Butternuts for roasting

This week I’ve got the last of this season’s butternut squash. After this any of the stuff you see around is most likely to be from another hemisphere. I love  butternut but not enough to have it make a journey from Argentina. If you haven’t cooked it before, butternut squash makes all kinds of wonderful soups, gratins and stews. It’s also great served on its own (roasted, boiled, steamed or fried) then dressed with a little sea salt, olive oil and the tiniest dash of balsamic vinegar.

Flavourwise, its earthy and quite sweet (which makes it a great weaning food for babies) and goes very well with garlic, leeks, onions, potatoes, chiles, maple syrup, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, parsley, sage and orange. Most recipes call for just the flesh and getting the skin off does look daunting but it’s not really. I find the best way is to quarter it first and then peel. After that, take out the seeds and stringy bits and cut the flesh as required. And what a lot of people don’t know is if you roast your butternut the skin ends up soft enough to eat which makes things even easier.

One of the simplest ways to cook butternut comes from a friend who reckons she got the recipe in New Zealand.You basically cut your butternut in half and stick in the oven so it really couldn’t be less labour intensive…..

Sweet roasted Butternut

You’ll need:

Butternuts (of course!!!!)

Butter

Brown sugar

Sea salt

Cinnamon or chili

Clean the skin and cut the butternut in half, then roast it softside up for 20 minutes. Turn it over and smear the flesh with butter, brown sugar, a generous pinch of sea salt and either a pinch of cinnamon or chili.

Butternuts with sugar and cinnamon

Return to the oven and roast for a further 30 to 40 minutes depending on the size of your squash or until the flash has caramelised.

This is fantastic served with lamb, pork or some baked feta cheese with a cous cous salad dressed with olive oil, toasted pine nuts and plenty of chopped rocket or flatleaf parsley.

Roasted butternut

With the weather so horrible it had to be soup today and I made one of my favourites –  butternut, with Parmesan and thyme. It’s quite a simple recipe but it gives knockout results. I’ve served it on Christmas day it’s that good. The sharp salty tang of the cheese combines with the thyme to give an almost meaty flavour that’s incredibly moreish. There’s a little cream in there too which means it’s nicely filling aswell.

Butternut Soup with Parmesan and Thyme (for 2 as a lunch or 3 as a starter)

You’ll need:

500gr peeled butternut

60ml olive oil

1 small onion chopped

4 cloves garlic finely chopped

1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves or 1 teaspoon dried

750ml vegetable stock (as usual I cheat and use Marigold)

2 tablespoons double cream

3 tablespoons grated Parmesan and some Parmesan shavings for garnish (make these with your veg peeler)

Sour cream for garnishing at the end – not absolutely crucial and some regular cream or yogurt will also do fine

Heat the olive oil in a pot over a lowish heat then very gently sweat the butternut for about 5 minutes then add the onion, garlic and thyme. Continue cooking gently for another 10 minutes. Turn up the heat a little and add the vegetable stock in 3 stages stirring well between each addition. Bring everything to the boil then reduce to a gentle simmer, season with salt and pepper then cover and continue cooking for a further 25 minutes.

Butternut soup

To finish the soup off add 2 tablespoons of double cream and the grated Parmesan. Check and correct the seasoning if necessary then cook for a further 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and allow to cool slightly before blending until smooth adding a little more stock if necessary to get the consistency you want. Before serving reheat and garnish with a drizzle of sour cream if you have it and some Parmesan shavings. Don’t forget that soup freezes really well so it’s worth making a double or triple quantity you can use spuds and/or carrots to make up any shortfall on the butternut front.

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A busy week meant I kept this dish very simple. It’s the perfect midweek supper. Lots of flavour and ready in less than half an hour. Green beans were the starting point then spuds for bulk and finally cherry tomatoes (colourwise I couldn’t resist!!!) completed the dish.

The fire and heat come from the chili and ginger then for the Indian flavour it’s equal parts coriander powder and turmeric and 1/2 the amount again of cumin seeds. It’s a mix that works with any veg and obviously you can dial the heat up or down by using as much chili as you want. Dried works just fine as well.

A simple curry with green beans and potatoes

You’ll need:

Coconut vegetable oil

1 thumbsize piece ginger peeled and finely chopped

4 heads garlic finely sliced

1/2 red chilli chopped (remove some or all of the seeds if you don’t like things too hot)

1 teaspoon coriander powder

1 teaspoon turmeric

1/2 teaspoon cumin seeds

200gr (1about 12 cherry tomatoes )

About 300 ml vegetable stock

800gr potatoes

200gr green beans

With this recipe you need to have everything ready to go before you start so it’ s a little different to most of my recipes where you throw on an onion and mooch around preparing everything else as it gently fries. This one is more on the fast and furious side. You can do it as you go but you’ll need to be fast. The upside is that the dish is ready in about 20 minutes and you can’t say that about a lot of curries (well, mine anyway).

Right, so to get going have the garlic, ginger and chilli prepared as described above. Peel the potatoes and chop into large bitesize pieces. Wash the tomatoes and cut in half. That should do it for now.

Heat a generous dollop of coconut oil on the pan. Add the garlic, ginger and chilli and gently fry for a minute or two before adding the spices along with a generous pinch of salt. Fry for another minute then add the tomatoes. Gently cook for a couple of minutes before adding the potatoes  and the stock. Cook over a gentle heat for about 10 minutes and while this is happening wash,  top and tail your beans. Now would also be a good time to put on your rice if you’re having some. Add the beans to the pan. Cook for a further 6 -7 minutes until the beans and spuds are tender.  Serve with rice and/or naan bread.  This recipe will easily feed 2-3 hungry people, 4-5 if you serve it with some daal.

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Chicken with spinach

Absolutely everyone loves a curry. It’s weird -people who won’t eat local food in places like Spain and Portugal will all eat curry. In our house anything curried goes down a storm even with the kids who moan about the tiniest bit of ginger making their juice “too spicy!”. And it doesn’t have to be fancy either. Got loads of random stuff at the back of the fridge and don’t fancy soup? Make curry instead. Now, I’m no expert and most of my curries are, shall we say, on the not very authentic side but somehow they always seem turn out ok.

From some cooking I did alongside an Indian girl in Barcelona I know that a good way to start is with lots of slowcooked onions which is pretty much how I start most dishes. I sweat these in plenty of rapeseed or coconut oil over a low heat til they start to go mushy then throw in lots of garlic (not only because it tastes good but because it’s so good for you). Keeping cooking until the garlic softens then add a pre-mixed curry powder (I’m currently working my way through a tin of Madras but it’s whatever you fancy) along with a little chilli for extra fire. Normally I then throw in a few chopped tomatoes (a tin will also work fine) and cook these down a bit before adding some coconut milk (told you this wasn’t kosher!)

While all this is going on, I’m furiously peeling and chopping what, in any other dish would be a waaaay too random selection of veg – parsnip, carrot,cabbage (red, white and green) celery, fennel, sweet potatoes, mushrooms, cauliflower, spuds……pretty much anything works. In they go and I’m onto rinsing a tin of chickpeas. These get thrown in with some water or stock then it’s sit back and let things cook. If I’m using greens, they go in at the end as do courgettes and broccoli (they go to mush otherwise) and I’m also partial to a handful of sultanas at this stage. Serve with rice and some chutney and pickles – we’re enjoying a lime one from M&S at the moment that one of you recommended (thanks Penelope). Easy, peasy, lasts well in the fridge and it rocks the next day for lunch with flatbread.

When it comes to the real thing, I’ve always found Indian food to be such a complex mix of spices and flavours that unless I pay very close attention to a recipe book I usually don’t have a clue where to start so I tend not to bother with it unless I’ve got lots of time (so that means never at the moment). Plus, there are usually so many spices required that I’m frustrated before I start (when I’m ready to cook, I’m ready to cook). Paul is the one with the patience/OCD tendencies for all that assembling of ingredients and precision grinding of spices. He also does a mean matchstick of pretty much any root veg but I warn you – bring snacks because dinner’s at midnight.

Recently, Indian cooking guru MadhurJaffrey completely changed this for good when she brought out Curry Easy, a book that seeks to do the previously unthinkable – simplify and speed up Indian cooking. She says herself that over the years (she’s now in her seventies) her cooking had changed and that some of the processes she’d previously considered essential she has recently discovered can be done in different ways. So, instead of cooking for hours  there’s lots of marinating to really let the flavours sink in before you even start. There are also fewer spices (well, usually 6 or 7 but not the 10 -15 that you find in her other books) so there’s less faffing around. I feel like I’m starting to understand how to build Indian flavours without a recipe and I find myself using more in other cooking.

We’ve been cooking our way through this book for a while and everything we’ve made has been amazing. First of all, we tried the Chicken Karhai with Mint which involved marinating everything overnight then simply frying it up and it was superb. We served it alongside Aubergines with Tomatoes which were also great. After that we were hooked. Standouts so far have been Chicken with apricots, Masala fish steaks and the green lamb curry.

spinach leaves

I have earmarked this week’s spinach in from Denis Healy in Wicklow for one our favourite dishes from the book which I’m going to share with you –  Chicken with spinach.  I haven’t changed anything except lower the quantity of oil used. It’s very quick and fantastically moreish.This recipe feeds 2 with leftovers.

Madhur Jaffrey’s Chicken with Spinach

3 chicken legs separated into drumsticks and thighs weighing about 1k in total

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 medium onion roughly chopped

2.5cm/1 inch piece ginger, peeled and roughly chopped

3 cloves garlic, roughly chopped

1/2 tablespoon sweet red paprika

1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

2 tablespoons olive/ rapeseed oil

1 x 5cm/2 inch cinnamon

4 cardamom pods

150g/ 5 oz spinach, chopped

Spread out the chicken pieces and sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt and lots of black pepper on both sides

Put the onions, garlic, ginger, paprika and cayenne in the food processor and chop all the ingredients as finely as possible taking care not to allow things to go to mush.

Heat the oil in a large pan or wok. Add the cinnamon and cardamon letting them sizzle for a few seconds before adding as much of the chicken as will fit in a single layer. Brown the chicken pieces on both sides then remove to a bowl leaving the spices behind. When all the chicken is cooked add the onion mix to the pan and fry for about 5 minutes until most of the liquid has evaporated taking care to stir as you go so thing don’t stick and burn. Add the spinach and 1/2 teaspoon salt and cook for a further 5 minutes. Add the chicken, 1/4 teaspoon salt and 12oml/4 fl oz water. Bring to the boil, cover and lower the heat then gently simmer for about 30 minutes. Any excess fat can be removed before serving with boiled basmati and nan bread

Enjoy!

This week  there’s also celery in our selections and I notice how Guardian columnist Yotan Ottolenghi has been using the leaves and inner tender stalks for salads a lot recently. Last Saturday’s Avocado, radish and celery salad with spiced croutons and lime is on my to-make list for this week – sounds fab right? Our larger bags have radishes from the Healys and I’m hoping to secure enough for all our bags next week.

Have a brilliant week,

Sarah

Blackberry Pancakes

Pancakes. Once you get the hang of them you can whip up a batch in about 5 minutes, less if you have a well trained child on the case. Auggie, my crazy 3 year old obedient in hardly any other situation, knows that the egg white must be whipped up to stiff peaks “like clouds” before I’ll add them, that all the blueberries in the freezer will not be going into 1 batch of pancakes (I buy when they’re cheap, freeze, then have a stash right through the winter months).

In the kitchen I rule – shame about everywhere else! He’s even getting the hang of folding – we’ve tried his way and the more leaden result was enough to convince him. Arts and crafts sessions often lead to meltdowns (mine not theirs) but in our house baking in is the way to get everyone on the same page. If you’ve got a kid (or 2) you’ll know this is no mean feat.

Anyways, back to breakfast. We make pancakes almost every weekend and I even made some last Thursday morning before school – pregnancy has me up at the most ungodly hours and instead of cruising websites I can’t afford I decided to make breakfast.

The basic recipe is simple – flour, baking powder, egg and milk but rather than just throwing them all in together a few tricks will give you results that beat most of what you’ll get served out and about (and charged a tenner for).
First of all, I am a firm believer in separating the egg despite what lots of recipes say. It really does make for a lighter result. I beat the white first til I get the “clouds” then separately beat the yolk with the milk, adding in the flour and baking powder. A pinch of salt is pretty essential and I’m recently converted to the addition of some cane sugar. These bring up the flavours and go in with the flour. Most recipes recommend you sieve the flour, salt and baking powder before you start and yeah, it certainly doesn’t hurt (adds more air which is always good) but if I’m in a hurry I don’t and things still work out fine. If I need to buy time with the kids while I wake myself up with coffee, clear space in the kitchen or whatever, I get Auggie on the case but to be honest, kids don’t really sieve so well so you kind of need to keep an eye on things or the whole kitchen gets a not so  light dusting…

When everything is fully mixed together, I fold in the egg white along with a large handful of berries – blueberries are the default, raspberries are gorgeous too and this week I used some of the blackberry booty we picked last weekend. These were amazing and just to take things up a notch I did some caramelized panfried apples aswell. A most autumnal breakfast if ever there was one….

Blackberry pancakes topped with caramelized apples

You’ll need:

150g or 1 cup of plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

A generous pinch fine salt

1 tablespoon cane sugar

1 egg

200ml milk

2 tablespoons of melted butter

A large handful berries (roughly a punnet) – I often use these straight from the freezer but you can of course take them out in advance

1 apple – I like cookers for bite but any will do.

A knob of butter

Apple syrup or runny honey

If you’re the kind of cook that can only deal with one pan at a time (and lots of us are first thing in the morning) do the apples first but they are pretty easy so if you might want to throw them on while the pancakes are cooking to save time. Peel and slice them then heat a little butter on the pan, throw the slices on and toss until they start to change colour. This will take about 2 minutes. To make the pancakes, if you can spare the extra minute, sieve the flour, salt and baking powder together and set aside. Separate the egg and then beat the white to stiff peaks. Beat the yolk with the milk and when mixed, add the flour mix and the sugar then beat til smooth. Turn off the mixer and fold in the egg white and then the berries and finally the butter.

Heat some butter on a clean pan. Dollop a soup ladle of pancake mix onto the pan. You’ll fit 2 or 3 on a typical kitchen pan. Cook until golden then turn over (about 1-2 mins each side). Before you do the next batch, wipe the pan with some kitchen paper then heat another knob of butter. If you’re not sure your pancakes are fully cooked press down on them with a spatula. If some wet mix runs out leave them on for another bit. When the pancakes are ready, serve topped with the apples and generous knob of butter. A drizzle of apple or maple syrup or honey if you don’t have these will finish things off.

If you want take things further, a dollop of Greek yogurt on the side is lovely and of course no one ever says no to a couple of slices of crispy bacon…

This week sees the last of corn on the cob. The simplest way to go is to boil it up until tender then have it slathered with butter but it makes very good pancakes which are a cinch to make. Another thing you could try is a salad with this week’s ramiro pepper, chili and lime. This one was a revelation to me over the summer. So simple but bursting with flavour. Might even make you think it’s still summer….

Have a great weekend,
Sarah

 

Courgette fritters and beetroot salad

After a tough few weeks fighting my way through endless amounts of amazing wine, goat’s cheese and almond croissants in France I’m back. For the first part of last week it was all rice and noodles (there was talk of juicing but I didn’t quite make it that far). I thought I’d never eat cheese again I’d gone so overboard. Of course I soon got over that as this week’s recipe shows.

The simplicity of a lot of the food we ate really hammered home the whole quality produce argument. You don’t actually have to eat as many pastries and cheese as we did (no, really you don’t) and the natives wouldn’t dream of it. It’s really all about fresh seasonal produce at its best so yes you eat the odd amazing pastry but really there’s a lot of salad going on most of the time. When we were there the peaches and melons were hitting their peak and both nothing short of spectacular. The melon in particular really stood out for me. We had it in several places with some cured ham and a handful of lightly dressed leaves and it  made the most exquisite starter, a far, far cry from the anemic varieties we’ve all had in this country that just makes the dish seem so pointless. this is just one example, I’ll do a few recipes inspired by the trip over the next few weeks to give you a flavour.

At this time of year in Ireland we mightn’t have peaches and melons but we’re spoilt for choice with veggies. This week brings a welcome return of baby beetroot from the Healys. It comes with leaves attached and these are even more nutritious than the actual beets so be sure and use them. You’ll have to be quick as they’re fragile and won’t last. One simple idea would be to roast up the beets finishing them off with some balsamic then serve them with a handful of walnuts with the leaves. Make a nice mustardy honey dressing for this like the one below and serve with some goat’s cheese and crusty bread and you’ve got a brilliant light lunch or starter.

I decided to use my beets to make a very simple salad that is amazingly moreish and way more than the sum of its (2) parts. It’s a recipe from my friend Helen and I think it’s Polish originally. Basically you grate the beetroot and dress it in lemon juice and ……..that’s it but it really works.

Summer is all about courgettes and they will be coming thick and fast til at least the end of September so I thought that a courgette recipe might be in order in this week in case of you are suffering from what we call “courgette fatigue” at Home Organics. Some of you have the very pale ones that are known as the white variety that you can see in the photo.  Don’t panic as Claire did when she saw them arrive this morning – they’re the same as the kind you’re used to just a different colour .

I made fritters with feta and a little mint from the garden which I served on a bed of the beetroot leaves with a honey mustard dressing alongside the beet salad with a dollop of greek yogurt. It makes great lunch for two or a starter for 4. I know it sounds like this dish has lots going on but I promise you can make it from scratch in less than half an hour.

 

Courgettes fritters with feta, fresh mint and cumin

You’ll need:

250gr courgette

1 medium onion chopped

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

olive oil

80gr feta cheese crumbled

2 tablespoons plain flour

2 tablepoons breadcrumbs ideally the Japanese Panko kind which are extra dry so great for absorbing any excess courgette moisture. You’ll get these in any Asian supermarket and they can be kept in the freeezer.

10 – 15 mint leaves shredded plus a couple extra to garnish

Salt and pepper

The beetroot salad                                                                   

You’ll need:

4-5 smallish heads beetroot

Lemon juice

The green salad

You’ll need:

The leaves attached to the beetroot washed, dried and torn into bitesize pieces

For the dressing:

4 tablespoons olive oil

1.5 tablespoons red wine vinegar

1 level teaspoon wholegrain mustard

1 generous teaspoon runny honey

Courgettes are full of water so begin by coarsely grating them onto a cloth. Leave for about 20 minutes to allow some of the excess water out. You can even get them into a ball in the cloth and wring them out if you feel that they’re still quite soggy after the 20 minutes.

While the courgettes are sitting,  heat some olive oil in a pan and begin sautéing the onions with the cumin. You want them a deep golden brown and starting to caramelize and this will take about 20 minutes over a low to medium heat. Be sure and stir them around every five minutes and  add a pinch of fine salt halfway through.

With the onions and courgettes on the way, get on with the beetroot. Remove the leaves and set aside then coarsely grate each bulb and dress the lot in lemon juice to taste then set aside.

Grated Beetroot

Prepare the salad dressing by whisking all the ingredients together then set aside til the fritters are done then simple toss with the leaves.

When the onions are ready let them cool a little then combine with the courgettes, feta, flour and mint. Add a pinch of salt and plenty of freshly ground black pepper and mix well. Heat some oil on the pan the gently add about 1 tablespoon of the courgette mixture for each fritter. Gently flatten each one out with the back of a spatula then fry til golden. Turn over carefully and fry the other side. Remove from the pan and serve on top of the beetroot leaves with a dollop of Greek yogurt and a serving of beetroot salad on the side. Heaven.

Like everyone, we’ve all been sickened and very saddened by the images reaching us from East Africa at the moment. This week we will be donating all the takings (not just the profits) from any new orders to Oxfam so if you know anyone who’s been talking about giving us a try please let them know.

Have a great week,

Sarah

Broad Beans

June 30, 2011

broadbean and serrano ham salad

Broad beans this week, one of my absolute favourite summer varieties. You don’t need to do much, ham in all its guises works wondefully as do things like feta and sundried tomatoes. If you haven’t cooked them before it’s easy – pod them then steam for a few minutes til tender, cool then pop each bean out of its skin. Choose from either of the two salads below and lunch is ready in, ooh, 5 minutes. Easy.

Warm Salad of Broad Beans and Serrano Ham

You’ll need:

300-400gr broad beans cooked as described above

Olive oil

50gr serrano ham cut into strips or torn

6-8 mint leaves shredded (do this just before serving or it will discolour)

Toss the beans  in some olive oil in a hot wok or frying pan. Add the  ham and toss. Remove from heat and garnish with some fresh mint. Serve warm with some crusty bread.

Broad bean salad with feta cheese, sun-dried tomatoes and salad leaves

You’ll need:

300-400gr broad beans cooked as described above

2 generous handfuls of salad leaves or more if you’re feeding more than 2

100gr feta cheese

6 large sundried tomatoes sliced or torn

The dressing

3 -4 tablespoons olive oil

1 tablespoon sherry or white wine vinegar

A tiny pinch of sugar

Salt and pepper

Combine the beans with the salad leaves,  cheese and tomatoes. Mix the dressing ingredients together, taste then add more vinegar or salt if it needs it. Dress the salad then serve.

Enjoy

Beautiful buns

June 17, 2011

Cherries

It might be raining outside but it’s summer and this week’s gorgeous cherries prove it. I think they’re the best batch so far. Sadly this means they’re probably nearly finished but they’ll be followed by plums, apricots (in the bags next week with any luck), peaches, grapes….. So, come on summer – we have food that needs to be eaten in the sun prefarably in the garden or park. Sort it out!!!!!

As you’ve probably noticed this week’s photos are um, quite superior to my usual attempts. And no, it wasn’t me. Last week I teamed up with professional photographer Bríd ní Luasaigh who was keen to take some photos of food. She usually photographs still life, interiors and people as you can see from her amazing website.

Our photo shoot took an exhausting 6 hours. In the last year or so I’ve really tried to put time into my food photography but on a busy week I’ll admit that some  shots involve stealing a dinner as everyone’s sitting down and blocking out the protests while I frantically try to get something that will work.  With  Bríd it was the real deal and I’ve  hopefully  learnt lots. First of all, I need a new camera, a tripod and maybe a few other bits. I’ll be looking into it while saving up my euros and this will hopefully lead to some better shots. The bar, as you can see is now very high. No pressure!

Cherry bun

The cakes look amazing but more importantly they taste pretty great too. These are what we called butterfly buns when I was a kid and they were a staple at all our birthday parties. Basically they’re  buns with the top sliced off, cut in two then stuck back on top on a bed of cream or icing. I have to say I normally hate all the pretty prettiness of the ubiquitous cupcake but I have a real soft spot for these.

Cherries are just so good on their own and the season is over in a heartbeat that I normally wouldn’t recommend doing much with them but they were perfect for this kind of cake so I made an exception. To make things a bit more grown up I macerated them first in Cointreau. I had bought a nagin of Kirsch for the occasion because it seemed like the obvious way to go but when I opened it paint stripper was the only thing I could think of (!!)  so I decided not to go ahead. The orange of Cointreau or Triple Sec offsets the cherries very well but I reckon cognac and maybe even a coffee liquor would work too.

The cake mixture is a butter one which I added a little marzipan to. You don’t have to, but as cherry and almond are so good together I couldn’t resist. At this time of year marzipan isn’t the easiest to track down and I had to go to Fallon and Byrne in the end. If that’s just a step too far for you, don’t worry they are great without it, or you can substitute a couple of tablespoons of the flour with  ground almonds. With or without these cakes are gorgeous – cherries, cake, almonds and cream ……… how could they not be?

Cherry butterfly buns

You’ll need:

160gr butter at room temperature – sit it in a bowl of hot water if it’s straight from the fridge and it’ll be easier to mix

160gr sugar

3 medium eggs

160gr self-raising flour

A teaspoon of vanilla extract

A splash of milk

30gr marzipan cut into 8 squares or discs

8-10 muffin moulds – I used paper ones that I got in M&S that I set into a muffin tin to ensure they didn’t lose their shape

200gr cherries

A dash of Cointreau or Triple Sec (optional)

A scant tablespoon sugar

225 ml double or whipping cream

2 tablespoons flaked almonds lightly toasted

Icing sugar for decoration

Cherry buns in process

Start off  with the cherries. Cut them in half and remove the stones then put in a bowl with the booze and sugar and set aside.

For the buns, begin by creaming the butter and sugar together until they turn a fluffy pale yellow. Beat in an egg followed by a couple of tablespoons of flour. Mix well then add another egg and continue like this until all the eggs and flour have been added and fully mixed in. Finally, add a small splash of milk and the vanilla extract, give thing a final mix then stop.

Cover the base of each mould with cake mixture then add a square of marzipan. Divide the remaining mixture evenly between all the moulds and place in a preheated oven (Gas mark 5).

Bake for about 20 minutes or until golden on top. Check they are fully cooked by inserting a skewer. If it comes out clean they’re done. Put them on a wire tray to cool.

After about an hour when the buns have fully cooled,  slice off the tops and cut them in half. Scoop a tiny bit of cake mixture out of each remaining bun so the fruit has somewhere to sit. Top each bun with cherries and a little of the juice. If you can, try to arrange cherries around the side so you’ll get the pretty effect you can see in the pictures. Beat the cream with a little sugar and top the cherries with cream. Add the “wings” and dust with icing sugar. Top the cream with the toasted almonds.

Cherry butterfly buns

Cherry butterfly buns 2

Gorgeous.

This week’s Pak Choy and Ginger make perfect partners in the wok. Try them tossed with some chilli and garlic with a side of tofu or with oranges sesame noodles. We’ve got broccoli in all the bags this week and recently Aoife from I can has cook did a brilliant mashup of one of my Asian salads and one from 101 cookbooks. Super healthy and, most importantly bursting with flavour it could be one for beating those rainy day blues.

I’m in Convergence down in Cultivate tomorrow taking part in the Green Economy forum. If anyone’s interested in setting up a green business anytime soon it would be well worth your while to come along.

Have a brilliant weekend,

Sarah