel Slater’s ‘12 Tastes of Christmas‘ and although I find some of his recipes a little over egg and mixed up these little beauties looked wonderful and will be on my cookery list over the next few days.
180g/6¼oz caster sugar
180g/6¼oz butter, softened
2 free-range eggs
80g/2¾oz plain flour
150g/5oz ground almonds
icing sugar, to serve
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.
Cut out squares of baking parchment that would easily cover the holes of a bun tray. Line each one.
Beat the sugar and butter together in a bowl with an electric mixer until pale and fluffy.
Gradually beat in the eggs, then gradually introduce the flour and ground almonds. Continue to beat until all is well incorporated.
Break the marzipan into small 1cm bite sized nuggets and fold into the mixture.
Divide the mixture between the lined cups of the bun tray. Scatter 3-4 berries over each one.
Bake the cakes for 30 minutes, or until springy to the touch.
Dust with a little icing sugar and serve warm with a dash of cream. They are just as nice cold tho…
Roast beetroot makes a great addition to any traditional roast, the deep vibrant red contrasts with the green of Brussels Sprouts or Savoy cabbage.
This recipe works brilliantly with the tradition round red beet, but for surprising change you can mix with other varieties like the Golden or the ‘Barbabietola Di Chioggia’ with it’s distinctive white and red rings. All add a virant cahange of colour to any meal
Serves 6 – Gluten Free*
670g large uncooked beetroot
2 tsp fresh thyme
2 tsp balsamic vinegar (I have it on good advice that Balsamic vinegar is gluten free but you may want to verify this for yourself before using)
2 tbsp olive oil
Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4.
Peel and cut each beetroot into 4-6 wedges and arrange in a large roasting tin.
Mix the oil thyme and vinegar and pour over the beetroot.
Season well, and toss together so all the beetroot is thoroughly coated in the dressing.
Roast for 1 hour or until the beetroot is tender.
Serve and enjoy….
For a sweeter smokier taste glaze with 2 tbsp of clear honey or maple syrup half way through the roasting time.
*Gluten Free - Although I make every effort to ensure that the ingredients list are gluten free, you should double check at the time of using as products change their base ingredients frequently.
Apple crumble is a British pudding staple, and deservedly so! There’s nothing that can beat a hearty bowl of hot apple crumble with lashing of hot thick custard to drive away those cold winter blues away. The addition of the spices in this recipe gives it an extra zing and complements the flavour of the apples perfectly
Serves 4-6 (Gluten Free)
For the Apple Base
6 large Bramley apples, peeled and cut into large chunks
50g unsalted butter
5-6 tbps light muscovado sugar, this is to taste (check once the apples are cooked and adjust)
2 star anise, broken up
1/2 tsp cinnamon
Juice of 1 orange (or 60 mls of fresh Orange Juice)
200g unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
100g flaked almonds
Preheat the oven to 190C \ 180C fan\Gas 5
In a heavy based pan, sauté the apples in the butter, sugar and star anise and cook for about 8 min, until the apples are caramelised and just tender . Don’t overcook them to a purée as you want the apples to keep their shape.
Carefully stir in the cinnamon and orange juice and cook for a further 2 minutes
Pop the apple mixture into a lightly greased oven proof dish
For the crumble mixture, mix the flour and ginger in a bowl and add the butter a few cubes at a time, rubbing into the flour until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs.
Stir in the flaked almonds and sprinkle over the apple mixture.
Bake in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the crumble is golden brown and the fruit mixture bubbling.
Serve with hot custard or thick cream, eat and enjoy….
If you can’t get hold of cooking apples and have to use a sweet eating apple, you’ll need to reduce the amount of sugar in the apple mixture by half and the cooking time of that step to 5 mins.
I don’t do much cake baking, I think it’s because it’s less forgiving if you make a little ‘change’ to the recipe by putting too much or little of something in. However this is one cake recipe I do make, it’s sticky, gingery and orangey at the same time which is good in my book.
For the cup cakes
125g unsalted butter
175g dark muscovado sugar
150g golden syrup
275g self-raising flour
1 1/2tsp ground ginger
Zest of 1 clementine, finely grated
1/4 tsp salt
1/2tsp bicarbonate of soda
100ml butter milk
2 balls of stem ginger in syrup, chopped
For the icing
150g Cream Cheese
75g icing sugar
Zest of 1 clementine, finely grated
Juice of 1 clementine
Slivers of clementine zest and stem ginger, to decorate
Preheat the oven to 170C\ 150C fan\Gas 3
Line a 12 hole muffin tin with paper cases
Melt butter, muscovado sugar and golden syrup in a pan over a low heat and set aside to cool slightly
Sift flour into a bowl with the ground ginger and bicarbonate of soda then add the salt and clementine zest.
Add the metled butter, sugar and syrup mixture, eggs, buttermilk and stem ginger to the flour and mix thoroughly.
Pour into the cases, the mix will reach quite high up the sides.
Bake for around 25 minutes until golden and springy, Don’t worry if they haven’t risen particularly well as the are meant to be a dense and sticky sponge.
Allow to cool in the tin,this makes the sponge even more squidgy.
Beat the cream cheese in a bowl until smooth
sift the icing sugar over and gradually beat in
Add the clementine juice and zest and mix until fully incorporated
Smooth a generous amount over each cupcake and top with the slivers of stem ginger and clementine zest for decoration.
Eat and enjoy….
If you like your ginger sponge to have a stronger, richer flavour, wrap the tin of un-iced cakes tightly in foil or cling-film and leave for a day or two. The sponge will get darker and the flavour more intense. Ice, decorate and enjoy even more gingery sticky goodness…