Saturday, 20 September 2014

'School Dinner' Jam and Coconut Sponge

Mr Simply Veg and I were talking about school dinners the other day; I don’t know how we got on to the subject – I can only say when you get to our age you start to ramble a bit.

I loved school dinners mainly because they were so much nicer than the meals I had at home. Sadly I can honestly state, without any fear of contradiction, that my mother never managed to serve up an edible meal in her life; you know the sort of thing…if the veg are still recognisable they haven’t been boiled for long enough. Gravy…? One lump or two?

Anyway, Mr S-V said his school dinners weren’t particularly memorable but then he went all dewy eyed about a jam and coconut sponge he used to have for pudding. I was tasked with recreating this culinary masterpiece and by all accounts I did a pretty good job. *polishes halo*

Himself is a very happy chappie and I am now officially a domestic goddess. As I’ve said before…he’s easily pleased.

170g unsalted butter
170g caster sugar
3 eggs
170g self-raising flour
1 tsp vanilla extract

3 tbsp strawberry jam
50g desiccated coconut

Line a 16cm x 24cm baking tin with baking parchment. Turn the oven on to 180C.

Cream the butter and sugar together with a hand-held mixer until light and fluffy then beat in the eggs, one at a time. Fold in the flour and the vanilla extract. Scoop into the lined tin, level the top, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes.

When cooked, remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out onto a cooling rack.

When the cake is completely cool spread with the jam, going right up to the edges, then sprinkle over the desiccated coconut.

Cut into squares and serve with custard. Lots of custard. Also good served as cake with a decent cuppa.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Creamy Mushroom Tagliatelle

I saw a discussion on a food board recently along the lines of ‘If you could only have three vegetables’. It really set me thinking – I’m just not sure I could whittle it down to three.

Well, there’s mushrooms, onions and tomatoes, (yes, I know, tomatoes are technically a fruit but you wouldn’t want one in your fruit salad!) but how could I live without broccoli, butternut squash, sprouts or peppers; and then there’s asparagus and aubergines and green beans not to mention celery and carrots….oooh, and beetroot! I could go on...!

Let’s face it, there’s no way on this earth I could keep to only three veg, which is why I’m glad vegetables are one of the main elements of our meals rather than just an add-on or a side dish.

Mushrooms are one of my absolute favourites - this is a bit of a variation on Mushroom Stroganoff, which we love, plus pasta. What's not to like?

1 tbsp olive oil
knob of butter
2 shallots
300g mushrooms
1 clove of garlic
50ml white wine
200g crème fraiche
1 tbsp chopped parsley
black pepper

150g tagliatelle

Thinly slice the shallots and sauté until translucent in the oil and butter. Thickly slice the mushrooms and add to the onions; cook until all the water from the mushrooms has evaporated then add the garlic and cook for another minute.

Season with black pepper and add the wine; allow to bubble for a minute or two then stir in the crème fraiche and chopped parsley.

Cook the tagliatelle in a large pan of boiling water until al dente. Drain and add to the creamy mushrooms; mix carefully and serve immediately with plenty of grated parmesan-style cheese.

Serves 2