Clotted Cream Recipe

Home made clotted cream

Today (24th June) is National Cream Tea Day and I really feel that I cannot let it go past without acknowledgement.  For those who don’t know, a traditional Cornish cream tea consists of a plain scone split and spread generously with strawberry jam and topped with a great dollop of clotted cream.  This should be served with a proper cup of tea.

I have shared my favourite scone recipe before (you can find it here) – well, I say “my” recipe but it is actually my mum’s recipe but it is my favourite!

What I have never done before is make my own clotted cream.  In fairness I live in Cornwall and there is no shortage of really good clotted cream available from local dairies.  In fact Rodda’s Cream is now easily available all over the UK but if you live outside the country you might find it harder to track down.

Clotted cream is a thick, rich, spoonable cream topped with a yellow crust or “clot” and it is artery hardeningly wonderful stuff.  I always assumed that clotted cream might be quite complicated to make so I started to do a bit of research.  And then I laughed.  This stuff makes itself!

The only ingredient is double cream (heavy cream if you are American) and it just needs long slow cooking to evaporate some of the water content and thicken up the cream.  During this process a yellow “clot” forms on the top.  And that’s it.  No, really, that’s all there is to it.

In my case I put it in the warming oven of my Rayburn and went to bed.  When I got up this morning I had clotted cream.  You really can make this in your sleep!!

As with everything the better the ingredients the better the end product.  Traditionally clotted cream would have been made using unpasteurised cream but this is not the easiest thing to get hold of and not everyone would like it anyway.  In this instance I decided to experiment with simple, supermarket own brand, pasteurised cream and it worked fine.

The only problem now is that I have about a pint and a half of clotted cream in the fridge – I’d better bake some scones.

Clotted CReam Recipe

Ingredients

Double Cream

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 80°C / 180°F / lowest setting possible for gas.

Pour the cream into a shallow, oven-proof dish until it is between 1″ and 3″ deep.  I used a 12″ x 8″ rectangular pyrex dish with about one and a half pints of cream but you can use a smaller dish and less cream.

Put the cream into the oven for between 8 and 12 hours until it is thickened with a yellow crust on top.  Remove from the oven and leave to cool then place in the fridge for a few hours where it will thicken even more.

Spread it on a scone and eat it.

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Grown Up Nutella

Homemade Nutella

Nutella?  That’s for kids right?  And you can just pick up a jar in any food shop so why on earth would you want to make your own?

These are good and valid questions but I think I also have some good and valid answers to them.

First of all no.  Just no.  Nutella is NOT just for kids – why should they get all the good stuff?  Call it hazelnut and chocolate spread and it already sounds more grown up.  And don’t pretend you don’t eat it yourself.  By the spoonful.  When no one is looking.

So, that brings us to the next question “why would you make it yourself?”.  Well, when I started seeing lots of “make your own Nutella” recipes on Pinterest I asked the same question.  Then I looked at the ingredients in the original:

The main ingredient is sugar, lots of sugar, nearly 57% to be exact.  That’s more than half the jar.  That’s followed by Palm Oil.  Lots of people have a problem with palm oil because demand has led to large areas of deforestation across Indonesia which, in turn, has destroyed the habitat of the orangutan.  Both species of orangutan are now endangered, the Sumatran orangutan is listed as critically endangered.

Next on the list are hazelnuts and cocoa (as you might expect) followed by skimmed milk powder and whey powder (which you might not), lecithin (a stabiliser made from soya) and finally vanillin (a synthetic vanilla flavouring).

Well, I guess you never thought it was a health food – nothing that tasty ever is.

My next question was “can I make a version that is tasty and a little healthier?”  So I started looking for recipes.  I found about 12.  All of them were different.  Some used sugar, some used maple syrup, some added milk powder, some added condensed milk, some used plain chocolate, some used milk chocolate, some used raw cacao, some added vegetable oil, some didn’t bother.  They all used hazelnuts though!

I started thinking about what I wanted from my nutella.  I wanted it to be simple and I wanted it to be grown up.  I decided to start with the simplest of recipes knowing I could add to it later if necessary.

So I started with hazelnuts and plain chocolate in a 2:1 ratio. It was rich and bitter (in a good way) and I loved it.  However, I decided that it could be improved bythe addition of a little sea salt and some vanilla.  That made it perfect for me.  If you want yours to be a little sweeter add some honey, or maple syrup or maybe some agave.  If you want it to be a little runnier (and sweeter) try adding some condensed milk (a tablespoonful at a time until it suits you).  If you want it to be vegan use vegetable oil instead.  If your kids don’t like the bitterness of plain chocolate try making it with milk chocolate.  Experiment, it’s worth it.

However you make it you will need a a really good food processor / blender.  Mine is a little on its last legs and it left the nuts slightly grainy.  I don’t actually mind a bit of texture but if smoothness is important to you just be warned.

In the interests of fairness this is still a high calorie, high fat (nuts are always high in fat) product but the sugar content is significantly reduced – just 10% in this recipe.

And it is perfect for putting in your pancakes on Tuesday!

Grown Up Nutella

Ingredients

200g Hazelnuts

100g Plain Chocolate (75% cocoa solids)

A pinch of Sea Salt

1 tsp Vanilla Extract

Method

Roast the hazelnuts for 10 minutes at 180 C until lightly toasted.

If you bought blanched hazelnuts you can blend them straight away, if not you will need to remove the skins by rubbing the nuts vigorously in a tea towel whilst still hot.  They don’t need to be perfect but the effort is worth it as the skins can be bitter.

Place the nuts in a food processor or power blender and turn it on full.  After a few minutes you will have ground hazelnuts – keep going.  After a few more minutes you will have a thick paste which clumps around the blade (you could turn this into hazelnut butter) – keep going.  Eventually the paste will become more liquidy – be patient – it’s worth it.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate in a bowl over a pan of simmering water (make sure the bowl does not touch the water).

When the nuts have reached the desired consistency pour in the melted chocolate and the vanilla and add a pinch of salt.  Blitz until well blended.

Taste before you take it out of the food processor.  If it’s not quite to your taste add some more stuff (see above) until it is.  Pour into a sterilised jar and keep in a cool dark place.  The fridge is too cool and it will get a bit too stiff to spread*.  Just remember that it contains no preservatives so it won’t last more than a week.

Good luck!

*nb – if you add dairy products such as condensed milk it is probably best to keep it in the fridge.

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Quick and Healthy Banana Pancakes

Banana PancakesThis recipe was originally a Pinterest find.  I love Pinterest and can easily lose a day just browsing recipes and photos of food but this particular one intrigued me.  I have been making pancakes forever – traditional English pancakes, savoury Dutch pancakes and American style pancakes but none of them claim to have only 2 ingredients.   Yes, that’s right, 2 ingredients.  I am not even sure that 2 ingredients constitutes a recipe.

These pancakes are made using just eggs and banana which is fantastic if you are following a gluten or dairy free diet.

To be honest I wasn’t totally convinced until I tried them.  Eggs and banana?  Isn’t that actually a banana omelette?  Is a banana omelette something I actually want to eat?

Not to be daunted I gave them a go and I was very pleasantly surprised; they are scrumptious.  They are also a really healthy way to start the day.  Your kids will love them because they are naturally sweet.  You will love them because they give a great protein kick plus one of their five a day without them even noticing it.  You could save them for weekends but they are also quick enough to do on a school day and take less time to make than boiled eggs.

If you really want to be indulgent you could drizzle them with maple syrup but they absolutely do not need it.  I am thinking that they might be nice with a handful of blueberries or a pinch of cinnamon but I really don’t want to over complicate something which is the very essence of simplicity.

Whatever you do with them – give them a go.  I guarantee that they will set you and your kids up wonderfully well for the day ahead.

Ingredients (per person)

1 very ripe banana

2 large free range eggs

Method

Lightly oil a non-stick frying pan and place it over a medium heat.

Mash the banana well.  If you like your pancakes very smooth you could blitz it with a hand held / stick blender but I quite like a few little lumps of banana.

Whisk in the two eggs.

Pour large spoonfuls of the mixture into the frying pan and cook until browned.  Flip and cook the other side.

Serve.

It really is that simple.  Enjoy your pancakes.

 

Home-made Tomato Sauce

yummy pasta sauceI am shuffling sideways into this blog, glowing with embarassment.  I have a confession to make:  I recently bought, and used, a proprietory jar of pasta sauce.  I know.  I feel like I have let you all down; I am so, so, sorry – please know that I am suitably contrite.  It’s just that I thought it would be a quick, cheap way to feed the family.  It was quick.  It wasn’t any cheaper than home-made and the flavour was downright disappointing.

I buy very little processed food and when I do I check the labels carefully and there was nothing nasty in this jar of tomato sauce; nothing unpronouncable, nothing I don’t have in my own cupboards at home.  So I really don’t understand why it tasted so synthetic.

I take some solace in the fact that I am not the only one taking short cuts:  According to Statistica over 57 million people in the UK used a bought pasta sauce last year (2014).  Not bad in a population of around 64 million.

I don’t suppose I can convince all of them to make their own sauce but I hope I can convert one or two of you lovely scufflers.

Bowl of homemade tomato sauce

The recipe below makes lots of lovely tomato sauce so you can put some in the freezer and then it will not only be tastier than a bought sauce but will also be just as quick. This home-made sauce is also really versatile:  If you make a plain sauce, as I have, you can give it a flavour boost when you serve it.  Use it as a simple pasta sauce by adding fresh basil and parmesan; as a pizza topping by adding thyme or rosemary, in a chilli con carne by cooking fresh chillies and spices with the meat, in a vegetable shepherd’s pie; in an aubergine bake…  The list goes on.

I have included celery and carrot because I think using this classic mirepoix base adds lots of flavour (not to mention some extra veg) but you can leave them out if you prefer.  I also use bouillon powder to season but you could always use a vegetable stock cube or even just some salt and pepper.

If you grow your own lovely, flavoursome tomatoes this is a fantastic way to preserve them but, for most of the year in Britain, fresh tomatoes lack the depth of flavour needed so I have used tinned in this recipe.

Whatever you do with it I urge you to try it – just once.  Go on – you know you want to.

Ingredients

2 large White Onions

3 large Cloves of Garlic

1 Bay Leaf

1 stick of Celery

1 large Carrot

4x 400g Tins of Tomatoes (you can use chopped if you wish)

2 tbsp Tomato Puree

2 tbsp Bouillon Powder

2 tbsp Olive Oil

Method

Place a deep frying / saute pan over a gentle heat and add the olive oil.

Finely chop the onion, garlic and celery and add to the pan.  Peel the carrot and grate it directly into the pan (grating the carrot lets it cook away almost completely leaving only the flavour – great for fooling kids who don’t like veg!).  Add the bay leaf, stir and cook gently until all the vegetables are soft and translucent – do not allow to brown.

Add the tomatoes, bouillon powder and tomato puree and bring to the boil.  Break the tomatoes up with a spatula, cover and simmer very gently for an hour.  I realise that this sounds like a long time, and you can reduce it, but long gentle cooking gives it more flavour.

If you are using the sauce straight away add your extra flavours and off you go.  If you want to keep some for later it will store happily in the fridge for a few days or you can pour it into plastic boxes and freeze it.

 

Crustless Quiche

Quice sliceI make quite a lot of quiche. In fact I just calculated that, since opening the café, I have made approximately 400 of them! That really is quite a lot of quiche…
We have some kind of quiche or tart on the menu every day at bun scuffle; perhaps with a shortcrust base, a puff pastry base or maybe even with a filo base but the crustless quiche is by far the most popular. It is loved by those who need to choose a gluten free lunch but also by those who just want a lighter option.

Now, I have to confess that it does cause a little confusion at first – people read it on the menu and don’t always know what to expect. I have lost count of the times when I have been asked “A crustless quiche? Isn’t that just an omelette?” In case you were wondering the same thing – no it is not. It is a quiche – just without the pastry.

A quiche is made with a mix of eggs and dairy whereas an omelette is made with just eggs. I make the café quiches using crème fraiche but you can also use double or single cream. In fact a quiche is a really good way to use up odds and ends of dairy products and I have made it using a mix of cream, crème fraiche, yoghurt and soured cream (I really do hate waste) with no detriment to the flavour or texture at all.

When I first started making quiches I was a little overwhelmed by the number of different recipes – the ratio of eggs to dairy can vary quite significantly. I experimented and found that too much cream stops the quiche from setting whilst too much egg makes it a bit bouncy and rubbery. This recipe will give you a light and fluffy quiche with a good set.

I would say that this recipe is foolproof but we are all capable of being foolish from time to time.  I recently received an order of quiche from a regular customer but when I went into the kitchen I couldn’t find it!  Then I remembered – when the timer went off that morning I decided that the quiche needed another 5 minutes.  With some trepidation I opened the oven door to find something that looked like a dessicated, dried out Yorkshire pudding.  Oops.  If you can just avoid leaving yours in the oven for 4 hours you will probably be fine…

I have included a range of suggested fillings / flavourings but feel free to experiment. It’s great way to use up leftover vegetables or even scraps of cheeseboard cheeses. Just go a little easy with the cheese or the quiche can end up a little greasy.

Crustless Quiche
Ingredients

450 ml Crème Fraiche
5 Eggs
Salt & Pepper

Suggested Fillings

Roasted red pepper and goat’s cheese  (1 Sliced roasted red pepper and 150g firm goat’s cheese – sliced).
Mushroom and gruyere  (1lb / 450g mixed, cooked mushrooms [sliced where appropriate] with 150g grated gruyere).
Pea, Parmesan and Spring Onion  (A generous handful of frozen peas, 50g finely grated parmesan and 6 spring onions [finely chopped])
Quiche Lorraine  (200g /7oz cooked ham or bacon cut into strips, 10-12 cherry tomatoes – halved, 150g grated mature cheddar).

Method

Pre-heat oven to 180°C / 350°F / Gas Mark 4.

Lightly grease an 8” / 20cm round or square oven proof dish.

Whisk together the eggs and crème fraiche. Season with a good grinding of black pepper and a little salt. Pour into the oven dish. Add the filling of your choice.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 40 minutes. When done the quiche will be set but still have a little wobble. It will rise and puff up a little like a soufflé but this will drop almost as soon as it comes out of the oven.

You can eat this quiche hot, at room temperature or chilled – whichever you prefer.