Lemon Mousse

I love lemon mousse. It is very traditional – and it’s light. There is that feeling of indulgence without any of the side effects of a heavier dish. It is refreshing with its citrussy lemony flavour and luxurious with its moussey texture, and equally good in summer or winter. Brenda went and covered the top very liberally with chocolate as you see here largely because she is always greedy for chocolate. Actually she’s always greedy irrespective of whether chocolate is involved.  Add a bit of zested lemon for that extra enjoyment. This recipe comes highly recommended. Enjoy!

fanny and brendas lemon mousse

Ingredients

4 eggs, separated
180 – 250g caster sugar depending on how sweet/tart you like it.
3 lemons, zested and juiced
50ml hot water
2-3 tsp  powdered gelatine depending on how set you like it
300ml double cream
a few flaked and toasted almonds and/ or grating of dark chocolate

Method

In a medium size bowl, whisk together the egg yolks and sugar until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture has lightened in colour and thickened – a few minutes with an electric whisk. Then whisk in the lemon zest and juice.

Dissolve the gelatine according to packet instructions although sprinkling into a small cup of hot water and leaving for a few mins, then stirring with a fork usually does it.

In a separate bowl, lightly beat the cream until soft peaks form. Use a hand whisk because it allows much more control and you can feel when it’s ‘just right’.

Stir the melted gelatine into the cream and fold this into the egg yolk mixture.

Whisk the egg whites in yet another bowl until soft peaks form when the whisk is removed.

Briefly whisk in about a third of the whipped egg whites into the yolk/lemon/cream mix and then gently fold in the rest

Pour into your sundae glasses or ramekins and chill for at least a couple of hours but easier to make them the day before so they chill overnight.

Serve with a sprinkle of the golden brown toasted flaked almonds and perhaps even a dusting of grated dark chocolate.

fanny and brendas lemon mousse

Clear Chicken Stock

fanny and brendas clear chicken stock

Sometimes you want a stock that is flavourful, but one that perhaps doesn’t have the array of aromatics found in our usual lovely gorgeous stock! The one major difference with this stock is that it is cooked from raw and is not a leftover carcass from a roast.

So, I simply selected two medium chickens, cut the four breasts off and reserved for cooking elsewhere., I then split the remains into about twelve pieces, quartered three large onions, added a teaspoon of black peppercorns and topped up with about 4 litres of cold water and simmered for about four hours.

This chicken stock is particularly useful for the likes of a chicken noodle soup!

Damson Fool

fanny and brendas gorgeous damson fool

This is a wonderful light English summer pudding originally dating back to the 16th century- and possibly earlier! For the recipe we use damsons to provide a fantastic strong flavour. This year we have had an abundance of plums and damsons and it is logical to use them in this splendid manner. Traditionally gooseberries are used as an early summer choice but they have long since finished, though we did put some in the freezer for an outing later in the year! The origin of the term ‘fool’ is unclear though it is thought by some to come from the french verb ‘fouler’ (to press or crush as in grapes for wine), although others like the Oxford English Dictionary dismiss this idea. Anyway, whatever its origins it is quite delicious as a pud or tea time treat !

Ingredients

(serves 2)

200ml double cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 dsp icing sugar
1 tsp greek yoghurt
Damson purée

For the damson purée

1) Take a bowl of stewed damsons with the stones removed (-keep some to add to the fool itself)

2) Sieve them into another bowl

3) Add icing sugar to sweeten to taste

fanny and brendas gorgeous damson fool

Method to make the Damson Fool

1) Place cream in bowl with vanilla and icing sugar and whip till thick

2) Add greek yoghurt and stir in

3) Pour in some of the purée and some of the stewed damsons and stir in lightly. I like the ‘not totally stirred in’ look with its streaks of colour.

4) Spoon into glasses interspersing with the puree to add to the two tone effect

5) Eat

fanny and brendas gorgeous damson fool

Ham and Mushroom Fricasée

fanny and brendas ham and mushroom fricasée

All good things come to an end and sadly Brenda has returned from her holiday with Bebe. It seems that she resorted to some of her more dubious past by scrumping in other’s orchards while staying in the middle of Herefordshire. It wasn’t helped that Bebe encouraged this gross misconduct by threatening anyone who challenged their fruit pilfers with an armed shotgun. (I wouldn’t dare challenge Bebe with or without a shotgun in hand! She’s a hairy lipped old dragon that even frightens the local constabulary). Sometimes I do wonder sometimes how these two managed to inveigle their way into my otherwise quiet life.

Now that the squawking maladroit is back I am faced with feeding her again. The other day I cooked a gorgeous ham for myself and a most attractive young man but we didn’t eat it all. For this recipe I used some of its leftovers. I like meals that use leftovers, they are often as or even more tasty than the original. This is a satisfying cheap main course and good for a mid week supper.

fanny and brendas ham and mushroom fricasée

(Serves 4)

Ingredients

knob of butter
olive oil
1 large onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
1 stick celery – peeled and finely diced
1 medium carrot- finely diced
1 leeks – well washed and cut into fairly narrow rings, although they’ll fall apart
125g mushrooms – finely chopped
100ml ham or chicken stock
Glass of dry white wine
1tsp Herbes de Provence – or a pinch each of thyme, chopped rosemary, oregano, lavender (purely optional), marjoram
1 or 2 bay leaves
Sea Salt
Freshly cracked black pepper
1tbsp cornflour mixed with a few splashes of water
150g crème fraîche, soured cream, cream or milk
400g cooked ham from a joint – or gammon – roughly chopped but not too small as it will fall apart anyway
Peas, courgette, red pepper, sweetcorn – choose 2 or 3 of them and it’s a handful of each one
1/2 lemon – juiced

fanny and brendas ham and mushroom fricasée

Method

1. Melt the butter and olive oil together in a frying pan and gently fry the onion with the garlic, carrot, celery, leek and mushrooms until the onion is transparent and the vegetables have softened.

2. Stir in the Herbes de Provence and add the bay leaf, wine and stock.

fanny and brendas ham and mushroom fricasée

3. Now add the ham and give everything a stir. Put the lid on the pan and cook for 10 minutes.

4. Add two or three other vegetables – we used peas, red pepper and sweetcorn (we used fresh, sliced off the cob, but tinned would be fine)

5. Season to taste – the reason you do it now is because you want to see how salty it is already due to the ham

6. Slake 1tbsp cornflour in a little water and stir into the ham and vegetable mixture. Stir well over a low heat until the cornflour mixture thickens the fricassée.

7. Stir in the crème fraîche, soured cream, cream, yoghurt or milk and cook through, squeezing over the lemon at the last minute.

fanny and brendas ham and mushroom fricasée

8. Serve on a bed of white rice.

fanny and brendas ham and mushroom fricasée

Boom Boom’s After Eight Cocktail: Chocolate and Mint on the Rocks

Bebe von Boom Boom's After Eight Cocktail

Fanny asked me to go and look after Bebe Von Boom Boom, an old friend of hers in Herefordshire, while she checked out the gutters. From what I have since heard, this wasn’t about sorting out our failing drainage system, but more a thoroughly unprincipled move to enjoy some local Brazilian men whilst I am otherwise engaged! There will be trouble if I get back and find out she really has been enjoying herself I can tell you. For me, it has been a hell of a week living with this frightful loud woman and her extremely dubious moustache. Still; we did pilfer some gorgeous Victoria Plums from someone’s back garden so it wasn’t all bad. Anyway today I asked her to make me a cocktail and here it is; the wonderful chocolate mint “Boom Boom After Eight on the Rocks”. Actually…. we only added one ice cube! It’s a lovely summery drink to enjoy in the evening particularly at this time of year!

You will need:

Creme de Cacao Blanc
Creme de Menthe
Ice cubes.

Place ice cube in tall tapering glass
Firstly pour in a measure of the Creme de Menthe. It is denser than the cacao and sits in the bottom of the glass very nicely.
Secondly pour carefully and slowly (over a spoon which is just placed at the surface of the Creme de Menthe) the Cacao in equal measure. You want the cacao to sit clearly above the creme de Menthe for the two tone effect.

Serve and Enjoy!

Check out Bebe’s delicious Pork Stroganoff here.