Wednesday, 11 December 2013

International Mountain Day 2013

Covering around 27 percent of the earth’s land surface, mountains play a critical role in moving the world towards sustainable economic growth. They not only provide sustenance and wellbeing to 720 million mountain people around the world, but indirectly benefit billions more living downstream.

That's according to the United Nations who have designated 11 December as International Mountain Day. Of course, you can pretty much take it as a given that we at Delicious Mountain love the mountains: we've chosen to spend our lives in the Alps. And while our own experiences of mountain living are undoubtedly very different to those who make their homes atop the mountain ranges of The Himalayas or The Andes, there remains a common connection in the respect we all afford to the highlands.

A community which is based in the mountains gives voice to mountain living in all its culture and ways of life. A hilltop community is simply different to any other, and expresses these differences in its language, its cuisine, its modes of getting from place to place and connecting with people.

It's no coincidence, then, that we have made a life here in Meribel built on these very foundations. Although Meribel is a relatively new and purpose-built ski resort, and is not hewn from history like Les Gets might be, for example, it is still very much a mountain community - and we were attracted to it as such. Of course we love the risky red runs and the menacing black moguls, the filling fondues and the tasty tartiflettes.  But most of all, we love the mountains and everything they offer us.

Always to be respected, sometimes to be feared, forever to be supported, appreciated and loved - thanks to/for the mountains.

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

The Chalet Chamois Shuffle: Lucky Goats Evade Alpine Avalanche

Avoiding an avalanche is pretty much the top priority of any off-piste skier, and learning to judge the risks can take a lot of careful training.  When your first mistake could be your last, you can be sure that trial and error might not be the best means of learning.

But when you live on the mountainside, avoiding an avalanche might not always be possible.  Here, a tribe of goats act out an anthropomorphic drama of which any screenwriter would be proud.


Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Apres Ski - Our guide to the ski party in the snow around Meribel




Après-ski has become a very important part to most people's catered chalet holiday and a good resort should always include a fair selection of bars offering this end-of-ski-day/ last-run indulgence.  So what is it? Well the phrase translates literally into 'after ski' and it is the term given to the activity of coming straight from the mountain around 4.30-5pm and into a bar for a drink - quite often there will be a live band or musician and what ensues is a late afternoon/early evening boogie!

Meribel is famous for its après ski.   But fear not, you need not have skied all day to enjoy this particular treat - anyone can join in - the more the merrier.  There are some seasonnaires who will get kitted up in their skiing gear and either just do one run or go up on the bus to whichever bar so they look the part!  Believe me - there is no need to go to such lengths to take part! 

At the end of the day there is always at least three bars on the piste or around Meribel that will be playing live music - there is something for everyone from one man acoustic sets, to live DJ's, to cover bands.   You can find out the programs by clicking on the links below. Or in resort, the local radio station R Meribel, will broadcast a what's on guide including the most up to the minute low down on all live music both après and later in the evening.


The most famous place in Meribel is the Rond Point, or Ronnie's, sitting on the Saulire side of the valley where several runs meet, this place has been doing après since the early 90's.  It's success? well it  catches the afternoon sun on their huge heated terrace as well as all the skiers and boarders on their last run.  It's a compulsory part of your Meribel experience, along with the toffee vodka they serve.

Lodge du Village (LDV) is in Meribel Village at the bottom of the lovely blue Lapin piste.  There's a Happy Hour every day from 4pm until 6pm with all your favourite drinks from Toffee Vodka to a lovely warming piping hot Vin Chaud.  The legendary Tuesday evening Après Ski with Bring Your Sisters, Yard of Ales and horn playing from Tim will continue throughout Winter 2014!



In Meribel town, in the complex of shops and bars right by La Chaudanne you will find Jacks Bar.  There's always something going on at Jacks, from live comedy acts, games such as toss the boss and Monday - Friday 5-7 plenty of après action.


New last season was the La Folie Douce (Sweet Madness).  Strictly speaking, they operate a little before 'après' time closing at 4.30pm.  More of a late lunch and party kind of place with DJ's, dancing girls and boys and liberal champagne spraying.  Last season it opened to mixed reviews - what had kind-of happened more organically in Val Thorens and Val d'Isere with this brand was brought into Meribel - and you just couldn't help feeling it was a little forced, but after a winter?


This year, Meribel is playing host to 'Ibiza Rocks' in the Snow.  Get ready for the hottest breakthrough live acts and electronic artists plus daily après ski events hosted by the UK and Ibiza's top clubbing brands, street parties, pool parties, terrace parties, ice parties and much more!  Come and join in from 14-21st December 2013, 8-15th February 2014 and 29th March - 5th April 2014. Ibiza Rocks in the SnowTempted?  We have a fabulous last minute deal for 14th December, the price has been reduced by £200 per person and our luxury chalet is now available at just £445pp!!!  


And don't forget - at Delicious Mountain we know Après is essential to a ski holiday which is why we are happy to collect you from your apres ski venue and bring you back to our luxury catered chalet :-)


Wednesday, 20 November 2013

Get Fit for the Slopes

Ensure You Are In Good Shape On And Off The Mountain To Get The Most Out Of Your Chalet Holiday

Article authored by of Fit for the Slopes.


There are many benefits to embarking on a fitness programme before a luxury chalet holiday. Not only will it ensure you can ski all day but you will be in a favorable position to enjoy both the delicious gastronomy on offer and the wonderful surroundings of your chalet.

Laura May Williams SkiingFat loss

Both your metabolic response to exercise and the way you ski play a large part in determining how many calories you burn on the mountain, but often the calorific intake can be greater than the calories burned.

By ensuring you trim down before you go, will help off-set any potential weight gain from the delicious mountain cuisine which for many is as vital to the chalet holiday as the skiing!

Recovery

Rate of recovery is a major component of fitness. The fitter you are, the longer you can ski for; both on a single run and in terms of total hours on the snow. Intrinsically linked is how quickly you can recover between runs and from day to day.
Ensuring you are fit for the slopes will help ensure you’re not too tried to enjoy the luxury of your chalet in the evening as well as increasing your chances of feeling fresh in the morning.

Performance gains

Another advantage of having a good level of fitness is to maximize gains in performance. Mental and physical fatigue can be a distinct limiting factor in improving your ski technique.

Injury prevention

There are numerous reasons as to why being physically prepared can reduce the chances of injury: if you are flexible you will be less likely to pull a muscle if you are thrown off balance; by having good co-ordination, agility, balance and being able to stave off fatigue means you’ll be less likely to fall; and a weight loading fitness programme will ensure that your ligaments, tendons and bones are strong making you better equipped to deal with an impact.

Total ski fitness

Your specific fitness needs will vary slightly depending on your skiing level. For example as a beginner, you will need good core and upper body strength to hoist yourself up from falls. Moving into intermediate level, it’s likely that you’ll be spending more time upright, but sitting back in your skis - so quad strength is key. As you become more advanced and you’re skiing more dynamically, plyometric (explosive) power becomes more important.

To cover all bases and keep you strong and safe on the mountain it’s best to work on all five key elements that combine together to make total ski fitness: balance, agility and coordination; muscular strength and endurance; cardiovascular fitness; plyometrics and flexibility training.

Top exercises

There are an infinite number of effective exercises and activities you can do but top exercises in the gym would include heavy squats, deadlifts and weighted step-ups to strengthen the legs and hips and anti-rotation core work (since the core keeps very still when you ski).

And don’t forget that the comfort of your chalet will provide a perfect environment for a post ski stretch session!

Laura is a personal trainer and BASI qualified ski instructor specialising in ski fitness, providing one to one sessions (London based) and on-line programmes for training at home or in the gym. For further information or to sign up see www.fitfortheslopes.com.


Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Reflections on Meribel & Website News



As a resort, Meribel is rich and diverse, and every luxury chalet holiday in Meribel will be as unique as the individuals who visit this great resort. For some, Meribel offers a peaceful haven within the cosy confines of an opulent chalet, where evenings breeze by at the relaxed pace of a rejuvenating break well earned. Refill your partner's vin chaud and let tomorrow's memories take shape. 

For others, Meribel is a fun-filled party town where the night-time distractions of the resort's legendary apres ski are as much a reason to visit as the world-class skiing of the slopes above. During daytime and at night, there is no shortage of reasons to take off your skis and join the fun.

Whichever kind of holiday our guests are looking for, we're always happy to recommend the best places to visit.  For the staff night off, we recently posted a piece about the best local restaurants in Meribel - a subject we have researched very thoroughly and with well-practiced discernment.  So, if you're booking a ski chalet holiday with us this year, don't be afraid to mine us for local insights and tips.

Throughout this blog, and across the pages of our website, we try to offer as broad a representation as possible of this amazing ski resort. It's our favourite place on earth, and we try to get this across in our writing, as well as in the service we offer our guests before, during and after their stay with us in Chalet la Chouette. Whether it's the amazing food and wine, the unrivalled skiing, the good company, or the general joie de vivre which pervades this unique location, we try to put across the passion of Meribel in everything we do.  

Recently, we've been adding more content to our website to reflect all of this, and we thought we should probably let you - our dear blog readers - know about the latest content.  In particular, recognising that we are pretty biased towards Meribel, we've put together a page about what the press has to say about our town.  Have a look at this page to find out what the travel writers think about Meribel.

Other new pages:
Article by

Saturday, 9 November 2013

The snow forecast this winter for Meribel

Hello there to all you snow hounds, ski lovers, board riders and winter bunnies ! 
Snowflakes
Our latest installment on the blog is all about SNOW....
Does snow feature in the most commonly asked questions by visitors to Meribel? Yes, of course it does! In no particular order, these are the questions on everyone's lips....
1. Will there be snow?  - Yes!
2. What is the snow like? -  Cold, good
3. How cold is it at the top? -  Colder than it is here!  The temperature       drops approximately 6.5C for every 1000 metres of elevation.
4. How many layers should I wear?Errrrr?!
  
Snow -  it is one of the most important things about your holiday (apart from staying in our fabulous catered chalet and enjoying delicious food, wine and great service). You've come to ski or board in Meribel and the Three Valleys with blue skies and fluffy powder and/or beautifully groomed pistes.  In an ideal world we'd have snowy nights followed by sunny days throughout winter and we'd all be very happy.  However, this crucial element to your ski holiday is completely out of our hands.

Panorama of Three Valleys Piste
Click to see full image
The recent snowfall last week (see picture below for what the resort is currently looking like) and predictions for more over this weekend has certainly spurred many people into booking a ski holiday. We've had many enquiries as a result thanks to the amount of neige falling from the sky.

The Pistes near Meribel

So what are the long term predictions for snow this coming winter in Meribel?
The actual answer is anyone's guess in my opinion.  Various experts predict contradicting long range forecasts for this winter. From cold and dry to warm and wet - I've read it all.  I'd say the local elders studying the fauna and wildlife for 'signs' probably have more of an accurate idea and they are saying snowy which is great news.  We know one way to guarantee a great dump is if our good friend Andy comes to stay with us.  He definitely has some deal with the snow gods and a two week visit from him is always very exciting for that reason!  By the way, his dates this year are mid March ;-)

The Weatherman in Snow

You'd do well to bear in mind that 85% of the ski area in the Three Valleys is above 1800 meters, making it very snow sure. In addition, there are just over 2000 snow canons, ensuring that even in the event of scant snow cover, you will still be able to enjoy the pistes.
During the build up to winter, and during the winter season, we are obsessively checking the forecasts to see what conditions are going to be like.  There are two forecast sites we use and I share them with you below. Whereas I tend to prefer the forecast with the most snow, Stu spends a but more time looking at the pressures, fronts and storm cycles, especially over the North Atlantic. He is looking for accuracy and validity.  Be warned - you might get a very complicated answer if you ask him what the forecast is.
and
Something else you could do is look up the historical data for Meribel. 
The Ski Club holds some interesting data about the depth of snow on the pistes
As does myweather2
Historical data can really only be a guide, the ever changing weather patterns are pretty unpredictable.  A cold and snowy New Year week one year can easily followed the following year by milder and sunny the next.
Whenever you decide to come and for whatever reason,  you can be sure of a very warm welcome from us, Delicious Mountain, in our luxury catered chalet. 
Just leaves me to say, à la neige et à la saison!  Lou



Monday, 21 October 2013

Millionaire's Shortbread


MILLIONAIRE’S SHORTBREAD

 
 
Millionaire's shortbread is a fabulous sweet treat, perfect after a day on the mountain with a cup of tea.   This recipe is an adaptation from Nigella Lawson's Domestic goddess (a very well used book in our house).   I tend to make this in stages over a couple of days too, so needs a bit of planning ahead to allow each stage to cool.  But don’t let that put you off, each stage is really really easy.  

Makes about 12-24 pieces (depending how you want to cut it)

Ingredients
·       225g plain flour
·       75g caster sugar
·       375g butter
·       4 tbsp golden syrup
·       1 x 397g can condensed milk
·       75 ml double cream
·       200g plain chocolate, broken into pieces

·       23 cm square brownie tin lined with greaseproof paper

 Method
 
·       Preheat the oven to 150°C
·       Rub 175g of the butter into the flour and caster sugar until it resembles coarse breadcrumbs.  Then press into the lined tin and stab all over with a fork
·       Bake in the oven for 45 minutes or until golden brown
·       Leave to cool completely on a wire rack, in the tin
·       To make the caramel filling, heat the remaining butter, syrup and condensed milk in a pan on a low-medium heat, stirring all the time so it doesn’t catch, until it is bubbling and a golden colour
·       Pour onto the cooled shortbread and leave to cool completely again
·       To make the chocolate topping, heat the cream in a heatproof bowl over a pan of simmering water, then add the chocolate and off the heat stir until smooth.
·       Spread over the caramel and leave to set, you may want to do this with a palette knife to make it nice and even
·       Use a knife heated in hot water to cut neat squares

 

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Some Autumnal Appreciation

A short autumn themed interlude...

We are VERY excited for winter, but lets take a minute, pause for breath, and enjoy the magnificent autumn months too. Here is a pictorial blog post on autumn in the mountains....















 


 


 


 

Monday, 2 September 2013

Meribel - Information on lift pass prices and piste improvements for the coming winter 2013/2014

A round-up of ski passes and piste improvements from Meribel
Well the 30th August saw the last of the lifts in the 3 valleys close for the end of the summer season, and now the post office and corner shop have moved to inter-season opening times.  As sad as this is, it does now mean we can start getting really excited for winter - yeeehaaaa!  I've put together a little round up of news and information from Meribel along with some photos we took from last year to get us all in the mood for the forthcoming winter season.

 Heading down to Val Thorens
Ski Passes
Well ski pass prices for 2013/2014 have been announced with discounts for groups of 2 or more.  I've created a simplified version here based on 6 days skiing, or you can go directly to the Meribel tourist information site  for the full version.

AgeMeribel Valley Lift Pass 3 Valleys Lift Pass
5 yrs - 12 yrs€ 181.60 € 221.60
13 yrs - 64 yrs€ 227.00€ 277.00
65 yrs - 75 yrs€ 204.30 € 249.30
Duo Rate (2 people) € 220.00 € 267.00
Tribu Rate (3 people or more) € 217.00 € 262.00
Family Rate (2 adults and 2 - 7 Children,
and this is for children up to 17 yrs old)
€ 181.60 € 221.60
 

These prices above will run from 21st December 2013 to 18th April April 2014.
 
Snowfall in December 2012


Early morning in Meribel village, Mont Vallon at the head of the valley
Outside of the above dates are some cheaper deals, for example, an adult three valleys pass from 7th - 13th December 2013 will cost you € 211.60, add that to our amazing fully catered price of £295  per person and you've got an fantastically good value, luxury ski holiday!

An adult three valleys pass from 14th - 20th December 2013 will cost you € 239.30

An adult three valley pass from 19th - 25th April 2014 will cost you € 249.30
 
Don't forget, group discounts also apply to these lower season rates.
 
To help you easier organise you holiday, we'll take your lift pass order before you travel to the chalet and have them waiting for you once you arrive, so no queues at the lift pass office for you!  You can pay in euros or with a credit card at the chalet once you arrive.

A handy tip; once you have your ski pass, keep the receipt that comes with it with you, but in a separate pocket.  If you loose your pass on the mountain, the receipt is proof of purchase and will get you back to Meribel without having to fork out for another pass.

The all New EPIC PASS - for our American friends
We would love to help our friends over in America.  We’ve heard all about their amazing EPIC pass which already gives the lucky holder unlimited access to 10 major resorts in US. In addition they can now get up to 15 days in Europe, including just recently added, 5 days in the 3 valleys.  So anyone that stays with us at Delicious Mountain, for a week, with an epic pass, we’ll pick up the bill for the 6th day skiing.  We think our friends from over the pond would have a pretty amazing time skiing the Three Valleys, so if you know anyone who might be interested, please spread the word… 
 
 
Improvements in the Meribel Ski Area
After the huge successful improvements to Plattiers lift in Motteret and Saulire in Meribel that were put in place for last season, this year has seen a focus on some run improvements in the Meribel valley.

The main Doron piste, which comes down from the Saulire side, has been widened, making access from the upper part of the resort to the main Chaudanne lift area easier for all.  Whether you are a speed merchant or blue-run skier, don’t forget to try out last winter’s World Cup Downhill slope where you can compare yourself to the world’s top skiers. This blue run was formerly two runs: le Grand Duc and Escargot. The downhill course has now been renamed le Roc de Fer and has been reshaped for more enjoyment. This will be the site of the biggest event in the skiing calendar, the Finals of the World Cup, in 2015.

No more picnicking in freezing weather! A new relaxation and rest area has been created at la Chaudanne in the Saulire Express building. Called “The Lounge”, this new rest area will be the ideal place to eat your picnic in peace.
  
The Moon Wild piste at the beginners’ Altiport area has a new start. This theme piste now has even more life-size animal models and the beginning has been reshaped to make it more easily accessible. Children can have fun on skis while learning about mountain animals.

The Actimel mini-snow park has now closed but instead children will enjoy the new Inuit Village on the Louveteaux piste where they can try out various Inuit-themed games.

Over at Méribel’s Moon Park, there are even more features. You can practice freestyle with less risk of bruises thanks to the new steps, box and fun box which are made from foam rubber.  Alternatively, why not indulge your competitive streak at the Moon Park Boardercross? This has been enlarged so you can race down it in teams of four.

For even more thrills, expert skiers shouldn’t miss Méribel’s most notorious black run, the Vertical Xperience. The start of this piste is now fully completed, making it more accessible than before. Don’t be fooled by the easier start - this couloir is 37-degrees in places, making it the steepest run in the 3 Valleys after Couchevel’s Grand Couloir. The less daring can watch the experts tackling this impressive slope from the top of Saulire Express gondola lift.
 
 

Interesting facts about Meribel and the Three Valleys
Did you know;
  • The three valleys IS the largest linked, by lifts and runs, ski area in the world it boasts 600km's of pistes and 180+ lifts
  • There are 8 different main resorts to stay in in the 3 valleys, Meribel is at the very heart of this, and we are in the main Meribel village, so you could say we are at the heart, of the heart of the three valleys!!!
  • There is a fourth valley called Orelle which is included in the 3 valley lift pass.  The pretty hamlets that form Orelle became a ski resort to serve the Italians coming through the Frejus tunnel.  It is well worth the ski over one day
  • The longest piste at 5km, is called the Cime de Caron and it is over in Val Thorens
  • Meribel's longest run is called Combe Vallon and comes from the top of Mont Vallon (a beautiful mountain that looks like a sort of melting marshmallow and is at the head of the meribel valley) it is 3.6km
  • Meribel was founded by a Scotsman, Colonel Peter Lindsay, who was looking for a new site for Winter Sports away from the ski resorts of Austria and Germany, because of the growing strength of the Nazi regime


There will be more updates on the blog, in no particular order we'll be writing more about our favourite places to eat for lunch on the mountain, we will do a lemon tart making and testing (its a hard life) and of course there will be more recipes, so keep checking back and liking and commenting.. Thank you! Lou and Stu

     
     
     

Friday, 30 August 2013

Courgette Feast - what to do with the never ending glut!

Courgettes, zucchini, calabacin, cuckinia and more!

Its that time of year when your over zealous courgette plants are non-stop producing, gone is the excitement of early summer when you watch with anticiaption as the first  flowers start opening and you can hardly wait for that first taste of your home-grown courgette.

My good friends Heather and Andy at Alpine Ethos gave me the idea to write this blog, when, at a loss to know what to do with so many courgettes from just 2 plants, they asked for help with ideas on their facebook page.
 
The things is, you just can't see them go to waste!  So I thought I'd jot down my favourite ideas for cooking and eating courgettes, it would also be great to know your best ideas too, especially a soup or pickle recipe, as it doesn't look like our plants are giving up quite yet! Personally, I prefer the smaller, firm courgettes.  They are best picked and eaten as soon as possible.

I've left it as ideas to try and get them all in without going on and on, but if you are interested in specific quantities, please get in touch and I'll send on over the full recipe.
 
Stuffed Courgette Flowers
Pick the flowers that are just on the verge of opening. In the middle you can take out the stamen. Grate cheese, mix with fresh herbs and salt and pepper, push this inside the flowers and pinch the tops closed (it doesn't matter at all if they don't close up completely). Mix up egg with a little milk in one bowl and in another bowl season some flour with salt and pepper and dried oregano. First dip the flowers in the egg then the seasoned flour, then fry in a little olive oil in a frying pan on a medium heat until they are brown on both sides (about 1-2 minutes in total) Enjoy straight away!
Grated Courgette Salad
Grated courgettes with carrots, sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds, fresh chopped mixed herbs (such as mint, parsley and coriander) then make a dressing with grainy mustard, honey and olive oil.  Mix everything together and serve.
Courgette Pancakes with Smoked Salmon and Chive Crème Fraiche
Grate 4 medium courgettes and put them in a colander sprinkled with salt and leave for half an hour.  Squeeze out the courgettes with your hands to extract any water.  Mix them with some chili, chopped spring onion, minced garlic, curry powder, fresh thyme leaves, 1 egg, 140g flour, tsp of baking powder and 75ml milk.  Mix some crème fraiche, chives and salt and pepper together and set to one side. Heat some oil in a frying pan and on a medium heat fry tablespoons of the courgette batter until brown on both sides and cooked through.  Arrange on a plate, topped with some smoked salmon, the crème fraiche and some rocket leaves.  This is a great starter or light lunch.
Courgette and Blue Cheese Galette
Make a really thick, really cheesy blue cheese sauce and set to one side.  Take a pre bought round puff pastry and lay it on a lined baking sheet.  Go around the edges crimping it, to create a border. Spread the blue cheese sauce onto the base, inside your border.  Thinly slice some courgettes into rounds and arrange on top of the sauce.  Brush some melted butter over the courgettes and the crimped edge of the tart.  Mix some grated parmesan, oregano and a few fresh breadcrumbs and sprinkle them over the top of the courgettes.  Bake in the oven until the pastry is cooked and there is some colour on the courgettes.
Char-grilled Courgettes
Toss some thickly sliced courgettes in some olive oil, salt and pepper and dried oregano and char-grill them really hot so they get dark marks on both sides.  You can eat them like this as a vegetable with your favourite meat or fish, or add them to more vegetables cooked in the same way, or as part of a salad.
 
Courgette Involtini
Instead of making involtini with aubergine, try it with courgette.  Make a tomato sauce, with either fresh or tinned tomatoes and put it into a square or oblong roasting dish.  Char grill strips of courgette, cut lengthways down the vegetable, about 0.5cm thick.  Make a mixture with ricotta, chopped mozzarella, grated parmesan, salt, pepper, chopped fresh herbs,  breadcrumbs, egg yolk, chopped pine nuts and sultanas.   Roll up the courgette strips with a dollop of the cheesy mixture and place in the tomato sauce.  Once all the strips are rolled up and nestled nicely in the roasting tin, top with a bit more grated parmesan and put in medium-hot oven for about 20 minutes.
 
 
Ribbon Courgettes
Take a vegetable peeler and run it top to bottom down a courgette to create ribbons.  Use them in a salad - here they are pictured with char-gilled courgettes, toasted pine nuts, chopped herbs and a lemon olive oil dressing.  The other day, my friends at Alpine Ethos made a salad of courgette ribbons, rocket and feta - yummy!  Our friends at Ski Vive use ribbons as a starter with herby halibut, I hope we can come round and try that one soon.

 
So there you have it, my best ideas, if you want the full recipe, please get in touch.
 









Monday, 19 August 2013

Raspberry and Passion Fruit Cupcakes - Those berries are still tasting great right now!

RASPBERRY AND PASSION FRUIT CUPCAKES
 


These really are delicious little cupcakes, the slightly sour fruit combo works so well with the sweet icing.  They are so eye catching too with the pink icing and sprinkles. 

INGREDIENTS
For the cakes
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 125g self raising flour
  • 150g raspberries
  • 6 passion fruit, sieved pulp only or 5-6 tbsp passion fruit coulis
  • a little milk to loosen the mixture if necessary

For the Icing
  • 500g icing sugar
  • 160g butter softened
  • 1 vanilla pod, seeds only
  • 2-3 drops red food colouring or 2-3 tpsn raspberry puree/coulis
  • raspberries and or hundreds and thousands to decorate

METHOD
  • Preheat the oven to 180C.  Sit 12 paper cases in a muffin tray
  • Beat the butter and sugar in a bowl until pale and creamy.  Add the eggs one at a time and beat until well combined
  • Fold in the flour until combined then add the passion fruit pulp and raspberries
  • Divide the mixture among the paper cases then bake for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and when you can, transfer to a wire rack to cool completely
  • For the icing, use an electric whisk to cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, then add the vanilla seeds and food colouring/raspberry coulis and mix until everything is smooth and combined.
  • Spoon the icing into a piping bag with a large star nozzle and pipe onto the cakes.  Decorate with a raspberry and a sprinkle of hundreds and thousands

Sunday, 11 August 2013

Smoked Mackerel and Apple Pate Blinis - An impressive canape you can prepare ahead


SMOKED MACKEREL AND APPLE PATE BLINIS
 
We've been making this canapé during the winter for years, and there's  good reason  - guests love it!  It is a good prepare-ahead one too, and of course you could use mini toasts or croutes instead of blinis.   Any left over pate will keep for up to a week in a sealed container in the fridge and it makes a pretty good sandwich too.

 Makes 32 mini blinis

 Ingredients
  • 15g butter
  • 1 medium onion peeled and diced
  • 1 medium Granny Smith apple, peeled, cored and diced
  • 200g peppered smoked mackerel fillets
  • 2tbsp good quality mayonnaise
  • 1tsp horseradish sauce
  • 32 shop bought blinis
  • Red or black lumpfish to decorate
  • 1tbsp chopped flat parsley
Method

  • Melt the butter in a small pan on a medium heat, add a splash of oil to stop the butter burning
  • Sweat/cook the deiced onion until it is translucent, than add the apple, lower the heat and cook covered for around 10 minutes, stirring occasionally
  • Take off the heat, leave to cool down for a few minutes and then pop the mixture into a food processor.  Peel the skin away from the mackerel fillets and put them into the processor along with the mayonnaise and horseradish.
  • Whizz everything together until it is a like a pate texture/consistency.  Taste for seasoning - I reckon it wouldn't need much with the salty smoked, peppery fish, but you could always add more horseradish if you like a kick.
  • Scrape the mixture out of the processor and put it in a container and in the fridge until you are ready to use it.
  • Lightly toast the blinis, then, using a spoon, scoop out some of the pate and put it on top and arrange on a serving plate
  • Using a teaspoon, garnish each blini with a few drops of lumpfish, sprinkle with parsley and finish with a few twists of black pepper.