It’s been an exciting few weeks, almost like having a bit of Christmas all over again, which is just what a girl needs in the grim dull month of January. First my new kitchen equipment arrived; brand new cooker, ice cream maker and grill which heralded a big kitchen clean up and overhaul…the big spring clean came early. Then I received an invite to attend auditions for ITV’s Britain’s Best Dish, which after some consideration I attended on Saturday (with some trepidation I might add! Sure I’d like my cooking to be a success, but I’m certainly not a TV wannabe, so I’m not too sure how I will feel If I’m picked to go on the show) . I also received several consecutive listings on various blogs as one of the top five supper clubs in the UK (outside of London)…so, where usually January leaves me feeling sluggish and blue, I am actually feeling the opposite!
One other exciting first for me as a food blogger was an approach from a company PR department. Reviewing products is something that food bloggers get asked to do from time to time and due to my focus on local produce, the PR agents for Rachel’s organic dairy in Aberystwyth contacted me to ask if I would like to try some of their products and perhaps review them on the blog. Well I love Rachel’s stuff and so, overjoyed at the prospect of receiving some yummy goodies to use in my recipes I agreed.
Rachel’s were the first ever certified organic dairy in the UK and they now produce a range of goods including butter, yogurt, cream, crème fraiche, milk and desserts which are available in most supermarkets across the UK. There are surprisingly few organic dairies in Wales and Rachel’s are one of perhaps three that supply North Wales (plus they have the best choice of yogurt by far, my personal favourite being the low-fat vanilla which is divine simply used to top off a big bowl of porridge in the morning with some chopped banana on top!)
When our parcel of goodies arrived the kids couldn’t contain their excitement, we opened the box wide-eyed and brimming with eager anticipation to find a huge choice of produce so I have to say thank you to Rachel’s, for the very generous parcel, we have had much fun coming up with ideas for luscious puddings.
The first things I used were the butter and cream went into the dishes I cooked for Britain’s Best Dish, one of which was my slant on Tipsy Laird, a Scottish sherry trifle and a perfect Burns Night alternative to Crannachan. It’s the pudding I made for my own Burns Night supper last year and I have since modified and tinkered with it to perfection!
For my Tipsy Laird (serving 4 to 5) you need….
6 tablespoons Glayva liqueur, the juice and zest of one to two oranges, home-made trifle sponge (about 5) for which you need 30g Rachel’s organic unsalted butter, 60g plain flour, pinch sea salt, 2 medium eggs, 60g caster sugar, about 400g fresh raspberries, loganberries or tayberries, 1 pint home-made custard…. 500ml full cream milk, a vanilla pod, 5 egg yolks, 5 tablespoons caster sugar (or you can use a carton of fresh), 400ml Rachel’s organic double cream, a tub of mascarpone cheese, toasted flaked almonds and medium oatmeal, fresh honey and some orange zest to top.
First make the trifle sponges:
Prepare a swiss roll tin with baking parchment and preheat the oven to gas mark 4/180 degree C. Melt butter in a small pan and set aside to cool. Sift the flour and salt into a small bowl. Put the eggs and sugar in a heatproof bowl that will sit snugly inside a saucepan then half fill the saucepan with boiling water and sit the bowl on top. Whisk the eggs with an electric hand whisk until pale thick and creamy and mousse like.
Sift in the flour and fold into the egg mixture and then fold in the melted butter. Turn into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for 25 minutes until golden brown and springy to touch. While that’s cooking very lightly whip the cream and combine with the mascarpone, set aside in the fridge until needed. Prepare, wash raspberries, wash oranges and using an orange zester pare the zest from the one or two oranges being used and put into a bowl all but a few strands for decoration later. Squeeze the oranges and add the juice to the bowl. Mix in the Glayva liqueur and leave aside.
Remove the sponges from the oven and leave aside to cool completely. In the meantime make the custard. Pour milk into a saucepan. Cut the vanilla pod down the centre with a sharp knife and add to the pan. Bring the milk slowly to the boil. Once it reaches almost boiling point, remove from the heat and allow to stand so the vanilla can infuse into the milk.
Whisk the egg yolks together with the sugar until thick and pale in colour then add the milk and stir. Remove the vanilla pod and scrape the black seeds from inside into the custard. Pour the custard into a clean pan and put over a low heat stirring constantly until it thickens a bit. Remove from the heat and pour into a jug and refrigerate until needed.
Once cool cut the sponges into small blocks and soak them in the liqueur mix then put in the base of 4 dessert / trifle glasses with flat bottoms or a trifle bowl. Spoon over a good layer of raspberries, then top with the custard. Finish off with the whipped cream mixture. Lay out a good handful of slivered almonds and medium oatmeal on some foil and toast lightly under the grill until golden. Cool for a few minutes then sprinkle over the top of each trifle. Finish with a drizzle of runny honey and some of the reserved orange zest.
Enjoy on Tuesday whether you are Scottish or not and look out for more Rachel’s recipes which will follow shortly.