Perfect pavlova recipe

This has certainly got the wow factor and what’s more the undecorated pavlova can be made the day before, keep it loosely covered with non-stick baking paper or a clean tea cloth and then just decorate minutes before serving.

pavlova recipe
Yummy!

Serves 8

Takes 1 and a quarter hours to make

4 medium egg whites
225g (8oz) caster sugar
40g (11/2oz) pistachio nuts, very finely chopped

To finish

100g (4oz) dark chocolate, broken into pieces
300ml (1/2 pint) double cream
550g (11/4lb) mixed strawberries, hulled, halved, blackberries, blueberries and raspberries

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 140°C (120°C fan), Gas 1. Line a baking sheet with non-stick baking paper and draw a 23cm (9 inch) circle on to it.

2. Whisk the egg whites with an electric mixer until they form stiff moist looking peaks.

3. Gradually whisk in the sugar a teaspoonful at a time and continue whisking once all the sugar has been added, whisk for a few more minutes until the meringue is very thick and glossy.

4. Gently fold in the pistachio nuts. Spoon the meringue inside the marked circle on the paper lined baking sheet and spread into soft swirls. Bake for about 1 1/4 hours until crisp on the outside and just firm enough that the paper may be peeled away from the underside of the pavlova.

5. Leave the pavlova to cool completely, still on the paper, on a wire rack. Loosely wrap in non-stick baking paper until ready to serve.

6. Melt the chocolate in a bowl set over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Lift the pavlova off the paper on to a serving plate then drizzle the chocolate over the top, saving a little of the chocolate to drizzle squiggles on to a baking sheet lined with more non-stick baking paper for decoration. Chill for 30 minutes or so until the chocolate is firm.

7. Whip the cream until it forms soft swirls then spoon over the chocolate topped pavlova. Scatter the berries on top, peel the chocolate decorations off the paper and tuck in between the berries then serve.

Cook’s tip

If you are unsure if the egg whites are whisked enough for the meringue, try turning the bowl upside down, if they are ready they won’t move, if they’re not, they will slide out of the bowl!

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Strawberry eclairs recipe

Can I tempt you to try this strawberry eclairs recipe?

Makes 16
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes

strawberry eclairs

50g (2oz) butter, plus a little extra for greasing
150ml (1/4 pint) water
65g (21/2oz) plain flour, sifted
2 medium eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

To finish

400g (14oz) strawberries, hulled, chopped
2 tablespoons icing sugar, plus extra sifted icing sugar to decorate
3 tablespoons fresh chopped basil leaves
300ml (1/2 pint) double cream

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan), Gas Mark 6. Lightly butter 2 baking sheets and set aside.

2. Add the measured butter to a saucepan with the water, heat gently until the butter has melted then bring to the boil. Take off the heat add the flour and stir together then put the pan back on the heat and cook for 2-3 minutes, stirring continuously until the mixture forms a smooth glossy ball that leaves the sides of the pan clean. Cool for 15 minutes.

3. Gradually beat in the eggs and vanilla, beating well after each addition until all the eggs have been added and you have a smooth thick paste. If you have a food processor or electric mixer you might like to use this to save time.

4. Spoon the choux pastry into a piping bag fitted with a 1cm (1/2 inch) wide plain piping tube. Pipe 7.5cm (3 inch) long éclairs, leaving space between them to rise in the oven.

5. Bake for 20 minutes until well risen and golden, pierce each éclair with a small knife so that the steam can escape then transfer to a wire rack to cool.

6. Meanwhile mix the strawberries, 2 tablespoons icing sugar and basil together, cover the dish and leave at room temperature.

7. About 1 hour before you are ready to serve the éclairs, slit open the sides with a serrated knife. Whisk the cream until it forms soft peaks then fold in any strawberry juices. Spoon into the éclairs and top with the strawberries and basil.

8. Dust with sifted icing sugar and transfer to a plate and serve.

Cook’s tip

Choux pastry isn’t as tricky as you might think to make, the secret is to weigh the ingredients accurately, don’t be over generous with one of the ingredients or the mixture may be too soft to pipe and use either metric or imperial not a mix of both!

For chocolate fans, spoon a little melted white chocolate over the top of the éclairs instead of adding the icing sugar.

Let me know how you get on with this strawberry eclairs recipe.

Brilliant blog posts on HonestMum.com

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Thai Salmon recipe with strawberry sauce

Seared Thai salmon recipe with strawberry sauce

Super speedy

Incredibly versatile, strawberries taste great added to sweet chilli dipping sauce, with extra chilli and ginger for an oriental twist.

Salmon dish
Tasty!

Serves 4

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 8-10 minutes

250g (9oz) strawberries, hulled
½-1 red chilli, halved, deseeded, finely chopped
2.5cm (1 inch) piece root ginger, peeled, grated
1 tablespoon sweet chilli dipping sauce
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon fish sauce
4 salmon steaks, each about 150g (5oz)
200g (7oz) thin rice noodles
1 tablespoon sunflower oil
300g (10oz) stir fry vegetables with bamboo shoots and water chestnuts
150g (5oz) frozen edamame beans
Small handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped
Lime wedges to serve

Method

1. Mash the strawberries in a bowl then mix with the chilli and ginger then stir in the dipping sauce, soy and fish sauces.

2. Line the grill rack with foil then put the salmon steaks on top and spoon about 1 tablespoon of the strawberry sauce over each salmon steak. Grill for 8-10 minutes, turning over once until browned and the strawberries have made a deep coloured glaze.

3. Meanwhile add the rice noodles to a saucepan of boiling water and cook for 2-3 minutes until just tender, then drain.

4. Heat the oil in a wok or frying pan, add the stir fry vegetables and frozen edamame beans, stir fry for 2-3 minutes. Stir in half of the strawberry sauce then add the noodles and cook for 1 minute.

5. Add the remaining strawberry sauce to a small bowl, set this on a large platter, stir half the coriander into the noodles then spoon on to the platter. Break the salmon into large flakes, scatter over the noodles with the remaining coriander. Serve with lime wedges, if liked.

Cook’s tip
For steak fans, cut a grilled steak into thin slices and add to the noodles instead of the salmon flakes.

Will you be trying this Thai salmon recipe?

You Baby Me Mummy
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Rack of lamb recipe with blackberry salad

rack of lambRack of lamb recipe with spring blackberry salad

Serves 4

Prep: 20 minutes

Cook: 21-22 minutes

easter lamb
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 x300g (10oz) French trimmed racks of lamb
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons runny honey
15g (1/2oz) fresh dill, chopped
25g (1oz) fresh parsley, chopped
25g (1oz) fresh mint, chopped

Salad
500g (1lb 2oz) small anya potatoes, scrubbed, halved or thickly sliced depending on size
150g (5oz) frozen peas, or shelled weight of fresh peas
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 fennel bulb, very thinly sliced
40g (11/2oz) butter
150g (5oz) blackberries
50g (2oz) rocket leaves
Blackberry gravy
150g (5oz) blackberries
1 tablespoon blackberry or red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons wholegrain mustard
2 teaspoons runny honey
250ml (8fl oz) lamb stock

1. Preheat the oven to 200°C (180°C fan) Gas 6. Heat the oil in a frying pan, season the fat on the lamb with salt and pepper then fry, fat side downwards in the pan for 4-5 minutes until golden.

2. Add the lamb and pan juices to a roasting tin and spread the fat with the honey. Roast for 15 minutes. Mix the herbs together then spoon 2 tablespoons into a bowl for the sauce, sprinkle half the remaining herbs over the lamb, keep the rest for the salad. Roast the lamb for 5 more minutes.

3. Meanwhile cook the potatoes in a saucepan of boiling water for 15 minutes until just tender, adding the peas for the last 5 minutes.

4. Transfer the lamb to a serving plate, cover with foil and leave to rest for 5 minutes. To make the sauce, add the blackberries, vinegar, mustard, honey and stock to the roasting tin. Bring to the boil, scraping up the pan juices and mashing some of the blackberries to release their juice. Boil for 2 minutes then add the reserved 2 tablespoons of chopped herbs and a little extra salt and pepper to taste. .

5. Drain the potatoes and peas, dry the pan and heat the oil then gently fry the fennel for 2-3 minutes until just softened. Add the butter, the cooked potatoes and peas, and toss together in the butter. Add the blackberries, rocket and remaining chopped herbs with a extra salt and pepper and toss together.

6. Spoon the salad into a serving bowl. Reheat the sauce if needed and pour into a jug. Transfer the lamb to a chopping board and cut into cutlets, serve with the salad and sauce.

Cook’s tip

If you prefer your lamb well done, then roast for 5-10 minutes more before adding the herbs.

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Food Tips for Winter

Do you have food tips for Winter?


The weather is wet, cold and miserable. Grey skies and dark nights can make winter cold and dull, but winter eating doesn’t have to be be.

Kavita Pal, Managing Director of The Tree Hotel at Cadmore End, offers her advice on how to eat your way to a warmer winter.

1. It isn’t just hot food which warms you in winter. Also try to eat foods which generate heat energy, such as ginger which pushes blood flow to the skin’s surface and increases metabolic rate to help you to keep warmer. Try eating a Thai curry or drinking ginger tea to naturally warm yourself. Cayenne pepper and chilli also have this effect.

2. Grey skies and cold weather can lead to low moods in winter. Brighten up your diet with some citrus fruits and other reminders of summer in your diet. It will also help to boost the level of vitamin C in your diet which is great for fighting off the winter colds and flu.

3. To help keep your diet exciting this winter, why not create a ritual weekly or monthly meal out to look forward to? For example, set aside time to make it to your favourite restaurant or to try eating out somewhere new.

4. Soups have great warming properties, which can be made even greater by adding chilli flakes to them! You can play around with a traditional recipe and add to its warmth by using spice.

5. Garlic is a warming food, but its antibacterial properties also help to fight infections. Those prone to bronchitis and other chest infections are more at risk in winter when our immunity is lower, so eating garlic might help you stay healthy as well as warm this winter.

6. When we think of winter, we often neglect international cuisine and think of more traditional warming options. Spicy curries work wonders in warming us up, as well as keeping our metabolism high in winter when it’s inclined to slow down!

7. We like to drink more hot drinks in the winter months, so why not play around with different kinds of tea? Green tea has antioxidant properties as well as a great taste, so it’s good to take a break from standard tea and coffee and try something new. Cider is a great warming evening beverage! Try cardoman in a cup of tea to spice things up.

8. Eating enough fresh fruit can be tricky in winter, when warm puddings seem like a far more alluring option. Try stewing fruits such as apples and pears for a warm but healthy dessert.

9. If you are vegetarian, keep things interesting using alternative sources of protein. Beans and pulses are great for doing this, and keep your meals filling and warming. Mushrooms are also great for a protein rich vegetable.

10. Start your day with a slow energy breakfast which will release heat slowly and keep you warmer for longer. Porridge is great for a hot breakfast which will continue to release heat energy throughout the morning. Stir in fruit to help your way to five a day.

With thanks to http://cadmore.treehotel.co.uk

What are your Winter food tips?

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