Ladies who brunch

Lazy Saturday brunch with friends.  Papers, coffee, juice, cereals and ricotta and spelt pancakes with blackberry and apple compote.  Pretty good.

Lemon and Ricotta Spelt Pancakes with Apple and Blackberry Compote. 
You will Need

    225g Ricotta

      125ml Semi-skimmed milk

         2 Large eggs, separated

          80g Spelt flour

            1 tsp Baking powder

             2 tsp Lemon zest, finely grated

              1 tbsp syrup, golden will do, but maple is best

                2 tsp Sunflower oil

                  Blackberries, 1 small punnet

                    3 Apples, sliced

                      200g sugar

                        100g butter


                             1. For the compote,  ‘fry’ the sugar in the butter over a high heat, until it begins to caramelise.  Then add the fruits and leave to bubble away until soft and caramelised, stirring occasionally. 

                            2. In a large bowl, combine the ricotta, milk and egg yolks. Stir in the flour and baking powder and keep stirring until you have a batter
                            3.  In a separate bowl, whisk the egg whites until foamy and stiff and fold them into the first bowl. Add the lemon zest and agave or maple syrup and stir gently.  

                              4. In a large frying pan, heat the oil, and drop in small dollops of batter, about the size of a large chocolate coin. Cook the pancakes for about 1–2 minutes on each side; you want them to be a honeyed brown.  Keep them warm in a low temperature oven till ready to serve.  

                                Just jammin’

                                Brunch, Jam, Liz, Plums | 23/09/2010 | By

                                … or what I did with those plums

                                step 1

                                step 3

                                The first thing to do with the harvest- plum jam. I foolishly decided it was a good idea to get cracking with this at about 10pm one mid week evening (night?) which of course meant that I didn’t get to bed for ages. Having said that, it was a relatively easy process, actually. And of course completely worth it because I now how lots of jars full of brilliant plum jam.

                                We cracked open the first jar at a big brunch my flatmate, Liz, hosted. I can take no credit for the pics of the amazing fresh fruit, muffins and fritters.

                                You will need:
                                About 1.5kg plums
                                A cup or so of water
                                1.25kg sugar

                                1 lemon

                                1) Get a really massive pan, wash your plums and remove any leafs, bugs, stems, etc. Put them in the pan along with the water and turn on the heat. The plums will start to ‘melt’ and bubble away quite nicely.

                                2) Reduce the heat and leave for about half an hour.

                                3) Add the sugar and lemon and give it all a good stir. Leave to simmer for about another 20 min then test to see if it has reached setting point. You may want to pick out the kernels, I didn’t bother and it was fine.

                                4) Pour into sterilised jars and put the lids on straight away. Leave overnight to cool.

                                NOTE: Setting point: The easiest way, and most fun, I think, to do this is to get a teaspoon of your molten hot jam and put on a cold plate. Leave it to cool completely and then ‘push’ the jam with your finger. If the surface crinkles up and makes a film, you are done. If not, leave for a bit and try again in another 10 mins.

                                My plum jam had its first outing at a brunch hosted by my flatmate, Liz, on some nice crusty bread. Lovely. Some pics below are of the rest of the amazing brunch, which I can take absolutely no credit for whatsoever.


                                sweetcorn and chive fritters with a poached egg and sour cream

                                a white loaf and tea. ahhh

                                fresh, fresh, fresh!

                                banana-nut muffins with crumble topping

                                A weekend in excess and an easy dinner tip no. 2

                                I’ve had a weekend of excessive brunching, including this rather amazing sausage thing, courtesy of the Salad Club, which also inspired me to make chili jam, following the Salad Club’s tips (I have been exploring quite a lot of food blogs of late!) It reduced down to something quite extraordinarily gooey and jammy, but so much so that it only made two jars. Instead of 4-5! And I don’t think that my two jars will last long either…

                                Anyway, only one cure for all this excess, thought I. Something light and salad-shaped on Sunday evening. But despite having the very best of intentions, I’m afraid, dear reader, I succumbed to this cheddar and cream-laden potato and leek gratin instead. I did serve it with a nice side salad, though. And then had cheese with the chili jam after. There’s also been a bit of a port theme in my flat at the moment. Ah well.

                                Leek and Potato Gratin.
                                A meal in itself or a perfect accompaniment.

                                You will need:

                                Two leeks (cleaned and chopped)
                                Two large baking potatoes (peeled and sliced into 2 cm thick slices)

                                Some breadcrumbs

                                Two garlic cloves

                                Some white wine, if you have some to hand (I did)


                                Cheddar (a large handful, grated)

                                Single cream


                                Salt, pepper

                                1. Crush your garlic and put in a pan with a bit of butter

                                2. Add leeks and fry till soft, don’t burn!

                                3. Par-boil your spud slices for a good 10 min. Arrange in an oven proof dish.

                                4. Add leeks.

                                5. Pour over cream, to your liking, but I would say you definitely need at least 200ml.

                                6. Season.

                                7. Add breadcrumbs and cheese.

                                8. Bake in a hot oven (200/gas mark 6) for half an hour until the top is golden and the potatoes are cooked through. Serve with salad, bread and ham perhaps.