Tartiflette is a traditional French dish with potatoes, cheese and bacon. Perfect for lunch, supper, mid week dinner, when you need a comforting dish, this will foot the bill.
The recipe usually uses slices of potatoes, however I didn’t have any potatoes, but did have some gnocchi in the fridge, so I thought, ok, a great substitute.
I gathered together the ingredients, gnocchi, lardons (bacon bits), cheese, onions. I was looking forward to the results.
I started by frying off the lardons/bacon, transferred them to 2 individual dishes, then added the gnocchi to the frying pan and cooked them through getting some colour on each of the little balls of fluffy potato, then I split them between the dishes and then cooked the mushrooms and onion, again just cooking them through, as once the dish was put together, I would be placing them in the oven to melt the cheese, I mean can you taste it already, melted cheese, oh yes.
I mixed the ingredients together and then tossed the Reblochon cheese through the mixture, tucking some little bits down in between the gnocchi and mushrooms. The final flourish was a covering of grated cheddar, perfect.
I placed the dishes onto a baking tray and it was into a hot oven, to warm up the gnocchi, lardons, mushrooms and onions and best of all to melt the cheese :-).
Then it was the waiting, that was the killer, but not too bad, 15 minutes and it was hot and bubbling and ready to eat, delicious.
I promise you will love it, I know I did, and by the way so did my hubby.
Delicious fluffy gnocchi with mushrooms, onions and melted cheese
Heat the oven conventional 220 c/fan 200/gas 7,
Place 2 dishes on a baking tray.
Fry the lardons in a frying pan until cooked through and a little crispy.
Transfer the cooked lardons into the dishes. Leaving as much of the fat in the frying pan.
Toss the gnocchi into the frying pan and cook until they are warmed through and have a little colour on all sides. (5 minutes).
Remove the gnocchi and split between the 2 dishes.
Cook the onions and mushrooms in the frying pan, add a little vegetable oil if required.
Transfer to the dishes.
Using a spoon, mix the contents of the dishes and arrange so all the ingredients and mixed together.
Cut the reblochon cheese into small slices and toss through the contents of the dishes, tucking the cheese in between the gnocchi so it will melt through.
Then top with the grated cheddar cheese and place the baking tray in the oven.
When the cheese is bubbling and melted about 15 minutes. Remove the baking tray from the oven.
Transfer the dishes to heat proof plates before serving.
If you can not find reblochon cheese you can use any soft cheese like brie and camembert. Just experiment, there is lots to love with melted cheese.
I am always looking for recipes, something needs to catch my eye!
I can’t tell you what ‘that’ something is, but I know it when I see it
So a few weeks ago, I was searching for something to tickle my taste-buds, I wanted to raid the pantry and use up some of the things that were there, clear out the pantry and the freezer if possible.
I found this fantastic recipe from Rachel Allen Potato & Rosemary Foccacia, it ticked a lot of boxes, but I also had some mushrooms that I wanted to use and we love onions, so this was a great start.
I took the recipe as above and just added the other ingredients.
I thinly sliced the onions left them on the side then I sliced the mushrooms and decided to fry them off first, as too often when you put mushrooms in the oven they stay wet and seem to just shrivel up rather than ‘cook’, I fried off the mushrooms until browned and turned off the heat until I needed them.
I washed the potatoes, left the skins on for more flavour and then thinly sliced them and added them to a large bowl with the olive oil salt and chopped fresh rosemary, gave them a good mix then added the pepper and left them in the bowl to infuse until I was ready with the bread base.
I make soda bread on a very regular basis, for this recipe followed Rachel Allen’s recipe as I was testing it and my recipe has fruit and wheaten flour in it to, but to be honest if you wanted to mix the flours it would work well too.
So I mixed the flour, bicarbonate of soda with the milk, I keep sour milk in the fridge all the time, I just top up the bottle from any left over milk or old milk that I have lying around. Otherwise I measure milk into a jug and then add a little lemon juice or vinegar to sour the milk, this is what you need to react with the bicarbonate of soda and give the lift for the bread.
Add the milk to the flour mixture in the bowl and bring it together, don’t over mix it or it will go tough, just enough so all the ingredients are combined together.
Once I had a dough ball, I oiled a baking tray (swiss roll tin) and tipped the dough out onto the tray, and then I pushed it out to the edges and tried to get an even layer. (Not too thin as the base will not rise too much).
Give the potatoes a final mix though and layer them onto the dough, overlapping as you go.
Add a layer of onions and then top with the cheese, I like a nice strong cheddar cheese as you don’t need so much and it adds to the flavour.
Then it was straight into the oven, no waiting for the bread base to rise as this would be done in the oven.
Bake for 20 minutes until the cheese is nice and bubbly and the base was just about cooked, I then removed it and added the layer of mushrooms and popped it back into the oven for the final 5-10 minutes, just until the mushrooms were warmed through again.
The results were great, we were very pleased with it. Quick and easy and satisfying, ideal for a snack or a quick mid week meal.
We tucked in with a nice green salad and some mayonnaise … yummy.
Potato, Mushroom & Rosemary Focaccia
Quick focaccia bread with potatoes, onions and mushrooms. Delicious mid-week meal or lunch. A great base for your favourite flavours.
Pre-heat the oven to 230c conventional/210c fan/Gas 8.
Oil a swiss roll baking tin.
Wash and thinly slide the potatoes. Place in a large mixing bowl, add the olive oil and chopped rosemary leaves.
(Substitute 1 tsp of dried herbs if fresh is not available)
Add salt and mix to ensure all the potato slices are covered in the oil and herb mixture.
Add a good pinch of fresh cracked black pepper and mix again.
Leave to one side for the flavours to infuse.
Add the flour and bicarbonate of soda to another mixing bowl.
Mix well to distribute the bicarbonate of soda through the flour.
Gradually add the sour milk to the flour mixture, and mix to combine fully, you need a dough but not sticky.
Do not over-mix as the dough will be tough.
(You may not need all of the sour milk)
Tip the dough out onto the oiled baking tray.
Push the dough out to the corners and sides, if you have any thin spots, push the dough together. The dough will not rise too much, so need to get an even layer.
Top the dough with a layer of potatoes, overlapping as you go.
Top the potato layer with the thinly sliced onions.
Then top with the grated cheese.
Place in the oven and cook for 20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and top with the cooked mushrooms.
Return to the oven for a further 5-10 minutes to warm through the mushrooms.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 5 minutes before placing on a cutting board and slicing.
Serve with a green salad and mayonnaise.
If you do not have sour milk, then measure out the milk into a jug and add 1 tsp or fresh lemon juice or white vinegar and leave for 5 minutes for the milk to 'sour'.
Do-not over mix the dough, mix until the dough has just come together, there is NO yeast in this dough so you DO NOT need to kneed the bread.
If you do not have fresh rosemary add 1 tsp of dried herbs as a substitute.
Pancakes, there are so many different variations of pancakes, most counties have their own version and of course being Scottish I have grown up with Scotch Pancakes, delicious fluffy pancakes, ideal as a treat but they were also served up as part of our Sunday breakfast, along with sausages, bacon, eggs etc., like this they soak up some of the delicious pan juices and oh my, my mouth is watering at the moment.
Although these days I usually enjoy them with some softened butter and a spoonful of golden syrup, that helps my sweet tooth.
So Scotch pancakes, it is your basic store cupboard ingredients, flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, sugar, eggs, milk and butter.
I use plain flour, but it is possible to use self-raising flour instead of the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. This keeps it simple.
Also, if you find it difficult to get buttermilk, then use normal milk and add a little white vinegar or lemon juice, this will ‘sour’ the milk and give you the acid that is needed to activate the bicarbonate of soda.
This is why you get a nice fluffy pancake, the rise.
I know there is a few different views regarding sifting flour or not, for me it depends on the humidity in the air, flour is affected by humidity and it can get a bit lumpy, so I sometimes sift the flour, other times not, use your own judgement.
The easy quick way measure and sift your flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda together, is, put your sieve over your bowl, place them both on to your scales and then zero your scales, weigh the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into the sieve and then sieve the dry mixture into your bowl, and voila there you have it, everything sieved together.
Then add the caster sugar and mix together so it is well combined.
In a jug measure the milk/buttermilk and then add the eggs and melted butter and mix together with a fork to make sure it is all combined.
Then with a hand whisk, add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients, you may not need all of the wet mixture, so add gradually until you have a good thick batter. You need the mixture to stay put when you add it to the frying pan, remember this is not a thin crepe like batter, it needs to puff up so you have lovely fluffy pancakes.
Melt a small amount of butter in a pan and add a good spoonful of batter, to the frying pan, I can usually get 4 or 5 cooked at the same time, just depends on the size I want to make, its entirely up to you.
Let your pancakes cook until you see bubbles forming on the top and then flip over, and cook for another couple of minutes until golden brown on the second side and then transfer to a plate.
Now it is time to enjoy, depending on how many I am making and for how many people, I find I am usually eating some and continuing to cook the next round.
Another one of those treats that there is usually not enough.
I love to top my pancakes with some softened butter, and then top with a good spoonful of golden syrup, I do use salted butter, so I enjoy the salty butter and the sweet of the syrup…… Delicious.
I have decided what I am having for lunch and the pictures here prove that I did.
I do hope you enjoy them too, they were a family favourite when I was growing up at home, there was many a night that we would be sitting watching tv and my Dad would disappear off into the kitchen and come out with a feast, and the best wast pancakes.
It possible to add dried fruit or chocolate chips to the mixture before cooking, for me I just go with plain pancakes so I can enjoy the sweet topping.
Delicious fluffy scotch pancakes, perfect at any time of the day.
Sift the plain flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl.
Measure the milk into a jug and add the eggs and melted butter and using a fork, whisk together to combine.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix together with a hand whisk until it is all combined and a thick batter.
You many not need all of the wet ingredients or you may need a little more, it will depend on the size of your eggs as they can vary considerably.
Add a little butter to a frying pan and then spoon some of the batter into the pan, I can usually get 4 or 5 pancakes in each batch and of course it depends on the size of the pancakes.
I like my pancakes to be about 10 cm across.
Cook the pancakes on the first side, until you see bubble appearing on the top and then flip them over and cook the second side until golden brown, probably about 2 minutes on each side.
Remove the cooked pancakes to a plate and continue until all the batter is finished.
If you cant get butter milk, pour the required amount into a jug and add 1 tsp of lemon juice to the milk and leave for a couple of minutes before using as this will create the same results as butter milk.
You can use self-raising flour in place of the plain flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
Today is another feast day in France…. ‘La Chandeleur’
It signifies the end of the Christmas period and is celebrated with ‘La fete de crepes’
In years gone by there were lots of superstitions regarding the day, which of course there are so many that they contradict each other, if its sunny then winter will continue for the next 40 days and of course others highlighting the end of winter and therefore a wonderful 40 days ahead….. if there is snow on the ground, then there is trouble, if it is raining then it will rain for 40 days……. thank goodness for superstitions. So today is damp, not raining, not snowing, no sunshine, hopefully we won’t have another 40 days of this…. Can not be doing with another 40 days of mud……
Lets have some sunshine…….Crepes galore.
These wonderful light pancakes can be adorned with so many different flavours and treats.
They can be served for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert.
They deserve to be enjoyed in every household with your favourite flavours added.
There are so many crepe shops and stalls in France, in all the large towns and cities you will find a crepe shop making the little beauties fresh to order, topping with sugar, lemon, chocolate sauce, jams, nuts etc.
I have a few favourite ways to serve crepes, especially with warm apricots in caramel sauce and honeycomb ice cream. It is simple but so delicious.
The key to good crepes is the pan, you need a frying pan that will allow you to swirl the crepe mixture around and also the obligatory ‘flipping’ (ha ha).
This is an easy recipe of the crêpes, place the flour, sugar, salt, eggs and a third of the milk in a bowl and whisk to a smooth batter.
Gradually stir in the rest of the the milk and all of the cream. Leave the batter to rest in a warm place for about an hour. This is crucial as it allows the batter to rest relaxing the gluten.
Brush a small 18cm-20cm/7in-8in frying pan with a little of the clarified butter and place over a medium heat.
Add a ladle of the batter into the frying pan and tilt the pan to cover the base thinly; cook the crêpe for a minute each side.
When the crepe is lightly coloured on both sides, transfer to a plate and repeat, stacking the crêpes between sheets of greaseproof paper, until all of the batter has been used up.
For the caramel sauce, melt the butter, sugars and syrup and butter in a small heavy based pot and let simmer for 3 minutes, swirling every now and again. Slowly add the cream and take care as it may spit at this time, swirl again, give a stir with a wooden spoon to ensure all the ingredients are combined.
Remove the caramel sauce from the heat and open the tin of apricots and drain well, tip the apricots in to the pot with the caramel sauce and ensure they are all coated with the sauce.
When ready to serve, take 2 crepes and fold them into quarters, (half then half again), gently take some apricots and place on top of the crepes then drizzle over some extra sauce.
Then add a scoop of Honeycomb ice cream on the side of the plate.
MMMM, the warm crepes, apricots and caramel sauce, work so well with the cold honeycomb ice cream…..
It really is worth a try.
Crepes with warm apricots and caramel sauce
This is a fantastic dessert, ideal for sunday lunch or an elegant dinner party, crepes with warm apricots and caramel sauce.
For the crêpes, whisk the flour, sugar, salt, eggs and a third of the milk in a bowl to a smooth batter.
Gradually stir in the rest of the the milk and all of the cream.
Leave the batter to rest in a warm place for about an hour.
Brush a small 18cm-20cm/7in-8in frying pan with a little of the clarified butter and place over a medium heat.
Using a small ladle, pour a ladle of the batter and tilt the pan to cover the base thinly; cook the crêpe for a minute each side.
Transfer the crêpe to a plate and repeat, stacking the crêpes between sheets of greaseproof paper, until all of the batter has been used up.
For the caramel sauce, melt butter, sugars and syrup and butter in a small heavy based pan and let simmer for 3 minutes, swirling every now and again. Add cream and swirl again, give a stir with a wooden spoon to ensure all the ingredients are combined.
Open a tin of apricots and drain well, tip the apricots in to the pot with the caramel sauce and ensure they are all coated with the sauce.
Serve 2 crepes per person, take a crepe and half then half again, gently take some apricots and place on top of the crepes then drizzle over some extra sauce.
Then take the Honeycomb ice cream out of the freezer and add a scoop of ice cream to the side of the plate, you will not regret it.
To clarify the butter
Place 30 grams of butter into a small pot and gently melt the butter, allow it to completely melt and then pour the liquid into a ramekin or small bowl leaving the white/milk solids behind.
There is always a right time for ice cream…. don’t you agree.
I do love good ice cream and this recipe is a great one to have up your sleeve, ok I do have an ice cream machine, and it makes it nice and simple, but if you don’t have a machine, it is possible to make ice cream without one. (See Recipe Notes below).
If you don’t want the bother of making your own ice cream, then go and buy a good vanilla ice cream and then just mix in the honeycomb, you will be glad you did.
This delicious ice cream is only added to by the wonderful honeycomb, which is in its self not difficult to make, but you do need to take extreme care, and please it is not one for the children to make, except with an adult there, as the hot bubbling sugar for the honeycomb is extremely dangerous …….
The recipe for the Honeycomb is here , once you have mastered it you will be very pleased that you have…. Any left over honeycomb should be stored in a plastic bag in the freezer as it will melt otherwise.
The base of your ice cream is a nice vanilla custard, that is then poured into the ice cream machine and it then does the hard work.
Make the ice cream first as there will be plenty of time to make the honeycomb while the custard is cooling and in the ice cream machine.
Start by pouring the milk and cream in a pot and heat until just below boiling point, you will see small bubbles coming around the edge of the mixture in the pot.
In a medium bowl, whisk the sugar, yolks and vanilla, you can use a hand whisk for this, as it will create less bubbles, but make sure the sugar and egg mixture is well combined and getting thick.
When the milk and cream mixture is ready, continue whisking and slowly pour in the hot milk mixture into the egg/sugar mixture, it helps if you can pour it down the side of the bowl, this makes sure you don’t have vanilla scrambled eggs.
Pour the mixture back in to the pot and continue to cook over a low heat, (DO NOT ALLOW THE MIXTURE TO BOIL), stirring all the time until the custard has thickened to just coat the back of your wooden spoon.
Remove the pot from the heat and allow the custard to cool, you need the mixture to be cold before adding to the ice cream machine.
Pour the cold custard in an ice cream machine and churn the mixture according to the instructions.
When the ice cream is made, take a suitable freezer container and add some honeycomb to the bottom of the container, scrape some of the ice cream into a freezer container and add some honeycomb and fold through into ice cream, add more ice cream and honeycomb to your taste. Put in the freezer until solid.
Any extra honeycomb should be stored in a freezer bag and kept in the freezer or it will melt.
I do hope you enjoy this wonderful ice cream it is a real treat…..
Honeycomb Ice Cream
Rich creamy vanilla ice cream with homemade honeycomb.
Pour the milk and cream into a medium pot and heat, until it is just below boiling point.
Add the egg yolks, sugar and vanilla into a large bowl and whisk until well combined and creamy.
When the milk/cream mixture is ready, slowly pour the mixture into the bowl with the eggs and sugar, continue whisking all the time, to ensure that the egg mixture does not scramble.
Once the mixtures are well combined, pour the mixture back into the pot and place back on a low heat.
DO NOT ALLOW THE MIXTURE TO BOIL.
Continue to mix the mixture on the heat until it thickens. It should coat the back of a spoon.
Once it is ready, remove from the heat and leave to cool.
To speed up the cooling, I often pour very cold water into the sink and place the pot into the sink, make sure the water is only half way up the side of the pot, you do not want water getting into the custard. Once the custard has cooled down, you can leave in the fridge until required, or pop into the freezer for 10 minutes.
You need the custard to be very cold before adding to the ice cream machine.
Once the custard is very cold, start your ice cream machine and pour in the custard and continue to churn as per the manufacturers instructions.
When you have ice cream, take a freezer container and add some chunks of honeycomb to the bottom, add some ice cream on top and then some more honeycomb, fold the honeycomb into the ice cream and add more ice cream on top and then top with additional honeycomb.
Place a lid on top of the container and place in the freezer until firm.
Without an ice cream machine
If you don't have an ice cream machine, swap all the ingredients except the honeycomb for:
200g can condensed milk
600ml pot double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
Place the ingredients in a big bowl then beat with an electric whisk until really thick.
Fold through the honeycomb, transfer to a freezer container and freeze until solid.
Another grey day outside, so that must mean BAKING DAY……. yeah
I had a baking day at the beginning of the week, but unfortunately for us, the cake went off to a friend who was definitely in more need that we were. To be honest I didn’t really think about it, until my hubby, said that he had sent some pictures to some friends and they all loved the look of it and asked how it tasted, but of course he had to say, “I don’t know, I didn’t get to taste it” he was obviously feeling sorry for himself ……
So I took pity on him and decided to have a look through the cupboards to see what other fabulous ingredients I had…. Ok so some coconut, that will do the trick.
I went to my fail safe cake recipe for this and swapped in the coconut and I used a coconut liquor, of course, you can leave this out and use vanilla essence or coconut if you can find it.
This recipe is really easy, 225g of butter, sugar and flour, with 4 eggs, 1 tsp of baking powder and then the coconut and flavouring.
I started by weighing the butter into a bowl and popping it into the microwave for 10 seconds to make sure it was nice and soft, whipped it little with the electric whisk, then added the sugar and whipped it until it was light and fluffy.
Then I always add the first 2 eggs individually and whisk everything together in between each egg. Then with the 3rd egg and add a little of the flour mixture (flour and baking powder) whisk it again and then the 4th egg and the remaining flour mixture. Whisk it all together until it is just combined.
When pouring the batter into the cake tins, I weigh the tins and mixture, to ensure they are equal. It is usually in the region of 485-495g, it is all dependent on the weight of each of the eggs.
I leveled the mixture into the tins and then popped them into the oven, 25 minutes later, I tested them with the trusty cocktail stick and they were perfect.
So now it the hard part…. the waiting, I allowed them to cool in the tin for 5 minutes then I ran a sharp knife around the edge, just to make sure and popped them out and onto a cooling rack.
Then it was time for the buttercream icing, I added the soft butter and icing sugar into a bowl and whisked until it was light and fluffy another shot of coconut liquor and it was ready.
I used half of the icing for the filling and topped with a little toasted coconut, then placed the second layer on and again added the buttercream icing and then the remaining toasted coconut……
Then it was time for the kettle to boil and cut a nice slice and sit and enjoy…. Ideal for any day, but especially on a damp grey day.
I hope you enjoy it as much as we did.
Coconut Layer cake
Luscious coconut layer cake, filled with buttercream and toasted coconut.... Simply delicious.
Pre-heat the oven to 200c Conventional/180c Fan/Gas 6.
Butter and line 2 x 8 inch (20 cm) cake tins.
Weigh the butter into a bowl and pop in the microwave for 10 seconds to ensure it is soft.
Whip the butter until it is soft and fluffy.
Weigh the flour and baking powder into a bowl and mix together.
Add the sugar to the butter in the bowl and whisk again until light and fluffy.
Add 1 egg and whisk into the mixture, add the second egg and repeat. Then add the 3rd egg and a little of the flour mixture. Whisk again until just combined.
Add the final egg and the remainder of the flour mixture, whisk again until just combined.
Add the coconut liquor and the shredded coconut to the mixture and whisk again until it is all combined. Do not over mix.
Divide the mixture between the 2 cake tins, I weight the mixture into the tins, to ensure I get 2 even layers, the eggs make the difference in the weight, 485-495g, in each tin.
Place the tins in the oven and bake for 25 minutes. Check them with a toothpick to make sure the centre is done, before removing from the oven.
Then remove them and allow them to cool slightly in the tins before removing them and transferring them to a cooling rack.
I left them for 1 hr, to make sure they were cool enough for the buttercream filling.
To make the buttercream filling, weigh the butter into a bowl and add the icing sugar and coconut liquor. Then whisk together with an electric whisk, and leave aside until the cakes are cool enough.
To toast the coconut, lay a piece of grease proof paper onto a baking tray and spread the coconut out onto the tray. Place the tray in the oven and leave for 2 minutes, remove it and toss the mixture around, to ensure you achieve an even toasting. Place the tray back in the oven and check again after 2 minutes. I found that 4 minutes was enough.
Remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool until needed.
When the cakes are cold, remove the lining paper from the bottom of one of the layers and place it onto your serving plate.
Take 1 3rd of the buttercream icing and top the bottom layer of the cake, sprinkle a little of the toasted coconut and then top with the other layer (after removing the lining paper, of course).
Top the layer with 1 x 3rd of the icing and using the remaining 3rd, add it to the sides of the cake, a thin layer is all that is required, enough to allow the toasted coconut to stick to the sides.
Sprinkle some of the toasted coconut onto the top of the cake and then placing some of the coconut in your hand, work it around the sides of the cake, until it is completely covered.
Scoop up any that has landed on the plate and again work it around the sides of the cake.
All that is left to do, is put the kettle on and enjoy a slice of cake with a cup of hot stuff.... tea of coffee.
Take care with the coconut when it is in the oven, it will toast very quickly.