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I think I may have found one of my VERY favourite salad recipes ever, this one is SO incredibly flavourful and combines just the right amount of crunch, tangy, saltiness and lightness-perfect for spring or summer. This week we had it for dinner, but it could easily make a fabulous lunch too, and because of the ease in preparing it, it would also be a great option to serve when hosting guests or entertaining a larger group. This recipe is from The Weekend Cookbook, one that I have been turning to a lot lately, in fact this whole week I used recipes from it for breakfast, lunch, dinner and dessert-it's that good.


Catherine's recipes are incredibly simple, easy to prepare and not something you need to fuss with at all, my honest experience is that they always yield delicious dishes. Her recipes are all designed with the intention of being able to make them while away from your own home (I'm definitely taking this book with me on our next vacation), so you wont find any recipes within it which require a mixer, several different measuring devices or rare ingredients. She even gives tips on ways you can work around preparing recipes without all of the usual kitchen tools at hand such as using a wine bottle as a rolling pin or a yogurt cup as a measuring cup-I love her craftiness!


I really need to do a whole post dedicated to this cookbook to do it justice, it's so great. From the photos of dishes to her tips and side ambles, it's even a great read to just flip through with a cup of coffee-but be warned, you are going to find something that you'll want to make:)


*Side note-her recipes for everything are in grams (it's an English cookbook) so I've converted the equivalent to cups where it might help for the recipe below.


Summer Salad with Parma Ham

from The Weekend Cookbook


Ingredients


1 1/2 cups broad beans

300g asparagus (I just used a large handful and cut them in half)

3/4 cup peas (defrosted if frozen)

1 cup sugar snap peas

2 x 88g pack of parma ham torn (prosciutto)

2 Tbs olive oil


For the Garlic Mayo


1 cup fresh mayo (I just used real mayo)

a squeeze of fresh lemon juice

1 Tbs finely chopped chives

1 Tbsp finely chopped parsley

1 garlic clove, crushed


Bring a large pot of water to a boil and add broad beans, cook for 2 minutes then scoop out and refresh under cold water (I just used a large bowl of ice water to put the cooked greens into a bath). Peel larger ones and leave skin on smaller ones, place in a large bowl.


Add the asparagus and peas to the boiling water, cook for 2 minutes. Add the sugar snap peas and cook for 1 more minute. Drain and refresh under cold water (or add them to the ice bath bowl), blot dry with a paper towel. Add to the broad beans in bowl.


To make the garlic mayo, stir everything together and season with black pepper to taste (add a tiny bit of salt if you like-I did not). Divide the veggie mixture among 4 plates and scatter torn parma ham all over it. Drizzle everything with olive oil and serve with a large dollop of the garlic mayo sauce. Add a wedge of good bread and enjoy!


How easy was that!


And for fun, I'll leave you with this quaint house tucked in the trees near our future home to be.








I've never made homemade lemon curd prior, actually, I don't' think that I have ever even had it period before making this batch. It's one of those things I had often times looked at on grocery store shelves, picked up and nearly bought but never actually did. So when I came across this recipe I knew it was something that I needed to try, lemon is such a complementary flavour, especially this time of year and this curd requires no stove to make-all of the cooking is done in the microwave, yes the microwave!


The curd is super versatile and can be enjoyed drizzled on top of vanilla ice cream, smothered on a slice of toast, mixed in a drink of choice or as we did here, made into a mousse (just to name a few ideas), it’s basically the perfect spring or summer add-on or add-in. The options for it's use really are endless.


Homemade Lemon Curd

From Barefeet in The Kitchen


Ingredients


1/2 cup butter

1 1/4 cups sugar

3 eggs

1 egg yolk

1 cup fresh lemon juice

zest from 3 large lemons (about 1/4 cup fresh lemon zest)



Melt butter in a small dish in the microwave. Whisk the sugar and eggs together in a medium size glass bowl. Add lemon juice and zest, whisk again. Slowly add the butter and whisk once more until smooth.


Microwave at 50% power for 1 minute (I just used full power). Remove from the microwave and stir. Microwave an additional minute at full power and stir again. Repeat the process, microwaving an additional 2-3 minutes, stirring after each minute. When the mixture is thick enough to coat a spoon, remove from the microwave and pour through a fine strainer to remove any flecks of zest (I opted to leave the zest in as I like the texture and added flavour).


The curd will thicken in consistency as it cools. Pour into a dish or jar with a lid and store in the refrigerator for up to 3 weeks.


*To make lemon mousse, I whipped 1 cup of heavy cream with 1/4 tsp vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer until stiff peaks formed. Then I folded the whipped cream into 1 cup of lemon curd that was freshly cooled but still slightly runny (I made the mousse right after making the curd). If you make the mouse with curd that has been chilled already, you may need to microwave it just a bit to loosen it up a little in order to incorporate it with the whipped cream. Be sure that the curd is not “warm” was though as it will melt the whip cream and cause it to deflate. This makes about 4 medium sized servings. I then garnished each serving with fresh blueberries and mint in an arrangement to look like little berry sprigs and zested more fresh lemon over everything.






Mother's Day is tomorrow and I thought I would share this scrumptious tarte recipe as it would be perfect served for such an occasion after brunch, lunch or dinner. I created this recipe after seeing a similar one in the book The Weekend Cookbook (I highly recommend it), the photo stopped me in my page scrolling and when I also saw the short ingredient list I decided I was going to try my hand at making one of my own. This is a "no fuss" type dish and you can literally just pile and layer in any yummy fruit combos any time of the year and spice to your liking.


Apple & Blackberry Tarte Tatin


Ingredients


1 sheet of puff pastry (thawed)

3-4 apples

1 cup black berries

1 Tbsp cinnamon

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp nutmeg

1/2 cup butter

2 vanilla bean beans (optional)

1 lemon zested

Greek Yogurt (for serving)


Prehaeat oven to 350.


Melt 1 Tbsp of butter in the microwave and then spread it around the bottom and the sides of a pie dish and set aside. Slice the apples into thin wedges or whole slices (I plan to try this shape instead next time). Mix the cinnamon, sugar and nutmeg in a small bow. Cut the butter into 1/4 inch cubes.



If using the vanilla beans place them on the bottom of the pie dish. Using the apple slices, arrange a layer in any pattern you wish (I tried to create a flower effect, fanning them out in a circular pattern and then filling the middle at the end with a several slices on their end). Sprinkle the layer with a generous coating of the cinnamon/sugar mixture and then scatter a few butter cubes on top. Repeat this layering process two more times for a total of three layers.




Place the sheet of puff pastry dough over the entire dish and cut off the excess edges. Tuck under the edges of the dough by folding in and under to create a bit of a lip and then push the edge down as far into the pie dish as you can (try to get the dough all the way down to the bottom).








Place the dish in the oven and bake for 20-30 minutes until medium golden brown and flaky. Start checking your dish at 15-20 minutes as baking times will likely vary.


Remove the dish from the oven and let cool, once it is just warm in temperature, run a knife along the edges of the tarte to separate it from the dish. Using a plate, platter or cake stand (whatever you plan to serve it on), place it on top of the pie dish and flip over the tarte so that the pastry is now on the bottom and the fruit is on the top.



Place blackberries all over the tarte (I chose to keep them unbaked as I wanted the contrast of the soft, warm apples against the cold crispness of the berries, but you could easily layer them in with the apples and bake). Sprinkle the top with the zest of one lemon. We served ours with a dusting of confectioners sugar and then topped each slice with a large dollop of honey Greek yogurt. Serve warm or at room temperature-Happy Mother's Day!

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