It's going to be hot this weekend so prepare for some al fresco fire cooking. Make yourselves a jar of dry rub ready for your beef. Spice blends, or dry rubs are rubbed into meat before cooking. Some say that salt should not be included in a rub as meat should be dry brined by rubbing in salt a day in advance, in order for the salt to penetrate the meat. The spices in a rub do not tend to penetrate the meat but will help form the delicious spicy crust (or bark). However as we are all so short of time in our busy lives, I make an all in one rub, mixing the salt into the rub and leaving it on the meat overnight in the fridge. Sugar is a matter of taste and needed to help caramelise the crust. I use just a little on beef. Experiment with your own spice blends and store in an airtight jar. Use on a whole joint of rib eye or sirloin for a real treat.
- Cooked on a high heat over the fire creates a good bark but still pink in the middle
- I had a joint of very lean sirloin which I rubbed and left for 24hrs
- Making the rub in a mini blender is easy
I made this for supper last night with a bag of swiss chard grown by my cousin Jo. Posting the pics on Instagram has obviously whetted a few appetites so here's the recipe. A savoury souffle is not as hard as it looks and can turn very economical ingredients into a luxurious dish. For a perfectly fluffy and towering souffle, remember no peeking while it's cooking. Put it in the oven (don't slam the door or you'll knock the air out) and patiently wait for the cooking time to elapse. Experiment by using different cheeses and swap spinach for mushrooms, cooked leeks, roasted peppers or anything else you fancy.
I just made this delicious squidgy lemon and lime curd shortbread. It's for pudding tonight but Scarlett and I can't stop ourselves, so maybe there'll be none left by then.
One of my go to recipes when I fancy a meat free meal which is wholesome and healthy. From my Second Chalice Recipe Book and copied into my online Recipe Book now.
Fried aubergine ready for a Caponata salad as Lidl had aubergines for 49p each. Caponata originates from Sicily. Sicilians all have their own version of this slightly salt, piquant aubergine dish, with many variations depending on what vegetables are available. Fennel is very good in place of the celery. Serve hot or cold, but never straight from the fridge.
Dave is Head Chef at The Unruly Pig in Bromeswell. He takes full advantage of his abundant Suffolk surroundings by cooking local and seasonal produce with an Italian influence, much of it on his charcoal fired Inka grill. Here is his recipe for Sage and Thyme Stuffed Rabbit, Baked Polenta and Cauliflower. No grill required for this!
People have been telling me the food is good at The Bear Inn, Beyton, so we nipped in for a family supper, which was just going to be a main course and then the chicken liver parfait sounded tempting with the fruit chutney and homemade bread (which had been toasted over the flame grill) so I ordered that. It was excellent. Much to the surprise of my family, as I never eat steak when I am out, I ordered a rib eye steak cooked rare, which it was. Salad leaves were properly dressed and fat chips crisp. That left no room for a pudding...or did it? I noticed the taster puddings which are scaled down portions so ordered the apple crumble with homemade vanilla custard. Wow, was that good and just £3 for the small, yet not so mini, deliciously tart apple crumble with sugary crunchy top and the best custard that I have eaten out for a long time.
Here is the link to The Bear Inn recipe page. Try making their lemon possett.
Alan is the Executive Head Chef at Stoke by Nayland Hotel, Golf and Spa.He shares his bun recipe that he created as part of a breakfast offering for 250 chefs and catering industry leaders.The base of the recipe is a Chelsea bun. The filling for the buns has cut mixed peel, chopped pecans, maple syrup and Pancetta. For the topping Alan uses his favourite buttercream recipe;it really is worth the extra effort of making it. The recipe calls for making an Italian meringue before adding the butter. This topping just melts in the mouth beautifully.
Makes 10 standard size or 20 small buns.
500g plain strong flour, plus extra for dusting
1 tsp salt
1 x 7g sachet of fast action yeast or 16g of fresh yeast
40g unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 free range egg
Vegetable oil for greasing
For the filling
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
100g cut mixed peel
75g chopped pecans
15 slices of Pancetta cooked, cooled and crumbled
For the glaze
- Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Make a well in the middle and add the yeast.
- Meanwhile, warm the milk and butter in a saucepan until the butter melts and the mixture is lukewarm.
- Add the buttery milk and egg to the flour mixture and stir until the contents of the bowl come together as a soft dough. (You may need to add a little extra flour.)
- Turn the dough out onto a generously floured work surface. Knead for five minutes, adding more flour if required, until the dough is smooth and elastic and is not sticky.
- Lightly oil a bowl with a little of the vegetable oil. Place the dough into the bowl and turn until it is covered in the oil. Cover the bowl with cling film and set aside in a warm place for one hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
- Lightly grease a baking tray.
- For the filling, knock the dough back to its original size and turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Roll the dough out into a rectangle 0.5cm/¼in thick. Brush all over with the melted butter, then sprinkle over the brown sugar, cinnamon and peel, pecans and bacon.
- Roll the dough up into a rolling pin shape, cut ten 4cm slice and place them onto a lightly greased baking sheet, leaving a little space between each slice. Cover with a tea towel and set aside to rise for 30 minutes.
- Preheat oven to 190C/375F/Gas 5.
- Bake the buns in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until risen and golden-brown.
- Meanwhile, for the glaze, heat the milk and sugar in a saucepan until boiling. Reduce the heat and simmer for 2-3 minutes.
- Remove the buns from the oven and brush with the glaze, then set aside to cool on a wire rack.
Buns are prepared and proved in paper cases
For the Italian Meringue Buttercream
75 g egg whites
140g caster sugar
225g salted butter
- To make the syrup, place a sugar thermometer in the saucepan and heat water and 120g of sugar over a medium-high heat.
- Beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. Once stiff gradually add the remaining sugar to the meringue.
- Raise the heat under the syrup and bring to 245 degrees F, once reached remove from heat and slowly add to the meringue, reduce the whisking speed to medium and mix until cool. Once cooled ( must be cooled or the butter will melt and the buttercream be too soft) add the butter a tablespoon at a time, beat until fully incorporated.
Decorate with the buttercream and a rasher of crispy Pancetta
Today for Zero Waste Week I used up all the leftover pieces of cheese in my fridge. I made Potted Cheese. It's the perfect recipe to use any type of stale cheese and is delicious on toast or with baked potatoes. It keeps for a week in the fridge. And don't throw away the milk can, wash it out and keep it to bake a mini fruit cake at Christmas.
A favourite Winter soup which is vegetarian. Serves 6 - 8 people
- 1kg g (2 lb) Jerusalem Artichokes
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 450 g (1 lb) carrots ( peeled and sliced)
- 1 medium onion, chopped
- 75 g (3 oz) butter
- 1.5 L (3 pints) vegetable stock
- salt and freshly ground pepper
Peel and slice artichokes then put them into a bowl of cold water to prevent them from discolouring. ( add a slice of lemon)
Melt the butter in a cooking pot and soften the onion, celery, carrots and artichokes.
Put the lid on the pan and let the vegetables sweat for 5 minutes on a low heat.
Stir from time to time.
Pour in the stock, stir well, put the lid back on and simmer for a further 20 minutes or until the vegetables are soft. Liquidise the soup and season to taste.