Hamming it up for Easter!

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Apologises for the dodgy and dark photography, which isn’t doing the ham the justice it deserves.

 

Happy Easter!!! The ‘In laws’ were staying this weekend and they kicked off Easter Sunday with a walk around the farm, a very cold, windy, slightly rainy and sleety at time, bracing walk. It swept away the beer and wine from last night by the looks of them when they came back in the door! I, however spent my Sunday morning in bed, then panicked when I remembered that the clocks went forward and it was actually 11am and not 10am. Hence, cooking the Easter dinner in PJ’s. Although my cooking preparation started the day before, so I didn’t have a huge amount to do.

On the Saturday, whilst hubby was player rugger, I was in the kitchen………

Ingredients

2kg British unsmoked boneless gammon joint, 1 organic leek, chopped, 1 organic onion, peeled and chopped, left over celery sticks,chopped, 3 organic carrots, peeled and chopped, one cinnamon stick, broken in half, 1 teaspoon crushed peppercorns, 1 teaspoon of coriander seeds.

In a large pan ( as you can see my pan was nearly overflowing), place all the vegetables, cinnamon stick, peppercorns ,coriander seeds and the gammon joint, then cover with cold water. Bring water to the boil and then turn down the heat and simmer. I simmered for about 20 minutes per 450 kg, so it took about 1 hour and half simmering.  Remove from pan and leave to cool completely before placing in fridge.

I left the stock to cool then poured the stock into freezer bags.  To make it easier, wedge the freezer bag into a large jug then pour the stock into the bag and, before tying the bag, remove excess air by squeezing the top of bag, then tie the bag and place upright in a plastic food container . This will help to freeze it in a easy to store shape and the boxes can be removed later. Then place in freezer to be used the next time you make soup!

On the Sunday about 11:01am ……..

Ingredients

Ham: Cloves

Glaze: 1 1/2 cups of brown sugar, 1/4 cup of dejon mustard, 1 1/2 tablespoons of apple vinegar and 350mls of Dr Pepper

Sides: 3 Organic carrots, peeled and cut into sticks, 2 large and wonky organic parsnips, peeled and cut into sticks, 9 organic potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters, 2 teaspoons of corn flour.

Preheat oven to 165 °C. Take the ham out the fridge, score the top of the ham in one direction with a knife and then another direction to form diamonds. Where the lines meet, stick a clove in. Once all “cloved ” up place the ham on the oven tray, then place in oven. In the mean time, make up the glaze. I used Pioneer Woman’s recipe, but there are so many variations of glaze, just have a search online for one you would prefer.  Place  the brown sugar, dejon mustard, apple vinegar and 350mls of Dr Pepper into a pan, bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes.

Cook the ham for 38 minutes ( really random number, but that was just when the glaze was ready!). Take out the oven and then cover the ham with the glaze. Pop back into the oven for another 20 minutes, then take out and cover with glaze. Place back in the oven for 20 minutes and then take out and glaze again. Place back in oven for 10 minutes. To be honest, the last 10 minutes were not required, it was ready after 1 hours and 20 minutes, but I wanted to give it another glaze. So again roughly it was 20 minutes per 450kg, but you may want to follow your own packet or butchers instructions for cooking the ham.

I served the ham with some mashed potatoes, roasted carrots and parsnips but you could serve it with whatever kind of veg you want to.

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‘Cos wonky veg tastes good too!

 

Sorry, I forgot to get a photo of the finished meal, as once hubby carved the ham, we portioned the ham on individual plates and hurried to the table so we could all add our own portions of potatoes and roasted veg ,which were on the table already, and devour the goodness whilst it was all still warm.

We also had glaze left in the saucepan so I added about 2 teaspoons of cornflour to thicken it up, so it could be served as a gravy/ sauce.

There were some leftovers, so about 2kg could probably do 5-6 people comfortably. Hubby will have some awesome pieces ( sandwiches) tomorrow!

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Yummy yummy!

Afters or pudding or dessert or whatever your family call it, was Strawberry Shortcake cake. I’ll put the recipe for this up in a separate blog post.

I’m now away to see whether I can put myself into a chocolate induced coma after consuming my Easter eggs! Yes, I’m a 32 year old who still gets chocolate eggs for Easter! Don’t judge me…

Hope you all had a lovely Easter whatever you were doing!

 

 

Pretty little lemon and blueberry cake

I made this cake as I was supposed to be going into work today ( or my soon to be ex work) to say bye to my colleagues and pack up my locker and desk, however due to it being Easter Weekend tomorrow some of my colleagues took extra days off work to have an even longer holiday, so at the last minute it was decided that I would re-schedule my visit. My colleagues had demanded I bring cake  ( man, they looooovvvvveeeee cake) on my visit, so the cake was already baked and iced.   Oh well, what a pity there will be more cake for me and hubby! Score!!

I found this recipe for Lemon and blueberry drizzle cake on the Goodtoknow website and immediately decided I had to make it. Not just because lemon and blueberry is one of my favourite flavour ( try saying that 3 times fast) combos but because it looked so pretty with the pink icing and flowers scattered on top. I’m such a girl and this is definitely a girly cake, in fact it could be the ASOS of desserts.

Ingredients

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Oops forgot the butter, the lemon and the edible wafer daisies. Use your imagination and pretend they are in the photo!

 

Loaf: 125 grams butter, 125 grams caster sugar, 3 medium eggs ( I only had two large eggs left so only used two) , 175g self raising flour, an additional 1 tablespoon of flour, zest of 1 lemon, 100 grams blueberries.

Syrup: 50 grams caster sugar, 4 tablespoons of lemon juice.

Icing: 125 grams icing sugar ( powdered sugar), 1 teaspoon of blueberry converse, edible wafer daisies.

Preheat oven to 170° C. Grease and line a 2lb loaf pan.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter, sugar, eggs, flour and zest and mix until combined and light. Before folding in the blueberries, toss them in the additional 1 tablespoon of flour. This will help to prevent them moving to the bottom of the mixture whilst in the loaf pan ( or it should do however from the photo of a slice of the cake you can see some still sank !). Spoon the mix into the loaf pan ( and you will need to spoon as the mix isn’t that runny so you can’t pour it in). Smooth the top of the mix, make sure its evenly dispersed then cover with tinfoil. Bake in the oven for 40 minutes. Then uncover and cook for a further 20 minutes  or until a cocktail stick or cake tester comes out clean and the loaf is golden and springy. Please note I checked the cake after 10 minutes and it was still wet inside, so my cake did need the 20 minutes, however ovens will differ, so you may want to check after 10 minutes to be sure.

Whilst the cake is baking combine the ingredients for the syrup in a pan, bring to a boil and boil for 2 minutes, then take off the heat. The sugar should be dissolved.

Once the cake is out the oven, spoon over the syrup and leave to cool for 30 minutes.  Then remove the cake from the tin and at this point I removed the sides of the baking paper or grease proof paper but did not remove the paper from the bottom as the cake was really quite soft. Leave to cool completely, then remove the remaining paper.

Placed the loaf on a cooling tray, but with a baking tray underneath to capture the icing.

Sift the icing sugar into a bowl, then place a teaspoon of the blueberry conserve into a sieve and press/ rub the conserve through the sieve and scrape the underside of the sieve so that the conserve drops into the icing sugar. Add a few drops of water to the icing sugar and mix . You don’t want the icing sugar to be too runny but you want it to be able to flow off the sides of the loaf slightly. Spoon the mixture over the top of the loaf and then add the edible wafer daisies to decorate. Leave to set.

After the icing had set, I attempted to move the loaf from the rack onto a plate and the movement created some creases in the icing, as you can probably see from the photo at the top of the page in comparison with the photo above on the right.Oh well, I think it still looks pretty and I love that you can see the speckles of the blueberry converse in the icing too. Hubby told me I definitely had to make this cake again, so it must mean it was good!

This was such as easy recipe to make and a lovely variation on the classic lemon drizzle cake. It would definitely make a lovely addition to an Easter meal or just a cake to have on hand for visitors who will pop in for a cuppa over the weekend.  You could also vary the decoration on top, adding your own creative flare or even adding real edible flowers. The original recipe used violas brushed in egg whites and dipped with caster sugar or you could use any leftover blueberries or lemon zest sprinkled on top.

Enjoy and Happy Easter!

What will you be you be making over Easter weekend? Feel free to comment or email me your recipes or Easter cooking ideas or menus at weebluemixer@gmail.com

Currantly…….

It’s nearly Easter Weekend and this means the Easter Bunny is gonna leave me some eggs which I am allowed to gorge on until I am physically sick and no one will judge me, the clocks with go forward and I’ll lose an hour of valuable sleep, Family will come round for an Easter Sunday dinner, daffodils are in abundance and the shops are full of, not only chocolate eggs, but Hot Cross Buns in all their currant-ey, cinnamon-ey, sticky goodness.

Hot cross buns were usually eaten for breakfast on Good Friday, which sounds like an awesome breakfast to me and the only day you’d ever get away with this! The cross on them is supposed to ward off evil spirits who would make the bread go stale and if a hot cross bun is hung in the kitchen it will protect the home from evil spirits as well as ensuring all bread baked for the next year will turn out perfectly. If you’ve read my post about my Pizza dough escapades then you’ll know I need all the luck I can get!

These is also a legend of a widow in London who baked hot cross buns for her only son who was due to return from sea. However, he never returned and she hung a bun from her ceiling and every year she baked and continued to hang a new bun. A pub was then built on the site of the house and named ” The Widows Son” and every year on Good Friday a Royal Navy sailor hangs a bun ( that has the year on it) from the roof as well as singing a few songs and drinking to the lost sailor.

How sad is that?

Also giving hot cross buns to friends on Good Friday will cement your friendship for the rest of the year which I think is a lovely idea. I can see why giving hot cross buns would help with this because so if you have a friend who makes awesome baked goods and gives them to you, you’ll do anything to keep them as a friend to ensure a steady supply of goodies!

To make the Hot Cross Buns I used the Pioneer Woman Recipe, but I halved the recipe to give me 12 buns instead of 24. This is not a recipe to make if you need the buns quickly as it does take a few hours, but it’s well worth it! Also a lot of the ingredients I found were store cupboard staples, so no need to buy lots of new ingredients that you may never use again!

Ingredients

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Dough: 2 cups of Organic Scottish whole milk ( or whatever you prefer to use) , 1/2 cup of olive oil, 1/2 cup of Sugar, 4 1/2 cups of strong bread flour ( or all purpose flour) , 1 1/8 teaspoons of fast action dried Yeast, 1/2 teaspoon of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/2 tablespoon of salt.

Filling: 1/4 cup of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of ground cinnamon, a pinch of ground nutmeg, a pinch of ground allspice, 1/4 cup of raisins. The recipe stated to use Cardamom, but I didn’t have any so I didn’t use any!

Glaze: 1 egg white, 1/8 cup of Organic Scottish Whole Milk

Icing: 1 egg white, 1/8 cup of Organic Scottish Whole Milk, 2 cups of sifted powdered sugar.

In a big pan and on low heat add the milk, olive oil and sugar and stir.  Then heat the mixture until almost to a boil. Take off the heat and leave to cool for a wee bit, but so that it’s luke warm.

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Add 3 1/2 cups of flour to the milk mixture and the yeast and stir to combine into a sticky icky mess. Cover with the pan lid and leave to rise for 1 hour. I warmed the lid in the oven for a wee bit before covering the pan and left the pan on top of the oven, but not on any hot rings.

Da da, it’s magic,  it rose.

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Risen, but still sticky mixture. Looks like rice pudding!

 

Add the remaining 1 cup of flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt and stir to combine. In a separate bowl, stir together all the filling ingredients.

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Tiny tiny pinch spoon or maybe I have giant hands!

 

Roll out the dough into a kinda rectangle shape and then sprinkle on about tablespoon of the sugar/spice mix, then cover with some of the raisins. I just guessed the amount based on what looked right! Very scientific. Then fold the sides of the dough in on itself ( fold sides into the centre to enclose the sugar/ raisin goodness) and then roll the dough into another rectangle and sprinkle with remaining sugar/ spice mix and raisins. Fold the dough again.

Make sure you have your baking trays prepped before hand i.e covered with baking paper. Then pull off bits of dough and roll into a ball. Now I was unable to get the surface completely smooth using the method described by Pioneer woman but I found rolling the ball of dough on top of the work surface using my palm kinda helped. Place the balls of dough onto the baking tray, cover with a tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place.

Given my previous dilemmas with finding a warm enough place and getting the dough to rise, I decided to turn on my bottom oven and as well as my top oven, but leaving the door of the top oven open ( so really it was the grill that came on) and I placed the baking trays on top of two stools placed into front of the oven. One tray went on top of the oven, but I rotated the trays round to ensure all got a blast of heat. I ended up leaving them for 1 hour and 30 minutes as this was how long I was on the phone to my parents!

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It was a kinda crude set up, but it actually worked and the dough rose really well!! Whoop Whoop victory dance!

Preheat oven to 200°C ( well mine was already on and preheated due to the above) then  mix the ingredients for the glaze together and brush the glaze on the tops of the buns before placing them in the oven for 20 minutes. They will be a really golden brown colour. Remove from oven and tray and place on a cooling rack placed over another baking tray. This tray is to capture the icing that drips off when you ice them.

Add the ingredients for the icing in a stand mixer and mix together until smooth. Watch that the icing is not too runny , it needs to be a bit thick so that it sticks to the buns and doesn’t run all over the place but not too thick that you are unable to pipe it. Place the icing in a piping bag, then ice a cross onto the top of each bun. Leave the icing to dry for a bit, then eat or give to friends or hang in your kitchen.

 

Enjoy and Happy Easter!!

Spring Soup- Pea and Mint

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Gloriously green!

 

Soup I normally associate with Winter. Soup is something comforting, something to warm you up after a cold day outside. Pea and Mint soup, however I always associate with Spring. Why? I’m not sure. It could be the vivid green colour that reminds me of the colours of nature that come with Spring or it could be the refreshing mint taste.

Given we had a big bag of Frozen Peas to use up, I decided to make a batch of Pea and Mint Soup for supper for two nights. This recipe will give 4 servings.

Ingredients

4 slices of unsmoked bacon cut into small pieces (I used Scottish unsmoked dry cure bacon from Simon Howie), 1/2 Organic onion ( just because this was requiring to be used up) peeled and chopped, 2 Organic Carrots peeled and chopped, 2 celery stalks chopped, 4 cups of chicken stock, roughly 5 cups of frozen peas, 1 cup of mint chopped, salt and pepper, 1/2 cup of crème fraiche, olive or vegetable oil.

Add a splash of oil to a large pan and put on medium heat. Whilst waiting for the oil to warm up, prepare the vegetables and slice or cut the bacon into small pieces. Once the oil has warmed up add the bacon and fry until cooked and slightly crispy ( or what ever is your preference for bacon). Use a slotted spoon to remove the bacon from the pan and set aside in a bowl.

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Leave the bacon juices and oil in the pan and add the chopped onions, saute for a few minutes until the onions turn brown. Add the carrots and celery to the pan and cook until the veg starts to soften. Add the 4 cups of chicken stock to the pan and bring to a boil for about 8-10 minutes.  Add the peas and cook for a further 3 minutes.

 

Take off the heat, add the mint and stir.Then add the mixture to a blender. I had to do this in two batches. Once all the mixture was blended I returned the soup to the pan and added salt and pepper to taste or you could leave this out for it to be added later at the table to individual tastes.  Add 1/2 cup of crème fraiche.to the soup and stir to combine. Then serve.

I served this with French bread, baked camembert cheese, celery sticks and caramelised pecans. The recipe for the caramelised pecans came from the frugalhausfrau which I added paprika to.

I completely forgot, in my haste to devour this soup, to take a photo of it plated up. Will update after tomorrow nights supper!