On Saturday I was very lucky again to be invited back onto BBC Three Counties Radio as a guest on Nick Coffer’s Weekend Kitchen. What fun! It’s always such a great show to listen to and even more enjoyable to take part as a guest. The show involves two hours of food, talk and music along with host Nick Coffer. What’s not to love?! I was slightly thrown by the fact that it was a vegetarian-themed week, but I managed to pull three tasty and easy recipes out of the bag and luckily, there were no Bridget Jones-type moments live on air.
My veggie offerings included a Mushroom Bruschetta with Thyme Cream, a Roasted Farmer’s Market Vegetable Penne Pasta with Local Goat’s Cheese (Childwickbury) and to finish, Victoria Plum & Almond Muffins with lashings of warm vanilla custard.
Three simple vegetarian, seasaonl treats
My two co-pilots were local foodies too, a lovely lady named Kate Keane who has impressively launched her own company called Whole Food Creations making wholemeal pizza and wholemeal pizza bases. Kate cleverly spotted a gap in the market for wholemeal pizza and started her company by making them from home and selling them at her local farmer’s market. The pizzas are now produced on a larger scale and can be found in shops and online. They were thin, crispy and delicious and Kate was kind enough to share her recipe for the wholemeal bases, too. I’m definitely a convert and the kids would never know they were eating something that is good for them, especially piled high with lots of veggies.
We were also joined by Frances Hale who runs at vintage tea room at the Copper Beach Art Gallery in a Hertfordshire village called Little Wymondley. Fran made a Spinach, Pesto and Ricotta Quiche as well as her brilliantly named Disgustingly Gorgeous Chocolate Cheesecake. The best tip I took from the show was from Fran who said that she lines a deep cake tin with tin foil first, before lining the tin with pastry – letting the edges of the pastry hang over the edge. After blind baking the pastry until it is almost fully baked, she then spoons a layer of red or green pesto in the bottom before filling with the pastry with the creamy quiche mix. Once cooked, she takes the quiche outside and gently chops away the edges, leaving the crumbs for the birds! Adding pistachio to the crumb of her cheesecake was also a great tip, too.
To say that we were well and truly spoilt and well-fed would be an understatement. I made two new friends and am looking forward to visiting Fran and her fellow artists at the art gallery and tea rooms soon.
Fran’s ‘Disgustingly Gorgeous Chocolate Cheesecake’
You can find all the recipes via the link to the Weekend Kitchen Fact Sheet here. In the meantime, I’ll leave you with my Mushroom and Thyme Cream Brushetta recipe in case you are in need of some inspiration for tonight’s supper.
You can listen to a recording of the show here on iPlayer up until this Saturday.
Ren’s Mushroom Bruschetta with Thyme Cream
- 4 slices artisan baked bread, such as sour dough
- 300ml double cream
- 2 springs fresh thyme
- 1 garlic clove, whole
- 50g vegetarian Parmesan cheese, grated
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 small onion, finely chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped/minced
- 500g mixed mushrooms, such as chestnut, oyster, finely sliced
- To make the thyme cream, pour the double cream into a small pan, add the thyme springs, whole garlic clove and grated vegetarian Parmesan cheese and leave to boil gently. The cream will reduce and become thicker.
- In a separate frying pan, pour in two tablespoons of olive oil, add the onions and gently fry for 2-3 minutes, then add the garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add the finely sliced mushrooms and stir well, cook gently for five minutes, or until the mushrooms are soft.
- Take the double cream off the heat and carefully take out the thyme sprigs and garlic clove. Stir well. Pour the thyme cream over the mushrooms, stir well again.
- Toast the sourdough bread and drizzle over a tablespoon of olive oil. Spoon the creamy mushrooms over the toast and serve immediately.
Thank you to Nick, Emma and Alex at BBC Three Counties for inviting me back onto the show.