Monday, 14 June 2010

Rhubarb and Blueberry Crumble

I finished off yesterday's soup tonight and the flavours were even more intense, especially the sweetness of the chestnuts.  (Mental note to get more chestnuts for the store cupboard...)  As I didn't need to cook, I had time to make a dessert instead and just had to decide what to do with the lonesome stick of rhubarb that was lurking in the fridge. 

I recently made a delicious rhubarb and blueberry compote from Nigel Slater's website and thought I would try this fruit combination again in a crumble.  The crumble topping I've been using recently is from Tessa Kiros's Apples for Jam as it's so quick and easy.  I'm not sure I'll ever make a crumble as good as my Mum's but this was pretty good for a Monday night!

Rhubarb and Blueberry Crumble for 2

100g rhubarb sliced
75g blueberries
A sprinkling of caster sugar
35g caster sugar
100g plain flour
25g soft brown sugar
75g butter, softened (strange but true)
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  •  Heat oven to 190 C or gas mark5.
  • Place the fruit in a small oven proof dish and sprinkle over the caster sugar.
  • Mix together the caster sugar, flour and brown sugar in a bowl.
  • Add the cubed butter and vanilla extract and rub with your fingertips until the mixture looks like "damp, clustery sand" (I love Tessa's descriptions).
  • Sprinkle topping over the fruit and bake in the pre-heated oven for 35-40 minutes until golden brown on top and the fruit is starting to bubble around the edges.

Allow to cool a little, if you can, and serve with your choice of custard, ice cream or cream. Mmmm...

Nigel Slater's Rhubarb & Blueberry Compote

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Chestnut and Chorizo Soup

One of my favourite blogs is Cocina de Lina, following Emmalene cook her way through the tome that is 1080 Recipes by Simone and Inés Ortega.  Emmalene's exploits are honest, informative and extremely entertaining, and I'm making a note of all of the recipes I want to try for myself (i.e. the ones that work!).  I also have a real passion for Spanish food and have a few other excellent Spanish recipe books.  One of my favourites is José Pizarro's Seasonal Spanish Food (more on that to follow) and another, whilst not purely Spanish food, is Moro The Cookbook by Sam and Sam Clark. 

Having a small piece of cooking chorizo to use up and being in need of some comfort food, I decided on this wonderful soup recipe, Sopa de Castanas.  It is probably more of a cold weather soup, but as it quick to prepare from mainly store cupboard ingredients, I would make it any time.  Here is my slightly adapted version:

Chestnut and Chorizo Soup - serves 2 for lunch or supper

2 tbsp olive oil
1 small red onion, diced
1 small carrot, diced
1/2 stick celery, thinly sliced
60g mild cooking chorizo, skinned and cut into small cubes
1 garlic clove, sliced or crushed
1/2 tsp (2.5ml) ground cumin
1/2 tsp crushed chillies
1/2 tsp dried thyme (or 1 tsp fresh)
1 tomato, fresh or tinned, roughly chopped
200g cooked peeled chestnuts (I used vacuum packed), roughly chopped
10 saffron threads, infused in 2 tbsp boiling water
500ml water/chicken stock
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pan, heat the oil and gently fry the onion, carrot, celery and chorizo for about 20 minutes or until lightly caramelised.
Add the garlic, cumin, chillies and thyme and cook for a further minute.
Add the tomato and the chestnuts and cook for a few minutes.
Next, add the infused saffron and liquid and the water or stock.
Bring to the boil and simmer gently for 20 minutes.
Remove from the heat and mash with a potato masher until almost smooth but with a bit of texture.
Season to taste, serve and enjoy (with a glass of Spanish wine if you can)...