Monday, August 31, 2009

Beet and chocolate cake

Here's a lovely squidgy beet and chocolate cake. I confess that sometimes I just make it without the beetroot because I can be bothered cooking them. Then I just grate some beetroot into the icing sugar to give bright purple (natural coloured) icing.
This recipe will be in the brochure for the Food & Drink Festival over here on 26/27th September.....but here's a sneak preview

For the cake:
230g self-raising flour – from Laxey Glen Four Mills
100g cocoa powder
200g caster sugar
100g dark chocolate
125g butter – courtesy of Isle of Man Creameries
250g cooked beetroot – nurtured by Robin of Purely Plants Produce
3 large eggs – laid at Staarvey Farm

To serve:
350g blackberries – from a hedgerow near you
250ml double cream – courtesy of Isle of Man Creameries


Preheat the oven to 1800C . Butter and flour a 18cm (7in) round cake tin.

Sift together the flour and cocoa, then mix in the sugar. Melt the chocolate and butter together over a very low heat. Puree the beetroot, whish the eggs then stir them into the beetroot. Add the beetroot and chocolate mixtures to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly.

Pour the mixture into the cake tin. Bake for 50 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove from the oven and leave to stand for 10 minutes before turning out of its tin. Serve with a scattering of blackberries and big dollop of double cream.

Choccy love bomb

My Friday night schedule was a private dinner party for a family, the night before their daughter's wedding. With romance in the air I added some luuurve decorations to their dessert of chocolate pots. I didn;t have any mini piping bags so had to make my own, a tip for you...remember to fold over the opening at the top....I didn;t so covered myself in melted chocolate. oops

The breakfast of champions

The heaven sent combination of bacon and fried yolk-still-runny egg mmmmmmmmmm.

Anyone who disagrees with the runny yolk needs their head examined (Mitler!).....why oh why wouldn't you want runny yolk?????!

This tasted even better because it was prepared for me by Stokesy.....cheers fella!

Excuse me Waiter, I think there's a.....

......mole in my soup! Check out the amazing sweet potato/mole!!!!!!!!!!!!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Show recipes - Southern and Royal - Part 2

Sticky beef stir-fry with cabbage and cashew nuts - Serves 4

o 2 tbsp vegetable oil
o 2 x 200g Manx sirloin steaks, trimmed of fat + thinly sliced
o 2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
o 2.5cm piece fresh ginger, finely sliced into strips
o 50g unsalted cashew nuts, chopped
o 3 tbsp sweet chilli sauce
o 1 tbsp tomato ketchup
o 3 tbsp light soy sauce
o Pinch of chilli flakes
200g Manx green cabbage

1. Heat the oil in a wok or large frying pan over a high heat. Add the beef, in 2 batches, and stir-fry for 3 minutes. Remove the beef and set aside.
2. Add the garlic, ginger and cashews and stir-fry for just a minute, then add the sweet chilli sauce, ketchup, soy sauce, chilli flakes and 100ml water.Bring to the boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for 2 minutes. Add the cabbage to the sauce and stir-fry for 2 minutes, then return the beef to the wok to heat through

Queenie stir-fry with spring onion - Serves 4

o 1 tbsp Ellerslie Farm rapeseed oil
o 1" root ginger finely sliced
o 2 cloves garlic finely sliced
o 2 bunches Manx spring onions, finely sliced
o 24 Manx Queenies
o 50ml soy sauce
o 50ml water
o 2 tablespoons sesame seeds

1. Heat the oil in a wok or large pan, add the garlic, ginger and spring onion and fry for a minute or two until softened.
2. Then add the queenies and cook for a further 2 mins until they have browned slightly, add the soy and water, taste add more water or soy if required then sprinkle over the sesame seeds. Eat immediately!

Ground lamb with Hoummos and pine nuts - Serves 4

o 2 tbsp pinenuts, lightly toasted
o 3 tbsp Manx rapeseed oil
o ½ large Manx onion
o 1/3 tsp ground cinnamon
o 170g Manx lamb, minced
o 1 tub of hoummos – ooh a Delia-style cheat!
o Sprinkling of paprika
o A few leaves of Manx flat leaf parsley

1. Heat a dry frying pan over a medium heat and lightly toast the pine nuts.
2. Remove from the pan and set aside
3. Add the olive oil to the pan and gently fry the onion until golden. Add the cinnamon.
4. Now turn the heat up and when the oil is sizzling add the lamb. Use a fork to the break up the lamb. You want it to be nice and crispy/browned.
6. Add the pine nuts and remove from the heat.
7. Put the hoummos into a serving dish and layer the lamb mixture on top. Sprinkle with paprika and the leaves of parsley. Great with pitta bread

Edith’s choc chip cookies - Serves 4

4oz butter
4oz caster sugar
5oz plain flour
1/2tsp baking powder - thoroughly mix with the flour
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 oz porridge oats
6oz chocolate, smashed into big pieces, use your preferred ratio of dark:milk:white

1. Put all ingredients except the chocolate into your mixing bowl and mix/Kenwood until combined.
2. Add the chocolate and fold in gently using a large metal spoon. Arguments frequently occur in my house due to over stirring and the breaking up of the chocolate chunks. Hmmmm
3. Put big blobs of the mixture onto your baking sheet (use silicone paper) then bake in the oven at 180 for 12 minutes. Great with cream

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Show recipes - Southern and Royal - Part 1

Kipper and mustard pate - Serves 4

o 1 pair of filleted and deboned kippers
o 1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
o 2 tbsp Manx butter, melted

Place all of your ingredients in a medium size bowl.
Simply mash together with a fork. Taste and add more mustard if necessary. Delicious served with crusty bread and green salad

Crab pate - Serves 4

o 100g mixed brown and white cooked crabmeat
o 75g melted butter
o 1 garlic clove, crushed
o Black pepper
o Lemon juice

Place all of your ingredients in a medium size bowl.
Simply mash together with a fork. Taste and add more pepper or lemon juice if necessary. Delicious served with crusty bread and green salad

Mexi-Manx Beef Tacos - Serves 4

o 300g minced beef
o 2 tbsp oil
o 1 large onion, finely chopped
o 2 cloves garlic, crushed
o 1tsp ground cumin
o 1 fresh chilli, finely chopped
o Dash of soy sauce
o Salt, pepper and a pinch of sugar

Heat the oil in a frying pan, add the chopped onion and garlic and cook until soft and golden. Increase the heat and add the minced beef, frying until brown. Add the cumin, soy sauce and chilli. Taste and add salt, pepper and sugar as required.Serve with salsa, grated cheddar and tortillas

Mayonnaise - Makes 250ml

o 2 Manx egg yolks
o ½ tsp Dijon mustard
o 1 dessertspoon white wine vinegar
o Good pinch salt
o 200ml Ellerslie Farm rapeseed oil

Put the egg yolks into a bowl. Add the salt, vinegar and mustard, and mix. Gradually add the oil, drop by drop, whisking all the time. You should start to see the mixture thickening. Keep adding the oil as you whisk until there is none left. Season to taste.
It should be smooth and creamy in texture, looking absolutely nothing like the mayo you buy in the shops :o)
NOTE: If you add the oil too quickly the mixture will split i.e. it will look thin and the oil will just float on top. If this happens, break another egg yolk into a clean bowl and pour the split mixture into it, drop by drop, whisking all the time until it emulsifies

Quesadillas - Makes 1 quesadilla

o 2 tortillas
o 1 large handful of grated Manx cheddar
o Salad – tomatoes and lettuce make a good combo

Place your frying pan over a medium heat and wait for it to heat through. Add one tortilla, then your fillings, the other tortilla on top. Wait for the bottom tortilla to brown, flip it over, brown the other side. Voila! Remove from the pan, cut into triangles and eat.
TIP: Try the different flavoured cheddars i.e. black peppercorn or sweet chilli

Super Berry Smoothie - Serves 1

o 300ml Manx milk
o Large handful of Manx berries – Strawberry, raspberry, blackberry, blackcurrant all work well
o 1 Banana
o Frozen Ushtey

Put all ingredients into a blender. Hit the button! Drink!

Thai Pork Noodle Salad - Serves 2-3

o 350g minced Manx pork - fried until crispy
o 20 pods of Manx peas
o 1 handful of Manx green beans, boiled for 4 minutes (blanched being the fancy chef term)
o 1 bunch Manx spring onions - finely sliced
o a big handful of peanuts
o 2 tbsp fresh Manx coriander, roughly chopped
o 2 portions of egg noodles - cooked according to packet instructions

o 2 tbsp Manx rapeseed oil
o 1" ginger grated
o 1 clove garlic grated
o 1/2 red chilli
o juice of 1 lime

Combine main salad ingredients in a big bowl. Combine dressing ingredients in a jam jar and shake well. Add the dressing to the main salad, give it a good stir and leave for 5-10 minutes so that the flavours from the dressing can be absorbed by the rest of the salad.
Tip: For extra flavour pour over the pan juices from cooking the pork over the noodles.

Royal Show 2009

The biggest show of the summer is the Royal Agricultural Show in Sulby so we hit the show with loads of demos, again trying to raise awareness of the quality and variety of local produce on offer.

Particular thanks go to:
Butlers Choice for providing the equipment for the kitchen. Go down to their shop on Castle Street in Douglas if you're after some kitchen kit
Isle of Man Meats for providing the delicious beef, lamb and pork
Staarvery Farn for proving the herbs for the competition ingredients test
All the demo-ers.......some who looked very scared!

Dishes included:

Mexi-Manx beef tacos (Ray Craine - beef farmer)
Queenie stir-fry (Bry Radcliffe - the veg man),
Kipper and crab pates (Paul Desmond - fishmonger and kipper smokehouse)
Choc chunk cookies (Steve Martin - cereal grower)
Mayonnaise (Pentti Christian - rapeseed oil producer)
Berry smoothie and quesadillas (Dougie Coole - dairy farmer)
Queenie Pie with Samphire (Joan from Tanroagan Seafood Restaurant)
The perfect steak (Phil Teare from Isle of Man Meats)
Mushroom and Ale soup (Kathy from Greeba Mushrooms)
Secret ingredients queenies (Richard from The Shore Hotel, Gansey)

I'll put all of the recipes in a separate post here and here

It was great to get the farmers involved, talking about how they rear the animals and grow the produce for our tables. Bry Radcliffe made an entertaining appearance, although I'm not sure where his line of questioning on my fitness regime was going!

We also had the northern heats of the I Love ManxChef contest.......Claire (below with her stir-fried lambs liver, Jessica (above with her blackcurrent sorbet), Lizia and Chris (queenie stir fry) battled it out. Lizia was crowned the winner making Brazilian croquetas, a little taste of home for her, using Manx ingredients. She sells them at the Ramsey Farmers Market on Saturday mornings so you can go down and sample them. Full write-up at ilovemanx

Weather was perfect, attendance was high, all in all a good day out :o)

Homemade Crunchie

Mmmm. A nice little pressie brought round to my house by my demo assistant Lucy which naturally got demolished in very little time by me, Stokesy, Wee Jan and my brother (home from Italy....hmmmm without food presents I now realise!)

Thanks Lucy!

To make it at home:

25g unsalted Butter
200g caster sugar
4 tbsp golden syrup
1 tbsp Bicarbonate of soda
200g good quality milk chocolate
1-2 tsp vegetable oil


1. Grease a 20cm square tin with the butter.
2. Melt the sugar and golden syrup together in a heavy based pan over a low heat.
3. Increase the heat to medium and simmer for 3-4 minutes, until the mixture is thick and a dark caramel colour.
4. Remove from the heat and immediately whisk in the bicarbonate of soda so that the mixture froths up.
5. Pour into the tin and leave to set at room temperature for about 2-3 hours.
6. Grease a large sheet of foil with the vegetable oil.
7. Once set, bash the honeycomb into large shards/splinters.
8. Melt the chocolate in a microwave oven or in a bowl over a pan of simmering (not boiling) water.
9. Dip the shards of honeycomb into the melted chocolate and place them on a lightly oiled foil sheet.
10. Leave to set in the fridge for about 20 minutes.

Cupcake test day @ The Good Loaf

A catering client wanted some cupcakes for her party. I'm not bad at baking but I thought I'd call in the experts so I headed down to The Good Loaf bakery to get Liz and Sarah's help.

Before I arrived Liz had made two varieties of sponge base. Then Sarah got cracking on the icing and decorations. Yum!

Man Flu Medication

Yes we had a spate of man-flu in our household last week. Stokesy had to have to day off from work and so I got to be Florence for the day (woohoo). Florence dispensed some hot and sour soup to blast through those blocked sinuses. It makes a great breakfast. To make Florence's man-flu-fighting soup:

Put 500ml water, 1 chicken stock cube, 1 tsp tom yam paste, 4 slices of ginger into a saucepan and heat for 5 minutes to get the flavours going. Now add 3 tbso coconut milk, shredded cabbage and sweetcorn. Heat for another 3 minutes and taste (sometimes it needs more tom yam paste ot coconut milk or stock). Eat with a wedge of lime for extra vitamin C boost.

On Day 2 of his near-death experience he needed more cheering up.....bring out the smiley faces in porridge!

Lunch for Wee Jan

Not wanting to enjoy a weekend off without doing just a little bit of cooking I got roped into doing a lunch party for my ma. She helps me out loads for work so it's a fair exchange.

On the menu was: a side of hot smoked salmon from hot Tim at Island Seafare in Port St Mary, a boned out leg of lamb with garlic from Mark at Teares in Ramsey, a basil and tomato frittata made by me. For side dishes we had some nice, simple summery options of roasted new potatoes, gujurathi green beans, green salad and loads of different bread s from Liz @ The Good Loaf.
For puds: White chocolate and raspberry tart (another special commision from Liz), meringues and loads of summer fruit

I have one bit of advice from that day.......don't put a glass plate in the oven for more than 5 minutes. Due to my tireless experimenting I have discovered that it will explode quite soon after that.....oops

Southern Show 2009

Well it's been a very busy few weeks. Starting with the Southern Show at the end of July. I got to host the demo kitchen for DAFF and the I Love Manx people. This involved getting loads of different food-related people, some more willing than others, up to bring local food to the attention of the masses. We also ran the first year of the I Love ManxChef contest.

Dishes included: Ground lamb with hoummous (with Graham Crowe), Sticky beef and cashew stir-fry (Ray Craine), Thai pork noodle salad (Sean Dean in the piccie above) plus loads more. All the recipes can be found here and here

The lovely Samantha Honey-Pollock won the southern heats of the competition so she goes through to the final at the Food & Drink Festival in September at the Villa Marina. For all of the recipes and a full write-up of the competition go to the ilovemanx website