Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Specials Board: Courgette Carpaccio

The other day I posted my courgette risotto recipe and I said that my first courgettes of the season would be eaten in a raw dish - well here it is! 

Once I'd picked them I just wanted to take a bite out of them, like you would with an apple, but I resisted .....until I got to my kitchen!

I used an eight ball courgette and a pattypan for this recipe, if you can call it a recipe!

The fresh flavour of raw courgette is subtle but one I will never tire of and these two summer squashes were crying out for just a drizzle of dressing. My tummy was rumbling..............


1 Eight ball courgette
1 Pattypan summer squash
3 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil*
1 Tsp Capers
Handful of basil leaves
¼ Tsp Mint sauce
Pink Himalayan salt
Black pepper
1 Slice Jalapeno pepper (optional) 
*The most expensive you can afford - you will taste the difference

Slice the eight ball courgette and Pattypan thinly and arrange on a plate.

To make the dressing pour the olive oil into a small ball  Quarter the capers and place in the bowl. Finely shred the basil leaves and add to the bowl. Give the dressing a quick stir so the oil can be infused with the basil.

Add the mint sauce and a good grind of salt and pepper. If you're using the jalapeno, you really don't need much dice finely and add to the bow.

Give everything one more stir before pouring over the thinly sliced courgettes.


Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Courgette Risotto with Fresh Garden Herbs

Yay, I've been picking my first courgettes of the season over the last couple of days! I was getting a little worried as we were fast approaching the end of July and I hadn't posted a courgette recipe. For my first courgette of the season I really wanted to taste and savour the flavour so I decided that my first courgette should be celebrated in style and eaten as a raw dish. But more of that to follow - watch out for the specials board.

Thankfully I managed to pick a few more since, my two 8 Ball courgette plants are growing their round courgettes so fast its amazing to see the start of one grow one morning to go back a couple of days later and find it ready to harvest. Yes, really they grow that quickly! My standard courgette plant seems a little slower but I've had a couple so far, hopefully it will pick up. My beautiful pattypan plants are growing their spaceship shape squashes too, they're just so cute!

For my courgette risotto I used the standard shape courgette, if you grow your own don't let them get too big as I think they lose their flavour.


500ml Vegetable stock
1 Tsp Porcini powder
1 Onion, diced
3 Garlic cloves*
250g Arborio rice
100ml White wine
500g Courgettes
5 Sprigs fresh oregano
5 Shoots fresh chives
Handful of fresh parsley (large)
Handful of fresh basil (large)
2 Tbsp Nutritional yeast
1 Tbsp Vitalite
* I used 1 clove from my elephant garlic, which was huge but I think it was probably the equivalent to 3 standard cloves

Method - Serves 3-4

First prepare your vegetable stock, either make it yourself or use vegetable bouillon and mix the porcini powder into it. Set to one side

Divide the courgettes up so you have 250g of grated courgette and 250g diced courgette. Put the grated courgette to one side. In a frying pan saute the diced courgette in a little olive oil until cooked through and starting to turn a golden brown. Remove from the frying pan and set aside.

Saute the onion and garlic in a little olive oil until translucent, about 4-5 minutes. Add the rice and saute for another minute stirring all the time so the rice doesn't stick to the bottom of the pan.

Pour in the white wine, the mixture will bubble furiously, keep stirring until the liquid had been soaked up by the rice. Add the grated courgette and stir through then add a little of the stock. Let the mixture soak up the stock before adding anymore. Continue adding the stock slowly and waiting till it has been absorbed before you add another ladle or two. 

Once all the stock has been used and the rice is cooked around 15 minutes add the diced courgette back to the pan along with the nutritional yeast. 

Remove the leaves from the oregano stalks and chop with the chives and parsley and add to the pan stir to combine.

Add the vitalite and carefully beat into the mixture to give the risotto a glossy shine. 

Shred the basil leaves and add to the pan and stir so everything is combined thoroughly. Serve straight away.

The risotto will keep if you have any left over, but you may need to add a little stock to 'loosen' the risotto.

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Specials Board: Raspberry & Coconut Mousse

Yesterday I posted my recipe for raspberry cake and I did say that you would have some raspberry puree left over to make these - Raspberry & Coconut Mousse.

I've used a completely different method to make a mousse here than I did with my strawberry mousse or chocolate mousse. Instead of using coconut cream or avocado I used silken tofu. All three methods provide a silky smooth mousse, who needs eggs?


150ml Raspberry puree*
170g Silken Tofu**
1 Tbsp Maple syrup
1 Tbsp Coconut oil, melted
Chocolate shavings or mint leaves
for decoration

*Left over from the raspberry puree I made to make my raspberry cake yesterday.

** Left over from the raspberry cake recipe I made yesterday.

Method - Serves 3-4

Add the raspberry puree, maple syrup and silken tofu to a food processor and blend, scraping down the sides until everything is well combined and silky smooth.

Add the coconut oil liquid and blend again.

Transfer to small glasses, depending on the size the mixture will fill 3-4 small glasses or 2 large glasses like wine glasses.

Decorate with sprigs of fresh garden mint or shavings of chocolate. To make a chocolate shaving, turn a block of dark chocolate upside down and using a Y vegetable peeler start at the corner and drag across the chocolate.

I think this recipe fits the bill for the "Treat Petite" challenge, which is hosted by Kat on the Baking Explorer Blog and Stuart over at Cakeboi. Kat is hosting July's challenge which is the theme "Summer". You can't get anymore summary than fresh berries!

Kat states: "The idea behind Treat Petite is quite simple – it’s any sweet treat you can think of that’s not a big cake! From cookies to macarons, krispie treats to truffles; we want to see any delicious concoction you conjure up in the kitchen that is individually portioned!! And don’t worry; cupcakes are permitted."

Saturday, 19 July 2014

Specials Board: Raspberry Cake

After a visit to my gardening angels allotment the other day I came back armed with a big punnet of raspberries, lovely! Raspberries don't keep all that well especially piled up on top of one another, as the bottom ones get squished. So, I had to come up with a recipe(s) that used them before that happened. I didn't want to go down the jam, compote or smoothie route I wanted something I could enjoy over a couple or more days. So I set to in my kitchen and made a cake! 

Now, as you know from a previous post I am not the most confident in the baking department but after my chocolate pudding success I thought to myself go on "you can do it!" As I only had one punnet of raspberries I only had the one chance. I didn't want to ruin the beautiful harvest my friend had given to me and there was no way I was going to let this happen.

So armed with determination, bravery and dedication I set to in the kitchen. After wandering around looking in my cupboards talking to myself for what seemed an age I came up with this.

By the way, did you know that today is "Raspberry Cake Day" so why not celebrate by picking up some raspberries and treating yourself to this deliciously moist raspberry cake. Enjoy!

365g Fresh raspberries*
1 Tbsp Maple syrup
250g Plain flour
1 Tsp Baking powder
1 Tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
140g Light brown sugar
100ml Light olive oil
250ml Plain soy yoghurt
1 Tsp Vanilla paste
150g Silken tofu
100g Vegan white chocolate

*You don't need all of these raspberries for this recipe but I made them into a puree which I then used to make my raspberry and coconut mousse. Recipe coming soon.....

Set your oven to a moderate temperature, I can't give you an actual temperature as the numbers on my oven dial have disappeared from too much cleaning! But the position was between 7 and 8 o'clock!

Grease two Victorian sandwich tins with a little vitalite on kitchen paper, then sprinkle a little flour over and tap the tin around until the vitalite is coated with the flour. This will prevent sticking.

Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a large bowl. Add the sugar, I sifted this too so as to remove the big lumps. Remember this was my one and only chance to get this recipe right! You don't need to sift the sugar. Mix the ingredients with a spoon.

Now make your raspberry puree. Place the raspberries and maple syrup into your blender and blend to a puree. I used my beloved vitamix which pureed in seconds, yep I'm still loving it! Pass the puree through a sieve. 

This will make 350ml of raspberry puree, of which you will only need around 200ml for this recipe. Save the remaining 150ml of raspberry purree and make my raspberry and coconut mousse which I will post tomorrow.

In a separate bowl whisk together the olive oil, vanilla paste and soy yoghurt until combined and slowly add 100ml of the raspberry puree, mix until everything is amalgamated.

Now add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir in, you will need to work fast here as the mixture will start to go grey! This is because of a chemical reaction between the baking soda and the raspberry puree, but don't worry its fine.

Pour the mixture into the two tins and spread the mixture evenly with a little dimple in the middle and bake in a moderate oven for 20 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

Leave to cool  for a little while in the tins before transferring to a rack to cool completely.

To make the raspberry frosting, place the tofu and 3 Tbsp of the raspberry puree into your food processor and blend, scraping down the sides as you go, until the two ingredients are fully blended.

Melt the vegan white chocolate in a bain marie or microwave whichever is your preferred method and pour into the tofu and raspberry mixture. Blend again, scraping down the sides so that everything is mixed together. You know have a gorgeous white chocolate and raspberry frosting, don't try it as you won't have enough for your cake as you'll keep going back for another dip!

Spread a quarter to a third of the raspberry frosting on one of the raspberry sponges and top with the other sponge. Pipe the remaining frosting on top of the sponge and decorate with dark chocolate pips.


Since scouring the internet for other food challenges I came across Alphabakes, which is a challenge that asks for recipes or the main ingredient to the recipe beginning with a different letter each month. "Anything goes as long as the random letter is predominately featured in the recipe as one of the main ingredients or flavours or in the name of the bake itself". July's challenge is recipes beginning with "R", so the recipe above is a perfect fit! Alphabakes is being hosted by Ros from the more than the occasional baker blog and if you want to see the entries for last month and the letter "D" check out Carolines blog - Caroline Makes.

There is a special prize for a recipe entered in July, which will be randomly chosen, so wish me luck!