Delivering on Taste and on Time

chilli

‘Lateness is something I cannot abide. It was instilled in me at a young age. And I do not tolerate it in my kitchen. That, and people turning up to work with hangovers. I bristle at the thought’.

-Michel Le Roux Jr

Welcome back ample friends, to the last food orientated entry of March 2014! In total, the number of blogs I have written stands tall to a figure of 17 entries, 18 including this one. Indeed time does fly when you’re having fun and time enjoyed is certainly not time wasted! In keeping of the season of Spring, I wish to instil a slighter fresher approach to cooking, a sort of ample servings renaissance, if you will. This is to say, making my growing knowledge of food and cuisine more accessible to you, the reader and the household cook! It’s all well and good drooling over an image of a slutty brownie or laughing at my chemical reaction cupcakes from last Valentine’s Day, however my aims have changed somewhat. You see, I quite want you all to be able to learn something from each entry if possible. My written musings can only entertain you so far and it would be wonderful if you could take something interesting and constructive away with you. If you so wish, that is! I promise it’s not like being back at school….

In order to spark off my ample servings ‘rebirth’, the following components that I will be adding to my weekly blog as of next week are;

  • a how to video cooking demonstration, simple culinary techniques and skills demonstrated in a vine or short YouTube clip,
  • seasonal produce discussions enabling you to cook with the most ripe and ready to eat fruit and vegetables and
  • my response to an ample readers culinary query or dilemma.

Should I be ashamed that the above makes me want to burst with excitement? Most probably, and yet I shall ignore any jeers of jibes for now! That awful saying, ‘new hair, new me’ springs to mind. The final addition to my blog is a little experimental so bear with me. I am very keen gather feedback from certain recipes particularly, when concerning baked goods such as; cakes, breads and scones. And so, I would like to see if on occasion, anyone would like to receive a box of something, delivered to their front door for a small fee. Any money made would go towards my culinary school funds and it would be ‘such fun’ making and baking for an actual order rather than a friend’s birthday request. My birthday request no doubt will take a steep dive now…sigh. If you’re at all interested, details will follow of my bake and deliver service shortly!

yep

This kind of thing

Right, how about some tasty grub? Seeing as we’re having some gorgeously sunny weather at present, I thought I might suggest some savoury tarts with a little green salad. Ideal for relatively healthy eating (don’t look at the butter content in puff pastry!) and perfect for a social occasion if you can’t really be bothered to spend that much time slaving away in the kitchen.

tarts

Savoury Sunday Tarts

(serves 3)

Ingredients:

1/2 pack of premade puff pastry

Jar of basil pesto

Couple of handfuls of tomatoes, sliced in half

50g of goats cheese

Fresh thyme

Salt and pepper

Method:

On a lightly floured surface, roll out half of the puff pastry to about ½ inch thickness and place on a flat baking tray. I try to keep it to a rectangle shape, but you can make it circular if you wish. Taking a generous spoonful of pesto, spread it all over the pastry. Place the tomatoes on top of the pesto in a uniform formation such as lines. It just looks nice. Crumble the goats’ cheese over the top of the tomatoes and feel free to use more than stated. Season the tart with salt and pepper, a few sprigs of thyme and even a dash of olive oil. Fresh basil leaves would add to the taste value here. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes at around 170-180ºC. When the pastry is crispy, brown and fairly hard to touch, it should be ready.

Tom tart

(Serves 3)

Ingredients:

1/2 pack of premade puff pastry

Glug of oil

2 red onions

Tbsp. brown sugar

Balsamic or sherry vinegar

Pack of feta cheese

10 black olives

Rosemary sprigs

Salt and pepper

Method:

First, you need to caramelize your onions. Slice your red onions lengthways and place in a pan over a low heat with a little oil. Let them go very soft, then throw in the sugar and add a splash of vinegar. Taste and season with salt and pepper. You may want to add a little more vinegar or sugar depending on your personal preference. Like the tart above, roll out your pastry to a ½ inch thickness and place on a tray. Generously spoon on the onions and spread with the back of the spoon. Sprinkle over 50g of feta, the olives and season with the rosemary and salt and pepper. Place in the oven for 15-20 minutes at 170-180ºC. Serve with a green leaf salad and some walnut oil or a balsamic dressing.

feta

Next on my list of delicious delights is from my Asian cooking class a few weeks ago! This is a wonderful recipe for pork and mushroom wontons. They are really fun to make in a group of friends,  and even more fun with little ones. Once you get the technique of sealing the wontons, it’s easy and goes down a treat with guests. Perfect to dip into sweet chilli sauce or light soy and you can cook them three different ways!

wontons

Pork and Mushroom Wontons

(Serves 5-6)

Spoonful of dried black mushrooms

3-4 normal mushrooms

2 leaves of bok choy

1 spring onion

1 tsp grated ginger

200g pork mince

1tbsp dark soy sauce

1 tsp cornflour

1tsp sesame oil

1 tsp sugar

Pinch of salt

1 egg, lightly beaten

A cheeky chilli

Plenty of peanut oil

Wonton wrappers

Water in a little dish

Method:

wonton recipe

lots of wontons

Wonton prep! They look like their wearing tuxes!

done

These are boiled for 8-10 mins. You can steam or fry your wontons for the same amount of time if you want a different texture. Strangely, boiled were my favourite.

Our final recipe today is something quite lovely from Great British Chefs Online. It’s a dark chocolate and malt tart which goes perfectly with a little burnt caramel ice cream and fresh strawberries. The homemade pastry with real vanilla seeds makes all the difference. This recipe went down an absolute storm last Sunday lunch with two super foodies, Libby and Fab. If anyone knows good food, it’s this dashing duo.

chocolate tart

Dark Chocolate and Malt Tart

Ingredients:

(Tart pastry)

3 large egg yolks

1/2 vanilla pod

250g of plain flour

50g of icing sugar

150g of butter

(Chocolate and malt filling)

500ml of double cream

1 tbsp of Horlicks

2 large eggs

400g of dark chocolate

  • For the method click the link here:

http://www.greatbritishchefs.com/recipes/chocolate-malt-tart-recipe

Until April my ample followers! If you have any burning culinary queries that you would like solved or any techniques you would like me show you, email me directly on ampleservings@outlook.com and I will respond via my blog next month. I hope you’re excited for the new changes. Gods knows, I am!

E. Wells Xx

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