Where growing, making & good living come together

Chocolate Coffee Mousse recipe

Posted by on Wednesday 23 February 2011 in cooking, Featured, recipes | 5 comments

I stumbled upon this recipe a little while ago and it’s become a favourite in the Peach household – not only is it one of the nicest, richest desserts I’ve ever eaten, it both uses up eggs (a good thing!) and is really pretty easy & quick to make as well.

It’s easy because it cheats by starting with ready-made chocolate. I’ve tried making it with both fancy 70% chocolate and cheaper plain stuff (I mean really cheap plain stuff – Netto, two 200g bars for £1.50) – there is a difference, the former was obviously a lot stronger and richer, but you know what? the cheaper stuff did pretty well too. The intense strong chocolate is nice but can be a bit overwhelming – I’d certainly make it again with the cheaper stuff, especially if the people eating it weren’t major dark chocolate fans.

Regarding the coffee, John is a coffee snob so we have very good beans in the house pretty much all the time and he makes it using an Aeropress which apparently removes a lot of the bitterness (I don’t like to drink coffee but I like it as a flavour in cakes & desserts). Since it was being mixed with other things, he didn’t use his super expensive stuff but used a blend of “old” beans (admittedly no more than a few weeks old) to make the espresso. I dare say the fact it was good coffee to start with added to the flavour of the finished dessert.

Aside from that though, eggs is eggs, a little sugar is a little sugar. If the eggs are homegrown (as ours are), the only real cost is the chocolate, with an extra 20p or so for the fancy-smancy coffee. For a super rich dessert for four, I think it’s pretty reasonable.

Dark Chocolate Coffee Mousse recipe

Makes enough to fill four to five ramekins

200g of plain chocolate
3 tbsp of freshly made espresso/strong black coffee (or more/less to taste)
4 room temperature eggs
1-2tbsp of caster sugar, depending on how sweet the chocolate is

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Buttery treacle spice biscuits recipe

Posted by on Wednesday 2 February 2011 in cooking, recipes | 4 comments

I meant to write up this recipe a few weeks ago but in all the end of year/new 2011 goals excitement, I forgot. The rich dark treacle flavour and cinnamon make them a great winter biscuit – almost warming!

They’re also a perfect fill-the-oven companion to my quick-and-easy soda bread recipe – I get my soda bread in the oven then start making these guys. By the time I’ve measured, mixed and shaped, it’s about 20-25 mins into the soda bread baking, then the biscuits go in and everything finishes at the same time – perfect!

As there is no egg or anything like that in the mix, they’re one of my favourite “cook’s perks” recipes – ie, I get to “test” the dough throughout the making process and lick all the bowls & spoons at the end. :D

There is also a fourth wonderful feature of these biscuits which I say explain at the end so those with easily-offended-by-tastelessness aren’t put off a great biscuit recipe! ;)

Buttery treacle spice biscuits

Makes: about 20 decent-sized biscuits


200g self-raising flour
100g butter, soften so it’s workable
65g soft brown sugar
1tbsp of dark treacle
1tbsp of golden syrup (or a second tbsp of treacle – if you love the dark stuff)
1 heaped tsp of ground cinnamon
A little icing sugar for dusting (optional)

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Lovely Buttery Lemon Curd recipe

Posted by on Wednesday 26 January 2011 in cooking, preserving, recipes | 6 comments

I mentioned on Monday that I made a batch of lemon curd while my frustrating, sticky marmalade was boiling away.

Lemon curd is far easier and more fun to make than marmalade, and oh my wow, it’s delicious.

It doesn’t have a long shelf life though – what with the butter and the eggs – but I don’t mind having to make it regularly because it’s so quick and easy that it’s not a problem.

Compared to jams from foraged or grown fruit (where the only expenses are sugar, a tiny bit of spice & energy), this is expensive – lots of bought-in items. Using eggs from our own chickens, it worked out at about 70p a jar; if we’d had to buy in good eggs, it would have been about £1 a jar – not break-the-bank expensive and it is very very nice, but not the cheapest either (the blackberry jam I made last autumn worked out at about 25p a jar since the only thing I had to buy was sugar). It’s a good way to use up egg gluts – something we’ll have to get more proactive with now the girls are laying more.

Buttery Lemon Curd recipe

5 large lemons
5 medium-to-large eggs
250g of butter (!), room temperature
400g of golden caster sugar
2tsp of cornflour

Makes just under 3lbs of lovely lemon curd

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Spicy sausage and lentil casserole recipe

Posted by on Tuesday 18 January 2011 in cooking, recipes | 8 comments

Could a sausage and lentil casserole be anything other than spicy with us? We heart the spice!

I first made this when we were on holiday in a wonderful cottage in Staithes a few years ago so it always has connotations of relaxed cosiness – we’ve been there a couple of times out of season and had the quietest, most relaxing holidays ever. Recommend ++.

Anyway, back to the casserole, it’s a fab winter warmer – and can be pretty darn cheap if made with sausages on offer, as ours were when I made this on Saturday.

Spicy sausage and lentil casserole recipe

Makes 4 dinner portions
Cost £3-4 in total depending on sausage offers – ie, 75p-£1 a portion.


1lb of sausages – pork or veggie
1 large onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, crushed (or 2tsp of puree)
100g ish of mushrooms, diced
1 or 2 peppers, diced
1 hot chilli, diced very finely (I used a scotch bonnet one when I took the pics)
250g of green lentils or puy lentils
500ml of hot veg stock
1tbsp of tomato puree
1tbsp of mixed herbs
A couple of bay leaves
2 splashes of Worchestershire sauce
Black pepper to season
A little olive oil

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Quick bread: no-rising-time soda bread recipe

Posted by on Friday 7 January 2011 in cooking, recipes | 17 comments

The other week, I asked about how people manage with baking when the weather is cooler – when it’s hard to maintain a yeast-friendly heat for bread to rise (especially if you’re going for a 12-18hr slow rise bread).

In the comments, Karen M said:

In my rural living days without electricity or central heating, we ate a lot of bannock and other unleavened breads in the cold times.

A smack-the-forehead moment for me. Unleavened bread, of course!

I hadn’t heard of bannock but John loves its Irish cousin, soda bread so I decided to give that a go. After trying his first slice of my first soda bread, John declared we’re never buying shop-bought bread again. We will, of course, but I liked his sentiment ;) I’ve made it a few times now and it’s been a hit each time.

Soda bread is super quick to make. Most bread relies on yeast “breathing” to create carbon dioxide bubbles but soda bread uses the chemical reaction between the alkaline bicarbonate of soda and something acidic (like vinegar, lemon juice or cream of tartar) to make the gas instead. It’s an instant reaction rather than something that has to build up over time – so no need for rising time or proving time.

Want an easy bread without soda?

Our slow rise no knead bread only takes 5 minutes to make – then just leave it overnight before baking.

And extending kneading is a no-no too – the reaction works best if it’s happening in a warm environment so it needs to be mixed, shaped and bam! straight into the oven. Super fast.

It’s a dense bread – no big yeasty air bubbles like in good yeast-based bread – but the sponge is soft and a touch sweet. Possibly because of the slight sweet milkiness or possibly because of the texture, there is something scone-like about it for me – but it’s considerably lower fat than actual scones.

Like scones though, it’s fantastic with butter and jam. Or dipped in a hearty soup.

Quick Soda Bread recipe

Yield: One slightly-more-than-1lb loaf
Time: Less than 5 mins preparation, no rising time, 30-40mins in the oven.

1lb of flour – I use a malthouse type mix with malted flakes & rye flour as well as wheat flour.
1tsp of sugar
1tsp of salt
1tsp of bicarbonate of soda
250ml (ish) of soured/acidified milk*

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Spicy stuffing with chorizo recipe

Posted by on Tuesday 7 December 2010 in cooking, recipes | 0 comments

At the end of last week, we bought a chicken. We don’t eat that much chicken really and when we do, we tend to get on-offer pieces so I’ve probably only roasted whole chickens a dozen times or so and they’ve been ok, good even, but not great.

This time I decided it was going to be great. I decided I was going to try one of those “stuff a lemon up it” recipes but when it came to it, I didn’t actually have a lemon – and was too tired, post-dog icy walk, to go to the shop to get one.

So, I thought, what else can I STUFF in there instead? What do other people use to STUFF chickens? What sort of things do people use for STUFFING chickens? I think my brain was having a bit of a lazy Sunday afternoon because it took me ages to realise what I was asking.

There are loads of recipes out there for sage and onion stuffing – the good old failsafe – but as I said, I wanted it to be great so that wouldn’t cut it. As may not be a surprise to the observant, we were going for a spicy rub for the chicken and I wanted a stuffing to complement that. This is what I came up with.

Chorizo and chicken go really well together. There isn’t enough chorizo in it to overwhelm the meal but enough to give it a delicious, smokey taste. The pepper adds sweetness and the chilli, unsurprisingly, adds spicy heat.

John said it was the best stuffing he’d ever eaten. The chicken was pretty ace too – a longer marinading time would have added to the flavour but it tastes good and was wonderfully moist. Basically, WIN.

Spicy stuffing with chorizo recipe

Yield: Enough to stuff a large chicken or to make about 12 golf-ball-sized balls

150g bread – stuff that’s a few days old works best
50g cooking chorizo sausage
1 medium onion
1 pepper – I used green, red would be nicer
1 cloves of garlic
1 large egg, beaten
A little water (or chicken/veg stock, if you’ve got some on – only need a few tbsp worth)

2tsp cumin seeds
1tsp mixed herbs
Chillis – I used three little fresh ones from the last of our summer harvest; normally I’d use dried chilli flakes, probably a large pinch of them.
Salt & pepper to season

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