Rose Lassi – a drink fit for a Queen

I think I have found the perfect summer drink for Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, to sip whilst on board the royal boat that will take her down the Thames this weekend to celebrate her Diamond Jubilee. It has a sufficient amount of sugar in it to give her the necessary energy boost to last the occasion and has a hint of decadence with the sweet aromas of rose water. Being non alcoholic and yoghurt based it is wonderfully cooling and lines the stomach well, ahead of the feasts that will no doubt follow.

The drink in question – drum roll please –  is Rose Lassi.

It is quick and easy to prepare and I assure you is a crowd pleaser, for those preferring to keep off the alcohol.

Lassi drinks are commonplace in the Indian subcontinent and it is customary, in many households, to have a jug of it in the fridge ready for when guests drop by. Sweet, salt or mango are common flavours, but there is so much potential for many more delicate flavours to be added. How about mint, peach, strawberry, raspberry?  My favourite of late has been rose, I hope you agree, it is a drink fit for a Queen.

Rose Lassi

Makes 4 glasses (in the size of glass that I used in the photos)

450ml plain natural yoghurt

75g soft light brown sugar (or white if you do not have brown to hand)

2 tbsp rose water

3 tbsp water

4 ice cubes

1. Using a hand whisk or blender mix the yoghurt, sugar, water and rose water together so that it begins to froth. It will only take about 30 seconds.

2. If using a hand whisk, crush the ice in a plastic bag using a rolling pin and add to the other ingredients. For speed and ease I use a blender. Once there is a sufficient amount of froth pour into glasses and serve immediately.


Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Quail Scotch Eggs – with a twist!

For those who like a bit of tradition and flag flying this coming weekend is going to be super HUGE in the UK as it’s the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, which marks her 60th anniversary on the throne, impressive by anyone’s standards.

The celebrations will stretch far and wide and, for the most part, everyone seems to be really embracing the whole event. I, for one, am looking forward to watching the ‘Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant’, which is going to be one of the largest flotilla of boats to ever sail down the Thames. I was fortunate to be in Amsterdam a number of years ago, during their famous ‘SAIL Amsterdam’, which only occurs every 5 years and consists of thousands of boats, including the  impressive tall ships, gathering together on the waterways that make up Amsterdam. If the Thames Pageant is going to be anything like Sail then we are going to be in for a real spectacular treat.

High streets and retailers have gone into cool Britannia overdrive with a plethora of merchandise celebrating the Diamond Jubilee. British designers such as Vivienne Westwood  have even created a whole collection – the ‘Capsule Collection’ – to honour, in her own rock hard/edgy way that we so love, the Diamond Jubilee. There are scents, patterened tights and even make-up lines who are all adding their own twist and mark on the occasion. The National Portrait gallery in London has even dedicated a whole exhibition to Her Majesty the Queen.

Union Jack bunting is literally up everywhere and similarly to when Will and Kate tied the knot, street parties will be happening up and down the land. It’s neighbourly, jolly and brings everyone together over a glass of Pimms and a scone with jam and clotted cream or whatever English fancy floats your boat.

There are certain foods which scream ‘I’m British’ such as the trifle, scones (as above), sticky toffee pudding – well perhaps not in this heat,  cocktail sausages, egg, salmon or cucumber sandwiches, Eton mess….but for me I thought the scotch egg was synonymous with Britishness. I have made up my own recipe for making them and instead of using hens’ eggs, I thought that using quail eggs would be a dainty alternative and more attractive finger food. I have made two varieties, which give them an individual twist – either black pudding scotch eggs or fresh red chilli scotch eggs.  I initally prepared 12 however in a very short space of time they were consumed, so another batch of 12 was made the following day.

What little dainties will you be cooking for your Diamond Jubilee party?

Queen’s Jubilee Quail Scotch Eggs

Makes 12 scotch eggs

12 quail eggs

325g sausagemeat

50g black pudding

1/2 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped

50g panko breadcrumbs

2 hen eggs, beaten

sunflower oil

1. Separate the sausagemeat out evenly into two separate bowls. I used sausages and then split them open and discarded the outer skin, but you can also simply buy a packet of sausagemeat.

2. Place the black pudding into one of the bowls of separated sausagemeat and the finely chopped red chilli into the other. Use your hands to mix together the ingredients.

3. Place the panko breadcrumbs (I also used these Japanese breadcrumbs here) in a separate bowl and whisk the hen eggs into another bowl.

4. Gently place the quail eggs in boiling water for just under 3 minutes, then drain under cold water and peel the shells and set aside.

5. Using damp hands create a layer of  the sausagemeat/black pudding around 6 of the quail eggs so that they look like little meatballs. Damp hands will allow you to work more easily with the sausagemeat. With the remaining 6 eggs cover with the sausagemeat and red chilli. Then dip each scotch egg into the whisked hen eggs to coat completely and then into the breadcumbs.

6. Fill a third of a small deep pan with sunflower oil and gently heat up. When it is hot – drop a couple of panko breadcrumbs into the oil and if it sizzles the oil is ready.

7. One at a time, place the scotch eggs gently into the hot oil. I suggest cooking in batches of three at at time as you want to make sure that they are evenly cooked. Using a slotted spoon turn the scotch eggs over so that they are evenly cooked through and are golden brown. After 3 minutes transfer them to a preheated oven (160 degrees if using a fan oven), for a further 2-3 minutes.

8. Serve warm or  at room temperature.


Christmas Check List

I’m back. My computer has been on the blink, coupled with the fact that Mr B, big A and little Z have been frolicking in the snow in Bavaria, which has made it harder than usual to blog.

It’s Christmas eve and the troops arrive at 2pm. I am hosting this year so it’s going to be full on. Thankfully Mr B is a very able pair of hands in the kitchen too, so together we’ll keep the food preparation flowing and the mulled wine topped up in everyones glasses. Am I prepared?

Presents wrapped – check

Food all delivered – check

Christmas foliage scattered around the house – check

Sufficient beverages to appeal to everyone – check

Carols on the ipod to the ready – check

Recipes all lined up – check.

I have had a few requests asking what I am cooking so here goes:

Christmas eve 

Starter: A medley of Thai starters -spring rolls, prawn toast,dim sum.

Main: Seabass with a chilli and ginger baste – (Daddy if you are reading this I promise there will not be too much chilli!) This is a recipe from my recent course at Billingsgate market fish course. I will post it up in the new year in more detail.

Pudding: a surprise (I am still working on this one)

Christmas Day

 Lunch-

Starter: smoked salmon

Main: Turkey, stuffing balls made of pork, fresh herbs and apple, sprouts with chestnuts and pancetta, bread sauce, roast potatoes,  parsnips, caramelized carrots, red cabbage

Pudding: Christmas pudding, mince pies, Bill Granger’s vanilla-poached apricots and cheeses

Supper – (if people are still hungry)

Bill Granger’s puy lentil soup, game pie, cheeses, fresh salad

followed by christmas cake and fruit

Boxing Day

Brunch: Eggs Florentine with my hollandaise sauce on toasted muffins

Looooooooooooooonnnnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggggggg WALK

Supper:

Starter – Mushrooms with fresh herbs on toast

Main – Christmas ham with potatoes and my homemade chutney and piccalilli (recipe up on my site soon I promise)

Pudding – Leftovers from Christmas day

27th

Breakfast – Mexican toast (think French toast Mexican style!)

Lunch – Ham, Turkey and Leek Pie – recipe from lovefoodhatewaste.

The troops leave.

Have a wonderful christmas everyone and I’ll be back very soon with more recipes and photos.