Thursday, 22 October 2015

Vegetarian sausage pasta bake

Now the nights are getting darker and colder we felt like a quick, warming stew one evening. My eldest helped me make this,.

Begin by gently frying some frozen vegetarian sausages (either in spray oil, coconut oil or some olive oil). We used Quorn cumberland sausages. Allow about 2.5-3 per person. If you prefer to use normal sausages that is fine but you may want to drain off some of the fat that comes out of the sausages as you cook them.

Then add some chunkily chopped up red onions and stir and then a handful of chopped basil. Allow to cook for about 10 minutes over a gentle heat. You can add a bit of water if the pan is getting too dry. Then add a drained tin of chick peas and stir.

At this point add in a jar of passatta and 2 tsps of smoked paprika. Give everything a good stir.

Leave to simmer while you make up some pasta- I used wholewheat but you can use white if you prefer. You can then add some half fat creme fraiche or low fat garlic and herb cream cheese to the sausage mix- about 3 tbsp. Mix this through so it is fully incorporated. Remove the sausages at this point and chop into smaller chunks and then put back in the tomato sauce.

Once the pasta is cooked, drain and add to an over proof dish together with the sausage stew.

Cover with grated cheese (mozzerella and cheddar are a good mix).

Put under a hot grill until the top is bubbling and golden. If you want to make this in advance it can be reheated in a 180 degree oven for about 30 minutes until it is hot and the topping is bubbling and golden. Serve with a green salad.

Raspberry curd self-saucing pudding

We brought back a jar of raspberry curd from a foody market at a horse show in Pitlochry. It is delicious on toast and in victoria sponges but I wanted to try using it in a pudding.

Begin by greasing a shallow pyrex dish and then cover the base with a good few tablespoons of the curd.

Next make the batter- mix together 225g of self-raising flour and a pinch of salt then add 115g of caster sugar and 1 tsp of grated lemon rind. Melt 2 tbps of butter and add to this 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract and 1/2 cup of milk and add this milk mix to the flour until well blended.

Pour this over the curd mix and smooth it over the top.

Then make the lemon sauce- combine 1/3 cup of sugar with another tsp of lemon rind and sprinkle this over the top of the cake.

Then mix together a cup of boiling water and the juice of the lemon and spoon this over the batter and sugar topping.

Bake at 180 degrees for about 40 mins until the top is golden and set and then allow to stand for 5-10 mins which allows the sauce to thicken underneath- serve it too quick and it is runny. Serve with cream or ice-cream.

If you don't have any curd in this will still work very well omitting that stage.

Caramelised apple cake with a toffee topping

We brought back a load of apples from a holiday in France. Some of these I cooked in a sugar solution and decided to use some of these to bake an apple cake.

Begin making a batter. Mix together 225g of self-raising flour together with 2 tsp of ground cinnamon. Add 115g of unsalted butter and rub this into the flour. Add 115g light brown sugar and beat in 1 large egg and about 8 tbsp milk.

Then take around 225g of apples (you can use fresh just core and peel them and cut into chunks) and add these to the batter. If you like you can also add sultanas at this point (around 100g).

Pour into a lined 20cm loose bottomed cake tin and bake for around 30-40 minutes in a 180 degree C oven.

The cake should be golden and a skewer comes out clean when cooked.

Before cooking you can either sprinkle with a couple of tablespoons of demerara sugar which will give a crunchy topping. Or you can add a toffee sauce afterwards. Make this by combining 300ml double cream, 85g butter and 100g light brown sugar in a pan.

Heat gently until it is a smooth sauce.

Pour over enough to cover the top. Any remaining sauce can be kept in a container in the fridge for a week.