Date Archives December 2015

Galette des rois and Cinnamon Ice Cream

Jess - Galette 3Jess - Galette 2


alette de rois probably combines some of my most favourite ingredients yet criminally I’ve never made it!? Puff pastry, almonds, frangipane, a cheeky splash of booze, not much else says Christmas like that for me. And not only is it a sweet comforting crowd pleaser its a festively appropriate one too….in France anyway. Traditionally eaten on Twelfth night to welcome those famous Kings around the festive season it is normally the hiding place for two figurines that when found by the lucky eaters crown them Kind and Queen for the day and the chance to make a wish. I had many wishes this year that I can’t confess its just a shame I forgot the figurines!

Eaten a little early I’ll agree but neither are we in France! Accompanied by homemade cinnamon ice cream and a warm spoonful of spiced apple compote this went down a treat. And you can barely call this cooking as it simply involves a round of shop bought pastry and a quick frangipane.

NOTE: You can spoon some of the apple jam onto the base of this pastry as an alternative to apricot jam or serve alongside as I did.

Serves 10


  • 1 x block 500g puff pastry (I recommend you don’t use the ready rolled version – it doesn’t ‘puff’ and rise as much in my experience)
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 100g ground almonds
  • 100g softened unsalted butter
  • 50 g flaked almonds
  • 2 eggs, beaten and 1 extra for glazing
  • 1 tbsp/large splash cognac or dark rum
  • 1-2 tbsp apricot jam

Cinnamon Ice Cream

  • 1 can condensed milk
  • 300ml single cream
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds scraped (reserve the pods for using to infuse a jar of caster sugar)

Spiced Apple Compote/Jam – recipe here

  1. Start with the ice cream. Heat the single cream until just about to simmer then remove from the heat. Add the scraped seeds from the vanilla pod and whisk the cinnamon in thoroughly.
  2. Whisk in the condensed milk and leave to the mixture to cool completely.
  3. Freeze the ice cream in a tupperware container or dish. This is a non-churn ice cream but you may need to whisk after 3-4 hours when the ice cream should be nearly set but still loose to distribute any ground cinnamon that has risen to the surface. Freeze until set
  4. For the galette, cut the pastry block in half and roll out each into a square about 25cm x 25cm. Use a plate or dish around 23cm in size (approx.) and cut out two discs. Place them on a parchment lined baking tray and chill in the fridge.
  5. Meanwhile make the filling. Whisk the butter and sugar until combined, soft and fluffy in a food processor or using a hand blender.
  6. Slowly add in the beaten egg and mix until combined followed by the cognac/rum.
  7. Fold in the ground and flaked almonds until combined. Chill in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
  8. When ready to cook remove all elements from the fridge. Spoon the apricot jam (or apple compote) onto the bottom of one of the pastry rounds leaving a 2cm border. Spoon on the frangipane, again leaving a 2cm border, slightly heaping the mixture in the centre.
  9. Brush the 2cm border with beaten egg and place the second pastry round on top.
  10. Press the edges together well to seal.
  11. Using a knife, nick little slices into the edges to seal the pastry together and create a rough pattern. Finally score the top as seen in the pictures in a wheel affect.
  12. Brush the galette with beaten egg and chill for 20 minutes in the fridge.
  13. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 200°C. After 20 minutes, brush again with beaten egg for a golden coating and then cook in the oven for about 30-35 minutes until golden and cooked through.
  14. Leave to cool slightly before dusting with icing sugar and serving alongside some creamy and festive cinnamon ice cream.

Jess - Galette 5Jess - Galette 4

Cajuan Salmon and Sweetcorn Puree

Jess - cajuansalmon2


k. I’ll admit this isn’t very festive…or wintery…or seasonal. Apologies. But frankly the unprecedented warm weather recently has sent us all into a state of confusion!? And following a few too many glasses of mulled wine after the annual village Christmas carol concert and a need for something fresh, filling and quick, Cajuan salmon seemed like the obvious choice…? Obvious right?

Serves 2

  • 2 salmon fillets
  • 1 tsp of smoked paprika and cayenne pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 can sweetcorn
  • 1/2 lime, zest and juice
  • Pinch chilli flakes
  • 30g butter
  • Bunch coriander, chopped
  • Mix of broccoli – purple sprouting and normal (enough for 2), chopped into florets
  • 1 banana shallot, halved and finely sliced into half moons
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • Sunflower oil for frying
  • Natural yoghurt to serve
  1. Marinade the salmon in the dried spices, some seasoning and the olive oil and put in the fridge for about 20 minutes
  2. Heat a good layer of sunflower oil in a frying pan until hot. Mix the flour and the chopped shallots in a bowl and season.
  3. When the oil is hot add the shallots and fry, moving around with a fork, until deep golden and crisp. Tip into a bowl lined with kitchen roll and season. Set aside.
  4. In the same pan, add another drop of oil and stir fry the broccoli gently until charred. Set aside to keep warm in a low oven.
  5. Simmer the sweetcorn in the canned juices and enough water to cover for 3-4 minutes. Drain
  6. Add to the bowl of a food processor while hot and add the butter, chilli, coriander, juice and zest of the lime and some seasoning. Puree until smooth and taste. Set aside to keep warm in a pan.
  7. Finally, heat a splash of oil in your frying pan until hot. Fry the salmon, skin side down for about 5 minutes, turning halfway, depending on the thickness. Equally this would be excellent grilled on a grilled but mine was out of action!Jess - salmon
  8. When ready to serve, spoon a generous helping of sweetcorn puree onto a warmed plate. Top with the salmon. Mix the crispy onions with the warm broccoli and serve on the side and sprinkle with any extra coriander leaves.

Add some natural yoghurt if the what gets too much!

Jess - broccoli

Spiced Bass, Bulgur Wheat Salad, Lime

What started out as a loss of inspiration the other evening turned into a pretty delicious quick and tasty meal for my adoring sister and I for a casual and relaxing Friday night a few weeks ago. A breeze to knock up which was appreciated as we barely kept our eyes open after a long week and hard work. Tasty and nutritious with a beautiful girly scattering of rose petals. Sorry chaps, girls night in. After a few glasses of something crisp and aromatic (I recommend maybe a Gewürztraminer) I highly recommend topping this off with a helping of trashy Reeses peanut butter cups for pudding…A bit of an oxymoron to the meal but moderation in moderation.

Serves 2 

  • 80g bulghur wheat
  • Handful raisins
  • Juice 1/2 lemon
  • 1 large bunch coriander, chopped
  • 1 large onion, cut into half moons
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 lime, zest and juice
  • 200g yoghurt
  • 2 seabass fillets
  • 1 tbsp Ras El Hanout
  • Pinch rose petals (optional)
  1. Start by cutting the fish fillets in half and season. Mix with a tablespoon of olive oil and the Ras El Hanout and massage this in. Set aside.
  2. Slowly cook the onions now. Heat a splash of light oil in a frying pan and gently soften and fry the onion slices for about 10 minutes until just beginning to turn golden brown and crisp. Once soft and gold stir in the cumin and remove from the heat.
  3. Meanwhile, cook the bulgur wheat by simmering in boiling water until just tender (about 5-8 minutes). Drain well and leave to dry a little. Season.
  4. Stir the onions, raisins, the chopped coriander (save a handful for garnish) and mix to combine. Check the seasoning then add the juice of the lemon. Fork through to combine the flavours and set aside.
  5. Mix the yoghurt with the juice of the lime and the majority of the zest (save a pinch for garnish). Season and set aside.
  6. Now you’re ready to cook your fish. Heat a frying pan with a little oil until hot. Fry the fish, skin side down for about 2-3 minutes until crisp. Flip onto the flesh side for the final 30 seconds then remove from the heat.
  7. Jess - Moroccan Seabass3
  8. To serve, spoon half the yoghurt mixture into the centre of a plate. Top with some of the bulgur wheat salad. Finally top with fish and garnish with some chopped coriander, lime zest and rose petals.

Jess - Moroccan Seabass2


Dorset Apple Cake



here is nothing like a bit of baking on a cold, drizzly weekend to ease and nourish the soul and there is nothing like the warming spices of cinnamon and ginger combined lovingly with a spongey sweet cake and some juicy sharp seasonal apples to bake! Devoured cold with a warm brew or warm and spongy with lashings of Ambrosia, ice cream or just a trowel-ful of clotted cream you’ll fail to not be comforted by this festive tray bake. Open to additional ingredients this cake batter would be beautiful marbled with chunks of sweet marzipan or topped with some flaked almonds or toasty pecan nuts.

Adapted from Marry Berry

Makes about 18 large pieces

  • 3 large cooking apples (About 550g)
  • 1/2 lemon
  • 225g unsalted butter
  • 225g light muscovado sugar
  • 300g self raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 large heaped tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 4 eggs
  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C and grease and line a tray bake tin (about 30cm x 23cm)
  2. Peel, core and quarter the apples. Slice each thinly and place in a bowl. Squeeze over the lemon to prevent browning.
  3. Now, using an electric hand mixer or food processor, blend the butter, sugar, flour, baking powder, half the cinnamon and ginger together before adding the eggs. Beat well adding a splash of milk to loosen for a few minutes until golden, glorious and combined.
  4. Spoon half into the lined baking tray. Top with halve the apples slices scattered randomly but evening over. Sprinkle over the remaining cinnamon
  5. Spread over the remaining batter and even out with a pallet knife
  6. Top with the remaining apples slices, pushing them into the batter slightly.
  7. OPTIONAL: Top with flaked almonds or nuts or a sprinkle or crunchy demerara sugar.
  8. bake for about 40 minutes until golden, spongey and firm and just communing away from the sides of the tray.
  9. Leave to cool before cutting. Serve warm with ice cream, custard or cream or at room temperature with a nice cup of tea!

Jess - Dorset Apple Cake3

Asian Sea Bream and Raw Courgette Noodles


 very simple super this week. Thrown together in a matter of minutes…well about 20. A healthy way to kick of December before the turkey, chocolate and Christmas treats infiltrate the diet. Fresh flavours and your can barely call this cooking…

Serves 2

  • 2 sea bream fillets
  • 1 tbsp good quality, dark soy sauce
  • 2 small courgettes
  • Handful salted peanuts
  • 1/2 red chilli
  • Bunch chopped coriander
  • 1 large lime
  • 4 0z brown rice
  • 1 tsp sesame oil
  1. Simmer the rice for about 10-15 minutes until tender. Drain and drizzle with the sesame oil and keep warm
  2. Use a julienne chopper to finely slice the courgette into noodle strips. Mix with the peanuts, coriander and chilli and season. Squeeze over the juice from the lime.
  3. Heat a frying pan until hot. Season the fillets and fry, skin side down for about 2-3 minutes until the skin is really crispy.
  4. Turn the fish to the flesh side for the final 30 seconds of cooking. Remove from the pan and pat of any excess oil with paper towel.
  5. Serve the rice, courgette and fish, drizzled with a little soy sauce

Jess - Seabream2