The Great Office Bake Off!

We have heard the rumours and with bated breath have been counting down the days …

The Great British Bake Off is back on our screens for the summer from August 6th as Mary Berry and Paul ‘blue-eyes’ Hollywood return to inspire the nation once more!

In celebration we will be lining our cake tins and heading full steam ahead into the kitchen.  As the Great British Bake Off gets underway we will be hosting our very own Office Bake Off and, although we might not have Mary ‘Queen of Tarts’ Berry to point out any soggy bottoms, we will be armed with recipes from the gorgeous baking books we are publishing this Autumn! 

We’ll be testing a range of recipes from our new cookbooks and posting lots of pictures to tempt and inspire! 

From Top with Cinnamon we will try the stylish, home baked recipes of 18-year-old food blogger Izy Hossack and from Little Italy we will bake up a mini Italian feast, turning a much loved cuisine into perfect finger food! April Carter’s Decorated is packed with impressive cake recipes, which use the best in natural ingredients, and Donna Hay’s The New Classics is full of just that…classics to see you through the season!  Green kitchen Travels, by vegetarian blogger husband and wife team of Green Kitchen Stories fame, also offers plenty of innovative sweet and savoury bakes for us to get our teeth into. 

So, watch this space as we celebrate the art of baking in all of its glory over the next few weeks.   Check out some of our new titles below and for those who are in the baking mood right now, this mouth-watering Cherry Clafoutis from Paris Pastry Club makes the most of the current glut of these ruby fruits and will surely hit the spot.

Bon appétit!

Cherry Clafoutis

Serves 10

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200 g (7 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour

120 g (4 oz) caster (superfine) sugar

a pinch of salt

3 eggs

80 g (2. oz) butter, melted

400 g (14 oz) whole milk

500 g (1 lb 2 oz) cherries, pitted

  

Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) and generously butter a 30 cm

(12 in) tart dish.

Combine the flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl. Add the eggs, one at the time, beating well after each addition. When the batter is smooth, mix in the melted butter. Then gradually add the milk, mixing well so no lumps form. If you’re not fully confident it is lump-free, strain the batter through a sieve.

Scatter the pitted cherries into the prepared dish and gently pour the batter over. Bake for 30 minutes or until golden and quite firm. It can be slightly wobbly in the centre but a skewer inserted in the middle of the clafoutis should come out clean.

Allow to cool and serve in thick wedges.

This recipe is taken from Paris Pastry Club by Fanny Zanotti (Hardie Grant, £20.00) which is available here.

Top with Cinnamon is published in September and is available to pre-order here.

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Little Italy is published in September and is available to pre-order here.

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Decorated is published in October and is available to pre-order here.

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Donna Hay’s The New Classics is published in October and is available to pre-order here.

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Green Kitchen Travels is published in September and is available to pre-order here.

 

 

 

Give Meat Free May an Asian Twist

Meat Free May is almost over, only a few days left. Time seems to have flown by, and somewhat unsurprisingly we’re feeling a lot better for participating. Conscious efforts to make healthier food choices have left us with a spring in our step!

As it’s almost over, we thought we would go for a slightly different dish, one with an Asian twist! Real Vietnamese Cooking is our fabulous new Spring cookbook full of educational background information and recipes from the heart of Vietnam. 

Recognised as one of the most vibrant cuisines in the world, Vietnamese has a distinct style of its own, hailed for its delicious mix of fresh ingredients and rich cultural history, combining the influence of its colonial visitors with traditional flavours.

           CHOKO TENDRIL SALAD WITH CHILLI, SOY & PEANUTS

From the author: In Austrailia, choko tendrils are considered a weed by many, and often end up on the compost heap. We didn’t realise just how tasty they were until we came to Vietnam. 

INGREDIENTS

2 big handfuls choko tendrils
80ml (2½ fl oz/ ⅓ cup) soy sauce 
squeeze of lime juice
1 long red chilli, cut into rings
2 tablespoons roasted peanuts, chopped

Serves 6

Discard any large of bruised leaves from the tendrils. Cut the tendrils into 5cm (2 inch) lengths so they are easy to pick up with chopsticks.

Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil. Blanch half the tendrils for 30-40 seconds. Remove with tongs or chopsticks and place in a bowl of iced water to stop the cooking process. Repeat with the remaining tendrils, then drain well. 

In a small bowl, combine the soy sauce, lime juice, chilli and a pinch of sugar. Whisk until the sugar has completely dissolved. 

Place the tendrils in a bowl, pour the soy sauce mixture over and toss well. 

Transfer to a platter and serve sprinkled with the peanuts.

Real Vietnamese Cooking by Tracey Lister and Andreas Pohl (Hardie Grant, £20.00) Photography:Michael Fountoulakis

Three Sisters Bake - Office and Author Picks!

As we approach the end of the penultimate week of Meat Free May, we turn to one of our recent best-sellers and office favourite Three Sisters Bake by Gillian, Nichola and Linsey Reith. 

Author’s meat free recipe of choice: Barley and Blueberry Salad

Meat free words of wisdom from Linsey Reith: 

'Meat free eating for May need not mean a month long stretch of 'rabbit food'. Using exciting, unusual ingredients like fruits and herbs through dishes will completely delight and distract the tastebuds from any meat cravings. Adding nuts and raw vegetables through salads will bring texture to your plate. A sweet dressing with a little heat will bring this all together nicely. For me, Meat Free May is not about deprivation, it's about looking to produce that might otherwise be overshadowed by meat- local, seasonal fruit and vegetables, flavoursome cheeses, delicate herbs, seeds and nuts.'

Recipe suggestion from Hardie Grant’s Jennifer: 

'I really want to try the quinoa and butternut squash cakes from Three Sisters Bake, they look like a good alternative to fishcakes if you need to cook a simple supper to please a vegetarian.’

Quinoa and Butternut Squash Cakes and Barley and Blueberry Salad

Quinoa and Butternut Squash Cakes:

These are really good served with a big salad, homemade mayo and a little lime wedge to squeeze over the top.

SERVES (2 per person)
200 g (7 oz/1 cup) quinoa, rinsed until the water runs clear
1 kg (2 lb 3 oz) butternut squash (pumpkin), peeled, halved, seeds          removed and cut into 5-cm- (2-in-) chunks
3 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon dried chilli (chile) flakes
20 g (3/4 oz) unsalted butter
2 small shallots, finely diced
1 red (bell) pepper, halved, stalk removed, seeded and finely diced
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tablespoons roughly chopped tarragon leaves
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper
150 g (5 oz) ground almonds
75 g (2 ½ oz/5⁄6 cup) flaked almonds
creme fraiche or Homemade Mayo to serve
1 lime, cut into wedges, to serve

Preheat the oven to 190°c (375°f/Gas 5).

Bring 400 ml (14 fl oz) lightly salted water to the boil in a medium-sized saucepan. Add the quinoa, lower the heat and simmer for 15–20 minutes, until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender but with still a little bite to it. Set aside to cool.

Place the butternut squash chunks in a deep roasting tin, coat with 2 teaspoons of the oil and sprinkle with the dried chilli flakes. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, or until the squash is tender, tossing the chunks halfway through the cooking time.

Meanwhile, melt half the butter in a frying pan on a medium heat and sauté the shallots until soft and golden. Add the red pepper and sauté for a further 5 minutes, until soft. Add the garlic and cook for a minute, then remove the pan from the heat and leave to cool.

Remove the butternut squash from the oven. Mash together while it is still hot and leave to cool.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked quinoa, mashed squash, onion mixture, tarragon, salt, pepper and ground almonds. Divide and shape the mixture into 8 patties.

Spread the flaked almonds on a clean surface. Roll the edges of the quinoa cakes in the flaked almonds to coat.

Heat the remaining oil and butter in a large, heavy-based frying pan on a medium-high heat. Add the cakes (4 at a time if possible), and fry for 4–5 minutes on each side until they are thoroughly heated through and golden brown on the outside. Turn each cake onto its edge in the pan, rolling it to toast all the almond flakes.

Serve warm with a dollop of crème fraiche or mayo and a wedge of lime.

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Barley and Blueberry Salad:

While most commonly found in the traditional Scotch Broth, I’ve given it a contemporary twist in this bright, summery salad. Out of the soup pot, the barley lends a lovely bite here, acting as a perfect backdrop for bold blueberries and butternut squash.

Serves 6–8

400 g (14 oz/1¾ cups) pearl barley
1 medium butternut squash (pumpkin), cut into quarters lengthways    (skin on), seedsremoved and sliced into 1-cm- (½-in-) pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
10 pieces of tender stem broccoli, base of stems removed
75 g (2½ oz/½ cup) pine nuts (pine kernels)
100 g (3½ oz/⅔ cup) blueberries (a small punnet), rinsed and drained on  kitchen towel
1 quantity of House Dressing (page 105)
salt and freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 18°c (350°f/Gas 4).

Cook the barley as per the packet instructions, then drain and set aside to cool.

Place the squash pieces in a deep roasting tin, toss with the oil and season. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes or until the squash is tender, tossing the pieces halfway through the cooking time. Remove and set aside to cool.

Meanwhile, steam or boil the broccoli stems for 3–4 minutes. Drain, if necessary, and set aside to cool.

Place the pine nuts on a baking sheet. Bake in the oven for 2 minutes, remove and toss them, then return to the oven. Continue to bake for another 5 minutes, until the pine nuts are a light golden toasted colour. Set aside to cool.

In a big serving bowl, combine the cooked barley, butternut squash, broccoli, pine nuts and blueberries. Drizzle over the dressing. Mix thoroughly and serve.

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For more information on Three Sisters Bake and beautiful recipe inspiration visit:  http://www.threesistersbake.co.uk/

Three Sisters Bake by Gillian, Nichola and Linsey Reith (Hardie Grant, £20.00) Photography: Helen Cathcart

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Monday Dreaming - Meat Free Office Favourites

It’s Monday morning and here at Hardie Grant we’re in a post-weekend hungry day dream thinking of delicious meat free dishes from our ever-expanding collection of beautiful cookbooks! Today The Green Kitchen has caught the attention of our tastebuds once again, and Stephen from Hardie Grant HQ has chosen his favourite recipe. 

From Stephen: “I adore the apple and radish curried salad from first green kit book with pumpkin seeds and lots of chives. Think I go off piste and add boiled eggs - can’t remember if in recipe or not. Perfect weekend brunch or light meal during the week.”

From the authors: “Egg salad is an essential topping on the Danish open rye sandwiches called smørrebrød. It’s traditionally quite heavy, so we usually make a lighter version using yoghurt, crunchy fruit and vegetables. Serve on top of some Dark Danish Rye Bread.”

eggs (at room temperature)
a small handful of pumpkin seeds, toasted
red apple, halved, cored and cut into 1 cm (½ in) cubes
10 radishes, thinly sliced
5 sticks asparagus spears, cut into 1 cm (½ in) pieces
1 large bunch of chives, snipped (reserve a few for serving), including flowers when in season

For the dressing
120 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) plain yoghurt
2 tbsp mayonnaise, optional
1 tsp ground curry powder (or more to taste)
a pinch of cayenne
sea salt

Place the eggs (using a spoon!) into a pan of boiling water. Lower the heat to medium and gently boil for 7–8 minutes. Toast the pumpkin seeds in a frying pan.

Prepare the curry dressing by whisking all ingredients together in a small bowl and set aside.

Remove the eggs from the heat and place the pan under running water. When the eggs have cooled, crack and peel each egg and chop into 1 cm (½ in) cubes. Put into a bowl with the other ingredients. Stir gently with a large spoon (you don’t want to mash the eggs) so all ingredients are well coated in curry dressing. Put a nice handful of chives on top and serve.

The Green Kitchen by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl (Hardie Grant, £25.00) 

Daniel Wilson’s Weekend Special! Meat Free Brioche Crumbed Egg

It’s the weekend! And now you’ve got a bit more time on your hands, why not try something a bit special - here’s one of Daniel Wilson’s recommendations from Huxtabook.

This is a really delicious, wow-factor recipe. Perfect for impressing dinner party guests, or just to perk yourself up after a hard week at work, your weekend will not be complete until you have tried this wonderful recipe!

20 asparagus spears

— 50 ml (1¾ fl oz) white wine vinegar

— 4 free-range eggs

— vegetable oil, for deep-frying

— lemon-infused extra virgin olive oil, for tossing

— parmesan cheese, for shaving

PARMESAN LEMON DRESSING

— 2 eggs, at room temperature

— 1 tablespoon dijon mustard

— 100 ml (3½ fl oz) lemon juice

— 50 g (1¾ oz/½ cup) grated parmesan

— 300 ml (10 fl oz) olive oil

BRIOCHE CRUMBS

— ½ loaf day-old brioche, from a good baker, diced

— 1 egg

— 100 ml (3½ fl oz) milk

— plain (all-purpose) flour, for dusting

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FOR THE PARMESAN LEMON DRESSING

Bring a small saucepan of salted water to the boil and gently add the whole eggs. Cook for 3 minutes, then cool the eggs in iced water.

Shell the eggs and add to a food processor with the mustard, lemon juice and parmesan. Blitz together, then add the olive oil in a slow, steady stream to make a rich, creamy, emulsified dressing. Season with sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cover and refrigerate until required; the dressing can be made several days ahead.

FOR THE ASPARAGUS

Trim the asparagus stems, so the spears are about 12 cm (4¾ inches) long. Test that you have cut the woody part away by slicing a small disc from the end and tasting it. (I think the ‘snapping’ method is a load of rubbish, because the asparagus will snap depending on how you are holding it, not necessarily where the woody bit ends.) Lightly peel the asparagus — or if it is young and tender, there is no need.

Bring a saucepan of salted water to the boil. Add the asparagus and cook for 4–5 minutes, or until just tender, but still crisp. Remove and refresh in iced water. Once cool, drain on paper towel and set aside.

TO POACH THE EGGS

Bring a saucepan of salted water to poaching temperature (just below simmering point — there should be no movement in the water, maybe just a few bubbles on the bottom of the pan). Add the vinegar. Crack the eggs into a cup, then gently slide them into the water. Cook for 3–4 minutes, until the whites are firm, but the yolks are still runny. Remove using a slotted spoon and place in a bowl of iced water to stop the eggs cooking any further. Remove from the iced water and drain on paper towel.

FOR THE BRIOCHE CRUMBS

Pulse the brioche in a clean, dry food processor until you have a mix of coarse and fine crumbs. Set aside. In a bowl, whisk the egg and milk together well. Dust the poached eggs in the flour, then pass through the egg wash, then coat with the brioche crumbs. Repeat the egg wash and brioche crumbs, pressing the crumbs on to make a good crust. Place in the fridge to set for 1 hour.

TO FINISH THE DISH

Heat about 5 cm (2 inches) of vegetable oil in a medium-sized saucepan to 180°C (355°F). Test by dipping a wooden chopstick into the oil: the chopstick will sizzle when the oil is ready. Meanwhile, also heat a cast-iron grill plate (or barbecue) to high. Toss the asparagus with a little lemon olive oil and some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. Cook on the grill for 4–5 minutes, or until it has good grill marks on it, and is hot but not overcooked or burnt. Toss it with a little of the parmesan lemon dressing to coat.

Gently lower the crumbed eggs into the oil and cook for 2 minutes, or until golden brown. You want the crumbs to be cooked, but the yolk to be runny. Remove with a slotted spoon and immediately drain on paper towel. Season with salt and pepper.

TO SERVE

Arrange the asparagus on plates or a large platter and drizzle with more of the parmesan lemon dressing.

Plop the crumbed eggs on top, then use a vegetable peeler to shave more parmesan over the whole dish. Serve straight away.

SERVES 4 AS PART OF A SHARED MEAL

From Huxtabook by Daniel Wilson (Hardback, £25.00)

Midweek, Meat Free Treat!

Meat Free May is in full swing, and with all the healthy vegetarian recipes giving us an extra spring in our step, we feel it’s time for something a little naughty! With the arrival of a sunny spring (hopefully), here is a gorgeous light and citrusy recipe we know you’ll love! 

Orange & Yoghurt Cakes from Paris Pastry Club by Fanny Zanotti (Hardie Grant, £20.00)

From the author: “This is the cake of my childhood, of Sunday mornings at the beach and Wednesday afternoon goûters (snacks) at home. My mum used to make it every week. At times I would help her too – in fact, the only recipe she has is a drawing I made with felt-tip pens and a not-so steady hand.

In those days, we wouldn’t weigh anything but would measure the flour, sugar and butter using the empty yoghurt pot. And we’d bake the cake in a large tin.

You could do the same and bake it in a large cake tin, generously buttered and lined with baking paper, but I have a soft spot for plump little oranges filled with the crumbly and melt-in-your-mouth cake, just like the oranges givrées (frozen oranges) my grandmother would make for birthdays. To make one large cake, bake at 180°C (350°F) for 35–40 minutes.”

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Makes 8 small cakes

8 oranges
200 g (7 oz) plain (all-purpose) flour
½ tablespoon baking powder (baking soda)
a pinch of salt
120 g (4 oz) yoghurt
3 eggs
175 g (6 oz) caster (superfine) sugar
zest of 2 oranges
60 g (2 oz) butter, melted
30 g caster (superfine) sugar, for the orange syrup 

Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).

Wash and dry the oranges. Slice off the tops, scoop out the flesh using a metal spoon and set aside in a bowl. Arrange the empty oranges sitting cut-side-up on a muffin tray.

Combine all the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well until smooth. Divide the batter between the prepared oranges until each is two thirds full and bake for 25–30 minutes or until golden-brown and a skewer inserted into the centre of each cake comes out clean.

Strain the orange flesh through a fine-mesh sieve over a jug, squeezing as you go to extract as much juice as possible.

Place the juice and extra caster sugar in a small pan and bring to the boil over medium heat. Simmer for 10–15 minutes or until reduced by half; set aside until needed.

When the cakes are still warm from the oven, drench each with a little of the hot orange syrup.

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Meat Free May - Monday Pick-Me-Up!

Meat Free May seems to be cruising by, two weeks in and we’re still going strong! The initial starting hurdle has passed and we are making careful, healthier food choices, so now it’s time to get more creative with meat alternatives! 

Give your baking repertoire a boost, with the perfect meat-free Monday pick me up - Roast Tomato, Ricotta & Black Beluga Lentil Salad from Hardie Grant favourite, Grains,the perfect alternative cookbook with endless suggestions for creating delicious meals using seeds, pulses, grains, legumes and cereals. There are also some beautiful recipes for homemade bread at the back of the book too, some of which would be the perfect accompaniment to this recipe.

From the author: “The colours here – red, black and white – make this salad look beautiful. It will seem like you have a lot of tomatoes when you start but they shrink a lot.”

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FROM THE GROCER:

65 ml (2¼ fl oz) olive oil
1 teaspoon harissa
2¼ teaspoons caster (superfine) sugar, plus an extra pinch salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
80 ml (2½ fl oz/⅓ cup) extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
115 g (4 oz) black beluga lentils, rinsed and drained
125 g (4½ oz/½ cup) ricotta, broken into walnut-sized nuggets

 FROM THE GREENGROCER:

12 roma (plum) tomatoes, halved
½ small white onion, finely chopped
½ celery stalk, finely chopped
1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf (Italian) parsley
1 tablespoon finely chopped mint
¼ small red onion, sliced wafer-thin

Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F). Lay the tomatoes in a single layer on one large or two small roasting tins. Mix together 2½ tablespoons of the olive oil and all of the harissa, pour this over the tomatoes and turn them over with your hands to coat well. Arrange the tomatoes cut-side up, sprinkle with the sugar and season with salt and pepper. Roast for 45 minutes, or until the tomatoes have caramelised and are slightly shrunken. Leave to cool a little.

Make the dressing by whisking together the vinegar, mustard, extra virgin olive oil, the pinch of sugar and salt and pepper. Set aside.

Place the lentils in a saucepan, cover with cold water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer until the lentils are tender but still hold their shape, about 15–20 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining olive oil in a frying pan over a low heat and gently sauté the white onion and celery until soft but not coloured. Drain the lentils and add to the sautéed vegetables, stirring to coat in the cooking juices. Add the dressing, parsley and mint and season well. Gently stir in the red onion.

Transfer the lentils to a serving platter and scatter the roasted tomatoes and the ricotta on top. Drizzle over some extra-virgin olive oil and grind black pepper over the top. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Grains by Molly Brown (Hardie Grant, £20.00) Photography: Deirdre Rooney.
Available: http://www.hardiegrant.co.uk/books/grains/isbn/9781742707358/molly-brown

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Author Recommendations & Office Favourites! Emma & Rebecca Seal choose Courgette Fritters

As we’re coming towards the end of week 2 of Meat Free May, we decided to collaborate our own choices with one of our best-selling authors, Rebecca Seal, for some inspiration and personal cooking advice for going meat free! 

From Rebecca: “I was vegetarian for 12 years, until it became easier to get hold of high welfare meat, when I started to eat meat again. But much of the time I still eat vegetarian food by choice - I love discovering new and interesting things to do with vegetables, and cooking them often involves exploring ingredients or cooking styles from around the world that you might miss out on if you stick to meat-and-two-veg. There are dozens of vegetarian (and vegan) recipes in my last book, Istanbul, and many more to come in the next book, The Islands of Greece. Ones I return to again and again include fennel with radishes, pomegranate and sumac, courgette or carrot fritters, beetroot dip, kisir (bulgur wheat) salad or rice cooked with tomatoes, onions and spinach. In my next book, look out for lentils with rice and crispy onions, briam (a slow-cooked vegetable bake) or boureki, layers of courgette, potato and mint, with cheese.” 

Find out more about Rebecca Seal on her website: http://www.rebeccaseal.co.uk/ 

Emma also chose the courgette fritter recipe from Istanbul: “Since falling in love with the spices and flavours of Middle-Eastern food I often go straight to Rebecca Seal’s gastronomic dedication to this cuisine - Istanbul - and make the Carrot or Courgette Fritters. Laced with cumin and ground pepper they have a satisfying crunch and are fantastic dunked in a cool cucumber and yoghurt dip. Simple and easy sharing food for friends, they really are truly a-meze-ng!”

Clearly this recipe is a winning choice and here is how you can make it yourself:

Didem’s Mücver (or Courgette Fritters)

From the author:Chef Didem Senol is famous for her mücver and so many people asked for the recipe that she wrote it on a mirror in her restaurant, Lokanta Maya. I often serve these alongside a bowl of cacık (or yoghurt dip, which can also be found in Istanbul).”

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serves 4– 8

450 g (1 lb) courgettes (zucchini), coarsely grated

salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 large or 3 small spring onions (scallions), finely chopped

100 g (31/2 oz/⅔ cup) crumbled feta

1 tablespoon finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 tablespoons finely chopped dill

100 g (3. oz/generous ¾  cup) plain (all-purpose) flour

½ teaspoon baking powder

2 eggs, beaten

vegetable oil for deep frying

Sprinkle the grated courgettes lightly with salt in a colander. Toss them gently then leave to drain over a sink or bowl for 10 minutes. Rinse with cold water and drain thoroughly.

Mix the courgette with the onions, feta and herbs. Taste to check the seasoning, then add the flour, baking powder and eggs. Mix together thoroughly: it will be a fairly wet dough, but should be firm enough to hold together if you pick up a spoonful and let it slide off back into the bowl. Add a little more flour if necessary.

Heat oil for deep-frying until shimmering and a cube of day-old bread sizzles and browns in 30 seconds. Turn the heat down to medium. Using a dessert spoon carefully drop scoops of the mixture into the hot oil. Do this in batches. Cook for 1 ½ minutes until golden brown and cooked through. You should be able to make 15–16 fritters. Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on paper towels.

If you prefer to shallow-fry the fritters, shape the mix into flat patties and cook in about 1 cm (½ in) hot vegetable oil. Allow them to fully brown before flipping them over, otherwise they will fall apart. Serve hot.

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From Istanbul by Rebecca Seal (Hardie Grant, £25.00). Photography by Steven Joyce.

Meat Free May Mid-Week Essential!

It’s the beginning of week 2 and you need something yummy planned for your evening meal. Donna Hay’s Fresh & Light is chocka-block with delicious recipes, both vegetarian and otherwise. But here is an out-of-this-world vegetarian recipe that will have you eating green every night of the week! It’s full of flavour, filling and incredibly simple to make!

Spinach and Ricotta Gnocchi

SERVES 4

450g frozen spinach, thawed

1½  cups (300g) ricotta

½ cup (40g) finely grated parmesan

1 tablespoon finely grated lemon rind

1 ¼ cups (190g) plain (all-purpose) flour

2 eggs

4–6 heirloom tomatoes, sliced

½ cup basil leaves

sea salt and cracked black pepper

olive oil and finely grated parmesan, to serve

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Squeeze the excess moisture from the spinach and place in a bowl with the ricotta, parmesan, lemon, flour and eggs. Mix well to form a soft dough. Place on a lightly floured surface and divide the dough

into 2 pieces. Roll each piece into a 40cm long rope and cut into 3cm pieces. Place on a lightly floured tray until ready to cook.

Cook the gnocchi in a large saucepan of boiling salted water for 5 minutes or until cooked through. Divide the tomato and gnocchi between serving plates, top with the basil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with parmesan to serve. 

Fresh and Light by Donna Hay (Hardie Grant, £18.99) 
Photography: William Meppem

Beet Bourguignon - Meat Free May Day 1 

Today is the day! The start of Meat Free May!

There’s been an increasing interest in and focus on vegetarian eating in recent months. Apart from a great way for you to save some serious cash, cutting out meat gets us to eat more healthily, think about the ‘throw away’ culture of overconsumption, improve animal welfare, reduce our impact on the environment and improve the quality of the food we eat.

At Hardie Grant we take pride in the fact that many of our books focus on healthy eating and are spoilt for choice when it comes to both vegetarian and vegan recipes. So, with this in mind, we couldn’t think of a better way to kick off Meat Free May than with a source of inspiration from long-term meat-free advocates David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl, the creative geniuses behind the internationally renowned blog Green Kitchen Stories and their hugely successful cookbook The Green Kitchen. Not a meat-dish in sight - perfect! 

Eating meat-free doesn’t mean that you have to cut down or cut back. You can be economical and creative, producing incredibly delicious dishes as you go. Taking this into consideration, as we prep for tonight’s vegetarian dinner, we have opted for Beet Bourguignon from The Green Kitchena classic dish with a veggie twist! Who says you can’t still enjoy your favourite meals! 

Beet Bourguignon

Serves 4 people

Ingredients:

2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 brown onion, chopped
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
8 small beetroots (red beets), peeled and quartered (we used Chioggia beets)
6 carrots, sliced in large pieces
3 bay leaves
2 sprigs of thyme
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp tomato purée (paste)
250 ml (8½ fl oz/1 cup) red wine, use vegan wine if you are vegan
500 ml (17 fl oz/2¼ cups) vegetable stock
400 g (14 oz/2 cups) puy lentils
a pinch of sea salt
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2–3 portobello mushrooms, sliced
10 crimini mushrooms
10 pearl onions, peeled
2 tsp arrowroot, dissolved in
2 tbsp water
a few springs of thyme leaves picked, to garnish

Method:

Heat the olive oil in a thick-bottomed saucepan or Dutch oven over a medium heat. Stir in the onions and garlic and sauté until soft. Toss the beetroot, carrots, bay leaves, thyme and salt and pepper into the pan and cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Stir in the tomato purée, red wine and vegetable stock and simmer on low heat for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, rinse the lentils under running water. Bring 1 litre (2 pts/ 4 cups) of water and the lentils to a boil. Lower the heat to medium and simmer gently for 15–20 minutes. When almost cooked, add the salt. Drain off any excess water, cover and set aside.

Now heat the olive oil in a large frying pan, lower the heat and sear the mushrooms and pearl onions, stirring occasionally, until tender and golden in colour. Season to taste and set aside.

Taste the stew and add more wine, stock or herbs if you like. Add the arrowroot mixture. Stir gently, just until thickened and clear. Add the mushrooms and onions and simmer for 10 more minutes. Remove the bay leaves and thyme sprigs before serving. Spoon the stew into 4 bowls together with the lentils, and sprinkle with fresh thyme. 

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Join Hardie Grant in going meat free this month and stay posted for more of our appetising vegetarian recipes throughout May! 

The Green Kitchen by David Frenkiel & Luise Vindahl (Hardie Grant, £25.00) Photography: Johanna Frenkiel

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Top Secret Ingredients!

In light of Hardie Grant UK’s participation in Meat Free May, with a last supper mentality, we have been thinking about ways to maximise flavour using secret ingredients as we consider 24-hours of meaty over-load before meat free commences the day after tomorrow! 

After an office brainstorm/ delicious day-dream, we came up with our Hardie Grant top secret ingredients: 

Emma: “A tip I’ve taken from my grandmother is whenever I braise meat such as pork ribs, beef shin or oxtail, I add a splash of malt vinegar at the start as they are browning. It really helps brings out the flavour of the meat.”

Kate: “My tip is that I pretty much add toasted seeds to everything — salads, steamed veg, yoghurt etc. Adds a nice crunch and more flavour”

Kajal: “After making eggs sunny-side up, de-glaze the pan with a splash of white wine vinegar or cider vinegar and drizzle it over your eggs – it adds a tangy flavour to your eggs and is super tasty! For an extra kick, sprinkle a few chilli flakes in with your vinegar.”

Kendal: “Lea & Perrins is a must have for me! In anything hot - soups, baked beans, stews, chili, hot pots, savoury pies, even homemade burger patties.”

Jennifer: “My tip is to get creative with shortcrust pastry for savoury or sweet tarts – replace a bit of the flour with desiccated coconut or ground almonds for coconut pastry or almond pastry. Or add chilli flakes or parmesan to savoury pastry to give it an extra kick and add even more flavour to your pies or tarts.”

Sticking to the theme of rich, tasty, secret ingredients, we recently ran a competition giveaway over twitter of our hugely popular cookbook Maximum Flavour by Aki Kamozawa and H.Alexander Talbot. The winning secret ingredients from two lucky twitter followers were: 

@PenelopeAmatt “A bit of a cheat but…using red onion chutney to start off an amazing gravy for beef #MaximumFlavour

@TweetieKaz “White miso is my secret ingredient! Works well brushed on fish. I also sneak it into soups & salad dressings! #MaximumFlavour

Maximum Flavouris perfect for home cooks who want to transform their everyday recipes into flavour-packed, delicious meals. Kamozawa and Talbot share simple, surprising secrets - from how to make cheese danish in the mircowave to pressure-cooking sunflower seeds to make risotto - and help home cooks take their cooking to a new level. Maximum Flavour will appeal to cooks who want to tap into the molecular gastronomy trend. 

Maximum Flavour by Aki Kamozawa and H. Alexander Talbot (Hardie Grant books, £20.00 Harback). 

Easter Time!

Time to celebrate the end of Lent with true chocolatey indulgence! Here is a delicious, rich recipe from Paris Pastry Club that will satisfy any cravings you’ve been having the past 40 days.

My Favourite Chocolate Mousse

From Paris Pastry Club by Fanny Zanotti

From the author: “This chocolate mousse is incredibly light. It sort of melts on your tongue the way candyfloss does. And clouds too. It might sound a bit tricky with three different components, but really can be assembled in a matter of minutes. Once the mousse is made, it will still look a little runny, but don’t worry, it will set as it cools down into a pillow of chocolate.”

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S e r v e s 4

75 g (2. oz) 70% dark chocolate

25 g (1 oz) 40% milk chocolate

150 g (5 oz) whipping cream

25 g (1 oz) caster (superfine) sugar

25 g (1 oz) water

2 egg yolks

Melt both chocolates in a large heatproof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. In the meantime, whip the cream to soft peaks and set aside in the fridge (see Top Tip below).

Once the chocolate is melted, keep it warm over the pan of hot water off the heat while you make a sabayon. Bring the sugar and water to the boil in a small pan. Quickly whisk the egg yolks together in a bowl using either an electric beater or a stand-mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. Pour the piping-hot syrup over them a little at a time, whisking constantly. Once all the syrup is incorporated, whisk for 3–4 minutes, or until thick and holding soft peaks.

Now that all the elements are ready, use a balloon whisk to mix half the whipped cream into the melted chocolate until smooth and shiny. Still using the whisk, fold in the remaining cream. When the white streaks just start to disappear, add the sabayon and incorporate gently, starting from the centre of the bowl and going up the side, turning the bowl clockwise as you do so.

At this point, the mousse should look almost even in colour. Switch to a spatula and give it a few more stirs. Divide between 4 small bowls or martini glasses and chill in the fridge for at least 4 hours.

Top Tip: Perfect whipped cream

1. Ten minutes before you start, place a bowl and the whisk in the freezer to chill. Cream definitely whips faster and in a more stable way if everything around it is super-cold.

2. If you’re whipping cream for a mousse, whip it until it just starts to get to the soft peak stage. It might look under-whipped to you but, trust me, the just-whipped texture makes for the softest fluffiest mousse. In fact, cream has the most air in when it forms soft peaks. Under-whipping it ever so slightly ensures that when you incorporate it, the cream won’t become overworked and lose too much air.

3. You can most definitely whip cream ahead of time – up to an hour before you plan to use it. Simply give it another one-minute whisking before you do so.

4. Chantilly is cream whipped with sugar and a little vanilla to stiff peaks. I usually use 10 g (½ oz) icing sugar per 100 g (3½ oz) cream.

“Spring is the time of plans and projects.” ― Leo Tolstoy

It’s spring – time for a new wardrobe! But instead of forking out loads of your money on a whole set of new clothes, why not adapt, adorn and customise your existing wardrobe? You’ll save bags of money and make sure that you’re making a stand out fashion statement this spring.

And whilst there’s still a slight chill in the air, these beautifully embellished slouchy socks are the perfect glamorous – but cosy – fashion project for you to try.

Embellished slouchy socks

Snowflakes on my toes

From Adorn by Shini Park and Kit Lee

From the authors: “Spice up your woolly socks with extra sparkles using unworn or broken bits of jewellery. Wear them slouched just above the ankles, and style them with a pair of killer heels for a droolworthy investment that will look awesome, while keeping your toes lovely and cosy.”

Difficulty level: 1/5

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What you’ll need:

Diamanté jewellery

Pliers

Thick pair of ribbed woollen socks

Matching colour thread

Sewing needle

Instructions:

  1. Carefully remove the diamanté studs from the jewellery, using pliers.
  2. Divide the diamanté studs into equal amounts for each sock.
  3. Place the studs anywhere you like, but do not overload.
  4. Mark the positioning of the studs with pins. Sew them on with the needle and thread. Wear with a pair of chunky wedge heels to really show these gems off. 
Mother’s Day Treat!

Each year, we want to do something to celebrate the mums in our lives – whether this be spending a day together, buying her a bunch of flowers or surprising her with a special present. And what could be a more heartfelt gift than a homemade treat?

In Donna Hay’s Fresh and Light, we are spoilt for choice when deciding what to make for our mum, and after much deliberation and drooling over potential recipes we triumphantly chose to go down the traditional route of the essential Mother’s Day treat, breakfast in bed. This warm French toast served with fresh yoghurt and fruit is the perfectly decadent way for your mum to start the day.

Fresh and Light by Donna Hay 

SERVES 4

OVEN-BAKED FRENCH TOAST

4 thick slices wholegrain bread

2 eggs

1 cup (250ml) reduced-fat milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

2 tablespoons honey, plus extra, for drizzling

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

fresh or poached fruit and thick plain yoghurt, to serve

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Preheat oven to 200°C (400°F). Place the bread in a large baking dish lined with non-stick baking paper. Place the egg, milk, vanilla, honey and cinnamon in a bowl and whisk to combine. Pour the egg mixture over the bread. Allow to stand for 20 minutes or until most of the egg mixture has been absorbed. Bake for 25 minutes or until the bread is golden. Serve with fruit and yoghurt and drizzle with extra honey. 

Fresh and Light by Donna Hay (Hardie Grant, £18.99) 
Photography: William Meppem

Huxtabook Peanut Butter Cookies

Huxtabook is an incredibly beautiful book, filled with extravagant and exquisite recipes.

One day I’m sure we would all love to be able to create such masterpieces, but for now, here is one of Daniel Wilson’s simpler recipes, that is easy for a cook of any standard to undertake.

What’s more, its gluten free! So accessible for even more keen bakers.

Peanut Butter Cookies from Huxtabook

By Daniel Wilson

From the author:

“This recipe was given to me when I worked at Blake’s Cafeteria in Melbourne. It is super quick and easy, and gluten free.”

Makes about 20

Ingredients:

— 440 g (15. oz) caster (superfine) sugar

— 500 g (1 lb 2 oz/2 cups) crunchy peanut butter

— 2 eggs

— 2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)

Preheat the oven to 165°C (330°F). Line a large baking tray with baking paper.

Place all the ingredients in the bowl of an electric mixer with a paddle attached. Beat on high for 3–4 minutes, or until well combined. Transfer the mixture to a clean bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Chill in the fridge for 30 minutes, or until the mixture has firmed up.

When the mixture has firmed, roll it into balls about 3 cm (1 inches) in diameter. Place on the baking tray, leaving at least 5 cm (2 inches) between the balls. Lightly squash the balls down using the tines of a fork. Bake for 8–10 minutes, or until golden. The cookies will still be a little soft, but will firm up when cooled. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container in a cool dark place for several days.

Go to our Instagram page (http://instagram.com/hardiegrantuk) to see the final producte