I've been cooking on my tiny little barbecue in my tiny little back yard while I wait to move house. All my belongings are in storage. I have one frying pan, a handful of cooking tools and the smallest fridge you have ever seen, with a bloody stupid shelf at the bottom, where all the salad stuff has to be stored underneath meaning I have to move everything, everyday to get at a friggin' leaf of lettuce. I realise how spoilt I've been in the past in my beautiful kitchen BUT it hasn't stopped me! My local farm shop butchery has been providing me with the best ever flank steak and at about £7 a slab it's an economical steak meal for the three of us here in lockdown. So I've been making fajita's because my friend Nic Miller (follow her on Twitter @nicmillerstale or Insta @millerstale) shared her recipe for wheat tortillas and I wanted to make them. Mine came out square, I'm blaming the lack of a rolling pin. You'll find the recipe and instruction for my fajita seasoned flank steak here. Flank steak is often seen on a menu described as a bavette steak. This is not the cut to use if you don't 'do' rare. The flank has long muscle fibres and can be tough if overcooked, it's also very lean and best sliced thinly across the grain for optimum tenderness. Cook it on a very high heat for 2 or 3 minutes a side and then cover with foil and rest for 10 mins. I generally put mine in the oven after it has been turned off, so no heat, just warm surroundings. Slice and serve rolled in the tortilla with fried onions, peppers, tomato salsa, guacomole, grated cheese, sour cream and slobber your way through.
- Two lovely pieces of flank
- Seasoned and herbed up
- Freeze in bags for later
- Cook over a very high heat and only for a couple of minutes a side
- Slice across the grain once it has rested
- Add your own salsa, avocado and cheese
- they call me square
It's going to be hot this weekend so prepare for some al fresco fire cooking. Make yourselves a jar of dry rub ready for your beef. Spice blends, or dry rubs are rubbed into meat before cooking. Some say that salt should not be included in a rub as meat should be dry brined by rubbing in salt a day in advance, in order for the salt to penetrate the meat. The spices in a rub do not tend to penetrate the meat but will help form the delicious spicy crust (or bark). However as we are all so short of time in our busy lives, I make an all in one rub, mixing the salt into the rub and leaving it on the meat overnight in the fridge. Sugar is a matter of taste and needed to help caramelise the crust. I use just a little on beef. Experiment with your own spice blends and store in an airtight jar. Use on a whole joint of rib eye or sirloin for a real treat.
- Cooked on a high heat over the fire creates a good bark but still pink in the middle
- I had a joint of very lean sirloin which I rubbed and left for 24hrs
- Making the rub in a mini blender is easy
There's a baking frenzy at the moment and many people are making their own sourdough bread. I'm a fan of traditional yeasted breads and always use fresh yeast for my bread. I generally pick some up from the bakery department at the supermarket (just ask, they'll always give you a piece.) Lot's of people have been asking me about the different types of yeast available; how to know what and how much to use in recipes. There are three main types but you bet your life that you will have a different type than specified in the recipe
Fresh yeast which must be kept chilled, will store for a couple of weeks in the fridge and also freezes nicely. Fresh yeast needs to be activated in liquid with a little sugar in order to start the fermentation. If a recipe asks for active dried yeast and you only have fresh yeast then you must double the quantity. See below.
Active dried yeast is a dried form of fresh yeast and will also need activating in the same way as fresh yeast. Active dried yeast does not need to be refrigerated.
Instant or Quick dried yeast can be added directly to the dry ingredients in a recipe and does not need activating. It is best to check the manufacturers instructions if using this.
Amount to use - 20g of fresh yeast = 10g of active dried = 5g of instant dried.
1 tsp of Active dried yeast is 3.5g.
I'm pretending to be packing as I'm moving house, but lost interest after box number 8 of tat that I've hauled from charity shops and I'm now returning. So instead I'm telling you about Suffolk's latest cookery school, Mrs Portly's Kitchen. Mrs Portly is the alter ego of food writer and recipe developer Linda Duffin. Linda is an expert cook and has teamed up with some of Suffolk's finest producers who will be joining Linda in teaching the cookery classes. A fabulous Tudor house setting awaits you and the chance to explore the kitchen gardens and orchard to glean produce for the classes. If it's too far to travel in one day then you can stay the night! Be quick and sign up for the next class on January 17th - Game, where Linda is joined by field to fork expert Steve Tricker from Truly Traceable. Learn about game prep and butchery, cook dishes to take home and ... drum roll ... there's the legendary Truly Traceable game pies for lunch.
I made this for supper last night with a bag of swiss chard grown by my cousin Jo. Posting the pics on Instagram has obviously whetted a few appetites so here's the recipe. A savoury souffle is not as hard as it looks and can turn very economical ingredients into a luxurious dish. For a perfectly fluffy and towering souffle, remember no peeking while it's cooking. Put it in the oven (don't slam the door or you'll knock the air out) and patiently wait for the cooking time to elapse. Experiment by using different cheeses and swap spinach for mushrooms, cooked leeks, roasted peppers or anything else you fancy.
I just made this delicious squidgy lemon and lime curd shortbread. It's for pudding tonight but Scarlett and I can't stop ourselves, so maybe there'll be none left by then.
One of my go to recipes when I fancy a meat free meal which is wholesome and healthy. From my Second Chalice Recipe Book and copied into my online Recipe Book now.
Fried aubergine ready for a Caponata salad as Lidl had aubergines for 49p each. Caponata originates from Sicily. Sicilians all have their own version of this slightly salt, piquant aubergine dish, with many variations depending on what vegetables are available. Fennel is very good in place of the celery. Serve hot or cold, but never straight from the fridge.
It's the perfect time of year to crystallise spring flowers. I love making these beautiful and natural decorations to add a splash of colour to a special Mother's Day cake. Primroses, wood violets and viola's are at their best right now but apple blossom, borage flowers, rose petals and nasturtiums all work well too. You'll see I've also crystallised a few sprigs of mint. Make sure the flowers haven't been sprayed with chemicals and pick leaving a long stem to hold on to. Don't wash them, they must be bone dry.
You will need. One egg white thinned and lightly fork whisked with a teaspoon of vodka. Caster sugar. A small paint brush.
- Take a clean, dry flower. Hold it by the stalk (use tweezers if there is no stalk) then carefully paint all surfaces of the petals with egg white.
- Now gently sprinkle the flower with caster sugar ensuring top and bottom surfaces of the petals all catch some sugar.
- Place on baking parchment and leave to air dry for 24/36hrs. Remove stalks once the flowers have dried.
- The flowers will dry in the shape and position that you place them on the baking parchment so consider this when you set them aside to dry.
View the embedded image gallery online at:
- whisk egg white with a teaspoon of vodka
- paint petals carefully with the egg white, not too much!
- and decorate ...
- sprinkle with sugar making sure all areas are covered
- lay on baking parchment to dry
Equipped with my collection of retro royal china it was the prefect chance to pop up for an afternoon tea party to celebrate Harry and Meghan's wedding. We catered for 25 people in the grounds of a beautiful garden in Suffolk. Why not book an afternoon tea?
It's got a little colder and we are into December so it's time to roll out the mulled wine, and of course a cheeky cherry brandy. Why not?
October 25th and we are all set up and ready to go. The Little House of Cooking Cafe will be open every day at Blackthorpe Barn until December 22nd.
I love my motor racing weekends making tea for the HRDC drivers and crew. I have never seen so many cakes consumed in a day, but it doesn't seem to slow the drivers down!