My eldest daughter came home from school on Friday full of tales about how they had made butter at school and asking if we could make some at home.
I have been wanting to make my own butter for ages now and just haven’t got round to it. I have been hunting for the perfect butter pats and nearly bought these, but then didn’t, but I will next time I pass the shop.
So we set to it to see how easy it is to make your own butter. The eldest had made hers in a jar at school – pouring the cream in and then shaking and shaking until it turned into a solid block. She wanted to do it this way again but she wanted to do it straight away and I didn’t have a sterile jar. So we did it in the KitchenAid instead. It was very easy, very quick and deeply satisfying. We have enjoyed the butter on our bread, on pikelets and on our toast all weekend.
400ml of double cream yields 200g butter and 150ml of buttermilk. I am not sure it works out much cheaper to make your own butter, but I will make sure I use up any odds of cream in this way from now on. The buttermilk will be used to make some scones later today. If I had my act together better over the weekend I would have made the scones then and enjoyed them with the butter. You could also use the buttermilk in soda bread or waffles.
I added sea salt to the butter as I like my butter slightly salted, if you prefer yours unsalted then by all means leave it out.
400ml double cream
scant ½ tsp fine sea salt
Place the cream and the salt (if using) in a mixing bowl and whisk. The mixture will begin to look like this.
Continue whisking and in no time at all the butter will clump together and separate from the buttermilk.
Place the butter onto a board and squash with a wooden spoon (or butter pats) until all of the buttermilk has been squeezed out. If you don’t do this, the remaining buttermilk will turn the butter sour.
Then using two spatulas (or butter pats) shape the butter into a block, or something resembling a block if you are aged six.
Enjoy your butter and that smug glow you will have developed.
I made this on sunday, with the first British strawberries that I have seen this year. The rolling didn’t work out too well. But I thought to myself, ‘well I will post it as it tastes good’. Then just before I post it I read Chele’s latest blog about this month’s We Should Cocoa Challenge. This month’s challenge is not an ingredient, but a technique and you guessed it – the making and rolling of a roulade/ swiss roll. Oh well, maybe more practice is needed before I can submit an entry into this month’s challenge.
Last time I made this roulade it rolled much better. But last time I had run over to my parent’s house to borrow her swiss roll tin, which measures 29cm x 18cm and has shallow sides. On Sunday I used my Aga half-sized roasting dish which measure 27cm x 16cm and so this resulted in a slightly thicker and slightly shorter cake. This made it more difficult to roll, so I think getting the right sized tin is definitely the way to go if you want to enter any challenges. If you just want a tasty cake then live a little on the edge and use a tin that is approximately the right size.
The recipe for the cake element is based on Delia’s Squidgy Chocolate Log from her Complete Cookery Course.
For the cake:
150g caster sugar
50g cocoa powder
Line a swiss roll (shallow) tin that measures 29cm x 18cm with greaseproof paper or silicone sheet.
Separate the eggs. Whisk the yolks until they start to thicken. Add the sugar and whisk until a little thicker. Sift over the cocoa powder and fold in.
In a separate and scrupulously clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Add one third of the egg whites and fold in carefully and then add the rest of the egg whites in two further batches. Folding carefully to retain as much air as possible. Pour the mixture carefully into the prepare tin and bake in a preheated oven at 180°c, gas mark 4 or the centre of the Baking Oven of the Aga for about 20 minutes until it is springy to the touch.
Leave in the tin to cool.
For the filling:
3 tablespoons of strawberry jam
300ml double cream
about 8 strawberries
1 tbsp cocoa powder
Place a sheet of greaseproof paper, slightly larger than the cake, onto the worktop and dust with cocoa. Softly whip the cream. Turn the cake out of the tin onto the greaseproof paper. Spread the jam evenly over the surface and then spread the cream on top. Halve the strawberries and dot them on top of the cream. Using the greaseproof paper roll the cake gently into a roll. If it cracks, it will still taste good. Serve with extra double cream poured over.
Further to my post about our bumper pumpkin harvest I have been thinking about how we can use some of our pumpkins. So tonight I thought that pumpkin goes well with sage and that perhaps adding cream and wine and roasting the pumpkin might be good. I was going to cut it into chunks but when I cut it in half it occurred to me that if I scooped the seeds out the pumpkin itself would be the perfect receptacle for a sauce, so I simply added the cream, wine and sage leaves and cooked until tender and I have to say that this is a really nice way to have pumpkin. It went really well with the roast chicken that we had with it. It’s hard to be precise about quantities of cream and wine as it will depend on the size of your pumpkin, you need to use an equal amount of each to fill the cavity.
A small to medium pumpkin
4-5 sage leaves
salt and pepper
Cut the pumpkin in half and scoop out the seeds. Place the pumpkin into a foil lined baking tray. Season the pumpkin with salt and pepper. Add equal quantities of cream and white wine into the cavity, add the sage leaves and season generously. Sprinkle the pumpkin shell with good olive oil. Bring the foil over the pumpkin and wrap well. Bake in a hot oven (200°c, 400°f, gas mark 6) until tender. The medium sized one I cooked took 40 minutes. Unwrap the foil and place back in the oven for five more minutes until the cream mixture is bubbling.
To serve, take the whole pumpkin to the table and scoop the flesh and the sauce out with a large serving spoon.
This would be good with parmesan cheese grated over before it’s cooked for the last five minutes. You could also try different herbs, a sprig of thyme would be good or rosemary.