Thursday 19 March 2020

Nettle and citrus cake

1 Blanch the nettles in a pan of boiling water for 1-2 minutes until wilted, then transfer to a bowl of iced water. Once cooled, drain the leaves in a sieve or colander, then use the back of a wooden spoon to squeeze out as much liquid as possible. Transfer the nettles to a food processor along with the vanilla essence, cirtus juice and zest, then whizz to a smooth purée.
2 Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4, then butter two 20cm sandwich tins and line the bases with circles of baking parchment. Whisk the sugar and butter together in a mixing bowl until pale and fluffy, then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix the flour and baking powder together in a separate bowl, then fold in the nettle puree and creamy egg batter. Divide the mixture between the two tins, then bake for 25 minutes until risen, springy in the middle and a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Turn the cakes out onto a cooling rack then set aside to cool completely.
3 Use a bread knife to level off the cakes; cut the risen tops off but keep hold of the trimmings. Place one of the cakes on a plate or cake stand, cut side facing downwards.
4 Mix the buttercream ingredients together until smooth, then spread a layer onto the base cake. Sit the second cake on top of the buttercream (cut side down), then spread the remaining buttercream over the two tiers. Aim for a smooth finish and fill in any gaps where the two cakes meet.
5 Whizz the offcuts together briefly in a food processor, then treat the buttercream as a glue of sorts to cover the cake with the crumbs. Try not to pack them down too much, as you’re looking to achieve a textured, moss-like finish.

Tuesday 10 April 2018

Ramson kimchi

200g Freshly picked ramson leaves, washed
35g Glutinous rice flour
100g Gochugaru (Korean red chilli powder)
25g Salt
35g Sugar
2 Garlic cloves, roughly chopped
A thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled and roughly chopped
1 Small apple, cored and roughly chopped
1 Small onion, roughly chopped

1 Add the rice and 250ml water to a small pan, then bring to a bubble over a medium heat; whisk regularly until it thickens to a paste. Leave to cool to room temperature.
2 Blitz the cooled rice paste, gochugaru, salt, sugar, garlic cloves, ginger, apple and onion in a blender. Don’t worry if there are a few rogue chunks of apple or onion in the paste, nothing too big though.
3 In a large bowl, use your hands (I recommend wearing rubber gloves) to massage the kimchi paste into the ramson leaves. Careful not to crush the leaves but ensure that they all get a good coating. Transfer to a large jar, top up with 150ml water (boiled but then cooled) and leave to ferment out of direct sunlight for 3-5 days, depending on how you like your kimchi. Refrigerate once you’re happy to halt further fermentation – it should keep for a few months if kept chilled.

Blood orange, cardamom & rose cake

For the cake:
225g Butter, at room temperature
225g Caster sugar
4 Eggs
225g Self-raising flour
5 Blood oranges, peel and pith trimmed away then cut into thick slices
Finely chopped zest and juice of 1 large orange
½Tsp Freshly ground cardamom seeds

For the drizzle:
75g Caster sugar
Juice of 1 large orange
1Tbsp Honey
1Tsp Dried rose petals

1 Heat oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4. Beat the butter caster sugar together until pale and creamy, then gradually whisk in the eggs, one at a time. Sift in the flour, add the orange zest, juice and cardamom then mix until well combined.
2 Grease and line a round, 23cm cake tin. Arrange the blood orange slices across the bottom of the tin – cut a few in half to fill any large spaces but don’t worry if there are a few gaps. Spoon over the cake mix, level with the back of a spoon then bake for 40-45 minutes, or until a skewer comes out cleanly.
3 Heat the orange juice, sugar and honey together in a saucepan until the sugar has dissolved. Turn the cake out onto a plate and drizzle with orange syrup – finish with a sprinkle of dried rose petals.

Friday 4 March 2016

Thursday 23 January 2014

Kale with bacon and apple

Salty bacon, kale, wild fennel seeds and sweet caramelised apple slices. I love this on so many levels...

Friday 13 December 2013