Cheese and tomato baked tortilla chips

Tuesday, September 29, 2009
When I saw these a couple of months ago on Good Mood Food I had to try them. The very next day in fact. I served them along with the palmiers and allumettes I had made for a hen party. These are the ones I made last Friday afternoon for a last minute delivery meal (canapes, main course & dessert) for a family flying in from Spain for a weekend in a holiday house near Cheltenham.

They're so moreish I added another couple of layers interleaved with greaseproof paper. They just need flashing in the oven for 5 minutes or so to crisp them up.

I used my own reduced tomato sauce rather than salsa.

Related posts:

Palmiers and allumettes
Roast almonds and cashews with smoked salt


Gluten free garlic bread

Gluten free doesn't mean taste free when you make your own!

Unknown to the organiser (whose birthday weekend it was) one of her guests is now on a gluten free diet. As luck would have it all the things they had chosen last night (Sunday) were gluten free anyway - the chocolate nemesis uses ground almonds rather than flour. For tonight (Monday) as garlic bread was on their menu I made a gluten free version as well and used the recipe from the bag of Dove Farm gluten free flour halving it.

When I was making the BNT brioche loaf the other week I liked the way the home cured bacon cooked inside the bread as it baked, the bread absorbing the bacon juices. I thought it might be good to try the same thing with garlic butter.

225g gluten free flour
1/4 tsp salt
1tsp fast action yeast
1 tbsp sugar
160ml hand hot milk
1tsp vinegar
1 egg

These were mixed in the machine, then 3 tbsp olive oil was added gradually.

As I only needed a small amount I used a half pound loaf tin. Made a base of the bread dough and smoothed with a spoon dipped in hot water. Then rolled out bits of dough and added these to the sides and spooned garlic butter into the middle (you could chill it and cut it, but I was in a rush). Then I added more dough on the top and smoothed this off with the warmed spoon so the loaf glued together.

I left it to rise for an hour while I got everything else together, then egg washed the top and baked for 45 minutes at 220 oC. As soon as it was out of the oven I was off driving into the setting sun on the way to Kempley Barns near Ross on Wye for the second evening.

I also made a gluten free version of sticky toffee pudding - just replacing normal flour in the recipe with gluten free flour. And the same with the tuile for the top - just replacing the flour.

Related posts

Assiette of desserts

Three parties last Saturday. After setting up the other two I dashed down the M5 to cook for this one at Rectory Park, Slimbridge. Organised between father and daughter for their wife's/ mother's birthday. What a nice suprise turning up at Rectory Park must be. They had chosen all the things she liked - Gambas pil pil (there's something so right about prawns cooking in garlic), roast loin of pork, and then this selection of favourite desserts.

Lemon tart
Japanese spoon of crème brûlée
Mini sticky toffee pudding (used the canape yorkshire pudding tins for this)
Shotglass of mango sorbet
Vanilla ice cream cone

The mango sorbet was immediately one of my favourite things I had made all year (and that's quite a lot of things). I had been looking for a no egg recipe (by the time they had decided on the flavour it was too late to order pasteurized egg white) and I found this recipe - it turned out great. I used all mango rather than the nectarines and added a couple of glugs of Cointreau too.

For the ice cream cones I used the normal tuile mix and made semi circle tuiles and rolled them up taking them out of the oven one by one. If I do this again I will try making flat bottomed cones. These ones I secured in a piece of melon (scooped with a tablespoon measure and pierced a hole with a small knife for the cone to sit in). I pre-scoooped the ice cream before I served the starter. Then at the last minute before serving I took the plates out to the hall table just outside the dining room and put the ice cream on there so there would be less distance to carry them - the step halfway down the hall always gets you. It helps when you know the house you're working in!

Related posts:

Other assiette desserts we have served
What does 'assiette' mean? Assiette of desserts 12 July 2008

Pickled mushrooms

Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Mixed with a few chopped herbs and ready to go on the parma ham salad last Saturday night at Hill House.

How they were made - see comments section.

Related posts

English muffins

Monday, September 21, 2009
I have a new toy.

A Le Creuset griddle - ridged on one side and flat on the other. What a very fine piece of equipment. The flat side was what I used to make these. I'd been waiting for an excuse to make this recipe for a few months.
With so much going on, I ran out of time, so as these were for breakfast for the wedding party the morning after the big day, I finished the last ones at the house after we had served the wedding breakfast. We also left them bacon to go in the middle, as well as a few other essential breakfast items.
I might try making crumpets on the griddle next......

Christmas/ Xmas Day Lunch & Dinner in the Cotswolds, Cheltenham, Gloucester, Evesham, Tewkesbury, Gloucestershire, Worcestershire, Oxfordshire 2009

Christmas lunch using locally sourced produce delivered chilled to your home on Christmas Eve or cooked and served in your home on Christmas Day by chef and waiting staff.

See more info at

Delivery Christmas/ Xmas day lunch 2008 on the blog - see more click here

Christmas/ Xmas day lunch or dinner cooked and served in your home on the blog 2007 - see more click here.

Christmas/ Xmas Day lunch & dinner Bristol, Cirencester, Cheltenham, Chipping Norton, Evesham, Fairford, Gloucester, Lechlade, Ledbury, Malvern, Moreton in Marsh, Pershore, Ross on Wye, Stretton on Fosse, Stonehouse, Stow on the Wold, roud, Tetbury, Tewkesbury, Winchcombe, Wotton-under-Edge, Worcester

Cheese wedding cake

St. Kennelm
St. Eadburgh - Large & small
Oxford Blue
Smoked Cerwyn
Capricorn goats cheese

Apples, blackberries, leaves & lavender come from the garden at Wellacres (where it was served) and the marjoram flowers and ivy came from my garden.

Cheese wedding cake 2011

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Cheese wedding cake August 2008 - 170 people


Ruhlman's BLT challenge becomes an BNT - Bacon, nettle and tomato

Friday, September 18, 2009
I first came accross Mr Ruhlman's BLT challenge from Ryan's blog (1 blog leads to another - isn't it great!). A BLT how easy - shouldn't take long. Call that a challenge? Oh yes, you just need to grow the tomatoes. And the lettuce. And make your own bread. And mayonnaise. And cure your own bacon. OK - that's more like it!
As luck would have it, I already had the lettuce growing in the garden, and had a couple of tomato plants from my mum, who had been given them by her friend. So I thought I would get it done nice and early. Then July happened, and August dissappeared into the ether. So I had missed it - till the entry date got extended. There still wasn't time to do it now, but they say if you want something done give it to a busy person.........

1. Bringing home the bacon

(Stole Sam's title there)
I found Home Farm from the Big Barn website 3 years ago, one day when I got a phonecall for a breakfast booking the next morning. There was no time to get to Carol Webb in Chipping Campden, so I consulted Big Barn and found the Meadows at Home Farm about 6 miles away. It's amazing what's on your doorstep and you don't even know.

The family has been farming there for over 50 years, and though they started doing just turkeys they now keep cows, pigs and sheep too, as well as egg laying hens. Now the 'children' have grown up they run the farm which leaves Micky to run the butchery and farmers markets and Anne to keep the shop and B&B. I get premium cuts from the butcher in Broadway - like fillet steaks, because when I get them direct from farms I run them out so they haven't got any for their other customers, but pretty much everything else comes from Home Farm - you really can't find better quality.

As I turned up once Micky was just curing a piece of loin for back bacon, and explained the difference between the dry curing they do and the brine curing. They learned both on the butchers course he did. With brine curing the bacon asborbs some of the brine so increases in volume and weight, hence the butcher or supermarket can charge more for it. Dry curing (with salt rubbed on direct) is far superior, but of course you lose a certain amount of weight. This is also why when you cook cheap bacon a watery goo comes out. When you cook the meadows' bacon it goes crispy because the water is taken out. I know which one I'd prefer. Their pigs are Berkshire/ Gloucester Old Spot cross - which is a great combination. Carol Webb breeds pure Berkshires and the meat is so gamey it's almost like wild boar and smallholders come from all aover the country for her weaners. The Meadows' cross breeds gives you the best of both worlds.

Seeking a cure
I picked the (half) pork belly up on the way back from delivering these canapés. As I was talking to Micky about what I was going to do with it (I was hoping to take a bit of his sel petre), he suggested using his vac pac machine to speed up the proccess - I was leaving it a bit to the last minute. As I also had a rather full fridge at that point, with so much happening that weekend, it seemed a great idea, as it would keep it contained. Only thing was, no camera. How would anyone believe I made it myself? So I rushed back to base, trimmed up the belly a bit while I was there, picked up the cure (salt & demerara sugar - couldn't find the juniper berries I'd wanted to use, and went back.

Fast forward 10 days to this morning, and it was time to open it up (below left) then dry it, and hang it by the fan for around an hour and half to dry it out (below middle) before sharpening the old knife and slicing it.

2. Lettuce

All through June, July and August the lettuce was going great guns. I'd planned on using rocket for this. Alas, as August went into September the lettuce was all going to seed and dying away, so I had to switch to plan B.

Every day I walk through the Abbey gardens on the way to work. It's a nice peaceful start to the day. Just behind their car park are a fair few nettle patches. The tips I picked a couple of weeks back still hadn't grown back - a sign that the nettle season too is coming to a close. Further round though I found these ones and got the rubber gloves out. If you're eating nettles you just need to cook them to remove the sting. I wash them, dry them (below) and saute them in a bit of olive oil.
3. Tomatoes

These are what we call Gardiners delight. Gardiner was my Grandpa's surname - hence the change of spelling. Down in Devon they had a microclimate - so all their tomatoes (they kept different varities which fruited at different times, so there was a constant supply) were Gardiner's delights, but only this one variety was Gardiner's Delight, and it's still my favourite.

Even they are on their way out now - not long till I'll be collecting the green tomatoes for chutney.....

I cut them in half, drizzled with olive oil, maldon salt and pepper. They weren't quite ready so I put them back in the oven, had to switch the heat up to get the coq au vin (due to be delivered that afternoon) cooked. Then the phone went, and I had to write an email, so they were a little more 'caramelised' than I had wanted......
4. Bread

5 Eggs! Yes 5 eggs! I was reminded a couple of weeks ago it had been so long since I'd made brioche. And this week I picked up a bread book in Cooking: The Books by Eric Truille & Ursula Ferrigno, and the brioche there looked like it had to be made. Great book by the way. I'm picky - it has to be something I'm realistically going to use. I will at some point post the recipe - but it's already 1am.....

It started off quite moist - which is no bad thing (nothing worse than heavy bread), so I kneaded it with the pastry scraper rather than by hand until it came together (middle). Then left it to rise for 1 1/2 hours before rolling out into a rectangle. I'm quite a mustard fan, so I spread it liberally with wholegrain mustard before laying on the bacon rashers.

I sprinkled the (cooled) sauteed nettles onto and spread the dried tomatoes in a line, then rolled it like a swiss roll into a long rope. This was the cut into 15. You almost cut through, but leave it attached then twist the bread round so it opens up. At this point the bacon was raw - I wanted it to cook in the bread so all the flavour and juice would go through it was it cooked.
I left it to rise for around 45 minutes before baking it for another 45. After about 20 minutes it was golden on the outside, but there was no way it was cooked inside, so I covered it with foil to stop it burning on top and replaced it in the oven.

5. Mayonnaise

Meanwhile, I whisked up a couple of egg yolks, mustard and vinegar to make an olive oil mayonnaise.
What a difference real mayonnaise makes!

The finished result - tear & share...... blink and it's gone!

I served the mayo in ramekins as a dip. It would have been nice to take some fancy photos at this point, but the reality was I had a delivery meal due out ASAP, the roast potatoes were just on the verge of being ready, the dauphinoise needed taking out of the oven, the sauce was boiling, the cream needed to be piped onto the dessert, the chocolate sauce needed to come off the heat and the phone was ringing. It all happens on Fridays!

Nice to eat - even better to share. So I shared it with some of my neighbouring businesses. I'd emailed the Basepoint manager earlier to say I'd bring it over just before 5 so people could pick some up on there way out (normal people finish at 5pm I hear), and I tweeted Vivid too. Assistant Basepoint manager Mel was being supervised by her son who was the first to tuck in......

Post note

The brioche was a great choice of bread - rich and flaky. Got to make more of it.

Maple cured bacon - now there's a thing to try next.

Related posts

Top nettle picking tips
Cooking with nettles
Cinnamon, raisin and candied orange bread crown
Other things we have made with nettles


Breakfast delivery - english breakfast

Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Ideal for a weekend breakfast in the Cotswolds. This one was for a business weekend retreat at Meadowbank in Chipping Campden for whom we looked after all the food - at the same time as doing the barbecue birthday at Wellacres and another party at Rectory Park.

This was our traditional english breakfast which can be either delivered raw for you to cook or cooked and chilled so all you have to do is heat it up - less washing up for you (and who really wants to wash up on holiday?).

Both the bacon and sausages are from Home Farm in Bredons Norton where they rear Berkshire/ Gloucester old spot pigs which make the best tasting bacon and sausages. When I serve them at Upper Court they only travel 3 miles from the farm to the table.



I always get so many good comments about the mushrooms - so much more flavour than regular supermarket mushrooms. They are organic field mushrooms from Oakfield Organics near Evesham.


I picked these up at Hayles Fruit Farm while I was buying other things there. They just go in the oven as they are for 10 - 15 minutes.

Hash Browns
As we were delivering breakfast 2 days running I alternated the potatoes - one day doing the hash browns (left) and the other day potato rosti (below).
Photo is from a delivery earlier in the year (hence the date on the box). I first fell in love with the Clarence Court eggs when they sold them in Collins butchers in Broadway - it's hard to find a better tasting eggs. Now the company became so popular they only sell to supermarkets (their delivery lorries are often parked outside here overnight), but they remain as good as they were.

Fruit plate

Related posts

Continental style breakfast delivery

Breakfast menu
Brunch menu

Roulade of sole and king prawns with whisky sauce

Updating an old favourite.
This time round with a little sole mousse (below left) and king prawns.

The fillets are spread with a little of the mousse (holds the prawn in place) and rolled up and skewered to hold them together while cooking, after which the skewer is removed.

Whisky sauce - made in almost the same way as the beer sauce, though of course, a smaller amount of whisky. I went for a more Welsh version of Colcannon (creamed potato with leeks, kale, garlic and a little wholegrain mustard) to accompany it.

Related posts: