This week we’ve had a couple of nights where it feels quite cool – it seems as though the time has come to say goodbye to summer and all those lovely berry desserts.
The coming of fall, although a beautiful but short season here in Ontario, will mean that winter is just around the corner. Now being a summer person, that is not my favourite time of year. It means there is often a very reluctant dog (our yellow labrador) and us to venture out on walks. The bright sunny, even snowy days, are a delight – it’s the ice and wind I could do without!
So – where I was going – it seems that it’s now time to start bringing out the fall recipes with that bit of comfort food about them. The first one we had again for supper last evening – a Lemon Surprise Pudding – which has just been added to the blog. I hope that you will want to try it.
This Lemon Surprise Pudding makes a lovely, citrus dessert. The mixture creates a thick, very lemony sauce that is covered with a really light and airy sponge.
A fish dish that is full of flavour and looks very colourful on the plate.
Salmon brushed with butter and lemon juice is then roasted and served sitting on a bed of buttery spinach with buttery tomatoes alongside. Slices of potato are roasted until crisp to complete the dish.
large bag (plastic container) baby leaf spinach, about 500g (18 oz)
a dash of white wine vinegar
You will also need a roasting tin/pan for the potatoes and an ovenproof dish large enough to lay the fish in a single layer.
Preheat the oven to 200°C/400°F/gas 6.
For the potatoes
Peel and cut the potatoes into even-sized pieces. Place in a pan and cover with water. Bring the water to the boil and then simmer for 7 minutes. Drain and leave for a few minutes until the potatoes are cool enough to handle.
Now thickly slice and add to a large bowl. Season, add the oil and toss to coat. Tip into the roasting tin/pan and roast for 30 minutes, turning a couple of times.
For the fish
Lightly oil the ovenproof dish, add the fish and brush with the melted butter. Season and then squeeze the lemon juice over the top. Bake in the oven, uncovered, for 18 minutes.
For the tomatoes
Tip the tomatoes into a small pan and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and let the juice bubble for 5 minutes to reduce.
Now gradually stir in the cubes of butter over a low heat and then add the sugar. Season to taste.
For the spinach
Melt the butter in a large pan and add the spinach leaves. Cook until just wilted, about 3 minutes.
Next stir through a dash of white wine vinegar, then tip into a colander and press out the liquid.
Divide the spinach among four serving plates and place a salmon portion on top. Spoon the tomatoes around one side of the fish and the crispy potatoes on the other.
Scrub or scrape the potatoes. Cut larger ones in half, as you do want the size to be small.
Heat the butter or oil in the pan and, when hot, add the potatoes and shake the pan so they are well coated with the butter or oil.
Cover with the lid and let them cook over a low heat for about 30 minutes. Shake the pan occasionally to turn the potatoes. When cooked they will be crisp and golden brown on the outside and tender inside. Sprinkle with coarse salt and serve at once.
4 x 170g (6 oz) steaks (rib eye, sirloin or other good quality steak)
For the Béarnaise Sauce
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
1 shallot, chopped
2 eggs, large (U.K.)/extra large (N.A.), yolks only
115g (4 oz) butter, cut into small pieces (½ cup, or 1 stick)
2 tsp chopped fresh tarragon
fries and peas
For the steaks
Season the steaks.
Now heat a large frying pan/skillet and add the butter and oil. When the butter has melted and is foaming, add the steaks. Fry them, over a medium heat, for 2 minutes each side for medium rare, 3 minutes for medium, 5–6 minutes for well done. Or BBQ them.
Transfer to a warm plate, cover and let them rest for five minutes.
For the Béarnaise Sauce
While the steaks are cooking, put the vinegar and shallot in a small pan and bring to the boil. Lower the heat and simmer to reduce to about 1 tablespoon. This will only take a minute or two. Strain and leave to cool a little.
Now in a small bowl, whisk the egg yolks with some seasoning and then add the vinegar and 1 tablespoon of warm water.
While the steaks are resting, place the bowl with the egg mixture over a pan of just simmering water. Add the butter, a knob at a time, stirring until each knob has melted before adding the next. Continue stirring until the sauce is shiny and thick. Once it has thickened, remove from the heat and stir in the chopped tarragon.
140g (5 oz) plain/semi-sweet chocolate, broken into pieces
You will also need a piping bag fitted with a 12.5mm (½ inch) star-shaped nozzle
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)
Measure the butter in a large bowl and sift in the sugar. Beat vigorously until soft and fluffy, then add the vanilla extract.
Now gradually add the sifted flour, mixing to make a soft dough.
Spoon into the piping bag and pipe 6.5cm (2½ inch) lengths onto baking trays/cookie sheets, cutting the dough off at the nozzle with a small knife. The dough should yield about 30 biscuits.
Bake for 18 minutes. Then remove from the oven and leave for 2 minutes. Now, using a palette knife, carefully transfer them to wire racks to cool. They will be very delicate until they have cooled completely.
Next place a basin over a pan of just-simmering water and add half the chocolate. Once melted, remove from the heat and then add the remaining chocolate. Stir until the chocolate has melted and is of a smooth consistency. This makes for a lovely shiny chocolate coating.
Place kitchen paper beneath the wire racks to catch any chocolate drips. Then dip each end of the biscuits in the melted chocolate (you may not need all the chocolate). Return them to the wire racks and leave until the chocolate has set.
Apple crumble – a very classic dish. The first dessert I ever made. Here sultanas are added to the apples to make it a little more interesting and also giving it more flavour. Using oats as well as flour for the crumble topping reduces its sweetness too. A very tasty crumble.
You will also need an ovenproof dish and a baking tray/sheet for this recipe.
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5).
Peel, core and slice the apples. Put them in a large bowl along with the sultanas, sugar, and spice. Toss to mix. Now tip into the ovenproof dish and even out the top.
Squeeze the juice from the half-lemon and sprinkle over the fruit. Then put to one side while making the topping.
For the topping
Sift the flour into a bowl and mix in the oats. Now rub in the butter. Next mix in the sugar. Spoon over the fruit and lightly press down.
Put the dish on the baking tray/sheet and bake in the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 170°C (350°F) (gas 5) and bake for a further 30–40 minutes until the top is starting to brown and the juices are bubbling around the edge.
225g (8 oz) fine, fresh white breadcrumbs (3½ cups)
a green salad
You will also need a greased baking tray.
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).
Beat together the butter, garlic, parsley, and seasoning. Set aside.
Cut a slit along the thickest part of each chicken breast, 4cm (1½) inches long and 2cm (¾ inch) deep. Push one-quarter of the butter mixture into each pocket and secure with a cocktail stick.
Put the beaten egg in a shallow bowl and spread the flour and breadcrumbs over separate plates. Coat each breast in flour, tapping off any excess, then dip into the egg and coat in the breadcrumbs, pressing them down onto the chicken.
Lay the chicken pieces on the baking tray and bake for 20 minutes until the chicken is cooked through and the breadcrumbs are golden.
Remove the cocktail sticks and serve with a green salad.
12-cup bun or muffin tin lined with 9 or 12 paper baking cases. (The standard size baking cases are smaller in the U.K. and so the mixture will be enough to make 12. Being larger in North America, they will only make 9.)
For the sponge
Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F) (gas 5)
Sift the flour into a bowl and put to one side.
Lightly whisk the eggs and vanilla extract together in a small bowl using a balloon whisk. Again, put to one side.
Now cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy using a free-standing mixer or hand-held electric mixer.
Next, gradually beat in the eggs and 2 tablespoons of the flour.
Fold in the remaining flour adding the milk to make a soft consistency.
Spoon into the baking cases, filling them two-thirds full.
Bake for 15–18 minutes until the top of the cakes spring back when lightly touched with the tip of the finger.
Leave for one minute and then remove the cakes to a cooling rack to become cold.
For the buttercream filling
Beat the butter until it is really soft.
Slowly add half the icing/powdered sugar and beat until smooth. Then beat in the remaining sugar along with the vanilla extract until soft and creamy.
Cut a cone from the centre of each cake using a small pointed knife held at angle. Cut each cone in half to create two wings.
Next, spoon a generous portion of buttercream into each hole and carefully place each pair of ‘wings’ on top with the cut edges facing down into the buttercream.
*Golden syrup isn’t readily available in North America. I can find it in some grocery stores and I know I can get it in the small stores that sell British products. If it is impossible to find, liquid honey would be a substitute. Golden syrup is very thick so you don’t want anything too runny.
2 large baking trays/cookie sheets
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F) (gas 4)
Put the sugar, butter and syrup into a large deep-sided pan and gently heat until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved, stirring to combine the ingredients well.
Remove from the heat and let the mixture cool a little.
Meanwhile lightly grease the trays/sheets.
In a separate bowl sift the flour and bicarbonate of soda/baking soda then stir through the oats.
Now add the dried mixture into the pan a couple of spoonfuls at a time stirring to combine.
Shape into 24 balls and place on the trays/sheets spacing well apart. Then flatten the balls a little. Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes until just starting to turn golden. Remove from the oven and leave on the trays/sheets for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely. Store in an airtight container.
A very simple fish dish that takes less than 15 minutes to prepare and 20 minutes to cook. Salmon fillets are baked with freshly squeezed orange juice and dotted with butter. The result – a lovely buttery orange sauce to complement the salmon.
This dish is good served with Creamy Garlic Potatoes (recipe below) and fine green beans.
If accompanying the salmon with the Creamy Garlic Potatoes, prepare the potatoes first. Then, when they have gone in the oven, prepare the salmon. Put the salmon in the oven 10 minutes after the potatoes have gone in. Everything will then be ready at the same time.
an ovenproof dish, well greased
Preheat the oven to 200°C (400°F) (gas 6).
Lay the salmon fillets side by side in the ovenproof dish. Dot with the butter and pour over the juice of 1 orange, then season.
Cover with foil and bake on the middle shelf of the oven for about 20 minutes, until salmon is firm to the touch.
Thinly slice four pieces from the second orange, then cut each slice with one cut from the centre to the edge. Twist either side of the cut in opposite directions and place each one along the top of each fillet. Garnish with dill and serve with the orange butter sauce poured over the fish.
200ml/7½ fl oz semi-skimmed milk mixed with 75 ml/2½ fl oz water
50g/2 oz butter
Caster sugar/fine white sugar
1 lemon, halved
A 25.5cm/10 inch heavy gauge aluminium frying pan
Sift the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl.
Make a well in the centre of the flour and break the eggs into it. Using an electric whisk or a balloon whisk, whisk the eggs into the flour gradually adding the milk and incorporating the flour from around the edge of the bowl. Scrape any remaining flour down from around the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula and whisk again until all the mixture is smooth. It should be the consistency of thin cream. Set aside for 20 minutes.
Preheat oven to 150°C/300°F/gas mark 2 and place five plates in the oven to warm.
Melt the butter in the pan. Spoon 2 tablespoons of the butter into the batter and whisk it in. Pour the remainder into a small bowl and reserve it to smear the pan between cooking each crêpe using a wodge of kitchen paper.
Get the pan really hot, then turn the heat down to a medium setting.
Use about 3 tablespoons of batter for each pancake. It is easier to measure this into a ladle or measuring cup first and use this to tip the batter into the pan in one go. Using the ladle or cup, pour the batter quickly into the centre of the pan at the same time tipping it around from side to side to get the base evenly coated. If there are any holes, just fill them in with the batter using a teaspoon. It should take less than a minute to for the underside to turn golden. Check by lifting the edge with a palette knife.
Flip the pancake over with the palette knife and cook the other side until golden. This side will need less time to cook. Then slide it out of the pan onto a warmed plate.
Continue until all the batter is used. Overlap the pancakes on the warmed plate as you go, keeping them warm in the oven covered loosely with foil.
Serve with some juice of the lemon squeezed over the pancake and a generous sprinkling of sugar. They can then be rolled or folded into quarters.