The apple of my eye

Mrs Stovies loves a snifter of Amaretto, and there’s no doubting that she also loves a nice slice of cake too. Moist and moreish, this recipe combines the two and we hope you love it as much as Mrs S does.

40ml Amaretto
40ml Apple juice
100g Sultanas
2 Large cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped
170g Butter, very very soft
200g Caster sugar
2 Large eggs
350g Self raising flour, wholemeal
100g Ground almonds
1tsp Cinnamon

To top:
Water icing* (50g icing sugar + 2-3tsp water)
A handful of flaked almonds

*Stir the water in gradually, one tsp first then half a teaspoon at a time allowing to sit for a moment before adding the next. When the icing runs off the spoon in thick ribbons it’s spot on. If not, add a tad more water.

Soak the sultanas in the Amaretto and apple juice. If you are feeling adventurous play with the proportion of booze to juice, you could even swap the Amaretto for Calvados for a doubly appley flavour. Beat the sugar and butter together until creamy, then add the eggs one at a time and keep beating until smooth and glossy. Add flour, ground almonds and cinnamon, mix thoroughly then fold in the apple and sultanas.

Bake in a round tin for about an hour at gas 4 / 180°c and once baked leave to cool for about 20 minutes in the tin before moving the cake to a wire rack. Once completely cool, drizzle with water icing and scatter with flaked almonds.

Not Fish or Chips

It’s been a while folks. Sorry ’bout that. Here’s a little treat for you, especially the veggie ones of you. Fish Friday fill you with fear? Here’s an alternative that pays homage to the great British classic Fish & Chips, without the fish. Or the chips.
HalloumiFish©stovies2013

Essentially, what we have here is battered halloumi with a quick & dirty potato rosti and mushy peas. To feed 2-3 you will need:
For the Rosti:
4 Medium potatoes
Salt & pepper
A little oil for frying

Peel the potatoes then grate finely, our ancient but still going steam powered Magimix is great at this, it definitely saves on injuries! If you don’t have a food processor with a grating attachment, we’ll warn you now, it takes elbow grease to grate potatoes.

Once grated, bundle the potato up in a clean tea towel and twist into a ball to squeeze the juice out. Twist in both directions for maximum drying. Random fact: The icky juice that comes out? That’s what Hula Hoops are made of.

Lay another clean tea towel on top of a large baking tray. Spread the grated potato evenly over it, breaking up any clumps as you go and season with salt & pepper. Leave for an hour or so then squeeze the juices out again.

Heat a little oil in a frying pan, shape a handful of potato into a round about 1cm deep, pressing together firmly. We used a small pie/tart tin which was perfect, just use your hands if you don’t or make one large rosti in the pan and do the squeezing down with a spatula while the rosti cooks. Fry lightly on both sides until the outside starts to turn golden. Trasfer to a baking tray and bake at Gas 6 / 200′c for 10 – 15 minutes.

For the Halloumi ‘fish’:

1 Block Halloumi (cut into 1cm thick slices try carefully not to break them)
100g Plain flour
125ml Beer, we used Brewdog’s Punk IPA
A couple of pinches of salt
1/2 tsp Bicarbonate of soda

Everyone has their preferred saucepan for frying things, our weapon of choice is actually a wok. Whatever you use, heat plenty of oil until it is hot enough to turn a cube of bread golden in 40 seconds. While the oil is heating, thouroughly mix the batter ingredients. Once the oil is hot dip the Halloumi slices into the batter and carefully place into the hot oil, frying 2 or 3 slices at a time. Make sure they don’t stick together.

The fish won’t take long, just two minutes or so until the batter is crisp. Remove from the oil when crisp and dry on some kitchen towel. Repeat the process until all of the Halloumi is cooked. Dish up with the rosti and mushy peas.

Note: The beer will make the kitchen smell amazingly hoppy, we recommend having an extra bottle or two on hand to enjoy in liquid form too!

A nice big slice

Veggie? Meat feast? Caviar and gold leaf? Dress it up, dress it down, any way you like it. Pizza is perfect.

We were wandering around Stockbridge market a few weeks ago and found a phenomenal fennel salami which we would have happily munched on it’s own but as we all know, everything is better on a pizza. Paired with some finely cut broccoli and creamy mozzarella it worked a treat and we hope you like it too.

It won’t be a great pizza without a great base:

200g Strong white bread flour
100g Semolina
1 Sachet instant yeast
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Caster sugar
2 tbsp Rapeseed oil or EV olive oil
200-250ml Water

Mix the flour, yeast and salt together in a large bowl and stir in the oil. Gradually add the water and mixing well to form a soft dough. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes) then cover and set aside in a warm place to prove for at least an hour and a half.

Next up, you need a really rich tomato sauce to spread on the base. This is our go to recipe and it features in a fair few of our other recipes on here too. You will have leftover sauce, you can freeze it or whip up something else with it. Our parmigiana perhaps? Simply slowly simmer all of the ingredients for an hour or so.

1 can of good quality chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp sugar
1 tbs balsamic
1 tbs olive oil
1 tsp dried oregano
1 bay leaf
2 crushed garlic cloves
Salt & Pepper

Preheat the oven to gas mark 5.

When you’re ready to roll, dust your work surface with flour and roll the dough out into a large rectangle, enough to fill a large baking tray. Make the base as thin as you can without making any holes then arrange onto the baking tray, covering the entire surface. Rectangular pizza’s rock, there are more crispy edges and some special topping only pieces in the middle too.

Spread a thin layer of sauce over the base then sprinkle with grated hard mozzarella (or smoked scamorza for a taste sensation). Cut some broccoli into micro florets and scatter on top of the cheese before layering on plenty of salami. Bake in the oven until the base is crispy and the cheese is bubbled all over.

 

I’ll make you banana pancakes, pretend like it’s the weekend now*

Mini Stovies can’t get enough of these right now; our own Banana and Date Pancakes, which we are only too happy to make by the mountain load at the weekend. Thanks to the minimal sugar and two portions of fruit this is a happy healthy brekkie for all the family.

The recipe below will make six 4-5 inch pancakes, multiply to your heart’s delight.

2 Large eggs
300 ml Milk
250g Plain flour
1 tsp Baking powder (heaped)
1-2 tsp Sugar
2 Bananas, sliced
A handful of dried dates, chopped

Separate the eggs and beat the whites until stiff. In a large bowl mix together all of the ingredients bar the fruit and mix until smooth. Gently fold in the egg whites.

Heat a small frying pan and wipe lightly with oil or melted butter – just dip a piece of kitchen towel into the butter/oil and swish it over the pan.

Pour a enough batter into the pan to cover to the edges, scatter some chopped dates and a few slices of banana into the cooking pancake. When the top starts to bubble and set flip it over and cook until you can hear the banana pieces sizzle.

Serve warm. For a really indulgent twist spread with peanut butter. Mmmmmmmmmmm.

* a little lyrical accompaniment to your brekkie? Thanks Jack Johnson!

Winging it

Need a nibble to spice up your barbecue, or more realistically in this weather to scoff on the sofa while watching a good gory movie? We’ve go a perfect, fool-proof recipe for Salt & Chilli Chicken Wings for you. This little lot will make 12 wings, enough for two people but easily multiplies.

12 Chicken wings
2 tbsp Tomato ketchup
1 tsp Rice vinegar
2 tsp Fivespice powder
2 tsp Salt
3 Spring onions
1 Red chilli

Mix together the seasonings & sauces and use as a marinade for the chicken. Leave the meat to soak up the tasty goodness for at least half an hour. When ready, roughly chop the chilli and spring onions and mix with the chicken wings before cooking in a hot (gas mark 6-7) oven for around 30 minutes – enjoy!

Mini Meat Munchies

It’s nearly been a year since our 9 month baking project arrived and it seems that she, like us, loves her food. So far Mini Stovies has a preference for strong tastes, Vegemite, curry, pesto, paella, she’s even sampled frog’s legs! (whilst Mrs Stovies shuddered in disgust)

Now that we’re well and truly moving away from the days of purees we thought we’d start sharing our child friendly recipes with our readers too. Some of them are definite kid eats, but most of them are happy grown up eats too, like these meatballs. They’re great as finger foods for little ones (cut into semi spheres) or for grown ups serve as tapas with spicy salsa or douse in fresh tomato sauce and serve with pasta.

Ingredients:
500g good steak mince
1 large handful grated mozzarella (the hard type)
2 handfuls dried breadcrumbs
1 tsp oregano
2 tsp thyme
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Pepper
Salt (omit for children)

Mix everything together with your hands. Roll into little balls, about 1 inch wide works well, although smaller for mixing through pasta opt for a much smaller ball and knock 5-10 minutes off the baking time. Lay the meatballs out on an oiled baking tray and bake for 20 minutes at gas mark 5, covering with foil for the first half of the cooking time.

Simples!

The Owl and the Pussycat went to Sea….

…..in a beautiful pea green boat.
They took some honey, and plenty of money,
Wrapped up in a five pound note.

Well, they’d have had a rare old time if they happened upon a floating gin palace with a cash bar but they probably wouldn’t have eaten very well once the honey was gone. Thankfully the clever pussycat also had with him a Sea Pie. Despite the name Sea Pie has very little to do with fish. It’s a great, warming and filling dish designed to keep fishermen going when they’re out at sea. Mr Stovies’ granny was a fine North Eastern fishwife and our version is an ode to her epic meaty dish.

This recipe will serve 6-8 people and is great for a relaxed late Sunday lunch. We would say on a winter’s day but really with a traditional Scottish summer any day will do!

For the meat stew:
750g Oxtail
500g Boiling beef (just ask the butcher, it’s a funny cut)
2 Onions, cut into large slices
3 Large carrots, in 1 inch chunks
1/4 Medium turnip, in 1 inch chunks
1tbsp Flour, heaped
750ml Water
1 or 2 Bay leaves
A good pinch of white pepper

Put all of the ingredients except the flour into a large, oven proof, lidded pan. Bring up to simmering point on the stove then turn the heat down low, cover with the lid and cook for a long time. A 4 hours plus long time, all day if you can. Stir occasionally. When the meat is falling away from the bones, fish the chunks out, pull the meat away from the bone with a fork and return to the pan. Discard the bones and the bay leaves. Mix a little cooking juice with the flour to make a lazy roux, thin it down with some more cooking liquor and stir through to thicken the stew.

For the dumplings:
200g Self raising flour
75g Suet
1tsp Dried thyme
Salt & pepper
Water to mix

Mix the dry ingredients together, add enough water to make a sticky dough then form into dumplings either by getting your hands dirty and rolling golf ball sized balls between your palms or get a little cheffy and use two spoons to make quenelles. Make sure you have one dumpling per person, although a couple of extras are a good idea too!

Asses the stew, the dumplings will suck up lots of water so you may need to add some more to compensate. Ideally there will be about 1/2 a cm of stew juice above the body of the meat. Place the dumplings evenly on top of the stew, cover with the lid and cook on a medium to low heat for half an hour.

Serve with crusty bread, a good red wine* and good chat.

*or a craft brewed ale, Harviestoun make some beautiful beers…..