Vegetarian food blog featuring nourishing home cooked recipes, creative baking and luscious chocolate.

The Fine Food and Folks of Liskeard

Thursday was the grand opening of the Liskeard Town Shop and the last day of filming by the Mary Portas team. This followed on from a high street clean up event a couple of weeks earlier, where residents from the town and local area turned out in force to scrub, sweep, paint and plant. CT and I were on planting duty; I don’t think I’ve ever planted as many polyanthus in my life. Thursday’s event was intended to showcase the fine foods of Liskeard. Mary, with film crew in tow, commenced proceedings by opening the shop. The gathering throng then descended on the samples of local producers and munched and slurped their way through them in traditional Liskeard style. I had been asked by the good folk of Love Liskeard if I’d like to provide some cake samples. What could be better than combining cake baking with helping my home town? An offer I could not refuse.

For one day only – Mary in overalls

Our very own fudge lady The Gingham Chicken was represented with huge baskets stuffed full of her tasty fudge. Yummy, a new cake shop specialising in wedding and other celebration cakes provided plates of sponge, bakewell tart and little chocolate mayonnaise cakes. I happily drank a glass of wine provided by a local producer, but rather stupidly didn’t take note of the name and no, I wasn’t drunk. The Liskeard area is fortunate to be well endowed with cheese makers. The award winning Cornish Blue is just up the road as was the now famous Yarg, wrapped in nettles. Sadly, Lynher Dairies outgrew its original premises and has now decamped down west. But we now have a third cheese from the Cornish Gouda Company, the only gouda to be made in the South West. I can vouch for the quality of the cheese, which we’ve bought a few times from the recently restarted farmer’s market. Giel Spierings is from a Dutch family and presumably fuels his epic canoe exploits with his cheese. The cheese comes in various varieties, my favourite being the mature one. The honey and clover is also delicious: aromatic with essence of hay meadow. Cornish Orchards, a now quite famous Liskeard apple juice and cider company was there, but I didn’t get to see them.

 

We were also joined by a not so local producer, but one we felt glad to accommodate. The Brownie Bakers is a Cornish company making scrumilicious handmade brownies which it sells all over Cornwall. We were very happy to have platefuls of their samples to dip into when the desire arose. And last, but by no means least (I hope), was yours truly, with two types of chocolate cake and a few pictures of my cakes of yore. I made a Cardamom Chocolate Traybake and an Apple, Rose and White Chocolate Traybake, both cut into 36 pieces.

Later in the day, my favourite greengrocer, Beddoes unveiled their newly developed leek, broccoli and Cornish blue cheese pie. I am particularly thrilled by this as I love pies and it can be quite hard getting hold of a good vegetarian one – this was delicious. A competition was held to find a suitable name for the pie, but the results have not yet been revealed; I’m still on tenterhooks to see if CTs suggestion of Leekskeard Pie will be adopted. This was to compete with a fish pie from the fish shop and a road kill pie from the butchers – neither of which I was interested in, but their samples disappeared quite quickly I noted.

 

Other festivities included a window display competition, prepared by art students at Liskeard Community College. I was pleased to discover that the winner was our most excellent bookshop. The local yarn bombers, organised by the Knitting Fairy, were out in force and covered the recently arrived benches in Fore Street. Music and singing competed the entertainment. At some time in the not too distant future, some of this may be appearing in a Mary Portas series on Channel Four. I sincerely hope any footage of me is edited out.

Fig, Apple & Pomegranate Jam

Following the publication of Diana Henry’s latest book, Salt, Sugar, Smoke, I noticed a flurry of tweets about her fig and pomegranate jam. Having become a bit of a fig addict recently whilst they’ve been selling reasonably cheaply, I was intrigued. I didn’t have all of the ingredients required but I did have figs, pomegranate molasses and apples from my mother’s garden. Being a bit of a purist, I didn’t want to use sugar with added pectin, so I adapted Diana’s recipe to omit the ingredients I didn’t have and use more apple & lemon than she had stated to help set the jam. I was going to add chocolate, but at the last minute decided I wanted to taste the fruity flavours in all their purity.

This is how I did it:

  • Washed 12 fresh figs (600g), then removed the tops and quartered them.
  • Peeled, cored and chopped 3 cooking apples.
  • Placed in a pan with 12 fl oz water.
  • Grated in the zest of two organic lemons, then added the juice of both.
  • Added 3 tbsp pomegranate molasses.
  • Brought to the boil, then simmered for a few minutes until everything was soft.
  • Added 600g golden granulated sugar and stirred until dissolved.
  • Boiled for about 15 minutes until setting point was reached. I tested this by placing a saucer in the freezer, spooning in a bit of jam and seeing if it wrinkled when pushed with my finger.
  • Poured jam into warm sterilised jars. I made 4 standard jars and 4 mini ones to be used as Christmas presents.
The jam came out a beautiful jewel like deep pink and tasted fantastic: figgy, but tart. The consistency was just right, not too runny and not too solid. I am glad this turned out as well as I’d hoped and I will be able to use it as Christmas gifts. I’m not yet sure how I will combine this with chocolate, but I surely will at some stage.

 

Susan over at A Little Bit of Heaven on a Plate is running her Home Made and Well Preserved Challenge again this year. Last year I entered apple and lemon curd, which I have made several times since as it is so good. There are two categories, Chutney and Jam and both will be judged with a lovely prize for the best in each category. I am, of course, entering this into the jam category which is, rather scarily to be judged by Vivian Lloyd, WI judge and author of First Preserves.

Laura of How to Cook Good Food has chosen pomegranates as this month’s One Ingredient, so I am happily submitting this to it. One Ingredient is co-hosted by Nazima of Franglais Kitchen.

 

The letter for Alpha Bakes happens to be J this month, so I am submitting this as J for Jam. Alpha Bakes is a monthly challenge hosted alternately by Caroline Makes and The More Than Occasional Baker.

Mexican Mole Muffins and a Dr Oetker Chocolate Giveaway #15

Cornwall is my home and I hate to leave it. However, the pull of friendship can be strong, so this weekend, we headed upcountry to some chocolate loving friends in Glastonbury. With time in fairly short supply, I decided to make some chilli muffins from Unwrapped, the Green & Black’s Original chocolate cookbook. These Mexican Mole Muffins appealed, not only because they were quick to make, but also because they had a lot of chocolate in them – ideal for the aforementioned chocoholics. With the cold winds and hail storms we’d been experiencing, the chilli seemed like a nice warming idea too.

Luckily I had recently been sent a load of chocolate goodies from Dr Oetker, so I had plenty of chocolate to choose from. As the above recipe called for a high cocoa content milk chocolate, the 33% Cook’s chocolate was ideal.

This is how I did it:

  • Chopped 100g 33% milk chocolate into shreds with a sturdy knife.
  • Chopped half a de-seeded rocoto chilli finely.
  • Sifted 200g flour (half wholemeal, half white) into a bowl along with 1 tsp baking powder, 25g cocoa powder and 1/2 tsp fine sea salt.
  • Added 110g vanilla (caster) sugar. 
  • Stirred in the chocolate and chilli.
  • In a large jug, beat 2 medium eggs with 100ml sunflower oil.
  • Whisked in 225g milk and 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract.
  • Made a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and poured in the wet.
  • Mixed together gently until just incorporated.
  • Divided the mixture between the muffin cases, making a complete mess as I did so – the mixture was very runny.
  • Baked at 180C for 20 minutes.

They didn’t rise as much as I expected, but they were nonetheless delicious. The rocoto generated a gentle heat, which allowed the flavour of the chilli to come through. But after the muffin had gone, that same chilli buzzed around the mouth and was much more noticeable. Although liberally studded with chocolate, which gave a satisfying sweet crunchy burst, the chips had sunk to the bottom half, which was a bit disappointing but inevitable given the wetness of the batter. Anyway, between us we managed to devour most of them in fairly short shrift and used them to power us to the top of Glastonbury Tor.

Many thanks to Dr Oetker for this great chocolate themed toolbox. I’m looking forward to making lots of fun things with the remaining items, although I have already made some scrumptious cookies with the white choc chips – recipe to be posted later.

This is what I received:

  • 150g bar of cook’s 33% milk chocolate
  • 150g bar of cook’s 54% dark chocolate
  • 150g bar of cook’s 72% dark chocolate
  • 100g bag of white chocolate chunks
  • Pack of chocolate ready to roll icing
  • Giant milk chocolate stars
  • Chocolate flavour writing icing
  • Milk and white chocolate flakes
  • Chocolate flavour strands
  • Vanilla extract with seeds
  • Cake release spray

Giveaway
If you would like a chance at getting your hands on this chocolate baking and decorating extravaganza just in time for Christmas, then please fill in the Rafflecopter below. You will need to leave a comment on this post which then gives you additional chances to enter if you so wish. Rafflecopter will pick a winner at random from the entries received. If you are commenting anonymously, please give me some way of identifying you as I will be verifying the validity of entries. Any automated entries will be disqualified. This giveaway is only open to those with a UK postal address.

Closing date is Sunday 2 December 2012

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Chocshuka (aka Chocolate Shakshuka)

Shakshuka

When Ethel the Goat first came into my life and tempted me with the #capricornchallenge, I was really excited at the prospect of creating some savoury chocolate and goats cheese dishes. When the hamper arrived full of good things, including olive oil, onions, peppers, tomatoes, thyme and goat’s cheese of course, the very first thing I thought about was a chocolate version of Shakshuka.

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Breakfast Club and Chocolate Porridge

Breakfast | 1st November 2012 | By

Breakfast should be fit for a king, they say.  For me, breakfast would be my favourite meal of the day if I had the time to make and enjoy it properly. The wonderful leisurely breakfasts we recently enjoyed whilst on holiday on the Scilly Isles, set us up for the day and were, quite frankly, one of the highlights of the whole trip. Normally, I’m dashing down the road with a piece of toast in my hand, rushing for the train. Admittedly, the toast is from my own homemade sourdough, but it would be nice to have the time to enjoy it sitting down and not on the hoof.

To affirm my love of breakfast, I’m very pleased to be hosting Breakfast Club this month. Breakfast club is the very sound inspiration from Helen of Fuss Free Flavours. I haven’t participated more than a couple of times so far, as there is a limit to just how much chocolate you can eat for breakfast, but I’m pleased to be doing so now. The theme is of course chocolate!

I have asked for chocolate inspired breakfasts once before, way back in the early days of my blog. So it feels like the time is right to revisit. I look forward to your chocolatey creations.

At this time of year, the humble oat makes a welcome comeback and porridge is our breakfast of choice at the weekend, err, sometimes adorned with a dollop of Cornish clotted cream. The following recipe for Chocolate Oatmeal Porridge was one I developed for a recent oatmeal competition. Sadly I didn’t win, but I certainly enjoyed eating the porridge anyway.

Here goes:

This makes for an indulgent, but healthy, winter weekend breakfast for two. It’s delicious, but not too sweet and with the nutritious oats and anitoxidents in the chocolate, it actually makes for a healthy and sustaining breakfast.

1/2 pt milk
1/2 pt water
50g fine oatmeal
1/4 tsp ground cinnamon (optional)
1 tsp honey
50g 70% dark chocolate – broken into pieces.
swirl of yogurt or cream (optional)

Bring the milk and water to boiling point in a medium sized saucepan. Slowly whisk in the oatmeal. Turn the heat down to the lowest setting & continue to whisk for a few minutes. Add cinnamon and whisk until fully incorporated. Cover and leave to cook for 15 minutes, whisking every 4 minutes or so. This bit is important to stop the porridge sticking and to give it a nice creamy consistency. Turn off the heat and add the honey and chocolate. Give it a final whisk and pour into two bowls. Add a swirl of yogurt or cream if desired.

To take part, make a breakfast which includes chocolate in some way, shape or form and post it.

  • Mention Breakfast Club and use the logo.
  • Link to the Breakfast Club page and to this one.
  • You are welcome to send in old recipes, but please add the information above and republish.
  • Entries can be sent to other events, but please respect their rules.
  • If you tweet please use #blogbreakfastclub.
  • If you do not have a blog, send a photo and details to me  – choclette8 AT gmail.com
  • All breakfast clubs are also blog hops, so do feel free to grab the code and add to your page.
  • Entries to be in by midnight on 25th November please.