10 April 09

tapioca_orange_pudding1

Soufflé Orange Tapioca Cream

I was horrified to hear the  negative comments from the general public on tapioca pudding.

Last week I was doing a cooking demonstration to a group of ladies who all remember the original Ministry of Food recipes during World War Two. They described tapioca pudding as stodgy and typical of school dinners.

My experience is the complete opposite. My mother used to love making a baked tapioca pudding for us. She did not like cooking much but baking was her forte.

I remember the tapioca pudding emerging out of the oven like a big fluffy pillow, all puffed up with a sumptuous creamy centre. The sweet smell of caramelising meringue used to hang in the air, and I was really naughty and pinched the caramelised crusty bits.

For that reason I have made these as individual puddings, so each person gets their own crusty bits. Mum told me that she

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07 April 09

duck1

Slow Cooked Duck Leg with Sweet Tamarind Pickled Rhubarb

The outdoor rhubarb season is in full swing. The combination of rhubarb with duck is a match made in heaven.

I have made the pickled rhubarb twice ,once with forced rhubarb in December and now with the outdoor rhubarb. The outdoor rhubarb has a more earthy flavour and the colour is slightly browner in comparison to the bright pink from the forced rhubarb. I’m truly torn between the two, I think I like both equally as much but my preference is to use the outdoor rhubarb with savoury foods and the forced with sweet bakery items.

The earthiness of the outdoor rhubarb truly complements the duck and makes this dish extra special.

I cooked these duck legs in the water bath, if you do not have this facility you can conft the duck legs in duck fat in a very low oven for 2 – 3 hours until tender. Surprisingly

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05 April 09

hot_cross7

Fig and Sour Cherry Hot Cross Muffins

It’s a lovely sunny day; all my spring flowers are in bloom. The smell of hyacinths is in the air and my bunny Elly is hopping over the grass. It’s a perfect day to bake Fig and Sour Cherry Hot Cross muffins.

The aroma of these light, freshly baked and heavily spiced hot cross buns hangs for a while in the kitchen. This certainly adds to the joy of making them.

Baking hot cross buns is a Good Friday custom as it’s a reminder of the crucifixion. I shall bake these again this coming Friday.

I thought it would be cool and slightly different to line a muffin tray with parchment paper and bake these in the muffin tray. They are still buns but just look slightly swanky and different.

There is no added sugar in the recipe as the dried fruits naturally add the sweetness. I brush them with

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03 April 09

pickled-beet-heirloom-tomato-salad

Warm Pickled Beetroot and Heirloom Tomato Salad

I have had these pickled beetroots in my fridge since autumn of last year.

They came from our garden and it’s quite a surprise as we love beetroot and they normally get eaten quite quickly. The star anise has penetrated the beetroots and has given them a mysterious but outstanding flavour.

I discovered these beautiful multi coloured heirloom tomatoes at our local farmers market and thought that this would make a brilliant spring salad.
Heirloom tomatoes are better known as Heritage tomatoes. I love the knobbly shapes and multi colours that these tomatoes offer. Each tomato has its own taste and they make this dish extra special. If you cannot find heirloom tomatoes, use ordinary tomatoes instead.

I challenge you to plant tomatoes this summer, look for heritage tomato seeds or plants.

We enjoyed this warm pickled beetroot and heirloom tomato salad on a lazy sunny Saturday afternoon with our

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