25 August 2019

Enchanted Narnia Panna Cotta

Last week my sister Bip visited for a long week-end and being a tea aficionado and a big fan of Bird & Blend Tea Company, she'd booked us both to a tea blending class. This was a very nice experience and in addition to learning lots about tea and creating our own mixtures, the trainers provided a lot of useful tips, one among these was the cold infusion of their Enchanted Narnia tea blend with coconut milk. Now, how could I possibly resist this? This tea blend tastes of Turkish delight and is very pretty to look at in its dry form.

So without further ado, I put 8 tsp of the Enchanted Narnia tea into a large jug and poured in 1 litre of coconut milk over the tea. Now, this tea mixture has lots of dried rose buds and they bobbed up to the surface, so I had to stir for a few minutes to get things mixed in a little bit. Then I covered with cling film and left the jug in the fridge at least overnight.

The next day, I strained some of the cold infusion into a glass and tasted it. It was a very nice, though the coconut of the milk was still the dominating flavour and it tasted way too creamy to drink just like it was. I decided to leave the mixture for a further 24 h in the hope that the Turkish delight flavour would develop further. It did and I gave some to Lundulph to try. He thought it was nice too, but again commented on how overly creamy it seemed to be.

And so it struck me - why not use this to make a panna cotta? A quick search cropped up this recipe that seemed very promising. I made some changes to the ingredients's list and I deliberately didn't heat up the infused coconut milk, so that the flavours wouldn't change - a hot tip from the chocolate course I attended a couple of years back.


3.5 leaves gelatine
300 ml single cream
1 tsp vanilla essence
30 g caster sugar
300 ml infused coconut milk


  1. Soak the gelatine leaves in a little cold water for a few minutes.
  2. Place the cream, vanilla essence and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
  3. Remove from the heat. Squeeze out the gelatine leaves and stir into the saucepan and keep stirring until it has dissolved.
  4. Let the mixture cool down to around 40 °C and stir in the infused coconut milk.
  5. Pour into a suitable mould, let cool completely, cover with cling film and place in the fridge to set.

This turned out absolutely delicious. I suspect regular milk would work just as well. Sadly I forgot to take a photo.

To follow, I decided to try the cold infusion with hazelnut milk, however this wasn't as nice, the hazel flavour was just too overpowering. So I've been using it in my coffee and it tastes different, but rather nice I think.

16 August 2019

Celeriac Steak With Green Salsa


For our anniversary, Lundulph and I decided to go on a mini-break to the New Forest. Lundulph made the arrangements and on the first night at dinner, he decide to go vegetarian and ordered the celeriac steak, commenting that it must be magical, as it cost almost as much as a meat steak. As it turned out he liked it, but was upset about the fact that the amount of calories in it were almost nothing compared to a real steak, again not really fair, as just because someone wants to reduce their intake of red meat, doesn't mean they also want to forego the calories. But he liked the taste, so I decided to try and make it at home. It really didn't look that difficult, but as it turned out there is a trick, which the recipe I chose didn't mention. I did also have some things I wanted to use up, so I did some swaps, but I don't belive that caused the failure of my homemade celeriac steak.


1 celeriac
25 g unsalted butter
1 tbsp grapeseed oil
2 cloves of garlic
a few sprigs of thyme
10 ml miso wine
150 ml chicken or vegetable stock
100 g curly kale, stalks removed
100 ml water
400 g can of mixed pulses

1 dl flat leaf parsley leaves
1 dl peppermint leaves
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
3 tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Carefully peel the celeriac, then cut into 1.5 cm thick "steaks", it should be 3 - 4 steaks in total.
  2. Heat the butter and grapeseed oil in a frying pan and once foaming, add the steaks and press in the garlic and add the thyme.
  3. Cook on one side until the steaks start going golden and caramelise, then turn and do the other side. Keep turning for a total of 10 minutes, while basting with the fat.
  4. Add the miso wine and keep cooking and turning the steaks until it reducec by half.
  5. Pour in the stock and let simmer for 15 minutes until the steaks go soft and can easily be pierced with a skewer.
  6. In the meantime wash and shred the kale and make the salsa.
  7. Put all salsa ingredients in a food processor and blitz until everything is chopped, but not too smooth.
  8. When the steaks are done, remove to a plate.
  9. Now add the kale together with the water to the pan and let simmer for 5 minutes until it starts to wilt and soften.
  10. Finally add the beans and stir through to get them hot.
  11. Serve the celeriac steaks on top of the kale/bean mixture and drizzle over the green salsa.

What failed with the above was that my steaks hadn't fully cooked and gone soft, Maybe I cut them too thick. I hadn't realised how hard a celeriac is and it was difficult to peel, it was a bit knobbly and too large for me to hold safely, so I recommend using a paring knife, rather than a potato peeler. Cutting the steaks evently was even trickier and I haven't given it much thought of a different way to achieving a better result - unfortunately I don't have space in my kitchen for a slicing machine, that would probably be ideal. My mandolin is not quite up to the job either, even the thick slices would be a bit too thin I think, but I might try it.

Otherwise Lundulph thought it was a decent first attempt and as he re-heated the remaining steaks in the microwave, they got softer and better, so the cooking times are approximate and it's important to check the softness. The other thing Lundulph was surprised about was that at the restaurant, the celeriac didn't taste like celeriac. The one I made did and it's not his favourite flavour, though he'll eat it, unlike me, who'll take the time to carefully remove every single piece from my plate. I'm guessing that once fully cooked, celeriac will lose or at least reduce the strong flavour it has in its raw form.

2 August 2019

Sesame Snacks


My Mum regularly sends me recipes she comes across and this one I received a while back and haven't taken the trouble to make. Which is a pity, because it was rather good and very easy too. Lundulph's eyes went sparkly when he tasted these.


150 g sunflower seeds
50 g sesame seeds
50 g finely chopped sultanas
1 small or medium egg
2 tbsp honey


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 140 °C (or 120 °C fan) and line a baking sheet with paper.
  2. Mix together all the ingredients in a bowl.
  3. Either pour the mixture onto the baking sheet and gently flatten out to a large thin patty or use a table spoon to create bite-sized pieces. If you do the latter, make sure to flatten them out.
  4. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes until the surface starts developing a little colour, then remove from the oven and leave to cool completely.
  5. If you made the large slab, cut it into squares or rectangles, then carefully peel off from the paper and store in an air-tight container.

I used a large egg and I think this was a bit too much, so the snacks didn't go completely solid and were still sticky at the bottom, even after cooling. So I layered them with baking paper in the cake box.

They were not too sweet and the combination of sunflower and sesame seed is really good. The honey I used has a pretty strong flavour, so the sultanas weren't too noticeable. They did taste a bit of the egg, again, I suspect it's because I used a large one, but this didn't detract from the overall experience at all.

I think this base recipe can be varied quite a bit with using different dried fruits and even replacing some of the sesame seeds with other seeds or nuts. As I said, Lundulph was well pleased and I suspect these are a lot less unhealthy than shop-bought sesame snaps and such like.