Monday, 27 February 2012

Stir-fried Butternut Squash and Sweet potato with dried chilli

 Random Recipes is one year old. It is easily one of my favourite blogger challenge, mainly for the torturous buzz every month of what god awful monstrosity of a recipe I get stuck with to cook and attempt to eat. Fortunately I've never had a really bad recipe, apart from that infernal squid. I have however had many pleasant surprises along the way. For this months challenge we had to go back to the first book we chose our recipes from and pick again. Last time, I picked Gordon Ramsay's Great Escape and got quite a nice recipe for a chicken and papaya curry so I was quite looking forward to seeing what I landed on this month.

This month I landed in the vegetarian section and got a rather simple but very tasty sounding dish that the book stated was suitable as part of a main meal, so with it being a vegetarian meal and out of the vegetarian section I decided to have it with the most juiciest and the biggest piece of sirloin steak I could find in my freezer...

Stir-fried Butternut Squash and Sweet potato with dried chilli
half a butternut squash
half a sweet potato
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp onion seeds
2 garlic cloves
3-4 dried chillis
salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Peel the squash and spud and chop into little 1 cm cubes.
Boil for a few minutes in salted water until slightly soft, drain well.
Heat the oil in a pan and toasted the two types of seeds gently for 30 seconds.
Add the garlic and fry gently.
Tip in the chillis
Add the squash and spud and fry until they are very tender and slightly crispy

Serve hot and enjoy

Sweet, hot and spicy. a very tasty side dish that would go quite well with a lot of dishes. The recipe stated to use squash but recommended trying sweet potato, yams and pumpkin. I would advise going easy on the chillis, I used three and it was very fiery so adjust to your own personal taste

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Rhubarb and Custard Cake with Caramelised Rhubarb

I have previously made a Rhubarb and Custard cake on this blog... this is the rematch. The first one didn't live up to my standards, mainly because I slightly sizzled it.
This cake was for the special One Show Cake Club which you can read all about here, so it had to be quite appealing but fairly easy to put together because I had to bake it another kitchen with limited equipment, compared to my own. I was struggling to think one up and was going to take a cake from the Good Food website but then I remembered I was in Yorkshire right bang in the middle of the forced rhubarb season, a vegetable that I love. So I decided to recreate the cake that I made last rhubarb season.

For this one I decided to omit the custard from the cake and make it into a frosting, I also used a 900g loaf tin this time instead of deep cake tin.

Rhubarb and Custard Cake with Caramelised Rhubarb
1 stick of rhubarb, washed and sliced into finger sized pieces
10g caster sugar
200g self raising flour
200g soft butter
200g caster sugar
4 eggs

200g full fat cream cheese
130g Icing sugar
100g Softened butter
4tbsp custard

half a stick of rhubarb
100g caster sugar
20ml water

Place the rhubarb into a roasting tin and sprinkle with sugar, bake for 15 mins at 200C, remove and allow to cool.
Cream the butter and sugar together.
Add the eggs one at a time and beat well
Sift in the flour and beat until all combined and smooth
Layer a third into a lined loaf tin, flatten gently.
Layer some of the rhubarb into the tin.
Cover with a third more cake batter and then add the second rhubarb layer.
Use the rest of the cake batter to cover the top, flatten gently.
Bake for 60-70 mins (180C/160Cfan), until a skewer can be removed clean.
Remove from the tin and leave to cool.

Beat half the cheese with the butter and sugar until well combined.
Add the remaining cheese and custard and mix well.
Spread on top of the cake, the remainder can be served alongside.

Slice up the rhubarb stick into very thin, finger length batons, try to keep the pink rhubarb colour on and cut away the white inner flesh.
Add the water and sugar to a pan and heat gently until the sugar dissolves and begins to boil.
Once it changes to a golden colour, remove from the heat and drizzle over the batons with a spoon.
Leave to set and cool.

Arrange how you like on the cake, the little bit of caramel not on the rhubarb can be used for decoration also.


Clandestine Cake Club - The One Show Special

While wasting away a pleasant afternoon wandering round Leeds and sampling some of the cities fine watering holes, I received a tweet followed by an urgent phone call from Lynn Hill, Founder of the CCC and The Secret Tea Room, asking if I was free on the Wednesday for an impromptu Cake club. This wasn't just a normal cakey gathering however, this was a special one set up for filming for The One Show, so naturally I said yes and started planning a cake to be made.

The day itself
The main problem I faced, was cooking in someone else's kitchen, it's annoying to put it simply. No ingredients you need, unsure where or if there was the required equipment, using an oven I wasn't confident with, I could go on.
Anyways I trekked out at 8am to find all the required ingredients including Yorkshire Forced Rhubarb and then legged it back to crack on with the baking.

Fortunately it all went to plan and there were no baking disasters or cake wrecks so I headed out for my television debut!

Arriving at the rather stylish Food Academy at Flannels, I met Lynn and a few other cakey people that I already knew plus two film crew and the presenter Matt Allwright.
I wont give two much detail of how it was filmed because that would be boring but basically it was like a normal cake club with people chatting, stuffing their faces (gracefully I might add, it's for telly) with cake but all the while being filmed by a camera crew and with Matt chatting to us about the whole concept (as well as getting some cake down him, perks of the job eh?)

Below are a few examples of the cakes that turned up, delicious the lot of them.

It was a very interesting and fun day and if you would like to see my face on telly or my cake which was the rhubarb and custard one the watch The One Show at 7pm on the 24th Feb or Iplayer it afterwards.
My Cake being presented to Camera
Me and Matt

Monday, 13 February 2012

Chicken Yakitori - Belleau Style

This is a very short blogpost to point you in the direction of the actual blogpost. Contemplating tonight's tea of chicken thighs, I remembered that Dom at Belleau Kitchen had recently posted up his twist on the Japanese classic Chicken Yakitori, which I really need to try if it's as good as this.
The recipe is a really simple, one hour-one pot job and is very very tasty. As Dom states, the chicken blackens during cooking because of the honey and soy sauce but it really does add to the flavour.

For the recipe then head over to Belleau Kitchen - Chicken Thigh Yakitori.

Coffee Cake with a Baileys Frosting

This weekend, me and the OH made a long awaited return to the Clandestine Cake Club, this time held in a secret location in Harrogate.
For this secret meeting I decided to combine the flavours of one of my favourite after dinner drinks, Baileys Irish Coffee, into cake form.

This recipe is very simple but if you are on a diet then feel free to leave because this sticks two fingers up to any diet in favour of rich indulgent cakey goodness.

I used a tsp of instant coffee with two tbsp of water, which was nowhere near enough to give a good coffee flavour so I recommend you use coffee essense/extract in the same quanitity.

Coffee Cake with Baileys Frosting

Cake tins: 21cm loose bottomed, lined and greased.

250g Butter
250g Caster Sugar
4 Large Eggs
250g Self Raising Flour
2 tbsp Coffee Extract/Essence

200g Butter, Softened
400g Full Fat Cream Cheese
200g Icing Sugar
2 tbsp Baileys Liquor

Cream the butter with the sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs, one at a time, until well combined
Sift in the flour and beat in.
Beat in the coffee extract.
Divide between the tins and level out
bake in a preheated oven 180C/160C(fan) for 25 minutes until a skewer is removed clean.
Turn out and leave to cool on a wire rack.

Beat the butter sugar an half the cheese together until smooth.
Beat in the remainder of the cheese.
Mix in the baileys

Sandwich the cakes together with the frosting and then completely cover all over with the remainder.
Grate over some good dark chocolate.


These are some of the other delightful cakes that arrived on the day. Yum

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Farmhouse Orange Victoria Sponge - Weekly Bake off

Another blogger/twitter challenge that I have discovered this week is based on the quite legendary Mary Berry.

It is run by Amy at who is on a quite an admirable mission to make every single Cake/Bake in Mary Berry's 100 cakes and bakes and has invited everyone along to take part. The challenge is a weekly one, with a new cake or bake randomly picked. This week the recipe was to make a Farmhouse Orange Victoria Sponge.
I was quite pleased with this choice because its all well and good to make crazy cakes with fancy techniques but sometimes you do need to go back and make the classics and this one with a slight orangey twist was perfect for that.

For this recipe, I increased the volume of ingredients a little bit because my tins are bigger than the recommended size but other than that the recipe was about as simple as it gets but with very tasty results as you can see. Orange works very well with a victoria sponge, it gives a sweet citrusy taste without the sharp tang that you would get with a lemon cake.

Go and treat yourself to the book (its only a fiver on amazon) and join in. This recipe is on page 28.


P.S. Many thanks to Amy for emailing the recipe to me so I could take part, my book is still on order.