23.03

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A  T A S T E   O F   S U M M E R . . .

There’s nothing like the taste of summer vegetables. Crisp tomatoes, sweet carrots, bright herbs, crunchy lettuces and cucumber, and soft velvety aubergines- I look forward to them all year round.

Over the past year or so I’ve made it my personal challenge to eat within the seasons to the best of my ability. That’s meant no strawberries in October, no courgettes in December, and no tomatoes in February. And at times I’ve found it really, really hard! It’s given me a real appreciation of how lucky we are to have such a wide variety of fruits and vegetables flown in from around the world, and also how much more delicious food is when eaten during the season in which it grows best within our own fair country.

And so with seasonal eating in mind, when Le Creuset, that most beloved classic kitchenware brand, dropped me a line to see if I’d like to create a summer-inspired recipe as part of their Nature’s Kitchen campaign, I jumped at the opportunity!

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Due to be released in-store and online later in March, Le Creuset have recently launched a collection called ‘Nature’s Kitchen’, inspired by all that nature offers us be it from land or sea. Alongside some of Le Creuset’s iconic Cast Iron cookware and Stoneware in four new spring and summer-inspired colours, the collection also includes 3-ply Stainless Steel and Toughened Non-Stick products that are the perfect tools for getting the best from fresh, seasonal ingredients.

Le Creuset sent across their completely beautiful Toughened Non-Stick Ribbed Rectangular Grill for me to create the dish with, and it’s fast become the most used piece of kitchen equipment I never knew I needed. Griddled veg? Perfect! Toasted sandwiches? Done in an instant! And I bet it’d be perfect for cooking fish or meat on too, if that’s your jam!

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As you know though, for me, veggies are king, queen, and everything in between. As a keen veg grower entering year two of my ‘grow your own’ endeavours, there’s nothing I’m looking forward to more right now than eating from the garden for the first time in 2018. Our living room window ledges are currently heaving under the strain of dozens of seed trays, with broad beans, leeks, chillis, cabbage, and broccoli seedlings, all waiting to the weather to turn warm enough so they can migrate outside. The first pickings of the year will make me a very happy lady indeed!

But until then, it was to the supermarkets I went in search of ingredients for this summer-inspired recipe…

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And the centrepiece of this dish are the aubergines, griddled to perfection on the Toughened Non-Stick Ribbed Rectangular Grill.

Doused in olive oil and salt and then set on the sizzlingly hot bars of the pan, the aubergines are turned occasionally until their flesh turns meltingly soft, and then drizzled with some maple syrup or honey or agave. The sweetness sets off their salty, slightly bitter flavour so well, and makes them a dream to eat.

Combined with some thyme-roasted carrots, miso and smoked paprika-dressed chickpeas, soft grains, and a handful of parsley and mint, it’s the perfect summer lunch bowl.

Now, all we need is for winter to wave its final farewell so we can get cooking…

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Ingredients:
1 large aubergine
Drizzle of maple syrup/honey
1/2tsp dried thyme
3 large carrots
2 cans best quality chickpeas
1tbsp miso paste
1tsp smoked paprika
Juice half a lemon
1 cup quinoa
Salt + extra virgin olive oil
Fresh parsley

 

Method:

- Slice the carrots into lengths, toss in olive oil, fresh thyme and a pinch of salt, and then place into an oven preheated to 200 degrees celsius for 40 minutes or until cooked through.

- In a large frying pan, heat a tablespoon of olive oil and then add the drained chickpeas. Stir in the miso paste, smoked paprika, and lemon juice, and then stir to allow the miso to melt and coat the chickpeas. Fill one of the chickpea cans with water, pour into the pan, turn the heat up high and allow the mixture to bubble for a minute or two until a rich, amber sauce has formed. Turn off the heat, put on a lid, and set aside.

- Slice the aubergine from top to bottom in 1cm slices, brush generously with olive oil and a pinch of salt. Heat the Toughened Non-Stick Ribbed Rectangular Grill over a medium heat, and then lay the aubergine slices onto the bars. When the aubergines have taken on colour and have beautiful dark golden char marks on them, lower the heat under the grill pan and allow the aubergines to cook through.

- Cook the quinoa according to packet instructions, and dress with a squeeze of lemon juice.

- To serve, fluff the grains through with a fork and then tip out onto a large serving plate. Top with the warm chickpeas, roasted carrots, and grilled aubergine. Drizzle the grilled aubergine with the maple syrup/honey, top the whole dish with a handful of chopped parsley, and serve with a side bread to soak up the delicious sauce.

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 This recipe was created for Le Creuset. The wonderful Nature’s Kitchen collection is now in-store and online, celebrating cooking with beautiful, fresh ingredients this coming season.

Thank you for supporting the sponsored content that makes Cider with Rosie possible!

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01.06

Cider-with-Rosie-meal-plan

A few years back in the history of this blog, I used to do a little regular-ish series sharing my weekly meal plans. I always enjoyed putting together those posts (even if I do cringe looking back at them now, seeing how beige our diet used to be and how appalling my photos were!) and thought it might be fun to revisit the idea! So, below is a round up of the meals we’ll be eating over the course of the next week. I’ve linked to recipes, where I’ll be using them, and do let me know if you fancy seeing a recipe for the lentil chilli!

- Jamie Oliver’s creamy mushroom soup

- Spinach + mushroom pasta bake (Made using the leftover soup from previous dinner as a sauce for the pasta!)

- Baked potatoes with lentil chilli

- Smoky black bean beet burgers (regular beef for Jason!), with paprika potato wedges + salad

- Teriyaki chicken (tofu, for me!) with rice noodles and bok choi

- Burrito bowls (leftover lentil chilli, lemon + cumin brown rice, lettuce, grated cheddar, + salsa)

- Roasted chicken (/black bean beet burger for me) with a roasted new potato, carrot, rosemary, and olive traybake

 Tell me, what’s on your meal plan for this week?

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15.03

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L E T ‘ S   U P   T H E   C H E E S E   L E V E L S

There’s something about going tomato-free that takes the whole pizza experience up a notch, if you ask me.

Don’t get me wrong, I love a regular, tomato-sauce covered pizza any day of the week, but once in a while the indulgence of an extra-cheesy, dairy-laden ‘white pizza’ (in Italian, ‘pizza bianca’) is a treat that can’t be beaten.

I’d not tried one until a couple of years or so ago, and it was a total revelation. Creamy and rich, and comforting in all the ways a traditional spaghetti carbonara is but with the added bonus of a light, fluffy bread base. What could be better?

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This recipe is a riff on the pizza recipe I named, maybe in a fit of arrogance (that I still totally stand by…), ‘the very best homemade pizza!’

The dough gets a long prove and is stretched out into rounds by hand, before being part cooked in a searing hot frying pan to create lightness before being finished off in the oven.

The beauty of the recipe also means that you can pre-prepare the pizzas- cooking the bases in a pan and topping them once cooled will let you put together a whole stack of pizzas that can then be stored in the fridge, and cooked whenever you fancy!

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Enough about bases, let’s talk a little about toppings before we move on to the recipe itself.

We’re topping the pizza with a mixture of grated parmesan and creme fraiche, and a handful of sweet courgettes and buttery mushrooms. Shredded buffalo mozzarella ups the cheese stakes, and a few spoonfuls of tangy onion chutney finishes the job.

I made this particular batch of pizzas the Friday before last, and left one prepared for Jason to cook for his dinner that evening, since I was heading out to London for the night.

He told me later it’s the best pizza I’ve ever made him. And that, ladies and gents, is saying something.

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The dough recipe linked below makes enough for 4 pizzas, whilst the toppings are enough for 2. You can either double the topping quantities, or pop different toppings on the other two pizzas, or I often like to make a little bread loaf with the leftover dough. The possibilities are endless!

Ingredients ::
1 batch basic bread dough (recipe and method outlined here!)
1 courgette
4/5 large chestnut mushrooms
1 garlic clove
Pinch dried thyme
1 ball buffalo mozzarella
100g creme fraiche
30g parmesan
Pinch salt
2/3tsp sweet onion chutney per pizza

- Prepare the bread dough according to instructions listed in my recipe for ‘the best homemade pizza‘, stopping once the bases have been cooked off in a frying pan and transferred to baking trays.  Whilst the bases are still hot, rub each one over with the cut side of a clove of garlic.

- Finely slice the courgettes and mushrooms, and cook until soft in a little butter and garlic oil, along with a pinch each of dried thyme and sea salt.Transfer to a sieve once cooked through, and when the vegetables are cool enough to handle, carefully squeeze as much of the excess liquid out as possible, to prevent the pizzas getting watery whilst cooking.

- Top each cooked base with a couple of spoonfuls of the creme fraiche and parmesan mixture, and spread to a thin layer. Layer on a few rounds of courgette and slices of mushrooms, then half a ball of shredded mozzarella to each pizza.

- Finally, dot on some tiny spoonfuls of caremelised onion chutney, before transferring the pizzas to an oven preheated to 220 degrees celsius to cook for around 7 minutes, or until the mozzarella has melted.

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Don’t be put off by the idea of making the bases- it really is so simple, and *so* incredibly satifisying! I hope you love the recipe as much as we do…

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24.02

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F L O U R ,   M I L K ,   B U T T E R ,  C H E E S E .

There are a few dishes that, whilst cooking, bring me right back to my childhood.

Cooking apples simmering in a pan with sugar and butter. A thick slab of gammon boiling away in a stock pot with vegetables and barley. Fragrant ginger biscuits, trays of fruity and gently spiced bread pudding, rock cakes in paper cases with their currants and sultanas always catching ever so slightly in the heat.

And, of course, the comforting, homely smell of cheese scones rising tall in a hot oven.

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There’s a real knack to scone making, if you ask me.

I’ll never make them as well as my Grandma used to, but every time I try, I learn a little something.

To handle the dough softly, not to press it hard or roll it too thin whilst shaping and rolling, and that the craggier it is at that stage, the lighter and more aerated they’ll be when finished with their baking.

I find they’re more challenging to make than simple bread or biscuits or cakes- the dough seems to ask for almost the same lightness of touch as pastry, though not quite to the same extent, I’m glad to say.

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But whilst I can’t quite say I’ve got the technique 100% perfect yet, the taste is most definitely there and is as nostalgic as ever.

If you’ve never split in half a scone (cheese, or otherwise) that’s fresh from the oven, and whilst the steam spirals from its centre, spread each half with a little butter before eating it right away, then you’ve been missing out.

This particular batch disappeared in a flash, eaten as ‘I’m hungry but not too hungry’ snacks, in the evening when ‘dinner wasn’t quite as filling as I thought it might be’, and all the times in between, because who ever needs a reason to eat a scone?

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The recipe is from my Grandma’s decades old Delia Smith cookbook and I’ve done very little with it other than tinker slightly with the cheese quantity, so the credit must go to Delia, really. Makes 8.

Ingredients ::
225g self raising flour
40g butter, at room temperature
150ml milk
85g mature cheddar
1/2tsp mustard powder
Pinch salt

- Preheat the oven to 220 degrees celsius, and grease a baking tray.

- Sift the flour into a large bowl, and then lightly and quickly rub in the butter until the mixture has no large lumps, and has the clumpy texture of wet sand.

- Add in the grated cheese, salt and mustard powder, and stir together with the butter and flour mixture.

- Slowly pour in the milk a little at a time, stirring with a knife as you go. Bring the dough together with your hands, kneading it lightly until it forms a rough ball.

- Roll the dough out until it’s 1 inch thick, and then use a 2inch fluted cutter to cut out the scones. Place them on the greased baking tray, and bake for 12-14 minutes (mine were perfect after 12, 13 was a shade too long) until the tops are lightly golden and the bases sound hollow when tapped.

- Best served warm, with lashings of butter. Delicious.

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p.s. The butter knife, rolling pin, and milk jug all are hand-me-downs from my own beautiful Grandma, and the red gingham napkins are part of a set Jason’s Grandmother made us as a wedding gift. Family really is the very best, isn’t it?

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Posted in BAKING, FROM MY HOME TO YOURS, RECIPE, SAVOURY

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