Thursday, 10 April 2014

New Blog!

Quite a while ago, I wrote a blog post saying that I was reluctant to stop blogging on Some, Some and Some but also had lots of ideas flying around my head and wasn’t sure what to concentrate on. So, I decided to start a new blog! The new blog can be found here. As you’ll see if you visit my new blog, which I very much hope you do, everything that I would have posted on this blog is being posted to the new blog, but I’ve also expanded it with new sections – a Family section and a Review section. Even the name is the same, but I’ve decided to leave my comfort zone and get my own domain. Most of the content from this blog has been imported to the new site and this is the last post I’ve planned for this blog for now. However, I’m not planning to shut this blog down any time in the near future. Please do say hello or comment on a post if you pop over to the new blog – I’d love to hear from you, including any feedback (positive or negative) that you may have on the new site. I look forward to seeing you there!

Tuesday, 7 January 2014

Blueberry Frangipane Tart

This recipe was inspired by a delicious frangipane tart made by a good friend (the same friend who wrote this blog post). I had been meaning to try making a frangipane tart (which I had never previously tried) for a long time and had a rough idea of the ingredients, although not the ratios of one ingredient to another. My first step, therefore, was to take to google and see what other recipes said. Unfortunately, most recipes I found were in grams and I prefer to use cups so I decided to base mine on guesswork a rough calculation of the cup equivalent of the average amounts of each ingredient listed in the recipes google was throwing up. During my first attempt all seemed to be going well until I came to add the ground almonds, the quantity of which was so small in my initial attempt that they merely swam into view at odd intervals rather than being the star as I thought they should be. After a quick revision of my original quantity of almonds (and a lot of making ground almonds by food processing flaked almonds whilst trying to reassure Baby S that the sound of the food processor really isn’t scary) frangipane success was mine! I’m aware that pastry is a tricksy little beast – this recipe has worked both times I’ve made this tart but do use your own if you have a fail-safe sweet shortcrust pastry that you prefer or use a store-bought base, if you prefer. This does make more pastry than you actually need (particularly if you go for a nice, thin base which I did not achieve) so you may want to have something else in mind to use up the leftover pastry. All the ingredients below are based on a 250 ml mug as equal to 1 cup. This makes a tart which fits into a 10 inch diameter tart tin.


What you’ll need:

For the pastry:

2 cups self-raising flour

1/2 cup icing sugar

3/4 cup butter

1 egg

For the blueberry layer:

A 400gram pack of frozen blueberries

Splash of cold water

1 tablespoon sugar

For the frangipane layer:

3/4 cup butter

3/4 brown sugar

3 eggs

3 cups ground almonds

Handful of flaked almonds (optional – for decoration)

What to do:

For the pastry:

1. Sift together the flour and icing sugar into a bowl.


2. Rub in the butter and then mix in the egg. It may look as though the dough will be too dry but keep mixing for a bit until all the flour and icing sugar have been incorporated (you may find it easiest to start off mixing in the egg with a butter knife and then finish incorporating the last bits of flour and sugar by hand).






3. Wrap the pastry in cling film and leave in the fridge for at least an hour to rest.


4. Once the pastry has rested, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 (180º C or 350º F) and then place the pastry on a lightly floured surface and roll out to about half a centimetre in thickness (or thinner if you prefer and are better at rolling pastry super-thin than me!) and then line the tart tin.





5. Prick the pastry base and sides all over with a fork and then bake the pastry in the middle of the pre-heated oven for about 15 to 20 minutes, or until it is just turning golden-brown (not like my pastry which ended up overdone whilst I was busy with Baby S and lost track of time), and then remove it from the oven and leave the tin on a cooling rack until cool. As the oven will not be needed again for a quite a while, you may want to turn it off at this point.



For the blueberry layer:

1. Put the blueberries, water and sugar in a pan on the stove and boil together until the blueberries have cooked, the sugar has dissolved and the mixture reaches a jam-like consistency.





2. Remove the pan from the heat and leave to one side to cool.

3. Once the blueberry mixture has cooled, spread it evenly across the top of the pastry and then leave to one side whilst you make the frangipane layer.



For the frangipane layer:

1. If you turned off the oven earlier, turn it on again to pre-heat to gas mark 4 (180º C or 350º F).

2. Cream together the butter and sugar and then beat the eggs thoroughly into the creamed butter and sugar.





3. Fold the ground almonds into the butter/sugar/egg mixture.



4. Drop spoonfuls of the almond/butter/sugar/egg mixture over the blueberry layer in the tin and then smooth into an even layer with a spatula. If you’re using them, scatter flaked almonds across the top of the frangipane mixture.




5. Bake the tart in the middle of the pre-heated oven for about 20 to 30 minutes, or until the mixture has set and turned golden brown. Remove the tart from the oven and either eat whilst still warm or leave to cool on a cooling rack (or, even better, eat some whilst it is still warm and then cut up the leftover tart once it is cool and store in an airtight tin for up to a few days).



Sunday, 5 January 2014

Happy New Year!

This is just a very quick post to say happy new year! Last year my blog posting was very erratic, as I adjusted to being a parent and had to start learning to live on broken sleep (10 months on and I’m still holding on to the hope that a full night’s sleep will be mine again, though for now I’d settle for five or six hours in a row!). I thoroughly enjoyed, and am very grateful for, the time I’ve had to get to know Baby S without distractions such as work, and, to a certain extent, blogging (as I did not aim to post regularly), but sadly that time has come to an end as the new year has seen my return to work. With the changes that has brought, I find myself at a point of uncertainty with blogging – I’m reluctant to stop blogging on Some, Some and Some, but have a number of other ideas flying round my head and am not yet sure what to concentrate on. For now, I’m probably just going to aim to post when I can and see how things go. And the first of those attempts is currently being written, so, hopefully, if you return back next weekend, there will be a new recipe post for your perusal! In the mean time, I hope those of you returning to work tomorrow for the first time after Christmas have a great week!

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Pork and Pitas

Whilst doing field work in Greece a few years ago, I discovered a love of souvlaki – a fast food consisting of meat on a skewer, which was then wrapped in a pita with vegetables and Greek yogurt. I was often so hungry after being on site from early in the morning, that I had finished my souvlaki by the time I had walked back up the hill to my apartment and was wishing I’d bought two. This recipe is partly inspired by those souvlaki memories and partly invented as a result of what was in the cupboard and fridge (specifically a can of artichokes that I bought to make Easy Chicken but didn’t use). It makes enough to fill about 6 pitas, depending on how generously you fill them (and how much fat comes out of the pork!). This does not have to be marinated, but doing so will improve the flavour and help to tenderise the pork (particularly if you use cheap pork, as I did!).


What you’ll need:

750 g – 1kg diced pork

1 can or jar of cooked artichokes (I used a jar with a drained weight of 240 grams; if your artichokes come as whole hearts, cut them into quarters before using)

Generous glug of olive oil

Generous glug of lemon juice

Dried oregano

Pepper (and salt, if desired)

A package of spinach leaves (I used a 260 gram pack)

6 pita breads

Salad vegetables (I used shredded lettuce and sliced tomatoes)

Greek yogurt

What to do:

1. Place the pork and artichokes in an ovenproof dish. Add the olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, pepper and (if using) salt to the dish and mix together thoroughly. If you have time, cover the dish with cling film and leave to marinate for a few hours or overnight.








2. When you’re ready to cook the pork, pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 (180º C or 350º F) and then place the dish in the middle of the pre-heated oven for about 2 hours or until the pork is cooked. You will need to mix around the pork and artichokes a couple of times during the cooking process to ensure that it browns evenly.


3. Once the pork is cooked, spread the spinach leaves over the pork and artichokes and put the dish back in the oven for about 2 minutes to soften the spinach, and then remove the dish from the oven and mix the spinach into the pork and artichokes. Any crispy bits of spinach should soften as they are mixed with the cooking juices. Place the dish back in the oven for a few minutes and then remove once the spinach has cooked. Apologies for the lack of picture of this stage – I was in a hurry to finish our supper by this point and forgot to take a picture!

4. Toast the pita breads and split them in half. Stuff each one with salad and some of the hot pork, add a dollop of Greek yogurt and then enjoy!


Monday, 14 October 2013

Almond Butter Biscuits

Like many things I bake, this recipe was inspired by an ingredient that I bought to try in something else that I never got round to making. In this case, the ingredient was ground almonds and the never-made bake was a chocolate torte. I spent most of last week craving homemade biscuits (or cookies, depending on which side of the Atlantic you’re on!) – a craving probably fuelled by a tiredness-induced sugar desire during a week of Baby S being unwell (which I temporarily abated on a daily basis with chocolate and nice, healthy fruit). Over the weekend, I finally had the chance to bake whilst J and Baby S had some Dad-baby time. The idea for these biscuits had been in my mind for a day or two before then and, much to my delight, they turned out pretty close to my mental image/taste. This recipe makes about 36 biscuits. The cup measurements below are based on a 250 ml mug as equal to one cup. If you want to, you could ramp up the almond taste by adding some almond extract to the mixture – if you do this (which I’ve not tried), it is probably best to add it when you add the egg.


What you’ll need:

1/2 cup butter

1 cup sugar

1 egg

1 1/2 cups self-raising flour

Pinch salt

1 1/2 cups ground almonds

What to do:

1. Cream together the butter and sugar, then add the egg to the bowl and beat into the butter/sugar mixture.





2. Sift the flour and salt into the bowl, add the ground almonds and then fold the flour, salt and almonds into the butter/sugar/egg mixture until thoroughly mixed together.



3. Roll the dough into one or two long cylinders with a diameter of about 5 cm, then wrap the cylinders in cling film and leave in the fridge for at least an hour to become firm.



4. Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4 (180º C or 350º F) and then remove the dough from the fridge.

5. Slice the cylinder(s) of dough into rounds that are about a centimetre in width.


6. Place the biscuit rounds on a couple of baking trays that have either been lined with greaseproof paper or greased and then bake in the middle of the pre-heated oven for about 10 minutes, or until golden brown. You will need to leave a little bit of space between each biscuit, but not much (at least 1 to 2 cm) as they hold their shape pretty well in the oven.



7. Once baked, remove the baking trays from the oven and place the biscuits onto a cooling rack to cool before eating. These will keep for at least a few days in an airtight tin.