Thursday, 14 July 2011

Snickerdoodle Cookie recipe.

These delightful cookies are a real favourite with friends and family, they are crunchy, chewy, cinnamony, sugary biscuits from heaven. Easy to make and will not stay in the biscuit barrel for long! When cooked they look quite a bit like a babies rusk, but are so much more naughty!
The vanilla sugar gives an extra hit of flavour that works so well, but caster sugar also works fine. I usually half the dough, keep one half in the fridge or freezer and use as needed. This recipe will make around 20-24 cookies. This recipe is based upon one I found in the Hummingbird Bakery cookbook, a book well worth getting.

60g unsalted butter, softened
160g Vanilla sugar, or caster sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla essence
1 large egg
275g plain flour
3/4 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1 1/2 tablespoons of caster sugar
1 tablespoon of ground cinnamon.

1. Cream together the butter, sugar and vanilla until light and fluffy.
2. Add the egg, mix well and scrape down bowl, mix again to ensure all ingredients are combined well.
3. Sift the remaining ingredients into the mix, you are looking for a soft dough, that doesn't stick to your hands. Add a little more flour if needed, it will not harm the cooking process . 
4. Place the dough in the fridge to rest and firm up, for around 40 minutes. Meanwhile preheat oven to 170°c or 325°f.
5. Mix the coating ingredients into a small bowl.
6. When the dough is firm, break off walnut size pieces, and make into a ball, roll these balls into the coating, make sure they are completely coated. Place the balls of dough onto a tray lined with baking paper, 2 inches apart, as they will spread during cooking.
7. Place in the preheated oven and bake for about 12 minutes, or until they are a light golden brown. They will crack, this is fine. You can add more of the coating after cooking if you wish. Allow to cool on the tray for a couple of minutes, then remove to a wire rack. 

Friday, 8 July 2011

Rabbit Ragu with Spaghetti Recipe

Rabbit is a very underestimated meat, its very low in fat, tasty, and most of all, relatively cheap to purchase. Most people are put off from eating this delicious gamey meat, by the fact that they think of rabbits as fluffy, hopping, children's pets, not a food to be eaten. Wild rabbit has a very rich game taste to it, and some people prefer the flavour of a farmed rabbit, I like both. It has similar texture and cooking methods to chicken.
This recipe is inspired by a dish that I tried at Jamie's Italian in Covent Garden. I used one whole rabbit, which I de-boned and filleted myself, (see gory image above!) it easily fed two adults, and there was enough left over for a snack the next day. I would love to hear your experiences of eating and cooking with Rabbit, and please don't be scared to try this, it really is one of the best dishes I have ever cooked.
1 Small red onion, finely chopped.
1 Carrot, peeled and chopped.
1 Thin stick of celery, chopped.
1 Sprig of fresh rosemary, leaves picked and chopped. 
1 tablespoon of chopped fresh thyme leaves.
1 bay leaf.
1 clove of garlic, crushed or finely grated.
1 level tablespoon of flour
1 Whole rabbit, boned and cut into 1cm pieces. (ask your butcher to do this, if you prefer)
1 glass of white wine (as good as you can afford).
250ml of chicken stock.
50g of freshly grated parmesan, or similar hard italian cheese.
Small knob of butter.
Zest of one small orange or a lemon.
Extra virgin olive oil.
Handful of fresh flat leaf parsley.
Spaghetti, enough for two people. 
Fresh ground black or mixed pepper.

1.Preheat your oven to 180°c/350°F or gas mark 4.
2. Add a nice glug of the olive oil to a casserole pan, (one which can also be used on a hob) place onto your hob to heat, then add the onion, carrot, celery, rosemary, thyme and bay leaf, and finely add the garlic. Cook these ingredients gently for about 10 minutes, until softened slightly.
2. Stir in the rabbit, sprinkle with the flour, then add the white wine. Season well with the salt and pepper. Pour in the chicken stock, which should just just cover the meat, and bring to a slow boil.
3. Put the lid on the pan, and place in the oven, for around 1 hour 15 minutes, the meat should fall apart when checked. If it doesn't, then cook for a further ten minutes.
4. Add the spaghetti to a pan of rapidly boiling salted water, and cook to the packets instructions.
5. Whilst the pasta is cooking, remove the bay leaf from the stew, add the butter, half of the cheese, and half of the orange or lemon zest. Check the seasoning, and alter accordingly. Place the lid back on, to keep warm.
6. Chop the parsley.
7. Drain the pasta, drizzle it with some olive oil, and place onto two plates. Spoon the Ragu over the top, add the remaining cheese, zest and sprinkle over parsley. I also like to add a few fresh thyme leaves to the plate for decoration too.