Sticky Balsamic Fried Onions

It’s Halloween season and here’s a cool recipe to make your onions look like worms with this sticky balsamic fried onions recipe – Mwahahahahaha!

In all seriousness, this is a great side dish to have with toad in the hole, in a burger, hot dog or to garnish a salad in the summer. Enjoy!

Ingredients 

Half a tablespoon of vegetable oil for frying
3 large onions cut into rings
Splash of water for steaming
1 tablespoon of Muscovado/dark brown sugar 
One crushed garlic (optional) 
120ml diluted OXO beef stock cube 
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Method

  1. In a frying pan, bring the oil to a medium heat and add the onions and the crushed garlic. Move frequently and fry until they’re soft – to speed this process up, increase the heat, add a splash of water and cover. Essentially we want to try and soften the onions.
  2. Add the sugar and stir until the onions are a nice golden brown. Add the balsamic vinegar and increase the heat.
  3. Gradually incorporate the the beef stock, stir and cook until the stock is reduced. Add more sugar or balsamic vinegar to suit your tastes.

That’s it – it’s as easy as 1, 2, 3. If you do make this recipe with toad in the hole, check out my mashed potato recipe here.

Sticky Balsamic Fried Onions

King carrot cake with Philadelphia cream cheese icing

I’ve called this King carrot cake, not only because it’s absolutely massive, but because it features my Autumn King carrots – but really any type of carrot will do. The Philadelphia icing is absolutely devine also.

Ingredients

  • 400ml olive oil
  • 400g plain flour
  • 1 tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda
  • 500g caster sugar
  • 5 beaten eggs
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 500g carrots, blitzed in a food processor or grated

For the Philadelphia icing cream

  • 200g Philadelphia cream cheese
  • 140g caster sugar
  • 100g salted butter, softened
  • Juice of half a lemon (optional)

Method

1. First off, preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3. Grease and prepare a cake tin that’s over 26cm/10in square. Go large or go home people. I tend olive oil works better with keeping cakes moist better than sunflower or vegetable oil.

2. Mix together the olive oil, plain flour, bicarbonate of soda, caster sugar and ground cinnamon. Slow incorporate the beaten eggs into the mix.

3. Blitz your carrots in a food processor and stir the carrots into the batter.

4. Pour the cake batter into the tin and bake for 1.5 hour. If you insert a skewer into the middle of the cake and it comes out clean, it should be done. Remove from the oven and let cool.

For the  cream icing

1. In a bowl mix together Philadelphia cream cheese, caster sugar, salted butter and lemon juice into a bowl and mix together until light and creamy.

2. Spread over the top of your carrot cake.

Marrow Chutney recipe

This marrow chutney recipe will provide you with just over 2 1 litre sized Kilner Jars.

Ingredients
1 large marrow, peeled and chopped into small chunks
2 large spanish onions, diced
2 tablespoons salt
4 Granny Smith apples diced, peeled and chopped into chunks
1.2L malt vinegar
Up to 500g sugar
1 tablespoon cornflour
1 tablespoon turmeric
1 tablespoon mustard powder
1 tablespoon turmeric
4 tablespoons of sultanas (optional)

Method

1.  As part of this marrow chutney recipe, at least 24 hours before you intend to mix the salt, onions and marrow together and leave overnight. We’re using the salt to extract the water from onions and marrows so that the mixture won’t get too mushy.
2. When you make the chutney remove the water from the pot.
3. Add the apples to mix, along with the vinegar and add some heat, we want to get the pot to simmer until the vegetables are soft, this can take around 20 minutes or so.
4. Add 300g of sugar and stir.
5. In a separate bowl, mix the cornflour, mustard powder and turmeric and splash of vinegar until the mixture is a paste. Add this new mixture to the pot and dissolve. Keep stirring until the mixture becomes thick. If there are large chunks, use a potato masher to break the mixture.
6. Sample the mixture and adjust to your own taste, you may find that you want to add some more sugar, or some more vinegar depending on what you like.
7. Add the mixture to hot, sterilised jars and seal.
8. You can use this chutney straight away, but for best results, leave to mature for at least four weeks.

Rhubarb Crumble Cake

Ingredients
Butter for greasing
300g rhubarb, with the leaf and base stem removed
60g caster sugar
2 large free-range eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract)
100g plain flour
100g caster sugar
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
75g soft salted butter

Crumble
50g salted butter
30g brown sugar
100g plain flour, sifted

Method

1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/fan 150°C/gas 4. Grease and line (with grease proof paper) a shallow baking tin that is around 20cm square, 5cm deep.

2. Cut the rhubarb into chunks that are around 2cm long – resembling bite sized chunks. Add these chunks to a bowl incorporating the sugar and the flour. Leave this to sit for around 10 mins or so while you make the crumble.

3. In a separate bowl, mix together the sifted flour, brown sugar and butter with your fingers until the mixture goes crumbly and resembles breadcrumbs.

4. Back to the rhubarb flour mix, mix in the eggs, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder and mix together. The consistency needs to be quite thick otherwise the rhubarb will sink to the bottom during baking. If you find it’s not quite thick enough – add some more sifted flour and stir.

5. Add the rhubarb cake mixture to the tin that was prepared earlier, I tend to drop chunks of rhubarb on top of the cake mixture for decoration. Spread across the tin evenly and scatter the crumble mixture over the top the of cake mix.

6. Bake the cake for around 40 minutes until it’s golden brown. Check with a skewer making sure it comes out clean – if it’s clean, this means it’s cooked. Leave to cool for around 15 minutes.

If you would like, feel feel to sieve icing sugar over the top for further decoration.

A rosemary, thyme, garlic and mint dressing for roast lamb

This is a simple dressing that I made for a leg of lamb, out of the herbs and vegetables from the garden this Easter just gone. It’s a recipe I’ve been meaning to post for a long time as I’ve often remarked on how flavoursome, fragrant and memorable this dressing was.

I used this for a leg of lamb, but you could just as well use this with some chops or another dark meat.

 

Ingredients
A handful of sprigs of fresh rosemary, chopped
A handful of fresh mint, chopped
1 tablespoon of fresh thyme
1 Teaspoon of peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon of sea salt
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 – 4 table spoons of olive oil (increase/decrease based on the size of your meat)

Method

For the dressing…

1. In a pestle and mortar, crush the peppercorns and salt together until the mixture resembles a course powder.

2. Add the mint, thyme, rosemary and olive oil and mix together.

3. Add the crushed garlic and incorporate further into the mix.

Depending on what you’re cooking you may wish to add more olive oil. The overall consistency should be like that of a sauce or a marinade. If you can marinade your meat for an hour or two before cooking then all the better.

For the meat

1. If you’re roasting a leg of lamb in a tray, my advice would be to take a large onion and cut it into disks and sit the meat on top. This will allow the air to get to the base of the joint during roasting, You’ll also end up with lamb roasted onions as a garnish to your dish.

2. Take some cloves of garlic and slice length ways. In the leg of lamb, make a number of slits and insert the gloves of garlic. Make some further slits and insert sprigs of rosemary.

3. Spread the dressing over the top of the meat, making sure that there’s not too much run off. The more of the meat that’s covered the better – the idea is to marinate the meat not the tin.

Minty turnip soup

This year I’ve had an absolute glutton of snowball turnips. To use some of them up I decide to whip up this quick and easy soup.

Ingredients
4 or 5 tennis ball sized turnips, peeled and quartered
2 tablespoons of dried mint or a handful of fresh mint, finely chopped
1.5 litres of vegetable or chicken stock
knob of butter for frying
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1 Bay leaf
1 large onion, diced 

Method

1. On a medium heat, melt the butter in a large saucepan and add the onion, garlic and bay leaf – fry until the onions are soft and translucent.

2. Add the turnips into the mixture and season with salt and pepper. Meanwhile, dilute a couple of stock cubes in boiling water.

3. Add the diluted stock to the pot and bring the whole lot to the boil and cook for around 5 – 10 minutes. Lower to a medium heat and simmer until the turnips are soft enough to poke through with a knife.

4. Stir in the mint and simmer for a few more minutes.

5. Remove the bay leaf and transport the mixture to a blender and blend the whole lot.

6. Turnips are quite the fibrous vegetable, which means after you have blended the the soup, you may very well end up with a mixture that resembles hessian cooked in stock. My advice at this stage is to pass the mixture through a sieve in order to get a smooth and tasty soup.

7. If you’re partial to a bit of hessian, there’s no need to carry out step 6.

8. Garnish with pepper, and if you like, feel free to grate some cheese over the top.

Rhubarb and ginger crumble

A variation on my orange and rhubarb crumble seen here!

Ingredients
3 table spoons of crystallised ginger in syrup
75g of caster sugar
500g chopped rhubarb
75g unsalted butter
100g sifted plain flour
75g demerara sugar

 

Method

1. Pre-heat the oven to 190F, gas mark5.

2. Mix the rhubarb, sugar and the crystallised ginger in an ovenproof dish, let this mature in the dish and eventually you’ll encounter a lovely sweet aroma.

3. In a separate bowl, mix together the sifted flour, demerara sugar and butter with your fingers until the mixture goes crumbly and  resembles breadcrumbs.

4. Layer the crumble mix on top of the rhubarb mix and push down with a fork.

5. Bake the crumble for approx 40 – 45 minutes until golden brown.

6. Serve with ice cream and custard.

Classic Roast Veg

 

Roast veg doesn’t have to be complicated in order to look fancy…

Ingredients
Potatoes
Red Onions
Fresh Thyme
Carrots
Parsnips
Sweet Potatoes
Dried Mixed Herbs
Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper for seasoning 

Method

  1. Chop all of your root vegetables and onions into quarters and aim for all of the pieces to be the same size.
  2. Line a roasting tin with all of the pieces, drizzle olive oil over the top and season with fresh herbs, salt and pepper.
  3. Mix together and spread evenly in the tin.
  4. Roast at temperature of 190 degrees for 40 minutes and toss half way through.
  5. When the veg is crispy on the outside and soft on the inside – serve with lashings of gravy.

Smoky Vegetable Goulash

If you’re looking for a hearty vegetable goulash recipe, then this is the recipe for you! This vegetable goulash also helps you to lose up any spare vegetables in the fridge. You can basically make it with just about anything!

Ingredients
1 Large onion, diced
3 Carrots, peeled and cut into coins
3 Garlic cloves diced
2 Peppers
2 Sticks of celery
2 Potatoes
Half a savoy cabbage, shredded
1 Litre of vegetable stock
Olive oil for cooking
1 Tablespoon of flour
2 Teaspoons of smoked paprika (sweet paprika will do)
Salt and pepper to taste
Sprinkle of dried oregano or basil

Method

1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or cast iron casserole dish and cook the onions, garlic, carrots, celery and potatoes for around 4 minutes or until the onions are soft.

2. Boil the kettle, and mix the vegetable stock and make sure this is well dissolved.

3. Add the cabbage and peppers to the mix and cook until this all of the ingredients are soft.

4. Turn to a low heat, and then add the flour, paprika, oregano. Stir and then season with salt and pepper.

5. Turn up the heat to medium and slowly incorporate the vegetable stock.

6. Bring the whole mixture to the boil and then turn down to a simmer, cook the whole mix until the potatoes are soft.

Serve with crusty bread and enjoy!