Tuesday, 16 May 2017

Pear, Honey and Almond Cake

We really are a nation of wasters in the United Kingdom, especially when it comes to fruit.

Fruit of course doesn't last too long and our first instinct when an apple or a banana gets a bit bruised and soft is to throw it away. But please stop! There are so many great things you can do; apple and pear puree, mashed banana for a simple banana cake, smoothies, mixed fruit pulps to fold into porridge and muesli for a start.

One of my favourite things to do is make a cake and pears are just right when they seem too delicate to the touch and the skin comes away just by pushing it. Combine them with almond and honey and things just get better.

Think twice before throwing away your bruised and soft fruit; the internet is packed with ways to save you money and of course, everybody loves a good cake.

Pear, Honey and Almond Cake

4 ripe pears, cored and cut into thick slices.
2 tbsp caster sugar
4 tbsp honey
120g margarine or soft butter
2 eggs
120g sugar
60g self-raising flour
60g ground almonds

1 - Pre-heat the oven to 180C/GM4. Butter a shallow pie dish or a loose bottomed cake tin.
2 - Heat up the sugar gently in a non-stick frying pan and add the pears. Cook gently until golden, turning once. Pour in the honey, shake and remove from the heat. Put the pears and syrup in the bottom of the pie dish or cake tin.
3 - In a large mixing bowl, whisk the butter and sugar until fluffy. Fold in the eggs one by one then gently fold in the flour and almonds.
4 - Tip over the pears and spread evenly. Cook in the middle of the oven for 30-35 minutes until golden brown.
5 - Tip up onto a plate and serve just warm.

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Cod and Lentil Masala

In these days of watching what I eat, I'm turning more to low fat proteins and using less oil in my cooking.

The most important aspect to me as a food lover and cook is to ensure that the food never lacks in flavour. So far so good, especially with this flavour packed curry; a myriad of flavours from sweet tomato, nutty cumin and the aniseed of fennel seed which pairs so well with fish.

I've used chunky cod in this curry (or masala, which basically means a mixture of spices). Cod holds its shape well but any firm fish will do. Look for ling, pollack, whiting or even salmon and trout. Enjoy, health and food lovers.

Cod and Lentil Masala
Serves 4

1 red onion
A thumb size piece of ginger
5 garlic cloves
1 tbsp groundnut or vegetable oil
1 tsp each of fennel seeds, ground cumin, ground coriander, chilli powder, turmeric, garam masala
1 tbsp tomato purée
500g tomato pasata
100g brown lentils, cooked
300g cod, cut into large chunks
Salt and pepper to taste

1 - Either finely chop the onion, garlic and ginger or blitz in a food processor to form a paste.
2 - Heat up the oil in a non stick pan and add the paste. Cook, stirring, until it begins to caramelise.
3 - Add the spices and cook for 2 minutes. Add the tomato purée and cook for 1 minute. Finally, add the pasata and bring to the boil. Simmer for 10 minutes until reduced and thickened.
4 - Add the fish and lentils. Simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the fish is cooked through. Taste for seasoning, you may want more chilli. It should be sweet, spicy and aromatic.