Lemon Curd Recipe

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If you’ve been reading SipChompChew for a while you would have seen my Valentines Hearts on Soup tutorial. I’ve been wanting to make these tarts for some time now and last Wednesday night was the perfect opportunity. I had some girlfriends over for dinner and and a wedding photo presentation and I thought it would be really cute to make some wedding themed desserts. Using the same technique as the soup I filled some sweet pastry cases with lemon curd and then used raspberry curd to make the hearts. I do love lemon curd, I have a dirty little habit of eating it straight from the jar with a spoon!

SCC Lemon Curd Jar with Spoon

SCC Lemon and Raspberry Tart

Here’s my recipe for lemon curd. This should keep for a couple of weeks. I’ve read that you can freeze it but I’ve never had a need to as this recipe makes enough to fill a half liter kilner jar which is easily used up in two weeks for us. You can really get creative with lemon curd, it can top pancakes, pies, toast, scones, fill Madeleines and cakes. Add to granola or yogurt or ice cream, I could go on and on!

 

 

You will need

  • 4 Lemons, Zest and juice
  • 200g Caster Sugar
  • 100g Unsalted butter, cubed
  • One egg yolk plus three whole eggs, beaten
  • 500ml jar, sterilised

SCC Lemon Curd in Jar

First you need the lemons to be warm. You get more juice out of warm lemons, a 20 second blast in the microwave should do the trick. Add all the ingredients except the eggs to a saucepan and stir on a low heat until the butter is melted. Now add the eggs. You’ll need to continuously stir else you’ll end up with a strange lemon scrambled egg mixture that resembles something out of The BFG if it’s just left to sit! After about 5 minutes, the curd should coat the back of a spoon, turn off the heat and pour through a fine sieve or cheese cloth. It won’t be the thickness that curds are known for until it’s set so allow to cool for a while before transferring it to your prepared jar, store in the fridge once cool.

I’ll post my recipe for raspberry curd soon so you can make those oh so cute heart shapes!

 

SCC Lemon Tart on Stand

 

As I’m clearly in a hearts and flowers kind of mood, I thought I’d share one of our wedding photos with you. We chose a reportage style of photography and David Jones completely nailed it – he really captured so many special moments. Here’s one of my many favourite pictures. As you can see we had perfect weather, not an April Shower in sight!

hl2350

Soup of the week! Tomato and Lemongrass

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This week’s Soup of The Week is slightly inspired by the local food here in Singapore with a pinch of inspiration from a food memory back when I was in my early teens. My older brother is a fantastic cook, it all started when he worked part time in the kitchens at a beautiful hotel restaurant smack bang in the idyllic Wye Valley at Symonds Yat. I never used to like tomato soup as a youngster but the chef at The Royal Hotel had a recipe for Tomato and Lemongrass Soup that was highly regarded by the rest of my family. My memory is of walking into the kitchen to find my brother and dad using as many containers as they could find to store the soup. The chef had given my brother the restaurant kitchen recipe for the rather than a downsized home cooking version so we ended up with enough soup to serve around 20 covers! Since my love for tomato soup has been born and as I am experimenting with a lot of south east asian ingredients I’ve never used before, I have come up with my own version of this soup. It’s a very light soup that works well served as a starter before a heavy meal, possessing superb flavours with a little kick of chilli cutting through.

For four servings you will need:

  • 25g Butter
  • 1 Onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • a pinch of chilli flakes
  • 2 Tins Chopped Tomatoes
  • 3 stalks of lemongrass, remove outer skins and stalks before finely slicing
  • 1 litre of hot chicken or vegetable stock
  • Salt and Pepper to taste

Melt the butter over a gentle heat and slowly cook the onion until translucent. Add the garlic and chilli cooking for a further 2 minutes. Next, add the tinned tomatoes, lemon grass and stock and simmer for about 15 minutes to allow all the flavours to infuse. Transfer to a blender until smooth and serve. SCC Tomato and Lemongrass Soup

Sausage Rolls

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I know I mention quite often about being an expat and missing certain foods at home. Despite this, my passion for food is more about just the cooking and the eating, it’s amazing how a specific smell or taste can take you back to a certain point in your life. For some reason, when I think of/smell/eat sausage rolls, it always reminds me of being at a bakery in Coleford, the small town which I grew up just outside of,  my Mum was treating my dad to some of their freshly made sausage rolls. It’s not a huge event but I remember our conversation and joining the long queue to get our goods.

I don’t make sausage rolls that much as they don’t really fit in too well with all the healthy food I’ve been trying to stick too but for a weekend lunch, soup and a sausage roll is so very comforting it’s one of my fiancé’s favourite things to have over a lazy weekend, although he did admit to me yesterday that he thinks it’s a weird combination. Please can you guys let me know whether it’s just me or is soup and a sausage roll a strange mix?!

I only made these for the first time early last summer, we had friends over for our leaving party in Geneva and I made a batch for the guys whilst they were watching the football. Gone, in, seconds, it was like they all performed a disappearing trick with them! They are so easy to make and pretty quick to cook. You can eat them cold or straight from the oven (my favourite!). All you need is some sausages and a pack of frozen puff pastry. I always throw in some additional flavours too. Here’s the recipe for the ones I made that last weekend in Geneva.

Yield: Two large sausage rolls

You will need:

  • Sausages – the type of sausage is entirely up to you but I would recommend using a standard pork sausage. No need to mess around with something that’s already great! I used 4 standard sized sausages. Skins removed.
  • 1.5 Tbsp Colmans Bramley Apple Sauce
  • 1 spring onion, finely sliced
  • Two sheets of frozen puff pastry, approx 20cm x 20cm
  • One beaten egg for washing the pastry

Preheat the oven to 180 degrees

Get the pastry out of the freezer to defrost, you may want to do this the day before but here in Singapore, I buy ready rolled sheets of pastry and once I’ve taken it out of the freezer it’s ready to go in about 5 minutes! Mash together all your other ingredients except the egg. Lay your pastry on a baking sheet and place half your sausage meat mix in a line down the centre of the pastry. Brush the edges with the beaten egg. Fold over both the bottom and the top edges of the pastry and lightly press down to stick them to the egg wash, this is to encase the ends and ensure no precious filling spills out! Brush your new top and bottom edges with egg before folding each side over to cover the sausage meat. Carefully flip over and place on a baking sheet so that the pastry edges are on the underside and cannot be seen before making some gentle slits along the top with a sharp knife. Cover the top in one final layer of egg wash. Repeat with the second sheet of puff pastry and the remaining sausage meat. Pop in the oven for about 20 minutes until cooked through and the pastry is golden. You can transfer to a cooling rack for later but they are so much better eaten right away. Simply slice each roll into 5 or 6 pieces for party finger food.

SCC Sausage Rolls Folding 1

Beetroot Hummus

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I love colourful food, it always stirs an interest and makes it so much more fun to eat. Anything seems more edible when it looks good and who doesn’t love a good dip? Experimenting with hummus is really easy, there are so many different flavours you can add to this much loved dip the options are endless. I had a couple of beetroots knocking about in my veg draw so decided to put them to good use. I couldn’t decide what to do with them at first as the colour they give off can give anything a beety twist, but as I was doing a deli board style dinner on Saturday night I decided to go for a hummus. Since purchasing a real food processor a couple of months ago (I had a small hand held thing before) I’ve been mixing together all different kinds of things, making pesto’s and sauces and soups. I keep it on the work top so it’s ready to have something thrown into it. I’m not sure whether the novelty will wear off soon but it’s been helping me make some lovely meals! Here’s the latest…

You will need:

  • 2 medium sized cooked beetroots – I bought mine raw and steamed them for about 50 minutes until soft, then allowed them to cool, topped and tailed, peeled them carefully so as not to colour myself purple and roughly chopped
  • 400g tin of chick peas (drained, rinsed and skins removed)
  • 1 Clove garlic, crushed
  • 2 tbsp Peanut Butter
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • juice of 1/2 Lemon
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 100ml olive oil plus a little extra for drizzling

Place all the ingredients in a food processor and whizz until smooth. Transfer to a serving dish and make a swirl in the top before pouring over the extra olive oil. Chill until serving. We enjoyed eating this with the Crispy Crackers I had made a day earlier and it went down a treat!

SCC Beetroot Dip with Sea Salt Crackers

SCC Beetroot Hummus Blurred Wine

Crispy Crackers

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Crackers are something we always like to have in the cupboard. They’re so versatile, you can eat them with cheese, salads, pate, soups and dips. A few  weekends ago, I really felt like baking but was begged not to bake more cakes as a large amount of chocolate and salt caramel cupcakes had been devoured over the last couple of days. I decided to give making crackers a go out of a basic flour, water, salt, sugar, oil mixture and this was the end result. I did a couple of versions. The first batch were slightly soft and the second batch were nice and crispy. The second batch went down a treat so they’ll be the ones I’m making from now on but you can easily make softer crackers by simply cooking for less time. You can give them more taste and texture by adding seeds, nuts or some Maldon Sea Salt just before cooking.

Preheat the oven to 220 degrees celcius

Yield: About 35 crackers

  • 180g Plain Flour
  • 180g Wholegrain Bread Flour
  • 2 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Sugar
  • 75ml Olive Oil
  • 200ml Cold water
  • Your choice of toppings, here I used pumpkin and sunflower seeds. Maldon sea salt and coursely ground black pepper

Start by mixing all the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Next add the olive oil and and mix using a table knife, gradually add the water until you have a ball of dough, you may not need all of the water. Cut the ball of dough into two pieces and place one on a well floured surface. Roll out the dough as thin as you can and cut into cracker sized rectangles. Transfer onto a baking sheet and brush with a little water, this will help to make the topping stick. Scatter the toppings over the top and lightly press into the crackers. Before placing in the oven for about 10 minutes. Keep an eye on them as when they start to brown, they will finish soon after. We like ours really golden, almost burned, but if you like yours a bit paler than just reduce the cooking time. Remove from oven and transfer to a cooling rack, as soon as they have cooled down transfer them to an air tight container and eat within 3 – 5 days. If they last that long! This recipe is quite flexible, you can adjust the flour to use whatever you have in your kitchen cupboard.

SCC Close Up Crackers

Sea salt and cracked black pepper crackers with a spiced pumpkin soup

Delicious served with soup

Serve with hummus
Serve with hummus

Sea salt and cracked black pepper with spiced pumpkin soup

Sea salt and cracked black pepper with spiced pumpkin soup

Parmesan and Belper Knolle Crisps

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Another cheesy recipe, I just can’t get enough! A regular Saturday night for us this time of year in Geneva would be to get some cheeses from the markets and a couple of bottles of wine, sitting in front of the X Factor whilst munching our way through our goodies. There are such a wide variety of cheeses available in Geneva we were always trying new ones. It was there that I found one of my favorite cheeses. Tête de Moine is a tasty swiss cheese that has an A.O.C. so you know you are eating the real deal. If you speak french you may know that Tête de Moine means Monks head. It was originally made by monks, just our side of the rosti border . I was surprised to find that you can buy Tête in a number of places here in Singapore. I was also surprised to try a new cheese in Singapore, not just a new cheese but a new swiss cheese we had never heard of. I did a bit of research and found that Belper Knolle is made near Bern, the other side of the rosti border and Switzerland’s capital city. I found that belper should be used as a topping on pastas and risottos rather than as a table cheese. To get the flavors out, it is best thinly sliced or grated and allowed to air for a couple of minutes before crumbling over your dish. I made a pea and mint pesto the other week and it was delicious stirred through some spaghetti along with the pesto. We only used a tiny amount and the flavors really came through. I was thinking of a new way to use it rather than just sprinkled over some pasta and I decided I would make some Parmesan crisps with a little Belper Knolle. They turned out great and really tasty! Parmesan crisps can be used to top salads, soups, risottos or even eaten with dips. Here’s how I did it.

What you need to make 5 crisps…

50g Fresh grated parmesan – this won’t work with the pre-grated stuff you get in the dry goods section of the supermarket

1 Thin slice of belper knolle

SCC Parmesan and Belper Knolle SCC Uncooked Cheese Crisp

Preheat the oven to 170 degrees and prepare a baking sheet by covering with grease proof paper (I used a silicone mat) and cover with parmesan shapes. Don’t stack the parmesan too thickly, it’s nice to get that webbed effect on the crisps.

SCC Close up Parmesan Crisp

Leave an inch between each shape and gently slide your tray into the oven so as to not shake the cheese and make your shapes wonky! Cook for about 5 minutes, until golden and crisp. Allow to cool and place in an airtight container with a peice of grease proof paper between each layer. You can leave out the Belper if you can’t get your hands on it or add your own herbs and spices to the parmesan before cooking. I’ve added cooked bacon lardons before and they were yummy! Another way to serve them is to mould them around the bottom of a small container or glass whilst they are still warm and serve dips in them – well that’ll save the washing up later!

SCC Uncooked Heart Crisp

SCC Bacon Heart Cooked CrispsSCC Parmesan Crisp with Soup

Cheese and Onion Dip

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It’s been a busy week in the kitchen for me, I haven’t been able to stop! It has also been a busy week in the kitchen for Bryan, as long as I am handling food, all he can see is an opportunity to eat anything I drop. To be fair I am pretty clumsy so he has a good chance of getting some tasty human food!

Bryan trying to look all innocent whilst at the same time standing as close to my feet as possible to catch anything I drop!

Bryan trying to look all innocent whilst at the same time standing as close to my feet as possible to catch anything I drop!

After not baking much since we arrived in Singapore I feel like I’ve started to make up for it the last few days. Earlier this week I made some chocolate cupcakes, they were so soft and moist I decided to make some salt caramel sauce to squeeze into the middle of them. Unfortunately the cupcakes didn’t last long enough for me to get to that stage so I am going to have to make another batch. I will definitely be posting the recipe for those! I’m not a huge chocolate fan and even I found them irresistible. I also made a couple of soups, parmesan and belper knolle crisps, some tomato pesto using the semi dried tomatoes I had left over from a couple of weeks ago and this dip. This is such an easy dip to make when entertaining and can easily be thrown together last minute with three simple ingredients. Cheddar, onion and salad cream. Simply grate the cheese, finely chop the onion and squeeze in enough salad cream to make it a ‘dip’ consistency. Then all you need to do is scoop it up with some crudités or smother on some cheese biscuits. I have a friend who has an intolerance to onion and still finds this dip irresistible!

50g Cheddar cheese

50g Onion (approx half a medium onion)

75g Salad Cream

Just grate the cheese, blitz the onion in a food processor and mix together with the salad cream.

SCC Onion Dip With Onion

A Pug can dream!

A Pug can dream!

Easy Mushroom Soup

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It maybe surprising to someone who has never lived in foreign lands how long it can take to settle down. There are so many things that take time getting used to from language and religion to driving (don’t get me started on this one!) nothing is ever quite the same as your home country. The fun part can be trying all the new foods but sometimes you get big cravings for something familiar. My latest frustration came when I went to buy what I would call a staple food product from my local supermarket. Cream was on my shopping list this Monday and I ended up having to buy Elmlea. For many years my fiancé thought Elmlea was cream and couldn’t understand why I would refuse to use it. For those of you who don’t know, Elmlea is actually a cream alternative made with vegetable oil and buttermilk.  Sounds gross doesn’t it?This will have to do for now but I will not end my quest for the real deal!

 

SCC Elmlea

 

One item which I have been buying regularly of late is shitake mushrooms. I would always buy closed cup mushrooms in Geneva, not for any reason other than they were the most available. So, when I had mushrooms on my shopping list and found myself with a huge bag of shitake, I decided to make a soup.

 
SCC Shitake

There is something about soup that makes it so comforting, even more so when it is homemade. I like having some homemade soup to hand whether it’s in the fridge or the freezer but this one is so quick to pull together! This recipe serves two and is easy enough to double, or triple if you want some left overs to keep in the fridge!

 

You will need …

 

25g unsalted butter

1 medium onion, roughly chopped

2 cloves garlic, crushed

150g shitake mushrooms, cleaned and roughly chopped

500ml veg stock, a stock cube is fine but you can use my veg stock recipe if you have time

100ml milk

Salt and Pepper for seasoning

SCC Mushroom Soup Ingredients

 

Start by gently melting the butter in a saucepan and cooking the onion and garlic until softened. Chuck in the mushrooms and cover, cook for about 5 mins stirring occasionally until the mushrooms are cooked.  Add the stock and blend until smooth. Now pour in the milk and season to taste, I like to make this soup quite peppery for an extra kick.

I finished this one with a drizzle of *cough* Elmlea

 

SCC Mushroom Soup Serving

 

 

Chili Chorizo Pilaf

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I came across this dish by mistake when I was doing an internet search for a Chorizo Pilaf. Neither of the two recipes I found particularly took my fancy so I mixed them up a bit, added some of my own ingredients and voila! A great dish to make when entertaining as the last 22 minutes of cooking don’t need much attention.

 

 

Serves 4

 

2 tbsp olive oil

1 onion,  Sliced

250g Chorizo Sliced

4 Garlic Cloves Crushed

1 Red Chilli deseeded and finely sliced

2 tsp paprika

1 tsp ground cumin

400g can chopped tomatoes

250g Basmati Rice

600ml Chicken stock

2 Bay leaves

Small bunch fresh coriander

Lemon wedges to serve

SCC Chili Chorizo Pilaf pic

 

Heat one tablespoon of oil over a medium heat in a saucepan and fry the chorizo slices on each side until slightly golden. Set aside and drain on kitchen paper. There should be enough oil left from the chorizo so in the same pan over a medium heat add the onions cooking until translucent. Next add the garlic, chilli, paprika and cumin and cook for 2 minutes stirring.  Add the tomatoes and bubble for 5 minutes before adding the chorizo, rice, stock and bay leafs.  Mix everything well together and cook over a low heat for 12 minutes. Remove from the heat and leave to steam for 15 minutes. Remove the bayleaves, stir through the coriander and serve with the lemon wedges for squeezing over.  Yum!

 

SCC Chili Chorizo Finish

Chicken and Mushroom Pâté

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Pate has always been a favorite for my family.  We often had it in our fridge when I was growing up whether it was store bought from my mum’s days of working behind the supermarket deli counter or homemade by my Dad for special occasions. So it is no surprise that one of the things I get asked to make most often is my very own Chicken Liver Pate. It’s a relatively easy dish to make and easily adaptable to your own taste. This is a garlic mushroom version but you can simply take out one garlic clove and the mushrooms to make your standard chicken liver pate. Here’s what you need…

 

1 Medium onion, roughly chopped

1 tablespoon of butter

2 cloves of garlic, crushed

125g mushrooms, roughly chopped

230g chicken livers (trimmed)

1 tsp fresh thyme, leaves only

A splash of Brandy

2.5 tbsp single cream

1 tbsp tomato ketchup

Salt and Pepper

 

150g Butter to seal.

SCC Pate Ingredients

 

Melt the butter in a frying pan on a low heat and cook the onion and garlic until softened. Add the mushrooms and sweat for a few minutes. While all this is going on you can prepare the chicken livers. First, wash them well in cold water and pat with some kitchen paper to dry off. To trim them, you need to cut off the sinew and any unpleasant looking parts. These will make the pate taste bitter. I prefer to use kitchen scissors for this bit. Once this is done you can add the chicken livers to the pan along with the fresh thyme and cook for 4 – 5 minutes. You can check this by cutting the liver in half , the inside should still be slightly pink but not raw in the middle. Now add the brandy and turn up the heat to cook off the alcohol. As soon as this is done, take the pan off the heat and add the cream, ketchup and plenty of seasoning. You’ll need to leave it all to cool for a while now but once that is done, just throw it all in the blender before spooning the whole lot into a serving dish, or, individual dishes (I like to use espresso cups!). Take the remaining butter and melt on a medium-low heat, as soon as it has melted, transfer to a jug and leave until all the sediment has sunk to the bottom. Pour over the pate, leaving the sediment in the jug before transferring to the fridge to set for 1 – 2 hours. If you are serving in this dish, you can decorate the butter before it sets by adding pink and green pepper corns or fresh herbs.

 

SCC Chicken and Mushroom Pate