Wild garlic butter

It’s that wild garlic time of year again. If you haven’t seen it, chances are you will have smelled its heady aroma if you’ve been anywhere remotely rural.

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Today at the park, we happened upon a nice patch of it, its delicate white flowers in full bloom. DD couldn’t resist having a nibble on a few leaves, but I had plans for the remaining few we had picked.

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You may remember last year I did a post called Four Ways with Wild Garlic, well this is my favourite wild garlic recipe. It also happens to be the quickest and simplest, yet undoubtedly the most versatile.

Very finely chopped 5 or 6 fresh wild garlic leaves and throw in a bowl with 150ml (or so, this definitely doesn’t have to be exact) of double cream and a large pinch of salt (we tend to use Pink Himalayan salt because of the mineral content).

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Whisk and whisk and whisk until the buttermilk separates from the butter. This will splatter so it’s a good idea to cover the Kitchen Aid, or whatever you’re using to whisk, with the guard and a clean tea towel for extra protection.

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Once the butter and buttermilk have separated, pour the mixture into a bowl lined with a tea towel or muslin and squeeze out as much liquid as possible. You’ll end up with a delicious ball of green flecked garlic butter. 

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You can use it as it is, or you can put it on some greaseproof paper, roll it out into a sausage shape for easy slicing, and pop into the freezer for as and when you need it.

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It’s delicious on potatoes, for frying mushrooms, on bruschetta and kneaded into bread dough good rich, tasty garlic bread. The list is endless. Enjoy!

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Fruit bread

Is there anything better than the smell of bread baking in the oven? Well yes, there is. Cue the fruit loaf.  Perfect on a cold and wet Sunday afternoon with a cuppa, this rich and sweet bread will certainly warm your cockles.

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You’ll need:
300ml milk heated to boiling point then left to cool until warm.
500g strong bread flour
200g mixed fruit
1tsp salt
7g quick yeast
75g caster sugar
50g very soft butter
3tsp ground cinnamon

Mix the flour, sugar, butter, cinnamon, salt and yeast together before drizzling in the warm milk. Mix in the fruit and knead the dough for 5 or so minutes on a floured surface until it’s smooth and elastic.

Put the dough in a greased bowl and cover loosely with clingfilm. Leave somewhere warm to prove for an hour or until doubled in size.

Knock the dough back and knead again. Divide into two and put in greased loaf tins. Leave to prove for another hour then bake at 180oC for about 30 minutes or until golden and hollow sounding when tapped on the underside.

Melt some apricot jam and use a pastry brush to glaze the top of the loaf. Enjoy warm with butter. 

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Goji Berry, apricot and coconut oil flapjacks

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There’s something comforting about freshly baked flapjack. The smell, the warmth, the way it cries out to be paired with a steaming cup of Earl Grey. It reminds me of cold Sunday afternoons spent snuggled under patchwork blankets. Homely, comforting, simple.

This recipe can be adapted to suit your tastes, but I used:

350g oats
125g salted butter
125g unrefined organic coconut oil
200g dark brown sugar
4 tablespoons golden syrup
30g dried goji berries
150g chopped up soft dried apricots
A couple of tablespoons of pressed apple juice to soak the goji berries in.
Half a teaspoon of cinnamon
A few grates of a while nutmeg.

Soak the goji berries in the apple juice for ten minutes.

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In a pan melt the butter, sugar, coconut oil, and syrup with the cinnamon and nutmeg, before adding in the drained goji berries, apricot pieces and oats.  Give it all a really good mix before pressing into a greased baking tin.

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I like to use a round springform tin so I can cut it into wedges rather than squares.

Bake for around 40-45 mins at 160oC. Leave to cool for 15 minutes before slicing. Enjoy with a cup of your favourite tea and good friends.

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Coffee with coconut oil & butter (bulletproof coffee)

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When an American friend told me he had put butter and coconut oil in his coffee I had visions of an oil slip in the Atlantic…oily puddles drifting around on an ocean of black coffee did not sound appealing, but I was intrigued, so I gave it a go. If you want to know where the idea of so called Bulletproof Coffee came from check out the link here or Google it.

I filled the short cup on my Nutribullet up to the max line with freshly brewed coffee then added in a couple of teaspoons of organic, unrefined coconut oil and one of good quality butter (by all means add more if you want). I blitzed it for a few seconds,  then gave it a taste. The first thing that surprised me was the colour, it looked a lot lighter in colour than I had expected.  Plus, it wasn’t oily, just very creamy with a subtle coconut undertone.

I’ve since tried it with just coconut oil, and it works pretty well. The only difference really was the lack of frothy head.

This is definitely not an every day kind of coffee in my opinion, being high in calories but low in nutrients. Personally I’d rather spend my calories on a green smoothie, but give it a shot (no pun intended) and let me know what you think!

Steak…I seared it my way.

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Steak. One of the tastiest, most enjoyable indulgent pleasures, yet one of the most common culinary disaster zones. Here are my simple foolproof tips to avoid annihilating your favourite cut.

Firstly, choose your steak wisely. Personally, I love a good sirloin. I like it relatively thick, and I always try to choose one with some marbling as the fat keeps the meat moist and adds a depth of flavour leaner cuts lack.

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I usually leave my steak out on the counter top all day on the day I plan to use it. This ensures it comes up to room temperature ready for cooking, and gives it a few more hours to mature.

Heat a dry, nonstick pan on the hob over a medium high heat. While the pan is warming, oil the steak and season with freshly milled salt and pepper.

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Put the oiled steak into the pan and cook for two or three minutes each side, depending on how thick it is and how you like it cooked. Don’t be tempted to keep checking it. Just put it in the pan and leave it be. The result should be seared, golden brown loveliness as so:

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Remove it from the pan, and place on a warm, but not hot, plate. Top with a knob of butter (I used the simple wild garlic butter I showed you in a previous post), and cover with tin foil.

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Now, let it rest. Simply let it sit there, finishing itself off, relaxing those meaty fibres and getting deliciously juicy.

After about six to eight minutes, serve your meaty masterpiece with whatever you fancy. I often top a Pho soup with it, but today fancied little roasted garlic chive and rosemary potatoes and an interesting salad.

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So to recap:
1) Buy a decent thickness of steak with some fat marbling.
2) Take out if the fridge the morning of the day you plan to eat it to allow it to come up to room temp, and mature a bit more.
3) Oil the steak not the pan.
4) Season well.
5) Sear in the pan without repeatedly turning it over.
6) Allow to rest wrapped in a foil blanket.

Enjoy.

Four ways with Wild Garlic

Over the Easter weekend some friends and I went to a nearby beauty spot for a picnic and a paddle in the river. As the kids were happily splashing about a couple of us snuck off to do a spot of foraging for wild garlic. We certainly weren’t disappointed…

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It was there in abundance. We gathered some up and discussed potential recipes on the way back to the others.

Simple Garlic Butter
Once home I made some garlic butter to keep in the freezer simply by softening 500g salted butter in the Kitchen Aid, and adding in a large amount of finely chopped wild garlic. On greaseproof paper, I moulded it into a loose sausage shape, rolled it up in the paper and froze. That way I can slice off a knob as and when I need it (to make slicing easier dip the knife in boiling water to heat it up). So far I’ve used it in twice baked sweet potatoes, as a base for flatbread pizzas and simply on toast! Delicious!

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Smokey Bacon and wilted Wild garlic
On Sunday, I used some of the remaining garlic as a side dish for our Sunday roast by dry frying some smoked Streaky bacon, then adding in a couple of large handfuls of roughly chopped garlic.  It wilts down the same way spinach does so use more than you think you need. Season with cracked black pepper, but go easy on the salt as the bacon is often seasoning enough. I didn’t manage to get a pic I’m afraid.  Needless to say, the guests loved it, as did I.

Wild Garlic Pesto

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My friend Sam, has a superb recipe for pesto, which is simply delicious on pasta, in gnocchi, on bruschetta, drizzled on salads, pretty much on anything really. Be sure to have a gander at her new blog Me and My Second Self, you won’t be disappointed!

Wild Garlic and Asian Aromatics infused Coconut Oil
As you’ve probably gathered by now, I love Thai, Vietnamese and Asian style food in general and thought it’d be great to have a jar packed full of Asian flavours on my counter, ready to be dipped into any time without the hassle of having to chop everything from scratch.

I buy my coconut oil from Mother Nature’s Goodies on ebay

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I very gently melted in a bain marie until it was pretty much all liquid.

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While it was melting, I gathered the other ingredients: galangal, minced ginger, kaffir lime leaves, lemon grass, chillis and of course fresh wild garlic.

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Chop all the ingredients except the lime leaves, very finely and place in a sterilised jar.

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Pour over the melted coconut oil, seal and leave to set.

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The flavours will infuse and intensify and it makes a great base for any Asian style recipe.

Enjoy, let me know if you try any of these recipes and be sure to check out Sam’s blog.

Herby butter to smoother on the turkey.

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Turkey is a pretty bland meat, so to help our Christmas bird along a bit I’ve made a herb butter to spread underneath it’s skin. Putting it under the skin helps the flavours really permeate the flesh and keep the breasts extra moist.

It is so simple to make…
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Herbs of your choice (I used rosemary and thyme from the garden, and some fresh sage too), salt, pepper and garlic to give it an extra kick if you fancy it.

Finely chop the herbs.
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Soften the butter in a bowl and add the herbs before mixing thoroughly.
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Dollop the mixture onto some greaseproof paper and shape into a sausage.
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Roll up.
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This can be frozen or stored in the fridge for a couple of weeks. It’s also great with steak, fish, spread on bruschetta.