Friday, December 14, 2007



mushroom and asparagus pastry layers

For the pastry110g/4oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting175g/6oz mature cheddar, finely grated110g/4oz salted butter pinch cayenne pepper1 free-range egg yolkFor the blue cheese dressing1 tsp runny honey1 tsp Dijon mustardsalt and freshly ground black pepper½ tbsp red wine vinegar150ml/5fl oz groundnut or extra virgin olive oil 2 tsp lemon juice1 shallot, very finely chopped50g/2oz firm Binham Blue cheese, or other blue cheese, crumbledFor the asparagus and wild mushrooms2 shallots, finely chopped 1 clove garlic, finely chopped3 tbsp olive oil225g/9oz mixed wild mushrooms, such as pied de mouton, chanterelles, trompettessalt and freshly ground black pepper2 tbsp chopped parsley16 asparagus spears, trimmed to about 7.5cm/3in longyoung salad leaves, to garnish

Method1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.2. To make the pastry, place all the pastry ingredients except the egg yolk in a food processor. Blitz quickly to combine. Add the egg yolk and process again until the pastry comes together in a dough. Divide the dough in half, shape into two balls and wrap individually in cling film. Leave to rest in the fridge for an hour.3. Roll out the pastry on a lightly floured surface to about 3mm/one-eighth in. Using a palette knife, cut the pastry into 12 neat rectangles, 7.5cm/3in long and 5cm/2in wide, re-rolling any trimmings. 4. Transfer the rectangles to a baking tray lined with baking parchment, leaving a little space between them. Cover the biscuits with another sheet of baking parchment and place another baking tray on top to hold down the pastry. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the pastry is golden and crisp. Leave the biscuits to cool on the baking tray, then transfer to a wire rack. 5. To make the dressing, whisk the honey, mustard and a good pinch each of salt and freshly ground black pepper in a bowl, then whisk in the vinegar. Slowly pour in the oil and the lemon juice, whisking constantly. Check the seasoning and add the shallot and crumbled blue cheese. (This vinaigrette will keep in a covered jar in the fridge for several weeks.)6. For the wild mushrooms, heat a frying pan and quickly fry the shallots and garlic in the oil until soft, then add the wild mushrooms and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Continue cooking over a high heat until the mushrooms soften. Transfer to a bowl and add the chopped parsley. Leave to cool.7. Cook the asparagus in a pan of boiling water until just tender. Drain and refresh under cold running water.8. To serve, lay a pastry biscuit on each plate. Spoon some mushrooms along the pastry and top with two asparagus spears. Cover with another pastry layer and add the remaining mushrooms and asparagus. Put the final pastry layer on top. Spoon the dressing around and garnish with young salad leaves

Thursday, November 22, 2007

almond and white chocolate fruitcake

1 1/2 cups (300g) Vienna almonds
200g butter, softened
1 1/4 cups firmly packed dark
brown sugar
4 eggs, at room temperature
2 1/4 cups plain flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 quantity All-purpose fruit mince (see related recipe)
200g white chocolate, chopped
· Icing
400g white chocolate, chopped
2/3 cup thickened cream
1 cup (200g) Vienna almonds, crushed
Preheat oven to 150°C. Grease and line base and sides of a 9cm deep, 22.5cm square cake pan. Place almonds in 2 snap-lock bags. Wrap in a tea towel and crush with a rolling pin.
Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until pale. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing well after each (don't worry if mixture curdles). Sift 1 1/2 cups flour and baking powder over butter mixture. Stir to combine. Stir remaining 3/4 cup flour into fruit mince (this prevents fruit from sinking). Stir fruit mince, almonds and chocolate into butter mixture. Mix well.
Spoon mixture into cake pan. Smooth the surface. Bake cake for 2 hours or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool completely in pan.
Ice cake at least 1 day before serving. Combine chocolate and cream in a heatproof, microwave-safe bowl. Microwave, uncovered, on MEDIUM (50%) for 2 to 3 minutes, stirring every minute with a metal spoon, or until melted and smooth. Refrigerate for 1 hour, stirring occasionally with a metal spoon, or until thickened to a spreadable consistency. Spread over cake. Sprinkle with almonds.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Crunchy peanut butter cookies

Ingredients 8 tbsp plain flour 2 tbsp caster sugar 2 tbsp crunchy peanut butter 1 free-range egg yolk 50g butter, softened icing sugar, for dusting

Method1. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas 4.2. Place the flour, sugar, peanut butter, egg yolk and butter into a large bowl and mix together until combined to a smooth dough. 3. With lightly floured hands, break off evenly sized pieces of the dough and roll into walnut sized balls. 4. Place the dough balls onto a baking sheet lined with silicon paper or baking parchment and gently press each ball with the back of a fork to flatten slightly. 5. Place in the oven and bake for ten minutes, or until just turning golden-brown. 6. Transfer the cookies to a wire rack and allow to cool for ten minutes. 7. To serve, place on a serving plate and dust with icing sugar.

Monday, November 19, 2007

the series you should read

the dresden files by jim butcher

cool nintendo 64 emulator for computor

download a cool program that lets you play any games for nintendo 64. link:

peppermint crisp brownies

1/3 cup strong black coffee
250g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
180g butter, chopped
1 1/2 cups plain flour
1/2 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 cups brown sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
4 x 35g Peppermint Crisp bars, roughly chopped
thick cream, to serve
Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line a 20cm base measurement square cake pan.
Place coffee, chocolate and butter into a saucepan. Stir over low heat for 3 to 4 minutes or until smooth and melted. Transfer to a bowl. Cool for 10 minutes.
Sift flour and cocoa into a bowl. Add sugar. Stir to combine. Make a well in the centre. Add chocolate mixture, eggs and three-quarters of Peppermint Crisp. Stir with a large metal spoon until combined.
Pour into cake pan. Bake for 45 minutes or until crumbs cling to a skewer inserted into centre. Allow to cool in pan.
Cut into squares, top with cream and sprinkle with remaining Peppermint Crisp.