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Love Food, the cookbook brand from Parragon Books, is dedicated to providing simple, delicious recipes for the home cook.
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Rich chocolate mousses…a must!
Celebrate what must be one of the most delicious days of the year - National Chocolate Mousse Day! Here is our must-make recipe (but please note that it contains raw eggs):
Makes 4, from ‘1001 Cupcakes, Cookies and other tempting treats’.
300g/10½ oz plain chocolate, broken into pieces
5 tbsp caster sugar
20g/¾ oz butter
1 tbsp brandy
4 eggs, separated
cocoa powder, for dusting
1. Place the chocolate in a heatproof bowl, set the bowl over a saucepan of gently simmering water, add the sugar and butter and melt together, stirring constantly, until smooth. Remove from the heat and stir in the brandy, then leave to cool slightly. Add the egg yolks and beat until smooth.
2. Place the egg whites in a separate bowl and whisk until stiff peaks form, then fold into the chocolate mixture. Place a stainless steel cooking ring on each of 4 small serving places, then spoon the mixture into each ring and smooth the surfaces. Chill in the refrigerator for at least 4 hours, or until set.
3. Remove the mousses from the refrigerator and carefully remove the cooking rings. Dust with cocoa powder and serve immediately.
Want to bake something delicious this weekend? Well we have more than one answer! From Rocky Road and Red Velvet to Chocolate Brownie and Apple Streusel - we’re talking cupcakes of course! Deliciousness awaits at your finger tips, just click on the image and download our FREE cupcake recipes now!
Meat Free Monday - Spicy Tofu
Stir things up a bit with this winner of a dish - tofu, vegetables and a touch of spice. Meat Free Monday magic!
Spicy Tofu, serves 4.
75ml/2½ fl oz vegetable stock
2 tsp cornflour
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp caster sugar
pinch of chilli flakes
4 tbsp groundnut oil
250g/9oz firm tofu, rinsed and drained thoroughly and cut into 1-cm/½-inch cubes
1 tbsp grated fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves, crushed
4 spring onions, thinly sliced
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
1 carrot, cut into thin strips
1 yellow pepper, deseeded and thinly sliced
250g/9oz shiitake mushrooms, thinly sliced
steamed rice, to serve
1. To make the marinade, blend the vegetable stock, cornflour, soy sauce, sugar and chilli flakes together in a large bowl. Add the tofu and toss well to cover in the marinade. Set aside to marinate for 20 minutes.
2. In a large wok, heat 2 tablespoons of the groundnut oil and stir-fry the tofu with its marinade until brown and crispy. Remove from the wok and set aside.
3. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of groundnut oil in the wok and stir-fry the ginger, garlic and spring onions for 30 seconds. Add the broccoli, carrot, yellow pepper and mushrooms to the wok and cook for 5-6 minutes. Return the tofu to the wok and stir-fry to reheat. Serve immediately over freshly steamed rice.
For Mother’s Day - Strawberry Shortcakes
With the UK celebrating Mother’s Day on Sunday, why not make these extra special Strawberry Shortcakes to show her how much she is loved and appreciated? (From ‘Grandma’s Best Recipes’).
Strawberry Shortcakes, serves 6.
225g/8oz self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
½ tsp baking powder
100g/3½oz golden caster sugar
85g/3oz unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing
1 egg, beaten
2-3 tbsp milk, plus extra for brushing
1 tsp vanilla extract
250g/9oz mascarpone cheese
3 tbsp icing sugar, plus extra for dusting
1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4. Lightly grease a large baking tray.
2. Sift the flour, baking powder and sugar together into a bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs. Beat the egg with 2 tablespoons of the milk and stir into the dry ingredients with a fork to form a soft, but not sticky, dough, adding more milk if necessary.
3. Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and roll out to a thickness of about 2 cm/¾ inch. Stamp out rounds, using a 7-cm/2¾-inch biscuit cutter. Lightly press the trimmings together and stamp out more rounds.
4. Place the rounds on the prepared baking tray and brush the tops lightly with milk. Bake in the preheated oven for 12-15 minutes, until firm and golden brown. Place on a wire rack to cool.
5. To make the filling, stir the vanilla extract into the mascarpone cheese with 2 tablespoons of the sugar. Reserve a few whole strawberries for decoration, then hull and slice the rest. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar.
6. Split the shortcakes in half horizontally. Spoon half the mascarpone mixture onto the bases and top with the sliced strawberries. Spoon over the remaining mascarpone mixture and replace the shortcake tops. To serve, dust the shortcakes with icing sugar and top with the reserved whole strawberries.
Homage to the potato, Irish style.
As the Irish proverb goes - it is easy to halve the potato where there is love. When it comes to Irish potatoes, however, I have to disagree. I find it difficult letting anyone, whether I love them or not, near my fries, mash or potato skins. The reason being is that there is something about the taste of Irish potatoes that makes them sodifferent to any other potatoes I have ever tasted. Indeed there are not enough adjectives to describe this most versatile of veg - creamy, rich, fluffy, soft, delicate, subtle, buttery, light, scrumptious, velvety, melt-in-your-mouth, smooth, milky, moreish….oh so delicious!
Now given that potatoes are 80% water this is probably hard to believe, but the Irish spud seems to be the genuine article. Boiled, mashed, baked, roasted, scalloped, fried, au gratin or casseroled - once tasted, never forgotten. Believe me.
So, to pay homage to this virtuous vegetable on St Patrick’s Day, I leave you with a recipe for Colcannon. Traditionally lucky charms or coins are hidden in the mixture, which are said to bring good luck or fortune to the recipient. You’ll also be pleased to know that the serving suggestion is individual bowls, so you can indulge in this potato-y pot of gold without thinking about having to share it!
Colcannon, serves 4. From ‘Irish Pub Cooking’
1 lb/450g starchy potatoes
4 tbsp butter
150ml/5 fl oz single cream
½ small head of green or white cabbage (you can also use kale and leeks if you prefer)
6 spring onions, cut into 5-mm/¼-inch slices
salt and pepper
1. Cook the potatoes in a large pan of boiling salted water for 15-20 minutes. Drain well and mash with a potato masher until smooth. Season to taste with salt and pepper, add the butter and cream and stir well.
2. Cut the cabbage in half, remove and discard the central stalk and shred finely. Cook the cabbage in a large pan of boiling salted water for 1-2 minutes, until it is soft. Drain thoroughly.
3. Mix the cabbage and mashed potatoes together, then stir in the spring onions. Season well with salt and pepper.
4. Serve immediately in individual bowls.
Meat Free Monday - Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Curry
Why not spice up your Monday with this delicious curry! It uses Panch Phoran, a Bengali five-spice mix, but if you can’t find it, use instead a pinch each of ground cumin, fennel, fenugreek and black mustard seed. (From ‘1001 One Pot, Casseroles, Soups & Stews’ by Parragon).
Cauliflower & Sweet Potato Curry, serves 4
4 tbsp ghee or vegetable oil
2 onions, finely chopped
1 tsp Panch Poran
1 cauliflower, broken into small florets
350g/12 oz sweet potatoes, diced
2 fresh green chillies, deseeded and finely chopped
1 tsp ginger pureé
2 tsp paprika
1½ tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp chilli powder
3 tomatoes, quartered
225g/8oz fresh or frozen peas
3 tbsp natural yogurt
225ml/8 fl oz vegetable stock or water
1 tsp garam masala
fresh coriander sprigs, to garnish
1. Heat the ghee in a large heavy-based frying pan. Add the onions and Panch Phoran and cook over a low heat, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes, or until the onions are golden.
2. Add the cauliflower, sweet potatoes and chillies and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes.
3. Stir in the ginger pureé, paprika, cumin, turmeric and chilli powder and cook, stirring constantly, for 3 minutes. Add the tomatoes and peas and stir in the yogurt and stock.
4. Season with salt to taste, cover and simmer for 20 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Sprinkle they g garam masala over the curry, transfer to a warmed serving dish and serve immediately, garnished with fresh coriander sprigs.
Meat Free Monday - Parmesan Cheese Risotto with Mushrooms
It’s melt-in-your-mouth risotto time - how could you resist such temptation on a Monday!? (from The Vegetarian Cookbook)
Parmesan Cheese Risotto with Mushrooms, serves 4
1 litre/1¾ pints of vegetable stock
2 tbsp olive oil or vegetable oil
225g/8oz risotto rice
2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 onion, chopped
2 celery sticks, chopped
1 red or green pepper, deseeded and chopped
225g/8oz mushrooms, thinly sliced
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano or 1 tsp dried oregano
55g/2oz sun-dried tomatoes in olive oil, drained and chopped (optional)
55g/2oz finely grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley, to garnish
1. Bring the stock to the boil in a saucepan, then reduce the heat and keep simmering gently over a low heat while you are cooking the risotto.
2. Heat the oil in a deep saucepan. Add the rice and cook over a low heat, stirring constantly, for 2-3 minutes, until the grains are thoroughly coated in oil and translucent.
3. Add the garlic, onion, celery and pepper and cook, stirring frequently, for 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes. Stir in the oregano.
4. Gradually add the hot stock, a ladleful at a time. Stir constantly and add more liquid as the rice absorbs each addition. Increase the heat to medium so that the liquid bubbles. Cook for 20 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed and the rice is creamy. Add the sun-dried tomatoes, if using, 5 minutes before the end of the cooking time and season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Remove the risotto from the heat and stir in half the cheese until it melts. Transfer the risotto to warmed plates. Top with the remaining cheese, garnish with the parsley and serve immediately.
Pancake Day is here!
It’s Pancake Day – otherwise known as Shrove Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, or indeed Sprengidagur if you’re from Iceland. Whichever name you’re more familiar with there is no escaping the fact that it is a food holiday! In the UK, it is all about pancakes, and unlike many of the food related holidays that we celebrate during the year, this day actually does have some religious meaning and tradition attached to it. Did you know that:
- Shrove Tuesday always falls 47 days before Easter Sunday and marks the beginning of Lent. In days gone by, Lent was a very strict period of fasting and abstinence of rich food and as ingredients such as eggs, fat and butter were not allowed to be eaten during this time, they were used in making pancakes on Shrove Tuesday, the last day of indulgence.
- the word ‘Shrove’ comes from the verb ‘to shrive’ which means ‘to confess’. The church bell, or ‘shriving bell’, would have been rung to mark the beginning of the holiday and to call people to church to confess their sins.
- an English pancake is made from batter, fried in a pan and is flat and thin, but rolled and usually eaten with sugar and lemon – although anything goes!
- the tradition of pancake racing heralds from 1445 when a woman making pancakes in Olney, England, heard the shriving bell and ran to church carrying her frying pan. Today, local housewives from Olney run a 375 metre course while holding a frying pan and must toss, or flip, the pancake three times during the race. The first woman to reach the church, to serve the pancake to the bell ringer and to be kissed by him is the winner.
- it used to be believed that the first three pancakes were sacred and that by sprinkling them with salt the evil spirits would be kept at bay.
- the world’s biggest pancake was cooked in Rochdale, England, in 1994, weighing in at 3 tonnes and measuring 15 metres in diameter!
And so here is the all important pancake recipe – how you indulge in the toppings is up to you. We’d love to know what you choose!
Pancakes (from ‘Great British Cooking’)
100g/3½ oz plain flour
pinch of salt
1 egg, beaten
300ml/½ pint milk
10 tsp butter (for sweet pancakes) or oil (for savoury ones)
caster (superfine) sugar
warmed honey or jam
1. Place the flour and salt in a mixing bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the egg and half the milk. Using a whisk, beat the egg and milk together and gradually incorporate the flour. Continue beating until the mixture is smooth and there are no lumps. Gradually beat in the remaining milk. Pour the batter mixture into a jug and set aside for 30 minutes.
2. Heat an 18-cm/7-inch frying pan over a medium heat and add 1 teaspoon of the butter or oil, depending on what you are going to eat with the pancakes.
3. Pour in enough batter to just cover the base and swirl the batter around the frying pan while tilting it so that you have a thin even layer. Cook for about 30 seconds and then lift up the edge of the pancake and see if it is brown. Loosen the pancake around the edges and flip it over with a spatula or palette knife. Alternatively, have a go at tossing the pancakes by flipping the pan quickly with a deft flick of the wrist and catching it carefully.
4. Cook on the other side until golden brown and then turn out onto a warm plate, cover with foil and keep warm while you cook all the pancakes in the remaining butter or oil. Layer them with baking paper so you can separate them at the end.
5. Serve them with lemon and sugar, warmed honey or jam, or a filling of your choice.
Meat Free Monday - Blue Cheese & Walnut Tartlets
Together with a side salad, these little wonders are perfect hot or cold - irresistible!
Blue Cheese & Walnut Tartlets, makes 12. Recipe from Parragon’s ‘Irish Pub Cooking’.
210g/7½ oz plain flour, plus extra for dusting
pinch of celery salt
115g/4 oz cold butter, cut into pieces, plus extra for greasing
35g/¼ oz walnut halves, finely chopped
2 tbsp butter
2 celery stalks, trimmed and finely chopped
1 small leek, trimmed and finely chopped
225ml/8fl oz double cream, plus 2 tbsp extra
200g/7 oz blue cheese
3 egg yolks
salt and pepper
1. Lightly grease a 12 hole muffin tray. Sift the flour and celery salt into a food processor, add the butter and process until the mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Transfer the mixture to a bowl and add the walnuts and a little cold water, just enough to bring the dough together.
2. Turn out onto a floured counter and cut the dough in half. Roll out the first piece and cut out six 9cm/3½ in circles. Take each circle and roll out to 12cm/4½ in in diameter and fit into the muffin holes, pressing to fill the holes. Do the same with the remaining dough. Put a piece of parchment paper in each hole, fill with dried beans and let chill in the refrigerator for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F.
3. Remove the muffin pan from the refrigerator and bake the tartlets blind in the preheated oven for 10 minutes, then carefully remove the paper and the beans.
4. Melt the butter in a frying pan, add the celery and the leek and cook for 15 minutes, until soft. Add the 2 tablespoons of cream and crumble in the blue cheese. Mix well and season to taste with salt and pepper. Bring the remaining cream to a simmer in a separate pan, then pour onto the egg yolks, stirring all the time. Mix in the blue cheese mixture and spoon into the pastry shells. Bake for 10 minutes, then turn the pan around in the oven and bake for an additional 5 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 5 minutes before serving.