Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Chocolate Self Saucing Pudding

This is a classic recipe and these proportions work really well.

125g (1 cup) plain, all purpose flour
a pinch of salt
120g (1/2 cup) castor sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
4 tablespoons cocoa powder
250ml (1 cup) milk
85g (3oz) unsalted butter, melted
2 eggs lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

185g (1 cup) soft brown sugar
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
250 ml (1 cup) boiling water

Sift the flour, salt, sugar, baking powder and cocoa powder into a bowl.

Add the milk, butter, egg and vanilla extract and mix with beaters until combined. Pour into 4-6 greased rammekins (do NOT overfill).

To make the topping, stir the brown sugar and cocoa powder into a bowl to combine, then sprinkle it over the pudding batter. Pour boiling water carefully over the puddings.

Bake for 20-25 minutes at 180 C (350 F).

Monday, August 13, 2007

Pumpkin Lasagne

1.25 kg peeled pumpkin, cut into 3 cm cubes
1 large spanish onion, cut in half and then into thin wedges
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon dried chilli flakes
sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
40g butter
3 tablespoons plain flour
3 cups milk
1 bay leaf
1 cup ricotta cheese
oven ready (dry) or fresh lasagne sheets

Pumpkin filling: preheat oven to 200C. Place the pumpkin and onion in a large baking tray. Drizzle with the olive oil and sprinkle with thyme leaves and chilli. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper.

Place in over and bake for 40 minutes or until golden brown, turning occasionally. Remove tray from oven and set aside to cool slightly. Then place pumpkin and onion in a bowl and mash with a fork, retaining some texture.

Cheese sauce: Heat the butter in a large saucepan over a medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2-3 minutes or until bubbling. gradually start whisking in the milk until smooth. Add the bay leaf and cook, stirring, until sauce thickens. Remove from heat, take out the bay leaf and then add the ricotta. Whisk until combined. Season to taste.

Layer up lasagne: Preheat oven to 180 C. Lightly butter and ovenproof baking dish. Layer up lasagne starting with:
  • 1/2- 1 cup cheese sauce
  • half pumpkin/onion mash
  • lasagne sheet
  • 1/2- 1 cup cheese sauce
  • half pumpkin/onion mash
  • lasagne sheet
  • finish with remaining cheese sauce and sprinkly with grated parmesan
Bake for 35-40 minutes. Serves 4-6 for lunch.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

What to do with courgettes.

Our friends Neil, Ange & Emma, and Jess & Andrew have an allotment and are presently enjoying an over-suppy of courgettes. I was there for diner last night and we had this yummy courgette soup.
Courgette Soup


Serves 4

1 kg courgettes - any size and colour
250g potatoes (suitable for mashing), peeled or scrubbed
2 cloves garlic, peeled & crushed
1 medium onion, peeled & chopped
30ml olive oil
150g soft cheese (see note below for alternatives)
Handful fresh chives, chopped
Handful fresh summer herbs of your choice, chopped
1 1/2 pints water (or mild-flavoured stock)


  1. Wash the courgettes and chop them into chunks.

  2. Heat the oil gently in a large pan. Add the onion and garlic.

  3. Gently cook for about 5 minutes, to soften.

  4. Add the potatoes. Stirr. Cook gently, covered, for about 15 minutes, until about half-cooked.

  5. Add the courgettes and stir. Cook for about 5 minutes until softened, stirring occasionally.

  6. Add 1 1/2 pints of water - just enough to cover the contents of the pan. Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 10 minutes, or until the potatoes are soft.

  7. Remove from the heat and liquidise the soup.

  8. Add the Cheese & herbs.

  9. Season to taste with salt & pepper.
Allotment Photos: