Pea and Mint Spread

Pea and mint spread recipe

I had to go into Truro to have my eyes tested this morning.  I went out early and skipped breakfast (tut tut) then arrived in town just in time for my appointment.  I went through the usual rigmarole; puffs of air in the eye, a lecture for leaving it too long between appointments and complete indecision when choosing new frames to go with the new prescription.  By time I left I was just in time for my bus home.

On the up side that meant no time wasted.  On the down side it meant no time for a self indulgent cup of coffee – and I do like my coffee.

All in all, I arrived home at lunch time tired, hungry and a little bit grumpy.  I opened the fridge and couldn’t immediately find anything quick and tasty – so I made this.  And it was delicious.  And quick.  And easy.  And healthy.  In other words a perfect Monday lunch.

I have called it a spread, because I spread it on some crackers, but it could just as easily be a dip with some crudité.    And it is so simple it doesn’t really need a recipe – change the flavours to suit whatever you have in the fridge:  No crème fraiche?  Use natural yoghurt or cream cheese.  No mint?  Try coriander or parsley.  Just make it your own and enjoy it.

I’ve stopped being grumpy now but I might just have a little bit more pea spread – just to make sure…

Pea Dip Recipe

Ingredients

100g frozen peas

A sprig or two of fresh mint

1 Spring Onion

1 tbsp crème fraiche

Method

Put the peas in a pan, just cover with water and bring to the boil.  Simmer for a minute until heated through.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  Drain again.

Blitz the peas with a stick blender until you have a course purée.

Finely slice the spring onion and mint leaves.  Add to the peas along with the crème fraiche.  Season well.

You can eat this as a dip with vegetable crudité or spread it onto crackers or a chunk of crusty bread.

 

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Baked Camembert with Nuts and Toffee Sauce

I quite often see photographs of food on Pinterest which look amazing but, when I read the recipe I kind of go off the idea.  This one, however, intrigued me.  Could a toffee sauce work with cheese?

The original recipe used brie but I happened to have some wonderfully ripe Cornish Camembert so I used that instead – you could use either.

The recipe also called for a sauce made from brown sugar and Kahlua but I really thought the coffee flavour might be a step too far – if you disagree give it a go and let me know how you get on.  I made a simple brown sugar and water syrup but it definitely lacked a little umph.  Next time I’ll try using the soy caramel sauce that I served with the mushroom custards to add a salty dimension to the flavours.

The original recipe also used pecan nuts whereas I chose mixed nuts – on balance I think it only needs the slighly bitter edge of walnuts – brazil nuts were definitely not quite right.

My original thought was that it looked somewhere between dessert and a cheese course so it could be a good way to end a meal.  In reality it is very sweet and very rich so it would probably be better served as part of a buffet or with nibbles for a girls night in – that way everyone can dunk in crackers or crudites and really enjoy the flavours without being over faced.

I will definitely try this again because it is great but not yet perfect.  Try experimenting with it yourself and let me know how you get on.

Ingredients

A round of Camembert or Brie in a wooden box – size to suit you.

A handful or two of (unsalted) Nuts – Walnuts work well.

2 tablespoons brown sugar

2 tablespons Water

Method

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

Remove the brie from the box and open (but do not remove) the wax paper wrapping.  Replace the cheese and the paper wrapper in the base of the box – open side up.  Fold back the paper to reveal the top of the cheese.

Trim the bloom (white rind) from the top edge of the cheese all the way around.  Place the cheese, in its box, on a baking sheet on the middle shelf of the oven.  Leave for around 5 or 6 minutes until the inside of the cheese is soft, gooey and runny.  Place the nuts on an oven tray and put them in the oven to toast for a few minutes – keep an eye on them as they can burn easily.

In the meantime make the sauce.  Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan over a medium heat until the sugar has melted (do not stir).  Turn up the heat and boil until you have a thick syrup.

Remove the cheese from the oven – you can serve it in its box and paper but place the whole thing on a serving plate because it can be messy.  Remove the top layer of bloom.

Stir the nuts into the sugar syrup until well coated and then spoon over the cheese.  Serve with oatcakes, crackers or crudites for dipping.  Or, if this is lunch, serve with hunks of crusty bread.

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