Author Archives for Lickthespoon

About Lickthespoon

Passionate about food and eating well I have been cooking all my life. I like to know where my food comes from and try to source responsibly. I grow as much as I can and eat seasonally. Food to me is about sharing and showing that you care.

Squidgy Chocolate Olive Oil Cupcakes

This is a twist on my Chocolate Earl Grey Cake.   It is gluten free and vegan.  It leaves out the earl grey stage and added a topping. Totally delicious. Somehow chocolatey, squidgy and crumbly all at the same time. Great for celebrating the forthcoming weekend on a Friday and great for lifting the spirits on a Monday. Who am I kidding?   These are great anytime – stick a candle on top and they are an instant birthday party!  They are also quick to whip up and very easy to make – particularly if you use the easy “cheat” topping.

 

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Thai Noodle Salad with a Spicy, Creamy Peanut Dressing

Yum!   This Thai Noodle Salad is vegan and (if you use rice noodles as I have here) gluten free.  But that’s just a bonus because what really matters is it’s crispy, crunchy, sweet, sour and with a bit of a kick so you feel just so happy and healthy after eating it that Its a real boost   Best of all its simple and quick and the longest part time wise is slicing the vegetables Continue reading

Crescentini

It’s a beautiful sunny day here in Suffolk today.  I don’t know about you but, over the last few weeks, unlike a normal Summer I’ve started to believe that the sun will keep on shining.  No-one seems to be complaining about the awful British weather for a change and we are all are actively looking for new topics of conversation. 

It has got me thinking about summer holidays and in particular a wonderful June I spent with my husband in Italy.  One particular hotel served the most wonderful breakfasts on your own personal patio overlooking the sea.  Blue skies and blue sea and the air perfumed with hibiscus.   Trays came laden with coffee, tea, cereals in little pots, yoghurts, various jams and – best of all in my greedy opinion –  a selection of pastries.  And the best pastry of all was a crisp full of buttery almond ness with a dash of apricot and was named the crescentini.

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Ok. I admit that I made up the name crescentini.   I don’t know what it was actually called.  Nor do I know how it was made but when I got home I had to try to copy it. My version I think nails it.    It’s tons easier to make than a croissant as it uses puff pastry so there is no proving or kneading.  It takes about 5 mins to assemble and about 20 to cook. As soon as it comes out the oven it’s a battle not to gobble them down straight away and risk burning the roof of your mouth or wait 5 mins whilst they cool.  Yet they are delicious cold and even keep for a few days – unlike that almond croissant I compared it to earlier.  How good is that? Continue reading

Omelette with Broad Bean Tops

If you grow your own veg you want to get the most out of every crop you plant and this dish gives you a way of getting another meal from your broad beans from a part of the plant you may not have considered.  If you don’t grow your own you can substitute with baby leaves of spinach, chard or even pea shoots that you can but nowadays at the supermarket.  If you don’t want to make an omelette the broad bean tops are great used in a stir- fry

Broad bean tops are really a gardeners treat.  They are delicious and taste leafy and beany both at the same time – something that will probably only make sense when you eat them! Plus which if you do pinch them out it not only decreases the chance of getting bad infestations of blackfly to which broad beans are prone in summer, but it concentrates the plants energy into the beans and pods themselves rather than struggling to grow taller.  It’s a win-win! Continue reading

Rhubarb And Redcurrant Jam

Don’t stop reading because you think this jam is going to take too long and be too complicated to make   Read on and you’ll see it takes less than 30 mins to make including chopping.   It really is a doddle to make and tastes so much better than anything you can buy!

I have been flat out in the garden trying to get everything planted so there are lots of veggies to eat in the next few months  we’ll, that is, if things go well   There hasn’t been much to harvest  in this bit of the year known as the hungry gap but things are changing

What there has been though is lots of rhubarb so I’ve been making lots with that   Apart from crumble I’ve previously posted recipes for Rhubarb and Orange Streusel Cake and Rhubarb and Ginger Queen of Puddings so I thought I’d put in some recipes that preserve rhubarb (it does freeze beautifully in chunks too) for when you have to stop picking it at the end of June.  So I am posting this recipe on jam and will add posts for rhubarb gin and rhubarb cordial shortly.

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Forager’s Soup

This soup is also known in our house as “the gardeners revenge” and, despite certain peoples’ initial reservations, is absolutely delicious.  Honestly it really is.  Give it a go and you will have bragging rights when it comes to your cooking/eco credentials as well as a lovely full tummy!

If you can, and are brave enough to try it, please don a pair of gloves (to avoid stings) and go out and gather the wild greens that are all around us as well as growing unwanted in our gardens. Obviously choose where you pick – beside a busy road or a park used frequently by dogs are not good ideas!  I have chosen leaves that are easy to identify or well known such as nettles and wild garlic, otherwise known as ransoms (follow your nose for these) and every gardeners despair, ground elder. I find it particularly satisfying to pick the nettles and ground elder that grow in my garden (much to my despair) and turn them into something delicious to eat –  apparently I get a determined look in my eye as I venture out with the colander and gloves to pick them.

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Nettle tips, wild garlic, ground elder and spinach from the garden

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My Favourite Easter Recipes

Easter is finally with us and we have a four day bank holiday weekend   Yippee!   It’s a time when amongst all the chocolate there is usually some room left for other food and the recipes in this post are some of my favourites for the Easter weekend. Some are traditional, some aren’t.    But there should be one or two that will appeal to you.  Many can be made in advance and it can be nice to have some time to potter about in the kitchen preparing food to share with family and friends, particularly with the radio on.

Let’s hope for good weather despite the forecasts but we if not there is always the prospect of a lie in and another Easter Egg! Continue reading

Simnel Cake

As a country we seem to love fruit cakes for celebrations.  Christmas cake and wedding cake and then this Simnel Cake for Easter.  There are signs that times are a changing of course with Meghan Markle and Prince Harry choosing a lighter Elderflower and Lemon Cake for their wedding but I do hope we keep the Simnel Cake as part of our Easter traditions just as it has been for centuries.

Simnel cake has a layer of marzipan running through the middle and with yet more marzipan, this time toasted, on top.  It seems to be a particular favourite with everyone I know.  Not as rich as Christmas it is traditionally  nowadays made for Easter with the eleven marzipan balls on top representing the apostles minus Judas.

The marzipan centre makes the cake very moist as it kind of melts into the cake.  The marzipan on the top is toasted with a blow torch which gives the whole cake another dimension.  I can’t resist adding chocolate mini eggs to the centre but they really aren’t necessary. Just cute! Continue reading

Trout with Tomato, Chorizo and Mussels

I don’t know about you but with the weather we’ve been having lately it’s been difficult to know what to expect.  One moment we’ve had snow and shivering temperatures and the next spring sunshine and flowers.  So what do we cook?  I don’t about you but I don’t want a hearty stew if I am enjoying the blue sky and admiring the daffodils,  nor do I want lighter spring-like meals if I an shivering away with snow outside.

A couple of weeks ago I watched the brilliant Spanish cook, Jose Pizarro, cook this dish.  It’s full of colour, big flavour and warmth and seems to perfectly fit whatever weather we have thrown at us: light enough for spring, warm enough for winter.  With my New Year Resolution to try and cook more fish this year it was my perfect answer.

Mussels cooked with white wine

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Rhubarb and Orange Streusel Cake

Soft buttery cake flecked with orange, topped with soft, tart rhubarb and crunchy sweet streusel crumble.  Absolutely delicious, pretty as a picture and can be served as a pudding or a cake.   How much better can things get?

Forced pink rhubarb is a thing of joy particularly When shown off on its bed of golden sponge.  In truth, as long as the rhubarb is young and not stringy,  new season stalks would do just as well though they would like the jewel like bright pink colour of forced rhubarb.  There is something very British about this cake as it brings to mind all the elements of a rhubarb crumble only better.  I love “pudding cakes” – as I call them – they are so versatile, though if you are going to serve this for pudding it’s nicest served warm with lots of sweetened (use the rhubarb syrup that will have been created from macerating the rhubarb) whipped cream.

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