All posts by Brenda Gateway

I am a truly magical person who has been known to offer fashion advice to the likes of Victoria Beckham. I said 'the likes of'. I haven't actually advised Victoria herself though she is welcome to my dulcet and obervant tones anytime. She is such a delight. Let's hope she tries my lemon mousse!

Delicious fresh currant tart

fresh currant tart from fanny and brenda

Although the shops rarely stock fresh currants, we now grow our own. These are fruit that seem to have fallen out of favour with shoppers but their sour sweetness is perfect for an end of summer meal pudding,-so if you are able to find any for sale in farm shops or high class greengrocers then grab them!

Ingredients:

100g of puff pastry

Creme patissiere

4 egg yolks

60g caster sugar

25g plain flour

2 tsp cornflour

280ml milk

Apple Glaze

Four sweet apples cored and peeled

Currants

A 500g mix of red white and blackcurrants

fresh currant tart from fanny and brenda

Method

Prepare the  tart base

1. Roll out and blind bake with baking beans for 20 minutes

2. Bake for a further five without them.

3. Take out of oven and leave on side to cool

To create the creme patissiere filling

  1.  Beat the egg yolks and sugar until pale and slightly thickened.

  2.  Whisk in the flours.

  3.  Heat the milk in a saucepan until it starts to boil

  4.  Whisk the milk into the egg mix.

  5.  Return the whole lot back into the pan, stirring all the time until thick and boiling.

  6.  Take the pan off the heat and pour into the base of the tart 

Apple glaze

 1. Four sweet apples cored and chunked and boiled in a little water and 4 dsp of  caster sugar

 2. Leave to cool bait and then whiz in the blender.

 3. Pour the apple glaze on the now set creme patissiere 

Currant Topping

Sprinkle the currants across the top.

Place in oven for half an hour at 200°C.

As the tart cooks the currants will sink into the glaze.

Leave to cool and shake some icing sugar over the top via a sieve.

Serve with cream. 

fresh currant tart from fanny and brenda

Which strawberry jam ?

strawberry jam taste test - which one do we prefer?

We haven’t made any strawberry jam of late as we haven’t had spare strawberries for such activities! So what to do? Well we suggest buying the best of them as usual. But heavens! look at this: Bonne Maman gives us two strawberry jams to choose from in our local supermarché!

The wild strawberry conserve sounds very inviting but cost more than the standard strawberry conserve. We didn’t know what to do, so we bought both.

These jams are soft set and both are delicious. Equally delicious. We couldn’t actually discern any major flavour differences at all, but strangely the wild one had seeds! Now we’re not especially keen on seeds though we can tolerate them. However when one comes without as many seeds it seemed to us the more obvious choice particularly as it is less expensive.

Whichever one you choose, it will delight.

* Please note that these are own findings, we have not been sponsored by Bonne Maman or any associated companies and this is not a commercial posting in any way at all. (Yes we’ve missed a trick there!) Enjoy the jam.

Tesco prices on Monday 8th August 2016:

Bonne Maman Strawberry And Wild Strawberry 370g £2.69
Bonne Maman Strawberry Conserve 370g £2.29

Baba Ganoush

I was busy on the phone disapproving about something missing in the service from one of our feckless utilities, when I was rudely interrupted by a rather strident voice from the kitchen ordering my immediate presence to “enjoy Fanny’s Baba Ganoush”. For a minute I was lost for words, as the worst of all images came to mind in a flurry of hideous technicolor. I ended my call and pondered. Was it time to have Fanny sectioned? She had been taking her pills so I decided on a diplomatic response and tentatively entered her domain. Despite the awful possibilities that could have lain behind the invitation, the reality was much simpler. She had been busy making a dip, – which can also be a side dish or indeed part of a meze. This is really rather a pleasing number and accompanies bread or a main course with equal aplomb. It is of Middle Eastern origin and very flavoursome.

baba-ganoush-side-dish or starter -from fanny and brenda

INGREDIENTS
large aubergine
2tbsp tahini, plus more as needed
3 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 lemons – juiced
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp red chilli flakes

sea salt, to taste

extra virgin olive oil
1 small bunch flat leaf parsley roughly chopped

METHOD

Preheat an oven to 200°C

Place the aubergine on a baking sheet, prick with a fork in several places, drizzle with a little olive oil and sea salt and bake for about an hour till completely collapsed.

Remove from the oven, let cool slightly, slice open and scoop all the aubergine flesh out into a bowl – using a fork, mash to a paste.

Add the tahini, garlic, most of the lemon juice and the cumin and mix well.

Season with salt, then taste and add more tahini and/or lemon juice, if needed.

Transfer the mixture to a serving bowl, form a shallow well with a spoon.

Drizzle some olive oil over the top and sprinkle with the chilli flakes and parsley.

Serve at room temperature.

Ideal with flatbreads and/or part of a meze

Lemon Drizzle Cake

It is a lovely time of year for enjoying a small slice of cake with a cup of tea in the late afternoon sun. Well, some of us show some restraint. Unfortunately Fanny always helps herself to gargantuan slices and drinks our home made Plum Vodka with hers!!!

lovely tea time lemon drizzle cake by fanny and brenda

Ingredients
225g butter –  softened
225g caster sugar
4 egg plus a yolk if you’re feeling decadent
2 lemons – zest finely grated ( I recommend doing this directly into the mix at the time)
225g self-raising flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
For the drizzle topping
juice of 2 lemons
100g caster sugar

Method

.    Heat oven to 150°C fan.

.    Beat together the softened butter and caster sugar until pale and creamy, then add the  eggs one at a time,  mixing through after each one.

.    
Now sift in the flour -  I like to put half in first, mix, then the other half (it helps avoid flour storms…) and the baking powder –  next zest the lemon directly into the bowl, which ensures all the lemon oil (and therefore flavour) gets into the mix –  and combine well.

.    
Line a loaf tin (8 x 21cm) with buttered greaseproof paper,  spoon in the mixture and level out the top.

.    Bake for 50-55 mins until a skewer inserted right into the cake comes out clean. While the cake is cooling in its tin, mix together the lemon juice  and the caster sugar to make the drizzle. Prick the warm cake all over with a skewer or fork, then pour over the drizzle – the juice will sink in and the sugar will form a crisp sweet-tangy topping.

.    
Once the cake is completely cool, turn it out of the tin, slice and serve…

lovely tea time lemon drizzle cake by fanny and brenda

Using up leftovers – Plum Vodka Pudding

plum vodka pudding -using up leftovers

I have worked my way through our plum vodka which we made last year. The recipe is on the blog but having now enjoyed the plum vodka I was left with the plums which had been sitting in the base of the jar. As I had emptied the jar of alcohol it seemed obvious that the plums could now be thrown. Then I ate one. Oooohh! I quite liked its addled steeped lusciousness. Now I could have eaten them on their own and been quite happy but I thought “why not turn it into a pud?”. And do you know this one is quite decadently delicious, – but economic too. Try it with a splash of cream it really will give you a smile! And let’s face facts I have to face Fanny Klunge every morning so I need something to smile about.

plum vodka pudding -using up leftovers

Ingredients

50g butter
1 dst spoon of vanilla paste
100g caster sugar
2 large eggs separated
50g self raising flour
150ml milk
Decanted and de-stoned plums from the plum vodka kilner jar

 

Preheat oven to 180°C/340°F

Method

Place the sugar, butter, vanilla, and yolks into a mixing bowl and whisk up

Add the flour with the milk

Butter up a baking dish

Place the plums in the base

Whisk up the egg whites till stiff and add to the yolk mixture

Pour the whisked up mixture over the plums

Cook for 40 minutes until it has a light brown topping

Leave to cool for half an hour and then serve with a small drop of cream!

plum vodka pudding -using up leftovers

 

Coconut Ice Cream

fanny klunge's homemade cocnut ice cream

We wanted to film one of our epic YouTube masterpieces and make a pineapple and coconut soufflé which required coconut ice cream. This sounds simple enough but, surprisingly, that particular ingredient was nowhere to be found in the apparent wilds of south London where there are, of course, no people of Caribbean origin who would never dream of eating anything with coconut in it.

So, instead of firing off “Inconvenienced, of Streatham” letters to our local supermarket management – or having a stand-up row with some of the smaller shopkeepers – I decided to make my own.

As for the soufflé, the idea was binned. After a couple of tries we realised that hot pineapple is dubious and the end result was disgusting. This ice cream recipe is delicious however!

Ingredients

400ml can of coconut cream
250ml double cream
300ml full cream milk
1 x 50g sachet creamed coconut
1 vanilla pod
6 egg yolks
165g golden caster sugar
60g desiccated coconut

Method

Combine the coconut cream, cream, milk and creamed coconut (break up the single piece into about ten smaller chunks to help it dissolve) in a medium saucepan. Split vanilla pod in half lengthways, scrape the seeds into the pan then place pod in pan.

Meanwhile, whisk the egg yolks and sugar until well combined and lighter in colour; when the milk pan is getting towards boiling, ladle out some of the cream into the beaten eggs and immediately whisk them together – this loosens the eggs and heats it a little which is called tempering and means you’re less likely to turn your whisked egg/sugar mix into scrambled egg when all of the hot cream goes in.

When the cream mix boils, add it to the tempered egg mix, whisking all the time,

Strain into a large heatproof jug, discard the vanilla pod and any small lumps which get caught in the sieve.

Switch on the small oven (if you have a double oven) to 180C should come up to temperature while you carry out the next step

Wash the pan quickly and return mixture to it. Set over a low to medium heat and stir constantly, without boiling, until it is thickened slightly – if you have a thermometer, it should read about 78°C. While the mixture is gently heating, put the desiccated coconut into an oven proof dish/pan big enough to allow the coconut to spread thinly over the bottom and place in the oven. You cannot, however, turn your back on stirring the egg/cream mix for more than a few seconds – and neither can you take your eyes off the roasting coconut as it will go from done to done-in in seconds! Around three minutes is all it will take to go a lovely toasty golden brown and that’s what you’re looking for – so you may need a second pair of hands here. But it’s do-able if you’re prepared to focus and have the confidence. Stir in the toasted coconut and pour into a baking tin, cover and freeze until almost set – 3 to 4 hours approximately.

You could then scoop out the partially frozen ice cream into a large bowl, and blend it for a minute or two with an electric whisk till smooth – but depending on the height of the baking tin sides, you might well be able to carry out this final stage in situ in the tin but you’ll need to judge that for yourselves. My tin had sides about three inches high and, although I did get a few splashes, was able to whisk it up in the tin, which saved transferring it and washing up!

Put in a tin or container that will approximately give you a block shape – like an old ice cream container, or loaf tin, for example – then freeze until firm. The whisking process mid-freeze helps get a bit of air into the mix and so give it a creamier/more scoop-able texture although you’ll still benefit from leaving it for 15-20 mins out of the freezer before serving.

Spicy oregano chicken breast roll with avocado and lime mayonnaise

spicy oregano chicken breast roll with avocado and lime mayo

I’d spent the previous day chopping chickens, primarily for another batch of stock – feeling like a latter-day Dr Crippen (although that may have been influenced by Brenda’s “soothing conversation and light badinage”……..)

Anyway, I found myself with a couple of chicken legs and breasts going spare so thought I’d knock us up a quick and tasty lunch that’s partly a salad and partly a warm sandwich.

Ingredients

1 chicken breast
1/2 avocado
1 bread roll – like a focaccia or ciabatta
two pinches of dried oregano
pinch cayenne pepper

2 dsp mayonnaise
juice and zest of half a lime
small handful of finely sliced spring onions (green part)
pinch of red chilli flakes

olive oil
sea salt
fresh cracked black pepper

Method

1) Bash out the chicken breast between two sheets of clingfilm, using the bottom of a pan, until it’s no more than 1/2 cm thin

2) Heat a medium frying pan on the hob while you rub a little olive oil onto both sides of the meat. Sprinkle a pinch of the oregano on each side – also, season with salt and pepper plus a light dusting of cayenne if you’re feeling adventurous but this can be omitted.

3) Slap the flattened breast onto the hot pan and hear the sizzle! Leave well alone for 2-3 minutes which you can use to make your dressing

4) In a bowl, add the mayo, lime juice/zest, finely sliced spring onion tops, chilli flakes and a little salt and pepper.

5) Turn the chicken breast which should be a lovely sizzling golden brown. While the other side fries, cut the roll in half and lightly toast. Also cut the half avocado into fine slices.

6) To serve, spread just under half the sauce onto the cut surface of each half of the roll, fan the avocado slices equally over each half. The other side of the chicken breast should by now also be golden brown and sizzling (having cooled altogether 5-6 mins). Cut it in half and place each piece on each half of the bread roll and spread the final tsp or so of dressing onto the chicken breast portion.

spicy oregano chicken breast roll with avocado and lime mayo

Hot Toddy

fanny and brendas hot toddy

I love December. The year is virtually over and the Christmas lights are going up. There is that feeling of festivity in the air. Fanny looks more and more like Father Christmas every year due to her billowing white facial hair that she usually clips out before we start filming. It’s like a fairy tale.

These days the shopping takes place online. As some rather short sighted retailers now have aggressive parking practices that enable them to make money twice by employing moronic parking management companies I no longer bother, so everything comes to me – without the parking tickets.

After a strenuous day unpacking my latest gifts to myself I usually need a cocktail to improve my weary state. A favourite of mine is the Hot Toddy. I once had a boyfriend called Todd who was quite hot and I think of him with a wry smile before I click my fingers at Fanny and she makes one for me.

So, the ingredients are below but really, I’m going to let your imaginations run wild with the proportions as these are totally up to you.

Ingredients

Whisky or rum
Runny honey
Lemon juice
Cinnamon stick
Couple of cloves
Hot water

Fanny’s Method for a fabulous Hot Toddy

Take a little hot water to loosen around a tsp of the honey to a thin syrup – you won’t need a lot.

Put your tot of whichever spirit you are using into a glass, add some honey syrup and lemon juice (again, as much or little as you like so you get a drink where the sweetness/tartness is balanced how you like it – and Brenda prefers hers tarty, quelle surprise…

Drop in your cloves and cinnamon stick, then top up with hot water – leave the kettle for 20 seconds or so after coming up to the boil to reduce the likelihood of cracking your glass, although the other ingredients already there should help prevent this.

Stir with the cinnamon stick, check it is to your liking, adjust with more of any of the ingredients if necessary – then drink when it’s still hot but not burning your mouth. You get a much more satisfying result when you can pretty much fit the whole lot in at once………

Blackberry Blueberry & Apple Pie

autumn fruit pie - blackberry blueberry and apple pie by fanny and brenda

I spend most days having to look at a dilipdated Fanny which is the equivalent of looking at a sad old pie. A rather fatty pork pie I may add. However despite her unfortunate looks, (which are considerably worse before she cakes on the makeup), I am not put off by such horrors. This week to compensate for my pain, I have made the most delectable Autumn orientated fruit pie in the world and one thing pleases me in particular; – that I am so modest about it! I’ve said it before and I will say it again (because I have a nasty habit of repeating myself despite the doctor’s prescription), Autumn is one of my favourite times of the year due to the colours and the harvest. This year I have some apples which I located in someone’s garden, and some recently picked blackberries found in someone’s hedge, so I thought I would add some blueberries to the mix as well. And if I may say so, this delicious combination of fruit will keep young and old very happy indeed!

autumn fruit pie - blackberry blueberry and apple pie by fanny and brenda

Ingredients

350g blueberries
350g blackberries
350 apples
4 tablespoons of caster sugar
1 beaten egg

autumn fruit pie - blackberry blueberry and apple pie by fanny and brenda


Shortcrust pastry

160g plain flour
100g butter
A large pinch of sea salt
1 tsp of caster sugar
Approx 2 tablespoons of water

Method

1) The rich shortcrust pastry

Take a mixing bowl and combine the sugar salt and flour.
Now take the butter in small lumps and add it to the flour mix.
Blend it till you get a crumbly texture.
Add enough water to the dough to get the mixture to combine.
Now: the odd part, which isn’t odd once you get used to it- the fraisage.

Take the bottom of the palm of your hand (the heel) and take a small amount of the pastry and literally smear it down a well floured pastry board. Put that smeared pastry to one side, and then add another and repeat. Wrap it all up into a ball and then repeat the process again. This process is ‘fraisage’.

Now take the ball of pastry, wrap it and refrigerate it for an hour.

autumn fruit pie - blackberry blueberry and apple pie by fanny and brenda

2) The pie

Roll out the pastry
Take a pie dish and grease it
Lay the pastry in the dish
Blind bake it for twenty minutes (10 minutes with the beans and 10 minutes without) at 150°C
Take out and leave to cool

Place the blackberries in a bowl. Drain off the juice if they have been frozen.
Add the blueberries
Add two table spoons of sugar and leave to macerate for half an hour
Meanwhile peel and core some apples and stew for quarter of an hour in a pan. Add sugar to taste
Remove from the heat and leave to cool.
Add the apples to the fruit mix,and stir in.

Add the fruit mix to the pie
Rollout some pastry for the topping.
Baste with some beaten egg
Add a scattering of caster sugar to the topping
Bake in oven at 200°C for about thirty minutes or till golden brown on top.

Serve with cream or custard

autumn fruit pie - blackberry blueberry and apple pie by fanny and brenda

Nectarine Galette

nectarine galette by fanny and brenda

According to wikipedia a “Galette is a term used in French cuisine to designate various types of flat round or freeform crusty cakes” It can also be a buckwheat pancake and around the world it has its variants. This particular recipe concentrates on the French crusty cake version, and I have used some ripe nectarines to use within its crust. The base is an almond affair and the whole thing is really quite sumptuous. It makes for an ideal weekend treat when reading the Sunday newspapers. It is designed for children and adults to get their teeth into, and only takes about half an hour to prepare. You will need some of our rough puff pastry – recipe on the blog. However you can make a job lot of that earlier in the week and use some of it with this recipe.

Ingredients

For the pastry
150g butter
150g plain flour
75ml cold water
sprinkle of salt

For the filling
A handful of ripe nectarines cut into quarters
100g ground almonds
2 eggs beaten
100g caster sugar
1 splash of almond extract

Method

nectarine galette by fanny and brenda

Preheat oven to 200°C

Pastry recipe as found here

Roll out the pastry and place in a well buttered baking dish. Do not worry about cutting off the edges, (the pastry that is outside the pastry case will be folded in later). Set aside.

In a mixing bowl place the butter and beat till soft and creamy

Add the sugar to the butter and beat

Add three quarters of the egg and whisk into the mixture

Pour in the ground almonds and mix until  even and smooth

Place in the base of the galette and spread evenly on the base

Place the nectarines on top of the almond mixture

Cut the pastry (with regular slits around the perimeter) which is overhanging the pastry dish and fold in roughly creating a rough edge. Fold in against the baking dish.

Brush the pastry with the rest of the beaten egg

Sprinkle with flaked almonds

Cook for about thirty minutes or until browned (and make sure the almond filling has cooked – if not leave it in the oven at about 140°C for about a further ten minutes).

When cool glaze with melted apricot jam, and leave for an hour or so till set, and then serve.

nectarine galette by fanny and brenda