Tuesday 30 September 2014

Some refreshing new sauces from the Lake District Dairy Co


As you know I get sent new products to try out from time to time and a few weeks ago I was sent a lovely hamper from the Lake District Dairy Co, containing their new Cooking sauces along with some fresh ingredients so that I could cook some recipes using the new flavours . . .  Garlic & Herb, Tomato & Basil and Tikka Sauces.

Included in the hamper were all the necessary ingredients so that I could cook Gnocchi with Spinach and Tomat & Basil Quark Sauce, Chicken Tikka & Quark Rice, and Spaghetti Quarkonara.

First a bit about the sauces:

The new Lake Districk Dairy Co. Cooking sauces are ideal for those who are pressed for time and who are health conscious.   Naturally low fat, convenient and naturally nutritious they taste deliciously indulgent, yet because they are made with Quark, they boast half the calories and treble the protein of other stir-in dairy sauces.  They recently won an award at the World Dairy Innovation Awards.   You can simply swap these cooking sauces into recipes as an alternative to traditional dairy ingredients such as creme fraiche or double cream to create  a variety of healthy and flavoursome day to day dishes, from creamy carbonaras to tantalizing tomato bakes.

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The first recipe I tried was Chicken Tikka & Quark Rice.  The sauce itself was delicious as was the finished dish, however the recipe was inconsistent with the ingredients sent, with uncooked rice being called for in the recipe and a pouch of already cooked rice being sent in the hamper.  I decided to go with the recipe and used uncooked rice.

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This was our favourite of all the dishes cookes.   Coming in at only 382 calories a serving, it was quite satisfying and very delicious.  We all really enjoyed this.

(click on photo to enlarge recipe)

The Lake District Dairy Co - Naturally Low Fat Tikka Cooking Sauce
(RRP £1.75 per 200g pot)
One of the nation's favourites - a beautiful blend of herbs and spices for perfect curry dishes with minimal fuss.  contains NO preservatives or artificial flavours
Nutrition (per 100g)
75 kcals, 4.5 g Sugar, 2.6g Fat, 0.6g Saturates, 0.74g Salt

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The next dish I cookes was Gnocchi with Spinach and Tomato & Basil Quark Sauce.  Everything for the recipe was included.  It went together very easily and I found the sauce to be quite delicious.

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The finished dish was attractive and very tasty.  We all really enjoyed this as well.

(again click on photo to enlarge recipe)

The Lake District Dairy Co. - Naturally Low Fat Tomato & Basil Cooking Sauce
(RRP £1.75 per 100g pot)
Great for adding a sumptuous Italian twist to meat and pasta dishes.
Contains NO preservatives or artificial flavours.
Nutrition (per 100g)
79kcals, 6.3g Sugar, 2,8g Fat, 0.6g Saturates, 0.83g Salt

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The final recipe which I cooked was Spaghetti Quarkonara using their Garlic & Herb Sauce.   I have to say that we did not enjoy this recipe at all.   First of all, I thought there was too much pasta per sauce ratio, and I would never use quick cooking spaghetti myself.  I would like to try it again, using regular spaghetti and less pasta per sauce.

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The ham added nothing to this recipe.  You couldn't even taste it really.  I added peas because I thought it could use some colour, but again, this wasn't our favourite dish

(Click on photo to enlarge)

The sauce itself was quite flavourful, but this recipe let it down in my opinion.  I would use the sauce again in another way, but not this recipe.

The Lake District Dairy Co. - Naturally Low FAt Garlic & Herb Cooking Sauce
(RRP £1.75 per 200g pot
Smooth and indulgent, with a deliciously fresh garlic taste - great for mixing with fish, chicken or pasta.
Contains NO preservatives or artificial flavours
Nutrition (per 100g)
76 kcals, 5.6g Sugar, 1.5g Fat, 0.4g Saturates, 0.74g Salt

For more information about The Lake District Dairy Co. Quark, including delicious recipe suggestions to suit every occasion, visit www.lakeDistrictQuark.co.uk and follow @LDDCQuark on Twitter.

Over all I found the sauces themselves to be filled with flavour and I love that they are all natural and relatively low in fat which make them a great option for someone who is looking for convenience along with healthy options.  Many thanks to The Lake District Dairy Co. for sending this lovely hamper to me. 

Biscoff (Lotus) Granola

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I think you would pretty much have to live under a rock to not know what Biscoff, or Lotus cookies are.   They are those gorgeous little caramel flavoured biscuits that they hand out in coffee shops and that get handed out on Delta Airlines etc.  I just adore them.   I just love Nutella and Peanut butter . . . so when I found that they make a Lotus (Biscoff) Spread  I was thrilled and of course I had to buy some.  Oh boy that is some good.  I could eat it with a spoon.    All caramel rich and gooey . . .  lovely on crackers or plain biscuit/cookies.  Or sandwiched between two . . .  just sayin!

Monday 29 September 2014

Easy Oven Baked Pasta

Easy Oven Baked Pasta

Sometimes you just feel really lazy, don't you?  It can't just be me, can it?  I confess . . .  I do have days when I feel really lazy.

Days when I can't get motivated to do much of anything, and yet I am absolutely starving!     That is when a recipe like this one here today comes in really handy.

Easy Oven Baked Pasta

It might not look like very much, but don't let what it looks like fool you into thinking that this isn't very, very tasty.  It's fabulously tasty . . .  well as tasty as the jar of pasta sauce that you use.   

 Yes . . .  she shrieks in horror . . .  I do use a jarred pasta sauce once in a while!   Doesn't everyone?

Easy Oven Baked Pasta

I am not a culinary paragon of virtue.  I do have a store cupboard full of ingredients that I use from time to time . . .  when I am lacking in time, energy . . . and yes inspiration. Because even I am not always "on."   

I do buy quality pasta sauces when they are on offer . . .  I am not fond of no name or generic brands.  I have a particular fondness for Lloyd Grossman sauces . . .  and Napoli, which brings me to this dish here today.

 Easy Oven Baked Pasta

About a month or so ago, I found a jar of Lloyd's oven bake pasta sauce that I had picked up on offer a while back, just to try like.  I can't remember what flavour it was . . . I think it might have been the  Al Forno one with pancetta in it.  

 In any case, I made it and it was really tasty.   So tasty that I tried to pick up some more one day when I was at the shops . . .  to no avail, because they had plenty of his pasta sauces, but no oven bake pasta sauces.

Easy Oven Baked Pasta

And that is when I decided that I would try making my own version of it, using whatever pasta sauce I had in my larder, simply by adding some water and dry pasta to it and baking it . . .  and you know what???  

It worked like a charm.  In fact it was perfect.  Result!  Pasta which has been baked in sauce is really very tasty . . .  and all you have to do is just sit there and let the oven do all of the work.  All you need is some salad and crusty bread on the side and Bob's your uncle! Even the Toddster rather liked this and that says a LOT!

Easy Oven Baked Pasta

*Easy Oven Baked Pasta*
Serves 2 to 3

For those nights when you are singularly lacking in inspiration and time.  This leaves your hands free to do something else when it is baking.  

1 400g jar of pasta sauce, any flavour (approximately 2 1/2 cups)
300ml of water (1 1/3 cups)
150g of dry pasta (any short shape such as penne, 1 1/3 cups)
70g of grated cheddar cheese (2/3 cup)
a handful of buttered cracker or bread crumbs
2 TBS grated Parmesan Cheese    

Easy Oven Baked Pasta

Preheat the oven to 200*C/400*F/ gas mark 6. 

Empty the sauce into a  1 1/2 litre casserole dish (about 1 1/2 quarts).  Whisk in the water to combine and then stir in the dry pasta. Bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes.  Remove from the oven and stir well.  Stir half of the cheese into the dish.  Combine the remaining cheese with the buttered crumbs, and Parmesan Cheese and sprinkle this evenly over top.  Return to the oven and bake for a final 10 minutes at which time the pasta should be cooked properly and the top will be bubbling and golden brown.   Let stand for about 5 minutes prior to serving. 

Sorry for my absence of the past couple of days!  I had no internet connection, well not a lasting one anyways!  Hopefully it's now been sorted!  I missed you! ☺ 

This content (written and photography) is the sole property of The English Kitchen. Any reposting or misuse is not permitted. If you are reading this elsewhere, please know that it is stolen content and you may report it to me at: mariealicejoan at aol dot com Thanks so much for visiting. Do come again! 

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Saturday 27 September 2014

Custard Corncake with Berries and Honey

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In America there is a debate between bakers in the south and bakers in the north about whether there is sugar in a proper cornbread or not.  Up north, and in Canada actually, we use some sugar in our cornbread and our corn muffins.  Down south they do not.     In their eyes, once sugar is added . . .  it becomes a cake.

Friday 26 September 2014

Flaky Goat Cheese and Chive Biscuits

Flaky Goat Cheese and Chive Biscuits

I am a huge fan of quick breads . . .  muffins, loaves . . .  scones, biscuits.   Scones and biscuits are really quite similar.   The basic ingredients are essentially the same . . .  flour, butter or shortening, milk or cream, leavening, and a bit of salt and possibly sugar. 

The method of preparation, too, is pretty similar . . . you sift the dry ingredients, cut in the fat, and add the liquid. As with biscuits, the scone dough is rolled and cut into shapes.

I guess the main difference is in texture.  Generally speaking, Scones are crumbly and biscuits are flaky!

Flaky Goat Cheese and Chive Biscuits

I think another difference  lies  in the type of fat which is used, and in how you incorporate it.  Traditionally in biscuits the fat is cut in with a pastry blender and in scones it is rubbed in with the fingertips.   

In a scone, more often than not you will use butter and in a biscuit . . .  vegetable fat of some sort, but that is not always the case . . . and too, scones tend to be more on the sweet side than the savoury.


Flaky Goat Cheese and Chive Biscuits

 These flaky savoury breads I am showing you here today are called biscuits . . .  but they use butter instead of vegetable oil and the fat is rubbed into the flour mixture, instead of cut into it with a pastry blender . . .  

So in those respects they are more like scones . . .  but they are not sweet in the least.  These are also a bit sturdier and flakier than a scone . . .

 Flaky Goat Cheese and Chive Biscuits

Which is not to say that they are heavy, because they are not heavy in the least.  

These are delightfully light and filled with lovely layers . . .  flaky buttery layers . . .  with pockets oozing with rich soft goats cheese . . .

 Flaky Goat Cheese and Chive Biscuits

and lovely little flecks of oniony chives.   These go wonderfully with soups and stews . . .  with sliced meats and cheeses.   Heck they would even be fabulous with bacon and eggs for breakfast.

Flaky Goat Cheese and Chive Biscuits

We enjoyed them today with hot mugs of soup.  They went down a real treat.  I had halved the recipe because I did not have enough goats cheese to do a full recipe.  

I forgot to pick some up when I did my shopping yesterday . . .  but happily they turned out just beautifully, despite halving the recipe.  Flaky.  Rich.  Savoury.  Moreish.

 Flaky Goat Cheese and Chive Biscuits

*Flaky Goat Cheese and Chive Biscuits*
Makes 16 2-inch square biscuits 
Printable Recipe     

Flaky and delicious with lots of buttery and cheesy layers!

280g of plain flour (2 cups or 10 ounces)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
3/4 tsp fine sea salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
135g of grated Parmesan cheese (3/4 cup, or 1 3/4 ounces)
6 TBS cold unsalted butter, cut into 1/2 inch chunks
3 TBS chopped chives
179g of fresh goats cheese, divided (about 1 cup in total)
180ml of buttermilk (about 3/4 cup)   


Flaky Goat Cheese and Chive Biscuits

Preheat the oven to 220*C/425*F/ gas mark 7.  

Sift the flour, baking powder and soda into a bowl.  Whisk in the salt, pepper and parmesan cheese.   Drop in the butter.  Work it into the flour mixture using your fingertips or a pastry blender, until you have the butter about half incorporated and half pea sized bits remaining.   

 Stir in the chives and crumble in half of the goats cheese.   Add the buttermilk a bit at a time, stirring it in with a fork, until the dough just begins to clump together and there are no dry floury bits remaining.  You may need all of the buttermilk, or less, or more, depending on your flour and the day.  Gently knead in the bowl a few times to form a ball.  

Flaky Goat Cheese and Chive Biscuits

Tip the dough out onto a lightly floured surface.  Roll out into a rectangle which is 1/2 inch thick and roughly twice as long as it is wide.  Turn the dough so that the long side is facing you.  

Mentally divide the dough in quarters lengthwise.  Crumble 2/3 of the remaining goats cheese into the centre two quarters.  Fold the outer two quarters over to meet in the centre from the short edges.  Turn the dough so that the short side is facing you.   

Sprinkle the remaining goats cheese down one half of this and fold the other half over to enclose, like a book.   Pat out gently to flatten slightly and then roll it up into a loose spiral beginning at the narrow end.  Pat the dough out into an 8 inch square that is about 3/4 inch thick. 

 Trim the edges with a sharp knife and then using a straight up and down cut with a sharp knife, cut into 16 2-inch squares.  Place them onto a baking sheet which is lined with baking paper, leaving several inches in between each.

Flaky Goat Cheese and Chive Biscuits

Bake for 15 to 18 minutes until they are well risen and golden brown.   Allow to cool for five to ten minutes prior to indulging.   Best on the day they are baked, but these will keep at room temperature for several days.  Reheat in the oven for a few minutes to crisp up.

Note - You can successfully cut the recipe in half and it works fine.  Also you can freeze the biscuits prior to baking for use at another time.  Freeze solid on the baking sheet and then pack into zip lock bags to bake off when you like.  Partially thaw prior to baking.

Thursday 25 September 2014

Blackberry and Clotted Cream Shortcakes

One of our favourite things to eat here in the UK at this time of year are blackberries and they are pretty much free for the asking, as they grow  wild in the hedgerows all across the country.  They are quite prolific and need little or no care really, which is probably why they can be found in such abundance.  They can be somewhat of a nuisance to home gardeners whose aim is to have a very manicured garden, as they do have a habit of popping up in the most diverse of places, their canes travelling beneath the ground.  I, for one, don't really mind.  We love blackberries and cannot get enough of them when they are at their best, eating them fresh as often as possible . . .  and I  try to freeze as many as I can as well, for winter time treats.   We grown our own in our garden . . .  well, I say that.  We actually planted tayberries, but they've become blackberries for the most part.  The blackberries which grow in the hedgerow bordering our property have taken over somewhat and intermingled with them, so what we have now is a happy mixture of them both.

Wednesday 24 September 2014

All About Knives


(Click on the above picture to enlarge for more detail.)

One of the first things I was taught, amongst other things, when I went to Culinary school was the proper use and care of knives.   A good knife is one of your most important tools as a chef, or a cook . . .  and it's really important that a person knows how to use and care for them properly.   Not only are they one of the most important tools in the kitchen, but they are also one of the most dangerous tools in the kitchen, so proper care and safety is essential!  Knives must always be handled with respect, used correctly and taken care of so that a professional performance can be achieved.

Some safety rules for knife use are:
  • Always carry your knifes, point held downwards
  • Knives placed on tables must be placed flat and not project over the edge of the table
  • When using knives, always concentrate on the job at hand.
  • Keep knives sharp and use the correct knife for the correct purpose.
  • After use, always wife the knife, blade away from the hand.
  • Keep knife handles clean and do not leave in the sink.
  • Never misuse knives.  After use wash, rinse, dry and safely put away.
  • Colour coding of knife handles can assist in preventing cross contamination
Two tools are available for sharpening knives, a steel and a carborundum stone.  Periodically knives may need to be ground.  To retain sharpness, always use a cutting board.   A good craftsman or craftswoman never blames his or her tools since they always take good care of them.

It goes without saying that for a tool as important as a knife you will want to invest the most that you can in them, as you will want them to be of good quality and to last you for a lifetime.  It is more than worth the money to invest in something as important as a good set of knives.  My mother is still using the same knives she purchased back in the 1950's.   They may have seemed expensive at the time, but they have more than paid for the initial investment through the years and have served her very well.    When I was getting kitted out for culinary school, the knives were the major part of my financial investment, aside from the course.  I can never under-estimate the important of having good tools to work with.   Some of the best quality chefs kitchen knives can be found online at kitchen specialist websites such as Milly's Store.

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It's important to remember also that speed is not essential when using your knives properly.   When watching celebrity chef's on the telly, they always whiz through their chopping amazingly quickly and it can be impressive to watch.  Don't forget that they have had years of professional training and experience . . .  and their knifes are really sharp The most dangerous tool in the kitchen is a dull knife.  Never forget that.   Remember also, that control is much more important than speed.  With time and experience you may well become just as fast as they are, but really all you want to be is safe.

So, with good quality knives, taken care of and used safely . . .  you can be well assured that you are well on your way to becoming a master chef in your home kitchen.

Sweet And Sour Chicken Balls . . . Combo Number Nine Part Deux

Sweet And Sour Chicken Balls

 Following on from yesterday's post on a Chinese Combo Plate Number Nine, here are the delicious Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls which went along with the Beef and Broccoli which I cooked for us the other day.  

If you go to a Chinese Buffet (in Canada at least ) these are the first things to disappear!  Followed closely by the won tons and the chicken wings!

 Sweet And Sour Chicken Balls

I  have been making these delicious Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls since the late 1970's, which reminds me of a really funny story about them.  

Haha funny, not the other kind.  My ex used to love these chicken balls and I often made them for him.

Sweet And Sour Chicken Balls

We had an electric deep fat fryer which I used to cook them in, and I used to use a paper grocery sack to shake them in and get rid of any excess fat when they were done.  

One night I was making some of these for a snack. When you are in your early 20's you can eat almost anything for a snack without gaining weight.  Well we could at any rate.  

We often made a pizza or a box of Kraft Macaroni and Cheese as a snack in the evening. We would eat it all and then go to bed without any indigestion keeping us up all night. 

Imagine that!

Sweet And Sour Chicken Balls

Back to the chicken balls.

I had just shook them in the paper sack when the young lad from a couple of doors down came in.  We used to organize teen dances with him for charity, so he often came over to talk to my husband.

I can remember him standing in the kitchen talking to my ex and knocking the ashes off the end of his cigarette into the paper sack holding the chicken balls. Of course I was so shy and hesitant in those days I didn't have the courage to tell him what he was doing.  

So my ex did not get his chicken balls that night at any rate!

Sweet And Sour Chicken Balls

This was the same young lad whom my husband caught sitting in our car in our garage necking with his girl friend one night as well.  

You know those days . . .  nobody locked anything. We were not afraid of being robbed or stabbed in our sleep . . .  we were so trusting.  

Now . . . again . . .  back to the chicken balls.

Sweet And Sour Chicken Balls

These might look like they are a lot of work, but really they are not.  

There is a simple sauce that you can make well ahead of time if you wish.   

Then there is a simple batter that you just mix your chicken breast chunks in.

Sweet And Sour Chicken Balls

It's quite a thick batter, and it may not look like it's going to do anything, but trust me, once those balls hit the hot fat it balloons out and you end up with lovely crisp coated little bites of chicken.

 Each crisp batter balloon contains moist little nuggets of chicken breast.

The batter is light, fluffy and delicious.  Oh, so yummy. 

 Sweet And Sour Chicken Balls

This sauce is perfect . . .  with just the right balance of sweet and sour and a nice colour.  

It would go well with won tons and other things also . . .  dumplings, spring rolls, etc.   

It's just a really nice sauce.  I think you will like it.

Sweet And Sour Chicken Balls

The two together are just gorgeous, and when you combine these with that lovely Chinese Beef and Broccoli which I showed you yesterday . . .  

Well, you have a fabulous meal indeed!  Inexpensive and easy to make and one which is a real family pleaser.  

Sweet And Sour Chicken Balls

*Sweet and Sour Chicken Balls*
Serves 4
Printable Recipe  

This may seem a bit convuluted and lengthy, but if you are organized, it happens quite quickly and it worth every ounce of effort.   These are as good as any you might find in a restaurant.  You can make the sauce the day before and just reheat it when you need it. 

For the sauce:
55g of tomato ketchup (1/4 cup)
1 tsp soy sauce
60ml of white vinegar (1/4 cup)
50g soft light brown sugar (1/4 cup packed)
95g of white sugar (1/2 cup)
180ml of water or a mix of water and pineapple juice (3/4 cup) plus 2 1/2 TBS
1 1/2 TBS corn flour (corn starch)
For the chicken batter:
70g of plain flour (1/2 cup)
75g of corn flour (1/2 cup cornstarch)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bakind soda
1/2 tsp seasoning salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp sugar
120ml plus 2 1/2 TBS water (1/2 cup plus 2 1/2 TBS)
1 tsp toasted sesame oil
You will also need:
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite size pieces
oil for frying  

To make the sauce, whisk together the ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar and both sugars in a saucepan.   Whisk together the water/juice and the corn flour until well blended.   Whisk this vigorously into the ketchup mixture.  Place over medium high heat and cook, whisking constantly until the mixture bubbles and thickens.   Cook for several minutes, then set aside and keep warm.  If you are making it the day before or earlier in the day, pour it into a sealable container and refrigerate.   Reheat gently when you are ready to serve. 

Combine the flour and corn flour for the chicken balls in a bowl, along with the baking powder, soda, seasoning salt, garlic powder and sugar.   Whisk in the water to make a thick batter, whisking vigorously.  You want a thick batter which will cling to the pieces of chicken, but you don't want it too thick., it should flow somewhat.   If you need to you may add a little bit more water at a time to get the right consistency.  It should be like extra tacky glue.  Add the chicken pieces, stirring them in with your hand and making sure that all are well coated with the mixture. 

Heat about 4 inches of oil in a large heavy saucepan or a deep fat fryer, to 190*C/375*F.  Carefully add the coated chicken pieces a few at a time (I add about 12) and fry them in the hot oil, stirring occasionally until they are golden brown, about 4 to 5 minutes.  If they are browning quicker than that your oil is too hot.   Scoop them out onto some kitchen paper toweling and keep warm while you cook the rest. 

For the egg  fried rice, I simply followed this recipe, leaving out the pineapple and the chicken.
Serve immediately with the warm sweet and sour sauce. 

Sweet And Sour Chicken Balls 

This content (written and photography) is the sole property of The English Kitchen. Any reposting or misuse is not permitted. If you are reading this elsewhere, please know that it is stolen content and you may report it to me at: mariealicejoan@aol.com

Tuesday 23 September 2014

Beef and Broccoli . . . Combo Special Number 9

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I wouldn't like to call myself predictable, but I guess there are some choices which I obsess on choose predictably identically all the time every time.  Things like always sleeping on the left hand side of the bed . . .  or getting up at the same time each morning and going to bed at the same time each night . . . drinking diet coke as the drink of choice when we go out for dinner, or always having Turkey for Christmas  . . . I suppose we all have our own individual quirks and obsessions!

Monday 22 September 2014

Macaroni, Cheese and Tomato Bake

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Interestingly enough the food here in the UK isn't all fish and chips and roast beef or curries.  They're also very fond of macaroni here, and other pasta's too.  In fact it is said that at the beginning of the 19th century they used to call their dandies "macaronis" because the  wigs which they wore were said to resemble macaroni!

 There is a saying over here which goes . . . "There's naught so queer as folk."  I believe that would apply in this instance!

Saturday 20 September 2014

Apple and Bramble Hat

Apple and Bramble Hat

Apple and Bramble (blackberries) have to be the quintessential flavour combination for September here in the UK.   That's when the apples are ripe and the hedgerows are bursting with fresh blackberries, free for the picking.  

When we lived down in Kent, we were surrounded by orchards and we were welcome to go scrumping each autumn, which is the word they use to describe picking up the windfalls.  


Apple and Bramble Hat

I do so love the names that they give to their puddings over here in the UK.   (Pudding itself is another word for dessert!)  You are going to absolutely love this Apple and Bramble Hat that I am showing you here today.  

It's a steamed pudding, with a suet crust . . .  coming out almost like a steamed pie really.  Just look at that flakey pastry crust there . . .  you can see the juices  from the fruit on the bottom of the plate.

Apple and Bramble Hat

I suppose they call it a "hat" because this pudding slightly resembles a Turkish Fez hat.   Pie, pudding, hat . . .  

it doesn't really matter what it is called.  Just know that it is absolutely delicious, and a lot easier to make than you would suppose.  

If you click here, you will see a photo tutorial I did on how to do the crust, in a previous post.  It's the same method for this.

Apple and Bramble Hat

This pudding is filled with lots of lovely tart cooking apple and sweet purple blackberries, with some warm baking spices, butter and a bit of lemon juice . . . 

 all steamed until beautifully blended together for a really delicious and hearty early autumn pudding.


 Apple and Bramble Hat

You tear the "hat" open a bit while it's still hot and prior to serving and drop in a nice dollop of clotted cream if you wish. It's not essential, but comes highly recommended.    

Otherwise you can just spoon it into bowls, warm . . .  and serve it with some vanilla ice cream, pouring cream or custard (creme anglaise.)  That of course is up to you and how decadent and naughty you feel like being.  ☺

Apple and Bramble Hat

*Apple and Bramble Hat*
Serves 6  

A delciously simple steamed pudding filled with lightly spiced and sugared apples and blackberries, and butter . . .  You are supposed to tear open the top and pop in a tablespoon of clotted cream prior to eating, but this is optional.  

225g of self raising flour (1 1/2 cup plus 2 TBS)
pinch salt
110g of shredded suet (1/2 cup)
(can use an equivalent of grated frozen butter if you wish, but the pudding
will be richer)
6 to 8 TBS cold water
1 1/2 pounds cooking apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
a small punnet of fresh blackberries (about 1 cup)
75g of soft light brown sugar (6 TBS packed)
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
the finely grated zest of 1 lemon and the juice of 1/2 lemon
50g unsalted butter (1/4 cup)
clotted cream (optional)  

Apple and Bramble Hat

Butter a 2 pint pudding basin (4 cup) really well.   Sift the flour and salt into a bowl.  Drop in the suet and give it a swirl.   Stir in enough cold water to make a soft, light dough.   Knead lightly and roll out on a lightly floured board to a large circle 1/4 inch thick.   

Cut off one quarter of it and set aside.  Use the remaning 2/3 of the dough to line the pudding basin, sealing the cut edges well together.   You should have somewhat of an over hang.  Mix together the sugar, cloves, ginger, cinnamon and lemon zest.  

Layer the apples and blackberries in the pudding basin, sprinkling a bit of the sugar mixture in between the layers.  Gather up the remaining dough and refoll it into a circle large enough to cover the top of the fruit.  

Dot the butter over top of the fruit, and then cover with the dough circle, tucking it down around the edges.   Trim the edge of the bottom pastry and then fold it over the lid, dampening it to secure it and pressing it together firmly.   

Cover with a piece of well-buttered pleated greaseproof paper, allowing room for the pudding to rise.   Secure with some string around the edge of the bowl.  Place in the top of a steamer and steam for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, topping the steamer off with boiling water as necessary.   

Turn out onto a warmed serving plate and tear the top of the pudding open.  Drop in the clotted cream.   Serve warm. 

Note - If you don't have brambles try using some sultana raisins instead.   Then it would taste somewhat like a dutch apple pie!