Friday, 30 November 2012

Foodie Pen Pals

Yay, it's foodie pen pals time again! Which means I have been receiving lots of yummy things in the post, this month from Victoria. This was the first month Victoria has participated in foodie pen pals and she has started amazingly well with a wonderful package of goodies. So here's what I got...

Biscotti - Which I tucked into straight away with a cup of coffee.

Gingerbread biscuits - These were bought by Victoria in Geneva and are perfect for the festive season.

Cheese fondue - This is another little continental treat and anything containing cheese is fine by me. I haven't tucked into this yet but am looking forward to dunking some chunks of crusty bread into this little pot soon!

Raw chocolate - This was picked up at Green Cuisine (a cafe local to Victoria). Again I haven't tucked into this yet but am saving the cute little bar until I need a pick me up.

Mrs Shah's Curry Mix - This is a great little mixture of spices which I have already made a delicious veggie curry with.

Wahaca chipotle sauce - I added a good dollop of this to home made burritos the other night and it added a gorgeous smokey punch to the dish.

Victoria also enclosed two recipes in the package; one for 'Garbunzo Cake' made with chickpeas and spices, which I really can't wait to try out, and one for a christmassy clementine cake which is flour free, so both perfect for blogging about! So thank you so much to Victoria for the lovely parcel and great recipes, I will be trying these out soon.

So this is normally the point where I blog about a recipe I have made with something from the parcel I have received this month or something I sent in my parcel. Unfortunately due to taking a quick holiday this month as well as being manically busy at work I haven't had time to get busy in the kitchen recently. But I have plenty of inspiration thanks to the goodies and recipes I have received this watch this space because as soon as I get some spare time some yummy recipes will be appearing here!!

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Chestnut Gnocchi

So after receiving a special delivery of chestnuts fresh from my parents’ garden I decided to have a go at making my own chestnut flour and was pretty happy with the results (even if it was possibly a little coarser than the flour you may buy from specialist food shops). But after going to the trouble of making my own flour I wanted to make something special with it and so decided upon a gluten free gnocchi recipe. Served up with crispy bacon bits and balsamic roasted figs this recipe is perfect for a chilly autumnal evening.

(And honestly this tastes sooo much better than the picture makes it look!!!)

(Serves 2 greedy people)

300g mashed potato
1 egg

2 fresh figs
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
1 teaspoon soft brown sugar

4 rashers streaky bacon
1 red onion
6 large chestnut mushrooms
A small bunch of fresh thyme

Combine the mashed potato, egg and chestnut flour in a mixing bowl until well combined. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Take small quantities of the mixture to form blunt little sausage shapes and set to one side.

Slice the figs into quarters, place in a small oven tray, cover with the balsamic vinegar and sugar and place into a hot oven for 10 minutes until the figs begin to caramelise. Remove from the oven and place to one side.

Slice the streaky bacon into small strips and fry in a large frying pan over a high heat until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and set to one side.

Thinly slice the onion and transfer to the frying pan that had been used to cook the bacon. Lower the heat and gently fry until the onions begin to soften and become translucent. Next add the mushrooms and continue to cook, seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile bring a large pan of water to the boil. Once the water begins to bubble gently lower the pre-prepared gnocchi into the pan.

Whilst the gnocchi is cooking return the bacon to the frying pan with the onion and the mushroom.

Once the gnocchi rise to the surface of the pan remove with a slotted spoon, drain and transfer to the frying pan. Mix all of the ingredients together, add the figs and chopped thyme to the pan and serve.

Tuesday, 6 November 2012

Chestnut Flour

I mentioned this time last year that my parents have a garden full of chestnut trees and I grew up enjoying the wonderful free food source of chestnuts every autumn in the form of soups and roasted treats. Unfortunately I now live a few 100 miles from my parents and no longer have a free source of chestnuts on my doorstep. So it was a much appreciated surprise when I received a jiffy envelope stuffed full of chestnuts from my mum the other day (even more so when I saw how much a local supermarket were charging for the tiniest little bag of these tasty morsels)! 

This year to make a break from the usual soups (as well as the burgers and chocolate treats I made last year) I decided to turn my chestnuts into chestnut flour thus opening up a number of alternative recipes for me to try with this ingredient.

In my excitement to get experimenting with my chestnuts I didn’t properly weigh or measure ingredients when making my flour but thought it would still be useful to describe the basic principle on how to make your own chestnut flour as I have a plan on how I am going to use this ingredient in a recipe that I will be sharing on the blog soon!


Fresh chestnuts (enough to fill a jiffy envelope!!!)

Set the oven to 200 deg C

Slice the bottoms off of the chestnuts and spread across a large roasting tray.

Place the chestnuts into the oven for about an hour.

After an hour remove from the oven and allow to cool until you are able to handle them. Then peel the chestnuts, place them back on the roasting tray and return to the oven for another 30 minutes to allow them to dry out.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.

Once cool transfer the chestnuts to a food processor and blitz until a fine powder is produced.

Store in an airtight container until ready to be used.