Thursday, 10 August 2017

Spinach and Strawberry Swiss Roll - Veggie Desserts Cookbook

Pushing the boundaries of baking with a naturally green cake. Spinach and Strawberry Swiss Roll from the debut cookbook 'Veggie Desserts & Cakes - Carrot Cake and Beyond' by Kate Hackworthy.

My daughter is a vegetable hater. If it's green its a definite no no. Carrots, Sweetcorn and Baked Beans are pretty much the full extent of her 'healthy eating' repertoire. Once when asked what vegetable she'd had with her school dinner the reply was 'spaghetti hoops'. Sometimes I feel that I've failed as both a mother and a food blogger. However when it comes to dessert, cake, sweet treats and chocolate she's first in the queue. Could the book I'm sharing today by my blogging friend Kate Hackworthy of be the answer to my prayers? Her newly published debut cookbook 'Veggie Desserts & Cakes - Carrot Cake and Beyond' celebrates vegetables loud and proud. It's not about sneaking them into food or disguising them in cake but instead making them as much a part of dessert as they are any main course. Why shouldn't they bring their vitamins, goodness, nutrients and amazing colours to any dish?

The book itself is absolutely stunning to look at. It's the perfect coffee table hardback but one that you actually want to bake the recipes from with the confidence that you can achieve the same results as Kate has. It's divided into seven colourful chapters which I've shared below along with a couple of my 'bookmarked to try' recipes from each. Hopefully this will give you a feel for the innovation and variety of it's contents.

Cakes - Carrot Victoria Sponge with Carrot Jam, Cucumber and Lemon Cake with Gin Icing
Cupcakes - Chocolate Mashed Potato Cupcakes with Espresso Icing, Spinach and Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Icing, Spiced Butternut Squash Muffins with Crystallised Ginger
Cookies - Sweet Potato and Salted Hazelnut Cookies, Pumpkin Gingernuts, 
Squares & Traybakes - Sweet Potato and Pecan Blondies, Beetroot Seedy Squares, Carrot Gingerbread
Pies & Pastries - Carrot Meringue Pie, Avocado Lime Tarts
Frozen Desserts - Cucumber and Lemon Granita, Avocado and Lime Ice Cream
More Sweet Treats - Butternut Squashed Cinnamon Rolls with Almond Glaze, Sweet potato Dessert Waffles

Throughout Kate's book the sheer variety of vegetables used is astounding. There are bakes featuring - kale, beetroot, carrots, pumpkin, peas, parsnips, courgettes, spinach, cucumber, asparagus, potato, avocado, cavolo nero, butternut squash, sweetcorn, sweet potato, swede, romanesco, black beans, cauliflower and aubergine. 21 different vegetables! What a way to get your 5-a-day. I did notice that Kate's innovative baking hasn't stretched quite as far as the dreaded Brussels Sprouts!

Image Credit - Clare Winfield, Pavilion Books

From the list of press recipes to try out from Kate's book the one that immediately caught my eye was the Spinach and Strawberry Swiss Roll. In it's original form it's something that I first made many years ago in my Home Economics class at secondary school and have made many times since. Goodness knows what my rather austere cookery teacher would have thought about the addition of spinach. 

Kate says: "I first encountered spinach and strawberries together in a salad and loved the pairing so much that I was inspired to combine them again in this colourful Swiss roll. The spinach flavour fades away and the vanilla-laced sponge is light and springy – perfect for rolling up with refreshing strawberries and cream."

I admit I was slightly apprehensive when adding the spinach but it really turned the sponge a spectacular colour and made it so moist. I struggled to get the small amount of spinach to puree successfully so added a couple of spoonfuls of the batter mixture which worked well. When it came to rolling I rolled from the shorter side rather than the long so it was smaller but thicker than it should have been - no bad thing! Following my own slice the remainder of the Swiss Roll headed to work with my husband and received a big thumbs up from his colleagues. As for my vegetable avoiding daughter - alas she refused. Way too green! However she's really keen to try the Carrot Victoria Sponge, Chocolate and Mashed Potato Cupcakes and Sweetcorn and White Chocolate Cookies - so all is not lost.

Spinach and Strawberry Swiss Roll
Serves 8 

For the cake 
75g caster sugar, plus extra for sprinkling 
100g spinach leaves 
3 large free-range eggs 
½ tsp vanilla extract 
75g self-raising flour 
1 pinch of salt 

For the filling 
120ml double cream 
2 tsp icing sugar 
100g fresh strawberries, hulled and cut into small pieces. 

To serve 
1 tbsp icing sugar

To make the cake 
Preheat the oven to 190°C/170°C fan/375°F/gas 5. Line a 23 x 30cm/9 x 12in Swiss roll pan or shallow baking pan, with baking parchment and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon of caster sugar. 

Steam the spinach over a pan of boiling water for a minute or so until wilted, then briefly rinse under cold water, drain and squeeze out any excess moisture. Purée with a hand blender until smooth, then set aside. 

In a large bowl, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla with an electric mixer for about 5–10 minutes until very light and fluffy. Add the puréed spinach and beat again until just combined. Sift in the flour and salt, then very gently fold it in, taking care not to overmix. 

Pour the batter into the prepared pan, carefully spread to the edges, then bake in the oven for 10 minutes, or until the sides begin to shrink from the edges. 

To fill and assemble 
While the cake is cooking, lightly dampen a clean tea towel, lay it out on the countertop and sprinkle it with 1 teaspoon of caster sugar.

When the sponge has finished cooking, immediately turn it out onto the tea towel and carefully remove the baking parchment. Roll the sponge up along the longest side with the tea towel, tightly but gently. Unroll it carefully and allow it to cool completely on the tea towel. This will make it easier to roll with the filling when it’s cool.

While the cake is cooling, whip the cream and icing sugar together until thick, then store in the fridge until ready to use.

When the sponge is completely cool, spread it with the whipped cream, leaving a small border around the edges, then sprinkle with the strawberries. Using the tea towel to help, very carefully roll the sponge up along the longest side. Try to keep it tight, but without splitting the sponge or squeezing out the filling. Sift the icing sugar over the roll, then slice into rounds to serve.

Recipe Credit - Veggie Desserts + Cakes by Kate Hackworthy, published by Pavilion Books

Some of my blogging colleagues have also been trying out and sharing the recipes from Kate's book with great success
Recipes from a Pantry - Chocolate Cauliflower Ice Lollies 
Natural Kitchen Adventures - Beetroot and Vanilla Sorbet
Baking Queen 74 - Courgette and Poppy Seed Loaf
Farmers Girl Kitchen - Carrot Gingerbread 
The Veg Space - Avocado Lime Tarts
Tin & Thyme - Kale Apple Cake
Ren Behan - Carrot Gingerbread
Veggie Desserts - Cucumber Lemon Granita
Family Friends Food - Courgette and Poppyseed Loaf
Elizabeth's Kitchen Diary - Pea and Vanilla Cake with Lemon Icing

Veggie Desserts + Cakes by Kate Hackworthy, published by Pavilion Books.
Available at Amazon, Waterstones and Wholefoods.

♥ Pin me for later... Pushing the boundaries of baking with a naturally green cake. Spinach and Strawberry Swiss Roll from the debut cookbook 'Veggie Desserts & Cakes - Carrot Cake and Beyond' by Kate Hackworthy.

Monday, 7 August 2017

Tunnock's Teacake Croquembouche for Foodie Quine's 5th Birthday!

The perfect no-bake-cake for a Scottish celebration - a tower of Tunnock's Teacakes! To celebrate my 5th blogiversary I've created a Croquembouche of chocolate and marshmallow from the iconic silver and red wrapped biscuit.

Happy Birthday to me,
Happy Birthday to me,
Happy Birthday dear Foodie Quine.
Happy Birthday to me!

Today I have reached the grand old age of FIVE - or rather my blog has. 7th August 2012 saw me enter the blogosphere with my own wee corner of the Internet. For those who don't know the story came about when as a self confessed foodie and spender of way too much time online it was suggested by one of my friends (that would be YOU Julia!) that I should combine both and catalogue my adventures in food with a blog. There began my Edible Scottish Adventurers.

So why Foodie Quine?   (NB when it comes to pronunciation Quine rhymes with Wine - unless you are Paul Hollywood who called me Foodie Queen - I forgave him!)

Foodie - foody [ˈfu:di] Someone greatly (even excessively) interested in the preparation and consumption of good food. Epicure, Gastronome, Gourmet, Bon Vivant 

Quine - quean (Scottish Doric dialect) a young woman, girl or daughter. A female person from Aberdeen/shire

So now you know!

A birthday celebration can surely mean only one thing for a food blog - CAKE! Trouble is I'm not very good at showstopping celebration cakes. When I'm asked to describe my style of cooking I always struggle as it's a bit of a mish mash of styles combined with a passion for seasonality, cooking from scratch and family friendly recipes. However if there is a particular area of speciality it's probably 'Quirky Scottish' or 'Scottish with a Twist'. As such when it came to a 5th Birthday Cake for Foodie Quine it just had to be made of Tunnock's Teacakes! Those who've been with me at any point over the last 5 years will no doubt have stumbled across at least one of my Tunnock's Teacake Creations. 
Irn Bru has also proved popular in my Irn Bru Ham and Irn Bru Pulled Pork so do feel free to quaff a glass alongside your Croquembouche.

A croquembouche (or croque-en-bouche) is a French dessert consisting of choux pastry balls piled into a cone and bound with threads of caramel. In Italy and France, it is often served at weddings, baptisms and first communions. I reckon my Scottish Croquembouche is a pure dead brilliant way to celebrate a birthday in auld alliance or entente cordiale style. I initially bought four packs of ten teacakes but I just couldn't build the perfect tower without the addition of just one more. Hence you'll need 41 #sorrynotsorry I also swithered about wrapped v's unwrapped and decided to go for a combination of both however I reckon all wrapped would also look pretty spectacular but less opportunity for decoration. Do feel free to mix it up with the blue and silver versions if dark chocolate is more your thing. If you make your own version I'd LOVE to see it. In blogging terms there's no better feedback. 

Big thanks to all who have followed my Edible Scottish Adventures so far - Here's to the next five years of blogging - Slàinte Mhath!

Tunnocks Teacake Croquembouche

41 Tunnocks Teacakes
Milk, Dark and White Chocolate
Toffee Sauce
Chocolate Sprinkles
Spun Sugar (optional)

To assemble the Croquembouche firstly clear a large space in the fridge!

Melt some chocolate and brush it onto the base of the bottom layer of wrapped teacakes to secure them to your serving plate. Refrigerate until set and continue to brush with melted chocolate and stack up the Teacakes as follows:

Bottom layer - 14 wrapped teacakes (4 in the middle)
Second Layer - 12 teacakes (3 in the middle
Third Layer - 7 teacakes (1 in the middle)
Fourth Layer - 4 teacakes
Fifth Layer - 3 teacakes
Sixth Layer - 1 wrapped Teacake

Decorate with drizzled chocolate, toffee sauce, chocolate sprinkles and if you're feeling particularly ambitious - spun sugar.

♥ Pin me for later... The perfect no-bake-cake for a Scottish celebration - a tower of Tunnock's Teacakes! To celebrate my 5th blogiversary I've created a Croquembouche of chocolate and marshmallow from the iconic silver and red wrapped biscuit.

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Comté Cheese and Potato Rosti Waffles

Post in collaboration with Comté Cheese

This quick and easy breakfast, brunch or side dish combines crispy and cheesy in a Potato Rosti Waffle. The cheese is Comté. Made in in the beautiful French mountains of the Jura Massif it's a delicious unpasteurised cheese full of passion and provenance.

Assuming you're following me on social media (if not why not?! Facebook - Twitter - Instagram) you'll no doubt have spotted that I've recently been on a #VoyageDeFromage to France with Comté Cheese. Over three days alongside five other journalists and bloggers I got a real insight into the history and heritage of this much loved unpasturised cheese which is full of passion and provenance. I've come home looking 5 months pregnant with a 'cheese baby' but despite this I couldn't wait to get stuck in and cook up a storm using Comté with some inspiration from all that we ate, saw and learned during our trip. There will of course be a much fuller post to cover all of our adventures which included wine tasting, a cookery class, visits to a cheese museum, dairy farm, salt museum, cheese producer and a cave of 100,000+ cheeses! However for now a few key facts about Comté and then onto the waffletastic recipe!

Comte has been awarded both AOC (Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée) and AOP Status (Protected Origin Nomenclature). This ensures that Comté follows a set of stringent rules and requirements which guarantees its quality, provenance and history. Comté can only be made in a specific region of France - the Jura Massif. There are three distinct types of artisans who collaborate in the process - farms, fruitières and maturing cellars.

Farms - The cows that produce milk to make Comte must by law be either Montbéliarde or French Simmental. In the summer they have a minimum of 1 hectare of pasture per cow and in the winter they come indoors and eat hay and cereals. No silage allowed. They are milked twice daily - 365 days a year at over 3000 family farms. The raw milk is collected daily by the Fruitière. Regulations state that it can be held for no longer than 24 hours before being turned into cheese. You need 400 litres of milk to make one wheel of cheese.

Fruitières - These are the small village dairy co-operatives where the 40kg wheels of Comté are made. There are 153 of them in the region and each one can collect only the raw milk from the farms within a 12.5km radius. The cheese is produced in copper pots with a combination of heat, rennet and starter culture creating the curds and whey. The hand of the cheesemaker is paramount in ensuring the exact moment at which the cheese is ready to be pressed into wheels. The young cheeses are kept at the fruitière for 15 days during which they are turned and brushed with salt to start the maturation process and the formation of the distinctive outer rind.

Maturing Cellars - good cheese takes time and the next stage in the process for Comte can take anything between 4 and 18 months, sometimes even longer. There are 13 cheese caves in the Jura region where the ageing or 'affinage' takes place. Here the cheeses are regularly turned and salted by none other than a cheese robot! This is one of the few part of the process where modern technology had been introduced. However when it comes to deciding when each individual Comte has reached its peak of perfection that comes down to the skill of the affineur who taps and samples the cheese to check the check the taste, colour, and texture of each wheel. Older Comte isn't necessarily better, diversity doesn't come from the age of the cheese. Every single Comte will mature at a different speed with a different aromatic profile. Quality is everything and the characteristic image of a green cow bell on a Comte assures you that it's the real thing.

Today's recipe was inspired by the final stop on our trip when we lunched at La Petite Echelle in Rochejean. If you ever find yourself in this region of France close to the Swiss border do make time to visit this restaurant as there is something very special and truly authentic about it. We dipped (and dropped!) cubes of bread and potatoes into the unctuous fondue made with a young Comté, Garlic and Vin Jaune, feasted on a giant Rosti topped with local sausage and wildflowers. Dessert - Tarte du chalet - was the most heavenly Rhubarb Tart that I have ever tasted. All of this was produced in a tiny rustic kitchen with recipes and shopping lists written on the wall tiles. It was like stepping straight into a Heidi book and was the most perfect place to end our voyage de fromage.

Comté Cheese and Potato Rosti Waffles

500g Potatoes (no need to peel if using new potatoes)
1 Small Onion
150g ComtéCheese
Salt & Pepper

Coarsley grate the potatoes, onion and Comté cheese - a food processor will make quick work of this.
Season well with salt and freshly ground pepper and mix until thoroughly combined.
Cook according to the instructions for your particular waffle maker.

I have a a No-Mess Waffle Maker from Sage by Heston Blumenthal. This quantity made 3 circular (12 triangular) waffles and they were perfectly cooked at setting 5.

♥ Pin me for later... This vegetarian breakfast, brunch or side dish combines crispy and cheesy in a Potato Rosti Waffle. The cheese is Comté. Made in in the beautiful French mountains of the Jura Massif it's a delicious unpasteurised cheese full of passion and provenance.

Disclosure: I traveled to France to eat cheese and drink wine as a guest of Comté.
As always, all views expressed are my own. 
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