Stilton, Apple & Walnut Salad

2015-07-04 19.14.57

A delicious salad with salty stilton, crunchy walnuts and sweet, crisp apples. The perfect accompaniment to any BBQ or as a light lunch. I don’t like walnuts, or stilton – well I didn’t think I did until I tried this salad!

We were invited to one of Rien’s colleagues, Gordon’s, house for a BBQ. The weather that week had been lovely, but in true British weather fashion there were showers all day. It was quite amusing to see Rien out there amongst the other men BBQ-ing under and umbrella. Rien perfectly cooked the burgers so I was very impressed, he can now be trusted with the BBQ when we eventually get one in our new house.

Gordon’s wife, Cicely, made a range of delicious salads with one of them being this Stilton, Apple and Walnut salad. As I said I didn’t think I liked walnuts and stilton until I tried this salad. It looked so appealing I had to give it a try and I was definitely pleased I did. Separately I’m not still not sure how much I would like the flavours, but when you combine them they really compliment each other. The dressing is also unusual but really adds to the flavours and helps make the salad so delicious.

The day after the BBQ I tried googling for the recipe but couldn’t find anything that included the ingredients Cicely mentioned. I gave in and asked Rien to see if he could get the recipe for me. After days of almost constant nagging, he finally asked for the recipe. I’m not sure whether Cicely found the recipe somewhere or whether she has made it up and adapted it, but it is great. Her recommendation is to eat it with a pork burger in a lovely fluffy roll as the apple works brilliantly with the pork.

I know this salad won’t be for everyone, but I do recommend giving it a go because it just might surprise you! The salad is best eaten on the day as the acid wilts the leaves slightly.

1 bag of mixed rocket, watercress and spinach salad
3 apples
juice of half a lemon
150g chopped walnuts
150g stilton 
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp maple syrup
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
Salt and pepper

  1. Core the apples and chop into bite size chunks. Put in a bowl and add the lemon juice, stir to coat. The lemon juice will stop the apples from turning brown

2015-07-04 18.56.12

  1. In a large bowl, add the lettuce. Add the chopped walnuts and crumble chunks of stilton into the bowl
  2. In a separate small bowl, mix together the olive oil, maple syrup and balsamic vinegar. Season with salt and pepper – not too much salt as the stilton adds saltiness. Give the dressing a taste and add more oil, syrup or vinegar to adjust the sweetness/sharpness, remember the lemon juice with the apples will add some extra acidity

2015-07-04 19.03.14

  1. Add the apples and dressing just before serving and mix

2015-07-04 19.14.42

 

Eton Mess

2015-06-30 20.41.07

Crisp meringues with a squidgy centre covered in deliciously smooth whipped cream and topped with juicy strawberries. This dessert is perfect for early summer when British strawberries are at their best.

I’ve had Eton Mess many times before, but I don’t think I have ever had with home made meringues. Although they take a bit of time to cook, they’re quite simple to make and are definitely worth the effort. This is the perfect pudding for the summer because you don’t have to spend hours in a hot kitchen and you can make the meringues in advance and assemble later.

2015-06-30 20.41.39

I presented these in two different ways; he first was adding the whipped cream, strawberries and crushed meringues to a bowl and combining. The second way was to add each layer each ingredient in the bowl. This was definitely the best looking option but feel free to present it however you like!

For the meringues
4 large egg whites at room temperature 
115g caster sugar
115g icing sugar 

  1. Preheat the oven to 110ºC/ 100ºC fab. Line 2 baking trays with parchment paper or non stick liners. Do not use greaseproof paper as meringue can stick to it!
  2. Add the egg whites to the bowl of your mixer with the whisk attachment and beat them on a medium speed until they are fluffy and stand up in stiff peaks

2015-06-27 17.29.01

  1. Turn the speed up higher and add the caster sugar a spoonful at a time waiting a few seconds between adding the next spoonful. Once all of the caster sugar has been added the egg whites should look thick and glossy

2015-06-27 17.31.04

  1. Sift one third of the icing sugar into the egg whites and gently fold in with a large metal spoon. Continue to add the rest of the icing sugar a third at a time, folding it in as you go. The egg whites should now look smooth and full of air. Be careful not to over mix

2015-06-27 17.37.25

  1. Dollop dessert spoonfuls of the mixture onto the baking trays making sure you leave a small gap between each meringue. You can either smooth the meringues with the back of the spoon or leave them in rough mounds

2015-06-27 17.45.16

  1. Bake for 1½ – 1¾ hours in a fan oven and 1¼ hours in a standard oven. They are done when they sound crisp and hollow when tapped underneath and are a pale golden colour

2015-06-27 20.14.23

  1. Leave to cool completely on the trays. The meringues will keep in an airtight container for 2 weeks so although you might want to eat them all, you don’t have to!

300ml double cream
300g strawberries

  1. Pour the double cream into the bowl of your mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Whisk on a slow to medium speed for a couple of minutes. You are looking for it to become thicker but not loose its smooth texture. It is better to keep stopping the mixer and checking on it rather than over whipping the cream!
  2. Hull the strawberries and cut them into pieces
  3. Crush the meringues and assemble the dish by either mixing the ingredients together in a bowl or by layer the ingredients separately into your serving dish

2015-06-27 20.49.35

Gym Bunny Mummy

Soft Bread Rolls – Ted’s Rolls

2015-05-24 18.26.29

Nothing is better than freshly baked bread and these rolls are perfectly soft and fluffy making them great with anything.

I came across these rolls on Twitter. Lots of people I follow would talk about Ted’s Rolls over and over again. The original recipe was created by Sarah James on her blog Tales From The Kitchen Shed. I was initially drawn to make these rolls by the lovely photos people were posting of them, but it was after reading her blog post that I knew I had to make these. These aren’t just a great recipe, there is a lovely story behind how she adapted the recipe over time to create a soft fluffy roll that her ill father-in-law, Ted, could eat. Please visit her blog to read the full story –  http://www.talesfromthekitchenshed.com/2014/04/everyday-bread-rolls-teds-rolls/.

Another reason I think you should check out this recipe on Tales From the Kitchen Shed is that Sarah has written the recipe so clearly and has some great tips. As you can see from my blog posts, I like to include photos of the whole process and not just the end result. I really like that Sarah does this on her blog too because it isn’t something you see as often as I would like!

I’d made bread rolls before, and even have a blog post with a lovely recipe but they are for crispy rolls. I do love a crispy roll, but they’re not necessarily the type of roll I would like to eat everyday. For an everyday roll, I prefer soft and fluffy rolls which is exactly what these Ted’s rolls are.

2015-05-24 18.27.51

I made a batch of these rolls (16 – 18 rolls) which we ate over the course of the weekend, we made lovely rolls to take on a picnic and also gave a couple away to my brother-in-law’s family. I was chuffed that the bread expert (Rien) liked them and I got some lovely comments from Dom’s family.

1 kg strong white bread flour
3 tsp sea salt
1 tsp sugar
2 tsp instant yeast
8 tbsp rapeseed oil
Approximately 600ml lukewarm water
Spray oil

  1. Attach the dough hook to your mixer. Add the flour, salt, sugar and yeast to the bowl making a well in the middle. Add the oil and half of the water into the well
  2. Mix on the lowest speed for a couple of minutes
  3. Add the rest of the water and mix on the second speed for 8 – 10 minutes
  4. Check your dough is ready by pinching a small piece of dough off and stretching it between your fingers. Sarah calls this the window pane test as the dough is ready when it is translucent when you hold it up to the light
  5. Put the dough in a greased bowl and cover with cling film – make sure you spray with cling film with oil too. Leave the dough to prove for at least one and a half hours or until the dough has doubled in size

2015-05-24 13.43.28

2015-05-24 15.20.44

  1. Lightly flour your work surface and tun the dough out onto it. Divide the dough into 90g portions which will be 16-18 balls. You can do it by eye but by weighing it you can get rolls all the same time which I think makes these rolls even more appealing

2015-05-24 15.31.01

  1. Shape each portion into balls and then place them on a greased baking tray. You must make sure that you don’t leave more than 2 ½cm between the rolls otherwise they won’t touch when baking and this is crucial for producing soft fluffy rolls. Gently press the rolls when once you’ve placed them on the tray to flatten them slightly

2015-05-24 16.08.55

  1. Cover the rolls with greased cling film and leave to prove in a warm place for 30 – 45 minutes. When the rolls are proving, preheat the oven to 200ºC
  2. Put the rolls in the oven for 25 minutes – check half way through to see if the tray needs turning if one side is browning quicker than the other
  3. To test the rolls are ready, tap the underneath and if its hollow they’re ready. Allow to cool for a couple of minutes on the tray before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely

2015-05-24 16.36.06

 

Visit Tales From The Kitchen Shed for how to make the rolls without using a mixer – its just as easy!