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October, 2015

  1. Nougat

    October 27, 2015 by sarah

    I love real nougat but usually only get to enjoy it at festive times. A couple of weeks ago I had some egg whites left over and felt in the mood for something sweet and decadent and decided to give it a try. The other option was marshmallows but I don’t like marshmallow so nougat it was. Nougat is a chewy sweet made with sugar and egg whites with nuts and dried fruit. This is ‘white nougat’ a traditional candy from Italy (“torrone”), France and Spain (“turrón”), though weirdly in Germany, gianduja (a smooth mixture of hazenuts and chocolate) is traditionally called nougat. So give this recipe a try and make some artisan nougat!

























    This recipe makes loads of nougat – you could half the recipe if you don’t think you could eat it all or give it away. This recipe is a combination of this one from Great British Chefs website and from Miss Hope’s Chocolate Box book of splendid recipes.


    Artisan Nougat

    400g caster sugar

    100g liquid glucose

    125g runny honey

    2 egg whites (1 used 3 medium egg whites, about 100g)

    pinch of salt

    200g toasted whole almonds

    40g pistachios

    75g dried sour cherries

    rice paper

    Line the base and sides of a square tin with rice paper.

    Put the sugar, honey and liquid glucose in a large heavy-bottomed pan with 125ml water. Heat gently to dissolve the sugar and then place in a sugar thermometer and bring the mixture to the boil.

    As water is driven off, the temperature will rise; boil to 125°C.

    Place the egg whites in a stand mixer and beat until they form stiff peaks but no further.

    Continue to boil until 145°C is reached, then put the mixer onto medium speed and slowly and steadily pour the hot sugar over the egg whites while they are being beaten.

    When all the sugar is added, add the salt and turn the speed up and beat for 5 minutes until the mixture is thick and glossy.

    Fold in the nuts and fruit then press the mixture into the prepared tin and cover with more rice paper, pressing the mixture so it is level. Alternatively, place between two large sheets of siliconised paper and roll to make an even 2cm thickness. Allow to cool before cutting with a lightly oiled knife. It helps if you clean and oil the knife between each cut.


  2. Damson bavarois with roasted damsons

    October 18, 2015 by sarah

    Here is a lovely seasonal recipe which makes fantastic use of a forgotten fruit. Don’t be put off by the steps needed as the result it most definitely worth it and any extra freezes well for a few weeks. Damsons are a old fashioned sour type of plum with a very intense plum flavour – far superior to anything in the shops. I find these in local hedgerows or the car park of a National Trust property south of London! A bavarois is very similar to a mousse but is usually based on a creme anglaise: in this case the egg yolks are beaten over heat. Pureed fruit or chocolate and gelatine are added, and after an initial cooling the bavarois is aerated with lightly beaten whipping cream. When allowed to stiffen in the freezer or refrigerator the bavarois acquires its characteristic creamy, airy texture.

























    This recipe is slightly modified version found here at The British Larder, a restaurant in Suffolk which I am dying to visit (they were fully booked when we tried to go there on a spur of a moment last year).


    Damson Bavarois with Roasted Spiced Damsons

    For the spiced baked damsons
    250g damsons, halved and stoned
    125g soft brown sugar
    1 teaspoon mixed spice

    For the damson bavarois
    300g damsons, stones in but washed
    100ml cold water
    150g caster sugar
    5 medium free-range egg yolks
    3 sheets of gelatin, bloomed in cold water
    300ml double cream

    mini amaretti biscuits to serve

    To prepare the baked damsons, preheat the oven to 200 °C/180 °C fan. Spread the damson halves out on a baking tray lined with baking parchment (this really helps with washing up later!). Sprinkle over the brown sugar and spice and bake for 20-30 minutes, stirring a couple of times until the damsons have turned all jammy. Allow to cool and store in fridge until needed (up to a week).

    For the damson bavarois, you first need to prepare a puree. Place the washed damsons and water in a medium pan and place over a medium heat. Bring to the boil and then simmer for 10-15 minutes until the damsons have burst and broken down. Remove from the heat and press the mixture through a sieve into a non-metal bowl and place in the fridge to cool down.

    Place the caster sugar, egg yolks and 30ml of water in a glass bowl over a pan of gently simmering water. With a hand-mixer whisk continuously until thickened and pal e yellow in colour (took about 10 minutes). Remove from the heat and whisk in the bloomed gelatin until all dissolved and now add the cooled damson puree and whisk in. Whisk the cream in a separate bowl until it reaches soft peak then fold into the egg/damson mixture.

    Spoon or pipe the bavarois mixture into glasses or small ramekins. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours until set and only then cover with cling film It can then be frozen if required or served with the roasted spiced damsons on top and some dessert biscuits.


  3. Thame Food Festival

    October 7, 2015 by sarah

    The weekend before last we went to Thame food festival. We had not been before and it was just by luck that I spotted an ad in a magazine. I am so glad we went – it was a fantastic day out. We, or really I, bought lots of lovely things to eat and drink and there was so much choice of food stalls that we could of eaten there for 3 meals a day for a week and not had the same thing twice. Also, it was a beautiful sunny day, just the start of Autumn, in a beautiful old market square of a pretty town. Enjoy!

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