Monday, 19 March 2012

Chestnuts, Chestnuts, Chestnuts

If you hadn't guessed this blog post is about chestnuts. Chestnuts for me are the essence of nostalgia, hunting around under trees for a fallen green casing containing a horse chestnut. Once a "winner" was found I'd go running to my dad so he could drill a hole in the centre, thread a shoelace through, paint it with clear nail varnish and attempt to beat my brother at "Conkers"

I have since developed a fondness for their taste not just the satisfaction of smashing them together. At Christmas I adore going to the German market and getting a bag o roasted chestnuts.

I find chestnuts to be rather diverse & regularly use them in sweet and savoury dishes. They are brilliant as they a lower in calories than other nuts, contain very little fat and no cholesterol.

I enjoy making chestnut cupcakes with a chocolate frosting topping as the nuts are perfect with chocolate but the recipe I'm going to show you is a chestnut stuffing that is now my mother in laws favourite.

50g pecans, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
25g butter
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves , finely chopped
1 packet cooked chestnuts , finely chopped
5 good-quality pork sausages
140g fresh white breadcrumbs
2 tbsp chopped parsley
2 tsp chopped thyme leaves
2 tsp finely chopped sage
Zest of 1 lemon

Preheat the oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Heat the oil and butter in a frying pan, tip in the onion and garlic, and fry for a few mins until softened. Stir in the chestnuts and chopped pecans, then tip into a large bowl and cool. Squeeze the sausages from their casings and add to the bowl with the nut mixture. Add the breadcrumbs, parsley, thyme, sage, lemon zest, and season with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead and chilled.) Put stuffing mixture into a baking dish. Bake stuffing in the oven for 25-30 mins.

Give it a try with a roast chicken & let me know what you think!!

No Drama!! Xx

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Mississippi Mud Pie

Hello!! I decided on Sunday I was going to treat Louis and make a dessert. He asked if i could make him Mississippi Mud Pie as he had never had it. For those of you that aren't familiar a Mississippi Mud Pie is a pastry base with a chocolate pudding filling, topped with whipped cream (totally calorific!!!)

The recipe I'm giving you is for a 22/23cm pie dish. You'll need a hand whisk, a rolling pin, baking parchment, baking beans & 3 mixing bowls (one of them being heatproof) your ingredients are;
260g plain flour
110g unsalted butter
1/2 tsp of salt

150g of good quality dark chocolate
2 tbsp of golden syrup
50g unsalted butter
6 eggs (I know I know)
300g soft brown sugar
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tub of whipping cream

1. Put the flour, butter and salt in a bowl and using the tips of your fingers rub the butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles breadcrumbs.
2. Add a tbsp of water and mix until incorporated fully into the pastry mix. If the mixture has not combined add another tbsp (careful you don't want the mixture too wet)
3. Once the pastry has come together to form a dough wrap some cling film around it and put it in the fridge for an hour.
4. Turn the oven on to 170c/Gas mark 5. Roll out the pastry on a well floured surface until at the correct size to generously fill the pie dish. Put a sheet of baking paper on the pastry and fill with baking beans.
6. Put the pastry in the oven for 10 minutes, then remove the baking paper and beans, then bake for a further 10 minutes.
7. Put the chocolate, butter and golden syrup into a heatproof bowl and melt together over a pan of boiling water.
8. While the chocolate mixture is melting, mix together the eggs, brown sugar and vanilla extract with an electric whisk until fully combined.
9. Once the chocolate mixture has melted and cooled slightly add the warm chocolate to the egg mixture gradually, stirring constantly until both mixtures are combined.
10. Add the filling mixture to the blind baked pastry case and bake for 30-40 minutes. Check at 30 minutes, when the pie is ready it should be firm to the touch but have a slight wobble in the centre. Leave the pie to cool fully until putting in the fridge for at least an hour.
11. Add whipping cream to the pie when it is ready to serve.

I like to add chocolate curls to my Mississippi Mud Pie, but you can add your own decorations if you like!!

It's safe to say Louis ate the lot!!!

No drama xxx