Month: May 2013

Cooking With Nuts

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Nuts are simply delicious and a fabulous source of Protein. They contain the healthy form of fats that we require to maintain a healthy diet.

I particularly love almonds and hazel nuts ,eating them on their own or ground to replace flour in baked goods, such as cakes.

Unfortunately we buy nuts from the supermarket ,open them and then leave them in the pantry to simply go off. If you eat a nut and think yuck it is probably simply too old and has gone rancid.

My TIP

1. Keep nuts refrigerated or even in the freezer

2 Try to buy form a supplier of nuts

3 Always roast before use – leave in a cool to moderate oven for around 20 minutes

4 Store in an airtight container

Check out this excellent Guardian website for different recipes

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/apr/13/10-best-nuts-recipes

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Quinces

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A wonderful friend dropped in some ripe quinces prompting me to cook with this unusual fruit. A quince is a quince but the aroma is somewhat like an underripe pear,with hints of spice. However when cooked, and yes that is the secret of their delight, they undertake a personality change and become a deep pink to red colour with the smell of blossom.

Don’t try and eat them raw – peel them like an apple ,remove the core. Place the peeled pieces of quince into a sugar syrup – this bit sometimes sounds hard but is simply 1 cup of water to 1 cup of sugar – if that is too much sugar reduce by half to make a half strength syrup. We require just enough syrup to cover the peeled and cored quinces.

Place into an ovenproof dish and simply bake for around 3 hours on a medium low heat – around 140c (turning them occasionally)- alternately you can just poach on the cooktop for around 2 hours in the same syrup – this method, while faster, won’t undertake the same colour but will still be delicious.

My tip is to add some extra spice to your cooking for example cinnamon, lemon peel, fresh ginger or even star anise

Pop them into some water with the juice of one lemon as they will discolour as soon as you peel them

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Check out Maggie Beers recipe for chocolate quince tart

http:http://http://http://www.maggiebeer.com.au/recipes/chocolate-quince-and-almond-tart

Duck Egg – Curry

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Today Steve, Olivia and Zoe took me out to The Pint of Milk for mothers day breakfast – I had delicious eggs, this time served with bacon, avocado and hollandaise sauce on a toasted bagel – another great use for those left over egg yolks. Hollandaise requires gentle heat and can even be made (no stirring) in a thermomix or a steamer ,if you are lucky enough to have one.

This reminded me of my own mother, who was a country girl at heart, and loved all animals and at various stages kept chickens and even a pair of ducks.

Whilst we remain comfortable cooking hen’s eggs, their are other eggs that can be used and enjoyed in our diets.

Quail eggs are attractive little speckled eggs and can be cooked in the same way as hen’s eggs, though for rather less time.

Duck Eggs are much bigger and contain a little more fat than hen’s eggs.They can be used in scrambled,omelettes, soft boiled eggs, deserts and curry. Egg dishes are often made at home in India.

I include a link for duck curry to the Guardian Newspaper, which has excellent food recipes and links.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2011/oct/12/burmese-duck-egg-recipe

Mayonnaise and Lemon aioli

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Now that we have all those fresh eggs and lots of demand for delicious pavlova and meringues ,what to do with the left over egg yolks.Think of lemon curd on thick crusty toast or creamy Lemon aioli served with a fresh piece of fish . Store bought mayonnaise has improved and i suggest looking for the ones that advertise egg mayonnaise.

I meet many people who are frightened of making their own mayo but feel little fear!

Here is a link to Maggie Beer’s recipe for

Iverjuice mayonnaise

The key is to add the oil  (recommend grape seed oil – it has less defining flavour than some olive or vegetable oils) extremely slowly – you can do this in a food processor or with a hand blender.I mean literally drizzle the oil in, as you beat.